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The Forever Home Project: A New MPMK Series

So I’ve talked a bit here and there about our move this summer, but I haven’t really told you guys the whole story.  This move was a big deal for us, as most moves are for most people, in terms of logistics and timing and just overall stress.  But it was also a big deal for us because it represented a major milestone that we’ve been working towards for the past 5 years.

For all intents and purposes, we intend for this new house to be our forever home.  The place where our kids ride their bikes on the cul-de-sac, and set up lemonade stands, and just generally grow up. And we are really, really excited about not only the home but also the neighborhood.  There are tons of kids here (lots of family dogs too) and there is a very family oriented feel.  There’s an annual neighborhood garage sale in the spring, a Halloween bash in the fall, and even organized caroling come Christmas.

The house itself is significantly bigger than what our family of four has been living in up until now, too. There’s an expansive back yard and play set and just generally more rooms and more space for us all. (Did I mention there’s also a farm behind us with horses, and even a rooster?)  The hubs and I have been diligently working and saving for the past 5 years to make this home ours and sometimes it’s still hard to believe we’re finally here.

But that’s not to say all the work is done.  It’s a great house (our inspector assured us it was very well made by craftsman who paid attention to detail) but it’s also 30 years old.  And there are several areas that need our attention here and there.  And even those areas that don’t need work or updating, still need to be furnished and designed and made to be most functional for our family.

The task is an enormous one and, I’m not going to lie, somewhat daunting.  But we’re in it for the long haul and we know it doesn’t all have to be done tomorrow (or even next year).  So today I’m announcing the start of a new MPMK series, The Forever Home Project, in which I attempt to find out how an everyday, non-designer, homeowner goes about setting up a forever home.

I will, undoubtedly, have lots of dilemmas and questions along the way.  So what do you say – will you help?


Project numero uno is the living/play room.  This space is directly to the left of the front door and it’s where we tend to congregate for play dates.  It’s a big space and, since it doesn’t yet have much furniture, the kids tend to stretch out all over the floor to play trucks, or build castles, or do puzzles.

And I kind of like it that way.  So one of my goals for the space is to leave lots of open areas and not clutter it up too much with end tables and ottomans and the like.

Another of my goals is to have lots of toy storage in this room.  You’ll see as you peruse the photos that this goal is actually already being met – just probably not in the most aesthetically pleasing way… Basically we took every storage bench, shelf, and basket from every room in our last house and put them all into this one room.


Functional? Yes.  Cohesive and pleasing to the eye? Meh.


Finally, the room also contains some rather large play pieces, our retro kitchen and a chest of wooden blocks my uncle handmade for the kids, that also have to stay.

So where to start?? Well, first things first, the rug has to go.  Nothing personal, it’s a fun and colorful rug that I got on clearance at Pottery Barn about 10 years ago now and I still like it just fine.

It’s just not working in this space.  As I said, I host a lot of play dates here and many of my mom friends still have crawlers.  So I want the floor to be a little more cushy for both the babies and the moms coping a squat nearby.

So that’s criteria #1: cushy.  Criteria #2 is that it’s big.  I hear that one of the biggest mistakes regular folk make when purchasing a rug is going too small.  Which makes sense to me because rug prices can be crazy high!  Which brings me to criteria #3: inexpensive.  I’ve got a lot of rooms to fill in this new house, which means that even though I need a rug that’s at least 9’x12′, I don’t have two grand to spend on it.

After several hours parked on the couch surfing the web and half-watching an HGTV House Hunters marathon, I’ve come up with the following 4 contenders.  You’ll notice they all have a graphic, Moroccan flare and they’re all in the grey-blue family.  This is my answer to getting a neutral that won’t show every speck of dirt and something that’s modern and interesting but won’t completely overpower the room.

@modrentmessykid: Which rug should I buy for our new play/living room?

Here’s the fun part – you can vote just by clicking on which rug you like the best.  But wait!  I want only educated opinions so hear me out about the choices first:

  • top left – 10′ x 12′ Handmade New Zealand Blend Wool Rug, bluish grey $606. When I first saw this one, I almost immediately discounted it because of the extra large scale.  But then something, maybe the great price for a 10′ x 12′ rug, had me circling back and I decided to do a Google blog search for the image to see if any design bloggers had used it in their rooms (clever, no?).  Viola, this post came up and totally rocked my world.  Now I’m thinking large scale might be just the thing for my large room.
  • top right – 8’9″ x 12′ Handmade Moroccan Blue Wool Rug $599.  This one doesn’t quite hit my 9′ x 12′ minimum size requirement but it is a good price and has a good review.  I’m torn on the color, not sure if I like that it’s not as bold or if I think it’s a little too baby boy blue?
  • bottom left – 7’6″ x 9’6″ Rugs USA Trellis Slate Rugs $524.  The size of this one really is too small so it’s not a serious contender.  However, it’s a synthetic which my research tells me means it won’t shed like a wool rug and it’s part of one of Rugs USA’s infamous 50% off sales right now so I thought I’d throw it up there in case any of you are also in the market for a rug.
  • bottom right – Alliyah Handmade Bluish-Grey New Zeeland Blend Wool Rug (9′ x 12′) $509.  This is the exact same rug as #1 except with a smaller scale graphic.  It’s gotten lots of great reviews (which bodes well for both choices #1 and #4) and although it’s a foot narrower, it’s also $100 cheaper.  The question is, can I live with a smaller scale and smaller rug to save the 100 bucks?

Ok, you now have my full blessing, go ahead and vote!  Then check back soon to find out the results as well as what I purchased and to see it in the room.  Until our next installment of The Dream Home Project, happy decorating!


Where do you start when trying to put together a new room?  Rug? Couch?  Or with something else completely?

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