Family Room & Sitting Room Progress after 15 Months

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In my last post, I shared an update to our family room, but I realized I never hit “publish” on this post that I’ve been working on for almost a year now.  So I figured it’s better late than never, am I right?

The Family Room

When we bought this house almost 15 months ago, the family room was the space we liked the least.  It was a dark and squatty space, with a broken slider that led to a very dated screened patio.  I knew right off the bat that the room had potential but would need some major changes.  All I could imagine was a vaulted ceiling and skylights that allowed light to flood into the room.  In fact, it was sort of a condition in order for us to buy this house.

Family Room Before
Family Room Before: Kyle and Cayden cleaning as we prepared to move in. I can’t believe how much they’ve both grown since we moved here.

The more we settled into the house, the more that room bugged us all.  The ceilings were popcorn coated, and less than 8 feet tall, which made the room feel claustrophobic, dated and slightly dangerous for those on the taller side.  So, after discovering that we could remove the “drywall drop ceiling,” we decided to break it down to begin the process of exposing our vaulted ceiling and prepping it for skylights.

Made by Carli Family Room
Family Room Before
Family Room Before
madebycarli skylight installation
Velux Skylight Installation Progress

It’s important to note that a vaulted ceiling is not necessary to install skylights. We just knew that with our squatty, less than 8 foot ceilings, we wouldn’t get the look and feel that we were going for without the ceilings being vaulted.

Madebycarli Velux Skylights
Madebycarli Velux Skylights
Family Room After, ahhhhhhh! Photo by Rusty Williams Photo

For our skylight installation, we partnered with Velux and were lucky enough to have two VELUX No Leak Solar Powered Fresh Air Skylights installed. 

Velux came in and helped us completely transform this space, providing us with mood boosting natural light, fresh air, and basically made our skylight dreams come true!

Photo by Rusty Williams Photo

We love that the skylights can be operated by remote or via the VELUX Active app with Netatmo on our smartphones, making it easy and convenient to manage at home or away.

Before Velux, it was dark, and dingy and now it’s so bright and airy! We just love it so much!

As you can see, the skylights weren’t the only renovations made to this space, we also swapped out the broken slider for French doors, removed the old built-ins and replaced them with wall-to-wall Ikea Havsta cabinets, we also painted the stair risers to break up some of the orange-y pine.

You can see more of this space on the Emily Henderson Blog, where I shared more info about vaulting the ceiling and our new skylights.

After the blog post went live on EHD, I realized my family room was missing something—it felt flat.  So I decided to add some contrast by painting the French doors and changing out the sofa. I love how it makes the space pop a bit more now.

The Family Room’s original checklist:

  • Raise the roof/vault ceiling (?) ✔
  • Add skylights✔
  • Decide on lighting/ceiling fan ✔
  • Change out slider to french doors-✔
  • Built in tv console/credenza-✔
  • Sectional-✔

Our “Sitting Room” decked out for fall

The Dining Room turned sitting room:

When this space was decked out as a dining room, I found that it was the area where everyone came to chill.  For some reason everyone was drawn to this space.  It became awkward and quite uncomfortable to sit at the dining room table for hours on end when we weren’t actually dining.  And the kicker? we never actually sat there to eat!  This is why I decided it would make more sense to use this as a second living space:  a sitting room.  Plus its way more comfortable for enjoying a fire.

madebycarli dining room turned sitting room
Our “Sitting Room” when we bought the house
As a dining room
As a sitting room

When we were in the process of having the siding replaced, we decided to add a window to a blank wall in this room.  Fun fact, as the wall was being opened for the window, we came to find, that previously, there had already been a window and a door on this one little wall-go figure!

Before the window installation
The old Window is the brown rectangle on the left, and the door is on the right.


I’ve been slacking on installing the window  trim, but man are we enjoying this new view to our backyard and the additional light and fresh air.  I also love that I can keep an eye on the boys when they’re outside playing, before that wasn’t possible.  My only regret is not adding a window to the family room as well.

Dining Room, turned Sitting Room Original to-do list:

  • Remove old track light-✔
  • Add chunkier molding
  • Move built ins back around fireplace-we got rid of them
  • Bulk up fireplace-✔
  • Wire for sconces
  • Wire for ceiling light/recessed lighting-✔
  • Choose chairs and table for sitting area-✔
  • Paint radiators-✔

Additional plans for this space:

I would really love to either plank the ceiling in here and add beams, or remove the popcorn ceiling and add beams for some architectural interest.  I would also love to create some sort of built-ins on the fireplace wall, and update the fireplace surround, but . . . I’m just waiting for the right inspiration.

Sometimes it’s good to go back and see how far you’ve come!  What do you think of this progress so far?

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This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience, which means Made by Carli may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. Thank you for supporting Made by Carli!

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