Church Reno

Church Reno: The Multi-Purpose Room

Church Renovation / Multi-Purpose Room Mood Board /

I know we’ve been MIA for a while and I’ll hopefully be posting a long yet oh-so-informative post about what we’ve been up to soon. We’ve been getting a lot of questions/emails/comments/speculations about our absence. So, just so you guys know, everyone is wonderful, healthy and all is well in casa de Brown. But, as I said, more on that later. Today, I’m going to just jump right into it…

A project Greg and I have been tackling off and on over the past two weeks is the multi-purpose room at our church building. This isn’t typically the sort of project we’d post about, but since this is something we’ve been up to and it has to do with renovating/decorating, we thought it would be fun to share the progress with you guys as we went.

Church Renovation / Sanctuary Before + After /

I mentioned a while back in this post how we were taking a week off to help prep the newly acquired building in time for our first service. The above photo is a side-by-side of what the sanctuary looked like when we got the keys and what it looked like on our first Sunday. Since we had so much other ground to cover in such a short period of time (we’re talking completely renovating, repairing, painting and decorating an entire building in 5 weeks), the multi-purpose room was put on the back burner until recently. To start off, here’s a little glimpse of what the room looked like when our pastor was handed the keys to the building…

Church Renovation / Multi-Purpose Room Renovation /

Yeah. The first thought that came to mind when I saw this was, “Hmm, interesting…”. The photos really don’t do it justice. There were multiple flooring materials, missing/sagging ceiling tiles and lots – and lots – of spray paint… err… “art”. To give you a better understanding of how the room is laid out, here’s the floor plan…

Church Renovation / Multi-Purpose Room Renovation /

Over the course of the renovation process, the guys in our church did an incredibly amazing job of totally transforming the space (and the rest of the building for that matter). In just a few short weeks, it went from dark, sad and slightly scary to open, clean, bright and usable…

Church Renovation / Multi-Purpose Room Renovation /

SO. MUCH. BETTER. I wish I had taken the time to take better before photos, but these are just some quick iPhone photos. For starters, the room was pretty much gutted. I believe everything except for the windows were replaced. After the needed repairs were completed, the room got multiple layers of Kilz to cover up the “art work” left by the previous owners, a coat of fresh paint (Woodsmoke by Valspar) and the flooring was replaced with neutral carpet tiles. Probably the biggest and most drastic change was the removal of the drop ceiling. A local company actually came in, donated their time/materials, and drywalled a new vaulted ceiling for us. We also had recessed lighting installed – which made this girl super excited. Seriously, we have the best team of people ever.

The function of this room needs to be four-fold: LifeGroups (weekly small group Bible studies), leadership meetings, a general “hangout” space and a place to store small items such as extra t-shirts, visitor cards, etc. Trying to fit all of these purposes into one room, the first thing we had to do was come up with a layout. After quite a few configurations, here’s the final layout I came up with…

Church Renovation / Multi-Purpose Room Renovation /

I actually struggled a lot with the furniture layout. I basically just played around with it in Illustrator until something popped. When I finally stumbled on this configuration, I thought, “Why didn’t I think of this in the first place?! Duh!” The idea is to have a designated seating/lounge area as well as a meeting table area. That way, it can accommodate pretty much any form of meeting, small group, lunch or workshop. With this design, the room could seat up to 24 people and still have plenty of room to bring in more chairs if needed.

As for decorating (now we’re getting to the fun part, right?!), we want a relaxed modern space with a splash of the rustic/industrial vibe. It was also important to keep it relatively inexpensive but still good quality so we’re not replacing the furniture in 6 months. Taking all those things into consideration, here’s the plan we came up with…

Church Renovation / Multi-Purpose Room Mood Board /

01 // I’m normally not a fan of accent walls, but in this case, the room really needs something to ground the space. I really, really – one more – really wanted to plank the whole wall (the one with the door that leads to the outside) with the same wood we used on the stage in the sanctuary. That was the plan until we realized the wall was actually a layer of drywall directly over cinderblock. Whomp whomp. Technically, it could be done, but with it being such a large wall, the cost for anchors and masonry screws would be outrageous; not to mention that it would be really difficult to do. So, the backup plan is to paint the wall navy – Basin Blue by Valspar to be exact. By the way, that color is my favorite go-to navy blue wall color.

02 // I’m just crazy about this wall art from CB2. It’s basically modern wooden row houses that you can form into your own shape. Buuuut – don’t you hate but’s? – since making this mood board, CB2 has stopped carrying it. I was so bummed! The idea was to get three sets and configure our own large piece of wall art to go on the blank wall over the sofa. The wood tones would have looked awesome against the navy accent wall! I’m now on a mission to find something just as cool or even better. If you guys have any ideas, share! The only thing is that it needs to be pretty large in size.

03 // Two of these beauties were delivered last week and we couldn’t be more happy with them. Before placing the order, I actually hadn’t seen it in person – which made me a bit nervous since we were ordering two and paying extra to have them delivered. However, I had a “gut feeling” they would work out and prayed they would. And, oh my goodness…. They. are. perfect. I was honestly shocked at the quality for the price (only $799!) and couldn’t get over how great they fit in the room. They’re also a bit larger looking in person – which is great for this project. The bonded leather is super durable and should stand up to lots of wear and tear. I just really can’t say enough good things about this sofa.

04 // We’re going to ditch the matchy-matchy leather pillows that came with the sofa and add our own for a pop of color. If this were going in our house, I’d totally load the sofas up with lots of graphic, fun pillows. However, since this is going to be a room for a lot of people going in and out, I’m going to keep it simple with just an extra two or three pillows. Otherwise, they’d just get in the way. Well, that, and every time I go in there, I’d be wanting to straighten the pillows. Haha!

05 // If you’ve been reading here for long, you know I’ve been a fan of this chair since the day Ikea previewed it. I dedicated an entire post to it and have used it on multiple mood boards since then (this one being my favorite). The fabric color (which is our church’s “color”) and price were just too good to pass up for this project. I also love how it juxtaposes with the style of the Chesterfield sofa. As far as style goes, it’s a huge bang for your buck.

06 // We’re concocting a plan for a large DIY industrial rustic coffee table. We’ll be back to share more about that later, but we can tell you that the top will be stained Special Walnut by Minwax – our all-time favorite stain color. That color is so perfect – I can’t even tell you.

07 // For extra seating around the coffee table, we’ll be bringing in two poufs. Right now, I’m really digging these from World Market. They are made with indoor/outdoor fabric, so I would hope they’ll be pretty durable. On the other hand, coming in at 14″ high, they might be a tad short for an adult to comfortably sit on. So, the jury is still out on these.

08 // I want to bring in some realistic faux greenery. “Greenery” is such an ugly word – but I’m taking about succulents and a fiddle leaf. We purchased this faux fiddle leaf fig tree (such a great price, right?!) and I’m currently keeping my eyes out for some good-looking faux succulents for the coffee table.

09 // I searched high and low for an affordable version of these oh-so-popular chairs. The problem I was running into was that the affordable ones were too short (they’d slide under the edge of the table) or they had horrible reviews (stories of them coming apart, scratching, etc). I finally found a “just right” size at an affordable price at Restoration Hardware (here). And, get this: they were cheaper than the smaller version on Overstock. Go figure! They were originally $140 a piece, but we were able to snag them for $99 a piece. Sure, it was a good chunk of the budget, but good chairs aren’t cheap. Thankfully, these are great quality and will probably last forever.

10 // This table is the inspiration piece for the DIY table we (“we” as in a group of crazy handy guys in our church) are going to build. It’s not exactly what we’ll end up with, but it will be the same pipe base and wood top combo with a similar wood tone.

11 // I’ve always been a sucker for chalkboard walls, and over near the meeting table will be the perfect place for one. I’m so super pumped about this – probably a little too much.

The room is currently “in progress” and I’m SO anxious to get it done and see everything put together the way I see it in my head. We’re actually waiting for the last of the furniture to be delivered, but I’ll be sure to pop in again SOON to give you guys another update.

A quick side note before I let you go… A super special thank you to all of you guys who have stuck around with us during this “transition period”. We’re so happy and blessed to have such a wonderful, supportive blog family.


  • Reply
    September 26, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    What a huge difference! I decorated a church nursery once. A whole sanctuary would be way out of my comfort zone. Great job!

  • Reply
    Casey C.
    September 26, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    This is pretty cool. It’s not like any church I’ve seen. This one has a “cool” factor.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I’m so glad to see you posting again. I’ve missed reading this blog! I’m sure decorating a religious institution is a whole different wheel house but it looks fab to me. The mood board looks amazing and i cant wait to see the finished product as always. I would check Z Gallery for large artwork. I live in Dallas and go there from time to time. They have some huge pieces in their art room. Best of luck on completing the project!

  • Reply
    Don P
    September 26, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I’m not a church goer but this looks nothing like my grandma’s church. Ha! She’s Catholic. Your church looks more my speed. Great job.

  • Reply
    Sara P
    September 26, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Wowza! A church with color. Love it. Wish it was going to be the living area at my house. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 26, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Looks great, job well done but No offense, but I hope you don’t go all religious on us. We want to see your house!

    • Reply
      October 7, 2014 at 5:59 am

      Really, Meg?! What does Ashley’s religious beliefs, or lack thereof, have to do with anything?? Please do not post such shallow comments on this wonderful blog site again. The rest of us don’t want to hear it. It has no relevance for the intent of this site.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    This looks fantastic!!! I can’t wait to see the after photos!

  • Reply
    September 26, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Looking forward to seeing what you do for a coffee table. I’m looking for something round and rustic that doesn’t cost $800++. Glad you are back!!!

  • Reply
    Lori H
    September 26, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Love the ideas. As a fellow Richmonder, I am curious which church this is? I was able to get a nice selection of good-looking succulents at Hobby Lobby.

    • Reply
      September 26, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Sent you the info! Oh yes, I was in there (at the Short Pump location) the other day and they were all picked over. But, normally, they have a great selection. Need to make another trip this week once they restock.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Great inspiration! Love that you are giving back to your church family. What about calling the brick and mortar CB2’s and seeing if they have any of the wall art kicking around in their stockrooms? Then, you could call the various Crate and Barrel outlet stores and ask the same question!

    • Reply
      September 26, 2014 at 7:34 pm

      That’s a great idea! I didn’t even realize Crate and Barrel had outlet stores!? Where have I been??

  • Reply
    September 28, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Yay! So happy you’re back! I love what you are doing with this space, can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • Reply
    September 29, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Looks super! And I’m happy to see you guys back, missed your projects in the past months!

  • Reply
    Sarah C
    September 29, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Is it completely normal for me to say, I am jumping up and down for joy? I am so happy to see you guys back. One of my favorite blogs. You guys are such a joy to read. Love what you have done with the place, can’t wait to see the nitty gritty details!! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 29, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Love your ideas!!!!! I’m definitely taking some inspiration from this design. Glad you are okay and healthy.

  • Reply
    September 30, 2014 at 9:11 am

    glad you’re back and posting again!

  • Reply
    Kerri C
    September 30, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    So happy your back! Missed you guys!

  • Reply
    Jess J.
    October 2, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Love seeing people using their gifts for Christ! The church will be so blessed by you guys. Your brainstorming designs are already looking fabulous.

  • Reply
    3 Inch Painters Tape
    October 2, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Glad to see you’re active again! Can’t believe that you are actually working on a church. It seems to me that this is a chic home…I can actually live there 🙂
    By the way, I love your taste for decorations. Those pieces are precious!

  • Reply
    Kristen from The Road to Domestication
    October 7, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    So glad y’all are back!!! And what a fantastic reason to be away! Amazing transformation, for sure!

  • Reply
    October 10, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I love your blog and i love that you are using your talent for church. I have often thought the aesthetics in church are not often considered.

  • Reply
    Rob K.
    October 23, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I love the blues! I think the greens would serve a great point as well. (Looking forward to seeing the completed project.)trailers1

  • Reply
    January 28, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I keep looking for updates to your blog – hoping that you’ll reappear. Hope all is well!

  • Reply
    February 10, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Are you ever coming back!!?? I miss your blog!! :o)

    Just popped by to check out a DIY you did earlier last year that I want my husband to do for me in our laundry room.

  • Reply
    February 12, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Hope you guys are ok. We miss you!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Hope all is well! Miss seeing your blog updates!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Disappointed again to see that you have not posted since September. I had hoped you would fill the void left by Young House Love. Hope all is well with the two of you.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2015 at 4:38 am

    Where have you guys gone?

  • Reply
    March 7, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Just wanted to say I miss your posts! Hope all is well. Maybe you are taking a much needed breather 🙂 In the meantime I am using some of your ideas in the house we are building. It is a simple ranch but I am going to try make it “us”.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    Wondering what happened to you guys? Hope all is well!

  • Reply
    April 2, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Keep checking on here, hoping you all will come back soon! You are missed!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    When are you coming back? We miss you.

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