Friday, January 20, 2017

Living Remodel Done - Before and After Pix

Usually if I blog mid-week, I prefer to do it more Wednesday-ish. But here it is Friday, and I decided to just go ahead and blog today even though I will have my weekly Rainbow Scrap Challenge post tomorrow. Besides, the remodel may not interest a lot of the quilters, so they can come see this or not, as they choose.

We have lived in this house for about 14 years, and this remodel of the living room was the last really major thing we have attacked. I do still want to update the laundry room, but it’s nothing that we can’t handle ourselves in a weekend. But the living room...... that was a major project.

When we moved in, the living room (and indeed the house) was immaculate, but very dated.  It was built in 1963. The sage green carpet was almost everywhere in the house except for the bathroom and kitchen. But the kitchen had blue and pink indoor/outdoor carpet, so that was even worse! We gutted and remodeled the kitchen in 2006, and refreshed it last summer with white paint, a new light fixture and some sliding shutters for our sliding glass doors. Major improvement - and you will see parts of that in one of the pictures.

Here is a living room BEFORE photo, taken just before demolition began. Underwhelming. Obviously, a lot of the knick-knacks, etc. are already removed. In previous years, we had already replaced the large living room window with double pane windows (that open on the sides), insulated the ceiling, and added shutters. Infrastructure/basics first.

When the demo began, we removed the bench hearth and had intended to remove the brick and mirror as well, but the brick was mortared to the exterior brick, so we brought the wall out in front of it by a few inches instead. That gave us the room and opportunity to insulate the wall. And as an engineer, DH was able to add in all the specialty wiring for electricity and media. Note that the 2x4’s around the fireplace are metal to meet code for a fireplace.

The former wood-burning fireplace had a gas line, so we converted to a gas-burning fireplace insert so we could enjoy the clean-burning fireplace often (due to environmental regs, we rarely ever burned wood). We were also able to make it smaller, shifting it to the right a bit so it would not be as noticeably off-center. It still is off center, but much better.

And here is the “after”! We didn’t get the leather couch and ottoman until the second week of January, but we were patient. The custom bookcases were painted white by the builder, and we (meaning me) painted the walls Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams. The cabinets on the right side (as you look at it) house all our media stuff, from DVD player, turntable, etc etc. They are remote controlled (as is the TV and fireplace) by DH when he sits in his leather recliner. The left cabinet contains grandkid toys for now, but eventually (as they grow up) it will be for extra quilts and seasonal pillows, etc.

The dark hardwood floors are a really elegant-looking contrast to the white and gray. The rug covers the seating area.  Sometimes I use the ottoman as a coffee table, and sometimes I drag it a couple feet over to my chair and use it as .... an ottoman!!

The cats prefer the cloth couch, which is no surprise. At least, they prefer it if our laps aren’t available, LOL. I still need to get something for the wall on either side of the clock (that I can finally SEE when I am in my chair!!) I’m thinking of a couple wall plants or sconces or something. Something that will contrast texturally with the hardness of the wall and clock. But that’s the decorator in me talking. 

This is the view looking back towards the entry (which would be behind my striped chair) and the dining area (through the left opening). The door (replaced last summer when we refreshed the kitchen) goes down to the basement. You can see how the dark of the new hardwood floors ends at the top of the stairs. We were pleasantly surprised to find the original hardwood - in excellent shape - throughout the upstairs, so we kept it. That meant we had extra dark hardwood, but our contractor really wanted it for his house. So we traded for labor and other expenses, and it was a win-win. The only repair on the floor was filling a few tiny carpet nail holes area across the threshold into the bedroom. Then it was swept and buffed. Done and done! The hallway and bedroom still got their new baseboards, though.

We are still looking for the perfect coat rack or shelf with hooks for the wall above and to the right of the vintage radio. All things in time. The above pic looks down the hall (this is just a small tract home) and into the library/study.

The plain floor of the bedroom required a rug, of course, and we opted for this sisal-type mat to go with the African theme (most of which you cannot see) in this room. To make it non-slippery, I Googled for an answer and Martha Stewart came to the rescue.

Here is Alfie showing how I used the leftover caulking to apply strips to the back of the rug. Let it dry for a few hours, and voila!  I may have to add a few more strips later - we’ll see.

And, that’s the end of the tour. I’m so thrilled that it’s finally done! It will be awhile before we tackle anything else, that’s for sure. Thanks for dropping by!

Until tomorrow,
Cathy maroon


  1. Can you see my green eyes? Ooooh - such envy going on here! Your room looks absolutely amazing. What a transformation from the 'before' pictures. You must love it so much (probably about as much as you love the fact that it's all done!!). Enjoyed the glimpse of your old radio - we have one too.

  2. Zounds! What a beautiful makeover. And I love the nonskid rug idea.

  3. okay!! I feel like I just watched an episode of my new fav Flip or Flop!! The fireplace makeover is so now. It took a lot of time and $$ but it is so good that you love what you did!! Let the sewing continue!!

    Oh, and thanks for the rug backing tip. I'm going to use THAT one!!
    xx, Carol

  4. Love the before and after photos of your livingroom! It is beautiful!!!!

  5. Your living room is beautiful! It looks so cozy and comfortable.

  6. What a fun tour! I enjoyed the before and after. The new hardwood is just gorgeous, but I love the original flooring you found, too. I bet you are enjoying all the new changes, and happy to have it done!

  7. Thanks for the tour! It was well worth the wait. Your living space is gorgeous!!

  8. What a great refresh! It looks wonderful.

  9. I just love your remodel. All that brick was so overpowering and the shelving adds interest as well as storage.. Great job. I think "agreeable grey" is the color of my hair... some days not so agreeable.

  10. Your remodel is so elegantly beautiful! You must be thrilled. The old room reminded me of the Brady Bunch house which was everyones dream in the 70s (?) It's interesting how tastes change but I think what you have now will remain a classic.


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