Archive for the ‘Living Room’ Category

Ceiling fans are just the absolute worst. They are the ugliest feature in a room yet in the south are so necessary. A necessary evil, if you will. The ones in our house are really heinous! Think super cheap in the bedrooms and oversized and ugly in the living room.

With the current renovations going on in the guest bedrooms, I am getting a huge itch to purchase new lights. Bedrooms are the biggest area where fans are needed so I went on a search for something not so terrible. This one from Home Depot gets as close to pretty as you can get – modern, clean and no cord in sight!

If you have purchased an attractive ceiling fan with light recently, let me know! I would love to know where you got it and if it was under $200.

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I guess the real title of this post should be Fireplace Update but since our living room is focused around our fireplace, it is really an update on our living room. This weekend, I came across the photos of our house on the day we moved in and couldn’t believe what our living room and fireplace used to look like!

On the left, our fireplace on June 25, 2010 (closing day). On the right, our fireplace this weekend (October 2012). What a difference, right? I love how much bigger this room feels with the white brick and lower/bigger mantel. For a recap on what we did here, check out this post.

Before you say it, I’ll say it first – I realize I still have the summer decorations on the mantel. I’m not sure I’ll have time to decorate for fall this year so this might stay like this until its time for stockings and garlands. I feel like such a rebel without my pumpkins!

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The floors are finished! The floors are finished! The floors are finished! Yes, I could run around our neighborhood screaming this at the top my lungs. I have been waiting for this project since we moved in and I am ecstatic, thrilled and in love with the results!

I’m really happy I have this blog to document our renovation. It is so much fun to look back and see what has been done to our house! Hopefully I’ve explained everything below and/or in the previous posts about our progress, but if you have any questions or need more details, please email me! I would be happy to share whatever I can.

This is where we started, only three short weeks ago. Surprise to you all – we left after we made some holes in this wall and covered everything with plastic to move in with my parents in Stillwater. That’s right, we commuted and carpooled for 2.5 weeks so we wouldn’t have to live through the mess of this project. Whew – I am very happy to have my freedom and own car back!

Seriously though, we are really lucky they had no problems letting us, plus the dogs, invade their space! What would we do without supportive parents? (This is why the posts on the floors have been random and sporadic – we didn’t see the progress every day so I only got to post when we came by after work to take pictures and see updates.)

This is a close-up of our beautiful new wood floors. Did you know that flooring could be so gorgeous? I had hoped, but didn’t really know, until these 3.25″ wide planks of oak were brought into my life. I loved just the raw wood stage but after being sanded and cleaned off, then stained with the color “Antique Brown” and given several coats of a satin, industrial-strength polyurethane, I love them even more. There is a nice sheen to the floors but they aren’t too glossy – just perfect!

Side note: I don’t know the brand our contractor used for the stain or polyurethane, but if you are interested, email me and I will find out for you!

I’ve always hated how the hallway and the side of the living room were constantly dark but now all we see is sweet, glorious light! Tons of morning light floods into the living room now, thanks to the removal of the dining room wall. I am obsessed! It makes the commuting, the dust and the dirt so worth it to see something this wonderful.

The floors are just stunning! I love that the wood is continuous from our front door all the way to the back door in the laundry room and back to our bedroom as well. The house seems 10x larger than before and looks just incredible. The removal of the wall and putting in these new floors did wonders for this space. Seriously, the pictures don’t do it justice. When we got back from Stillwater, we moved in to a new house!

This is a picture of our breakfast nook, the weekend we were packing it all up. This brick tile is the infamous McDonald’s tile and didn’t look good. It got really scratched up the moment we moved in and never looked nice. I wasn’t sad at all to lose any of this!

Now the floors are like butter (or, butt-ah) and look perfect in this space! The white cabinets pop off of the dark wood and look exactly how I’ve been picturing it from the beginning. The white baseboards just got put back on (I’ll have updated pictures of that very soon) and they are fabulous against the wood!

Fun new project – I’ve finally decided that since I don’t like the wall color in the kitchen, I’m repainting it all. Yup, that’s right. I haven’t ever been really happy with it, it has always been too yellow instead of soft tan that I was going for, so I decided that now was the time to get it done! Our floors are too great to have a not-so-great wall color. I’m crazy, its okay.

We have had some casualties during this process. Several areas and dings like these can be found on our cabinets and painted baseboards. Totally okay though, some paint will make it all like new again! I found out we used the wrong type of paint in this area (the shine is too flat and doesn’t clean easily, very annoying) so again, it is the perfect opportunity to clean this project up as well. Told you, I’m crazy!

Luckily you can’t see all of the dings and scratches from a distance and hopefully the pretty floors distract your gaze, so if you come over before I get it all repainted, don’t judge. We are not a perfect house so come in with a judgement-free attitude and just like my favorite quote from the movie, Bridesmaids, “be happy for me and then go home and talk about me behind my back like a normal person.” Hah!

This is what it used to look like when you came over for dinner at our house. You were trapped in the boring, beige room! Or, if you came over for a party you most likely missed this room and walked on by to the living room. Several people have told us they forgot we had a dining room because you don’t notice it when sitting in the living room or kitchen!

I love nice dining rooms and definitely want you to notice our room, so removing this wall makes it all so much better for everyone! You won’t be trapped or feel removed from the house when you come over for dinner. When we have parties, we can use this table as the food table and open up a ton of space in our kitchen. The possibilities are endless!

That sunlight in the top corner of the living room just gets me! This was taken at 8:45 a.m. and made me so giddy. I kept watching it get brighter and bigger and light up this room, so cool! We love natural light and like to keep lights off until it really gets dark so this new found light is perfect for us.

Wow – what a difference three weeks make! Here is the progress with links to the posts: 1)The original before. 2)The dining room wall was removed. 3)The floors came up and demo got really serious. 4)Plywood was laid to even out the floors and make them all level. 5)The raw wood went in. 6)The wood was sanded, stained and given two coats of polyurethane to create a beautiful floor.

The baseboards and casings on the wall openings are in and really make it all look more finished. A cleaning team is coming in (my first time to have someone else clean for me – SO excited!) and they are going to scour our house from top to bottom…then I can get to work painting! The casings, baseboards, dining room walls, dining room ceiling, hallways, moldings and hallway ceilings all have to be painted and I am ready to make it all look the way it looks in my head. It won’t be fun but the result will be!

Linking this to:

Home Stories A2Z

Thrifty Decor Chick’s March Before and After Party

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Today was Day 5 of demolition. I’m counting Sunday as Day 1 since we did take a few shots in the wall and we had to tape everything up to protect it from the dust and debris that was about to start flying. I went by at lunch to check everything out…oh, and give our contractor a check for the wood floors. We are a chaos-living, check-writing machine right now!

This is what I walked into today. Holy moly! I knew it was going to be crazy and there would be a lot of dust but I wasn’t expecting an outdoor construction site. The hallways of our house are brick. Like, real brick. The patio that is in the front? It continues on inside and onto our hallways. Crazy!

This is the view from the corner of our living room, facing the front of the house. I can completely ignore the plastic-covered furniture, the torn up flooring and the dust everywhere because all I see is light. I’ve seen the light people and it is fabulous! The gray part of the wall in the right corner of the picture has never seen this much light. I love it!

It is so weird for me to see this second living room (aka Conner’s man room) as just a slab of concrete. The hallways were real brick, the kitchen was brick tile and the second living/dining rooms were carpet; aka three levels of flooring! Our contractor will be using plywood to level out the hallways to make them even with the other floors so we can have one continuous line of wood.

This is the heavy-duty, serious jack hammer that was being used when I walked in. It is one bad mother-shut-your-mouth and to be honest, I would love to try to use it! By try to use it, I of course mean take about 20 seconds to see how it would control me instead of me controlling it and then hand it back over to the professionals.

I loved seeing our “McDonald’s tile” out of the house! Have I told you that story? I’ll have to write a post about it this weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a bacon, egg and cheese McGriddle as much as the next person who had too much fun the night before but in general with this flooring news, me = not happy.

The best news of the day was when I saw that our wood (specifically 2 1/4″ oak, stained antique brown) would butt up against, and be level with, our living room carpet. None of us had any clue what we would find until all of the floors were up so this is GREAT news! It reduces the amount of leveling we would have to do and there won’t be any transition pieces acting as a reducer from the higher floor to the lower floor. Instead, we will be using a normal, mini transition piece to go from one floor material to the next.

This is the view from the hallway leading to our bedrooms, looking back to the main part of the house. Tomorrow the contractors will finish tearing out this brick and get the house cleaned out. Saturday they will level the floors with the plywood and then start installing the wood floors on Monday – yes!

When I showed this picture to Conner, he had to figure out where he was in the house. Hah! We are still getting used to that wall being down and seeing the house with almost no flooring – so much different from Sunday morning!

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Conner’s grandmother, Memaw as we called her, was a very special lady and after she passed in July, we were fortunate enough to receive several of her very special furniture pieces! This bar cart was one of them and is something I’ve been itching to makeover since August. I got so excited and even blogged about it but then a week passed…months passed…fast-forward six months and I finally got it finished!

This is a very pretty bar cart and fit Memaw’s style but not our own. It was the perfect height for our second living room and was a great spot for a lamp and drink. It just needed a little more pizzazz to really fit our house.

I was waiting for the perfect, warm day to fix her up and last weekend we were blessed with some incredible last weekend in January weather. Max and Carl were having a blast running around while I worked my magic on this cart.

I saw this post on Tip Junkie about how to ‘easily’ strip brass using oven cleaner. Supposedly you spray on the cleaner, scrub on the brass and magically, chrome is exposed! Yeah…not so much. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed on one spot. What ‘magically’ appeared was green tarnish. Awesome! On to plan B…

I had primer leftover from another project so I decided the whole cart would be nice as a super high-gloss piece of furniture. I recently saw a coral high gloss bar cart in a local boutique and loved it! I didn’t think Conner would go for coral though since it is his ‘man room’ where the bar cart sits so off to Home Depot we went.

We looked through all of the colors they had to offer and Conner settled on navy gloss. Perfect! I already had 1.5 cans at home so we wouldn’t need much more. I put on the first coat and was skeptical about the color but liked the continuity between the wood tops and decorative metal pieces.

It took two coats of primer, three coats of navy and two coats of Polyurethane (the spray version is awesome!) and this is the final product. I love it!! More importantly, Conner really likes it as well. He didn’t want anything too girly and wasn’t sure about the super glossy look at first but thinks it looks great and loves it in his room – all the approval I need. 🙂

I used accessories we had around the house as well as things I have been collecting. The orange lamp was the first thing I ever spray painted from Goodwill – it was only $2! The silver tray is from a local restaurant supply store, the decanter on the right is from TJ Maxx and the decanter on the left was a Christmas present from Conner’s parents. The apothecary jar is from Hobby Lobby and is filled with the wine corks we continually collect. I usually empty a jar when it is full and do something fun with them but I like the way this looks so much, I think I’ll start another jar instead!

By using many, light coats of paint instead of just slathering a few coats on there, it built up the paint nicely and I was able to avoid all drips and runs. This was the first time I had ever used the spray polyurethane and I am very happy with the product. It was much easier to use on a piece like this with so many details and crevices – not sure I could have used a brush and coated it as well as the spray did!

I am so happy with the way this turned out! I have become a spray paint junkie but this time was my most favorite and most proud I’ve been on a spray painted object. Finding the perfect bar objects to use on here was a fun little challenge of shopping the house. Right now I’m set on the way it looks but I bet if you stop by in a month or so, this will look totally different!

I’ve collected some fun bartending books as well as party and entertaining books over the years and they work out great in this spot. The OSU silver ice bucket was a housewarming gift from a friend and we use it all of the time. Who knew we would use something like this? Obviously I didn’t or else it would have been on our wedding registry! The monogrammed beer mugs were a Valentine’s Day gift I gave to Conner when we were engaged and he uses them all of the time.

Here is one last look at the before and after of this very special bar cart. I love it! I’m thankful to Memaw for owning this and thankful for Conner’s parents for letting us have it. This was the perfect addition to our living room!

P.S. You can obviously see my photography skills are improving as I get more and more familiar with my new camera – that one of the left is dreadful! Sorry folks, thanks for still reading – hah!

Linking up to:

Home Stories A2Z

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It was a busy weekend in our house! We had three different contractors here, each measuring and talking options with us so they can give us estimates for new floors! I am so excited that we are finally moving forward with knocking down the wall in the dining room, which will open it up to our living room, and then replacing the flooring in our dining room, hallways, kitchen and second living room – so much to do but so much fun!

This is a view I rarely show you because I hate it. I have always despised this wall with these sconces that are not our style at all so here is what I detest and what will be changed…

I put up the circle candle holder from our old house just to have something on that wall when we moved in but didn’t put more thought into the wall because I always knew we would knock it down…I knew but I had to convince Conner! The outlet at the bottom hasn’t ever worked. We need to add crown molding to the top and the ceiling needs to be painted white. The walls will be painted the same light grey to match our living room, once this wall comes down.

Here is definitely a view you’ve never seen…the other side of the wall! This was taken at 11 a.m. in the morning, when our house gets the most natural light. Isn’t it crazy how dark it is in the hallway outside of the dining room? To the right of the hallway is our main living room with huge windows but you would never know it with how dark this area is. I absolutely can not wait to see this gone!

The light from the dining room is going to flood into our living room and is going to be so wonderful! The overhang of the roof and the big trees in the backyard prevent a lot of natural light from coming in so having the light from the front of the house is going to make a huge difference.

This is looking from the dining room into the front entryway. You can also see the hallway with the gallery wall I recently did and still love!

The wall we’re knocking down will have an opening like the current one in this room. The ceilings are lower in here than in the hallways so I want to keep the two room openings the same and have some balance. The only thing that will change is the addition of casings and moldings around the entry to really make them pop and give some serious detail to them…again, so excited!

(Thanks to Max for modeling his favorite ‘sunning in the front room’ position) I still have some projects that I need to do before we get this whole dining room project started/finished…like finishing Memaw’s chairs that flank our buffet (the gold ones in the pictures above) and this curio cabinet from my grandma. There are several glass shelves as well as a mirrored back that are all so cool in the cabinet. I can’t wait to lighten this piece up by using some chalk or milk paint before displaying some gorgeous serving dishes in here!

So, that is our current plan. What do you think? Most are convinced it is a good idea but when you say ‘remove a wall’ people get weird that you’re making a mistake that can’t be fixed. I know this will be exactly what we need to update and freshen up this part of the house so I’m ready to do it! We have some plans for other rooms as well but for now, we’re starting with this. I will definitely keep you updated with our progress when we finally get started (hopefully next month!).

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Currently Coveting

Today, I’m currently coveting awesome poufs from West Elm! I love their size and their patterns.

I love all of them except for the red stripe one…sorry OU fans, I just can’t with the red. 🙂 These would be awesome in our living room, especially since I need something in front of the Craigslist chair. Only problem? These bad boys are $249. No, thank you! Maybe I can DIY one instead…

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