In the spirit of having a new camera, and therefore taking all the photos I've always wanted to take... I've decided to embark on yet another journey with you. I will lead you through our Living room renovations. Let me preface this with the following:
This is my first house, and I don't yet have kids. That means I can be as crazy as I want to be without the crazy rubbing off on spawn of mine. (One of) My type(s) of crazy translates into trying vastly different color schemes in each room of the house that we re-do. So far our bathroom is PURPLE (really. In caps.), my craft room is turquoise with red, my dining room is dark teal, my foyer/hall is on its way to being a burnt red, and my living room is Apple Green (or that's what the paint says). As with every room we redo, I start out with a pretty clear gut-feeling vision of what I want. At some point, about half way through, when the dust has coated everything I own, and the paint is half way up... I crack and start to seriously doubt what I'm doing. I start to convince myself that it's probably going to look really, really dumb. What was I thinking? Purple? For a bathroom? Green? BRIGHT Green? What?
But I have to be honest with you -- And shhh, don't tell the other rooms --- but the green living room is definitely my favorite. It's cozy and inviting and I LOVE it. I can only hope that somehow the magic will repeat itself when we move and I want to do the same thing to our next living room.
Let the Journey Begin:
This is our how our living room looked before we moved in:
Mrs. Blur-face is our Realtor. She was very kind and very helpful. She was barely phased by the fact that we were so young and we wanted to buy a house for cheap.
That window there looks out of the front of the house over the front porch and out at the street.
The shelves you see were partially built in to the space, but mostly (to fasten them in place?) they were painted to the wall. The carpet was the same dark green icky carpet that covered the whole first floor and the living room had a total of 2 outlets - one in the wall behind the table you see in the above picture, and one nearby it in the floor. Oh, and yes. That's a drop ceiling - Dentist office style.
The first thing we did upon moving in was the floor, if you want a better look at how that went check out my post about my dining room renovation. After ripping up carpet and evil looking nails and staples, we laid down Luann and I am proud to say that I (pretty much single handedly!) screwed in the Luann to the ENTIRE living room floor. Everyone else was occupied elsewhere, so I busied myself with a drill and had a grand old time!
The thing that got in our way, almost immediately, were the "built in shelves". We tore those out in order to do the floor completely. I'm glad we did take them out because they weren't really even and they definitely weren't well supported.
In this photo you can see where we patched the walls where the built in shelves had been and you can see the blue in the bottom left hand corner of the picture. Before you lay laminate flooring, you must lay this squishy stuff down..... I guess it makes the laminate flooring more comfortable?
At this point, we had a bunch of lovely gift certificates for various stores from our wedding, and after having laid down the laminate floor we ventured out in the world to feather our nest.
It turns out that nest feathers are expensive, and so we ended up being able to afford a new rug and a new love seat cover and that's it - I couldn't believe how expensive rugs and seat covers are. Regardless of the expense, those two things helped this room to be more homey to us and it was worth it. I'll lead you through our living room. Every once in a while I'm going to show you a photo and then - because I'm a little obsessed with flickr's picnik photo editor - I'll use the same photo to highlight key points.
Now... With Labels:
If this repetition of photos gets annoying, just let me know - seriously. It's okay? Alright, good. I probably wouldn't have stopped anyway.
Okay, I won't label that one.... except to say that that Green glass is the very beginning of our collection - and that shop vac was probably the very best house warming gift... EVER.
Now you can really see the scars where we patched the wall from the "built in" shelves.
I guess this photo doesn't really need labels either... just a solid "Gilmore Girls Rocks!", and I think we can move along...
Our next step was to really settle in. We got matching lamps (a donation from my parents) and a brand new curtain. We used a bookshelf my father had made me when I was a child for our VHS movies. We found a second endtable in a thrift store... they're different heights, but it was okay.
Our white cat, eevee, is probably hiding under that chair in this photo.
Ironically, we were playing a game of Settlers when this photo was taken.
This photo shows a second tiny hutch that we rescued from a thrift store... and it shows the thing I made for the fire place (which I'll show you later).
We also kept the computer in the Living room for a very long time. For a while it happily resided in its own corner... and then our love seats started dividing exponentially. My parents gave us the one you saw us put our new love seat cover on, then Greg had an old one from college. Then the parents of a friend of ours from college who live in Pittsburgh gave us another old love seat, so we had three love seats residing in our living room. Three love seats and no couches. Let me tell you what a good approximation of torture is: Provide a room with great entertainment, and lots of seating that's long enough for you to lay down all scrunched up, but never to stretch out. That's torture, my friends.
Then one magical day, we were browsing a near by Goodwill and Greg fell head over heels in love. With an Ethan Allen Couch and Love seat. While we're both appalled at the idea of these babies being donated to a thrift store because someone didn't care about them, I would rather imagine the scenario as follows: Someone cared treMENdously about these soft, barely worn leather couches. They cared SO much about them and had such good memories with them, that they needed to pass that good karma onto someone else. We just happen to be those lucky people. We moved one of the loveseats up to our bedroom and two into what (at some point) became my craft room. We now had 4 loveseats and one couch in a two bedroom house. Eventually we got rid of one of them, but we still have 1 in our bedroom, 1 in my craftroom, and the good-karma set that we bought from Goodwill.
And now with labels!
That was fun, wasn't it?
Here's a different view:
After this photo was taken, we did two things: we made the most expensive purchase for our house yet - Ikea shelving for either side of the fireplace, AND Greg tiled in front of the fireplace. There had not been tile there before (or at least if there was it was covered with 18 layers of paint, some tar, and some liquid evil, so we decided to leave it alone). We got the tile from a local Pittsburgh place called Construction Junction. Since we've moved here they've really notched up their organization and their website, so feel free to go take a look. They stock this giant warehouse with all manner of used and unused construction supplies from toilets to windows to doors to random things like diner booths, glass store displays, church pews, and stair cases. It's a treasure trove, and whether or not you're looking for anything specific, it's always fun to browse. Greg and I had quite the experience there in a terrential downpour while trying to get a 30 inch kitchen cabinet into a 28 inch space. Incase you're not good with the numbers, that just doesn't work and we ended up getting very wet and giving our car a nice soaking as well. Construction junction is also where we found out that the possibly-badly-stained tile that we had been uncovering on our fireplace is actually vintage tile. We came across a couple of boxes of tile that looked almost identicle to what we have and it was priced at $3 a tile. That was the first time we had heard of vintage tile... so we decided to keep it as is.
From the Dining room door way:
The next step was finishing the ceiling by spackling, sanding and painting.
*note* You may notice that the fan light is in pictures before this point - it went up slightly before we embarked on finishing the ceiling.
First, we moved everything out (with help from the in-laws):
And then Delilah and I were tired.
When we moved in, this room had a drop ceiling. The drop ceiling was one of the first things to go. The actual plaster ceiling is delightfully high and I much preferred a crack-ridden plaster ceiling to a perfectly aligned drop ceiling. One of the problems with the plaster ceiling was that it had big chunks out of it in a particular formation that indicated it had once (but no longer) had ceiling lights. We DEFINITELY wanted to put in a fan light, so we began work rewiring and patching the ceiling:
The ceiling needed a lot of work, but it was worth it:
We did find, while we were rewiring, that above where we wanted to install this central fixture was the end of a gas pipe. Our house definitely used to have all gas fixtures. About 2 months prior to re-doing the ceiling here, we had a series of gas leaks. Greg would come home from work, I'd be sitting on the couch with a bad headache and he'd say "Gee, it really smells like gas in here. I'm calling the home warranty people". I'd say "I have a headache."
There were a few very cold winter nights without heat, and eventually ( I think after the 6th leak) the gas-leak-fixer-guy that they sent out decided to put an end to the madness by recommending a complete system replacement. He wanted to sever all the lines to the house and install one line that would go out to all of the appliances in our house that use it. It would also be easy for us to install future lines out to things like an outdoor grill if we wanted. We were thrilled. The home warranty company was not. But the repair happened anyway. As it turns out, there were live gas lines running to every floor of the house through the walls. A lot of them were leaky. Great. By the time we got to install this light fixture it was a relief knowing that there was DEFINITELY no gas supply running to it.
We selected paint from Lowes. We settled on an apple green color for the room, and (not really knowing what I was doing) I selected a "Chocolate" Brown for the walls on either side of the fireplace:
When we moved all of our stuff back in, it looked like this:
And, our slow growing glass collection brought to you by TJ Maxx and local Thrift stores:
Our Fireplace languished at 80% refinished for a LONG time. I spent an entire 8 hour period carefully scraping paint out of ONE of the wooden scrolls and then I spent about 4 days in pain paying for my dedication. Then I carefully ignored the project for a long time. We had plenty of excuses. In November of this year we decided that for Christmas we would DEFINITELY finish the mantle. It took my husband about One week of solid nightly dedication. Hopefully we kept the place well-ventilated, but I think both Greg and I were a little loopy that week from all the stripping chemicals. Here's how it turned out:
It came out a touch shinier than I might have wanted, but overall - very much what I wanted.
Now, as for that thing inside the fireplace... This fireplace is unusable. Apparently it would suck up many thousands of dollars in repair costs before we could light a fire in there so very early on we were resigned to the fact that we wouldn't be roasting marshmallows indoors or anything.
Also very early on in the timeline of our lives in Pittsburgh, I became somewhat romantically despondant about being so far from friends and family. One of my favorite childhood books was "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" and the last line of the book has to do with - the path to the kingdom may be long and far, but if you find your way there you will find welcome within. I loved that sentiment, and in the hopes that more of our friends and family would find their way to us to visit, I did this little fireplace tealight holder.http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3512/3199141222_419f688ab5.jpg?v=1232377165
Greg took leftover laminate flooring and some luann and constructed a staired tealight holder. It's not as stable as a chair, but it does its job. Then I went to work with copper wire. I did 4 scenes - The very bottom is merely decorative. The next up is the sun on the left on the moon on the right. The next up is the salamander at the center of the earth in the story talking to the heroine. The next up is the north wind carrying the heroine to the city. And on the very top level I did a teensy tiny itty bitty city on a hill.
Here's a close up:
After finishing the mantle, we moved everything back to where it was supposed to be and we decorated for Christmas!!! Here are the results:
(I dyed these with coffee to match each other when lit)
And that brings us to the end of the Living room (R)evolution. If you'd like to see more photos of the living room in use (aka messy) or the photos in this topic in larger versions, visit Here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftyintentions/sets/72157612283914606/