Drama and Trauma in the Living Room

Last fall I shared a bunch of photos on Shutterfly from the first phase of our living room makeover. But as this project threatened to last into eternity, I didn’t yet give a follow-up on its completion. This post will be a 2-parter… first, let’s revisit where we started, shall we? Welcome to our pine box. This is the main living space of our house, including the entryway from the front door. So, needless to say, the first impression of entering our house was, “Welcome to our Cabin.” Problem was that our style is so far from woodsy cabin that it just didn’t jive. Here’s what it looked like last summer. Forgive all the mess and chaos- I never really spent any time on decor up to this point, and this is still not long after our moving in, followed by our wedding (2011 was a busy year).

We always knew we wanted to overhaul this room; it was just a matter of how we went about it and when. We could save up some bucks and plan to remove the pine walls to replace them with drywall and could have repurposed the pine into walls in the basement man-cave. We knew there was wood under the carpet, so we imagined having hardwood floors refinished at some stage.

But we decided to purchase a new, larger sofa with gift money from our wedding (thank you, family and friends!) and once the order was put in, we got the motivation we needed to get started and decided, why not try paint- if it was a disaster, we could still tear out the walls later, but it was a good low-cost option to start out with. And well, if we’re going to paint, what better time to tear out the carpet and check out those hidden hardwood beauties underneath? So at about 11pm one Friday night in July we started tearing up our carpet. You mean that isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time on Friday night? What we ended up with was a 5-sided pine shipping crate. We didn’t know it yet at this stage– silly new homeowners– but these were pine floors common in 1950’s builds, not hardwoods.

I had done a lot of internet researching of how to paint these wood walls without knots seeping through the paint, paint peeling off the glossy wood surface, etc. The process we came up with was 1) degloss and clean the walls with TSP solution and 2) spot prime all the knots with a super good Zinsser primer sealer. This is a much bigger issue with newer woods that are more likely to bleed sap, but we wanted to be safe.

Step 3 was a full coat of the same primer over top of the dried spot-priming. Chad despises painting, but was a champ in helping out with this big project. Notice most of our work was done in the dark of night after a full day’s work at the office for each of us.

Fast forward! We had also removed the shelves and doors of our built-ins and primed all of that along with the windows and door trims. Then we painted the walls using Behr Premium Plus paint and primer in one, in semi-gloss (because it was wood, otherwise would never use semi-gloss on walls!) and the color is Opal by Martha Stewart. The color is a pale grey but looks very white in the pictures. In person you can see more of the contrast between the white trims and built-ins and the pale grey walls. When we began we laughably thought we could finish this project before the new sofa was delivered 2 weeks later. So, not quite… but we got all the messy stuff done, and the walls completely done. Ahead of me was just coat after coat of white paint to all the window frames, trims, doorways, built-ins, ceiling molding, baseboards…. oh my goodness, did I mention this project threatened to stretch into eternity?

Meanwhile, as you may have noticed in the above picture, Ollie developed a little problem (hence the “trauma” in this post’s title). Apparently her parents were too busy to notice she had developed a little matte turned hot spot under the base of her tail. Basically, summer humidity, maybe a bug bite or something, leads to itching and licking, leads to dampness, matting and doggie hot spot. Very uncomfortable, painful really. So at this point our Border Collie is missing the hair on 1/3 of her tail (had to be shaved) and she had to be re-bandaged daily to heal her pitiful tail. Needless to say, I felt like a terrible mother and Ollie was thoroughly embarrassed to be seen in public.

Charging ahead, we got the doors painted (spray primer, white spray paint, topped with the same white paint used on the built-ins with a brush— all whites are not the same so the last step was critical) and stole the hardware from the kitchen cabinets that was too small for those larger doors and re-purposed them here on these small doors where they were just right. You can see birthday cards in this shot, which means we are about mid-August at this point.

So we kind of moved back into our living room in September, got the ceiling molding up, but still lacked a floor plan (quite rough shape as you can see some of the stains in the above shot). We hemmed and hawed over this for quite a while. But Mom and Dad came up the first weekend in October and we came up with a half-curtain (cafe style) plan for the windows which provided needed privacy from the street in front, but would let lots of light in too. Here’s the men hanging perfectly pleated curtain panels. Well done, boys.

We decided to create our own wire hanging system for a couple of reasons: first, the space on the single window above between the shelving was too tight for traditional curtains rods with finials and second, curtain rods are pretty expensive, especially to span the wide expanse of the front double windows. So we spent about $15 at Home Depot instead and created this industrial style system paired with curtain clips. And here you can see the fun dandelion fabric I ordered from fabric.com after seeing it featured on Young House Love.

So there we were in October with a livable space, but ready to empty it out again to start our floor transformation… more on that to come. Also, I’m painting another room today, can you guess which one?

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3 thoughts on “Drama and Trauma in the Living Room

  1. Pingback: Y’All Ready for This? | Family Style Living

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