Before + After: Transforming our Living Room

Farmhouse transformations take time, especially when they are old houses yet scream “1986 Grandma!” when you move in. Our living room was definitely a trip, because it’s kind of oddly laid out…imagine a living room and family room side by side? Anyhow, most of the work was aesthetic, fortunately, minus the hearth I built, so I thought I’d show this in slideshow format for each section of the living room…

Yes there was LOTS of chiffon. The former owner didn’t bother to take her curtains-that-hadn’t-been-dusted-in-15-years so on Day One I ripped those down and sent them to Goodwill. The pink brick hearth had a million cracks and some bricks even pulled right out! The wood stove was useless so we gave it away, and the ecru walls were just…awful. First we’d painted everything white for a ‘clean slate’, then I realized that wasn’t going to work, so we agreed immediately to literally duplicate the color from our old house and ba-da-bing, zero-VOC deep blue paint changed the world 🙂 Beyond painting, the biggest time suck was my idea to completely rebuild the hearth. I love mixing the modern in, and since concrete countertops weren’t in the cards for our kitchen remodel, I meshed several plans together I’d found for building a hearth with one I’d found for feather finishing a countertop. I ripped out the brick vertical portion, then, using 100% reclaimed 2x4s from a neighbor whose husband gets occasional scraps from the mill, I built the frame over the old hearth and up the wall to the ceiling (thank you for the idea, Pinterest!), covered it with Hardibacker board for safety’s sake, then did the thankless job of feather finishing it. Not fun but it turned out pretty good…and cost under $100 to create. Now this badass ultra high efficiency Blaze King wood stove? That cost a pretty penny. But when you wake up in the morning and the stove is still warm? Worth it’s weight in gold.

Anyhow, after the exhaustion of that I didn’t have it in me at the time to build bookshelves like I’d wanted, so World Market ended up saving the day on sale there, as we had stacks of books for at least 6 months on the floor that needed love! By the front door, however, I did build the console table (it was supposed to be a bathroom vanity then I changed my mind haha), topped it with an indigo runner I’d bought on Vashon Island a few years ago, then had an old photo of my great grandmother that I adore blown up to adorn the entryway.  While it’s not visible in the ‘after’ shots, we also replaced all of the windows which were BEASTS let me tell you!

The “family room” section definitely looks better now. The seller tried to give us half her furniture including these old recliners and we politely declined, and the multitude of duck wallpaper trim was removed pronto. I also painted the door leading to the garage the same color as the wall which helped with continuity in a room where you really don’t want to be reminded that you’re 10 feet from the car, haha. I found this sectional on (only time in my life to buy a sofa without sitting on it first!) which fit the space perfectly and, for us dog owners, is the only fabric . That and an inexpensive yet eco-friendly jute rug, DIY shelves from repurposed wood for the corner for our electronics and a wall-mount for the TV, our existing coffee table (which Dan made back in the city out of a slab of red oak from Salvage Works), quick DIY curtains made from bleached dropcloths, plus a picture shelf I made from scrap plywood?

Voila! A room to live in…or at least one to marathon watch the new season of Killing Eve!!

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