The living room in our fixer upper wasn’t the worst room in the house but it wasn’t awesome either. Take a look at these before photos from the day we moved in and see if you agree:
The floor was cheap ceramic tile which covered a hardwood floor. There was a thin piece of molding at chair rail height around the whole room.
The fireplace wall of paneling was either an attempt at white washing or the previous owner had stopped with just one coat. It looked awful! The fireplace had a tiny mantel and no hearth. There was a large mirror over the fireplace which was surrounded by 4” white ceramic tiles. The tiles were mostly plain white but there were a few with designs, including a parrot, a ship and an apple. I wish I had a better picture so you could see how hideous it was.
The ceiling had the popcorn stuff on it plus a gigantic patch running from the fireplace wall to the entry wall. The patch was a brighter white so it was really obvious!
The front door was half glass but had a sheer curtain over it.
The Temporary Facelift
We weren’t ready to re-do that room right away (we were busy adding a partial second floor) so we did a temporary facelift. We painted the walls, and my husband, David, used scraps of wood he had on hand to build a façade over the fireplace.
But finally it was time to make this room look good. Here’s what we did:
- Removed paneling from fireplace wall
- Removed chair rail
- Painted walls
- Removed the tile on the floor
- Refinished the wood floor
- Scraped the popcorn off the ceiling & patched, repaired & painted the ceiling
- Purchased & installed curtains
- Installed new front door
- Installed new closet door
- Rebuilt fireplace & added bookshelves on either side
- Added slight bump out above fireplace – to add interest
And . . . drum roll, please . . . here’s the end result:
David built this entry table a long time ago. And yes, we pile our shoes by the front door. We’ve done that for a long time, too. Now that there are just two of us, the pile isn’t as big.
We purchased the mirror at Hobby Lobby, also a long time ago!
We couldn’t find a front door we liked and could afford so David made one. He started with a solid core door slab, routered some lines and added glass to make it pretty.
Unfortunately the dog likes to lean against it and rub her nose on it so I have to clean the grunge off regularly.
In this view of the living room, from the front corner by the fireplace, you can see the toy table for the grandkids. It’s gotten a little out of hand but I haven’t had time to do anything about it. You don’t see it too much from most of the room so it doesn’t really bother me and the kids love having their toys handy.
This is the view from the front door.
And this is the view from the kitchen area. We found the end table at a flea market and it fit perfectly in the space between the couch and loveseat. The kids always called it “the sandwich table”. Not sure why.
I’ve mentioned before that we purchased these curtains at Pier One and David made the rod out of closet poles. The windows cover about 120 inches and a purchased rod was going to cost a fortune. Purchasing two closet poles and the end brackets and center support was WAY cheaper.
The coffee table used to be a library table. We bought it at an antique show in one of the malls when we were first married. That would be about 31 years ago. It’s a little beat up after 31 years of hard use. The kids learned to walk around it. They worked puzzles on it. They sat on it. And now 2 grandkids are doing the same. I mentioned getting rid of it once but the kids said no way. It’s part of their history and it has to stay. It’s okay – I still really like it.
And here’s the new fireplace. A big improvement, don’t you think?! Now there’s a mantel and a hearth and even some bookshelves.
In case you were wondering, the fireplace works but we don’t use it.
The bins under the tv hold toys. The grandkids love having them there.
The flowers on the mantel aren’t normally there – those were from my husband for Valentine’s Day.
I really, really, really wanted to remove all the extra stuff in the living room – the quilts, the big toys, the cat on the loveseat – so my living room would look like one from a magazine. But I couldn’t do it. I wanted you to see it the way it really is. It’s pretty neat most of the time but it’s not perfect. And that’s okay with me.