Our Living Room Transformation

We’ve been living in our house for about 5 months. Other than the massive photo dump of exterior photos yesterday, I really haven’t shared much about the house since this post back from March. But last week, our homes exterior wasn’t the only area that saw some big changes. Our built-ins & fireplace are mostly finished (they still need doors to cover the bottom two shelves).
2016-06-17 00.13.49Honestly, I love this more than the new siding & pink door. Why? Because Graham did this. He did ALL of this.

But let’s start at the beginning. The first time we walked into the house on October 24, 2015, it was very, very brown. And while it was done better & looked better than the house in Arkansas, I still loathe brown trim. And that paneling. Eek. The brown crown pulls your eye to it, and makes the space look smaller. The mantle was wimpy. I hated the brass fireplace doors. Basically, we hated everything (cosmetic) about this room. But, we saw potential. living roomWithin days of closing, we started ripping things down, starting with the paneling and the chair railing, so that we could paint. It was around this time that I suggested built-ins on each side of the fire place, and Graham started thinking about redoing the fireplace. One of his favorite projects in the Arkansas house was the beautiful mantle he built, and he was excited to build one for this house. 2015-12-20 11.24.39-1 So, everything ended up coming down. I don’t think we intended to destroy the existing mantle, but it just sort of fell apart when he started pulling it off. Oops. One of the other things that HAD to go was the ceiling fan. It didn’t have a light kit, so Graham ghetto rigged a desk lamp over the fan blades, so that we could work at night. 2016-01-05 20.38.27-1As with most home projects, everything takes longer than planned. We quickly upgraded the light fixture, and started painting EVERYTHING. The trim took forever (2 coats of primer, 3 coats of paint). Graham also went above and beyond and did some re-wiring so that he could build a channel to hide all of our electronic cords. He also tiled over the brick with beautiful marble tile. 2016-01-25 17.51.352016-01-25 17.49.34 - CopyWhen we moved into the house, it was painted, but the built-in wall continued to look pretty bad. It was all being covered, so there was no point in hiding all of our test swatches.

In March, the built-ins were FINALLY finished. Graham did every bit of this himself. Hundreds of dollars of wood, hours of sanding & painting… And it was worth it. These things are MASSIVE. And heavy. And so, so beautiful. He used his paint sprayer to get the perfect finish, and while they seemed like they took forever (and were so much more expensive than my idea of just running to Ikea), they were SO worth it.
2016-03-07 01.40.25Not long after the built-ins were installed, Graham dry-walled over the fireplace. He built the wall out a little, to accommodate his cord-hiding channel. The cords go into the built in (the shelf with the constantly falling #5), and down another little channel to the surge protector on the bottom shelf. 2016-03-11 04.59.542016-03-13 16.05.38The, finally, we he starts on the fireplace.2016-05-12 17.52.52-2 2016-05-14 10.07.24-1

And now… here we are today. Everything (except the two doors), is complete. 2016-06-17 00.10.31This mantle turned out more beautiful than I could have imagined. Those are the same fireplace doors from the first photo, just painted (because holy crap, fireplace doors are expensive!). They do have new hardware though. And the beautiful tile work, which is actually what he’s most proud of, since it was his first time working with tile.
2016-06-17 00.12.002016-06-17 00.09.46This trim here. OMG. I’m obsessed with it. He couldn’t find anything beefy enough, and we wanted something similar to what we had at the apartment, so he bought the wood and using router bits, he shaped it to how he wanted it. 2016-06-17 00.08.05 I can’t wait to have doors covering the bottom two shelves, all of those wires and rolls of vinyl are not very attractive, but I’m so happy and excited with how beautiful this space is. I’m so thankful he wouldn’t let me rush him, or take short cuts. 2016-06-17 00.11.292016-06-17 00.14.18

What I’m Loving Wednesday: Living Room Built-ins

We have a pretty significant to-do list for our new house, including a complete kitchen renovation (complete, as in walls are coming down…). A lot of the things on the list are small, and can be done anytime. But the first thing on the list is revamping the living room.

The living room is the room we spend the most time in, and I wanted that room & our bedroom as close to finished as possible before we move in. Luckily, the bedroom was easy. New paint for the walls, and painting the brown trim a clean & crisp white. We still have to out up blinds, and change out the beige outlets and gold door hardware, but that’s easy.

The living room is going to take a bit more work.

I’m a sucker for built-ins. Project #3 on our house to-do list is a huge, built-in china cabinet for the dining room. Once we had officially bought the house, I stood in the empty room, took in the sad little fireplace and started thinking about how to bulk it up. And that turned to built-in bookcases. Then Graham got involved, and we started talking about tiling over that blah brick. And the rest is history.

I wanted to have this done before we moved in. Considering we’re moving in in less than two weeks, I don’t see it happening. Basically, nothing can be done until the tile is down & the wiring is moved (he wanted to add an outlet above the mantle, so we could plug in the TV and not have to see cords). He moved the wiring and patched the drywall this weekend, and we’re going to lay tile tonight, so hopefully the progress will start happening a little bit faster.

Okay. Enough rambling. Here are some fireplace/builtin combinations that I absolutely LOVE, and I can’t wait to share a finished photo of our space in a few weeks.

Where we started: 12191654_10102221202524497_5111437539747362151_nUgh. So. Much. Brown.

Where we currently are:10352568_10102309497330997_3884817000240601129_n

Where I want us to be:54b4956ceaf23f1a0e34a12a1f955e18source. 461d713616e71fb7b5df9732d0ad5b6bsource.
(sidenote: I am so disappointed that our TV is literally one inch too big to go to the side of the fireplace. I hate so much that we’re going to have to mount it above the fireplace. I had so many great ideas for that space.)