Sunday, August 8, 2010

Living Room Transformed!

When you buy a house, you learn that making a house a home is a work in progress.  There have been many times during the past 11 years that I have wondered why we didn't buy a newly built home.  The first answer: we couldn't afford one with a basement.  The second answer: we couldn't afford one that had character.  The third answer: buying a 60 year old home from it's original owner was so nostalgic.  So, we are the proud owners of a 1939 one and a half story cottage style home (with a few craftsman characteristics here and there).  

We have slowly redone rooms throughout the house.  Some out of preference, some out of necessity.  A few years ago, Brett tore out the vinyl flooring by the front door and installed ceramic tile.  I loved it!  In doing so, he discovered hardwood oak floors that appeared to be in pretty good shape.  So, we have debated, periodically, about whether or not to tear out the carpet and expose the wood floors.  It would be a gamble, for certain.  We didn't know in what condition we would find them.  We could always install new carpet, or refinish the floors if they were really bad, but we could not (financially) replace the hardwood.

So, last July, we repainted the office (formerly known as the dining room).  When we embarked upon this adventure, I did not know that simply painting a room would take over a month and eventually involve ripping off both the door and window trim, and also ripping out the carpet.  But, when you're married to a contractor, home remodeling is never what you expect it to be!  We were pleasantly surprised to find that the wood floors in the office were in fantastic shape!  However, due to the length of time we had already invested, we stopped with the one room, even though it left a nasty raw edge of carpet going into the hallway and the living room.

See the raw edge there between the two rooms?

It wasn't until eight months later (that's March, people) that we finally tore up the carpet in the hallway.  We found that it, too, was in fairly good condition.  There is a bit more wear in front of the bathroom door.  For obvious reasons, of course!  This part of the project ended up taking a little over a week because it involved making new oak thresholds for the doorway openings.  They were handmade by the wonderfully talented Waffle, and are simply beautiful.

Fast forward to July 2010.  I came home from a work on a Monday a few weeks ago, feeling rather angry, frustrated and let down.  So, the Waffle came home to find me taking out those frustrations on the living room carpet! (Better than him or the children, right?)  My timing wasn't the most fabulous, I must say.  We were scheduled to have a birthday party for one sweet little girl in our life that following Saturday.  And, as usual, we had so much to do.  The Waffle, however, loves much (and has learned much).  So, even though I know he was tired and didn't want to be a living room remodel contractor, he pitched in and helped anyway.

After ripping out that last bit of nasty old carpet, we also repainted the fireplace wall that never got painted a few years ago.  It really needed it - the white was no longer anywhere near white.  It was a dingy beige, at best.
The old wall desperately needed to be painted.  And see those doors underneath the row of books?  
I detested them.  They were handmade by the original owner, and had been painted 
so many times that they didn't even close all the way!  (I'm sure they were lovely at first.)
But, see the horrible old, black hardware?  I have despised these cabinet doors for a very long time.

Well, look here, no more doors!

Here is a full wall photo:

We painted, got a new piece of artwork, took the doors off, and painted the walls behind the books to match the rest of the room.  I love it!  I can't believe I waited so long to get rid of those stupid doors!

When the day of Mallory's party had arrived, we weren't quite done yet.  We had removed the doors, but not the center rails.  And the wall behind the books was still the same original green it was painted 70 years ago!
Here are a few "in progress" pictures.

This is a closer picture of the 'artwork' that we bought.  It's actually two pieces that have been 
skillfully hung, perfectly plum and parallel, by my favorite contractor, the Waffle.  We were able to 
buy this with the help of my Dad, who sent some money for my birthday.  Thanks, Dad!

Look at those floors!  You would never believe by looking at them that they are 70 years old!