Our home turned 17 years old this year and it was time for a change. We didn’t necessarily want to move, because we like our house and where we live, but after more than a decade and a half, the old domicile had seen better days. We weighed our options and decided that for US “improving” vs. “moving” was the way to go. It turns out the economic slump has actually made renovating your home a bit easier. The construction-industry slowdown has lowered the cost of building materials, and many contractors are charging less for labor, to compete for the smaller pool of available jobs.
Of course, you’ll still need to come up with cash to pay for the project, but as a general rule, improving costs less than moving.
So we made the decision to improve rather than move and as with most home improvements…one thing led to another. We started in the kitchen by replacing the sad, old linoleum with tile, which led to the cabinet and counter “transformation.” You can read about the kitchen re-do by CLICKING HERE. Some of the things that have been done SINCE that post are the walls being painted this lovely “Silver Sage” color (a Restoration Hardware color that we color-matched at Home Depot)………….
…………AND switching out our tired old light switches for these beautiful ones from the adorne® Collection by Legrand. The folks at Legrand were nice enough to send me these unique sofTap switches that came with customizable plates that I proceeded to decorate using handmade paper. You can read all about THAT project by CLICKING HERE.
After those two huge improvements we decided it was time to tackle our main living areas…ie. the family room and living room that were divided by a wall. We have vaulted ceilings and the wall didn’t go all the way up, so that made it a little easier, but little did I know what tearing down that wall would lead to! Patching the drywall, moving the thermostat, rewiring electrical outlets, and switches, replacing flooring, painting, and finally new furniture to help complete the transformation of the former family room and living room into the new “great room.”
Just to give you a little perspective on this whole project, this is a picture taken at my daughter Britta’s bridal shower last August. The wall that came tumbling down is pictured on the left. It’s amazing to look at this now just a few short months later. It really makes me wonder why we waited so long to do this!
After all the work was done, and after all the dust had settled (literally!) I can honestly say I couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out. My deepest thanks and appreciation go out to my friend and DIY mentor Natali whose gentle, but persistent proddings to “tear down that wall” (those of you of a certain age will appreciate that comment! lol) finally got us motivated enough to tackle it! And also to my nephew Nate who helped us pick out quality materials for our project and whose skill and craftsmanship made our somewhat old home feel brand new again!
I don’t remember what day it was exactly, but one day in early September the sledgehammer came out and the first hole was made. After that it seemed like only moments before the whole wall was down, and just the beginning of several weeks of house refreshing. Look how happy Natali is that we’re finally getting this party started! :-)
Here are a few pictures of the WORK IN PROGRESS:
Natali hard at work with her hammer!
Maple flooring being installed in what used to be the family room and living room. (Kell is in the background looking slightly stunned by all the chaos! hehe)
My handsome nephew Nate of T & G Finish who talked me into taking the wood flooring down the hall and into my office! Thank you dear nephew!!
A little late night painting with my 18-year-old son Kell. All I can say is thank goodness for strong, tall boys! :-)
Nate putting the finishing touches on what I think is the “crown jewel” of my home refresh…the beautiful banister he made for us!
Looks pretty messy doesn’t it? Let me assure you it WAS! But looking at the results makes this all seem like a distant memory. :-)
Here are some AFTER pictures:
TV viewing area of the great room. Funny, I never thought the TV looked too small for the opening of the entertainment center until I saw this pic. My ‘boys’ (which includes the 54 year old one) have been begging for a larger one. Maybe I’ll have to talk to Santa! ;-)
View from the TV viewing area across the room to the reading area in front of the fireplace. We decided to break the room up into two distinct areas….TV viewing and fireside sitting (where I just happen to be as I type this!)
View from the kitchen across the room to the fireside sitting area. It’s hard not to notice my preference for light colors and simple design in this great room. It’s also hard not to notice the abundance of IKEA furniture in my home. That’s because I am a HUGE fan of Scandinavian design and IKEA almost always has something that suits my style for an affordable price. (In this picture the striped rug, grey wing-backed chair with matching ottoman, and white bookcases I purchased from IKEA.)
To balance all the white furniture in the TV and fireside areas, I chose a dark colored dining room table and chairs. And instead of 6 chairs, I got 2 chairs and 2 benches, just to mix things up a bit. :-)
Have I mentioned yet how much I LOVE the maple flooring that my nephew Nate installed? Once again, it suits my preference for light colors, but has enough variation in it to add some visual interest.
This banister makes me so happy every time I look at it. My nephew Nate is a true craftsman and I just think this turned out stunning!
Originally we were not going to extend the wood flooring into any of the “bedrooms” (or bedroom turned office) but in a last minute plot twist, my nephew convinced me to take it into my office and I’m SO very glad he did! (Rug, floor lamp, desk, and picture shelves purchased at IKEA. Chair from local consignment shop.)
This concludes our tour! Thanks for taking it with me. I’ve been so excited to share this with you but wanted to wait until I had all the pieces in place (although there are still a few things left to do…but maybe in the New Year!)