I started our remodeling saga with the outside of our house in the first part of this series . This second part shows how we transformed the main living areas, mainly by using paint. When we bought our house, every piece of molding, all the wood, doors, ceilings, cupboards, and floors (the ones that were wood, anyway), were stained DARK walnut. The walls were all a dull yellow.
I do not feel cozy with all that dark (I live in Oregon!), I feel claustrophobic. Dark ceilings just seem to be bearing down on me…
This is nothing against those who like wood. Men, especially, seem to think wood is sacred and should never be painted. I have no clue why. I heard the people we bought the house from built a log cabin (see, they’re “wood people”) and that they’re horrified that we painted everything.
If you feel this way about wood, stop reading, for heaven’s sake! We PAINTED everything (and I do mean everything).
Sprayed everything creamy white. Left the top of the half-wall wood for contrast and dirt-hider (ever seen what a ledge painted white looks like after a year?). New doorknob in bronze to replace the dated “antique” brass (it wasn’t fooling anyone into believing it was old…), “new” vintage light fixture from the 1930s with a sweet rose painted on the shade.
There was a long shelf running the length of the wall to the right that we removed (dust, anyone?). You can see the outline where they had painted around it. We found an outlet the shelf had been hiding (for the doorbell) and placed a wall plaque there to hide it after disabling the doorbell.
Disclaimer: this was taken when the previous owners were still in the house, so we’re seeing their furniture and decor. Enough said.
We spent a week prior to moving in taping and spraying (and peeling wallpaper, which you’ll see in part 3 of this series…).
Sprayed everything creamy white. Left the brick because it wasn’t too dark or orange and I knew we’d be using the insert (wood chips and pieces…) I made three “unstructured” roman shades for the windows out of cotton painter’s drop cloths (same as the slipcover on the couch). They cost me about $25 total after adding the cost of the cording, etc. I needed to make them.
Sprayed everything…um, I think you’ve probably gotten the idea already. Replaced ALL the brass hinges with silver and all the knobs with glass.
About a year later, we were able to pull the carpet out of the hallway and continue the wood floor from the main area down the hall. We found salvaged oak that actually matched ours at a local sale for only $60! Such a deal.
Now if we could just find enough to do the living room…
I’m calling this the dining room because we are looking towards the dining room…and because it’s the only before picture I could find.
In addition to painting, we replaced the light fixture (looked like something from a saloon) with our $10 vintage chandelier we brought from our old house. It’s special to us because we found it when we were first married before we even had a house and have carried it with us since.
At the same time as our garage remodel (see the outside here), we had the single door and window replaced by a pair of 6′ French doors. Oh the light they let in!
I’m sorry, I’m so not a wood person. Just looking at the after picture makes me breath a sigh of relief!
Now this is mystifying. This is the only before picture of the kitchen I could find and I’m sure we took others. This hardly shows the kitchen at all. Crud.
It does show my stepdad, Mike, telling me we’re pretty much out of our minds to take on all we want to do, though. I remember telling him I’d keep at it if it took me 5 years…Um. I’m still at it.
Anyway, it’s enough to get the idea: dark, dark, dark. And dated tan tile. Perfect.
Taping and spraying, taping and spraying. This was our life for a whole week.
I’m using this as the “after” shot because it’s somewhat similar to the before, but again is not showing much of the kitchen. So I’ve got three more photos to help give you an idea of some of the low-cost things we did to bring the kitchen up to par without doing any major remodel.
OK, gallons of paint. Here we used a semi-gloss. There was wallpaper in the kitchen area (it just stopped at the dining and living walls- just this line of paper going down the wall, I just don’t get it).
Here was our first clue that peeling the wallpaper in the other areas of the house was going to be a problem. The paper was attached directly to the unfinished wallboard. When 22 year old wallpaper is attached directly to the wallboard, it doesn’t want to come off. And if it does, it will be in 1/2-inch wide strips (if you’re lucky). Or so we found out.
Then we were left with walls that weren’t textured coming right up to the walls that were. Oh joy. Thankfully, our friend Dan had done quite a bit of texturing and was our angel of help during this first week.
New silver hinges, new glass knobs, new fridge. Replaced the light fixtures with vintage finds off eBay. Removed the center panel on the doors on either side of the sink and replaced them with glass. Removed the under-sink doors and added a curtain.
This angle shows the cabinets on the far wall and the door leading into what used to be the garage and now is our laundry room, office, and guest/catchall room.
We removed the center panels from all four doors across the top and replaced them with glass and it made a huge difference in the look of these cabinets.
We were lucky we had good quality cabinets made out of solid wood with center panels, routing and crown moldings. It’s one of the reasons I knew the house would work for us.
This was a stop-gap for the kitchen before we did more involved remodeling.
Um, its been five years.
We’re still stopping that gap, I suppose.
There’s really only a couple of things I’d like to do: replace the awful counters with wood counters from IKEA, get an over-the-stove microwave to gain more counter space, and upgrade the sink and faucet.
That’s not so bad. We should be able to get to that this next year.