This is it! We have finished the living room! Well, finished is a relative term in this house… let’s just say we have reached a point where we can curl up on the couch or have guests over and there are no longer tools on our dining room table (for now)! And just in time for the holidays (literally, guests are already starting to arrive and I have been quickly tossing some holiday decor around the room)!
To refresh your memory, let’s take a look at the living room photo from our home’s listing:Pretty boring am I right? I mean, there is definitely nothing wrong with how it looked, but there was nothing that stood out either. Builder basic hardwood floors, standard gas insert fireplace with plain white mantle, popcorn ceiling and terrible lights.
We knew that we wanted to create a modern look that maintained the open feel of our main floor. We also knew that we needed to make strategic decisions, as each finishing would impact future renovations (the main area of consideration being our kitchen). You can read all about our original plans for the room here.
We started by removing the popcorn finish from the ceiling and since it was such a mess, got the entire main floor over with all at once. You can read about that little adventure here.
After painting the newly smooth ceiling in a bright snowfall white from Benjamin Moore and replacing the awful builder lights with some sleek potlights, we moved on to the fireplace. We knew we wanted to make a feature wall so tore out the old mantle and replaced it with a floor to ceiling stone wall with a mounted television above the existing fireplace. The how-to for this project can be found here.
This was definitely the most challenging part of the renovation. Drystacking the tiles got the best of us and being the perfectionists that we are, the installation (and demo, and re-installation) was painstaking and quite demoralizing. That being said, once we finally got the last tile in place, we started to see the light and were re-energized to finish the project.
Next up were the shelves. We had originally intended to create a built-in look but once the fireplace was up, we changed our minds and opted for floating cabinets and shelves on either side of the fireplace instead. We felt that the built-ins would detract from how open the space is. Drawing from some of our HGTV favorites, we chose to purchase the cabinets and shelves from Ikea, but alter them a bit for a more custom look. You would not believe how much we can hide in these simple, yet stylish white cabinets! One side holds all the electronics – with all the cords hidden, while the other serves as a strategic location to tuck away all of our son’s hockey cards, art supplies and dinosaurs. This allows the room to be both stylish and functional at the same time, which is exactly what this family needs!
The final step was replacing all the old baseboards and window trim with beautiful, sleek wide plank trim – I can’t get over what a difference it makes!
Of course, while all the construction was underway, I was busy buying, returning (or selling) and re-buying rugs until I found the perfect balance between my ideal rug (creamy white) and one that could stand the test of family life (white rugs don’t tend to mix well with a little boy, a rambunctious dog and a potentially senile cat). We also purchased an oversized sectional for lazing around on the weekends (well, at least I imagine that we will laze around sometime…maybe once our son has retired from hockey life or perhaps gone away to college), a new chair, coffee table, curtains and some accessories for the couch (however I have my eye on a few pink, velvety Tonic Living pillows that I hope to have for snuggling up on the couch soon)!
There are still a few minor things left to finish up before we can call this room complete – we haven’t found a sofa table for the back wall that we like yet, and we are currently waiting on some custom matts to put photos up on the wall. We also plan to change out the hardwood but have opted to hold off on that until the kitchen renovation is underway as both rooms are open to each other. That will also allow us to finish the baseboard trim that we have installed around the room, but until then, we have left the base shoe moulding off.
For now, we are going to sit back with a glass of wine in front of our fire and enjoy the benefits of all the hard work from the last few months – a modern yet cozy space that the whole family can enjoy!