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#5: Living Room: Lifeless to Lively

If you've read my previous posts, you know that it's safe to say that I didn't get any butterflies when we walked into our future home for the first time. In fact, when we walked through the front door, we all immediately thought the same thing: "Ughhh the smell." The main floor was plagued with the smell of cat urine and mold. The floors... walls...baseboards... It was impossible to truly know which was to blame. It was everywhere.

Once we became numb to the smell, we could finally take a look at the living space that we were working with. It wasn't a large area, but it would do.

The drywall on the main floor was in far better shape than the rest of the house because it was replaced years prior due to a knob-and-tube fire that had engulfed the entire first floor. Aside from the relatively new drywall, the main floor was a disaster.


Everything was a goner. As much as I wanted to salvage the floors, it wasn't possible. The home was ripped back to the bones in order to do mold remediation as well as replace the electric, HVAC, and plumbing. The wall with the fireplace? That needed to go as well in order to open the living space up to the kitchen (more on removing the wall & fireplace here). Before we knew it, we had a blank slate to work with.

Reading Nook

I think it's safe to say that my favorite alteration to the living room was our reading nook (see below). As you can see, we started with an odd additional space towards the back of the living room. I went back and forth between what I wanted it to be: A small sitting area with 2 chairs or an additional play area for the future babies. Can't go wrong with either one. However, after some thought, I decided that we had to incorporate a reading nook. Hands down, one of the best decisions we made. We also reframed the awkward wide window to a large window that doubled in size, resulting in natural light galore.

Initially I felt guilty for not converting the space into a play area for our daughter. However, it ended up being her favorite part of the house. To this day, she spends the majority of her time reading books or playing with her favorite toys in the reading nook.

What else?

- Black windows and light oak hardwood floors were a must.

- Creamy white walls that displayed enough of a contrast against our trim color.

- A fireplace was added to the back center of the living room.

- The entryway received a major makeover.

Entryway: Before, During & After

When we opened up the closet door, we discovered an original window hiding behind it. Because the closet was added at a later date, we decided to rip it out and carry the woodwork throughout the adjacent side. Plus, who doesn't want to take advantage of additional windows?! Black coat hooks were also added at a later date.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of all was deciding on paint colors. WHY did no one tell me that selecting a white might be the biggest renovation obstacle of them all?! And that's saying a lot. I think I tested around 10-12 whites from Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams before finding the perfect one. We decided on Benjamin Moore's White Dove, as it had the ideal cream undertone that I was looking for.

Alright, now the fun part... Here's a few of my favorite before and afters.

Dining Room - Before & After:

Living Room- Before & After:

View of Kitchen from Living Room- Before & After:

View of Living Room from Kitchen- Before & After:

Additional Slide Show:

Design Details:

Wall Paint: Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17

Trim: Benjamin Moore- Chantilly Lace 2121-70

Windows: Sherwin Williams- Tricorn Black 6258

Hardwood Floors: Cronin 5" Tumalo Silver Falls Oak

Couches: Article Sven and Article Anton

Living Room Rug

Dining Room Rug

Dining Room Chandelier

Coffee Table

Blanket Throw

Blanket Ladder: Mercury Row 5.25 ft. Blanket Ladder (no longer available on Wayfair)

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