Friday, March 15, 2013

Our Living Room - Before Photos

So no exciting or catchy post tile here, but I did think an alternate title could have been; "Party like it's 1979!" Well really more like 1970...


So as promised, here is the "before" shot of our living room. As you can see it's a nice eclectic mess. The shape is actually a rectangle, but where I was standing was where Barbie's castle sits, or "the play area" for now.


Let's not allow the games to distract you. As you can see, we have the flat screen along one wall, then the hideous fireplace in the corner and then the awkward-shapped built-in shelving. There's a nice big open area behind the chair and ottoman for what I assume was the spot for an old television to sit in.

My closet interior designer is whispering, "tear the shelving down," and I am considering this, but then that means Husband would have to repair the walls after. Not a bad thing, because we would gain a little over a foot in depth along that wall.


From this angle we have huge windows overlooking the lake. Please ignore the curtains, that's another challenge altogether (those windows are so tall and long,) the salmon/light burgundy carpeting, and our transitional furniture, all things that are screaming to be updated. One thing at a time people.

As for what kind of look we're going for? Well not contemporary, that's for sure, but if your'e familiar with Sarah Richardson's designs, something comfortable and welcoming, incorporating the natural elements from the outside and doing it all for cheap!

So what would you do if you owned this room? I would love to hear your ideas.

For more conversations about renovating the fireplace, catch the awesome suggestions on home talk!

18 comments:

  1. I would overlay a stone look on it.... add a mantle from refurbished wood about a foot above the fireplace doors the length of the fireplace and paint the inside of the cut ins with a contrasting paint and paint the little shelves on those black... also like the idea you had mentioned of painting the hardware black. Also would paint the book shelves a contrasting color too so they all blend in with the room.... I love your LR, has lots of possibilities... hope you post the 'after look' :-)

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    1. Thanks Joy for your suggestions. It may be awhile before you see 'after' photos, there's a lot to consider and do! :)

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  2. Your fire place looks like it's screaming ... help me help me. Sorry I can help my self, it looks like a face. Taking the little shelfs out you have to be very careful not to brake the bricks around it. But if you have spare bricks it's a great idea to take them out and fill up the spaces with a nice mantel. Can you stain the wood for the book shelf? If so, maybe stain it a medium brown and paint the wall be hind a creamy brown or even a very light green or blue for a splash of color. For curtains I like the ones not on a rail system but slide on a pole. Maybe some poles that are a dark rod-iron color, and maybe curtains that match the color behind the book shelf. Pull the old fire place cover off, maybe update it. Or like we did pull ours off completely and now we have a fancy iron work in front of it.

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    1. OMgosh Adriana! You're right! I never noticed the 'face!' and the screaming! This of course solidifies my decision that the fireplace needs to be changed!

      Absolutely hate the curtains, however, the width of those windows is quite wide and we don't have the budget for a custom curtain rod or curtains. We do need something on those windows because they face southwest or something like that and we catch the sunset (good for the view, bad for when we watch TV.)

      Thanks for your input!

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  3. It looks like you could do anything with this room! I love your fireplace and made you could build in some shelves to fill that space behind the chairs unless you just want to get rid of it altogether. Whatever you want to do I'll think is cool! :)

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    1. Aww...that's so nice of you to say Crystal! I never thought about filling in the shelves to take away that awkward hole in the corner. Hmmm, something to consider. Thanks!

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  4. Hi Suzanne....I looked at Sarah Richardsons Designs...nice traditional comfy clean lines. So my suggestion is to re-vamp the top part of the shelving to be able to put your TV in there. Possibly remove the center divider on the right side and put it there so its away from fire. That allows you to put some kind of color,or wall paper on the former TV wall. Then use that for part of the seating to enjoy the view! I think since you enjoy Sarah's ideas, Id go for a stone white for the fire place and on the wood shelves with the wall behind a color for interest--maybe dove gray or something soothing. Ill try to put a link to what I thought was pretty she did that might adapt to your room. Its at her site then click portfolio, oceanview estate and its the 2nd to last photo. (emily sofa, nora chair white soft window treatments enhance view). then carry the color from behind the shelves to the window wall. Keep the sofa simple (natural flax/linnen type) and smaller lines with a couple really bright patterned pillows and some plain solids (maybe short velvet navy?).
    http://www.sarahrichardsondesign.com/portfolio/project/oceanview-estate/family-room2
    Maybe find some fantastic rubbed bronze (color) fire screen that looks like something you enjoy--trees, ferns, celtic designs,?? Maybe make some type of interesting wood shelf extension (drifwood distressed light wormwood) to bring a line and shelf out from each fireplace alcove (towards eachother) to fix the 'face' and use it like they do to perch framed items. Get a few inexpensive simple matching frames of various sizes and frame say B&W family pics or something as a mismatched collection. This room has so much possibility...you will have fun! Please post what you do...You could even just slipcover the furniture, and re arrange for now....Good luck! :)

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    1. Wow Sally, thanks for all those ideas! Now my biggest problem will be sorting through them all!

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  5. Oh, curtain rods...I've used wood closet rods bought by the foot at hardware store and painted and hung from decorative shelf brackets by putting an eye screwed into the rod at each bracket...(spaced evenly so the wood does not sag) and then got some great simple metal/chrome c shaped shower curtain 'hooks' and used tab top cotton curtains (big Lots--) this made it just the right legnth. I've also seen folks make rods from galvanized pipe and fittings and use those curtains with the big round grommets--also not too $$.

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    1. Yes, last summer I bought some electrical conduit from a home store, planned on spray painting it black and adding pretty black finials I found at Goodwill for 79 cents! The conduit allowed me to choose the desired length without it being so heavy. That's another project altogether!

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  6. When we moved in to our house, some previous owners had painted the fireplace...red...with white paint for the grout lines. SO if you are looking for something NOT to do, there ya go!! When eventually painted over it all one color (sage green), but I still feel guilty whenever people notice that our bricks have been painted. I feel the need to assure them that it was an improvement!

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    1. I completely understand. One of the houses we lived in had a red-orange vinyl kitchen floor! It was hideous! Thanks for sharing your story, it reminds me of all our other past remodels! :)

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  7. I love the bright, light filled space! Taking the shelving out would give you more space and a clean look, but yes, that's a project. Painting the shelves the same color as the wall might give a cleaner look and would be a smaller chunk of work than tearing them all out. I actually like the fireplace a lot. You could take off the brass screen to update it, and I have no qualms about painting brick! Ledgestone is my current personal favorite for fireplaces though.

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who is thrown off by that shelving!

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  8. Ooohh! I love dreaming about redecorating rooms! First off, I just want to say that it doesn’t really look all that 70s…look at all that natural light! I love the idea of ripping out the shelves and putting your tv over there. Then I would reduce down to one sofa and some smaller chairs so they could be arranged in a way to enjoy the fireplace, television and view all at once. Can’t wait to see the “After” shots!

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    1. Thanks for being so nice about the 70s! It may take some time before you see those "after" shots, but I'll be sure to post them when it's done! :)

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  9. Heavy drapes with neutral colors can be a good match to big windows like yours. It's also better if your drapes were hung over the cornice to make your living room look spacious. It's also a must to coordinate the color of your curtain to your upholstery to bring the harmonious feel in the space.

    #Roxie@WindowTreatmentsPhiladelphia.com

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  10. That's right, Roxie. And with proper decorating, you can make an illusion of a wide room by installing floor-to-ceiling draperies. Or make it simple and exact just like your current setting. It's just a matter of creativity to make a good diversion.

    Benj @JaboInteriors.com

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What are your thoughts?