Last time I talked about the remodel / restoration of the master suite after our house fire. If you missed it, you can read it here. This post is about what we did with the living room.
When we bought our house, the living room had a very light beige (almost white) carpet. About two weeks before the fire, we had brand new hardwood floors installed. If only we had waited a little longer! Oh, well. Except for the flooring in the kitchen, which was ruined by the water used to put out the fire, the rest of the floors were salvageable. They just needed to be refinished.
One thing I was never crazy about in our living room was the bannister rail with spindles that housed the staircase to the downstairs. We had two dogs at the time and all the shedding fur liked to hang out in the spaces between the spindles. My plan, even before the fire, was to eliminate the spindly bannister and replace it with a simple half-wall. Clean lines and no trapped fur-balls! To our delight, it was actually to our advantage cost-wise, as well. Apparently the wooden bannister rail was a more expensive option than the half-wall, so we were given a credit for that expense, which we were able to apply elsewhere. Bonus!
Now to choose a color for the walls. I ended up picking out a warm medium-tone gray. (Dorian Gray) Our ceilings in the living room are vaulted and were originally popcorn. We decided to just do smooth ceilings and opted to have them painted a shade darker than the walls. (Dovetail)
The fireplace was originally outfitted with dark green marble tile, and the hearth came out about two feet from the wall. We decided to redesign it with a hearth that only extended out about one foot (to maximize space in our long, narrow living room), and used a slab of brownish gray quartz instead of tiles for a smooth, seamless look (and no required maintenance). We also made the fireplace mantel a little wider, with columns that were a bit more stout. There was a slight miscommunication about the corbels that I wanted, and at first they ordered and installed a set that looked smaller than what I had envisioned. I wanted them to be the same width as the columns, so we changed them out for a larger set.
I decided to repurpose the old corbels to hold a picture shelf over the stairway. I just painted and distressed a 4×4 and voila! Pretty simple. (Hanging it over the stairs, though, was another story!)
I also picked out a fun sconce for the stairwell from Restoration Hardware.
Another change we made to the living room was the removal of the “bar area”. Originally there was a bar overhanging the wall between the kitchen and the living room. It was a nice idea, but we never used it, so it was really just taking up space. And we would need all the space we could get for the coffee table I ended up picking out.
On to picking out the furniture. First, we needed to replace our two sofas. I ended up getting a great deal on a pair from Restoration Hardware, They were having a pretty decent closeout sale on some of the fabric options for their sofas. I picked out the English roll arm sofa in stone chenille faille fabric. At the time, I just so happened to also have a “friends and family” coupon for an extra 20% off. The total ended up being almost exactly what we were allotted from insurance for our smoke-damaged sofas, so it worked out perfectly.
Next, we needed a coffee table. I somehow managed to stumble upon the most amazing find at an antique market. (This is now my favorite piece of furniture in the whole house, by the way.) Two 1920s era old post office pallet carts. They were covered with various other antique doo-dads, which may have made them less noticeable to passersby (fortunately for me). As soon as I saw them, I was smitten. The wooden planks would definitely need some substantial sanding, and the rusty iron framing and hardware would have to be cleaned up. But once I finished all that (with some help from my sweet mother), we stacked one atop the other and the old splintered and rusted pallets were transformed into this beauty. At about 4 by 4.5 feet, it’s a pretty substantial piece of furniture, which is why we wanted to maximize all the living space that we could.
One of my favorite little details about the coffee table is that on one side, there is a stamp which is supposed to read “Receiving Dept.” But instead, what it actually says is, “Recveing Dept.” Grin.
In the corner by the large bay window, I created a reading nook. I placed our big comfy chair and a small end table catty corner to the window, accented by a large distressed oval mirror.
The last piece we needed for the living room was the entertainment center. Before the fire we had a tube tv (gasp! This was way back in 2009, mind you), which was stored inside a giant armoire. So we upgraded to a modern television, which we hung on the wall inside a wooden frame.
Then I picked out a cabinet to hold all of the other electronics, which I decided to refinish/paint in a champagne-y silver.
Since the house had to be stripped down to the studs, we were able to have the surround sound system easily installed with the wires behind the walls.
In keeping with our industrial decor, for the main lighting in the room I decided to make (with some electrical help from my father) a chandelier out of a wooden pallet. I sanded it and applied a grayish glaze to give it a weathered look. (The tissue poms in the photo are from my baby shower quite a while ago, but I left them up because I thought it might be something fun for baby to look at… and she actually DOES like them, as it turns out!)
That’s pretty much it for the living room, which ends this series on our home restoration.