Renovation Reminiscences – The Living Room

And on to my last “complete” renovation project – the living room. It is not 100% finished as I still need to refinish the floors, add shoe moulding, and install the closet door.  But it’s close enough and well worth a mention.

Of all the rooms in the house, the living room has undergone the greatest number of transformations.  Living room, dining room, bedroom, office, work room, storage room.  It’s the largest room in the house (all 12’x 15′ of it) and is conveniently located near the front door thus the most accessible and useful.  I can’t remember why I took so long to commit to this project, but I suspect I didn’t have a plan or vision.  It took nearly 8 years to start the renovation, and once I began it took on a life of its own.

The room had no closet space and, like the guest bedroom, had a flue smack dab in the middle of one wall.  So like the guest room, I planned to insert a closet in the space between the wall and the flue.  I also knew I wanted built-in shelves, but still didn’t have a vision for the finished project.  So I found several options online, posted the pictures on Flickr and held an impromptu poll.  This photo is the winning design and my inspiration for the room.

The rest of the story is all about drywall and construction. I spent a month of weekends framing the closet and shelves.  It was slow going, but I had very few problems along the way. The only true obstacles in this room were the walls, which were finished in a mixture of red mud and horse hair with a paper veneer.  I learned my lesson from the hallway and decided early on not to remove the mud but to cover the walls and ceiling  with thin sheets of drywall. As with all of my drywall projects, I had to cut the 4′ x 8′ sheets into 3 pieces to fit them in the back of my Honda Civic hatchback.  Working with smaller sheets creates more work, but it also makes it easier for me to handle (and saves me a hefty delivery fee). And it made it easier for my volunteer drywall crew to hold over their heads while I poked around for joists and screwed the sheets in place.  I can’t remember the details.  I’m sure that was a very long day!

The following is a pictorial timeline of this project.  I must add here that I love the orange paint I initially chose (and plan to use that exact color in my basement).  But it was just a bit too dark and made the room feel a bit heavy.  I’m doubly pleased with the new yellow I painted a few months ago.  It is clean and crisp and absorbs the sunlight.  The room practically dances now!

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