Living Room and Hall Before/After

by Rachel Blackburn in ,

We are done with stage 1 of the living room and hall!  Well...done-ish.  There are 2 dummy door handles to figure out how to attach which I'm sure will become a future blog post.

But here it is!  The walls are smoothed and painted, the ceiling is stained, switches and outlets are brand new, doors are painted, new door hardware is installed and there is a gorgeous new light fixture in the hall.

Hall, before and after:

Living room, before:

Thirsty ceiling, bad, Bad, BAD drapes, forest green carpet by the doors, pinkish-red wall.


Better picture of the wall.  We had switched out curtains at this point (had to get rid of the smell).  The lady who lived here before us had big bushes in the front window for privacy.

Aaaaannnd AFTER!

The bushes are gone!

We left the wallpaper because that wall will be going away in the not-too-distant future, and it's a good reminder of how far this house has come.  And I was feeling lazy.

I can't wait to get decorating!  I hit Michaels tonight and scored big on some frames.  A little spray paint and they will be ready for the wall behind the couch!

Time/budget: 2 weeks (spread out over about 4 happened), $450.  Door hardware is expensive, and the hall had a lot of doors!

Still to be done: Refinish the floor, do the baseboards, do the light switch by the back door, knock out the wall between the living room and kitchen, hang a new light in the dining room, wash the fireplace, replace the fireplace hearth, replace the front door, decorate!

Final tally of odd things: Tons of hooks in the ceiling and on the walls, wallpaper behind the baseboards (we're up to 10 different prints now!), fuzzy wallpaper that had been painted over, but only around where an armoire sat, and fire crystals (70's anyone?) in the fireplace.

Next project will be the kitchen.  We will spend the next few weeks planning it out, then tackle it head on!  It's one of the most complicated projects in this house, because it has a domino effect on a bunch of other rooms.  We're excited to get started!

We Decided to Stain the Ceiling

by Rachel Blackburn in ,

Our wood-beam ceiling has been the center of much discussion.  Neither of us liked it.  It was whitewashed or bleached and (to quote Michael) it looked “thirsty”.  

I originally wanted to *gasp* paint it white.  

I know, big mistake.  Thankfully our realtor talked me out of that.  Someday I will have a beach house with white beam ceilings though!

Michael originally wanted to sand the whole thing (all 1700 sq ft of it) and stain it a dark brown.  

I thought he was nuts for wanting to sand 1700 sq feet over his head with a run-of-the-mill orbital sander, and I wasn’t sold on super dark ceilings.  I was afraid they would make the house seem dark and closed in.

Both of us were concerned about how a stain would cover the imperfections and existing bleaching on the ceiling.

So we compromised.

There is a section of beam over the kitchen wall that we are planning on removing, and we used that as our guinea pig.  Michael sanded part of it, and we put a medium-dark semi-opaque stain on both the sanded and unsanded parts.  Then we let it dry and spent a few days thinking about if we could live with the color.  

Sanded is on the left, unsanded on the right.  Yes, the trim and outlet are wallpapered.

Sanded is on the left, unsanded on the right.  Yes, the trim and outlet are wallpapered.

Turns out we could!

I know, technically Michael should have been wearing a mask.  He did, for most of the process.

The semi-opaque stain covers the bleaching nicely, and it actually looked better on the unsanded beam than it did on the sanded part.  In the end, with Michael doing the labor, it will cost us $200 for the brush and stain to do the entire ceiling.  It’s a cheap facelift with a big payoff!