Since then, I've spackled and sanded the walls and slapped a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling. This room is a real mess (worse than any others in my home), so painting isn't much fun. I partially cut in with the Benjamin Moore Decorators White yesterday and hope to work on it a bit more today. I'm using the Aura Matte again and it's pretty obvious that the walls will require two solid coats of paint. Not really looking forward to the task, but it will be bright and airy when I'm done and SO worth it.
My house is so close to one next door that I can't believe it's even up to code. It's one of the things that almost stopped me from buying it. But the house won, and I'm here, cozy neighbors and all.
I imagine these are the sad disappointed faces my neighbors made when I took down the heavy old drapes and put up shades that are sheer enough to allow a full view of my living room in the evening hours. The thing is, I kind of like the look of my living room's side window sans heavy curtains, but do miss the privacy.
Here's a before view. You can see how clearly my neighbor's house is visible to me during the day; and likewise, how visible my home is to them at night. So I found some privacy film I bought for another window and went to town.
The only problem I had with this project is that I didn't measure twice and cut once. Well, I thought I did, but let's just say I'm not even good at cutting wrapping paper in appropriate sizes to wrap presents. I actually ended up with only enough film to cover the bottom half of the window.
Light still comes through during the day and I don't feel bad about blocking my view, because, well, there isn't one. The privacy film makes a big difference in livability and it will be even better once I buy some more and get the whole window covered.
The chill in the air and my cold feet have me thinking about area rugs again. I need to save up for one, but still can't make up my mind about two things.
First of all, which size? I've read all sorts of advice, but I seriously can't figure out the size of rug that would work for my room.
The living room, minus the traffic area that leads to the hall is about 15 feet long and 11 feet wide. Do I get a smaller rug that just fits under my entire sofa and coffee table, one that fits under the coffee table and in front of the sofa, or a ginormous (and expensive) one that would cover the entire room? Here's a reminder of how my living room is arranged. Please remember it's still a work in progress. (If only I had Emily Henderson to help it along.)
Any opinions on which size of rug you'd choose? Clearly babies aren't going to die over this decision, but rugs are expensive and a pain in the butt to ship. I need to get it right the first time.
I took a couple Saturdays off and I'm now eager to tackle another room. I really should work on my office next, but fixing up the teeny tiny tv/piano/guest room would also be nice. Oh, and there's the bathroom where I started removing the wall mounted soap dish in a fit of pique.
This soap dish has annoyed me since I moved in. Who installs a shower soap dish above the sink? I mean, all that soap goo just drips and gets disgusting no matter how often you try to clean it.
PS: The grout isn't nearly as nasty as it looks in this photo. I'm not a fan of their color choice, but it isn't a mucosa yellow as it appears to be in this photo.
I had been told these soap dishes are usually just mounted onto the face of the tiles. Unfortunately, when I chipped away at the caulk I realized it actually fit into the space where a normal tile should go. Luckily there are boxes of this handyman special tile in the garage.
After I patch this, the room could use some fresh paint and simple shades for the window. Top-down ones would be nice so I could let some light in without giving the elderly lady next door a fright.
I also have a wild idea that I should replace the counter with the soon to be discontinued Virvarr White formica. A full on bathroom reno is a long ways out and I wouldn't mind adding a bit more vintage flair to the room until then. Then there's the cascade effect of wanting a new sink and faucet. I'm just not sure if I'm ready to tackle a bigger project like that. Maybe I should just move on to a simple room like my office. We'll see...
The saga of my living room redo has gone on much longer than planned. What was originally meant to be a project that spanned 2-3 Saturdays, dragged on through September. I blame the hot summer (this girl can't paint when it is 90 degrees fahrenheit inside the house) and some challenging things going on in my personal life. Thanks for sticking with me. And now, enough of the excuses. It's time to put up or shut up.
Here's a reminder of what I was working with. I snapped this photo during the home inspection. The walls were ivory and the ceiling your basic white. If you looked closely, you could see some spots where the new paint hadn't quite covered the old.
The folks at Hirshfield's helped sponsor this project by comping me a gallon of the paint I used for my ceiling. It was a nice help to my budget, but free paint or not, I would have shopped there anyway. They didn't ask me to write this part, but I try to shop locally when I can and have purchased all of the paint for my home from their stores. They carry great product lines and have been really helpful with my newbie painting questions about which rollers and brushes to buy. Their blog and twitter are also entertaining resources for d-i-y tips and decorating ideas.
I started the project by spackling and caulking like crazy. My walls are in fairly decent shape, but they are old and have the expected cracks and divots from settling and just years of use. I also took down the heavy drapes and related hardware. It was a relief when I finally got to the paint.
The ceiling has an orange peel texture. Painting it was probably one of the least favorite things I've done with the house so far. It was tricky because, when wet, the lacey pearl didn't contrast all that much with the original white. I ended up having to go over it again and again where I found spots the roller hadn't been able to reach. The nice thing about Aura is that it dries fast! I would just wait an hour and go back and hit the spots I didn't get the first time.
The walls were next. As instructed, I cut in and let the paint dry before I started rolling on the paint. It took FOREVER because I have a coved ceiling with a lip. I decided to take the wall paint all the way up to that lip, which meant dealing with more of that oh so fun orange peel/stucco/hellish texture. It was a real pain. At this point in the project I declared that I would never paint this room again and forgave the former owner for all of the spots they had missed when they last painted.
The walls went a lot better once the cutting in was done. I had already used this same paint in my hallway and was used to it and how to deal with my wall's peculiarities. My process was to roll on a coat and let it dry. Then I went back and hit the spots that the roller (or my clumsy technique) missed. After that coat dried I went back for a final roller coat. It's a generously sized room by 1950s standards so this took quite a lot of time. Not including the prep, I spent about three full Saturdays on the ceiling and living room painting. I'm sure some of that was because I'm a perfectionist freak. I eventually had to say it was good enough because there's no way to get perfection when you're dealing with an older home.
Here's a shot of the empty room and freshly painted walls and ceiling.
Benjamin Moore Abalone is the perfect color for my living room. It is crisp and fresh, but thanks to its warm base, never feels cold. It's definitely not a muddy depressing grey. I like how the color shifts depending on the lighting and how even in a matte finish it seems almost luminous. The Lacey Pearl on the ceiling complements it nicely. I couldn't be happier with my color choices and the Aura paint was great to work with. It didn't have an overpowering paint smell and the fast drying time was a big help. I plan to use this paint in other rooms in my house.
There's obviously some decorating left to do in this room. You may have noticed that I ditched the blue chair and screen. Those will end up in my office/studio. The chair was out of scale with my other furniture and the room feels much better with less stuff in it. I hope to eventually replace it with a chair more in scale with the room. A rug and some more lighting will be a big help, and I still need to hang the curtains and art. After that, I'll just let it naturally become more and more me.
It's been awhile since I posted any flowers of the week. These lilies were a surprise that greeted me when I got home from enjoying Waking Sleeping Beauty (an excellent documentary, BTW) and a quick cocktail on the lovely rooftop deck at Sky Bar. As you can see, my living room is still hanging out with me in the kitchen. The reason for this interesting design indecision is that I ran out of paint yesterday morning. ARGH.
This was remedied when I made a quick trip to the paint store this morning and picked up another gallon of my beloved Benjamin Moore Abalone. I'm not sure if there's enough free time left this weekend to finish painting, but try I shall. Are you working on any projects this Labor Day weekend?
I thought I had prepped my living room walls well a few weeks back, but with the drapes removed and things lightened up, I keep finding new cracks and crevices to fill. Luckily, there's something sort of fun about slapping on the pink tinted cupcake frosting-like spackle and later, sanding it smooth. There were also rather large gaps around the windows and doors that would certainly benefit from some caulk. I don't enjoy this particular chore all that much, but it will be nice to have done come winter.
Realistically, this spackling, sanding and caulking could go on forever. However, my lovely little home is 57-years-old and it's never going to have drywall-smooth walls.
I'm also eager to get my furniture out of its tetris configuration in my dining nook and back into the living room where it belongs. Wish me well this weekend while I finish this wall prepping chore. Next up, paint!
I painstakingly rolled on the gallon of Benjamin Moore Aura Lacey Pearl that was kindly provided to me by Hirshfield's. I must have the world's thirstiest ceiling because I ended up using the whole thing. The perfectionist in me still sees a few spots where the dingy old white peeks through (thank you textured ceilings - grr), but otherwise, I love it. It's a subtle light grey with undertones of warm pink, that still manages to feel fresh and cool. I can't wait to see how it's going to look with the Benjamin Moore Abalone I'm using on the walls.
You can't really see the paint transformation in the photo below, but what you don't see are my old drapes and traverse rods. Hurrah! I'm so excited. The room feels so much better.
In memorial to my dearly departed drapery, here's a clip from Twin Peaks featuring Nadine and her silent traverse rods. (Thanks for inspiring the link to this clip, sister)
I spent some time working on my living room this weekend. Here's a sneak peek.
First off, apologies to Mr. Adler. I picked up a pair of these Jonathan Adlerific lamps at Home Goods a couple of weeks back. I'd love to have the real thing, but these knock-offs make me and my sad little budget happy. Right now I have them flanking the credenza in my living room.
Avert your eyes from the moldering drapes in this photo. Focus on the background. My bamboo shades are finally up! I'm using these same shades (cheapies from Overstock) in all of the windows in my living room and kitchen/dining area. The light filters in beautifully, and when I get my new curtains up I'll still have the privacy I need.
More living room updates coming soon. Perhaps I'll eventually have a big before and after reveal! Well, maybe not an after. Is a room ever really finished? Speaking to that, I loved this post Adele found on finding "Beauty in the interim".