Oh I wish I had before pictures.
Unfortunately I didn’t think that far ahead, but let me paint you this word picture. The walls used to be white up to the chair rails and then lime green (like lime green) to the ceiling. There was a love seat against the two windows with an ill-fitting, pink and red floral print Ikea slip cover. There was a corresponding arm chair angled by the front window in the same print. There was an oversized white coffee table in the middle, with a glass top, and a matching side table next to the couch. On the side table sat a red lamp. There was once a cheap ivory shag rug that was removed and then never replaced. There used to be a black and white print of a sail boat above the fire place, but during the holidays it was replaced with an oversized wreath with a red bow that one year didn’t come down until May. And then out of silent protest, went back up post Thanksgiving and stayed up until the next winter holiday. The bookshelf was stocked to the brim with any book I ever had (including random college textbooks) that were first organized by category, then by color. In front of the one front window, there was a cheap dog bed and the hardwood floor was scratched down past the stain, exposing the light wood underneath. Have you thrown up yet?
Well, with the surprise of the pregnancy came the natural panic of we need to redo everything in this house or we are moving. But I’ll be honest, I truly love this house. Like all things in life, it has its pros and cons, but its pros far outweigh its cons for me, especially given its layout, space, location, etc. But we needed to do some serious work. And in true If You Give A Mouse a Cookie fashion, once we went for one change, we might as well do the forty thousand other things that follow.
In short summary, the renovations included restaining hardwood floors throughout the two front rooms, hallway, and kitchen; knocking down a wall to open up a dining space in the front room; new carpet in the two main floor bedrooms; and repainting the front and baby’s room. This, plus creating a baby registry, was the first labor of love.
Well, after months, we’re ninety-three percent finished (there are just a few wall hangings and furniture pieces in the babe’s room standing in our way). While I want to share it all, I am going to do this piece by piece, starting with the front, living/sitting room.
This room was actually hard to figure out because we basically had to revolve everything around the piano. The piano was something that we had in what we used to call Hank’s room, which was the room that was opened up to make a space for the dining room (that feature coming next week). Hank’s room was a room where we put Hank when we left, and then it was basically treated like a garage/storage space, which is silly because it was right in the front of the house. But I digress.
So because the piano could really only work in front of the two side windows, where the couch used to be, we had to get creative with some seating. Once the wall was opened up, all I wanted was to maintain the open feeling. We knew that for the room to make sense, the seating would have to face the piano, which would mean that the backs would primarily be exposed. We initially considered some wingback arm chairs, but ultimately thought they’d be too heavy for the space. So what do you know? Ikea to the rescue.
We found these wicker chairs in a set-up floor room at Ikea and kind of looked at each other like do we like these? I think we really like these? And we did. What I particularly liked about the chairs is that the wicker latticing allowed for them to be see through and not a solid block, which helps with the flow and openness that I was hoping to achieve. Another piece that really sold us on the chairs is that they were staged with a faux fur throw over the top. We picked those up as well, but given our view of the chairs (which is mainly from the back), they didn’t work, but the chairs needed to be softened up nonetheless. These David Bromstad Mongolian Lamb Fur Pillows from Grandin Road did just the trick. I love that they tie in the neutral that we needed, as well as the softness that we initially craved. I couldn’t be more happy.
The search then was on for a side table. I’ve been calling my design aesthetic rustic modern because I’ve wanted nothing but neutral colors (black, white, grey, cream) with modern lines and natural, woody accents. Enter the Grandin Road Coronado table. It was as if this table came directly from my mind and into the sitting room. The hairpin legs not only tie in the black, modern look, but they also work with the custom dining room table (that I teased about before and something you’ll get next week). Then, the circular wood detailing of the top adds exactly the right amount of interest and variety to the room, without being an overwhelming statement piece. Again, I couldn’t love it more.
Finally, the last big project for this room was painting the piano. The piano was a Craig’s List Christmas present that plays just fine, but was an unfortunate ugly light chestnut color, so it would have been an eye sore. Now, much like my disdain for cooking and any sort of yard work, DIY does not get me excited. But in the name of customizing and saving some cheddar, I had to tackle this project.
Now, all of my Pinterest searches led me to one place – Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I did my research, read a handful of how-to guides, and then tackled the project on Memorial Day. Again, zero before pictures because once I committed, I wanted to get going right away (which is also an issue with DIY, does anyone do those things with patience?). But let me tell you, while it is far from perfect, I am pleased with how it turned out. It wasn’t particularly difficult, the paint really was magic, and this is the guide to follow if you’re interested (no sense in me talking you through it).
Actually, let me give you one piece of advice. Annie Sloan paint is something that has to be hunted down or specifically ordered, and it is not cheap. The guide that I followed outlined only the painting of a side table, so I doubled up the amount of paint and wax that I thought I would need for a piano. One quart was plenty for two coats, and I used not even a tenth of the wax. Okay, that’s it.
So hopefully you get the feel for what we’ve done. This is now the very first thing you see when you walk in the door, which I am hoping will distract from the polar bear that is my house pet, who is attempting to pummel you out of excitement for coming over, because clearly, you are just as excited to see him.
So if you like what you see here, here are the specific details:
If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to comment below!