October 1, 2014

Before & After We Cut a Doorway in a Wall And Doubled Our Living Room

Longest I've ever gone without blogging? Nearly three months. I think so. Been working my tail off and, also, enjoying summer. But I'm back with a good icebreaker--probably our biggest renovation to date. Essentially, we doubled the size of our living room and made our house feel bigger, airier, sunnier, and certainly more functional for us. The renovation happened a few months ago now, but I've been having fun all this time tweaking things and creating fun new nooks. Also, trolling Craiglist for the perfect petite midcentury sofa to go in what we now call the "music room," since it is home to Nekos' zillions of records.

Our friend T.J., who is also the realtor who sold us our house, suggested to me about six months ago that we cut a doorway in the wall behind our couch. We had just moved Tessa and Livvy into the same bedroom upstairs, and Tessa's old bedroom downstairs (behind the wall the couch was against) was pretty much useless to us. Plus, we were craving more space for dance parties and dinner parties and family hangs. Being a realtor, T.J. was sensitive to the notion that we wouldn't want to lose a bedroom and thus decrease the value of our house, so he said we should just cut a door in the wall instead of knocking down the wall entirely. That way, when it's time for us to sell one day we can just install french doors and call it a bedroom. Plus we still have three bedrooms, so once the girls decide they're done with sharing a room, we can separate them. Anyway, T.J.'s suggestion felt like a revelation, as it would be a relatively easy and hopefully inexpensive way to totally change the feel of our house.

Here's what our little living room looked like before. We live in a 1926 bungalow so the rooms are all small cozy.


On the opposite wall is our mantle, which had our TV hanging over it--blegh. Our front door is just to the right.

Here's one last look at the untouched wall, right before demo:


Here's the demo process. This guy estimated that labor and materials would cost around $500. It cost $1,700 total. Is this just par for the course with subcontractor people or what? I literally had to tell him, "Uh, I don't have that much money. I can pay you half now, half next week?"


Anyway, the work itself was really solid. He did an awesome job of recreating a historical doorway so that it perfectly matches the existing doors. And he said this demo part took much longer than he anticipated since the walls were like a fortress. It took him and another guy the better part of a day to clear away all the wood and concrete between these two rooms.

Afterwards, Tessa and Livvy and I couldn't quite believe it. It didn't look or feel like our house, as we could now see from room to room and the girls can run in a circle now through the rooms. Would you believe I had all of this done while Nekos was out of town? And the mess? It was profound. Dust like you wouldn't believe. But totally worth it. 


Before I show y'all the finished photos, here's one last mini-makeover I did with the fireplace. I painted the ugly pink-ish tile the same gray as our kitchen cabinets. And after patching the wall where the TV used to hang above the mantel, I painted it "Alabaster" (Sherwin Williams), just to brighten things up, though I still love the sky blue that the rest of this room is. 


And let me back up a minute. The very first thing I did, before any demo, is to paint Tessa's old bedroom (our new living room). It was a sunny yellow; now it's "Wickham Gray" (a watery blue-gray) by Benjamin Moore. The deeper blue in the "music room" is "Salty Tear" by Behr. 

So here's the new view from our front door:



Here's looking into the new living room:



And the new, TV-less mantel, which has been so fun to decorate:


I am loving this sailboat my mama got me for my birthday last month:



After this renovation, we realized we had basically no furniture to go in our old living room, so I found this sweet midcentury piece of ass on Craiglist. We adore it, and it is so comfortable.


I am dreaming of putting this CB2 acrylic coffee table in front of it one of these days. And I want a pair of these chairs (look how cheap!) In the meantime, my mama loaned me these two handsome armchairs for seating.



And here is our new living room/TV room. The TV is on the wall opposite the couch:





Thanks for having a look. I am always going for cheerful, colorful, comfortable, and eclectic. I think we got it. 

5 comments:

  1. I'm so jealous of your decorating abilities. You really know how to tie (several) rooms together.

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