my house

The Living Room Bookcases are Almost Done

Hi! ūüėÄ I hit 366 days straight of blogging on April 11 and then I decided to break my streak to avoid accidentally starting to aim for¬†two years straight. I had to¬†really¬†break it by not posting for the last several days so I would get over it, and you have no idea how many times I almost blogged. But it’s broken for good, so I’m back now. Hello.

So, I think I’ve shared this photo here before, but this is what my living room looked like when I bought my house and the wood floor was waiting to be installed before we moved in. It was mostly¬†original to 1960, except that inset carpet had been replaced I guess, but that didn’t make it any less horrifying.


When we first moved in, I filled the shelves with as many brightly colored and pretty things I could find around the house to bright up the very brown room and hide those mirrored backs while I waited for the chance to update the room.

Then we covered the floors and ripped everything out to get new drywall installed and bookcases built in around the fireplace.


And ta-da!


The fireplace brick is gray now and it has new all-black doors. I’m waiting for the paint on the shelves to cure so I can clean it all up and fill the¬†bookcases up, and¬†oooooh, I love it so much even before I get to put my books away. It’s so bright over there (and in the whole room) now.

I’ll share the room (in color!) once¬†I can fill up the shelves. Because the other side (with my beloved teal sectional) is looking pretty fantastic now too.

my house

Walls! Paint! Progress!

A few days I posted an update on the progress in the living room, but the photos were all newly installed drywall and that’s just not a good look, so I’m updating again.

Remember the new drywall:

Living Room Walls - New Drywall

Look! Paint & the floors can be seen again!

Living Room Walls Painted

There’s still more to do of course, but the white walls (instead of the old brown paneling) are so nice. It’s so much brighter in there!

Can’t wait to finish & add the furniture & hang out in there! ūüėÄ

my house

Living Room Progress: Walls are Happening!

In the past month, since we ripped the paneling off the walls, we’ve had the air conditioning vent moved from the wall to the ceiling, and all of the electrical re-done. Then we took a pause to spend a week in¬†Portland and I spent a weekend working in Fort Worth, so… now we’re back to work!

After getting a few estimates on drywall installation, we settled on a company and today they started! It was loud & messy & so exciting!¬†It’s already so much brighter in there! It’s going to me aaaaaamazing! ūüėÄ

This is what it looks like tonight:

Over the next two days, they’ll be back to add texture and paint. Can’t wait to see it when it’s done!

my house

Living Room Progress: Demo Done!

After yesterday’s wood paneling removal-palooza, we were left with the solid wood built-ins around the fireplace that were reeeeeeally nailed in there & a bunch of clean up to do today. And since we recently got a leak fixed next to the chimney, we were sort of dreading seeing what it looked like behind there…

We went to Home Depot to get a sawzall this morning and that ended up being a great decision. I think the built-ins would still be stuck in there if we hadn’t been able to saw them up a bit and break them out in pieces.

We also grabbed some big suction cups and a bunch of clear packing tape to remove the mirrors without breaking them… and it worked! We covered them in tape, except for the spots we left open for the suction cups, then attached those, and wiggled & yanked until the mirrors separated from the backing. Without breaking! Phew!

We were also happy to find minimal water damage in the leak area. And it was all dry, so the¬†chimney/roof repairs we had done last month seem to have fixed the problem. Some of the wiring in the room looks pretty iffy though (and it is 55 years old), so I’ll be happy to have a fresh start after the electrician is out to re-wire the room.


It’s not pretty to look at yet, but there are zero wood paneling pieces, the ceiling beams are gone, and the built-ins with mirrored backs are in a pile in the garage now, so it’s an improvement. It’s been an exhausting weekend, but we’re off to a great start!

Check out all of the living room re-do posts here.

my house

Living Room Progress: Bye Walls!

As promised, we’re in full living room demo mode this weekend. We spent Friday night emptying the room out so there won’t be any furniture in the way while we work.

Living Room demo prep

So now we’ve got two living rooms worth of furniture in one living room. It’s a bit cramped, but we’ve got paths to each doorway and the faux-sectional we created out of necessity with our two separate couches has made us sure we want a sectional in the other living room. So much lounging!

temporary Living Room

And then today, this happened:

Living Room paneling off

We rolled out Ram Board and taped it down to protect our wood floors, put on some protective goggles, and grabbed our pry bars. Bye, wood paneling!

Our paneling only had studs behind it, so it wasn’t that difficult to remove once we got it going. The ceiling beams were a bit tougher. They were made of different layers of solid wood wrapped around other wood and the pieces were long and heavy. Luckily, Husband is tall enough that he could easily reach them without needing a step stool of any kind, so he had stable footing to help him out as he ripped them from the ceiling. I stood under them with my hands in the air trying to keep pieces from bouncing off my head. (Note to self: Consider a hard hat next time!)

The toughest job of the weekend was removing the built-ins that surrounded the fireplace. They were made up of layer after layer of solid wood, attached to other pieces of solid wood, and had big mirrors lining the back. We used up a ton of tape trying to protect ourselves from the mirrors breaking on us and used big suction cups to yank them out, then we bought a saw to cut the wood into pieces and remove it in chunks. It took us a few hours to finish both and was pretty exhausting. But we did it! And the mirrors didn’t even break!

Next: We’ve hired an electrician to come re-do all of the switches, plugs, light fixtures, and wiring. The original wiring has been there since 1960 and is frayed, and some newer wiring was installed sometime after that by someone who didn’t seem to care much for doing it properly. We’re happy to be starting fresh! And we’ve got an appointment soon to move the air conditioning vents from the walls to the ceiling so they’ll fade into the background a bit better.

And psst… If you’re a numbers nerd, I’m tracking every penny we spend and will share the details once the room is done, so check back!

Check out all of the living room re-do posts here.

life, my house

Living Room Update Plans

Back in January, I shared some notes on planned updates to the house my husband and I bought last year and a few pictures of our white walls and lovely new floors. (See: Sarah’s House: Welcome!) It was built in 1960 and has been left mostly un-updated… UNTIL NOW! So far we’ve installed wood floors throughout the house, and spent several thousand dollars on other mostly boring updates (like garage doors, chimney repairs, and electrical upgrades).

Our next project is a full living room re-do.¬†We’ve got our big TV, TiVo, and gaming consoles in this room, and it’s the one that can be made darkest for movie nights, so comfort¬†is key. Right now it has 60’s den-style brown wood paneled walls, brown built-in shelves & cabinets, wood beams starting to detach from the ceiling, and a brick fireplace complete with shiny brass trim on the doors.¬†Basically: It’s not a good look.

Here’s what I’m thinking will be going on in the new room to get us started:

We already own the TV stand, coffee table, rug, and the round table. The floors are installed and the walls will be white like in the image above (taken in our home office).

When we first moved in, I dressed up the old built-ins that flank the fireplace with a bunch of random decorative stuff I pulled out of our boxes. I mostly aimed for books + colorful things to distract from the sagging shelves and mirrored backs. There are cabinets along the bottom half with doors that attempt to stay shut, but aren’t always successful.

Here’s how they look right now:

The first image on this post shows the wall containing the built-ins and fireplace. The plan for them is to tear out the original shelves and cabinets and replace them with floor-to-ceiling bookcases. Each side of the fireplace has five feet of space to install shelves, so it’ll be a nice space for lots of books & bringing color into the room. I’m thinking we’ll paint the fireplace brick white to keep things bright and let it blend with the walls a bit.

The project is going to be a combination of DIY and hired help, so… we’ll see how it all goes. Hopefully by this fall it’ll be updated & we’ll be in the decorative finishing touches phase.

More soon! Wish us luck!