Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Makeover Dining Room & Living Room

Before the Hubs and I got married, we had the opportunity to begin renovating the old family farmhouse that has been in the family for years and years. The Hubs' great Grama lived in this house and his Grampa lived here a young man. It's definitely the family farmhouse. When we walked through it for the first time, this is what we saw:

The pictures are not very clear because I just snapped a couple on my cellphone and couldn't use the flash. But you get the idea. Notice the brownish green carpet in what is the living room. It was so dirty that after vacuuming, we just decided to chuck it. It took a couple of hours for the dust to settle after moving that rug. Underneath was hard wood floors, but they were only finished a couple of feet on the exterior of the room. Why? Well, in older houses, they only finished the floors on the outside because an area rug (like the green one) would cover everything else. The green carpet had so much dust and dirt in it that had settled into the floor that sweeping did not help.

Also notice in the bottom photo, the fireplace and planter- those were carried out asap. The planter had actually done a little bit of damage to the wood floor so we really knew something needed to be done with the living room floor.

All of the walls needed some help. In the dining room (with the checkered floor) the green wallpaper, which was actually layered on top of a number of different colors. As well as the wood paneled walls in the living room. It looked like cork board type stuff but was smooth. It was odd and needed to go.

It just so happened that the next week after we got the farmhouse, my family came to visit. 2 parents, five sisters and the Hubs' family all went to town on the farmhouse. People cleaned, threw stuff away, scrubbed, swept, and did an incredible job getting the house ready for a face lift.

Once that was done, the Hubs and his family began the demolition project. Each wall was taken down to the studs. That meant the plaster and lath had to come off. That meant that I got to rip apart a wall. It was fantastic!

The men also took out the wall that was in front of the stairs for a couple of reason. First, the stairs are beautiful, especially with the old stained glass window. But they were covered up by the walls and no one could enjoy them from the living room. We also wanted to open up our living room a bit more and taking out the wall was a good way to do that. It was a weight baring wall. For those who don't know what that means: that walls helped hold up our house and the upstairs. In the bottom picture you can see the steel beam that was put up to help hold up the house.

Once we had all of the walls down to their bare bones, the Hubs and his family worked on rewiring and insulating everything. Since our house was built in the late 1800s, we had no insulation except for some piles of acorns that some very kind squirrels left for us.

After insulating everything, rewiring everything with updated electrical work, it was time to begin the dry walling then move onto painting.

In the dining room, we didn't do as much work with insulating and rewiring since we didn't need it as bad. Plus, it the plaster was in a lot better condition so it was pretty easy to paint. The key to successfully being able to have a deep rich red? Killz. It's a base coat that covers and hides whatever is underneath. In our case, we had wallpaper glue that would bleed through or cracks or just the wall that would discolor whatever you painted on top. Killz is a great base coat and I would highly recommend it if you are painting an older wall. We also did three coats of red.

The biggest change that really helped to brighten up the dining room was to paint the brown ceiling boards a white. They were pretty absorbent and took a couple of coats but they really helped to make the deep red walls stand out. We also repainted the ceiling which had been gathering dust and was faded after many years of not being repainted.

Looks a little bit better right? Just wait... I tried to choose colors that would look fit well with the old farmhouse. I wanted something warm and cozy and so I chose an beige color that went well with a deep red. At first, the Hubs was a little bit skeptical with the red because it looked so dark. But we have a really big bay window in the dining room that lets in a lot of light so you hardly even notice!

Here are the after pictures!

Also done: The Bathroom & Mudroom

Still left to Makeover: the Kitchen & Upstairs

Makeover Blogs still to come: 
the Bedroom & the Office Nook 

We also recently redid our dining room table!
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