This winter I decided my living room needed a touch of color. I had neutral walls, neutral couches, neutral rugs and even a neutral dog. Everything was either yellow, beige or yellowish-beige. It felt very blah inside the house and it was very blah outside the house. Depressing! I even went a little stir crazy during one storm and started painting blue patches on the walls just to test out some colors that I saw on Pintrest. Even the pillow covers I bought from Etsy weren’t doing me any favors. It was time for a change. (You might recognize the pillows from my sunroom. They look great in there.)
My blah living room
That mess in the guest room is from a guest, not me. 🙂
Love this table.. but it’s too big. Who can I blame this mess on?
I realized part of the reason that my living room was lacking luster was due to the lack of light. The only light is from a northwest facing window. A window that I had covered with heavy curtains from my old condo. While exploring the paint chips at O’Connor Hardware, I found a little diagram explaining that dark rooms should have warm colors. At that moment blue was out and yellow was in. I searched pintrest for yellows that would be good for West facing rooms. I tried Funky Yellow first. Big Mistake. Then I met with the Benjamin Moore decorator for free who suggested 2 yellows and tried them both. Unfortunately, you can no longer get the sample size jars of pain. (The company who used to make the sample size pots went out of business.) I decided on a color called Straw.
Meanwhile…. I was inspired by the condo that my friend just bought. Here is his living room.
Inspiration…the condo my friend just bought
From right to left: BM funky yellow, BM straw, BM ?
Then I chose a day to paint. It was over 90 degrees and humid that day, but it didn’t stop me. I donned an old bikini and got started. Good thing my west facing window doesn’t face any neighbors.
I’ll post some after pictures later.
Anyone who has a dog knows that wall to wall carpeting is not the best choice. I was more than happy to rip it out of my living room. The section under the couch was in pristine condition, but everywhere else gross.
My Dad and Uncle Jim installed the new Pergo flooring which we bought at the Habitat for Humanity Restore at a fraction of the price. It matches the floor in the sunroom. Here are some pictures of installation day.
The laundry room was the one room that I never planned to touch. However, since the flood destroyed the carpet, I figured I might have a little fun in there. Maybe I would have one of those cute laundry rooms like the ones you see on Pinterest. Painting would be easy since I didn’t have to worry about destroying the rug. As you can see by my photos, I had nothing to lose.
I knew that I had to do something about the dated paneling. I painted the wall the same grey that I did in the sunroom, BM Revere Pewter. However, I made a rookie mistake. I forgot to prime the wood walls before I painted them. Oops. Too late now.
I originally wanted to do tile on the floor using the insurance money from the flood. However, my Dad talked me out of it. He gently made me realize that since you could never see the floor in my laundry room because of all the laundry scattered about…it really didn’t matter. He found some neutral, high quality stick-on tile (Is that an oxymoron?) at you guessed it…Habitat for Humanity Restore . We painted the floor with paint left over from other projects. He laid the tile and I ran over them with my rolling pin. Using a red rolling pin was a mistake. It left some marks, but they were removed easily.
Like an elf making cookies
I was inspired by a photo on Pinterest (They always have the cutest laundry room photos.) and chose a coral color for the cabinet. This time I remembered the primer. I did a few coats and then bought some faux glass handles at Home Goods. It was a world of difference. I even purchased a cute basket for the top to hide all of my ugly bottles.
This is actually my laundry room. Not a photo from Pinterest.
My favorite home decorating book suggested that new homeowners hang found art instead of displaying impersonal art found at discount stores or blowing their budget on fine art. I definitely wasn’t going to invest in real art for my laundry room. I found these frames at a thrift store (I wish I took a before picture of the frames and their pansy pictures) and used two pages from a cute dog calendar from last year. Voila! Found art!
We still have to lay the rest of the tile, paint the baseboards and install new windows, but here’s how it looks now…
I should frame this photo because it will never look as neat again.
With my new sunroom half finished, I was gaining more confidence. I’ve been eyeing brightly colored chairs on pinterest and HGTV magazine. I purchased these chairs at the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Billerica last fall hoping to so something cool with them. I’m lucky that that store is so close to my house.
I was thinking about getting some industrial looking chairs too. However, the only somewhat reasonable priced ones I could find were on overstock.com. In the comment section, one lady wrote, “Do not purchase if you wear over a size 12 in pants.” Between the price and her comment, I realized that these chairs might not be the best “fit” for me. Luckily my Mom and I found 2 chairs at the Habitat Store. They were very sturdy and paintable. I forgot to do a before picture, but you can kind of see one in this photo of my mother and Casey. You can also see the huge, clutter collecting hall tree that I had in the sunroom to greet my guests. That’s gone now too. Thanks to craigslist.
The chair on the left is one of the ones we painted.
I decided to paint the chairs one sunny day. My Dad couldn’t resist a spray paint project, so he joined in the fun. I used about 2 cans per chair. I wish I had done another couple of coats, but they came out well.
A family that paints together stays together.
I had some fade resistant fabric that I picked up at Joanne’s and my mom put it on with a staple gun. Here’s the end result. The other 2 chairs were camera shy, but these two were willing to pose.
3 Cheers for the Chairs
The flood on the porch inspired me to get going on redoing my favorite room. It also motivated me to get going on my laundry room. Prior to the flood, my friend Raghu and I painted over the porch’s dark sage green walls. My coworker Kerri has an eye for color. She suggested that I paint the walls grey, do robin eggs blue for the ceiling and keep the trim white. I chose Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter which was recommended to me by a decorator years ago. Did you know that Benjamin Moore Stores have decorators at the their stores waiting to give you free advice? And lucky for me, I found a paint color that was actually called Robin’s Egg Blue, so there was no thinking involved.
Before-Green walls, dark furniture, old rug, cute dog, some new windows
With the new window, a fresh coat of paint, and a stripped down floor, my Dad and I were ready to go. He and my Uncle Jim installed a Pergo floor. My Dad had found the flooring at the Habitat for Humanity Restore last fall. It was only $20 a box and it sells for $50 a box at Home Depot. It was a great find. The name of it is Asian Mahogany.
My mom’s friend Gail, gave me some banquet seating. I applied a fresh coat of white paint and brought it into the house. At first I had it kitty corner, but then I realized that I could stretch it all the way across the end of the room and that’s when the magic started to happen.
White banquets kitty corner
I purchased outdoor bench padding at overstock and added 3 new pillows and a bunch that I already had in the house. It was beginning to look like my perfect sunroom. Originally, I was going to paint the dark table white, but I chickened out. Getting the paint perfectly smooth was going to be a challenge. I sold the set on craigslist and then I bought this white Crate and Barrel table on craigslist with the money.
The next day I rolled up my sleeves to get started. Luckily, my sister and my friend Kirk were on their way to help. To my surprise, my awesome neighbors showed up too. They were prepared to work and came with the knowledge and know-how to get things done. I am so grateful for everyone’s help. It’s a lot of work vacuuming excess water, ripping and carrying soaking wet carpet, and removing the tiles that had been there since the 40s. But everyone stayed until the job was done. I couldn’t have done it without them. I am truly blessed to have good friends.
Is that Kathy in the background? I’m surprised it’s not Casey photo bombing my shot.
Free rugs anyone?
Kirk trying to look busy.