Lighting up the living room and seeing the rooms finally take shape

Today over lunch we admitted to each other that right before the renovation started, we each had a private moment of “Should we really tear this house apart?” Obviously it didn’t stop us, and we agreed that it was still the right choice. Looking at these before photos is only further reassurance that some things needed to change in our space to make us happy and comfortable.

If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you know we like light. The living room we inherited was a light-filled paradise during the day… but at night the sole source of light was a lonely, off center ceiling fan.

We actually loved the chevron slat ceiling, but the set up left us with very few options to get power to (much needed) new lights.

We brainstormed quite a bit – considering things like replicating the light fixtures we made in the living room and captain’s bedroom in the firehouse, but ultimately we decided recessed lighting would be the best solution. To install this, it required dropping the ceiling slightly in order to add cross pieces for the fixtures and drywall to attach to.

The finished result is crisp, clean goodness… which I couldn’t show you without revealing all of the drywall. A few notes on that: The original plan for the renovation had Aaron doing everything but the exterior stucco repair. We found a great local guy to help with that and he also offered to subcontract the drywall. Thanks to an unexpectedly nice tax return, we opted to hire that work out. The crew did all of the drywall work on the walls and ceiling (including hanging it) AND smoothed our ceilings in the kitchen, dining room and hallway in about a week. This saved us a ton of time in the overall plan and was worth EVERY FREAKING PENNY.

So I figured we’d take a tour through all of the spaces via a set of before and afters. Ready?!?

This view changed dramatically after removing the built ins, adding the new French doors and smoothing the ceiling.

Boom Sauce.

Flipping around – This view is crazy thanks to our furniture sitting sideways in the space. The built ins, paneling and fireplace mantle were nixed.

Looking toward the kitchen from the living room, here’s a pretty good before shot of the bar, which we said “bye bye” to. That’s a major change, but so is opening the wall behind the fridge and microwave/oven.

Mama likey!

Here’s a reminder of what the kitchen used to look like.

We left the laundry area where it was and built a wall, shortening the kitchen from this direction. This will be a U shaped kitchen with the range at the back of the space, sink to the right (in a similar spot as it started) and 500 miles of countertops (approximately).

Here’s a look at that wall we cut in half to open this space to the front of the house.

These night photos don’t do justice to the amount of light that streams through the space from the front door and front windows.

Shrinking the kitchen from one side was only possible because we stole this dining area for a pantry.

We will take a peek inside later when there’s something to see.

I think I saved the best for last. This door is directly ahead when you enter the house. It used to be an entrance to the kitchen…

Now it houses the much needed, much loved laundry room!

Looking at these before photos and then living in our new space, any doubts about tearing this space up are completely and utterly erased.

  1. I’m sad to see the chevron slat ceiling disappear but totally understand the difficulties of working around it – Mom had a similar ceiling in her previous house. Getting lights in the places you want usually requires surface mounted conduit – not usually a great look! Luckily Mom had well placed ceiling fans with light kits and was able to augment with floor and table lamps. And painting the ceiling and beams white helped lighten the entire room (she did leave the fireplace area unfinished wood). I think she utilized a decorator for a several hour consult – money well spent for combining two households in a unique house!

  2. Wow, that makes such a big change. Really looking forward to seeing the finished space. It’s gonna look amazing! (And I still love that blue sofa.)

    Just a thought… have you considered resizing or compressing your photos before uploading them? It can take a while for a post to fully load, and even after it’s loaded, my computer still chugs a bit when I’m scrolling up and down. I checked the size of one image and it was 16MB, so 18 of those at once can hit pretty hard. Resizing them would probably speed up the site a lot.

    1. Oooh… That’s strange. I will definitely look into it. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. […] ripped everything out, carved out a laundry room, reshaped the walls and added a pantry space then laid new floors. You can read about our plans here (including a before video) and check out […]

  4. […] demo, wall building and drywall hanging,  we were left with a blank […]

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