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June 25, 2014

Our 1970's House Makeover Part 8: The Living Room Updates

Hey ya'll. 
I'm drawing a blank.
So, I'm going to fill up this little space next to the tiny picture with non-important words so that we can quickly get to the meat of the post and talk like normal people.

Because sometimes I have a million things to tell you, but my brain jams up when faced with an introductory paragraph.

New rule: Virginia is occasionally excused from introductory paragraphs and can instead just quote Lionel Richie lyrics or take a picture of her hand. I'll save those options for later.

Let's move on to the meat. 
So, I disappeared for a week. Sometimes I just need to take a little break and go on vacation, which is exactly what I did last week. For the past 10 years Jesse has taken me on a little vacation for my birthday (which is on June 13th, so we celebrated a little late this year), and each year we try to go somewhere new. This year we ended up in Hilton Head, South Carolina, which quickly became one of my favorite places. 
And I had so much fun that I got totally lost in the moment and came home with approximately one blurry vacation picture. 
Note to self: I think I enjoyed myself way more because of said photo-negligence.
Awkward truth.

So, anyways, we just got back on Sunday, and I've spent the last few days trying to photograph the living room.
 And basically, all attempts were futile...and there's a cat in every single picture.
So, my apologies for the feline intrusion. I tried to remove them from their natural habitat, but there are still no doors anywhere in the house, and my attempts proved impossible.

So, this is the progress report on the living room. It's still not finished, but this is the most functionable it's been since February, so I figured I would share the progress with you.
Estimated completion is still set for May 2032.

I'll start by reminding you where we began.
This is the living room when we first moved in, complete with dark wood trim, wall to wall carpet, and those bug catcher lights that have taunted me since day one.

And of course, a living room post wouldn't be complete without paying tribute to this picture.

The living room then went through about 10 other questionable transitions, all coming to an end when we ripped up the carpet back in February.

That kicked off a 5 month torture-fest that ended up teaching me several valuable life lessons, like how to successfully loiter at Panera when your house looks like this:

As you know, my days at Panera eventually came to an end. The floors were finally installed (after some major hiccups back in April), and eventually we started moving some furniture back in. I sold most of our stuff at the beginning of the renovation in an effort to start anew, so basically all we had to move back in was our two sofas.
My hope is to eventually replace those big ol' fellas with something a little less tan microfiber, and maybe something a little smaller (to allow for different room configurations) but for now, I'm just grateful to have anything in there at all. I didn't own a couch until I was about 26, so any couch is a fabulous couch if you ask me. :)

Next on my living room to-do list was replacing the light fixtures. That ended up being kinda tricky because there are a total of 5 light fixtures in this one big space. There are two in the living room, one in the entryway, one in the dining room, and one in the kitchen (which I shared last week).

Since they can all be seen at the same time, I didn't want to use five of the same fixture, but I did want to create some sort of cohesiveness among all of them. I ended up finding a great fixture at Lowe's for a decent price, and brought home three of them...2 for the living room and 1 for the dining room. 
And I must not have been the only one who liked them, as I had to go to several different Lowes to find all three.

And then Jesse did what I can't prefer not to do...he climbed a giant ladder and hung the lights. 
I have my limits: that second ladder rung.

So, just to remind you, here's what this space looked like when we first moved in: wall to wall carpet, orange wood, and assorted boob lights.

And here is what this space looks like today with new floors, a new stair rail, newly painted walls and trim, and updated light fixtures.

It seriously makes me blob up a little bit. I just can't believe it's finally all coming together. There's still so much work left to be done, like finishing the trim, replacing the doors, replacing windows, gutting the entire lower level, and doing a little work on the bathrooms, but I'm allowing myself a little down time this summer to just relax and enjoy a few cat cuddles.

Commence feline invasion.

So, after the lights were installed, I moved on to finding a rug. I had my heart absolutely set on getting a moroccan shag rug, because I love them, and after a lot of searching locally and online, I finally ordered this one from Rugs USA (on sale for 50% off at the time when I ordered it). 

And within 24 hours of ordering that rug, something crazy happened: Rugs USA contacted me to offer us a rug for our living room. 

So, naturally, I asked them about the one I had just ordered, hoping that maybe I could return it and have them send me a bigger size (since my little budget had maxed out somewhere near the tiny version). Well, it ended up that they were currently out of stock in the bigger size that I was hoping for. 
So, instead, they offered to send me my dream rug, the real wool version, which has ended up being the softest thing on the planet.

 And that's when I basically fainted.
I'll allow Tootie and Cheese to reenact it for you. 

How I get anything done around here, I don't know.

So, anyways, I ended up with 2 rugs. The smaller one that I purchased (which I decided to keep and use in the office), and the giant one that they sent me (which as you can see, ended up getting lots of love in living room). 

And I'm pretty sure Cheese called dibs, because she's rolling around on it, having the time of her life 24/7, and poor Tootie sits on the sofa like a rolypoly. 

So, anyways, that's the rug story. Plain and simple.
Tootie says not to feel too bad for her. She sneaks in some naps when Cheese gets distracted by her ball.

So, here's what the living room looks like from the opposite angle, looking into the dining room and kitchen. Jesse has been working on trimming out the walls we knocked down, which you can see a little bit of in this picture. Turns out, trimming out a wall is kinda tricky, so we are moving turtle-speed on the trim work. 

I've brought in a few pillows from my pillow hoarding closet. I don't love them, but I don't hate them. 
So, for now, eh, they'll do.
I also decided to leave the rock wall alone for now. 
I still don't love it, but I hate it less,

I added a little abstract painting to the mantel.

And then added a big woven basket next to the stacked logs. It's currently housing the heap of magazines my mom brought me on her last 'Here are the magazines I've been hoarding for you.' visit.
I really look forward to those visits.
 I took roughly 40 magazines out of that basket for that photo. 

I also decided to hang that reclaimed mirror that I got for $20 over the couch. Ever since we spackled about 400 wall holes and spent a week painting, I've been avoiding the walls.
 It's a blessing and a curse.
Blessing: Feeling really peaceful like some weird minimalist.
Curse: Fighting intense urge to create 40 piece gallery walls. Developing twitch.

So, for now, I'm just hanging a few big things and stepping away from the hammer.

Anyways, I also replaced our old thrift store TV stand with a new thrift store TV stand that I scored for $50. 

If you missed the last DIY disaster post, here's what it looked like before I painted it.

And here's what it looks like now after some paint and updated hardware.
Pardon the tiny TV. We moved the big one that's usually out here back to the bedroom during the renovation and I have yet to haul it back out here. You might remember the Dirty Dancing photo found at the end of this post that kind of explains it. 

I even painted the insides of the drawers to make it feel like new (or at least not smell like thrift store).

I still need to find a few end tables and/or a coffee table, but a girl can only do so much at once, so for now I'll just appreciate having a place to sit and relax other than our bedroom.

And I desperately want to tell you that Tootie appreciates it too, 
but I fear I've hit my cat quota.

As for the rest of the main area, we hung the chandelier in the dining room and had to swag it over because it was about a foot off-center. And now my search begins for dining room tables. I'm more excited about this part of the process than almost any other, as I've been without a dining room table for almost two years. 

Before we knocked down the wall, our dining room was so tiny and not even the smallest round table fit well. So, now that the wall is gone between the dining room and kitchen, I have so much more space for a dining room.
There's a whole long story about the dining room table situation, and it's a funny one, but I'll save that for another post, maybe when I find the table. Or some chairs.

Anyways, that's pretty much all for today, ya'll. Thanks for caring about what goes on in my little world. I'll be back soon when I have something else interesting to share.
In the meantime, I'll probably be on the couch like a pig in a blanket 
and Cheese will be acting un-lady-like on the rug.

 'Til next time!
P.S. The other posts in the House Makeover series can be found here:

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  1. I love the updates and really like what you are doing. I think the stone wall is very nice and I have seen them in many magazines. Your home looks peaceful and charming. I think you have great taste.

    1. Aw, thank you, Jan! I appreciate that so much.

  2. You have done a great job of bringing this house into the 21st century. The wood floors look beautiful and getting rid of all the unpainted wood makes such a difference. Matching the trim around living room windows to the wall color gets rid of the chopped up feel. I enjoy hearing about the trials and tribulations of renovating. People who have never done it can't understand how wonderful it feels when you finally accomplish your goal. I especially love your comment about the blessing and curse of newly spackled and painted walls. I have been there so many times.......enjoying the minimalist look, yet wanting to fill up the space. I look forward to your next post!

    1. Ha! Thank you, Martha! I'm so torn between being a minimalist and covering every square inch with my terrible handmade art. What to do, what to do. :)

  3. Ahhhhh all the rooms are looking fantastic!! I adore that rug -- can't believe you got it for free! And I know you're all grumbly about the couches and stones but I think it looks just magnificent. The floor really adds a freshness -- I'm so glad you didn't go dark in the end. And those lights!!!! Perfect choice!!

    1. Aw, thank you so much Shanti! I constantly go back and forth between 'is this looking okay?' and 'OMG it might be awful...I can't tell.'. So, it's nice to get encouragement from ya'll! Thank you. :)

  4. The whole space looks beautiful--like a breath of fresh air! I love reading your blog because you portray DIY and renovations as they really are. Things DO sometimes go wrong in DIY World (it's a magical and messy place), but all is never lost. It's so much fun to see how you overcome any challenges with ingenuity, a great sense of humor, and lots of adorable cat pictures. :)

    1. Aw, thank you Jennifer! I really appreciate that!

  5. I love the transition. You pick the best light fixtures ever. And obviously your rug is cat approved!

  6. So glad that you, Tootie, and Cheese are enjoying that beautiful rug! Taking the time to recreate your home is good - I miss your posts but understand! Just happy to see this update. Really loving all the changes! Thank you for sharing this journey with all of us.....

    1. Thanks so much Carol! It takes me soooo long to put together a post, so I tend to be a little slower than most bloggers. But, I appreciate that ya'll allow me to do things a little differently and are patient with me as I figure it all out! :)

  7. Oh my looks amazing! I love all of the new lighting and that rug...oh my! I had to laugh about the "magazines from mom" visit because my mom does the same thing and I love it! Anywho, the whole house looks spectacular! You and Jesse deserve a summer break. :)

    1. Aw, thanks Coleen! And yes, magazine-hoarding-moms are the best! :)

  8. oh that rug is dreamy! and the light fixtures are awesome too. Also, there is no cat picture limit on the internet- cat pic it up, sister! haha

  9. Virginia,

    I have to tell you I am not a person that follows blogs but yours is the exception! I genuinely get excited when there is a new blog post! My husband and I bought a house built in the 50's about a year ago and have been renovating it room by room ever since. I have learned so much from reading your blog. The very first DIY project I ever completed (refinishing a little thrift store table I got for $7) was solely because of the projects on your blog. And it turned out pretty darn good! In fact, I didn't even know about thrifting before reading your blog! And now of course I can't buy anything new, I must thrift! Thank you so much for being willing to put your trials and tribulations out there for the world to see. Your home looks beautiful! Here's to your next post!

    1. Thank you, Kelly! That's so nice to hear! And it means so much to know I've inspired you a little!! That's unexpected and awesome! :)

  10. Fabulous update, I find the saga of your home reno inspiring and hilarious at the same time. And there is no 'cat quota' of which you speak, more cats is always better. #catlove Yep I just hastagged a blog comment, it's just how I roll...

  11. It's seriously amazing how new flooring can transform a space. And I love the new lighting and rug! I even think the stone fireplace is charming; it adds character and dimension. Anyway, I just love the whole space! You are awesome at this!

  12. Looking fantastic Virginia! Serene and elegant. Well done. I so admire your ability to step away from the hammer...we have major conniptions in our house when I get that "I need. To. Put. Something. Else. On. That. Wall" look in my your restraint is outstanding...Oh and please whisper in those cute little furry ears (the cat's not yours you understand) that there is no such thing as too many cat photos - and they should simply stand (sit) their ground when the camera is out. Kiwi love and upside down hammer dancing to you!

    1. Aw, thank you! I'm having some major internal struggles over my gallery wall impulses. I'm sure they will eventually win, but I'm trying to just enjoy the peaceful empty walls in the meantime! :)

  13. Wow, everything looks truly awesome! I think you are doing a great job. I would like to suggest maybe a little greenery on the mantle or beside the fireplace. Even some faux greenery would do. Also, if you haven't tried those Command Picture Hanging Strips & Hooks you are missing out. They are great! They won't damage your walls, hold all types of art, mirrors,etc and best of all, no hammer required! You'd be real surprised at how much weight they hold. Check them out online or places like Lowes. Anyway, keep up the great work! I can't wait to see what is next! Oh, here's some kitty kisses!

    1. Oh, Jane....girl, this room needs about 1 million things. But yes, greenery is an excellent suggestion. I'm thinking maybe a little tree or potted plant, but I keep putting it off because I have a STRONG history of killing every plant I've ever brought home. Accidentally, of course. :)

      Oh, and thank you for the tip about the Command hooks. I've always been curious if those work. So, perhaps I'll give 'em a test run one day.

  14. That rug looks fabulous! It really is all coming together!

  15. I just found your blog this week and I am obssessed! I love your painted TV console. Do you mind telling me what color white and the brand you used to paint it? As in antique white, soft white, bright white... I am painting some furntiure this weekend, thanks to your awesome instructions and wanted to pick a great white paint.

    1. I shared all of the TV console details in this post:

      It was actually chalk paint from Home Depot....called Everlasting.

  16. You are such an inspiration, I have painted two pieces of furniture, a vanity table and a dresser now TV stand.

    1. Wow! You go, girl!! Glad I could help get you started. Love that!

  17. So exciting seeing how everything is coming together. The place looks fantastic! Love the new rug and the light fixtures. God bless your patience, painting the complete INSIDE of a chest of drawers... you are my hero. And I love all the pictures with your cats (because I'm a crazy cat lady)

    1. Ha! I know...I was really wanting to give up halfway through painting the insides of the drawers. It definitely wasn't for the faint of heart! Or me. :)

  18. The rooms looks gorgeous! Thank you for sharing! How in the world did you get Rugs USA to offer you a rug for free?? That rug is so beautiful, I want to be a cat.

    1. Hi Stefanie. Well, I guess in a nutshell....I blogged for two years and built a following. It's been a lot of work, and I've loved every minute of it. So, occasionally these days a company will reach out to me and see if they can feature a product on my blog. I usually say no (so as to not bombard you guys with constant advertisements), and only say yes when it's something reeeeeally good that I know my readers will want to know about or if it's just something too good to pass up. Knowwhattamean? Hope that answers your questions. :)

  19. I can't even. "Boob lights." And when the cats demonstrated your passing out on the rugs, I snorted. At work. I literally. can't. even. I came to your blog for the decorating/renovating, but I'm staying for so much more. You own me.

  20. Boob slay me!

  21. You are the most entertaining writer out of all the bloggers I follow. And I love reading about the way your house is transforming into a gorgeous home!

  22. Beautiful job! You had great vision and have made it a reality. Your pet stories always make me laugh and your blog is very entertaining. Thanks for making me smile. And, I LOVE those chandeliers!

  23. Lookin' good Virginia! I, too, have been following your blog for awhile now and cheering you on as you renovate your home. Great job! PS Love those healthy looking cats, and yes, (still) love the stone wall!

  24. I love what you have done with the place and that rug is to die for! It makes my rug look sad. Haha. And I still love the stone wall as-is, but that's just me personally. I think it looks really nice with the new renos.

  25. I love it. Your kitchen looks wonderful without the wall. The media cabinet is just too cute.

  26. I'd love to have more information on those chandeliers you got from Lowes! Those would look PERFECT in our new house! Do you have an item number or manufacturer or anything?


  27. 1) There is no cat quota
    2) Painting the inside of my 1950's desk drawers was like magic, so thank you for that. (Seriously - stains I could not place and scratches from what turned out to be a Kennedy campaign pin [I wonder if I should've kept that...])
    3) I've caught the bug, the office is complete, and now it's on to the bedroom. I shudder at the thought - it's not much but I'll make it something yet!
    4) Thank YOU for sharing your part of the world with us!

  28. OMG I just happened upon your blog this past weekend and I've been reading old posts non-stop! I'm in love with your cats (as I too have two) and ADORE your house. You have done an amazing job and are inspiring me to thrift even more than I do already! Right now, everything I'm finding is being stored in my mother's basement until my husband and I buy a new house. I have tons of projects to do but want to wait to see what the new house dictates stylewise and then I'm going to go on a painting/reupolstering/reimaging mission with everything I've been buying :)

    Keep on rocking it and I look forward to reading more about your projects :)


  29. I love love love your rug! Would you mind sharing if the stripe of gray or brown??

  30. Loving the rug in the dining room- where did you find it?


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