The living room was a dark, over cramped room to the left of the front entrance if you were walking in through the front door. I don’t have any before pictures but here are a few “in progress” pictures. Below you can see the front entrance and how it opens up into the living room.
Removing the trees in the front made a huge difference in the lighting of this room. Because of that, I was able to use a slightly darker paint color (Behr Ground Fog) and still have it feel light and airy, without feeling cold, which is what my real estate agent advised. I mostly stayed away from the colder grays, and tried out “greige” colors, to keep with my love of gray, but still allow the house to feel warm and cozy.
I wanted to make the fireplace the focal point in the living room. Inspired by the fireplaces designed by Joanna Gaines (HVTV’s Fixer Upper) and her love of shiplap, I came up with this.
I asked the contractors to build a traditional mantel above which they installed horizontal planks, inspired by shiplap (seen better in the picture below), and tiled over the brick with marble tiles. At the base, they built a ledge that is covered with a slate gray tile that also used in the hallway, kitchen, and bathrooms. In addition, we added new trim and crown molding, recessed lighting and laminate wood floors. Speaking of the laminate wood, our realtor advised that since the look of laminate has improved so much, buyers are ok with it and this was an area where we saved while still achieving the look of hard wood floors. On the other hand, I debated over the fireplace because having a custom built mantel turned out to be quite expensive. I could have just painted the brick white and called it a day but I was so excited about the design I came up with that I just had to go through with it despite the cost. E encouraged me to go with it to test out my design skills, knowing that we couldn’t lose money on this resell (house bought more than 15 years ago with significant appreciation). In the end I’m so glad I did. Our real estate agent heard buyer comments that they liked the fire place and it just makes me feel good to make the room what I wanted it to be. I’m curious to hear any thoughts on the fireplace and if it was a worthwhile splurge.
The front door change made a huge difference to the entry way, making it bright and inviting. I always thought that having solid, double doors for this small house did not look right.
I would have liked simpler glass panes but conceded to this front door from Home Depot due to cost and immediate availability. At least the design on the glass was simple and not flowery. I added wainscoting to enhance the cottage feel and also to add more white to the space and allowing some contrast with the walls, which are painted Behr Subtle Touch, which is a light gray/blue color. Here is where it is important to check on the house regularly (more than weekly, or every other week, which is all I had time for with a full time job and 2 kids). I wanted a wide panel wainscoting but what got installed was very thin vertical planks. I am still bummed about it looking at this picture, put overall, it probably (hopefully) did not make too much difference.
Disregard the dust on the floors. These pictures were taken before the house was cleaned and there was a lot of construction dust. Otherwise, I liked the look over the darker tiled floors against all of the white and light paint colors in the house. The tile I linked to is a lighter gray but in-store, they have the darker, charcoal gray color which is what I used. Also, I felt the dark floors were ok with the ample natural light in the house. The schoolhouse ceiling light is from lamps plus though I can’t find the original one I bought which was about $50. I really like this type of light and have one in my house as well, though from Restoration Hardware. It’s classic and simple.
I can imagine a bench in front of the wall to the right with hooks installed in the wainscoting for hats and small backpacks/bags. I really like how the living room and entry turned out and the house overall. I kept telling E that I wanted to move in!