Living Room; Retro Remodel

Welcome Back to our Retro Remodel Series.
This is the story of our first house remodel, while we were in college (FYI for new comers).
Surprisingly, we did the very least in the living room of the Logan house.   It was in decent shape (shrug)… while other things were AWFUL.  We tried over time to do little things here and there, but honestly that is as far as we got.
Not much to say:  Here are the before pictures:

The room had great light, and good moldings.  Also, one of my favorite features was the antique copper light fixture.  The walls were in good shape but really dirty, the ceiling was popcorn, disgusting carpet, and there were vertical blinds in the windows.

The fireplace was totally functional, in fact we used it to heat the house, and it worked really, really efficiently.  I just didn’t really like the look.  Unfortunately, it is something that we didn’t get to change.  I thought about painting the rock white, but the heat the fireplace put off would have been too much for the paint.

As for the flooring, the carpet was at least a few layers thick.  We removed all of that the first weekend we stayed in the house.  I was hoping for nice wood floors, but that is not exactly what we found.   This is what we found:
The entire floor had been plastered!  Yeah, believe me, I know.  To even it all out, they plastered it.  We spent a week pounding out plaster (the same time my Mom and Aunt visited in this post).  Also a few spots had been replaced with plywood sub-floor.
The replaced spots were a big problem since we wanted to save the floor.  This was not a wood that you could go out and buy.  This stuff was 100 years old.   What we ended up doing was cutting out the floor in the large front closet and using those planks to patch the holes.   Then replaced the closet floor with plywood.
This image is after we sanded.  The floor was an old pine.  I actually really liked it, but I made one major mistake.  After sanding we hadn’t gotten around to finishing it.  We were walking on cardboard boxes so that we wouldn’t mess up the raw wood.  One day out of the blue I decided I couldn’t take it any more so I polyurethaned the floor, without staining the wood.  You see, the wood looked like it was all the same color…. it was not!  If only it had been stained, I would have loved the floor… Instead of just liking it.  Oh well, live and learn, case in point, I stained the other rooms!
Here we are sanding the floor.  If I had known more at the time I would have rented a belt sander, but a “know it all” salesmen told me exactly what to get…  We were sanding for hours and hours, our necks were dead.  We only had it rented for a day, and so we were up sanding til like 3 in the morning… I remember walking back and forth staring at the ceiling to change the position of my neck.  It hurts just thinking about it.
That light picture is most likely a first hazard.  I don’t think we actually used the light much, (while the bag was on it)  I just think the picture is funny.
now we have a huge room with no furniture…  What better place to camp out!  Oh yeah, a camp out with the niece and nephews!…  Oh my goodness they are all SO little!  The oldest is almost 17 now!
Here we are drinking huge glass of hot chocolate and moving in our free furniture!  Oh my, that is a really big lamp!  I got a matching set and the DI (or goodwill)  I think we sold both the couch and lamps at a garage sale.
I am showing this picture not to be festive, but so you can see the bright blue wall that I painted on a whim!   I did that a lot in this house, I should actually do that more here, it was fun to fool around like that and not worry about it!  Even though I repented of that idea pretty fast…. but I still kinda like the color.
You can also see the blinds.  Which I made my husband remove that very Christmas day, because he gave me a “coupon” for any project I wanted.  And what I really wanted was interior shutters.  Which we couldn’t afford.
What we could afford was the old closet doors from our master bedroom, that were hanging out in our garage.   They just happen to fit almost perfectly (after a slight trim), along with my mom’s old copper hinges from her kitchen remodel, that just happened to match the light fixture… I was in re-use heaven.  (My sister let us borrow her couches, while they were moving houses, just FYI)
Like I have said in other retro remodel posts, we were doing a lot of projects at once.  And sometimes lived in utter craziness.  Here is an example of that, our entire master bedroom and living room in one, just wait til you see the master bedroom… it is beautiful post to come in the next few weeks.
Talk about a MESS!
I have mentioned before that during my first year in college, I worked at the Home Depot.  I saw a lot of good deals.  One of which was this rug.  I was trying to put it away and wasn’t sure where it was supposed to go, so I checked the SKU and the computer said it was $25.00.  I bought it on the spot.  It wasn’t exactly my style, but it was and 8′ x 11′ rug and it was only $25.00, I repeat $25.00 brand spankin’ new!!  And really the colors were not too bad.
I also bought 2 gallons of returned paint for $5.00 each.  The color was Ralph Lauren Kauai.  Which meant I had to prime my blue wall, I think it was only that color for about 4 months.  Then my Mom and sister Tiffany came over and they helped us paint.
(btw you can see our “shutters” in these few pictures picture)
After it was painted the room really looked quite nice.  I kind of hung my art weird but oh well.  My sister needed her couches back, so we got another set of free couches.   Only this time I decided to recover them.
 Here is the (pretty non-informative) recovering process:
The old slip covers.
We didn’t have cable or even local channels while I worked on this project.  So I went to the library and rented a bunch of history channel shows.  I think I watched the entire Presidents of the United States series.. (they are each like 6 hours long each!!)  I like history, what can I say…  Check out that old sateen fabric, yikes!
I was going through my red hair stage, actually these remodels document my different hair styles quite well, keep an eye out.
Anyway, I didn’t quite finish for about 2 years…oops!  This is what it looked like for a while.  I decided to add a skirt to the front of the couches and make two large back pillows to update the look of them… and we still have them today.  I am dreaming of the day when we have cash in hand for new couches!
That is about all we did.  Here are the final pictures right before we sold the house.

What do you think?  Really there were no big scary parts to this room,
besides the floor, but it looks pretty decent.

Check out the other Retro-Remodel posts for more before and afters.

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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. >Wow. I'm just so impressed how you can take something kind of blah and turn it into something from House Beautiful magazine! You're amazing!

  2. >Ahhhh yes, that cursed chandelier in your living room still has pieces of my head on it probably from all the times I hit it. It's funny, I was in that room tons of times, yet seeing that process reminded me of all the things you guys did that I just forgot about. I'm sure you didn't need reminding:)

    You should put the before pictures right next to the after ones at the end of the post so everyone can see hwo amazing it really is.

    Good stuff!

  3. >amazing job, lots of hard work on that floor. I love your slipcovers and that leather ottoman coffee table.

  4. >wOW! Do you want to come and recover my couches? Those look awesome, mine need some serious attention or a complete makeover! I love the color of your walls in your living room, they are pretty!

  5. >Refinishing floors is such back (and neck) breaking work. There are many places on our floors that we've "lived and learned" from as well but I sure do love ours better than our golden grandma carpet we ripped out the day we moved in about a year and a half a go! We too had to scavenge from closets to patch a few spots but it worked out great. I guess lots of people in our neighborhood have the same wood floors since all the houses were built in the early 60s and the loans everyone was getting required a wood floor for some reason. We even thought of asking our neighbors for a few sections out of their closets when we thought we were just a few squares short but luckly we scavenged up enough. Anything to save a buck, right? Ha Ha Ha

  6. >The paint color is Ralph Lauren Kauai
    RL Number: NA57, in the Naturals collection. I loved that paint! I actually bought 2 gallons of it in the mis-mixed section 5.00 each, I guess cause someone didn't like the color!

  7. Oh, now this I remember! I thought…and still think you were the most talented woman I had ever met. You guys are incredible. I love watching you transform spaces.