So… the living room. First it looked like this:
Then it looked like this:
Then it looked like this:
And now it looks like this:
Although the salmon pink walls, orange-brown bricks, and all of that dark wood trim & paneling is a far cry from our vision for this room down the line (we keep changing our minds, but today we’re dreaming of something like this for the brick, coffered ceilings like this, and this for the paneling someday) it definitely feels a lot homier already. You know, with a couch to sit on instead of a pile of non-sit-on-able furniture.
Oh and we shared this picture on Instagram/FB a few nights back, but don’t you think salmon is Burger’s color? That is one good lookin’ chihuahua. Not that I’m biased or anything.
As for our sectional shrinkage (I’ll pause while you titter) we needed a giant sofa for our last house’s giant 25′ long living room. Pictures truly didn’t do that room’s colossal size justice, but the sectional was thirteen feet long and almost that deep (the average sofa is usually around seven feet long for comparison).
And while some folks love giant rooms and giant sofas, our first house‘s cozy den was the room we missed the most…
… so we pretty much thought it was fate when we saw our new house and the living room reminded us of that cozy room. I think they’re cousins. Here’s the before shot of our first house’s den to compare with the first picture in this post.
Anyway, our Karlstad sectional from Ikea (Karl for short) came in four switch-around-able pieces, so we decided that keeping the sofa + the chaise (and losing the loveseat and corner seat that made it into a giant U-shaped couch) made the most sense for our new living room.
So without buying any additional pieces we were able to just connect the exterior arm that used to live on the end of the sectional to the sofa part and remove the extra stuff in the middle (corner piece and loveseat). Only took about fifteen minutes. And as for the unused two pieces that we removed, we stuck those up in the unfinished storage room with a plastic drop cloth around them. Why didn’t we craigslist them? We just figured selling the corner and loveseat to a sofa that’s incomplete without another end piece that someone would have to purchase might fetch us $20 tops, and it’s worth more just to hold onto them in case we get a new living room couch in a decade or so and decide to use Karl up in the bunkroom/movie room when we finish that space down the line.
We also built the console behind the sofa two years ago, which we made in three interlockable pieces. And the cool thing is that we realized that if we left out the middle piece it almost fit perfectly behind the freshly shrunk sofa. Almost is the key word since it’s still about 6″ too long (over on the fireplace side there’s some overhang) but it works for now, and we’re planning to shorten it so it’s completely fitted for this room.
After a few years of living with a big padded storage ottoman instead of a coffee table and a console that spans the width of the sofa, we’ve just learned that it’s really functional for our family to have the console (for things like tea at night) and an ottoman (for hiding toys and for Clara to lounge on during the day).
Oh and you might notice that the second hole in the brick fireplace wall, which was meant for firewood back in the day, has been covered by a leaning frame. It just felt like a big dark hole whenever I glanced at it from the sofa, and since this fireplace is no longer functional (we’d love to slip a gas insert into it down the line) we didn’t need it staring at us while we gasped over the last four minutes of last week’s Game Of Thrones episode. Seriously, I audibly gasped at least a dozen times in that span of about four minutes.
As for the other side of the room, we’re keeping the 80’s wet bar closed off with doors for now (we’d love to expand the doorway to the kitchen into that area down the line since we don’t really have a use for it) but I did have some fun putting things on the built-ins in the corner.
Yup, it turns out when my house is full of freshly deposited moving chaos, I like to putter around with books and ceramic animals. So while it looked like this on moving day…
… within 24 hours it looked like this.
The rest of the house still looked completely trashed, but this little corner was happy. #smallvictories
Oh and we took down a bunch of doors on the first floor that blocked off spaces that we prefer to be left open for better flow (the doors on the right block the foyer from the kitchen and the doors on the left block the kitchen from the living room).
Now we can peek in on Clara in the living room while we cook in the kitchen, and there’s a nice view of the big bay of windows in the back of the kitchen from the foyer instead of staring at two dark and heavy doors about ten feet from the entryway. Clearly there’s still some crazy color going on when you catch a few rooms in one view, but you gotta start somewhere…
We also took down the doors that blocked off the kitchen from the dining room. It’s amazing how much breezier it feels – even with a bunch of rooms full of dark blue trim, wood paneling, and a boatload of wallpaper (there are at least five different types of wallpaper going on in our house). Speaking of wallpaper, that’s pretty high on my attack list. I think I’m going to test out a bunch of different techniques for you guys and rate them all (should be fun to see which are urban DIY legends and which ones work the best). And… that’s the kind of thing that gets me excited. Yup. I’m grinning at the computer right now. Get a hold of yourself Petersik.
Good luck with your wallpaper removal. I just removed 2 layers of wallpaper that had paint on top!! I started by scoring it with a utility knife (just made loads of X’s). Then I used a spray bottle that pumps (I think they are used for spraying bug spray) to spray boiling water mixed with several cups of cheap fabric softener. After letting that soak for 30 minutes, nothing really happened when I tried to scrape off the paper. This was disappointing as many websites claimed this was the end-all-be-all of wallpaper removal. So I used the wallpaper steamer and it slid right off. The next day I thought the steamer would do the trick on its own, but I was wrong. Something about the fabric softener/boiling water, soaking time, and reheating with the steamer helped the paper slide off fairly easily.
Megan H. says
Looking good already Petersiks!
If you are crazy for getting excited about testing out wallpaper removal theories, how crazy does it make me since I am looking forward to reading about them?!
We lucked out that there is only one wall in our entire house with wallpaper. It happens to be a full wallpapered mural of a beautiful beach. We plopped the treadmill in there and now I can at least pretend I am running on the beach.
That wallpaper is going to have to go eventually though!
Love it! I am slowly learning the art of using what you have and not acting on an impulse to run our and buy things for the house.
And, can I be the only one who was thinking about Monica from Friends saying “I’m breezy!” during this post?
Totallllllly get the bookcase deal and I’m right there with you. My fiancé thought I was crazy, but having eye candy is an important thing!
For wallpaper if you have a fabric steamer laying around I would use that. It makes removing it so much faster. BTW it made my day meeting you two at home depot sat ( i hope you didn’t mind me coming up to you to say hi)
It was so nice to run into you too Becky!
Rene @thedomesticlady says
We rented a commercial steamer to remove ours. IT WAS AMAZING!
Sherry, please come arrange my furniture and built-ins! We’ve lived in our new house for a year now and are still struggling w/ a living room layout (long narrow w/ a fireplace on the long wall)…and I would just love for our built-ins to not be a place where already read books go to collect dust! I’m very impressed by the organized built-ins on day 1. Question…was John in the background grinding his teeth and mumbling about *&%# ceramic animals??? B/c I’m pretty sure that’s what my hubby would’ve been doing :) Keep up the good work!
He was sitting on the couch watching TV and laughing at me. Men!
I’m so excited to see what you do with this house. If its wrong to be geeking out about someone elses home improvements I don’t want to be right. :D
Mary | lemongroveblog says
Look at you guys GO! Absolutely adore your inspiration picture – can’t wait to see the room evolve. :)
Looks great but with the placement of the TV and the window you must have a ton of sunlight on the screen. Do you think you’ll keep the TV where it is and just do curtains or eventually rearrange?
For now this has worked (the big group of windows in the living room look out into the sunroom, so we don’t get any big glare on the TV like we would if that was the outside world) but I have no idea if down the line things will get shifted around. That tends to happen a lot as we go :)
[email protected] says
I can’t wait to see some paint and things! But it’s amazing the difference a little furniture can make in a space!
Every time I see your sectional it makes me want one more and more!
I got really lucky with the (super groovy) wallpaper that was in our house when we moved in. It peeled right off the wall (no steam required!), and then I just used white vinegar, hot water, and a sponge to wipe the paste residue off the wall. Hopefully your wallpaper adventures are similar!
I am totally going to try vinegar. It’s been my new favorite cleaning tool lately, after epic child and cat puke on carpet episodes and some seriously stinky laundry.
We had such trouble getting the wallpaper glue off the walls where we’ve removed paper, I would LOVE it if the magic answer turned out to be vinegar.
Haha! We don’t want to ruin things by reading. I LOVED that we didn’t see it coming. But you’re right, we’re not true GOT nerds. But DIY nerds? Check.
Love that white-washed brick idea for your fireplace, really beautiful. Love watching how the new house progresses!
Oh man can’t wait to see the painted brick and how you do that! I am about to paint our stone fireplace today with a diluted Annie Sloan chalk paint/latex paint mixture. Not sure what I’m doing but gonna give it a go! Good job you guys keep on keepin’ on!
My sofa naturally has this shape and I love it! It was a great way to get lots of space in a small apartment.
Wallpaper removal . . . aaaack!!! But honestly, you never know with that stuff . . . I bet some of it comes off easily, and other stuff will come up in teeny shreds. What kind of walls are behind the paper — drywall or plaster?
It’s all drywall so we hope it’s easy… you never know until you get into it I think!
That is the truth! We redid my sister’s and my bedrooms growing up; the old wallpaper in her room took DAYS to do and kept coming off in little shredlets. We finished with hers and then mine came off in under an hour; we pulled off virtually intact entire sheets. You never know until you try… :)
I love your sofa console! Not only does it give you a place to set your cup of tea – it also gives your sofa “breathing room” and prevents that shoved-up-against-the-wall furniture placement. Now when I see someone’s sofa with a sofa back like yours, I say “Yep, they sure could use a YHL console”.
Sherry, you’ve styled the bookcase/shelves beautifully with all your treasures – so “putter” away!
Good luck with the wallpaper removal! We had to do a lot of that when we bought our house four years ago. The smell of fabric softener still brings back memories!
We tried several options too. The steamer worked REALLY well, but in some places in our house (which was built in 1924) it removed the plaster too. This was most common on spots where there was paint over wall paper. That stuff was the worst to get off! In most spots scoring, hot water with fabric softener and then lots of scrapping, followed by washing the glue off with hot water did the trick. It was always the multiple layers of wallpaper or the painted over stuff that gave us trouble.
Hopefully yours comes off easily with no wall damage! Several of ours needed repair, from the above mentioned damage with the steamer, and from cracked, uneven, rough or unfinished walls beneath!
Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms says
I think it is so fun to see how different items work in different rooms of a new house! It keeps everything fresh! I also think that taking down the doors was an amazing transformation!! Great idea! Eek! So much fun with this new house!
love, love, love the white-washed brick!
Having taken down most of the wall paper in our 1989 home, I would like to throw in my two cents and say that the wallpaper steamer is the way to go. We borrowed one from a family member and it made it so easy. After a good steaming, the paper comes down in full strips. I wouldn’t mess with scoring, fabric softener, or any of that if you can get your hands on to a steamer.
I love that console and even though I had read back a few years of your blog, I missed that post. Loved it! Especially the distressed wood and individually stained pieces! Want to make a much smaller version for my space. Bummer that the James Bond secret section doesn’t fit and wouldn’t work on its own somewhere.
Just curious, how many types of flooring does/did this house have? I see three just in the last pic! Do you have “rules” on how many types of flooring to use in a house?
We always aim to achieve something nice and open and seamless with flooring (as opposed to choppy) so since there’s some damage to the slate in the foyer and the half bath, and there are three rooms with hardwoods (the living room, office, and dining room) we think running new flooring in the foyer, half bathroom, and into the kitchen will make everything flow together. We’re flirting with the idea of heated tile (maybe in a dark charcoal color) but who knows where we’ll end up!
Brittany D says
What are your long-term plans for the doorways where doors were removed? Do you plan to fill the holes and cut-outs areas where the hinges were located? Or, replace the trim altogether? We have some unnecessary doors in our house and I am not sure how to tackle the ugly, mangled door frames left behind when the doors are removed.
Oh yes, we have had luck filling those with spackle or wood filler and just painting it for a nice seamless look. We pop out that trim piece where the doors rest as well, just so they look like they were always open and never had a past life as doors.
Love your inspiration for the room! Makes much more sense with the exterior of the house, too. Excited for y’all!
Judy Beeksma says
I can hardly tell you how excited I am for you guys. I look forward to your sensible approach to recreating this space. Good luck with it all. I have my seatbelt on and am ready for the ride!
It’s so funny — when I saw the first pic of your new living room I thought, “It totally looks like a mashup of House #1 (fireplace brick, beams, and paneling) and House #2 (size and beams)!” I think your first LR is what drew me to the site, so I’m really excited to see what happens in this space.
Speaking of GOT, i’m sure i’m not the first person to tell you this, but seriously, when are you gonna come out and admit that you’re actually Daenerys, and Emilia Clarke is just your stage name? I know the blond might throw some off, but when her hair is her natural brown color, I SWEAR you could be twins!
Haha, she’s my sister from another mister! I wanna meet her in person and see if it’s crazy or if we really don’t look that much alike in real life. I think it could go either way…
What’s with all of these dysfunctional fireplaces? ; ) Seriously, why can’t you burn in this one?
Haha! I think old houses = cracked fireplace. This one is cracked and needs a new liner. We had gas in our first house’s den anyway and loved it (we also had a wood-burning fireplace there and never used it once!) so we’re cool with going with gas.
When we moved into our house growing up, the first thing my mom had us do was rip off the onion and chives wallpaper in the kitchen. Seriously, olive green and gold onion colors of onions. Had to go. I think we just found a seam and pulled.
I tried a lot of fancy products to remove wallpaper, but #1 method? Downy fabric softener with hot as you can possibly
stand it water. Works like a.charm and non toxic.
Have fun stripping!
Taylor B. says
Yay! I’ve been waiting for wallpaper tips from you guys! Congrats on the house. Can’t wait for all the new projects to come!
Teresa @ wherelovemeetslife says
It’s begun!!! Loving it so far.. and your inspiration is intersting too!
Oh, and we opted out of HBO for this season (exploring other options) so we didn’t get to keep up with Game of Thrones and it.is.killing.me!!!!
OH MY GOSH! Things. Got. Crazy.
I just took down wallpaper for the first time (I waited three years I was so nervous) – I just used a putty scrapper, a big sponge and warm water. Mine came down pretty easy – I don’t think it is the same for everyone. Just a lot of peeling, wetting and scrapping :)
We used the water mixed with laundry detergent method to remove old wallpaper (original wallpaper from 1926!) from our home. My husband bought a cheap sprayer with a pump and sprayed it all over the walls. We have plaster walls v. your drywall so I don’t know how that would factor in. Our old wallpaper may have a different type of adhesive as well. It was messy, but it worked and he pulled off some huge chunks of wallpaper that we saved to frame as an homage to our home’s history. Gotta love old RVA houses! The laundry detergent also made the house smell really clean and fresh!
I hear you on the wallpaper! We bought a new house 7 months ago. I removed wallpaper in 2 rooms so far and have 3 more to go! I tried the vinegar/water spray, fabric softener and clothes steamer options. I finally broke down and bought the Wagner wallpaper steamer. Definitely the easiest and least messy option. It’s time consuming, but works the best for me.
I vote for painting the interior of the wood storage box a brighter color, putting a pad down and letting Burger make that his very own den! You could get really fancy and even stencil some Bugercentric artwork on his “walls” for him!!!
It’s only said partially in jest – my dog LOVES spaces like that to curl up in.
That’s actually a fabulous idea, my dogs would LOVE that kind of cozy space!
cara D says
I’m planning on building a console for my 8 foot sofa too and making a padded ottoman. Right now we just have two end tables so we only want to sit on the ends and only one end has a chaise.
Looking great! And I did the same thing, got the living room shelves all put together while there were 50 boxes in the kitchen……As far as wallpaper, our second house had 2 stories of the ugliest wallpapers(!) ever, they HAD to have been put up on a lost bet or dare, no one would willingly do that to a house….twice! AND, they were put on with a ceramic based glue that was impossible to get off. The papers came off, badly, with a Paper Tiger scratcher and plenty of water and steam, but the glue remained. We hand sanded for months and then patched, primed and painted. We actually had a contractor tell us that he pitied us after he saw the ceramic glue problem. But the point of this whole story is…it is a lot of work to take off wallpaper, but so worth it in the end! And you get a wonderful arm workout as you go! Can’t wait to see the afters!
Another vote for Downey + water. Score the wallpaper, spray on The Downy mixture, stand around on the April freshness for 10 minutes and start pulling.
Side note, if you have burned on gunk in a pan, fill it with hot water and a fabric softener sheet, and by the time the water cools, the stuff will slide right off.
Eric @ AddSomeCharacter says
It’s incredible what removing a couple doors from the house will do. We have taken out about 5 doors so far. What were people thinking 60 years ago??
I white-washed our brick fireplace. It made a HUGE difference in our small living room. It was also very easy. I did it in one night after the kids went to sleep and my husband was out of town.
Omg, Khaleesi the sofa. LOVE it. XD The new living space is moving right along, too. Yay, you guys!
When removing wallpaper from a spare room from our 1927 house last summer, my mother-in-law and I found spraying plain warm water and letting it soak in for a few minutes before attacking it with a putty knife worked really well. I had used DIF on another room and found it to be messy and very drippy, which then lead to having to clean the baseboards more times that I cared to!
I’m all giggly with the links of your visions and the newness of your house journey. Someone mentioned it’s like reading a great novel and I think that’s the best description. I love that rug from your previous bedroom. It looks great with Karl.
Jen Banker says
Every room in our house (10 rooms, an entry and 2 hallways) were/are covered in 4 layers of wallpaper dating back to the 60’s. when we first moved in we were all gung ho and went to town on the living room and dining room. We tried everything. Everything. Fabric softener, vinegar, boiling water. A steamer. Scoring. Scraping. It was awful. Turns out they had adhered the first layer directly to the drywall. After weeks of work getting all the layers off we ended up having to tear down the drywall because it was in such bad shape. I’m not ashamed to say that I cried. But it turned out to be a good thing because there was no insulation in the walls! I don’t know what the builders were thinking!
Can’t wait to see how you do it!
Maggie S says
I rented a wallpaper steamer and it took the paper off in big sheets in all four rooms. It was fast and easy–but it might have been the paper. Some wallpaper is relatively easy and some is not! I think it depends on the type of glue that is used.
Hope yours is the easy kind!!
we have so many rooms with painted-over wallpaper… we’re actually taking the coward’s way out and just tearing out the drywall and re-drywalling it all. fresh start. sad, ain’t it?
I just removed a ton of wallpaper in my kitchen. The steamer worked great, but nothing was the charm for that massive amounts of glue left on the walls. Hot vinegar and water (50/50 mix) sponged on and then attacked with a nylon scrub brush seemed to work best, but I can still see some spots. I’m going to prime it with oil-based Kilz to be safe. At least all that scrubbing toned my arms ;-)
Love all your inspiration for the room. Can’t wait to see the progression start. As for the hole in the brick… One thing I immediately thought of was a little cave for Burger. When we got our first dog, the owner had a very old home with 2 massive openings on either side of the firebox. She had put dog crates in them. (These were German Sheperd sized crates.) Just a thought…
So funny! Someone else said that too! Burger would cry if I stuck him in there. He must be a scaredy cat (scaredy dog?) but he prefers hiding under blankets and pillows to dark brick holes in the wall. Haha!