Next Step - The Living Room

If you saw my last post, I showed you the new kitchen in this sweet cottage. Now we are moving on to the living room, and what a transformation it is!

Before the renovation, when you walked through this front door, you immediately saw a wall with a fireplace, which was flanked by built in shelving. The space was very tight and compartmentalized, but I saw great potential in this particular area.

This room originally had one doorway going into the back den area, and one going into the main hallway. It was a nice space, but there was great daylight available through the front windows and the back door going out onto the deck. Natural daylight is the preferred type of lighting in any space. I wanted to maximize this light source.

This is the view of the back den looking into the living area. The fireplace was on the other side of this wall. This room was not very large, but it joined the kitchen, so it was a very important area.

I discussed taking this major wall out, and the client agreed that it would positively change the entire feel of the space. So it happened! We took out the wall to see what we had to work with...and we had an original brick fireplace!

Once we took the wall out, I could already see how much it was going to open up the space.

During this process, we noticed damage on the majority of the front wall of the home, so we had to do some major damage control. That is one thing about buying and are never quite sure what is underneath until you start pulling back the layers. The original wall was shiplap, but not much of it was we completely rebuilt the wall.


The chimney had this quirky unfinished corner. So we decided to have a brick mason fill it in with some of the original brick that we found on site. These imperfections add character to an old home-they tell a story of the past, which creates such interest!

This house had a lot of original shiplap, which I was really happy to uncover! But you have to use moderation when accenting an item. We did decide to keep these two walls in the den, as it created a cozy masculine feel for this client.

Since we took the fireplace wall out, we had to place a beam in the ceiling to bear the weight of the home. This is not an easy task, but well worth it for the open plan that it created. This should always be done by a licensed contractor, as it is a critical step in a renovation.

No walls--What a change! When I walked in to see this clean look, I have to admit that it took my breath away! This original focal piece steals the show in this area. Now the living room and den are all one room, and it makes this house look so much larger.

We did decide to bring back the original mantle, as it finished the look of the brick fireplace. There were two different types of brick that needed the separation in order for it to look uniform.

But we did take some time to take it down to the original wood-there were many layers of paint on it. I love using as many original items to a home or business as possible.

The glazed brick on the face of the fireplace was an issue. It was a different color and the grout was a bright white, which made it look like a faux brick. So we brainstormed and decided to paint a coating of Re-Coat on it.I hoped that this would help it blend into the mantle. Of course I looked at a sample of it on a piece of wood before we moved ahead! I love samples, as they prevent mistakes that cannot be reversed.

The shiplap walls in the den area had a few damaged places that had to be replaced, and all of the trimwork also had to be new. This caused the same issue that we had in the kitchen, which was making all of the wood look the same, even though the old was aged in a way that only time can do. My wood stain guru and I worked tirelessly on these color combinations, and finally got them as close as possible.

We also created a faux cabinet in this room to give more headroom to the stairwell going into the garage, but it worked perfectly as a little serving area in this den/dining space! We used some of the original siding from the exterior of the home to feature this base.

Once these main renovations were complete, we had the floors sanded down. Then the floor stain had to be chosen for the main part of the home and the we came up with a darker color to create some contrast with the shiplap walls that we kept. It is important when choosing a floor stain that you remember that a very dark stain or a very light stain will show dirt more than a medium color stain.

We also had to choose a door stain. It was a bit more tricky, as it had to be a gel there is no way to see a sample of that. Once it goes on the door, it is done. So I chose one and went with it...and it turned out to be a great contrast to the walls and floors...and the perfect complement to the new exterior of the home.

As you can see, details are key in a home renovation, or a new build. There are so many pieces to the full plan, and they must all fit together nicely. Here is the finished space, and it is definitely a show stopper!


I know that this area of the home will be a fabulous space to entertain friends and loved ones for years to come. I am so glad that I could be a small part of this big plan!

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