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Living room remodel

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
DH and I busted our behinds trying to get our living room remodel done before the family reunion at our house over last weekend. We didn't get to the curtains or floors, but the difference between the before and after is tremendous. Just wanted to share.

Just when we were starting (the room was emptied):


The new fireplace wall. We had a friend of a friend build the bookcases, and we completed the world's hardest jigsaw puzzle with the stones around the fireplace. This picture was taken at night with the new spotlights shining down on the cabinets:


A view before we got the ugly 4x10 painted cedar beams out of the ceiling. These were 30 foot beams that were toe-nailed into the walls and didn't have any structural purpose to the room. The only thing they did was to lower the ceiling by 10 inches. You can see in the ceiling of the dining room in the foreground where we had already replaced the beams with 1x6's:


Some pictures taken this afternoon. The long wall had a single patio door that went out to our deck. We punched 3 more holes and added another patio door and 2 windows. You can't see them in these pictures, but there is a lake behind the house. We couldn't really see the view unless we were standing in one spot in the living room. I can now see the lake from anywhere in the kitchen, dining room and living room. We added a ceiling fan and replaced the eyeball lights with recessed canned lights.

Taken while standing by the fireplace:


Taken while standing in my sun room through one of the patio doors. That's Lola standing in the window:
post #2 of 26
WOW! What a gorgeous transformation! Great job to you guys!
post #3 of 26
Simply amazing!!! No other words... Except maybe WOW! You guys did an excellent job. It's gorgeous!! Doesn't even look like the same room.

Can I have your house?? Just kidding. Sort of.
post #4 of 26
You did a great job . It looks beautiful
post #5 of 26
What an excellent redecorating job you've done there. It looks so cosy at night with your spotlights on
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelongsToEvie View Post
Doesn't even look like the same room.
When we bought this house, it was in very bad shape but because it had a small lake behind it (shared with the community), we bought it anyway, knowing that we had to do the kitchen, living room, bathrooms and landscaping.

We did the kitchen last year. We'll start the landscaping this fall and probably do a bathroom next year. Here's the link to the kitchen remodel thread. That was also a case of not recognizing it when it was done, probably because we moved the kitchen to a different spot in the house.

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...itchen+remodel
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
When we bought this house, it was in very bad shape but because it had a small lake behind it (shared with the community), we bought it anyway, knowing that we had to do the kitchen, living room, bathrooms and landscaping.

We did the kitchen last year. We'll start the landscaping this fall and probably do a bathroom next year. Here's the link to the kitchen remodel thread. That was also a case of not recognizing it when it was done, probably because we moved the kitchen to a different spot in the house.

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...itchen+remodel
I do remember that thread! So long ago I didn't make the connection... You are right, that was almost like a whole new house! Wow, if your next projects are as much of an improvement as your last two, your house will be the envy of the entire neighborhood (and TCS! )!! You are doing this all yourselves? My hat's off to you, that is so impressive!! Hubby and I have only managed to move one cabinet to install an over-the-range microwave... You guys are awesome!!
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelongsToEvie View Post
You are doing this all yourselves? My hat's off to you, that is so impressive!!
We do all the design ourselves. I do the architecture and isolate material and color options. DH then either tweaks them or agrees with them. We're getting really good at visualizing something in a space that didn't exist before.

We contract out for all electrical. DH set our previous house on fire doing electricity and he no longer trusts himself to do that. We contracted out for the structural work for the new windows, as we don't know enough about that either. We'll also contract out for major plumbing work. The kitchen construction was mostly contractors but we did a lot of work beside them. The living room was a mix of us and contractors. I don't think I have before pictures of our basement bathroom which we did entirely on our own (except for electrical outlets) otherwise I'd post before and after of that room. That room looks pretty darn good also. We gutted that room to the bare studs and did the plumbing, drywall, wood trim, vanity, etc. That room didn't have a shower or tub so it was relatively easy to do.

We're taking the rest of the summer off from remodeling and going to enjoy the house for a few months before we start bulldozing the outside. DH has stopped me a couple times from taking a hammer to the wall of the hallway bathroom. Then he hid the sawzall. I really like the destruction part of the work also!
post #9 of 26
Wow!!! You did a beautiful job!!! You want to come help me with my house? I have different colored paint spots on my living room wall trying to figure out what color I want to paint it. I am driving my husband crazy cause I can't figure out what to do......
post #10 of 26
Wow!! Great remodel, it looks really, really nice. I see all the cool cat trees that you have in the one room... how many cats do you have? That looks like a lot of trees. I love it, though, I'd be in heaven with the cat trees and your house. It looks great
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by abbycats View Post
Wow!!! You did a beautiful job!!! You want to come help me with my house? I have different colored paint spots on my living room wall trying to figure out what color I want to paint it. I am driving my husband crazy cause I can't figure out what to do......
Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and paint. If I'm in doubt, I'll paint a piece of cardboard and hold it behind the furniture and next to the woodwork to see how it either blends in or enhances what you want to bring out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Mommy View Post
Wow!! Great remodel, it looks really, really nice. I see all the cool cat trees that you have in the one room... how many cats do you have? That looks like a lot of trees. I love it, though, I'd be in heaven with the cat trees and your house. It looks great
I have 8 cats that live inside permanently and 2 more than come in and out (former ferals). I think I have only 4 cat condos/posts in the living room, but another 5 or 6 in the sun room right next to it. Then some more in the bedrooms, kitchen, etc. I got a lot of the condos from a rescue woman that moved cross country and couldn't bring them with her. I kept about 4 and gave the rest of them to other rescue people. When she moved, I filled up a mid sized u-haul truck with cat trees and other cat stuff. Some of them are getting so old and tired that when I get to the point of replacing them, I'll have to get ones that match the house! Yup, a lot of my decor centers around the cat trees!
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and paint. If I'm in doubt, I'll paint a piece of cardboard and hold it behind the furniture and next to the woodwork to see how it either blends in or enhances what you want to bring out.


I have 8 cats that live inside permanently and 2 more than come in and out (former ferals). I think I have only 4 cat condos/posts in the living room, but another 5 or 6 in the sun room right next to it. Then some more in the bedrooms, kitchen, etc. I got a lot of the condos from a rescue woman that moved cross country and couldn't bring them with her. I kept about 4 and gave the rest of them to other rescue people. When she moved, I filled up a mid sized u-haul truck with cat trees and other cat stuff. Some of them are getting so old and tired that when I get to the point of replacing them, I'll have to get ones that match the house! Yup, a lot of my decor centers around the cat trees!

Wow! Good for you donating to the rescues. That is my kind of decorating... around the cat's furniture.
post #13 of 26
Wow! Absolutely love the new cabinets/fireplace wall. Wonderful work! And I'm jealous how big your rooms are!

I so wish you lived closer!! We would probably talk for hours comparing reno stories. But, your house is a much larger scale version of our reno. And we'll be doing the landscaping/deck next summer. I feel like I'm two steps behind you.

I laughed when I looked at the older thread with you standing among the misplaced items during your kitchen reno. I can so relate because I literally looked the same when we moved our kitchen to the other side of the house.

I never want to go through that again!
post #14 of 26
Great job!! We've remodeled much of our house so I can feel the pain but the end product is always worth it!!
We are on redo #2 for our family room (1st was 1991) as we are installing an intricate ceiling which involves ALOT of painting! We are procrasinating as usual and will start this fall.

Do the kitties like laying by the fire?? Ours do in the winter.

When you are ready to start the landscaping let me know I can give ideas!
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Russian Blue View Post
And I'm jealous how big your rooms are!

I laughed when I looked at the older thread with you standing among the misplaced items during your kitchen reno. I can so relate because I literally looked the same when we moved our kitchen to the other side of the house.
The other reason we picked this house was that the rooms were big. Coming from a house built in 1884, we were tired of being in small cramped rooms. Other than some paint and carpet, this house hadn't been really touched since it was built in 1972 so we had some major upgrades to do. The cats visably relaxed when we gave them more space to live in.

Other than when we dropped the 30 foot beams out of the ceiling, we didn't have to move a lot of stuff around. A lot of it went into the sun room which is adjacent to the living room. And we still had a kitchen to cook and eat in. Kitchens are by far the worst reno.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GailC View Post
Do the kitties like laying by the fire?? Ours do in the winter.

When you are ready to start the landscaping let me know I can give ideas!
Our dogs live on the tile in front of the fireplace. As big as they are, they don't leave room for the cats. They have their hammock by the window and the back of the chair under the window.

That's right - you do do landscaping!! Our dream landscape has bluestone paths and a waterfall going over a hill off the deck, then a slide coming off the upper deck right into the pool. But I'll settle for some garden beds with flowers! We've actually planted about 50 trees so far and a couple of bushes. We have to remove a dump truck's worth of rocks from the front yard before we can get some real landscaping put in. That will take all fall. We start planting in the spring.
post #16 of 26
Wow!!!!! Great job!! The second photo looks like a picture from a decorating magazine or something! So pretty!!
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
I didn't take pictures, but while we were cutting holes into our house, we dropped a window into our guest bedroom and replaced a window in our master bedroom. The old window was a pane of glass that didn't open. When they pulled out the old window, they found termite damage in that wall and had to replace the entire bedroom wall. The termites were long gone but the studs in the wall were gone. We figured that the drywall was holding the roof up.

Then when they cut the holes in the wall in the living room, they found the outside paneling to be dry rotted. So that entire wall had to go.

And we replaced the 1972 patio doors from the walk out basement, guest room, sewing room and office. We had 7 patio doors in total and now have 8 new ones.

At one point the only rooms in the house that were untouched were the kitchens and bathrooms.

Thanks Kass, I did need that drink!
post #18 of 26
All I can say is "WOW!!!!". I read that you did that in a weekend, and I didn't believe it so I called DH in (who does home improvements). He looked at the pictures and said "yes, it can be done, but I can tell you they busted their A**! I then showed him your first post and explained you can't say that on here...they busted their behinds! He was VERY impressed, and I'm just floored! You guys did a great job and it looks gorgeous!! I bet that fireplace was a major pain. The bookcases are just beautiful!

I don't blame you at all for taking the rest of the summer off and just enjoying. And you are just entirely too fond of power tools.

After you get your house done, I would really consider going into business for yourselves. Honestly. You make a great team and home improvement is a big business around here.
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by calico2222 View Post
And you are just entirely too fond of power tools.

After you get your house done, I would really consider going into business for yourselves. Honestly. You make a great team and home improvement is a big business around here.
Yes, I do like my power tools! Every time we do a major project, we justify buying a new power tool so that it makes the job easier. If you do it yourself, you can save thousands of dollars, so we can spend the couple of hundred on a tile saw to save the rest. Then there is Christmas - I bought DH some pneumatic nail guns last year just so I could get a chance to use them! His friend sold him his compressor for a bargain price.

I wouldn't want to do this for a living though. I love the design and the destruction part but depend on DH for the patience to do all the finishing work.

And just for the record, the part we did over the weekend was putting the stones around the fireplace. We had previously stripped off the old stucco from the fireplace, put down a coat of concrete over the original bricks (they were damaged by the stucco and not usable), built out the hearth and laid the tile in front of the fireplace. We made a template of the fireplace on the floor and laid the stones on that so that we could more quickly mortar them to the wall. I laid out most of the puzzle then cut the stones on the saw when necessary to make them fit. DH did all the mortaring. The cabinets went in the previous weekend.

And we didn't have a single cat mishap this time, unlike the kitchen when Eightball found his way thru a vent into the furnace (in the middle of January).
post #20 of 26
Amy, what an amazing room! You must be so thrilled to have it all so open now! And losing those big beams made all the difference in the world -- I love the new look of the ceiling! Just a beautiful job, again. You and DH do have a major talent for this!
post #21 of 26
I agree that a kitchen redo is a pain. We started ours in the winter months and lived on microwave food -bleech!! I had the laundry sink for dishes so that wasn't terrible and one realizes what you actually can survive with for a kitchen.

We laid a small bluestone path by the garden shed and used the older circular saw with a diamond blade to cut the stone as it cut fairly easy. Since we have laid our own two walkways, the patio and the front entrance (those with pavers) I can provide tips.
Like any project not really hard just takes a long time. We should have bought a wet saw and resold it though vs the number of times we rented one!
post #22 of 26
Oh my gosh, WOW!! What a huge amazing fantastic improvment!!!!
post #23 of 26
Oh Wow Amy, everything looks so gorgeous. You guys have really great taste! Adding those windows just changed the room completely. I LOVE the new fireplace. The stone is just gorgeous and the surround cabinet just completes the look. I love how you kept the ceiling after removing the beams. It all looks really nice! I bet the view of the lake is to die for now.
post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone. DH and I are both a bit eccentric so sometimes I worry that our tastes are out in left field somewhere. It's a very good feeling to know that you can do things like this and it comes out good on the other end.
post #25 of 26
Good job! I love the fireplace area.
post #26 of 26
Wow! That looks great! You guys did a wonderful job! I have to say i really love what you two did with the fireplace- those stones look awesome!!
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