Join Me in the Living Room (along with the cats!)

The Living Room.

The first room we really remodeled in this house. After almost a year of strangely painted walls with an ugly stripe, a Popcorn ceiling with a water stain, no TV and a ripped up brown leather couch.

We rarely spent any time in here.

The idea for the living room came together pretty quickly; we knew we wanted a bookshelf wall, a picture wall, and the entire room to be painted white, like a canvas.

Of course we had a few trash ideas too.  Like no TV or hiding a small TV inside a cabinet on the bookshelf, or painting one wall orange.

And then there was the temporary freak out at IKEA when we last minute decided to get white bookshelves instead of black, had an existential crisis, then realized we were being silly and got the black ones like we originally planned. Typical IKEA trip.

Over the years the bookshelves became filled with collections of our favorite things. For me vintage cameras, for Steven, antique radios and space stuff.

The picture wall is a mixture of Steven’s drawings and my photographs. Plus a few old photos we found at antique stores.

Our IKEA couch was eventually ripped to shreds by the cats, so we replaced it with this one from World Market.  The cats quickly got to work shredding this one as well, and then I realized that my dumb self should have put a scratching pole nearby. As soon as I did that the couch scratching stopped! The scratching post lives next to the coffee table most of the time, and the cats spend so much of their day going crazy on it!  I have to buy a new one multiple times a year.. But better than buying new couches!

Our living room is now a nice peaceful, relaxing place, just like we hoped it would be.

Before and After shots are located HERE.  Click at your own risk.  That posts contains some cringey 2014 photo editing skills. And writing..

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A New House Exterior

After living in this little house for six years, the exterior has finally been redone!

The house was lined with aluminum siding when we bought it, and everything was painted white except the sad looking shutters which were way too small for the windows. The paint on the siding was flaking off and the shutters were getting really faded.  One of the shutters had actually come partially unhinged and would bang on the side of the house during storms, like we were living in some sort of haunted house!

It took a long time to decide whether to paint the siding, restore the original wood, or buy new siding. Because the original wood was covered in lead paint, and we don’t really like the look of most vinyl sidings, we finally decided to just paint the aluminum siding. We decided on a light grey for the color after considering a variety of greens and teals.

After power washing off the old paint, the house looked like a tin can!

This picture shows how bad the old paint job was looking, and the spot where the siding was torn off to see what the original wood looked like.

The doors were painted mint green, and the flimsy old storm doors were replaced with sturdier ones in contrasting black.

The next step was to replace the windows. The windows were original to the house but not worth saving. Mold was growing on them, they were very hard to open and in the winter they let in so much cold air that sitting on the couch in front of the windows was like sitting in front of an open freezer.

However, we didn’t really like the look of generic replacement windows with the grids on the inside of the glass because they don’t show up very well and they look less authentic. We decided to go with the more pricey option of buying windows with exteriors grids, which look a lot closer to the type of windows that would have been original to the house. The windows we choose had black exterior grids to contrast with the house, and inside the house the grids are white.

The trim around the house was painted white, to make the grey color stand out.

The final step was to replace the porch that was falling apart.

I didn’t think the old porch looked that ugly until I compare it with the new one. The skinny columns were replaced with three big columns that have a little bit of decoration around the top and the railing is more robust and sturdy.

 It took most of the spring and summer to get it all done and schedule with the contractors. The most stressful part was getting the windows put in and having to move the cats around to different rooms, keeping them in crates so they wouldn’t escape.  I can hardly believe it is finally all done. We’ve been dreaming about re-doing the outside of the house ever since we decided to buy it so it’s nice to finally be proud of how our house looks. And I love having windows that actually work!