In Our Home, Reno on
March 26, 2017

The Living Room Renovation | The Living RoomAfter months of careful planning it was finally time for one of the most exciting parts of the renovation: Demo Day. It was really loud and dusty, but oh so exciting. Like my very own HGTV show (eek!). We still had to live in our house during the renovation which meant putting up sheets of plastic to keep the upper sleeping area and basement dust-free. Living through a renovation was actually not that bad until we hit the 3 month mark, but I’ll leave that to another post. Back to the living room….

Here are some BEFORE pictures:

You can’t tell by these pictures but the floor is completely covered with deep scratches from the previous owner’s dog. It’s also not level, dipping down noticeably in parts.

Look at those 8 foot ceilings, and the walls separating the living area from the kitchen and hallway. All of it came down to produce this thing of beauty:

Notice the carefully taped plastic separating the reno from our bedrooms? Well, that plastic broke a gazillion times. I became a packing tape surgeon.

My cats Rocco (foreground) and Broccoli, wondering what in Sam Hill is going on.

As you can see, James and his crew got the LVL support beams up really quickly. We needed two: the 3-ply 1.75″ x 16″ (each) main one extending along the entire length of the living area, and the 2-ply 1.75″ x 9.25″ (each) above the stairs, designed to support the main beam. In case you’re wondering, the ceiling height is just over 12′ at the apex.

Next came the levelling of the floors, and the addition of a plywood subfloor (there was none!), followed by electrical, and insulation. We were woefully under-insulated by today’s standards. Although it wasn’t part of the original plans, we replaced the meagre batt insulation from the 1960’s with Roxul Comfortbatt, a mold-resistent, low VOC stone wool product.

Framework was added along the front wall to support the new ceiling height. Then came the drywalling, followed by the tongue and groove ceiling: | The Living Room 

When the pine tongue and groove ceiling was installed it brought the design together. I could really envision the space at that point. I knew from the start that we would paint the ceiling white, but it was tempting not to when I saw the natural beauty of the pine. Ultimately I decided to stick with the plan, not wanting the pine and the natural maple floors to compete with each other.

Next came the installation of the hardwood floors and the front door. Here is a picture of the BEFORE door:

Not bad, but not modern. Also, here is a gratuitous picture of the beautiful crab apple tree that blossomed during the renovation:

James installing the new, midcentury modern door:

The new door from the inside, and the maple hardwood being laid down:

Ah…hardwood. I was really happy to see the hardwood guy, because that’s when you know you’re close to the end. We chose an oil finished natural maple hardwood to match the existing maple on the upper and lower levels. The oil finish absorbs into the hardwood rather than resting on top of it like a urethane finish. This results in a beautiful, natural look and texture.

You can also see that we created an accent wall with Benjamin Moore’s Whale Grey which I had used in our previous home and loved.

The remaining elements to the living room renovation were the custom stairs and entrance tiles. We chose large, light grey porcelain tile for the entrance to match the tile in our main bathroom, and laid them straight for a modern look: | The Living Room

Notice how the console fits perfectly into the nook? Yeah, that was a total fluke. And I was so happy because I loved that console.

After 3 months the living room area was complete. We were so lucky that the sofa and barcelona chairs from our last house integrated perfectly into the space. We spend a lot of time here and nothing is too precious – I have an active child, 3 cats, and…um…a husband, so I don’t want to spend my day worrying that something is going to get broken or damaged.

I’m now in the process of buying “stuff” to warm up the space and make it more cozy. I recently purchased the leather ottoman for that exact purpose. Although, I should mention I’m not really into stuff. Trinkets (and all the dust that sits on them) drive me crazy so I usually sit on the side of minimalism. Nonetheless, I’m drawn to spaces that balance a modern aesthetic with warm elements, so that is definitely my goal. | The Living Room | The Living Room | The Living Room

My view from the kitchen: | The Living Room | The Living Room

I know, that bookshelf is pretty bare right now. Did I mention I don’t like stuff? | The Living Room | The Living Room

The view from the upper floor, pre-reno compared to now: | The Living RoomI hope you enjoyed this tour of our living room renovation. Stay tuned for later posts (below) as I continue to update this space.

Related Posts:

Our Ikea Kitchen – Before and After
Ikea Pax Sliding Doors Hack
The Vaulted Ceiling
Mid-Century Modern Door “Reveal”
The Custom Staircase


contracting – James Durham contracting
wall paint – White Dove by Benjamin Moore
trim, ceiling, staircase rails and risers – Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore
front door – Wardco windows and doors
door handle, doorbell and deadbolt (all sold separately) – all Rejuvenation in polished chrome (See the post Midcentury Modern Door Reveal)
flooring – oil-finished natural maple by Preverco
sofa – Petrie sofa in charcoal, Crate and Barrel
barcelona chairs – Rove Concepts
closet doors – Ikea (See the post Ikea Pax Sliding Doors Hack)
entrance tiles – The Tile Depot
entrance mirror – Ikea
entrance sconce – 6″ arm in Modern Black and Brass – Cedar and Moss
entrance console – Westelm
entrance basket – Ikea
cream bowl at entrance – Pottery Barn
natural wood stump – Westelm
sofa side table – EQ3
coffee table – Amazon
coffee table bowl – Ikea
moroccan pouf – (similar) Westelm
floor lamp beside sofa – Restoration Hardware
bookcase – Article
ceiling fan – Amazon
tv console – Ikea
table lamp – Westelm
birch branches with lights – handmade
music player – Amazon
paris framed print – artist David Ehrenstråhle

In between posts you can find me on Instagram.

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