Our house came with a very large formal living room and a family room that was almost as big as the living room. One of my husbands rules was that we not buy a house that has rooms that weren’t used. If we were to keep the house set up as the previous owners had, we would have a really tiny dining room, a nice sized family room and a 322 sq. ft formal living room that would serve no purpose. We both grew up with those formal living rooms that you were not allowed to use. The furniture was sometimes covered in plastic and you could not sit, let alone eat or drink in there out of fear that you will somehow damage the furniture. In this day and age, space is at a premium and who can afford to have that much square footage go unused? Not us, so we decided that this was our house and we can do whatever we wanted to do with it. I’m going to show you what our formal living room originally looked like and the progress we’ve made along the way. If you need a reference to the layout please click here to see our floor plan.
If I’d known that we were going to buy this house, I would have taken better pictures. This woman loved blue and it showed in every room of that house. I am convinced that this house sat on the market for three years just because of the carpet. As ugly as it looks here, believe me it’s the good stuff. I would equate it to what carpet would feel like if Tempurpedic made it. Needless to say, it hasn’t gone anywhere yet. Because of the dark carpet and window placement, this room was like a cave. Since we decided that this would be the “Family Room” we furnished it as such. Taking advantage of the 23′ of wall space we got two 7 1/2 foot sofas and two accent chairs. We also opted for a huge ottoman with storage to hide my throws and blankets that I use when the hubs will not let me turn on the heat.
This cave effect drove me crazy for months until I decided I’d do a little bit of harmless investigating.
Something in my head was telling me that this wall was too long to have always been this way. My first clue was the lack of electrical outlets for almost 15 feet along that wall. The other was the slightest shift in the texture of the paint in that area of the wall in question. Those clues screamed out to me “There once was a door there .”
One day I called my previous owner to let her know that she had a considerable amount of mail that was still being delivered to my house and that like a good new homeowner, I saved it for her. She volunteered to come pick it up and during that time, I asked her every question I could regarding the house. Stuff she could tell me since the ink was dry on the paperwork and there was no fear of us deciding to not buy the house. Among the things I learned was that she hired a contractor to close up that doorway so that she could put a large sofa on the opposite side of that wall. It was like Christmas came early. That little tidbit of information told me so much…
1. If there was an opening already there, then I didn’t need to hire a structural engineer to tell me if it was a load bearing wall or not because it would not matter.
2. If the contractors did it right, then the header would still be in place and all I would need to do is remove a few studs and finish it off.
3. I better get started before the hubs got home and talked me out of it.
I started off by taking a hammer to the right of the stud where I knew the opening used to be. I dropped my camera into the opening and took a picture.
I then repeated that same procedue on the opposite side of the stud. I was checking for any obstructions that could prossibly hender me from completeing my task. both sides of the stud were completely clear of electrical, ductwork or anything else.
I measured the thickness of the drywall and then set the depth of my Roto-Zip to the depth that was equal to thickness of the drywall. I traced out where I wanted to cut beginning and ending in the middle of a stud.
This was my result. Not bad considering this was the first time I’d used this tool for cutting into drywall. (Be warned, this thing kicks up a lot of dust do be prepared to tape off everything and wear protection)
When the Hubs came home, I was standing right in front of the new opening and could see him hyperventilating through the plastic on the other side of the wall. I was caught but this was the point of no return.
Because I had to work, it took a week to put humpty dumpty back together again.
I would love to make this opening much bigger but the legnth of the header would not allow it. In the future I plan on hiring someone to take it all the way to where the ladder is and make it almost four feet wide. That will allow for even more light to pour in through the dining room doors.
The hubs agreed to help me fix what I had broken. Here he is installing the new door jamb.
Now, let me show you a little bit of ghettoness. Do you see the floor at the bottom of the doorway? Allow me to zoom in for ya.
Yes that’s what I’m talking about. When I removed the studs, there was no floor beneath. I was fortunate enough to have a few boxes of wood flooring on hand that the previous owner left behind from re-doing the kitchen. I used two pieces to TEMPORARILY fill in the space for asthetics and safety issues.
The room sat like this for about a month before we made any changes to it. Since I needed to make some nail hole repairs, I decided to paint the room a different color. The previous owner did not leave us any of the neutral color in the house but she left us tons of the ugliest colors in the house. We moved all the furniture to a different room and took everything off the walls.
We taped off the baseboards with this plastic sheeting on a roll. I wanted to make sure that no paint got spilled on the Luxury carpet. I cut in while the hubs rolled. It took us about 10 hours to do two coats. Eventually when the deep blue sea carpet goes, we will either replace it with a more neutral patterned carpet or engineered hardwood. I’d like to use 3/4″ hardwood but because this portion of our house is on a concrete slab, it isn’t an option.
This back wall is painted Sherwin Williams Dovetail and all the other walls in the room are painted a half tint of that very same color so this wall is 50% darker than the others. Currently the room looks like this but there is so much more to do.
I think it’s coming together. And since we could not afford to replace the carpet right away, I found a way to work that deep blue sea into the decor. Notice my awesome end tables flanked on both sides of the sofa. I also custom made two other items for this room. Can you tell what they are? Don’t worry, I’ll be back with a full tutorial of both.
To find out where I got anything in this room, please check out my sources.