Progress in our Living Room

I was shocked that last April Doug and I celebrated 3 years in our condo. Shocked! Where does the time go? We haven’t really tackled any major projects in our home since we painted our bathroom jungle green right after moving in (and then failed to post a final reveal here—fail).

Everything is changing, though.

Even though we own our space (every time I say that it sounds misleading—we like most “homeowners” are paying it off to the bank), it has always felt really “apartmenty” to me. I’m sure it’s because of the beige walls and carpet… when we bought the place, we were looking for a fixer upper, but this place was much larger, closer to my work, had new carpet and new drywall, and was the same price as many fixers. As first-time home buyers we decided to play it safe and choose something move-in ready. So, after 3 years of beige, it is finally time to take matters into my own hands. Paint all of the things!! 

Living Room
This was right after we moved in, almost 3 years ago.
Now, new paint color, new bookcase, new couch. Still very similar, though.

The first step in getting this room “right” was to paint over the builder beige. We used the same color and sheen that we did in our dining room: Benjamin Moore (Aura) in Simply White. Definitely the most expensive paint I’ve ever bought, but the coverage, richness of the white, and eggshell sheen is just perfect. Going from beige to white might seem like a lateral move, and is not that exciting in photos, but trust me when I say that our vintage and collected home furnishings pop so much better now than they did against light tan. Every color stands out and the light in the room is more pleasant. People don’t understand how much light that flat, beige paint soaks up instead of reflecting.

Since I work for a Christian school, I had the Thursday and Friday before Easter off of work! My dad came down with his power tools and he helped me panel an accent wall in the living room. Shiplap is so buzzy right now, but my condo was built in 1965: I was originally thinking to go with straight up wood paneling. After hemming and hawing, I decided to go with a more modern look and do horizontal paneling with 1/8″ spacing.

We followed this tutorial closely and the project went smoothly.

Putting up the paneling was my first time using a nail gun with pneumatic air compressor, and it ruled! The project went by so fast. Nailing each panel up by hand would have been way more tiring, way noisier, and not as precise. If you ever want to do a project like this, definitely borrow, rent, or buy a nailer. The other tool that was necessary for this was a saw. Luckily my dad brought one over for us to use (similar), but now I know what I’m putting on my Christmas wishlist.

Which black paint?

I shared the following photo on facebook and instagram, and interestingly the votes leaned heavily one way on FB and heavily the other way on IG. I chalk it up to the fact that device screens have different color profiles and nothing is quite true to life. Even more interestingly, in the month that the swatches were up, I selected neither of the crowd-preferred options. Haha!

living room inspiration

In a recent post I shared a little vision board for this room and I’ve posted it again here. I’ve got some thinking to do on the art in here– leave it as is or do a little shake up? We finally finished painting the paneling in June and I am working on another post on that, filled with glamour shots ;)

Summer Forecast

Okay, so, my home isn’t new to me, but I have been putting a lot of thought into designing my spaces better. I feel that we’ve finally gotten settled, gotten to know our home, and really know what works for us. Now the fun part comes. Getting each room tweaked just so, and realizing our condo’s full potential. We are traveling a little bit in May, but in June and July I think we are going to work on home stuff a lot more than we have in the last year or so.

Living Room: The living room is humming along. We are working on a wood paneling update that I’ll share more about in a week or two. We are going black and white inspired by the interior design firm Commune’s work at the Ace Hotel LA. Here is a sneak peek and a little inspiration I am working from.

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Bedroom: The paneling has been going so well in the living room, I think we have enough leftover to do paneling in the bedroom too. I think the recurring feature will connect the rooms, but for color I am still deciding between matching the black from the living room or going with a color.

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All of this exciting redecorating on the horizon has got me thinking back to moving into our place for the first time. Making a neutral space exciting takes a little bit of skill, a little bit of luck (if you’re a bargain/thrift shopper like me) and a dose of color. I’m finally ready for phase two of decorating, but phase one is a challenge for a lot of people. I brainstormed with Casper to come up with some essentials to make a new house feel like home.

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Rug: Rugs are great because you can move them from room to room and house to house. They are a good investment and can cover up less than desirable linoleum or blah carpet.

Artwork: Like rugs above, artwork can be sentimental and move from home to home. Putting art up on the wall instantly transforms a room from a plain box into a place with warmth and dimension.

New Mattress and Pillows: Every room can do with new throw pillows, and moving is a good opportunity to trade in for a new mattress, too. If your mattress is doing okay, it’s still a good idea to get new bed pillows because… do you even remember the last time you got new bed pillows? I mean… you could get your dog a new bed too. Mosey asked me to mention that.

Paint: Confession, even when I was a renter I took the liberty of painting my space. Something about picking out the color you want to surround yourself with is liberating. We recently painted our living room from beige to white, an almost imperceptible change but the room just feels “right” now.

Lighting: I switched out my dining room light and have felt like a rockstar ever since. I think this usurps painting as the act that truly claims a space as your own. If you invest in lighting (it ain’t cheap) and put it up without zapping yourself… your house has truly become home.

Tool Kit: Trying to assemble furniture or switch out finishes can be frustrating without the right tools. I got this IKEA tool kit when I moved into my first apartment in college. I have used it countless times. It has just about anything you need to do odd jobs around the house—I can’t recommend it enough and I think everybody should have one tucked in their bottom kitchen drawer, like we do.

What do you think takes your living space from “house to home?” Having friends over is an instant fix–they call it housewarming for a reason. Baking something delicious and filling the home with the scent of that is another great idea. Share your move-in traditions, or must-haves, or best housewarming gifts in the comments!

Casper provided me with the infographic, but this is not a sponsored post. 

At Home: Entryway

It’s been a while since I shared much of my home, so I thought I’d catch you guys up on what things are like around here. First up, the entryway.

Currently

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There isn’t much to the entryway, but I like how, despite its small size, it’s better than opening up the front door straight into the living room. Our shoe organizer provides a small shelf to drop keys and mail, and the picture (an antique painted by a great-relative) gives the area a little “something special.”

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I may trade the picture for a mirror if I find one that can withstand being next to a slammed door day in and day out (our door closes very heavily).

I love this STÄLL IKEA shoe organizer. It holds a surprising number of shoes for its narrow size. Those Swedish geniuses!! We store shoes in three compartments and use the upper right compartment for doggie stuff (leash, harness, dog tee shirt), as well as the mail key and other assorted keys (padlock and bike keys, etc). I love the way its slim profile doesn’t block the light from the sidelight window.

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Plans

Right now we have a can light with a brass ring around it, but I’d like to updgrade that to something more special. I’m also on the fence about painting the back of the front door. Per HOA, we can’t paint the exterior, but I’m wondering about adding a little color to the living room this way. I’m just not sure what to do about all the trim along the doorjamb and the sidelight window. Suggestions?