Surprising even myself, I am back in a timely manner to chat about the progress we’ve made thus far on the living room. The thing is, I suffer from a pretty severe condition called Project ADD, which basically means at any given time I have a thousand ideas for improving our home, and can be found working on between three and twenty seven of them at a time. For example, right now I’m itching to switch out the knobs on the kitchen cabinets, replace a light fixture in the hall, paint the ceiling in the basement and overhaul the bathroom in the basement. However, this causes me quite a bit of stress from the constant chaos in my brain as well as in my house, so I am really trying to get a handle on this.
Which means that currently I am working on projects only for the living room. Okay, and also painting the entry and hallway. But in my defense, those spaces are all open to each other, so once you start painting, you pretty much HAVE to keep painting or it looks stupid. So! The living room. So far we have installed a new ceiling fan, painted the walls, made curtains, made and hung two shelves and refinished the mantel. Actually, typing that, I’m pretty impressed with what we’ve accomplished in a couple of months. Go us! :) Last I showed you, the living room looked like this,
Here’s that same view (mostly) today.
It’s getting there, right? The cute kid makes it a lot more fun too :) First up, let’s chat about that ceiling fan. I found a guy selling a really nice Hunter ceiling fan on Craigslist for $20. It was in basically brand new condition, and he wanted next to nothing for it. The kicker? This fan hung from a much higher ceiling, so the down rod was about three feet long. When we held it up to the ceiling, the fan was just about even with that ottoman beneath it. So… no? I was confident we could purchase a really short down rod, which is why we bought the fan in the first place. But it turns out that you can only purchase 6″ or 12″ down rods from Home Depot (still too long) or you can also order a 2.5 inch rod from Hunter. The kicker is that they charge you $3o for the part. So my super thrifty but still awesome ceiling fan was now going to cost quite a bit more. And honestly, for $50 we could just find another used fan on CL without all the trouble of switching down rods and assembly and yada yada. But – I was thinking ahead when I married a genius nine years ago, because I knew that someday, I would buy a ceiling fan with this problem, and I would need a genius to come up with a better solution. And of course he did! Turns out those down rods are a standard pipe size, and lo and behold Home Depot sells them in 2.5 lengths with both ends threaded, for like $2. Assembling and installing the fan was kind of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without the box for reference, but, again, genius. I just stood there and handed him tools and a variety of screws. Voila!
We painted the walls in here with our neutral gray as with the rest of the house. It goes nicely with the tan brick on the fireplace, and is a nice simple background for everything else we’re adding into the room. I’ve found that this color looks a little cold and sterile on its own, but once it’s paired with nice bright white trim, some warm wood tones and some color of any kind it is perfect.
I hemmed and hawed about curtains in here, trying to find ones that I really liked that were somewhat interesting. Some simple white curtains would have looked nice in here, but I was trying to be a bit more creative, especially since I am leaning towards making that loveseat a lot more neutral. But I was also trying not to break the bank on curtains or fabric – which is easier to do than you might think. This is a super big window, and even though I didn’t plan on closing the curtains that often, I still wanted the ability to close them whenever I wanted.
Is anyone else liking Target’s Threshold line as much as I am? I feel like it is really channeling my style. Because clearly Target takes its style cues from little ol’ me. :) Anyways, I picked up two of these tablecloths for the express purpose of making them into curtains. They were $18.99 a piece, so that’s about $8.25/yard. In other words, a very nice price for that much fabric. It’s a nice heavyweight cotton too.
Sewing is not my favorite activity, but curtains are pretty much a no brainer – especially from tablecloths that are already hemmed! I folded one end down about two inches, ran a seam to hold it in place and bam! Curtains! It took longer to thread the curtain onto the rod than it did to run a seam. No joke.
The packaging was another piece of the fabric with a little button holding it all together. It makes a great tieback, or also works well as a crown if you are a little Princess Peanut.
Also, can we talk about curtain rods for a minute? Big ones that are not ugly are super expensive. When we lived at Wendhurst I came across a chunky, pretty curtain rod for our bedroom that extended to 120 inches for $10. I did not realize at the time what a steal that was. I went with an IKEA rod for now, because they cost next to nothing, while I decide if it’s worth trading our kid’s college savings for a curtain rod in a living room. It totally is, right? The finials are totes boring, so when I found some cool mercury glass ones at the thrift store, you know I was all over switching those out, right?
Better. I’ll talk about the shelves in a post of the their own, because they are actually quite fun to make. But for now, let’s admire the amazing styling that I did for all your viewing pleasure. Go ahead, I’ll wait while you pin it. You know you want to.
In all seriousness though, They’re looking really good, and they’re extremely handy. My thought it to use the shelves as a spot for library books, plants, remote controls and picture frames. So basically things that little fingers shouldn’t be touching. Then the side tables stay clear and childproofed. I’m still debating if that top shelf is hung too high, but I’m waiting to get the other two made and hung and then I’ll make a final decision.
The mantel got a facelift, and it looks soooo much better. I’ll do a post on that too to show the transformation, but let’s just say that I pretty much rock at refinishing stuff. How do you like the chalkboard art? I was going to draw something pretty, and then the kids joined me, and now it’s awesome.
So that’s what the living room looks like today. Actually, today it is significantly messier. :) We’ve made good progress, so now I just have to find the right fabric for that loveseat. It will totally be easy, right? :)