Monday, August 9, 2010


It's been a process in the making but our new living room is coming together quite nicely. We have new sofas (both el cheapo Craigslist finds), a new end table (well, refinished), new entertainment center (eh, also refinished), new carpet (single splurge in the room) and well, new windows (don't mind the trim that has yet to be painted - that's next up on my list). I'll break it down:

This is the overall concept. Before, very monochromatic. All colors are close to each other on the color wheel therefore the room is very harmonious but doesn't have a lot of umpf and although it's warm, it makes the space look smaller.
old, monochromatic living room
Now, the colors are actually complimentary which means they're opposite each other on the color wheel (orange and blue). Therefore there is high contrast which inevitably makes the space look larger. The sofas are both neutrals as are the newly refinished end table and entertainment center. Things just look more crisp and clean. Can you tell I've been watching Color Confidential on HGTV?
new, complimentary living room
This is the old rug. I don't know what we were thinking other then it was cheap and neutral and well… that was it. Yes, we got some good use out of it but it's no longer remotely close to the color it started at and since it's woven, we cannot steam clean it ourselves. With pooches one and two, we have to be able to deep clean it ourselves, and often.
old rug, destroyed by the dogs
Here is the new rug, which actually was not the first we tried. I ordered one online from Target and while I liked it, it was much too big and of course, the smaller version was not available. After that returning fiasco, I found this one… at Pottery Barn. (cringe) Normally I can't ever justify buying anything at their prices but it was on sale, it was the floor model and we can steam clean it ourselves. Plus, it's actually comfortable to lay on and just happens to go with the space perfectly. My only snafu currently is that we don't have a rug pad or rug tape and therefore it stays in this position for no longer then 36 seconds before one or both of the dopey bassets come charging through and drag it towards the fireplace. Arg!
new rug, not yet destroyed by the dogs
The only photo I could find of the way our entertainment center used to look was from our infamous, impromptu Slanket photo shoot. You can't see the whole thing but you can see enough to see it was awful. It was oak, well some of it fake oak, with a glass door on the left and bright, brassy hardware. Ick.
old entertainment center, circa 1984
Here's the newly redone, whiter, brighter and more beautiful entertainment center. We left off the glass door on the left and the wooden small doors on the lower right. There was just no need and this way we didn't have to find replacement hardware. This took a harsh sanding period (first with 200 then 80 grade sandpaper using an electric sander), oil-based primer and three coats of semi-gloss pure white paint from Sherwin Williams. Since the backing to the unit has long been gone, I spent a tedious amount of time rearranging the cables and cords in the back so you couldn't see them. Great trick: buy the cord organizers from 3M.
new entertainment center, circa… at least 2000
Here's a close up of my favorite part of the entertainment center. Because we left the bottom right doors off, we needed a replacement storage idea otherwise it would just be bare space. Have I mentioned I love Target? And not just because it's a Minnesota store. I found these totes in the college back-to-school area for $6.99 a piece. The fact that the blue was in the range I was looking for made me so happy and the price tag helped make Shawn so happy. The other striped tote I've actually had forever. I got it as well as a second, similar piece from Pottery Barn years and years ago.
close up of favorite totes
This was the only photo I could find of the old end table. I obviously knew how bad the old furniture was and therefore never photographed it. Plus I was so anxious to start the refinishing process, I didn't bother with photos… well, there were a few but they were taken by Shawn and I'll show you some of my favorites later. This was also a fake-y oak with bright brass hardware and the top had many a water spots.
old end table, also circa 1984
This is the new end table, at an odd angle I might add. This required the same process as the entertainment center and was actually done first which was probably a good thing because the entertainment center took MUCH longer and might have deterred me from completing this piece. The bottom of the lamp doesn't have the greatest padding so we bought a place mat from Target to protect the top and break up the white.
new end table, circa at least 2000
Here's a front angle. We replaced the knobs on both the door and pullout tray with ones we found at Home Depot. Then we spray painted the hinges with an oil bronze color we found at Sherwin Williams. We couldn't find a close enough replacement hinge so the spray paint option worked like a charm.
front view of end table
You can't tell from any of the photos but we also added wheels to the bottom. The bottom inside of the base is hollow so it was an easy enough addition. And because I lost the gumption to deal with the inside, I used contact paper I found at Target for the three sides and that woven drawer liner stuff you typically use for kitchen cabinets for the base. This usually just houses Norman and Leo's toys so we didn't have to get too fancy schmancy.
inside view of end table
There you have it - our new abode. I'll bet your thinking, man, that fireplace is an eye sore! It's so ugly and out of place with the new, bright beautiful furniture and rug. You would be correct! That's our next project. Okay so I said painting the trim was our next project and technically it is. The trim we'll be doing ourselves but the fireplace will be getting a face lift from some professional folk. I don't want to give away too much but it will be converted to gas, those hideous shelves I've hated since forever will be gone, there will be some new dimension and it will knock your socks off!
spiffy new setup


  1. love it!! impressive handiwork!! the entertainment center looks amazing!

  2. I love all the before and after photos -- that rug just pops it all -- the touches of blue are fabulous! now the floor is warm and inviting and the fireplace even is a focal point. great job! and good shopping!

  3. Love the new look!! The commentary is stellar! Your dad would be so proud of the work you tackled and the results! Very well thought out plan...~wink wink~ It's so inviting, I may have to look you up so I can get feel about that fireplace! Enjoy the new digs!!



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