Sunday, July 12, 2015

Beginning in the Living Room

The fact that we have been in our new house now for nearly a month is almost beyond comprehension to me.

I can't tell you how quickly these past few weeks have gone by. With school ending, and the beginning of summer, a much needed trip to the cottage and the start of renovations, we now find ourselves in the middle of July, and are starting to feel settled in our new home.

We have a long way to go before things are finished, but we've grown comfortable with the idea of taking our time completing the many projects on our to-do list.

There were however a few rooms in which it was more sensible to complete them before settling into those spaces. One of those rooms is our living room. And so, the morning after moving in, Ryan began the preparation work for drywalling the walls and finishing off the living room.

The walls were a series of layers. Wood panelling covered over sheets of styrofoam, which covered over layers of wallpaper, which covered over plaster that, thankfully, was in much better condition that we could have hoped.

Here is a before photo of the living room.

I think it's my most favourite room in the whole house. It's one half of the main floor of the original house, with four big bright windows that provide perfect natural light all day long. There was originally a fireplace on this wall, which later became a gas fireplace that is not in working order. There is also no longer a chimney on this side of the house, which made room for a closet in the master bedroom.

The ceiling was covered with ceiling tiles that were aged and saging in many spots. This was one of those things that we anticipated the worst case scenario when they were removed. However, again, when they were taken down, we were pleasantly surprised at how well everything was intact. There was definite sagging, but fortunately it wasn't due to any water damage, and most of the strapping was in good shape.

This cabinet, which isn't built in, but was leaning against this wall, has been removed. This is the back of the living room. Currently I'm standing in the doorway from the front entrance, looking through to the door to the kitchen. The stairway to the upstairs is on the other side of this right wall.

Here Ryan is removing all debris from the plaster walls.

And removing the ceiling tiles, which came down a little too easily for comfort.

Hidden behind some of the panelling, we found what we think is a sample of the original baseboards. We will try to replicate something similar when we have baseboards installed.

Next Ryan had to remove the fireplace, which will be replaced with a gas fireplace. When he removed the mantle, he found what seems to be old wallpaper. 

Doesn't it appear to be hand painted? I don't even know if they did that, but it was only found around the fireplace. 

Here is the old mantel and insert. While the mantel is older, it isn't original to the home.

After waiting longer than anticipated, drywallers were able to come and install the drywall. This went unbelievably quickly. The speed at which these (older) men hoist massive sheets and rapidly screw them into place is almost an art form. They do it so effortlessly, it's almost graceful.

Before the drywall went up, our electrician came in the remove some old (dead) wiring that had been left, and wire a fixture in.

It was at this point that we left for some time away at the cottage. While we were away, tapers and mudders came and did their thing in the living room, and when we returned, only the last of the mudding was left.

This is currently our living room state. Our family room, which I will go into soon, had walls coated in something similar to what would be used for popcorn ceilings. The company doing our drywall installation recommended smoothing over the walls. Apparently, it was a fairly easy, and cost-effective. So, naively we agreed to have that done at the same time, as the mudders would already be there working. In hindsight, this was a terrible idea as it meant both of our main living spaces would be under renovations at the same time. What we thought would be a one or two day project has taken over a week and a half so far, and only the ceiling has been completed.

But, more on that later.

I had to laugh when I looked out the windows at our gardens. They are beautiful, but horribly in need of some love and attention. We've been so busy inside and sadly there just isn't enough time in the day to do everything. This is one of my favourite spots in the yard. It's mostly herbs and the Lavender is in full bloom and is so beautifully fragrant.


  1. You are going to love the results. I am intrigued by how our men take on these jobs! I am reminded of my husband who with me, steamed off layers of old wall paper from my studio, and together, we painted it pure white. I have been enjoying this space for three years now, and I know your new living room will give you much joy. GORGEOUS ! Anita

  2. It will be so beautiful! I love those deep set windows, so stunning.
    Kind regards, Catherine

  3. What you're saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I'm sure you'll reach so many people with what you've got to say.

  4. First things first, congrats to you for buying a new home! I see you’re just beginning with the renovation, and I hope that its progress is going smoothly. I would love to see more updates in the future, and I hope everything will go according to your plan. Good day!

    Homer Collins @ Pinnacle Renovations


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