Oh crap, we bought a fixer-upper.....

Living Room

We have more or less put the living room together!  This room looks dramatically different now than it did when we bought the house.  Here’s what we’ve done (before and after photos below):


We replaced the carpet.  When the house was sold, the sellers replaced the carpet in the rest of the house, but not in the living room.  The carpet that was in here was pretty gross.  It was apparently a green color that had faded to brown in most places (or maybe the other way around), and it was pretty filthy.  So we got the same kind of brown flecked carpet that the seller had put in the office and basement.

Accent wall

The kitchen is a floor-to-ceiling island, and the back of that island faces the living room.  That wall was covered in two layers of wood paneling.  Ew.  We had plans of covering that wall in recovered wood planks or something along those lines.  Eventually, that wall is going to go away: some day we will remodel the kitchen and make it an actual island and open up the space.  But meanwhile, we had an ugly wall to deal with.  The electrician pulled down a section of the wood paneling to put in some wiring for the kitchen, and in the process, discovered that under that wood paneling is the same texture that you see in the rest of the house, painted bright yellow.  So we decided to just take off the paneling and paint the wall.

However, the electrician also cut a big hole at the top of the wall, and realized that the wall isn’t load-bearing.  So instead of patching up the hole he made, we had an even better idea.  We chopped off the top of the wall, right at the level of the kitchen cabinets.  The plan is to put in a cat ladder so the cats can get up on top of the wall and the kitchen cabinets.  It’s right in the middle of the house, so they’ll love it.

But cutting off the top of the wall made a ragged edge, and the wall is plaster with thick texture so that’s hard to patch up.  So an expert drywaller came in and mudded the whole wall to make it smooth.  It’s the only smooth wall in the house, and it is gorgeous and we love it.  (We still need to paint the trim at the top – we haven’t decided what color yet).


That pink had to go.  Dear God, did that pink ever have to go.  Because not only was it pink, it was glossy, which really emphasized the weird texture.  We got help from a color consultant to pick out new colors, and now the room is Sandbar and Avocado (or beige and green, if you prefer).  It’s also flat, which makes the texture a lot less obvious.  We aren’t quite done painting yet, but we’re really close on the main floor!


When we bought the house, this room had no lights or light switches.  Presumably the previous owner had lamps and carried a flashlight at all times so she could walk across the room to find her lamps in the dark.  An amazing team of electricians came in, and were able to run wiring for lights up through the soffits, so they didn’t have to knock a bunch of holes in the walls.  They put recessed LED canister lights in the ceiling, on two different switches so that the lights at the edges of the room can be controlled independently of the lights in the middle.  These lights are glorious.  They’re ridiculously bright, but they are dimmable, so we rarely use them at above 50%.  They are wireless, so (a) you can put the light switches wherever you want without running wires and (b) you can get a mobile app to control them.  We love the lighting in here!


I will spare you the saga of purchasing curtains.  That’s, like, 40 hours of my life that I want back.  Suffice to say that finding curtains in a standard size that would actually fit was like fitting a square peg in a round hole, and on top of that, manufacturers these days suck and even though I ordered 5 curtains in the same color from the same manufacturer, I got 4 different colors.  But eventually we did find curtains that are the same color and more or less fit, and curtain rods to hold them up.


Adding our furniture and stuff to the room naturally made a dramatic difference in how the room looks.  We’re pleased with how everything fits and coordinates in here.  We still haven’t hung anything on the walls, other than the clock – the room will look even better when we put stuff on the walls.

Before and after photos

(And before you panic, the blue in the corner isn’t really that bright electric!  It’s actually a nice, fairly muted mid blue, but the flash from the camera really blew it up!)





  1. Margaret

    Wow! that’s impressive. I love how the room looks after. Keep going!

    • Rebecca n Maxx

      Strong Work!!

      BRAVA and BRAVO!

      Maxx & I Can’t wait to visit Penelope and you both in the beloved B’ham.

      We also moved unexpectantly to Queen Anne, so you 3 must come visit when back in Seattle

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