Creating a Warm and Cozy Living Room

This living room had good bones: two 9 pane exterior doors, original wood floors, original windows, unpainted woodwork, tall ceilings and a fireplace. (We’ll ignore the fact that it wasn’t a functioning fireplace.)

These floors had seen better days!

We had the floors professionally refinished by Tony at Cavalier Floors. He also repaired a hole where we had an electrician move an outlet from the floor to the wall.

We went with natural instead of a stain.
I love seeing the variation in the wood grain

There are some really old outlets left in the room, and they aren’t like anything I’ve seen before.

Weird, right? Can handle five cords, but nothing three prong.

The only truly odd thing about this room was the “groovy” mirrored niche on the wall. I assume it was added in the 60’s? 70’s? It was tempting to add a mini disco ball (yes, there was an outlet in the niche!) and just make this a party room, but I resisted the urge. The wiring to that outlet was janky as hell, and the niche cut into the bedroom closet and took up a lot of space.

But can you imagine a spinning disco ball hanging in there?

We removed the mirrored box, added a stud in the center and drywalled over it (and by “we” I mean the contractor who was doing our addition).

Why yes, that is our master bathroom vanity sitting in the living room. Living in a construction zone is SUPER fun.

The only other work needed in the room besides paint was repair work due to the addition. They had to remove the trim around the doorway to the dining room and install a new beam to support the work happening in the attic. They did replace the original trim around the doorway, but the crown molding was no longer usable.

Safety first! Now that the attic was going to be actual living space it needed more support.

I wasn’t able to find the exact profile of the original molding, but I got close and replaced the missing piece of trim. I also caulked all of the crown and painted it with the Benjamin Moore paint I used on the kitchen cabinetry and trim throughout the addition. The walls were painted Sherwin-Williams Gracious Greige. I wanted a warm color that would pair well with the dark woodwork, but still be neutral.

Don’t worry — this pic was taken BEFORE I finished cutting in the ceiling. It looks perfect now.

The fireplace also got a coat of white paint to freshen it up. It’s a shallow box so I couldn’t stack full logs inside of it. Instead I cut down logs to fit and fill the opening. I’m tempted to remove the lathe and plaster from above the mantel to expose the brick, but I realize how messy of a job that would be. If I was going to do it, I should have pulled the trigger during construction when everything was a mess anyway!

What to do with an empty fireplace? Wood!

The room had two really odd pendant light fixtures — like something you would see over a 2002 kitchen island. I really wish I knew what was there originally! I went with two 10″ Geo Pendants from West Elm. I love the look of a schoolhouse style fixture, but wanted to stick to clear glass (little did I know how hard they would be to keep clean).

So random. Added bonus of the niche…if I angled my head right I could see FOUR of these fantastic pendants.
Of course I took this pic when they were freshly cleaned.

The other electrical component in this room was the switches. Our home still had some knob and tube wiring, and those sweet push button switches. When the electricians did some work in this area, they were forced to remove those and replaced them with basic white plastic. I hated them. Did you know you can buy replicas of the old switches? I had kept the original brass plates, and my sweet momma had cooked all the paint off of them in the slow cooker then cleaned them up using Brasso.

Before Brasso and after

It was a pretty simple task to replace the switches and return the brass plate where it belongs.

Out with the new, and in with the old…. Is that how the saying goes? Lol.
Just how it was meant to be, only safer.

And that’s it! Then I just had to decorate it. I created three different zones: an entry, a traditional living room around the fireplace and a mini home office.

The entry, ready for spooky season.
My mini office isn’t a bad spot to sort the mail.
I am clearly NOT a minimalist.
Having a mirror on that wall WAS a good idea. I just like this one better than the one in the box.
Only one of these succulents and one of these gourds is fake. Can you tell which?
Framed photographs of Clintonville, my thrifted silver bowl and my DIY painted vase with oak leaf hydrangeas from the yard…

Entry runner: 2’2 x 6′ Outdoor Botanical Runner Rug from rugs.com

Sectional: West Elm

Rug: Gianna Eco-Friendly Indoor/Outdoor Kilim Rug from Pottery Barn

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