Friday, February 26, 2010

The Living Room Renovation

So at 7 months pregnant, Mr. Nest and I got around to renovating our living room. It had been a priority at some point, but got lost in the list somewhere along the way. We tried to ignore our frustration with the space by painting (many times), changing furniture, and accessorizing. But we realized that it was now or never: once Birdie was here we would have no time to tackle the project.

So we got to work.

What were they thinking putting drop ceiling in a living room???


The beadboard creaked and bubbled whenever we went up the stairs or the weather changed or just because. It was like living with a ghost. 

We just knew when we saw it that it was masking something ugly.

Getting that drop ceiling down felt great!

Until we saw what was underneath it. 



We hated that carpet on the stairs, but it was a great sound barrier once the ceiling came down. By taking it down, we gained another 4 inches to the height of the room!

So messy.

Then it was time to attack the beadboard.

Mr. Belvedere does not like renovations. He camped out in the sunlight.

Yup. We knew it was hiding something!

While Mr. Nest was waging war on the beadboard, I sat my pregnant butt on the stairs and started ripping out the carpet. I thought it would be an easy job for me. I had no idea how many staples they'd shot into that staircase!

Mr. Nest had to help me a few times.


But we finally got it. We conquered the beadboard too.

If you didn't know any better, you'd think those were gun shot holes!

Is that fireplace not the most hideous thing you've ever seen?

Next it was time to rip out that ceiling.

 (sorry for the shot of Mr. Belvedere's butt)

Our living room is fairly small, and, because of the fireplace, shaped strangely. So we decided to move the tv above the fireplace to free up more space. 

The problem, though, is that the fireplace is made of plaster and cement blocks. Mr. Nest, ever the minimalist, was all too happy to come up with a plan. 

He channeled into the plaster and cement to run the power and cable lines. He put in the box, then patched it along with the rest of the holes left from the beadboard installation.


While we were waiting for the tv wall mount to be delivered from, we patched and sanded and patched and sanded and patched and sanded until our hands were ready to fall off. Although, it was mostly Mr. Nest doing this as I was nearing my 9th month of pregnancy. 

We wanted a bold, fun living room to inspire us as a new family. And bold we went:

The wall mount arrived, and Mr. Nest put the electrical plate on.

Something had to be done about that fireplace!

Much better!


Wow, that pumpkin hue really looks different in these pictures!

This is the most real shot of the room "clean." Sorry for the blur....


Sorta After:

This is project is still in progress. I absolutely love how it looks so far. That bottom step makes our whole living room look better. The treads will have dark stain and the risers will be painted white. There will be a stained railing and newel post with white balusters. 


Still need to hang our pictures back up on the wall on the right. The and table and chair are also getting facelifts soon. The basket of cloth diapers will have to stay for now. :)

So that's our living room renovation! It's not very designer, but we like it!
For now. He he he....

Linking to
The DIY Show Off

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Not-quite-burlap pillows

I know the burlap pillows are all the rage right now, but I don't have any on hand. Plus I think it can be a little rough, and I like things that are soft and comfy. Now that our living room is taking shape after over a year of renovations, I wanted to do something to soften it up.

The walls are pumpkin for now, and that can be a tough color to work with.

So I rummaged through my fabric stash and found lots of natural colored muslin. Perfect!

With Birdie getting into everything these days, I knew these pillows needed to be slip covers. So I found this awesome tutorial over at Make It and Love It (seriously addicted to that blog), and I'm thrilled with the result. They were done in under an hour, too!

Without further ado:


(My attempt at a ruffled flower didn't turn out like I hoped.)

Sister pillow

Even more pathetic ruffled flower. I think I'm going to do them over.

Birdie likes to take our overstuffed floor pillows, the couch cushions, and these pillows and pile them on the floor and dive into them. Then she just lays there and watches Wonder Pets or Yo Gabba Gabba. Such a silly sweet girl! This means, though, that I had to make the flower removable. So I got some extra long safety pins from the Dollar Store and used two on each flower to secure it to the pillow. This way I can remove them when I wash the slip cover. Not ingenious, but definitely practical.

After I finished my pillows, I found these over at Just Another Hang Up.



Velcro closure- love the use of the ruffle to cover it!
And a square one:

Don't you just love those chiffon flowers?!

more ruffley goodness!

JAHU got her inspiration from Jesse Kate Designs:


And I'm IN LOVE with this one:

Must make it.

JKD has fantastic directions for making the first pillow, and a great video on making the other. 

Good thing we're getting another snow storm- I have an excuse to get out my sewing machine!

Linking up to Blue Cricket Design