Breathing Life into the Living Room

As I mentioned in this post awhile back, it was high time to do some work in the living room, beyond moving around the furniture. I started with the ceiling and once that was looking better moved to the walls.

Note, the ceilings are not perfect. I doubt they’ll ever be but as you can see in this pic the difference between the popcorn, scraped but not sanded and sanded and painted sections it’s a big improvement.

2014 - ceiling living roomThe brown wall paint wasn’t working for me anymore.

With the new light going in above the living room, I knew the space would feel lighter but I wanted to do something more.

So out came the paint, first to prime and then a new wall color!

2014 - primed dining roomI decided to go with a nice neutral and started looking at gray paint. Trust me, people fret and worry for months over the “perfect gray” and there is none. It depends on your space. Grab a few samples (I used 3) and go for the best one.

DSC_0241Can you guess from the pic which one I chose? While I liked the top one I thought it was too much like the current brown in tone. The bottom left one was a nice color but in the light it looked blue. So I went with the third one, middle right, called Dolphin Fin from Behr.

Painting can be a huge chore but when you focus on the result it makes it easier to stand. I love finishing a room, even if it did mean going back on the ladder for hours at a time to get in the corners, prime, paint and touch up.

2014 - dining room cutting in

These peaks were oh, so much fun to handle:

2014 - living room detail(you can see in this corner that the ceiling paint needs a little touch up)

While I will eventually paint the hallway to match first I’ll need to relocate 4 bookshelves and remove the pictures on the wall.

Probably the most impressive thing (to me at least) is that I did the room without taping or putting down drop cloths. I used one old sheet to rest the can on as I moved around the room but other than that it was just being careful and not letting the brush or roller drip.

2014 - fireplace wall finalThe dining room was done as well and it looks (and feels) 100 times lighter. Like walking into a cloud. Not a pod of dolphins though, those animals are mean.

2014 - hallway not painted

The door to the garage needed a bit of love so I grabbed one of the darker gray samples on a whim and painted the door and frame and LOVE how it works together:

2014 - dining room door

When the new dining room light is installed I think you’ll see how everything fits together per the vision in my head.

2014 - dining room finalThe last piece I have to do is around the front door (once I finish the trim at the top) and around the window after I take down the roman shade:

2014 - front window finishedAfter doing the ceiling, priming, painting, touching up, and reinstalling all those pesky light switch and outlet covers the room is finally back to a semblance of normal.

2014 - living room wide shoteIf you’re following along at home I have 4 little to dos left:

1) Front door frame – caulk then fix up the paint

2) replace the air vent return

3) replace the cable plate cover

4) touch up ceiling paint in a few places

You know what’s coming up next, right?

2014 - fire place detail



At last I see the Light…

When looking over my project list it becomes clear that I’m down to the last big projects. Such as lighting, carpet, gutters and outdoor paint. Fun stuff, I promise.

The problem is that each of these projects is usually a larger up front investment. It’s much easier to install some baseboards or take out a tree.

So when I mentioned to my friend Lily that I needed to find an electrician to install some lights she immediately put me in touch with a local guy who works full time as an electrician and does side work. After discussing the myriad of projects I had in front of me and getting a quote I was ready to go!

But first I needed some lights. Here’s the results from the first work day

(note: I did very little real work…)

He began with the outdoor lights and replaced the 3 mismatching lights with these:

1) By the garage


2) By the front door


3) By the back door


Inside we started with the main bathroom:

Imageand the master bath:


And then tackled the outdated ceiling fans, first in the office:

photo(1)and then the guest room:


I also got the light switch in my master bedroom fixed – the switch was no longer controlling the overhead light and since I was planning to swap out that ceiling fan for something new very soon, I needed to get it fixed.

It took a bit of time but only because the existing switch, well, “blew up” and I had to grab a replacement from the garage.

While this was a lot of work to do at once, we’re not actually finished. See, the whole point was to get an overhead light in the living room (finally) and I picked up a brand new light for that room. But I’m also replacing the ceiling fans in the master bedroom and the dining room and those were back ordered.

So in the next few weeks work day #2 will commence, this one a little more intensive with running wire, installing a new switch and crawling into the attic to set the light. Oh, I’m not going to be doing any of the work, my role is supervising.

But I can’t wait for the whole house to be finished!

Here’s the lights I chose and pricing information if you’re interested:

Outdoor Lanterns here for $11.97 each


Office and Guest room fans here for $39.97/ea

DSC_0246Main bath light here for $39.97

DSC_0247Master bath light from Pacific Bay (note I picked this one up on clearance 2+ years ago for around $20 at OSH so it’s unlikely to be in stock now) similar here

DSC_0244For those math-challenged individuals keeping track it puts my expenses for 7 new light fixtures at:

$175.82 for lights

$80 for labor

for a total of $255.82 (or just under $37/per light)