MMDH: Before & After Family Room
When we first walked into our house on a realtor tour, we were greeted with an intense aroma of cat and A LOT of heavy drapery treatments. Those two items triggered an immediate brainstorm session of what this place had the potential of becoming. We had looked at so many houses over a two year period of trying to sell our condo, so when we finally walked into this place, we knew immediately that those floral valances and wood paneled rooms needed to be ours. We knew this 1950s built home had sturdy bones, and we quickly smelled past the odor, and saw past the paneling and cloaked windows to our dream home!
I had already drawn up addition plans for a few different homes we had looked at - crazy-town process of an interior designer or architect looking for their own home! - but when we walked into this place, the layout was just right. We knew we would have an easy option of tearing down the wall between the kitchen and family room, as part of a five to ten year plan, and we knew the family room paneling and Styrofoam beams just needed a coat of paint to get us by in the interim. Everything was livable without major updates needed immediately.
We had nowhere to go but up in this place, so we started to dig into approachable projects like flooring and paint. We ripped out one layer of family room berber carpet to find a layer of indoor/outdoor carpet adhered directly to 9" tile - maybe asbestos? We had the tile tested and the guy who came out threw a few chips of tile in his bag and never got back to us. We took our chances, bought a full body paint suit and face mask, and removed the tiles that were adhered together nicely with the thin layer of carpet. Once the tile was gone, we had new inexpensive carpet installed, knowing it would only need to last us a few years before we started tearing down walls.
We had every inch of the room painted, which gave it a new identity. We thought we would leave the fireplace brick as is, but once we saw how clean everything else looked once painted, I took it upon myself to paint the entire fireplace. It ended up being what felt like an endless task of deep mortar lines, although it luckily only needed one coat with white Gilden Gripper Paint. A family friend built cabinet doors for the exposed fire wood hole in the brick facade, and we used that for an AV 'rack' to support the TV above the fireplace.
This temporary fix lasted us three years before we decided to demo the walls we had dreamt about taking down when we first walked through this house. We opened up the kitchen to the family room and dining room, and we expanded the back door to the porch, so we no longer had to walk through the family room from the kitchen to get to the patio for grilling, etc. This almost-full first floor renovation was a major step to getting this house to make more sense for our growing family.
We moved out into my way WELCOMING sister and brother-in-law's basement for a thirteen week construction project that we hired a general contractor to manage. At the time, Maizie was six months old and Finn was two and a half. Maizie was still bald and barely rolling around when we started the process, and had a full head of hair and starting to climb stairs by the time we moved back in! LOL. It was a fun time in the kids' lives to be with extended family on a daily basis, and I think we actually all went through a bit of separation anxiety when it was all said and done. We were crazy lucky to not have to live under the same roof as construction, although that didn't make it easier on the days that no one showed up to work at the house :)
There are always going to be pain points on a construction project within your own home... like the fact that your house becomes unlivable for weeks at a time, and people aren't necessarily going to be working there on a daily basis, and it feels like you may never have finished floors and working plumbing again, like ever! It was an extensive scope and took our life savings to accomplish, but we moved back in the week of Christmas that year and haven't looked back...it was all SO worth it!!
Pretty life changing transformation for this place! Stay tuned for my before and after kitchen post coming soon, for the full renovation process rundown AND construction progress pics!