Renovation: Living Room

Following my travel interiors post, I thought I would follow it up with exactly how we went about our renovation along with some before and after shots – though the ‘before’ photos are actually mid-renovation because I grabbed the chisel and steamer long before I thought to grab the camera!

Within an hour of getting the keys and toasting to our new abode, we starting stripping the wallpaper in the living room. We luckily had a week left in our rented flat, so we could get started on the messy work before all our possessions moved in.

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We love putting our stamp on our homes and telling a bit of a story about who we are and our characters. Everyone who walks in our home tells us ‘its so you’ which is such a compliment as its exactly how we wanted our home to feel. Even in our previous rented flats we went to town on the decor, risking our deposits by nailing into the walls to hang artwork and wall hangings.

We began in the living room, the first room you come to and we already knew we wanted it full of colour, cosiness, and stacks of personality.

Though initially it looked like we simply would need to strip the wallpaper off, unfortunately it also pulled off part of the crumbling plaster beneath so straight from the off it became a more expensive job. Together with my dad (our very own plumber, builder and electrician on our house project!), we plasterboarded the room and then found a local Plasterer via mybuilder.com which is great as there are reviews to help you really research before hiring.

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We also changed our wiring, since when walking into the house the light switch was on the other side of the room and required some stumbling around in the dark at night! I learnt a fair bit about wiring through my dad, who is very much a jack of all trades! I became desensitized to putting my hands into holes full of dust and spiders and fully embraced the DIY!

I impatiently and eagerly waited for the plaster to dry so I could get stuck in to my first mist coat. I got absolutely covered in paint doing this layer, and it quickly became my least favourite part of the renovation. I was much more into the chiseling/knocking walls down/ messy jobs!

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As we have so much artwork we like to display, we went with white walls more or less throughout the entire house. It lets the artwork stand out and especially gives a good balance in the living room since we have so much colour going on with our belongings, such as our beautiful coffee table (a bespoke piece made expertly by my other half’s dad). We also hang origami, fans, and have a habit of buying Anthropologie christmas decorations which we display all year round as they are too beautiful to put away!

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We were lucky enough to already have the exposed brick on the fireplace, it was one of the first signs that this house was for us when we first viewed it, having always lived with exposed brick in our previous rented homes.

We would like to change the fireplace at some point to something more in keeping with our taste. My dad relaid tiles on the hearth to black and white Victorian style tiles. Balanced above is my beloved Menorah and hanging above is a beautiful Nkuku star candle my friend’s brought for me when I first moved away.

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Shelving is something we love, using salvaged wood and pallets sourced from timber yards. The rustic shelving gives the room such character and we enjoyed filling the space with knick knacks from our travels as well as plants and books. I think this is the part which really tells a story, I love that someone could point at something in the room and everything has a tale behind it!

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My brother bought me a wire neon light which you can twist into whatever words or shapes that you fancy, I being a nut on everything Japanese themed went with ‘Konichiwa’!

Whilst already owning a beautiful vintage standard lamp picked up from a charity shop, we picked a gorgeous industrial copper light fitting for the ceiling from a local interiors shop, Alcove, and finished it off with a ceiling rose and cabling from Period Features.

Dave’s dad dabbles in joinery and carpentry so luckily for us, he created a beautiful cupboard to surround the fuse box.  I have hung one of my own macrame planter hangers that I love to make from the box to add more greenery.

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As we knew we wanted to change the flooring to wooden floorboards, we didn’t worry about covering the carpet. This was a little learning curve, as we did have to wait a while to have our flooring done as the floorboards underneath weren’t the best so therefore forked out for engineered wood flooring which cost an arm and a leg, and had to live with a paint and plastered splattered carpet for sometime!

When stripping the carpet, we discovered some old newspaper pages that were being used to cover draughts and gaps in the old flooring, it was fascinating reading the pages from years gone by.

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We already owned furniture for the living room, luckily our sofa and armchair fit though the sofa is something we would like to change in the not so distant future, I have my eye on a green velvet beauty! Our armchair has been claimed by our two cats, Zen and Toffle and they can normally be found here curled up together. Our Moroccan pouf was a bargain from a local antiques market.

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My beloved stool was my late Grandma’s which I treasure dearly, and I use it as a telephone table for our vintage style home phone.

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We have filled our coffee table with candles, plants, and underneath our ever-growing coffee table book collection. I have my interior books here, The New Bohemians and Home Style by City being my favourites.

Our rug is from Ikea, not being able to afford the real deal persian rug but this one is great to get the feel without the huge price tag – though its something I would love to invest in one day!

Plants are a major way we decorate (see this post here) and have made this room into a bit of a cosy colourful jungle.

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We have this watering can displayed on our fireplace which was bought from Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, which we love as we live nearby a canal, and it is also a little nod to our nearby city.  We have a huge monstera, two growing banana leaf plants and various other little species surrounding our space.

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We also have a number of plants in quirky pots along our window sill which we replaced with a darker wider wood so our cats could comfortably gaze out from one of their favourite spots!

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Our TV stand we had made as we were looking for a particular height and width to fit in the alcove space and underneath the pallet shelving, so decided to order a bespoke stand from RCC furniture via Etsy.

We have some figurines from favourite shows, Jesse from Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones characters, as well as a clock from Howls Moving Castle, and a BB8 that runs around the room. We love useless gadgets, and have a Japanese ‘clockman’ and cat talking money-box. We also have a chest full to the brim of board games which I love getting out when we have friends and family round. Living rooms should feel cosy, lived in and a bit fun in my eyes.

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We painted the door leading to the dining room duck egg to fit in with a window we painted in the next room. We are yet to change our front door which is on our list to do, something more fitting with the rest of the decor.

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I hope you enjoyed this first post on our renovation journey in our living room, now through to the dining room…!

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