The Next Phase—Family Room UpCycle

Renovating Our Forty-Something Year Old House on a Budget

Family Room Upcycle

It has been a busy couple of weeks around here. Getting the Etsy Shop ready for the upcoming Holidays and Sales—undoing Halloween and starting to prepare for Thanksgiving— and painting that dark cave of a room we have designated the family/rec/game room. You may remember that Gaia and I undertook the Fireplace Redoux, whitewashing our tired red brick fireplace in this same room, a bit over a month ago. The difference was astounding, and it made me determined to get to the next phase of the renovation before the Holidays. I bought my paint shortly after we finished the fireplace, but it was a bit before we actually had time to undertake to job.

This particular room in the house had not only been paneled with wood, but stained a very dark brown. I am a lover of light, and truthfully, this was my least favorite room in the house. Since it opens into the breakfast nook and the kitchen, there was no avoiding it really, and I kept feeling like I was staring into a cave. Ideally, the paneling should have been torn out, but I knew that then it would require new drywall in the room as well. Time and my budget really didn’t allow. I still have many other projects in the offing. So, having been fated to paint over paneling several times before, I grimly undertook the task. 

Here are some photos of the room taken before we started. All but the first shot were taken with the overhead light on. By the way, the ceiling fan and light were replaced just a few months ago. The original fixture was very old and noisy, and the light kit on the bottom seemed ready to vibrate off. In line with my decorating style (I call it Mid-Century Mashup! I will talk more about this in months to come.)  and my budget,  the new fan is Hampton Bay’s Devereaux II in weathered brass.  I bought it from Home Depot. It is just the right balance of streamlined elegance and industrial pop for this room that is mostly devoted to games and music. 

Before Photos

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As you can see from the photos, we are lucky enough to have crown molding in the downstairs living area of the house. It lends a bit of interest to the fairly low-ceiled rooms of our two-story house and keeps them from being overly boxy. As we proceed in months to come on this home’s cosmetic overhaul, you will get to see that we also have chair railings in the dining room, up the stairs and in the upstairs hall, as well as some other cute architectural treatments.

In the family room, my first job was to move furniture, take items off the walls and mask off the doors, window and mouldings.  I sometimes feel that this is nearly as much work as painting. Since I was dealing with this very dark stained paneling, I knew the walls would require primer. Gaia and I applied two coats of Kilz Premium primer “High Hide Stain Blocker”. All of the trim strips on the paneling made for a bit of a tedious job, but I focused on trim while Gaia rolled on, first the primer, and subsequently the paint . While Gaia doesn’t mind either job, she particularly likes doing the rolling. It’s a Zen thing, I think. This is also where our differences in style and approach really show up. Gaia is very tidy and fastidious. I, unfortunately, am not so much. I tend to wear as much paint as I get on the walls. However, I am faster than she is, so perhaps we balance one another out. 

The photos below document the stages of the process the room went through as we progressed. At least a day was allowed between each coat of primer and paint, and there were a few days when we had other obligations, so this entire process took nearly a week. We also used two coats of our paint— Behr Premium Plus in Soft Buttercup (P290-1).

The Process

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As you can see in the pictures, it was like watching a transformation unfold. With each coat of primer and paint, the room seemed to get more open, to grow larger and come to life. I have put everything back in place for the most part now. I also am removing the ill fitting inside shutter on the lone window in the family room, and replacing it with a cellular shade. I don’t know if I will get to that before Thanksgiving, but I will provide photos when it is done. The decor in this room is a mixture of old and new. I purchased some new furniture, a settee and the chairs, some shelves, etc., but many of my favorite accents are thrifted—nearly everything on the mantle. The tall wicker lamp by the fireplace, and the large urn basket by the TV, as well as the woven wall hanging are all thrift shop or garage sale finds. Other items are hand me downs from friends and families. I don’t know if I mentioned it in the Fireplace Post but the mantel is also new. Since this fireplace had none, and I not only love styling a mantel, but also require a place to hang my giant Christmas Stockings, we purchased this beautiful rustic shelf with corbels  from Mantels Direct. They have an awesome selection for almost any taste. It installed easily, and was also easily removed for our whitewash project.

Here are some pictures of the [finished] family room. Since we will still be adding the shade, and hopefully re-flooring the entire downstairs in a few months, I can’t really call it complete. It’s a happier place though.


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Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at our latest project. Though most of my renovations probably wont resume until after the New Year, I’ve got lots of projects in the offing. If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you. Until Next time…

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The Next Phase—Family Room UpCycle..Renovating Our Forty-Something Year Old House on a Budget..

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