Living and Dining Room Renovation Reveal

I love these pictures. It's so much fun to be able to look back and see how much we've accomplished in such a short time. Today I want to show you the living and dining areas in our big front room. Here are the before pictures again to remind you of what we were working with. 

Red carpet, brick walls, AND tongue and groove paneling. Everything was dirty, dingy, and covered in oily lacquer. 

And here we are now. Yay for white paint! 

We're still un packing and I haven't done much decorating, BUT you can see that we've made big big changes. In this room (and the rest of the house) we scraped the wood walls and ceilings and then caulked all the grooves. It feels strange just to say that casually in one little sentence because those two tasks alone took WEEKS! It was sooooooo much scraping and soooooo much caulking. It felt endless. 

The prep work is the hardest and worst part of a renovation. You don't see a lot of progress and it's messy and takes forever, which is why I think they always gloss over that part on DIY shows. They show that first sledge hammer swing and then move on to something more interesting without telling you, "Hey, BTW that guy had to swing his sledge hammer in this asbestos wasteland for about 40 more hours before we could install these hardwood floors."

THAT would be reality TV. 
Anyway, we scraped and caulked and primed all of the surfaces of the house. It took 8 million years and I died twice. 

When we finally got everything cleaned up and primed, then my dad used a paint sprayer to paint the ceilings glossy white. The rafters and the tongue and groove boards on the ceiling made it nearly impossible to paint evenly (which we found out when we were priming it), so the paint sprayer really helped to give a nice finish on the ceilings. The ceiling is only about 8 1/2 feet tall, which is a little lower than we were use to in our old house, so the glossy white paint helps to give the illusion that they are a bit higher and reflects light in what use to be a very dark space. 

We used inexpensive white ceiling fans in all the rooms hoping that they would sort of disappear against the white ceiling and because we live in south Georgia and having a ceiling fan is a non-negotiable. Hello, 100 degree summers. 

The paint color on the wall is Sherwin Williams "Repose Gray." In fact, all of our paint is from Sherwin Williams. Our local store was very helpful. They were able to give us good advice on what type of paint we needed and how to prepare all of our, uhhhh, interesting surfaces. 

We laid laminate wood flooring to replace the red carpet which was a good solid 3 days worth of work, but made a huge difference. It's a dark wide plank laminate and I'm really happy with the way it turned out. It seems to be fairly durable and gives the house the look we wanted at a price we could afford.

That sounded like a commercial. Sorry. 

In the dining room you can see a little better than the walls on the right are brick and on the left are paneling. It's a bit strange, but I think that the light paint tied everything together well. I'm just trying to think of it as having extra texture. Texture is good, right?

We painted the brick fireplace white to add a divider between the brick and paneling walls and also to add some extra bright white to lighten the space even further. This is probably also a good time to mention that none of the brick (fireplace or walls) was "good brick." The ultra-cool exposed brick wall was not an option for us. I don't know exactly what made it bad, maybe that it was a little too orange? All I know is that junk needed to be painted. 

We had to use a wire brush to clean all of the metal windows, which was another long process. Then we taped them off and I used canned spray paint to repaint them. Our thought was that since the spray paint was made especially for metal that it would work better, and it did! 

Side note- our coffee table is a train table. Don't judge. 

I showed Daddy a picture of an industrial light fixture that I loved and he was able to recreate it for me! He actually made it better than the one I showed him. It's one of my favorite things in the house. 

Though I can't even begin to tell you how to do it, I can tell you that we bought two farmhouse pennants from HERE and then he used galvanized pipe and pipe fittings to construct the chandelier. The wire from the two pennant lights run through the pipe. That is all of the information I have, but doesn't it look great?!

The bookshelves were another big project. We considered just tearing them out because they were dated and the fireplace nook with a gas heater in it was weird. I mean. What do you even do with this?

I thought and thought and thought and this is what we came up with. 

We painted the whole thing white (duh)  and took off the doors on the bottom section. It would be nice to have some doors, but these looked bad and made the room feel a little smaller for some reason. Then, I had my dad and brother add those two little shelves above the TV to make the top two shelves extend the entire bookcase. This helped tremendously- to not waste that space and to make it look like the space was made for an entertainment center (although it was not, we had to run electric outlets and cable though the wall to make it functional, but it allowed the living area to be oriented around the TV and the bookcase, which is the focal point of the room.) Finally I had the guys cover the fireplace nook with a piece of plywood, then we added 3 scraps of 1x12" lumber to make faux drawer fronts. I've still got to add some hardware to the "drawers" to complete the illusion, but I think that it really finishes out the bookcase nicely. 

The bookshelves are curved. I took the photo on the panoramic setting on my phone to try to get the whole thing in the pic.

(More on these bookshelves later! They are not quite done *I need another basket!!!*, but my friend Roxie kindly came over and helped me style them when I was feeling terribly overwhelmed with all of our books. When I get them finished up, we're going to share her tips for bookshelf success!) 

Now if only those drawers were real so I could put some of the shiz in it. Seriously. I've got to get this under control. Also, yes that is a VCR. I can't part with it. I like to watch "You've Got Mail" as God intended for it to be watched…on VHS. Amen. 

Here's another pile in the corner of the room that hasn't been unpacked. Ugh. Moving is no joke, y'all. Finding a place for everything in a new house is a lot of work. I'm showing you the pics, people, but the work is not done. And I'm definitely too lazy to move this junk to another room just to take these pictures.  

You can see that there's still a good bit to be done in terms of finishing up this space These are some of my to do's for this room:

- make curtains
- finish organizing and styling bookshelves
- hang art and wall decorations
- make the workspace more functional and fun
- find a piece of furniture for the corner beside the couch (possible something with REAL drawers)
- paint the the round table beside our couch or make a table cloth for it
- sew new pillows for the couch

Just for kicks let's look at the before and after one more time…

Thanks for being such an encouragement to me about our new house, y'all. You really know how to make a gal feel good. More reno pictures coming soon…next up are the bedrooms and bath.

Love you. Mean it.


  1. Love the gray and white! And so glad you didn't rip out those bookshelves.

  2. Lookin' good!!! Can't wait to see more!!!

  3. The bookshelves!! Ahhh!!! You've Got Mail on VHS!! Ahhh!!! I knew we were soul mates.

  4. Looking fabulous! So glad you are home!

  5. This renovation looks just like you and David. Yall are so talented! Love you both, Angela West Smith

    1. Thanks so much, Ms. Angela! You are so sweet :)

  6. What an amazing transformation! You should be proud of all that you and your crew have accomplished! Beautiful!

    1. Thanks, Melissa! We are proud and thankful for all of the encouragement…It really helps keep me going!

  7. melissa, you are awesome and have done a great job with your new space. i love it!!! you always do such a great job making a house feel like a home. its always cozy, relaxed, and real! we miss you here, but glad yall are settling there nicely. also, i'm kinda jealous about your new view! looks great.

    1. Thanks so much, April! You are so encouraging! Come visit us sometime! We miss y'all so much!

  8. This is magazine-worthy. And isn't it just like you to also post pictures of those unpacked boxes, just to remind us that you're human, too. Thanks, Mel. This gives me hope for when we move to what will probably be a fixer-upper in Jackson. I wish we were moving closer and not further away... I think we could have been true soul-neighbors in another life.

    1. Rach, you are too kind. I'm so excited for yall's new adventure (and a little jealous! I've always been so interested in getting a counseling degree). You're going to be great at it and it feels good when all the details fall into place (which is how it seemed for y'all from your blog post)! Let's keep being neighbors on our list of things to do one day… it would be fantastic!

  9. Replies
    1. Thanks, AC! We are ready for you to come visit. We can go canoeing and play with Pecos.

  10. Your living room looks breathtakingly gorgeous. The white paint really looks pristine and elegant, and the way you arranged the shelves are just amazing. Thank you for sharing the lovely decor inspirations. Happy fall to everyone!

    Oliver Matthews @ Flower and Fendler

  11. We'd absolutely love kid with thanks for those results you obtain formulated this forum. I am hoping an identical top carryout provided by individuals at some point while doing so. At the moment these days just click combined with follow-up cash advance Regards for those wonderful content.


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