Living Room: ORC- Fall 2020 Week 4

This week has been a bit of a whirlwind, personally and with this project. Its officially week 4 of the One Room Challenge. We did a big big thing, installed our gorgeous Ingrid Stuga Floors! Now I have to admit that this room being open to other spaces really puts a damper on the final results. I can see the old laminate in the dining room and the old beige tile in the foyer. We will get to those, but we have to decide on our kitchen refresh to do those floors. Home takes time, and I need more patience.

We started out by emptying most of the room, removing the baseboards and laminate, then renting a mini jack hammer (and so glad we did!). We wanted to remove the fireplace hearth- thats the raised tile or brick extension in front of the firebox. It was wasted space in the room, the tile wasn’t in great condition, it was sharp (my daughter scratched her foot just the night before). We are also never going to use this fireplace for wood, it will have an electrical insert, in California I think regular wood burning fireplaces aren’t even allowed in new builds any more.

Unfortunately the contractors that worked with the realtor to give this home a facelift before it went on the market had some less than stellar work methods. We began to remove the tile and noticed that underneath was a layer of backer-board, then drywall!?! which was thin-set to the concrete base. It’s common to have concrete over mesh instead of wood subfloor under the hearth, to prevent fire risk, but it’s not common or even recommended to ever use drywall under a hearth, and never would you thin-set drywall. Drywall crumbles very easily when the paper layers are removed, which is exactly what happens when you try to pry it up from the thin-set.

Look at this interesting old wallpaper? The leaves were actually raised, like leaf skeletons. Kind of cool.

So we had a crumbly dusty mess to deal with. It added an hour and a lot more dust than necessary. But we got it up, and gained 15″ of space in the room! After that we were ready to clean up the subfloor and add some screws to prevent squeaks. Then we rolled out the indoor pool blue underlayment and got work laying the floors! We have already laid floors in many rooms, so this wasn’t our first rodeo. It went fairly quick since the room is just a rectangle so not much to cut around. Then added new baseboards, the ones under the steps are temporary, and will be replaced once we do the other rooms with the hardwood nosing.

When we were finishing the floors, our electric fireplace insert arrived, and we had to put it in to test it. We love it! Does it look real? Not exactly, but it gives the ambiance of a fire, its safe and not smokey. It didn’t cover the hole completely so I need to make trim painted black to go around it. Speaking of little details, I also need to get some stone to finish the bottom of the fireplace that used to have the tile hearth in front of it.

So here we are, the floors are done! They look lovely. Now it’s the little details, fine tuning, and styling the room. I purchased a coffee table off Facebook marketplace (seriously sucked down that rabbit hole right now!). The coffee table has good bones but I don’t like the finish, so staining or painting is in the future. And I’m not sure about our old coffee table as an end table. Living room tables are my undoing. See you in week 5!

Our little pup loves to perch on the sofa and watch the world go by!

Living Room: ORC- Fall 2020 Week 3

Wow week 3 already for the One Room Challenge. This week it didn’t feel like much progress was made, but I did a thing I should have done a long time ago; we painted the fireplace!

I’m sure there are many people who loved the stone finish on the fireplace (I know our realtor did when he bragged about that upgrade he had the previous home owners do for the sale). But it just wasn’t my thing. It was very pink and cheap looking in person. Ultimately I want to cover it with drywall and Portola paints roman clay (I even have my samples to test colors) for the plaster look, but we have SO many projects happening that I knew it wasn’t going to get done any time soon and I had all I needed to finish this paint job.

I used flat Sherwin Williams paint in Alabaster (left over from my laundry/half bath room), and mixed in some baking soda. This was a total experiment, I’ve never used baking soda to thicken and create a chalk like paint before, but I knew if I didn’t thicken the paint it would never fill in between the stones, so I would be left with a lot of gaps or I would need to fill them prior to painting with either grout or drywall compound. I also knew I would need to do two coats since it wasn’t covering the stone completely with paint alone. I didn’t want to have multiple steps (read lazy) so I tested one side with the baking soda mixed paint and VOILA, it was thick and left a nice mildly gritty stone texture finish that wouldn’t require a second step!

Don’t mind the homeschool dining room in the corner. this is where I tried to use Chantilly Lace, the same color as the wall- it was too bright, so I went with Alabaster.

I really love the finish, it looks so much more lux and solid. I’m also glad I used SW Alabaster versus the brighter BM Chantilly Lace color on the walls. It softened the stone a bit to have the warmer white.

If you want to do this to your stone fireplace here’s the steps:

  1. Mix 2 parts paint to 1 part Baking soda (truthfully I just eyed my measurements, so it’s not very scientific, and depending on how thick and how gritty you want the finish you can adjust the recipe).
  2. Paint your stone fireplace. If you have stacked stone like mine without grout, be sure to get into the seams with enough thickness to fill any gaps.

Notes: I prefer flat paint, but I did another small project after with satin finish paint and it worked the same, the baking soda basically flattens the satin away.

Coming up next week are some big changes; Fireplace Insert, and FLOORS! So excited and exhausted just thinking about it. We have already replaced flooring in all our upstairs bedrooms and hallway, and our downstairs playroom. So we have some experience. Its a lot of work with many steps, floor removal, prep, laying the actual floor, and then finishing the trim and baseboards. But it will make a huge difference.

Living Room: One Room Challenge – Fall 2020 Week 2

It’s week 2 for the One Room Challenge, and I’m giving you all a very bad example of how this process should go. Why? Because I’m doing it all out of order. I’m basically decorating and styling, knowing very well that we will be removing everything to redo the floors in the next week or two. So don’t do as I do, instead be smart and get the big messy remodeling done before you bring in the new rug and rearrange the furniture.

I’m determined to spend very little money on this room. Partly because we have already spent plenty on new flooring (we are DIYing all the Stuga wood flooring in our home and have already completed our upstairs and the playroom), a new rug (got a great deal on it though!) and the not pretty but really important new chimney damper. That means most of the furniture, art, decor will be DIYed, shopped from my house, and my shop, Domov.

This week we did finally get a new damper on top of our chimney! We may have to relocate the wire hook in the firebox when we get an electrical insert, but otherwise it’s done. We hired out for this and I think its making a big difference. I have an extremely sensitive nose and unfortunately the previous owners didn’t take good care of the chimneys- they obviously enjoyed many wood burning fires, but maybe never bothered to clean them. With the poorly sealing damper, I was smelling smokey burnt smells any time I was near the fireplace. We even had it cleaned and it did little to stop the smell. Then we learned that the poorly sealing damper was actually creating pressure and pulling air in through the chimney into the house causing the smell to disperse. So while there isn’t a pretty after pic to show, this was an important part of the room.

The rug came and I really like it. It is a loloi rug, the printed kind, so not fluffly or really soft, but we added a pad and I’m someone who enjoys this style of rug. The colors are lovely, and I know it will look great with the new floors.

I have decided to repurpose our coffee table, which is too small as a coffee table for the space, as a low large side table. It works well for the space between both couches. I put up the new curtains and love them! They are super long and I really should hem them, but I may not get to it. Our blinds are battery operated with a remote, which we LOVE, so they are what we close and open, the curtains are just for decoration, but they add so much.

These Studio McGee blankets from Target are the best. My kids love a soft nicely weighted blanket and so they each have one, but this gorgeous brick colored one is mine.

And now the fauxdenza. We have had this guy for over 10 years now. Back in the day when blogging was everything, Anna of Door 16 shared her fauxdenza made from ikea cabs and we made one too. This one is made of ikea kitchen Akrum cabinets (their old kitchen line prior to sektion) with Veddinge doors and wrapped in stained plywood. It has been in every home and survived so much abuse from the kids and all our moves. Now as much as I love this piece and its durability, I’m not sold on it in here, but remember I’m trying to shop my home… so I removed the mid century legs that we had on it and replaced the knobs. None of it feels right yet, so more changes will probably come.

But the coffee table struggle is real- I believe I have had this issue in most every home. Other parents with young kids probably get the coffee table struggles too; it needs to be DURABLE, not too sharp or dangerous, and take up just the right amount of space for kids to move around freely. The other big hurdle, I refuse to pay a lot right now. And “a lot” is relative, but under a couple hundred dollars is my budget. So I’m checking facebook marketplace and nextdoor, and thinking of hacks or DIYs. Don’t get me wrong, I have found plenty of gorgeous perfect ones, besides the price and finish durability. There are some great options out there right now. But I would cry if I spent $900-$2000 on a table that my kids scratched up after the first week.

So thats where we are this week. Next week we will be starting on the floors!

Living Room: ORC- Fall 2020 Week 1


Here we go again! Its my third time participating in the One Room Challenge, I did in Spring 2019 before we even knew we would be selling our house when I remodeled the hall bathroom. I registered for the winter 2019 ORC, but life was not wanting that to happen, so I made the choice to sit it out. Then I registered and completed (but without any sharing!) the ORC for Spring 2020. I will have to do a post on thast some time. So I’m a little inconsistent and we will see how well I do this time with posting.

For those unfamliar with the ORC, you will get to watch me make a space in 6 weeks! Yes, only 6 weeks. I’ve been mentally remodeling and planning for much longer than that, but the work and finishing touches are happening fast.  The ORC is great because it allows you to see the full process designers use to create a space, planing, mood boards, selecting finishes, budgeting, etc.

We will be working on our living room. It has great bones, but needs some updating to be up to my taste. Definitely replacing the floors. We will already started replacing all the carpet in the house with Stuga wood floors and we LOVE them. So next is the laminate.

Here’s the before from the listing when we purchased the house:

See, good bones. Staged in the traditional way homes are staged, baby blue walls? Don’t ask me.

Here’s when we did what we could when we moved in over a year ago.

It’s been cute, but the room felt like it didn’t have structure. Its a large space and most of it was open. The kids liked it, but it didn’t feel cozy, I think we can do better. That rug has since been moved to our playroom, we do love that rug.

We did attempt a few things to try and make the fireplace work, adding a mantle and a mirror. And while I liked the look for christmas, it wasn’t my style year round, it was too busy and farmhouse-y. The stone looks much prettier in the photos than it does in person. Its very pale pink in person.

Heres the Living Room Mood Board:

Pretty huh?


  1. Replace the floors.
  2. Update the firsplace? First and foremost we are replacing our damper. It doesn’t seal well and we even had bees enter through the top in spring. We also plan to add an electric insert. No need to burn real wood (allergies and the environment). The new face lift may not be completed, but I will try!
  3. New Baseboards
  4. Figure out ideal layout
  5. The rest will all be decor, furniture placement, and styling!
  6. Paint touch ups
  7. Enjoy!