The first thing we did in the hallway was close off the door to the kitchen. It allowed us to create a usable kitchen space and we didn't really needed three entrances into the kitchen. We also ripped out all of the carpet and the dated linoleum, added slate grey ceramic tile and refinished and painted the stairs.
Let me tell you about those stairs. If you read the 'Great Staircase Debate' post here - you'll know I was undecided as to which style of stair railing would work best and not cost a fortune. A few people asked me what was so wrong with the original banister. While I do like the look of iron work it tends to read more 'Spanish Colonial or Spanish Revival' to me which didn't fit with our 1950s cottage. The banister itself also had a horrible plastic handrail that could not be removed so goodbye old railing. Ripping out the carpet and the millions of staples that went along with it was a job I'll be forever grateful to my dear old dad for. The process of sanding, refinishing and painting the stairs was also incredibly time consuming. Finally, we got a quote to make the stair railing that came in at over $2300. I convinced Chad that he could do it himself. After reading a few books he managed to do a amazing job for under $600. He's a keeper that one.
My dream wallpaper was way out of budget but this wallpaper we ended up using from Rona does the job for way less than half the price. I think it gives the entryway some interest and ties in the turquoise used in the rest of the house. Repainting everything else a fresh white also made a huge difference.
The upstairs hallway was drastically improved by just removing the carpet and more white paint. Again, Chad's new stair rail also made a huge difference. The little table at the end of the hall was something the former owner left for us and I may eventually end up repainting.
I'm really pleased with how the living room ended up. It didn't go exactly to my original plan and I sure had a few moments of
total freak out concern. One thing I never doubted was my love for that light fixture. It wasn't cheap and I bought it very early on in the process on a trip to Toronto back when I naively thought the reno would be on budget. It was also nearly impossible to hang. Picture Chad and I both standing on ladders 12 feet in the air with our arms above our heads-me yelling not to break my baby. In the end I think it is my favourite element in the room and totally worth the splurge.
I had originally wanted Chad to build a pipe and reclaimed wood shelving unit to cover the entire back wall in order to house the infamous BINGO sign. Again, it came down to budget. After I removed the TWO layers of wallpaper-one faux brick, followed by one faux wood, budgetary restrictions left me with one option-paint. The black wall actually makes the space feel bigger than when it was white and makes a nice backdrop for art.
Apart from removing all the carpet and refinished the floors (something I don't suggest anyone do themselves) the only other changes-apart from gallons of white paint-were to remove the room dividers and decorative bulkhead that was being used as a planter box and display shelf. In terms of furniture and artwork, most of it is vintage- either from my family, estate sales or flea markets. The rug and drapes are from Ikea. The couch was found on ebay here. The large abstract art was something Chad and I made using leftover house paint.
Removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room really made the most difference in the overall flow of the house. The old dining room had this ridiculously small pass-through, an acoustic tile ceiling and dark wood panelling. While I think wood panelling has it's place and can look beautiful it was next to impossible not to damage when we removed the wall and added the patio door. The patio door was one thing we didn't do ourselves and hired a contractor to do. It creates an enormous amount of light and really adds to the overall bright and airy feel I was hoping for. The dining room table is vintage, the chairs were a gift from my parents, the rug, curtains and display case/bar are all from Ikea. The sputnik light is from Morba in Toronto.
The kitchen was really a hot mess-seriously. I mean I've seen some cute retro kitchens but this one was so small that not more than one person could stand in it (the original picture is deceptive). It was also what can only be described as a fleshy peach tone. There was an pipe behind the fridge that caused it to sit in almost the middle of the room. There was nothing worth keeping and it was a complete gut job. We filled in the side entrance door and the door to the hallway all while opening up the wall to the dining room. All the cabinets and appliances are Ikea and the countertop is quartz. There are still a few finishing details to complete (isn't that always the way) like adding grey tape to conceal the white base cabinet joints, building a wine rack (please Chad) and discussing whether we want to add trim to take the upper cabinets to the ceiling (not an exciting job in a older house that is not at all level). Overall, I am very happy with the layout of the kitchen and the durability of the cabinets and counters (which so far seem indestructible).
If you've made it all the way to the end of this, thanks. I hope you enjoyed the pictures of our little work-in-progress. Time to take a break and enjoy my living room with a glass of wine.