Last renovated in the 70's, with green walls and gross carpet, the living room was in need of a major makeover. It was our first big home renovation and was our first farmhouse restoration video and it took over a month and around $300 to complete.
We are so happy about how the living room turned out, now it is a very inviting and cozy space and is our favourite room in the house!
The living room wasn't very "living" worthy before, it was always dreary looking and not nice.
While restoring the office (room to the right) we discovered the original wood floors and brick chimney and figured they most likely both extended into the living room as well. We were also a lot more confident to tackle a much bigger project since we had just completed a successful one. So, one night we just got really excited imagining the space with wood floors and the brick chimney and next thing we know, the living room is torn apart and the renovation was underway!
We started by pealing back a corner of the carpet to peak at the wood floors underneath and got more excited and said "screw it" and started tearing apart our living room, even though it was already past 12am.
The first reveal of the wood floors was so satisfying and fun, it was like discovering a treasure! The floor alone held so many stories of a past life; It gave us glimpses of previous walls and styles. With even MORE excitement imagining what the space could become, we figured we would keep the momentum going and finish the demo!
We grabbed a crow bar and hammer and started chipping away to reveal the chimney.
We tore down a partial wall that was hiding the brick and realized there was going to be A LOT more work involved to chip the plaster away from the chimney, so we finally called it a night.
The next day I used a bigger crow bar and a hammer and just went to town. I eventually developed a technique where I was able to chip away large chunks of plaster.
Once I finally got all the plaster off I took a step back to admire what we just uncovered!
To clean up the rest of the residual plaster I used a wire wheel attachment for a drill (there are angle grinder options too but that is a lot more aggressive). This is an extremely dusty process so make sure you are wearing a proper respirator, goggles and the room is property sealed off and ventilated. We sealed off the room the plastic sheets and had fans blowing out the windows which creates a negative air pressure. This is a crucial step because sometimes, especially in older homes there is a risk of hazardous dust and you want to control the dust and not have it spread around the house.
We rented a drum sander to refinish the floors, this cost around $150 to rent including the heavy duty sandpaper and it was definitely worth every penny! We couldn't of completed this size room using a belt sander without breaking our back and sacrificing quality. Before sanding, the old floors did need some prep work, we had to pull out all the staples left over from the carpet and made sure there were no nails poking out of the wood as they could damage the drum sander. Since our floors are not level we started at a very low grit (16) and went diagonal across the boards in both directions to help level the surface.
Then to clean up all the diagonal scratches we sanded with the grain. We continued this process up until 180 grit on the drum sander. After that we lightly sanded everything by hand with a palm sander to get around the edges and clean up any areas the drum sander may have missed.
It was a ton of work to get to this point but we would take a lot of "admire" breaks to keep us motivated! From here, we had to clean out 100 years worth of filth from between he cracks in the floor boards and then lightly sand over the floor with 220 grit by hand for a smooth finish.
Once the floor was all sanded we turned our attention to the built in. It was this orange varnished pine, beautiful in its time but we wanted to update it to fit in the newly renovated space.
We decided to paint the cabinets and have a contrasting wood counter area. In order for the paint to adhere properly to the cabinets we needed to do A LOT more sanding to get the old varnish off.
Once we sanded the entire built in, we thoroughly cleaned up all the dust and prepped for paint. We primed everything at the same time and used a light, warm gray colour called Worn Cedar for the walls. At this point we realized we didn't do things in the best order, ideally you paint first so you dont have to worry about ruining freshly sanded floors.
We painted the built in flat white and then cleaned and re-used the existing hardware.
We also cleaned up the chimney by scrubbing it down with vinegar water and a really professional tool called a barbecue brush....it worked like a charm!
Before staining the floors, we lightly finish sanded them by hand and cleaned up all the dust with a wet rag. The wet rag also dampens the wood which raises the grain, so we went back and lightly sanded down raised parts and cleaned up the dust again. Then we were ready to stain; we used Minwax Puritan Pine and then sealed the floor with 4 coats of water based satin poly, lightly sanding and cleaning in-between each coat.
And we were done! Every step of the process was long, tedious and required patience, but it was so worth the effort! The space is now so much brighter, inviting and embraces the name "living room" .