Danielle's House 1 Year Later: Living Room

We're back with another installment of transformation pictures from my house. I was kind of holding out until we got our 2nd sofa and a few other odds and ends wrapped up but they stopped selling the sofa we wanted and I haven't lifted a finger in this house in six months, so now is as good a time as any! Plus, the transformation just in the first 6 months really felt like a big enough change towards personalizing it, that however incomplete, is worth sharing.

This series is not a quick and concise visual tour, I'll share our first impressions, the initial plan, the thought process behind each decision and ultimately where we are now and where we still plan to go. Some photos (the good ones, duh! were taken by Suzuran Photography, but a lot of the supplemental (less pretty photos) are just taken by me.

So, without any further ado. This is my living room from the real estate listing to where it is now and where it has been a few stops along the way!


{There's a tiny sneak peek into the "before pics" of the den in a few of the above images, but we'll save the full transformation of that room for another day.}

{There's a tiny sneak peek into the "before pics" of the den in a few of the above images, but we'll save the full transformation of that room for another day.}

We had a 60-day close on our house and so I had 60 days to think about what we wanted to do with the space. I focused all energy on our living room, foyer and dining room as the den would be an easy temporary fix and the kitchen was nearly done and the upstairs (with the exception of Penny's room, could wait). 

I put together an initial mood board for our living room prior to moving in and pretty damn near stuck exactly to it. 


We wanted an almost equal balance of modern and classic elements. To accomplish this, we created a modern shell as we'll describe  below, but wanted furniture that had elements of classic (leather, marble, antique, button-tufted, wing-back,) but done in a modern way (clean-lines, fresh prints or fabrics, light and airy).

So, we were working with a nice bones colonial living room. The room is long and narrow, the fireplace is not centered across from the wall or entry and the doors to the den were giving bad rental vibes due to a million layers of paint. Also, we got the feeling that maybe the previous owners actually must have had colored walls at one point and just painted them in white primer to put it on the market, as every wall down here (except the den) was a white primer finish.

So the list as we saw it upon moving in, was:

  • Paint everything. All trim and chair rail in SW Snowbound (a white) with the surface walls above the chair rail in SW Snowfall, which is pretty much the lightest gray ever. It reads a lot like white but with a touch more depth to it. We love it. The other thing we did to add depth and draw out the historical trim original to the 1928 home, was to paint the wall under the chair rail not in the same color as the wall above the chair rail, but instead in the same white we used for the trim (but in a satin finish as opposed to the semi-gloss we used on the trim).
  • strip all the paint off the den doors and glass (yes, and glass!) and paint black
  • re-orient the furniture arrangement to be centered on the fireplace and conversational. We did not want our tv in this room and could thereby orient furniture without having to take that into consideration.
  • update the polished silver window hardware, take down old blinds and replace curtains.

This photo is early on. We bought the loveseat from the plan. (We had to have a loveseat as there is just not much width in the room if you're centering on the fireplace, which we were determined to for better conversational seating.) A loveseat provided 2-3 seats when guests are over but still left plenty of walkway around the setting. (We have a separate sectional for lounging in the den).

We selected a narrow rectangle coffee table with ample surface area for playing with Penny or entertaining guests. Initially, we didn't want to spend the money on two leather loveseats, so we "temporarily" bought a loveseat and two Ikea wing back chairs. The two chairs felt too contrived and also were too high for the loveseat with both of them there, so we ended up moving one of the chairs to the playroom and instead including a vintage bentwood rocker. We wanted a bentwood rocker really bad (it was in the original mood!) but bought the two ikea chairs because we didn't know when we'd find one and literally within weeks of moving in our next door neighbors (who were moving) put one on their treelawn!

hardware from crate & barrel and curtains from west elm.

hardware from crate & barrel and curtains from west elm.

Anyway, In January, when we decided we were ready to spend the money on another leather sofa, it was too late as the loveseat is apparently discontinued. Undecided about what to do, we just kind of stopped worrying about it, for now and are still living with the loveseat, wingback and rocker. 

Keeping the main setting somewhat smaller in scale gives the allusion of more space, but still provides plenty of functional seating for entertaining.


The photo above is an early version of the other side of the room. This is a great photo to see the ever-so-slight variation in wall color. We wanted white walls but didn't. You know what I mean? We wanted that bright, clean, and modern look that white walls bring but being a colonial, we also wanted a little more warmth and tradition. Having a different color above the chair rail is a nod to the traditional bones and the particular colors feel modern. 

Also, you can see the replacement window hardware in the photo above. The big regret of this room is not installing that hardware all the way up closer to the crown molding. This would give this fairly small room more height. Also, I thought I was ordering one shade lighter of gray velvet curtains, these are just a touch muddier than I wanted. Ultimately these will likely get replaced but with no urgency.

The big win here is the doors to the den. The glass looks a little dirty/cloudy but it's as clean as we've been able to figure out getting them after stripping at least FIVE COATS OF PAINT off of them.

The above two images are looking into the den. We placed our vintage mid century buffet to the left of the den entrance and have since rotated the art and moved the sofa to the opposite side of the fireplace from where it sits here.

Below, is another project we took on for the whole first floor. We replaced all the electrical outlets and plate covers. In the dining and living rooms, we decided to intentionally draw you in by either stripping and polishing the original brass plates or by replacing them with new ones from House of Antique Hardware. We decided that wherever we were using the brass plates, we preferred the black electrical sockets to the white ones which were there. 


This past holiday we bought this huge airplane photo. I absolutely LOVE it. Though I am not one to keep art in the same place for very long, I do think it's a great way to utilize that huge surface wall with otherwise no function. 

We REALLy want to add hard-wired wall sconces to the walls on either side of the entrance to this room. We need better lighting in here and I'm not willing to hardwire a ceiling light but wall sconces would be a great classic addition to this space! I still love the original sconces I put on our mood board above but I'm sure by the time we get around to this project I'll have changed my mind. 

where the artworks and plants remain is still TBD. In the meantime, the plants have doubled in size and themselves believe this corner is their rightful home!

We hit the ground running with the living room, then lost a little steam, gained it back up and promptly lost it again. 

The big item that's outstanding is a second loveseat, which we had planned to get but apparently didn't decide to in time because when we went to buy it after the holidays we discovered it was sold out! 

The things we see as still needing to happen in this room currently include:

  • final lighting solutions
  • a long term mantel solution
  • etegere for corner
  • a second loveseat 
  • additional storage bench potentially

Since we're here, let's just take a quick look at the transformation of our small foyer too! The two images below are the only two images I have of the "before", white paned door, white walls, old tile, flush mount ceiling light.

Being that not a single room in this home is complete, even this tiny foyer is still lacking a replacement flush mount ceiling light and either a mirror or art to put on the main wall in there. That said, we've definitely made big changes in that we've replaced the floor tiles, added a bold paint color and new wall hooks.

SO, there you have it. Not perfect. But we love it just the same! It's always been great for entertaining, reading, playing with Penny in and just all around feeling like 'us'. 

We still have a few more 1 year updates to share (kitchen, powder room, Penny's bedroom, den, stairs and upstairs hallway, upstairs bathroom, master bedroom, upstairs bonus room) and then as any big big changes occur to the rooms we've covered, we'll share those as well. 

I really appreciate your visit today! It's Wednesday, so the week's halfway over! What weekend warrior projects do you have on the list? Let's talk more over on Instagram!