How we changed a dark, unusable room to a light, bright multi-purpose space!
We purchased our 1972 house in April of 2015. When I first saw pictures online of this house, there was no way I wanted to go see it. I even “x-ed” it out on our online list! The house is a split level, and from all the pictures, looked very dark and drab and dated. But, we had sold our other house & we were only looking in a very small area & had a very strict budget. So, when we were finally desperate enough, we agreed to see the house. This is what the exterior looked like:
Though some might say these pictures are not that bad, let me just point out that the garage door & shutters were painted maroon. The kicker for me though, was that I hated the idea of a split level. What is great about this house, though, is we have an all one -level entry, which also includes the kitchen, sitting room, and dining room. You can access the back deck from this level. To the right of the foyer, you have the choice to go downstairs into our den or upstairs to the bedrooms. Almost like a 3 story house but not as many stairs! So, the entry gave me hope. Here is a current picture of it:
The lower level has our main living room, a half bath, laundry room, storage space, and a large “rec room.” This is what the original rec room looked like:
It was just about the saddest, darkest, most stinky & yuck room there could be. The giant bar also had a sink- for when you had parties?? The blinds were likely the original blinds & flooring was original zebra print vinyl. For several months, the room was a playroom/unpacked boxes/office. But honestly, it was just a mess. Then, my in-laws were coming to stay with us for a family wedding and this was our only option as a guest room. So, demo & painting began.
Virtually as soon as we got to work clearing everything out & painting, Evan broke his collarbone. Like so badly, he had to have surgery to put a plate in & hold the bone in place. Friends of ours were so gracious & came over one afternoon to tear out the bar & paint the room. It took 3 of us with crowbars & hammers to get all the pieces out from the bar. The back of the bar was so strong & stubborn, our friend Kevin had to give it a strong kick to get it free! After carrying all the pieces of plywood out to the street, we had to close up the pipes that were connected to the sink. We didn’t want to close them up into the wall since we aren’t professional plumbers, so we used pipe caps & cement glue.
Painting Wood Paneling
The walls are a textured paneling, circa 1972. I hated them, but instead of putting up sheet rock & spending a lot more money, I decided to paint the walls white. This took about 3 coats to get it all right, and my Dad spent an afternoon caulking all the gaps in the panels. Though we know it’s paneling, the texture looks amazing with the white color! Maybe one day we can change out the walls, but it works great for now!
The final step was flooring. I looked at carpet, rugs, wood, & laminate. After several stores, I settled on LVF (Luxury Vinyl Flooring) from Floor & Decor. I couldn’t justify getting anything else (on basically zero budget) because the flooring was $.69/sf! The particular one I chose was American Cypress. These come in planks that are sticky on the back. You literally peel & stick. Along the moldings and edges of the room, I cut the planks with a razor knife. To prove how easy this was, I installed all of the flooring by myself because Evan was still recovering!!
This took me all of a late night & a few hours the next day. I promise, you can barely tell it is peel & stick flooring. It does feel like laminate but looks SO gorgeous! And again, sixty-nine cents per square foot. I think the entire room cost about $230. Also, I did lay it over the existing floor. The reason was the amount of time and work it would have been to peel up the floor, then to remove all the adhesive and even out everything underneath. It was just much easier to lay over the zebra print!
Pretty big difference, right?? The closet doors will probably need to be replaced as they don’t sit correctly on the track anymore. But everything is basically done & we use this room all the time.
The key is that we did it all without breaking the bank!