Feature Wall and Living Room: Before and After

2014 has certainly been a year of change: moving, remodeling, redecorating.

After remodeling my mom’s kitchen and getting her settled back into her house, Hubby and I moved back into our home and set our sights on tweaking it room-by-room. And it was high time; I’m kind of ashamed to admit that my living room, staircase, and loft were still sporting the previous owner’s annoying, two-tone paint job…10 years later. To say it was time is a major understatment.

The Living Room Before

So here’s what we were dealing with: A living room with a two-story fireplace flanked by bland, off-white-and-beige two-toned walls. Also, throughout the entire lower floor, staircase, and upstairs loft was shoddily-added chair rail. And when I say shoddily-added, I mean there were seams in the middle, and the corners weren’t mitered and finished properly. The ends of the rail just ended on the walls with no finish, no straight edge. It was time for it TO GO.

We absolutely love the fireplace brick, which is kind of white-washed and not typical red brick, but the grandness and beauty of the brick fireplace was just lost in all. That. Off-white.

We decided we’d make the fireplace wall a feature wall and got to work, first removing the chair rail and sanding the seams, which was a pain—and the walls will never be perfect and gorgeous—but at least they’ll no longer be halved, visually.

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Armed with Hubby’s massive work ladder, we proceeded to paint the walls beside the fireplace in Olympic Knight’s Armor (a medium-to-dark grey), and we needed every inch of his 6’3″ body to reach the tallest corner at the top left. I got on the ladder to cut in some of the edges and it scared the heck out of me. Doesn’t look so high ’til you’re up there!

Things were going well until the ladder began to slide on the floor, causing Hubby to make a death-defying leap from the ladder to the railing on the second floor (OMG, I went white), but thankfully he survived, and we converted the ladder to a classic A-frame after that. Duh! Can’t have my hubs hitting the deck!

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You can already begin to see the incredible impact the dark color has; we were so excited watching the transformation as we painted.

The Living Room After: The Feature Wall

And the results? Worth risking our lives for it, absolutely. Here’s a shot kind of mid-remodel. Walls are done, and our Alfred  (a.k.a. Alfie) is back on the fireplace to reside over our living room. Yes, I have a deer head in my living room.

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Let’s talk about Alfie for a minute. 

I actually wasn’t a fan of putting a mounted deer head on my fireplace. It was Hubby’s idea, but now I’m glad we chose to grace our home with this gorgeous buck; I’m sure he was once a statuesque and majestic animal. Now before you start thinking Hubby’s a hunter and that we condone that, let me stop you in your tracks. He’s not and we don’t.

Here’s the thing: I have sheepskins on my dining room chairs. I wear Mongolian lamb vests and I have a vintage fox stole. Nearly all my shoes and handbags are leather. I eat meat, and plenty of it. Do I love fur and the nourishment I enjoy from eating meat? Yes. Would I go out and kill the animals myself? No.

I don’t believe in hunting for sport and I literally have deer in my backyard…they bring me so much joy every time I see them ambling through. To murder one would never, ever cross my mind. It’s unthinkable.

Alfie was for sale on eBay, and our reasoning was this: What better way is there to honor this animal than to celebrate his beauty every day, and ensure that his death was not in vain? For Alfie to collect dust in an attic somewhere, or disintegrate in a landfill is a sin far worse, in my opinion. The deed is done, and it was not ours. But now we can at least show our respect for nature in this small way.

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 The Living Room After: The Rest

After painting the feature wall, the next weekend we continued our living room makeover, removing that blasted chair rail from the other walls and painting them with Olympic Gray Marble (main wall below), which is lighter than the feature wall, but darker than Olympic Silver Spoon, which is on the rest of the walls in my house (on the walls in the dining room, left).

And hallelujah, I finally rid myself of my 12-year-old-from-a-past-life sofas! A family friend decided to give them a new home, so I relocated the vintage sofa (below, right, thanks Mom!) from my kitchen to the living room. If you’ve seen some of my older videos, you’ve seen me perched on that sofa in the kitchen.

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We ushered in a new, mid-century style sofa from West Elm (left), and two upholstered footstools that are the color of the feature wall (and almost the same fabric as our sofa), from Target, of all places. They are perfect as extra seating, as ottomans, or as tables with the addition of a tray.

We’re aiming for a modern rustic look in our living room, an eclectic mid-century mix. We still need some odds and ends, and lots of pillows for the vintage sofa, but I have some very specific ideas about what I want, and it will take some time to procure. But hey, we’ve made a lot of progress, and I am so happy with the results! Hubby and I love having date night in the living room now. I can only imagine how cozy it will be this winter with a fire roaring in the fireplace.

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Oh, and one more perk of this remodel that I love but didn’t anticipate is how the feature wall color helps camouflage that seriously old school, ginormous TV. I know, it’s a relic. But it still works, and I have plenty of room for it.

We’re planning on putting a 55″ LED flat panel on a moveable arm in that corner (with a mid-century style media cabinet under it), but we will probably wait a little while to do that. You know what they say…if it ain’t broke…

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And there’s my Mace, in one of her favorite lookout points. Her bed is grey too. 🙂

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13 comments

  1. I love the wall color and can totally see where you are going with the room- I think it will look great. The vintage sofa is such a great piece and adds some character to the space. I am sure you will love “living” in this room!!

  2. I appreciate your perspective on the deer head. I agree with the way you look at it–the deer is already taxidermied (if that’s a word) so why let it go to waste?

  3. Vahni, I like what you have done with your living space, and although I loved the deer head in your place anyway, I admire you for explaining. But, I understand why you elaborated, since people are so quick to judge when it comes to all things animal related. I have been wanting to re-design my art studio, just need more time in a day, week, month … now I am a bit more inspired though. Thanks 🙂
    /Madison

    1. Thanks, Madison. I will say that my little home redecorating blitz would not have been possible without my hubby’s help. It’s not easy to tackle on one’s own. It took me 10 years to do this, too! So you’ll get to it when the time is right.

  4. Cool post! I’ve been gifted my mom’s mink stole and 1960’s fur coat from when she moved to Canada. I feel much the same as to preserving their fate and ‘dignity’ as it were, with the deer. I must inquire V, what is this neat little widget you used at the bottom to monetize the post?

  5. Wow! Cool! I think I need to do some blog housekeeping first – I’m wanting to pretty it up a fair bit. But that is really neat! Thank you 🙂

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