Saturday, May 4

The San Gabriel House :: the living room

Yes.  I'm still obsessing over the past.  Today I'm thinking about the day my interest in decorating became my true obsession; I think of that day as the day my passion in life was realized.  It was the same day I fell head over heels in love with blogs.

It all started with a google search: "how to paint a brick fireplace".  Up to that day I hadn't really ever paid attention to blogs; I'm not even sure I knew what one was.  But on that very day,  google led me to this post from the blog Young House Love.  Here was this fun couple documenting the trials and tribulations of renovation.  Sherry & John.  We go way back.  We're buds.  Well, they don't actually know we are, but we are.  Mrs. stalker.  I'm pretty sure that I went back to Day 1 of their blog and read every single post.  I soaked it all up; it was like I was reading a ridiculous teenage vampire novel...I couldn't stop.  I just loved reading about their journey.  It was not nearly as ridiculous as the aforementioned teenage vampire novel btw.  It was all so relatable.  So inspiring.  I was hooked.
yhl blog

But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself here.  A little backstory... Before Biff & I dated, we were friends.  He had come by my apartment a couple of times and knew I was into decorating; he said he liked the style of my place and asked if I might give him some decor pointers.  We were new friends then and with no romance in sight, my design ego was pumped.  I was happy to share my creative pearls of wisdom.

I remember the day I drove out to (what seemed like) the boonies to see the house he was renovating.  He showed me the before pictures, talked about his plans. Yep.  The living room before pictures looked just as horrifying as the rest of the place. For your reference, please see Exhibit A.
Living Room_before fp

And Exhibit B.
Living Room_before

I think he initially wanted advice on exterior paint colors...but that's a story for another day.  :)  He had done so much work already on the interior but the finishes (and the furnishings) really just didn't seem like him.  He was newly single and blossoming into this new person.  My advice?  Get rid of everything and start fresh.
Living room_reno

Much to my surprise, he agreed and wanted my help.

I'm not sure how much time passed before our friendship actually turned into romance.  (Of course that's a total lie; in a pinch, I could probably tell you how many days, hours & seconds it was.)  When we finally did let our walls down, I knew my single days were long gone.  He was definitely the one for me.  No doubt about it. Put a fork in her; I was done, people. Who else would let me go hog wild with a paint brush?  I should tell you, he wasn't even home the day I started painting.  I texted him a photo and said, "I hope you weren't joking when you said I could paint the fireplace."  Seriously.

living room fp_during

When he asked my thoughts about the living room, I mentioned that I thought in its' current state, that it was just too dark.  Step 1: remove those dark green velvet curtains.  Let the sun shine in!!! The walls...the furniture?  None of it seemed right to me.  Of course, we had talked about painting the fireplace.  Biff was a little on the fence about it though and I was all talk but truly, scared to death.  After all, I was only pretending to know what I was doing.  That's what led me to that fateful google search and brought me to the YHL blog.  I think it was their before & after pics and their tutorial that finally gave me the confidence to go for it.  If you ever read this Sherry & John, thank you...thank you...thank you! I'm hoping the work we did would make you proud. :)

Doesn't everyone begin major painting projects without covering their furniture or moving said furniture out of the room?  I've got to tell you, this brick soaked up a ton of primer; and at this point in the process I really had no confidence (at all) that this was going to look good.  I was terrified. There was no turning back though, so forward we marched.
living room fp_primed

A primed fireplace led to primed walls.  I knew then that it was going to be gorgeous.
Living Room_primed

Once we got the glossy white paint on the fireplace and the swiss coffee on the walls, we were golden.  The crown moulding was the icing on the cake though & spray painting the metal casing on the windows (we did this to all the windows in the house...a great trick if you can't afford to buy new windows!) was the cherry on top.  Can you believe that is the same Pottery Barn sofa that is in the before pic above?  All we did was remove the faded rust colored slip cover and this heavenly moment happened.
Living Room_After_1

And here's the room as it looked when we sold the house.  A mix of vintage & modern, it was clean, bright & all-together a happy space.  The location of the house was fairly private, and this front room was somewhat separate from the rest of the living spaces.  I absolutely loved the light in there so we opted to go without window coverings.  Maybe we would've gotten some eventually, but I'm not so sure.  Don't be alarmed though; the private rooms, the ones we used daily, had window treatments. I promise.
living room after_furnished

living room after_furnished 2
These photos have me missing our little house in the boonies and now I am kicking myself for selling that metal desk & chair.  What was I thinking?

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