Friday, March 28, 2014

Plans for Living Room Carpentry Work

One of our 2014 home goals (perhaps the primary one) involves our formal living room. In its current state, it's pretty okay. Tolerable even. But, we've made plans to start improving the existing charm of the space starting next weekend, and it all starts with 3 much-needed carpentry improvements.

Let's chat about them, shall we? 

Sorry if you've seen pictures of our mismatched, woefully-undecorated living room for awhile now...that's all about to change! Ignore the various upholstery in the room--it will all be redone. We met with Rich--the talented carpenter who artfully installed crown moulding in our den and master bedroom--this week to discuss 3 main projects:

1) install substantial crown moulding fitting for a formal space;
2) replace the adjustable shelving in the built-in with permanent shelving; and
3) build out our flat fireplace surround.

As with most rooms in our house, the living room lacks crown moulding. It is a finishing touch that adds extra definition to any space and is ever so apparent in rooms where it's absent.
There is a small amount of trim along the paneled portion of our living room (one wall only) that is the wrong scale entirely for the size of the room.
In its place, Rich will concoct a combination of trims that are substantial and a bit more formal (like the inspiration image below).

The picture above also shows the built-ins in the corner of the living room. Changing the open upper shelving is our second carpentry project; currently, the shelves are adjustable and the visible pegs the shelves sit on look cheap and temporary. Additionally, that fussy trim at the top is going! I can't wait!
The third and final carpentry project in our living room concerns the fireplace surround. As the photo below demonstrates, our existing fireplace surround is unique but, ultimately, reads pretty flat on the main living room wall.
I actually love the shape of the fireplace, but the facade needs some dimension. So, the plan is to remove the existing moulding, create a boxed-out surround that projects about 5" from the wall, and returning the original moulding to the face of the new boxed-out surround. Follow me?
(all via Meet Me in Philadelphia)
We don't have a mantel, but I was inspired by a few images with similarly trimmed fireplaces.
(via Pinterest)
Get what I'm going for? I'm not 100% sure if we'll add that mantel piece or just go with a simple, flat top. I have to see how much character the added dimension brings to the fireplace before proceeding. We're also planning to cover the exposed brick fireplace facade with slate to match the hearth. It should be a big improvement!

Once these 3 carpentry projects are complete, I'll feel much more confident about the direction of the room. The bones of the space will be that much more special.

At that point, we'll tackle paint. White, most likely. What's your favorite white paints for walls and trim? I've already settled on fabric for the tufted sofa (camel velvet) and other aspects of the room will follow.

Okay, so I know I've rambled on, but I'd love your insights. Are there any special considerations I should be aware of with the crown moulding/built-ins/fireplace surround work? What do you think of the projects? Any white paint recommendations?

Progress--or the promise of it--feels so good! Happy weekend, friends.


  1. This is really exciting! I have a fireplace surround very similar to yours and have wanted to pull it forward and box it out for dimension. Can't wait to see how yours turns out. If you're able to post any how-my-carpenter did it pics that would be so great! (bit of a self-centered request on my part) For a soft creamy white that doesn't have too much yellow I like BM Ancient Ivory. It's the color in my bedroom and we used to have it in our family room before I changed it to more of a greige.

    1. Great idea, Michele! I'll definitely share step-by-step photos of the fireplace redo here!

      Thank you for the color recommendation!

  2. I'm in love with your room as is so I can only imagine how amazing it's going to be when you finish your plans. Love everything on your list!

  3. I don't know which I love most from this post - fab moldings, camel velvet, white walls. Gah, so good!! I love your plan sister and can't wait to see all of it. I love BM White Dove or Ancient Ivory.

    1. That's the second vote for BM "Ancient Ivory". I trust you and Michele, so I'll definitely check these colors out! Thank you!

  4. I really love your plans! It's nice to hear your thoughts that led to the final decisions. Looking forward to seeing it progress! Also, camel velvet on that sofa sounds like perfection.

  5. I'm going to live vicariously through your plan for the time being. One of my favorite things about this room in your house is that large window that brings in such great natural light. I'm excited to see the addition of the crown - I think that's going to make such a difference. Often times I can be found staring at our walls at different times of the day and imagining what new crown and paint will do for our living area. We want to beef up the bones as well so I haven't done anything until that project is finished. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

  6. Yes BM Ancient Ivory is a great color.

  7. Your living room is full of light and volume! I love how airy it looks. Good luck with these projects - very exciting!

  8. Great plans! I love a good crown molding and can't wait to see what you do to your existing beautiful space.


I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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