These photos might be nominally referred to as “before and after,” but “after” is not an accurate description of where we are. Let’s go with “in progress.”
Fireplace in progress:
Other living room Before:
Living room in progress:
Apologies for the bad lighting and overall messiness. If you can overlook those, I think you’ll agree that the new floor plan (which we’ve been anticipating for well over a year) is much more open and makes the new fireplace the focal point of the room.
- Mantis fireplace insert (with new hearth).
- Wall-mounted TV over the fireplace. Also got cable after not having it for the past 2.5 years. Which is proving to be a bit overwhelming for me.
- New Ikea Manstad corner sofa (yes, both sofas would look better without blankets draped over them, and I have a solution in mind for that, but for now this is how we roll because we enjoy having dogs on the furniture)
- Rearranged most of the furniture in the room and gave away or sold several items including the TV stand.
- When guests enter through the front door, they are no longer funneled into an awkward area behind the couch.
- More room to do workouts in the living room.
- New yellow shelf above and to the left of the fireplace - our friend and former (sniff!) next door neighbor Robert built this for his house, which is identical to ours, and since it’s a custom shelf for a space that only exists in the houses on our street, he had no use for it when he moved. It was black until Matt painted it yellow.
- Dog crates are now under the wood table, where they fit perfectly. We gave the chairs away, which was a little bit sad for me. I got the table and set of 4 chairs at the Salvation Army in my hometown almost 10 years ago right before I moved into my first apartment after college. I’ve used them in every home I’ve lived in as an adult. The table was my desk for the past two years, but now that’s not possible with the dog crates underneath, so I’m using a folding table which you might catch a glimpse of (see my laptop in the last photo?) Also note to self: get some folding chairs so people can sit down if we have a dinner party.
- New Ikea Ektorp Bromma footstool with a tray on top replaced our coffee table.
Many more improvements are still on the To Do list, but we are feeling mighty fine about this batch of changes. We are ready for fall and winter: we will be so cozy snuggled up on our couches with dogs and our fireplace keeping us warm.
We are all over the map right now. Today the tankless water heater AND the Mantis fireplace insert were installed. Actually, finally, completely installed and in operation! Well, the fireplace isn’t much in operation because it’s summer, but it could be. We had to check a whole bunch of things off our list before that could happen. It took a while to get it all done, but we did it! Since the old water heater is inside our house and the new one will be attached to an outside wall, Matt had to reroute some plumbing underneath the house. Then we had the county inspector come by to check out the new water piping along with the gas piping put in by our heating contractor a while back. Everything passed with flying colors.
We also passed the city “cover inspection” for the new electrical circuits, but I learned of a couple of things I have to do before the final inspection: add a whole new circuit for the washing machine (thought I could get away with it since the circuit it’s on has almost nothing else) and replace ALL my receptacles (AKA outlets, or "holes" according to Slippery Pete) with tamper resistant ones. Seattle adopted this code change right after I started doing electrical work in our house. My previous permit was subject to the old code, but my current permit is subject to the new code. Go figure.
Meanwhile, the inspector only looked at the panel for a brief moment. I guess she found the rest of my work so stellar (aside from that tamper resistant outlet oversight) that she trusted it would be good, and a quick look was sufficient to confirm? Well, I gotta show it to someone besides Matt. I spent a lot of time working on the electrical wiring and whatnot. I have a total of 7 new circuits in effect, and I hope to have replaced virtually all of the wiring in the house by next year.
Over the weekend, we also did the following random things:
- Matt assembled our new Manstad sofa which we ordered and had delivered because they didn’t have it in stock when we were at the store the previous weekend. This required us to rearrange our entire living room, something we’d been planning to do for a very long time. We are extremely pleased with the new arrangement. Photos coming soon.
- I finished setting the tile around the window in the shower. The window has been there for something like 10 months with a sheet of plastic covering most of the wall because I kept
procrastinatingfinding more important things to do. Now all I have to do is grout and caulk. I will tell you all about it later. With photos.
- Tried unsuccessfully to make a final decision on a paint color for the outside of our house. In fact, today I went in the opposite direction and purchased three new paint samples to consider in addition to the ones already on the house:
They’re just not doing it for me. Here are a few pics I snapped around the neighborhood for inspiration:
Maybe one of the new samples will be the one. If we can get our house painted soon, we will be ready for fall/winter!
On Saturday we went to Ikea. We were shopping for several major things:
- a sofa bed for guests (we got rid of our non-foldable futon bed in our guest room/office/storage room because we decided that it was taking up too much room for something that is used maybe 2% of the time) - highest priority because we have a guest coming to stay in a couple weeks
- new furniture for the living room, though we’re still not completely decided on what configuration we want
- various other things that we’ll consider buying later but wanted to look at, like a (better) bed for our room, wardrobes for our bedroom, foldable dining chairs, the list goes on
As usual, we spent almost 5 hours there. I’d guess about 2 hours of that was in the sofa & sofa bed section. We tried out every single sofa they had, many of them multiple times. We went in with a great idea that I thought I was pretty slick for thinking up: we were going to get this Karlstad corner sofa for the living room
and this Karlstad sofa bed in the same color for the guest room. I had read the assembly instructions for both carefully, and I am pretty confident you could make a couple of minor tweaks and substitute the sofa bed for the equivalent part of the corner sofa, leaving you with a corner sofa bed plus a regular sofa. This would be great for us because if we ever needed to turn our guest room into something like a nursery, the living room could become the guest room without messing up our furniture configuration. We sat on the sofa and we loved it. Then we sat on the sofa bed and we did not love it at all. It was so much less comfortable than the regular sofa! We tried to like it, but it was just not working. So we had to abandon the whole Karlstad-hacking plan, and ended up sitting on all the sofas and sofa beds trying to decide which would work for our situation and were actually comfortable.
In the end, the only thing we bought for the living room was this Ektorp Bromma footstool. This was a bit risky considering that we don’t know what we’re going to do with the rest of the living room furniture, but it was not too expensive and it’s already coming in handy. It can be a footrest, a seat, or with a tray on top you can put drinks and food on it (we gave away our coffee table and are thinking about not replacing it). It’s also nice to have a place to put blankets and throw pillows so the dogs don’t knock them onto the floor.
As for the sofa bed, we eventually settled on this Beddinge Resmo (the best mattress of the four available - you can really feel the difference and we want it to be comfy for our guests). It is pretty good looking too. Maybe we’ll paint the frame someday for an even better look.
We like to stop in the cafeteria to regroup and re-energize in the middle of these long shopping trips. Matt always gets the Swedish meatballs. I had split pea soup. On the way out we like to snag our favorite cookies. I don’t even know what we were doing the rest of our time there. We get caught up looking through all the departments; it’s fun to see what they have.
Finally we got home. Somehow we still had some energy. I put the footstool together in about 10 minutes and it’s great. We got the sofa bed frame pieces out and started to put it together. And then we noticed that instead of two opposite pieces of the side of the frame, our box came with two of the same pieces, making it impossible to continue. Argh! We have bought a lot of stuff from Ikea and I can’t recall ever missing even a little piece of hardware. Oh well. Matt called the next day, explained to them which piece it was, and they are sending us the right piece. Fortunately, we should have it in plenty of time for our guest.
Now we have to figure out what furniture to get for the living room and how to arrange it all. This stuff is always harder than I think and ends up taking forever.