Living and dining room renovation

Cut to the chase – here’s the living room after renovation.
Original bedroom (now living room), ca. 2008

The west side of the house was originally two separate rooms. One was a bedroom sharing Jack-and-Jill access to the bathroom and a closet, and the other was the living room area with what would have traditionally been the formal entrance to the home, but probably never used as such.

We started by taking out the wall a few years ago, leaving an exposed beam that we covered with stickers. On New Year’s Day 2020 we started demolition. Walls went down to the studs and the hardwood floor that we uncovered when we moved in was covered up with underpayment. I know – you might say it’s a crime to cover beautiful hardwood, but there were big gaps from where we removed the wall.

Next, Alpha Associates electricians came in and rewired both rooms, including installing new ceiling fans in both and wiring for uplighting in the crown molding set about six inches from the ceiling.

After that came the folks who install drywall, who carefully covered our stickers for some future remodler to find. And then the Village Builders put up all the trim (including that crown molding!)

Dining room after renovation.

You have to imagine what it was like to get rid of the wall pictured above and the difference that it made. The room runs 12 and then 14 feet wide, and now 32 feet in length. It’s a wonderful ‘open concept’.

It’s an extensive run of the luxury vinyl plank, though. I think I’ll leave that to the professionals next time. The amount we laid covers the living room, dining room, kitchen, main entry and laundry area.

We finished up just as COVID-19 hit. I took a week off and listened to the radio as I spent that time painting. It’s pretty incredible how many coats it takes; as the light shifts throughout the day, you’re always seeing something you missed.

Two and a half months, less than $10,000, and the downstairs is complete. All that’s left is ‘a little work’ upstairs.

Bonus photos:

Under the paneling there was heavily painted plywood, with wallpaper in some areas.
There had not been insulation in the walls before.
See what I mean by a problem with leaving the wood floor? I would have liked to come up with a cost effective solution, but the wood plank is a very soft wood, and would not have taken too many more sandings, anyway. Another benefit of the path we chose is that with the addition of the underlayment and floating floor, the room is much more insulated.
One thing we got right as homeowners installing a floor, is to plan our layout so that it looked more natural. It wasn’t hard to do this, and since we carried the look far throughout the house, it has really made a difference.
One of the big goals was to make the floor more uniform. Here’s the area coming from the dining room into the kitchen.
Elsea approves.
This is how they leveled and attached the crown molding. I would not attempt this as a homeowner – we spent a few hours on baseboards and decided to bring in a professional.
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