- Kitchen
- Dining Room
- Porch / Foundation
Living Room
- Guest Room
- Master Bedroom
- Deck and Patio

Things I have
found helpful:

Living Room

I think the living room has been my biggest undertaking on the house. This room has really expanded my skills—from laying and grouting tile for the fireplace to cabinetmaking for the built-in bookcases and mantel. I can use both of these skills when it comes time to tackle the kitchen—or maybe I will let the next owner of my red brick bungalow handle that project.

Latest Project Progress

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fireplace bookcases

08 July 2012 — Bookcase Doors
Haven't updated things as often as I like — so here's a pic of the living room and the finished bookcase doors with glass. Switching from oil-based to lates-based paint, so putting a alkyd primer on all of the woodwork so I can make the switch.

Chronological Progress

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26 June 1996
Here is the living room about 9 months after I moved in. You can see the window on the left of the fireplace was covered over and the one on the right only opened to 8". All of the original woodwork and the brick facing on the fireplace had been removed and replaced—the shelves across the front of the fireplace were only 5" wide!

04 October 2003
Everything stripped out—just the 'bones' of the room. The window to the left of the fireplace was boarded up when I moved in. I opened it up and replaced the windows about four years ago. Now it's time to get moving on the rest of the room. Pulling down the ceiling is first on the list.

11 October 2003
Old joists, lath and plaster removed. All new 2x6 joists and working on the insulation.

19 October 2003
Ceiling insulation installed and now starting the firring strips for the exterior wall insulation.

08 November 2003
Electrical boxes in the walls and starting to apply the rigid foam insulation.

22 November 2003
Insulation on the exterior walls, vapor barrier, and putting sheetrock on the ceiling. Starting to break open the fireplace to see what is really in there.

23 November 2003
Sheetrock going up on the walls. Starting to look like a room—but, I guess I won't make my Christmas deadline.

04 December 2003
I designed this wainscot for the walls in the living and dining rooms—but, decided it would just be too much work.

21 December 2003
I took the sheetrock off the lower half of the walls and started installing plywood backing for the wainscot. Once I decided not to do the wainscot, I had to remove all the plywood and rehang sheetrock.

24 March 2004
I have been dealing with trying to make this a working fireplace again. I have a 1918 coal insert that I want to use and trying to engineer how best to retrofit it for gas has really slowed me down. But, I think I have finally figured it out.

20 April 2004
The mason has completed the firebox, the fireplace facing, and rebuilt the top of the chimney. Now I just need to decide what I am going to put on the hearth and front of the fireplace and I need to have the chimney liner installed.

31 May 2004
Progress on the fireplace. The hearth was painted brick, so first I etched the surface with acid and then leveled it with UltraFlex. After the trials and tribulations of finally picking something to put on the fireplace—it was cut wrong and it had to be re-cut correctly—I have FINALLY started laying the slate.

15 June 2004
Finally finished putting the slate on the fireplace facade. The hardest part was the small pieces that were attached to a mesh backing—try to push one piece into place and all of the others shift too! Now, I just need to pick a grout color—will the decisions ever end?!

08 August 2004
Sheetrock up and mud-n-tape being applied—first sanding and third coat of mud. Once the walls are primed, I will grout the slate on the fireplace and start building the bookcases.

06 September 2004
The walls and ceiling have been primed and I have been working on the window trim—stool, apron, casing, and header. I will prime all of the pieces and put on the first coat of oil-based paint before I nail everything up. I still haven't decided on a color for the walls.

10 September 2004
This is a picture from a 1923 bungalow in California and it is the inspiration for the bookcases and mantel in my living room. I like that the top of the bookcase acts as the stool for the window and that the mantel isn't a straight line across from one bookcase to the next.

05 October 2004
The tile on the fireplace is now grouted and the main window trim is nailed up. I am starting to work on the bookcases—test fitting the carcase and deciding if I like the depth, etc.

28 November 2004
Finally completed my 'rope light on a dimmer' experiment for lighting the bookcases. Had to cut a hole in the bottom shelf to install a plug for the lights. I agonized for a long time about stain or paint, but since all the trim in the house was originally painted—paint is what it shall be. Primer on the bookcases and a sheet of blue foam blocking the fireplace opening.

24 April 2005
I tried two different paint colors for the room as you can see on the wall. Wires pulled for the outlet on top of the bookcase and for the lights inside the bookcase.

19 June 2005
Bookcases installed and test fitting the face frame and the top before painting and installing the window trim.

05 July 2005
Didn't get as much done as I had planned to this Holiday weekend. Face frame primed and nailed up, bookcase top and window side casings also installed. I finally feel like everything is coming together. Soon I can start building the mantel.

24 July 2005
Second coat of paint on the bookcases and the mantel nailed-up. Now I just have to fill and sand all the nail holes, caulk all the joints, put a final coat of paint on the walls and all the woodwork. Oh yeah, and build the bookcase doors! Compare this to the very first pic and you can see just how far I have come.

29 December 2005
Figured as long as I had the floor up I would pull wire into an ajacent box to supply power to the outlets on top of the bookcases. All that is left to do is put down the last bit of new underlayment in front of the bookcase and I am ready for the new wood floor! OK—so I still have to order it and it won't be installed until after the dining room walls are painted—but I can still get excited about it!

04 March 2006
Finally starting to lay the new floor in the living room. Since the floor flows from here right into the dining room, I had to finish some things in that room before I could tackle the floor. I framed around the hearth—the mitered corners turned out great, but I don't want to do any more if I don't have to. I'm using 3/4" prefinished engineered oak from Capella Floors, the color is Gunstock. I've been really impressed with the product so far—nice consistant color and finish.

09 April 2006
The new floor is down in the living and dining rooms—it really looks great. The baseboard is installed in the living room, caulked and all the nail holes filled and sanded. Next step—install the base shoe and then final coat of paint on the walls and all of the woodwork. The walls are painted with Behr Premium Plus® interior satin enamel in Camel [350F-5].

30 December 2006 - Happy Holidays!
I really wanted to enjoy the house for the holidays—so I got the final coat of paint on the walls and furniture delivered. I have ordered the doors for the bookcases and will paint them—and put the final coat of paint on all of the woodwork—in the spring when I can open the windows so I don't get too high on paint fumes.