Before & After: A 1950's Living Room Renovation

Before & After: A 1950's Living Room Renovation

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Lizzie Ford
Dec 12, 2014
(Image credit: Lizzie Ford)

This summer, my husband and I bought our first home. Having been living in a big flat with high ceilings and sprawling open plan living for the past five years, the reality of what we could afford as our first step on the property ladder hit us like a DIY toolkit in the face. Luckily, we are not short of a little imagination, so when we finally came across a dilapidated, 1950’s terraced house that hadn’t been decorated since the 60’s with a distinct whiff of stale smoke, all we saw was: garden? Tick. 3 beds? Tick. Leafy area with a great school and a decent coffee shop? Tick. It had me at hello.

(Image credit: Lizzie Ford)

Of course, the reality of transforming this place on a tight budget during my husband’s summer holidays (he’s a school teacher) has been nothing like the TV renovation shows had promised us. We have spent months covered in dust with the help of some amazing friends, steaming woodchip, learning to plaster, tile, plumb, sand, paint, sew, grout … you name it, we’ve given it a stab. Often remarkably unsuccessfully, but hey, God loves a trier.

(Image credit: Lizzie Ford)

We ripped out the old fireplace (along with a back boiler and a whole lot of rubble) to install a cosy wood burning stove (Charnwood, the hearth tiles from Fired Earth), found lovely blonde floorboards lurking under the carpet which we sanded and varnished, and when we pulled the bizarre linoleum flooring off the walls and all the plaster came off with it, we rather liked the exposed brick wall and decided to keep it! Hours of steamy woodchip-scraping and painting later (Shirting by Little Greene), and the room has been given a whole new lease of life.

(Image credit: Lizzie Ford)

Our old sofa was far too big for the space, so the bird-print sofa (sofa.com) is new but all the other furniture was inherited with the house or bought secondhand. The retro wall unit was a £15 eBay find!

(Image credit: Lizzie Ford)
Though I am usually anything but restrained with colour, when working and living in a space filled with so much chaos and dirt, all I wanted to do was paint every wall white. So that was what we did! I’m sure I’ll reintroduce the odd hue at some stage but just now I need a little more time to recover from the coral woodchip. Haunting.

Now we just need to find the energy to finish off the rest of the house! For more photos and information regarding the renovation, visit my site Mabel's Log.

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