Before & After: Amy's Warm & Welcoming Great Room

Before & After: Amy's Warm & Welcoming Great Room

(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)
(Image credit: Submitted by Amy)

Before — Click through to see The Big Reveal!

(Image credit: Submitted by Amy)

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(Image credit: Submitted by Amy)
(Image credit: Submitted by Amy)

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Erwinna, PA
U.S. Owner
My room makeover::
The day we bought our 1962 ranch house in Bucks County as a weekend retreat, my husband looked at the fake wood paneling and dropped ceilings and said, "My god, we've bought the world's largest walk-in closet." The house had oak floors, an open living/dining plan, and a huge window in the living area but lacked light (sucked up by the paneling) and about 6 inches of ceiling height (because of the dropped ceilings). This year we we found a local contractor to remove the paneling and the dropped ceilings and sheetrock the living/dining space as well as the kitchen and foyer. My husband and I then prepped and painted the ceilings and walls a warm white and pulled down some floor-to-ceiling cupboards to bring more light into the space. And then we found a Kent Coffee mid-century credenza and highboy at a local rummage sale for $50! We are so happy with the final result -- clean, crisp and modern, but with a warmth that allows our "eclectic" furnishings and artwork to fit right in.
My makeover advice::
Leave the heavy lifting and specialized work to the pros, but do the prep and painting yourself. You save a bundle and because you care, you will do a better job than any contractor. Also, it makes the house your own (if that makes any sense).
Stand firm on your ideas, even if the contractor/professional thinks you are crazy. I really hate overhead can lights in ceilings and Kyle almost convinced me otherwise. But I love the uninterrupted space above and I'm glad I stood my ground.
Be aware that if you are going from dark walls to white (or vice versa), your artwork may not work as well against the new color. We had a series of temple rubbings on white rice paper that actually looked great against the dark wood paneling in the dining area, but was totally washed out against the white walls. My husband's brilliant solution? A stripe of terracotta paint around three walls so that the rubbings really pop!
What I love most about my new space::
Just that -- the space. And the light. And the way the house seems to welcome us every weekend when we walk in, as if to say thank you for loving it.
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