The New Living Room

I am in love with this house. Both Matthew and I knew it was the place for us from the moment we stepped inside. Every single thing we’d been wishing for in a dream house was right there. It isn’t an extravagant house – it’s 1800 square feet, with original cabinetry and paneling from 1972. Even that was on my wish list, though! I didn’t want a shiny new house, filled with expensive fixtures that weren’t my style. I wanted a fixer upper, but one that only needed aesthetic fixes that I could DIY.

Back to how in love I am with this house. Seriously, every time I walk around, I’m just overcome with how much I love it. We are so fortunate and blessed that it’s ours. And I’m finally getting most of the house finished enough that I can share it here on the blog. Nothing is forever-finished yet, but the current in-progress state makes me super happy.

This house has two living spaces, which was one of my dream criteria. It’s a split level, and the first living area is right inside the front door. The second one is down on the semi-basement level.

One fantastic thing about getting a second living area was the chance to kind of start over with furniture. With two rooms to fill, each with more room than my old space, I got to go shopping! I purchased every item prior to moving in, having only stepped foot in the house three times. It all fit just as I had imagined in my head. My style had evolved since buying furniture for our first house, and this new house finally reflects what I really love. A big bonus to loving vintage furniture, particularly mid century, is that it’s all SO inexpensive around here. New chairs for $20 apiece? Yes, please!

Today I’m going to share the front living space, on the middle level of our house, which I call the living room for clarity.

Here’s what the room looked like when we first toured the house. Note that all of this belonged to the previous owner.


And here it is now:


Better, right?! I painted the walls a light shade of teal, which is the same paint I used in the mudroom. Choosing a color was tough! I love white rooms. But with all the brown furniture, I wanted color on the walls. This teal felt open and airy, like white does, and I think it looks great with the brown. Also, it’s a vintage-y color, and seemed appropriate for our vintage split level.

The sofa, coffee table, end table (which isn’t visible in this photo), and plant stand came from the old house. Everything else is new (or should I say recently-purchased-but-old!)


The table on the right is a sewing table, with a vintage green Singer machine inside. It actually works, too! I have plans to buy bobbins and actually sew with it someday.

I intend to reupholster the two chairs in front of the window, but I can’t commit to a color or fabric yet. So I’ve placed cushions in them to distract from the horrible fabric. They’re the perfect chairs for this room, because they don’t take up much visual space in front of the window, and the metal frames give a break from all the stained wood in the room. I found them at a local vintage shop. One had been downstairs for months, and I’d admired it and wished it was part of a set. Then, while shopping for the new house, I spotted another one upstairs that I’d never seen before. Different fabric, but I was sure it was the same chair! We hauled one downstairs, and sure enough, they matched. They were even from the same consigner. I have no idea why they ended up with different upholstery. Oddly enough, this is the third time I’ve purchased pairs of vintage chairs with mismatched fabric.


The spider lamp (on the left in the photo above) came from Craigslist for $25. This room doesn’t have an overhead light, so I wanted a very high arcing lamp to light it. Arc lamps like I love are very pricey. Even this one goes for over $100 online new. The only problem was that one of the arms was broken. My handy dad took the lamp apart, removed the broken arm, and rewired it. Good as new!


This room gets so much natural light. I love walking down the stairs in the morning to see the sun streaming through the white curtains. Today is an unusually cool day for the end of July, so I have one of the windows open. Lovely!


This side of the room is less blog-ready. I need to figure out what to put on the wall behind the television and behind the sofa. Honestly, I spend most of my time in this room sitting on the sofa, so I see the finished part all the time and forget about it.

The TV unit is a mid century dresser. I found it before the house was ours, like all the furniture, but couldn’t fit it at my parents’ house. The store agreed to store it for me. I’m so glad they did! The drawers are currently all filled with games.


All of the plants were a recent addition to the room. I was amazed at how much more finished it all felt after they were in. I found the large floor plant on clearance at Lowes for less than $9!


I’m still working up the energy to finish painting. See how the teal paint just stops right by the stairs? I do intend to carry it up through the entire upstairs hall.

The door to the hall closet is going to be one big chalkboard. I’m debating between a classic black one, or buying some of the new tintable chalkboard paint at Lowes and making it darker teal like the mudroom door.

The chair in this photo was the most expensive chair I bought – but I thought it was still a deal at $80. There are springs built in, so it rocks while the legs stay put on the ground. I even love the original fabric, which is brown with gold thread. Unfortunately, what was originally a tiny hole in the seat became a BIG hole thanks to Jacob. I did my best to mend it by weaving lots of thread over the hole, so hopefully it holds up for a while.

So there you have it! One room down, lots more yet to show you guys. The kids start school in less than two weeks, so I plan to finish up and photograph a lot more soon. I might even get out a real camera and a tripod.

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  1. Sarah, I’m here via Apartment Therapy. I have 2 questions about the chairs in front of the window. I have a chair that is exactly the same as yours :), but it is still in its original bright teal vinyl (which is in perfect condition). However, one of the rubber feet on the bottom of the legs is missing and I haven’t been able to find a replacement that fits – all the standard sizes in stores are slightly too big or small. And I can’t find one the right diameter online either. I was hoping (kind of mean, I know) that you had the same problem and could point me in the right direction, please please?
    Also, the black powder coating is coming off one of the arms, you are a far more advanced fixer and DIYer than me, would you have suggestions about where I could get the coating redone? I really don’t want to paint or spraypaint as I really loved the old details of how it was made. Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

    • First, I’m jealous of your original teal vinyl! It’s going to cost me a bundle to have these redone in vinyl, since sewing vinyl piping is beyond what my home sewing machine can handle.

      I have the exact same problem with the feet on my chairs. At least one is missing. At the moment, I’ve stuck a rubber chair pad underneath to protect the floor. But that isn’t a good long term solution. Just today, actually, I was wondering if I could buy two small caps, cut them, and join them together with heat. You know how the legs are really double caps? I’m actually planning to try this splicing idea soon, so I’ll report back with my results now that I know someone else might benefit too.

      As far as the black coating goes, mine is also imperfect. I’m also not wanting to spray paint. I like the fact that mine show their age. If yours is beyond just a little patina, and you want a better fix, I’ve heard that auto repair places can do powder coating on bike frames…so why not a chair? Do you know anyone who builds bikes? They might have some connections or recommendations, since they definitely don’t use spray paint.

      Sorry that wasn’t really probably the answer(s) you were hoping for! I think it’s cool to find someone else with the same chair. I’d done a lot of web searching for details on them, and hasn’t turned up much.

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