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Before & After - Living Room

Before & After - Living Room

This was our first project and we had a significant deadline - Christmas! Not only that but my Mum (who lives in Spain) was coming over for our first Christmas in the house. So as well as transforming the living room we were simultaneously doing up the spare room for her too! How we got all this done after moving in at the end of November and while both of us were working full-time I don't quite know! But we did it...

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The living room the day after we moved in. Things to notice in this pic - the carpet, the light fitting, the cladding on the chimney breast, and of course the woodchipped walls painted the colour of mint choc chip ice-cream! (Those are our curtains though...)

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As we moved into the house from a rented and fully furnished flat we didn't have anything in the way of furniture so the sons of the lovely lady we bought the house from agreed to leave the basics for us. This included an amazing quality but totally uncomfortable green sofa with matching armchairs. The kind of sofa that's made for sipping tea from a cup and saucer sitting very upright and not lounging around eating takeaway food! You'll see the sofa further down, in the meantime here it is covered in dust sheets during the wallpaper stripping stages. Loved the pattern that appeared from behind the woodchip not so much the crack that was uncovered at the same time...

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We had our hearts set on a real fire or a stove and so the cladding on the chimney breast had to go. I was so hoping to find something behind it - but alas nothing to be found except these batons that when removed took huge chunks of the wall with them. We had a guy round to tap off both of the gas fires in the house - you can just see one bottom left. We had the one in the dining room done at the same time to keep our options open for what to do with both chimney breasts. All the fixtures and fires went to my friend who runs a prop store for film and TV productions. Much better than taking them to the tip!

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Here's the green sofa the day that a lovely man called Chris came and took it away to be sold in a local charity shop. It served us well and I really appreciated the vendors leaving it for us to use but I was also really pleased to wave it off. We went about two weeks without sofa but it did mean we had plenty of room for the next stage of the living room and this is where things got seriously messy!

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Here's a preview of the blue we chose for the walls. I know, I know - who paints a room BEFORE the stove is installed? But our deadline forced us to do things this way around. Ever hoovered a wall...? I expect the neighbours thought we were crazy! We didn't go totally brave with this beautiful blue and I wish now we'd done the ceiling too. But I was concerned that such a dark colour would make the room seem smaller. Thing is once we'd gotten rid of that uber-patterned carpet the room expanded loads. Perhaps one day we'll do the ceiling too...

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These are the tiles we chose for inside the fireplace. We had one evening to get them installed and managed to do a decent job while wearing head torches to see inside the space. The one thing we couldn't have done without here is a borrowed tile cutter - we honestly only broke two tiles. Although I don't fancy my chances with tiling any larger a space than this.

Finishing the details around the stove was next on our list and after much research (thanks again Pinterest) on having a wooden mantle vs vintage fireplace we settled on fireplace and then set aside a Saturday to trawl around reclamation yards. This beauty was discovered right at the back of a whole stack of fireplaces. We loved the simplicity of it and the way it echoed a 1930s feel. It needed a bit of TLC with some damage that needed filling and it had been badly gloss painted so that needed sanding back. We asked the reclamation yard owner how much, expecting the worse. His response "chuck us £15". We couldn't believe our luck and thrust a £20 note into his hand before he changed his mind!

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Things were really coming together now and we took delivery of our gorgeous blue sofas from Sofas and Stuff. This is their Borough model and we got the large sofa you can see here and a snuggler sofa for under the bay window. (The carpet you see here is the Dining Room - it didn't last long before we pulled it up... Cute hatch though!)

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One dark grey carpet later (fitted the morning my Mum arrived) and a very quick putting all the furniture in meant we hit our target with enough time to drive to the airport to collect my Mum, get some red wine warming by the fire and we threw up a Christmas tree too!

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And here's my Mum (wine out of shot) settling in for the Christmas holidays!

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Shopping list: Walls - Dulux | Sofas - Sofas and Stuff | Stove - Esse 

Here are a couple of images of how the living room looks three years down the line... Still loving the blue and how the amount of natural light can totally change its depth and hue.

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Testing our green fingers

Testing our green fingers

We got the keys to our doer upper

We got the keys to our doer upper