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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

remodel and decorating help with this old house that I inheritated

kristi oldhamFebruary 5, 2013
I thinking about combining these 2 rooms by knocking out wall that seperates them and putting hardwood floors in. These rooms are not level so in place of the wall I plan on exending the step all the way down replacing the wall. Open concept is what I am trying to achieve. I really like the dard hardwood with gray walls. What do you think? I am not sure about how the dark hardwood would look with these cabinets. I plan on new countertops and backsplash in kitchen but am having trouble picking everythig that will flow with an open concept, and that will also look good with this fireplace. Can not afford new furniture just yet so how can I make this old ugly furniture look new again and also how to arrange it in an open concept design. Slip covers, paint? HELP.
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You can darken the cabinets. Check out rustoleumtransformations.com for some help on that. The key to this space is lightening up and pulling furniture away from the walls Remove the window treatment and get more light into the space. Box up the items you don't want to keep and let someone have them.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:38PM
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I would definitely get some on site help to determine whether you can easily open up the space between the two rooms and what would be required, and whether a step would be the best way to handle a difference in height between the two rooms. If you really like the idea of very dark hardwood floors with gray walls, I might consider painting the kitchen cabinets white or grayish off white. As for paint color, I would pull a gray from the fireplace stone. Slipcovers and drapery panels as well would help update your room for more of the look you want. I would start with the structural changes you're interested in - the wall and stepdown, research what will be needed for that and go from there.
    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:28PM
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The first thing you need is a budget. While you are deciding on that, do as decoenthusiaste and emzc suggest: box up the stuff you don't want, take down the window treatments.

If you have zero budget, then getting rid of all the decorative items, photos, pillows and so forth is the thing to do. Wash the windows after removing the window treatments. Change the light bulbs to brighter.

Pull the furniture to the center of the room. Rank them A, B, C and D. Get rid of the Cs and Ds unless they'd leave you with nothing to sit on. You may want to swap some pieces between the two living rooms.

You may be able to reuse sheer curtains if there are some, after cleaning them. Same thing with the striped panel parts of the heavy striped formal draperies: just get them cleaned and let them hang straight without tiebacks. Do they match one of the sofas?
1 Like    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:02PM
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kristi oldham
I have already hired a contractor to knock down wall and put step in, He is also putting in new counter tops and backsplash. Redoing ceilings, getting rid of all lighting and putting recessed lighting in ceiling(can lights), hardwood flooring in entire house and painting entire house. OMG. Starting demo in a couple of days and still have not decided on color of hardwood, paint color, and what the heck to do with the kitchen, Hate the cabinets, would getting new hardware help at all? I am over whelmed!!!!!!!Also do you have any suggestions on curtains, blinds, etc for the big window, curtain cannot stay..
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:03AM
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First take a deep breath and try to think about all things you DO like about the house. Is it truly the cabinets you hate or does the combination with the floor and backsplash bother you? Cabinets can always be painted later. Right now you've got to plan the big things. Small things will make or break a room, but get the structure working for you first. You indeed are overwhelmed. One step at a time. (if you decide to paint all walls white first you at least have something to start from.. and if you replace your couch ten times, fine.. but the floor cannot be changed once the furniture is in, get it?)
Some examples to get you going:

1. pick a granite (ore other stone) countertop in a color similar or a bit lighter than the stone of your fireplace (this to me seems the best pick for this kitchen combined with the rest of the place)

2. backsplash also in this granite or matching color

3. get dark grey hardstone tiles (or the ceramic ones) for your kitchen floor, there will be a step, so no problem getting two types of flooring

4. get all stuff out and after your hardwoon floors are done, only put back the necessary (with or without slip covers)

5. make a decorating plan, style, budget, colors, find pictures, ideas, etcetera (maybe get some help by a designer)

6. go for it!

Extra thought: I wouldn't break away an entire wall if that meant there'd be a step along the entire room. I'd rather make the walls half height, with a bar on top and/or some cabinets. But that's mainly because I tend to trip over small steps (and will probably still do so when I'm 70 years old).
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:01AM
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Jayme H.
You hate the cabinets...so u need to decide what color you want them b/4 u buy backsplash...and your floor color plays into how your cabinets will look with the finish u choose..You want darker floors so start there, compare the wood color to what color u want the cabinets to be..even if not now....Don't pay a bunch of $ for colors that may not turn out right. Your curtains and accessories can be worked with after u choose your main colors.
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:05AM
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Wow, you take action fast!

I agree with Jayme Hobbs. Bring some sample hardwood home for a few days. Postpone any other color decisions until you decide on the hardwood. As a practical note, very dark ( coal black) flooring shows every little bit of cat hair, dog hair and fluff. You might want something a bit lighter, more like dark chocolate.

One you have hardwood chosen, you can pick a countertop and backsplash, then paint for the cabinets. There are huge numbers of inspirational photos of painted cabinets with dark hardwood floors on Houzz. There are so many styles of cabinet hardware that you can find several great ones in whatever budget range you have.

You can get good quality budget panel curtains from Penney's, overstock.com, Target, and lots of other places. They also stock slipcovers. The current curtain style is floor to ceiling length (usually 96" instead of 84") and uses a decorative rod. Have fun shopping and making your ideabook.

Are you able to post any more photos? If you turn on all the lights first and take photos in daylight, they are likely to be crisper. I'd love to see the room without the curtains. It should be flooded with light from the huge window.

I hope you post "progress" photos to Houzz.
1 Like    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:23AM
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Living room furniture should be grouped for conversation, not pushed back against walls. Try pulling chairs and sofa together, either against one wall (leaving other wall free for traffic flow) or in center of room. It is much more comfortable for talking and also gives a better look. Full explanation is given in Laurie Ward's book, "Use What You Have Decorating".
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:29AM
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Jayme H.
I have seen so many people get "bitten" by not coordinating all their colors on their permanent/long-term surfaces..then the expensive backsplash is installed and doesn't work with anything.....hate to see that happen....paint is cheap...floors, cabinets, countertops are not. Get samples, be thoughtful...deep breathe..and good luck! :)
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:40AM
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That was fast! Lots to think of. First would be the particular stain color of the flooring and good advice for that in terms of how dark. For countertop and backsplash, I would go to kitchen and bath showrooms and stores like Home Depot and Lowes to start checking out countertops and backsplashes and deciding what types and colors you like and what would work with your budget. Since you noted you wanted a gray wall color and have a gray stone fireplace, as ringreation noted, that is something that you might want to take into consideration. You also might want to take into consideration the color of your existing cabinets if you want to keep them.
You could go with a countertop and backsplash that is the same or you could have a different backsplash. Your cabinets look fairly classic and a classic backsplash type to consider is ceramic subway tile. One possibility if working to tie together the gray of the fireplace with the existing cabinets would be a countertop that had gray that coordinated with the gray of the fireplace as ringreation noted, in whatever material you like, and a subway tile in an ivory, an off-white that has some cream in it, or even a cream, so it could work with the existing cabinets. Bring home any samples and check against the fireplace and against each other and the cabinets.
Decide on the countertop and the backsplash before deciding on the paint color. Then bring home paint samples and check it against the fireplace, the flooring stain, the countertops and backsplash and cabinets if keeping this color. As for cabinets, can add hardware in a gray to tie it into the wall color and fireplace. One thing to remember is that you can always paint the cabinets so that is an option as well.
Another choice for the window treatments in the kitchen would be to go with a roman shade or wood blinds. I would do that as well as the hardware after the contracting work is done, and you can take your time to find things to coordinate with what has been done. The same with the living room. It will help to have the new floor and paint color in to make decisions there which you can do later.
- - Just wanted to add - one of the major things to check with the flooring stain choice is how it works with the existing kitchen cabinet stain color. Sometimes it works less well if there is a large difference in the stain color shade in terms of darkness of different woods in the same room. If it doesn't work well, in that case, if you want to go with the darker wood floor, it might be a good idea to paint the cabinets. Good luck!
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:57AM
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kristi oldham
WOW!! That is such a lot of thinking..Everything all of you said helps so much..Great ideas.. You can plan on hearing from me in a few weeks, if not before, when the wall is out and floor in. Definitely will take pictures in the daylight of the floor so you can help me get through this.. Your right I need to breath!!! Thank you so much!!!!
1 Like    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:02PM
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kristi oldham
Oh my Gosh!!! I think I forgot to put this picture on my post. I call it the other livingroom. It was an add on, sits right next to the room with the big window. The wall that is going to be knocked down is between them. This is the room with the fireplace that sits a little lower then the big window room..Opps!! First picture, other livingroom. Second picture, Big window room
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:41PM
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kristi oldham
I am so bad at this. Obviously same photo. This is the room with fireplace, can't see fireplace in this picture,( down below on picture). Big window room sits beside it and little higher. Picture in original post..Trying to get better at this..Thanks
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:46PM
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Andrea Prasch
I so love your dark hardwood and light grey walls concept! So gorgeous and classy! I agree with another houzzer I would look into the expense to open up that floor plan because if you have a load bearing wall that can get pricey, at least a couple grand for a beam. Now that I have warned you lets talk design! Walls and floors are a must and then later can come your furniture but in the meantime yes slipcovers are an option as well as craigslist. I have gotten some great high end pieces from home staging companies for less then half of retail! Kitchen cabinets need to painted as well as the walls its amazing what paint can do! I attached a little inspiration...I hope this helps :)
    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:56PM
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Do something modern!
    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 12:17AM
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Blinds Direct Canada
I would recommend removing the window treatments. I would recommend Cellular Shades with a top down bottom up option . For the draperies I would recommend a decorative rod with 2 panels one on each side just framing the window. This look will really make the space a lot brighter and more modern.
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 6:01AM
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kristi oldham
I like those blinds, are they expensive?
    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 11:27PM
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