Parlor (Living room) rehab…under $1300?

I’ve been missing in action and I admit it.  However, I have something to show for my absence:  a 4.0 for the fall semester and a rehabbed parlor.

For those of you who aren’t sure what a parlor is…a parlor is an old fashioned word for a living room, of sorts.  It was a formal room used to entertain and is located in the front of a house; usually near the front door.

My parlor was in need of some TLC and when Uncle Sam donated some funds to my checkbook in February, I decided to get down to business.

I set a budget of $1400 including furniture (gasp!)  Could it be done?  You betcha; with a ton of elbow grease and some Yankee ingenuity.  Of course, Rose and Robert were rolling their eyes in anticipation of yet another one of my “projects, ” but they rolled up their sleeves and helped enormously (I cannot stress how helpful and wonderful, and patient they are).

So, what did I have to work with?  A room approximately 16′ x 14′ with a bay window, a casement window, and two doorways.  One door leads to the dining room and the other into the foyer.

Two years ago, after removing some 12 layers of wallpaper, I quickly painted the walls to hide what I didn’t want to face:  rough walls that were serviceable but gouged and patched.

The ceiling has those pressed paper tiles (think circa 1975) and missing tiles from a massive leak over the bay window – don’t even ask about that disaster. Robert and I came up with ceiling tiles to replace the missing ones and that was all it took.  I was on my way to a beautiful new parlor.

Oh, I forgot to mention the floor.  The floor was painted blue and I had no idea what was hiding underneath, but I was willing to take the chance.

Not the best picture to give you an idea of what I had to work with, that’s for sure.

I decided the ceiling was solid but not very attractive, so I headed to Sherwin Williams for heavy duty embossed wall covering and sweet talked Rose into helping wall paper the ceiling (yup, you read that right).  $65 for the wall covering and $5 for the adhesive and a lot of not so lady like words, but the results were fantastic!

Here’s the ceiling half finished; if you look carefully you’ll see the embossed paper on the right and the tiles on the left.

Next, good old Rosie agreed to help straighten out the walls.  Crumbling corners, gouges, you name it.  Take half a day,  $15 worth of drywall compound, two metal outside corners, some sandpaper and a lot of elbow grease and you wind up with something like this:

Sorry the photo is sideways, but you get the idea.

Now about the same time all this was going on, I’d borrowed a belt sander from a friend of Rose and Robert’s, just to see what was under the blue paint on the floor.  I found another layer of paint and two different stains.  Yikes!

Bound and determined, I spent close to 50 hours and $150 on my hands and knees before I decided to hang it up and rent an industrial floor sander ($85 with belts).  Robert ran the behemoth while I kept at it with the belt sander.  Again, well worth it; this is what was underneath all that paint and stain:

Home improvement stores seem to run really good sales right around tax refund time.  Home Depot was selling crown moulding, with free shipping, at a great price, so I happily ordered up $160 worth and cajoled Robert into putting it up for me.  Anyone who has seen me try to miter corners will understand my plight.

Two gallons of wall paint and a gallon of trim paint ($50) and it began looking like a room I could be proud of.

I agonized over the floor:  polyurethane?  stain with poly mixed in?  linseed oil?  I admit it–I’m not likely to sand the whole thing down every 4 or 5 years so poly was out and the floor was a beautiful color all on its own.

Enter laquer ($35).

Kids, do not try this at home in the winter.  It is the most rank, foul smelling stuff known to mankind.  It was February and I couldn’t open windows and doors for very long.

I’m telling you, I spent three days higher than a kite on this stuff, but it has its advantages:  fewer coats, 1 hour dry time, 24 hours before normal use, and no sanding or stripping required when high traffic areas are looking worn.  Simply slap some more on the surface and voila!  I’ll definitely use it again…in the summer.

I needed a ceiling light and had a good idea what I wanted, but as usual, I have champagne taste and a beer budget, so I headed to Ebay to see what I could find.

$19 and this little gem was all mine.  Of course it didn’t look quite like this, but a $3 can of brass metallic spray paint fixed it up.

The big dilemma, considering my budget, was furniture.  I am an absolute fan of overstock.com.  I spent hours, ruthlessly scouring the internet (and local stores) for furniture I liked and could afford.  $723, including shipping, netted me a sofa and loveseat in moss green microfiber suede.  Love it, love it, love it!

I had plenty of other “stuff” to add to my room, and I hope you’re as impressed as I am!

Bottom line?  $1310.  My least favorite room in the house is now my haven.   It’s peaceful and airy, bright yet soothing.  And  a fabulous use of my time except I wasn’t too sure as I lived like this for nearly 3 weeks:

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12 responses to “Parlor (Living room) rehab…under $1300?

  1. Awesome! Is there ANYTHING you can’t do? The room looks amazing and well done on the 4.0.
    Best, Dr Lisa

  2. ETB,
    Kudos to you. Beautiful job!
    Did you have to employ the use of
    the wire-hair brush?
    Congratrs to you and your brain.
    Enjoy the spring, Five.Zero

  3. Hey Chris-

    Thanks for perusing the parlor and no, the wire haired brush was not required but certainly made her presence felt through the whole ordeal. She’s sporting her spring haircut and more aerodynamic than ever. Oh, and Mr. 5.0….”Congrats” doesn’t contain an “r,” so it’s Mr. 2.65 from now on! : )

  4. Ms LDE,
    Again you have out foxed me and my spell check. The shortest night is nearly upon us, enjoy the daylight. Have yourself a downy east summer. And, as wrong as it may be, I kind of like with an “R” Rover and rout!

  5. Your parlor looks AWESOME! Way to go Bob Villa. That is his name right? LOL. Can you come do my house please? I need new carpets and a room painted. :) I am impressed. You rock!

  6. Michael Evans

    Hi! Could I contact you via email? I have a question for you that doesn’t seem appropriate for the comments section. Thanks.

    • I didn’t see this email on time…but I absolutely LOVED Eastport. I can’t wait to go back. Not only that, I think I know which house is yours and if it is the one I think it is, I drooled over it my entire time. Yes, you can contact me via email.

  7. I’ve enjoyed reading your entries about Eastport and Lubec. I’m coming to Eastport in a couple of weeks for a visit. I’ve never been before. I’m considering staying in the Harris Point Shore Cabins but cannot find any pictures of them anywhere. Are you familiar with them and would you recommend them?

  8. Love watching the progress of an old home restoration and the love, attention and yes, money to bring back the yesteryear charm. A real labor of love!

  9. The wife and I are looking to redo our kitchen and bath. I hope it goes spectacular like yours!

  10. Well, I’ll Be Jiggered!

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