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I'm Nadine. Thanks for stopping by. The floors are creaky, the kids are loud, but the door's always open and the coffee's always on.

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Impromptu Makeover: The Front Room - BEFORE

Impromptu Makeover: The Front Room - BEFORE

Our front room. As staged for sale. We’re currently using it as a dining room. It is very brown.

Our front room. As staged for sale. We’re currently using it as a dining room. It is very brown.

For the sake of this post, I’m calling the room in question “the front room” because we don’t know if it’s going to be the dining room or the living room.*

That’s right, friends. WE DON’T KNOW WHAT ROOM WE’RE PAINTING.

But we’re painting it anyway.

Our home is old and narrow. We can’t change either of these facts. And while we dream of gutting the main floor eventually, we’re not in the position financially or time-wise to do so. But living in a room half-wallpapered in dark brown, with an ominous dark fake-brick wall and slate faux-fireplace welcoming us every time we come home, was getting to me.

So I started ripping at the wallpaper.

“Guess we’re gonna have to do something about this room, huh?”

Enter the mini makeover. To tide us over until we can rebuild this room like the pros we almost are.

Above (L-R, top to bottom): crappy bookshelves that fell down when dusted; faux-brick wall with broken IKEA mantel and flower wallpaper underneath; brown wallpaper, yellow painted-over wallpaper; demo time; what lies beneath; what is this hole and why is cold air blowing into the room?; wallpaper under wallpaper; fireplace hole with it’s own handle.

Here’s the cheap-and-cheerful plan:

Ditch the top layer of wallpaper. (That’s right. There are at least six layers.) The top layer peeled off easily, because it was pasted on top of a painted wallpaper liner. We’re treating that layer as the wall, spackling holes and cracks.

Pull down the cheap chair rail.

Ditch the broken roller shade in the window.

Wash the dog hair off the walls and ceiling fan. (Previous owners had five pets. The dog hair won’t go away. But we’re trying.)

The walls are plaster…and cracking. So we’re trying not to mess with them much. While I would never recommend this as the final plan — doing it right is always the best choice — we’re going to tear down these walls and drywall them in the next few years. So I don’t mind the lazy route for now.

Repair a large chunk of missing wallpaper with wallpaper liner. Prime over it. Paint.

Embrace bumpy walls. The house is old. Let’s lean into that.

Prime and paint out the faux-brick wall and slate fireplace.

Source a mantel from a local antique mall, hang a new light fixture, instal shelves on the painted brick-ish wall.

And if the walls’ unevenness is driving us nuts — or if they just need a little cheering up — paint/stamp/stencil a fun pattern on them.

Inspiration post coming soon.

Reason for this impulsive brighten-up? Christmas. I didn’t want to celebrate in the dark. So I won’t.

Painting party at my house.

*No, really, which room is it?

In all likelihood, we’ll be swapping out the dining furniture that’s currently in this room for our living room furniture. Biggest reason: this front room is the only room with natural light in the morning. And while it’s lovely to eat Mini Wheats in a sunbeam, hanging out with the kids in the dark living room is killing me a little.

Biggest con to the swap: the living room would be at the front of the house, the dining room in the middle and the kitchen at the back. So if I’m making coffee or lunch in the kitchen, my crazy kids are farther away from me. And right now, Gilbert is testing his mortality daily. This one-year-old has a death wish. “DO NOT SMASH GLASS BOWLS!” “DO NOT UNPLUG THE MODEM!” “STOP CLIMBING THE STROLLER!”)

So I’ll keep you posted on the room swap. If it happens.

PSA: Portraits of the Queen For Everyone!

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