creative 1975

Living Room Renovation: Part Two

In Non-Fiction, Renovating/DIY on January 15, 2014 at 7:16 am

The Furniture

The room was used as storage for over two years and after all the building works and decoration was complete, I asked myself: What furniture do I put in here? A new sofa was ordered and it was the only piece of furniture allowed in the budget for this room. Therefore I decided to create ‘something’ from two old pieces of furniture we already owned; given to us at least ten (or more years) previously by both of our mothers. One piece: an oak corner unit, the other an oak unit kind of like a side board. I didn’t want all the furniture in the living room to be dark wood— like the existing furniture that would be moving in there.  I opted for transforming these inherited units into white pieces… shabby chic style, although I don’t think there are many rules about shabby chic. I’ve seen different varieties and it’s a personal choice of how shabby you want it to look as well as colour etc.

With the first piece: I removed the glass doors, kept the original hinges and handles on the lower cupboard, sanded it down with an electric sander using medium coarse sandpaper. I manually sanded any delicate areas, such as corners and edges. Then I filled the holes where the hinges for the glass doors used to be with wood filler and sanded when it had set. I painted the entire unit with four coats of matt white undercoat, sanding in between layers. When the paint had been dry for approximately 24 hours, I re-fitted the lower doors and used fine sandpaper to gently distress the areas where natural wear may occur, and also where I felt it needed it— to achieve the sought after effect. I used a screwdriver to carve out the paint from the objects engraved at the top of the unit. When I was finished I gave it a rub down with a soft cloth and furniture polish.

Et Voila!

IMG-20130904-WA00032013-09-04 13.31.13

2013-09-04 13.27.552013-09-04 13.27.29

IMG_4599 - Copy

I did exactly the same thing with the corner unit. I removed the glass door
to expose the shelves; sanded the unit inside and out and then applied four
coats of matt white undercoat, with light sanding in between layers. When the
painting was complete I used fine sandpaper to give a distressed looked to the
edges and corners. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of this piece before
I started so I only have an old photo that I have cropped and enlarged, which
was when it was stored in the living room before renovation.

July 2011 055 - Copy

13783467903322013-09-05 14.06.56


Curtains, Poles & Lighting

The last thing to do after the carpet was fitted and the furniture went in was to dress the windows – the new windows!

With the budget pretty much consumed with building alterations—especially the cost of double glazed windows here in NZ—I knew that I needed to make careful considerations when dressing them. The most frugal option would most likely have been to buy fabric and make blinds for all the windows, hence the lesser amount of fabric needed for blinds. Then again,  I wanted curtains for the main window; therefore buying material to make curtains for such a large window wouldn’t be cost effective, and having them made for me in NZ, UK or  Australia, wouldn’t be either.

My research continued. I considered buying ready-made curtains in NZ, but preferred the UK choice on the Internet and they were not much different in price. I also opted for the light fittings from a UK store (they cost much less to buy in England).

Luckily the fabric that I was keen on from one store in their made-to-measure outlet was available as a readymade curtain in another. Obviously they needed to be of a certain colour; however I needed them to be bold! I bought a second pair of curtains to use as fabric to make two roman blinds for the smaller windows, but sadly I haven’t finished them due to lack of time recently. I can add this to the page at a later date! Nevertheless the large window is dressed with the curtains and voile panels to diffuse the light. This gives the room options— the voiles can be closed or open depending on preference and weather. In order to hang them behind the curtain I needed a double pole, which I eventually found from a company in the North Island.

2013-07-26 16.18.01

Lighting – This was easy and I purchased the main light fittings from the UK at sale price and my mum posted them over to me using a courier service she has used before to send me things and they are reasonable with their postage fee. I definitely saved money doing it this way, even with paying for postage. The wall lights were inexpensive from the local DIY store and have a heritage look. The lamps threw some green in to the room and I really liked them! The buy-one-get-the-other-lamp-free was a huge part in the ‘like’.


After all our hard work it was a deservingly momentous and satisfying time moving in to our new living room!

July 2011 056July 2011 055 BEFORE (JUNE 2011)

IMG_4598IMG_4595 AFTER (SEPT 2013)




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