Thursday, October 9, 2014

Renovations: Living Room Inspiration

Even though we are at the very early stages of our renovation I've had to make a lot of design decisions already and am very happy with how things are panning out. We are being quite strict with our budget but still want a nice aesthetic but mainly a very functional house. I think that blogging and painting furniture have helped me hone my DIY skills and also realise that often you can get what you want without spending a fortune. Sam, our builder, is also just fantastic at coming up with suggestions to save money.

For example for a long time I dreamt of a french marble fireplace surround, along the lines of these below:

I know this room below is a bedroom but it has many elements that I love. Ornate ceilings, a huge mirror, the marble fire surround and wall paneling. Swoon. Until I leave my mess every where...

I even found a beautiful original French one that exactly matches my dreams but at $7000-8000 for the surround alone (and then several thousand for the firebox) I just can't justify it.   I did find one I can order from China (China Marble) for $1500 (I can't remember if that included delivery but I think it did) but my big problem with that is if there is a problem with the fireplace surround or if the marble is the wrong colour then I'd have difficulty returning it.  I'm not that good at international internet shopping obviously! 

 Then I was surfing Pinterest recently and I found the image below and I thought that will get me the look that I want but at a fraction of the cost.

What do you think of this fireplace?

Sam, my fabulous builder, said he can build that fireplace surround and it will hide the firebox inside. Depending on how the room comes together I can even put a marble slab on the top for the mantle. Phil just thinks I should paint the mantel in faux marble like I did last December for this hall console below.  The top was actually red timber (jarrah) and the client wanted it to look like calcutta marble. I was so pleased how it turned out for my first attempt.

For the back of the house we have an opening of 4.5 metres onto the paved area and garden. Neither Phil nor I are fans of big bifold doors so I searched Pinterest once again for french door images and I fell in love with this image below.  To work out what I like I just pin images that speak to me and then see what I keep going back to.  A set of three french doors won my heart.

I think the above image is a little too busy so the transoms I've chosen are just plain glass and the French doors only have horizontal mullions (so four panes of glass which is easier to clean than all those panes above). Each french door opening is 1.4m and there's a brick pier in between the sets of doors which actually means that the builder can use one less timber/steel beam in the house and that reduces our cost also.  Our back room has very high ceilings- around 3.5 or 3.7m so the back facade is pretty grand.  (I'm so excited every time I look at it!) We'll have a bbq table one side of the pergola and a seating area the other side.

I also love the look of paneling for the living room. I think for a relatively small expense you can make a grand statement. The paneling is something I will work with the builder on as it's pretty straight forward- measuring, cutting, glueing and nailing and then lots of painting.  Here are some examples of paneling I really like. 

Initially I wanted a white concrete floor like we've had for the last few years (but a better slab and less pitting).  If you've followed this blog for a while you'll know that our wall kept leaking in the back fibro room and so one day I ripped up all the carpet and painted the slab white. I've loved this floor as a stop gap but now we are renovating I've thought long and hard what to do in the new lounge room.

The rest of our house has NSW Spotted Gum floorboards so we've decided to continue that into the lounge room. It's really important for me to make the renovation as sympathetic the original house as possible. I don't want the look where you have the original house at the front then a big modern extension. You can see the NSW Spotted Gum floors below. These are proper tongue and groove floor boards (not a floating floor) and we had them secret nailed so there are nails to spoil the floor.

A few years ago a friend gave me a beautiful brand new chandelier that I'm looking forward to hanging in the centre of the living room. For ages the chandelier sat on my coffee table but it's now tucked away in my shed waiting to be hung.

It's all coming together - it my head anyway!

You can see my Living room pinterest board here to give you an idea of where I'm heading and to find all the links and sources.

Fiona xx


  1. love the fireplace style you are going with- 8k is definitely a little much for a surround! ;) it's going to be amazing!

  2. Are you familiar with the Belgian blog, Belgium Pearls. This blog has beautiful examples of paneling and fireplace surrounds. I look forward to following your remodel journey.

    1. HI Pamela, I also love Belgian pearl's blog and have been following it for a few years. lots of ideas from there, thanks so much. Fiona xx

  3. Great idea! I am totally agreed with you that everyone wants to make their home beautiful within minimum budget. So, we have to decide our budget and then choose the furniture according to it.

  4. Please try your fireplace because if it works, I think I will steal the idea!

  5. Loving your choices Fiona. The French doors will be amazing, and the wainscotting just brilliant. DH did a room for a client a couple of weeks ago and it just lifted the room from borderline plain to simply stunning. I cant wait to see the updates.
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