sometimes katie turns gold into grey [living room makeover]…


So in July of 2012, 11 days after we got married, and the day after we returned from our honeymoon, my husband and I received the keys to our house. This was the first house for both of us, and it was such a joy to go house shopping and pick this ONE out together. Some day I’ll blog about the whole process involved, because it really was an amazing, God-filled process. But this post is just about one room of this wonderful house.

My husband immediately wanted to buy this house because of its amazing view, and it took me a few visits to agree with him. One thing that did draw me right away was the red fireplace (more of that later).

What I didn’t like about the house was that everything was yellow, gold, bronze, and slightly outdated. There’s nothing wrong the look, it just isn’t my style. The current owners painted EVERY wall some color, and there was a lot going on all over the walls. Lucky for me, I saw some potential (my inner “decoration diva” was going nuts with ideas). When we did the home inspection, my husband took some shots of each room, just in case anything was drastically different when we moved in). I snapped this shot to remember what the view out the front window looked like:


(note: one of the first things we did was rip that bush out in the front window to really capture the view)

When we moved in, I also took pictures of each room from all views, in case I ever wanted to blog the changes we made (a little foreshadowing I think!) Here are the pictures from that first day, before we brought any furniture in:


Note: beautiful hardwood floors and charming arched doorways — two things I really wanted in a home. Another bonus feature is the rounded walls – they curve up at the top  and then frame the ceiling. What I didn’t like: the gold curtains (they needed to go pronto, but we needed the privacy, so those blasted things stayed up for waaayyyy too many months), the gold/yellow walls. I shouldn’t say walls. I should say EVERY SURFACE. The walls, the trim, the outlets, the vents… it was everywhere.

Initially I brought in my black leather furniture I had at my apartment, and quickly learned it didn’t feel right. I didn’t really take any pictures of it, because it just did not look good. The modern furniture didn’t match the old feel of the room, and plus the room is so thin and long, that we couldn’t get it to fit properly. I did capture one shot though. We had set up a spot for my sister to lay down on after playing in an outdoor volleyball tourney down the street, and the neighborhood cat snuck in and took her spot…Image (Meet Bob. Someday I’ll tell the story of how he “snuck” into our lives. He’ll pop up plenty in my blog posts)

Before I got married, I lived with my sister and her husband, and we had used my black leather to fill one of their living rooms. They were so bummed when I took “their” couches away. They even went shopping to find the two exact pieces (they were both Ashley Furniture brand, bought at Big Lots for a screamin’ deal). So I had an idea. I asked them if they’d want to buy the couch and chaise lounge from me for an even more screamin’ deal, and then we could use the money to get a new couch. They were pumped, and it worked out for everyone. We used the money, along with some cash/gift cards from the wedding, to buy a red sectional.

Note: since I became an adult, I had a dream of having a red, microfiber sectional couch. I had this vision of it, and even started buying red Christmas decorations several years before we got this couch, because I just knew it would happen.

Anyway, we did a lot of shopping. Apparently red sectional couches aren’t as popular as I thought. We went to several local furniture stores, and also looked online. It felt h-o-p-e-l-e-s-s.

THEN, we moseyed on over to Spokane Furniture Company, spoke with one of the wonderful salespeople, and she found THE PERFECT COUCH for us. They didn’t have it in store, so it was to be sent to the store for us to pick up in a couple weeks. Look at this beaut:


We moved the couch in, and I did my best to decorate the room, and be patient for when we could paint/update it.


Notice how I covered the gold curtains with white ones!!?? Those were IKEA, and about $5, and it made it a little more okay for me to be in that room. The pillows I made from fabric, to match the canvas prints on the wall (Target!), and these colors were my bedroom decorations for the past 3 years when I was in Physical Therapy school. My grandmother made the braided rug, which she does as a wedding gift for all her grandkids, and the coffee table was handmade by my great-grandfather. The room was cozy, and for about 8 months it stayed like this.

I couldn’t explain it to my husband, but I kept telling him that I just didn’t feel comfortable in this room. This is the room I spend the most time in, and all I could do was look around and envision what I wanted it to look like.

I also couldn’t quite nail down what I wanted the room to look like. I thought about painting the walls mocha, or tan, or some shade or brown, but it wasn’t coming together in my head. I looked for inspiration in rugs, pillows, and art, and… NOTHING. It wasn’t until I went to IKEA in Seattle/Renton (aka my mothership), that I found this blanket and knew exactly what I wanted to do:


In February (7 months after moving in), I started getting antsy. I went to Home Depot and got some different samples of grey paint. (My sister Halley painted a couple walls grey in her house and it inspired me). I put the paint swatches on the wall, nailed down a few I like, and purchased samples to start the process.


(Note: that amazing black and white stripe end table/mini-dresser? Found it on clearance at Hobby Lobby. Drooled over it, and my mom made me get it. So glad I did.)

 My amazing husband is a freakin’ whiz-kid at Photoshop. He works for a photography studio and does all the retouching/editing. When I told him I was nervous that the grey paint I liked was too dark, he did something AWESOME. He took pictures of the room, and then photoshopped what it would like like to paint two walls grey, two walls white, and then add blinds. He played it on a slideshow for me, and I fell in love (with him again, and then the room ) :).

We had no supplies to paint. I think I must’ve gone to Home Depot 4 times to get everything we needed. My husband’s parents got us a great painting ladder for Christmas, so that solved part of the problem. The guy in the paint section recommended a great small brush for cutting. 2 rollers, a couple packs of roller brushes, and some trays. I bought some plastic to drop down to avoid drips, but it just got in the way (plus we learned that we could either wipe up the drips, or scrape them off the hardwoods – they didn’t stick). I bought the blue tape to put on trim, but my husband, being the Artist he is, was vehemently against it, and can cut perfectly without it anyway.

We purchased Behr Premium Plus paint, in eggshell (recommended by the experts). A can of the normal, pure white (which we had to get another can of, because it took more layers to cover that goldy yellow), and a can of the grey, which was “Asphalt Grey.” I liked that it had warmer grey tones instead of bluish tones.


The room took 4 weekends to complete. Between all walls needing 4-5 coats of paint, and trim on 2 doors/2 windows/base around the whole room, and grounding all outlets then switching them with white updated ones, and painting the ceiling (I didn’t realize it was a different white than than the new pain — oops!), it just took a long time. My poor husband doesn’t enjoy this kind of thing, so he was happy for it to be over. Here’s some shots of the process.


(we worked on the white walls and trim first – I was amazed of how much brighter the room looked already)




(Note my handsome husband – he is so good at cutting it’s not even funny. He put all the finishing touches on the room)

Another mini-project that got created was re-staining the mantle above the fireplace. It was in pretty poor shape, and it looked like it had been painted over numerous times.


First Joel (my husband) stripped it with sandpaper. I’m not very good at sanding. I’m impatient and unsteady.  Once it was sanded, we followed the directions on the can (Miniwax Polyshades, in Classic Black Satin). We had to pre-treat with Miniwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner, buy some cheesecloth, and another brush. I think it took 2-3 days (including dry time). It turned out really well.

In the end, I loved the outcome. I put some funky artwork up (courtesy of Ikea and Hobby Lobby), some photographs my husband took, and found throw pillows from various places. I eventually found a cool black and silver coffee table from a thrift store (and it was 50% off! Score!). Another piece you’ll see in the pictures is a cool clock/bookshelf. It’s from Ikea, and my husband surprised me (on his birthday) with putting it up in our bedroom. I screamed and squealed. I had droooooled over it on a previous Ikea trip, but it wasn’t in the budget. I had fun adding decorations to each shelf. The mantle I added letters that I made (see blog post: sometimes katie spells with crafts…)

We ordered white (fake) wooden blinds from Wayfair, because it would’ve been hundreds of dollars more to custom make them at local stores (it’s a huge, picture window, folks!). That made a huge difference in updating the room. (The old gold curtains are now used as drop cloths when we paint) 🙂



photo 1

photo 3 (1)

photo 3

photo 4

In the future, I’d like to:

  • Have all the hardware on the doors be silver instead of gold
  • Replace the fireplace cover, or paint it black, or just take it off and used the fireplace area to decorate (it’s gas, but we don’t use it)
  • Replace the tiles in front of the fireplace with a mosaic of black and grey
  • Make a picture collage above the fireplace with black and white pictures of family/wedding/etc.
  • Mount the TV higher up on the wall

If you’ve read this far, thanks for reading! I’ve been meaning to do this since April! Hopefully we can tackle another room in the next year!



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