As I explained in a previous post about gradually making over our home, our house dates from 1970. Home owners of the 1970s appear to have had a fondness for wood panelling and our new home was no exception. When we moved in, the family living room was very dark and felt small because all four walls were dark wood panelling. That was not for us: we wanted the room to feel light and spacious. Part of our aim in redecorating the house, however, is to maintain some of the original features.
In the case of the family living room, two of the walls were lined with storage cabinets. On the window wall, there are cupboards with lattice work doors. One of the cupboards was designed to house a television set. The opposite wall – which also serves as a corridor between the formal living room and the kitchen – is lined with almost full height, deep cupboards. The central two doors of the four open up to reveal a cocktail cabinet. How awesome is that? When we came to view the house, I was instantly smitten by the idea of having my very own cocktail cabinet. I was won over by that particular original feature. Of course, the reality is that what I actually store in there is baking equipment, salad bowls and serving platters. But some day I will fill it with ingredients for cocktails. As a family of six, storage was important to us when we were looking for a house to buy in America. I was sold on this house partly because of all the good quality, sturdy storage available throughout the house. So all the cupboards in the family living room had to stay.
That decision taken, we knew we had a few different surface types to deal with. We decided to paint directly onto the wood panelling and cupboard doors in order to unify them while also retaining the original features and the textures they provided. We went for a very pale stone paint in order to make the room as light as possible.
The before photos were taken once we had been living here a few months so we had already purchased new sofas and the media unit. The photos still illustrate what the walls and cupboards looks like, however.
These are the after photos. The room is much lighter as a result of the painting and, therefore, looks more spacious. We have also been able to personalise the space by having a gallery of our art work – half of which is by me – on the sofa wall and objects we have collected over the decades displayed on the media unit.
We still have a couple of projects left to attend to in this room: the walls have speakers built into them and the fronts of those speakers are brown so we would like to replace that brown mesh with something lighter; there is a copper plant trough beneath the window which we have a plan for but which we have not gotten around to yet; and the oriental style handles on the cabinet doors need to be replaced with something more contemporary and less stabby.