Gneiss House

Low-pressure home metamorphism

Living and dining room redesign

I have painted the final two rooms of the house, at long last! These were the last ones because they are my most heavily used living spaces, so it was more disruptive to paint them. There were also a lot of walls to do, so it took three separate painting sessions. The changes here (some of which are also listed here) include: refinished hardwood floors, new base shoe molding, two rugs from Overstock, a cherry dining table and chairs from craigslist, a hand-built tv stand, shelving from Ikea, an old, sturdy sewing table converted to fishtank stand, restored coffee table and end tables from yard sales, prints mostly from (Brain Salt!), lamps from Bed, Bath and Beyond, and a nice, hand-me-down couch set donated by family. The living room is in a yellow and blue color scheme, and the dining room in warmer yellows and browns. I also replaced the old, grandmothery light covers on the dining room ceiling fan with cleaner-looking new ones from Home Depot (a little change that you don’t notice much but that makes a big difference in atmosphere). Before and after pictures below!


Listing photo, looking into the dining room from the kitchen (living room to the right).


Listing photo, looking from the living room into the dining room.


Looking towards the back of the house from inside the dining room.


Looking back towards the living room from the dining room.


Full dining room view.


Another full dining room view, slightly different angle.


Listing photo of the living room, looking from the front door area towards the stairs and coat closet.


Listing photo of the living room, looking from the stairs into the room.


List photo of the living room, looking from the stairs towards the front door.


List photo of the living room, looking from the dining room towards the front of the house.


Panorama view of the living room, from the front door.


Normal view of the living room from the front door.


Living room, from the stairs towards the front door.


Living room, from the stairs into the room.


And one last view, from the dining room towards the front of the room.


Master bedroom redesign

With a fresh coat of paint, some nice prints from, and a couple purple throw pillows, the master bedroom is also ready for its before and after photos! The changes to the space (some of which I documented previously) are: refinished hardwood floors, new base shoe molding that I cut and installed, a modular recycled-materials area rug from Flor, a Dunhill queen bed frame purchased in good shape from craigslist, very affordable sheets I found by combing Amazon, and both lamps and the one tasteful duvet and pillow sham set that I could find close to my color scheme, marked down on clearance at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Before photo of the master bedroom (from the house listing), with that pervasive mint green carpet.


After: Panoramic #1.


After: Panoramic #2.


After: Normal photo of painted wall and sunny window. Cat for scale.


After: Far wall and window to front yard.

Office redesign

I also finished my office! This is technically the third bedroom, but like with all the local houses built on this model, it’s too small unless you have a baby in a tiny crib who needs no other furniture. But it makes a cute little office.

Changes wrought (including some documented previously) are: fresh paint on the walls (I combined two different colors to achieve this almost-periwinkle, because they didn’t have quite what I wanted), once again the refinished hardwood flooring and new base shoe molding, a rug from Overstock, a loveseat and desk I was lucky enough to find in great shape at some yard sales more than five years ago, a new brown slipcover for the loveseat, curtains and lamp on clearance from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, T. Rex, and one of my most prized possessions: the original Nightmare Before Christmas movie poster I bought with my saved-up babysitting money when I was 13.

Before photo, from the listing.


After: Panoramic #1


After: Panoramic #2


After: Normal photo. This is a small room so yo can’t see much, but T-rex says hello.


After: Other side of the room.

Guest bedroom redesign

With warmer weather and open windows, I’ve been catching up on painting jobs. I’ve now finished my redesign of the guest bedroom, including furniture and decorations, paint, floors, and molding. Here is the before view:


(from the listing)

And after:


The panorama view makes it look bigger than it really is, but you can see more of the room this way!


Red wall!


Panorama-less view

Interlude: furnishing and decorating

Once the floors were done and I could put things on them, it became clear some redecorating was necessary. I didn’t have appropriate area rugs for most of the rooms (the exception was the guest bedroom, which I decorated more or less like the master bedroom in my last rental apartment), my old futon was not a good fit for the living room, and I didn’t have two bedrooms’ worth of furniture, though I had a spare dresser. I definitely didn’t have enough shelves. My parents were getting new couches and I was happy to take theirs for the living room, though, so that was a good start.

Enter numerous affordable shopping options:

  • Ikea: New mattress for the master bedroom. I also got their queen-sized bed foundation because it’s thinner than a box spring, and I knew my stairs were narrow. It was still too big, though, and the deconstruction/reconstruction project that ensued was an excellent lesson in Just Buy A Split Box Spring. (For the record: Ikea bed foundations contain a fabric layer that is attached with about one million staples that are not very fun to remove.)
  • Ikea: New bookshelf, DVD shelf, and sideboard-like horizontal shelving for two rooms
  • Craigslist: Beautiful new-to-me queen bed frame, with headboard and footboard (needs minor repair)
  • Overstock: Three new rugs
  • Flor: One modular, washable, recycled-plastic-fiber rug (and most of the rug squares were on clearance!)
  • Bed, Bath, and Beyond (with accumulated coupons): New lamps, a couple curtain rods, blue towels (in an attempt to balance the unfortunate intensity of the harvest yellow tile with complementary colors)
  • Marshalls or TJMaxx or Homegoods type places: New curtains
  • Amazon: New shower curtain (also with blues)

See pictures of the outcome below. A friend also suggested a clever design for mounting the dog gate in the stairway but giving the cats full access to the second floor. Limiting basement entry to the cats so the dog can’t access cat food/litter, however, was complicated by the door. I settled on a pet door with magnetic collar entry (the dog is as small as the cats, so size is not a limitation), though the only options available fit poorly on doors with uneven molding shapes, so some creative mounting was necessary. Someday I have to believe that my second cat will figure out how to use the magnetic key.

The bathroom is a little small to photograph, but nonetheless: shower curtain with blues to complement the yellow. There are also blue towels.

The bathroom is a little small to photograph, but nonetheless: shower curtain with blues to complement the yellow. There are also blue towels.


Guest bedroom. Most of the decorating came from my previous rental apartment. Soon after this picture I replaced the curtains (which are too long for the room’s windows) with brighter red grommet panels.


The guest bedroom is also the declared hobby space: musical instruments, yarn crafts, jewelry making, sewing, papercrafts. The mirror is now mounted on the wall above the dresser, which my parents found at a yard sale and refinished for me. Long term plan is to paint the wall behind the dresser (and only that wall) a rich red to complete the theme.


The office (third bedroom), complete with curtains, new loveseat cover, and rug. The walls now have a movie poster and bulletin board, and the plan is to paint them all an almost-periwinkle medium blue. Also I’ve added some scratching posts to deter my naughty little cat.

The master bedroom also has rich purple curtains.

The master bedroom also has rich purple curtains. (Photo predates rug addition.)


Master bedroom, with new bed frame and mattress. The wall behind the bed is planned to be a grayish lavender, with a framed print containing purples/lavenders/greens (when I find just the right one). The new rug is a modular recycled-fiber carpet from Flor.


Living room with my parents’ old blue couch and chair, and new dark blue and gray rug. Walls will be a light, bright yellow for cheery complementary colors.


Second view of the living room. The DVD bookshelf was new from Ikea.


Dining room design with rich browns, including new curtains and new rug. There is a rich, dark brown bookshelf on the right (not shown) and the shelving on the left is acting as a sideboard, both from Ikea.