• December 9, 2003

Living Room Restoration

Admitting we need help and hiring a contractor

Restoration Diary,

Living room restoration in progress. Lulu cannot resist a chance to pose.

Last year as I sat amongst all of our belongings still packed in boxes stacked upon boxes and thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could set up the tree next year?”

We still have lots more work ahead of us stripping this fireplace! We started this project last fall.

Well, next year has arrived with the den no closer to being ready. Sure, some of the boxes have been unpacked or moved out to the garage for the time being, but our house still isn’t Christmas tree worthy. But this time next year things will be different. We’ll be decorating our tree in a room that’s restored because I’ve decided that we need some additional help if we are going to complete our house any time in the next 10 years.

Fairly large hole on the side of our fireplace.

I have seen some amazing restoration work done in the West Adams area and the work I like was all done by the same craftsman. He is very busy and we have been on his waiting list since last summer. Juan and his team began work yesterday. They are starting in the living room and moving on to the den. Progress!

Two of the window frames have holes in them. God, I hope they weren’t from bullets.

Our realtor called the built-in seat a gentleman caller’s bench. That sounds so romantic. Although, only one gentleman caller at a time at our house!

If you find yourself in a similar situation and are looking for a contractor here is Juan’s contact info:

J & C Home Repair
Juan Reyes

Believe me, we wouldn’t post his contact information if we weren’t extremely happy with the quality of his work. He does plastering, wood restoration, carpentry and painting.

The best surprise so far has been these gorgeous Victorian coat hooks. They were covered with so many layers of paint that we had no idea they had faces on them or any type of detail.

Look at that little face!

The vent cover is missing.

Pocket door handle looks so much better when it isn’t covered under gobs of paint.

The wall is severely cracked around the pocket doors. This must have happened when the house was elevated to replace the foundation.

The walls in the living room were originally a cinnamon color.

I love how the living room window is so large. It is nice to see some wood tones instead of white paint everywhere.

Comments { 3 }
  1. Ursula

    Good Afternoon David and Heather;

    Both my husband and I are in the process of purchasing a 1912 American Four Square, we are lucky the home has a lot of the original wood work untouched, but we have the old knob and tube wiring, and if you can picture this, the Frankenstien movie where the mad scientist grabs the lever to give Frankenstein life, we have that lever also. Well, my question is (I know it has been some years since you addressed this issue) but what was the price range you all were quoted to upgrade the electrical? Also, what products would you recommend to strip paint off of built in wood kitchen cabinets and off of door hardware?
    One more question, what would be your best advice on refinishing hardwood floors. Oops, one more, how do you compromise with a partner that has never restored anything, but believes in their heart and sould that with the waive of a magic wand we can conquer all things?

    Thank you,


  2. Heidi

    Hi Heather and David;

    Love the photos of the living room project! You mentioned that the original wall color in the living room was cinnamon. During the renovation of my Tudor Revival, I have uncovered(under layers and layers of paint) the original paint colors of the walls (among them sky blue, pink carnation and patina green)and of the painted portions of the wood work (wheat). I am torn between using historically accurate colors (because its kind of cool) and just brushing on what I like. What are your thoughts on this?



    • Heather

      hi Heidi! We struggled with the issue of going with historically accurate colors verses our personal taste, too. Our wood work was originally quite dark (almost black) but we went with a much lighter stain color on our wood. I really, really didn’t like the dark color. Our kitchen was originally a salmon pink color (I will NOT go with that in our kitchen), one of our bedrooms was patina green, the other was originally a gray blue, and the painted trim was a wheat color in our house as well. We have decided to go with colors we prefer. We want our house to feel comfortable and “homey” to us. Paint is an easy fix if we ever change our minds. I say go with what you love! :)

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