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Renee’s Living Room Redo: Reveal

Starting with one little request just a few months ago, Scott and I officially turned the corner from interior enthusiasts and became interior do-ers. As most of you know, Miss Renee asked us to help her see the potential in her already cozy, comfy living room. We’ve already given you the back story, teased you with a trunk full of goodies, and gave you a sneak peek into our big day. Well, have we kept you waiting long enough? Folks, here it is, Renee’s big reveal. In one twelve hour day, the YBH team plus Renee took this sunny main room and kicked up the va-va-voom. But what fun would this be without a little refresher on what used to be? Check out the “before” digs, paint chips and all:

livingroom1_webAnd we can’t forget those extra seats. Those gorgeous chairs were snagged dirt cheap at antique stores. And would you believe those same styles sell for over a hundo a pop at the local neighborhood furniture shops? Yeah, we’re jealous, too.

livingroom3_webAnd here you have it, the much anticipated after. With a subtle splash of color, a day of patience, and three devoted workers, we watched a room unfold. Who knew our sketches, budget breakdowns, and picking each other’s brains would lead to something so sleek? The walls received some lovin’ with a clean coat of Glidden’s “Smooth Stone,” which were only enhanced with the spankin’ new finish of bright white on the baseboards, windowsill, door, and mantle.


We took the existing Ikea Expedit bookcase and repurposed it as the new meda center. By sliding out one of the shelving dividers, we were able to create the perfect roost for the cable box and DVD player. The two cubbies below were then used as book and media storage, and the rest of the overflow books went back to her second bookcase (just to the left of the couch). And how ’bout that new fresh-out-the-box television? The slim 22-incher was a craigslist steal for just $175.

renee_after02_web1It’s true, we love those chairs. But rather than have them both up against the windows, we shifted them diagonally to catty corner walls, creating a more intimate seating area. It also helped to make the arrangement seem less formal, and opens up an environment more inclined to conversation. And if you think that coffee table looks a little more polished, you’re right. We sanded that bad girl down and pepped her up with a few coats of Minwax Polyshades wood stain. In one simple step, the product stains and seals, and you can throw in the towel.

And doesn’t she look lovely hanging out on that one-of-a-kind FLOR rug? Those Fedora tiles were hand picked by Renee, and at just $7.99 for a 20″x20″ square, you can afford to inject some fun. Spill some wine? Drop your dinner? No problem – just swap the the tile that took the hit, and you’re only set back 8 bucks. (Tip: Overwhelmed by the choices, styles, and textures at FLOR? CB2 eliminates the chaos and sells Fedora, too. My personal favorite.)

renee_after03_web1Another advantage of off-centering one chair from the corner is the nook-like feel it provides. By adding a floating wall shelf overhead, we’ve officially created a yummy little niche. The flow of the layered curtains, the comfort of the exposed radiator, and the nubby throw all have me tempted to curl up with a good book and a cup of joe.

renee_after05_webThe shelf also gave us a no-frills perch to show off Renee’s favorite photos and camera collection. Renee’s penchant for sleek design may come from the fact that she’s a full fledged photographer, and the antique clickers and black & white prints add a simple level of sophistication to the room, while showcasing her punchy style. The best part? This floating shelf was purchased from Ikea at just twenty bones. Gotta love it.

renee_after06_webOne of my favorite features in hundred-year-old Chicago apartments are the beautiful, intricate fireplaces. They might not work, but they sure look pretty. With that said, we especially wanted to play up this room centerpiece, so we gave it a fresh coat of paint in one shade darker than the wall. Glidden’s “Wood Smoke” hit the nail on the head, and the white mantle completely unveiled the hidden beauty in this once-cream brick stack. And remember us scraping up those layers upon layers of floor paint? We unveiled an earthy, natural brick, and couldn’t have been more pleased. To top off the look, we added a trio of potted succulents and layered them with a freshly painted crisp, white mirror (scored at the flea market for $2, no less).

fireplace_web1Now, we don’t dare forget about Emma. Renee’s playful kitty was all about showing off for my camera. I’m guessing by the way she lounged on the couch, rolled under the coffee table, and mewed on the chair, she gives her momma’s room the pet-happy-stamp of approval.


So we know Emma’s digging her new pad, but what about the bigger picture? A-hem, the money. You know, the dollar signs…the cha-ching. Let’s take a look at how this room went down by the numbers:

• Paint, wood stain, stripping agent, & all supplies: $95
• Double curtain rod & 4 panels: $115
• All accessories: $75
• 5’x7′ complete FLOR rug: $115
• Wall and shelf art: free, Renee’s own
• Television: $175
• Furniture: free, all existing

The bottom dollar: $575. It’s still hard for me to believe that total includes a new 22″ high-def tv and an area rug, not to mention the entire room makeover from head-to-toe. Floor-to-ceiling, kids. And twelve hours. So there you have it. A big thanks to the lovely Renee for turning to us and believing in our vision. We had an absolute blast, and word on the street is that she’s already thinking about a dining room redo. You know we’ll be there, jeans rolled up and paint brushes in hand.

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  • jillian10.9.09 - 9:29 AM

    i’m in love! it’s so warm and cozy! and cats definitely know what’s up with room redos. our cats go crazy happy after a good house cleaning. now i want to paint our living room! we already have the color, just haven’t gotten down to bizness.ReplyCancel

  • jillian10.9.09 - 9:32 AM

    one question… how are cats with flor rugs? are they tempted to claw them up? boss loves to claw up our thick wool pottery barn rug. and i’ve been on the hunt for the right rug for leo’s room which wouldn’t entail me picking up wool-torn threads every day.ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.9.09 - 1:19 PM

      Hey Jillian, I cannot say enough good things about FLOR rugs. Maddie and Libby love to scratch on those tiles in our bedroom every morning, and after having them for about a year, you can’t even tell. There’s some magic in that Fedora style. Also, Jack got sick on one of them a few months ago, and rather than buy a whole new rug, we just switched it out for $8. It was a happy quick fix.ReplyCancel

  • Chad10.9.09 - 9:55 AM

    I can’t believe Renee got rid of her dinosaur tv. She picked that up, used, right out of high school.ReplyCancel

  • Renee Gooch10.9.09 - 10:03 AM

    Thanks again Kim & Scott! I feel so lucky to have a room like this in my home. Cannot wait to see what you two have up your sleeves for the rest of the apartment! -Jillian, so far so good on the flor rugs. One square has a few nubs on it from one of my cats, but I figure replacing it will be only $8 compared to having to buy a completely new rug! It’s a perfect fit for a home with pets.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly10.9.09 - 10:39 AM

    Great job!! I want to live in a cool house in Chicago :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim10.9.09 - 1:19 PM

      Kelly, please move here already! We miss your cheery face.ReplyCancel

  • I love it! The orange in the rug pops wonderfully along-side the wall color. I also love the furniture placement, but you couldn’t really go wrong with those fantastic chairs!ReplyCancel

  • jillian10.9.09 - 3:12 PM

    woohoo! just found a coupon code with 100% success rate on retailmenot for free shipping at FLOR!ReplyCancel

  • Kim10.9.09 - 3:26 PM

    Jillian, that is awesome! You won’t be disappointed, this I promise you. Did anyone else just think of N*Sync? Share photos of what you end up with!ReplyCancel

  • Rachael10.15.09 - 5:57 PM

    Wow, you guys really have an eye for this! The room looks fantastic! Do you have a favorite flea market in Chicago? I’m amazed that you found that mirror for so cheap!ReplyCancel

  • Kim10.15.09 - 9:57 PM

    Rachael, thank you! Have you ever been to the Wolff flea? It’s held on Sundays at Allstate Arena – totally worth the drive! I believe it’s only open Spring through Fall, so you may have a few more weeks to check it out…ReplyCancel

  • Centsational Girl7.20.10 - 12:21 AM

    Oh my gosh, LOVE the pops of orange and green. Just beautiful ! Thanks so much for sending me this link !


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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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