Last week, Colby and I were having a fairly normal evening, eating dinner and recounting the events of the work day. Just before I was about to seriously chow down on the most delicious burger ever to come off a grill, Colby whips this out, “by the way, we got a letter today from Efficiency Vermont saying that we used more electricity last month than any of our neighbors within a one mile radius of us.” In our defense, our house is twice the size of most of our neighbors, old and drafty. AND we live in the country and there are only three-ish households within a one mile radius of us. I always knew Vermont was a green state, but seriously?!
After getting over the creep factor of the letter and coming to terms that Efficiency Vermont can pull our electricity bills, the spiteful/competitive side inside me started stirring. My internal conversations went something like this: “Hmmm…we could cut our electricity.” “If we cut down just a bit we could totally win at this electricity cutting game.” “We can beat our neighbors no contest if we just move our living room”. Ahh…see what I did there. Nice little segue to the moving of the living room project. Remember our living room?
Complete with sulking pup. It was great, it was cozy, it was partly finished, but it was COLD! It’s one of the rooms in our house that has no heating ducts from the furnace (the others are the bedrooms upstairs). It does have a fireplace…
But alas, there is no chimney which currently makes fires in here out of the question. Thus, the living room was sans heating source and a bit lacking in the insulation department. Down the road we intend to either brick up the chimney again or install a pellet stove in here so it has some heat. But both of those projects are pricey and out of the budget right now. In the interim, we’ve been heating this room with electric space heaters when we’re in here and using the room. Given that it’s our living room, we spend a decent amount of time in the space. Hence the big electric bills. So we decided to move our living room from it’s current location to the room we deem the parlor since it does have a heating source and is MUCH warmer in the winter. Here’s the floor plan for the first floor for reference:
The one issue with the parlor and why we haven’t done this sooner…it’s a hot mess. Not only has it been the dumping ground from our move for things-that-don’t-belong, it’s also one of the in-bad-shape rooms. The floor boards are buckled and heaved in certain spots, the windows are rotting and need some serious repair or replacing, the electrical is weird in some spots, it still has a plaster ceiling (the only plaster that wasn’t replaced in the home’s circa 197o’s renovation), the paint is flaking everywhere, and the wallpaper is seriously discolored.
The room is an eventual gut job for us, requiring some structural repairs that we currently can’t justify spending time or money on (hello looming bathroom makeover). Since we’re huge believers in the transformative power of paint, we allocated $100 of our renovation budget to a couple gallons of paint along with a weekend of our time. Can you see the discoloration where we removed the old crown? Crazy yellowed!
Just painting the doors, trim and windows in this room took most of our Saturday. Can we just pause for a minute to reflect on how long it takes to put 2+ coats of paint on three, 12-pane windows?! My hand is seizing in paint brush holding pain just thinking about all that mullion painting! But doesn’t the space look light years better with just a bit of paint?
If you remember our old living room design game plan, which has kind of gone out the window due to the living room move, we had intended to bring in a light, icy blue. When choosing the wall color for this room, I had wanted to paint it white since the light in here is spectacular! I had visions of light bouncing around in here on the white walls. But Colby asked for a color so we decided on Mountain Mist by Benjamin Moore, which is a nice light blue that contrasts well with our existing living room furniture and with the yellow nature of the old wide pine floor boards. We painted both the walls and the ceiling the same color, which is an experiment for me and I’m surprisingly happy with the results. Our ceilings are already really tall but it makes them feel even taller.
We still have so much work in this room but we’re trying to make some small improvements here and there. Like removing the duct tape from the floor around the heating event. Fingers crossed a goo remover can help save the floors!
By Sunday night we had finished painting and Colby had even replaced all the cream outlets to a bright white to go with the fresh white trim. That night, we started trekking living room items across the house and setting the room up almost identical to how it was in it’s former location. By the time we finished and could crash on the couch, it was a little too dark to snap pictures of the furnished space so I’ll have to do that this weekend to share with you the final weekend makeover results. We’re definitely enjoying the space and it’s warmth without breaking the bank with outrageous electricity bills. So take that Efficiency Vermont! Now who’s the big electricity user in our hood?!