Aka Den Renovation. It’s fun to put words together. For example design jennspiration.

Anyway, we have spent most of our extra time the past few weeks updating the den… and it needed it!


This is the room that made us buy the house. It was a great bonus! Most of the houses at which we looked did not have a den and if they did it was tiny or weird. You can’t tell in the pictures, but all the walls are cheap-o 70’s panelling that was painted over, I’m guessing when they were selling the house. We actually don’t mind the panelling at all. It’s sort of charming and a throw back to what we are guessing was here originally. The only downside is that it is very awkward when you are hanging things on the walls. Dave wants to hang all of his guitars on the walls, but I am afraid the panelling just isn’t going to support that. AND- if you mess up, you are left with holes. It’s not as easy as fixing drywall. (Speaking of fixing drywall— I have been doing a lot of that too– I’ll keep you posted!)

Anyway, our immediate plans when we moved in were paint the walls, paint the fireplace, and add built ins to either side of the fireplace. So we’ve been here 5 months, thats not so bad, and we are just getting to it!

Some people gave us a little flack for wanting to paint the fireplace because the bricks are in such great shape. Typically, I like things in their natural state… wood, brick, etc. But, even though this room gets a pretty good amount of light for a basement type space, the dark brick made it seem even darker in here. And it made it SEEM like a basement (the brick and the lovely exposed pole we need to cover!) which is funny because it is the only room in the whole house that is on ground level. Interesting how split levels work.

The color we chose for the room was Martha Stewart’s Sharkey Gray. This is the same color we painted the little laundry/half bath down here. We loved it in that room and just decided it was best to carry it over. It’s a great neutral color and it looks super nice with white trim. (In my head I said “super nice” in this funny little way that made the whole sentence sound just right, but of course you can’t hear that.)

Below is the “Wall-O-Ahnquist”. It WILL be a collection of family photos along with that cute Ahnquist sign we got as a wedding gift. The house picture and the graveyard photo are pics that Dave picked up on a trip to Savannah when I was in school. They are great photos, but I don’t know if they will make the final “family photo” cut… just b/c they are a little creepy.

Next we painted the fireplace!! We primed it first with an oil based high heat primer because we do plan to use it one day. Then went over it with a gloss white anti-rust paint from Valspar. (Both recommended by Lowes, cross your fingers we don’t melt the place)

Ooo la la! Looks so much cleaner and brighter! Can’t wait to hang our stockings this year!

Then we primed and painted the cabinets white. We just bought the stock unfinished prefab cabinets at Home Depot (they were on sale). For the countertops we bought two pieces of plywood finished with an oak veneer. We stained them dark walnut and polyed them a few times. The depths of our counters are actually 28″ (standard is 24″) because we didn’t want the cabinets to butt up against the walls directly. Plus it gives us extra work space.

Dave’s dad came down and helped install them. We added a few finishing pieces on either side of the cabinets and under the countertop so they looked more custom. Then we added lots of chair and shoe molding so the rough edges didn’t show…. followed by lots of caulk to hide all the little cracks and crevices.



Here is a comparison picture.

TOTAL transformation. WOW. We are eventually going to buy a newer bigger fridge, which is why there is so much extra space around the current one. Oh… and the chair? Counter height chair found at Rooms To Go for 55$– it was the floor sample in mint condition. I will probably recover the seat at some point to brighten it up a bit, but we still love it. Plus, I love the counter height desk! I was skeptical, but it is fantastic. We still have some staging/organizing to do, but it looks 110% better!

Yay for one project down!!!!



3 thoughts on “Denovation

  1. I just found your blog from your website, which I found through Young House Love. I’m completely jealous of your house! The transformation is amazing! I’m even more enamored with your work, though. In addition to ordering something for Christmas, would it be ok to mention you on my blog? Just let me know–thanks!

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