Condo Living Room

I think things are finally winding down at the condo.  I still have quite a “to do” list, but I’ve called in reinforcements.  My brother is spending all this week over there helping me get things finished, and we’re thinking that everything will be done by the end of this week.  We’re finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  I hope to goodness that we can actually meet that goal, because I’m tired of spending my days working on this condo instead of my house.

I finally finished the living room last night.  I decided not to stage this room (except for some plain white curtains on the window) because living rooms can be expensive to decorate when you don’t happen to have any extra nice chairs or sofas in storage, and your city’s Craigslist is full of nothing but 1980’s castoffs.  But even with no furniture or decor, the living room as it is now is a night and day difference from what I started with nine years ago.

Here’s how things looked when we moved in.  The previous occupants left all kinds of treasures for us, including some broken DVRs, plants, and broken furniture.  And just like the other rooms, this one was just a plain, dingy, off-white box with dirty, dingy beige carpet.

condo living room before - 1

And here’s how it looks now…

condo living room after - 1

It sounds counterintuitive, but adding an entire 12-foot wall of built-ins in this room actually made the room feel much larger than it did originally.

Here’s another “before” view of the right side of the living room.  You can see just beyond into the hallway, which used to have a standard coat closet with a pair of bi-fold doors.

condo living room before - 2

And here’s how that looks now…

condo living room after - 2

And finally, here’s a “before” view of the left wall of the living room…

condo living room before - 3

And here’s how it looks now…

condo living room after - 3

I love this room, and while I’m a little sad that I’ll never get to see it completely furnished and decorated, I’m at least glad that I’m finally getting to see it with the walls, wainscoting, flooring, and built-ins completely finished.

condo living room after - 4

Of course, the main project in this room was the built-in bookcase.  I did that project about two years ago, and you can see the details here.  The wainscoting/trim/bookcase color is my favorite white called Polar Bear by Behr.  And the wall color is called Rich Cream by Behr.  The flooring is TrafficMaster Ceramica groutable vinyl tile from Home Depot, and I highly recommend it.  They have all different colors and styles, but the product itself is incredibly durable and easy to install.

It’s getting there!  My brother and I are in the home stretch and heading for the finish line.  I can’t even tell you how good it’ll feel to put a check mark by that final item on the “to do” list and get this condo listed for sale!  What a weight off my shoulders that will be!



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  1. Great job!! Real estate can be unpredictable (in my experience) but whoever ends up with this condo is going to be so grateful for all the work you have done. It looks amazing. Best of luck.

    1. Looks great! You inspired me to start small in my bathroom. You make it look easy. Love the wainscoting.

    2. I sure would like your support staff…………..your brother and brother-in-law.
      Lucky girl………………..

  2. I am so happy for you. Hopefully you will see a fast sale! And a bit of money, lol. What a burden to be relieved of! And it is beautiful!

  3. It looks great! And all that extra storage space in that built-in is so valuable in a small place! 🙂

  4. I love that room, I am drawn to the floor which is a nice change from the ubiquitous hardwood and laminate. I have been seriously thinking of tiling my living room a nice warm color. It is open to my kitchen so I would do the kitchen as well and it would make a nice difference here. My wall color is much the same as yours in the picture, so thanks again for the inspiration. Have I told you this week just how much I love your work?????

  5. I am willing to bet we will be able to see and feel your sigh of relief way up here on the Red River when the “for sale” sign goes up!!! Love everything you have done!

  6. Kristi, I’ve never seen anyone ask this before but – with all the work on these two properties – do you still work as a designer? Do you ever sleep, girl? :))

  7. Looks amazing and you are making tracks!! One little suggestion–I think that your living room needs something. With the rest of the house looking so so spiffy, it just looks barren like you just said aw I’m tired, screw it. 🙂 Even just a stack of old books, a lamp and a nice plant on the built ins…or that big rug you got from Overstock on the floor. Just to maybe cozy it up a little!

  8. Hi I can’t believe what a difference the built ins make. It makes it looks so much larger. Good job, as usual!

  9. Kristi – does the living room look cream or more like butter? I am searching for a butter color for my kitchen. Thanks – Carla

  10. Did you do any tutorials about the floor installation in here? I’m going to have to look up the product you mentioned. i have an office that needs a user friendly, but lovely completed look that a new to diy-er can handle. Any advice?

    1. I was wondering the same thing. I’ve been looking for a non-carpet flooring that I could “easily” install myself. My husband and I have loads of allergies and a newish home in the sunny and heavily pollinated South. The last thing we need is to be sniffling from all the dust that accumulates in a fully carpeted home!

  11. The living room looks stunning. What a huge difference the built-ins and the wainscoting make and I agree that they actually make the room look a lot larger as well. Love the window treatments! Well done Kristi, what a great job. As the other rooms are so beautifully staged, I’m agreeing with Michelle’s comment, that putting your Overstock rug in there with a few decorative items on the bookshelves and maybe your 2 big tuffted armchairs with a small table and lamp between them (purely for the staging purpose of course) would make this room feel so cozy. After all, it is the first room the prospective buyers would see and that would really set the mood of ‘oohhh I love it’. You are making great progress in the condo, kudos to you and to your brother for helping you this week.

  12. Don’t forget to take credit for the lighting updates! Those pot lights and accent lights over the bookshelves are a huge improvement over the 1 ceiling fan light.

    Can you through your overstock rug on the floor?

  13. Kristi, I am recent follower of your blog. I must tell you that you are a remodeling and decorating wonder woman!! Your finished projects are amazing! Whomever gets this condo will be so blessed. And I would expect you to be richly blessed also for all your hard work and dedication to completing this beautiful remodel. Fantastic. A buyer will scoop it up so fast once on the market. Best Wishes….

  14. I’m rooting for you! We’re working on getting my Mom’s house ready to sell so I’m looking forward to getting rid of that burden too.

  15. Wow you really underestimated the amount of work left over there didn’t you? I say this with kindness – my husband is a world-class underestimator – I have learned to double whatever amount of time he tells me it will take ;). Are you regretting not letting FIL help you with this? I would be kicking myself. But then again, in the end, you will have both very shortly! So maybe your way, while hard on the nerves, is really the best way after all.

  16. I agree with Sharon- bring a few things over from your house to stage the living room. Your going to be doing work in your house when you are done with the condo, so they will stay cleaner that way, too. I bet the condo sells really quickly, though. Is your plan to get it on the market before Fall classes start?

  17. Fantastic!!! If I remember correctly, Kristi is selling the condo furnished so she wouldn’t want to pull things from her home and place in the condo. I foresee a bidding war when you place this “jewel” on the market!!!! Your condo and home are just beautiful!!! Glad you took a break but so glad you are back to your blog too! Missed you!

  18. I’m with the others…. just a few bits will dress your room to the same high standard as the rest of the condo. It really doesn’t have to be much, but I think you need to do that fantastic real estate illusion of dressing the room for what it will be used for, especially when the other rooms are so fantastic.

    And you’re a designer!!! You have the power!!

    I’m so pleased there is light at the end of the condo tunnel for you Kristi. I’m betting this will be a massive weight off your shoulders, mentally, physically and financially. Go girl!

  19. I watched the process on the living room as you went along. It is one of the features that will make your condo standout whenever you list it with a realtor. Having successfully sold real estate myself I can tell you that most buyers do NOT have the ability to picture what a room can or will look like furnished. Property that is “staged*” correctly will ALWAYS sell faster than an empty one.
    *Staged properly: Minimal furnishing of QUALITY pieces, strategic placement to showcase best features in each room.
    With that in mind, I strongly suggest you stage your living room to match ALL the other rooms you’ve furnished.
    If I remember correctly you have blue chairs, two of which (once dusted off) can be placed in the living room in whatever grouping showcases the room to best advantage. Knowing you have kept and made items of good quality that are available in your “stash” of goodies it will cost you nothing to furnish. Plus you could borrowed items** (not in use at this time) from your house and ‘maybe from your Mom’s (?) ; )
    **Like some of your existing/built tables, lamps and decor!
    If you follow my suggestions you’ll have a living room that anyone can see will be a comfortable and cozy place to relax. And, it will FLOW through out the condo, from room to room (starting at the front door: living room and dining/kitchen area, laundry, bathrooms and bedrooms.)
    Best regards,

  20. Have you considered renting a sofa or other furniture for staging? I see rent-to-own furniture places all over now, and while I think it’s usually quite a rip-off to rent furniture, in this case it would make perfect sense.

  21. I have a few things to say and I hope they do not upset anyone. This part should not! As someone else said about a support system, I am always thinking, I need a few good men for about 2 hours a few times a week. You would think that there would be some industrious guys out there who are willing to take out the trash, blow out the garage, move furniture when I am in the mood to redecorate and hold up big pics or mirrors when I to hang them. I am willing to pay a reasonable hourly rate, but if they exist, I don’t know where to find them!
    Now to the part that might annoy some gals. I think everyone should stop suggesting that Kristi stage the living room. She is obviously having some hard times for one reason or another, and this IS NOT HER HOME ANYMORE, it is just a burden she has to deal with quickly. I cannot imagine that anyone looking at condos in a University area would expect to find them furnished like a magazine. She has done everything else in the place. Let her get it on the market, so they can get rid of the financial burden and get heat and AC into the house they live in so that she can work and Matt can be comfortable. OK, done with that rant.
    Kristi, this question is for you. After having see the condition of the condo in before pictures, I have to ask, why did you choose that one? I am sure it was cheap, but will you get what you have put into it out of it? I could ask how you could live there while it was in that condition and also a construction site, but I have seen you do it in your house, so I guess I can conclude what my husband refers to as “long suffering”. I admire your spunk, and ability but I also know that no one can keep going at break neck speed in life without crashing into a wall(which you did, last month). Unload that place, go home and take your time doing the house. Stop thinking ahead, and focus on what you can get done in the present, like spackling the ceilings that you and your father in law put up. Then you can finish the wall of the music room and your entryway. You have done so much since I found your blog, I was starting to get headaches just thinking about all of it, and I am across the country. Take your time, get the HVAC done as soon as the condo sells and make sure you price it above market, someone will make you a lower offer, but it will be a good one. Blessings.

  22. I love the idea of groutable vinyl tile. I would love to put some in my bath and possibly kitchen, but I’ve always worried about the grout chipping since it’s not thick. You said you would highly recommend it. With all the traffic that you’ve dealt with in the condo….have you had any issues with it. I’d love to know!

  23. Another perfect room redo! I love this little condo and I hope your buyer will appreciate all the hard work you’ve put into it. So much more/better storage and the decor is great!

  24. No staGing needed, as it is beautiful! With the built-ins and wainscoting alone it looks wonderful and easy to imagine furniture placement.