Demolition & Decorative Details

Ahhh…it is the weekend… time for relaxing. I have been busy all week and thought I would get you caught up on what I have been doing.

In terms of reveals…I don’t have any of those, only one big messy project and a few smaller projects that build up to a completed room makeover.

Fixer upper house wall demolition

The big project we (Ed) has been undertaking is demolishing this wall to open the space between the kitchen and living room.

Fixer upper house removing a wall between two rooms

When Ed removed the pocket door we knew we would like how the view of the water would be from the kitchen looking into the living room, but were pleasantly surprised at how wonderful the view from the living room looking into the kitchen became.

Fixer upper lake house knocking down a wall between two rooms

Now we need to decide if we want to add a counter between the rooms and a column or a ceiling beam and leave it open. I would like to leave it open. It is not a total DIY; our Realtor’s husband is a builder. He is helping us figure out what needs to be done.

Opening a wall in an old house

The TV stand will turn into a wall mounted TV with turquoise sideboard underneath. The sideboard in the kitchen will go against the wall between the sliding doors.

Fixer upper lake house living room

Here is how the living room looks right now. I need to paint the walls, but for the room to function for us, I really want a new sofa or small sectional and two smaller chairs. I want to make sure the chairs have swivels so that whoever is sitting in them has the option to face the fireplace, TV, or water. I have been searching for just the right ones.

The hardwood floor will have to be patched and then we will stain it a darker color or we may get a whole new floor. The view into the kitchen will be greatly improved with new white cabinets.

Living room in a fixer upper house

This is the view looking into the foyer. As you can see I am still playing around with where furnishings I want to keep will go. I have been moving items room to room until I find the perfect spot.  We plan on hiring someone to remove the brick hearth on either side of the fireplace.  That will give us more room for extra seating.

Aside from the wall project we have been tackling little improvements a.k.a….the details this week that make the overall decor look better…

Replacing heating vents in fixer upper

…like replacing rusted heating vents in every room and …

Switching out the color of outlets and switches

…old brass and antique white electrical outlets and switches with white ones.

Snap Power outlet

We even added a few very cool outlet covers from SnapPower.  The outlet cover above looks like a normal cover, but it does double duty. At night it automatically becomes a sleek night light.  It installs in seconds and requires no wires or batteries.  No plug-in night light needed which leaves both sockets available for other stuff.   You can find out more about them, here. 

How to paont metal recessed lights

The second floor hallway has recessed lights that work just fine, but needed cleaning, I am not even going to tell you the nasties we found in one of them. After cleaning the glass, I took the rims outside to give them a new glossy white finish.  I wrote a post on how I painted the recessed lights in our previous house. It made a huge difference and was easy to do. 


The last little detail I have been adding is removing the old pull chains from the many ceiling fans in the house with fresh new white pulls. This simple update makes a big difference.

Seeing no more rusty and crusty pulls, outlets, and ventilation covers in the house is making me smile.

Now that it is the weekend,  I plan to relax a little and finish a book I started, although it is a bit hard since everywhere I look I see a project that needs doing.

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  1. Baxter Abel says:

    I really like what you did with the demolition. I’ve heard that for in house demolition you often need proper permits. Thanks for all the tips, I’ll be sure to look into them more when we want to add some flare to our house!

  2. Jackie Borsum says:

    Have you ever painted over old plastic wood-look paneling?

  3. It’s amazing what a difference a simple wall can make. The openness is so much nicer! Great work.

  4. I’m curious about what you decided to do! It’s going to be fantastic having that opened up!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Krista –

      Right now the wall between my kitchen and family room hasn’t changed since I posted about it. We are waiting for a contractor to help Ed add new beams in the ceiling. I will post about it once we are finished.

  5. Very nice. I too am changing out my switch plates to bright white. They have some nice (and cheap) ones at Walmart. Also love the open space, but would kill for pocket doors.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cjay – I have been getting the white switches, outlets and covers at Ace, Lowes, and Walmart. Just when I think I bought enough we find another outlet or switch that needs to be changed out. I think we only have 3 more to go. I love pocket doors, my house has 3. 2 are in the kitchen. Back in 1974 when the house was built, people didn’t want the kitchen to be seen and closed it off. Nowadays it is all about the kitchen and open concept. :-) We tried to save the components of the door when we removed it, but it was too hard. I was hoping to reuse it in the upstairs bath that could really benefit from a pocket door.

  6. Oh my … a blog post starting with the words …. DEMOLITION.” What vision you have! Your house is going to be the envy of the neighborhood : )

  7. Please get some R&R, too, although I know you’re raring to work on things!

    I’m really envious of the amount of light you have. Our apartment is like a bear’s den — and the resident bear likes it that way .

  8. Julia@Cuckoo4Design says:

    SO much brighter with the wall removed and it’s amazing what little updates like replacing rusted heating vents can do. I just replaced mine too and it looks so much better.

  9. Wow you are busy!!! I know when we bought our LAKEHOUSE in Maine we had a ton of things to do too! But that is what makes it ours! I like it he opened with the wall taken down!
    Thank you for all of the Tips. I will look for the switch plates for my new home!
    You are amazing!
    Which book are you reading?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nancy – With every little change…just like you said – every one makes it ours. :-) I am reading The Art Forger by B. A Shapiro. It is good, but so far not a book that I can’t stop reading. I love when I read books like, All The Light We Cannot See…and read them in one sitting. If you know any good books, please let me know.

  10. Jackie Bowen says:

    Diane, this is so interesting and motivating. Thank you for blogging your way through your new home. I am loving it!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Jackie – I knew I would enjoy fixing up the house, but I am REALLY enjoying it and love finding affordable ways to add my style to it. I will have lots to blog about for a long time to come. :-)

  11. Love the switchplate idea, thanks a bunch. I have certainly enjoyed your whole moving and DIY ‘ing the new place, keep it coming!

  12. When I saw the rusty register cover and the new white one, I thought you were going to say “I spray painted these”. Great to get new ones…but in a pinch, spray paint works wonders too.

    Love that you’ve removed that wall! Love seeing how your new home is becoming “you”. :-)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      I thought about spray painting the rusty register covers, but they had already been painted more than once and some of them were a little too crusty and rusty that the lever to change the air flow direction no longer worked. :-)

  13. It is coming right along. Just pace yourself.

  14. Diane I found my perfect swivel chair at LaZ-E-Boy . THey can make any chair a swivel. I found my ladies recliner but it was not swivel & the sales lady said oh we can make any chair you like swivel just by adding the swivel base !! LOVE MY CHAIR !!
    I love your blog !!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Brenda – I can understand why you love your chair. I found chairs I like and will get swivels put on them, maybe even rocker swivels :-)

  15. Hello Diane – If you are working on one of the DIY’s – STOP!! It is Saturday, you got so much accomplished this week and you really must finish that book! In all seriousness, if you don’t enjoy some down time you will burn out (and this from experience) start rushing to get it done and mistakes will happen. I agree small little updates can and do make a huge impact. I have saved your lighted outlets to my “Lake House” file. I am from Charleston, SC and have spent much time on “your” lake. It is one the husband and I are considering for after retirement. I have been enjoying your home updates and love how you keep knocking the updates out the park.

  16. Christine Trussell says:

    I went back and noticed I missed the part where you hadn’t painted your walls yet. I read it way to fast. I had just found your blog and the ideas and the enthusiasm of reading about your tips and ventures. I went back and reread it again. I myself am trying to remodel my own “stuck in the 70’s home” the bones are here, I’m just going through a complete update by myself. So I love fresh ideas. Thank you for sharing!

  17. i always look forward to your posts with anticipation. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Erika. You made my day. XO

  18. Christine Trussell says:

    Please please tell me what color your living room is, I don’t have the same lighting as you do (jealous lol) but I love the color. And by looking at every little detail makes a difference, I try to repurpose things that I can, if its worth it. I was able to sand and spray paint some of my heat registers, but some I tossed. I absolutely love these rooms. By opening up a wall, bringing in more light, and a new view. Love it!! Keep up the good work!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Christine – Since the color was on the walls when we moved in, I don’t know the name of the color. To try to help you out though, I pulled out all my paint color fan decks from Sherwin Williams, Glidden, and Ben Moore. I found a color match in the Ben Moore colors. Check out Benjamin Moore Cushing Green HC-125

      Thanks for reading and following my blog.

  19. It is those little details that can really make a difference. People won’t notice a new heat register but would notice the rusty one. Wow taking out that wall brings in a lot of light.

  20. Exciting progress. I love following along!

  21. thats a lot of progress. Amazing how much the details matter. FYI you can purchase swivel/rocker hardware to attach to the underside of club chairs.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Pamela – I do know that swivel/rockers can be added. Having both would be the best….they will become the best seats in the house. :-)

      1. Hi Dianne. It is fun to watch your home transformation, thank you for sharing this journey.
        Wanted to add my ‘two-cents’ here,if I may; I recently got two new smallish reclining (don’t look at all like typical recliners) club-type swivel chairs that are beautiful & I love. The first ones I ordered were the rocker-swivel type.
        Back to the company they went. Made me feel very unstable, too Woozie. So a bit of caution.
        Sending blessings for you & your home from Sonoma, California.