Today we take on the living room addition!
If the saying “it’s not the size of the ship that counts, it’s the motion of the ocean” is true, then Via Corona’s addition is pretty much the plot to A Perfect Storm. Only, with a happier ending.
When we bought her, Via Corona’s downstairs space was limited, unfortunately distributed and to use a technical term, gross.
As a quick recap (you can tune into the saga here and here). The addition is a 200 square foot expansion of the downstairs living and dining spaces. We started working with the architect in May of last year. Plans went to the city in early June and the city had us chasing signatures in August. Some other stuff happened and the plans were approved the last week of November 2016. Construction on this component started shortly after and the first round was finished in March. Then the floors weren’t level so they had to pull up a couple hundred square feet of flooring, re-level the sub-floor and re-lay the hardwood, replace the baseboards and re-paint the effected walls. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s put the finish date at July 1, 2017. That’s 14 months or 434 days for a couple hundred square feet. Put a different way, each square foot took about 2 1/3 days or 65 hours to complete. That’s a really long time for a space about the size of a dorm room.
Was it worth it you ask? Let’s take a look at the before and afters, slider style. I apologize in advance, this is where a wide-angle lens and some photography skills would be helpful. As you know, I have neither.
Here we have the view standing in the entryway looking toward the living room. For a point of reference, the original space ended right between the two headers to the left of the fireplace.
Now we’re standing in front of the fire place looking back at the entryway and kitchen. For the record, the man standing in the kitchen is the sewer guy. The before picture was taken the same day we got the keys. I remember this because I was standing in the kitchen chatting with the rooter guy about our sewer lines and the previous owner just walked right in. Luckily, that we know of, it didn’t happen again.
Standing in the kitchen looking toward the living and dining space. The before was obviously taken mid-construction and the fridge is blocking the old living room but I think you get the picture.
I wish I’d had the forethought to take a series of photos in the same spot during construction. I didn’t so you’ll have to put up with a “various angles” montage. Remember, we actually lived in Via Corona for the entire addition of the addition.
So again, was it worth it? I guess a good answer would be: why in the world didn’t they design the house this was in the first place?
In the early design for the addition, the architect insisted we install those cool bi-fold, or at the very least, telescoping doors you see in restaurants and fancy schmancy houses. Neither option was anywhere close being in our budget. And, even if pricing hadn’t been an issue, we learned bifolds and telescopers are basically impossible to add screens to (no one has told our indoor cats that they are indoor only so the little turds are always on the lookout for an escape route). Anyway, we had proof early on that sliding french doors (with the accompanying, locking screen doors) were the way to go when a raccoon casually wandered onto the deck and hung out for a while. Subsequent days and weeks saw visits from the rest of his family on various occasions. Word must have spread because in addition to Ricky, we’ve had skunks, squirrels, lots of birds and even the occasional neighborhood cat. Not having screens would have meant either converting Via Corona to an urban zoo or keeping the doors closed at all times.
Way back when, I talked about Via Corona’s design aesthetic. In a nutshell we were going for comfortable and laid back. Beyond that, I have a hard time coming up with a description of the final product that doesn’t make me sound like an asshole. If you desire details, you can read more of my navel gazing here: Zhushing the rectangle.
We worked hard to use the furniture we already had both to keep costs down and so that everything didn’t look like it had been ordered from the spring 2017 Crate and Barrel catalog. In my opinion, nothing dates a place like everything being from the same time period. Then again, if you love early 80s pastel and ice blocks or an avocado and mustard kitchen then you should go there with your bad self–there’s a reason they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Where was I? Oh yeah, furniture. The sectional, black chair and TV are new and the coffee table was a gift. Everything else we already had. Our dining room table was a wedding gift, the media console was custom made for our last house (and magically fit into the new one) and the piano has now lived in three different houses over the last 10 years (4 if you count the storage unit it lived in for the last 2 years). We still need a few new pieces and a some, like the dining rooms chairs that didn’t quite survive their time in storage, will need to be replaced. Luckily, we have years to find them.
My parents very kindly offered a piece of furniture for a housewarming gift and we collectively agreed on a live edge coffee table. They worked with a craftsman in Montana to hand select the piece and refine the design. The outcome is both unquestionably beautiful and surprisingly sturdy.
The Storsele chair from Ikea is a great example of when good design defies the laws of expense. I’ve liked this chair for some time but wasn’t actively trying to find a space for it in Via Corona. However, we kept striking out on what to put in the space at the end of the sectional. Luckily the light bulb went on at some point and I made the connection. The sheepskin is Gracie the cat’s version of a kitten blanket and she was initially annoyed that we moved it from the master bedroom (she likes to snuggle in and make biscuits).
These Alseda rattan meditation stools from Ikea have been in and out of stock for the last year or so. Without question, they are the best deal out there on this type of thing (Etsy is a good source but expect the cost to double with shipping). I’d pretty much given up on finding them when there they were, right next to the Storsele chairs in the Ikea warehouse. The furniture gods were smiling down on me that day. Buddy immediately claimed them as his own and spends hours perched on top of them while he gazes out the French doors hoping the raccoon will visit.
And, with that, we’re down to our last few Via Corona reveal posts. For now. We’ve got some details to share and then there are the bedrooms (we’re waiting until we have some of the art re-framed). Otherwise, we’re in the show and tell home stretch. There is still plenty to be done, however, the timeline going forward will be measured in years, not months.
Want more renovation shenanigans? Go here: Via Corona
Living/Dining Sources Paint Color: Dunn Edwards Droplets Flooring: Provenza Old World Fossil Stone Couch: Ethan Allen Arcata Sectional Media Console: It's old and the place that made it for doesn't exist anymore. Rug: Pottery Barn discontinued, similar here and here Chair: Ikea Storsele Coffee Table: My parents had it made in Montana. Similar here and here Pillows: from all over the place; pillow1 and pillowmatic are two of the less usual suspects. Rattan Poufs: Ikea Alseda Dining Room Table: custom made many moons ago by Larry St John This place is a total trip to visit if you are in the Long Beach/Carson area. Dining Chairs: Ballard Designs Upholstered Couture Chair [if you are considering these, send me a note, I'd like to share my experience] Bar Cart: discontinued but similar here, here and here Flameless candles: when you have animals or small children, flameless candles are the shiz. My love for flameless candles simultaneously knows no bounds and is really, pretty embarrassing. In any case, you want the ones with remotes. There are tons of options out there, these are some of my favorite: Flameless Candles