The Bear Den-Part 1

Our front room is an open concept living and dining room and flows right into the kitchen. It’s not a large space, and I have to work extra hard through our furniture layout to create and maintain a sense of definition in each area. The space is great for entertaining, allowing for a sense of togetherness and I enjoy that I can be in the kitchen while still part of what’s going on in the living space or at the dining table. One thing I’m not a big fan of is having a tv in the living room because of the temptation to turn it on and detract from dinner conversation and family time. Since it’s just two of us and a cat we decided to convert one of the three bedrooms to a den for our tv watching needs. We have a pull out couch so if we need the extra space for guests, the room can still flex.

We wanted to design and build our own built in cabinets for the den to maximize the space but before we could tackle that we needed to fix up the walls, ceiling, window casings and incorporate the closet into the living space. The house had mostly been taken right down to the studs in a renovation by the previous owner but the taping and mudding wasn’t well done in some places. The closets in this end of the house were original and in rough shape so we ripped everything out and started over.

The room has two windows, one on the east wall, one on the north. The closet is in the west wall and had your typical mirrored doors and Rubbermaid wire closet system. We removed the doors and closet system then ripped out the walls and ceiling. Well, most of the ceiling. Note in the picture below some of the ceiling is missing. This was probably done by the previous owner to prove to the building inspector there was enough insulation in the attic as we know that had come up during the permit inspections.

Closet ceiling, missing baseboards

George installed the new drywall and I got the thrilling appointment of taping and mudding specialist. We used:

While I worked on the closet and ceiling, George pulled off all the interior window casing and trim. I mentioned in a previous post that the windows were new. They were a little larger than original, and it seems the installer did not cut back the brick for framing fully in a couple places, as well as cut some other corners in measurements for their framing. The window jams and casing weren’t square, level or properly fit for the windows and it affected how the trim fit as well as caused a constant draft so we knew we were losing heat. We even found a bird’s nest hiding in the wall! Oh, and we also learned at this point that our home was cinder block constructed which is kind of neat.

This is what happens when you don’t cap your windows.

For the walls, we used Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee and on the trim Benjamin Moore White Dove. To George, they’re both white, but to me the Swiss Coffee is warm, creamy, with virtually no yellow undertones so it makes a great neutral base colour. It really blends well with earthy tones which was important because our couch is a brown leather and we had plans to go dark for the cabinets. The room is also small at just over 100 sq. ft. so it was equally important that we use a colour with a high LRV to make the room look bright and welcoming. The White Dove is the perfect colour for trim as it works well with hundreds of other colours. It’s also known for being a soft white; warm, without taking on a yellow tinge in most spaces. We plan to carry this colour through the whole house on all trim and most interior doors.

For trim, we chose Alexandria Moulding 7 3/8 in. baseboards. They’re really high but we chose them for a practical reason. The ceiling height is 8 ft 3in. which is taller than your average ceiling by a few inches and leaves a bit of a gap along the bottom of the wall so it’s kind of necessary to go with a higher board. Window and door trim we’re carrying through the house is Alexandria Moulding Colonial casing.

For window coverings I ordered wood blinds with a 2” slat from Blinds to Go. The great part about the blinds besides custom sizes is they come in White Dove which made them a perfect match for the room.

Lastly, we changed out the light fixture. I’m pretty sure the one in the room was once hanging in the original owner’s gazebo. The base also didn’t cover the ceiling hole properly so I made sure I ordered one that the base would be big enough. I should mention that we did the entire project with retail still locked down so I found a great fixture through Wayfair. The Bennington 3 light semi flush mount has a quatrefoil shape and two tone finish of dark metal and pine which is a perfect complement to the cabinet we’re about to build. That story for another day though! Thanks for stopping by!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: