Starting a Room: The Pink Parlor

It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since I closed on the Liberty House, but here we are… one new roof, one working boiler, one sanded and refinished floor, one fully unpacked kitchen, and a whole lot of not-unpacked boxes stashed in various rooms of the house later, and frankly, I’m ready to start something fun.

Sometimes getting through what amounts to a three-year list of house projects requires small wins early on for motivation, and I’ve decided the Pink Parlor is going to be mine. (I might toss a little bit of fun with the downstairs bath in there too, while I’m at it, because there are just so many places to start I know I’m going to have a hard time focusing on just one.)

I was dually informed by my family to expect a full-on invasion for my birthday which is not very many weeks away, actually, and at the very least having the living room in decent shape will mean that people will have somewhere to sit other than the barn.

Here are the “before” pictures of the room.



It pretty much looks just like this now but with holes in the ceiling from repairing the radiator pipes and a bunch of random furniture crammed in it.


Here’s the plan:

1. Get it ready. That means patching all the holes in the ceiling, moving all the random furniture to another room (thankfully I have plenty), cleaning out the fireplace, and pulling all the radiator covers and light switches off.

2. Paint stuff.  The wainscoting, trim, and fireplace are all going to be white. I’m tempted to go white on the walls too, but we’ll see.

3. More sanding. Apparently refinishing floors is like childbirth in that you forget the pain of it and a few short weeks later are all “Hey, look at the awesome result of all of that labor… let’s do that again!” Okay, actually, I have no experience with childbirth, but three weeks ago I was convinced I was going to hire out the rest of the floor sanding, and now I think I’m probably going to suck it up and spend another weekend swearing at the drum sander. Technically I should do this before painting the walls, but I just can’t… I need the walls done for motivation, even if it means wiping them down again after the floors are finished.

4. Swap out that awesome light fixture. I bought the Weathervane chandelier from Pottery Barn years ago to go in the Memorial house, and I’m not sure if it will quite go in this room, but I’m going to give it a shot.

5. Pretty up the fireplace. I’m going to start by painting the trim white, and then make some decisions about the brick and slate-like hearth.


6. Fill ‘er up. I’m not laboring under the illusion that collecting the right pieces of furniture for this house (and this room specifically) is going to happen overnight. The two things I’d like to invest in sooner rather than later are a good “sleeper” couch and rug.

I’m planning to start on the patching and painting this weekend, floors next weekend, and if I’m lucky I’ll have a fully functional living room in a few weeks.

34 Responses

  1. I saw that media console made from random drawers on Design Sponge, and immediately coveted one of my own. It is gorgeous, and with your mad skillz, it has your name written all over it. 😀

  2. So enthusiasic! I like the psychology of doing what motivates you first. That could be applied to education!
    Off the subject – no one seems to have invented my idea of a sunroom with a sand floor. I still think it is a good idea – if one doesn’t own cats.

  3. Love the color scheme but agree on the sanding = labor analogy. But you can do it and what a great time you’ll have for your birthday with it all prettied up! I’m trying to convince my husband who has “not carefully or accurately but gosh I appreciate the effort” mudded and taped half our drywall in the basement to hire it out, but there’s such great satisfaction in the “I did it myself” semi-martyrdom. 🙂

  4. Kit’s Mom, Sunroom with a sand floor…what a nifty idea. Provided there’s some way to prevent tracking into the next room. I can just see walking barefoot in there when the sand is warm. A nice reclining lounge chair, a nice glass of lemonade, and you’re at the beach.

    I believe it’s illegal to paint brick. I’m just saying 🙂 channeling any future owners who will never be able to undo it.

    1. I always said nasty things about people who painted brick and wood trim, and I’m definitely going to have to eat my words on at least one of those counts in this house 😉

      I’m not sure about the brick yet, so for now it stays, but it’s more of a pinkish brick than the actual red that I like so I wouldn’t feel too bad if it went the way of Layla’s fireplace from The Lettered Cottage (seen here)

      1. I looked at the first picture in Layla’s post and I thought, that looks great! And then I read further and realized it was the Before picture 🙂

  5. I think Rowe makes Pottery Barn furniture – see if you can find a local distributor as from what I understand it sells for less and you have more options – and you’ll be able to test drive it (how comfy is it, how easy to open up into bed, etc.) before you buy.

  6. It looks as though the moulding around that glass block window (is there plan for that?) and the fireplace is wider and a bit more ornate than that around the doorway…and though it appears to match the arched doorway I wondered if you had any plans to replace it with the wider, (are those pieces around the fireplace grooved as well?) grooved moulding and rosettes? It would look good either way and if the current ones around the door match (especially throughout the house) it would be less pricey and less labor to leave them. Just wondering. This house is amazing and still in such great shape. Smart girl to snap it up. How many acres of land went with the house?

    1. Good point about the glass block door/window Dar… that’s going eventually but not for a while yet. I’m just going to replace with a faux windowed door, probably. It does have original molding though and it’s set in to the wall in a way that would make it difficult to replace.

      To be honest, what I would call the “fancy” trim REALLY isn’t my style so I haven’t figured out exactly what I’ll be doing with all of it in the long run. I’ve actually been toying with the idea of taking the archways out eventually. We’ll have to see.

      The house came on 6 acres, so there’s plenty of room to stretch out here!

  7. Love your ideas…..but I’d get a regular sofa. With the number of bedrooms you have, you’d rarely need a sleeper sofa. And they cost more, aren’t as comfortable as a regular sofa and are a bitch to move as they’re so heavy. With a room that size, you could get a big, long couch for anyone who can’t make it up the stairs. When entertaining a crowd at our place, overnight guests not bagging a bedroom are quite happy to have foamies or camp-cots and sleeping bags anyway.

    You know you can make a similar coffee table with plumbing piping? With your skills and available ‘reclaimed’ wood, it would be awesome. Good Luck!!

    1. I DO have a lot of bedrooms, that’s for sure, but I’m actually planning for all of my couches to be sleepers– despite some of those disadvantages! 😉 I live almost an hour away from most of my friends and family and I want to make sure I’ll have a place to accommodate anyone who wants to stay when they make the trek to see me. (I’m a good 20 minutes away from anything that resembles a hotel, so that’s not a great option.) And I also want the flexibility of being able to use my spare rooms for storage or workout equipment without needing them to be full on “guest rooms”.

      I’m hoping in the end to be able to sleep four couples comfortably in the house including myself. And I’m also considering building a little guest cottage on the property in a year or two as well. The Liberty House was definitely meant to be a gathering place!

  8. I agree with the Karens – please don’t paint the brick! And just get the most comfortable couch you can. If this really is the place you are destined to be, you’ll be there for a long while and there will be plenty of spare bedrooms.

    I had a friend recently who really wanted a PB couch and actually found one on Craig’s List with two slipcovers for $100! We looked up the slipcovers and they were $700. So keep your eyes open there! i am addicted to CL!

  9. and yes – painting a room is instant gradification and sometimes you just have to be able to see some visible design progress to move forward with the the rest of the projects…

  10. I bet that the fireplace bricks will look a million times better as soon as the pink paint is gone. The room is going to look a million times better as soon as the pink paint is gone!
    We used cloud white for trim and shelves in our rec room and love it. It’s so calm and in-obtrusive. (We paired with BM Piedmont Gray walls and Ancient Ivory ceiling.)
    I love your very neutral inspiration rooms.
    This is going to be gorgeous.

  11. I love the archways, but then I am for the “fancy” mouldings as well….
    However, let me just chime in about the sleeper sofas…though I can see the thought of sleeping everyone who comes to visit, it is the “comfortably” part that may need further examination…think double high airbeds instead..the sleeper sofa, unless made of foam blocks, are much heavier to move around, and unless they have been perfected, are way less than comfortable usually. I have enjoyed double high airbeds as a guest and as a traveler and would choose one of them, even a twin sized one, over the fold out sofa. If you find a really comfy one that you try out personally please let us all know. :>)

  12. Kit, I love Layla’s FP! Great job on your color scheme, furniture/pillow ideas, too and can’t say enough good about possible built-ins! The room looks big enough in the pic to accomodate 2 long sofas as well as some individual chairs (maybe a couple of antique rockers?)…lots of seating. The chandelier is beautiful and I really hope she works in there. Question: Any chance of heightening the wainscoting to just below the switches? Seems kind of short for the size room/tall ceilings (or maybe it’s my computer). All for white woodwork & wainscoting! I’ve no doubt your room when un-pinked will be perfect.

  13. As an instant gratification kind of girl myself, I love to paint – it’s usually my motivator to get ‘er done. And I am totally against painting wood or brick but I have so. much. exposed. brick. in my house that I may have to bite the bullet. Decisions, decisions…..

  14. 1) Nice pics (colors etc). 2)Layla’s FP is done neatly – but may be a bit too modern for a gorgeous old brick farmhouse. 3) Go ahead – paint the brick fireplace. Isn’t that one reason God invented air compressors and sand-blasting equipment, for quick and easy removal of mistakes? (Just an option. Alternative = do the fireplace plans in cardboard, glue them on temporarily, and take pictures for comparisons).
    NEW SUBJECT: Historical evidence: Take a picture of each space “BEFORE” renovation. After the job is done, transfer the picture to wood (Mod-Podge etc,) and hang it in the renovated space. Neat!

      1. 1) Sandblast softly; 2) Seal the brick after cleaning. If it works, then good! If it doesn’t, siea-la-merde! Just tossed it out for consideration. But, thanks for the warning!

  15. Kit,

    Your room is going to look great. I was forced to sand and refinish oak floors at a rental and it was a chore. You’re right about the childbirth thing. It is painful during the process but when it’s done you’ll be very proud.

    Looking forward to your pics and updates.

  16. Ooh I have always wanted a pink room. I wish you could just mail that room to me if you don’t want it.

    I’m trying to convince my husband that pink rooms don’t have to feel oppressively feminine, without much luck. Anyone have any ideas on how to ‘man’ up a pinkish room?

    1. Ty a pinky taupe/brown – I had a color custom mixed a couple of years ago to go with some floral curtains in a Victorian and my husband was not going for pink. It was a darker version (probably 125%) of an old Sherwin-Williams color called Retro Rose I think.

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