Where I Live

You Won’t Believe How Our Design Editor Transformed Her 1930’s Bungalow

It’s night-and-day.

By Chanel Dror
this bungalow living room and dining room renovation is unbelievable!

When we were shopping around for homes, what caught our eye about this house was that it could use some work, but it didn’t need it immediately. That gave us the flexibility to live in the space, learn what we wanted to change, and when it made sense, we could tackle one project at a time. After completing our guest house last year, we didn’t pause for long before kicking off the renovation of our living and dining room.

You know how it goes: “Should we paint the walls?” quickly leads to “Well, do we want to expose the shiplap?” which results in “Well we should knock out that wall while we’re at it.”

Like all renovations, this one took on a life of its own, but partnering with EasyCare Ultra Premium Paint from True Value every step of the way made it a total delight. The result is night-and-day from how the spaces were when we just moved in, and really, I couldn’t be more pleased with how everything turned out. Read on for all the details, before and after photos, and Camille’s top tips everyone should follow when renovating any space.

home renovation, design, true value paint

this bungalow living room and dining room renovation is unbelievable! this bungalow living room and dining room renovation is unbelievable!

Camille’s Reno Tip #1: Open up the space.

Aside from the work we did to the walls, Camille suggested we remove the arched wall that once separated the living room and dining room to really open up and transform the space. This “before” photo shows how the space used to be — note the double archways, the sad paint color, and the very outdated light fixtures. Camille helped us realize that when you’re working within a drab space like that, no amount of stylish furniture or decor will brighten it up, so opening up the wall between these two rooms was high on our project list.

this bungalow living room and dining room renovation is unbelievable!

Camille’s Reno Tip #2: A Fresh Coat of Paint Can Transform Anything

When we first began this project, Camille and I discussed all sorts of non-white paint options, specifically some off-whites. My concern was that we’d end up with an uninspiring “greige” similar to the color the walls were painted before, plus, since this area of the house doesn’t fill with light until the late afternoon, I wanted a paint color that would help make it feel bright and airy all day long. So, white it was! In order to give the all-white space some dimension, we painted the walls, the trim, and the ceiling all different shades and with different finishes, which helps things not feel so flat.

Did you notice the shiplap in the living room? With low ceilings in that room, I wanted to think of some way to make the space feel special, elevated, and different from the dining room. Exposing the original shiplap underneath the drywall achieved that, and again, our coat of paint from EasyCare Paint was the perfect polish on top of that texture.

home renovation, design, true value paint

this bungalow living room and dining room renovation is unbelievable!

Camille’s Reno Tip #3: Mix and Match Paint Colors

Choosing a paint color is so tough, and choosing a shade of white isn’t any easier. I knew I wanted something on the warmer side, so we searched for the perfect tones that were slightly warm, but also had a bit of dimension so when they all came together the room didn’t feel flat.

choosing paint colors

before and after, paint color, renovation

After selecting an array of options that I felt could potentially work, I painted EasyCare Paint swatches on the wall with labels taped underneath. It’s important to do this in different areas of the room, and leave them up for a couple days before making a final decision. The light may hit your room differently at certain times of day, affecting the tone and texture of the paint, so you really want to view the colors from several angles, and different times of day.

before and after, paint color, renovation


before and after, paint color, renovation before and after, paint color, renovation

I loved all of the colors I chose so much for different reasons, so the decision was tough! After much deliberation, Camille and I chose:

I chose these colors to mix and match because they were all slightly warm, and complimented each other really well. The different finishes I chose added dimension, and the white tones complement the warm and neutral materials in the space. My home is mainly wood and woven textures, so these colors match the look I was going for perfectly.

this bungalow living room and dining room renovation is unbelievable!

above: Rattan Natural Decorative Pillow in 22″ Lumbar and 20″ Square

chanel dror's renovation austin bungalow

easy care paint from True Value

Since EasyCare Paint is a paint and primer in one, the job of painting the space was cut in half. It’s also low-odor, low-VOC and 100% acrylic. It coated easily over the dark brown wooden shiplap planks, no problem!  I knew it was also really important for me to choose a paint that was certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). EasyCare Interior Paint minimizes irritants and pollutants in the air, creating a healthier indoor environment for my family and my pets. Win-win!

mantle, living room, renovation, home DIY

Camille’s Renovation Tip #4: Get creative with furniture and accessories.

Figuring out our furniture configuration with this new layout was tricky. In the end, a chaise was the perfect piece to add more seating, without acting as a visual obstruction between the two spaces. I went with the Reese Chaise from Room & Board because of their amazing quality, and their endless customization options. Plus, a chaise just feels so grown up!

living room, formal living room

I insisted on upgrading the hearth, even though our fireplace doesn’t technically work. Before, the mantle looked obviously fake and added nothing to the space. Now, after adding brick to the inside with a steel frame around it, concrete to the floor, and a fresh coat of EasyCare Paint Tabbouleh in Eggshell to the mantle, it adds such a beautiful focal point and so much texture. Let that be a lesson! Even if you don’t have a working fireplace, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful one.

mantle, living room, renovation, home DIY

Now accessorizing our mantle is a joy — I can’t get enough of the natural, earthy decor from Bloomist. Above I have their Bronze Stoneware Cylinder Vase, their Dried Tumbleweed, and their Dried Natural Canella on display in a glass dome. Wondering where we put the TV? I’ll get to that in a second.

curtains, living room

We found these Lush Linen Curtain Panels that perfectly complemented the paint colors and hung them up on some oil rubbed bronze rings. My husband didn’t understand why we needed to replace the faux-wood blinds that were hung on every window, but now that these beauties are up, it’s clear how much softness and texture they add. I’m obsessed!

mantle, living room, renovation, home DIY

Call it a formal living room, or a den, or a TV room — if you live in an old bungalow, then you know — you get one space! That said, when my first thought was to mount our television over the mantle, I checked myself. There just had to be a better way. Camille had the great idea to mount it on the opposite wall, and I thought, “It’s so crazy, it just might work.” And it totally does. We now get to enjoy that totally fancy look of having two sofas facing one another — which is amazing for encouraging conversation and framing a fireplace — while still having plenty of seating (and space to lay down) when our attention needs to face the TV.