A Living Room Lift for $539
DIY built-ins, clean-lined furniture, and white paint bring out the original details in a 1917 room
Even well-preserved period charm requires tweaking—and a little elbow grease—to bring it into the 21st century. Newlyweds Katherine and Conan Fugit found a lot to like in the living room of their 1917 house, in Wichita, Kansas.
Shown: DIY built-ins complement the original windows, and clean-lined furniture brightens the space.
But along with the original diamond-pane windows, iron ceiling fixture, and hardwood floor came an unappealing color scheme—mauve walls with clashing golden-oak trim—and eyesores, like a prominent window air conditioner and two hulking radiators that no longer worked.
Shown: Mauve walls and an unsightly air conditioner made the room feel unkempt and dated.
Luckily, they were able to pull out that air conditioner and put the missing window back in its rightful place, as it had been stored in the basement. The couple removed the bulky radiators as well. (A forced-air system went in as part of a whole-house redo.)
They also filled out the window wall with storage-packed built-ins, including open shelves to showcase Conan's collection of yellow-bound National Geographic issues.
They used their knack for finding good deals to land a vintage sofa in a related citrus green and a bench-style coffee table that needed stripping and teak oil to get back its glow.
They revived the ceiling fixture with spray paint, finished the walls in light-reflecting off-white with bright white trim, and left the floor bare to show off the oak's grain.
Today the living room is bright and inviting, with an artful row of potted plants and framed photographs serving as a focal point. "For this project, we wanted to install functional pieces while still being respectful of the house and its roots," say the homeowners. "We're so proud of how it turned out."
Removed an air conditioner and reinstalled an original diamond-pane window found in the basement. $0
Built in a wall of storage around the bank of windows. $359
Scored a vintage sofa and armchair at a thrift store. $65
Found a thrift-store coffee table and refinished it with stripper, stain, and teak oil. $26
Painted the walls and trim white for a clean, fresh look. $82
Spray-painted the original light fixture in a color called Oil Rubbed Bronze. $7