Formal Living Room : One Room Challenge – Week 2

Formal Living Room : One Room Challenge – Week 2 - roomfortuesday.comIt’s Week 2 of the One Room Challenge, demo is underway, and we’re definitely already feeling the pressure. It has honestly been a stressful week, as we’ve uncovered some unforeseen issues during demo. Renovating often takes a snowball effect, friends. Haha! Long story short… we ended up having to move plumbing, electrical, and haven’t had hot water for a week- so a new hot water heater is on the to-do list pronto. Whew! Click through to see where we’re at and read all about it.

If you found me through the ORC site, hi there! I’m Sarah, a designer & blogger located in Salt Lake City, UT. You can see my current home renovation here, as well as my previous home tour here. My husband, Emmett, and I are renovating our third house. Join us as we tackle the formal living room. In case you missed last week’s post, don’t worry! Catch up here: Week 1 (before images, floor plan, and design plan).

Upon beginning demo, we thought “a living room… this shouldn’t be too bad”, until we dug into the walls. We found plumbing and electrical hidden in the walls that definitely wasn’t to code. We also realized our gas fireplace wasn’t set up in a very safe way. Basically, we added a BUNCH of tasks to our to-do list, which has put us behind. We’re still pushing forward though. I’m remaining optimistic!

Formal Living Room : One Room Challenge – Week 2 - roomfortuesday.comWe ripped up the carpet, parts of the subfloor, completely demoed the ceiling, and part of the fireplace…

Formal Living Room : One Room Challenge – Week 2 - roomfortuesday.comIt was here that we realized we’d need to remove the sheet rock around the fireplace to make the appropriate updates to the gas line. Our friend (and neighbor) Brant has spent countless hours helping Emmett (bless his heart). I captured a hilarious photo of them inside the fireplace working on demo. They didn’t find my Santa Claus jokes very funny at the time, after a hidden heavy piece of pipe crashed onto Emmett’s foot. The fireplace wall was totally rigged… there was a pipe, in a pipe, in a pipe, and the insulation was just stuffed in the interior without a barrier (a major fire hazard).

Formal Living Room : One Room Challenge – Week 2 - roomfortuesday.comAfter they got that issue resolved, Emmett ran new electrical and placed boxes for the sconces that will flank our new fireplace.

Formal Living Room : One Room Challenge – Week 2 - roomfortuesday.comYou’ll also notice we removed the plantation shutters- the doors and windows already look much better and natural light is flooding into the space! I can’t wait to see them cased out with new millwork and painted.

Formal Living Room : One Room Challenge – Week 2 - roomfortuesday.comOn the opposing side of the room is the wall where our built-ins will live. The weird “bumped out” wall to the left houses a bunch of ductwork, plumbing, and electrical.

Required fields are marked *Against our better judgement (and tight timeframe), we decided to open it up. It just felt so cramped. Well- it turns out that little wall was load-bearing, so Emmett had to spend extra time and energy redistributing the weight and framing it out. This is also where we ran into issues with our hot water heater. The black pipe runs to our basement mechanical room, where the hot water heater lives. It’s not in an ideal location and since our water heaters (we have two) are original to the house and super old & inefficient, we decided we should just replace them. It would solve our issue of having this pipe in the way upstairs, plus it’s a good investment. Given our giant to-do list, we haven’t had time to install new ones and have been without hot water for a week. Luckily, we have great neighbors who are letting us shower at their place!

Formal Living Room : One Room Challenge – Week 2 - roomfortuesday.comAll of that to say, the wall is gone, the ductwork and pipes are moved, and our built-in wall grew a little bit. It does feel nice and open now! This is what the built-in will look like…

Formal Living Room : One Room Challenge – Week 2 - roomfortuesday.comI’m really looking forward to seeing this come to life! We also had leftover soapstone from our kitchen renovation, and we’ll be incorporating that into the built-in as well.

Formal Living Room : One Room Challenge – Week 2 - roomfortuesday.comSo that’s where we’re at… in the thick of demo. We’re going to start rebuilding and drywalling this week, and we’re hoping to begin installing the built-in this weekend. Oh yeah- and hot water is a MUST. That needs to happen immediately. The One Room Challenge is kicking our butts once again, but hey- isn’t that what it’s all about? Pushing you to do your best and make the impossible happen? I would feel much better about this if we had more time, but we leave for a European vacation next week. Yikes! What did I get myself into? I’m hoping next week when I share an update with you, this space will look more like a room and less like a construction zone! Onward and upward friends.

Check out the progress and updates from the other featured designers below… I hope they’re in better shape than we are over here!

Formal Living Room : One Room Challenge - Week 1 -

At Charlotte’s House | Design Addict Mom | Erika Ward Interiors | Erin Kestenbaum | Girl & Grey

Gray Malin | Hommeboys | I Spy DIY | Jewel Marlowe | The Learner Observer | Making it Lovely

 Nicole White Designs | Old Brand New | Oscar Bravo Home | Place of My Taste | The Rath Project

| SG Style | Undecorated Home | Veronica Solomon | Media BH&G | TM by ORC

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  1. No hot water?! Brrrr. You have a stellar disposition; being cold makes me crabby. I’m a little surprised that you’re finding such terrible code violations in a newer home. Am I naive? Were any of these the result of previous homeowners rather than the original builder? You guys do such meticulous work! Imagine the beautiful, comfortable (and safe!) flow this space will have when you’re done! Dreamy! Oh, and soapstone featured on the built-ins? Swoon. I should also mention that I’m impressed with the neatness of your construction zone. I imagine that’s because of the very strict foreman I see watching through the French doors. Snort. You got this!

    1. We’re honestly surprised too! It definitely wouldn’t be the previous homeowner… I’m guessing we can chalk this up to the builder and the not-so-great rules & codes from the 90’s. Our home inspection uncovered some of these issues (like need to replace ALL the plumbing throughout eventually), but in terms of the fireplace being a hazard- that was news to us. It might take us longer to tackle projects or renovate, but we both take pride knowing we fix things the right way- so that it’s safe and well-built for years to come. I’m just hoping it doesn’t set us back too far! Hahahah- the dogs through the doors. They’re so funny! xo

  2. Wow – all that in one week? Super impressed. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

    1. Thank you, Monica! xox

  3. Super impressed with all you guys have done in one week! Oh the joys of renovations and finding all the unexpected things :) Wishing you luck this next week! I am so excited to see your vision come to life.

    1. That’s the name of renovating… uncovering the unexpected. Haha! I’m just happy we were able to fix everything and bring things up to code that were potentially hazardous. Whew! xox

  4. Oh wow, I’m so glad you guys found out those issues with the fireplace now and not when it was too late! Really impressed with your progress & hope there are no more nasty surprises!

    1. Me too, Lori! Crossing our fingers the rest of the process goes more smoothly :) Onward to drywall!

  5. Oh my gosh, heart attack surprises in those walls! You guys are hustling so hard. Props!! The finish line is not far, and you have a mandatory sanity break with your vacation, hilariously enough (in a We’re laughing so we don’t cry sort of way).

    1. Thank you, Julie! My thoughts exactly. We’re going to enjoy vacation together regardless… I just hope we can finish the space given our little European adventure we had previously scheduled. Haha :)

  6. Hi Sarah! Somewhat related, but my husband and I are planning to replace the tile surround of our fireplace but want to keep/reinstall the same mantel…I noticed Emmett got your old one off without destroying it…any tips? Appreciate the insight!

    1. We used a few different sized crowbars / prybars and tried to be as careful as possible. It may require some cutting with a handheld saw. I hope that helps!