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Inna Kovalinsky and her husband Vitaliy have plenty of experience remodeling homes and are very, very good at it. They recently took on the task of remodeling a home that had sat empty for 15 years. The dining room was the first room people would see when they entered the home, and Inna knew she wanted it to be “bold and beautiful.” She thought it would be the easiest room in the house to remodel—mostly cosmetic fixes—but it ended up being a total nightmare!
The overall state of the room was much worse than it appears in the photo, says Inna. “The moldy carpet hid gorgeous red oak hardwoods underneath, while the low doorway hid the convenient kitchen entrance,” she says. “The windows needed replacement while the walls seemed permanently sealed with ages-old wallpaper.”
Inna and Vitaliy got to work right away, opening up the doorway so that the entry was flush with the kitchen ceiling. All was well until Inna started to remove the wallpaper from the walls. No removal method was working, the wallpaper would not come off. A few frustrated tears later, Inna decided to try something different and asked the drywall installers if they could mud over the wallpaper on the walls that were now badly damaged from the failed removal. How did that go? “Huge mistake!” says Inna. “The sealed wallpaper started to peel at the seams underneath the mud, and we had to tear everything off and sand down the walls.” After that, though, it was smooth sailing.
To make the ceilings feel higher, Inna used a clever trick: She used molding to create a tray ceiling look, then painted both the walls—also now outfitted with picture molding—and the outside rim of the ceiling in the same dusty blue (Debonair by Sherwin-Williams). “To visually expand the room, I went with a bold color that was beautiful but still very elegant,” says Inna. “I loved the color so much that I decided to incorporate tone on tone with the curtains and little details.”
This stunning makeover including the doorway, paint, flooring, drapes, molding, ceiling medallion, electrical, chandelier, and windows cost the Kovalinskys around $1,700. They were able to keep the cost so extremely low because they did all the labor (with the exception of the flooring) themselves. Inna’s words of advice for people considering a renovation: “Take it one day at a time! Write out your to-do list and tackle the tasks one by one. If something unexpected comes up (it most likely will) and you feel like crying, then cry, hug someone you love, take a nap, and start the next day again.”