Anyway, the big news is that after living in a rental for nearly a year the wife and I have purchased a home, and we are now doing some basic renovations before we move in. It's approximately 2400 sq. feet, with 4 BR, 3 full BR, a living room and dining room, a decent-sized side yard with a spa, and we think we got it about $20,000 below market value. Hopefully that will give us a bit of a cushion against future market devaluation.
The living room was a little dark and confining. Even though it has a window and a fireplace, it could use some more light and openness. We will be adding some cans as well as some light kits to the ceiling fans, but the biggest move is knocking out part of the wall perpindicular to the bar and opening it up to the dining room. There is already a passthrough from the bar area to the dining room, so this just opens it further. The new tile from the entryway on the left will be continued into this room, which was originally carpeted. The walls in here appear painted but they are actually wallpapered a solid color. That's all going to go.
More tile removal, from the bar area on the west side of the living room . . .
Here's the same cutout, as seen from inside the living room next to the bar.
A somewhat washed-out photo of the southern wall of the living room, with the bookcase and the fireplace...and some left-over bits of wood we may or may not keep. We'll decide later. Speaking of later, more pics to come.