Our 1940 Farmhouse – "Sitting Room" (Office)

Our next big priority was to get the room we planned to use as our office ready.  This room was originally setup like a bedroom when we viewed the house, but it doesn’t function well as such and we had other plans. It is somewhat of an irregular trapezoidal shape with three doors to the kitchen, living room, and bathroom.  We believe the original function of the room was more of a parlor or “sitting room” back in the day.

1940 Farmhouse “Sitting Room” aka Office Before and After

The main consideration for the priority of this room is that we plan to primarily heat our home with wood. The entire house currently has working baseboard heat. Baseboard heat is fine to knock the chill off a room, but it is quite expensive to try to heat an entire home through winter.  The house also has a limited heat duct system that was installed some time after it was built to use with an old oil furnace. The ducts are in need of repair and the furnace has stopped working long ago. The house has a chimney in the center of the house with fireplace access in this room and in the living room.

During the due diligence period we had the home inspected as well as a chimney inspection. As expected, the chimney needed a liner sufficient for a wood heat as it is so old. This was the biggie redo for this room! We know our limitations and had a professional (inspector) install a 6-inch wood chimney liner. The liner could be 6-inch or 8-inch depending on the fireplace insert we chose. They also added a liner cap to keep the rain and birds out.

The process of choosing a fireplace insert was tedious. The fireplace opening dimensions are small and we had to find an insert small enough to fit the required dimensions. However, we still wanted a stove with a descent size firebox and burn time. That became quite a challenge. We eventually found the perfect fireplace insert, Napoleon EPI-1402P Wood Burning Insert and purchased it from Amazon.  That’s right, folks! We bought a wood fireplace insert on Amazon. We did the research on other websites and searched in multiple stores and Amazon is where it was the cheapest.

It is designed to set out from the fireplace which is what enables it to have a good size firebox in such a tiny fireplace opening. This wood burning insert could heat up to 2000 sq ft, has thermostatic blowers, and came with the surrounding flashing.  It sticks out 9-inches which is enough space and gets hot enough to boil water or even cook in a power outage. It was perfect for our needs.  It was installed the same day with the chimney liner and cap. We have already used it several times and it is performing nicely.

Napoleon EPI-1402P Wood Burning Fireplace Insert
Napoleon EPI-1402P Wood Burning Fireplace Insert

For the rest of the room, we removed the dated built-in wooden window valance box.  Like the bedroom, this valance did not go all the way to the ceiling and was only attached by nails to the window facing and not to the plaster walls.  The removal was fairly simple and quick, but did leave some areas that needed to be repaired with spackle.  Jon then spackled the damage from the valance removal as well as other minor issues.

We removed 2 doors from the kitchen and living room entry ways and added floor transition strips. The doors could be used to close off rooms to help isolate heating or cooling, but the room was just so busy with all of these doors. We figured it slightly important to leave the bathroom door.

Everything was all one dingy off-white color. The ceiling was dingy and had a few spots. We painted the trim and ceiling with a slight off-white Valspar Signature semi-gloss and the walls with a Valspar Signature semi-gloss in “Strawberry Malt”.

Jon installed a new convenient “hidden” outlet in a small corner cabinet to plug the insert blowers into. He also updated a couple of 2 prong outlets with 3 prong outlets and replaced the light switch that was wobbly, old, and did not match.  We went with white on all of the outlet/switches.

We will eventually replace the 70’s style light fixture and the old blinds. We will wait to replace the blinds after we get replacement windows.

This room has been done for awhile and we have already painted 2.5 other rooms.  I knew we would be busy and it would be difficult to find time to post our progress, but that is an understatement. What time we are not working we are too pooped to blog about it! Stay tuned for more updates!

Our 1940 Farmhouse Series:
Our 1940 Farmhouse
Our 1940 Farmhouse – Bedroom 1
Our 1940 Farmhouse – “Sitting Room” (Office)
Our 1940 Farmhouse – Upstairs Bedroom Makeover
Our 1940 Farmhouse – Game Room Makeover
Our 1940 Farmhouse – Upstairs Guest Bedroom Makeover

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