As you can see there was a grey carpet on the floor. I forgot to take a before picture in the living room, but it was the same as in the dining room. We pulled the carpet up and found a decent 150 year old floor in need of some TLC (removal of brown paint, sanding, refinishing). Then we pulled up the dining room carpet and found hideous linoleum. Too bad! So we covered the floor of the living room with 3/8″ plywood so that it would be the same height as the dining room floor.
Next it was time to tackle the ceiling–ugly but effective one foot square soundproofing tiles that probably date from the 1950s. I put on goggles and a mask. Inside the ceiling there was a carpet of squirrel (??) poop nesting material and a few skeletons. The tiles shredded and broke as I pulled them down. It took a dozen large contractors garbage bags to contain all the tiles and squirrel nesting material. Uggh! A few days later I pulled out all the remaining nails and staples that had held the tiles.
Then we realized that the cellulose insulation in the outside walls (blown in) had compacted in the 20 years it had been there and didn’t go all the way up the walls, so we tore apart the tops of the walls to put some more insulation in. Also the bay window ceiling was completely uninsulated, so we insulated that as well.
Now we are putting shiplap on the ceiling. It is a pain working overhead, but already the living room looks better.