Tag Archives | renovation chaos

New year, new project

After 4 and a half years of living here, we finally decided to take on the office for our January project. Tbh, probably a January AND February project since we’re trying to stay involved in other things, too (and not fall of the face of the planet as we often do during projects.)

This is our office. Painted a lovely shade of baby puke yellow, that sometimes has a greenish tinge.


I don’t know who would choose this color, especially with oak floors, but they did, and we’ve had to live with the neon consequences. I actually do use my elliptical pretty regularly, and it’s not fun to stare at this fluorescent yellow for 30 minutes, let me tell ya.


Andrew’s the only one who ever sits in here, though, and with this color, I don’t know how he does it.


Especially with such terrible lighting. As in, outdated and gross. But also, not super bright.


We never bothered to fix this vent, I think because we thought we’d redo this room sooner. So it’s just been hanging by a screw from the ceiling for all these years. We keep it classy around here.


And just like all the other rooms before we fixed them, there are lots of reminders of curtain rods around every window (including painted over hardware.) Like, seriously, how many curtain rods does one window need? One. The answer is one.


And what even is this?!?!


Once other stuff is starting to come together, we’ll have to paint the closet doors. We already repainted this door last fall when we did all of our hallway doors (and replaced the knobs and hinges!), but now the trim looks even more dingy. We’ll get to that, too.


This room is just a hot mess. Which is why we’ve waited so long. The texture on this far wall is so messed up that we decided it would be easiest to add another layer of drywall over it and simply re-texture.


Luckily, there are no door or window casings on this wall that would be affected by increasing the wall thickness, and we had to remove trim anyway.

Now that you have some background, here’s what we’ve done so far! We started removing everything from the room on Saturday a few weekends ago, and then scraped the ceiling the next day. We’ve done both wet and dry scraping, and there are pros and cons to both. This time, to save time and keep dust down, we decided to do it wet.


It certainly goes much faster and takes less effort wet! We were done scraping in about an hour. One downside is that you can’t immediately move on to sanding because the drywall paper needs to dry first. So we took a break and did some binge-watching.


Later that week, we had a friend come over to help us install the drywall panels. Boy, those things are heavy. By some miracle, I was able to help Andrew carry the 3 sheets inside, but there was no way I was going to be useful in getting them on the wall.


And then Andrew began the mudding process. Which is LONG. He’s certainly not a mudding expert (and therefore not quick), but we’ve found that the key for us amateurs is thin layers of mud with lots of sanding in between. Mud and sand. Repeat a million times. Or like 3 or 4.


And just look at that popcorn free ceiling? Isn’t it great?


While he’s at it and has mud mixed, he’s also fixing holes/imperfections on the walls and cracks around the window (often cut out with a utility knife first), divots in the ceiling from screws, and taped edges of the ceiling.


We still have a lot more sanding and mudding to do before we can texture some of the touched up areas and then move on to more fun things, but progress is progress. They say it has to get worse before it gets better, but honestly, I think it’s better already!


Last minute, I decided to add a fun project to this room, so I’ll share more about that another time. For now, we still need to finish sanding, mudding, sanding some more, texturing touch up areas, priming everything and painting the ceiling before we even get to the fun part. Much to do.

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Finished framing

We’ve made some serious progress on our deck over the past week!! So much so that there hasn’t been time to post about it. We’ve done much more than just framing, but I can’t share a million pictures in one post, so let’s talk frame. Last time I posted it looked like this.


Andrew had already installed the new ledger board in the house, but we hadn’t gotten around to building the frame for the addition part. Building the frame and installing joists was the next step in the long process.

This part of the deck won’t have supports directly in the corners because of the red block wall, but we positioned the concrete footings as close to the edge as we could. There’s still about one foot of overhang.


Once we decided the angle we wanted for the front edge of the deck, it was just a matter of making a few mitered cuts, ensuring everything was level, and bolting the pieces together and to the 4×4 supports.

Then we installed our joist pieces about every foot. They’re notched on the back to sit on the ledger/hanger pieces in the house (and screwed in to keep them in place) and then screwed into the front side of the deck.


We installed 2 joists about 5.5″ apart from each other (the width of a piece of deck planking) between the new part of the deck and the original part because we will have one deck plank that runs the opposite way. This will create a seam between the two parts of the deck so we can use full length pieces on each side instead of having to offset the planking.


In order to support that piece, we had to run tiny little pieces the opposite way between those two joists. Again, these are every foot.


As you can see from the picture above, we decided to paint the frame. We used our old deck planks to create the support structure (they had used 2×6 s for everything instead of deck planking), but any piece that had previously been a plank was painted red.


Even though we were planning to butt our new planks up against each other as tightly as we could, we knew there’d still be gaps and we didn’t want red showing through. We got lucky and found a greyish exterior latex mess-up paint at Lowe’s for $5 the first time we went to look for one! We were super excited that we didn’t have buy a gallon at full price or keep waiting till a mess up was available!


Spoiler alert: We’ve already installed the planking (Eek! Be excited!), and as expected there are some gaps, so we’re really glad we did this extra step and don’t have any bright red showing through! The grey doesn’t emphasize the gaps like the red would have!


We were also struggling with what screw color to choose. Composite decking screws come in tons of colors, but coated wood deck screws only come in a standard tan and green at Lowe’s and HD (Andrew didn’t want to use galvanized because they don’t last as long, or stainless steel because they’re pretty pricey!). The same company makes other colors, but you have to order them in larger batches, pay shipping, and wait who knows how long to get them. Boo.

We got tan first and tried it out next to our stain. It was way too obvious for me, but I really didn’t think I wanted green, either! After a ton of deliberation and calling a million hardware stores to see if they sold brown (which they did not, except one that had one 25 lb bucket for $100, which sold the next day anyway), we tested out the green and decided to go with it.


As I said before, our deck planking is already on (stay tuned for pictures!!!) and I definitely think we chose right! Andrew chose a box of green that didn’t look quite as vibrant, and now that they’re in the deck they look very neutral! Hopefully, I’ll like them once the deck is stained! But we’ve encountered a small problem with that, too…but at this point all we can do is laugh.

I think this is the first project where we’ve really taken everything in stride and remembered the two most important rules of DIY:

1. Nothing ever goes quite as planned.


2. Everything takes longer than you expect!

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“We never think this day would come!”

Remember this scene from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Her relatives never thought the day would come when she would be getting married…and they didn’t even try to hide it. Poor Girl.

We were beginning to think the day would never come when we would get our final piece of granite for our bathroom vanity. But finally it came! And this time, we’re keeping it!! Apparently, the third time’s the charm. (Poor Chaucer is going to be so sad when we finally put the drawers in the vanity.)

In case you don’t remember our history of granite issues, let me remind you. The first piece of granite we got was measured incorrectly (not by us!) so our faucet didn’t fit. The company took it away and redid it. The second piece had several flaws including a stain from caulking and an area around the sink that was too polished (we chose a honed granite, not polished.) 

The granite guy we had used the first two times ran out of remnants of the black honed granite. This gave us a good out to look for a new granite company. We only found one fabricator in our area that had the same black honed in a remnant. And they only had enough for one try…so this meant no messing up. We Craigslisted our messed up slab that the first company didn’t want and waited anxiously for our “last chance” granite top to arrive.

We had to wait for 3 weeks after selecting our remnant cause they were booked up. Finally, this Tuesday they came to install it. Andrew and I both inspected it super closely and were so relieved to find that it wasn’t flawed like the other two. No stains, scratches or mis-measurements. (Though these pictures don’t do it justice. I didn’t clean it before I took pictures so it still has some fingerprints and dust on it.)

And now this means we can finally get on with the rest of our bathroom! Most of the big stuff is done, but unfortunately the small things really add up to a large list. Earlier today we touched up the paint on the ceiling and sealed the grout in the shower for a second time after we noticed some water was still soaking into the grout (you can see how we sealed our grout here). So here’s what’s left to do:

  • Mud and paint the edge of the wall around the backsplash (where we cut the drywall to inset the splash into the wall)
  • Install trim around the door
  • Touch up paint on all trim
  • Change light switch (so the two light switches match and the one isn’t a dimmer. Mood lighting in the bathroom, anyone?)
  • Texture around outlet
  • Install outlet
  • Install shower doors
  • Install faucet
  • Install vanity drawers and new pulls
  • Refinish and hang mirror (Instead of cutting and framing our old mirror, we found a different option. Stay tuned!)
  • Hang toilet paper holder and towel rack
  • Hang hook and door stopper on bathroom door (and touch up the small dent in the wall that the knob already created)
  • Hang shelves over toilet
  • Hang art above towel rack
  • Accessorize!

The good news in all of this is that we only paid for the one granite countertop we kept, and at least now we know what countertop company to use when we redo our kitchen. They were about $100 more than the first quote, but I think that was well worth it to get the job done right the first time. And now I would really prefer not to think about granite for at least a year.

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Bathroom Overload!

I’m starting to wonder if we’ll ever have a blog post again that’s NOT about our bathroom. I’m thinking not. Besides, once it’s done it will be the only complete room in the house so why would we ever want to talk about anything else?

Saturday was fairly productive, but we still didn’t get to painting the ceiling. We did finish the mudding yesterday, and I wiped down the tile in the shower to prep it for sealing. We read on our sealant that you’re supposed to wait 72 hours for the grout to cure, though, so we couldn’t do that. Since we’re getting so close to needing the vanity, we pulled the huge, incredibly heavy box into our living room to see how it was built and how tall it was going to be. Good thing we did, cause we realized that the outlet in the wall would be too low with the new floors adding a little height, a taller vanity and thicker countertops, plus the backsplash. So up it went! Well, let’s be honest…not all on its own.

The bottom of that hole is where it was before. Andrew positioned it to be a little more even with the switch plate. Hopefully that’s high enough!! For you non-drywallers out there, you have to cut all the way to the studs so you can secure a new piece of drywall, hence why the hole is so big. Though you could also use a patch and therefore not need the hole so big, but Andrew HATES them since they cost the same as a new sheet of drywall.

While he was doing that, I primed one wall of the bathroom (which you can kind of see in the picture above) so then I could paint my sample over it and not be blinded and distracted by the horrible yellow that was there before, or the red that was behind the toilet. Then I painted my sample: Valspar Mint Frost.

The picture above is probably a little more true to the color, though the tile is not that orangey. This picture makes it look a little more yellowy than it is.

And I just had to mention that I love these skinny paint rollers! They’re so much easier for me to maneuver, and you can get closer to corners and the ceilings with them.

On an unrelated note, here’s my paint chip collection. I very quickly organized them into groups of like colors, but I need to cut the ones that are in strips and spend some more time organizing them how I want for my paint chip art.

On Saturday Andrew and I went to the Fayetteville Salvation Army (of the 5 thrift stores near my house they have the best frame selection and organization) and found this 17″ x 22 something” frame.

It was $8 which is a little more than I generally spend on frames, but it is a pretty large frame and comes with two nice mats. I’m going to paint the frame Antique white (which of course we have on hand!). I’ll paint the outer mat the same using my fave, the skinny roller! I also have a very light grey paint that we bought as a mess-up paint from Walmart, and I’m contemplating painting the inner mat that color for added dimension.

We decided (after much persuading from my mom) that we didn’t want anything too small in the bathroom in the art and accents department. Apparently that’s a design thing, small items can make a room look smaller, while a few well placed large items can actually make it feel bigger. Who knows if I’ll do it right, though! Here’s hoping!

Meanwhile back at the ranch…

…Chaucer took a nap in the guest bedroom on top of a pile of picture frames. This room is kind of in a state of disrepair. We stole the lamp from the bedside table for added light in the bathroom, the walls are two different colors (the blue is an accent wall, which we’re not crazy about), and yes, there is mud on the wall. This room is also currently housing our new toilet and the mirror from the bathroom, and the queen sized bed is up against one wall. It isn’t normally. Did I mention my family is staying with us this weekend? I should probably clean.

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