Tag Archives | renovation chaos

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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It all happened so fast…

I wish I could say Andrew finished up the plumbing quickly and easily this morning and that we were able to shower and make it to work by 8:30. Alas, I cannot say that…or I’d be lying.

Here’s how it happened. Andrew stayed up working until 2 last night, and then got up at 6:55 and went to Lowe’s. David, a plumbing expert at Lowe’s and quickly becoming an acquaintance of ours, asked him how it was going. His response? “Well I’m here at 7 in the morning so not so great!” Too true. He came back with the parts and started soldering. At 8:20 he still wasn’t close to done, so I whipped out the computer and started working from home.

Every once in a while Andrew would request my help in confirming that water wasn’t leaking. We’d call each other on our phones, I’d wait near the plumbing, and he’d go outside to turn the water on. Andrew tried soldering the pipe 3 times, but this pipe was the lowest point in the house which meant that all the water left in the pipes ran to it. Finally he called a plumber to ask for any tips. He said at that point it’s almost impossible to solder, and recommended Gator Bites, or for those of you that shop at Home Depot, Shark Bites, or Sonic, Cheddar Bites…oh no, that’s not right, is it? This is basically a pipe with compression fittings that doesn’t require soldering.

So he finished the plumbing and then off he went to turn on the water. Only problem? He accidentally left a valve open, and he forgot to ask me to watch. So I’m working away, when all of a sudden I hear water pouring into the bathroom!! I run to the bathroom to see water spraying everywhere. It looked like a fire sprinkler went off! I ran to tell Andrew, the whole time screaming like a crazy person. And there was definitely some crying, too. Can’t blame me though. I had visions of our drywall completely soaked and flopping on the floor like wet bread, and having to redo EVERYTHING! Thankfully, that did NOT happen. Everything was very wet, though…including our light fixture. Turns out it’s not quite as frosted as we thought!

We got out the wet vac and some towels and started mopping it up. My heart was still racing. This was probably the most dramatic DIY moment for me yet. I think I may have had a mini panic attack.

It dried out pretty quickly though, so we continued on our merry way and laid down the rest of the hardie backer and then Adam came to tile.

 On a sidenote, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but we decided to hire someone else to tile. Our reasons are the following:
  • We have none of the tools for it, which alone would run us upwards of $300.
  • It’s very time consuming, especially for a beginner, and we both work all day 5 days a week.
  • We want to stay married.

Anyway, he finished up the subway tile yesterday and it looks awesome! Just keep in mind it’s not grouted or caulked yet. At first I was worried it went up too high on the wall, but after looking at it for a while I think it actually makes the room feel taller. Which it needs, as it is neither tall nor spacious. Once we get the other stuff in here and get the shower doors on I think it will be perfect.

We brought it up so high because we wanted to raise our shower head so you didn’t have to bend down  to get wet. Apparently people in the 80s were shorter? Hah. We raised the shower head by about 5 inches, and we wanted to make sure the tile came above that. Then we had to make sure we ended with a full tile at the top. 

Today he did the floor and it turned out out great, too! He started in the back because we decided it was more important to have full and half tiles there than by the door, but turns out we ended up with that on both ends! What a perfect surprise after such a stressful and imperfect day.

It’s really starting to feel like we’re making good progress now. You know those TV shows where they spend 45 minutes showing the demo and all the problems encountered along the way and then all of sudden the room is done and you think, “Did they skip something?” No, that was our experience, too. It seemed like we’d been stagnant for a while. We’d done a lot of work, just nothing really aesthetic so it felt like it was going really slowly. Then it was like all of sudden…BAM! It’s a bathroom! It’s almost bittersweet. I still feel like I should walk past and see studs and subfloor…Nah, almost bittersweet, almost.  Anyway, Adam is coming back tomorrow to do the grout, and then we’ll be ready for the next phase!

We’ve also discovered that Chaucer is really curious about renovations and DIY. He loves smelling and exploring new things and really doesn’t seem all that bothered by the loud noises. I mentioned once before that Chaucer likes to sleep in weird places and that was further confirmed the other night when we found him truly embracing all of these changes…

Looks quite comfy for a cat, doesn’t it? (Just FYI, this is the new, never-been-used toilet. Thank goodness.)

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