Thursday, February 18, 2010


Once the drywallers were finished with the walls and ceilings, we were ready for paint. We basically took an entire weekend and painted the five main rooms of the house (kitchen, front room, bathroom #1, bathroom #2, master bedroom). We used Sherwin Williams' Duration paint for basically our entire house. It's awesome because it is low-VOC and low odor. Making it not only better for the environment, but a hell of a lot more pleasant to actually use. Plus, you can scrub it clean if something spills on it. Trim and doors are done in a semi-gloss finish and walls and ceilings are an satin finish.

Here's Matt's mom taping off the kitchen ceiling. We chose to leave the two wood panelled walls in the kitchen rather than dry-walling over them. At this stage, we are planning an entire kitchen remodel in the not-too-distant future. So, the only thing we painted in here on our first go-around was the ceiling (we painted this so we could install the new light fixtures). The ceiling in the kitchen is painted Sherwin Williams' Modest White (we loved this color so much, you'll see it again and again in our house).

Our bedroom was the first room we painted (we wanted to be able to get our furniture in there STAT). Here's what our bedroom looked like before we got our hands on it:

All of the trim was painted Sherwin Williams' Pure White. The top portion of the walls is painted Sherwin Williams' Sporty Blue. The bottom portion of the walls and the ceiling are Sherwin Williams' Modest White. Here's my mom fixing some of the little areas where the paint seeped under the tape.

After the bedroom and kitchen ceiling, we moved onto the front room. We used an extension ladder to get all the way up to the vaulted ceilings. We primed all of the drywall and the small bit of wood that we'd chosen to leave on the walls. Drywalled walls are painted Sherwin Williams' Grayish. Woodpanelled walls are painted Sherwin Williams' Functional Gray.

Priming the wood panelled walls took forever, but it was totally worth it (a special thanks to our friends Mike and Nick for the help). I love how this little nook looks.

This is the front room painted after all of that priming. I love the slight contrast between the wood walls and thr drywalled walls. Radiator, closet doors and, eventually trim, are Sherwin Williams' Pure White. This picture was taken prior to the trim being put up. That'll be another post.

The largest bathroom in the house (and the one Matt and I use the most) was Pepto pink when we moved in. I'll be honest, it was hard to be in there for more than a minute or so when we first moved in.

This bathroom has been painted Sherwin Williams' Tidewater. The ceiling is Modest White. The closet doors, trim and the vanity are Sherwin Williams' Turkish Coffee. You can see a little of the Turkish Coffee on the mirrors.

My sewing room is quickly becoming one of my favorite rooms in the house.  Before I got my hands on it, it was all white with, you guessed it, wood panelling!  Here's the before (and my fantastic father-in-law helping us get ready to remove the popcorn from the ceilings!): 

We painted the walls Sherwin William's Essential Gray in an Eggshell finish.  The trim and wood wall were primed and painted with Sherwin William's Pure White in Gloss.  The first picture is my little photo montage to some of the costumes I recently finished (a little more on how that came together soon), but in the picture you can see the wall color and the trim.  The second picture is actually the same corner of the room that we saw in the before picture above.  It shows the wood wall halfway through painting (hence the splotches in the upper corner where I realized I still had a little spackling to clean up).  This picture was taken before the ceiling was painted, but it still gives a good idea of the wall colors.


As I've mentioned before, the previous owners of our house were not interested in maintenance or updating the house before selling it (and they wondered why it was on the market for almost 2 years!). The carpets were bad. Very bad. Expecially down the hall and around the fireplace. Because we were covering the overwhelming wood panelling in both of these areas, we thought that hardwood floors would be a nice addition. As I mentioned in my last post, this is one of the few projects that Matt and I did not do ourselves. A family friend of Matt's parents knew a professional who could buy and completely install the hardwood floors for cheaper than the materials alone would cost us. Though we were up to the challenge of flooring, it made more sense to us to hire this guy since he came highly recommended and was cheap.

We chose a Red Oak for the floor. Our flooring guy recommended it when we told him that we were interested in a durable floor that had a lot of detail. The floor is stained Sherwim Williams' Burnished Walnut. It is a beautiful color and the grain of the wood really makes this floor impressive.

Here's my brother helping us remove the last remnants of the carpet that was down the hallway and in the front room. We seriously could not have bought this house without knowing our families would be very willing to help us renovate. They are wonderful.
Installed, sanded, and stained hardwood. This picture was taken the day before the polyurethane went on.
Our very first step onto our new floors. They literally took my breath away when I first saw them after the polyurethane was put on.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Though Matt and I are big believers in learning how to do a project and completing it yourself, there are some projects that are a little over our heads. In addition to the roof, we hired professionals to complete the drywall and the new floors. When we bought our house, half of the walls were covered in dark wood panelling. We tossed around a lot of ideas for how to deal with all of this panelling (removing it, painting it, etc). Ultimately, we decided that the best way for us to deal with the panelling was just to cover most of it up. We hired a team of drywallers to come in and cover over half of the wood-panelled walls with 1/4 inch drywall. While they were drywalling over the wood, they also skimcoated the ceilings that had recently been de-popcorned. The skimcoating was more to give us an even surface to paint and to clean up any mistakes that had happened while we were removing the popcorn (a couple of nicks here and there).

The wood panelling made our house dark. Like a cave. Here's what the hallway looked like before we covered up the wood panelling:

And here's the after. This is after the popcorn was removed and the drywall was put up, but before the new floors went in.

Here's our before show of the living room. So dark! This was taken on our final walk-thru before we closed, so not only is the wood no longer there, the flooring has been replaced and the skylights were added. The room is so light and friendly now.
Here's the after of the drywall in the front room. We chose to leave the ceiling and beams natural wood (Matt's family owned lumbar companies, he loves the look).

New Doorway (or "The Hole")

The layout of the house was a little strange when we first bought it. The rooms were all very cut off from each other and the flow of the house was pretty choppy. Matt and I decided to open up a wall from the front room to the kitchen (these are two of the largest rooms in the house, they are next to each other, and yet have no entryway between the two). As this was a load-bearing wall, Matt and his dad had to take extra care to make sure their new supports would hold the weight. Here's the before, during and after pictures of the new doorway. I love how it looks! Most people can't even tell that we added it. It looks like it was always there.

Now I'll talk about how they did it. First, Matt and his father removed all of the wood panelling from both sides of the wall and brought the wall down to the studs.
Once the wall was brought down to studs, they built a temporary wall to support the kitchen ceiling while they took the studs out and put in new supports.
The supports were a double cripple support, which means they built a 6 inch beam using two 2x6s with a piece of MDF sandwiched in between. This beam would eventually become the header for the doorway. Supporting the beam on either side were two 2x4s cut to the appropriate height. The temporary wall was put in. The studs were removed. The top beam was put in first once the studs were removed. Then they supported the beam on both ends by wedging the 2x4s into the space left in the wall.
Once the supports were installed, the temporary wall was removed and the doorway was complete. It brightens up our room so much. And I couldn't be happier with it.


Our fireplace was constructed with what is called 'stuffed grout.' Basically when they layed the brick for the fireplace, they loaded it with grout, and when the next brick was placed on, the grout oozes out in-between the bricks. It looks like this:

We didn't love the look of it and all I could think of when I looked at it was what a dust trap it would be, so Matt used a dremmel-like grinding tool and removed all of the extra grout. He did this project in a weekend and it made a huge difference in our front room. Just like the popcorn ceilings though, this project was a huge mess and covered everything in a fine layer of dust. This was fine by us though as the wood panelled walls of the front room would soon eaither be covered by drywall or painted. And we planned on replacing the floor. Literally, everything was covered in dust:

Here's a close-up of the brick after Matt was done removing all of that extra grout. I think it is such a huge improvement.

And here's the finished product mid-cleanup.

And our first roaring fire in the fireplace.