11 posts categorized "House Remodel Projects"


Living Room and Dining Room Redecoration, Day 2

(You can catch up on your reading of the new flooring/redecorating here: Day 1: Furniture Removal).

Day Two

They arrived bright and early to start the demo work on the floor. I knew it would be messy, but what a pain to get everything up.


The living room had carpet, so it only took 10 minutes or so to rip up, but the rest of the floor was engineered wood glued down or the small area of marble tile in the entryway. The wood would come up in small pieces and since the glue has to be removed before the tile can be put down, pulling the wood up was only part of the process.


Most of the flooring was pulled up by the end of the day, but what a long and manual process.


During it all Cody and I decided to have them go ahead and rip out the tile around the fireplace (the same marble tile as the entryway) since we want to replace it with a rock veneer. Might as well go ahead and demo it while the house is a mess. So it's added one more thing we need to do once the flooring is complete.


You can see the the really smart homeowner before us installed the tile directly to drywall, so we have a couple holes in the wall. Nice.

While this was going on, Spangler, Anna and I hung out upstairs most of the day while "the girls" (what I call our two cats, Sage and Drifter) were in our bedroom downstairs (which the only part of downstairs that isn't getting the tile floor).

I know some people are anti-crate training (and I've heard lots of opinions) but Spangler really does love his crate. He puts himself to bed almost every night and even takes a lot of his naps in his "bed." So, there is only one place to go when there are weird people in your house and . . . Spangler goes and watches the demo work from his crate (and yes, the door is wide open).


I don't even try to understand him.


Living Room and Dining Room Redecoration, Day 1

Cody and I moved into our house in February of 2009. One of the reasons we bought it over some of the other homes we looked at was that parts of it were already updated--lots of white moulding, my favorite! But, one of the things we knew we wanted to replace once we moved in was the flooring.

And it's now April of 2011 (26 months later) and we still have the same flooring.

The carpet has seen better days and even the hardwood floors aren't in the best condition (and it's the kind of hardwood that we can't sand down and stain). The previous owner installed the hardwood floor himself, laying it in a brick pattern instead of the random pattern that it should have been. It also had some considerable water damage around the windows and had begun to separate from each other in some areas (so when I mopped the dirty water would seep down in the spaces and it was just gross).

We're FINALLY getting the downstairs flooring redone and we're using this opportunity to also redo the look of the living and dining room.


The main colors were taken from our house in Illinois, which are a deep red with oranges and yellows. I used the "primitive" look (new things that look old) mixed in with the some traditional items, like the shape of the leather couches.


(Sniff. I will miss these pillows, although they really do need to be replaced. The front fabric was a steal. Originally $80/yard 100% silk, I got one yard for $18. I just used $1/yard red polyester fabric from Wal-Mart for the back.)


It's good timing to change the look since Spangler managed to pull the curtain through his crate, ripping the bottom to shreds. He also bent the curtain rod.


The other good reason this is happening is because at the entry to our house we have a grey marble tile, which in itself isn't bad, but three different types of flooring just come together here. And that is just a big no-no.

Hey, the rule of threes is always good in design, just not when it comes to flooring.


Day One

Yesterday Cody headed to Home Depot and picked up 45 boxes of tile. We are using the same tile we used in the half bathroom last summer, Tuscany Rouge 18 x 18 porcelain tile. We lucked out and found a store that had, in stock, enough for the entire project. He got  all 45 boxes of tile, 12 50lb bags of thinset and four 25lb bags of grout. The tile weighed 65lbs PER BOX so it took two pick-up trucks to haul it to our house. Thank goodness for good friends in pick-up trucks!


We moved the furniture out and the flooring/redecoration project has begun.

(Hi Sage!)


It's going to be fun to have all this going on with a big black dog and a 11 week old baby.


But, I know it's going to pay off.

Stay tuned . . .


The Good and Bad of Old Houses

Cody's parents live in an old 100+ year old house. They live in a little Texas community, the same community his family has lived in for generations.

We headed out to Cody's parents over the weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, but to also put in a new shower. The bathtub had been there since Cody's Mom moved into the house (when she was just a little girl) and it needed to be replaced.

Cody and his Dad thought it would be an one-day project, but I guess with any old house, you really don't know what you're going to find--and that was definitely the case for this project.


They pulled out the bathtub and shower surround and took up the sub-floor that was not in good shape. They were going to replace all the sub-floor and walls (old homes don't have drywall, they just have wood walls).


On strict orders from Cody's Mom, they needed to move the water from one wall to the other (we all agreed it would look better anyway). In the process the cold water line underneath the house broke in half (the old metal pipes are original and it didn't take much pressure for the rust to just snap it in half). The floors are also not square (again, life in an older home) which caused some issues with attaching the shower walls to the shower floor.

All the problems aside, it was pretty interesting to see what was behind the shower.


An old home has the wooden framing, with wood just nailed over it--no insulation of any kind. The coolest part was seeing all the found wood they used to cover the walls. Wood of all thicknesses, knots included, was used. Then there was this fabric wallpaper that was tacked onto the wood walls. I'm sure you could have literally seen the air blowing in through the wallpaper on a windy day.


The find of the day was the BEAUTIFUL bead-board that is in perfect condition, hiding under the ceiling tiles. Once Cody and his dad removed the staples, it looked just awesome. Blew me away that it was ever covered up.

Good of old houses: the history, workmanship, use of found materials, etc.

Bad of old houses: lack of insulation, nothing is square (they didn't have levels back then), pretty much everything needs to be replaced, etc.

I was on the "good" side this weekend while Cody was on the "bad." Probably because I wasn't the one doing the work, just taking pictures!


ThinBrick And Missing My Old Kitchen

We bought new construction when we moved to Illinois in 2005. Although we now prefer older an more established neighborhoods, I think it suited us well at the time.

One of the reasons why we ended up buying the house we did was for the kitchen. It was huge! And I just loved the dark cabinets.

The appliances were all new (and I still miss them, since our Texas house has the original 1989 microwave that we haven't replaced yet).

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We had just moved in and were watching HGTV and there was a do-it-yourself project using ThinBrick, which is real brick that is cut thin so you can use it like a veneer. We knew we wanted to do the brick in the kitchen and jumped in.

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It was our first home project (besides painting) ever.

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Of course, we had the help of Sage, who likes to be in everything.

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She is a little weird and likes to get under mostly anything, even a random plastic grocery bag or a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. She'll find a way to get herself directly underneath it.

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We started by putting up cement backer board up, covering everywhere there would be brick.

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Cody killed the electricity to to the kitchen and extended out the electrical outlets by a half inch or so. We replaced the white plugs with brown so there wouldn't be a lot of contrast between the outlets and the brick.

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Now came the fun part . . . We ended up trying three different kinds of construction adhesive, but finally found one that worked. Then at like 9pm I even ran back to the store to get more since we were already out, but what home DIY project isn't complete without multiple trips to the store?

Anyway, we literally glued on the ThinBrick how we wanted it to look. The corner pieces were used around the window and Cody just cut the brick to size if we needed it smaller.

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Once we were done gluing, the messy part came in. We taped everything up as good as we could and used regular mortar to fill in the spaces. We had a giant baker-bag looking thing (a big version of what bakers use to ice a cake) and Cody would fill in the holes and I'd come by with the scraper to scrape it and give a nice flush rounded look.

Once everything was scraped, we then took a big brush and got the remaining mortar off the brick and let it dry!

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We loved the final results as it made our average-new-construction-home-kitchen look a little bit more unique.

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Buying the real stuff (real brick veneer, not "fake" cement brick) made the biggest difference. It ended up taking all weekend (as soon as we got home from work Friday to late Sunday) but we got over two years out of our kitchen before we moved and we'd do it again in a heartbeat.


The (Almost) Completed Bathroom

When I was in Minnesota a few weeks ago I would call Cody in the evenings and he would act like he was taking it easy. You know, just doing whatever.

Me: "What are you up to?"

Cody: "Oh, not a whole lot. I was trying to finish the door jam on the bathroom but it's taking forever."


Me: "Do anything fun tonight?"

Cody:"Not really. Jace and I hit some golf balls on at the driving range and now Spangler and I are just hanging out."

Sounded like A LOT of fun . . . Little did I know he was busting his butt trying to get the bathroom completed so he could surprise me when I got home on Friday.

(I know, he's so cute. It's one of the reasons why I love him so much.)

And wow, I was totally shocked. This is what I came home to:


We still have a bit left to do . . . Including: touch-up paint, caulk around the toilet, hang pictures on the wall, etc. But, I couldn't believe how much work he got done. So glad he took pictures of his progress so I could see.



I've really enjoyed having a nice bathroom guests can use. They don't have to go upstairs to our hall bathroom, which looks just as good as this one before we started the remodel project.

I'll post the final final pictures once I get everything hung and the touch-up stuff done, but I just had to show you what my big surprised looked like.


Bathroom Redo, Day Six

(You can catch up on your reading of the bathroom saga here: the master plan, the demo of the vanity, the removal of the popcorn ceiling, the failed attempt of texturing the walls and the texturing and bad paint color).

Flooring: Day Six

Similar to the texture, we knew that it was probably better to hire a professional to do the floor. By the time we bought a tile saw big enough to cut 18" tile, we could have pretty much paid for the installation.

We had to provide the tile ourselves, as well as the color of grout we wanted, so we headed to Home Depot last Wednesday and picked out 18" x 18" Tuscany Rouge porcelain tile.

It was a tough choice because we are strongly considering tiling the entire downstairs, so we weren't picking out tile for the bathroom, but really the whole house. We knew we wanted it darker so we picked 5 or 6 tiles and walked over to the kitchen and bathroom section of Home Depot. We laid the tiles at the bottom of a sample kitchen, with cabinet colors we like, and made the decision that way. The grout color on the sample looked good enough for us--so we picked up two boxes of the tile (well, Cody did since they were really heavy) and headed back home.

The tile guys ended up coming on Friday morning and it looked like this:



LOVE IT. So ready to get this project done!


Bathroom Redo, Day Four and Five

Three months since the start of the bathroom remodel project, and serious progress is being made.

(You can catch up on your reading of the bathroom saga here: the master plan, the demo of the vanity, the removal of the popcorn ceiling, and the failed attempt of texturing the walls)

Texturing: Day Four

As I mentioned in the previous bathroom post, we tried texturing the walls ourself and we figured out fairly quickly that it would required a professionals touch. There are people that do this for a living for a reason: because they are very good at it.

We called up a texture guy and he gave us a great quote. Not only did he show up right on schedule, but in less than an hour and a half, but he completely transformed the walls.

<insert picture of bathroom with white texture that Jackie forgot to take>

Painting: Day Five

After the walls were dry I headed to Wal-Mart to pick up my favorite paint, Kilz Colors, and ended up going with what I thought was a yellow-tanish color. The intention here is to take the same color as the bathroom and bring it into the main living areas--to try to bring the whole thing together. I also wanted a light color for bathroom as it's such a small space and has no natural light.


I got the can home and realized that it just wasn't what I wanted. (Why I went ahead and painted it, I have no idea). To make matters worse, Cody installed the lights as soon as the paint was dry and I realized that the yellow was even more yellow, because the scones have a very warm tinge to the glass.


Yellow. It's all I see now when I turn on the light, even though having the bright white wainscoting would lighten the room up, it is just way too mustard yellow. Not the warm brown tone I thought I was buying.

So now it's decision time . . . Do you suck it up and repaint the entire bathroom when you can, or be lazy and stay with the overly yellow color?

Unfortunately, I'm leaning towards repainting. I think I'll be glad I did in the long run as I can stick to my original vision of the flow of the entire house.

Next up? New flooring installed!


Bathroom Redo, Day Three

When in doubt, call a professional.

That ended up being the theme of bathroom remodel project, day three being a few Monday's ago (geez, the past few weeks have been such a blur I've lost track).

Cody ended up taking this particular Monday off of work, mostly to clear his thoughts and to get some rest after losing Robert. Since the ceiling was scraped, the next step was to put the texture on the walls and ceiling, then paint.

We bought the texture dry in a bag and Cody mixed it as directed, but he couldn't really get the lumps out. When he then tried rolling it, it wasn't going on like we had hoped. There are so many corners in the oddly shaped bathroom that he couldn't get the texture looking right.

So he called it a day. We went to "Plan B" and we are now going to have a professional texture-er (or whatever they're called) spray it and have it match the rest of the house.

Okay, that's the end of the bathroom redo update. Now onto the second half . . .

Cody had mixed the texture in a large five gallon bucket and when he called it quits, he filled it with water and stuck it in the backyard to soak. So, even though Spangler didn't get involved in the actually rolling of the texture, he still managed to find himself in trouble.

This is how we found him:



We really couldn't stop laughing.


Which was problematic since I was trying to take pictures of him before we washed it off.


And he was obviously more interested in other things.

Taking pictures of dried plaster isn't fun when there are cats around.


Bathroom Redo, Day Two(B)

This past Sunday I worked a little bit on the bathroom.

Last week Cody did take out the rest of the vanity and also removed the toilet, so this is my part of "Day Two" that just happens to take place a week later. That's how I roll.

I had wanted to get rid of the popcorn ceiling from day one (and I'd like to get rid of it all over my house!). Cody, being smart, said he had no problems removing the popcorn as long as I did it my self. He would take no part in the removal as he didn't see it worth the effort to remove.


Armed with a water bottle, a 5" putty knife, old jeans and a bright-yellow I-don't-care-if-this-gets-ruined college t-shirt, I grabbed the ladder and a kitchen chair and got to it.


At first, it wasn't difficult since I was working on the sloped area of the ceiling, but I quickly made a huge mess. To get the stuff off, you really have to soak it. So you're soaking, scraping, and all of the plaster material is slopping all over everything. Floor. Walls. Door.


Even this little thing. Who got covered in a snow of wet gooey plaster.



He then got put on a leash in the living room.



It was hard not being able to "help."


By the end of the three hours, I had a huge pile all over the floor. I used the putty knife to scrape as much as a could, then let it dry overnight so I could vacuum up the rest.


Slow work, but we're making progress.



Bathroom Redo, Day One

As I mentioned on Friday, we picked up the goods to start on the downstairs bathroom on this past weekend. We were unfortunately missing some much-needed tools, so we know that this first project will seem more expensive.

Now, before I show you pictures, don't get too impressed with our progress, although I'm glad we got started.

You can get envious here. The color right now in the bathroom is a terracotta color, which was painted OVER this blue wallpaper. Beautiful!

The plan is to avoid tearing down the paint-covered wallpaper. We will have to see how this goes since our new vanity will not come anywhere close to covering this area.

I love the quality of the workmanship here. If it's going to be covered up by the vanity, why worry that there is a hole in the wall?

We did find some interesting things in the pipes (I'll spare you the nastiness). We obviously have to replace some of the plumbing work. Gross!

Stay tuned. As Cody continues on the demo, it's my job to start on the popcorn ceiling. I'm sure Spangler and Sage will be helping us along the way . . .

(And no, we don't use a prong collar on our puppy! My sister brought it over and he thinks it's a toy!)