Friday, December 30, 2011

After the drywall comes....


My step-dad has told me more than once that "the hardest part of drywall is matching the texture." Which is why I spent a LONG time researching and pinning things to my pinterest board to help with that.

One of the things I was most excited to try was this spray can that should theoretically match my existing texture, and cover 50-75 sf, depending on the setting I used.


So after we'd put up the drywall, my step-dad taped and mudded pretty much everything and I was left to finish it all. I'd gotten a can of texture for $13 (it was the larger can) while we were picking up other supplies while at Lowe's, so I figured I'd sand the drywall compound smooth and then just go at it. After it dried, I could paint, finish the trim and put the outlet covers on! Easy peasy!

So I sanded.

(with help)

Shook the texture can for a minute, per the instructions...

And sprayed using the same setting I'd tested on a piece of cardboard (the cardboard looked good to me!).

And I think my neighbor nailed it when she said, "it looks like spit balls."


In addition to it looking like spit balls (it actually looked a LITTLE better after I lightly sanded it), the can didn't cover up a 13"x8' area. That's barely over 8 square feet. I would need about 7 cans of this stuff at $13 a pop to finish all of the areas that need textured. Ummm.. That would make this the single most expensive part of the wall removal!

Hmm.. No thanks!

So I did a little more research (which means lazily watching "Cool Tools" on The DIY Network and paying attention to them raving about a texture gun), and found this (the texture gun they were raving about in "Cool Tools").

It helped that it had 4.5/5 stars with 65 reviews. And that it's cheaper than buying 7 cans of the spray texture. And, if I don't like it, I can return it....

It's due to arrive on January 4th, and I'm heading out of town until January 7th... So I won't be back with results for over a week.

Annnnd, NOW we're up to date on what's going on with my wall removal!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

THIS post should've been titled "Timberrrrrr"!

I was planning on finishing yesterday's post with pictures of the wall coming down, but the baby woke up. Ahhhh well, I just get to look like an idiot. Nothing new.

To resume (so go back and skim yesterday's if you haven't!), I needed to figure out what to do with the outlets and the flooring if we did decide to remove a portion of the wall. Ultimately I plan on taking the whole wall down and replacing the flooring throughout the house, but that'$ about two year$ away when we've figured that our budget will allow us to do the kitchen & flooring. Since this will only be a patch job until everything's done, we just decided that we'll put the outlets on each side of the doorway, and the previous owners were nice enough to leave a ton of extra flooring from their kitchen redo in the attic.

Now that THAT'S all figured out, let's take down a wall!

To prep, all of the dry wall on one side of the wall was removed so that the wiring could be accessed. Before we started any demo, My step-dad and I were pretty sure the wires would only go along the bottom portion of the wall. Instead of just cutting away (like I probably would have done if I were doing this by myself), removing the drywall  showed that the electrician decided to take the wires through the ceiling instead of through the exterior walls of the house..

Yes, I'm grateful I wasn't doing this alone.

So the power had to be turned off (AFTER my step-dad touched hot wires TWICE). He ended up disconnecting the wires from the outlet and shoving them into the ceiling (and out of the way) while he demo'd.

Then came the fun part!


Aaahhhhh, I'm still laughing about that. Maturity isn't one of my strong suits.

Ok, really, the fun part was yelling "TIMBEEERRRRRRRRRR" when the first column of the wall came down.

Have I explained, yet, how giddy I get when stuff gets ruined?!

At this point, I was contemplating asking my step-dad to only take the top part of the wall and to leave the pony wall on the right (remember, I was hesitant to do this whole thing from the very beginning!). But, again, my logic was that it's all gonna come down, anyway! So he kept goin'.

I went to go get the big kid from school, and the whole wall was down when I came back! Apparently I was too excited to take any pictures of when it was down, before we put drywall up. My step-dad moved all of the wiring to the holes in the walls where the wall WAS, and just reconnected the outlets (no fancy electrical skills required here, kids - but if you have cheap/crummy outlets in your home, you might have to make a trip to the hardware store to get new ones.... just sayin').

And here's how it looks after the drywall was put up and the extra flooring patched in!

This kinda brings us up to date on the arches. Here's what's left:

- Texture the patched walls
- Paint (my sister funded paint, so I should have a beautiful GRAY living room, instead of BLUE)
- Trim out the two hallway entrances
- Figure out what I'm going to do with the entrance to the play room (I'll save the ideas there for another post - but I'm debating handling it like I did the bathroom or doing something different)
- Fold clothes (or not...)

And, eventually,

trim out the hallways with faux transom windows!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


After realizing how simple it was to remove the archway and trim out the door in my bathroom, my goal was to have all of the archways in my house removed by the end of the year. My plan was to demo an archway every few days (I was trying to be realistic - remember, I'm lazy!). Five more to go!

My sister and step-dad happened to be visiting when I'd planned on taking the first archway down. So I gathered my lame-o supplies, took the surrounding furniture/mirrors off the wall and.... my step-dad got started.

Not quite what I was planning, but I'll take it!

This one happened to be built differently than the one in my bathroom, and we were REALLY confused with what the builders did at first, but it came down essentially the same way. Plywood sandwiching 2x4s that needed muscles or proper tools to remove. Luckily we had muscles this time.

At this point, my sister offered to buy a reciprocating saw so we didn't have to use our MacGyver tools.

The other two arches in the photo above...? Yeah, they didn't stand a chance. My step-dad had both of those down in less time than it took him to get the first arch down.

Right tools for the job. Go figure.

This left the "window" arch and the doorway leading to the kitchen left. I figured that the doorway to the kitchen would be simple, but the "window" really had me worried. I was scared that removing that would take us all the way to the ceiling, so I just didn't wanna touch it! Which was what led to this conversation.

(Remember, we're close friends! And I don't clean for close friends.... 'specially if there are 8 people in my tiny house! :-p)

After everyone reassured me that they didn't think removing that whole portion of the wall would look stupid, I put some tape up where the wall would be cut (the wall continues about a foot and a half just past the archway, so the tape was where it would be flush with the rest of the wall). This gave me a visual and a little reassurance that it wouldn't look stupid if we removed the wall. A LITTLE reassurance. But I figured that we're going to remove the entire wall eventually... why not just take this full part now?

The only things left to figure out were where the outlets would go, and what to do about the rest of the flooring.

And I'll leave that for another post. Ohhhh, the suspense!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Arch nemesis

My house is filled with flat arches. A trend that spiked in the mid-90s, and I really wish it hadn't caught on. Unfortunately, it has, and my house was attacked by them.

Seriously.. They're everywhere...

(an old picture with my old entertainment center.... to show my "window" arch)

(another WAY old picture - apparently 2 Valentine's Days ago! But see?! They're EVERYWHERE!)

And a beautiful shot of my master bathroom's arch. Gag.

Now, some people don't mind these arches. But we all have different styles an preferences, and I don't like them . If the builders had stuck with a classic archway, I would have probably not thought twice about them in my house. Really, I prefer a more modern look, but I could've lived with them. Since they decided on flat arches with bullnose cornerbead (another thing I DO. NOT. like), I have to tell you that they just had to GO!

To prepare for this, I asked my step-dad about a million questions about how the archways were probably built. Then I decided to practice in my master bath, since, if I screwed up, no one would see it :-p The above picture was taken after I'd started removing trim along the bottom of the archway, but before I started anything else (figured I should stop what I was doing to get a "before").

My step-dad told me that they probably framed a square doorway, and added plywood arches. There were a few other options thrown in there, but this was the easiest way for them to be built, and for me to remove, so I just hoped he was right and went at it. Maybe not the best plan of action, but... what else could I do!?

I started by removing the trim from around the entryway and the bullnose corner bead (just found the bottom of it and started pulling it up. It caught on the nails a couple times, but i used the back of my hammer to pull the nails out). The corner bead on the wall was metal and nailed in, and the bead on the archway was plastic, and just adhered with drywall compound. 

After that, I took a utility knife and started peeling back drywall. I had NO idea what I was looking for, but I'd already started. There was NO turning back now!

What I saw was that the arch was made from OSB sandwiching 2x4s. Uh. Okkkaaayyyy... This'll be easy!

Actually, it wasn't. My scrawny self had a "B" of a time getting that darned plywood broken and down... It would've probably taken a LOT less time if I had the right tools (or some muscles), but I had an axe, a hammer, some screw drivers, a utility knife and a putty knife (gosh, I feel like MacGyver now!). Either way, I was able to get the whole thing demo'd and cleaned up during a nap... So 2 hours MAX.

And oh my gosh, I can't tell you how excited I got! Even like that, it looked so much better to me!

But, of course I wasn't going to LEAVE it like that! Actually.. it stayed like that for a few days (I try to tell you guys over and over how lazy I am!), but I eventually got some motivation to trim it out.

Three 1x6s and five trim boards later, the doorway is finished! I still have to replace the trim that I removed, but I'm having issues with that. The previous owners painted the trim an awful beige in FLAT paint, and I can't get myself to put it back! But the only other option is to either paint ALL of the trim or replace all of the trim... and... I'M LAZY! But I'll definitely keep you updated on my decision!

Monday, December 19, 2011

So, you see, what had happened was....

The conversation went like this....

Mr. Goats: What are you gonna do with this arch?
Me: We'll probably leave that until we knock the whole wall down.
Mr. Goats: You can't to that, you have to do something with it.
Me/Step-Dad: we don't know how it's built.
Mr. Goats (or) Sister: Why don't you just remove the top and open it all the way to the roof?
Me: Yeah, we could probably do that.
Sister: Or remove this whole part of the wall...

*this was something that had crossed my mind, but I'd dismissed it before the idea completely formed*

Me: No. That would look stupid.
EVERYONE ELSE: No it wouldn't!
Me, crossing the room to visualize the whole wall: Like, only taking THAT part of the wall down? It'd look dumb. Why would the wall just END right there?
Everyone else: It'd look fine.
Step-dad: I've seen a lot of houses do that.
Me: You guys REALLY don't think that'd look dumb?
Everyone else: No!


We knocked a wall down.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Please Console me!

Not really, this console table (used as a TV stand) is consoling enough :-)

I think I'm going to name this guy Murphy.. because this build was a textbook example of Murphy's Law. Let my start by saying that squaring up miter saw blades SUCKS. And I wasted nearly a full working day trying to get everything working properly before I could even make my first cut (yes, I know I could've used my circular saw, but the miter saw needed to be taken care of anywayyyy).

Then my kreg bit got so dull it almost started a fire

Then I drilled into my thumb because.. well, I don't remember how that happened. But it hurts, darn it!

It took 12 days to get the hardware for the drawers (and I still don't have the label holders)

Cutting the glass for the doors resulted in injury

Lowe's only had ONE set of hinges in the size I needed

And I can't get a decent picture of this thing for my LIFE, because no good, natural light gets to the front of it.


Because of this, we mounted the TV on the wall and "added" 3 square feet of floor space in the living room. The whole room feels larger and updated.

the whole TV mounting process was a PAIN. But ABSOLUTELY worth it!

(the kid was watching cartoons when I snapped the picture, so I just blacked-out the screen)

The Kinect works better, the media "stuff" is hidden away, and the cute little basket on the bottom holds XBOX controllers, headphones and remotes.

There's as much (or even more) storage packed into this thing as there was with the huge IKEA TV stand that we had, but this is WAY prettier! And, if I ever decide I want a different TV stand, I can move this guy anywhere else.

So.. I think I have a clear favorite...

(the only "before" that I have)

My non-functional TV stand - before.


(I really like all the added features of my new TV stand :-))

Go here to get plans so you can build this guy yourself (and hopefully yours gets a luckier name!)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tips & Tricks: Removing paint/stains without solvent

Sorry I've been so quiet here! The past two weeks have been super busy, and you'll see why before the end of the week. But for now, I'm going to teach you something I just learned! Ok, it was 2 nights ago... but I seriously lack motivation, apparently.

The gel stain that I use requires a solvent to clean (meaning it's not water-based). I typically have mineral oil (baby oil, actually) on-hand, and use that to clean the stain off of my hands. You know, because I'm too lazy to find gloves that I KNOW I bought. Anyhow, this particular night, I just happened to be OUT of baby oil. And covered in gel stain. And everything I tried (dish soap, bar soap and borax) wasn't helping.


So I went to my pantry and grabbed some vegetable oil! And you know what?!


And to replicate the test (because it couldn't be proven without it... it WASN'T because I was too lazy to find the gloves again. Totally...), I did it again..


Mmmm... Doesn't that make you hungry?


if you had just finished scrubbing your hands as roughly as I did, they'd be pink, too. So HUSH!

Now, don't worry if, in the cleansing process, you look like you're changing ethnicities. Actually, depending on the stain you use, you might actually start turning purple! Just make sure you scrub all of the stain 'til it dissolves, and wash the oil off with dish soap. Unless you wanna go around smelling like a restaurant all day. Not that I'd know...

This is obviously not the solution if you plan on thinning your medium with a solvent... but it sure works to clean up your mess!