Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Living Room

Well, we are doing something that I never wanted to do while we getting the house ready to move on two rooms at one time. I know, never say never. It's gone alot better than I thought it would though, and I can proudly say we are almost done with TWO rooms instead of just one (oh, and have I mentioned our goal is to move in this weekend?!). When we bought our house, it had 3 bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two living room areas. All three bedrooms were small rooms, as were the two living areas. So when we started talking about what we wanted to do with the house, we decided to make a bigger living room out of one of the living areas and a bedroom. Here's what these rooms looked like before:

This was the living room (I don't have any pictures after they got their stuff out of the house).  The doorway in the second picture leads into the kitchen.

This is the one picture I took of the bedroom we merged the living room with (I know, I need to step it up with these pictures)

These rooms had two different types of ceiling tile, and each was a different height (due to there being two layers of ceiling tile in the living room), and each had different carpet. Here's a shot of a patch of carpet that we pulled up in the bedroom (just for you, Jamie):

Yep, that's one piece of carpet. The blue portion is the part that was in the closet; we're not sure how the rest of the carpet turned yellow, but needless to say that carpet had seen better days and needed to be retired.

There was also an old fireplace walled up between the two rooms.  With the help of a rotary hammerdrill (before you get impressed, I just had to ask Steven what that thing was called), Steven was able to take the chimney and fireplace out it a couple hours.

After Steven finished taking out the fireplace, we were able to start working on taking out the wall between the rooms.  This was a load-bearing wall, so before we could take the wall out Steven had to make sure there was enough support to hold the ceiling up. So we constructed two massive beams out of plywood and 2x12s (it would have been impossible for us to get them up in the attic put together, so we put them together in the attic). Here are some pictures I took while the wall was being taken out:

Then we put sheetrock on the ceiling, stomped it, and got ready to paint (yay!). Since the paneling was old and covered with grease (yes, I am still talking about the living room), we had to use an oil-based primer. It smelled TERRIBLE, but it did a great job sealing everything up.  Mom, Kalie, and Luke came down to help us paint the walls (we chose Benjamin Moore's Morrel).

We were blessed to get free carpet from some good friends who just replaced their carpet. We've been hoping to move into the house this weekend, and I must admit I have done my share of nagging, especially in the last few days. It was Steven's responsibility to get somebody out to lay the carpet, and here's how some of our conversations have been this week:

Monday -
Me: (in the morning) Steven, will you call the guy about the carpet today?
Steven: Yes, I will.
Me: (in the afternoon) Steven, did you call the guy about the carpet?
Steven: No, not yet. I'll do it tomorrow.

Tuesday -
Me: (in the morning) Steven, will you call about the carpet today?
Steven: Yes.
Me: (later that day) Steven, did you call the guy about the carpet?
Steven: No, not yet.
Me: You know that Friday is a holiday, right? We probably can't get it done this week now...

Today -
Me: Did you call about the carpet yet?
Steven: Yes, he said the earliest he could come out will be Monday morning.

And this is what I see when I get to the house this evening:

(Open mouth, insert foot) To my defense, my husband is a liar...but, he gets the job done. :)

All that's left in here is to put up the molding (crown, base, and corner), and put the furniture where it needs to go.  Hopefully you'll see before and after pictures soon!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Kitchen: Part One

Finishing the laundry room/mudroom last month was only the beginning of what we wanted to accomplish before we move in to our house (we are still shooting for the weekend of New Year's).  We immediately moved into the kitchen and began work on it. About the time we finished the laundry room, Steven happened to notice that there was a large hole under our kitchen sink, the result of a bad water leak.  We knew that had to be one of our first fixes in this room.  While our long-term plans involve moving the kitchen completely, we've decided the best thing to do right now is to work with what we've got, so our plans for this room now are to:
  1. Fix the hole under the kitchen sink.
  2. THOROUGHLY CLEAN the cabinets and appliances.
  3. Replace the cabinet doors.
  4. Tear out part of the wall leading into the living room to open the space up a little more.
  5. Move the door to the guest room from the kitchen to the living room.
  6. Paint the cabinets, walls, and ceiling.
  7. Install a new sink and countertop.
Steven started working on the hole under the sink right away, and I took down all the old cabinet doors.  Both jobs were pretty gross; Steven had to deal with rat nests and a rat skeleton, while I had to deal with years of grease buildup on the cabinets and little presents left by the visitors that had been in the cabinets in the year that the house has been empty.  The grease buildup was so bad that on one cabinet door I took the screws out of the hinge attached to the cabinet and opened the cabinet door, and it just hung there (kind of like gross magic).

We finished getting rid of the cabinet doors and fixing the hole under the sink, then we moved on to tearing out the wall between the kitchen and the living room and moving the door to the guest room from the kitchen to the living room.  Here is what it looked like before:

I don't have a shot of the door to the guest room, but it's to the left of the refrigerator on the other wall.  Here's what it looks like now:

This is where the guest room door used to be.  We've moved the refrigerator to that spot since the wall it was on is gone now.

The guest room door now opens into the living room...

So far we've accomplished 3 things on our list (#s 1, 4, and 5). Stayed tuned for the rest (hopefully coming soon)!

Monday, November 30, 2009


We've finally finished the laundry room and the bathroom (bathroom pictures will be shown once I get it decorated...I'm still trying to decide on a shower curtain)!!! Yay! And I know that I said we were almost finished back in September, but we hit a few speedbumps that slowed our progress.
  •  Our first big problem was with the shower hookup. To make a long story short we put the cold water pipe where the hot water pipe should be and vice versa.  Steven was able to fix it, but not before cutting a huge hole in our already-painted wall. I must say, seeing how he fixed made me think about the pipe maze game I used to play on the computer:

  •  Due to the cold weather we've been having lately, the floor got very cold and the tiles shrank or shifted or something, resulting in gaps between the tiles that had to be sealed before the floor polish could be applied. Steven called the company that makes the floor polish to see if they make anything to put in the gaps, to which the representative replied, "Gaps? There shouldn't be any gaps." Then they suggested we tear up the floor and start over. That was not going to happen, so we had to come up with another solution...caulk. So we went along all the seams with caulk, which did the trick but took forever.
  •  We also had to replace two tiles that had come up off the floor.

But despite all that I am so happy to say we are finally finished remodeling the laundry room!!

Here's the before to jog your memory...

Before we got started this room was a mess. The thin paneling had started to sag on the walls, so 1x2 strips were nailed to the wall to hold the paneling up. When we tore away the paneling we found that we needed to add insulation, and we when pulled up the carpet and linoleum on the floor, we found that the floor had to be leveled, which meant adding a layer of plywood and some extra beams under the house. We also had to seal the gas water heater vent and redo the outlets since the wiring was a little crazy. We decided to remove the window next to the back door (on the right side of the picture, next to the water heater) to give us a little more wallspace. Steven also added a 3-way switch so we can turn the lights on and off at both the entryway and the door leading into the rest of the house. Some friends of our's who were remodeling their house at the time were kind enough to give us their old front door and three light fixtures (two are being used in the laundry room and one in the bathroom), and we bought their outside water heater, which saved us a ton of space since we don't have to keep the water heater inside. The lines for the washing machine were ran through the floor, so we took those out and ran new lines into the wall. Then we sheetrocked and painted the walls and put down vinyl composite tile for the floor (the same type of floor used in places like Walmart). I am so proud to say that, with some help from his parents, we did all of this ourselves!! Seeing the finished product has really encouraged us to take on the other rooms in the house.  I've also started to see how much of a blessing this house is, and I am so thankful that God gave us this house.

Here are the amazing afters!!!


We are working towards moving in the end of December, but we're planning to tackle a few more projects before then. Coming Soon: Kitchen Nightmares! (no really, just wait and see)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Best Buddies

You may remember in an earlier post I mentioned that Steven found a little black cat that we named Gizmo (after the friendly gremlin).

He's still around and he's as sweet as he can be. When we brought him home it took us a few days to get Shadow used to the idea of a new cat in the house, but now they are best friends. Gizmo follows Shadow almost everywhere; it's almost like he thinks he's a dog too.

Aren't they cute?! 

Happy Anniversary!!

This past Tuesday (11/10) Steven and I celebrated our second anniversary! It's hard to believe that it's been two years already! So much has happened this past year, from going through the four-month long process of buying our house, to actually buying the house and starting to work on the house. It's alot of work but we have so many great memories.

Last year we celebrated our first anniversary by going to Birmingham, and we enjoyed it so much we decided to do the same thing again this year. We went up Monday and checked into the hotel; we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, courtesy of Jamie and JP (thanks so much you guys!!!!). Then we drove over to their new house and went out to dinner with them at Outback. Tuesday morning we watched the Rick and Bubba Show live from the Golden Ticket Seats, same as we did for our first anniversary (this was the most premeditated part of the trip since reservations for those seats go so fast...I got our seats reserved in the first few minutes they opened up booking for August). The rest of our time was spent eating and resting and doing a little shopping; it doesn't sound like much, but we made sure to only eat at places not available in Greenville, and we really enjoyed being able to get away for a few days and spend time with each other and rest. Now we are celebrating going into our third year of marriage and looking forward to the memories that will come with this year!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We're Almost Finished!

About 2 weeks after my last post we finished the sheetrock and had it ready to be primed. (I know, I said I was going to do better at these posts, but I'm taking an accounting class on Tuesdays and Thursdays and it's hard to find the time...)

Below are a few pictures of what the room looked like before we applied the primer:

After two coats of primer:

And with ONE coat of paint!! (apparently I'm a little OCD when it comes to painting...the way Steven describes it I did three coats of paint at one time because I kept going back over what I painted to make sure I didn't miss anything).

The last picture is a look into the bathroom...we used Valspar's Desert Fortress in the bathroom and Lazy Sun in the laundry/mud room. We tried to get by without painting the ceiling with the ceiling paint we bought (just plain 'ole Valspar ceiling white paint), 'cause hey, the primer looked white enough to us. Little did we know that once we put up the two lights it would actually look different; it looked really dirty and washed out. Steven and his mom were able to paint the ceiling without taking the lights and fan down, but we definitely learned our cutting corners with primer! Steven said that the primer was a gray tint next to the white paint.

Once we finished painting we were able to start laying the floor tiles. We decided to paint first so we wouldn't have to cover the floor, and let me tell you, it was wonderful not having to worry about spilling paint on the floor. The process took all day yesterday to complete. We started cleaning the plywood yesterday morning (we had to sweep a few times to get all the sheetrock dust, dirt, and puppy hair off the floor, then we took a wet towel and wiped the floor down to get any stubborn dust that was left). Then we put glue down on the floor and went to town for lunch to give the glue time to set; the glue goes down a yellow color and you can tell it's ready when it becomes clear. Steven did most of the work after we cleaned; I was there to move the glue bucket, hand him tiles, and offer moral support (I did fill in the triangle pieces along the wall). We probably would still be over there if I had been the one doing his job. Here's our first tile:

We used vinyl tile (the kind they use at Walmart), but we decided it would look better to put it down at a diagonal instead of in-line with the wall. It is much more difficult to lay tile this way because you have to cut tiles to fit in the corners and along the wall (this is also the most time-consuming part of the task), but the finished product is worth it. The result is a more seamless look, and we couldn't be happier with how it looks.

So that's where we are now...isn't it great?! We are definitely in the home stretch. I'm hoping that this time next week I will be posting pictures of a completed room!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Still Working...

Wow, it's been two months since my last post! Time has really flown by. We are still hard at work on the laundry room/mudroom, and I'm happy to say we're almost finished! In the past two months we have run into so many things that need to be fixed; it has really turned into a much bigger task than we thought. Here's what we started with:

Our first step was to get everything out of the room and off the walls. It turns out the washer didn't work and the dryer was rusted and really old, so we decided to scrap both of them. His parents were great to take them to the scrap yard for us, and I think they got $5.00 for the washer.
Our next step was to take down the paneling. You can't really tell by the picture, but the paneling was "doing the wave" as I like to call it; I don't know if it was due to moisture or just cheap paneling, but it was not attached to the wall. We figured that the batting was put up to keep the paneling from falling. Demo was not difficult...Steven used a hammer and pry bar to take down the batting, and I simply pulled the paneling off the wall (we had some fun punching holes in the wall first though).

When we pulled up the carpet and vinyl flooring, we found our first big hurdle...the floors were way uneven. The floor was in need of some serious support, so we got to work (well, Steven got to work - I was the cheerleader/supervisor/go-fer). With some help from his dad, he put a beam under the floor; then we put down a layer of 4-ply plywood on top of the floor to add a little strength.

We also had to redo all of the wiring. The room had only one light (and there was not even a light fixture, it was just the light bulb); part of the room was very dark since the room is L-shaped. When we are finished, there will be two lights and a ceiling fan.

Since there were three windows in the room and not much wall space, we decided to take out the window next to the door to make room to hang coats and hats. And, thanks to some friends who are also remodeling, we got a new back door! Here's a view of the outside today (the bathroom is behind the wall to the left).

Right now we are working on hanging sheetrock; then we'll mud and paint before we put down the vinyl tile floor. Here's our first piece of sheetrock (we're farther along than that, but I was so excited to see that first piece on the wall)!!

Sometime towards the end of the first month, we decided we might as well redo the bathroom that is built into the laundry room/mudroom. Here's the before:

The bathroom had the same wavy paneling (if you look REALLY hard you can see what I'm talking about) and crazy wiring. The light switch for the bathroom is just to the left of the door, but the switch for the back porch light is hidden in the bathroom - any guesses where?? - in the medicine cabinet above the toilet!! Here's a look at the demo stage:

See the hidden light switch?! The vanity sink had some water damage (particle board + water = new sink), so we tossed the base but kept the sink to use somewhere else. The shower that was installed in this bathroom was a badly damaged camper/mobile home shower; there was no saving it, so we tore it out and bought a one-piece shower. We got rid of the paneling and the flooring and put sheetrock on the walls and another layer of plywood on the floor. We made the last-minute decision to take out the window so we could hang shelves, but hopefully the sheetrock will be finished tomorrow. Here's where we are now:

Whew, what a long post! I have really learned my more waiting two months between updates!

Oh, before I sign off I have to add one more thing. Look what Steven found in a wood pile in the yard:

We named him Gizmo...