The Great Wall

She Says:

The time came for us to blow out the exterior wall of the great room.

So we did.

We took it down and got it back up within 48 hours.  I only had to spend one night with only a thin layer of plastic sheeting protecting me from all manner of raccoons, possums, wild pigs, and other critters that go bump in the night.

He Says:

Obviously, this house has major problems.  And it was major cheap.  It's thrown several dozen curveballs at us already, but we're confident now.

So, we wanted a really dramatic wall of windows in the front, and we wanted to relocate the front door, and we wanted a much larger and better-looking front door...all of which adds up to a complete new front wall.

We added several temporary ceiling support studs and then removed the front wall.

The Woman really got into it with the sawzall and ripped down the studs.  Indeed we did get the entire job done with 48 hours...it would have been 24 except for the mushrooms.

Mushroom!  Mushroom!

The rotten area behind the old front door, when excavated, revealed these:

Yes, those are the black mushrooms of death.  they were growing, upside-down, under our subfloor.  Ugh.

We ripped out the rotten subfloor, and the rotten rim joist.  Then we repaired with new wood and subfloor.    We framed it for 5 of the 36x72" casement windows we had bought, and our new door with doorlights.

With new wood in place, we built the new wall, and sheathed it...

...cut the openings for the windows..

...weatherproofed it...

...installed the windows...

...and the new door!

We're pretty darn happy with the way it turned out!

Great Room Demo

She Says:

The Great Room demo project started big, then it just got bigger.  And bigger.

Initial plans were to tear out the interior hall closets to devote more space to the living area (open concept and all that), but one day, over fajitas at our favorite Mexican restaurant, we thought, "Heck, what do we need an extra bedroom for?  Let's take it and make it part of the great room!"

So we did.

We also decided we didn't like where the front door was located; it had to be moved.  And we (again initially) planned to just replace the existing windows with larger ones, but as the room grew, so did our imaginations.  We made up our minds to completely blow out the exterior wall, rebuild it, and fill it with windows.  Genius?  Or madness?

And then there was The Great Ceiling Debate.  More on that later; suffice to say for now that it tacked on about a month of work.

We did a lot of the interior demo in pieces, in between the other work we were doing.  A closet here, a wall there.  But then the day came that the exterior wall had to come down.  Now remember, we live in this house.  As in, all the time.  With no place else to go.  So the wall had to come down and go back up again as quickly as possible.  Stay tuned...


Great Room Beginnings

She Says:

So. The living room.  We've got big plans for this, what is right now, little room.  Here are the before shots:

The ever awesome teal carpet.

He Says:

If you look just inside that super-sexy front door, you can see an ominous damaged spot in the floor.  That was where water was coming in under the door...for years.  The house had no front porch and a very short roof overhang...so water rained onto the front porch-slab thing, and ran inside.  The floor rotted.  The floor joists, rim joist, and sill pate were involved.  Ugh.  This is going to complicate things.

She Says:

Oh, and the front door dramatically opens right up into... a closet.

I *know* our couch won't fit in here...

Here's the game plan:

  1. Tear out the carpet.
  2. Tear down the hall closets and back bedroom wall.
  3. Take whole room down to the studs.
  4. Blow out the exterior wall, move door, install full length windows.
  5. Take down the ceiling. 
  6. Install tongue and groove ceiling over beams.
  7. Build a bar into the hallway wall.
  8. Put up drywall.
  9. Design and install wainscoting.
  10. Paint.
  11. Build and install bookshelves.
  12. Lay hardwood flooring.
  13. Refinish furniture.
  14. Sleep.
That is all.


Study: Done.

She Says:

This is our study, before and after:

Here are the finishing touches for the study:

I framed pretty notecards between glass.  The shelf was an old Pottery Barn item from years ago, painted to match the cabinets.

We found the clip and wire system at Ikea to display cards and hold important reminders.  We ordered the track lighting from Amazon.

Our guests also really appreciate the futon, also from Ikea.  Surprisingly comfortable.  It has storage underneath for the bedding!  We also dedicated one of the cabinets into a wardrobe by adding a clothes rod and shelving.  The rug was actually from our previous house- it's wool, from Target, and I still love it.

This room also provides critical storage for HoneyDo's guitar collection, and I think it looks cool, too!  We got the guitar hooks from our local music store.

And I think this my favorite thing in the room- it just looks like an end table, but it's actually my filing cabinet!  (Under the cat.) I found it at Target- it was even the perfect color- and I installed a file hanger inside.  Beauty and function... love it!


Next project.

It's massive.

The great room!


Happy New Year!

Well, it's been quite a year.  We've been working quite steadily on the house; we just haven't been blogging about it.  Our "real jobs" have also required our attention, (imagine that!) but we're really pleased with our house progress.

We've also added a couple of Sidekicks to the family...

You remember Bean...

...and Boo...

who has decided to be a full time outside cat... but has to compete with this guy for cat food...

...and this spring, Peanut joined the family...

...finally, this is what HoneyDo got for Christmas:

A silver lab named Grey Goose!

It's becoming quite the menagerie around here.  Anyhoo, we're getting the blog back on track... for the New Year!


The Great Ceiling Debate

She Says: 

As I mentioned earlier, HoneyDo wanted to vault the ceiling several feet up into the attic.

I thought that sounded like an awful lot dirty work.

We went back and forth for months, while we were working on the other parts of the house.

Him:  But think of how awesome it will look!

Her:  But think of all the drywall and insulation in my hair!

Him:  It will open up the room and make it feel so much bigger!

Her:  Hello? Hair?

In the end, HoneyDo sold me on a "compromise."  We wouldn't vault it per se, but we would include the rafters within the space of the room and lay tongue and groove ceiling boards above them.  That would add 6-8 inches to the height of the ceiling and give us a beam ceiling, which we both really wanted.

So we dove in and tore down the ceiling.  And this is what our great room looked like:

He Says: 

The existing ceiling was 5/8 drywall under paired side-by-side 2x4 rafters.  The span of the ceiling was max 12'6", and the 2x4's sagged a bit at that length.  It looked bad, but hey, if the house wasn't a piece of crap, we could never have afforded it.

I did want to do the big vault up to the roof beams, but what we ended up with looks better than that would have, and was a ton easier to build.  Good compromise.

The ceiling boards are 1x6 pine Tongue and Groove.  Lifting them up into the attic was the tough part.

I built a jig on my 12' worktable to construct the beam-covers from 1x6 and 1x4 lumber.  This kept the beam-covers straight, and when they were built, we lifted them into place over the old beams and nailed them on.

She Says:

It turned out to be every bit as dirty as I had suspected the vaulting would be.  I cannot tell you how many gallons of paint and tubes of caulk it took to finish that ceiling.  We spent a full 2 weeks on that part of the project alone- it just never seemed to end.

He Says:

Like She said, the T&G ceiling boards required a LOT of finish work before paint, which included creating our own crown moulding out of 3 separate pieces.  But it all looks so good now. Really proud of this part of the house.

She Says:

And it was Totally.  Worth it.


Study Construction

We went back to our surplus store to get more unfinished cabinetry, just like the ones we used in the kitchen.  We looked at other options, particularly Ikea, but these unfinished oak cabinets are such good quality and price, we went this way again.

We chose several upper cabinets to store office supplies, and two large pantry pieces for craft supplies.  The pantries will eventually be converted to wardrobes for guests once the addition is built, which includes a fantastic upstairs craft room!  But I'm getting waaaay ahead of myself...

Demo was really simple- tear out the teal carpet.  Remove the closet door.  Remove baseboards and trim.  Done!  We then drywalled the closet doorway.

Paint went up next:  Spice Delight on the ceiling, Khaki on the walls, and Phoenix Sunrise on the accent wall.

Next HoneyDo mounted the cabinets and I got to work painting.  It was kitchen cabinet deja vu!

Here are the uppers on the left side (next to the window), mounted and painted.

And the right side of the room, cabinets installed.

I wanted a *lot* of desk space.  We chose butcher block countertops from Ikea for this job, which we snagged when we got the piece for the island.  We also got the legs and these Capita brackets from Ikea:

Oh, yeah, and we ran the same hardwood flooring in here that's throughout the house.

Then we tiled above the desk space to add some texture and interest to the room.

Next time, I'll post the finished product!