27 June 2011

Oh, Happy Day! {The Living Room Before and After}

The ceilings have been scraped. They have been painted.

The walls have been repainted. The furniture has been put back in place.

And we have a new and improved den!

Notice the unfinished ceilings and the horrible yellow paint that is more suitable for a nursery than a den

The living room is on its way to joining the 21st century! I love the new paint color (Valspar Churchill Hotel Wheat). New lamp shades and a new rug are on their way!

25 June 2011

Ceilings: Before and After

when the kitchen ceilings still had their popcorn-ness
and when the old (horribly dim) florescent light still existed in the kitchen

shiny, smooth ceilings
shiny new light fixture!

I don't have a picture of the living room before, so use your imagination!!

Living Room

I think we are ALL so glad to be done with this project--it was messy and time-consuming, but 150% worth it.

On to painting the downstairs tomorrow!!

19 June 2011

Tearing My Hair Out

We're to the point in our kitchen project where we just want to take a wrecking ball to the whole thing. Will it never be done??

The last round of ceiling sanding is going painfully slow since Landon broke his hand last week. We discovered sagging wallpaper under the kitchen paint, so that's had to come down, too. The wallpaper didn't release like it should, so we've had to sand and peel the wallpaper backing off veeeeeerrrry slooowwwly.

So, even though we've been working on this project for several days, you can't really tell that we're making that much forward movement.

Eleven days until Landon's friend's bachelor party descends on the house! EEK!

17 June 2011

Tearing up the Place

Our house has gone from bad to worse. In the process of prepping the ceiling for primer and paint, we discovered that there is (was) wallpaper under the layers of paint in our kitchen. Hideous, blue and brown striped wallpaper. Yuck!

So, in addition to sanding the ceiling last night, I also had to begin the process of ripping the painted wallpaper down so that our new paint will go on smoothly (lest we create even MORE work for ourselves). Our house honestly looks like some homeless squatters should be living it in! (Pics to come!)

And to make things even worse, Landon broke his right hand falling off of a ladder Tuesday night, so I'm the only able-bodied one for the time being. What ELSE could happen???

I just want to finish all of the painting by the time Landon has some friends down in July for a bachelor party (not his own, but a friend of ours). If we're done painting, I can at least put the furniture back in place before they get here.

13 June 2011

Halftime Report: De-popcorning the ceilings

As I mentioned in my earlier post, Landon and I have decided to upgrade the ceilings from the popcorn ceilings in all their 1987-glory to smooth, painted ceilings--hopefully, bringing another portion of our house into the 21st century (watch out kitchen and bathrooms: you're next!).

Landon is just finishing up downstairs with the scraping, and we'll be able to move onto the spackeling and  sanding tomorrow or the next night, followed soon by the actual painting of the ceiling.

Here's where we were as of two hours ago:
ALL of our furniture from the downstairs--the pictures, the kitchen table, the couch and anything else you can imagine--is now crammed into the 450 square feet or so of our living room. We're doing anything but living in it, as you may imagine.

The clean, non-popcorn ceiling in the den. Oh, how lovely it will look when we have painted it white.

Still left to do: the kitchen (the white portion of the ceiling) in contrast to the already scraped foyer.

Darn you, popcorn ceilings

Our house looks like a construction zone.

We're not constructing something--we're destructing. The popcorn ceiling, that is.

Our house, which was built in the mid-80s, has the knobbly popcorn ceiling that was all the rage at that time. Landon and I can't stand it.

We've been planning on a kitchen remodel, but our kitchen remodel budget isn't quite there just yet, so we decided to take on some more budget-friendly jobs while we're waiting to do the kitchen. The popcorn removal is just the first in a series of wall/ceiling tasks we plan on taking on over the next few months which will include: sanding and painting the ceiling white, repainting the entire downstairs (kitchen, living room and stairway) a darker khaki to replace the pale yellow that is currently there, repainting the trim and putting up crown moulding in the living room and kitchen.

Hopefully, once we're done with these jobs, it will be time for the kitchen...our downstairs may be looking like a construction zone for quite some time!

01 June 2011

Taming the Backyard, One Paver at a Time

We actually finished this project a while back, but I never posted pictures. Landon and I have a pretty small backyard, but we still want to make it a space we could enjoy.

We already had a fire pit that we needed a space for. It was pretty large, as far as fire pits go, so we knew the patio also had to be large enough to accommodate it.

Landon and I went to Lowe's and found some paving stone that had a bit of design on them--something different than the traditional brick. We paired these larger pavers with rows of darker brick, just to break up the entire pattern a bit.

The first thing we had to do once we had all of the materials was measure the exact width and length of the patio, using twine and posts. This grid (which we leveled) then helped us to figure out how much to dig out of the existing yard. The entire patio had to be tilted towards the back of the yard (and thus, away from the house), so the front portion needed to be dug a bit deeper (about 1/4") than the back. The digging commenced...and continued and continued. For several afternoons after work.

Our yard is, luckily, pretty sandy (being right near the marsh), so we didn't have to buy additional sand to put down as a base layer for the pavers. We just separated the dirt from the sand as we dug, placing the sand in a pile to be reused in the next step.

After our patio hole was dug deep enough, we began the process that took us through the rest of the project: add sand, pack sand until level, add stone firmly against those around it, lightly pound paver with mallet to secure, check to make sure it was level. Repeat until finished.

Luckily, my dad was able to come over after work during the paver laying stage, so the work went by much quicker with the three of us. The little girls who live next door were our biggest cheerleaders, commenting each night on how much we accomplished and how good it looked!

About two-thirds of the way done. The finished product has another strip of pavers that are 2-wide to balance each end. 

A close up of the finished product!
I will post pictures when we get some lawn furniture to go on it. Right now, we're just using the chairs from my old outdoor dining set (which has, admittedly, seen better days) in order to crowd around the fire pit. As we're in no hurry, I think we'll hold out for some great deals at the end-of-summer sales that will be going on in a few months. We also still need some grass in our backyard, which will give it that extra oomph and take it from being a dirt pit to a place where we can actually entertain!