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How About Some Nice Red Oak

14 Jun

A nice wood floor, the staple of all American homes. Or at least this American home. After we had the wood sections from the wall removal all chiseled out and ready to go, we figured, what the hay, might as well remove our perpetual trip hazard and just put some new wood up in this joint. Plus, Jay was chomping at the bit to try out his new power tool. Note to all ladies (and gentleman) trying to persuade  your man to get his reno on. Buy him the tool. Just do it.

After lots of work this weekend, we went from this…

How to replace wood boards on floor

Replacing Wood Floor

To this! Voila – easy as pie. 1-2-3 done! Yeah, it didn’t work that way. It was more like 1-2-3-1,923 – I guess it’s good enough, let’s just be done. Keeping it reaaal folks.

How to lace in new wood floor with old

New Wood Floor

In all honesty though, I think the new floor is look scrump-ditely-umptious. It’s definitely on it’s way. We decided to get all fancy shmancy and do some inset vents. Actually, there were two reasons for this. One, we had some potential cabinet conflicts (i.e. cabinet bumping over the vent space,  and Two, what isn’t to like about a perfectly smooth floor with no metal popping up and out of it. I likey.

Inset Wood Vents

Egg Crate Vents

One was replacing a vent that had previously been under our cabinet, and the other was going to replace this lovely gold dude. After some sleuthing  we found that this vent was a faux vent. Not a lick of HVAC running under this guy. There were some wires though, so we opted to go ahead with the vent install in the name of keeping this area open access.

Gold Heater Vent

Gold Fancy Vent

Before we could get to our new, lovely, vent installations though, we had to start and the beginning with piece numero uno. And the first one, my friends, is always the hardest. First thing we realized was that in order to fit our new piece in, we would have to saw off some of the extra goodies on this guy. It has a lip on the end that was intended for locking it into place with the next guy, but with our tight configuration (fitting a piece of wood into an existing joint) we found that it just wasn’t going to happen. Off to the miter saw Jay went.

How to connect wood into existing floor

Removing Lip

For this first piece, we opted to cut off the front lip of the wood, and a bit along the side, too. This way we were able to make sure the piece could slide right into the existing hole without too much fighting (key, with out TOO much fighting). The little laser beam that could right there.

How to install new pieces of wood into exisiting

Cutting Lip

Once the extra pieces of wood were removed on the edges, we were able to come through and tap this guy into place. It definitely take a few adjustments, but after a few minutes, each piece would generally pop in where it need to go. If the fit was too tight, we would just come back with a chisel and scrape off a bit of the wood to get a better fit. It’s an iterative process.

Replacing wood floor pieces

New Wood

Then Jay had a chance to grab his trusty nail gun. This was his favorite step 😉 After we had each piece right where we wanted it, we came back through with the nail gun and popped a few into place to make sure each chunk of wood was super secure in there. Most of this wood will actually be under the cabinetry, so although it’s important to have it nice and tight, it’s not crucial, since no humans will be walking on it.

How to install wood with a nail gun

Nailing In Wood

Here is how the side with the vent looks now. I think these are going to look really nice when they are stained and finished! This is the first time we have done an inset vent, so I am pumped to see how they look after everything is done.

Inset Heater Vent

Inset Heater Vent

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Gold Hardware, Anyone?

12 Jun

So I had a mini-life crisis this weekend. Gold hardware, or no? #FirstWorldProblems. My biggest issue so far, is that I absolutely love the detailing of the brass fixtures that are available through the Martha Stewart Collection at Home Depot, and, much to my chagrin, they don’t make the same styles with the nickel or chrome finish. I’ve got Jekyll and Hyde going on right now. One second, it’ll add warmth, be different, go with your gut. The next second, brass – no way! It’ll stick out, too taste specific, you won’t like it, didn’t you just get done spray painting OVER gold (reminder here). Oye. Here is what our kitchen will look like with the current elements, including the brass. And ya know what, I like it.

Gold Hardware Kitchen

Kitchen Mood Board

That little honey bee knob from Martha. Oh my goodness, sweet mother of pearl. I just want to carry it around in my pocket and lick it. I think it would taste like honey, no. It sure looks like a big pot of wonderful honey. Too many honey references, I feel like I’m turning into Pooh. Oh bother. The entire Martha Stewart line can be found here, I love it since it’s totally affordable and pretty darn stylish too. I  have not been able to find anything close for both looks and price.

What say you? Do others have brass in their space? Do you like it, love it, want some more of it? Here are some of the inspiration pictures I found that have kept me thinking that brass might be the key to my heart.

Brass Hardware in White Kitchen

Brass Hardware in White Kitchen

Here is another kitchen that had me at hello.

Brass Hardware in White Kitchen

White Kitchen Brass Hardware

Doesn’t it just make the space look warmer? My only concern with the Martha Stewart line is that the brass is less aged than I would like. I prefer a really nice patina on brass, just that vintage, worn look. Her line has some patina on the knobs, but the pulls I’ve picked out are pretty shiny. Like grab your sunglasses cause we got some bling up in da house. In a quest to solve this problem myself, I looked into how you can age brass with the DIY route, which would work swimmingly, but alas, Martha’s got faux brass – not the real McCoy. For $1.98 each (yes, seriously) I guess you can’t really expect it to be brass though.

For all the hardware we will need for the kitchen reno, the price comes out to $75. Since the other hardware I wanted came out to $15 each (yowzers), $75 for all of it is pricey, but not over the top awful.

Martha Stewart Bedford Brass

Martha Stewart Hardware Pricing

The other option, is to play the safe route and go matchy matchy with some nickel. Here is what the kitchen would look like with the nickel options I like through good old Martha.

White Shaker Cabinets

Kitchen Inspiration

The upside of the Nickel option? It only cost $45, for all the hardware. Yeppers. In the world of kitchen renos, that is darn right cheap.

Pricing for Martha Stewart Hardware

Martha Stewart Hardware

Thoughts? These little details are definitely the hardest for me!

A Garden Tour

11 Jun

Care to take a tour of the backyard? We are so lucky, because the previous owner (who owned the home for 27 years) had a serious green thumb!! Like emerald green. Every week there seems to be another wonderful plant blooming around here. It’s kind of incredible and exhilarating and it makes me want to have a green thumb as well – to join the elite green thumb club. The entire backyard is absolutely chock full of peonies, irises, and a bunch of other flowers I don’t know the name of. Can ya tell – no green thumb here. I’m desperately trying to learn enough though to make sure all these plants don’t die.

White Peony Bushes

Backyard

Here is a close up shot of one of the peonies. These flowers are my all time favorite bloom so I can’t even explain how excited I am to have 8 bushes lining the back of our house.

White Peony

White Peony

Right next to the peonies are some lovely purple irises. Offer a nice contrast, I think.

Purple Iris

Purple Iris

And another favorite of ours is this huge rhubarb bush! Can’t wait to make some pies later this summer (when our kitchen is back in commission…) with some chives right next to it. Edible arrangements. Bonus.

Rhubarb Plant

Rhubarb Plant

Since the back was looking so snazzy, we decided to pop some flowers in the planters up front, too. The front foliage is mainly hostas now, so it’s nice to have a little pop of color.

Flowers in Planter Box

Front Planters

My pansies will probably only last a few more weeks here (starting to get warm) but for now, I love their cheerful little faces greeting me at the front door.

Purple Pansies

Pansies

Probably one of the most enjoyable things about living in this house so far has been the pure abundance of beautiful plants around us outside. It helps to have somewhere to escape to when our house is totally covered in reno dust. Urrggh. #OverIt.

Woody the Woodchuck

10 Jun

Turns out, when you remove a wall there is some patching to do on the flip side of the coin. Wall patching, floor patching, yep and yep. A la this little beaut. There is definitely a hole there 😉 With a matching gap on the other side. Twinsies.

How to patch wood floor

Patching Wood Floor

When we went shopping for the mudding materials, we came back with a few extra essentials. While we were shopping, I saw Jay start to slowly ebb toward the power tools section (never good). We were in the market for an air compressor and nail gun, and although I was *hoping* to find one on craigslist, we landed up getting a shiny new one instead.

Why you ask, well, because there was a crazy-licous Memorial Day sale where the nail gun compressor kit was marked down $100, meaning only $150 green backs had to be exchanged for this new power house. Overall, for the use we are going to get out of this beast, I’ll call that a good use of our simolions. So, Jay got his new tool, and in turn, I got Jay to do some projects around here the man had been dragging his feet on. All in the name of getting a new power tool – man – he knows how to manipulate 😉

Bostitch Air Compressor and Nail Gun

Bostitch Air Compressor

So, power tool in hand, we set off to remedy our little gap of a problem. We needed more wood to patch this baby up. Not a lot of wood, but turns out it’s hard to find little batches of red oak. We probably needed 4 square feet of wood, but we had to buy it in a 20sq foot bundle. Bummer. The good news, we now know we have ample wood in case things go screwy along the way. The bad, the wood came in over budget. In all honesty I’m kind of at the point where I’m sad if things go over budget, but I am also reaching my delirium point with this whole reno, where I just let Jay add things to the shopping cart, so we can just get the project done. I want my kitchen back, I want a dining room to eat dinner at, I want to not have an inch of dust covering my floor when I get up each morning. So $60 vs $20 right now, grumble grumble, whatever.

How to patch wood floor

Red Oak Floor

Speaking of just throwing things into the shopping cart, look at Jay’s handy new set of chisels. I think Jay’s long lost calling is as a sculptor. Grab this man a beret cause he pretty much thought he was Michelangelo. Sans naked sculpted people. And just run with the beret reference, I know, these fancy hats are probably before his time but I think artist and I think beret. Roll with it.

Kobalt Wood Chisel Set

Wood Chisel

I kept walking into the room with Jay all focused on his new art form and listening to my husband say things like – this is so relaxing, I love chiseling wood, can we do more of these projects. I could here the angels singing. Music to my ears, grasshopper.

The first step in this covert little operation was to measure where we wanted the wood piece to end at.  We used our level to make sure that the line was as straight as a whistle. No crooked boards here. Also, another little tip. We tried to stagger each board we cut, so that all the wood didn’t end at the same spot. We wanted the new pieces to look as intentional (and original) as possible, so changing end location helped to achieve this.

How to patch wood floor

Measuring Wood

The next step, well this one freaked me out a little. I knew that the pieces of wood had to come up, but still, taking a screw driver to my wood floor was not my vision of progress. More like mutilation. But, it had to be done, so Jay proceeded as I watched and waited on baited breath. You want to screw 2-3 holes right along the line where you plan to have your piece of wood end. Drilling the holes helps to prevent the wood from splitting as you lift up the board, and defines a clear ending point.

How to patch wood floors

Screwing Hole

Once you’ve added 2-3 holes in the wood, you can start to pry up each piece a bit with a crowbar and rubber mallet. If you put in a sufficient amount of holes, you should find that this keeps the wood from splitting beyond your intended end point. We found that some pieces were harder to remove than others, largely due to extra glue being placed on them, making them stick too much to an adjacent board. We tried to be very careful when prying each board up, since we knew that any screw ups could mean taking out a whole other board.

How to patch wood floor

Removing Wood

Once you get the big pieces up, you have enough left at your end to start chiseling, which is what creates the nice, crisp edge, and makes it look like a newly laid piece. In general, Jay would start by tapping along each line (that he drew with his pencil) and then he would come back through and remove each chunk of wood, one layer at a time. Since it is so important that this edge looks perfectly straight, this took about 25 minutes for each piece of wood that was modified. Luckily, Jay seemed to be enjoying this part of the process for the most part, so that always helps make the minutes pass a bit quicker.

How to replace wood floor

Chiseling

After each piece had been chiseled to our hearts content, the wood looked like the photo below. We tried to maintain the staggered look with each piece of wood. See those laser sharp edges? Jay is such a rockstar.

How to replace wood boards on floor

Replacing Wood Floor

Frenchie French

7 Jun

One of our big ideas for the dining/kitchen/sunroom space was to knock out part of the exterior wall and add some french doors into the mix. Well thanks to our aw-esome new handy dandy handy man, that dream is now a reality America! I guess once you start knocking out walls, you just can’t stop. It’s like pringles or something. For reference, here is a picture of our door before. Nice, but not quite there. The gold accents, the mini little glass panel. It worked, but I had grander plans.

Simply White Trim

Simply White Patio Door

We really liked the guy that came out to do our gas line, so when we brought him out for that job we made sure to have him quote us a price to have this work done, too. We knew that we had to have the following done for the new door install:

  • Brick surround needed to be cut
  • New header for the larger door
  • Electrical box moved over

Overall, we received (3) quotes to have the work done. The first, came in at $1,500 (ouch), the second $895 and the third (our guy) was $750. Normally we would go with the middle priced quote, just to avoid any issues with inexperience, etc, but since we had worked with this guy in the past, we knew he would do an awesome job so we hired him and decided to call it a day. Not cheap (by any means), but also, I think this is going to be a pretty darn good addition to our whole house layout, so we were willing to bite the bullet and make it happen.

Removing Exterior Door

Door Opening

After we removed the door that was installed before – you could already see a big difference in how things looked and felt. I personally feel like the glass panel to the right of the door didn’t really add much in the way of light. Since the paneling was so thick on either side, the amount of light (and openness) that actually resulted from the extra glass was minimal.

Here is Jason, our handy man, measuring out the dimensions for cutting out the interior portion of the door. Since the door opening was a bit tighter on the left hand side, we opted to bump out the door a bit to the right, so you can see a bit more is being taken off on the right side of the door.

How to Install Exterior Door

Measuring Door Opening

After removing the exterior brick and cutting the opening, things were looking like this! Starting to see progress here. Since this door opening was a supporting wall, he also had to pop in some wood framing in order to keep things from caving in (always good). 🙂

How to support structure while removing wall

Supporting Wall

Check out this hunka hunka header above the door. Every other stud isn’t resting on the new wood, since those are from the previous header. The newer (lighter colored) wood, is what Justin built to support the structure. Looks nice a sturdy to me! 😉

Header above exterior door

Header Above Door

Once the door was in, we noticed that there was some serious gap action happening. Since we had some great stuff insulation left over from the bathroom renovation, we decided to whip out that can and help make this new addition air tight.

How to insulate door

Insulating New Door

Truth be told, we plan on finishing off the screened-in porch soon, so this door will actually not be facing out onto the exterior. But, it just seemed to make sense to insulate wherever we can. Plus, it’s possible we won’t get around to finishing off the screened-in porch prior to winter, so this gives us some buffer room. 🙂 It continues to expand a bit, but here is a picture of the after. You can’t see the outside anymore, so we will go ahead and call that a win.

Great Stuff Insulation

Insulated Door

After lots of shimming and nailing up boards, we officially have a new french door installed! EEEEKKKK!!! Yes – I’m THAT excited about it. Looking mighty ffiiinnnee. Yep, I’m in love. Now instead of a 32″ opening, we have a 60″ opening – big difference. I can’t wait for all the summer nights when we can pop these doors open and enjoy the balmy breezes.

French Door Off Dining Room

French Door

Yippie skippie!! Pumped to get some trim around this beauty and call it a day! Also – very ready for my house to be sans dust for more than 2 seconds. 😉

The combination of the brick cutting and the supporting wall was overall what convinced us that hiring this one out was the way to go. We’ve definitely installed a door (or two) in our day, but this just felt a bit beyond our abilities. With all the other kitchen reno stuff in the mix, we also wanted this done (like yesterday), so it was pretty helpful to have someone come in and do some of the dirty work for us. The key to your sanity and safety in a DIY household (in my opinion) is to hire it out when you have to (or want to!). In the long run, I know we are saving SO much by tackling the majority of projects ourselves, so when it’s time to hire it out, I’m usually happy to do so.

May Monthly Roundup

6 Jun

Spring was a long time coming this year in the mitten, but lucky for us, it seems like mother nature is going to kick it into high gear and bring on summer. About time. Now, instead of wrapping up with a blanket and looking out dismally at snow (yes, it snowed in April), we are knocking out some serious projects. Something about that sunshine just puts the pep in yo step. For a little monthly re-capping, in April, we:

Basement Bathroom Remodel

Started renovating the downstairs bath. After testing lots of paint colors, we landed on Benjamin Moore Northern Cliffs, for both the vanity and the walls. After slapping down some marble tile, we just need some artwork and new lighting before we call this one done.

Benjamin Moore Northern Cliffs

Basement Bathroom

Northern Cliffs Bathroom

Basement Bathroom | After

Bathroom Reveal | Upstairs Bath

Since we already had the tile saw out, we decided to tag team the bathroom renos. Although our upstairs bathroom renovation started in March, we capped this guy off in April. We are still searching for the perfect mirror (procrastinators…) but overall, this room is functioning MUCH better (and looking a bit better, too!).

Completed Bathroom Renovation

Bathroom Renovation

Herringbone Subway Tile

Herringbone Subway Tile

Painted Doors

In addition to ripping out our bathroom(s), we decided to tackle some low hanging fruit too. Sometimes you just have to go for the easy win, right? We painted the last two doors in the house that had previously been paneled and pink. Not my cup of tea.

White painted paneled door

Attic Door | After

Installing Gas Line

After starting the process of reinvisioning our kitchen, we opted to do a gas line switcher-roo and move our oven over onto another wall. We opted to hire this one out. $250 (in my mind) is a small price to pay to have this one checked off the list with all our limbs intact.

How to install a gas line

New Gas Line

Countertops + Cabinets

Wanting a white and bright open kitchen space, Jay and I decided we were looking for something that aesthetically resembled marble, but without the upkeep associated. We found a few winners, and in the end, we are leaning toward Sugarbrush Quartz, through Lowes.

Sugarbrush Quartz with Shaker Cabinet

Sugarbrush Quartz with Shaker Cabinet

Wall Removal

Oh, and I almost forgot, we knocked out a wall. Almost didn’t happen, but gotta tell ya, so. very. glad. it. did. The kitchen/dining room space has been absolutely transformed by this decision. More light, better flow, bigger. Every time I walk into the room now, I smile.

How to remove wall

Removing Wall

Studor Pipe Vent 

And in the spirit of the wall removal, we had to mention our studor solution. Studor may or may not be my new favorite word. 😉

How to install air admittance valve

Installing Studor Pipe

Compounding that Joint

5 Jun

When we had the room all free and clear of studs and pipes and electrical cords, it was officially time to seal up that big ol’ hole in the wall and actually get this room to looking more like, well, a room. After chatting with another friendly Lowe’s associate, we came back home with all our new spackling gear and got ready to drywall this joint.

How to patch plaster hole

Big Old Hole

In all honesty, we came back with a lot more loot than I was planning. Being the frugal little lady I am, I thought Jay could like buy one trowel and a putty knife and call it a day. Lucky for Jay (unlucky for me) the guy at Lowe’s that helped us was like a drywalling duuuude. Like I think his middle name was drywall mcgee. This man was in his element when talking about all the tools we needed.

While grabbing 12  tools from the wall (and insisting we needed all of them), he told us stories of days gone by while making dramatic motions depicting exactly how you drywall, tape and apply joint compound. I guess I was so mesmerized by his actions that before I knew it, we had a whole arsenal of drywalling gear in our cart. Jay was smiling, I was still trying to figure out what all those hand movements meant from the theatrical performance.

Tools Needed for Drywall

Drywalling Tools

After one (rather lackluster, sorry honey) drywalling experience prior, Jay was sold on one thing. He wanted to get the big joint knife. No 4″ tools here, he wanted 12″ and up. Since a larger joint knife will smooth out the entire line to that plane, Jay’s experience was that this was the best tool of the trade for the work he was doing. Since I wanted him to be equipped this time to knock this job out of the park, I relented and let him get all the goodies at the store. Before Jay had a chance to use all his new tools, we had to cut the drywall outside to fit.

How to cut drywall

Cutting the Drywall

For some reference, here is how the whole room was looking before we added in any of the drywall, or started the mudding process.

How to fill hole in wall

Wall Opening

Since we have an old house, and plaster walls, we found that the actual wall height between the dining room and living room walls – well – lets just say there was some variation. After popping the drywall in, there was still a considerable gap.

How to patch hole with drywall

Adding Drywall

Since adding two pieces of drywall stacked on top of each other would have been too high, we opted (per the pro’s consultation) to put one piece in, and then use joint compound to fill the rest. Lots of joint compound, to turns out. This also helped a bit with the variation in wall height since we could gradually merge the two surfaces together. We thought a bag of joint compound mix would be enough – no dice. 2 bags it was. It was pretty chunkalicous at first, so we (Jay) really had to get in there and mix this for a bit before we had the right consistency to put up on the wall.

How to mud drywall

Mixing Joint Compound

Here he is applying the first coat. It was a pretty thick first coat, probably a solid inch around the entire wall opening.

How to mud drywall

Mudding the Wall

After the initial coat was on (we used the smaller, 4″ trowel for this part), we moved on to smoothing all of the joint compound out on the wall, to give it as finished as an appearance as possible. This is the point where the big old mudding knife came in handy. Look at that concentration.

How to fill hole in wall

Smoothing Out Joints

Now that we have the entire hole in the wall coated, it’s time for some sanding, second coats (and third coats), and then – paint!! Wishing we could just hop to the paint step, but, some things are worth the wait.

Tiiimmmmbbbeeerrr

4 Jun

I like my trees, but I also like my sun. MMMM – sunshine. Back in late winter, we had an epic ice storm that covered all the trees with a thick coat of ice. Most of the trees made it out alright, but we’ve got one the in the back yard that just didn’t fare so well. Exhibit A. Pretty sure the limbs are not supposed to be doing that.

Removing damaged fir tree

Damaged Tree

After watching our neighbor scratch his head with concern a few times, we walked out there to examine the damage ourselves and embarrassingly agreed that something had to happen before their car got boinked. Since it’s on a side of the house that we don’t pass by often, we kind of didn’t even notice this guy was the leaning tower of pisa until we started tending to the garden in late spring and saw this guy in all his glory. Oops. Bad neighbors.

Sawing down a tree

Sawing Down

On an afternoon off from work, Jay took his trusty little saw to this guy and got started on hacking it away. It was pretty tricky to get in there, since the limbs were only a few inches apart from each other. Of course the orange tabby had to manage the process from the window. He never loses out on an opportunity 🙂

The manager

Orange Tabby

Since Jay was home alone forging ahead on the tree – he had to do things pretty incrementally in order to avoid a limb falling in the wrong direction and causing trouble. He started by getting the smaller sized limbs, that he could hold onto with one hand as he went along, and then moved on to some of the bigger ones along the outside.

Removing Tree Limbs

Tree Limb

Here is one of his causalities, laying along the back of the house. It’s possible the tree could have been salvaged, since the limbs seemed pretty healthy as he was cutting each one down. Trouble was, we had no way of knowing how to stop the splitting from happening. It had grown to a point where it was really top heavy, so it just seemed like it was losing it’s fight against gravity, and kept leaning further in to the split. We tried tying some string to it, to keep the limbs from dividing out, but nothing seemed to be working the way we wanted it to.

How to cut a dead tree

Cutting the Tree Down

You can see our string strategy in the picture above. It is tied to the bush on the left hand side of the photo. It was helping, but not enough in our mind to justify the risk that it could fall on a neighbors car, or kid, or dog.

Tree Stump

Tree Stump

Lacking the best tools on the first go around, we landed up with the little stump above. It was progress, but not good enough 😉 After bringing a saw zaw out, we got to this point, but we obviously still need to get down a bit lower to have a stump we can cover with mulch, or something of that nature. Jay says he needs a hatchet. He he. Probably does. Something about my engineer of a husband wielding a hatchet kind of freaks me out – so I’ve been stalling on fulfilling his man wish. Any other thoughts out there? If any experienced tree removers want to chip in – I would love it! I’d prefer not to lose any limbs over here 😉

How to remove tree stump

Tree Stump

One of the advantages of hacking this tree down  has been seeing all the lovely things that appear below it. Look at this beautiful blooming bush! I think it’s azalea’s, no? Gosh, I need to learn my flowers now that I’ve inherited such a lovely garden from the previous owner!

Azalea Bush

Blooming Bush

Wall Preppin’

3 Jun

Now that the wall is out, we’ve got a bit of a mess on our hands. Wires dangling, lathe hanging. It’s not a pretty sight. It’s also a rather messy sight. Here is the wall, sans (most studs) and plaster free. Progress – but not quite there yet. See our paint color testing starting to happen on the walls? 🙂

How to remove a wall

Wall Removal

The main issue after taking this dude down was the fact that we had some electrical still chilling on a stud, and in need or rerouting and we had lots of lathe that we needed to trim off the sides in order to have a clean edge for applying drywall to and mudding. Here is the problematic electrical box. The switch controlled the dining room light on one side, and the kitchen on the other.

How to reroute electrical box

Electrical Box

Our first instinct was to cap off the wires that controlled this light switch, which would have just left the wires without voltage in the wall. Jay grabbed a multi-meter from work, which helped him to gauge which lines had current running through them. Our initial plan was to snip one of the wires in order to cut off the line that was situated in the middle of the room, which was the one we wanted to remove, since there wasn’t a wall there anymore. We also considered just rerouting the switch to the new wall, but it seemed kind of excessive to have a light just floating in the middle of the wall.

How to use a multi meter

Multi Meter

But, much to our joint dismay, the box we were hoping to terminate the wires from was actually not the origination point for the wires, so we couldn’t proceed with capping the wires at this location. Par for the course with DIYing, we moved onto plan B. Turns out, there was another, quite simple fix, which was to put the wires up in a termination box in the attic, which is just a junction box, that allows the wires to be safely tied off and up to code. It’s really the same idea with a light switch (where the wires end there), but the junction box allowed us to safely terminate the wires in a still accessible location (the attic crawlspace).

Due to all the sleuthing  this part of the project took longer than we both would have liked, but with another quick run to the hardware store, we had a safe solution we were both happy with for all of $5. I’ll go ahead and call that a win.

How to reroute electrical

Rerouting Electrical

After the wire situation was under control, we had to move on to removing all of the extra lathe from the wall. There was quite a bit of this stuff, so it took us the better part of 3 hours to trim it all up and make sure the wall cavity was nice and even on both sides. Luckily, one of our purchases at our most recent Lowe’s run was a heavy duty wire snipper, which we found to be essential for getting all the loose wires trimmed and cut.

How to trim lathe

Trimming Lathe

Last, after we had removed the wall studs where the electrical was prior, we had to address the vent that had previously been routed under the cabinets. Since we will just install a flush floor vent at this location, we had to get in there with the trimmers and remove all the excess hvac that we no longer needed. I think the wire cutters are Jay’s new favorite tool 😉 They were really essential for both the lathe and the HVAC cutting, so I’m glad we picked them up!

How to trim HVAC

Removing HVAC

Now the room is looking much better, and totally ready for the next step – drywalling! Woo to the hoo.

How to remove wall

Wall Removed

Golden Girls, er, Tub

31 May

In the spirit of wrapping up the final details on the bathroom reno, I thought I would share with you our spray painting bathroom extravaganza. Gold. It can work, in select settings. On my finger – yes. On my tub – no. Now I’m not talking about a nice authentic vintage brass, that, that is amazingness. I’m talking about 80’s builder grade – we all know it – most of us hate it. Let’s just say it had to go. I’m all about mixing the metals, but this was a bit too mixed for me.

Spray painting gold hardware

Gold Hardware

So in an effort to rid this bathroom of it’s final gold influence, we pulled out our favorite tool in the DIY arsenal. The spray paint. Whether it’s door knobs or bathroom fixtures, you can bet my first plan of attack is always that little can o’ paint. Call me trigger happy, call me cheap, but the bottom line – if I can solve the problem with $3 of paint, you better bet I’m going to try!

Rust Oleum Appliance Spray Paint

Rust Oleum Spray Paint

After chatting with the guy in the paint aisle for a few, we decided on this appliance grade stuff. It’s supposed to be super durable so I’m hoping it’s able to stand up to the test of our bath jets – we shall see! I can tell you when we were applying it that this stuff definitely felt a lot more substantial than our typical spray painting fare. It went on thicker, and had more precise directions to reapplication. Per it’s suggestion – we had to wait a full week before applying the second coat. Dang a langa.

How to spray paint tub

Spray Painting

This stuff stunk with a capital S, so we kept it out on the screened in porch in order to avoid too many fumes entering our lungs. After one coat, they were definitely looking much improved and on their way. There were still a few spots of gold sneaking through though, so we did opt to wait it out for the week and apply another coat. (Waiting a week for me is like waiting YEARS!! 😉

Spray Painting Bathroom Vent

Bathroom Vent

In addition to spray painting the gold tub hardware, we also opted to spray paint the air vent that is around the tub surround. We knew that since this guy butted up right next to the new crisp and white subway tile, that anything other than white was going to stick out like a sore thumb. Look how purty and white this guy looks after a solid two coats!

One kink in our remove it and spray paint it plan was that one of the vents would not budge. Not sure if it was stuck on there, or if it was designed to just not come off, but this guy was not moving. In an effort to complete rid the tub surround of it’s goldie locks, we proceeded with taping the entire area off to all of the hardware to be white.

How to spray paint bathroom hardware

Spray Painted Hardware

It took some time, but overall, I think this new look is preferred in our white and bright space to the gold we were rockin’ before. Final step was applying an ample coat of caulk. I think you can pretty much chalk that one up as our final step with all projects 😉

White Spray painted bathroom hardware

White Hardware