A huge thank you to Simpson Strong-Tie for sponsoring this post and making such great products to help everyone accomplish some DIY Done Right! Exactly 8 months ago to this day I shared 14 curb appeal ideas that were all inspired by the abysmal state of the front of our house. We actually didn’t close on the house until March 29th, two days later, so I’m not sure what it says that I already had down on paper my ideas for whipping her into shape from the outside in. But, slowly we have been making progress on a few key items on that list and our latest project has both Joel and I feeling like we are seriously transforming this old house into something we think is awesome.
Ok, I don’t know about you, but when someone says they’re going to write about installing drywall … not that I know anyone who does that but me … I get all “oh yay”, “that’s super”, “I don’t know a more exciting topic”. Ummm, asphalt maybe? ;) Hopefully you note the sarcasm in there. I don’t know, it just seems so blah. But for some reason it has kind of become my thing around here. People that come in ask who did our drywall (ok, so it’s only family and they’re obligated to over-admire, it’s a requirement of visiting) and walk up and touch the walls (for an awkwardly long period of time) and squint and look for seams and cracks and imperfections. While I pray they don’t notice the little areas that I’m pretty sure only I know about. It’s true, I don’t think any wall can ever truly be perfect, but what I’ve come to figure out over the years is that it’s just one big mask for any other imperfect surface.
And photographing a little window opening proved to be equally challenging. Hahaha! Something about bright light in front of my face and no really great spot to take a picture from 10 feet below. :) I did manage a few better ones, but the window being 10 feet off the ground didn’t really help my cause. The plan was for me to install this little guy while Joel was at work so we could finally get the rest of the drywall up when he got home.
One of the reasons that we weren’t able to work on our living room progress in a normal working order is because we wanted to insulate the attic before we drywalled it in. Turns out we are leaving a small access opening in the front of the house so it didn’t really matter. #BestLaidPlans Buuuuut, I choose to believe it is all for the best because if we had the drywall up already it would have made it nearly impossible for me to hear Joel while he was maneuvering his way around our cramped little attic with the long hose attached to the loud insulation blower. It was a bit of a Marco Polo situation as it was, so all’s well that ends well, right?!?!
Tip #1 Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke is an excellent song to stain to. I guess that’s a matter of personal preference, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to walk in the guest bedroom again without singing “Everybody get up”. And I stained that floor long before all of this Miley twerking business and I refuse to let her ruin it for me. :) The Billboard Top 100 list was my closest companion during this hardwood floor restoration process so I’m going to give you the billboard chart of hardwood floor sanding and staining tips and tricks!
I’m going to start right out and say that I was more than skeptical when Kilz sent along some of their Kilz Klear for me to try on my newly drywalled walls.* *Side note – spell checker does not like the use of the word drywall as a verb. But since I often find myself in the act of drywalling I will insist on continuing to use it in such a manner. It’s like funner and bestest and those other non-words that really are words. I apologize to all of the grammar fanatics out there. :) I gave you a sneak peek when my cousin was here. And it really wasn’t my strategy, but I ended up tasking her with the priming and am now realizing that if it hadn’t worked out I would’ve been totally justified in blaming her for her poor application skillz. :)
In a perfect home improvement world roofs would get finished before walls and walls would get finished before floors and floors would get finished without any dog hair involved. In a perfect home improvement world new doors would get installed and not require any wood slat patching …
To date we have had to get 10 different permits for the work we’ve completed, and that is ongoing, up in here. 1 Mechanical for the new HVAC. 2 Building Dept – one for the general interior upgrades we’ve been making (like removing drop ceilings, stripping wood slat walls and installing a new board and batten accent wall) and one specific to the best weekend ever and the subsequent build-out and new windows and trim and siding. 3 Electrical – one for the original electric system upgrade, one for the HVAC electrical and one for the new electrical in the vaulted ceiling. 4 HARC Permits – That’s the historical review commission here in Key West. And they like to make decisions on things. :)
So, the one project I kept telling my dad that I wanted to accomplish while he was here was to trim out the windows and doorway on the exterior of the house so I could move ahead with the siding. Just a refresher as to where we are today. Because I’m drawn to this picture like a bad accident.
Yeah, we got a little sidetracked. It happens, right. Clearly this blog is more true-to-life and in-real-time than even I realized. :) Thanks for indulging me in the 31 things series. But how about a little state of the home renovation address?
A few months back I showed you one of the biggest DIY lessons we learned the hard way. And yesterday I showed you a little trick we use every so often around here when good drywall intentions go bad. And today I’m going to share a little story with you. Happy Saturday btw. About 12 years ago, right after we bought our first house … look at her, isn’t she a cutie?!?!
So we’re tearing out walls and building them back. And resurrecting old wood slat walls. And adding wood and rope accent walls. And all the while we running new electric and updating old electric and using old outlet holes that have previously been cut and cutting our new holes in new drywall. Like so.
This little tip comes to you all out of necessity. You know how I taped a video tutorial for you from our hotel room earlier this week? Well, I decided at the last-minute to take a little road trip with Joel after my cousin left. Joel had a meeting, I knew where he was going would be beautiful …
Seriously, any Breaking Bad fans out there? I’m hooked. My cousin has already watched the whole series, but she’s watching it again with me. And I’m in love. In a I’m-kinda-creeped-out-and-totally-disturbed-and-just-want-Jesse-to-be-smarter-than-he-really-is sort of way. But remember the Tortuga? Admittedly, things didn’t end well for him. But, I’m kind of feeling at a turtle’s pace right now with house progress and thought I owed you a little update.
Ok, so here’s a little DIY tip for you. You know, ’cause we’re a DIY blog. We’ve talked a lot about having to update every single surface in this house. From the walls to the ceilings to the floors. We’ve worked through layers of paneling and drywall and wood slats. Remember that weird old ceiling height in the front of the house and those little square windows?
This tip is so simple it’s crazy. It’s something my dad showed me a number of years ago and has saved me many a moment of frustration. Because yes, I am that person who drags power tools all around and gets them caught around table legs and ladders and pretty much anything available. And I’m a yanker. Why go back and gracefully pull my power cord and extension cord along when I can just yank it about? No reason, really.
Don’t be shy. It’s ok if they are. Unlike some things that would never want to be described as old and small. Like grapefruit. I like a big, juicy, fresh grapefruit. I can’t seem to think of one other thing at all that would never want to be called old and small. Not a thing. ;)