Monday, March 22, 2010

Living Room/Spare Room Reno - Part 2

The first weekend in May last year we started the gutting job for the living room. It took 5 guys, a bunch of beer and an entire day to gut the living room/spare bedroom down to a skeleton. We found MANY 100 year old cobwebs. As well, we discovered that our saging ceilling was the cause of shoddy work... some idiot had the roof being held up by a 2 by 4 on its face... UM DUMB!!!! Not only was it being held up by a 2 by 4 but the support beams on either side of the beam were held in by 2 nails... yes thats right.. 2 nails!!! We were both surprised the roof hadn't caved in yet!!!! MEGHAN AND RYAN TO THE RESCUE!

The problem with older houses is that the frames aren't 16 inches apart like they are supposed to be. Also the framing was all done with actual 2 by 4's (old school 2 by 4's are actually 2 inches by 4 inches, where as new 2 by 4's are a little less than 2 inches by 4 inches). SO we had to add lots of wood to reframe the rooms as well as put supports in for the roof. To do this we had a friend come in and fix the roof for us since that we thought we should have a professional do. Our ceiling is now supported by 2 two by tens which were glued and nailed together. Its not going anywhere now!! We also decided that we would make the spare bedroom an office as well. So we put french doors from the living room to the office/spare bedroom so we could open up the doors to make the rooms appear bigger. So we had the doors framed in. This picture is looking from the living room into the spare bedroom.

Next was the fun part, insulating and drywalling. We put insulation on all exterior walls as well as in the ceiling to help keep the cold out! Then it was drywalling time!!! I am become a pro drywaller!!! It took us a couple of months to get to this stage because we didn't have a lot of time to get around to the drywalling.
Once all of the drywall was hung it was time to get Ryan's brother in to tape and mud the drywall for us. He did a fantastic job!! Finally after 4 months of living in the kitchen it was the august long weekend and we took the entire weekend to finish the living room. We spent the Friday sanding down the walls to prepare them for painting. The Saturday was spent painting, now we have extremely high ceillings in the two rooms so painting the ceilling was a serious workout!!!! It was August and there was no a/c in the front of the house, so every hour we'd go hop into the pool because we were dripping in sweat!!! AFter the painting was done it was time for door frames and doors and baseboards. Ryans brother did our flooring when we were away on our honeymoon as a wedding present which was great!!! We had bought laminate flooring to install but hadn't had the time to get around to it. We had some left over flooring that we used to cover the bulk head that holds up our ceiling. It looks fantastic!! And TAH DAH our new living room/spare bedroom!!!!
These are the doors we used as the entrance to the office/spare bedroom. We bought a Minwax dark stain and stained them to match our new floors.

This is the spare bedroom/office. We painted it a pale green (picture doesn't show it) and added brown curtains to the french doors (which we stained) so when people stay over they have some privacy.

This is the living room (looking at it from our hallway). We painted it cabbage green which is basically a bright lime green and we LOVE IT!! We had to tone down the green with dark furniture but LOVE the living room! (this picture has bad colouring too it, but you can see what we did to the bulk head)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Past Projects - Living Room/Spare Bedroom - Part 1

Where to even begin with this project. When we bought our house we knew our living room ceiling was drooping down and not support well. We knew it would have to be fixed eventually but we bought the house in January and there is little you can do in the cold winter months to fix a drooping ceiling. The plan for the FIRST day of home ownership was to just take all of the wallpaper off, paint the room and live with it until we had time to fix the ceiling. WELL as my brothers started peeling wallpaper we fast discovered that when you wallpaper over Plaster and Lathe the walls tend to come down with the wallpaper. Problem #1...... So our friend came over and took a look at the situation and advised that since it is a very old house and isn't insulated at all it would be beneficial to gut the 2 rooms, fix the ceiling and insulate then rebuild! Since it was still January we decided that would be the plan but we would wait until the first week in May for hopes that it would be warm. We did tear down one wall in the living room in the mean time (see picture below) OH before I forget I should definitely mention that 2 of the walls in our living room were dark pink STUCCO!! Yes the walls were stucco.... and ugly smoke infested pink. The other 2 walls were wallpaper over top of stucco..... Odd... very odd!!!!

Living Room before:
This is the spare bedroom before.. Yes you've got to love the pink wallpaper on the ceiling!!!!!

The caving in ceiling!!!

The start of a VERY LONG renovation. Ryan put his foot through the wall and was very proud!!! (Yes he's wearing my pj pants... don't remember why).

And this is how we lived for about 4 months. We actually hung our tv right on one of the studs.. it was kinda funny!!!

Seeing as this was our first big renovation on the house I was a little niave in how long it would actually take. I would like to point out that since we have radiators we can easily section off one half of the house, live in one side, renovate in the other side and not worry about constant dust! SO that was nice. BUT when you live in a 900 sq ft house and 1/3 of it is sectioned off it gets VERY squishy!!! From May until mid August we lived in half of our house, we could not use the front door so we had to get into the house via the back door. When we needed to turn the heat up we had to run around the house, through the front door and turn the heat up in there. We had a love seat sitting in our eat in kitchen across from the fridge with the tv positioned on a table only a few feet away. We literally had our bedroom, bathroom and kitchen and that was it! The rest of the house was full of furniture or was in the renovation section! NOW May was a VERY rainy month... which meant a LOT of being stuck in about 400 sq ft of space that is so crammed full of furniture that you can't move!!! Does that paint a picture of life for us for 4 months!!! It was tough and it was a real pain in the butt!!!! But we survived!! Stay tune for part 2 of the renovation, gutting the rooms and the rebuild!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Katelyn of Red Squirrel Studios has suped up our blog! Doesn't it look fantastic!!!! If you need any help with design and/or marketing you can find her at She does amazing work!!!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Basement Bathroom Installation - Part 1

When we bought our house in the basement there was a 'roughed in' bathroom. Ie. there was a drain where the toilet should be and where the sink should be... thats it. It was concrete floors and no framing at all. We started about 2 year ago by framing in the bathroom so we could drywall etc. BUT there were 8000 other projects more important than a second bathroom so it was put on hold until we could decide what we wanted to do with the bathroom.

The plan is to put a shower in there as we will need a place to get clean when it comes time to renovate the main bathroom upstairs. With that said we realized the ceiling height was barely 6 feet as it is at the back of the basement and you have to step up to get to it. The muddy muddy mess began!! On a fairly nice day last month (February) Ryan and 2 friends borrowed a jack hammer and dug up the concrete and dirt to make the bathroom deeper. I left for the day as I didn't even want to think of the mess that would be made. I came home a few hours later to a dust filled house, VERY muddy back step, a driveway FULL of dirt/concrete, 3 tired guys and a BIG hole in my basement. The highest ceiling in the house is now officially in our basement bathroom! They dug down about 2 feet!

Feeling all excited we had our plumber friends in to give us an estimate on rerouting the current plumbing to where we want it. Much to our dismay we found out that more digging was needed.... this time in front of our dryer in the back of the basement in order to find the water main so they can connect the new plumbing to it. MORE DELAYS... we didn't have time to dig up more concrete that weekend.

This past weekend my brother and Ryan got dirty again and started the digging in front of the dryer. I now have a 2 feet deep trench in front of my dryer which is a real pain when doing laundry. Not to mention that during the first digging the boys nicked the laundry drain pipe so now whenever I do laundry we have a BIG MUDDY WET mess in the 'new bathroom to be' room.. VERY annoying!!! On top of it all it was POURING rain all weekend and that didn't help with the muddy mess!!

SO now that we have everything ready we just have to get the plumbers out again to look at it and see what we can do. After that we will able to lay concrete AND our radiant flooring!!! OHH I'm so excited to have heated floors down there!!!! Its COLD in our basement due to little to no insulation so having heated floors is going to be fabulous!!!!!

Here is a picture of the bathroom so far... its a hole... literally. Hopefully in the next few weeks we will be able to progress on this project!

The Final Result

It took me awhile to take some final pictures of the completely finished room. But here they are, we added some purple sheer curtains behind the bed to bring out the purple that is in the quilt and we took the plastic off of the lamp shades! We also tacked the curtains up on the inside so they would wrap around the new built in closets! And finally we had to move the picture that hangs over the bed because when Ryan hung it about a year ago he hung it VERY crooked, so using a wall plug and a big hefty screw I hung it about 3 inches to the left of where it was!

We spent:

* The 2 built in closets = $111
* lamps = $110
* Ikea Sheer curtains = bought on store credit YEAH but were $9.99 plus tax
* Brown Curtains = left over material from a previous project(originally cost about $50)
* 2 extra long shelves for the top of the closet = $15
* 2 extra short shelves for putting clothes on = $12

For a grand whopping total of approximately $310 (if we had to buy everything) BUT since we had a few of the supplies it only cost us approximately $250!!! Now that's a thrifty makeover!!!

I have to say that this is my second favourite room in the house!!! The first being our living room... which will be posted in a 3-4 part blog coming soon as it was a LONG project to get it the way it is today!! Stay tuned for that!!!

I used the left over fabric from the purple and brown curtains to make a valence for over the window.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Ryan and I woke up VERY early this morning to work on our bedroom! We had already bought the closets but we still had to go to Home Depot and pick up lights and a bunch of stuff for other projects. So off to Home Depot we went. The lights I posted earlier that I said we were going to use... well apparently it isn't a lamp shade and is a cheap piece of plastic shade. We ended up spending about a half hour in the lamp aisle and found something that has worked out perfectly.

They were a little more expensive than we wanted but we LOVE the touch feature to turn them on. They are also plug in light so we didn't need to hard wire them in.

The reno started with building the shelves for the closet which was easy enough. Then there was lots of measuring and of course there was no stud in the wall where we needed it. SO we improvised and attached wood to the wall so the clothes racks rest on the wood piece and won't tear a huge hole in the drywall! It was finicky but well worth it. We did have a problem with hanging of the curtain rods for the doors of the closet but we brainstormed and our friend Dave came up with a good idea. And you can't even tell how they are hung so it isn't a big deal.
Anyway here is the before picture of our cramped bedroom!!!

Here is the closet installed

And the wonderful after!!!! The picture is a little misleading... the room actually seems double the size but because of the smallness of the room its hard to take a good photo.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I'm VERY excited for this weekend to start because I have a Saturday project that I'm very very excited about!!! This weekend we are giving our bedroom a MUCH needed makeover!!! Our bedroom is the only room in the house that we just painted and did nothing with. It is a 10x11 rooom with a queen size bed in it! SO there is very little room for much. We have managed to squeeze 2 dressers in there because there is a serious lack of closet space in our house. For those of you who own older homes you'll understand... basically back in the 20's when our house was built people had 5 outfits and didn't need big closets! For those of our who know us you know we have LOTS of clothes and even more shoes! SO clothes storage is key!!

The project this weekend is to build built in closets on either side of the bed and create some order in our chaotic room! I got the idea from one of my favourite blogs

We are going to do it similar but on less of a budget. I was VERY happy to find that Home Depot had exactly what I was looking for in a closet for (drum roll please) $49 each!!!!!! SO $100 poorer I walked out of home depot with a big smile on my face. This is the link to my closets, they are Akada Home organizers. Ryan was VERY pleased with my thriftiness as it leaves more money for our MAJOR ongoing basement bathroom project (more to come on that project at a later date) The plan is to install one of these on either side of the bed with the clothing rack attached directly to the wall. NOW we may have a problem if there is no stud anywhere close to where we need it to be... BUT we'll overcome that hurdle if it presents itself!

since the closests don't quite go all of the way to the ceiling we plan on installing an extra shelf at the top of extra stuff like sheets/hats etc. Then we are going to use dark brown curtains as doors to the new 'closets'. Since our quilt is brown, green and purple we are also going to attempt to accent the room in purple (when I say 'we' I mean 'I' am going to try to accent in purple.... we'll see if it lasts or not...) Ryan wants curtains above the bed as well (not just over the closet doors) SO I found some fabulous purple sheers that may just do the trick!!!

Next, lighting. The plan is to install these lights which are from Home Depot as well. They are a GREAT deal at only $29.99 per light! Yes they seem boring and white... but when I'm finished with them they won't be!!! I plan on doing a little jazzing up of them with some ribbon and beads! Stay tuned for the lamp transformation!!!

If I get lucky (and Ryan lets me) I may even have time to throw in a custom made chandelier!! OHH SO EXCITING!