Flooring fun {renovation update #7}

Well, this happened a few weeks ago. FLOOR12

That’s right, we finally moved in!

I’ve grown to hate moving, not because I’ve had a particularly bad moving experience, but because I’ve done it almost every year for the last eight years. However, I am happy to report that this was by far the easiest move I have ever done, not to mention hopefully the last for a while. I’m guessing most of it has to do with the fact that we have amazing friends who volunteered their time, strength, and large vehicles to help us. We had 11 people, 3 trucks, a suburban, and a large car, and we moved everything in three hours!

However, enough about the move. Let’s rewind about six weeks, when we had just finished the drywall and painting.

The next project on our list was one that both Steve and I were pretty excited and nervous about…installing hardwood floors! We were excited because it was really going to start pulling things together, but nervous because neither of us had ever actually installed hardwood floors before. After watching countless hours of HGTV and a few YouTube videos, we figured it couldn’t be too hard, and we jumped right in.

The first thing we had to do was make sure the floors were really clean and level. You don’t want dust or other debris under the floor because they will cause your floors to squeak in the future, and the same is true for uneven floors.

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The belt sander was a BEAST!

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Rookie mistake…letting the wife know you can vacuum!

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Ready for floors!

Before we could start putting the floors down, we had to put down a vapor barrier to protect the floors from moisture. It reminded me a lot of putting tar paper on a roof. You simply roll it out and staple it down to the floor.

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A big concern when installing hardwood floors is making sure that your boards run straight. It was an even bigger concern for us given that we were going to lay almost thirty feet of flooring. If we started going crooked in the beginning, you can only imagine how much the crookedness would be magnified by the end.

To ensure a straight start, we measured a board’s width (plus a little bit for an expansion gap) away from the wall at both corners of the room and snapped a chalk line. This was going to be our starting line.

However, it wasn’t just as simple as lining up our first board on the line and nailing it in. We had to do a little bit of back tracking because we had to put floors down in the doorway near our new sliding door. We lined up boards on our chalk line and worked backwards, measuring and cutting the boards that would fit in the doorway. After we did a dry fit to guarantee everything fit the way we wanted it to, it was time to nail them down.

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Steve was looking forward to the nailing part of the floors because it involved playing with a bunch of different air nailers. You know what they say about boys and their toys! The primary nail gun we were going to use looked like this:

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It is specially designed for nailing hardwood floors. It fits right in the tongue of the floorboard so the nail shoots diagonally into the floor in just the right place. It also has a handle that allows you to stand while nailing, instead of getting up and down off the floor a million times. To activate the gun, you simply hit the designated button with a mallet and BOOM, you have a nail.

This nail gun was an absolute miracle. I’m not sure how they used to install hardwood floors before they were invented! Unfortunately, we weren’t able to use it near the walls. Instead, we had to use a smaller nail gun and put a nail through the top of the floors, commonly known as face nailing. After we finish all of the floors, (Spoiler alert: We haven’t actually finished all of the floors in the house…but we have finished most of them) we are going to go back and fill all these little holes in with wood filler and stain them the same color as the floor.

The first few rows were the most tedious, both because we wanted to ensure we started straight and we were still learning how to do it.

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Yet another superstar friend, Felicia, helping us out!

However, once we figured out our rhythm, there was no stopping us.

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Step 1: Take wood out of box

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Step 2: Lay out floors

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Step 3: Nail down floors

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Not bad for one day!

By the end of the weekend, we had about two-thirds of the main floor finished. It wasn’t quite as far as we’d hoped to get, seeings as my dad was coming the following weekend to help us install the kitchen cabinets, but it was far enough that we could finish the floors and have enough time to install the cabinets while my dad was in town.

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Unfortunately the last picture I have of the floors…

All in all, our first flooring adventure was a success. It is definitely a very physically demanding job; when I woke up on Monday morning, my legs were very sore from getting up and down off the floor so many times.

Steve and I have a pretty good system down, and the few floors we have left will be a breeze.

Until our next renovation update,

Amanda

Mud, sand, repeat {renovation update #6}

Any time you mention mudding and taping to anyone who has done it before, you typically get the same response – one of hatred. When it came time to mud and tape all the drywall we had just hung, Steve and I were confident that it couldn’t be that bad.

For those of you unfamiliar with mudding and taping, it is the process in which you smooth out all of the seams and screw holes in the drywall using a plaster-like substance called mud. This is what gives the walls the flat look that you see after you paint them.

The first step in the process is to tape all of the seams where two pieces of drywall meet, including the corners. The reason you have to tape the seams before filling them with mud is to prevent cracking in the future.

There are two different types of tape – paper and fiberglass. We used the fiberglass tape, mainly because it was easier to apply. Simply put, it was a roll of self-adhesive mesh. It looked a little something like this.

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All we had to do run the tape over the seam. Since it’s self-adhering, it easily stuck to the drywall.

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After the tape was up, it was time to break out the mud.

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When it came to mudding, we learned that it definitely sounds a lot easier than it actually is. The mudding process ultimately goes like this – take some mud on a putty knife, spread it on the wall, and let it dry. Sounds easy, right?

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Just keep mudding…mudding…mudding…

When we first started, it was definitely not that easy. It took us some time to figure out the appropriate amount of mud to apply, what tools worked best, and what techniques worked best in the different areas. The perks of having to apply multiple coats of mud is that it gives you lots of practice! By the end we were getting pretty good!

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After each layer of mud had dried, we had to sand the surface. If you’re thinking that this sounds like an absolute mess, you’re right. The dust produced from sanding the mud was really fine and got EVERYWHERE! Whenever we were sanding, we usually left the house looking like we had gray hair and white skin. (Huge shout out to our friends Amanda and Kevin who not only helped us hang all the drywall, but were around for multiple sandings!)

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This fancy sanding block made sanding interior corners much easier!

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And when you’ve finished sanding all the seams, you start over. You are supposed to apply three coats of mud, and in some places I’m pretty sure we applied more than that because it didn’t look quite right yet.

Knowing when to stop was definitely one of the hardest parts of mudding. As soon as you think you’re done and you look somewhere else, you see something you want to fix.

After two weeks of mudding, we called it good enough. There are definitely a few places that aren’t as perfect as we hoped to get them, but nobody has said anything about it yet. 🙂

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With the mudding officially complete, we went ahead and painted the entire main floor of the house…in a weekend!

We stuck with pretty neutral wall colors because I’m really not sure how I’m going to decorate yet. I figured it was easier to change pillows and curtains than it was to change entire wall colors. Also, with the space being so open concept, I wasn’t really sure how to transition colors from one space to another. I have an idea for an accent wall in the dining room, but we aren’t going to worry about that until later.

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Our renovation superstar friend, Amanda, painting the ceiling

The biggest change we made was getting rid of the sun mural that was on our living room wall. It was a little too 70’s for us…

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Here’s what it looks like now. Sooo much better!

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The kitchen got painted a little funny because we didn’t see the point of painting walls we were just going to cover with cabinets. We painted the area around the window that I knew you would see, as well as the area between the base and wall cabinets. We are planning on putting up a backsplash in the future, but until then I figured beige walls looked better than drywall.

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If you’ve been following our progress on Facebook, you know that we’re actually much further than this. In fact, the entire kitchen is already installed and functioning. 🙂 However, to get to that point has required many long hours, meaning I haven’t had much time to blog. I have pictures and will eventually get around to getting all of our renovation adventures up here. We move into the new house in two weeks, so you probably won’t here from me until after we’re settled. So if you don’t hear from me for a while, don’t worry – I’ll be back…I promise!

Until our next renovation update,

Amanda

Duct work and drywall {renovation update #5}

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentines Day! Steve and I spent a romantic evening working on the house while sharing a bottle of wine. It was a pretty perfect evening!

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We’ve been hit by both sickness (again…) and bad weather these past few weeks, but we’re still managing to make progress on the house. We have officially hit the point in the renovation where we are starting to close things up and put the house back together, starting with the big hole we tore in the dining room ceiling. However, before we could officially close it up, we had to do one last thing…

Back when we tore the wall down in our kitchen, we discovered that the cold air return from the upstairs was being routed through this wall. This meant that we had to get creative and figure out some alternative way to get the air back to the furnace to be recirculated. We had an HVAC professional come out and give us a quote on his solution. He talked about connecting up to some existing ducts in the basement, running up the wall of the main floor, and hooking onto the duct in the ceiling. It sounded complicated, not to mention expensive.

Steve had done some thinking about the problem already and had a solution he wanted to throw out to the HVAC guy. There was already a duct routed to the basement underneath the stairs. It was a straight shot (well, relatively straight) to this duct from the existing one, so Steve was thinking we could just hook the two up and the air would be directed downstairs, right where it needed to go. After hearing this, the HVAC guy seemed to think that was a much better idea. He also informed us that there were no permits required for the alterations we wanted to do, meaning we could do the work ourselves, and that’s exactly what we did.

As with everything in our house, the duct that we needed was a custom size, meaning we couldn’t just walk into Lowe’s and buy what we needed. We had the piece made by the local HVAC company that had come out to give us a quote, and this is what they gave us.

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Doesn’t exactly look like a duct, does it…

The first step of this process was to remove the end cap that was on the duct we wanted to extend. This sounds trivial but was far from it. The piece of metal on the end of the cap had been notched and crimped, but with a few tools and a little hard work, it didn’t stand a chance against Steve.

After the end of was off, we were ready to hook up our new ducts. Because we had to direct the duct over by about 12 inches, we used a combination of straight and angled ducts. The angled ducts were already constructed. However, since the HVAC company was unsure of exactly how long the straight pieces needed to be, we were given an 8 foot duct that we needed to cut to size and assemble.

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The straight ducts were pretty easy to assemble. We simply cut each half of the duct to the desired length, slid them together, and made sure they were tight. Then it was up into the ceiling where they was connected to the existing duct.

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After everything was in place, it was time to seal the joints using a nasty smelling putty.

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Oh, and duct tape!

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Who woulda thought to use duct tape on actual ducts!?!?!

It didn’t take more than a few hours and we had the new duct in the ceiling. After we were sure it wasn’t going anywhere, it was time to close up the ceiling. That’s right, it was finally time for drywall!

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Voila!

We started our drywall adventure in the dining room, where we had just finished installing the new duct. There was no way Steve and I were going to lift a full piece of drywall up to the ceiling and hold it in place while one of us screwed it in, so we called in the troops. We were fortunate to have our friends Kevin and Amanda come over and give us a hand. Unfortunately, all hands were on deck for this project, so I don’t have any pictures of us putting these pieces up, but here’s what it looked like afterwards:

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The actual process of hanging drywall is pretty simple. Take measurements, cut the piece to size (and cut holes for electrical boxes), and screw it on the wall. I was expecting that we would be able to hang all of our drywall in a weekend, but it ended up taking us a whole week.

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Cutting out a hole for an electrical box

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Part of the reason it took so long was due to the fact that we had a ton of little pieces to hang due to the odd shape of the area we were covering. This is a big no no in the world of dry-walling, but we had no choice; believe me, we paid for it when it came time to mud and tape!

The other reason it took us so long was because of an incident we had with our thermostat. The thermostat was located on a wall that needed a piece of drywall, which seemed pretty simple to us – unhook the thermostat, pull the wires through a hole in the drywall, and reattach the thermostat. After we got everything hooked back up, we noticed that the heat wasn’t turning back on. It turns out we forgot one crucial step…turning the breaker for the thermostat off. Luckily we just blew a fuse on the furnace and we were able to have it repaired the next morning.

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This is what the thermostat looked like when I got to the house the morning they came to fix the furnace. Brrrrr…

Oh, and during the week we were hanging drywall, we had this beauty installed! Soooo much better than the ugly brown door that was there before. Not to mention that it keeps the cold out!

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We’re just about done with the mudding and taping, but I’ll save that for another post. 🙂

Until our next adventure,

Amanda

House juices are flowing {renovation update #4}

I’m happy to report that the flu has almost left the Sendelbach house! Steve still has a little bit of a residual cough, but we’re back at it again, and the house juices are officially flowing!

First off, the electricians came two weeks ago. It took them two entire days of work, but we have electricity flowing through the house! They reconfigured all of the outlets in the kitchen, ran wire for pendant lights over the peninsula, added overhead lighting in the living room, dining room, and all three bedrooms, and they brought the house up to code by installing smoke detectors in all the required places – no wonder it took them two days!

We don’t have any actual outlets in the kitchen yet (the electrical is only roughed-in…), so I guess we will just keep supplying power to the main level via extension cord from the upstairs bathroom. I can’t wait until we have functional outlets down there!

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All those blue boxes are future outlets

There have also been a lot of creative juices flowing lately, as we have started painting in the upstairs bedrooms! I’m really excited because painting means that we’re finally done tearing things apart (for the most part!) and we are starting putting the house back together!

We chose to start in the master bedroom because that is the one room we really want complete before we move in. We could live in a room that is completely torn apart, but we’re all for avoiding that if possible!

If you recall, the master bedroom looked a little something like this:

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That’s right…pink walls, pink ceiling, pink trim, pink doors, and heck, even pick outlets! That’s right, even the actual outlets were painted pink! I’m not really sure who thought it was a good idea to stick a paint brush in an outlet, but it’s definitely not something I would do!

If an entire pink room wasn’t enough, the room had been painted poorly (drips running down the wall, obnoxious streaking where a paint brush was used, etc.) in a glossy paint…which added another level of complexity to the process.

The first thing we had to do to prepare the walls for painting was to patch all of the holes in the wall using spackling. And believe me, there were a lot of holes to patch! There were random pin holes all over the room, plant hooks that had been gouged into the ceiling, multiple sets of window coverings that had been hung haphazardly, cracks over the doorways, and the closet had a hole large enough that it could have been from somebody’s fist!

Luckily, spackling itself is pretty easy. You simply put some spackle on a putty knife,

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Spackle!

And spread it in the hole and let it dry.

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You don’t need to worry about getting it perfectly smooth because after it dries it gets a nice sanding.

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Nice big crack above the door that Steve did a great job patching

Speaking of sanding, that was our next step in the bedroom. If you recall, the paint on the walls had a glossy finish, meaning that there would be nothing for the new paint to adhere to. We had to create a rough surface for the paint to stick to, and we did that by sanding the entire room…by hand!

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That has definitely been my least favorite part of the renovation. It was really dusty and you saw no progress being made. However, it was a great arm workout!

After everything had been sanded, including the ceiling, it was time for a quick wash and then we were ready to paint!

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All prepped for painting!

The first part of the room we painted was the ceiling, which was much more difficult than both Steve and I had imagined. It was hard for a few reasons. First of all, the tools we had for the job weren’t exactly the best. We had purchased a roller that had a splatter shield to prevent us from getting more paint on ourselves than on the ceiling, but I swear the roller wasn’t actually circular. When you ran it across the ceiling it felt somewhat like I imagine it would feel driving a car with square tires. Plus, the fact that the ceiling was glossy made it really easy for our uneven roller to just slide across the ceiling instead of rolling.

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After two coats of ceiling paint, it was time for the walls! Our bedroom has a rustic Americana theme, so we decided to go with a neutral tan room (Nomadic Desert from Sherwin-Williams to be exact). I had toyed with the idea of a deep blue accent wall that matches the blue in our quilt, but I don’t want the room to get too dark, so we’re going to hold off for now.

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It looks soooooo much better!

We used Sherwin-Williams’ Emerald paint, and let me tell you, that stuff is AMAZING!! It is self-priming (so there was no need to prime the wall) and was incredibly thick, meaning it only took one coat. I had originally gotten two gallons of paint tinted that color, but we didn’t even go through a half gallon! I guess some other places in our house are going to be that color too!

We still have a little bit of painting to do in this room, like the closet and the window, but I’m just thankful it is no longer pink!

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I couldn’t resist! Love my hubby!

Besides painting, there have been a few other creative juices flowing as well. My company had free tickets to the Remodeling Expo being held in Baltimore. Since the tickets were free, we thought we would go check it out, perhaps find some inspiration.

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However, when we got there, it looked like this.

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That’s right, there was no one there! We went to the show on Friday night, which happened to be the first day of the expo. I expected it to be slow, but not dead. Because there was no one there, we were swarmed by just about everybody that had a booth. After getting suckered into making two appointments for free window estimates, we got much better at telling people we weren’t interested. In the end the expo wasn’t what we had hoped, but you never know until you check it out!

On a happier note, we officially ordered our kitchen cabinets! Feast your eyes on a sneak peak of the kitchen that will soon be! It is going to be AWESOME!

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Design by Cabinet Discounters

Next up, drywall!

Until our next renovation update,

Amanda

Open concept {renovation update #3}

We had big plans for the house today, but this is our reality instead…

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Poor guy…

Steve went down yesterday afternoon with the flu, and I’m definitely headed in the same direction. Instead of making progress on the house, I’ll just have to update you on last weekend’s adventure – removing the load bearing wall!

When we talked to the structural engineer a few months ago, he not only confirmed our fears that the wall we wanted to remove was load bearing, but also gave us the instructions on how to safely take it down. If you find yourself wanting to tackle a project like this in your house, please consult an engineer; the specs on the materials you need will be different than ours due to the difference in houses.

After getting proper approval from the county, the first thing we had to do was place a temporary wall next to the existing wall. This temporary wall would support the weight of the house while we removed the load bearing wall and replaced it with a support beam.

BEAM16The temporary wall needed to carry the load all the way to the basement, so we actually had to build two temporary walls. One on the main floor, and another wall directly underneath it in the basement. Luckily for us, we had a partial wall in the basement already, saving us some time and materials.

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We had to put a few studs in a closet to complete the temporary wall in the basement

Our temporary walls were simple stud walls constructed out of 2×4’s. We attached a 2×4 to the floor and ceiling (more correctly, the floor joists above), and toe-nailed 2×4’s between them. We cut each 2×4 just a tad bit long so that it had to be pounded into place. This helped ensure that the weight of the house was being supported.

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Measuring studs

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Cutting studs

And before we knew it, we had a temporary wall!

BEAM8Now it was time to start thinking about the beam. Below is a diagram of how the beam will look from the side.

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The first step was to place our support posts in the basement. Our posts consisted of three 2×4’s screwed together. The posts were placed directly under the posts that were supporting the beam. These posts will help distribute the weight from the beam all the way to the foundation, ensuring that our house doesn’t fall down.

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The right beam in the basement

Then it was time to start preparing the support posts upstairs. If you look at the drawing above, you will notice that there are two different heights for the 2×4’s that will support the beam. The 2×4 on the end is the same height as the top of the beam. This is what is called the king stud. We needed to get the king studs in place before we could measure the length of the beam, but in order to do that, we had to do a little bit of demolition.

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Tearing out the end of the wall to make room for the king stud

Once the king studs were in place, it was time to measure and prepare the beam. Our beam was made out of a material called laminated veneer lumber, or LVL. LVL is essentially a bunch of really thin pieces of wood glued together. This construction process is what makes the wood so strong and a great candidate for a support beam.

The LVL at our lumberyard came in a width of 2″, so we actually had to construct a beam out of two pieces of LVL to reach our desired width of 4″. First up, cutting our boards to the right length.

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Our new miter saw had no problem cutting the LVL

We then attached the two pieces together other using both liquid nail and screws.

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Liquid nail!

Now it was finally time to take down the wall! The wall was actually much harder to take down than we had expected. Not because it was load bearing, but rather because there were ducts running on both sides of the wall, making it really difficult to get at the nails that were holding the wall together. With the help of our trusty reciprocating saw and some muscle, the wall didn’t stand a chance!

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BEAM5The last thing left to do before we put the beam up was cut the remaining 2×4’s we would need to support the beam. These are the shorter 2×4’s in the diagram above and are called the jack studs. After we had these measured and ready to go, we called in the troops. There was no way that Steve and I were going to lift and secure the beam by ourselves, so we had a few friends come help us out.

The installation of the beam was actually a very fast process. The boys lifted the beam up and the girls slipped the jack studs in place underneath it. I don’t have any pictures of us actually installing the beam because all hands were helping with the beam.

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The wall is gone and the beam is in place!

Once everything was in place, the temporary wall came down and we officially had an open concept living area!

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The view from the future kitchen looking out to the living room

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The view from the living room into the future kitchen

We LOVE the open concept feel of the main floor! Next on the docket is the electrical work, then it’s time for inspections and drywall! In the meantime, we have been preparing the bedrooms upstairs for paint!

Until our next renovation update,

Amanda

Bye bye bikes {renovation update #2}

Happy New Year everyone! We had the chance to celebrate the new year with some good friends of ours who we hadn’t seen in a while. We had a low key evening full of fondue, boardgames, and our first ever bananas foster!

Natalie, Joel, Steve, Amanda

Photo compliments of Natalie at Vegetablog

In house renovation world, we started 2014 off with a bang! At our last update, we had just returned back to Maryland after being in Minnesota for the holidays. Since then we have made a TON of progress!

Steve and I both took off of work through January 2. We figured that having a few solid days to devote to the house would help get us motivated and geared up for the big projects ahead, and I have to say, it worked!

One project on our list was to remove all of the wallpaper in the house. I had done a little bit of wallpaper removal before, but I was not prepared for what awaited us in the new house. The kitchen, one entire bedroom, and the master bathroom were all covered in wallpaper! And that, my friends, is a lot of wallpaper!

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Hence the title of the blog post…the wallpaper in this room was all bikes!

Luckily, my mom let us bring her wallpaper steamer back to Maryland to help make the process a little easier. If you’ve never removed wallpaper, let me give you a quick tutorial.

First you score the wallpaper. You do this by running a little handheld tool with teeth all over the wallpaper. This creates holes in the wallpaper to allow the steam to get under the wallpaper evenly. We didn’t think the scoring made it any easier and it put holes in our walls, so we didn’t score much of our wallpaper.

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If you look closely you can see all of the holes the scoring tool is puncturing in the wallpaper

After the wallpaper is scored and the steamer is heated, you simply hold the steamer over a patch of wallpaper for 20 seconds or so, and then you peel that part of the wallpaper off.

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Not really sure why I look so happy…it’s not really that fun

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Making progress!

Most of our wallpaper was easy to reach, but we did have to get creative to remove the wallpaper over the stairwell.

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Who knew the support beam would come in handy for more than just holding up the house!

Removing wallpaper is very tedious and somewhat boring task, but it had to be done. The one thing I liked about it was that I could see progress being made! We have successfully finished removing the wallpaper in the bedroom and kitchen. We decided to wait on the bathroom for now because we aren’t renovating bathrooms until later.

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Bye bye bikes!

Another big focus of ours was to finish most of the demolition. At our last update, we had torn most of the kitchen apart. We have since then finished demolition in the kitchen.

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The cinder block wall that you see in the kitchen is a shared wall with our neighbors. We have learned that this wall is commonly referred to as the ‘party wall’. Along the wall there are a bunch of flat boards called furring strips nailed into the block wall. As I was trying to remove one of those boards, I may have done this…

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That’s right…I bent the head of the hammer…I’m a beast like that!

So I decided I would resort to using my bare hands! 🙂

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The kitchen wasn’t the only place that demolition was going on. As soon as we had seen this house and decided it was the house for us, Steve and I were both itching to rip up the carpet that was throughout the house. It. Was. Nasty!

The first thing we had to do was to rip up the tack strips that ran along the edge of the carpet. Tack strips are little pieces of woods that have spikes on one side that hold the carpet in place.

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After removing all the tack strips and trim, we were able to roll up all the carpet.

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Then it was time to get it out of the house!

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Very thankful for friends with trucks!

There was 35 years worth of dust under nearly all the carpet, so a cleaning was in order once the carpet was gone.

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It looks so much better with the carpet gone! And it’s much less dusty!

One last place that needed a little demolition love was the wood paneling in the basement bedroom. We are not actually renovating and finishing that bedroom at this time, but we needed access to the insides of those walls when we removed the load bearing wall in the kitchen.

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Pardon all the dust in the picture…

Speaking of basements, we have this sitting in ours:

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That would be 1,300 square feet worth of hardwood floors that happens to weigh around 4,000 pounds! Our stove was delivered last week, we purchased a microwave, and the dishwasher comes tomorrow morning.

We may have also finished one of the biggest tasks of this whole renovation, but I’m going to save that adventure for its own post.

Until our next renovation update,

Amanda

I can see through walls {renovation update #1}

Happy {belated} holidays everyone! We were blessed enough to get to spend Christmas with our families back in Minnesota.

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Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful time, but I am glad to be back home!

I know I promised you a renovation update a while ago, and it has now been six weeks since we closed on the house. I’ve had every intention of writing this post, but ever since we got keys to the house, things have been pretty crazy.

We’ve had a wedding in Wisconsin,

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Congrats again Sarah and Andy!

And Christmas Parties,

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And a trip to Chicago to spend a weekend with the girls.

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Now don’t get me wrong, each and every one of those things was fun, but unfortunately more time spent doing fun things means less time spent working on the house. As I look back at the last six weeks, I’m actually impressed at how much we were able to get done given how little time we’ve had to devote to the house!

Without further ado, the first renovation update!

Our renovation story really starts before we even got keys. As soon as our offer had been accepted, we started thinking about the renovations we wanted to do to the house. We frequently wandered Lowe’s just looking at any and everything from light fixtures to cabinets to appliances. We were trying to get an idea of what we liked and what we didn’t like, as well as looking for inspiration and motivation.

Once we had some ideas, we started talking to the specialists to get prices and quotes. We had talked to kitchen stores, flooring stores, and we had even done a little appliance shopping, all before we had even closed.

Up until a week before we closed, we hadn’t purchased anything; we had only looked. However, that changed when we discovered that Sherwin Williams was having their semi-annual sale where almost everything in the entire store was 40% off. We knew that sale wouldn’t come again before we were ready to paint our house, so we decided to go ahead and purchase 24 gallons of paint. That’s right, twenty-four. That, my friends, is an awful lot of paint! All the paint is white, and all we have to do is take it back to the store when we know what colors we want!

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This brings us to November 16th, the day after we got the keys. Due to our diligent work ahead of time, we were able to hit the ground running. We spent the morning getting acquainted with the house – understanding where the water pipes ran, determining which breakers controlled which outlets…you get the picture. We had afternoon appointments with the sliding door salesman and a structural engineer, and both were very successful. The salesman helped us order us a new (expensive!) sliding door, and the structural engineer confirmed our suspicion that the wall we wanted to remove was load bearing.

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The hole the engineer put in our ceiling while assessing the situation

Knowing that the wall could come down and having a plan about how to do it, the demolition began!

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Yes, that is an axe

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We were fortunate enough to have some friends from church help us get things started…I think they had fun smashing holes in the wall!

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Upper cabinets are down!

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Removing the sink plumbing

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Capping off the water lines so we could turn the water back on

In about a week, we had the kitchen pretty well torn apart. As with all renovations, we found some surprises. Once you start opening up walls, you never quite know what you’re going to find. Luckily for us, we didn’t find any serious problems, but rather just things we were going to need to reconsider about our design.

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Like the fact that water pipes run through the wall we want to take down…

Or that the wall we wanted to take down was acting as a cold air return for the upstairs…

Or how we are going to move the stove vent…

After much thought and talking to several professionals, we have come up with solutions for all of our little setbacks. And to be honest with you, that is  what we’ve spent the majority of our time doing this past month.

The other big project we worked on was drawing up the paperwork and plans necessary to get a building permit from the county, and I am happy to report that we have officially gotten approval! Now we can start putting it back together!

Until our next renovation update,

Amanda