Monday, March 31, 2014

Basement Remodel: Light at the End of the Tunnel

It's been another week of progress around here, and things are looking much different!

Recessed Lighting

  • We now have receptacles for six recessed lights in the basement!
  • Hopefully they don't look like this once it's all said and done
  • I also noticed while taking photos for this post that they drywalled over one of the lights!


Other Electrical

  • We moved the patio light upstairs to be centered between the sliding doors
  • We added a light downstairs
  • The kids bathroom upstairs had the vent fan and light on the same switch, so you were forced to use the fan at all times.  We had the fan put on its own switch.  Silence is golden!


Sliding doors fixed

  • The door guys came out and fixed the issue with the handles being different heights
  • The doors being 1/2" different is not easy to fix, and was a result of all the water damage, so it looks like we're simply stuck with that issue.



  • Drywall is on the ceiling, water damaged walls, and places where we demoed walls
  • It's looking like a real room!



  • There used to be a rigged-up method for watering the plants on the upper deck.  It was a 2" plastic hose threaded through the deck and attached with a 2x4 to the house.  It looked really amateur.
  • The plumber put a real pipe in the exterior wall of the house and added a real spigot on the upper deck.  Once the siding guys come through, it'll all be pretty and perfect!


Waterproofing and windproofing

  • New insulation went into the water damaged wall
  • New doors and windows were sealed with special tape and foam to keep the water out

You might also be interested in these posts:

Basement Remodel: Getting Started
Save money on your remodel by doing your own demo
Basement Remodel: Imperfect Progress

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Kids Bathroom: We're Wallpaper Free!!!

I totally stuck my finger in yet another pie this weekend - the "kids bathroom".  Not that we have a kid yet, but when she comes, this will be her bathroom.

When I finished removing the wallpaper, I did a little "We're Wallpaper Free!" scream similar to a Dave Ramsey debt-free scream.  There is NO MORE WALLPAPER in our house!!!

Before now, all we've done is add a piece of art and a shower curtain.  Both are in good shape and we like them, but they might not stay in here after the redecorating.

We've been holding off on this room because it was one of the least offensive in the house.  But then I thought about how torn up the walls were every other time we removed wallpaper, and how the drywall guy for our basement remodel was coming soon (and could patch any holes I made), and decided to go with it!

I have extra rolls of this that I may or may not have used as wrapping paper for wedding gifts...

The DIY gods were in our favor, because this wallpaper was SO EASY to remove.  It came off in huge sheets!  All the other wallpaper in this house has come off in tiny annoying little pieces and it took tens of hours to finish a single room.  This room was done in 20 minutes!

There's still glue on the walls, but I'm going to try putting an oil-based primer right over the glue to seal it in.  And by "I", I mean Tommy since it's full of VOCs and unhealthy for a pregnant lady.

We have a few other cosmetic changes in the queue for this bathroom:
  • Paint Walls 
  • Touch up Baseboards
  • Paint Vanity
  • Install new towel bar(s)
  • Lighten the Grout
  • Install new granite/marble counter

I have no idea where to go color-wise, so if you have any ideas, please let me know!

You might also be interested in these posts:

How to remove textured ceilings
Guest room wallpaper is gone
Seal in wallpaper glue with oil-based primer

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Zoo Quilt for Brooks

Here's my latest baby quilt, made especially for Baby Brooks!  Brooks' Mom pointed out that he and our baby will be in the same grade!

Zoo Animals Baby Quilt

Sweet little Brooks is the second child for our friends.  I made his old brother, Brecken, an Eye-Spy quilt a few years back.

Eye-Spy Baby Quilt
Eye Spy Quilt
Since the family already has an Eye-Spy quilt (you can make your own), I thought I'd mix it up a little with this one!

The pattern is called Zoo Sunsets, and was designed by my Mom.  Her design calls for the animals to be solid black, and placed on top of sunset prints.  I've been more interested in modern quilts lately, so I mixed it up a little, making the animals out of bright prints and putting them on a white background.

I also modified her quilt by shrinking it to be crib-sized.

She usually traces and cuts the shapes by hand, but I wanted to try using a Silhouette.  I transferred her images to the Silhouette Studio software, and had my Silhouette Cameo cut them out for me.  To be perfectly honest, it didn't do a good job, and it was more of a pain to transfer the images, clean them up, and deal with the sub-par cutting job than it would have been to just use my Mom's tried and true method.

But anyways!  After that I had my animals, and was able to put the quilt together!

I found the perfect backing at a local Modern Quilt Shop!

Aren't the animals cute?!

I love all the fun colors and animals, and I hope Brooks does too :)

You might also be interested in these posts:

Penelope's Eye Spy Quilt
Giuliana's Eye Spy Quilt
Quilt from Upcycled Dress Shirts

Monday, March 24, 2014

Basement Remodel: Imperfect Progress

The contractors have put in a few long days at this point, and have been making lots of progress!  Not all of it is perfect though, and one thing I've learned is this: If you can be home for your remodel, DO IT!!!

I've been able to telework for 2 of the 5 days they've been at our house.  The days I was there, I learned a lot about where the leak was coming from and how bad the damage really was.  I also learned how people cut corners, mess stuff up, and don't necessarily respect your property.  I saw a lot of things I otherwise would never have known about.

Also this: If you can't be there all day, go over all the work EVERY NIGHT with a fine-toothed comb.

So, what's been done?

New sliding doors in the living room

  • They broke the old one getting it out.  If I hadn't seen it shatter, I probably would have wondered about all those glass chunks under the couch for years....
  • The door handles were 5" different.  Yeah that's gotta get fixed!
  • The doors are installed 1/2" different in height.  Jury's out on the solution for this one.
  • In general, I'm expecting at least one door will have to be completely removed and replaced. 
the handles are 5" different in height

one door frame is 1/2" higher than the other

New window in the basement

  • Wasn't ordered with the grids like we asked, but it sounds like they can fix those after the job.
  • So much more light down there now!  It feels like a real room!
new window, new French door, and no rotten wood!

New French door in the basement

  • It's so pretty!!!
  • The panes are definitely smaller than the original sliding door, but we were willing to sacrifice view to have the French door down here.  Good thing we added that window!


Structural Work

  • It's not pretty.  I guess that's why they invented drywall!
  • The corner of the header got crushed during installation.  We brought it up to the contractor, and the ended up pulling it out, rotating it, and installing it where the crushed corner wouldn't take any of the load.
  • I also learned the extent of my Dad's engineering nerdiness, as he calculated the load on that crushed corner over the phone using his old textbooks that were copyrighted in 1914.  From what he calculated, and how bad the damage was, apparently we're really lucky the whole house wasn't caving in before we started this project!
  • On the positive side, there's no more rotten wood!


What was causing the leak

  • A big chunk of siding missing
  • No waterproofing under the sliding door
The bottom piece of siding is missing a triangle, so all the water shed by the siding 20 feet above this is able to get into the house.  No wonder the damage was so bad!
This is what it looked like when they removed the sliding door.  Those are shingles used as "waterproofing" on the left side, and nothing at all on the right side.  Which is what allowed water to rot out everything and cause stuff like that awesome hole in the floor.

 Other issues and things I've noticed

  • Only one of three exterior lights I ordered was shipped.  Good thing I opened the box and realized the error in time for them to send the other two before the electrician comes!
  • Subcontractors seem to be unreliable, and your contractor may have trouble getting in touch with them!
  • Keep an eye on how the guys treat your stuff.  Yeah, my landscaping looks like crap right now because it's the end of winter.  But that doesn't mean that throwing a sliding door on top of my crispy azaleas is OK!!!  And they're really lucky they only set the saw on my pansies and not my peony!!! 
  • If you want your furniture to survive your remodel, move it yourself and cover it well.

Everything I was ever warned about seems to be true.  It's expensive, it's loud, it's stressful, and you need to keep a close eye on what's happening.

I've already made Tommy promise we won't ever do a project bigger than this if we can help it!

You might also be interested in these posts:

Basement Remodel: Getting Started
Save money on your remodel by doing your own demo

Friday, March 21, 2014

Striped Monogram Pillow Shams {West Elm Knockoff}

Happy Friday, y'all!

I'm over at Teal & Lime today sharing a tutorial on making monogrammed pillow shams.  It's a beginner-level project with big results, so check it out!

DIY West Elm Pillow Shams |

You might also be interested in these posts:

Dye your bedspread
How to shorten a flat-weave rug
Make a cute cover for your dress form