The Make Room Challenge: Week One–The Master Bedroom

I am such a sucker for design/organization challenges!  Sure, I can organize on my own but I tend to get a little ADD and lose steam.  But a daily or weekly goal that’s not set by me?  Bizarrely enough this makes it easier.

Clearly my failure is at goal setting.

Anyways… I saw a big, shiny banner ad for The Inspired Room’s new book Make Room for What You Love and since I pretty much am every click-bait advertisers dream I went to check it out.  I hoped it going to be like the KonMari trend without the talking to your shoes.

So I click on the ad for this book and it turns out they’re doing a promotional organizational challengey thing. SOLD.  And by “sold” I mean “signed up for free.”  Five weeks of organization goals sent to your inbox every week and since I’m in Spring Cleaning mode this works out perfectly for me!

Week One is the master bedroom.  Specifically organizing clothing and accessories.  This was very much on my to-do list anyway so the timing was perfect.

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I am so ashamed to be showing this picture online… this is seriously what the top of our dressers have looked like for months.

 

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My closet is actually fairing a little better thank god.

Step one is to take everything out of your drawers/closet.  I decided to tackle my closet and dresser separately so I didn’t have complete clothing chaos and I started with the closet.

 

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Ooof-duh as we say in Minnesota.

At this point I ever-so-slightly switched gears. Ya’ll have probably heard of capsule wardrobes I’m guessing?  Where you pair done your clothing to around 30 pieces for each season?  While that’s a little too minimal for me (and I am most definitely not a minimalist) I think the concept is solid and the guidelines to get you started can be used for just about anyone to sort out unworn items and pinpoint their style. Try not to get hung up on emotional attachments.  Sure it was a gift, but is it any better for something to sit there unused rather than donating it?  Or maybe it’s something you bought with high hopes but never worn.  It happens to all of us, if it’s really not working, toss it even if it’s brand new.

The first things I put back in my closet were the things I wore constantly.  We all have those things.  After my favorites were hanging up I looked at their overall color selection and style feel. Everything I put back after this I tried to blend with that palette and style. This is the big reason I opted to do the closet first–it’s where my more stylish pieces are (my dressers is more undies, t-shirts, tanks, and PJs).

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Better, right?

 

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And the stuff I’m bidding a fond farewell to.

I did the same thing to my dresser, but the photos are less interesting and I am most definitely am not posting a photo of my knicker drawer.  My shame does have some boundaries. Trust me though, the inside is way better.

 

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And so is the top!  My jewelry was the big killer–I never got a good system in place after we moved so the tops of both of dressers just became my personal dumping ground.  The shelf brackets and hooks are from IKEA and I had a leftover board to use as the shelf.  BAM storage top and bottom!  I didn’t bother painting them because, while I have an idea in mind for the bedroom, I don’t know the exact colors yet. Same goes for the mirror–that was salvaged from our bathroom (don’t you recognize the brown?).  I was trying it out in the space for balance.  I think I have a better mirror for here though, I just need to find it….

I still have a ways to go–I want to get some drawer dividers for my dresser and completely revamp my closet system.  Those are projects for another day, but purging all the clutter is the first step.

Adventures in Gardening

As Matt worked on the shed, I worked on digging up the stones on half of our patio.  I like the stones, but the patio as-is just isn’t working so I’m going to reporpose the stones for paths and edging elsewhere.

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I’m currently about 1/3 of the way through the patio.  Looks gorgeous, huh?  We’ve got a fine crop of weeds this year. (you can also see my make-shift herb/veggie garden in the pots–tomato, basil, and mint.  It will be a good summer for caprese and mojitos…. if I can keep basil alive more than a week…)

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This isn’t going to be the final layout (there will be a fair amount of tetris-ing, I’m sure) but I wanted to get an idea of how many of the stones I would need before I start digging them into place.  I’m also planning on having some sort of ground-cover between the stones so those un-mowable patches of weeds won’t be staying.

I also have a PSA for newbie-gardeners:  know thy evil plants.

I grabbed a pretty innocuous looking weed to rip it up and immediately knew something was amiss by the stabbing pain.  Ok thorns, no biggie, right? WRONG!  The stabbing/burning continued after I let go.  Ohshit.  I ran my hand under cold water and washed it with soap to try and wash away whatever toxin was causing the burning, but no luck. I even tried hot water which is a treatment for marine stingers… doesn’t work with mid-western flora apparently. On a whim I googled “Stinging nettles” and sure enough, it looked exactly like what I had grabbed bare-handed.  Joy.  The next morning–12 hours later–my hand was still burning.  I tried hydro-cortisone and antihistamines but it still didn’t really start to subside until around 18 hours later.  For the next couple of days it still felt like I had a mostly-healed burn on my palm.

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It doesn’t look all that terrifying does it?  The barbs on the stems really just look like fuzz… until you grab them.  I was feeling kind of like a dumbass for not knowing what stinging nettles look like (#citygirl) but apparently none of my co-workers did either.  One found out about them the same way I did, but another just knew she had these killer plants in her yard (seriously, one just brushed against her arm once and started the whole burning awfulness).  My sister suggested this link for weed identification… but she also suggested having Matt do all the weed pulling and I kind of like that idea.

It doesn’t help matters that we have another plant that looks pretty similar to the nettles.

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This one?  Not a nettle.  The leaves are still jagged, but a little broader and they get bluebell-like flowers on them later in the summer.  Anyone know what they really are?  The leaves seem to wrong for bluebells…

 

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Fuzzy stem, still not a nettle.  These guys get brown-eyed susan like flowers on them, but they’re way taller (about 4+ feet at their peak) and spindly-er than the brown-eyed susans I’m used to.

 

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These guys just flowered.  The flowers are more purple than they look here and I think they’re adorable… I just have no clue what they are.

 

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And my final mystery plant… I don’t remember these flowering last summer (but we didn’t move in until July).  It’s currently about 2 feet tall and too well-placed for me to just write off as a weed.

For those of you playing along at home, any ideas on my mystery plants?  The first 2 have just about taken over our back yard so they clearly spread like mad.

Demo Day on the Shed

Goodbye sad little shed, we will not miss you. Especially since you were a beast to take down.

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It may not have looked like much, but this thing was surprisingly solid.  We started by detaching it from our fence so that wouldn’t get pulled down with it.  Then Matt went it and unscrewed everything he could and then took a crowbar to the roof.

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An hour later he had the roof off, but it was ungodly heavy.

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“Real men work in khakis.” –Matt  Also, this was just 2 weekends ago and we really did need jackets.  Yay for early May in Minnesota.  At least it wasn’t snowing….

Before we could do anything else we stripped off all the shingles–they weighed a ton!  Then we were able to wrestle the roof away from where it fell so Matt could work on breaking it down into manageable chunks.

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After lunch we tackled the walls.  Some of the plywood panels pried off relatively easier than others….

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After about 3 hours of work the whole thing was down.  The shed was really assembled in the most mind-boggling way–nails, screws, bolts, staples… they used every kind of fastener known to man.  Plus, every one of the 4×4’s supporting the corners was made up of multiple pieces sistered together.  3 were 2 separate pieces, and one was made up of 3 different pieces cobbled together.

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WTF?

It still doesn’t look like much, but I think it looks better.  It’s one of the sunnier parts of our backyard so may be a possible spot for our future vegetable garden.

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Spring Cleaning: Media

Another trouble spot for me is Media.

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Music

I have my music pretty solidly under control since I switched to download only for any new purchases and ripped everything else to computer several years ago. I’ve known some music snobs though who still prefer to buy CDs so they can control the settings when they rip them to their computer.  If you’re among the music snobs you may still want to back everything up on an external drive and then rid yourself of the physical  CDs.  Seriously, you Do Not Need Them.

My personal favorite media player is iTunes (yup, I’m an Apple fan girl*).  It’s free, and I really like their sorting options.  Most people know iTunes, but not everyone knows the extent of their sorting options (heck, Matt still complains about their options and I don’t think he’s used iTunes in a decade).  I also have a nice Bluetooth speaker so I don’t have to haul my computer around to listen to music around the house.

Movies + TV

DVDs are my main trouble spot.  Most downloads are protected and will only play on whatever player the seller says (ex: iTunes, Amazon Video).  I don’t particularly care for these restrictions so I continue to buy hard copy.* Unfortunately DVDs take up gobs of space.

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It’s not even that bad, but shuffling through all the boxes was annoying, plus Matt started to complain about my collection so I decided to compact it because I’m a good wife. Matt’s a fan of the disc binders but I think they look kind of ugly.  You can get nicer looked ones, but they’re pricey and the style still doesn’t fit what I’m looking for.  I opted for inexpensive CD sleeves, labels, and a couple small bins.

Labels: $10/350, Mircrocenter

Sleeves: $2 /100, Microcenter

Bins: $6, Target

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Please ignore my slightly dysfunctional curtains…

I have one bin for movies and one for TV (and a third for the extras/special features disc).  I may add some dividers for genre/TV Show Name, but right now it’s just alphabetical.  The movie labels have the movie title, rating, and run time, and the TV labels have the show name, season/disc number, and episode names.  On some I could fit the episode names on the main label, but for others I had to print a second which I just stuck on the back.

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It works for now, but I have dreams of creating a CD sized card catalog style drawer system some day.  I’ve been looking for plain wooden CD drawers that I could cobble together, but no such luck so far.  I may try and make the whole thing from scratch, but drawers are a little finicky.

If you have oodles of free time, you could also rip all your discs to a portable drive and plug that right into your computer.  My current computer is USB only and my old laptop was very slow at ripping DVDs so that may be a super long-term project for me…

Books

Oooh this one’s touchy for me.  As I’ve mentioned before, I LOVE books.  Not ebooks, real, physical books.  I also tend to hoard despite the fact I live right across the street from a library.  Basically, don’t use me as your role model for book storage (but if you do, no judgement here).  I still browse through my collection occasionally and weed out things that no longer hold my interest…. when we moved I think I got rid of about 5 books…

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Also, does anyone else wish amazon paired an ebook with any hard copy books you buy like they do for CDs?  That would make travel delightful for me (which is like the only time I really use ebooks).

Photos

Last time I touched on cleaning up photo files on your computer, but what about preserving your photos?  You take them for the memories right?  So you probably want to go back through them now and again.

I’m not much of a scrapbooker, but I love having nice printed albums.  You don’t have to print off your photos before hand, you can resize as necessary, and they’re so much slimmer than if you scrapbooked by hand.  I tend to have individual albums for big trips/events, but I’ve also been toying with the idea of creating little “yearbooks” to use the random photos I take over the year.  I saw the idea on Young House Love and I think it’s a great idea.  I’ve been using Shutterfly for my printing so far because they always have coupons, but there are tons of options out there.

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If you don’t want more stuff (more power to you!) albums might not me for you.  You may still want to put together slideshows to make your digital photos a little more accessible.  iPhoto has a slideshow option, but my dad (who is not a total Apple convert) just uses Powerpoint and it works for him.  Bonus, if you hook your computer up to your TV you can show off your photos to a whole room of your captive family and friends.***

 

 

*Except for the iPhone… I have an irrational dislike of their charger.  I hit charger Zen when I realized all my small devices took a micro USB.  Why do you want to take that away from me Apple????

**Ok, Doctor Who I still buy off of iTunes so I can get instant gratification

*** I actually like seeing people’s photos, just pleaseplease spend at least a little tend editing them before showing them to other people…and I don’t even necessarily mean like Photoshop editing, just weed out the super blurry ones and the 20 bajilion duplicates, mmkay?

Before: The Yard

I LOVE our yard, not for what it is at the moment, but for it’s potential.  It’s small, private, and well shaded.  I think it’s the perfect size to give us some space to garden and entertain without being a giant time suck.  Plus there’s a nice playground about 2 blocks away (and 2 more within a 5 minute drive) so it gives visiting nieces and nephews (and hypothetical future children) a place to get their ya-yas out without us having to deal with the maintenance.  Win.

Currently though, the yard is a little sad.

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We have about zero curb appeal… but a lot of that comes from the poo-brown color of our house.  As much as I hate the color, we don’t want to invest in painting/re-siding until it’s actually needed because it gets pretty pricey for a 2.5 story house (and the paint is currently in fine shape).  Until then I do still want to beef up the landscaping.  I’m picturing hydrangeas on the sunny side, and a sprawling shade garden under the larger pine.

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Around the side  we’ve got some annoying slopeage happening that’s kind of PITA to mow.  Matt’s big goal for the year is to build a wall.  A small wall.  A small retaining wall.  We just want to even up the front yard and side yard a bit for a cleaner look and easier maintenance.

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And then there’s the backyard.  I love how private and shady it is, but other than that it doesn’t have a lot going for it (expect potential).

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The existing beds are pretty ramshackle and weedy, there’s a weird garden right smack in the middle that seems like a waste of space, and the patio is pretty beat up and mis-matched.

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On the other side we have this weird shed (lean-to?) thing that serves no purpose whatsoever for us (expect for looking ugly).  It needs to go.  The fence on this side does need to get replaced, but it might not be a this-year thing.

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Fixing the door is a slightly higher priority since it should be a pretty cheap and easy fix that will help things look  a little less janky.  The stone-rimmed bed over here is a new addition.  It’s going to be my pollinator garden.  I split up an existing sedum from the middle our yard, and picked up some blazing star bulbs and a pollinator seed mix to fill in (you can see all the green where they’re just starting to sprout).

The main plan for this year is demo so it will all probably look a lot worse before it will get better.  The shed needs to go, the existing patio needs to be ripped up, and the cellar entrance to our basement filled in.  Some plants I want to relocate and others may be ruthlessly ripped up.  The front yard also needs some regrading to happen so our front yard may be mostly dirt for a while.

Before: Hall and Stairs

Oh hallways, another oft neglected part of the home.  Right up there with ceilings really.  While I’m a fan of neutral hallways I do think neutral still deserves thought and consideration to flow well with the rest of the house and our current hallway is just a little too builder-beige for me at the moment.

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We have these AMAZING stairs that I really want to pop, but for now they just recede into shadow.

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We also have quite a bit of open wall space, probably more here than any other “public” room.  The landing makes a great home for our cat tree (and the kitties love being able to lord over our back yard) but it’s not the most attractive feature (and I’ll be honest that I don’t actually have a good solution for this yet). Also, when this house was built why in god’s name didn’t they center that window???

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The railings were lovely at one point but appear to have taken a LOT of abuse over the years.  Most of the newel posts are missing the trim around the cap, we have one spindle that’s completely missing and another that’s held together to electrical tape.  I think we may have to get the spindles custom made, but I think I can tackle the newel caps myself.

Dining Room Sources

Wheeee the Dining Room is done!!!!  Thanks to everyone for their wonderful comments!  It gives me lots of warm fuzzies.

Now that I showed off the pretty, here’s the down-low on everything we used and a rough budget.

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Paint

Walls: Behr Poppy Seed (eggshell) $30

Trim: Benjamin Moore Simply White (Advance, satin) Existing

Trim

1×6 Select Pine (8ft) $10 x6

Shoe Molding (8ft) $3 x6

Base Cap (8ft) $8 x6

Chair Rail (8ft) $13.50 x6

Cove Molding (8ft) $7 x6

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Furniture

Table: Overstock.com Existing

Bench: Pier 1 Mason Bench Existing

Eames Chairs: Amazon Existing

Buffets: IKEA BRUSALI $79 x2

Accents

Ceiling Tiles: Amazon $284

Rug: Rugs USA $200*

Light: Amazon $120

Floating Shelves:  Home Depot $13 x4

Curtains: IKEA VIVAN Existing

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Artwork

Fruit/Foliage Prints: IKEA $10

Weird Fruit: Ursula Vernon Existing

Queen Victoria: Gift

(white) Frames: IKEA RIBBA $10 x2

Total: $1,095…

…plus assorted miscellaneous things like stain and hardware and things that we didn’t fully track (like small accessories, if you’re wondering where we got something, just ask).  In realty it’s the final damage was probably closer to $1200, which I think is pretty damn good considering we replaced all the baseboards and ceiling, and also got a giant rug.

 

 

*Pssst you can also find it at Overstock and Wayfair… I just found the best deal through Rugs USA

Dining Room Reveal

I wasn’t prolonging the suspense on purpose, I swear!  I was all on track to have this finished up last Sunday, but I work up feeling crappy (sore throat, muscle aches, no energy At All) so I managed to get 2 things (out of 7) hung in the dining room and then just sort of passed out.  Ugh. By Tuesday I hauled myself off to the doctor and got a positive Strep Throat test (wheee) and wasn’t back to 100% until the end of the week…it was rough.

But FINALLY I have the full reveal for you!

First let’s step back and look at what the dining room looked like when we bought the house.

a020-7There are worse rooms out there for sure, but this one was seriously lacking in style.  The light fixture was kind of dated, the ceiling was pretty awful (and saggy in spots–thankfully this was only from the tiles pulling free of their staples, and not actually structural), and the bookcases served no useful purpose whatsoever in here.

DR_before2In fact, the bookcases just sort of turned into catch-alls once we moved in.

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So we ripped out the bookcases, repaired the wall behind one and the floors under both, replaced the baseboards, painted everything, ripped out the old ceiling, added a tin ceiling, extended the crown molding, and added a new light fixtures.

Oof, that made me tired just typing all of it… but the end result is so completely worth it!

DR_after1I LOVE how dramatic this turned out!  We don’t have separate formal and casual dining spaces so this is it.  I didn’t want to take it too formal since we’re not terribly formal people, but I still wanted the room to make a statement and I think I succeeded.

DR_after3Pssst… don’t tell anyone, but those table runners totally aren’t hemmed yet.  I only recently scored some blue-gray linen at Hancock Fabrics for like 70% off so they’re only cut down to size at the moment.

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The ceiling and rug make me kind of stupid-happy.  Matt was deeply suspicious of my desire for a hot pink rug, but after he saw it in person he admitted it really pulled the room together.

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We also found a spot for my Weird Fruit prints by Ursula Vernon.

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And my Queen Victoria made of garbage postcard that a friend sent me.

DR_after8This sideboard is pretty much our dishwashing station since we have very limited counter space in the kitchen.  It’s ok, but I hope to upgrade it at some point.  I hope to upgrade the IKEA buffets on the other side of the room too, but sometimes you just have to accept some temporary solutions while you’re on the hunt for perfection. Plus, nothing ever is really done when you’re a creative–there will always be something you decide to tweak at some point.  It’s done enough though (actually looking a like a finished room!) and we can finally have people over again!

 

 

 

Dining Room: Faux Tin Install

We have a ceiling!!!! I have been positively pumped for this moment ever since I decided to add faux tin panels to our dining room ceiling!

Why faux tin?  Tin ceilings are fairly period-appropriate for the house but legit tin is super pricey and would need to be nailed up.  Plus, the fake stuff is super easy to cut and manipulate–scissors and glue is all you need.  I also wanted the ceiling to remain white, like someone had painted the tin (which is totally even a thing) and that seemed like a waste of good tin. If you’re feeling super hard core though, check your local salvage places for tin panels. If you’re local, The Mall of St Paul on has some and I would assume Architectural Antiques in Northeast Minneapolis has some too (I got distracted by doorknobs last time I was there…. omg that place is pure heaven).

If you’re going to jazz up a ceiling with faux tin, here’s what you need.

  • Tiles in your pattern of choice (there are loads of options!)
  • Locktite Power Grab (you need an adhesive that holds instantly because gravity)*
  • Caulk gun
  • Scissors and utility knife
  • Chalk line
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight edge
  • Another person

Yup, that’s about it.

We had ordered 160sqft of tile and had 150sqft of ceiling, so we didn’t have a ton of wiggle-room in how the pattern fell.  Thankfully the electrical box for the ceiling light was already nearly perfectly centered.

Then we chalk-lined the center lines on the ceiling….and then adjusted them ever-so-slightly to make sure the pattern was centered on the light.

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We followed the directions that came with the tiles and ran a bead of adhesive around the perimeter, and then in 3 cross-shaped sections in the middle. (White-on-white isn’t so visible in photos, so I traced the glue lines in blue)

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We started in the center, cutting out a semi-circle out of 2 panels to sandwich around the light fixture.  Ideally you should cut the power and take out the fixture,  but we’ll be replacing this one soon, we just don’t have the new one yet.  #poorplanning

If you’re working with 2×4′ panels it’s really a two person job.  Because the panels are very thin, they’re also very bendy so having an extra set of hands to both support the other end and help line up that end is incredibly useful.

Depending on the shape of your room and the placement of any fixtures, you could start in a corner.  I just wanted to get our ceiling fixture centered on the pattern.  You may want to sketch up a quick layout too so you can figure out where the panels will fall.  Because our room was a simple shape and our light fixture was nearly perfectly centered, I was able to just visualize the layout and go.

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From there we added all the panels that wouldn’t need to be trimmed down.  Because the panels are designed to interlock, as long as you get the first one well-placed, the rest should follow suit.

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And then filled everything else in.

 

(sorry for the ucky pictures… we were working on this mainly after work so natural light wasn’t on our side)

These panels are super easy to cut–scissors will work just fine.  If you’re not putting up crown molding (although I would suggest it) you may want to use a utility knife and straight-edge for your cuts.   It did take us several nights of work to get them all up, mainly because the caulk gun started to give me blisters, so we’d max out at around 5 panels per night.

We saved the panel that would go over the radiator pipes for (second to) last because we figured it would be really annoying to get the cutouts just right.  We cut out one of the squares from the pattern so we had a big gap around the pipes.  Then I tested the cuts on some poster board and used that as a template.  Using some of our scrap pieces, I used a straight edge to cut out a single square (I cut just to the outside of the pattern sections that overlap so it would fit into place) and traced my template onto there.  Now it was much easier to manipulate a single square around the pipes.  We wedged it into place and pulled down the edges to add the adhesive (it would have gotten everywhere if we had put the adhesive on first).  Sorry I don’t have more pictures of this… I got sucked into the process and neglected my camera.

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Because the previous tiles were stapled onto 1×2’s we were left with a small gap between the crown molding and the ceiling.  No bueno.

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We could have just moved the existing crown up, but I decided to add on to what was already there.  I found some approximately 1.5″ cove molding at Menards (I can’t find it on their site, otherwise I would link) which was exactly what I was looking for!  Now the crown molding sort of curves into the ceiling.

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Crown molding is an absolute beast to put up by the way.  It’s an exercise in geometry and I’m pretty sure luck plays into it as well.  Uneven, not square walls make it especially beastly.  Basically I’m saying I’m not even remotely qualified to give you a tutorial on installing crown molding because we’re not even entirely sure how we managed it at this point.  There are tons of tutorials out there on youtube though.  Good luck.

And now we have an actually nice looking ceiling!  Pretty amazing right?  I think it’s amazing a least, so please just humor me here….

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The electrical box for the light sticks out a little bit because of the drop in the previous ceiling, but we should be able to find either a canopy or medallion that will hide that.  Our new light fixture has been ordered and is on its way so the end of this makeover is in sight!

 

*You’ll need LOTS.  I originally picked up 3 tubes, then went back for another 12… we ended up using 11 total for our 150sqft ceiling

 

Dining Room Day 41-48: Ceiling Demo

Our dining room ceiling was pretty sad when we moved in: fugly acoustical tiles and unfortunate saggy bits.  Something needed to be done.

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I pretty much assumed that there was some reason that there were acoustical tiles there instead of plaster, so I wasn’t terribly hopeful for the condition of the ceiling underneath.  I figured the safest course of action would be to plan on covering the ceiling.  Added bonus, a faux tin ceiling would be a pretty snazzy, and fairly period-accurate detail for the house and it would bump up the formality of our dining room a bit.

After doing some research and crowd-sourcing ideas from Facebook,  I decided on this pattern:

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It was one of the more affordable options (yay!) and after looking at a few companies who still used the same patterns they did back when they made actual tin ceilings, this one popped up a lot.  You can find it in several different scales, but I opted for the 2-by-4 so each square on the panel would be roughly 1sqft.  This was the same size as the existing titles so I already had a good reference for how it would look.

Immediately after moving into the house we had several things tested for asbestos, including the ceiling tiles.  I knew we were planning on ripping them out and I wanted to be sure it was going to be safe to DIY.  Thankfully the test results came back negative so we were good to go!

My back has been killing me for the past couple weeks so Matt removed the ceiling while I curled up with a heating pad and researched massage therapists.  And yup, it was more-or-less what I expected to find underneath (except there was modern wiring!!!!)

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We originally thought we were going to keep the 1x2s so we wouldn’t have to mess with the height of the crown molding.  This did mean we had to pull out all the staples, which Matt did over the course of a couple evenings.

Then the tiles arrived and we re-assessed matters.  After going back and forth a bit we decided that prying out the boards and semi-patching the holes would make putting up the tiles way easier in the long run…. so Matt went to work prying off the 1×2’s.  It probably wouldn’t have been so bad except a former owner of this house was clearly a strong believer in overkill so a number of nails holding up the boards were HUGE.

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Matt pulled out most of the boards without incident, but there were two runs that were clearly put up before the crown molding was so there wasn’t enough space to pry the nails entirely out.  We tried a metal hand saw, but it while it might have worked on a sheet of aluminum, it wasn’t going to get through a chunky steel nail.  So we went shopping.

There are some good options out there, like reciprocating saws and the Dremel Multi Max, but we didn’t want to spend a lot.  We eventually settled on a pair of 14″ bolt cutters which were just small enough to fit in the little gap we made after prying the boards as far away from the ceiling as we could.

DR_Ceiling_6

After prying off all the boards, we had to deal with the two biggest holes (we decided the smaller ones shouldn’t be a serious issue).  Matt removed some extra plaster to make the holes squarer and then we cut and screwed up 3/8″ drywall.  We didn’t bother taping and mudding because it’s not going to be visible, we just needed a solid surface to glue the tiles too.

DR_Ceiling_7

As with any project, prep-work is half (or possibly even three quarters) of the battle, but all the extra work should make the tile install go much smoother.