Living Room Built-Ins | Part 2

If you haven’t checked out part 1 of our living room built-in tutorial where I share all about how we built the base cabinets, be sure to check it out here.

Hey guys! How’s your new year going?

Ours is well underway and we’ve been busy! I started the new year off with some good organization of the nursery closet and now that Christmas is all packed away and I’ve had time to play around with our living room built-ins, I wanted to show you how we built the upper shelves. If you’re just tuning in, please be sure to stop by and read part 1 of our DIY built-ins so you’re up to speed!

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With everything completed for the lower portion of the built-ins we set our sights on completing the construction of the upper shelves. We honestly had no idea what we were doing – and that scared us. The fear of starting a project we weren’t confident we had the skills to complete caused us to push this project farther and farther down the to-do list.

But guys!

Don’t make the same mistake we did! Don’t be scared or intimidated by a project like this! If you can operate a saw and a nail gun, YOU CAN DO THIS!

Before we began we watched several videos (in excess) and read several tutorials but by far – this was the most helpful video we found and was really the tutorial that made this project seem easy and approachable.

We purchased our supplies at Home Depot and had them cut down most of the pieces right there in store that way they were easier to transport and required us to make fewer cuts at home.

To start, we began in the left corner and measured from the top of the built-in up to the ceiling and we cut a 12″ wide piece of MDF down to size.

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We erred on the side of caution and cut the MDF side panel a smidge large on the first pass and kept making small incremental cuts until it fit. We were so nervous we were going to screw something up so we tried to be overly cautious in the beginning! We secured this side panel into the studs using 2″ nails.

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Note: we did not secure any of the upper shelving structure to the bottom cabinetry portion of the built-in. It was not necessary because the side panels keeps everything secure and in place.

Once we put up the first side panel we realized just how wonky our walls and ceilings are (note the sizeable gap along the back edge). At first we were really upset and frustrated but we realized that it’s to be expected in an old house and course corrected as we went along. We used our right angle and our square a lot to make sure everything was level and plum. Since we couldn’t rely on the wall or ceilings as our guide, we made sure that the panels we installed were straight and level and that was our new template.

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Next we added a piece of wood along the back of the wall (secured into the studs) to act as a brace and a way to secure the right side panel until we could build more stability.

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We also added a piece along the bottom but we didn’t nail this piece of wood into anything. It more or less acted as a spacer so that from top to bottom the shelving box we were building was square.

With those 2 back supports in place, we nailed the right panel into the top support only from the outside.

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And for good measure, we added another spacer to the front at the top to keep everything square. Later, this piece of wood is what we nail our crown molding into.

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Now that the outer frame was built and well supported, we began adding the shelving which is where the real strength and support comes from. To do this we first had to decide how many shelves we wanted and how tall we wanted each shelf to be. This was by far the hardest part of the whole process.

In the end we decided on 3 “boxes” of equal height (3 boxes = 2 actual shelves). Looking back now I’d definitely say that this was a mistake we made and wish we had gone with 4 boxes.

You win some, you lose some. Moving on…

To create the shelf supports we cut a two more pieces of MDF (12″ wide x whatever height you want your shelf to be) and secure each of those it into the left and right side panels. Then we ran a piece of 1×2 along the back wall and secured it into the studs. This is what your shelf will sit on.

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Here is what it looks like from the front to give you an idea:

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That raw edge of the MDF in the photo above will later get covered by trim pieces.

Now all you have to do is add your shelf and repeat the process until you’ve built all the shelves for your built-in.

This is what gives your built-in the support and stability. Adding the pieces along the perimeter in several sections are what give it it’s strength and make it unnecessary to secure into the base of your built-in. This thing is solid like a rock.

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To finish the top “box” was a tad tricky and one we had to brainstorm a bit. After placing the 2nd shelf we were a little perplexed as to what we were supposed to do next. None of the tutorials we had referenced explained this part so we had to figure it out as we went along.

Basically what we did was exactly what we had done before. Except this time the “shelf” that we slid into place was essentially the ceiling of the shelving structure.

We added another strip of wood to the front to close the gap up top and which looks ugly now but would eventually get covered by crown molding.

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Once all the shelves were built, we trimmed everything out. The 2 pieces of MDF sandwiched together are covered perfectly with 1×2 strips of wood.

We first attached the long vertical pieces but nailing directly into the face of the trim and then went back and added the horizontal pieces.

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Here’s a close up:

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Next up:

Spackle and a crap ton of caulk to fill all those nail holes and gaps!

This one gets a little trigger happy with the nail gun so I made him do all the spackling.

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So? What do you think?! Not that intimidating, right? I hope you find that this project is approachable and something you definitely can tackle after reading this post.

There’s still so much to share regarding our built-ins (hello reveal!) including how we installed shiplap and crown molding so be on the look out for a third and final post to round out how we DIYed our living room built-ins!

Is this a project you’d tackle? I’d love to see if you do!

 

Organizing the Nursery Closet

When it comes to being organized I’ll be the first to admit that I could do a lot better. My house may look clean and uncluttered on Instagram but open up any drawer or cabinet and whoa!!

I’m definitely one of those people that hate visual clutter – it gives me complete anxiety and can make a room feel dirty even when it really isn’t. I’m guilty of piling things up or hiding them away in cabinets and drawers just so I don’t have to look at the mess because for me…as long as I don’t have to see the mess, the house instantly feels cleaner . It’s my dirty little secret that’s not so much of a secret anymore…

BUT!!!!!

The nursery is the one exception to my horrible organizational ways. It’s dang organized in there! In this post I talked about how we re-worked the closet by adding some shelves and was able to improve the storage capacity of the nursery closet overall. Adding shelves allowed us to bring in bins – to house all the tiny things – and it gave everything a home of it’s own…something I’ve learned is super important in order to be and stay organized. Just ask these girls (my real life girl crushes).

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On the very top shelf of the closet (those grey felt bins) are diapers of varying sizes. When Emie was born we had NB through size 3 diapers up there – a size in each bin. It was super helpful to have not only overflow diapers in her current size but to have the next size up as well. Babies grow so quickly and you never know from day to day when they’ll wake up and suddenly outgrow something.

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As she’s gotten older and is now in size 3 diapers, we don’t keep as many diapers up there as we did before. We have 4 bins up top and here’s what we keep up there:

  • one bin is for overflow diapers in her current size
  • one bin is for diapers in the next size up
  • two of the bins are for clothing/shoes she’s outgrown

It’s super helpful and keeps me organized to have a designated area for clothing she’s outgrown, rather than letting it accumulate somewhere else or in the drawers until I have time (what is time?) to do something with it. This has worked out really well for us so far and helps keep her room mostly organized.

For the shelves that we built we brought in fabric bins and labeled them with grey chalk board tags based on what was inside.

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The 1st shelf has:

COVERS (Boba wrap / nursing covers/ boppy covers / changing pad covers)
SUN (hats / sunglasses / swimsuits / rash guards / swim diapers)
BIBS + BURPCLOTHS

The middle shelf has:

BEDDING (sheets / crib skirts / mattress covers)
BATH (towels / washcloths / bath robe)

The bottom shelf has:

WIPES
Quick note about the wipes: I could have put them up top with the extra diapers but quickly learned just how fast we go through wipes so it made more sense to put them down low where they were easily accessible.
BLANKETS (quilts / swaddles / muslin blankets)

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On the right side where her clothing lives: everything on the top rod can be worn now – organized by color. Yes, I’m fully aware of how ridiculous my OCD is.

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Everything on the bottom rod is next size up – again with the idea that as she grows I want to have the next size up washed and ready to go. I use these slim non-slip baby hangers to save on space (they now have black/gold hangers that I totally would’ve purchased had they been available when I started the nursery!). Matching hangers is a small investment that I think is totally worth it and reduces the visual clutter.

For outfits that have a set of matching bloomers, we hang the bloomers right on the hanger with the outfit – no more digging through the dresser drawers to find bloomers to match! I credit my Mom for this genius idea.

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On the shelf above the bottom rod, we keep a few décor items and decorative pillows used for her crib that aren’t meant to be slept with plus a few pairs of shoes she wears the most.

Confession: she hasn’t ever worn those pink flats – they’re still too big! There’s usually a pair of walking shoes and those suede booties that she wears daily – but the those pink flats are adorable and looked better in photos! Lest you think my daughter walks around in velvet flats all day errrday…psh!

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The empty space below the shelves / rods on either side of the closet is utilized too. On the left we keep her hamper, a tall bin of stuffed animals that she loves digging into, and on the right we is where her larger toys go at the end of the day  currently just a shopping cart that she received from Christmas. As she grows, I see this space being used to store toys like a dollhouse, baby stroller, or toy vacuum.

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We currently don’t have any doors on her closet but it’s definitely something we want to add. I thought for a hot second I could live with that open concept vibe but no. Just no. Who do I think I am? I am too OCD for that. Doors ASAP please!

A Very Merry Christmas + Tips for DIY Family Photos

A Very Merry Christmas + Tips for DIY Family Photos

We’ve never taken Christmas pictures as a family or sent out Christmas cards but since welcoming our daughter earlier this year, I really wanted to make it happen and start creating traditions as a family that they’ll remember growing up and perhaps carry into families of their own one day.

I thought about hiring a photographer for a hot minute but then decided against it knowing that the current dynamics of our family (a never-not-moving baby and a super silly 8 year old) were better suited for pictures at home where they felt comfortable and relaxed. It was hard work, but I’m so glad we committed to at home family pictures, in matching jammies no less, despite my nerves and hesitation about getting a “good enough” photo for our first ever family Christmas card.

It was definitely a learning curve to get all 4 of us with a decent enough expression at the same time but here’s a few tips for what I believe helped us the most:

Pre-Plan

Make sure the outfits are washed, ironed, and looking spiffy – whatever you need to get you and your family photo ready! It’s also great idea to think about your photo layout ahead of time. Do you want a horizontal or vertical card? Where will your holiday greeting go? Be sure to leave enough “open space” in your photo for that festive holiday greeting. Thinking about these details ahead of time will force you to think about the composition of your photo before it goes to print – last thing you want is a holiday greeting that goes across someone’s face.

Timing

Be thoughtful when choosing the time to take your family pictures. For us that meant after Emie’s morning nap. She needs that extra 1-2 hours of rest before she’s up and ready to go for her longest stretch of awake time. Make sure everyone is well feed and not hangry too – adults included!

Be Ready

This is probably my biggest tip because when good attitudes and happy demeanors are a ticking clock, you want to have all your ducks in a row and ready to go! Since the baby sleeps in our room and we were using the bed as our backdrop – I did a lot of prep work before we laid her down to nap. I cleared off the nightstands on either side of our bed to make sure our mess wasn’t in frame, straightened the bed, and removed frames we had hung above the bed for a cleaner look that would allow for a holiday greeting above our heads to be printed on our cards. We also set up the camera on the tripod, paired the remote (my phone), and situated the tripod in the best spot. Here’s Lila testing the remote:

While the baby was napping everyone else dressed in their jammies and once she woke up we dressed her, and gave her a bottle (no one wants a hangry baby) while I pulled back and drapes and took a few test shots to make sure the lighting was right.

Use a Tripod + Remote

Once you’ve set everything up – let your tools do the work! I have this tripod and it comes in handy for these exact situations. I also use this IR Camera Remote app that we just downloaded to my phone – easy peasy. We set the remote up so that it was voice controlled and we probably snapped close to 300 pics by voice only. It started out innocently enough with us adults yelling cheese! or smile! but then our silly 8 year old wanted in on the fun and started yelling poop! and fart! and before you know it, we were cracking up! But when the baby started screaming and shouting to snap a pic, we laughed so hard we cried.

Go With the Flow and Have Fun

It’s hard to snap a family picture and expect perfection especially when little ones are involved. The kids were supposed to wear matching santa hats but the baby refused to keep it on. We tried to put a bow in her hair instead but she kept pulling it out and chewing on it. You win some, you lose some but I didn’t let it ruin the mood or our pictures.

But because we knew that the baby would be more reluctant to cooperate, we did ask our 8 year old to always be ready and smiling because we knew that she was more than capable of being photo ready and that way we really only had to worry about getting one child to cooperate vs 2. For the most part she was a rockstar – always ready, always smiling:

But other times…she was just her silly 8 year old self and got a little carried away with that Santa hat.
All in all, I call it a success and look forward to many more years of family Christmas photos – but how will we ever top the matching jammies?
I hope my tips for taking your own family photos help next time you try to tackle this daunting task and if you have any helpful hints of your own, please be sure to share in the comments below! We could all use a little help, amiright?
But before I sign off I want to share a few honorable mentions and a few outtakes too because when you took 300 pictures just to get ONE shot, it just wouldn’t be right not to share…
Honorable Mentions (the ones that almost made the card)
My favorite candid moment:
Goofy face 8 year old and chewing on the bow baby:

 

Almost, but not quite:

 

The Outakes (AKA the funny ones)

 

 

From my family to yours – we wish you all the merriest Christmas! 2017 has been nothing short of amazing – we welcomed our littlest babe and we’ve continued making this house our home while occasionally sharing our progress along the way here. As we leave 2017, I couldn’t be more grateful to celebrate this Christmas with friends, family, and watch the magic of Christmas through our daughter’s eyes. If you’re an old friend or new here, thank you for all the support and encouragement along the way. See you in 2018!

XO,
Danae

Checking In: Living Room Built-ins (Nearly a Year Later!)

Checking In: Living Room Built-ins (Nearly a Year Later!)

DIY is always a slow moving train around here. Between the two of us working full time, a 8 month old, and year-round softball – life is one huge time suck and there just isn’t much time or energy leftover for house projects.

I had to scroll all the way back to December 2016 in my phone to find this photo:

Those are our cabinets for the built-in getting delivered – almost a year ago!

Man…we suck!

Anyways…it’s almost December 2017 and we’re still not done. We’re close though!

Ok, I lied. We’re about 50% done. But since the living room built-ins is on our list of 2017 House Goals list, I thought I’d show you where we’re at and how we got here.

After soliciting several quotes and dying of sticker shock (basically this project all over again) we decided to DIY. DIYing a built-in isn’t really all that hard. It’s just intimidating. So before we got started, we pulled inspiration from these DIY built-in projects here, here, and here and just went for it.

We chose to use unfinished upper kitchen cabinets from Home Depot because they were readily available, affordable, and wouldn’t eat up a lot of floor space. They arrived December 17, 2016 – see picture above.

We went with five 30″ upper kitchen cabinets for an almost 13 foot built-in unit! Hellllo storage!

After the cabinets arrived we built a base for the cabinets to sit on. We did this so that we could wrap baseboard around the base of the cabinets for a “built-in look”. We chose to have the base flush with the cabinet fronts rather than set back like a traditional toe-kick in a kitchen set-up.

 

Since we have 5″ baseboard all throughout the house we built the base for the cabinets to sit on just slightly smaller than 5″. This way…the baseboards would completely cover the base plus slightly overlap the bottom edge of the cabinets. I think we ended up going with a 2×4 and 1×2 turned on its side to achieve the height we needed.

 

We also ran a 2×4 along the back wall of the living room – secured into the studs – to bump the cabinets out away from the wall about 2″. We did this for a few reasons…the first was so that we could easily secure the cabinets to the 2×4 (which was already secured to the studs) so we didn’t have to worry about hitting studs if we had secured the cabinets directly to the wall. The second reason we did this was because bumping the cabinets out from the wall 2″ allows the bookshelves up top to be recessed a bit. With the 2″ bump out the counter becomes 15″ deep (12″ cabs + 2″ bump out + 1″ overhang = 15″ counter) giving a little extra counter space up top and an overall better “built-in” look.

What came next was probably by far the hardest part of the entire install. So glad it’s over and so glad we both still love each other after the fact – ha!

To install the cabinets we started with the base we had built on the ground, set each cabinet on top, and began securing the cabinets to the 2×4 along the back wall all while making sure everything was level and plum – using shims where necessary (omg – so many shims). The first cabinet was pretty easy and straightforward – it was secured to the side wall, the back wall, the base, AND the adjoining cabinet. It did however, get more difficult with every cabinet we added to ensure that the unit as a whole was level and plum. We had to use quite a few shims along the back wall because our wall is not perfectly straight (what wall is?) and we also shimmed the base quite a bit because our floor slopes down pretty bad in that area too. Other than that…we secured the hell out of these cabinets: to the back wall, the base, and the adjoining cabinet(s) – they aren’t going anywhere!

Below is the side view – right after we installed the cabinets and getting ready to add baseboard. This area got covered up with a project panel so you’d never know we’re cheating the depth by 2″.

A couple things I should probably mention – we did not secure the base to the floor at all. I didn’t want to drill holes into perfectly good flooring in case a future owner wanted to come in and rip it out and then be left with holes. We could’ve secured the base to the side wall if we wanted to but determined that the sheer weight of all the cabinets plus bookshelves up top would prevent this thing from going anywhere.

We also made sure to measure and cut out holes in the back of a few cabinets so that we had access to any outlets along the wall. We did this before securing the cabinet so if we had to make any adjustments, it was easier to do.

Once all the cabinets were installed and secured – we focused on the top or the “counter” portion of the built in.

I knew going in that this would be the portion of the project that would be our biggest hang up. We built a 13 ft cabinet but finding a 13 ft topper would prove to be either very difficult, very expensive, or both. SPOILER ALERT: it’s both.

One of the tutorials that I referenced above used a single piece of butcher block for affordability and while butcher block is affordable, a 13 ft length was still a few hundred dollars and more than I wanted to spend. Plus…I didn’t want a stained top. I wanted an all white top to achieve the look of this project. Except they were working with pre-fab Ikea cabinets and didn’t need a top like we did.

So after procrastinating about it way too long, we decided to make our own. We chose a high quality, paint grade, birch plywood and seamed 2 smaller pieces together to make one massive counter top that could be painted to match the rest of the cabinets. We purchased the plywood from Home Depot and had them rip it down to size in the store.

Here’s my handy helper:

I’d tell you how we seamed the 2 pieces together but we aren’t wood workers and our approach is probably embarrassingly incorrect. We attached flat brackets on the underside for support and we used birch veneer tape on the edge of the plywood top to give it a nice finished look. We also made sure to fill, sand, and plane the top seam to make it look like 1 long piece of wood vs 2 pieces stuck together. No one but us will know (and now too you I guess) that we took the cheap way out: the cost of a single sheet of high quality plywood – $50!

To wrap up where we’re at now, the cabinets and top have been painted white, we attached the top to the cabinets using construction adhesive and installed some pretty gold hardware – a well deserved splurge since we saved thousands doing this ourselves.

Next up: bookshelves, shiplap, and trim!

Here’s to hoping it doesn’t take another year to knock this out…

 

Progress Report: The Entry

Hey guys! Remember me?! Life and work has been crazy-busy and it’s kept me away from the blog a little too long but I’m back at it and here today with a little update post!

It’s been a few weeks since we jumped into our entry project and we’ve been making great progress. Aside from painting and a few remaining items (art, rug, etc.) needed to round out the space, we’re just about ready for a reveal! How exciting is that?!

But before we get to all the progress, let’s rewind back to the beginning…mmmkay?

This is what the space looked like before we got started:


And here’s the to-do list that we were working with:

To-Do:
1.      Create storage for coats, jackets, bags – hooks? Slim wall mounted shoe storage?
2.      Add board & batten? Picture frame trim/molding?
3.      Paint interior of front door & add decorative trim
4.      Add art
5.      Install a flush mount light fixture
6.      Find a vintage runner

Let’s run down the check list and see where we stand after launching into this project a few weeks ago:

#1 – Create storage for coats, jackets, bags – hooks? Slim wall mounted shoe storage?
ü  Check! I decided to go with hooks because as you may have seen in my post about the entry plans, they just make life easier. The hooks haven’t been hung but they’re in possession of my grubby little hands!
#2 – Add board & batten? Picture frame trim/molding?

ü  Check! We ended up going with neither but decided to plank both walls on either side of the entry…with a twist! We still need to finish prepping and give the walls a couple coats of paint but we’re thiiiiisclose to being finished. I have high hopes for this little entry of mine!
#3 – Paint interior of front door & add decorative trim

ü  Check! Door has been painted but trim still needs to be added and then given a secondary coat for a seamless look. Did we go black or a deep navy blue? Can you tell in these pictures? 
#4 – Add art
              Zip. Zilch. Nada.

#5 – Install a flush mount fixture

ü  Check! The first fixture we installed just wasn’t cutting it – the diffuser wasn’t cut correctly and had all sorts of funky gaps between the shade and diffuser and I don’t think it fit the space like I thought it would (rememberit’s ok to change your mind). After striking out the first time, my second at bat was a home run! But all you’re getting is a sneak peak in the photo above 🙂

#6 – Find a vintage runner

Again with zip.zilch.nada. Finding a runner in the exact size I need has proved to be difficult. I have a temporary one in place for now but the color and size aren’t quite right. 


Well…that’s it guys! We’ve been working really hard on the entry, but also taking time to be purposeful in our decisions and choices for this space. I’m happy to say that we’re nearing the finish line and that working towards the first completed space in our home has been so much fun too!

Come back tomorrow and I’ll be sharing my go-to sources for vintage rugs – probably the hardest item to find to finally, FINALLY, call this space done! Or…however “done” a space could possibly be around here. 


Demo Day 2

Welcome back!

If you’re tuning in today we’re picking up where we left off yesterday and I’m back with another progress report on Day 2 of demo which I promise will be a lot less dramatic. Or not.

To refresh your memory – and mine – here’s what the place looked like when we moved in:


And here’s where we left off at the end of Day 1:




After waking up with a much better attitude, a renewed sense of determination, and a body that was surprisingly not as sore as I expected, we still had 1/2 of the hardy backer to demo and we also needed to remove all the hardy backer screws (all those little dots in the foreground of the above photo). Can you say #overkill?

Demoing the remaining hardy backer only took an hour or so and when we were finally finished, we started sweeping up the bits and pieces of thin set (leftover from the tiles) in preparation for our most tedious task yet…removing all.those.screws!


All 8 million of them:


We had a few options to remove them: use an angle grinder and shear off the screw head (I didn’t like the sparks), use a crowbar and rip them out (I didn’t like the splintering the wood doing this), or dig out the thin set in the screw head and drill them out.

We went with the latter. Mainly because I’m an OCD crazy person. So we spent the next few hours using our Dremel to clean out the screw head and used our Ryobi Drill to pull them out. 

One would Dremel and the other would drill and after a few hours, all the screws had been removed. It was by far the most absurd and time consuming method to remove the screws, but after the physically demanding work of demo Day 1, it was a welcomed change of pace. We turned on Pandora, worked in small sections, and got-er-done!


So much better! 


See that blue bucket above? We decided to use that bucket for all the screws we removed just to see how high we could fill up. Whoever laid the hardy backer went #buckwild with screws so we knew going in, there’d be a lot, but we were still shocked to see that nearly 3/4 of the bucket was filled by the end of the whole ordeal. #insaneinthemembrane

After removing all the screws, we used the shop vac to do a once over on the floors and took the vacuum hose to the perimeter. After vacuuming and putting our tools away, we could officially close the books on our 2nd day of demo. We finished Day 2 on a high note (and with a much better attitude) and guess what?! 

Dad was right. #dadforthewin

We did it. And we were proud of ourselves for doing it.

Not to mention the $1700 savings was a nice little incentive too.

Next week I’ll be back to share the progress we’ve made on the house since the floor demo was completed and there will be a few more tutorials coming your way too! We’re closing off a doorway, widening another, we finally chose a paint color, and we’re one step closer to laying our floors. Things are happening so fast around here…follow along on Instagram so you don’t miss a thing!

Demo Day 1

You guys!!

We’ve made great headway over the last two weekends, but man…demo kicked our butts!

If you follow me on Instagram then you probably saw some real-time snaps of all the demo action but today I’m here to break it all down a little further. It was 1.5 days of sheer #bloodsweatandtears. 

Literally.

For those of you just joining in on the fun, here’s the abridged version: we bought a house (our first), we locked ourselves out twice(#facepalm), invited you in for our empty house tour, ripped out the old baseboards, and two weekends ago, demoed the heck out of the tile floors in preparation for new laminate flooring. We took it easy over Easter weekend but we’re right back in the thick of things renovation-wise and I wanted to catch you all up.

Before we begin, let’s take a look at where we started:


The tile wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t all that good either. This picture actually makes it look way better than it really was. Up close the tile is was damaged, uneven, and dated. It had to go.

My Dad showed up first thing Saturday morning (Day 1) to lend a hand. Basically he’s the dude to show us newbies how it’s done. And showed us, he did.


He used a Makita hammer drill thingy (totally legit name) and took that hammer thingy to a tile in the middle of the room. Once he got that first tile all broken out, he started taking them out one by one in rows. Before I knew it, he had little pathways of removed tiles all over the place.


I asked why he was making all sorts of rows (instead of starting at one end of the room and working towards the other – like I would’ve done!) and he said he was removing the tiles this way (and leaving sections of 2 wide) to “relieve the joints” of pressure. Once he had all the little pathways removed, we could go back and the tiles in those “2 tile wide” sections would pop out whole because the pressure from surrounding tiles had been removed.


At least someone knew what they were doing. That someone wasn’t me.

My Dad and S took turns working that hammer tool but I steered clear…that sucker freaked me the heck out. Not to mention the flying tile particles. Uh-uh. No thank you. Wear your safety glasses, folks. I took my broom and stood in the corner #likeagirl #aintnoshameinmygirlygame. Work gloves on. Ear plugs in. Broom and bucket in hand. I was the best sweeper and tile picker-upper you ever did see.

By the end of Day 1 we were able to get all the tile removed (except the kitchen & laundry closet) and about half the hardy backer. Not bad.

Here’s a little end of day progress shot:



How did I feel at the end of Day 1, you ask? Not good. I was pretty cranky too. #justkeepingitreal

To say we were exhausted by the end of Day 1 would be a complete understatement. We felt like we had been run over by a mac-truck. Five times. The work itself was easy – but it was tedious, loud, and physically demanding. But we both knew this going in. It was the one project we were both afraid of and aprehensive to tackle ourselves – not that we couldn’t do it – we just didn’t want to. We knew it would be labor intensive and we even tossed around the idea to hire this part out but after receiving a quote for $1700 to demo and dump, we decided that it was worth the $1700 savings to do it ourselves. 

So we did…

But that doesn’t mean I was happy about it – haha! 

By the end of the day I  looked at what was still left to do – demo the rest of the hardy backer, remove all.the.screws, and dump the debris – and threw my hands up in the air all dramatic like and told S to call someone in to finish it up. #itsmypartyandillcryifiwantto

But we didn’t.

My Dad gave me a little pep talk about how we could do it and how proud we’d feel when we finished and blah, blah, blah, so I downed a few Ibuprofen and I put my aching body and pouty attitude to bed.

Come back tomorrow to see how Demo Day 2 went – #spoileralert – much better and much faster. #thankyoujesus