Category: DIY (Page 1 of 2)

A Growth Chart for our Growing Boy (and a discount code for you!)

I’d like to interrupt the “regularly” scheduled wall removal posts for a fun little DIY project. Don’t forget, there’s a special discount code for you readers at the bottom of this post!

We’re pretty close to being done the living room, but we need about 2 Connor-free days of work to finish the flooring.  I’d so much prefer to use a vacation day to get this done while Connor is at school so that we can enjoy our weekends together as a family.  Like this past weekend, we had 3 busy but fun filled days together going to the local coffee shop, hanging out at University of Delaware Alumni weekend, going to the farmer’s market and library, seeing good friends at a going away party (we’re going to miss you, Adam, Janet, Keira, and Cameron!), and a local town’s fun day out (Yorklyn Day).  We were thoroughly exhausted but wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

So before we can finish up the living room, I decided to try and finish up this small project over the weekend during one of Connor’s naps.  It’s been something that I’ve been trying to finish ever since Connor turned 1 year old back in February.  We were pretty religious about taking weekly (ugh!) and monthly progress pictures for him for his first year, but then decided to give ourselves a break after year one to just check in once in awhile. Man, was that a commitment.  But the output was priceless!  Here’s a glimpse:

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This Wall is Coming Down! – HVAC, Electrical, & Drywall

Hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Thank you to all of our armed forces who sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy the freedom that we have today <3  I read something in the news last week about the National Moment of Remembrance that I probably should have know about before, but I hope everyone took a moment to think about the importance of this holiday.

What. A. Project.  The end is near, you guys!  Yet, not near enough.  Sorry for being so silent these past few weeks.  We’ve been posting over on our IG about some progress here and there, but life has just gotten in the way.  Surviving through the days lately has been our motto.

The good news!  The contractors are all done! (Well almost… apparently there is a rule that you must have a smoke detector in every bedroom before we’re allowed to close out our building permit, but eh, minor details.)  And now the rest is left up to us to finish.  So here, we’ll just detail out some of the rest of the things the contractors had to take care of before they handed it over to us.

We left off in this post, talking about the demo of the old wall and installation of the new beam in its place.  Well, before closing it all back up with drywall could commence, the HVAC contractors had to come back out to run some new ductwork up to the second floor on this side of the house.  They had to wait until the beam was in so they could make sure it wasn’t going to be in the way.

Just to update you, when the wall was taken out, you can see the duct work sticking up through the floor here, and also all of the holes in the floor and ceiling that acted as air returns to circulate back to the HVAC.

Well, now that the wall containing all of this was gone, we (well, not us, the HVAC guys) had to relocate it up the side wall of the living room.

The curves in it looks a little funky, but we had some things to work around between the floor joists to get it to go where we wanted.  Originally, we wanted it to go on the left side of the support beam, in the above picture, but so many things would have been in the way in the theater in the basement, it just wasn’t feasible.  On the left side, we would have been able to run the duct work up through one of the guest bedroom closets upstairs and into the attic from there.

Unfortunately things are never that easy, and rerouting it to the right of the beam meant we also had to run it through the other guest bedroom upstairs instead of a closet.

Don’t worry, we’re not leaving it like that!  I’ll show it drywalled up in a bit!  You may be thinking, oh my god, why would you put that massive thing through a bedroom and take up that much space!? Or maybe, WTH are all of those paper airplanes doing there?! Hahah.  (Connor got this for his Daddy for Christmas, so after they get built everyday and played with, they eventually end up here for some reason?)

You may remember the below picture from this post about this room.   It’s HUGE.  So we really weren’t bothered in the slightest that we were taking space from it (ignore all of the crap if you can).

From there, it goes up into the attic and looks a complete mess!  We decided to run lines and do some new ceiling vents to keep the look clean down below in the living room.  I’ll deal with this mess of an attic that we’re barely in rather than a crowded ceiling in the living room any day.

After all that we have a working HVAC with full zoning!  See THIS POST for full details on that.

Part of our contract with our contractor was that David was going to do all of the electrical work.  Partly so we could save money, and partly because this nerd of an computer/electrical engineer enjoys it.  I’m sure he’ll write a post at some point detailing it all out if you’re interested, but we decided that in the large of a room, we wanted it to be well lit.  So we bought 20 recessed lights for him to install. 🙂  Here’s a glimpse of that work (along with his assistant).

You can see in the picture above that our contractor also got to work on framing everything out for drywall around the ductwork and beam.

Unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures of the drywall guy walking around on stilts (this always amazes me how people spend their days doing this).  Mainly, because this was our view of this part of the project most of the time:

We really highly dislike drywall work.  It’s so hard to get smooth seams when you’re working with large sheets.  ESPECIALLY on the ceiling.  So we agreed to also hire this out.  Plus sanding just sucks.  And it’s such a mess. Here are the freshly drywalled areas with one coat of spackle. After this, there would be a few more coats, and sanding.

And below is the duct work up in the guest room.  See? All covered up!

At this point, the county inspector came in and approved everything (with the exception of the smoke detector detail) and it was officially handed over to us for the finishing touches.  So yay for no more contractors at the house!

These past few weeks David and I have been squeezing in priming, painting, finishing the lighting, trim work, and flooring prep during naptimes, after bedtime, tag teaming it with Connor, and even taking a day off of work to get stuff done.  Like yesterday, we spent Memorial day painting and ripping up the old hardwood flooring while Connor was at Casa de Grammy & Pop Pop.  It’s going slow and steady, but we’ll update you as it comes along!  Like I said, the end is near!!  Now, maybe I should start furniture shopping or something so that we actually have somewhere to sit when it’s all completed 🙂



Shiplap vs. Nickel Gap: Making Your Budget Work For You

This is going to sound weird, but I’m just going to come out and say it; one of my favorite renovation projects so far was the powder room in our Charleston house. Really? A bathroom? And not even like a master bathroom with a waterfall shower and a huge tub? Yeah, really, just a powder room. And I can sum up why in one word: “shiplap.”

Actually it’s really two words: “Nickel Gap”. So what’s the difference, and why does it matter? Well, technically shiplap is a type of board with a rabbet joint which allows the boards to overlap. The bathroom above did not use real shiplap, but it essentially looks like it. Instead we used a method called “Nickel Gap” which is simply spacing the boards the width of a nickel. This method is more time consuming, but can be done for significantly cheaper and yields a similar result.

For the boards, we used 5mm plywood, which is about as thin as plywood comes. At about $13.50 for a 4’x8′ sheet, you can really make a room interesting for cheap.  We bought 5 sheets at Lowes and had them cut in-store to 6″ wide strips lengthwise. I think the guy who did the cutting probably still breaks out into a cold sweat when he hears “Customer assistance needed in the board cutting area… bing bong… board cutting area.” I don’t know if they have rules about a number of cuts they’ll make per board, but he did seven cuts for us. He cut all five of the boards stacked, which definitely saved time, though. I could have cut the strips with my table saw, but I never would have been able to cut them as straight and even as in the store.

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Nerding out about Pantry Organization

We have this hallway/laundry room/pantry off of the kitchen area which was in dire need of some organization. I talked a little about it in this post, including how we don’t know what the long term plan is for it.  To give you a bit of a refresher, here is a zoomed in part of the floor plan that shows what I’m talking about.

The “closet” shown is just a bump-out in this hallway, as it is a closet for the guest bedroom.  The washer and dryer sit next to it, and there’s a little (big?) hidden gem on the opposite side of wall behind two swinging doors, as seen below.

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We paid 65 bucks for these pictures…

So I hope you don’t think we’ve got ADD or something.  Our posts over the past few weeks have kind of been all over the place, but that’s pretty representative of our lives right now.  We’re in the middle of balancing coming back from a weekend out of town (traveling with a baby is WORK), setting up a 1st birthday party, juggling HVAC contractors, general contractors, specific contractors, and engineers all at our house almost daily as we try to find the best way to take down this damn wall in the living room, and really overall, just trying to get our work done everyday at work so that we can come home and make dinner and enjoy time with our little dude and puppies.  And maybe trying to get some exercise somewhere in there (those 5am morning runs are COLD! Spring where are you???) So I promise we’ll be giving more updates on the wall removal as soon as we nail down a plan.

Anyways, because life loves to throw you curve balls, a few weeks ago, I walked into one of our currently unused “guest bedrooms” to grab a gift bag for my friend’s baby shower. Yes, I still haven’t really cleaned up all of the boxes and crap from Connor’s baby shower OVER A YEAR AGO… the dangers of having a room you don’t currently use and just closing the door on it.

While I was in there, I noticed some paint flaking off on the ceiling.

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Nursery Crafting

In our posts about Connor’s nursery, here and here, we glossed over a few projects that we worked on for the decor, so we figured we’d go back and talk about them, assuming you’re interested 😉

I grew up as a total cheapo.  My family made fun of me for everywhere we went I always claimed that I “forgot my wallet.”  I’m sure this has some crumb of truth in it, but I won’t give them that satisfaction to fully admit to it right now haha.  Now that we bring in steady paychecks and can live comfortably, and aren’t struggling, broke college kids, we’ve definitely loosened up on our spending habits.  At heart though, I’m still a cheapo.  I had a lot of ideas for the nursery, that big box stores don’t typically sell.  They’re more the types of decor that you find on Etsy.  As much as I appreciate supporting someone to do that type of work, some of the prices are crazy.  So I researched and pretty much decided that I would do them all myself.

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Rewiring the basement

That title sounds a little drastic, don’t you think? Did it pique your interest? Ok, well we didn’t rewire the entire basement, but we had a couple of projects in the basement recently that required some electrical work. So before I go any further…

Disclaimer: This information given on this site is solely for entertainment purposes and is not a substitute for proper training. Electrical work is complex and can be dangerous if not performed carefully. Always consult an electrician as well as your local laws and codes before performing any electrical work. Hams at Home Blog, its creators, and its authors cannot be held responsible for your safety or any outcomes of performing work following the methods or suggestions on this site. Blah blah blah…

There, now I’ve gotten that out of the way, so let’s begin. As I mentioned in my posts about building our bar shelves, we wanted to put a TV on the top shelf so we could have some background entertainment in the bar.

Bailey the model & a small sneak peak into our theater

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Yea, but is it “sitting on the floor” bad?

That’s what David said to me as I finished cutting in the paint around the window in the first floor bathroom over Christmas break and told him “well that’s not what I was expecting.”

A few years ago when we lived in our SC house, I picked out this beautiful navy blue for the fireplace wall and a wall in our dining room.

I wanted a color that would complement it pretty well, so I chose a pretty grey that looked great next to that navy blue on the paint cards.  I should have realized my mistake there, but I didn’t.  I went ahead and bought that 5 gallon pail of that grey paint, because that was going on the rest of the walls in that main room.  That was a BIG room.

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Bringing the Outside In – Connor’s Nursery Part II

Read Part I of this post in case you missed it!

With all of the ideas together on my idea board, we got to work.  First off, we got started on the planked/shiplap wall because we knew it would probably make a big mess in the room.  I think we’ll probably write a whole post on this wall, so for now, we won’t get into any details.

I sent this picture to my in laws to show them the nursery progress we were making, and they told us we should just keep the wood grain.  I think its a generational thing?  Older generations want to keep the grain to show the quality, whereas we just want to paint everything.  I had that conversation with my mom once.  I’m just generally not a big fan of wood grain unless its on the floors or furniture. What do you think?

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Bringing the Outside In – Connor’s Nursery Part I

I was so excited to do a nursery.  I mean, check out our [facebook] birth announcement:

Geez, I kind of miss my long hair. 🙂  Anyways, when we found out we were having a baby I started planning right away.  I loved the outdoor/adventure theme because it could easily be for a boy or a girl and I always knew that no matter what gender our baby was that the room was going to incorporate navy blue in it… my favorite color. I always had a blue room growing up, usually navy, sometimes a sky blue on both the walls and ceiling complete with huge white clouds (sorry Dad!). Although, I guess I did go through that Little Mermaid phase at one point…

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