Tag: DIY

The Wall is Down!

Since the load bearing wall removal is finally complete and now we’re just working on the furnishing and room design, I figured I’d do a post summarizing all of the posts and work we’ve done over the past few months. Plus, I like being organized and having things in one place, much to the annoyance of my husband, but who still reaps the benefits of this trait anyway.

We started with this mess of a never used room:

And are now here, to a beautiful, open, family room:

It’s definitely been one big labor of love!  The scouting and planning work went on for about 6 months (we had big decisions to make while taking care of a baby!) and then the actual work started in late April 2017, and became livable in July 2017.  The long timeline to this was mainly due to the fact that we are DIYers and did large portions of this project ourselves, while both having full time jobs, and a crazy toddler running around the house.  So while the length of time sounds crazy, it was what we could manage while also keeping our sanity.  I would go into budget details, but figured I won’t advertise to the world how much money we’ve spent these last few months.  If you’re really curious, whether because you’re a nosy person like me when it comes to these things, or just would like to plan your own project, send me a message and we can chat!

So below are all of the posts that we’ve done summarizing the work we have done to plan, design, select contractors, and execute our project.

1. The beginning!  Thoughts and planning:

This Old House

2. The work begins! HVAC design and selection:

This Wall is Coming Down! – HVAC Selection

3.  Choosing an HVAC Contractor and the installation:

This Wall is Coming Down! – HVAC Installation

4. Planning and designing the load bearing beam:

This Wall is Coming Down! – Engineers, Contractors, & Beams. Oh My!

5.  Demo of the old wall and installation of the new beam!

This Wall is Coming Down! – Demo & Installation

6. Some more details about HVAC, electrical, and drywall as the project went on.

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

7. DIY jobs like molding, recessed lighting, and painting.

This Wall is Coming Down! – Recessed Lighting, Molding, & Paint

8. Flooring – the final touch!

This Wall is Coming Down! – Flooring

9. The REVEAL!

This Wall is Coming Down! – The REVEAL

10. Planning out the design ideas (my favorite part!)

Family Room Design Ideas

So that’s it!  All about the our load bearing wall removal project!  It was quite a journey, but we’re happy to have it behind us.  I’ll be concentrating on furnishing and decorating it over the next few months, and maybe we’ll eventually get to those built ins too!  But for now, we’re enjoying our open family room, and can’t wait to have family and friends over to enjoy it!

If you have a friends or family planning on doing a project like this, feel free to send them this post as a resource!! We hope it helps out others so they may not have to go through all of the headaches we did!

Family Room Design Ideas

I almost titled it “Living Room Design Ideas” but really, it’s a family room.  It’s going to be a place where David, Connor, the dogs, and I will spend a majority of our day while we’re at home (either that or the kitchen), but also where we welcome and have our friends and family congregate and enjoy each other’s company. It’s going to be ALL centered on the family in our home.

Last week we revealed the (almost) finished room HERE.

So before I get back into the not so exciting details about flooring and electrical, I figured I’d do a fun post of what I’m probably going to spend the next 2 months doing: designing and shopping! 🙂

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This Wall is Coming Down! – The REVEAL

Well, after about 3 months, we have a habitable room again… sans furniture!  Many months of planning and preparation allowed us to get here, and David and I trucking through the final touches after the contractors were finished have finally given us the big, beautiful room that we had always hoped and planned for when we bought this house.

Wanna see?

Here’s a reminder of what we were looking at before. From standing in the kitchen  we used to see this:

And now, we see this:

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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.

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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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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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Building The Shelves That Weird Nook Was Meant to Have – Part I

Let’s face it, sometimes houses have weird, little nooks that make you wonder what the builder or contractor was thinking.  We have one in our basement.  One of the previous owners had the basement finished and created a strange cavity between a support post and a closet.  Ever since we first looked at it, we thought “That nook needs some shelves.” Our plan for this section of the basement is to make a bar area, so we thought the shelves would be a good place to store the growlers we’ve been collecting from our favorite breweries.

We also inherited a TV from my Dad.  It’s the only other TV we have besides our projector, and its on the smaller side, so we figured the shelves will also be a good place for a TV.  A bar needs a TV, right?

Carolyn found some “pinspiration” from these shelves, but couldn’t find a tutorial, so we decided to improvise.  She loved how they had a slight rustic, but built-in look to them, without actually cutting into the walls.

First, we measured everything and decided how many shelves to build.  We decided to go with four shelves, which would comfortably fit the growlers and the TV on top.  We went to Lowe’s and looked at the standard size pine boards and decided that it would be much cheaper to buy a sheet of 3/4″ plywood and cut it into sections for each shelf.  I had them cut the shelves to an approximate size because we brought our smaller car that day.  I over-sized the cuts by 1/2″ in each direction because although their cuts are super straight, their measurements aren’t always accurate in the store and I could easily do the final trimming at home.  If you don’t have a table or circular saw at home, you can have Lowe’s do all the cuts for you, but you’ll want to double-check the measurements before and after cutting.

Our design was a floating shelf so we wanted to see as little support or screws as possible.  To hide the screws I used pocket-hole joinery, a technique used in woodworking to join pieces of wood together with a screw drilled in at an angle. The screw can even be covered by a wood plug.  This was a perfect practice project for the Kreg Jig Kit that Carolyn bought me for Christmas.  The Kreg Jig is a tool to make pocket joinery simple. The kit she got me is amazing and is a bit of overkill for this project, but I plan to do a lot of built-ins with it in the future.  Kreg has plenty of jig optionsto match any budget.  Even the Mini Kreg Jig Kitcould get this job done. No, our tiny blog is not sponsored, I just really love their tools!

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