Ceiling Takedown!

One less room has ceiling tiles in our house! VICTORY! 2 rooms down, three to go!!

You see, we have a total of four rooms getting some drywall at the moment, including the hole in our kitchen ceiling from installing the insulation, the back bedroom that got flooded with our shower drain pipe leak, our living room, and the sunroom. In preparation for the arrival of our drywall on Monday, we were scrambling to finish up several things including wiring, insulating, and installing a vapor barrier in the sunroom and living room and taking out the rest of the wood paneling/trim/ceiling tiles in the back bedroom.

IMG_1474Don’t you just love our mini fan?? Josh broke it when removing it, so unfortunately we will have to replace it. Darn.

I got to demo the ceiling in our back bedroom since Josh is the electrical mastermind between the two of us (surprised?). It was seriously the easiest job in the world to take down the ceiling tiles, which were glued on to a layer of drywall. I didn’t know it was drywall at first because the glue was slathered on there like nobody’s business. We were thinking we would just leave it up there since we didn’t know exactly what the material was slash if it contained any harmful materials and our new drywall could just be attached to it. Once we slept on it, we figured it couldn’t hurt TOO MUCH to remove one piece and see if the back side had any labels on it (living on the edge, ya’ll!).

10385476_864635713551514_8773735585305295786_nThe next day, my dad came over, we put on our masks and took down the first piece. The back had a label saying it was “The ORIGINAL Drywall.” I made a joke about wondering if it really was the ORIGINAL (like..you know how there are about a bajillion FIRST Baptist Churches..are they REALLY all the first?!), then we went crazy on the stuff until it was all down. It took about…14 minutes until it looked like this:



Once again, I’ve come to the conclusion I like demolishing things. I also REALLY like hiring people to do things because holycraptheyaresofast!


YES. You guys, it is embarrassing how excited I am about the insulation in our living room/sunroom areas. We hired American Insulation Services to install spray foam insulation in our living room and HOLY MOLY, I am so excited. Probably even more excited than I was when Josh installed our new mailbox.

So..the night before the insulation folks came, we finished running the electrical stuff in the exterior walls, moved the couch and bookcase, got the tools and junk out of there,  and vacuummed (I didn’t want them to think we are slobs!).





Our awesome installer Tim came over Wednesday morning and finished by about 3pm. It took about 40 minutes for the prep work to be completed (wrapping the exposed beams, covering up the floor, windows, and baseboard heaters with plastic, and warming up the truck for the sprayer to work). The insulation has a slight nail polish remover smell, but nothing major and after 24 hours, it is cured and the smell goes away.



We decided the best route for us to go in the ceilings to avoid having to adjust ceiling heights to achieve recommended R-value was to go with closed cell spray foam insulation-which can only be installed by a qualified contractor. They suggested doing a layer of the spray foam around all of the exterior walls as well to create an air seal, since there are lots and lots of crevices letting too much air in from the outside. We totally agreed with him after seeing all sorts of stuff in the walls that we couldn’t unsee when we were gutting the room, like dormant mud dauber nests which terrified me because they are creepy looking and Josh laughed at me. I basically said to do whatever we have to do to guarantee that nothing creepy would be making a nest in my walls.




Spray Foam Insulation

Overall, we were very happy with the service we received and Tim was awesome. He stayed for a bit to talk to Josh about our future plans on the house and then when Josh showed him the upstairs areas (that have NO insulation)..he said “So…I’ll see you again soon-huh?” Yes, Tim..you will!

We still have to install some batts of fiberglass insulation in the walls, but we are officially one step closer to a more efficient house AND hopefully next Winter we won’t freeze! 🙂


You light up my life!

Look at this little cutie I found while browsing awhile ago!


I immediately emailed it to Josh with the Subject Line: Hallway Light? And got no response. I showed it to him again that night since I was thinking about it ALL DAY. He said he liked it. I said OK.

The next day, I bought it. Well, it came in and it is now calling “INSTALL ME!!” from upstairs, but we expect a lot of in/out hauling to be going on with the installation of the insulation and drywall, so she is just going to have to be patient. I would cry if it got hit/broken, but I won’t be upset if something happens to the fixture it will be replacing:


Leave it to me to pop in to another space without finishing the others. 🙂


While we are on the lighting subject, my sweet sweet husband is in the process of re-wiring the living room and sunroom. These are his plans:



The first thing is we will now have TWO fans with lights, connected to switches when you walk into the room from the kitchen. We are moving the main light switch from a really awkward wall to one that makes sense, so I am extremely excited about that. We are updating all of the wiring/outlets in the room and moving a few of their locations as well. I am SO excited that we are going to add an outlet higher on the wall near the fireplace in case we want to put a lamp, tv, or anything up on the mantle that needs power so that we won’t have cords hanging down the side. We are also contemplating adding some accent lights near the fireplace, but haven’t made a final decision on that yet.

In the sunroom, we are adding two more ceiling light fixtures (there was only one that was in there when we moved in), although the ceiling in there is lower and we will have to be really good shoppers to find something that will work since we and our families are giants and we aren’t made of money.


Here are a few we are liking at the moment:

FM12025ACL-02P866840~dtlFM13128BS-01P641559~dtlI found one the other day I LOVED that was $499. $499 x 3 = not happenin’. We originally wanted to do can recessed lights since they would be a non-offensive, cheap option, however there is not enough room for installation due to the roof line of that space. BOO. Now we are just having a hard time finding flushmounts that aren’t too modern/rustic/trendy/expensive that we won’t hit our head on (they have to be less than 8″ tall to have enough clearance for Josh). I really like fixtures that have the exposed bulbs, but we want to be practical and also use our ugly energy efficient ones… ARGH.

We will find something and we definitely have time, since insulation and drywall have to happen first anyway. 🙂 We are on the calendar for insulation next week!


Kitchen: 90% DONE

So, I wanted to wait until we were actually 100% done with the kitchen before posting an “AFTER”…but we started this kitchen way back in August and I just can’t wait any longer. I want to show what we’ve done! 🙂

For those that need a refresher, here is our kitchen BEFORE:

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And here is our kitchen AFTER taking down wallpaper, painting the walls, sanding, priming, and painting the cabinets, replacing the cabinet hardware, ripping out and replacing the flooring, replacing and painting trim, whitewashing the wood paneling, replacing the light above the sink and removing the wood stove!







All we have left to do is:

– Replace the trim and window sill on the window above the sink and paint white

– Replace the faucet (I HATE THAT FAUCET)

– Patch the hole in the ceiling from where we installed the insulation

– Paint the ceiling

– Decorate above the mantle (right now it is a catch all)

– Find a new durable yet comfortable rug (that one was pulled in before we started gutting the living room),

– Find a table

– Find window coverings of some sort?


I can’t wait for the shopping part!!! 🙂

Rusty Pipes

Now that I am no longer hyperventilating about our plumbing/water damage situation, I feel comfortable talking about the craziness that ensued after our discovery of the puddle in our guest room.


The morning following the discovery, we called our Home Warranty company. We had heard mixed reviews about the responsiveness/helpfulness of home warranties, but decided to call them first because our service call fee through them is only $100 (vs. our deductible for our homeowner’s insurance which is much more.). For anyone wondering, our home warranty was purchased by the seller when we were purchasing the house and it is through Old Republic Home Protection. We called the service line, they entered our claim into the system, and that afternoon: a plumber was at our house.

Josh opened the wall and they saw this:


Well, no WONDER it was leaking so much! Doesn’t even take a plumber to diagnose that problem. 🙂 He then cut out that portion:


Corroded Pipe

And replaced the MAJORLY CORRODED pipe with PVC piping:


He let us know that the fix he did that day and was paid by the home warranty would be a ‘band-aid’ and offered some suggestions on what would be the best option to avoid having to open up walls again in a few years, since the pipes were so corroded. He also reached out to Old Republic to let them know about the corrosion and they agreed to pay for a more extensive fix, since corrosion is a very common problem in older homes.  He left that night and let us know it would be okay to shower the next morning and that he would be back in a few days to do the second fix. We also agreed to have him to replace another pipe in the wall for some preventative maintenance since the corrosion on the other pipe freaked us out and we wanted to avoid any more opening of walls as possible in the future. This was not covered by home warranty, but we thought it was a smart move to do it NOW, rather than later when IT decides to go.

The next morning (Tuesday), Josh showered with no problems. I showered…and Josh was yelling up the stairs for me to turn off the water JUST as I was starting to shampoo my hair. Rude. The drain pipe was no longer draining into the bedroom, but was backing up into the sink and flooding the bathroom. WOOPS.

We called the plumber and he let us know there wasn’t much he could do until the rest of the pipe and parts came in..so we would have to not shower in our house until he came back that Saturday to fix it. Okayyyyy. It all ended up being okay because it turns out that when our parents feel sorry for us, they let us shower at their house and they feed us. Not a bad deal. Thanks, parents!!! (SERIOUSLY..our coworkers are thanking you, too!)

He came back that Saturday and replaced the entire main drain line coming from the shower upstairs and our sink downstairs.


Meanwhile, due to the second flood, we became concerned about the possibility of having more extensive water damage, so we called in a claim to our homeowner’s insurance. We didn’t REALLY want to because we did NOT want to say goodbye to our deductible, but we noticed a bit of cupping in our wood floors and were also concerned about the area below the vanity/flooring in the bathroom.

After playing phone tag with our insurance person for a few days and Josh and I being confused because it was our first time filing a claim..they sent out a water mitigation company to dry out the two areas.

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The water mitigation was estimated to take 3-4 days, but at that point they were still concerned about the high levels of moisture. They even talked to us about the possibility that the tile in the bathroom might not dry out and they may have to gut the room. After about a week and a half, they finally got the moisture levels down to a “normal” level, so there was major relief happening about that. We got our insurance check in the mail to cover the estimated cost of replacing the wall and ceiling with drywall in the guest room, so that will be happening when we get the drywall in the living room done. YAY for one less room with those horrid ceiling tiles.


Overall, this whole thing was a MAJOR learning experience for us and reminded us about the importance of following your gut and having an emergency fund. I could only imagine what would happen if we didn’t have the cash to pay our deductible for the water mitigation services or just thought everything was a-okay just because the surface of the floor was dry to the touch and the plumbing was fixed. Mold is no joke, ya’ll. For real.

Overall, though…I’m just glad it is OVER and we can get back to the fun(ish) stuff. 🙂


Widen your View

So…remember these windows-used-as-shelves in the living room?


Well, they got a little wider. Like my eyes when I see Krispy Kreme doughnuts..

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We originally debated if we should add another doorway on the fireplace side of the room as a “shortcut” to the mudroom. We ended up deciding against it for logistical reasons-mostly because we are too lazy to move/cap off the heater in that space.

We also didn’t want to completely open up the room to the sunroom because the floors are different heights, it would make the fireplace off-center, the beams in the living room don’t continue into the sunroom, and the roofline is completely different.

However, we did also widen the doorway to make it easier to walk through into the sunroom from the kitchen and to make everything as close to symmetrical as possible.

We absolutely love it and are so thankful for the extra light that streams in to the room! One step closer to the lighter and brighter living room we are looking for.

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For those interested in how we did it…we used this tutorial from This Old House, which has basically become our bible for any project we are doing at the time. We installed a much larger header for each window to evenly distribute the load, so there are no worries as far as safety goes.

The Reception Line 2014 200   The Reception Line 2014 211 The Reception Line 2014 212

Right now the windows seem crazy wide, but I think it may also be because the rest of the walls aren’t covered in drywall. Now we are slowing finishing up the cleaning process in here before the insulation people come!

This takes GUTS!

Last time we checked in, we had taken down all of the wood paneling in the sunroom and two walls of the living room…


However, we still had two more walls and the ceiling to tackle..plus the fact that we had a drain pipe malfunction in the guest bedroom and lots of panic. The demo in this room was a welcome distraction from the drama of the water damage/insurance/blah blah blah. It certainly gave us a chance to take out our frustrations.

First up was the removal of all of the trim and baseboard heater covers. We did all of the prep work on Friday, then got started early Saturday morning. We used a saw to cut through the tops and bottoms of the boards to make it easier to pry them loose and avoid hitting the baseboard heaters and cause any damage. We also got on a roll with using a Sawzall borrowed from Josh’s dad to cut the nails from the side to remove the boards with less breakage.

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^ WHY, YES..that is an interior wall WITH insulation and an exterior wall without insulation. 🙂



So, this little area has a funny story…We ripped out the top part of the tin foil insulation (not a technical term!), then revealed our….attic. We totally didn’t put two and two together for a second since we enter our attic from our mudroom area which is down two mini flights of stairs, I think we thought we have uncovered a huge time capsule or something…nope, just our Christmas Tree. Haha!


^ All walls done-starting on the ceiling….


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After getting cleaned up (we could finally take showers since the plumber came on Saturday morning and got our shower up and running!), we went out for sushi and came back to our house for a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity.

We woke up on Sunday morning ready to go …. not. We were tired. I was cranky. But we kept on truckin’. I was pretty much at my breaking point (tears were almost coming out of my eyeballs) when Josh found this:

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It is a corner of a newspaper dated November 16, 1954 and it totally put me in a better mood because I JUST KNEW there was a note/newspaper/etc somewhere in this mystery of a house which, again, was supposedly built in 1957 and obviously this section was completed before that. I love being right so much that my tears disappeared and were replaced with determination.

We think that after our new insulation is put in and before the planked ceiling goes in, we will put one page of this old newspaper back into the wall, along with a note from us and a now newspaper so that it might brighten the mood of a future owner of our house when they are renovating the house 60 years from now. Cool thought. 🙂

Anywho, back to work….



..and by about 4:30 that night, the room looked like this:



This past weekend, we took on the wonderful job of insulation. I won’t even go in to how that went..it was just pretty terrible.

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After removal…

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Spring Cleaning: The Shed

[  To distract me from our plumbing woes, I am going to move on from talking about that for a bit, since we need to get everything figured out with our Home Warranty/Insurance people and start our tour de Virginia for showers until it is fixed. We have plenty of pictures and will talk about the WHOLE process once it is all hammered out. Which will be soon, right?!  ]

This weekend, we tackled a bit of spring cleaning that desperately needed to be done. It actually should have been done before starting any of our projects since it would have been a great work station while sanding the cabinets and such, but…live and learn, right?


When giving the initial tour to some of our friends (some of which occurred at night), we heard many different descriptions of this space – creepy, ew, ouch I just stepped on a nail (just kidding, but it could have happened), and this will be awesome one day.


Basically, it was filled with a bunch of stuff that wasn’t ours, the wood stove’s vent isn’t attached (hence it is leaning to the side..we’ll get to that one day!), and walking around in there even with shoes was a hazard because there were nails, screws, other pointy objects EVERYWHERE.


That little red children’s chair used to sit by the wood stove. It got the most attention on our tours because it really was creepy looking!



So basically, we just shopvac’d the heck out of this place and moved the work benches around a bit. We also brought in some shelves from the garage for some extra storage:


We also stumbled on this etching in the foundation cement.. To me, it looks like “7-4-56” or “4-4-56.” Our house was supposedly built in 1957, which is why we find it weird that the slab for the shed was put down in 1956? Mysteries….



And then, a waterfall…LITERALLY.

Sunday night, we were eating dinner on the couch, watching the final few episodes of Breaking Bad on Netflix and giving each other high fives for how productive we were this weekend. We tackled rototilling the front lawn, made three trips to the dump to get compost and throw stuff away, organized and vacuumed the shed and our garage, both of which were extremely cluttery and holding a ton of scrap wood, trash, old shelves/cabinets the previous owners left. We went grocery shopping, made yogurt and fruit salad for the week, finished laundry…In between episodes, I was going to run and brush my teeth when…I found a puddle of water in our guest room.

WATER. in the ONLY room we weren’t going to pay attention to for a LONG time and is also holding all of our junk from our sunroom. Cuss words were spoken.

Cue Josh and I freaking out and googling “How to locate a leak.” I found a This Old House video clip and off we went at 11 PM, trying to locate the source. It wasn’t a ton of water, so we assumed it wasn’t an inbound pipe, so I stayed down in the bedroom while Josh turned on the shower upstairs. After about 45 seconds, I heard water trickling down from upstairs, but the ceiling wasn’t wet, I didn’t see anything coming down the side of the wall, or ANYTHING! Then, the water started flowing..from UNDERNEATH the baseboard trim in the corner of the room. Awesome.

That’s when we decided it was time to call in the big guns and use our Home Warranty that we got with the purchase of the house from the sellers. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly! We’ve heard mixed reviews from people about whether or not their home warranties have been worth it or not…so, I guess we’ll find out. Next step would be going through our Homeowner’s Insurance, so…anywho, wish us luck!