In honor of being chosen (twice! squee!) for Best of Craftster 2008,I have decided to finally write out our adventures in remodeling for yet another room in our house.
The Dining room.
This is serious stuff here people, so go take the dog out, get yourself a beverage, kick back and enjoy the schadenfreude.
This room was supposed to be easy. When we moved in, there did not seem to be too much wrong with it. I think I was just comparing it to the rest of the house because, comparatively, it was great! In actuality, it definitely needed work... possibly it needed less work than the bathroom or living room.... but work, nevertheless.
Here's what it looked like when we first viewed the house:
Recently I read that when you purchase a house or apartment, you should not rely on immediately moving into said property. Things can go wrong, people can be jerks. Greg and I had no idea about any of that, so naturally we planned everything so that it all had to go perfectly in order to move in. First, on a visit to Greg's parents we left our car with them, and we borrowed theirs because our car is a stick shift and I can't drive stick. We drove back to my parent's house in New Jersey. The next week we rented a moving truck, loaded it up, and Greg drove the truck while I drove his Mom's car all the way back to Greg's Parent's house. We loaded the rest of his stuff into the Moving Truck, swapped our cars again, and we left the moving truck with Greg's Parents. We drove out super early the next morning to Pittsburgh to close on the house and "Move In". It all went smoothly. I think I even lightened the serious mood when I brought my goldfish in with me (I couldn't leave them in the car... it was hot out there.)
We then drove directly to our new house. Greg carried me over the thresh hold, the previous owners had cleaned out pretty much 100% of their belongings (I say "pretty much" because of the clown face stained glass sun catcher they left... and the "Toys R Us" sticker on the bathroom mirror. ) And we found a bottle of Champagne in the Fridge. We ordered way too much Chinese food and sat on the floor and spent the first night in our house. It was awesome.
The next morning we got up bright and early to start doing this:
One of the delightful things that was bequeathed to us in this house were rooms carpeted in a dark green carpet. It was obviously old, and obviously dirty, and had probably never been cleaned (or so I freaked myself into believing). We had plans to get it all out of there before the moving truck arrived so that we could put in Laminate flooring right off the bat!
That's what we found underneath the carpet. Soft wood floor. Of COURSE it couldn't have been hardwood.
And how obvious is it that on that far wall someone did a really shitty job of patching up a fireplace? Nice, huh? Well, there were a few problems with that tile at the far wall. Namely, it would disrupt the flatness of our floor and the laminate needs an extremely flat surface or it will buckle.
So, Greg got out his hammer and his Safety Goggles (which look like Mirrored sunglasses and he got them that way because they were "cool", and now he doesn't wear them because he "Can't really see in them indoors" BECAUSE THEY'RE SUNGLASSES!!!!!), and he smashed the green tile into itty bitty bits. Right around this time, Greg's family showed up with our moving truck and we started to unload our belongings (in the rain). Greg then poured concrete over where the tile had been (Have I mentioned that he worked with a Masonry Company over a few summers? Hot, and useful!), and let it set.
Yes, Now it permanently says "I heart Meg" under our dining room floor.
Then we started laying and screwing down the Luann (I'm not sure if that spelling is right, but it's pronounced LOU - Ahn) which is the subflooring for the Laminate floor.
We intended to lay laminate flooring throughout almost the entire first floor (The kitchen was the exception) so it took a while to rip up all the carpet and staples, lay down all the luann, and then even begin to contemplate laying the laminate flooring. With Greg's parent's help, we were able to lay down the dining room flooring and half of the living room flooring. Unfortunately, they began to lay the flooring in the worst possible corner (mathematically) and therefore had a horrible time making all of the rooms match up perfectly (Probably took three times as long). In the end, it came out beautifully.
After they left, we still had an ENORMOUS box sitting on the floor containing our brand new electric piano - a spectacularly generous wedding gift from my parents, so we decided to open it up. This piano is the approximate size and weight of a baby grand. It was not a wise idea to attempt this with just the two of us, and at one point I ran outside yelling for a neighbor, ANY neightbor. I ambushed a woman watering her garden and begged for her help. I think she thought I was a nutcase, and I am confident in that interpretation because she has avoided us ever since. However, she did come in, assist us with living the piano from it's vertical box to it's rightful position, and then she fled.
Bless her heart.
At this point, the progress of our Dining room paused for a while. We had no table for a long time. Eventually, my mom offered me an old table that they had in their attic. The only thing about it that I didn't like was that it had ugly metal legs, but it was a free table and I was not going to be picky.
We formed a plan wherein we'd throw ourselves at the feet of Greg's grandfather and beg him to make us wooden table legs. It may SOUND like a lame plan... but it totally worked. (THANK YOU!!!!)
Then, we lived with this for about a year and a half. We finished our living room before we finished our dining room, so the presentability of the dining room plummeted before we decided to attack it as our next project.
This next photo is of a project in and of itself. I saw shelving by West Elm at Pottery Barn for over $300. It was too expensive for us to buy, but I loved the concept of random geometric shelving. I almost immediately got to work sketching out a design. I had Greg measure the wall and we decided how big we wanted the units to be. I sketched it on to graph paper, and labeled all the measurements properly. Greg purchased the wood and began to make the cuts. Originally he began to put it together with nails, but eventually moved on to tiny screws. I designed it to flow into one another... and it works, except for the fact that Greg accidentally installed the hanging hardware wrongly and now one of them is upside down. I think it looks fine anyway. We painted them black ourselves. All in all, I think the total $$$ cost for supplies was approximately $60.
My main bone was this:
The dining room had a drop ceiling. The living room had had a drop ceiling as well, but behind the drop ceiling was a plaster ceiling that just needed some TLC. Behind the Dining room drop ceiling, we found this:
Leftover knob and tube wiring (Don't feel too relieved by the "Left over" part. The entire house was still wired this way when we moved in. We rewired the entire house... this stuff was just left over in the ceiling), vents and OH! The floor above us! No ceiling to speak of.
So we moved everything out:
And we took down the drop ceiling and gained about 8-10 inches of ceiling height.http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3131/3193331109_492649a55d.jpg?v=1231869334
We found out that we were destined for extreme patching because the people who put up the drop ceiling decided to literally hammer into the walls to figure out where the studs were. Delightful.
Then we had to run wires for the various ceiling lights we were going to put in. We decided on 8 recessed lights and 1 chandelier.
For some reason, we took no photos of the whole "putting up the new ceiling" process. Allow me to assure you it was difficult, and trying. We needed four people to steady huge pieces of drywall, and after several hours, we finally got it all up. One of the trickiest parts was making sure the drywall pieces were cut perfectly before even putting it up to the ceiling to test it. In addition to matching all the other drywall pieces, it also needed to have holes cut where the recessed lighting was to be. We finished all of that (Taking the drop ceiling down, putting a new ceiling up) in ONE weekend.
Our next step was to install the lighting, spackle EVERYTHING, sand EVERYTHING, and then paint.
I guess the spackle and sanding isn't all that exciting either because I don't have photos of that. Take my word for it, it was intensive and very very dusty.
I knew already that I wanted to paint the room a dark teal. I didn't know exactly which paint color for a long time, but the guessing was taken out of the decision when we went to Ikea one day, and one of their sample rooms was painted the exact color I wanted. It was fate. Fate happened to dictate that it be Benjamin Moore, Slate Teal... and Fate doesn't really have a whole lot of respect for money-conservation... but Fate must be satisfied, so Slate Teal it was.http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3183/3101666397_d49aae7c9c.jpg?v=0http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3306/3193308325_27508b6ee4.jpg?v=0
All that was left was installing the quarter round, painting the trim, and cleaning up! We moved all the furniture back in (after a good dusting). We put some lighting in our corner cabinet and installed the chandelier. And now, without further adieu, I present our Dining room accompanied by Christmas.
Hope you enjoyed
If you would like to see more photos of other room renovations in my house, feel free to visit my flickr page at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craftyintentions