Friday, May 27, 2016

Master Bedroom Renovation Challenge: [Stages 2-3] Closet Demolition

Catch up on the renovation progress! 

Hi all! It's been quite the week here! Our master bedroom project slowed down last week because of some prior events and trips, but things have picked up again over this past week with Karl working on it most evenings after work. Baby girl and I have been staying away because, well, Karl doesn't want me swinging a hammer "in my condition", and also just to be safe as there's speculation of drywall dust containing gluten (crazy, right?!).

Gotta say, having to take a step back and not being allowed able to help with the grunt work on the house during this pregnancy is a bit hard for me. Yes, I'm able to sit back and let someone else do it, but I want to be able to put my mark on this house as well, ya know? For example, I like being able to walk through the downstairs and think "I sanded under that radiator with my bare hands and got bloody knuckles...I scraped that wallpaper until my whole body ached, but man, look at it now!".

In the future as I think back to our master bedroom renovation I'd much prefer to be able to think, "I knocked down that wall", but it's looking like I'll have to settle for, "I found and hung pretty pictures on that wall...". That doesn't sound quite as memorable to me, lol. Anyone else relate? Am I just weird? (nevermind, we already know I'm weird...)

Anywho, back to demo.

Most of the closet is now out, so by the end of the day tomorrow we should have the room's "original" closet completely knocked out!

Here's a quick recap of pix to show the gradual process over this past week:

taking out closet rods
The back walls of the closet were an odd and thin plastic surface, kind of like a shower wall. Very weird, but not too difficult to pull away.

Surprise, surprise...more plywood. Still have no idea why the past owner did this.

The past owner seemed to have gone to town with an overabundance of screws in the posts, so it took awhile to get them down.

Look! Original wood flooring! :) ...that the past owner put screws through...ggrrrrr.

The closet's header is simply a 2x4 guessed it...plywood beneath drywall. That's all coming down tomorrow, which I'm really looking forward to as I know the room is gonna feel so much more open once it's out!

After all of Karl's heroic efforts from this week, here's what it looks like as of now:

p.s. - I couldn't get any full pictures of the closet because of all the debris in the room, and I didn't want to risk getting stuck by a nail or screw and then have to get a tetanus shot while preggo, soooo...this will have to do. ;)

Yay for progress!

After the closet's demo is complete, we'll be running some wiring and drywalling, mudding, and sanding the back wall of where the closet had been.

...and then comes what I'm so excited to see happen - primer and paint!

Stay tuned! Also, I'll be posting on Instagram this weekend to show the header coming down, so follow along!

Have a good weekend, y'all!

Shared On: thatdiyparty, beforeandafterwednesday

Thursday, May 19, 2016

9 Houseplants that Improve Air Quality, Don't Die Easily, & Cat Safe!

Hi all! Not much progress to report on the master bedroom: this past weekend we had a lot of yardwork to catch up on after approx 10 straight days of rain (yikes), and this upcoming weekend we'll be spending time with my bro and sis-in-law. We're planning to get right back into the thick of things next week with taking out the former closet - can't wait!

In the meantime, y'all may recall on the mood board for the living room that I wanted to incorporate lots of live indoor plants. In my experience, green plants add an extra "life" to a room, and given the bright and airy feeling I am aiming for in the living room, not to mention the great natural lighting that particular room already receives, it seemed the perfect room to incorporate plants.

I wanted to especially concentrate on plants that are easy to take care of and are known to improve the air quality in your home, for obvious reasons. On top of that, we hope to add a cat to our family in the near future, so I also have been researching what plants are cat-safe.

So, the plants need to:

  • thrive indoors and be easy to care for
  • improve air quality
  • cat safe

After some time spent on the interwebs, here's the plants I've found that meet all 3 criteria to share:

Spider Plant

via homedit
Being a full and bushy plant with long stems, it is an attractive plant that also requires very little care. Place in indirect sunlight and allow the soil to dry in between waterings. Very easy to care for plant that would be easy for beginners.

Boston Fern

via bloomiq
I love me the Boston Fern! One of my favorite porch plants for hanging or sitting in pots by a doorway. They have such lovely full leaves and give an immediate presence to a room with their size. Keep them in well lit areas but never direct sun (thus why they're great porch plants). Water them 2-3 times per week or when their soil feels dry during the Summer, and about once a week in the Winter.

Succulents (Jade, Kalanchoe, Echeveria, etc)

via thesucculentsource
Succulents come in a variety of colors of shapes and require very little maintenance; they only require sunlight (though be careful it's not direct sun or they may dry) and weekly watering in the summer or warmer months - winter you can go every-other week.

African Violet

via yankeemagazine
The African Violet has delicate flowers (especially love the purple) and fuzzy leaves. This is a pretty tough little flower, and will be able to thrive as long as it is not over-watered. Be careful to keep the leaves clean. They do not like direct sunlight (such as a south facing window) so keep them in a room that gets lots of morning or late afternoon sunlight. Water them when the soil feels dry - I water mine about once a week. It's important to let the soil dry in between waterings. Also, an interesting tip I found is to use lukewarm water on them, not cold.

Lemon Butter Fern

via southernsophisticate
Like most indoor plants, these little ferns prefer indirect sunlight. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. If the air in your home is especially dry, giving it an occasional misting of water will help.

Areca Palm

via flowershopping
A great plant for filling out corners of a room or near a piece of furniture. This palm like most of its kind do not require much maintenance; keep in a well lit sunny area but not direct noon sun and let the soil dry between waterings.

Rubber Plant

via serennatalplants
Keeping the soil moist in the warmer months is key. Giving the leaves an occasional misting or wiping a damp cloth on the leaves also helps it breathe. During winter months watering can be kept to a minimal of only 1-2 times per month. Keep in indirect sunlight such as near a window with sheer curtains or a corner of a room that gets only morning or late afternoon sunlight.

Parlor Fern/Palm (chamaedorea elegans)

via houseplantsexpert

Like most indoor thriving plants, the parlor fern is especially resilient and easy to care for. Requires only early morning and late afternoon lighting and water when the soil is dry (it's important not to over-water). These ferns can get big but they grow slowly. A great beginner's plant!


A fun plant with its ability to have twisted stems and that one especially seems to find doing well in bathrooms because of their low-light needs, bamboo only needs occasional watering. One tip is to water using only distilled or fresh water; tap water can contain harmful minerals that will yellow the leaves.

So far there's a parlor fern sitting in the corner of our living room, rubber plant in our kitchen, and an african violet in our laundry room. I have about 5 boston ferns but am keeping them all out on our porches for the warmer months. I'll probably be nabbing a spider plant to add to our little collection soon.

Any plants y'all recommend most from this list? Do you have a fave?

We'll be back again with master bedroom progress next week - till then, have a great weekend, y'all!

Pin for Later!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Master Bedroom Renovation Challenge: [Stage 1] Wall Demolition

Catch up on the renovation progress! 

Last week we left off with the plans for our master bedroom and walk-in closet. This past weekend we moved our mattress from the "spare oom" to a front bedroom, and Karl and his Dad got to work on part one of the demo: knocking a new doorway between our two back bedrooms.

We had already discovered that the wall had been replaced with drywall from the previous owner and a supporting beam ran the length above the wall studs, making it non-load bearing (unless we were planning on taking out the entire wall - then that'd be a different story). However, as Karl began knocking a few test holes into the wall Friday night, he found something neither of us have seen before...

...plywood. Plywood was behind the drywall.

Say whah?

Digging a bit deeper on Saturday we found haphazardly placed wood fillers/spacers toward the baseboards. It seems the past owner had used these and the plywood to make the wall flush when he took out the original plaster and lath is our best guess.

Karl's Dad ripping up the carpet

odd spacers

Behind the plywood was insulation. The menfolk took out the insulation and we found we had drywall on the opposite wall as well.

The original hand-hewn studs were still there. We only had to take out one, and we'd like to find a way to repurpose it as it is such a cool piece.

If you were able to follow along on Instagram this past weekend, here's the boys sporting a pose with their work on the doorway:

If you remember from last week's post, we're striving to get the master bedroom move-in-ready 4-6 weeks from now. The next stage of this room will involve taking out the existing closet, finding a 30" door for the new closet opening, and installing a threshold in the new doorway.

We'll be taking the trim from the existing closet and re-using it for around the new doorway on both sides, and we may be using a door that seems to have been original to the house that we found in our garage. The door will need a lot of refinishing work and we need to take a closer look to see if there's any wood rot, but it would be cool if we could use it.

This room will hopefully keep shaping up at a steady pace! We'll be likely tackling the closet trim this week. I'm putting a mood board together for this room as well, so keep a lookout!

Shared On: thatdiyparty

Friday, May 6, 2016

Our Own One Room Renovation Challenge: Master Bedroom Plans

Hi all! Did you see our awesome news from earlier this week? Well, with that exciting announcement you can see why we have another driving force to get hustling with renovations to our upstairs bedrooms so that they're more livable.

Up till now we have been using the smallest back bedroom for ourselves - the other three are an office, temporary storage room, and then the future master bedroom that needs work.

Get ready for some major "reality" pix...renovations and being in a state of limbo ain't pretty, hehe. Here's the current temporary "master" bedroom which we lovingly refer to as the "spare oom" (Narnia fans? Anyone?).

Our mattress is on the floor because we couldn't fit our boxspring up the stairs. #oldhouseproblems ;) The room is barely able to fit our queen bed; the former owner had a twin in it beforehand and it was still a small space then. It could be used as a very small bedroom or single-person office, but we have other plans for it that I'll get to in a moment.

On the other side of the wall pictured (above) is the future master bedroom. The future master bedroom, also referred to as the "red room" for which I hope it's easy to see why...

What Needs Work:

One good thing about waiting six months to get started on our master bedroom is that we've lived here for six months, which has helped us determine which room to designate as our master. Ironically enough, the red room is not the largest bedroom of the four. However, we chose it for the location. It sits in the back of the house and offers the prettiest views, adjoins the "spare oom", and provides more options for how we use the space.

This is the only room with a modern-day sized closet, but unfortunately it hasn't much space when we combine both our clothes in it.

The rods are also badly spaced, so clothes on the higher levels hang over the bottom level. The small built-in tv cubby and shallow bookcase to the right of the closet is useless for our needs and therefore a waste of space that could be better utilized.

Thus, we have 2 options for expanding closet space for this room:

1) we raise the doors and rods of the closet and take out the bookcase, allowing us to make a wall-to-wall closet.

2) we knock out the wall for a doorway between the red and spare oom and make the spare oom into a dream walk-in closet.

Now, in reference to option #2 I must pause here and state that I'm ALL about keeping the original features of an old home and often cringe at how much wall removal happens in Fixer Upper or when any other renovation show does an old house. However, if it does indeed help functionality and isn't a HUGE difference (such as a doorway being created or enlarged) I can let it go.

With option #2, it's a door, and that is something that is easy to always go back and remove if we decide down the road we want to make it its own bedroom again (though it's doubtful as we have a whole unfinished attic waiting to be made into finished rooms). Another clincher is that upon taking off a wallplate and examining what was behind it, we discovered that particular wall had been drywalled, which is something we had previously learned was also the case with the interior walls of our living room.

We won't know until we start knocking holes if a doorway is possible, but now that we know it's drywall, we feel better about being able to at least easily patch it if option #2 fails.

If #2 doesn't fail, we'll be tearing out the current wall closet, making the master bedroom's square footage a bit bigger.

The other obvious part of this project would be the carpeting. Underneath the bulging and creepy red carpet (old carpet is just creepy when you think of all that could be in it - ugh) is the original wood floor as we've discovered from a corner of the room. We won't know the floor's condition until we pull the carpet up, so we're really crossing fingers it's in good shape and that we may even be spared from having to refinish them.

Last of course would be the wall color. I've had a visual in my mind for months now, so a mood board will be coming.

We're starting demo tomorrow, so things will hopefully start moving along! We aim to have everything move-in ready 4-6 weeks from now - yikes!

If you'd like some behind-the-scenes, catch me on Instagram this weekend as Karl knocks holes. If you're doing any projects this weekend as well, take a pic of your project and tag me @dravenmade on Instagram (we'll be project buddies!).

Have a good weekend, everyone, and we'll have an update on what we've messed up progress has been made next week! [update: see master bedroom demolition day here]

Catch up on the renovation progress! 

^ follow our master renovation through email updates

Shared On: makeitprettymonday, thatdiyparty, beforeandafterwednesday, talkofthetown

Monday, May 2, 2016

We've Been Keeping A Secret From Y'all...

You guys, with Spring now being in full swing I'm rather excited because a LOT of developments and planning is going on right now and some mega demo will be happening these next few months. Something tells me this summer is going to go by REALLY fast!

Some of you may have noticed that since refinishing our first story floors and tearing out the built-ins in the dining room at the end of 2015, progress slowed down over this past winter. Granted, winter does usually put a halt to some projects.

However, there's been another little reason...

...though the reason has been getting bigger...'s a hint:

Yup. We're having a kiddo! :) 

Thus, most of this winter was spent with me being nauseous and exhausted, and Karl spent a lot of it making me meals (because anything as simple as going into the kitchen and seeing dirty dishes in the sink or opening the fridge sent me gagging) and running errands on days I was particularly low on energy. 

Since the end of the first trimester I've been feeling MUCH more like my 'ol self and have much of my energy back. Man it's good to be back!

Then just this past weekend we found out the baby's gender and it's a...'lil girl!

It was fun telling family yesterday, and Karl has already been making some pretty cute comments about what it'll mean to have a girl. I know he'll be a good daddy and will be such a sweetie (and probably whipped too) around her. I'm looking forward to seeing him interact with her. ^_^

As for me, though I'm no girly-girl and have a firm "no pink or princess themes" stand (lol), I am starting to find certain frilly onesies to be cute and am so curious to know what physical and personality traits she'll have from each of us. The whole 2nd trimester she has been a super-active mover and kicker. Makes me wonder if she'll be running circles around us!

So there's our little secret now out in the open! We're excited for sure!

Baby girl is due Sept 2nd! With a little one on the way, this Spring/Summer is going to be jam-packed as we turn our attention to finishing our upstairs so that we can have a bedroom and nursery; as of now we're still sleeping on a mattress on the floor, our clothes closet is distributed between two other bedrooms, and the nursery is currently our storage room for all our stuff waiting to be moved into the finished bedrooms. Yikes.

I'll be laying out the plans we're plotting throughout this week for the master bedroom and nursery, which will include knocking down walls, tearing up old carpet, and all sorts of other dusty and fun things. ;) Stay tuned!  

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