Thursday, April 9, 2015

Living Room Redo

A couple of months ago Mark was temporarily medically disqualified. (Don't worry...he's fine now and back to work!) As part of it, he found himself with two weeks of unexpected time off from work. What better way to fill the time, he told me, than to rip down all the paneling and drywall the entire living toom? The 17'x33' living room? "My dad can help and we can do it in a week", he said. Famous last words.

Round 1:
Mark's dad came down with his work truck and as soon as I woke up from my post-mid nap, they started ripping the paneling off the walls. I was half-expecting to find all sorts of nightmares stuffed in the walls, but it really wasn't that bad...aside from a few dead mice and a LOT of ladybugs, it was mostly just a lot of extra boards and some useless insulation.

Bye, paneling!

Our buddy Scott came over to help for a while, and between the three of them, it only took a few hours to rip everything down and get rid of the old insulation.

Lucky us, it turned out to be one of the coldest days of the year when we did this. I think the high was in the 20's. And there were several places where the cold air was just pouring into the house. Yay.

We went to Home Depot, bought a BUNCH of drywall and insulation and some other odds and ends, then Mark and his dad got to work. They spent nearly an entire day doing some electrical work (including adding a new outlet and running the 220v line over to the fireplace for the next phase of the project), then started putting up the drywall.

The first wall! I think this was three days into the project.

This is what is behind our insulation, plastic covering, and our ugly old fireplace. Mark's dad took a sledgehammer to the ugly shelf that had been there before, and they removed the gas insert and plugged everything up. That made a big difference in the room temperature...cold air had been pouring in through the fireplace. You can see the electrical lines hanging out in the opening.

Mark's dad managed to get all the drywall finished before heading out that Friday. We couldn't repaint yet, since everything needed to be sanded, so we had naked walls for a couple weeks.

Round 2:
 I didn't take any pictures until the end of this round - there was SO much dust. Mark's dad finished and sanded the drywall, then got the electric fireplace installed and ready for finishing. He also removed the damaged wood floor that had been under the ugly shelf thing we removed. This was also the week that I brought Wembley home - I pulled into the driveway with her about 5 minutes after Mark's dad pulled in with his truck, so it was mayhem for a little while there. Between the dust from the sanding and getting Wembley used to everything, I spent a lot of time hanging out in the kitchen that week.

The end of Round 2 - the fireplace is in and works! It's pretty sweet: it has a remote control, blows hot air if you want it to, and has a sleep timer and brightness settings. And bonus, doesn't make our house smell like propane. You can see the bare concrete floor where the damaged wood was removed, and we had already taped the walls for painting. Before Mark's dad left, we came up with a rough idea of what to do to finish off the fireplace.

After Round 2:
It took a little while to clean up all the dust from the sanding, but we eventually hit a point where we could start painting. That was about the same time I messed up something in my back shoveling snow, so poor Mark did pretty much all of the painting himself.

We stuck with the same colors we had before: bright blue on top and a lighter blue on the bottom. Why change it if it works? We were able to save our chair rail, so we planned to reuse that, and we were going to add white crown molding. We found and ordered some supplies for the fireplace, too.

Round 3:
Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel! This time both of Mark's parents came down in their camper and brought their dog, Rudy, too. We started with a trip to Home Depot for a few more supplies, then Mark's dad got right to work on the fireplace.

He made the wooden frame for the fireplace himself. It turned out great! It looked almost exactly like one of the pictures I had showed him of what I had in mind, and he even managed to find tiny flower trim that matched our chair rail to use for the very top. He started to put up some of the tiles so we could get an idea of what the finished product would look like.

Almost done! The tiles we picked wound up working out really well; they look muted from one angle, but when the light hits them they're bright and iridescent. The floor tiles are shiny metal cobblestones, which works well with the metal pieces in the other tiles on the wall.

The doggies spent lots of quality time in the kitchen while Mark's dad was doing the tiles. Thankfully, they mostly got along, though Bacon and Giz were a bit protective of Wembley at times.

Mark and I had to work, so we didn't see the finished fireplace until we got home and his parents had already left for home. It turned out fantastic! I shudder to think how much something this nice would have cost if we hired someone to do it. It's a huge improvement on the fireplace we used to have, and we can actually use this one!   :)

A bigger view of the living room, after we started putting some of the furniture back. It looks so nice and crisp. I love it! I really didn't know what to expect going into this project. It wound up taking longer than I thought it would, but it turned out so well that it was totally worth it. We have a few new pieces of furniture coming soon (a new entertainment center, coffee table, and liquor cabinet), and we just hung all of our pictures back up a few days ago, so it's almost finished. A big thank you (again!) to Mark's's beautiful!   :)

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