Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Laundry Room: Painted Wood Ceiling

My favorite part of this process so far happened yesterday—a freshly painted ceiling! Before I get into that, let's talk about what else we've done in the past few days.

We still have this back wall of 2x4's in the storage room:

It needed to be insulated first, so Brad got to work on that Saturday morning (and left a nice little time capsule for someone to discover in 100 years):

Our plumber also came by to make sure the plumbing was ready to go and close up the washer/dryer box:

Then it was the (not) fun part... prepping the ceiling for paint. Now, we have no choice but to go for the rustic look here (which I love) but there were some major flaws in this wood. The goal was simply to patch and smooth out the areas that really needed attention (i.e. the 1" holes in the joists where old pipes were ran and the boards that were completely shredded...

This took quite a bit longer than I had expected (doesn't it always?)... I spent a few hours Friday night patching:

Then a few more on Saturday, including caulking everywhere the boards met the ceiling. Sanding was the biggest pain. Wood filler is much more stubborn than spackle, let me tell you!

I spackled/caulked/sanded for about 5 hours on Saturday before calling it quits. Sunday morning I made a few final touchups before our painter arrived. We hired this one out because it needed to be sprayed—we don't own a spray gun but we have a great painter that is extremely reasonable so it was worth every penny.

Oh, and staining the joists rather than painting crossed my mind for about 0.02 seconds but I decided against it because a) the whole goal was to make the ceiling appear taller, and all that dark wood would visually weigh it down, and b) there were so many imperfections that had to be filled that you would see it through the stain. Painting was the clear choice.

I wanted to keep it soft and light but instead of pure white, I decided to make things interesting and use the same barely-there gray on the walls in the rest of our house (Valspar's Montpelier Madison White—here's an old photo after it was painted for a good reference):

  And we're both loving the way it turned out...

Please ignore the rest of the ugly/distracting space right now... it's all about the vision :)

We had our painter spray the inside of the laundry box while he was at it. The inside shouldn't really be visible but you might catch a glimpse of it around the edges so it was done just to be safe.

I know the ceiling looks pretty white in these photos, but it's up against beige-ish walls so I think after I paint the walls white it will pop more.

Here's the view from inside of the storage room—and finally a nicely lit shot of both hard-to-photograph doors (with my iphone, no less):

And here's that storage room, insulated and ready for beadboard:

And the back wall to give you an idea of the size—it's small but I have some organization ideas, I'll make it work:

Usually paint will highlight all the imperfections on a surface which is why I spent so much time trying to patch everything up, but surprisingly, everything looks cleaner and less rustic than when it was just bare wood. Here's a direct before/after of a pretty bad peice:

Bam. How do you like those putty sculpting skills? I think it worked so well partly because the paint sheen is flat, it's a light color, and the lighting is shining below it rather than directly on it. And wow, the room feels like it almost doubled in size from the very beginning, even after we split it into two rooms... don't you think?

Same angle:

I know once we get the wall of cabinets in and washer/dryer installed it won't feel as spacious, but I'm loving how this project is shaping up. Let's hope we can keep this momentum going!

Now is also a good time to review our cabinet choices. Here's the mockup from Lowe's:

The sink will be different and there will only be one shelf centered on the right cabinet, but we've got the framework laid out and the cabinets should be ready in 3-4 weeks.

I chose this cabinet style—Diamond brand's "Hanson" style door:

In this color (Cloud):

It's a very pretty soft/warm gray and I can't wait to see how it looks with the lighting in that room.

On this week's agenda is installing beadboard on the back storage wall, painting it (in a dark gray) and painting all of the drywall white. That starts tonight! Hopefully by Friday it will be ready to share. Week 3—here we go!

Friday, January 23, 2015

New Laundry Room: Salvaged Door DIY's

Can we pause for a moment to take in the current state of our home?

We've been living in this dust for over two weeks—layers of dirt have been accumulating everywhere and any attempt to clean is futile as it is constantly being dragged through the house by the rotation of workers.

And our downstairs... well, we've pretty much quarantined it.

And all of this just for a laundry/storage room. We are so looking forward to this one to be over!

At least I managed to finish two of my DIY projects—the entrance and pocket doors. First, let's start with the entrance. Here's the original door:

Just your average hollow core flat panel. I had my heart set on something like this the moment I saw it on Pinterest:


Only, it would have to be black to match our other doors. After no luck on Craigslist and our local Facebook buy & sell, I made a trip to Habitat for Humanity Re-store and found the one...

It clearly wasn't in mint condition, but I like that old door character. And it was only $10—sold!

After bringing it home I realized it's the exact same door we have in our kitchen...

Sidenote — this was taken while our kitchen was still under construction!

After removing the hardware and sanding down all the peeling paint and rough spots, I used my favorite putty to fill in all of the major gaps. 

I've never had much luck with traditional wood putty (it always dries out and is cumbersome to work with) but this stuff you can mix with water to your desired consistency and it goes on smoothly (and it's inexpensive!)

The goal here wasn't a factory smooth finish (if that's what you want, save yourself the headache and buy a new door) but rather less obvious wear and tear.

There weren't quite as many problem areas on the back.

After letting it sit overnight, I sanded it smooth and applied a few coats of my go-to paint, Valspar Signature in Dark Kettle Black. This time I used satin (I used flat on the two interior doors I've painted so far but it leaves wipe marks behind when you try to clean it, so I figured satin would be more durable).

This door was a couple inches larger than the old one, so our contractor Dave had to reframe it. Here's how things are looking now:

Sorry for the dark pic—it's really hard to photograph black doors!

Here it is in relation to the living room french door.

The last step is to frost the glass and add a Laundry decal. I'll be trying out spray frosting and the decal should be here in a few days.

One last shot from inside the room... I haven't decided yet if I'll keep the existing knob or replace it with the same "vintage" glass knob set I used on the french door.

Now—on to the pocket door!

This door leads underneath the house and will be rarely used—most likely only to gain access to the back of the washer and dryer if needed, so I wanted to keep the footprint small but make it aesthetically pleasing. My favorite way to do that?

Plywood panels, of course!

First I needed a door. The slice of wood we had before wasn't going to cut it...

Re-Store to the rescue again! I grabbed a 28" hollow core door that was part of a closet—forgot to take a before photo, but it looks just like this...

I was about to head to Lowe's to buy a pocket door frame, when out of the corner of my eye I spied one that they had just brought out. It was in good condition and only $20 (compared to $70 at Lowe's). Score.

So all that was left was my sheet of plywood, which I brought home and cut into strips with my table saw (refer to my original post for a step by step tutorial!)

Since the back will never be seen, I only had to add paneling to the front of the door. I also used wood glue this time and clamps so I got away with less finish nails.

Here's my instagram photo with both doors ready for sanding & paint...

I posted the pocket door frame last week, but here it is again as a reminder:

We later learned that it was designed for a 30" pocket door but Dave was up for the challenge. He simply added trim around the sides to close in the gap and we were good to go.

We installed a pull on the edge (you can barely see a sliver of it in this photo) but you can just as easily slide it with the edge of the trim, so I think I'll leave it as is since we plan to open it almost never. A quick paint touchup needs to be made in the center where it was scratched but other than that it's a done deal.

It looks more like a chalkboard finish in these photos because I had to edit the brightness since it's hard to see the detail—but it's very much black in person. Although I'm still having a bit of an issue with residue left behind when I wipe it down. Can anyone recommend any good solution + cleaning material that doesn't leave streaks?

You'll also notice something new on the right—our washer and dryer box is built! No more giant hole underneath the house!

We plan to add a drain underneath the washer, tile the bottom, seal the edges, paint and trim it out. The empty box below will be my first attempt at a DIY drawer (for laundry soap storage).

Our plumber has spent the past few days tapping into the kitchen lines and running hot/cold and drain lines for our sink on the other side of the room, seen below underneath the hole in the floor:

Today the new plumbing system will be tested and checked for leaks. Once the washer, dryer and sink are installed, our plumber will come back to get everything buttoned up.

And that's where we are at today! Still no pretty pictures, I know, bear with me here. Tonight I begin the exciting process of removing all of the nails/screws/stray pieces of metal from the ceiling, patching up all of the knots and holes and trying to sand it all down as best as I can. It will still be rustic looking, that's for sure...

But I'm excited to see how this never-before-attempted ceiling look works out. Brand new territory here, people!

We have painters coming Sunday to spray the ceiling so I should have some finished photos on Monday or Tuesday of that. Though I'll probably be too excited to wait and end up sharing on Instagram, so follow me there to make sure you don't miss a minute of this riveting renovation! :)

And one more thing... some big changes are happening around here. January is the season of clean slates and new beginnings, and I've been inspired to do something I've been thinking about for a while—a website rebranding and redesign!

This includes the blog, too. A new and improved version will soon be hosted at jennasuedesign.com instead of blogspot. I'll share more in the coming week (it's all coming together behind the scenes right now and should be ready to launch in another week or so). Looking forward to a fresh start this new year!

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

New Laundry Room: A blank slate

It feels like it's been a month since my post last week... so much has happened in this room!

For the past 7 days we've had our contractor, plumber, HVAC, electrician, cabinet guy and drywall crew (along with us) working in there from sunrise to sunset. Needless to say, it's the fastest progress we've ever made on a remodel.

Let's revisit how this place looked last Tuesday....

The floor was gone and it was time for some demo. Our contractor Dave is lightning fast and had the dirt cleared, floor joists rebuilt, plywood in, AC vent removed and the back wall up within hours:

He also straightened the horizontal braces between the joists which looks so much better. We installed a new AC system last week so all of the old vents were able to be removed.

Next it was time for the new wall to go up! If you are just tuning in to this project, the back area will be a storage room.

On the right wall, Dave cut out a hole (around 55" wide) which is where we'll recess our washer and dryer. Before building the enclosure, he had to dig out a good amount of the hillside to make room. The space behind the wall is enclosed underneath the house so nothing can get in (there's concrete walls and insulation beneath the ceiling).

We decided to keep our existing ceiling fixtures and mount them in the center of the room to minimize the wiring. Our electrician ran conduit across the joists in a few locations (conduit is needed for exposed ceilings under 8' tall) which carry all of the wiring for the ceiling lights and lamps each side of the room. They're only visible when standing in the back of the room (see below), and once the ceiling is painted it should all blend in pretty well.

Here's the two wall lamp locations above what will be the cabinet/sink wall:

And another centered over the washer/dryer—and more progress on the washer/dryer enclosure:

We also added a second switch (one for the ceiling lights, one for the wall lamps) and put everything on dimmers.

We needed a door leading underneath the house to have access to the back of the washer/dryer, and I was able to find this pocket door assembly for just $20 at Habitat for Humanity Restore! I also picked up a used $10 door and gave it a makeover (more on that in a few days).

Here's the pocket door assembly installation in action—you can get a good view of the space back there—not very warm and inviting!

Next came the most exciting part—drywall! We've never done drywall before (and frankly don't have the time/energy/confidence to tackle it this time) so Dave knocked it all out in one afternoon.

And we now have a storage room!

This was completed Friday night and the drywallers were coming Saturday, but Dave had to take off early and couldn't finish so we spent our Friday night patching all the holes and attempting to figure it out.

We had to fill all these gaps between the joists...

But our box cutter blade was dull so it took a while.

At around 11pm we retired for the night and let the drywall guys finish the job. They're about 100x faster than us so it worked out better.

They spent all day Saturday mudding... already it was looking so much better!

You instagrammers already saw this, right? ;)

Witness the magic of drywall mud... before:

And after:

On Sunday they came back and sanded it all down perfectly smooth which was the highlight of this project so far. I just love a good smooth wall—such an improvement over the sloppy texture that was in there!

Don't worry, all the drywall edges will be covered with trim!

I'm also loving the way it looks with the ceiling joists. I have to admit, I was nervous about the whole exposed ceiling look being a little too rustic and out of my comfort zone, but now that the drywall is complete I can picture the end result and think it will be one of my favorite feaures. We only went this route because the ceilings are so low but even if they were standard height, it has a lot more character than drywall.

Here's a peek at the inside of the storage room... 


 I just came up with a new plan for this space last night and I'm anxious to get started!

Here's looking towards the entrance after I crawled inside the washer/dryer box for a better view (the black french door leads up the stairs to the living room): 

And here's looking straight ahead to the future cabinet/sink/tile wall:

And then to the right at the storage room wall:

Today, Dave is scheduled to install both the pocket door and main entrance door and hopefully build out the washer/dryer box (depending on how far the plumber gets). 

As you can imagine, it has been a bit crazy around here with trying to schedule all these workers around each other and make sure everything is done in the right order! There have been a few hiccups but fortunately no huge mistakes so far and we've been very pleased with the progress.

After this week, it will slow down a bit since we'll be taking over with the DIY side of things—paint, trim, floor tile (possibly), wrapping up electrical, finishing the storage room, building a storage drawer and barn door. The cabinets are ordered and won't arrive for another 4+ weeks so we'll have to do everything else in that time.

If all goes as planned, I'll have another post up in a few days with our new entrance & pocket doors. I love the way these turned out so make sure to check back on Friday!