Thursday, March 17, 2016

Smooth Ceiling Renovation, Part 3: After

It's finally time to reveal our beautiful new ceilings! (drum roll...) Tada! Crisp, white, non-stained, un-bumpy, smooth ceilings all around. I still look up and marvel at how nice it is. I can't express how much better and brighter and newer everything looks now! It feels like it was always this way (and should have been)

Here's a comparison of the before and after.

Isn't it great? We are very happy with how it turned out and can't thank our friend, Jesse Wilson, of J. Wilson Construction enough for the time he spent working on it and helping us get through this massive project! 

We replaced the old iron wall sconces that had shades, with new simple brushed silver lights - which we discovered were on a dimmer switch. Bonus!

Here is another before and after comparison of the front play room. The light fixture was switched to match the one in the hall (similar style as before).

The living room and kitchen have LED recessed lighting, which are all on dimmers. The amount of light and the quality is amazing now. We can actually SEE what we're doing in the kitchen. Like chopping vegetables and not feeling like I'm in the dark. It makes SUCH a difference! I wasn't sure if we needed as many lights as we were planning on, but it was totally worth it! I don't regret any of them.

And last, but certainly not least, a new light fixture for our eat-in kitchen. I selected this pretty glass beauty at Home Depot and it's just right for this spot. Doesn't it look like a trifle bowl or an upside down cake stand? Perfectly fitting. The old chandelier was so bulky for such a small space and trying to keep 6 light bulbs always lit was annoying. I love the simplicity of the new light. 

This gives you a sneak peek at my mini kitchen makeover (no more red). More to come on that, soon!

I now have such an appreciation for ceilings and the work it takes to make them look good. Andrew and I survived another major home project and Marshall made it through his first one! It took two solid weeks of work, and then additional days of finishing up loose ends. Definitely memorable, and in the end, worth all the mess and inconvenience. I'm so thankful for my "new home", because cosmetically, it feels like we got a new first floor.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Smooth Ceiling Renovation Part 2: During

The hardest part of any major renovation is the "during" stage. This one was definitely a HUGE challenge for us. It probably would have been a better idea for us to not be living here while the work was in progress, but we managed to be out of the house during the day and make due by living out of our office and upstairs bedrooms in the evenings. However. The. Dust. All. The. Dust. I'm still finding areas that I know I've cleaned, multiple times, but the dust is still settling, months later. 

Basically, we had to move everything out of our house (downstairs) as if we were moving out. But we weren't moving. We considered renting a POD, but the cost outweighed the benefit for us. Somehow, all of our stuff went into the basement, garage, bedrooms, and where ever we could find a place for it. "Moving out" only to move back in was pretty annoying, I gotta be honest.  

Then, it was demo day. I didn't even take photos of the worst of it. There was plastic covering the windows and doors and a layer of dust and debris literally everywhere we stepped. The goal was to quickly get in and get out of the house each day. 

As you can see, the old ceiling has been removed, exposing the wood beams and old insulation. One major benefit was replacing the insulation and adding new insulation where it was lacking. Oh. And there was a dead bees nest in our kitchen. That was FOUR FEET LONG. So. Yeah. I'm glad I wasn't there to see that! I'm praying the bees don't somehow find their way back in.

Our skylight has always been a great source of natural light in our otherwise dark living area. But when it was all opened up, it was evident how "wonky" it was, not framed symmetrically or correctly. We decided to have it re-framed, creating straighter lines, and actually taking up less surface area in the ceiling.

At last! New drywall going up. The rooms started to take shape again. Just the sight of this was enough to give me faith that it would all be worth it.  

There was a LOT of mud and a TON of sanding that needed to take place. And then more mud. And more sanding. There were areas of our ceiling that were sloped and had difficult seams. But Jesse did a really great job blending everything as much as possible and making it as smooth as it could be.

And then new lighting. Oh, sweet, glorious lighting! I've never been so excited about lighting in my entire life. Andrew and I were both thrilled about this part. Here's a sneak peak at our LED recessed lighting and my new kitchen fixture. Isn't it pretty? 

That's a much condensed look at the work in progress. I assure you, it wasn't this neat and tidy until it got toward the end of the two weeks. Andrew and I both did our share of sweeping, dusting, and scrubbing the floors on our hands and knees. He also worked into the night, many nights, to paint, re-paint and touch up all of the walls. Once again, he is my painting hero! It's amazing we're still married after all the painting I've made him he's done in our home. 

Stay tuned for the big reveal!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Smooth Ceiling Renovation Part 1: Before

Last winter, we had significant damage to the ceilings in our main living area, from ice damming and leaks (even though our roof is very new). In fact, the week that Marshall was born and we brought him home from the hospital is when the ceilings started leaking. Perfect timing, right?

Eventually the snow melted and the leaks dried, but we were left with ugly discolored spots scattered throughout the first floor, areas that were cracked and bowing and it just looked really terrible. It had to be fixed. No way around it. Fixing it meant that all of the ceilings (except for the bathroom and office) needed to be replaced. Which involved a full ceiling tear off, spanning multiple rooms. Um. Yeah. The sky ceiling was literally going to be falling.

My head was spinning and my blood pressure rose just thinking about the idea of tearing down the ceilings and the utter mess and upheaval that would come along with it! Not to mention the fact that Marshall and I are home every day. Where would we go? What would we do? How long would this take? Could we still live here through a renovation of this magnitude? How much would it cost? Who would do the work? Can't we just move instead? All valid questions. 

Thankfully, our insurance would cover a large portion of the cost. We contacted our friend and contractor, Jesse, of J. Wilson Construction, and he assessed the project and we worked out the timing and details. Jesse helped us when we gutted and remodeled our first floor bathroom, which was another large project. Andrew would be able to help with the ceiling demolition, painting and cleanup. 

Here are images of the main living room, play room and hallway before. Notice the large skylight that was odd-shaped. The stucco-style texture was everywhere.

As you can see, we had old textured (and uneven) ceilings and not the greatest lighting. Our home was built in the 1950's and renovations had been done over the years by previous homeowners. We didn't love the way the ceilings looked, but transitioning to smooth ceilings wasn't a project that we would have ever taken on, had we not been "forced" to. It was always something we thought would be a nice update.

I had to keep thinking of it as a blessing in disguise. The opportunity to have brand new smooth ceilings would look a million times better than what we had. It was the process of getting to the "after" and living through the messiest renovation I could have imaged, that was the challenge! 

Here are pictures of the kitchen. Our red kitchen. Spoiler alert: our kitchen isn't red anymore! I included photos of the kitchen sink, because, well, everything including the kitchen sink was effected (pun totally intended). Also notice the existing mirror back splash. That's right, mirrors decorated our kitchen under cabinet and stove area. After living with it for over 9 years, it had to go! It shouldn't have been there in the first place. 

So. The plan was to start work in November, two weeks before Thanksgiving, AND have it done in time for me to HOST Thanksgiving. In true Ohl fashion, there's nothing like an upcoming holiday and house guests to spur a major home renovation! I wish I were joking. Somehow we managed to complete the majority of the work on time! 

In part 2 I will show you the work-in-progress images and tell you how we survived. Stay tuned!