Recent Reno – Post 6 of 6

Who’s ready for some before and after pictures? I know, I know, I’m super mean for making you read five whole blog posts and wait three weeks before showing you the before and afters (or well progress pics). Max and I had to work for it, so I thought it was only fair that you did too!

Remember when the LR and DR looked like this:

and this:

Well not anymore! Shazam! Now it looks like this:

and this:

Next up – the nook/landing. Remember back to this picture?

You should see it now!

We know the condition of the hardwoods could be better, but we love it!

Oh, and I can hardly remember when Elsie’s room looked like this:

and this:

Not anymore!

The other spare room has shown major improvements over its previous condition too! Shown here:

Buh-bye paneling and wallpaper – hello awesome paint and new molding!

Then there’s our room, which I hated when it looked like this:

and this:

and this:

Now I LOVE IT!!!!

My favorite part is that all of the colors go so nicely together. You can see how well they coordinate where the master and Elsie’s room meet at the end of our hallway.

We love the progress our big little renovation made to our house. All of the space feels so different, and it is actually looking like us and our style. We’re super happy with the way everything turned out. There are still many items on the “to-do” list which I’d consider as is par for the course for most DIY projects. Here are a few things that were left undone:

1- Filling in the holes in the molding from brad nails

2- Caulking the molding

3- Painting the molding

4- Actually hanging things on the walls (curtains, pictures, etc…)

5- Painting Elsie’s Room’s Ceiling

6 – Desperately need to pull out the SLR to take better pictures (Whoa!)


The first three items  encompass easily another whole weekend of work, and since we needed rest before getting back to the grind we just let it slide until later. Number four is already in work. I have purchased a lot of items that just need hanging and ordered some photo prints before Christmas.  So again, all these remaining items will just have to be sidelined to wait for some free time. I just have to remember that  life is about the journey and not the destination.

Recent Reno – Post 3 of 6

On the third day, “monkey paw” as well as many other aches and pains started setting in. I’m sure the first thing that’s coming to your mind is… what is “monkey paw”? Well, monkey paw is the term we use for the hand cramping that occurs for those of us who are more or less desk jockey’s at work and then spend 24 of the previous 48 hours doing home improvements. I’m no doctor but logic would suggest it comes from using muscles that are not regularly used to grip items such as hammers, crow bars, sanders, and paint brushes  to an extreme. Unfortunately until you work to the point of numbness, it can be quite painful (oh yes, this is how we roll). This was our physical condition when we started off day three.  Not to mention this was the day that the mess started really getting to me. There was debris all over the floor despite constant cleaning and everything was everywhere and there was nowhere to put anything (I’m an everything in its place kind of gal so, this really bugs me). Here you can see in this picture of Elsie all of the little wall pieces and random things placed all over the floor. Please keep in mind this was only a snap shot of a 5 ft by 5 ft area, and the whole house was in this condition.

When considering all the aches, pains, anxiety, and an analysis of progress made in comparison to time remaining to work/recoup, we decided it was best to nix the bathroom remodel. The good news is that we did some major shopping and learned a lot about what’s available and in style for bathrooms these days, so we did make some progress just not anything physical. Oh well, we’ll just wait until after the spring semester (guess I’m stuck with Christmas trees a little longer than I planned).

Day three began with a trip to the “Gucci Dump”, which is an awesome landfill because you drive up to a cement barrier and throw things over the side. There are no seagulls, no stepping in garbage, and there is minimal mud.  This was followed by stops at Home Depot and Lowes to get all of the paint (did I mention that we live 10 minutes away from everything? – Awesome!). We bought 5 gallons of Valspar Signature Paint Foggy Mirror, 2 Gallons of Behr Premium Plus Basketry, and lastly one gallon of Olympic Premium Paint Sand-dollar. Also,  re-enforcements (my Mom and Dad) arrived to help for the day shortly after we got home from shopping – WOOO!

We decided not to remove the carpet until after painting, and it served wonderfully as a drop cloth. The rooms really started to transform on this day.  Applying the color to the walls made a huge difference. My Dad and I took on trimming the foggy mirror gray.

My mom was assigned to the basketry tan color for the two bedrooms.

And last but not least, Max spent the first 8 hours of the day replacing electrical sockets and light switches because they were either a) painted over and unusable or b) a hodge podge of various colors. He also installed a ceiling fan in the previously yellow spare bedroom.

During this day of painting, I managed to paint every color and all three brands (Olympic, Valspar, and Behr) of premium paints on the wall. The first lesson I learned is that when your walls are in as crappy a condition as ours were, it is WAY worth it to spring the extra dough for the premium paint as it shows better coverage than non-premium (which was the ceiling paint from the previous day). Also in my unprofessional opinion, the Valspar Signature color had better coverage .  The Behr and Olympic were comparable, but not as good as the Valspar (sorry Behr and Olympic!). Next, we all discovered the accuracy of trim lines when using Frogs Painting tape over the standard blue paint tape or hand painting.  In most cases, I went back and touched up after removal of the Frog’s tape, but it helped expedite the process tremendously. Lastly, my Dad taught me a little trick to keep my trimming brush fresh. I learned that if I rinse out the brush periodically and dry it off with a towel after rinsing that it made little to no effect on the paint and it was easier to clean the paint brush when I finished.

Here was the progress at the end of day three:

Spare Bedroom – Behr Basketry (don’t mind the bed and check out the new ceiling fan!)

LR/DR – Valspar Foggy Mirror

Tricky Part of the Hallway shown only with the trim painted here (this was where I displayed my amazing balancing act!) – Valspar Foggy Mirror

Family Room – Valspar Foggy Mirror

Family Room (painted paneling) – Olympic Sand dollar

Oh, and did I mention I spent a lot of time in the sink last week? Yikes, here I am again!

We painted ALL day, and we finished all of the color painting – BOOM! I’m still learning to remember to get pictures of every room, so only the rooms I remembered to photograph were shown here (Oops!). It was awesome and celebrated by some serious sleep to prepare for the day’s next carpet removal and molding efforts.

Recent Reno – Post 2 of 6

As soon as we got home on Christmas night, we started packing away Christmas – kind of sad I know. We were keeping in mind the bigger picture and it meant we had to pack and stack away as much stuff away as possible to maximize construction space and items to be cleaned post reno. Preparing the house took easily a half a day of our timeline and here is what the house looks like in construction mode. First, there was stuff piled up wherever we weren’t doing any painting. Such as here:

and here:

Then we piled all of the items that were too large to move in the center of the rooms and covered them with drop cloths.

After finishing up more prep work, I ran around touching up on all of the spackling either by sanding or adding extra layers as necessary while Max started tearing down the paneling. Here is Max now working it!

Once we removed all of the paneling and molding in the master bedroom, it was not looking too pretty.

Next, came the spackling of the master bedroom. Then we began trimming and rolling paint onto the ceiling all throughout the upstairs, living room, dining room, and family room. By the end of the night, the ceiling had a fresh coat of paint. Since we decided to just repaint the ceiling white again, there wasn’t much to photograph but here’s the condition of the master bedroom at the end of day 2.

We also painted samples on the wall to select bedroom color for the master bedroom and the unpainted spare bedroom (the one with yellow walls) as shown by my lovely assistant Max.

I know that none of them are too different then the color that was revealed after the paneling was removed, but that was just chance as we had no idea what color was underneath of the paneling. We took a night to mull over the new color which wrapped up day two of the renovations.

Recent Reno – Post 1 of 6

After spending plenty of time contemplating (while painting, scrubbing, cleaning, sanding, etc) the best way to blog about all of our recent improvement, I’ve decided the best way to cover the whole process is just to go chronically. Six days of renovations makes for six blog posts. We started out with demo on Christmas Eve morning. The first day had a few items on the agenda.

First, we began by taking the paneling down in the spare room that was untouched. Here is the before picture of the room:


Once we starting taking off the paneling we found yellow walls underneath, fun!

Then we spent the rest of the morning spackeling  to prepare for painting as shown in a few pictures below (in the spare room and other rooms). I even got to sand one layer of spackle.

Honestly, everything was pretty tolerable this day.  We only worked for a few hours and we spent as much time working as we did cleaning up after ourselves ( shown below). I spent a lot of time in this laundry sink the last few days.

We tried to plan appropriately, so we could have plenty of time to rest for the Christmas Eve activities. Understandably, the progress wasn’t super exciting as we were still in the tear things down phase of the project.

(DesiredItem + MouseClick) – MoneyInMyAccount = Online Shopping

Despite the busy schedule happening around this house lately, something I have found plenty of time for is shopping particularly online shopping. I knew I wanted to work  a pair of chairs or a nice size chair with an ottoman into seating in the living room/ dining room. During recent consignment shopping, I found a chair and ottoman that seemed perfect, but I was trying to wait for the next price drop indicated on the tag. The day after the date that the price lowered, I was there to get my chair, but  it was gone. Oh well, I was not too upset  because I had resigned that if it was meant to be then it would be there on that date at the lower price (particularly because it needed to be re-upholstered – which would’ve been a project), so obviously  it was not meant to be.

Then two Sunday’s ago my mom text messaged me while I was doing homework that Target had  chairs on sale, and they were in my color scheme. A little online searching, followed by some g-chatting with Max, and we had decided we both liked this chair. At the time, it was more on sale then is showing right now (with free shipping), and it seemed like a bargain compared to some of the other chairs we were seeing around. I decided to ‘mull it over’ a bit, and then impulsively purchased them (yes that means I bought 2) one day during lunch last week.

Well the package arrived today and in Zdunosmith household fashion they were quickly assembled for evaluation! Well at least one was until I stopped the presses.  Then a ghost from my past appeared and my old ‘I’m afraid of patterns’ self just reared her ugly head. For those of you who didn’t know me before, I have in the past experienced difficulty embracing patterns and textures, but decided it was time grown into a new style which was more fearless. Needless to say, this has again left me in  mull it over mode. I’m trying to figure out if the chairs go with the couch.  Here is one piece of the chair on the couch, which has a slight pattern to it, with brown pillow:

Target Slipper Chair

Here it is with the rust colored pillows:

Target Slipper Chair

And here is the chair in potential chair location:

Target Slipper Chair and Couch

While I take the next few days to think it over, I’d love to hear if you think I’m just falling into my old – no pattern one texture way  – or am I right to intuitively feel like maybe these things don’t go together?