Giveaway winner announced + Laundry room floor tile, part 2

First and foremost—thank you all for the wonderful comments and encouraging words on the new site rebranding and launch! It really means a lot to know that so many of you are following along this journey and showing your support. Sending out virtual hugs to everyone!

With that said… we have a lucky giveaway winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats to Lauren Hail! Check your email for details 🙂

Now, on to the finished laundry room floors! If you missed Part 1, be sure to catch up here.

One thing we learned from the first tile job we did was that sealing your grout was a huge pain. So tedious and time consuming for a large area. This time around we knew it was worth to pay extra and get the grout and sealer in one. Lucky for us, the TEC Power grout was on clearance at Lowe’s for just $11/jar:

I wanted the grout lines to blend in as seamlessly as possible, so we chose Pearl which is a soft beige color that was very close to the lighter veins in the tile.

Brad got to work Monday afternoon while I was busy launching the new site, and it took him pretty much all evening (including having to run to Lowe’s for another jar because we ran out right at the end)…

There was a lot of haze which he got rid of after several passes with a wet sponge and buffing with a vinegar + water mixture the next day. Now that he’s recovered, we’re loving the new floors (and the fact that we don’t have to look at plywood anymore!)

Excuse the horribly white balanced iPhone photos…

I know the coloring varies in each photo, but this one is a pretty accurate representation:

Still more gray than I had envisioned, but I think it will look warmer once the cabinets are in.

Here’s the last remaining untouched surface left in the room, waiting patiently for cabinets:

This is my favorite angle of the room so far… can’t get enough black and white lately.

One week from now this little closet will have lots of built in shelving and storage! (please ignore the ridiculous lens distortion)

Last night I bought the lumber and today I plan to stain it. This weekend I
hope to get everything installed and I should have two posts next week
sharing some easy rustic DIY storage solutions. I’m so relieved that the whole dirty, messy construction phase is over and now it’s all about rebuilding and making things pretty & functional. Whew—made it to the halfway point! Now if it would only go this smoothly from here on out… (that would be a miracle). See you next week!

73c1d-signature


The New Jenna Sue Design Website and Blog Launch & Giveaway!

Welcome to the brand new Jenna Sue Design website + blog! I’ve been working tirelessly over the past month and am so excited to finally reveal the new look.

My design style (both interior and graphic) has been evolving over the past year and I wanted to rebrand Jenna Sue Design Co. to reflect this. I think of the blog and shop as one entity under the Jenna Sue brand, so it made a lot more sense to streamline them onto one url to keep everything in one location—simple and easy to remember.

The old blog won’t be going anywhere, so you can still browse and search through old posts, and this new blog will simply pick up from where I left off.

A few things to mention with the new blog:

1. To search, simply type the ‘s’ key (or click the search icon at the top right on the mobile version). This will pull up both posts and products (labeled as such) with your key word(s). Keep in mind that every blog post before today is still at the
old blog, so you’ll need to go there to read and search old posts!

2. All of my sources (paint colors, materials & products) are located within each home’s tour. You can access this by clicking the “Home Tour/Source List” button to the right.

3. There’s also a list of DIY Project posts under the DIY Projects button (this will be updated soon!)

4. Disqus commenting system. No more captcha or moderated comments! I’ve used Disqus on other blogs and love the ease of use and the built-in community (but you don’t have to be a Disqus member to comment!)

5. Ways to follow: For email subscribers, you can now follow by entering your email in the “Follow by Email” field on the right. Each new post will be automatically delivered to your email. Bloglovin’ users: if you follow me already, the new url will be linked to my name so you should start seeing the new posts in your feed automatically. And for those who don’t use a subscription service, make sure to follow me on
instagram, facebook and twitter so you don’t miss an update!

6. Last but not least… I’d love your feedback! With any fresh start there’s bound to be a few kinks to work out, so please feel free to browse through the site and let me know how we can improve. I take everyone’s input very seriously and want to make this little space on the internet the best I can for you. Leave a comment with any questions/concerns/thoughts you may have on the new site—I’m all ears!

Now… on to the giveaway! For sticking with me on this transition I’m showing my appreciation by offering up $100 worth of personalized art from the shop! It’s valid on anything in the site (Valentine’s day is coming up… hint hint) and runs until 2/6 (Thursday at midnight). Can’t wait to get started on some special prints for one of my lovely readers!

Enter using the options below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oh, and a new site wouldn’t be complete without some new print designs… so those are in the works as well! Good luck on the giveaway and I’ll be back Friday to announce the winner & share photos of our finished laundry room floors!


We’ve Moved!

(Make sure to update your bookmarks or subscribe to the new feed!)

New Laundry Room: Floor tile, Part 1

Whew, we made it out of January! February is the month of love and I am lo-oving the progress we made in our laundry room this past weekend.

A few weeks ago after selecting our cabinet color at Lowe’s, I walked over to the tile section and immediately spotted this Leonia Sand porcelain tile:

It came in two sizes—12×24″ and 6×24″. I preferred the wood plank look so I decided on the 6×24″ ($2.29/ea). The price was reasonable and I thought it looked lovely against the cabinet color, and that it would also be a nice way to add warmth to all the white, black and gray.

Saturday at 7am we were at Lowe’s to buy all of the supplies, including a $90 wet saw (which ended up being too small for our tiles but we made it work anyway).

My dad has some experience in this arena so he was kind enough to offer to help for the day. We also did quite a bit of research along with consulting the staff at Lowe’s to help us figure out the best plan of attack.

The first step was to prepare the surface. We went with HardiBoard cement board—it’s a couple bucks more than the generic stuff but supposed to be much better.

I came up with this layout based on the room’s floor plan (which were based on measurements from before the demolition began that ended up being larger than the actual size, so we used only 9 boards instead of 10):

We had never worked with this stuff before so I didn’t know what I was in for, but it ended up being the easiest part. It breaks apart easily after scoring with a blade, so my job was to measure and score/cut the pieces to size…

while Brad and my dad screwed them into the plywood (using special cement board screws).

We were able to knock it out (problem free) in two hours. Teamwork!

Before setting the tile, we had to cover the seams with special mesh tape.

We did a dry test fit in a few areas to see if there would be any fitment issues. Fortunately, they lined up just perfectly that we didn’t need to make any tricky cuts between the transition to the storage room:

With our layout in place, we snapped a chalk line where the first row would be placed along the wall:

Then one by one, it was mastic + tile…

The troweling process immediately brought back memories from our kitchen wall tile installation.

This floor tile was definitely easier since they are larger pieces and you don’t have to fight gravity. We had these rows down in an hour:

Then things got a bit tricky. Since you can’t walk on freshly laid tile, we couldn’t just tile the storage room as there was no way out. So I had to become a bit of a gymnast—working in a counter clockwise pattern, planning my tiles and stepping in between empty patches until I could contort myself out of there.

Luckily it worked, and we had an efficient system running where my dad would cut the tiles, Brad would deliver them and help me spread mastic when needed, and I’d set the tiles. In 4.5 hours the room was done.

That’s 4.5 hours straight of crouching for me which doesn’t feel so great—but looking at our freshly tiled floor does!

They look quite a bit more gray in this room than in the store which I wasn’t expecting but I guess I don’t mind. They actually remind me a lot of our hardwood floors in the rest of the house.

Tomorrow we’ll finish them off with grout and then it’s on to the next project!

And on that note, if you’ve been following the updates you’ll know that this is the last real post you’ll see here at jennasuedesign.blogspot.com. Tomorrow morning I’ll make one final check in with a link to the new blog, so make sure to mark your calendars (there’s also a giveaway involved!) Don’t worry, the content will be exactly the same and I’ll pick up right from where I left off, the only thing that’s changing is the url (so you’ll want to make sure to update that tomorrow in your reader/feed/bookmark/etc!)

See you back here tomorrow for the official launch!


New Laundry Room: Beadboard wall, Paint & Lighting

Welcome to the latest installment of our laundry room reno! We made some great progress this week that has me quite excited for the end result. Everything (so far) is coming together as I had envisioned.

On Tuesday we left off with the storage room looking like this:

The original plan was to have a wall of Ikea Pax wardrobes but after purchasing them, I realized that I accidentally bought the 23″ deep model rather than the 14″ deep, leaving just 27″ of walking space since the room is only 50″ wide. Oops. Not only that, but the ceiling has to be a few inches taller than the wardrobe height so it can slide in after assembly and ours was an inch too short. So scratch that plan.

After some Pinterest-ing I came up with an even better solution of open wood shelving which I think will look much nicer and help the room feel more open (more on that soon).

Instead of drywall (which requires several steps and more $) we decided to create a focal wall behind the future shelves with beadboard. Normally I would not recommend nailing headboard directly onto 2×4’s without any drywall or hard surface behind it for support, but since it’s not exactly a functional wall it doesn’t need to be reinforced.

All it took was two sheets of 4×8’s, cut to size and nailed up.

Done in an hour… easy peasy.

Don’t judge my crooked jigsaw cuts… it will be hidden with trim!

After patching & sanding the nail holes, it was time for paint. To save money I grabbed the can we used on the plank and panel walls in our bedroom and the studio, Valspar’s Ocean Storm (in eggshell):

I think the contrast will be a nice break from all the white walls and allow the shelves and storage items to pop.

Once that was out of the way, it was on to painting all of the drywall. My vision for this room is airy, clean and refreshing (just like fresh laundry), so I naturally chose white for the wall color. We used Valspar Signature color matched to Kelly Moore’s Swiss Coffee which is a nice neutral white.

Goodbye off-white drywall!

PS—our photographer neighbor stopped by last night with his camera and took some wide angle shots for us, so all of the non-iPhone photos in this post are from him!

Here’s a never before captured angle from the back of the storage room:

And one of the entire cabinet wall:

We skipped the paint here since we plan to tile over it. But oh, look at the difference. A breath of fresh air.

Brad also hooked up two of our lamps on the washer/dryer wall.

I picked up four in-store at Lowe’s in the outdoor lighting section. $30/ea—total bargain!

We have them on dimmers for a little laundry room “mood lighting”.

And painting the walls did help the ceiling look more gray, so that’s good.
First thing tomorrow we’re headed to Lowe’s to buy materials to tile the floor. We’ve never tiled a floor or installed cement board so we’re total rookies and a little nervous about it (we also plan to buy our own tile saw since there will be future projects). Any tips would be much appreciated!
Last but not least… I mentioned some big changes to this blog earlier and can now officially announce that this blog will be moving to jennasuedesign.com next Tuesday, February 2nd!
The new design is in place, the final adjustments have been made and the site is finally ready to launch. I am so excited about the new design… here’s a first exclusive look:
And there will be a giveaway involved! I’ll have a new post up Monday with a quick laundry room update, and then a final post on Tuesday linking to the new blog once it is live. Exciting stuff next week all around!
Wish us luck in our tiling adventure (and make sure to catch our progress on Instagram!)

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 2×4’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 sh
ining 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!


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:

Source

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 toget
her 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!


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!

New Laundry Room: Demolition Day

Last week I introduced you to the empty room downstairs which we’ve decided to convert into our new laundry room:

We were dying to know what was above those 7′ ceilings, so we ripped the drywall out right away…

No big surprises up there, whew. Just a couple wires we’ll have to re-route and some bracing boards we’ll line up into one row:

Since we can’t lower the floor, we wanted to leave the ceiling exposed to gain every little bit of height we can (the room has no windows and we’re hoping to avoid a closet/jail cell atmosphere).

There was insulation between the ceiling joists, so we consulted with a pro who said if we removed that from the ceiling, we’d have to insulate the floor instead.

So the entire floor had to come out… but not before we dealt with this funky platform in the back:

Yes, that giant AC vent is going away this week!

Luckily it came up without any issues.

It seems the original builders just didn’t want to bother digging out the ground any further and added that platform out of laziness (or to save money? who knows).

After the platform was removed, we were left with a pile of exposed rock/clay/dirt underneath the house…

So Brad and I spent the better part of Sunday with shovels, digging and excavating as much of it as we could manage…

Oh, and see that step of concrete in the back? That’s the foundation and unfortunately we can’t remove it without compromising the structural integrity of the house, so that’s staying. Instead we’ll have to build a new wall right in front of it. We’ll lose about 10″ or so, but I’m not super concerned as this house is filled with plenty of (unused) storage space already.

Yesterday our contractor finished digging out the ground and removed the floor (he’ll rebuild it in the back so it’s all nice and level):

Here’s the current view from the entrance:

And from the back of the room, looking towards the entrance:

We’re using a new guy and he has been great! He works so fast and we’re anticipating he’ll be done by the end of the week so we can get our drywall finished and smooth this weekend.

Here’s a rough placement of the recessed washer/dryer nook (although it’s going to have to be lowered a bit):

As I type this, he’s probably cutting out that wall right now. Meanwhile, I’ll be at Ikea getting our sink, faucet and countertops! We decided to go with Lowe’s for the cabinets since they’ll need to be customized (and I prefer the color/selection—definitely pricier than Ikea but it should be worth it in the end).

We’re expecting some major progress this week, hopefully you’ll barely recognize the room in the next post! I know these iPhone demo pictures aren’t very exciting, but the progress is and soon enough we’ll have some fun projects unfolding. I hope you’ll stick around and watch this room come to life—see you next week!

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A New Laundry Room: The Plan

Well hello there & Happy New Year! We’re kicking off 2015 with a renovation that I am so excited about, because 1) it solves a major problem with our house, and 2) this might be the biggest before & after transformation ever.

In my 2014 recap post I spilled the beans that we’re doing a laundry room renovation. But it’s not just a renovation, we’re creating a new room from scratch!
Here’s what we’re working with now—I had to break out the wide angle lens for this space—it’s so tiny!
It’s not even a room—just a 60″ long pass through between the garage door and the hall door.
The layout is horrible. The washer and dryer aren’t configured properly, they stick out too far, and you can’t open more than one door without it hitting something else, let alone try to fit a laundry basket in there!
Don’t be fooled by the lens—I can easily reach my arms out and touch both doors. We tried to think of every way possible to widen the room but there’s a bathroom on either side and no way to knock out the walls. It was hopeless.
Then last month in a stroke of genius, Brad suggested we convert our empty room downstairs to a laundry room. Best idea ever!
Now, this “room” hardly qualifies as a room. It’s a small and narrow dungeon-like space with 7′ tall ceilings, no windows/ventilation, and exposed HVAC pipes. It’s a small prison cell, basically.
Here’s how it looked when we moved in:
Brad decided to use the main area as a makeshift office and I filled the back with storage. Excuse the mess, this was right as we were cleaning it out.
Looking towards the entrance:
Just to give you an idea of where this is in the house, it’s just off the living room downstairs. Here’s the view of the entrance from the staircase (the living room is on a half level):
And here it is from the downstairs hallway:
Ready to see the plan?
Here’s our to-do list:
1. Rip out the ceiling We can’t raise the height, but by keeping the joists exposed we’ll gain an extra 8″ visually. I’ll have it painted a soft gray and go with a rustic-industrial-chic look.
2. Rip out the floors, insulate & tile Because we’re eliminating our ceiling insulation, we need to insulate underneath the floor which requires ripping it all out and starting from scratch. I plan to use a light colored wood-like tile all the way through.
3. Rip out the back platforms We’re working with a handyman on the demo who says he can dig out the ground and make the floor all one level.
4. Build a wall and add a storage room in the back Once the floor is level, A wall will go up and I’ll add Ikea wardrobes across the back wall along with other storage solutions to keep all of our home decor organized and easily accessible.
5. Recess the washer and dryer Behind the back wall of this room is a small open area underneath the house. Our handyman will dig out & create a platform, build a box for the washer/dryer and recess it so it’s flush with the wall and doesn’t take up any space inside the room. I also want to create built in drawers below the washer/dryer for extra storage.
6. Skim coat the walls There’s currently a mess of mismatched & poorly patched wall texture. We thought about covering it all with headboard then decided to keep it simple and skim coat it instead so it’s smooth drywall.
7. Add cabinetry & a sink along the back wall Here’s the general layout:
I used Ikea cabinets as an example, but what I want is fairly custom so I’m going to get a quote from Lowe’s to see if it’s a better option. I do know I’ll be using the ikea farmhouse sink and faucet, light gray cabinets, butcher block countertops, white subway tile, a reclaimed wood floating shelf and wall lamps.
8. Lighting There will be four wall lamps (shown in the photo above)—two on each main wall. We’ll also have two f
ixtures in the center of the room on the ceiling with spotlights to illuminate different areas. Since the ceiling is completely exposed, lighting is tricky and we need to keep it clean and simple to minimize the wires (we normally do recessed which isn’t possible here).
9. New doors We’re reframing the main entry door and I have something fun for that in mind. I’ll also be building a sliding barn door to separate the storage room, and we’re eliminating this useless sliver of wood and adding a pocket door (this leads to more empty space under the house for storage):
10. Hooks & storage solutions I’ll add hooks for hangers/clothes drying, as well as a spot to hang an ironing board and possibly an interchangeable gallery wall. Still working out the details!
It’s easy to break this down into 10 steps but of course there will be a ton of work involved behind the scenes—demo, electrical for ceiling lights, appliances & wall lamps, new plumbing for the sink and washer/dryer, rebuilding a floor, putting up a wall & doors, drywall, tile, paint, etc etc! It’s basically a small scale kitchen reno.
And then we have the old laundry room—that will be converted into desk/workspace nook for Brad with cabinets for storage. But I’m not even thinking about that until this laundry room is finished! We have our subcontractors lined up, and the project timeline will depend on when our handyman can start (we’re waiting to hear back). I would say a couple months as a rough estimate but hopefully sooner.
I also have big changes in the works for my website and this blog that will keep me occupied for a while so it’s going to be quite busy around here—can’t wait to share those!
Hopefully by next week I’ll have lots of demo to show you. We’ve been planning for weeks and are anxious to get this ball rolling. Here’s to starting the new year off right!