Reno A.D.D.

This weekend my college roomie came to visit, so Friday and Saturday (and some of Sunday), were spent deep in wine, food, girl talk and flo-yoga (Link for all you locals).

She left Sunday morning, and Collin was out of town, so it was time for me to get down to business for a full day of reno, except I didn’t really have a plan on the next steps. I had so many things I had to do or could do, but wasn’t in the mood for.

When I get in these funks, I try to just start something. Something that will be a morale booster, rather than the logical next steps. I started by adding some trim work to the hallway doors and caulking. I got 2 our of 4 done before I got bored of that. I have a really exciting idea to spruce up these doors on the cheap. Can’t wait, since it will make this hallway feel more complete.


Then I moved down to the Living Room. Not sure if I have shown that space on the blog before, but here is what it looks like when we purchased (the before):



We have a long way to go in this space, and it’s not really high on the priority list since we are trying to finish upstairs first. But this fireplace has bugged me since the day we moved in, and I was just sick of looking at it. Eventually, it will get pained in a color that coordinates with the room, but for now I just had to prime it:



Much Better!

Monday, Collin worked in the 2nd Bedroom taking down the rest of the ceiling, cleaning up the debris and ripping up the carpeting in there.


Dirtiest Job Ever:


This weekend coming up is a long weekend, so we planning on working extra hard to get this room in tip top shape and finish the hallway trim. We have guests coming the weekend of 9/17, so it needs to be functioning by that date.



Not Our Best Week

I didn’t post last week because I was borderline suicidal working on the hallway. Collin went out of town for work on Sunday morning, so I figured I’d work all day Sunday to paint the hallway walls and ceiling, approx work time – 4 Hours.

Yeah, ok.

Let’s fast forward to 5 days later and I was STILL painting the walls and ceiling. Basically, the plaster wall that we skim coated with spackle had a bunch of spots that we missed when sanding. I couldn’t see the spots until I painted the walls, but then I had to re-paint after patching the spots; double edged sword. This went on for 3 rounds: Patch, Sand, Paint, Patch, Sand, Cry … you get the picture.

5 days later and 2 gallons of fancy Sherwin Williams paint and here is what we are left with:


Honestly, it’s ok. It’s not glaring with imperfections, however the walls could use a few touch-up’s still. But, I’m over it. A hallway should never take this long to complete, so we’re moving on and will maybe someday comeback to it to re-assess.

Still to go in the hallway are caulking and painting the baseboard molding and getting the door molding and trim mounted around all 4 doors.

Also, during the week of Hallway-Hell, I was super frustrated and while waiting for spackle and paint to dry, this happened:


5 days ago, this was a totally functioning guest room, but not anymore! The ceilings were wallpapered (why??) and so were the walls. I spent a few hours taking down the wall paper and ripping down the ceiling. Then I got bored of that, so only half is done 🙂

This past weekend we had our Alley Party, kind of like a block party for us City folks, so we were busy entertaining all day, and night, Saturday. I was planning on a productive day Sunday, but I forgot about that Saturday night while 10 games deep in to beer pong. Probably the dumbest idea we’ve had in a while, but we are nothing if not competitive and refused to lose. Sunday consisted of the following for me (Collin had work – ugh):

  • 6+ Hours of Law and Order SVU
  • a 2 Hour Nap
  • Noodle Soup delivery
  • 10 PM bed Time

So while nothing got done Sunday, we can pretend that if there was a beer pong trophy for the 30+ crowd at a party full of recent college grads, we would have won it. Take that.

This week/weekend can only go up from here…


Hardwood Floor Install – Hallway

It is now Tuesday, and I still cannot move from our Hardwood Floor install on Sunday. BRUTAL! But let’s start at the beginning of this weekend to recap.

Friday, Collin was off, so he worked on Drywall, patching and sanding. When I got home Friday afternoon, we headed to Wood Floors Plus to pick up some wood floors. We originally planned on buying Unfinished hardwoods that we would stain and seal ourselves to same some money. Honestly, at this point, I’m getting tired of every project taking a week or more, so we made a last minute decision to just purchased the pre-finished hardwood floors. It was a little more money per square foot, but the Pro’s out weighed the Con’s, especially considering this is the hallway that goes from our bedroom to the bathroom, making it difficult not to walk on for a week.

We purchased 100 Square Feet of the hardwoods, loaded the car and headed home. The floors had to acclimate to our houses humidity for the next few days, so we loaded them in to the living room and went out to dinner and drinks.


(The floors – Very Busy Acclimating)

Saturday I was supposed to do some work on sanding and prepping while Collin was at actual work all day, but instead Anastasia invited me to brunch, and brunch always wins. I should make a tee-shirt: “BRUNCH ALWAYS WINS”. So, Saturday was a total flop house-wise, but whatever…

Sunday was a new day and we had big plans! We got up early, hit up Home Depot for supplies and the flooring nailer rental. When we got home, we realized there was a little more prep and clean-up to do before we started the install.


Here is a list of Supplies:

  • Pneumatic Floor Nailer and Mallet (rented)
  • Nail Gun
  • Rosin Paper
  • Hammer
  • Stapler
  • Nail Set
  • Wood Putty (Matched to Floor Color)
  • Saw (used both a compound saw and a jigsaw)

After the floors were cleaned and ready, we used the stapler to staple down the Rosin paper. The Rosin paper acts as a vapor barrier. We stapled that edge to edge down the hallway.


Next we marked 1/4″ off the wall with a chalk line. This will be our starting line. We laid the first row down the starting line and nailed in with a nail gun. As Collin nailed, I followed behind to set the nails a little deeper and patch with putty.


You need to leave the gap so that the floors have room to expand and contract and not warp. Do not install the floors up against the wall! The gap will be covered with the baseboard moldings.

The second row also needs to be nailed in, since the floor nailer won’t fit yet:


After the second row, you can start to use the flooring nailer. Basically, it just bumps up against the board, and you hit it with the mallet. That sends the staple in to the boards securing them to the subfloor:


We had to cut out around the air vents in the hallway and in to the guest bedroom:

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All done!


Honestly, this project is not difficult, but it is physically demanding. I was sore for 2 days (so far) from the constant squatting, bending over and trying to get the wood planks nice and snug. Also, it took us a lot longer than expected – around 7 hours for the 100 Square Feet. But it was one of the most instantly gratifying project to date! The floors look and feel amazing! Even though we are exhausted, we are really excited to keep installing the 2 guest rooms over then next couple of weeks!

Monday night, I spent the evening covering the floors with drop clothes to protect them from the final drywall sanding and painting planned for this week. I’m hoping to be able to finish priming and painting this week, although that might be a bit optimistic.

$18 Pendant Lights

As work in the hallway continues with floors and walls, I decided to start working on finding pendant lights for the hall. As I have mentioned before, the hallway is super long, narrow and dark, so when the electricians came we asked for 3 light rough-in’s to be installed, knowing that we could install lights at a later date.

For the design of the hallway lights, I was looking for somewhat of a geometric pattern, cage light. I figured a cage light would allow the maximum amount of light through and maybe even reflect some cool designs on the walls.

The $18 Pendant Light was born:


Let’s back up a little to purchasing lights. I scoured the internet with plenty of results that fit the bill. Mainly, this below light, that would have been ideal from Shades of Light – Young House Love Collection:


However, the light was $100.  That’s a great price, but I need 3 of them, and as Collin keeps lovingly reminding me, we apparently have a budget.

I figured I could DIY a cheaper version with a Pendant Light Kit from Home Depot and some type of Geometric Shape. So I headed off to Home Goods (no luck, since they don’t ever have 3 of anything) and then Target. Target had multiple options that would have worked, including the this, this and this. They were $20 each, much better. But I was still having concerns with how I was going to get them connected to the pendant kit.

On my way out of Target, I checked the Dollar Spot (as always) and they had these wire waste baskets:

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They were $3, perfect size and could be spray painted oil-rubbed bronze to work perfectly. I grabbed 3 of them, all different colors and ran to the check-out line.

When I got home, I used wire cutters to snip off the handles:



And snip off the Label Holder:






Next, I used a 1.75″ metal drill tip to drill a hole in the bottom of the waste basket to fit the pendant kit. The metal on the waste basket is pretty thin, so it wasn’t an issue to drill the hole.




Next, I spray painted the baskets with Rustoleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze in thin coats and screwed the pendant kit in place.




(Check out that Sweet Wallpaper in the Living Room) 

I measured how low I wanted them to drop down from the ceiling. Mine were 8.5″ (remember, our ceilings are over 9 feet, so I want them to hang pretty low to feel more cozy). I added a few inches and cut the wires at that spot.


I do need to go back and make a few updates, specifically, painting the bulb socket, as seen below:


That little white area will drive me crazy. Also, I need to actually take this one down, let Collin finish the drywall and ceilings, paint and then re-install. But I was so excited to tell you guys all about how these pendants actually worked, I had to mount it for the post!

This weekend, the plan is to finish all of the drywall and sanding, possibly fit in some paint, and definitely lay the hardwood floors. We have never laid hardwoods before, so I’ll be sure to take a lot of pictures and detail out the process.

Have a great weekend!

Hallway Progress

This weekend we were able to start the hallway. I am so excited to not have to wear shoes to the bathroom in the middle of the night, because that hallway is a splinter or tetanus war zone.

Friday, Collin and I worked to demo the hallway wall to prep for Drywall.




All Done and Cleaned:



Saturday, the Twibell’s came to visit, so we spent the rainy afternoon and evening in old Ellicott City and back at a local bar for dinner and games. They left Sunday morning, so it was back to work putting this place back together.

We started by dry walling the ceiling:



Then Walls:



All Done:



We were even able to fit in a few hours at the pool across the street!

Monday morning, before work, Collin worked on spackling the seams and edges. We will take the next few days sanding and adding a 2nd and 3rd coat of Spackle to prep the walls for paint. Also, we will be Skim Coating the wall to the right (the plaster wall) to smooth it out to look just like drywall.

Today I am working on the pendant lights and sourcing a runner. The runner is difficult because this hallway is roughly 23 feet long, so the runner has to be pretty significant. Also, I think I might have the most brilliant/cheapest DIY of all time for 3 pendant lights, but I’m still figuring out if it’s going to work. We’ll see! 🙂