Our Lovely Living Room

As Zac and I sat across from each other on August 18, 2013, a quiet Sunday afternoon, we discussed what would be a fun way to spend the remainder of the day. Ten minutes later, we were moving furniture from the living room into our guest bedroom and outside. Once the living room was cleared out, Zac began demolishing the wood paneling.

Let’s take a look at the living room before picture:

This is what the room looked like when we moved in. Not creepy at all.


Before and after

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Zac removed the wood paneling. Because the walls were already insulated and Zac would be able to ground the wires without removing the drywall, we decided to repair the drywall and save ourselves the time and trouble and money that comes with removing drywall.


Excuse the dusty picture. Removing the carpet was a nasty job. We wore our asbestos masks as we removed the damp, moldy carpet pads.


Sweet sense of accomplishment…or high off moldy carpet particles?


Prepped to be mudded, sanded and primed


Mudded by Zac and our roommate, Staci.


Zac filled in the floor cracks with putty.


Primed from head to toe


We asked our roommate to choose the paint color – vale mist. It is absolutely perfect for the space. We chose dove gray for the sub floor. Here it is painted and stained with polyurethane.


Here is our room as of now. We need to find a fireplace cover and perhaps to ask our roommate to help decorate, but, it’s done!


In other news:

A large family of somewhat poisonous house spiders moved in around the house, just in time to enjoy our remodel. We have been less than welcoming.


Suki has been appreciative of the remodel. She has claimed the dog bed, the couch and all four rugs as hers.  Naturally.


And lastly, in between remodeling the room, Zac and I went to Hood River for mine and Jim’s birthdays. We had a fantastic time. Here I am eating my favorite post-birthday breakfast: 1 large slice of blackberry cobbler, 1 large slice of red velvet cake and 2 large scoops of vanilla ice cream.


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Abby’s Visit

Hey folks,

Here are some of the photos from Abby’s trip to Eugene (since emailing photos doesn’t  work for y’all)


We dipped into a creek during our hike – the water was nice and warm!


Hiking in Fall Creek


Getting a cider and a brew at Hop Valley


I’m so chill and active. We biked to Eugene and walked up to Hendricks Park.


Fall Creek



Fall Creek bridge


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Winter Break Project: The Dining Room

Before reading about another monotonous remodel, I just so happen to have a treat for you. I caught on tape RARE footage of a diurnal coastal predator hunting (and successfully I may add) her weak prey. Click the link and be sure to stay tuned the whole time to see a bonus slowed down attack.


The Dining Room has been our smallest, least dramatic and least expensive remodel thus far. We used trim, paint and electrical goodies leftover from other rooms and didn’t have any big expenses (like broken windows).

Before and After

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We took out the hutch, aka it fell apart on top of Zac.

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Initially, we planned just to move it to preview how the room would look without it. But, it wouldn’t budge. So, Zac carefully took it apart and I went to the family room to study. Out of nowhere, I hear a loud boom and I yell, “Are you okay?” twice. Zac doesn’t respond, so I sprint into the room to find that he is okay, though the top half of the hutch fell flat on the floor, barely missing him. The wood turned out to be rather cheap, so we recycled the pieces and enjoyed our pink wall for a few days until we painted it. We’re going to take out the whole wall and open the house up a bit at some point, for now it’s a convenient partition since we have a roommate.

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Our walls have more layers than most bean dips.

On one wall, Zac removed ceramic brick, drywall, wood, then more drywall. On another wall, Zac removed ceramic brick, faux wood paneling, more faux wood paneling and drywall. And then moved it all into one delightful pile in the middle of the room that we have to walk through every time we leave. Suki was less than pleased, as it was cramping her style and hindering her path to the doggy door.

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Sheetrocked, mudded and primed without any complications – for once. If you look closely enough at the second picture, you may see someone who thought he could pop his head in and out of the room faster than I could capture it with the camera.

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Painting in my cool hat (it was cold without the heater). We only did trim around the window, as we’ll do the floor trim in a year or so after we remove the infamous carpet that almost deterred me from living in the house.

We attempted to wash the dust-soaked blinds (thus, the temp. paper). Didn’t really work. We may order new blinds in the future, for now, we’ll pretend they’re just a darker shade of off-white.

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New lighting fixture! We initially bought a hanging light on clearance thinking that all dining rooms need a light that hangs over the dining room table. Well, most houses are taller than ours, so track lighting seems to be the better choice.


One “shocking” highlight of the remodel. Zac repeatedly insisted that he had turned the power off to the heater before he started putting it back on. Since it was “off,” Zac grabbed the whole heater wire with one hand. What does it look like for a grown man to get shocked by a wire of this caliber? Well, Zac did a fairly praiseworthy somersault backwards while shrieking like a fried R2-D2.


Our brighter dining room. In the future, with new floors, less wood paneling creeping into the back of the picture, and even one wall fewer, we hope to have a more dramatically nicer room. For now, we are very content with our weeklong winter remodel.


Hey Suki, how are you enjoying Zac and I spending all our time at home?

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Ridding our lives of faux wood paneling: Laundry room and back hallway

Laundry room before

Zac tore down the wood paneling, sanded the old glue, patched up the drywall, and mudded and sanded.


The difference between our ceiling’s old color and white. And here we were thinking it was already white, awesome.

Priming, painting, and case and trim



New laundry room sin 1970s

More importantly, Suki has been up to something very suspicious in her workspace (backyard). She has been digging a giant hole that resembles the shape of a human body. It is becoming more and more likely that if Zac goes missing one day, Suki will need to be interrogated.

Don’t let her fool you, it’s all an act.

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Painting the Guest Room

Our guest room before

Using delicious smelling oil-based primer

  After finishing trim touch-up, painting the room “Swiss Coffee,” and scrubbing paint off our arms, faces, legs, eyes…

The two faces of Suki

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Creating a Family Room that a Family Would Actually Want to Spend Time in

Part 1: Demolishing the Family Room

Unfortunately this room did not get a color-coded name.

So one Thursday afternoon, Zac went crazy

After finishing getting the nails out of the studs from the old drywall and wood paneling layers 1 and 2, we began insulating and sheetrocking


I almost look professional…except for that goofy smile.


Zac actually looks professional, but not as happy as me.


Challenges so far (and it’s only been 4 days…)

1.  Our hobbit-sized house needs a hobbit-sized door, so we had to special order one

For now, we’ve got a very thick piece of plywood


2.  We have to get new windows because one has a nice crack

3.  And since the windows were poorly installed to begin with…ROT

Besides that, it was a good weekend

In other news, Suki continues to long for lil’ Coward

…and for future days on the beach (but so do Zac and I)

Part 2: Remodeling the Family Room like it’s our Day Job

Thanks to our snow days, working on the room really was our day job.

First Zac pretended to be an electrician

With great success! It took him 3 tries to get things right, but we got the permit.

We had the new windows installed

And decided that we were capable of installing the front door.  False.  We got it level after re-installing it after botching try #1, but we’re still not feeling proud.


Since I got 2 snow days and Zac had finished finals, we spent 2 days insulating, finishing the electrical, installing a frame in the doorway between the room and the kitchen, and sheetrocking.

I was crowned “Sheetrock Princess”


Zac began mudding today, we’re expecting to prime the room next week

Suki has been very pleased with the remodeling process.  She especially likes her new windows.  She uses them to look for putty-tats. Delicious putty-tats.

And just one more thing! We must thank Zac’ title sponsors, without them the room may still be a skeleton


Part 3: The Turn of the 1970s Family Room

Before and After


And During:

After the final coat of primer on the walls and ceiling

And painted! We chose “Navajo White,” it’s a very very light yellowish beige.

On to trim

Before and After Windows


Decorated with our new cheap furniture from Ross and St. Vinnie’s



With our new family room done, it’s almost possible to forget about all the problems in the house…and the Passat

And we revealed today to Suki, on her 2nd birthday, that she is the offspring of a jackal.

Which came as no surprise.

She sure can hide it well sometimes

Family Room Costs and Sweat Equity

Estimated Costs (original chart lost when the Mac died – if only more we invested in an external hard drive like EVERYONE ELSE)

Front Door materials $32.00
Front Door $265.00
Windows $848.00
Drywall – walls $128.00
Sanding materials $11.00
Nails and screws $14.50
Insulation $46.00
Mud/ Compound materials $65.00
Ceiling texture $35.00
Primer $60.00
Paint supplies $55.00
Paint $70.00
Trim (windows/ closets/ door) $76.00
Electrical (outlets, wires, switches) $183.00
Electrical Permit $67.00
Curtains $38.00
Lighting Fixture $24.00
Trips to the dump $69.00
Total $2,032.50

Family Room Sweat Equity:

Timeline: January 2012 – May 2012

Approximate data – previous data lost in the infamous Mac

1-12: Removing 2 layers of wood paneling/ nails, old drywall and filling van for dump and prepping room for drywall 13hrs
2-12: Windows installed by Discount Windows 0 hrs
2-12:Insulation and Drywall 9 hrs
2-12: Installing the front door 4 hrs
3-12: Electrical (Done once in 2-12 before drywall and redone properly in 3-12) 9 hrs
3-12: Mudding and sanding 15hrs
3-12: Priming, texturing ceiling, painting 10hrs
4-12: Trim 9 hrs
Misc: 4 trips to the dump 1 hr
Misc: 30 trips to Jerry’s/ Home Depot/ Lowes 15hrs
Total 85 hrs
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Got Asbestos? aka “Brown Room”

We named this room “Brown Room” because that name seemed to be the most literal. Sadly, “Red Room” and “Brown Room” are our only color-coded rooms in the house.

Well, we don’t know whether or not the insulation in the attic contains asbestos, but we are pretty sure it’s vermiculite, which often did contain asbestos prior to 1980 or 1990.

Our Vermiculite

We (and by ‘we’ I mean Zac) even taped off the attic and room and only came in and out through the window, so as not to spread the dust throughout the house.


The “Asbestos Removal Mission” consisted of over 30 trash bags full of insulation, 4 trips to the dump, and the removal of nails, drywall, and carpet along the way.  Zac had already removed not 1 – but 2 – layers of wood paneling before the drywall.  I guess each generation needed a separate layer.


Hey Suki, what did YOU do while we busted our asses in the brown room?

Oh, you shredded everything in the rest of the house, how productive.

Part II: Drywall – Here, There and Everywhere

Brown room is still brown in the photos below, but this time just with it’s skeleton of wood rather than wood paneling and carpet.


We sheetrocked (or drywalled?) the ceiling in about 5 hours.  The most challenging part was lining each sheet up with studs on either end.  And I’m going to spare our team’s pride by not mentioning how we cut the hole for the light out…


Zac boosted morale with his DJ skills.  And I got promoted from photographer to ‘Head Drywall Measurer Extroadinare.’ Hey Zac, how many beers does it take to sheetrock a ceiling?


Zac and I finished one wall in 2 hours and should have walls #2, #3, and #4 done in a couple days.

Special Feature: “What has Suki destroyed this week?” Including an exclusive interview with 2 snakes from the grave, as well as an arm of the couch.

Part 3: Muddin,’ Primin’ and Trimin’

We mudded (and by ‘we’ I mean Zac)

And exposed wood floor (part of the unfinished 2% will be covering the spot with plywood)

And primed and painted – turning the room from brown to blue

Before and after


We are enjoying the new space! The other unfinished 2% will be trimmin’ the window, door, and closet doors.  We will do that when we trim our latest room too.


Can’t forget Suki!

She spends a good part of her day lying beneath her magical stocking                

or dreaming of the day she finally gets lil’ coward

Life ain’t too bad for Suki

Update from November 2012:

If we could go back in time and do it over again with our new knowledge:

-We would paint the room NOT baby blue. The sample didn’t quite reveal how blue it was until it was too late. We will be putting down another $50 to repaint it NOT baby blue before we sell.

-We would have insulated the walls and updated the electrical. We feel extremely stupid for not doing this, but we were amateurs will not make this mistake in any other rooms. Lesson learned.

Brown Room Costs and Sweat Equity

Brown Room Costs:

Trash bags/ spray bottles $20.00
Nails and screws $21.50
Asbestos removal safety gear $87.00
Drywall – ceiling $51.00
Drywall – walls $101.00
Drywall shims $30.00
Mud/ Compound materials $90.00
Sanding materials $13.00
Closet doors $140.00
Primer $40.00
Paint supplies $75.00
Paint $70.00
Trim (windows/ closets/ door) $45.00
Faux wood blinds $120.00
Lighting Fixture $25.00
Attic insulation $40.00
Trips to the dump $83.00
Total $1,051.50

Brown Room Sweat Equity:

Timeline: March 20, 2011 – September 2011

3-20-11: Removing 2 layers of wood paneling/ nails 6 hrs
4-19-11: Removing vermiculite/ drywall and filling van for dump 7 hrs
4-25-11: Removing vermiculite/ drywall and filling van for dump 5 hrs
4-26-11: Removing vermiculite/ drywall and filling van for dump 5 hrs
4-27-11: Removing drywall on closets and filling van for dump 3 hrs
4-28-11: Removing nails/ preparing room for drywall 2 hrs
4-29-11:Drywall to ceiling 6 hrs
4-30-11: Drywall to wall #1 2.5 hrs
5-5-11: Drywall shims/ drywall to wall #2 3.5 hrs
5-9-11: Drywall to wall #3, finish #2 3 hrs
5-15-11: Drywall around windows 1 hr
5-23-11: Drywall to closet 1 2 hrs
5-24-11: Drywall to closet 1/ in between closets 1 hr
5-25-11: Drywall to closet 2, complete drywall 2.5 hrs
5-31-11: Mudding first coat/ taping 4 hrs
6-1-11: Continue mud first coat 1 hr
6-30-11: Finish mudding 2 hrs
7-12-11: Touch-up mudding, sanding 2 hrs
8/8/11: Mudding 2 hrs
8/15/11: Mudding/ sanding 5 hrs
8/17/11: Mudding/ sanding 8 hrs
8/18/11: Mudding/ sanding 10 hrs
8/19/11: Mudding/ sanding 8 hrs
8/20/11: Priming 4 hrs
8/21/11: Clean up/ install blinds 1 hr
9/10/11: Re-prime ceiling 2 hrs
9/18/11-9/23/11: Painting 4 hrs
12/12: Insulating attic, window/ closet door trim 5 hrs
Misc: 6 trips to the dump 1.5 hrs
Misc: 20 trips to Jerry’s/ Home Depot 9 hrs
Total 118 hrs
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