Category Archives: RENOVATION

October 2, 2014

Popcorn to Planked Ceiling Progress

First and foremost, if you’re feeling generous today, we’d loooove to have your vote for Ryan’s nursery over at Apartment Therapy’s Room for Color Contest. 

A few weekends back, we kicked off the beginning stages of planking the ceiling in the girls’ room. As I’ve mentioned before, when we purchased our home, all of the bedrooms came equipped with popcorn ceilings (yay), and we’re slowly updating them to fit our tastes. Typically, popcorn ceilings can be scraped off with a little elbow grease, but if they’ve been painted, like ours had, then you’ll have to get a little creative.

In Ryan’s room, we just simply covered them with new drywall, but we wanted to try something new in here. Planking it is!

Popcorn to Plank Ceiling |

I made a few quick stops into our local hardware stores, checking out the options, before settling on packs of 8′ pine planks. A few things that sealed the deal for us:

• The bedroom is approximately 11’6 x 12’6, so the 8′ length planks meant that we’d have seams. It wasn’t a deal breaker to work with the seams, but it would’ve taken half as long with longer 12′ planks. Unfortunately, all of the 12′ options were ridiculously thick and heavy, and ceilings are probably not the best place for that.

• Again, the weight. These planks were so lightweight that Ricky could easily install them by himself, which with three little people running around, is pretty much our only option right now.

• Cost. All the other options were a good $75-$100 more to plank the entire ceiling. These come in packs of six, at about $11 each. A no brainer. For anyone looking to do a ceiling of their own, we ended up using 12 packs, which ran us around $140 total, with tax.

Popcorn to Plank Ceiling |

Now, to learn from our mistakes – Paint before installing. We knew this, and tried to avoid it like hell, with no luck. We were in a bit of a time crunch that didn’t allow us the prior paint step, but you my friends, should paint first, because what a good time my neck is having painting several ceiling coats and filling six million holes with wood putty.

Moving on.

Popcorn to Plank Ceiling |

The install itself is relatively easy, just mark your ceiling joists and a few nails gets the job done. The planks are tongue and groove and interlock, but one thing to note, this isn’t the highest quality wood. Like, at all. So, when I say interlock, expect a little effort on your part in some spots. Also expect to take half the packs back to the store to exchange them for non-chipping, not completely falling apart pieces. Don’t get me wrong, it can be good stuff, it’s just more of a garage sale experience – you’ll have to do a little digging first. 

Popcorn to Plank Ceiling |

I wanted to include this close up to show our edges. No, we are not this terrible at measuring (although sometimes it happens, ha). This was more a result of eliminating huge knots in the wood, and doing our best to prevent waste material. My point is, if you’re planning to install crown molding, as we did, you have some room to play with, which is nice.

Popcorn to Plank Ceiling |

(half installed crown)

We’re still in the process of painting now, but I’m amazed at this transformation already. The room is so much lighter without the pink ceiling, and I’d be lying if I said I minded the natural wood. It feels really warm and cozy. Reminds me a lot of my parents home (a log cabin). Granted that wood ceiling is already painted white (haha), but it’s a nice reminder to try something out of the typical “paint everything white” box that we all seem to be stuck in these days.


March 11, 2014

White Wood Planked Walls + Mint Ceiling

The nursery is moving right along, and thankfully so, considering our little guy is due to arrive in just over a month now. Last time I’d checked in, I’d shared a mood board illustrating our plans for the space, looking something like this:

Nursery Mood Board |

The past week or so, Ricky has been chipping away at the first phase of the room, what we’ve been calling the “construction” phase. For us, this meant covering the existing popcorn ceiling with new smooth drywall, adding horizontal wood planks to all the walls, trimming out the window and closet opening, re-installing baseboards, adding crown molding, and finally, painting all of it. Easy enough, right? I have to credit most of this to Ricky, although, I was able to jump in with some relief on all the painting.

Here’s the most recent shot of the room, that I’d shared with you guys after whipping up a quick book display (Lizzy still occupying the room at the time):

Quick & Easy Book Display |

When Lizzy moved into a shared room with Zoey we emptied out most of the items, but the rest has now found it’s way into the dining room, garage, and anywhere else we could temporarily squeeze things in. That’s also been fun. Changing table in the narrow hallway for a few weeks, why not?

Once completely cleared, Ricky laid down rosin paper to protect the floors and taped off the closet with a plastic barrier (it was filled with nursery items).

DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |

First up was new drywall on the ceiling. The decision to cover our inherited popcorn ceilings was something we’ve always wanted to do. They were poorly done and super distracting in the space. Plus, the rest of the home has all smooth ceilings, so eventually covering the bedrooms to match was in the plans since day one. What we didn’t anticipate were popcorn ceilings that had been painted – aka, scraping them smooth was not an option. Although we have different plans for the other bedrooms, in here, we opted to just go over them with a thin new layer of drywall. Quite the delay time-wise, but worth every minute in the end.

Covering a Popcorn Ceiling |

As for the planked walls, we followed this tutorial almost to-a-tee, so I won’t go into the details (just follow the link for an in-depth walk-through). However, we made one exception when it came to the corners of the room, by skipping out on the vertical trim pieces. Instead, a quick sweep of caulk prior to painting seemed to cover any gaps where the boards met.

DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |

Because each wall in this room is about 11′ long and the wood only came in 8′ lengths, we were a little worried about seam placement. We went with a simple pattern to keep things consistent, but were pleasantly surprised at how well the joints vanished after painting. In fact, if they’d been bothersome enough, we probably could’ve eliminated them completely with a little wood putty. You can barely see in the photo above, seams about 2′ off the corner at every other board (just along the wall without the door).

DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |

Once the wood planks were up, Ricky re-installed the baseboards, hung crown molding, and installed craftsman-style trim to match the door on the window and closet opening (check out this post for a full tutorial on how we did that). DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |

And finally, I painted. Everything.

DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |

SW-Snowbound on all the walls and trim (a bright, but not stark, white) and SW-Lighter Mint on the ceiling (a pale mint with a touch of blue).



DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |

I’m crazy in love with the ceiling color. We wanted something really subtle. I love a bold ceiling, but in this space, we just wanted a hint of mint to compliment the brighter colors we’ll be using elsewhere. It’s noticeable when you enter the room, definitely, but I think once we add the cobalt blue dresser, it’ll read as more of an accent color than the star of the room.


DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |


You can already see below how well it picks up on the aqua floor baskets from the mood board.


DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |


Sneak peak at a few accessories in the closet.


DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |

Here you can really see how well the caulk worked to join the boards together at the corners.

DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |


I was a little fearful that adding the wood planks to all the walls might make the room feel even smaller than it is, or that all the crazy horizontal lines going on would get distracting, but I’ve found quite the opposite. I think the bright white makes more of an impact than the actual wood itself, opening up the room even more.


DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |

And I’m head-over-heels for the contrast against the floor.

DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |

I was also always under the impression that I loved the craftsman trim and the crown moldings throughout the rest of our home because their bright white color popped against our gray walls – not the case. The white on white has me begging for more here:



DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |

I still need to do a few touch ups around the window, as well as empty the closet and give it a fresh coat of paint, but for the most part, we’re moving onto the fun stuff!

DIY Horizontal Wood Plank Walls |

I painted the crib last month, so that just needs to be reassembled. I’m working on the dresser as we speak (!) and the arm chair has been making itself right at home in our living room for weeks. Lighting, rug, curtains – all in the works! Closing in on the industrial pipe bookshelves 🙂


May 9, 2013

She’s Moody

We painted the house. And I’ll be honest, I’m really wishing I was our neighbor across the street, just so I could gaze at all of it’s loveliness every day. Every day, all day. It’s good. Really good. Of course, I’m biased. So, have a look for yourself 🙂

Dark & Mood Exterior Color Palette |

We shared the depths of our plans for the new color scheme earlier this week, so I’ll just expand slightly. Obviously, we went dark. The new colors are all neutral, but play off each other nicely to give quite the statement. We wanted something a little warmer than a true gray for the trim, so we went for a charcoal with some green/brown undertones. I can hardly say that though, because in person it just looks like a warm gray.. there’s no green or brown about it.

Dark & Moody Exterior Color Palette |

The charcoal is probably my favorite part of the transformation. Which is convenient, since it’s the color we used the most. We’ve yet to paint the sides of the house, where we’ll use more of the charcoal to cover the soffits. The roof and gutters are also on the to-do list, needing a fresh coat of black. And we’ll be sure to share all of the roof details as we tackle them, but that’s a post of it’s own.

Dark & Moody Exterior Color Palette |

You can kind of get an idea of the purple tones we’re hoping to bring in with landscaping. The flowers on that bright bush (below right) are the shade we’re going for, so we’re hoping to salvage it. Maybe just scale it back a tad. Everything else.. must go.

Dark & Moody Exterior Color Palette |

As far as the process went.. we spend about two days painting the front facade, using a sprayer. Outside of the specific paint colors, we used Sherwin Williams’ ‘Resilance’ paint in a flat finish. The spraying was super quick and easy, but the prep… ugh, the prep. We taped off every area using brown masking paper (around $2 a roll, which has covered everything so far) and some basic painters tape. Each color variation meant more taping, above and below. Mind you, this was also on the two windiest days Cincinnati has seen all year. We had to tape the paper on all sides to keep the wind from ripping it away. So yea, spraying paint in the wind trying to avoid destroying our home, neighbors’ homes, and cars. That was fun. Either way, it was much faster than using the good ol’ brush and roller. I think.

Dark & Moody Exterior Color Palette |

(our little helper)

With such an abundance of painting projects coming up, and large ones at that, Ricky and I had been discussing the purchase of a paint sprayer for quite some time. Well, we finally bit the bullet when we spotted the Ryobi cordless sprayer, marked down from $185-ish to $130 at Home Depot. It was an impulse buy. We needed a sprayer, it was on sale, we trust the brand for other power tools, easy decision.

Had I taken the time to look at any one single online review (there are pages upon pages) I would have quickly run in the other direction at the mass amount of negativity. Long story short (since SO many others have already covered this same topic) we made the same mistake and bought the crappy sprayer. It’s working okay for our outdoor painting, where the finish doesn’t need to be perfect, but it’s not going to cut it for nearly anything else. Furniture? Not a chance.

Dark & Moody Exterior Color Palette |

So, that’s my little vent. Don’t buy it. What should you buy? I’ll share it when I find it. Moving on.

Or should I say, backwards? You know I love a good side-by-side before and after. Let’s look back to to the day we closed on our home 🙂


Dark & Moody Exterior Color Palette |


Dark & Moody Exterior Color Palette |

Truly, it’s more of a progress shot, since we know there are plenty more updates in the near future. But, it’s come quite a long way since day one. Checking one more off the to-do list 🙂

Replace the rotting header above the garage
Give the porch column a smooth coat
Add a railing to the side of the porch
• Build new window shutters
Paint the exterior of the house
• Paint the roof (yes, we’re doing that)
• Remove ALL landscaping in the front yard and replace it with something more modern
• Landscape around the mailbox and post light
• Build window boxes for the front of the house
• Do something about that driveaway
• Hire someone to remove the FIVE trees that have fallen over during wind storms
• Replace damaged wood and paint the swing set
• Repair and paint the backyard shed

Now, we just need it stop raining so we can paint this mismatched sides of the house.. It’s like we tried to paint in the Spring or something?

May 6, 2013

Let’s Take this Outside

Two weeks ago I declared our outdoor to-do list for this spring on the blogosphere, so it’s officially ON. No backing out now. We’re unbelievably pumped to get our paint on for the exterior of the house, so that’s priority one. BUT it just wouldn’t make sense to paint everything, only to add more architectural changes just days later, so we tackled those first. Three things: the garage header, the porch column, and the porch railing that did not yet exist.

Yes, this photo is from nearly a year ago and unfortunately that’s not very noticeable, except for the sconce lights on either side of the garage. That’s about to change 🙂



The header above the garage has been falling apart, piece by piece, since the day we moved in, so it was beyond time to replace that bad boy. And while we were at it, we went ahead and extended it beyond the garage and into the porch area. It just made sense to formally cap off the bottom of the triangular pitch in the roof. It’s an easy switch since it’s not technically a header or supporting anything, and more just siding. Basically, we just did a little of this:



Second, porch column. It’s tough to see in the photos above, but the porch column was made of some sort of super rough, very unfinished looking material. It wasn’t something that could be sanded down (we tried) so our next option was to cover it. We took a similar approach to John & Sherry, by just boxing in the previous post with a few pre-primed 1×8’s. It beefed it up quite a bit too, almost matching the size of the new header, which is an added bonus.

And that leaves us here:


Pretty right? Kidding. We’re getting there.

I always envisioned our forever home to have a huge front porch, so that was a definite downfall with this house. We’ve considered adding one down the road, but for now we’re making due. In order to make our tiny covered area feel a little more cozy, we added a railing from the column back to the front of the house. It frames the area in and makes it feel less… slab of concrete leading to the door.



Now, we’re even toying with the idea of adding a skinny bench with the railing as the backrest. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? PILLOWS. Or maybe a hanging flower box.. but that may be too many boxes since we’ve already set out to DIY some for the front windows. We’ll be sure to share either way.

So, next up is paint! I’ll be back tomorrow with our plan of attack in the color scheme department 🙂 And hopefully some reveal pics very soon!

April 4, 2013

Craftsman Door Trim Tutorial

When we first bought our home, just over a year ago, I was immediately drawn to all of it’s potential – possibilities for an open floor plan, one floor living, and enough outdated finishes to go around. One thing we’ve really enjoyed bringing into the home is character. Things like crown molding, solid-core craftsman doors, beadboard in the bathroom, and built-ins galore. I love ranch style homes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t infuse a few other styles as well. My all-time favorite upgrade we’ve made, that isn’t so “typical ranch”, is craftsman-inspired door trim. I say inspired because we’re definitely not experts, and who knows if we’re doing anything by the books here, but we really love the look and hope you guys can gain some inspiration from it too!

I’m almost positive that the only time I’ve shown our door trim here on the blog was while featuring our new front door. Which is a shame. Seriously. It’s beautiful, and I’m a little perplexed at what’s taken me so long to write this post.

Simple Craftsman Door Trim Tutorial |

I mean, it’s everywhere in our house. Yet, somehow I’ve mistakenly hidden it.

Simple Craftsman Door Trim Tutorial |

The day we finished trimming out the all the bedroom doors in the hallway was a little like Christmas for me.

Simple Craftsman Door Trim Tutorial |

I love the simplicity, yet bulkiness of it all. And pair it with our new three-panel doors and we’re in business.

Simple Craftsman Door Trim Tutorial |

So, since we’re in the midst of remodeling the laundry room, which just so happens to have FOUR doors, I thought it’d be a good time to share the whole process in action! It’s crazzy easy. Simple Craftsman Door Trim Tutorial |

First up, a look at the wood selection. (twss)

Simple Craftsman Door Trim Tutorial |

We used three different sizes to frame out the entire door, as illustrated above. Rather than try to describe where each piece was used and probably lose everyone in the process, I’ll just show pics. It’s not rocket science 😉

Simple Craftsman Door Trim Tutorial |

Ricky did most all of the work here, and after a little trial and error, he found it easiest to start by assembly the two side pieces.

Simple Craftsman Door Trim Tutorial |

And instead of following up with the top portion directly to the wall, he built it independently first. A nail gun got the job done here.

Simple Craftsman Door Trim Tutorial |

And he was left with this.

Simple Craftsman Door Trim Tutorial |

Slap that guy up at the top of your door frame anddd voila! Instant character.

Simple Craftsman Door Trim Tutorial |

Easy enough?

Obviously, we still have painting to do here, which we’re holding off on until all the trim work is done, but you guys get the picture. I love all these finishing touches. The end is in sight!