Now We’re Cooking! Kitchen COMPLETE! Kind of…

Cover for kitchen

So for those who have been following our crazy journey or for those who have come here for the first time out of curiosity, Thank you!   So let’s cut to the chase.

 Do you remember THIS? IMG_0478

How about this?IMG_0479

And This?IMG_0477Let us all grimace as we remember this HORROR!IMG_0568I may have even cried a little.

So we did THIS.

throw out kitchen sink
Threw out everything AND the KITCHEN SINK.
Our little, BIG helpers


After discovering the MOLD, we had to adjust a lot of our plans and be more drastic with our renovation.  Which called for new insulation and sheet rock.  Glad he’s handy like that.
Not FUN! Even though it looks it.
House-edit kitchen
Coming together!

In the meantime, have to cook some where.  The living room will work.

Don’t we all have a picture of a child under a sink with us?
Can lights. Brighter feels Cleaner. 

Prepping, Priming, Sanding and Painting the kitchen cabinet doors.  Soooo many steps. I’m glad he is so patient because I was ready for this stage to be over with.  He is the yin to my yang.

Subway tile backsplash

Floating shelves.  This wasn’t an easy project.   But he did a great job as U.S.U.A.L.floating shelves

floor becky
My husband took this pic of me without me knowing it. But Honestly…he did most of the work. Photo credit:HIM , Floor Credit:HIM

So here it is folks.  I wish that this blog post could have a drum roll or dramatic music.  So just imagine it for me.  We have been in this house for a little over a year now.  We have lived with out a kitchen for that long.  Yes,  I eventually got a dishwasher, a sink, a stove, oven and microwave.  Our cabinets were raw and open to the public eye.  We had dull lighting and walls that needed to be finished out.  I didn’t mind the spills of the children onto our ugly concrete floors (after the tile had been scraped out and removed) because it was just like dropping food on the sidewalk. BUT NOW!!!  :>)



Almost done!! Just need to get the remaining floor into our dining nook and we will feel a little more normal again…a little…because I don’t think we really are all that normal to begin with :>)


Trying to help a sister out days before she gave birth to my adorable niece.

My blog has received more traffic in the last month with views on my DIY tutorial, the Brick and Mortar Wash technique.  Why would this be? I would like to think that I inspired Chip and Joanna Gaines, like we are the dearest of friends or something. I’m sure I’m not the only American out there that has similar thoughts. :>)  I believe it was their first episode of season 3 Fixer Upper, where they applied a similar look on the exterior of  the home.   Also, my husband and I stalk their Instagram pictures and noticed that their show room of her new furniture line has the same old world brick. ” German Smear” is what they call it.    I was so proud… because in my mind…I envisioned that she saw my little blog, watched my tutorial and said, “CHIP!!  Look at this! We should do this in the next Fixer Upper and let’s do this in our show room and in the our next season premier!”  And that for once, I was her inspiration instead of the other way around.   Of course, I know that I’m not the ONLY one that has ever done this.  I’ve seen it in other places so that is how I got inspired.  But a wife/mother of three can day dream, right?  To be the inspiration to Joanna Gaines??

I mentioned awhile back, before we got kicked in the gut over the house flood fiasco, that I had Brick Mortar Washed my sister’s fireplace.  She didn’t like the dull color of her fireplace and wanted to have it compliment the new ship-lap siding that her husband installed around their fireplace.  However, she wanted the mortar wash application to be lighter and not as sloppy or as thick.  What she really wanted was to change the grout color of her brick.  With this technique you can do that!  You just have to be more meticulous in your application and wipe off the excess of mix that falls onto the brick.

Due to curiosity of some of my recent readers I am posting some of my sister’s fireplace before and after.


side by side Penny
Before and After.  We took this picture back in November right before baby Heidi came into the world.  



mortarwashpenny (5 of 5)cr1

Below is another example of mortar wash.  Currently, there is a sweet, lake home being built behind our house.  We have watched the progress from afar until the other day we spotted a man applying a similar brick mortar wash to the exterior of the home.  Once again, I entered into my dream state of thinking “OH LOOK! They read my little blog and saw my DIY tutorial and decided THIS was the look they wished to make into their dream home.”    Ok, then I SNAPPED out of it and couldn’t wait until all of the workers were gone to see how he did it.   Looks pretty much the same as my fireplace.  I really LOVE this look.House neighbor


house 3
I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming they will paint the remainder of the board and batten. (OH LOOK!! ANOTHER technique they must have been inspired by after looking at my blog on DIY Board and Batten ;>)   Haha. Ok, wishful thinking.

House 2 neighbor

A YEAR!?!?! Already?!?!!

They say “time flies when you are having fun.”  I guess we are having fun.  Because I can hardly believe it was last February that we closed on the Dirty Diamond.  I still feel like we have so much more to do. But Swiss Army Knife Jon aka-my husband (that is his Instagram Name–he always has a Swiss army in his pocket) assures me, ‘We do not.’  I think it is just trying to learn to be patient and wait on when there are no sports activities, no family gatherings, no work related obligations, the planets are aligned,  etc. to find the time to work on the house projects.

We are still so thankful our wooden floors “fixed” themselves after our flood fiasco.  We were able to save the carpet in the girls’ room and have it reinstalled a couple of weeks ago.  We did have to purchase a new pad for their bedroom but if that is all that we were out after this nightmare, we were so grateful. 20160123_152535.jpg


Currently, we are prepping the kitchen for painting the cabinet doors and Swiss Army Knife Jon is building a vent a hood to go over the microwave.


What would we do without and Pinterest to give us the inspiration we need to build what we want?  I’m also thankful for a guy who just has the ability to build things.  My brain just doesn’t work that way.

I’m looking forward to be able to share with you the kitchen once it is done. I probably will post pictures as we go through the process.However,  I will wait until the ball is REALLY rolling along before we do that.


Dirty Diamond Gets Wet and We are Tested

I need time to process things, whether good or bad.  When it is good I relish in how God has brought us to this point and see how His providence has worked to get us to this place in our lives.  When it is bad…I have to really meditate and ponder why a certain event took place because there HAS to be some GOOD in it somewhere.  Were we being protected?  Were we being stalled to allow another event to happen for our benefit? Maybe I’m reading way too much into it, but it is the ONLY way I can keep a positive mind set and not get caught up in the depression that can easily set in when you dwell on “Why did this happen?!?” Causing you to just stop and not move.

I’m just now able to write about a recent event that really challenged us.  We had plans over Christmas to join our extended family but it was important for us to enjoy Christmas morning in our Dirty Diamond and enjoy the fruit of our labor with our children.  The living room looked so warm, inviting and festive with the Christmas tree twinkling  and presents waiting to be opened. After opening our gifts to one another we packed the car up and headed to Houston for a 2nd Christmas with my husband’s parents and family.  We were only planning to be gone for two days and return at the end of the weekend but then soon discovered alongside my sister and brother in law that the weather in Texas was going to be C.R.A.Z.Y. on the day we would be driving home.  In west Texas there would be snow and ice and the rest of Texas would be dealing with possible tornadoes  (which is sooooo strange for this time of year) and heavy rain and flash floods.

texas weather
The Texas weather advisory for December 27, 2015

My brother and sister in law decided to cut their time short and leave early to avoid some of the really bad weather and we contemplated staying an extra day to avoid bad weather, but as I was getting ready for church services that morning I had a sudden knot in my stomach. It was a certain sick feeling of dread and it dealt with the house.  I immediately walked into the room where Jonathan was and I told him my concern.  He did his best to ease my mind but it hung over me all day and especially as we fought the rain and lightening on the drive home.  The amount of water  that flowed on the sides of the highway and roads was immense.

When we finally made it home Jonathan went inside first to open the doors for all of us so we could make a MAD DASH inside through the rainfall.  He quickly darted back outside and my usually calm and steady husband announced “Your premonition was right!” Not the words you want to hear when it comes to bad “premonitions”.  I ran into the house and was set back when I saw that water had come into the house; the living room, the girls’ room, and the bathroom.   Adrenaline kicked in I guess, because we both started lifting furniture like Superman lifting a car and began for the next hour sucking up the water with our Shop Vac, carpet cleaner, and towels.  We soon found ourselves moving bedroom furniture and toys into the sun room (this was a familiar sight since this is what the sun room looked like when we first took our initial steps into moving into this house back in March-very depressing).

The darker blue is the wet areas.

Then we were pulling back the carpet, moving that into the sun room as well and putting fans and running a De-humidifier  over it.  The entire carpet pad was soaking wet and needed to be taken out completely and thrown away.

By the end of our evening  we were NUMB.  We just stared into space.  There were no words. No one to blame.  The wooden floors were swollen and buckling. Would insurance cover this?  Jonathan was also on the phone trying to get answers from our insurance but all we could do was file a claim and wait to hear back from an adjuster.  But it wasn’t looking very good as we carefully read the fine print about what “kind” of water damage they would cover.  At this point we weren’t even sure where the water was coming from.  If it were an internal issue where a pipe busted or toilet backed up then insurance would cover it.  But water that came in forcefully from outside would not be covered.

living room
Girls’ furniture moved into living room to put weight on the wooden floor boards to help push them back down. This is several days after our flood findings. Kids playing with their Christmas gifts where ever they could find a place to play. They are such troopers!

If you are wondering ‘were there tears?’  Yes, there were…but not until Tuesday, three days later.  Jonathan called me from work during his lunch break and we spoke to one another like robots.  He told me about a conversation he had with a sweet co-worker that learned about our unfortunate event.  She told him, “Your family will get through this!  It is so obvious to all of us that God is with your family and takes care of you.”  And that is when the tears finally came down my face. It was then that I changed my way of thinking and knew God would be with us and I needed to trust Him!  We did lose some time and money but others lost homes and even lives over this same weekend where tornadoes destroyed all that they had.

To make a long story short, after talking in detail with an insurance adjuster and a Leak Detection company it wasn’t looking favorable that insurance would cover it (Got to LOVE insurance companies!  You pay for it but they find ways to get out of it in the fine print).  Jonathan located a small pin size hole on the side of the house where the A/C pipes came into the house. We tested a possible theory on how the water might have found its way in and it appeared to be the culprit.  Bittersweet to find the cause.  We certainly didn’t want to re-install the carpet (which we saved in time–pad, nope) if we couldn’t locate the problem. We never want to experience that kind of feeling again.   The wood floors are probably what shook us up the most.  We had just labored on those floors two weeks prior.  We were so proud and felt so accomplished.  We ran a dehumidifier non stop for several days and even up until today.  Every day I would look at the floor in disbelief.  I asked Jonathan, “Is it just me…or do the floors look like they are getting better?”  He also noticed the difference.    To our astonishment the floor has pretty much gone back to its original state!   There are a couple of places that I can tell where a board is damaged but  if I didn’t point it out, you would never notice.  SERIOUSLY!

BUY a De-Humidifier if you live in the south and struggle with humidity! It is worth its weight in GOLD!! Ours came from and we paid around $165 for it!!  It is truly amazing the amount of water we dump out of its basin every day. I water my plants with it!  We bought it back in the summer when we had a lot of humidity in the air. It seemed to dry our air out and take the mildewy smell out of the house.

So going back to my first paragraph, what can I take away from this that is positive so that it doesn’t crush me or make me wonder what lesson I’m to be taught.  Here it is and it is what has brought me a sense of thankfulness and joy, believe it or not.  When we pulled up the recent installed carpet in my girls’ room, we discovered the new tack strip that held the carpet down in one area was producing mold.  This tack strip has been there since this summer!   This particular area is where we discovered the small, pin size hole on the outside wall. There has probably been moisture coming in that space for a long time but the recent heavy rain really exposed it.  Was this God’s way of protecting my children from serious illness?  Did something like this have to occur so that we could be made aware that there was potentially something very dangerous to my family under their carpet?  I believe so! And I’m so grateful! I’m not mad or sad or depressed.  We need to fix the problem and keep on moving! And that is what we will do!

DD gets wet




Custom DIY Holiday Cards on a Budget


Oh how I LOVE Christmas Cards! I love creating them & most of all I love receiving them from friends and family! I wish I could send them to every one of my friends & acquaintances but have you taken a look at postage lately? … It ain’t cheap ! And if you’ve ever priced the trendy photography print websites you know that each heavy cardstock photo card will cost you in the range of $2.00 and up!   I always like the cards with options for front and back photos and  holiday greetings . But these options cost more $ as well.


Over the years I have found ways to be creative and save money when it comes to our annual Christmas card.  I  have been asked by people who I highly admire and who usually have the BEST Christmas cards…”What kind of paper do I use on our Christmas Cards and where do I purchase them? ”  So here’s my secret…Some years it is, other years it has been Sam’s Club Photo Lab but it’s not what you think.  I do not head to the “photo card” tab on my screen but go to the “order prints” tab.  I simply order a matte finish, 5×7 print for under $ 0.50 a print.  Some times this will be less if there is a promotional discount on all prints.  And usually there is during the holidays.  WIN!

I design the  front of my Christmas Card with my photography editing software.  I use Photoshop Elements 10.  I create a separate image with our short Christmas Greeting and family update for the back with whatever images I want to include.  I now have two separate images ready for me to upload to the photography lab of my choice.  I prefer to order the 5×7 size because it is what looks comparable to the cards I receive each year and I can put our family newsletter on the back at a decent size where people can read it..

20151217_102040 So, I have two “pictures” to upload.  I usually send out 70-100 cards each year.  We’re talking about ordering 140-200 prints.  That is quite a LOT!! But I ‘m still keeping my cost low because can you imagine what that cost would be if I were spending $2.00+  on each card?  My cost usually for one card is around $1.00 and I’m getting to customize my card the way I want with more family information.

20151217_102224When the pictures are mailed or handed over to me, I begin gluing the front and back of my pictures together creating a very sturdy Christmas card.  In the past I have taken a glue stick and have glued the entire back of the print.  This year I thought I’d try something different and use the adhesive spray that works well with photography prints for scrapbooking purposes.

20151219_095946_resizedI found it to be pretty sticky but it  got the job done quicker because I just laid out all of my pictures, face down and began spraying at one time.

I have had great success with simply gluing the prints together. I have kept some of my remaining cards for years and they have never detached  themselves.  In my opinion the weight of the my cards and the weight of the higher end cards you custom order are the same.

This year I also thought I’d take a new creative approach and lighty spray a gold glitter/dust on my cards.  I really liked this effect and will do it again in the future. I did have some areas where the dust was thicker than others and all I had to do was take a cloth and gently dust off the excess.

I occasionally do have to trim the edges of my cards due to me not lining up the edges just right.  I have invested about $10 in a paper cutter to trim the areas that need trimming.


20151217_103421You can order 5×7 envelopes for pretty cheap off or go to your local hobby store and find the size and color you want.

Yes, it does require a little extra effort to design, glue, and trim your cards. But because I like to save money and do things that make my cards a little more unique, I don’t mind.

Now it is off to the post office where I have to buy festive stamps to place on envelopes.  I sure wish I could design and create my own stamps to save $ but I don’t think the government will let me do that.  There are just some things that you can’t DIY :>)  Merry Christmas!!20151216_144448

Interchangeable Seasonal Burlap Wreath

In between home renovation projects, when I’m waiting on the husband to get home from work, I  love searching Pinterest for inspiration on how to decorate my Dirty Diamond.  It’s so hard when all of your seasonal decorations are packed away in storage and you really don’t have the place to decorate.  BUT, I do have a front door!  And it is newly painted and screaming for a seasonal wreath!  The inside might not be Parade of Homes worthy but we can “Fake it til we Make it” on the outside.  (Hmmmm?  I wouldn’t use this same philosophy when it comes to human beings.  One really should work on the inside first.)

I discovered Dallas Moms Blog on Pinterest.  Out of all of the fall wreathes that I scrolled through I was drawn to hers and her easy tutorial.  The cool thing about this wreath is that it can change seasons/holidays without leaving your door.   And the best part, at least for me, was to  learn that she is a New Mexican girl living in Texas—!

So if you want a pretty wreath and an easy tutorial to follow click HERE

Here is what my  wreath looked like with the Fall theme and the Christmas theme.

Wreathe fall
I added Halloween decor and then pumpkins and fall decor for Thanksgiving (which are not shown).  Let your imagination go with the possibilities.


wreathe winter
I replaced the orange burlap with red burlap and added some red and white berries to make it more festive. Hmmmm? What should I do for the spring?

Lake House Living Room Transformation Diary-Part 5

On our Thanksgiving break we left our children with my parents for several days so that we could begin installing the wooden floor.  Jonathan had installed laminate, wooden floor in our previous home.  However, he floated the floor and clicked it together. The  floor in our Dirty Diamond was going to be engineered wood and we were going to glue it down.  It was a new experience and he told me that both installations have their pros and cons but after doing both he prefers the glue down.  I would agree.  Just the quality seems so much more permanent and solid.  The laminate, click together has a more “click/clack” sound under the foot.  The glue down seems to feel like you are stepping on solid floor and less noise under foot.  IMG_3143

So lets get started and cut to the chase!  I know my friends and family have been prodding me to get this post up.

wood flooring install

We began getting all the wood out and inspecting what we had to work with.

We started in the entry and worked our way into the hallway where the kids’ bedrooms and guest bathroom are located .  This part took the longest because of the smaller space, corners and baseboards.

This is as far as we were able to get after the Thanksgiving break. It really does take some time. We felt we were getting faster as were getting the hang of it and working together. But, LIFE steps in and we needed to get  back to our routines of working and children. We continued working through the week after Jonathan would get home from work.

Our “Dirty Diamond Groupies” watching us outside the window. Our furry FAN club, Luna and Lasso.

I mentioned before in previous blogs that my goal was to have a Christmas tree up for my kids this year.  We didn’t have one last year due to our move.  I was so sad about that.  Our kids have been such troopers during this experience and haven’t complained one bit.  The most important thing to me during this season of our lives is that they can look back and remember with fondness this time. I want them to have memories of holidays and family traditions.  So in the middle of our floor installation I bought a tree and gathered our ornaments from storage.   What a unique tree decorating experience. Not sure if we’ll ever have another one like it.

Yes, that is a fake fire place heater/insert.  We are not quite ready to light the fire in the fireplace.  We need to hire a chimney sweep, but at this moment we wanted to create the “atmosphere” for the children. 


Later in the week getting back to it to finish it out.




We still have most of our belongings in storage and my walls are bare.  But, with this board and batten look I almost hate to cover them up with anything.  I’m kind of liking this minimalist look. I may just sell everything in storage and keep my life more simple.  :>)

Before and after

As many of you know our family still has much to do.  We need to finish the kitchen, laundry room, and our master bathroom (that will be a HUGE transformation).  I really hope that you will continue to follow us on our journey.   And for those of you who have followed and encouraged us with your comments, we “THANK YOU!”   It is fun to share in our excitement as things transform into something ugly to something pretty.



Lake House Living Room Transformation Diary- Part 4

You guys are being so patient and I do appreciate it!  You see…I know you think that I have the room all done and staged just perfectly;  strategically  placed lamps and rugs under the newly bought furniture.  Ummm…yeah not quite….yet.   In fact, just minutes ago I asked my husband, “Are you ready to lay down some more flooring?”  His reply, “Well, we could do like 3 or 4 rows before calling it a night.”  Yep!  It’s quite a process for us newbies.  I now believe what my husband told me when he read that installing glue-down wooden flooring  can take 10-12 hours per 400 square feet.  When he told me this, I scoffed.  Well not US!  Yes, US and probably more.  UGH!  We’re in our late 30’s and let me just say we feel like we are in our 90’s every morning as we hang our feet over the side of the bed and let things stretch out.  We take three Ibuprofen with our highly caffeinated coffee each morning.  But I sit down with my coffee, on a little unmatching love seat, that rests its legs atop the installed flooring and I grin behind my coffee mug…because I’m so stinking HAPPY!  WE did it!! We actually DID IT! People thought we were crazy and look at this!!

First things first.  We will continue this little walk down memory lane, for ME anyways…for you, this is all new stuff…but for us…memories.

We have carpet up and gone, ceilings scraped of all popcorn, updated fire place and mantle, board and batten hung, baseboards and crown installed, rebuilt window frame, new fan and aluminum paint on the floor….wait WHAT?!?! I know, I know we haven’t discussed this in prior posts.  So here is a quick summary of why we painted the floor with aluminum paint.

Like I have said before, this Dirty Diamond was D.I.R.T.Y. The smell was like a huge Tsunami of odor that hit you when you walked through the door, this is why we pulled up the carpet on the very first night hoping that it would relieve us of the stench.  It helped but we still fought it for weeks.  We tried everything!  Bleach on the floors, baking soda, white vinegar, expensive industrial grade chemicals to kill bacteria and germs, oil diffusers, Lysol, etc.   Then we started pulling off walls, scraping the popcorn off the ceilings (which harbor many smells),  pulling the moldy cabinets out of the house and throwing them away.  Little by little it was getting better but still IT was there!

We were getting ready to have our new carpet installed in the bedrooms but we were fearful that the smells would only come back. It seemed like the floor was permanently contaminated. I have a childhood friend who has worked in construction and remodels and he was following our progress on Facebook.  He read about our frustration with the smells.  He privately contacted me and told me that the only way to truly rid your home of  existing smells (from pet stains and the like) is to paint Aluminum Paint on the floors and up the sides of the wall where pets can do the most damage.  He expressed that there were homes they didn’t  use aluminum paint and months after the install of new flooring the smells came back and the new homeowner would call them back to remove the flooring.  THEN they would paint the floor with aluminum paint and not have any more problems.  It sounded a little crazy to me.  I looked it up on Pinterest, I looked it up on Google,  I looked it up on various search engines and NEVER could find aluminum paint being a solution to household odors.  But you see, we were desperate!!!!! 

I went to Lowes, found a gallon of Aluminum Paint for under $30 and we got to painting the floors and some of the lower part of the bedroom walls.  I have to say it was BEAUTIFUL!! So shiny and smooth, like a sea of glass.  Maybe in my next home I’ll just have a room with Aluminum floors. ;>)  I had a friend who paints homes for a living and when he saw our floors he said that was an interesting concept because they would use Aluminum Paint to paint homes with fire damage to remove the smell of smoke.  YEAH!! More confirmation that maybe this would finally work for us….AND I’m happy to say… after about 7-8 months of living here, we haven’t had a problem with the  smell returning.  Well that was a longer summary than I wanted to give. But it may be very useful to someone one day.


We got to work caulking the trim and boards (probably the most tedious part of the board and batten look).  Then Jonathan got to painting the  walls with primer.  Then we painted the walls the colors I mentioned in the previous post. And we are extremely happy with the choice!! Looks great with the fireplace!!

Our next project was to make this room even lighter.  It was a dark room to begin with and we knew can lighting would make all of the difference! There is a tool you can buy for your drill that cuts the perfect size for your can light.  So handy. Cutting holes into your ceiling is a SCARY thing! So we found this website that helped us with the math on how and where to place the lights for the best results in lighting your room. Here is the link. Recessed lighting

So, Here it is ! The Semi-BIG reveal!!  Yes, there is more!  What do you think, so far?   I’m ecstatic!  My parents say, “Well You won’t want to move now! Will you?!?”  It might be a little hard to leave.  But, we have BIG plans for our future and this Dirty Diamond was another one of our stepping stones.  At least we can really enjoy our living space until the next stone comes into sight.

Keep following for the next few days.  We still have our flooring and of course the Christmas tree reveal which was my goal from the beginning of this Living Room Diary.


Lake House Living Room Transformation Diary-Part 3

One of the perks of living in a fixer upper is all of the messy and fun things you can do inside your home before making it nice.  For instance, giving your son or husband a haircut in the living room.  Super convenient!


Thankfully, we have had the sunroom and the bedrooms somewhat livable during this time and haven’t spent too much time in the living room. However, we have had to walk through it to access these livable places.  Much like having a garage in the middle of your house-if you can imagine that.

So this image has been my inspiration from the very beginning.  I did my research on the website and discovered the EXACT paint colors on the wall and trim.  I knew that if I loved them here, I would love them in our Dirty Diamond.  I didn’t want to experiment and try my own colors. Especially, since we are on a tight budget. The paint is  Sherwin Williams – wall, Accessible Beige and trim, Alabaster.

This is also where I got the inspiration for the Board and Batten look that I so adore!  So I made my wish list to my husband–my human genie– and he replied, “As you wish.”

A short video of the steps we will take in the installing of sheet rock and board and batten look.

After removing the dark paneling and discovering no insulation or sheet rock, Jonathan went to work installing new insulation.  This particular wall is where the television will be and our master bedroom is on the opposite side which means no sound barrier what-so-ever.  The insulation will help muffle the noise.


We are so fortunate to have great friends who are willing to come and help install the heavy (for me) sheet rock! What a chore!  (These guys have their own families and HUGE home improvement projects going on as well.  We’ve learned- you help them and they will help you.)

Because of the board and batten look we were going for, we had the idea to install the sheet rock vertically.  Typically, sheet rock is installed horizontally; one on top of another.  Our grand idea was to install vertically and between the sheet rock seams place our boards, as well as on every stud. We were crossing our fingers that this plan would work.

BIble Verse
I wanted to write something Biblical within our walls of our house.  No one may see these words for decades to come but we know that they are there and it is a favorite verse of ours. One that we know and love well. “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not depend on your own understanding.  In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6


Thumbs up means, “We’re OUTTA here! And Good luck Helveys.”

What a difference just putting white sheet rock did for the room.  The living room was instantly brighter and cleaner looking.

Now it was onto buying the wooden strips for our board and batten look.  However, when Jonathan priced it out— WOWZA!! It would cost us over $500 just to buy the strips because we needed 72 strips for the living room and entry way.  We were trying to keep the cost low.  Once again, we try to think outside the box on ways we can save money. Jonathan went to our local hardware store and purchased  1/4 inch sanded plywood, it cost us around $20 a sheet. We bought 4.  Around $80 is all we spent.   Now it was time to turn them into strips. So we got to work setting Jonathan’s table saw at 2 inches and ripping boards–72 of them.  It really didn’t take too long and was worth the savings in my opinion.Ripping trim

Trim Pile
As you can see Jonathan installed new base boards and crown molding  Nothing fancy just 1 x 4 boards.  This is what 72 boards look like in a pile. :>)

The thing you do have to consider when hanging the sheet rock vertically is that on every piece of sheet rock there is a slight dip along the length of the sheet rock edge.  Normally, this is where people will tape and bed the seam together.  Our two inch strips didn’t cover the entire dip and so Jonathan puttied it to fill it in and sanded it down to make the wall level and smooth.  Then, Jonathan nailed the boards on every seam and where ever a stud was placed behind the sheet rock.  I’m seeing it come together and that our plan on installing the sheet rock vertically has really paid off and is achieving the look we are going for.  I’m pretty much GIDDY!

Oh and do you see my new fan that replaced the 80’s version?  I wasn’t sure about this particular style ( a little modern for me), but when it is on the clearance rack for $30, you take and you don’t second guess.  I’m now in love with it!!  And “NO” that fluorescent light on the mantle is not our mood lighting. It still is pretty dark in this room, especially at night with the one light from the fan.  SO the fluorescent helps…for now.

We’re getting closer to the end!! We actually decorated our Christmas tree in the living room last night!  So you know that there is a HAPPY ending to this LIVING ROOM story.


Lake House-Living Room Transformation Diary- Part 2

We considered painting the flimsy, dark paneling a lighter shade to lighten the room. However,  we discovered that there was no sheetrock or any kind of insulation between the paneling and the bedroom walls that flank both sides of the living room.

Three things:

#1 This meant that there was no sound barrier.  We didn’t want to hear the television noise coming through to our rooms.

#2 No sheetrock between walls would mean that if this house were to catch on fire (prayers that this never happens) there would be no barrier to slow down the flames to give us time to “GET OUT!”  The wood paneling would be gone in minutes and so would everything else.  The sheetrock provides a type of safety that slows down the fire and gives our family the time to “GET OUT!.”

#3  The wood paneling has harbored years of old house smell.   There was a mixture of cigarette smoke, pet odors, and mustiness that no amount of Kilz Priming paint could rid our house from.

#4  (I know I said only 3, but this house has so many lists of numbers of what NOT and WHAT to do) The paneling was U.G.L.Y. and DARK and DARK and DARK and U.G.L.Y and DARK! It just needed to go!

Jonathan FIRST scraped the popcorn off the ceilings!  Let me tell you what a difference that makes in a living quarters.  The popcorn ceiling also falls into reason #3.  The smells of cigarette smoke just literally fell to the floor as he scraped it to the ground.  It was really gross to see that when you spray the ceiling with water and then proceed to use a hand scraper, the popcorn turns into a nasty shade of gray sludge that splattered to the floor and reeked of smoke.

All of these acts of removal left the room looking more like a shell, but a CLEAN shell.  I didn’t mind us walking through this room as much knowing that it was free from all of the past.

As you may remember from a previous post, I tackled and experimented with a brick and mortar wash on my sunroom and fireplace.  To this day, still one of my favorite things I have ever done, home improvement wise. I get so many positive comments and people asking if they should try it on their fireplaces.

The next thing we did was take out the sheetrock in the entry way.  We wanted to create more of a consistency with the living room and the entry way to be the same look rather than what it was before with dark, wood paneling and wallpaper.  I recorded a short video (mainly for my husband to watch my progress and snicker at me while he was at work).


Well that does it for Part 2 of Lake House-Living Room Transformation Diary.  We’re really close to the BIG reveal, so stay tuned for Part 3!