Monday, August 31, 2009

Safer and Sunnier at TLC!

When you've got wiring in half of your house that looks like this...



...it's probably a good idea to hire a guy like this...



This is Kevin's drummers brother, Mark.
He is our electrician. He rocks for being brave enough to crawl underneath our house and for fighting the urge to pick the proof out of his hair for what seemed like an eternity to me.



(Those two chunks of "crawl space" on the back of his head were driving me bananas!)

All joking aside, last week Mark made it possible for us to sleep more soundly here at TLC by completely re-wiring the old part of the house. (One side of the house was built in 1950, and the other side was built in 2003)
And because I'm so impressed with even the tiniest of details, I've been walking around the place, lovingly caressing my new, pure white outlet and switchplate covers and their matching light switches. Before, some of them used to be black, some used to be ivory, and some used to be half white, and half ivory- but now they all match. It's heavenly I tell ya. :-)

Another glorious change that occurred this past week was the removal of the small wall that previously separated the Living and Dining rooms.

This is how the room looked when we moved in...



Then sometime last year we opened it up a little more, so that it looked like this...



...but when we realized the ceiling was starting to sag above the wider doorway we had created, we knew we needed to call on the help of a professional to help us fix what we had done. Mark's friend Lee came over to help us install a header beam above the doorway. Lee frames houses for a living, so we felt very good having him there to show us how to git r' dun. Since they had to completely open up the wall, Lee said he could make the doorway even wider if I wanted him to. Uh, hello? IF I want you to? That man had no idea what he had just suggested was music to my ears!



When Lee started to remove the pine paneling from the wall, to expose an opening for the header beam to fit up into, he came across some wiring that needed to be moved...



Here he is showing Mark his discovery, and explaining to him how "he and electricity don't mix"...



Here's Mark figuring out what he's going to do with it...



Once the wiring was safely moved up into the attic, Lee held everything up, temporarily, with a floor jack...





The floor beneath the wall the guys took out looked pretty crazy for a minute...



...but Lee removed the 2x4 with the nails sticking out of it, and now I really can't wait to expose and refinish the original hardwood floor that's underneath the laminate.

After building us an extremely heavy beam in our driveway, the guys got to work hoisting it into place...





Kevin makes it look so easy...





Once the beam was firmly in place, Lee began to reassemble the pieces of pine paneling...



...then he trimmed everything out, all nice and neat...



The next day Kevin finished off the beadboard paneling in the Dining Room, and caulked, primed and painted everything...



It's amazing how taking out a little wall can really give a house a whole new feel...





It feels like the house got bigger, and the extra 12 inches of sunlight that can now stretch without interruption from the Living Room windows into the kitchen is such a welcome sight on my toes each morning. (I did mention I am tickled by the tiniest details, didn't I?) :-)

Hover your cursor back and forth over the photo below to see how different the view from the front door looks now, compared to the day we moved in...



Fortunately, Kevin and I both subscribe to the belief that "everything can always be fixed", and we're definitely not afraid of learning the hard way the first time around either.
In this case, we ended up with an even more impressive doorway, and with a contractor who can help us the next time we want to take on a project that might turn out to be too difficult for us.

So what about you? Have you ever had to call in a pro after you bit off more than you could chew? We'd love to hear your horror, I mean, renovation-stories-gone-wrong-then-right!

Layla

42 comments:

Kimm at Reinvented said...

It looks beautiful. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, we've never lived in a house that needed a major reno for us to screw up. And believe me, we'd screw up, so it's probably for the best!
Be careful of those nails sticking up in the floor!

The Country Nest said...

Layla,
What a great job. You and Kevin amaze me...your home just gets better and better. Enjoy the sunshine.
Donna

Sarah said...

Looks great! I love how Kevin held up that door way with one finger. Woo-woo! Impressive. ;)

Jen said...

Well... mistakes or not, great job for try'n yourselves. We love to do projects too and sometimes things happen!
I love your home and even more that you have done it yourselves.

Jen in California

Deb said...

Layla,

I wish you would describe how you built that shelf for the pictures in your dining area. I want to do something like that in my side entrance over an antique church pew I picked up in Breaux Bridge. I will do a post with pictures of the side entrance now and also my inspiration picture which is similar to that shelf but it also has hooks to hang booksacks, jackets, etc.

It is amazing how different it looks when you opened it up. I love watching the process.

Thanks,
Debbie

Blog Author(s) said...

I did a down to the studs reno in 1995 and it is time to do some more.
Your blog makes me think it will be alright. The difference this time is that I am living on site.

Can you hear me screaming from here?

Anyways, keep blogging. It helps, truly.

blushing rose said...

How lovely everything turned out. I love your decor. We hire things done, then I know it will get done & secondly it will get done right.
Have a lovely week. TTFN ~ Marydon

julie said...

aahhh! wonderful! i do not have any reno stories because i am too chicken to do anything major! thanks so much for stopping by my new blog and leaving such a sweet comment! i had to call my hubby and tell him! it made my day! i hope you come to visit again soon!

tracy_a said...

looks lovely! was it tough to decide to paint the knotty pine? we have a knotty pine room and have been on the fence...

Gigi said...

Looks great! I am soooooo familiar with "opening a can of worms" as I call it. Everytime we do something, there always a huge underlying problem. Glad you got yours taken care of without much trouble.

~Kate~ said...

That's just so beautiful. I can't believe the before and after. Great work!!

The Flying Bee said...

Yes, as a matter of fact, we worked on fixing our toilet paper holder for the third time just yesterday-the third time-a toilet paper holder! After four hours and having a friend come over to help, we finally got it! Maybe it's just us, but those things NEVER stay in the wall! :)

Anyway, love how your house turned out!

Adrienne

Funky Junk Interiors said...

My dilema was the opposite of yours.

I hired a contractor to open up some walls and doorways. My desire had been to remove it ALL to create an open floor plan for the upper floor but he said the walls were the supporting variety.

Fast forward 4 years later, I was told the wall was NOT supporting. OUT came the walls!

Wide open spaces is where it's at!

Looks awesome Layla. Enjoy your 'new home!'

Donna

Holly said...

Ah, the joys of renovating! I keep thinking my 5 month long (and counting!) kitchen facelift will be completed soon, but alas, something always gets in the way!! I sometimes have a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel - and then I look at your house and it gives me the push I need to keep going! You've done a fantastic job (especially with your kitchen, I'm still in awe over it). Keep up the good work girl!

susieharris said...

What a big difference just moving a small wall can make! Love it~

Aimee said...

We recently had our crumbling plaster ceilings removed and had the gas lines for gas lights and knob and tube removed! Boy do I love our all white electrical switches and sockets also! Now on to the garage where the wall fell in when I spackled...

Elizabeth (blue clear sky) said...

A potential problem corrrected with such great results!

shannon said...

My husband always does stuff himself, even if he shouldn't! We haven't had to call anybody yet, but I am sure the day will come!

Katy said...

Wow! That's crazy how different it looks. Lookin great girl!!

Nancy said...

Oooh, love it, Layla!!

beth said...

That looks so nice! You guys are doing a wonderful job with your home, and I check my blogroll every day to see if Layla has posted a new blog. :) I can't wait to see what you do next! You are very inspiring to me.

My name is PJ. said...

Your house is so lovely, Layla!

I've never tried to do anything other than tiling and painting, both of which I excel at. I hire EVERYTHING out, but I'm picky about who I hire.

I've no where near the courage you guys have undertaking all the tasks you have! You should be very, very proud!

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

No doubt - a little home fix it job ALWAYS turns into a big home improvement job!

Kelly B said...

How great that turned out!! We can't afford a reno. I would love to, but we had to fix a lot of termite damage we weren't planning on when we moved in. With 5 kids on top of that, we just haven't had the time or the money. That's ok, though. It makes me get more creative.... although I would LOVE to take the wall down between the kitchen and the family room. Thanks for the inspiration! Your husband is pretty strong... able to hold up a heavy beam with a single finger. It's a bird, it's a plane... it's SUPER KEVIN!!! ;0)

Sheri said...

Wow!! Looks so beautiful. Thankfully we've never had a house that needed renovation, however we DID buy a house that wasn't complete. (That was 4 years ago, it's still incomplete, but we are working on it!)

Colleen said...

Looks beauitful. Last year when we had some remodeling done, we removed the wall between the dining room and living room. We too had to have a support beam installed and that does take an experienced carpenter. Really don't want the ceiling coming down on my head.

JUls said...

I LOVE, LOVE your dining room set. I have a small dining space and want to pack in as many seats as possible by using a bench or two. It looks like you could squeeze about 8 people at your table. Can you tell us about it?

Karen said...

This is probably your best post ever. Keep them coming like this. The room looks great!

Deidra said...

My husband and I want to vault the ceiling in the living room. We were sure we could do it ourselves until I got online for a few ideas and figured we'd quickly be in over our heads. So...we're moving on to plan B, which is really C for Contractor.

Paula said...

I just found your blog the other day and I'm simply enchanted. Would you be so kind as to post what color your cabinets are? I've looked into painting ours, but I'm in awe of the amount of shades of black there are out there. With two small boys anything other than black would be a nightmare. :)

Anonymous said...

We do everything ourselves, Grpa is a PRO Carpenter so he answers all our questions, my Husband is AMAZING at Reno and building (we're on our 3rd house down to stud stuff). I am the designer, I say do this, it's easy right? And he has to make it perfect so it's never easy. When he put up the beadboard in the laundry room it was worse than moving plumbing and headers for him. However, hubby is going to invent the perfect toilet lid bolt,b/c ours KEEPS FALLING OFF!!!go figure.
Tara

Jennifer @ Our Cottage (in the Desert) said...

Beautiful! I love your inspiration on how a "normal" everyday looking house can become a cozy, beautiful cottage! Great job!!

anita said...

my sweetie IS a CGC, he does luxury rennos in hotels across country, we have done about half our home, built furniture, have alot of cool plans..but your place has come alot further faster.
and i think i'm missing a decorating gene..your place is incredible!

Cindy said...

Layla: Another beautiful change to your home! I am so happy for you, with your enhanced blog, your online business, the home that you and Kevin continue to transform! I wish you much success! Cindy

Mary said...

Hi Layla, beautiful job...your room is gorgeous! I have to tell you, though, looking at the pictures brings back memories of all our remodeling projects...I am SO glad they are over...at least I think we're done..after 35 yrs in this house, there can't be much more to do, right? LOL! You had a wonderful vision that became a reality...congrats on job well done!

Mary

Fenima said...

Layla, no I've never done any renovation or project, but I've been wanting too. I'm just too chicken to do it. You are amazing. Thanks for the post, it looks gorgeous.

jennifer said...

Hey girl! When are you going to hang some fabulous flea market find chandelier over that dining room table? Imagine how sweet it will look from your living room now. How's the bathroom redo coming? Can't wait to see and hear about it. Go girl!

Briana said...

We're calling in the pros for our backyard. This summer uncovered a field of poison ivy and brush that we'd be fighting year after year. Since we don't have the time or the resources to solve the issue, we're bringing in the big guns to completely dig up and clean fill the backyard. Here's to a clean slate!

Miss Mustard Seed said...

Great renovation! I love the black cabinets in the background.

Jen said...

This is so inspirational!
♥ Jen

domesticated_desk said...

i love your blog and your home is getting lovelier everyday! Dd

Anonymous said...

Bless you, we have the same problem and didn't know what to do!