We always have projects in the works. This old house, 100 years old now, is constantly needing repair. We try to do things the most economical way and utilize as much in the way of recycling as we can.
Our living room had just become a catch all for stuff we hardly use. In fact, we had taken the furniture out and were using a back room as a living room. The ceiling was low. There were no lights other than floor lamps. The walls were starting to peel.
Since we’ve been married, we have tackled all projects on our own. It’s an on going learning process, and we are constantly making mistakes. The stress of projects was getting to us; therefore, this time we actually got a quote for drywalling. Possibly we could have swung that cost, but the cost of carpentry was another matter.
So after a brief meditation on all our projects, we got a resurgence of energy and decided to tackle it ourselves. The project would include taking the ceiling out and extending it to the roof line, installing insulation, rewiring, installing a ceiling fan and light, reframing in order to put up new drywall, drywalling, stuccoing and painting, sanding and revarnishing the floor, and rocking the upper most part of the wood burning stove area. I don’t think I’ve left anything out.
The total project cost under $800, with the ceiling fan being the single most costly item. I was amazed that I found one so quickly. It was the first one I saw, as if it was calling out to me.
We were able to reuse a lot of the boards that were taken down from the ceiling. We gathered rocks from our woods. The drywall had to be cut in small chunks, what my husband could handle since he was lifting them up so high. I think he got some new muscles. I measured and cut all the drywall. He sliced his thumb pretty good early on. So, after that, he was not allowed to touch the cutting knife. Luckily he didn’t require the emergency room.
We applied the mud to the walls and ceiling in a stucco manner. I wanted that look, plus it also helps hide mistakes. We are really sorry at finishing drywall. I used a small power sander to sand the floor. We varnished and lightly re-sanded again. Then we applied another couple of coats of varnish.
Except for the couch and chairs, almost everything you see in the room is handcrafted. Two of the small quilt hangings are Amish. The side table and everything on it is handcrafted, as well as the schoolmaster’s desk and the stools you see in the picture. Everything was collected from arts and crafts shows I did over the years. The round table in front of the couch was cut down in order to make a coffee table. It belonged to my grandmother who originally lived in this house.
We did this over the course of the Christmas holiday, and some into January. Even though the untrained eye as well as the trained eye could definitely see flaws, we are happy with the project.
3 thoughts on “Our Do-It-Together, Do-It-Yourself Project”
Gerry, Amazing result and great project. It is always more enjoyable to do it yourself, of-course if you can. You did a great job! Hope your husband thumb is OK.
WOW! My untrained eye can’t see anything wrong with this reno… you did a fantastic job! I choose to see work that you did yourself as completely adding to the personality of your home and it makes it more completely “Your” space :). If I wasn’t a penniless student hippy and we didn’t live on the other side of the world I would pay you to renovate :). Great job and kudos for taking the harder road…it is harder for a reason, you get SO much more out of it 🙂
What a wonderful project, hard work but satisfying, I’ll bet 🙂