a Passion for Patching

ever wonder how to patch drywall when you are not near a stud? i know you lie awake at night wondering this, so today is your lucky day!

as we are working on ceiling spackling, there are some areas of old plaster that had hardened into cement, rendering it impossible to sand down. i guess when you are spraying popcorn on ceilings, you don’t care about a smooth finish under your popcorn. when dan pried the plaster out of the ceiling, the drywall came with it. YAY!

cue the drywall repair clips…$3.09 of fun.

the drywall clips look like this:

and basically slide onto the edge of your drywall with their cute little feet:

you then drill through the drywall into the little holes in the side of the clip hidden under the drywall to secure the clip:

the cute little feet are made bendy so that you can bend them right out of the way, like so:

cut your piece of drywall as close as you can and screw it into the other side of the clips:

tape, spackle (this is after the first coat), and walaaah!

exciting stuff! the most exciting part of the weekend happened upstairs as I made progress on the never ending ceilings in our living room:

…and said goodbye to this lovely fixture:

…back to the exciting part. just as my neck was burning with a pain worse than i could stand, our kitchen went from this:

to this!

(the wires were removed too, after we picked up an electrical box)

after all, who wouldn’t want an uninterrupted view of these two while cooking??

the small stuff

touring houses for the second time around was definitely a different experience than the first. i felt like we knew what to look for and were more observant of what each house had to offer. however, it’s amazing how many little details slip past you.

for example…our family room:

i noticed:

  • good layout, lots of space
  • gas fireplace
  • good light, lots of windows
  • paneling that i actually thought was a cool architectural feature

what we didn’t notice until our home inspection when we had several hours in the house was that the entire wall is void of electrical outlets… not one single plug.

which is not the most convenient when the ideal layout is a fireplace mounted television. for a set-up like this, there are only two options for wiring. the first is to run the wiring through the wall directly behind the tv so that it is completely invisible. the second is to run the wiring through the ceiling and use conduit to encase the wires and drop down to the tv.

the first option is not doable with the current set-up because the fireplace is not framed with drywall, it’s actually plaster applied over brick.we would have to build the wall out and reframe the fireplace further away from the brick behind. lucky for Dan, i actually love the look of exposed conduit. it lends that industrial feel that i love. check it out here:


it’s still going to be a big job since we have to basically figure out how to run the HDMI, power, and ethernet from the wall on the back of the room through the length of the ceiling and across the span of the room, while also drilling into the wall to the left of the fireplace to add an outlet for the receiver, dvr, etc.

this is what we have going on right now while we make a plan:

the good news? the ceilings are definitely in the perfect stage to be cut into since we are in the process of re-finishing them all!

when we moved in, we had a mess of cables draping right across the floor in a very dangerous manner:

one was the internet, which dan relocated this past weekend to our office…basically drilled through the house and installed a box inside the closet (i was the all important wire catcher/puller through):

this is our temporary fix for the tv cables:

did i mention that electrical stuff is a boy job in our house? ya….so if i sound like i have no idea what i am talking about in this post, it’s because i actually don’t. stay tuned as i report on my electrically gifted hubs’ progress ;).

Joint Compound (aka the ladder workout)

now that’s a title that gets people excited, am I right??


did everyone have a great weekend? we had beautiful 70s weather…beautiful enough to stay inside all day and work on house projects! let me tell you…i went through emotional turmoil today.

i woke up leisurely, sipping coffee and listening to the birds, thinking about the ceilings and the ten thousand other projects that need to be done. suddenly, this little voice crept into my head that said “wouldn’t it be nice to hire someone to do the ceilings?” all innocently. “DIY isn’t that rewarding”.

see, living in a rental house made me soft. 6 weeks of zero projects had taken its toll…i had simply forgotten that feeling that you get after a full day of DIY when you feel mentally satisfied and physically sore in all different strange parts of your body.

you guys know what i am talking about.

my physical torture this time was due to this guy–

when i finally accomplish 3,300 sq ft of ceiling spackling, priming, and painting, i am going to have the scariest neck muscles EVER. which is a frightening thought as i don’t think neck muscles are considered especially attractive on a woman, hah!

my grueling torture began in the upstairs bathroom…a small enough space where i could finish and feel like i accomplished something.

first, i removed everything from the room

then, the worst part commenced-

the scraping of the popcorn had caused a lot of tears in the drywall paper, leaving all these strips hanging down…which does not make for smooth ceilings. my number one task was to cut off all the hanging pieces so that i could begin with a relatively smooth surface before applying joint compound. this meant making some parts worse as i pulled loose ends everywhere until i had no more hanging parts.

next came the joint compound. does everyone else read Erin’s blog- His & Hers? if you haven’t visited it, check out her post on joint compound and you will know how i felt.

luckily my strapping husband came to the rescue. let’s hope we don’t have a particularly porky child one day or i am not going to be able to lift him/her.

in our house, spackling is a girl job. as manly as “joint compound” sounds, a delicate and meticulous touch is imperative for a smooth finish. dan=not meticulous.

the best thing you can do is let the joint compound dry for at least 24 hours prior to sanding and/or applying a second coat. so now we wait!

in the meantime, i also began the downstairs hallway…

…and got all of the razor scraping and half of the first coat of joint compound done. not a whole lot to show for a day’s work, but my neck and shoulders hurt so badly i had to stop.

my apologies in advance if i give you ceiling updates for the next month ;).

hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend!

the moving process

…well, we’re in!

…and it still feels surreal. When does a new house start feeling like home? It doesn’t feel bad, just really cool in a pinch-me-do-we-live-here?! kind of way.

Our moving weekend started out with a few snags.

#1- it started to snow huge flakes rapidly the minute we started bringing home our rental cargo van to load our things from the rental house.

#2- the vehicle below is not a cargo van. apparently there were some issues with the ONLY van at the rental place, and we got stuck with the choice between a mini van and this baby, which resulted in my poor hubs making many, many trips back and forth the 70 miles in between our rental house and our new house.

luckily for us though, we had the A-team show up around 12pm. Mom, Dad, Taylor, and Kali…we couldn’t have done it without you! The seemingly endless load-in process began…

at the end of the first night, the rooms pretty much looked like this:

organized, right? HAHA. we were all pretty much sore in every bone/muscle in our bodies and collapsed into bed.

the next morning was eggs & coffee central as we broke in the new kitchen. this picture clearly shows WHY i hate these upper cabinets so much…

#1- it makes the whole kitchen dark

#2- anyone over 5’0″ gets a face full of hood/cabinets

#3- i may or may not have bumped my head into the sharp corners of that ancient hood several times

let’s take another look at what you stare at while cooking/interacting with guests:

and one more angle…


Yup, they are gone-zo! i was pretty much done with those cabinets the second i saw them and we figured, why not remove them on our first full day in the house?

can i just say what a freaking tremendous difference it makes??! i don’t know if you can tell via photos…but it’s amazing. I will live with a hole in my ceiling and a rusty vent hanging down (soon to be removed) any day over those cabinets!

Closing Time

Closing time
Time for you to go out go out into the world.
Closing time
Turn the lights up over every boy and every girl.

I love that song by Semisonic…and it’s been running through my head all morning since:

YAY!! It’s finally ours!

This morning, we did the walk-through at 10am to check out the result of the asbestos removal (read more about that here).

The ceilings vary in damage from the scraping. The bathrooms look almost like new bare drywall:

whereas some of the living spaces and the kitchen are definitely in rougher shape and are going to need some sanding and patching:

we asked the seller to take care of the patching and painting of the ceilings, but due to a time crunch, we agreed to take a check for the estimated cost. Which works out better in the long run because we have decided to do the sanding, patching, and painting ourselves. While it will be a pain in the you-know-what, we have never been ones to pay thousands of dollars to a professional when we can DIY for a negligible amount of money for materials.

It looks a bit rough at the moment…but just having over 3,000 sq ft of glitter popcorn gone is refreshing!

…can’t wait for move-in this weekend!

Doors & Mansions

I had to run into work today (sunday) to meet one of my clients, and since I have an hour and a half commute from our temporary rental, I convinced Dan to come with me so I could show him the town I work in, and go out for brunch. Who doesn’t love a good brunch…especially when it includes a mimosa :)?

I work in Newport, Rhode Island, and for those of you who have never been…it’s an amazing place full of historic homes, mansions, and quaint New England charm. Half of the town feels like you have been transported into the novel, Great Gatsby as you wind along Ocean Drive. We also took in the fresh ocean air (not like we get any of that on Cape Cod…haha) on the Cliff Walk, a trail along the water/historic mansions.

I was a little obsessed with all the charming doors…I am thinking about framing a collection of door photos somewhere in the new house:

check out the iron knocker on this one…

love the double door look of an older home…

this solid wood door is so beautiful…

gotta love a door that makes a statement, can’t wait to add a punch to our new door!

love this whole entrance-way with all the windows…

the cliff walk yielded many more sights to marvel at…a little less quaint and a little more…WOW:

I think we need to add a pair of gates like these to our new house…

stone walls (like the one below) stretch along for miles…it’s amazing to think about the people who created these by hand, sticking each stone into the mortar as they go…

aren’t these old chimneys stunning?

after all these very ornate mansions, around the bend we saw this….

so weird!

let’s play name your favorite door or mansion!

I love the brown-shingled, large chimney mansion and I’m really digging that solid natural wood carved door.