Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Dining Room Transformation

I have no idea how many times Blake has had to endure the question, "So, can I paint today?" Bless him, if I were anyone else he would have pulled all of his hair out. This is how little I understand of actual house renovation, because in my mind if the room is empty, it's paint ready. So, as Blake slaved away doing all kinds of projects that I have zero knowledge of or ability to do (ex.: completely gutting a kitchen, and a bathroom, and figuring out wiring and plumbing issues), I begged him to give me something that would actually let us see more transformation. It was like, after watching how quickly and beautifully the living room changed, I was sure I could single-handedly do at least one room. At least.

Blake, immovably focused and driven as he is, slowly wore away under the steady current of my blind optimism and finally relented. "Okay, fine," he said, "you can start working on the dining room. But, I have two conditions: you have to do it right, or else we will end up having to redo it; and you can't expect me to stop and help you very much because I have lots of other work to do that is way higher up on the priority list."

I was elated and totally over-confident. "The dining room? Awesome. I can do that in like, a few days."

Totally ignoring my ignorance, Blake instructed me very clearly: "You will have to take off the chair rails, scrape off the wallpaper and any of the glue that you can, then clean the baseboards and tape off the windows and all of the trim. The moldy spot will definitely need kilz, plus any of the places that need to be patched. After that, we can paint. But, we can't paint until I get more stuff hauled out, because I don't want any of the paint job to get ruined because of the traffic through this room."

Hearing some of those things, I gleefully set off to conquer this room. I didn't hear that whole, "remove the chair rails" part and ripped off all of the wallpaper by hand then returned to Blake triumphantly proclaiming that my work was done and I could start kilzing now. He came in to inspect and said, "No, you have to scrape it. Which you can't do with the chair rails still on the wall." Slightly perturbed that he hadn't marveled at my work, I set out to remove the chair rails. I came back in a few minutes and said "I know you said you couldn't help me, but..." and Blake removed the chair rails (which I kept calling "middle boards," which he endured for a couple of days before he finally said "THEYARECALLEDCHAIRRAILS").

Here is how the mental progression of scraping wallpaper glue went for me:

This is totally easy.

Well, okay, some of this isn't super easy.

I know there is probably a logical explanation for why anyone would put wallpaper anywhere, but I will just sit here and hold a grudge against the person who knowingly chose to put up wallpaper when they knew someday it would dry and wrinkle and peel up and someone, as in me, would be stuck doing this.

For crying out loud, people have walked on the moon, there has to be a more productive way of removing wallpaper glue than with a scraper and a spray bottle.

I'm going to go ask Blake if there is an easier way to do this.

Blake says there's not. Well, well, we will see about that. I'm just going to spray ALL OF THE WATER ON THIS GLUE.

Ew, okay, now it feels like snot.

Okay, feeling like I've gotten a lot done, let's see...I have done one wall out of four. *internally screams*

I may be getting a little ahead of the story, but you have probably already figured out that I did not get this done in just a few days and I did ask Blake for a lot of help. Other than the floor, which we just finished this week, I think the dining room took about a week total, but, working one day a week at a time, the work spread out over a month and a half, along with other simultaneous projects going on that were way less fun than scraping wallpaper glue (it involved scraping teeny tiny tile, more on this nightmare later). 

However, with chair rails and crown molding cleaned and walls painted and floors beautified and a chandelier clean and spray painted, here is the fruit of our labor:

Everything we had to do to this room includes:
  • Removing the wallpaper and glue
  • Removing the crown molding and chair rails
  • Taking down and spray painting the chandelier
  • Removing, cleaning, and spray painting the grate against the wall and on the floor (to the right of the frame in the bottom photo, slightly obscured by our table)
  • Painting the ceiling and the bottom half of the walls that same perfect shade of white as the living room ceiling
  • Painting the top half of the walls my favorite warm hue of gray ever
  • Cleaning the old crusty paint off the crown molding and chair rails where someone painted much more carelessly than Blake Compton ever would using this stuff:
This stuff is awesome. Just look at how great it works:
Top is before refinishing, bottom is after refinishing. But....it does make you feel kinda like this:

Okay, so, just so you can see that transformation right by each other:


Guys, I am so proud of this dining room. I can't tell you how much I have dreamed of family dinners, friend gatherings, and coffee and breakfast with my little girl since we finally finished this room. Now we just need a kitchen to make that dream a reality. Also, I can't wait to decorate a little and make it even more dreamy. 

I hope this reveal has been a little more impressive for you all! Blake is at the house right now working on installing a water heater and other things, and we are hoping that water will be worked out soon so that we can move in and really get to work. In the midst of working yesterday, we did discover that the heating in the house works, and that the upstairs heat is completely electric and requires no gas to run it! This was a welcome and pleasant surprise for us! I have one more post planned for later this week or early next week of another completely finished room, undecorated, but still AMAZING. There are two more rooms in the house that are almost completely done, but--like the living room--need just a little more TLC that we want to wait until we have water working to complete (for example, the bathroom) and reveal. 

Thank you all so much for reading. This journey of flipping our house has felt fruitless at times as we were doing it, but now that I am getting to go back and reveal our hard work and hear all of your reactions, it is amazing to feel like you are all starting to feel as invested in this as we do. I am grateful for you, readers! 

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