September 14, 2018

DIY Textured Ceiling Removal Update and Jerry's Birthday Surprise

Today is Jerry's birthday! He's 38. I simply cannot believe it. When did we get this old?! We feel so much younger than we did in our early 20's.

We celebrated his birthday on Wednesday, because he was off work and we didn't have anything else going on. By "celebrate", I don't mean anything fancy. We just had really good sandwiches from Erie Bread Co., something we haven't gotten in a long time. I had the 13-8-on-9 sandwich (I have no idea how it got that name). It was as amazing as I remember.

13-8-on-9 from Erie Bread Co.

After that, we gave him a couple of birthday gifts--"the kids" gave him an external hard drive for his computer (something he's been wanting) and I gave him a pair of boxer briefs (whenever I see fun boxer briefs I buy a pair and give them to him as a little surprise gift here and there--kind of like giving a girl flowers, haha).

THEN, I did something that I've been dreading for our entire relationship--I watched Star Wars for the first time ever. And... I dressed up like Princess Leia when I told him what we'd be doing! Soooo cheesy, but I knew he'd be thrilled to watch the movie with me, and the fact that I dressed like Princess Leia (complete with the wig and white boots) made his day. I would post a picture, but I was not feeling particularly good about myself in that costume. I felt like every single pound I've gained recently was visible.

Anyway, I hated the movie. I really wanted to like it! But it's totally not my kind of movie. Jerry was very happy that I finally watched it, though.

Now, about our DIY popcorn ceiling removal...

It wasn't actually popcorn ceiling, but a texture that is called "stomped". It looked like this:

stomped ceiling texture

We have been working on removing it for what feels like months! But it's only been a couple of weeks. At the same time, we decided to paint the kitchen because the kitchen needs new flooring (nightmare!) and now this whole thing has turned into a DIY kitchen renovation.

First, we sprayed sections of the ceiling with water, and then used a putty knife (I always call it a scraper, so I just looked it up, and it's actually called a putty knife) to slide along the ceiling. The texture fell right off! But it was a HUGE (and I mean HUGE) mess.

After we scraped it (accidentally making little nicks here and there that we'd have to fill later) we went through and scraped it all again to make sure we got it down to the drywall. We wanted it to be as even as possible, obviously.

After that, we patched up the little nicks. And then the real work... I went through and re-mudded each drywall joint with joint compound to level it all out. If you've never done that, it takes some serious skill. And I'm not saying that I have the skill! It's honestly like an art. I have so much respect for people who can do it well.

I got better at it after each joint that I did. The first ones were thick and a little sloppy... but by the last ones, I barely had to use any compound so they would need very little sanding. I designated Jerry as the sander, initially, because that seemed like the worst job of all ;)

sanding the ceiling

After I did the joints (twice, because the ones where we took down the walls in the kitchen were very uneven, and they needed 2-3 coats), it was time to sand. And that's what I've been doing for the last three days--mudding and sanding. I really want it to look good when I'm done (because I've been doing 90% of the work; if it turns out horrible, it'll be my fault).

I felt like Darth Vader in this mask. It was so hard to breathe!

sanding the ceilings

I feel like my arms should be as toned as Jillian Michaels'.

They're not.

Today, I pulled the backsplash off of the kitchen walls. (It's ugly--it was just a block of laminate countertop that is pretty standard in manufactured homes.)

formica backsplash

laminate backsplash removal

It literally took me about four hours to do this little job! It was glued to the countertop AND stapled from underneath. The glue was ridiculously strong. And now I have to figure out how to get rid of the staples--we're going to install a new backsplash after we paint everything.

formica countertop staples

By "everything", I mean: the ceiling in the kitchen, living room, and dining room; the trim in all those rooms; the walls in each room; the kitchen cupboards; and the dining table. Crazy, right?! We also need to install new flooring in the kitchen (we have some water damage from the furnace that we recently replaced). Since we're doing the flooring in the kitchen, we're going to do the living room and dining room as well (they are all connected--it's very open--so it would be odd to do just one room).

Did I mention this is a huge project?

This afternoon, I bought the primer for the ceiling and walls. I'm hoping we can get the sanding done and get ALL of the dust cleaned out by Monday so we can prime. I haven't decided on the colors we're going to use for everything, but I really like green and yellow for the kitchen. I was picturing lemons and limes, and today I came across these tiles on Pinterest, and these colors are exactly what I had in mind! I just don't know what color to put where. I'm terrible at these decisions. I have no sense of style.

yellow and green tiles

Anyway, that's where we're at now! I learned that drywall dust makes the BEST dry shampoo. And that bruises can form bruises on top of bruises (my shins are bruised from pressing against the rungs on the ladder when sanding). Also, this ceiling project is a really good workout!


  1. So impressed! I know how hard that work is, have done some in the past and really no desire to do it again...ever! Keep sharing progress photos! I can't wait to see it when it's done!

  2. Happy birthday to Jerry!! And, awesome work on your home! I did my first mudding and taping job when we finished our daughter's basement room this spring, and you're right - it is a lot of work, but so rewarding when it's done :)

  3. Happy Birthday to Jerry. And look at you watching Star wars and comparing to Darth Vader. LOL.
    Best of luck with the projects. It stinks while you are doing it but it is so worth in in the end. Especially when you do it yourself. Much more rewarding.
    Curious though..why did you hand sand. Was there no power sander option on a stick or anything?

  4. Omg wow!! That’s a lot of work, I am pretty sure my arms would fall off. We just bought our first house. Yay! And the kitchen cabinets are a mess. This reminds me to take before and after pictures of everything. Thank you!

  5. Do you ever read ? It's my favorite DIY house blog. They have so many great posts about how to pick colors (and their DIY wedding was lemon/lime themed!). Check it out if you haven't before :)

    1. Thanks! I am definitely going to check it out!

  6. that looks like soo much work!

  7. Hi Katie, Im a long time reader, first time commenter, this post just hit home and I thought maybe I could offer some advice! I am an interior designer/architect and I cant help but butt in and offer some advice on your material selections. I hope I am not overstepping but in my professional opinion that backslash may not be the best idea in the long run, the colors are way too bright and loud, I think sticking to something more neutral would be a much better direction. Perhaps a gray or beige layered glass tile, or a simple subway tile with black grout? would be much more modern and would create a more neural feel that will be ideal for re-sale and you wont get sick of the crazy bright colors! Anyway, please feel free to ignore me, just thought I would offer an outside opinion! I love your blog and ive been reading for many years now, thank you for your amazing dedication to writing!

    1. Not overstepping at all! I welcome your opinion :) I should have clarified, though, that I wasn't intending to use the tiles as a backsplash (they are actually pool tiles!). I just liked those colors, and they happened to be tiles!

  8. that looks like a lot of hard work!

    have you looked at tile stores for backsplash option? you might be able to find some fun glass tiles that would work in your lime green color scheme... which might lead you to paint in a way that works with the backsplash.

    i got a pretty bold backsplash and absolutely love it.

  9. Happy Birthday to Jerry! I am very, very impressed! I have the same ceilings in my house and I would love to do what you are doing, but I remember what it was like when my Mom and Dad did their ceilings. Major, major work. You go girl!! It's going to be awesome.

  10. Happy birthday, Jerry!! You are definitely young at heart, lol!

    I am hurting just reading about all that work--but I know it will be fantastic when it's finally done!

  11. Isn’t it funny when you look at how this started..,on a complete whim of taking down a couple cabinets ��
    I live yellow for wall paint, but it’s very hard to get the right shade. Not too bright or too mustard. Isn’t your bedroom yellow? My favorite color is blue so I pretty much have every room painted a different shade of blue. I would tend to paint the table and cabinets white (it will be so nice and fresh) and paint the chairs lime green. Then I’d find some lemon and lime place mats to tie it together. I tend to agree that backsplash is pretty bold. I think you’ll love it or hate it. I try to keep everything pretty neutral and add color with accessories (rug, dishes, knobs, art). Have fun with it!

    1. I've always loved yellow wall paint, but I'm really thinking of getting away from it. My dining room has been yellow for 15 years, and my bedroom is yellow. I have some other ideas in mind (damn Pinterest! It makes it overwhelming, haha). But as the for backsplash--those tiles are actually pool tiles! I wasn't planning to use them for a backsplash. I just liked those colors, and they happened to be tiles that looked like a backsplash, haha.

    2. Ahhh, gotcha ;-) Damn Pinterest is right! I work in the building material industry (lumberyard) and people like you walking in...I saw this on Pinterest, can I get this? "That is a sticker you buy on Etsy ma'am." After I made my comment I realized the dining room was yellow. I can't wait to see the finished product! I'm sure you can't either, haha!

  12. This is the "If you Give a Moose a Muffin" style of remodeling. I'm also famous for it... The carpet needs replacing so we might as well paint; and if we're going to paint we might as well replace the broken trim; and if we replace the broken trim we might as well replace all the trim and get what we like; and ..... and you wonder how it all happened.... Enjoy!!

  13. 38 best wishes on your Jerry's birthday

    maybe Princess Leia gold bikini next year

    after a few cocktails


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