April 14, 2019

DIY Kitchen Makeover, Part 1: Walls and Ceiling

DIY Kitchen Makeover, Part 1

I started this as one singe post, but it was WAY too long and has a trillion pictures, so I am dividing it up into four posts. I know a lot of the details will be boring to people who aren't interested in DIY projects, but I worked so hard on this for so long that I wanted to write down everything I did. Mainly as a journal for myself to look back on!

I had so much fun doing this home makeover. Truly. I worked nine-hour days for a long time at the beginning. My favorite part of the day was in the evenings, when Jerry was working nights, and I would listen to podcasts while painting or whatever I was working on at the time. Now that it's over, I kind of miss it!

Anyway, I wasn't sure how to organize these posts. I think I'll just do it in chronological order. I'll start with the beginning--write about the projects I did with progress photos, and then I'll do the "big reveal" in the fourth post. So, if you're not interested in the details, just skip to post four.

(I feel like I've hyped this up so much, it will be disappointing... I have been working on these posts for weeks! I have hundreds of pictures and I've been trying to narrow them down, as well as organize the posts. When all is said and done, though, I love love love the new look!)

When I started this project, I had no idea it would turn into an entire makeover.

After paying off our debt last year, we have some extra money to play with, and I've been wanting to do home improvements for years. I thought it would be fun to pick a project here and there and work on them over time. I made a list of the things we planned to do in the future (as far as home improvement).

Do you remember that book called, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"? This makeover was kind of like that.

There was a section of floor in the kitchen next to the pantry that had some water damage, and I knew it needed replacing. I figured that since we were going to replace that, we might as well replace the floor in the whole kitchen. And if we were going to do the floor, we might as well paint the walls. Since we were doing the walls, we might as well do the ceiling. And so on.

Removing Walls

As I was looking around the kitchen, I was struck with the idea to remove a ridiculous wall between the kitchen and and living room.

unnecessary wall

I say it was ridiculous because it was very small (maybe two feet wide?) and was simply there to hold up the cupboards over the snack bar. We removed that wall (and the cupboards) and it already looked so much more spacious.

After that, I noticed another wall that was unnecessary, so we took that down, too.

unnecessary wall

after removing wall

Here is my post about when we removed the walls. The beginning of the next seven months' work!

removing wall

The Ceiling

I've always hated our ceiling. It had a texture called "Stomped" (similar to a popcorn ceiling, just a different design). Since it would cost next to nothing and make an enormous change in the look of the house, I decided to look into removing it.

I felt confident after watching a couple of YouTube videos and testing a small spot in my laundry room that we could remove the textured ceiling. It just required a spray bottle of water and a drywall knife, but it made the biggest mess I'd ever seen. Here is my first post about it: Removing Our Textured Ceiling.

removing ceiling texture

I also wrote a whole post about how to do it: How to Remove a Textured Ceiling

Since I've written about the ceiling in those posts, I'll move on...

The Walls

I thought this would be the easy part. I had no intentions of removing the crown molding--I planned to just paint it, like I had in my bathroom and bedroom. As I was doing the ceiling, however, I was thinking about how much I was going to hate the tedious painting of the molding.

The molding was cheap and coming loose in spots, so it was going to need some work regardless. I decided that I would remove it, see what I could do with it, and--worst case scenario--I would have to replace it. It wouldn't be a huge deal.

crown molding

After removing the crown molding, I was kind of horrified to see the gap between the wall and the ceiling. In some places, it was an inch to an inch and a half!

after removing crown molding

I really didn't want to put up more crown molding, so I started researching what I would need to do to close that gap. By "research", I mean I called my brother, Brian, who knows all this stuff, haha. He explained it, and then I checked out YouTube (an invaluable resource for this whole entire project!).

Brian showed me what I would need to buy (drywall compound and tape--the "tape" is really just a roll of thick paper with a crease along the length. It doesn't have adhesive on it. I borrowed Brian's drywall knives and mud pan (along with half of his garage full of tools, which I'll write about later).

Since I was going to be using the drywall compound on the wall-to-ceiling seams, I decided that I would also remove the strips in the kitchen that cover the wall seams. I'm not sure what they are called, but in manufactured homes (a.k.a. trailers) the bathrooms and kitchen have long strips that cover the seams between each sheet of drywall. (Most manufactured homes have them throughout the entire home, but when I chose ours, I paid extra for them to mud the seams. They said they could do it everywhere but in the kitchen and bathroom, not sure why.) Thankfully, there isn't a big gap between those seams, and they are an easy fix.

While I was doing that, I removed the laminate backsplash from the wall. I knew we'd want to do a different backsplash, so removing it in order to paint the walls was necessary.

removing backsplash

It was the wall-to-ceiling transition seams that I was worried about. I felt confident after watching the videos, so I just dove right in and hoped for the best. Surprisingly, it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be! I just put some drywall compound along the wall and the ceiling (where they are supposed to meet) and then pressed the tape against it, making sure the seam was nice and straight. Then I added more compound on top of the tape. Finally, I took a drywall knife and ran it from one side to the other, pressing the edge against the wall (or ceiling) to smooth out the compound (and remove excess).

after seaming wall-ceiling joints

I worked in about four-feet-long sections at a time, moving the ladder along; and eventually, I had the entire kitchen and dining room done. (It was at this time that I decided we might as well do the living room, too, because they are all connected. So, I removed the crown molding and ceiling texture in there.)

We were left with drywall compound all along the edges of the ceiling in all three rooms (plus the hallway) and covering the seams in the kitchen walls. Against the dark paint, it looked pretty bad! I couldn't wait to paint it! I knew it would look much better after a coat of paint.

after seaming joints

I spent a good amount of time sanding all of the seams so the drywall was nice and smooth. I can't even tell you how much drywall dust there was in my house! When I would shower at the end of each day, I couldn't believe the drywall dust in my hair. I discovered that it would make the perfect dry shampoo, however--it absorbs any sort of moisture you can imagine. My skin was SO dry.

so much drywall dust

I was also left with a couple of battle wounds. Like this small bruise on my shin:

biggest bruise ever

Painting the Walls

I chose a color scheme that was totally unlike me, especially the blue, but I decided to be brave and go for it.

paint color scheme

After we cleared out all the dust and thoroughly cleaned the walls, I decided it was time to paint the walls, even knowing I would probably have to touch them up at some point after painting the cabinets and trim. I sanded the walls so they were smooth and wiped them clean of dust. Then I added a coat of Kilz Latex primer. Finally, I added two coats of Sherwin Williams "Cashmere" latex paint in the color "Argos" (a light gray).

I painted the dining room and hallway with the same light gray, and then I painted the living room with dark gray--Sherwin Williams Cashmere in "Cityscape" color. (You can see the living room photos in this post)

Continued in Part 2...

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