Category Archives: Renovation

Condo Renovations: Kitchen Wall Knockdown!

We’re still knee-deep in the condo renovations, but we are making significant progress. As I type this, the upstairs is about 80% complete and the downstairs remodel has begun!

Downstairs officially began when we suddenly decided to knock down a wall that divides the living/dining area and the kitchen. We were having difficulty deciding on a color for the wall that “connects” upstairs and downstairs by the stairs. It was hard to decide because downstairs hardly gets any light due to the lack of windows and a wall blocks all the light coming in from the kitchen’s large glass doors. The plan all along was to knock down that wall but we weren’t going to do it until upstairs was finished and we were moving onto downstairs. Last weekend we suddenly decided to forgo that plan and just tear it down! And so we did! The result is a major wow! So much light comes in now and its wonderful. It makes such a difference, the place looks a lot more open.

Here is the Before:

You can see the light peeking through that doorway, just waiting to come in!

Where is Shawn?

Tear down!

Here is the After:

Let there be light!

Oh, and yes now we know what color to paint that wall! – Eastern Amber.


A Bright Idea

If you have been doing photography for quite some time, chances are you own some film cameras, but now since digital is the way to go, those film cameras are probably spending more time in the closet or on the shelf than actually in your hands, shooting. But you probably don’t want to part with them. Maybe they have sentimental value for you, or maybe you plan on shooting a roll of film one of these days, or maybe you’re trying to find some other use for them.  Photographer Jason Hull has a nifty idea: he takes old cameras and transforms them into night-lights.

On his Flickr set, he states: “I’m converting a few old cameras from the 50’s & 60’s into nightlights. I’m not modifying cameras if they are in pristine condition or if they’re rare, I’d rather they stay usable as cameras in those cases. The ones I’ve chosen are lightweight plastic, produced in huge numbers and easily found for sale at flea markets/ garage sales/ eBay.”

How awesomely appropriate are these for us camera geeks? I could see myself putting these in my future kid’s bedroom. Also makes me want to dust off some of my old cameras and see what kind of other useful household item I can turn it into. Which brings me to the best part of this post – yes, saving the best for last! – Jason Hull was kind enough to post a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this yourself. Check it out here: on Instructables.


Condo Renovations: Bathroom #1 & Bedroom #2

The month of May was a pretty busy one! We only had certain weekends where we were able to work on the condo, so it was a month of slow (but sure) progress.

Unfortunately we discovered some mold in the bathroom so to be better safe than sorry, we ripped out 3 1/2 of the 4 walls – including the shower walls. So basically we are starting the bathroom over from scratch!

Shawn ripping out the sheet rock and tile in the shower.

Ripping out the smaller pieces.

Shawn also installed new shower pipes – which meant he got to break out his soldering tool! He was pretty excited to use the Benzomatic.

Ah the power of fire! To the right is the finished result of the new piping.

We decided to use Dermaboard (i.e. cement board) instead of sheet rock in the shower (and most of the bathroom walls) because cement board is impervious to water and will hold the wall tile much better than sheet rock. Less damage will be done should there ever be a leak, plus it will withstand the humidity a lot better.  Later we will be tiling these walls.

This is what will be behind the tile.

Currently all the new cement board is up in the bathroom, this past weekend was spent tearing out the drop ceiling, and framing out the bathroom so that we can add dry wall to the ceiling instead of a new drop ceiling. Shawn says he is over engineering it but at least we know for sure that the ceiling won’t ever be caving in! 😉

View from the bathroom doorway.

View from bathroom window

In addition to the upstairs bathroom, we also worked on Bedroom #2. That room has popcorn ceiling – we’re not fans of popcorn style so that needed to go. However, popcorn knock down is very costly and even more messy! So we took an easier route: drilled in furring strips to the ceiling, attached sheet rock to the strips, and goodbye popcorn! No one but us would ever know that there is popcorn hiding behind there – well.. I guess you now know too huh? 😉  It wasn’t as easy as it sounds though! First we got the popcorn tested for asbestos, result was negative. So that gave us the okay to be able to drill into the popcorn and the concrete behind it. Next Shawn redid the electrical wires and made it so that we can install 2 ceiling lights and a fan.  Once the furring strips were in place, then came the hardest part: carrying the sheet rock up the stairs and holding it up, drilling it into the strips, and filling in the gaps with putty. All credit goes to my hot handy hubby on this one! I was only able to hold up smaller pieces of sheet rock during this project. (Note to self: start lifting weights more.)

Popcorn is almost gone!

Once that was completed, we could move onto the next – and more fun – phase: painting! While Shawn worked on the bathroom, I painted this room. We went with “Polar Bear” on the walls and “Full Moon” on the ceiling. Since this is also going to be an office, we went with  neutral colors. Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my craze for colors, I’ll be sure there is a pop of color somewhere in there! 🙂

“Polar Bear” under a “Full Moon.”

Needless to say it was a tiring weekend.  But we are getting there!

(Note: you can see a larger view of the images by clicking on them)

Condo Renovations: Painting day!

Last weekend Shawn and I painted the master bedroom, we managed to get it done in one day, woohoo! Whoever invented roller paint extensions is a genius (and for the record, whoever invented wallpaper, is NOT! paper is for drawing, writing, and wrapping presents, not gluing to walls…) The bedroom walls are in two colors:  Rain Washed and Harbor (both by Behr).  The closet doors will be painted in Harbor, which is the darker color. Painting those walls with a vaulted ceilings was quite a (very welcome!) workout – i upped the challenge by doing leg lifts while painting, haha. Hey, it’s been a busy month and I am behind on my exercise so I figure its a good way to make up for it!

Condo Renovations: Part 2

Thought it was time for a condo renovation update! We have made some progress in the past couple of weeks, not as much as we would have liked to,  but right now with our work schedule, we are limited to just the weekends’ free time to be able to work on it. (and that is, if we even have a free weekend!)  but regardless, we have made progress. 🙂 All recent works have been done to the master bedroom. Shawn installed a new outlet, hardwired some electricity so that the fan can be turned on by a switch rather than plugging it into the wall – that project was a bit of a challenge since the bedroom has vaulted ceilings. He had to drop a wire down the wall and out the wall switch; it was harder than we thought because we discovered that behind the wall was a sheet of concrete that blocked the path where we wanted to run the wire.  My smart cookie hubby figured out a way to get past it, which involved cutting a hole in the bathroom wall! (which is next to the bedroom) By doing this, he was able to access the concrete wall and cut a little hole for the wire to go through. The electricity is now completed and all we have to do now is buy a fan.  The other project was the closet, there was some water damage on the sheet-rock in there, so we tore it all down and replaced it with cedar.  Plus installed recessed lights, as well as rewired some of the electricity in there, and added an outlet. That’s is almost complete!  This weekend the plan is to finish the closet, buy a fan, begin tiling the closet, and possibly paint the walls.

Condo Renovations: The Beginning!

Shawn and I bought a condo/townhouse and have just begun the whole renovation process and bringing this place from the 1970s to the 2000s! First project is tackling both bedrooms. So far we have ripped out the carpets (in master bedroom and 2nd room’s closet) and tore out all the baseboards, and have sealed up some holes from nails in the walls. Last weekend Shawn replaced the 2nd room’s closet’s floor with tile. Above are some before & after photos.


Repurposing wine bottles

definitely want to do this for my next party decor.