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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Friends - Hard work continues

This challenge is much different from my last one.  I was doing all the work on my last challenge.  Since my friends live about 40 minutes away and I still have my non-designer day job, this challenge is one that I can only advise and offer help on sporadic weekends. 

My previous post left my friends with the remaining insulation installation.  They finished the same night I left with 1/2 of a panel left to spare.  Great job on their part for estimating this extra but necessary step to finishing off this laundry/entry room.

I joined them again at a later date to start drywall installation.  We started with the ceiling which has the most angles and was the most difficult due to the weight of the material.  With such a small room and 2 out of the three of us over 6 feet tall, we did not consider building a drywall support. 

This might have eliminated some sweat!

After about 6 hours of work, we had only about 6 panels up on the ceiling.  We were quite aware that the walls and ceiling were not square.  We also had enough drywall to make a mistake or two on our first attempts.  Early on we all appreciated the fact that this is a job that should be done by professionals.  When two people take measurements twice and both of those people take part in cutting the material, you would think you will have a near perfect shape to install.  NOPE! 

Let me remind you of how the ceiling looked before...

If only we thought to save the paneling that was removed to use as a template!

Several swear words and hours later...

This is the corner where the washer and dryer will live.
Chris and Lu finished the remainder of the drywall installation and a coat of joint compound over their week of vacation that followed.  There were quite a few large gaps to fill, so additional joint compound was needed.  One lesson my friends reported learning: don't use plastic corner beading where paper corner tape could be used.  It worked fine on outer corners, not inner.  This proved very difficult to cover with the joint compound.  Had I been there, I might have suggested something like this for inner corners:

Nevertheless, they got the job done including putting up a plywood backing for a future shelving install.  We won't have to search for a stud to secure the shelf with this plywood in place.

Wood panel in preparation for shelving to come

First layer of 'mud'


While Chris and I hung the drywall on the ceiling (and hours after) Lu worked on removing the old tiles off the floor.  She started this only after the tile material tested negative for asbestos.   I didn't get a chance to find out which kit they used, but this one is from Home Depot:

Additionally, they needed to repair the cement slab that cracked in the corner.

In two weeks I hope to get back to helping Lu and Chris, either painting or building storage.  I know they want to get their laundry room back in working order as soon as possible.   In the meantime, see my home office challenge update below.

An update on my home office

Would you believe I found an area carpet and I'm still on budget?  When I completed my home office (see final post for The Challenge), I had only $28 left.  I went shopping at Menards for a light for my friends' laundry room and found a very shaggy 5 x 7 area rug with all the appropriate colors for my office.  It was under $25.  I snatched it up with no guilt.  It adds a bit of luxury underfoot.

Have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend, and as usual, let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A friend in need - indeed!

Intro to a New Challenge

Now that I've completed my 3 room, 9 month, $3000.00 challenge successfully, I'm ready to move on to another.  My best friend for many, many years has provided a doozy!  She and her husband (Lu and Chris) have a beautiful old small farmhouse/Victorian style home.  The back entrance serves as their laundry room and also houses a small freezer, 2 cat boxes, recyclables, and various day to day household items.

This space is dark and small.  It is an added on porch with a slanted roof, 5 windows and doors leading to the exterior, the kitchen, and the basement.  The walls and ceiling have dark brown paneling.  The windows have trim painted dark forest green.  The trim work around the doors has never been completed.  The floor is a cement slab that has seen better days - we think!  There is a history of bees and squirrels roaming around in the ceiling, hence the expanding insulation oozing through the seams of the panels.

My friends deserve much better.  They are hard working, caring individuals.  They lead very busy lives working and caring for their family and friends.  I've done many and various projects with Lu.  We feed off each others' creativity and have a blast working together.  For this project, they will be doing much of the labor without me.  The budget is around $750.00.  Take a look at the space as it is today, then we'll discuss goals.

West facing windows

Window to kitchen and door to the right goes to the basement

Ceiling angles will be a challenge

Exterior door straight ahead and kitchen door to the right

Hanging clothes area needed for drying

Water, electrical outlets, and dryer exhaust present their own challenges


A couple of main goals are clear - light up the area and provide storage.  Additionally, I have proposed ideas for improved functionality, such as, a place to sit to take off wet shoes and boots, coat hangers, an electronic station to charge phones, and shelving to house recyclables and other household items.  I provided a Pinterest board to serve as a tool for communicating what I understood my friends wanted, what suggestions I had, and as a vehicle for them to let me know what was right or wrong or needed tweaking.

Getting started

We started with a space plan to ensure we incorporated as much functionality as possible without overcrowding the room.   Or should I say we created a space plan to eliminate the overcrowding already in the room.  The room is just under 100 square feet and "L" shaped.

Chris did not think he needed anything in the room.  It was to be all about what Lu wanted.  (Happy wife, happy life - we love that!)  As we analyzed how the room is actually used, we found that marital bliss can be enhanced when there are places to store those every day items and even those transitional items that need a temporary home while in use.  Here are some of the pieces we plan to build for the room and their functions:

  1. Two low cabinets with doors that will house the litter boxes and also serve as benches.   The doors will have holes large enough for the cats to enter to do their business.  (IKEA will help here.  See picture below.)
  2. One cabinet to house 2 kitchen trash can size bins for rags and dirty work clothing.
  3. A set of shelves over the bin cabinet.  The top of the cabinet may serve as an electronic charging station.
  4. A set of shelves behind the washer and dryer. 
  5. A set of shelves at the entrance to hold recyclables and more.

'Ikea Hackers'

The Real work begins

Lu and Chris started the demo by removing the paneling.   They found the insulation was not in the best of shape.  This is the best time to bring in new insulation.  I joined them for this effort.  It took a while to get our groove.  Lu and Chris - both 6 feet tall or more worked on the ceiling while I put in some of the wall insulation and beefed up the wood in the area between the 2 x 4's along the floor in anticipation of anchoring drywall and base board.

Next up will be installing drywall.  The only drywall experience I have is the patching I did with the challenge that started this blog.  I don't think any of us have done an entire room.

Have you remodeled a laundry room?  I'd love to hear about your challenge.  Please comment.  If you have trouble commenting on this blog, let me know via Facebook.

and friends!