Elizabeth’s room was not in horrible shape when we moved in but laid out awkwardly and smelled very musty. The house had been empty for more than a year and and not updated in 50 years.
Obstructive Closet has to go!
The awkward part of the room was the giant wall closet that “welcomed you” as you first entered the room. It was in the way and a misuse of space as it stuck out into the bedroom. The actual closet was terrible too as it had two openings and only 1 set of sliding doors ever installed. Plus, there were no bars to hang clothes. The closet was dark and not easy to use. We installed bars temporarily to hold Elizabeth’s clothes until the remodel was complete. In the picture below, you can see how the closet obstructs the doorway in. Also, see the cut out to her new closet that was started when we were working on Elijah’s bedroom.
The bedroom smelled horrible
For the first few weeks living here, I opened Elizabeth’s windows daily to air out her room – in the middle of winter! Nothing helped. I felt bad letting her sleep in this room, not because it was harmful but because it just smelled bad. I knew the wallpaper had to go! The wallpaper was original so we didn’t have layers and layers to take down.
My wonderful mother-in-law came over to help and took most of the wallpaper down as I was still finishing up in Elijah’s room at that point. I was happy when I came to help her and saw she had 1/2 of it down already in just 2 hours! Removing the wallpaper was not difficult. The tools we used was a putty scrapper and spray bottle.
We sprayed each section of wallpaper to moisten it for easier removal. Then, we scrapped the paper off with the putty scrapper and by gently pulling it off strips at a time. It took about 3 hours to remove all of the wallpaper. Next, we washed the walls down with a Mr. Clean multi-purpose cleaner. It smelled awful, like wet paper and glue. I was hopeful that the cleaner would remove the smell. Next, we used white primer paint and painted the entire room, including the ceiling!
Elizabeth wanted to help and had a great time tearing the paper down!
Leave Wall Removal to the Professionals
I’d like to say we can do everything ourselves but there are some things better (and safer) left to the professionals. Luckily, my father-in-law is a contractor who owns his own home remodeling business, Good Life Remodeling, and offered to help. You never know what you are going to come in contact with so it is important to be sure you don’t have weight bearing walls, electrical wiring, etc in a wall before removing. I knew my father-in-law could do it. With the right tools, including a sledge hammer, he and my husband busted the walls down. The old closet walls were textured heavily, this would be difficult to plaster and sand down to create a smooth wall again. They tore out the old closet walls and installed new drywall.
Finishing the drywall requires patience
Once all of the drywall was hung, the seams had to be tapped and joint compound had to be applied. One seam in particular was hard to finish because there was about a 1/2 inch difference between where the old drywall was and the new drywall was installed. This is just one problem you face when remodeling a home and keeping some old and adding new materials verses putting up all new materials. My father-in-law got everything off to a great start with the tapping and the first set of joint compound applied.
Every day, I’d go into Elizabeth’s room and add another thick layer of joint compound to the uneven walls. I used a LOT of joint compound! It took about a day for each application to dry. I did this for 10 days. It takes a lot of patience when remodeling a room that requires daily work to complete. Some projects cannot be completed in just one weekend. After that, I used a technique called feathering. This basically requires using small amounts of joint compound over larger portions of the drywall that had seams. It spreads out the area to almost nothing on the ends as it blends into the drywall. In the end, it cuts down sanding time significantly.
Sanding drywall is about the worst part of home remodeling for me!
Sanding the dried joint compound is a necessity. You can’t get around it. I have found that I enjoy using fine sanding blocks to sand the joint compound. It takes a little longer as the sand paper is so fine, but it creates a smooth finish. The part I hate about sanding drywall is all of the dust! By the end of sanding a room, I’m always covered in dust, including my hair, face, arms, and clothes. I always open the windows and put a fan facing outside to clear some of the dust while I’m working. I wear a mask to help from breathing in all of the dust as well.
As much as I complain about sanding, I don’t let my husband do it. I am a perfectionist and will not be satisfied unless I do this job in each room. Plastering with the joint compound and sanding is actually something that I can do with the house remodel besides painting, so I want to do this! My husband is so lucky!
Elizabeth’s Room is ALMOST done
We painted the entire room with white primer paint including the ceiling. Her room is not complete as we need to: paint her room in Barbie colors (her choice), replace the nasty orange carpet, put new trim up around the window and door frames, add a new closet door, add a new bedroom door, add a new girly ceiling fan, and add new curtains.
After 2 weeks of camping out in our room, Elizabeth was more than ready to get back into her bedroom! Her room does not smell! This is a huge relief. The rest of the project can be completed bit by bit. By taking out the extra closet that stuck out into her room, we made her room a lot larger, adding 5 additional feet to her room. Her room is 15′ x 16′, which is the same as Elijah’s. I wanted to be sure the kid rooms were equal as I didn’t want them to feel upset over this when they get older.
Better Closet designs are great for organizing
The new closet, which use to be part of Elijah’s room is better designed. It has 2 walls of hanging space plus a rod at a lower level so that she can pick out her own clothes. The lower rod also allows her to reach her dress up items like her princess dresses and other costumes. She likes her independence. Each rod has a shelf on top for storage. I put baskets on top to store blankets and clothes that she is yet to grow into. By having a well designed closet, it makes for great organizing. I still plan to add rods for hanging her jackets and robe on the empty wall.
I’ll keep you updated on the progress. 🙂 Tell me what you think so far.