Wall demo start to finish

Good morning readers! I’m really digging the “one post a week” thing right now…sorry to keep you on the edge of your seats for demo pics after last week’s post! it’s working out best to update on Tuesdays as they’re my day off from work. Get ready for a doozy though, because we flew by the seat of our pants for this demolition, and some exciting things happened along the way (feel free to interpret the phrase “exciting things” to mean horrifying, expensive, and total “whoopsies!” moments).

The main point to this renovation was to remove the walls between the north side of our living room and the south side of an unused bedroom, opening the rooms up into one large living space. After adding Chloe & Ozzie to our family this year, we were bursting at the seams! Our mini dachshunds didn’t to mind how cramped we were getting, but Chloe, our husky/golden mix, is a rocket! She is everywhere at once and has as much energy as the 5 doxies combined.

I laughingly told The Hubs that we would be the only people in our family to ever renovate a home especially for their pets. He agreed with me.

For a point of reference, here’s a “before” picture of the living room as it was before starting the demo. This room is small but nicely appointed, with a good-sized coat closet, woodburning fireplace, and pretty hardwood flooring. We’ve done the majority of our “living” in this mini space since moving into the house in September 2011.


This is a “before” picture of the being walls removed from the north-west bedroom in our house. You can see how it wasn’t as simple as removing ONE wall! There were closets to deal with in both affected rooms, and we also removed the part of our hallway that jogged to the left and opened into the bedroom.


Melanie photobombed my shoot – she was very concerned about what was happening to her room (yes, we called that particular unused back bedroom “Mellie’s room” lol). See how beautiful that hardwood floor is? It’s the original flooring to the house, built in 1970. I did some prep work for the demo by moving all of the furniture from the north-west bedroom into the north-east bedroom. (For more “before” pictures of this space, check out the now-outdated room tour here)


The next step of our demo was very important – I went to work. You heard that right! The Saturday of our demo project I actually had to work at the animal hospital from 8-12AM. I took Luke, Leia, Cruiser & Ozzie with me to work and kept them in an empty kennel down in our boarding facility so that The Hubs & his brother had fewer squirming puppies to work around. Turns out I was right to clear them out – the demolition wasn’t nearly as simple as we thought it would be! (DUN DUN DUNNNN) In fact, when I finally clocked out at 1PM and called for an update, I was told in no uncertain terms to NOT bring the puppies back home. One u-turn and 15 minutes later, I dropped them off at gramma’s for the afternoon. You may remember The Hubs’ brother from this post way back in 2012, when he fixed our kitchen sink plumbing. I love having handy family!

The Hubs was awesome enough to remember to take some pics along the way, I totally gave him a gold star for that:)

This picture was taken from the kitchen looking towards the living room – our walls are plywood paneling and luckily had no insulation in them. Door trim & doors were the first things to be pulled out. We decided we were fine losing the electrical outlets from along the center walls, we have plenty of them still on the outside walls. That made it easier for the guys- they just had to remove outlets and cap off the wires instead of rerouting them.

Now we’re looking from the back bedroom into the living room, through the back of the closet that is no longer there.


Here’s where things started to get hinky – notice those boards on the ceiling? They are what served as ceiling to the two closets that are now removed. When the guys went to remove those boards – and presumably reveal the ceiling drywall behind them – stuff started falling.


There was no drywall ceiling behind those boards. Let me say that again. THERE WAS NO DRYWALL CEILING. So this happened:


That would be a hole. A hole in my ceiling. The Hubs had the kindness to text me that picture while I was at work – I may have shrieked when I saw it. THERE WAS A HOLE IN MY CEILING. That wasn’t part of the plan, not at all. We have loose insulation in our attic and it went EVERYWHERE. It fell out of the hole. The hole in my ceiling.


This is the first picture that I took upon finally arriving home. The Hubs was out on a run to pick up some boards, drywall sheets, and a few tools that his brother had forgotten. The huge hole in the ceiling that you can see there? That wasn’t part of the plan. Have I said that before? Well, it’s still true! Also, I *should* have remembered to cover the furniture before leaving for work – it is filthy at this point. In my defense, I had no idea that loose insulation was going to fall out of a HOLE IN OUR CEILING.


In order to repair the hole in the ceiling, the opening was cut to fit a standard drywall sheet size.


Next, new 2×4’s were nailed up alongside the existing ceiling beam in order to strengthen it and bring it back to level. The new 2×4’s will also serve as something to nail the new drywall sheet up to. And guys, in case you didn’t notice, you can see into our attic. Through the HOLE IN OUR CEILING. Actually, think for a second about how awesome it would be to vault this room’s ceiling, add a few skylights, leave the rustic wood ceiling beams exposed….ahhhh, okay, now everything is better:) And now I have a plan for our NEXT renovation!


The Hubs did the 2×4 nailing on his side of the room.


The renovation also created a hole in our wall – this is where the living room’s old coat closet was. You can exactly see where the two walls used to be, how cool is that?


Dreaming of removing the drywall ceiling altogether and living with a lovely vaulted ceiling…


But back to reality. We’ve gotta get this hole closed up ASAP, because this insulation everywhere is a hazard for sure. The guys rerouted the light switches for the ceiling fixtures to this spot.


We used simple pine boards for a frame around our new doorway – light switches sink back into the doorframe.


Chloe doing her part to help the renovation…napping for a cause! LOL


The ceiling wasn’t the only thing that ended up looking weird – the floors from the combined rooms look downright funky! Apparently back when this house was built it was common practice to frame the outside of a building, lay flooring in the entire open space, and THEN put up interior walls. When we removed the interior walls, they had the original hardwood flooring under them. Some sanding, staining, and glossing, and those funky lines should blend right in! Also, we learned that the newer hardwood flooring in the living room & the ugly tile work in the hallway was also installed directly over the original hardwood flooring. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS??? In theory, I could remove all of the tile (the same tile that is chipped & popping up due to being poorly installed) and have beautiful hardwoods underneath.


I kinda like the newer hardwood floor, so our plan right now is to tear up the little bit that used to be in the old coat closet and use those pieces to fill out the right side of the room so that we have a straight line of new hardwoods to old hardwoods. We can put in some kind of ramp between the two flooring types so that the transition is smooth. Also, the white bit in the picture is the concrete backerboard to the old tile that I’ve already ripped up. I need a square drill bit to be able to remove the backerboard and reveal the hardwood underneath, but I haven’t picked one up yet.


Our next step was to patch all the holes made by the demo. We reused a piece of paneling from a removed wall to patch this particular hole. Unfortunately, it needs a bit more insulation behind it before it can be nailed in, patched, and trimmed out. Until we pick up a roll of insulation the piece is just screwed in.


The drywall ceiling piece is up! No more hole in my ceiling!


The fit wasn’t PERFECT, but those jagged edges can be patched with drywall mud, and once everything is patched and painted you’ll hardly be able to notice a difference between it and the rest of the ceiling.


I absolutely LOVE how this new doorway worked out! It is so much more practical to have two openings into the hallway, especially for airflow during winter.


I’d love to replace the doorframe on our older doorway with this same knotty pine board, It’s such a fun, chunky, SIMPLE look! I’m still planning on caulking and painting it white to match the rest of the trim in our house.


Once the patching was finished, the final step was to clear out the debris. And by debris? I mean MOUNTAINS of crap. The Hubs’ brother had to take off so it was just the two of us, moving this pile of junk from the house to the trailer right outside our front yard gate. Have I mentioned yet that it was hot and humid? Insulation dust sticks to sweaty skin. Not to mention all of the mosquitoes that were just delighted to be invited into our house every time we opened the front door! There really was no good way to do this, so we just kept our noses to the grindstone and didn’t talk much until everything was out. That was definitely a low point!


Oh, I guess the final FINAL step was cleaning. After the piles of crap were moved out, I swept, vacuumed, and then mopped everything. Because we hadn’t known that the ceiling would fall in, we didn’t think to cover any of the furniture or the open shelves. Whoops! It was getting dark and I knew the puppies couldn’t come inside until every last bit of insulation dust was cleaned up. Notice I’m still in my work scrubs – I didn’t even bother changing after getting home, I just jumped right in to the project!


(Notice the new pretty stainless side by side fridge? That doesn’t mean I love my turquoise refrigerator any less – it just means that we needed more room! We’re butchering a whole hog this fall and there’s no way it would’ve fit in my pretty little retro fridge. We got a super amazing deal at Best Buy and their Labor Day event, hooray!)

There you have it! That’s how we went from picture #1 to the final picture in one day. Is the project finished? Heck no! But man do I love where we’ve gotten. This demolition project went about $100 over-budget due to having to purchase drywall sheets, 2×4’s, and a few extra tools, but I consider that money well spent! When I saw the picture of the ceiling falling in I KNEW it was going to be hard to fix that by the end of the day, but we did. Can we fix it?? YES WE CAN!!! …lol.

(For pictures showing how I’ve painted, arranged furniture, changed light fixtures and hung artwork since finishing the demolition, check out last week’s post with a room tour!)

Even better than having everything done in a day was hearing The Hubs say, “you know what? This was a really good idea!” 🙂




One thought on “Wall demo start to finish

  1. Pingback: A sunny day | Cozy Crooked Cottage

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