Sandra & Justin's Kitchen: A Family Affair

Renovation Diary

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Lucy mudding the wall.

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Name: Sandra & Justin
Type of Project: Kitchen remodel
Location: Arlington, Texas
Type of building: Single-family home, 2,450 square feet

The Renovation Diaries are a new collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

This week I was reminded how much of a family affair we have made this remodel into. It is true that we've gotten the bulk of the work done in the evenings when kids are in bed, but in this week we did a lot during their waking hours, and with them. While we can do a lot of things easier and faster without them, we want to kids to feel a part of the madness and learn how to work with us. 

But before we got the kids working this week we let a sheet rock crew come in and do their thing. They accomplished what would have taken us many painful evenings of learning in just a few hours. They made our wall cutout look clean and ready, the ceiling complete and the walls not so Swiss cheese-like. But because we are doing as much of this remodel as we can safely and sanely do ourselves we elected to do the mudding, sanding and texture on our own. It started well enough.

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Sanding down all the old texture on the walls.

In Texas, and much of the west, textured walls are standard. While I love the simple plastered, smooth wall look, the rest of our house is textured, and so we decided to keep the look uniform and do the kitchen to match. I began by sanding the walls to wear down some of the existing texture. Because of all the patching and new sheet rock, we knew we needed to do the whole room to make it even. From there we were ready to mud. 

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Justin mixing the joint compound, getting ready to mud the wall.

There is a bit of learning curve to get it right, but I kind of enjoyed it. For the record, the ready mix stuff is so, so much easier than the dry mix (in case anyone out there is thinking of giving mudding a go). We even let the kids mud a few places on the wall. Then we sanded, and mudded, and sanded until the walls looked ready for texture. 

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The cat was fascinated with the hopper for texturing the wall.  

Since the mudding went well, we thought texture would be totally doable. We borrowed a hopper and an air compressor from friends, and spent copious amounts of time studying technique. Yet, when we tried, it was much, much harder than it looked. It was hard to spray the texture really even and difficult to smooth it to look just right. After a little while we realized we weren't up to the task and set up an appointment for the pros to come do it next week. It will be $400 very well spent.

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Carter crowbarred like a pro, helping us pull out the old flooring in the dining area.

When we let that project go, we were ready to tackle another. When we found our bamboo flooring, we got such a great price that we decided to go ahead and replace all of the wood flooring on the first floor at the same time because we had been planning on doing it next year anyway. We knew we didn't want to install it ourselves (we wanted the warranty and guarantee that came with a professional install, and knew our slab was not level and knew it would be a tricky installation), but we were willing to cut the cost dramatically by moving all the furniture and removing all of the old flooring ourselves. 

We also hired a few friends' teenager kids to help with the flooring demolition, and incentivized our own kiddos. We had such good help that we cleared out all 700 square feet of the old oak flooring in a few hours and then sold it on craigslist a few days later. It was a productive week.

Estimated time for project: 10 weeks
Time remaining: 5 weeks

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for #10 of Sandra and Justin's Diary.

(Images and diary text: Sandra Jergensen)