Our Andover House Project // Upstairs Office, and now Nursery

I recently posted images of our Nursery on my Facebook page, and decided to back track and share our journey on redoing that specific room. 

This room holds an interesting spot in mine and Darin's memories. When we bought the house this was the room we moved our mattress into and slept in for a few LONG months (wish I could find a picture!). After it being a bedroom, we converted it into our kitchen whilst working on the kitchen, dining room, and living room:


A little cramped, but it worked - the crock pot saved our lives! 


Then after that it was time to finally break open plans for it's desired purpose: The Office. In planning mode I'd hoped that someday it would be a child's room, or some type of bedroom so I wanted the closet to be transformable from office stuff to bedroom stuff. So here we go, starting off Darin replaced the window and we began ripping the trim out: 

Onto prep work to spray knockdown on the ceiling and PATCHING! I swear this room had the most nicks and nail holes in the wall I'd ever seen. We must have patched over the walls 3 to 4 times. After that, the beautiful primer to cover up the hideous purple paint.

Paint planning came after, and we started on the shiplap wall. After doing some research we chose MDF board for the planks. They were thin and seemed easy enough to work with after I built a few cabinet doors in the kitchen with them. We finish nailed them up using nickels to space them out. Picked out my lights, primed and painted!

(FYI: the MDF did an alright job, but I wouldn't use it in the future for shiplap. It tore and dented in a few places while cutting, and after spending time puttying the seams to make the strips appear as one long strip...all of the putty cracked. A learning curve, and I know plywood would have worked much better, but I was SO tired of all the sanding. In the future I'd try 1/4" plywood as I know it'd look great like it does on our bedroom ceiling!) 

Then came door trim, window trim, hallway trim (while we were at it), wood puttying, and I DIY'd the closet doors with 1/4" plywood to make them look fancy. 

We started on the floor for the hallway and bedroom on Christmas Eve, 2016! Time off is a wonderful thing and we weren't about to waste it. After the floor came closet shelving planning, installing and whatnot - plywood and pine boards of course! 

Lastly came the floor trim. And yes, I primed and painted ALL of it in our living room without a drop cloth! ;) 


And, BAM. We had an office! 

It lasted quite a few months as our Office. Not this empty of course - I promise in future posts to photograph the rooms FULL of furniture in their prime haha. The desk in the photos stayed right where it is - it was the first piece of moveable furniture I built, and the first thing I ever built with drawers (fewf it was nerve-wracking!). 

When I found out we were pregnant in April, 2o17 I begged Darin to try and get the room in the basement finished so we could turn this room into Nursery. It was spring at that time, and we had a HUGE list of things to get done outside for the year. It was a BUSY summer, but we managed to cross off almost everything on our list plus the Basement Office in late November! 

So here's our little babe's room! 



And here I sit, 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant with this little guy. In all honesty, I am tired of waiting, but I also know that God's timing is perfect. After he arrives our lives will have changed forever, so we're trying our best to soak up the quiet nights & our alone time together.


As always, thanks for reading and keeping up with our journey. 

My next post will most likely be of our little guy, so stay tuned!! 




Our Andover House Project // Master Bedroom

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog, you can thank good ol' Minnesota winter for that. I have decided to take the winter months to focus all of my efforts on our house. Although photography is one of my big loves, our big blue construction zone trumps updating my blog and Facebook constantly. 

Since weeknights are mostly spent on working on our home, spending time together relaxing like normal people, family or friend gatherings, actually sitting down for a legit dinner... etc. I haven't had time to keep updated throughout our whole process. So this post will be much like my last. A long (hopefully not too long...) rambling of the process of the bedroom. And again, to keep this post from going on forever I will skim over our progress, skipping the in depth-ness.


Well, was. This WAS what it looked like:

TOTAL POTENTIAL! After we finished the long drawn out bathroom project, we were a tad drained (okay we were completely exhausted) but I was excited knowing that the bedroom would hopefully go much much faster. A room that doesn't require water is FAR easier in our opinion. 

We began by removing the: stinky carpet, trim, wall trim, closet door, the VERY uneven beams that weren't even on studs... whyyy!? we popped some square holes in the sheetrock to plan for future  windows, and removed everything except the sheetrock I guess. I scraped all of the popcorn off the ceiling to prep for the our old-school idea for paneling on the ceiling. 

We had looked around for different types of paneling to do for the ceiling; 4x8 wainscoting sheets, multiple types of tongue and groove, possibly 1x4's??? It was all a little more expensive than we want to spend on the ceiling. I mean, it's the ceiling. After much discussion and internet/Pinterest research we decided on purchasing 1/4 inch underlayment (cheap!), table sawing it into 5 inch strips and finish nailing it up. It's a Pinterest fad right now if you didn't realize. Knowing we were going to replace the beams (and actually CENTER them) we put up 3 rows of plywood so the breaks in plywood would be where the beams would lay. Here's our start: 

The paneling went up WAY faster than we thought it would, which was nice. The cutting and sanding was the longer portion of it. We spaced each piece with a nickels worth of thickness -- that's right, we used nickels in between each one! After we finished nailed them to the ceiling, I went back and wood puttied EVERY SINGLE NAIL. Not to mention, there was about 12-15 nails in EACH board. My neck was pretty sore the next day. When that was finished I went back and hand sanded everything and Darin put the first coat of paint up.

Then came the beams -- woo hoo! We decided that we wanted the ceiling to be all white, so there was no sense in spending a ton of money on expensive beams that we were going to lather with paint. So we made our own. Totally simple too: 2, 1x4's for the sides, and 1, 1x6 for the bottom. Basically hollow beams that don't look hollow after wood-putty, some sanding and paint. We secured the beams to the ceiling using chunks of 2x4's screwed into the ceiling studs. We spent a lot of time finish nailing the beams up as perfectly and seamlessly as possible bending the boards to sit flush with each other. If you look closely you can see where the 1x6 and 1x4 meet, and also the markings on the wall of how terribly off-center the old beams were placed.

Next step: wood putty, and paint! 

In the meantime I had a few side projects started: our rad closet design, the sliding barn door for the closet, and we even picked out a color for the walls of the bedroom. We love the industrial look that's going around right now, and we are both suckers for old home style things as well. So I designed an industrial sanded plywood closet complete with metal rods (conduit!), I found a tutorial on making a 4 panel barn door on Pinterest, all while Darin scraped, patched and painted the inside of the closet. I wanted to make sure we both had enough room for all of our things.

So this was the beginning of the closet transformation. Once the walls and ceiling were finished we put up a nifty track light we found at Menards. 

Then came all my plywood. Sensing a theme? Plywood is amazing. I did promise my lovely husband that I could do the entire thing on my own. But being TERRIBLE with a drill and screws, I needed help. I did attach most of the plywood together with the finish nailer, but trying to get a screw into plywood is my worst enemy.

Here is our extra professional method of cutting through conduit for the rods & extra pieces:

Below shows: my cubby (left), the closet door I trimmed out myself (!!!) and we painted the room!

In the midst of all that (don't forget we were both working at least 4 days per week on top of all of this) I began working on the sliding barn door for our closet. Here is the amazing tutorial I found. This woman just made the whole thing out of plywood! Again, a trend - YES! I love it. It's not perfect by any means and definitely has it's flaws up close. At one point I considered making another one (we didn't use the table saw for the entire thing so the cuts aren't 100% straight) but I decided to leave it as a proud accomplishment of something that I built on my own, and embrace it's imperfections. We did think about ordering a door to save time, but after finding out it would come to over $275.00 including shipping... yeah no.

While we patiently awaited for the barn door hardware to arrive in the mail, we began prepping for the windows, the fan light fixture and the floor. (( Shoutout to Darin who is a MASTER at patching )) 

Installing everything wasn't as easy as this looks ... but they sure turned out pretty! ps. everything looks so wobbly and crooked --  but it's totally not. My cell phone doesn't like making things look straight apparently.

The hardware arrived for the door so we hung it along with the entry door we found at Menards on Black Friday. We bought a brown industrial looking ceiling fan and I quickly realized it wouldn't match anything when I brought it in the room (especially the chrome hardware for the closet door). We liked the fan a LOT and didn't want to return it, but I didn't want to install it with it being the wrong color ... so I convinced Darin to let me spray paint it. He was NOT on board with the idea since the fan was pretty spendy ... but, I bought some metallic spray paint and it turned out totally awesome after a few coats. 


Then came the floor. A once touchy subject and a long process. 

Siiigh. Well, here's what happened. We prepped for the 1/4" plywood floor ( I'd say at least 8 hours of sanding, cutting, cleaning, prepping, etc. ) then we carefully laid the plywood strips (about 3-4 hours), then we did tremendous amounts of work on it covering nail holes with putty, sanding and whatnot ( like, over 13 hours worth ), then we applied the conditioner which you do before stain, then we finally put the first coat of stain down and then realized we'd made a huge mistake ... we put the putty in and sanded it on the wood before the conditioner and stain. We were supposed to wait to putty until AFTER the first coat of stain. So ... we had to rip it up and do it over. That's right, all of that hard work we did, we ripped it up, cut up the boards and they are sitting in our basement waiting to be burned in our fireplace. 

God was definitely teaching us a lesson in patience. After realizing what a huge mistake we'd made I asked Darin if we could just leave it in for a few days. I was so proud to have laid almost the entire floor on my own, and then to find out we had to rip up all of our hard work and do it again? It was a punch in the gut. 

A few days later, when reality sunk in and we needed to move on, we ripped it out and started over. I just kept saying, "at least we didn't do the entire upper floor and screw up, this was only one room". 

To give you an idea, the next image shows the ugly spots where the stain didn't take (left), and the billions of nail holes from the nails we had to pull up one by one (right). All in all it was a valuable and sucky lesson, but we are SO happy with how floor #2 turned out. 

So, here's Darin staining floor #2! 

Small tip: if you're staining in the dead of winter, BUY A MASK and crack your windows. The fumes got to us the first time and we were loopy for a few hours. For floor #2 we cracked the windows (it was luckily around 25 degrees), taped some cardboard over the intake vent, and put masks on. I let Darin finish the floor both times as the stain was bothering my eyes. One more benefit of wearing contacts I guess? 

After the plywood floor was stained, poly'd and dry, laying down looking up at the finished ceiling and walls was gratifying. We found ourselves trying to perch ourselves where the bed would be so we could imagine what it felt like to actually be sitting in bed. We knew we were getting really really close to being finished! 

Lastly came the trim. We were planning on doing a 1x4 with a corner round on the front, but it morphed it's way into a 1x6, and two parting stops. I liked the idea of having everything a little more geometrical instead of rounded -- nothing in the bedroom was really rounded at all. So the corner rounds just looked funny. And tall trim is what all of the old homes have. So we were on board with it in a heartbeat. It is a fraction of the cost of what normal trim costs -- but it did take a little extra time to do. Worth it!

After we finished filling holes and painting the trim -- we realized we had finished. Whoa. A total weird feeling.


Here's our Bedroom!

I photographed the closet before we put clothes in it, so in order for you to actually see everything, I am posting those empty closet shots instead of the full ones. I used 3/4 inch plywood, 1x12 boards for the cubby shelves, and some underlayment scraps for the backs of the cubbies. If you hadn't guessed, I have the left side, and Darin has the right ;) I decided I didn't want to stain the plywood, or even put a poly on it -- I sanded the heck out of everything and really dig the bare wood look. We'll see how it all holds up. So far so good. 

And that's it! We're FINISHED! Well, 98%. We need to get a handle for the closet door, and finish constructing our bed (which we have centered below the 4 windows). THEN I will be able to pull out the decorations and get things looking real pretty for more photos.

To sum it all up, it was a MUCH faster process than the bathroom, and we are overjoyed with how things have turned out. Working on the house has also helped Darin and I figure out problem solving together to the max, and realize how to come to agreements on design and style wether it be one way, the other way, or totally compromised. It's been truly great so far for the both of us and I couldn't imagine doing this with anyone else. 

What we have been enjoying the most so far is: 

1. Being able to get dressed on a CLEAN floor (no dust on the bottoms of our pant legs!!)

2. Actually having a fully functional closet and being able to SEE our clothes.

And 3. when we lay down to go to bed at night and all the lights have been turned off, we can see the outline of the pine trees right outside the patio door. It's magical <3



Well, you made it to the end! Thank you so much for reading, or just skimming through our photo progress. I can't wait to share our future plans for the kitchen, and other little tid bit projects we run into. 


Until next time!