One Room Challenge Spring 2020 – Week Seven!

The deadline is fast approaching as we near the One Room Challenge final week[s]. Next week is Week Eight and while it is the final week, from that date we have 7 days to submit out ORCs. It’s something I’ve agonized over as the weeks have progressed; will I be finished for Week Eight? What steps do I have to skip so I’m finished on time? NBD, I’m just the only person still at the drywall stage!

I know in the grand scheme of things the ORC is not something I should be loosing sleep over. But have you even been sucked into something that completely took over your mind and to people on the outside, you look to be totally over reacting? That’s what I’m feeling right now. I’m so far into this project that I can’t see out of it. Any time I express my anxiety, I feel silly. But at the same time, this is a big project for me! I mean huge. It’s the first renovation I’ve ever taken on and I’ve done 97% of the work by myself [thank you to Robert for helping me drywall the ceiling even when you threw your back out].

This week I finished installing the fiddly bits of drywall and applied and sanded one layer of mud and tape [so far]. Despite how awkward using a mud trowel, I slowly got the hang of it. My feeble wrists and office-zombie-arms however, are not made for such agility atop a step ladder attempting to mud a ceiling. I took my time and last night sanded the whole room – which has been probably the messiest step so far outside of demolishing the room in the second week.

I decided to keep the original chimney piece in the ceiling. You actually won’t see it once I’ve put the shelving units on either side of the window, but it was something quirky I wanted to keep.

I also picked up / received a few very exciting pieces this week! We first collected a fireplace mantel that I’ve had my eye on for weeks. Unfortunately the person I bought it from was probably a conspiracy theorist and a flat-earther as they were super awkward [they actually ran away from us when we arrived to curb-side pick up and spied on us from around the corner of his house].

A far less creepy addition to our front room is these absolutely gorgeous sconces a friend of mine Alicia, who spur-of-the-moment bought these a year ago in a thrift store and the moment she saw them, knew I’d love them [emotions]. Alicia offered to send them to me in time to include in my ORC and they could not be more perfect.

I feel a bit more relaxed and confident in my decision to give myself a few more days for my ORC deadline. I know it’s the right decision [again, for anyone outside of the ORC bubble, this will all seem dramatic] because I’m back to looking forward to work on our front room vs. my recent and constant dose of resentment. I want to have a beautifully finished room. I want to enjoy the process. I know I’ll be upset next Thursday when everyone else is sharing their final rooms, but I’ll just have to deal with that myself.

As usual, you can see all the Week Seven Guest Participants progress here!

Week One – Week Two – Week Three – Week Four – Week FiveWeek Six
Week SevenWeek Eight

One Room Challenge Spring 2020 – Week Six!

Did you know drywall dust makes for an excellent dry shampoo substitute? I know this because I could liken the feel of my hair to that of a 5,000 year old mammoth that was recently released from the permafrost thanks to the constant dusting of drywall gently showering me over the past few days.

I’ve got a lot done since Week Five of my One Room Challenge, but if you missed last weeks post and are also wondering why it looks like I haven’t done much, it’s because I had to rip everything out and start over.

Once I finished insulating the stud walls I built for the exterior walls and also insulated within the ceiling between the joists, I got onto adding the vapor barrier. Vapor barriers have to be installed using acoustical sealant and a staple gun. Acoustical sealant is very similar to the black tar that killed the dinosaurs housed in a caulking gun. It has the potential to get absolutely everywhere. I luckily was very tidy when applying it to the stud wall, however, when I was working in a tight corner I managed to get it all over my bare shoulder and five days later it’s still there.

Once the vapor barrier was installed everywhere securely, I moved on to prepping the room to install drywall to the ceiling. I first had to remove all the nails from the ceiling slats that were still there from the lath and plaster, as well as hammer the slats back into the ceiling joists. They had separated from the joists slightly due to the immense weight of four layers of ceiling that was on them for 30+ years [as seen below]. Trust me, these things are very secure so I was confident with leaving them for applying drywall to the ceiling [after I hammered them back in, of course].

I was absolutely terrified when it came to installing the drywall to the ceiling. I had watched many YouTube tutorials but I was very aware that I was not as strong nor as used to hoisting a massive piece of drywall over my head as said construction workers on YouTube. I can confidently say I had a panic attack as Robert and I added the first piece. It couldn’t help that I kept wobbling “I’m so sorry!” the longer it took me to drill the first few key drywall screws, while trying to help balance a huge piece of drywall over me and on top of a stepladder. It was awful.

SPOILER ALERT: we did the whole ceiling and I became much more confident with handling drywall.

It’s a finicky room and there’s barely a right angle in the whole room [old house charm], so there are gaps here and there in the drywall, but it’s nothing a bit of mud and filler can’t fix.

I also got a very exciting delivery for our front room. It’s possibly the only piece I’ve ordered brand new for my ORC and it’s the rug which will take up a huge amount of the floor space. Here’s a sneak peek …

I am incredibly pro-secondhand, but I feel weird thinking about secondhand rugs so I was very comfortable with ordering a new rug for our front room. Our rug arrived yesterday and I cannot wait to see it in the front room. I love vintage over-dyed rugs and this faux vintage one is a perfect mix of traditional design but also a little bit witchy and vampiric.

As usual, you can see all the Week Six Guest Participants progress here and all the incredible work everyone else has been doing! Looking at everyone’s progress makes me very nervous for getting everything done in the next two weeks* because I am the only one still at the drywall stage. Welp.

YouTube videos that helped immensely this week:
How to install a vapour barrier, via House Improvements
How to insulate [and vapour barrier] ceiling joists, via House Improvements
How to install drywall, via Home RenoVision DIY

Week One – Week Two – Week Three – Week Four – Week Five
Week SixWeek SevenWeek Eight

*We don’t all have to be finished and submit our final room design during Week Eight of this spring’s ORC and have from June 25th – July 2nd to submit our final rooms, but still. I can’t help but have June 25th as my deadline. I like to put myself under unnecessary pressure.

One Room Challenge Spring 2020 – Week Five

With all that has happened in America [and Canada, and around the world] this past week, the usual weekly link-up for the One Room Challenge won’t be happening this week out of respect of the Black Lives Matter movement. I’ll be sharing my Week Five progress quietly here on my blog, but I won’t be sharing anything on social media as it would feel flippant.

We’re also starting the conversation about race and colour with Cora. I’ll be honest that we’ve never consciously brought it up with her before, but after much reading this week I’m realizing that is not the right way to go about it. In my innocence, the colour of someones skin is not a factor for me [not in a I don’t see colour way], but again I’m realizing talking about it with Cora is a much bigger deal. I’m researching and educating myself as a white person as how to best bring this conversation into our home to make our three-year-old understand what’s happening in the world in a way that is appropriate for her right now.

Regarding this weeks progress with my ORC, above is where I left off last week, right as I was realizing I’d have to pull everything down and start over again. Why? Because …

  • The wood slats on the walls weren’t deep enough to sufficiently house insulation nor strong enough to hold drywall
  • There needed to be another layer between the brick and the insulation. Despite my best efforts to Google “should I put stuff on brick before I insulate my super old, wonkey house?” didn’t advise I need to put a Tyvek breathable barrier up first, as advised by Dad DIYer

So down everything came [as seen below] and I started over again. I wasn’t upset about having to start over as I prefer to do things the right way, even if it means taking longer. But I was mentally exhausted as just to get to this point took a lot of work.

There was a surprisingly large amount of work between then and where I am now. First of all, I had to rip the wooden supports off the wall. It was easy on the front wall, but the side wall proved tricky as the slats extended all the way up to the first floor. My reciprocating saw came in handy and with a dose of PMS last weekend, I blasted the supports off the wall.

Next I had to deal with what I now refer to as The Trench; the wooden floors you see are new [about 7 years old], and whoever put in the wood floors placed them ontop of the old wooden floors and butted them up against the original skirting boards. So when I removed the skirting boards [using brute force, rage, a giant crowbar and a reciprocating saw], there was a 4-inch gap around the room which was about 2 inches deep. It was all filled with solid plaster, so that had to all be dug out and despite wearing hardy gloves, I still have plaster under my nails.

Once the plaster and old skirting boards were cleared out, I reused the old wooden slats that were on the exterior walls and placed them in The Trench to level out the floor ahead of creating a stud wall for the exterior walls.

I applied the Tyvek using construction adhesive in three bands across the two exterior walls and used red Tuck Tape to help secure the seams. Over two nights I made the stud walls for both exterior walls and anchored them in place. I had done all the measuring and rough sketches for the design of the stud wall, which Dad DIYer perfected for how best to place the drywall in a way that wouldn’t have even occurred to me #InfantDIYer.

After finalizing the second stud wall last night [I’m thanking my habit of getting Cora used to loud noises when she was a baby as she slept through my excessive hammering and sawing], I had some energy left so I added one behemoth pack of insulation to the room before calling it a night.

Your eyes are not deceiving you. That window is crooked AF. The stud framing accentuates it.

It kind of looks like I’ve done nothing, but I’ve gotten so much done this past week. I’m quite proud of myself, if I’m allowed to be that honest. I’m especially proud that I didn’t fail miserably with constructing the stud walls and put them in place all by myself. Just me. MEEEEEEE! I feel I can actually claim the title of Interior DIYer now. I’ve been waiting so long to be able to work on projects like this.

My Week Five feeling summarized into one photo:

Week One – Week Two – Week Three – Week Four – Week Five
Week SixWeek SevenWeek Eight