Category Archives: Remodeling

What to Do With Wallpaper on a Ceiling? Cover it With Tin!

Our next project in the I Street House was to remove the wallpaper on the living room ceiling.  Yes, it is true.  Back in the day, they wallpapered all surfaces including the ceiling.  We knew this wallpaper would be tough to remove because the same stuff on the wall held tight and we ended up priming and texturing right over the top. (Check out my prior post “Can you Paint Wallpaper?”).  After spending a couple of hours scraping and scraping, we decided to cover it with a tin ceiling.


Living Room Before 3

We ordered ours online from  Because our ceiling was lath and plaster, we chose the Snaplock 24″ x 24″ tile.  The tiles attach to the ceiling with drywall screws that are hidden in a channel when the next tile snaps over the top.  The ceiling was super easy to install and the website has a video you can watch as well.  The most important thing is to get the first row straight and then the tiles just pop together.  When you have to make a cut, it is easily done with a good pair of tin snips.  It is a little pricey.  We spent about $800 on this small room, but the impact of the tin ceiling is worth it.

There are many color and trim options to choose from.  We decided to trim it with crown molding to save some money and it looks great.  This tin tile would also be great to use on an accent wall or as a kitchen backsplash.  So the next time you have stubborn wall paper to remove, remember, you have some options!

Living Room Tin CeilingLiving Room New Finished 1

Can You Paint Wallpaper?

As we started to work on the living room at the I Street House, we didn’t know where to start with the living room.  We removed the nasty carpeting and then started the task of removing the vinyl wallpaper.  This wall paper was everywhere…including on the ceiling!  As we started to remove it, we also discovered there was older wallpaper under that and all of it was really stuck to the walls!  So we went to the internet to look for options…

Living Room Before 1

We discovered a tip that said, if the wallpaper was holding tight too the wall, you can paint it with an oil based primer, texture the wall  with drywall mud, prime and paint it.  So we took a deep breath and did that for  the walls.  We used Kilz oil based primer and after it dried, we checked the walls to be sure the wallpaper was not bubbling up.  We planned to strip the wallpaper on the ceiling so more about that later.

Living Room Before stonework

After the primer, we painted it with a primer/paint combo and we were finished with the walls.  It has been about a year now and there are no signs the wallpaper wants to come off, so we are good to go!  It saved us hours of stripping wallpaper and the result looks great!

Living Room New Finished 1Living Room New Finished 2

Saving Vintage Door Hardware

As we continue to work on the finishing details of our 1904 house remodel, we are finally getting to stripping the doors.  More on that later, but we started to work on the hardware for two doors and for the life of me, I cannot understand why they painted door hardware.  In our case, they also painted the door knobs.

Hinges BeforeIMG_2825

The easy thing to do is to just put on new hardware, but if you look closely at the detail, it is too beautiful to throw away.  We didn’t want to use any harsh chemicals, so I thought I would try something I saw on “Rehab Addict”.  We took all the hardware and put it in a crock pot with water!  No need for soap, but it takes a couple of hours and some scraping.  I used a 5 in 1 tool to get into the crevasses and it worked great.

The hinges shown above took some work, but in the end it was worth it!  The hot water bath did not do any damage to the hardware and it removed about 5 coats of paint.  It was well worth the effort.

Hinges AfterIMG_2820

So next time you are tempted to get rid of that old door hardware, give it a second chance.  You won’t be disappointed!






Building a Kitchen from Scratch

When we started working on the kitchen at the I Street house, all we had was a refrigerator that did not work, a small, apartment sized stove and a sink.  We decided to change all that and move the kitchen into what used to be the pantry and the dining room.  it was going to require new plumbing and wiring, but we need to do that anyway, so the extra cost was minimal.

Our biggest challenge was taking down the wall between the dining room and the pantry, but we called in a friend who is a licensed contractor for help.  Here are some before pics:

Dining Room Demo 1Kitchen Demo 4

Once we took the wall down, we installed a cedar beam and the room was open!

Kitchen In Process Opened Up

We found beautiful hardwood floors under carpet, linoleum and newspaper and you can see, we also uncovered beautiful ship lap.  There was no way I could cover up that beautiful 100 year old wood with drywall, so we decided to sand, chink and stain it.

Kitchen New 2

The guys from Traditional Hardwood Floors, in Salida, CO took our floors that were black from age and use and made them beautiful again!

Living Room Floors Refinshed

 Once the floors and the walls were done, it was time to install the cabinets.  We decided to go with IKEA RAMSJO cabinets with a cherry finish.  There are a lot of parts to these cabinets, but once you build one, the rest go pretty quickly.  The quality is good and they feature soft close doors and drawers

Kitchen New 1

We also decided on butcher block countertops from IKEA.  They are a great bargain and are easy to  cut and put in place.  We have had them for a year or so and they are holding up nicely, but you have to seal them from  the start.  We rounded out the kitchen with black appliances.  Stainless Steel seemed too modern for a 100+ year old house.

The result is awesome!  we have tons of counter space, a raised bar and a beautiful ship lap accent wall that celebrates the old house!

Kitchen New 4Kitchen Raised Bar

Saving a Vintage Bathroom

When we bought our turn of the century fixer upper, the first room we had to tackle was the bathroom.  This was the worst room in the house with stained wall board, nasty linoleum and worn out fixtures.  The only good thing about it was the claw foot tub.

Bathroom Before 5Bathroom Before 3

The bathroom was a decent size so we knew we could make it awesome!  We started the demo and discovered the inside wall was Continue reading Saving a Vintage Bathroom