Monday, March 3, 2014

What's Goin' On In the Family Room?

 Let's see... I really don't remember what all I've shared so far and what I have yet to show, so I'll just start from the beginning and do a total recap of our family room.

This used to be called our dining room, but we decided to switch it around a little bit. So this is now our family room. It's bigger and in the middle of everything and we won't be using the dining room nearly as much as the family room, so it just makes more sense. We are half thinking about leaving the dining table in the family room and making the room that would have been a dining room into an exercise room... but we'll see how that develops.

So this is how our room started out when we first bought the house. We had a drop ceiling. There were plaster walls covered with a paneling. Not just any paneling, but the darkest kind of paneling possible, which really made the room feel small and even with the curtains open, it never got all that light in there. 

And here's a view of the other side. The room on the right will now be our dining room... unless we choose to make it into our exercise room! 

Below is a picture of my mom on the ladder, tearing down the drop ceiling and the tracks to it. Yes, I know you're not supposed to sit on top of the ladder. She marches to the beat of her own drum, lol. After tearing down the drop ceiling, we had a furnace installed, but instead of putting the drop ceiling back up, we decided to go ahead and just frame a ceiling and put up drywall.

So we went ahead and tore off the paneling and knocked down the plaster. I don't seem to have any pictures of that process, or I can't find them on my new computer. But either way, it was a mess and I'm glad it's done! So we were left with no ceiling and no walls. Just studs and exposed wiring.

We took advantage of not having walls to put in some more insulation. It is an on-going process, but hopefully we will get the whole house covered sooner rather than later. 

The framing of the ceiling was a pretty long task. We got most of the boards up and then realized that we didn't have it all leveled out because the original ceiling gently sloped upward in one corner. Rather than putting up drywall at an angle, we decided to readjust every.single.row and made them all level. Not fun at all. But worth it. 

Then came the process of putting up the drywall. We learned our lesson in the bedroom, so we measured twice, cut once ... ok, we had to trim a bit a few times, but nobody's perfect. : )

All in all, it went much smoother than the bedroom's ceiling. We had an extra set of hands and a little more experience under our belts. 

We happen to have two chimney columns in our house. One in the bedroom and one in the family room. So we've had to create a frame around each of those and cover them in drywall. We don't want to tear them down and risk putting a giant hole in the outside wall just yet. So after the ceiling was framed and we got some of the drywall up, we started framing the walls and the column. None of the studs are ever level with the others, so it's a very, very long process of adding shims or 2x4s and getting them all straight. 

Here you can see we have most of the ceiling done (waiting on the furnace and new wiring to be finished before closing it off completely). We also have the column covered. 

 We have gotten most of the walls framed, so we started putting up drywall. It really makes a huge difference in the feel of the room already. Much brighter and cleaner and I love it! Don't mind the mess in that room there, that's just our tool/supply storage room for the moment, lol. And we usually have it blocked off with a blanket because there are some wicked air leaks and it gets cold, so that's why the tube to the furnace is hanging from the ceiling. We moved it so the heat comes to the rooms we actually are using. 

Another angle with the drywall up on the walls. 

Recently I tried my hand at doing it all by myself and got that section to the right of the column done all on my own. It took me quite a while, but I learned a lot in the process.  Gus likes to sit and watch while we work ... and eat any stray pieces of wood (or drywall) that accidentally land in chewing range.

And our last big work day was last weekend and we got another wall finished, except for one small corner piece.  My mom and dad came out and helped us with the walls and the wiring.

This mess is the finished product ... for now. Around that corner on the left there are a few sections that need to be finished, but we now have the entire ceiling done except for the middle part where the furnace needs to be adjusted. 

Next time we need to clean up BEFORE we take the pictures, lol. But here is that small corner. 

We're hoping to work on it a little bit throughout the week and see what we can get done and then have another good go at it this weekend.

We are trying to decide what to do with this corner though. We would really love to move the door from the kitchen into the family room, to that wall to the right of the TV in the picture below. It would really open up our kitchen and I think would just be a better fit for us. The problem is determining if it is structurally sound that way. We also need to create a header for that archway between the kitchen and the family room because whoever built the addition didn't bother with one. So those will be our two big tasks, if we choose to do so... well, the header is a must, but we may end up not moving the door. Or we may wait and move it some time down the road too. We'll see.

So that's where we currently stand. I'll try to update more often as we make more progress!

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