The next lesson I learned from the upstairs renovations

In my previous article I shared the first lesson I learned while renovating the kids’ bedrooms, “it is worth doing things right.” Now for the next lesson I learned.

  1. It is worth doing things right
  2. Even if you think you are doing things right, there are things that you aren’t doing right
  3. Little changes make a big difference
  4. Hire help when you can and if you can’t YouTube is full of free advice
I like this ceiling paint. It goes on pink and dries white.

Even if you think you are doing things right, there are things that you aren’t doing right.

We tried really hard to be thoughtful about the order we tackled the work:

take down the old vertical blinds and the closet shelves

wash the walls

patch the holes


paint the walls and base boards

scrape the ceilings (in two of the rooms we did this first)

paint the ceilings

replace the carpet

install new light fixtures

But, try as we might, there were hiccups. Let me back up. Why were we rushed to get these rooms done in nine days. Ok, why was I rushed to get these rooms done in nine days? Because of a darling little four year old who had been waiting f-o-r-e-v-e-r to have a pretty canopy bed like her big sister and we couldn’t squeeze another canopy bed in their old room. She and her sister and older brother were all going continue sharing a room– “the storage room”– or the “new” room. Well, the “new room” was extremely dusty, had mold on the windows, the closet shelves were falling down and it was in need of new paint and carpet. It needed to be redone before we could get that canopy bed set up. As for the other bedrooms, they were in desperate need of new carpet and we were only going to pay the the carpets guys once to come out and install carpet. I was pretty adamant that I wanted to paint before we installed new carpet. (I’m not a tidy painter. I’m a decent painter but not a tidy one.) This sounds like that kids’ book If you Give a Mouse a Cookie, doesn’t it? So…. here’s what went wrong.

After we painted the “new room” I mentioned to Dave that I thought we should scrape the popcorn ceiling. Why? Because Jack was going to have a loft bed and we all know kids put their feet and the ceiling and get popcorn in their eyes. No fun. Dave was up for trying to scrape it off in the large closet it first and seeing how it went. It went poorly. The Youtuber lied when he said it was easy. Where the ceiling meets the walls it was rough, certain areas got too wet and Dave had to patch and later sand. It was a bit of a mess. I was really sad because the popcorn looked really dirty and dated. I encouraged Dave to finish out the closet and we could sleep on it. He did and he looked at more videos on Youtube and got reinspired. (Yea!!) He changed his technique for the seams and made a few more adjustments. The ceilings were really difficult but he did a great job. Turns out that our ceilings were never made to be totally flat like in the Midwest. Everyone down here does knockdown because the builders didn’t finish the seams smoothly, they assumed the seams would be sprayed with texture. After we repainted the flat ceilings, one of the rooms has the tape peelings. Dave will eventually re-tape and re-mud and repaint those seams.

I’m super impressed that Dave jumped into learning a pretty tricky skill and persevered through the rough start. I’m also very happy with the results. Just the other night our son was putting his feet on the ceiling and I thought about how thankful I am that there wasn’t popcorn falling on his bed.

After all the hard work carpet day came. Eeekkkk! So exciting. They installed the carpet and I love the color but… the nap is about 1/4 inch lower than the previous carpet. No big deal, right? Wrong. The old carpet left some adhesive and in some places the old carpet stuck to the baseboards. I painted over it but never thought it would be exposed. Boo! So my pretty baseboards that I repainted look a bit, um, unfinished in spots. The fix for this would be either sanding the baseboard down or replacing the baseboards. Someday we’ll replace them… like in 8 years when the other projects are finished. Ha ha. It isn’t the end of the world, it would have just been nice to have a smooth, pretty aesthetic after all that hard work.

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