A Lesson in Patience

fan on oil primer in dining room

When I last left off in the dining room, I mentioned I'd probably paint the walls with some oil primer to make sure that nothing bubbles up when I put a second thin coat of joint compound on the walls (to fix any bumps or lumps from wallpaper removal). Well, fast forward a couple of days (and a lot of airing out), and the dining room now has a fresh coat of oil primer. And I'm getting so impatient because the walls look smooth already. I am itching to paint the walls yesterday. But, I … [Read more...]

One Hell of an Arm Workout

The dining room is at an awkward stage right now. Awkward, as in if I showed you a picture of this room yesterday, it would have looked exactly the same as today. Only the difference between them is a couple of hours spent sanding joint compound with my new favorite tool. And therefore rubbery arms. But I'm grateful to find new ways to get in shape (she said, sarcastically). To give you the full history of progress, let's backtrack a bit: The wallpaper was taken down, which left an … [Read more...]

Next Up: MY Dining Room

dining room mood board

Maybe it's that Mom and Dad's dining room is now finished off so nicely, that I can't help but want one of my own. Or maybe it's that it's been months since I've worked on this room and I'm too project A.D.D. to not switch back whenever the hell I want to. Or, simply, I'm tired of having absolutely everything that belongs in the dining room and kitchen (including furniture) piled high in my living room like an episode of Hoarders. Yeah, probably the last one. But at any rate, I'm ready to get … [Read more...]

Mom and Dad’s Dining Room Reveal


Remember back in March when Dad and I spent a weekend putting up drywall in his dining room? Maybe not, but trust me - it totally happened. And Mom was pretty excited when she got home from her birthday weekend and found that the makeover she's been waiting nearly twenty years for was finally happening.  Get ready for a lot of pictures (seriously- you're going to suddenly see why I do all of those partway, unfinished reveal posts by the end of this!). You see, normally, Dad comes … [Read more...]

Taping & Mudding (at Mom & Dad’s)


This weekend was pretty productive; I managed to finish the grout in the kitchen (pics on the next Dueling DIY update this Wednesday!) and Dad & I got the first coat of mud on all of the walls in his dining room: The pics were snapped as the sun was setting on day 2,  so most of it was already starting to dry.  Next steps for next weekend will be sanding & another coat of mud (& then one more sanding), and then the fun part begins.  If all goes to plan, our weekends should … [Read more...]

Picture Frame Molding Challenges: Outlets and Windows

picture molding

When it comes to molding, working around the obstacles of the room (like outlets, windows, or even the room not having perfectly level walls) is the biggest challenge.  In my dining room's picture molding project, I faced all three.  Here's how I got around them. Spacing First, let's start with spacing rules in general.  While researching this project online, I learned that there is no hard and fast rule for how far apart these boxes should be.  They often range from about 2¾ to 4 inches … [Read more...]

Puttin’ On The Ritz (Picture Frame Molding!)

picture frame molding

I was very, very tempted to call this post Even More Caulk Jokes.  Especially since as I type this, my fingers are sticky and it's driving me crazy.  But I'm simply way too excited to show you this first: Helloooo there.  Thanks to my uncle (and his brother Timmy), we got a lot done in the last 24 hours.  Not only did they organize my garage (more on that later), finish off my work bench for me (more on that later), and trick out my kitchen window with new molding (you guessed it... later!), … [Read more...]

Casing the Joint: The Dining Room, Part 1

window casing

My goal, someday, is to have casing around ALL of the windows in the house.  I'm starting with the lower floor.  And more specifically, in terms of this blog, I'm starting with the dining room.  Mostly because the camera was closest to the dining room.  That's how this blog works: on laziness. But let's back up for one quick sec.  My doors have trim (aka "casing").  My windows and some of the interior door frames don't.  While this may not bother most some people, it bothers me.  It's like my … [Read more...]

Ain’t No Need to Go Outside

(If you haven't figured it out by now, most of my post titles come from song lyrics; today's is courtesy of one of my favorite rainy day songs). Well, the weekend didn't turn out quite like I'd planned.  It was mostly because of the rain (pouring all. weekend. long. with big, fat, chilly droplets that only made me want to curl up in bed).  But my Dad and our neighborhood handyman, Tony, also had to cancel their trip over to the house, so all of my outdoor improvement plans have to wait … [Read more...]

Dining Room Progress

Skim coating is always slow going.  But I've managed to finish off one bucket of slop (the bucket I was using for the bathroomskim coat job) and moved on to a new one. Ah, nothing like a fresh bucket of joint compound, eh? Sorry for the grainy night photos.  Most of the work I've been doing lately happens after I get home from work (I'm so glad that it's going to start getting lighter again soon!).  Charlie stays pinned to my side the whole time; if she's not laying down in the room I'm … [Read more...]

Whack a Wall

There is a wall that lies between the dining room and kitchen.  And I wanna whack it with a hammer.While the kitchen is already on the large size for this house (the extra space near the sliding glass door makes it feel roomy), the wall that separates the two rooms feels dated to me.  Homes nowadays are more open in terms of floor plans, and the dining room just feels more cramped by comparison.Funny story: I had difficulty finding a photo taken of the other side of this wall.  I guess it's not … [Read more...]

Molding My Thoughts

For many DIY projects, half of the battle is the planning.  Take my dining room, for example.  This will be the first time I've ever attempted picture molding. I'm good at math, so I'm fairly confident I'll be able to figure this out.  I'm actually kind of looking forward to the challenge (I'm enough of a geek to get excited about drawing and cutting perfectly sized boxes all over my wall).  But since I'm doing this without an extra set of hands, it's not going to just be a spacing or size … [Read more...]