Wednesday, February 14, 2018

22 Teen Boy's Closet: How to Patch Walls & Carpet! And Undo a Room of Painted Stripes!

Happy Valentine's Day my dear readers!

I am so excited to celebrate this day of looooove with family and friends and a trip to the hardware store! Plus, there isn't much better than an excuse to decorate everything with hearts and eat cupcakes and chocolate candy all day, can we all agree on that?

Although we all know that marriage can be filled with highs and lows, Bryan and I are so thankful to be toasting to today with giant cheek-to-cheek grins and all the heart eyes. But things are definitely getting a little patchy over here, not with our marriage, but with our son's closet update. And although that typically sounds like a negative thing, in this case, it is good! Very good! We tackled patching both the wall and the carpet and I wanted to share how we did both.

When we last left off, we had removed a portion of our son's closet wall in order to widen the opening and make additional room for a tower of drawers and shelves. With the closet wing walls in place, it really limited usable space as well as our storage options. His bedroom measures 9 feet wide by 13 feet long, so we need every inch of the closet possible. We opened the closet to a 4 ft opening, which we will eventually conceal with a sliding door.

That wall removal left us with a bit of a repair job ahead of us; both the wall and carpet were now incomplete and in need of patching. And of course, our personal goal was to make it look like the new closet design was seamless and original to the room.

We started with the wall, and thanks to the mud dry time, it took us a few days to complete. That said, I learned so much from these different pieces of the room puzzle and I would feel completely confident tackling any one of these tasks completely on my own down the road. Bryan and I took these on together and he taught me a few of his learned tricks, but I can't stress enough that YOU CAN DO THESE THINGS TOO!

Let's flashback to the room after we carefully removed the closet wing wall:

Materials Used:

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We double checked that we had enough proper backing (we did) and cut the sheetrock to size using a utility knife, patching it in using drywall screws. It is important to measure and cut the pieces to fit as snug as possible to reduce the risk of any cracking down the road.

S T E P   T W O

Next step is to tape the seams. There are muds that you can purchase and mix yourself, however, we opted to purchase a premixed version to save some time. This was a good option for us because we were just patching a single wall (and have a couple other small patch jobs to tackle in the near future), vs. an entire room or home of new sheetrock.

The mud can generally be used straight out of the bucket, but to apply the tape it should actually be mixed with a bit of water to thin it out some. We mixed the mud with water in a small mud pan with the 6" joint knife.

The knife also doubles as a quick way to cut the joint tape, which we measured to length and then ran through the mud by lightly pressing down on the tape with the handle of the knife.

Stick the tape to the wall and run the knife down the tape, smoothing out any of the mud that seeps out. We found it worked best to completely coat the back of the tape (without over-doing it) to create a tight seal from top to bottom. This is only the first coat, so the current focus is on affixing and smoothing out the tape over the joints, then carefully scraping clean any excess mud.

Let the mud dry for 24 hours prior to moving on to the next step.

S T E P   T H R E E

Day two and day three is simply re-applying the mud over the tape/seams and fanning it out further and further to the surrounding walls with a wider taping knife (10" - 12"). This helps to smooth and level out the patched areas.

It is important to sand with fine drywall sanding pads between each coat and to also wait a full 24 hours between each application.

S T E P   F O U R

We have textured walls, so this was an added step for us that may not always apply. The newly patched area was sanded nice and smooth, yet the rest of our walls were covered in the oh-so-lovely orange peel texture years ago when we built. WHY!?! As much as I wish we could redo all the walls flat, it just doesn't make sense.

So we picked up a can of spray texture to blend the new wall area with the existing. Before we got started we stapled down painter's plastic to protect the carpet and everything nearby. We also used a piece of poster board to practice using the spray texture and to find the proper nozzle setting based on the amount of texture we wanted to add.

Masks on and windows opened, we sprayed in a swooping motion up and down the wall until it was covered to our liking (keeping the can about 18"-24" away from the wall while spraying).

Tip: The finer the nozzle is closed, the grittier and sandier the finish will look. The more open the nozzle, the larger the speckles will be and the more depth of texture you will achieve.

We allowed the texture to dry completely for a few hours, and I decided that it was a little too rough in comparison to the painted-quite-a-few-times surrounding walls, so I knocked it down just a smidge with an ultra-fine sanding pad.

And that is how we patched the wall! It is like it was never there to begin with!

But how about that carpet?

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The first step is to hunt down your carpet remnants. And when you can't find them, start panicking.

I know we saved some from our carpet installation years ago, but they are probably in some deep, dark corner of the attic. There is no way someone who loves to organize could possibly have misplaced them... 

So we took a trip to Home Depot where we originally purchased our carpet, and they were able to look up our order and tell us exactly what carpet we installed. Which was super fantastic because then we were able to go online and order a few sample pieces of the same carpet for a $1 each!

Not always ideal, but hey! It totally worked! It is also important to note we are working with a frieze style carpet which is wonderfully forgiving in these situations. It is a thicker, plush carpet with a bit of a wild twist weave; perfect for reducing the signs of stains and patch jobs!

S T E P   T W O

We measured the opening on the floor and then measured the back of the carpet, drawing a line with a pencil to indicate our cuts.

We used a utility knife to score and cut the backside of the carpet. We found it was best to make sure both the existing carpet and the new piece were cut as cleanly and straight as possible. It also helped to cut it just tad bit wider than the initial measurement. (This reduces the risk of a visible seam. Also, you can always cut it smaller but you can't make it grow.)

We placed the piece down for a dry fit.

This is when we realized that the surrounding carpet had a carpet pad installed under it, and the new piece was dipping down a bit without it. So, we were resourceful in cutting a small piece of rug pad from a pad we already owned (removed from an inconspicuous area of rug pad located under a rug which was located under a piece of furniture).

S T E P   T H R E E

Vacuum area to remove any carpet scraps, dust or random debris.

S T E P   F O U R

To affix the rug pad, we put down a strip of the double-sided, mega adhesive carpet tape.

Then placed the rug pad over the top.

More tape, this time going in the opposite direction and placed a bit under the existing carpet.

And finally, put down the cut piece(s)!

S T E P   F I V E

We firmly pressed the new carpet into place and did our best to introduce and blend the new and old strands. We noticed a few random strands and mismatched heights that we took care of with a sharp pair of scissors.

Then I stood back, closed my eyes and crossed my fingers...

I was so ecstatic to open my eyes and not see anything noticeable about our fix! I was pretty nervous because this was the first time we have attempted this type of DIY. And as much as I want to give ourselves all of the credit, I will admit that the carpet type probably played a large role in the outcome. We have already vacuumed it a few times and it is NOT moving! Whew!

And finally, how did we get rid of those stripes that I once worked so hard to get just right? I wish I could say it was a quick and painless process, but that just wouldn't be true.

Materials Used:

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Do your research and prep your body and mind. I did a little Google searching for best solutions for removing stripes specifically from textured walls, and quickly learned three things:

1) Don't use a power sander because it will burn down the texture and make it even more evident that something was there.

2) The more stripes, the longer it will take (obviously). An entire room could take multiple hours of hand sanding. Ugh.

3) With textured walls, a high-density roller cover will be helpful in concealing the previous stripe lines when applying the new paint color. That was a bit of good news and the one and only time I was actually grateful to have orange peeled walls.

If you need a quick reminder that your arms are not in great shape, sand an entire room of stripes. Oh, and because you want real and we are in a judgment-free friend zone, here I am wearing my lovely mask and feeling thrilled with how I was spending a weekend morning.

Why the mask? Because otherwise you will eat dust and have crusty boogs. I also recommend grabbing a pair of safety glasses. I added those to the mix a bit too late in the game.

S T E P   T W O

Sand each and every stripe line in a circular motion with a medium grit sanding block or paper. I wish I could pretend that this part was fun or worth my inability to use my right hand for the following two days, but it took about 3 hours total time for the entire room and was less than enjoyable.

S T E P   T H R E E

Use a damp rag to wipe down the wall from top to bottom and remove all of the dust you just spent hours of your life creating.

S T E P   F O U R

Using a high-density roller cover designed for semi-rough surfaces, paint over previous stripes and feel a variety of emotions. I did two thick coats with Behr's Marquee interior paint in an eggshell finish, color matched to Sherwin William's Nebulous White. I was happy with the coverage of the lighter color and the stripes essentially vanished beneath the new paint.

So there you have it, a patched wall, patched carpet, and undoing a room full of painted stripes!

We have accomplished so much and come so far (we even assembled that IKEA piece and painted the ceiling), but still have a bit more to do to wrap up the entire project. Up next on the list is to trim out the closet and room with new baseboards, install new door and window jams, casing, and crown moulding. The outlets and switches still need to be upgraded to white, we are also replacing the old light fixture which was no longer functioning. The remainder of the closet needs to be finished; we are adding drawer hardware, two hanging bars, an upper shelf, then trimming it all out to look nice and finished. Also re-hanging the window treatments at the correct height, building some shelves for above the desk, organizing the new closet, building and installing a sliding door, and making up the room to give our guy a fresh new space. We have a few other unfinished rooms and projects, but this was moved to the top of our priority list for a couple of reasons, and I am determined to see it through to the finish line before seeing a squirrel and working on anything else. Wish me luck!


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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

33 Planning Our Teen Boy's Closet Upgrade

Hello, hello! How is your week going? I have a case of the blues today, but it has absolutely nothing to do with my mood and everything to do with the crazy moon and our son's closet plans!

Since it has been awhile, I am going to back up and catch you all up with a little backstory.

Our younger two boys shared a room for quite a few years and became the best of friends during that time. You can see their room here. When our youngest son took over our guest room a little over a year ago, we removed his bed and clothes and the rest of the room remained unchanged. We put some focus on making updates to the guest room so our youngest would feel more at home there and could begin to make it his own. We still have a few things to finish up there, but we have also promised our now second teenage boy (13!) that we would help transition his space into something a bit more sophisticated to compliment the wonderful young man he is growing to be.

The entire room needs love and the closet is just the beginning. In fact, it was a "quick" closet update that I originally wanted to do, that is suddenly springing on a couple of additional room upgrades as well.

We get asked for updates on our previous systems and closets quite frequently, and I am happy to report that the IKEA hack closet solution we created for our two growing boys was amazing. It held up really well and did the job for many years. In fact, we all voted for more real-life shots, so this is my son's closet straight from my cell phone a few weeks ago (below).

From a distance, not too bad. He is completely in charge of maintaining it himself, and although he fights hanging some of his laundry, he has done a pretty good job overall. A closer look, however, will show that the bins are falling apart after 5+ years of use because he has literally outgrown them.

He is my "stuffer" and prefers to put his clothes into the bins vs. hanging them. And as he has grown, so has the size of the clothes he wears. And that means less room inside of the bins for said clothes.

He is also a boy who needs a quiet and organized workspace of his own, completely free of outside distractions. He and I are very similar in that respect, and we both just work better when we can isolate ourselves and put on headphones and give our current work our full attention. He currently has a small desk in his room (placed where his brother's bed was previously located), but with that piece of furniture, there aren't many layout options that would also accommodate a dresser. And a dresser (or more room for folded clothes) is one of his top requests for the room.

I am a believer in listening to my kids and trying to entertain what they want in their rooms, and I really encourage them to help me problem solve and design their personal slices of our home. I also try to design their rooms in ways that are easiest for them to maintain based on their personalities. Our oldest wanted to put his desk in his closet, and to this day, it is still his absolute favorite spot in his room. Our youngest had two closet cavities to work with; one is for a desk and the other is for his clothing. Again, worked out great for him and he is also a very happy camper. Our middle man wanted a dresser and a desk, but we agreed he would still need to hang some of his clothing. He wanted to keep his desk in the main area of his room, so I began troubleshooting how to get a dresser into his small closet.

With the wing walls on both sides of the closet taking up so much usable space, it made it nearly impossible to add decent sized drawers. My gut told me for months to just widen the opening to make the closet as a whole much more functional.

So I shopped closet solutions and weighed out quite a few options. After a few custom build ideas weren't panning out, I checked out Elfa, ClosetMaid, and IKEA. With both our son's needs and our budget in mind, we landed on the IKEA Pax System. We have personalized components from this system quite a few times for different types of storage projects, and have always been happy with the quality and options available. With the solution we designed for our boy (mocked up above), we would be able to add a pull-out shelf for shoes, five drawers, three shelves and still keep double hanging storage.

Same internal closet dimensions (58" wide x 24" deep), but so much more storage potential. Not only will he have five nicely sized drawers, it will also be so great to have shelves for his momentos, collections, linens, sports gear, etc...

In terms of this project, we had two primary goals; upgraded storage and an updated look. I will miss those labeled canvas bins, but they most definitely seem more appropriate for younger lads and have seen better days.

Sliding Door Hardware | PAX System | Wallpaper | Hardware | Baskets | Storage Boxes

And here is where that lovely snowball effect comes into play.

We have begun with the project and widened the door opening. But that led to removing all of the trim. And because we are in the process of upgrading all of the trim in the upper level from the previously painted oak, now is the time to do that in this room. Then I was asked to paint over the stripes. Although I completely agree, I may have crumbled a bit just thinking about it. I have a ridiculous love for this room because of the memories made creating it with the boys, the idea of just painting over it all has been a hard pill to swallow. But the time has come for new memories and plans and giving our boy a space that is just for him. And every time I do a closet, I paint it, or find a way to make it special and tie it into the room. It is just how I roll, so now we are going to paint the walls too. And maybe the ceiling. Finally, no matter how great the closet system, I still want the option to conceal it. Because the boys are in charge of their own rooms and closets, sometimes it is just nice to pull a door shut. To accommodate the new wider opening, we are going to build and install a sliding door.

And patch the carpet. And the walls. And swap out all of the almond colored outlets, switches and plates.

Whew! Leave it to me to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Just widening the opening to the closet instantly made the room feel twice as big. So I am really excited to see how all of this comes together. And being that our son has been temporarily relocated to another room while we take over his space, we are going to kick things into high gear. The closet components and paint have been purchased, the wall is being patched and plastic is being laid out. In some ways, I can't wait to tear into all of those IKEA boxes, but at the same time... wine and hugs will be welcomed.

The entire room and our ideas may be a little confusing right now, but I plan to take more photos and continue to tell the story as the entire space evolves. It should be a fun week because paint alone is a very powerful thing!