It Started with the Hallway

Between three iPhones, one which is broken, I forgot  I took photos of the hallway in the new addition on my work phone.

In the meantime, I planned to write a blog post on visiting Andy Wyeth’s art studio in Chadds Ford, PA, but unfortunately, the photos are on my broken phone.

Soon I’ll have the photos transferred to my new phone. Apple is sponsoring me with a new iPhoneX for my blog! I can’t wait to start using it!

Here are a few photos of the hallway in the new master bedroom wing taken on 12/26/17.

Stepping on the hallway landing…the staircase I climbed led to the attic in the original/old split level design; now it enters into the new wing.

Someone recently said to me “I like your UGG shoes.” I replied, “They’re not UGGS, they’re slippers from Lands’ End.” (Product provided to me for review.) I have to admit, I forgot they were slippers and I wore them out shopping.

The stairs going down lead to the other three bedrooms and hall bath.

We were so used to looking at a sub floor that it’s still hard to believe we have flooring. It’s true, having patience, is a virtue.







Installing a Floating Floor in the Master Bedroom

In October, we went to our local Floor & Decor store to look for flooring. In a matter of minutes we saw a pallet of flooring on clearance. It was exactly what we were looking to buy, and lucky for us, it was substantially marked down. We asked the salesperson if the clearance price could be marked down further if we bought the whole pallet.

The manager marked it down to only a $1.00 per sq ft for 1100 square feet of flooring.

Considering we have to install flooring in the entire house which is just under 3000 square feet, we were pleased as punch with this purchase. What a deal!

Additionally, we bought two rolls of eco-ultra quiet, acoustical, heavy weight, high density underlayment which is a little pricey but absolutely necessary for installing floating floors. Each 450 sq ft roll is just under $300.00. 

With this amount of flooring, we planned to install it in the new master bedroom and original three bedrooms.

With outdoor projects going on in October and November, we planned to install the flooring once it got cold outside. So just before Christmas, John rolled out the underlayment and installed the flooring in the master bedroom’s walk-in closet first (to the right in above photo).

John has installed traditional 3/4 hardwood flooring in the past which requires nailing. This was the first time installing engineered flooring, so he decided it would be best to start in the walk-in closet.

However, he watched a couple YouTube videos first. 

John was amazed at how quickly he covered the sub floor with 6 1/2″ wide plank boards. Since there isn’t nailing and it’s simply drop and lock, anybody can tackle this project, especially if you’re doing it with another person.

The key is is to start the flooring on the longest wall. The only cutting required is the last board in the course. Occasionally, in order to align seams  properly, two cuts might be required. Seams should normally be no closer than 12 inches.

Each box has six planks (each plank is 48″ L).

John spent a little extra time matching the grain board to board.

In this photo, the grain is lined up perfectly.

A small rubber mallet and a Universal Tapping Block  is recommended to lock the boards together.

Other tools required:

-Mitre Saw or Circular Saw

-Speed Square


-Measuring Tape


NEXT: Finishing the flooring in Master Bedroom





Before & After: Treads & Risers

The staircase project is finally finished–well, 98 percent finished.

Below is the original 1954 staircase that accessed the cramped attic storage area. The height of the attic ceiling was less than 5 feet high. (Read about it here when I wrote about it last month.)

When we designed the 2-story addition, the architect, Ron Arrighy, said that we could utilize the same staircase to access to the new master bedroom addition.

It was awkward walking up these steps due the pitch. I never saw the hoard that was in the attic space. After John hauled everything out, I walked up the steps and saw the attic empty. I had to crouch over in order to take a look.

Afterwards, John tore the roof off the house for framing the addition. Click here to read.

Remember this? It was scary to have a house without a roof. I was thinking, “Uh oh” what have I gotten myself into! But there was no turning back.

So you can see in this photo where this original staircase ended. It’s to the right where there’s a square opening above the long header. That opening was the opening to the attic area.

And now, in the below photo, the opening leads to the master bedroom which goes 18 feet beyond the back of the original house.

After John cut out the old stair case, he installed three new stringers. It wasn’t easy to measure and cut the stringers. If you ever think you might do a DIY project and haven’t done stringers before, just hire a carpenter. It’s not worth the time and aggravation to do it yourself.

After installing the stringers, John had to finish hanging the Sheetrock to the ceiling in the upstairs hallway. He also had to spackle, sand and prime. This time, the spackling wasn’t any fun. The joint compound had debris, it must have been a bad batch and it was getting on the walls. If this ever happens, take it back and exchange it for a fresh bucket. Sometimes you just get a bad batch. The previous 30 buckets used for the entire house were perfectly fine.

At Home Depot, John purchased pine treads (steps) and cut them to the correct width. We chose pine because my plan is to paint and stencil each riser.

I wrote about stenciling stairs last year. Read about it here. 

If this was the main staircase visible in the living room, we would have chosen oak and stained it. Since this staircase leads to the bedroom, it’s location is upstairs and in a private area so we chose pine, and since they’ll be painted anyway, pine is perfectly fine to use.

For the risers (the vertical pieces of wood above each step/tread), John bought 1×8 SELECT pine which doesn’t have knots–it’s great to stain or paint. Each SELECT 10′ 1×8 board cost $20.

Regular pine is less money but has knots. The knots lend a country/rustic look which is not what we wanted. Additionally, knots are darker when stained. If you don’t want knotty pine, buy knot-free SELECT.

John took this photo standing in the new addition looking down the stairwell. He’s standing in that framed out square in the above roof-less photo.

Downstairs and to the right is the hall bathroom and to the left is the hallway leading to the three other bedrooms.

The last step in finishing this project will be installing the 1×8 material on the left and right where you see gaps between the stairs and wall. And finally, painting the walls with color!


One Year Ago!

We’ve come a long way since one year ago. The following photos were taken last March 4th, when John was in the midst of insulating the entire house.

At the time, the furnace was not turned on in the house and it was a cold winter. I wish it had been as mild as this winter has been but things don’t work out that way.

I remember thinking how cozy the insulation looked in the bays, like a big, fluffy down comforter.

Even though, the furnace had not been turned on, it instantly felt warmer with the insulation and it cut down on outside noise–it was no longer a shell of a house.

And, believe me, the way John insulated this house, it’s incredibly warm. I didn’t have to turn on the furnace until Thanksgiving.

We used a Vornado room heater wherever we were working in the house. The unit makes a room nice and toasty. It’s great for chilly autumn and spring days/nights.

I highly recommend getting one. Since it’s 55 degrees out right now and the furnace has not kicked on (I have it set at 53) I actually have my Vornado on while I write this post.

And for those of you (and my followers) who live in desert states with those chilly nights that you can get, I can’t think of anything better than one of these room heaters.

If you do your own insulation installation, always wear a mask and gloves. And keep your arms covered.

Today, a year later, it will reach a high of 70 degrees with 96% humidity in the afternoon. Go figure!