When you give a girl new clothes...

Once upon a time, a girl went shopping for some new fall clothes (also, a new mall opened up in Eagan...so I HAD to check it out...). She scored some great deals and came home staring at an already overflowing closet, wondering if she needs to buy a new house with larger closet space. She investigated (read: emptied out) the closet a bit more and found it wasn't being used to it's potential! AND! It was really dirty (a result of never being painted when the bedroom was painted #lazypainters)...

So, with a basement full of leftover paint and wood scraps, she fancied herself some shelves. 

NOW There's PLENTY of room for new clothes! Donating a few bags of clothes also helped the cause... :)

Building shelving is a quick and easy thing to do. ALL you need is a drill, a stud finder and a level (oh, and wood). Home Depot can cut the wood pieces down for your so NO saws needed! Drill pilot holes into the wood supports before attaching them to the wall (A pilot hole is a hole drilled into the wood a little smaller than the screw. This prevents the wood from splitting when you insert the screw). If you can't attach to a stud, use some drywall anchors. Make sure you check for level after every step!

Sealing the Deal

Remember this picture? A good 'ol shot from when I bought the house with my rose colored glasses still on.

Lemme zoom in a bit to really gross you out...

What IS that stuff. IDK probs mold. Probs chipped paint. Probs a layer of concrete that is PEELING off. Excellent.

And that's how the room sat for oh, 7 months. BUT I COULDN'T TAKE IT ANY LONGER. You see, once I ripped off the ceiling EVERYTHING that was once in the work room, moved into the storage room. And the storage room moved to the living room. And the living room turned into a jungle adventure anytime I needed something. This needed to be fixed ASAP. A ceiling down is NBD. But since the room was cleared, it was high time to handle the hot mess of a walls. 

THEY say prep is 90% of the work. In this case, it was 110% of the work. Here's how it went down.

Day 1: Wash the walls with vinegar in an attempt to get the discoloring out (spoiler: didn't work). Chip away concrete rubble

Day 2: Bring out the big guns: Use my drill and a wire brush attachment to clean the walls/get the concrete rubble out and rouge paint chips (tested negative for Lead: WIN!). Clean the walls with drylok etcher (spoiler: does very little)

Day 3: BLEACH the walls (spoiler: does nothing). Patch holes with hydraulic cement.

Day 4: Give up and just start painting. 

The yellow bottom is paint, and the white is efflorescent (which is from the concrete, and was semi-removed with the drylok etching solution) I chipped as much of the paint/concrete off as I could. Drylok only seals concrete, so any area with paint on it would not be sealed (in this case it's fine - this area wasn't water damaged)

Patching above withydraulic cement, it expands as it dries making a stronger bond for the patch.

I used Drylok for the walls which hit the exterior (all interior walls still need to be done, but with normal paint, any volunteers?!) this stuff is the THICKEST paint out there, BUT it seals your walls. You literally just glob it on, brushing in all directions to make sure it gets in all the nooks in the concrete. The first coat already looked 100x better, BUT some of the discolored walls were still showing through which made me want to light the house on fire. THANKFULLY the second coat did the trick (2 coats are recommended). 

After 1 coat: you can still see some of the concrete coloring through the white. Or maybe you can't and i'm just crazy.

IT'S LIKE A WHOLE NEW ROOM! So, fingers crossed, this stuff should last about 10 years and not let ANY water through the walls. NOW the fun part: putting all my tools back in the work room. Oh yeah, and that ceiling...

Quick and easy art

As mentioned perhaps more times than necessary, the previous owners left abuncha stuff here. Amongst the items were a some picture frames of various sizes. PERFECT! Because my walls could use some art! Unfortunately, the scenes were less than appealing...

Although it's a beautiful winter mountain scene, the color scheme wasn't really matching my groove. AND since it wasn't a Monet or anything, I was willing to absolutely destroy it. 

The painting has some pretty cool texture which I was digging, so I just painted over it all in white acrylic paint, ya know to get a good base (it's ALL about the base).

Then I used some leftover wall sample paints to act like an artist until I liked the results. I like that in the future if I HATE the colors I can just paint over it again. SO VERSATILE! So, for now, it sits here...

Project Distractions...

I feel like it was summer when we went to sleep and then BAM by morning fall was like "wassup want some pumpkin shoved into your face?" I'm not ready, are you? Don't get me wrong, fall is my FAV time of year, but didn't it feel like summer was like 2 weeks long? Not fair.

I was deep in the trenches of the 'ol basement ceiling removal when my neighbs came over and was like..."sooo...I saw a mouse." Once I was done freaking out he told me it was outside *relief*..BUT a woman down the street is INFESTED (his word, not mine), which basically made me vomit. Looking out for me (and his garage), in a good neighborly way, he suggested I move a nice little rock pile I've acquired over the summer with a few de-landscaping moves. So, there went 2 nights shoveling rock and dumping it in a dumpster down the street (thanks to another neighb that is demoing some concrete and luckily had a dumpster on site!).

Anyone need some pavers?!

I get so very distracted when working in my basement (aka loose motivation SO FAST). I'm still finding things lodged in the ceiling the previous owner left behind. In my furnace...alcove...there are a few cabinets (shocking). I turned on all the lights, put on gloves and a mask (I have an irrational fear that things hide in cabinets just to jump out at me) and opened them up, as in, I haven't opened them before. My inspector probably has, I assume? But, unless I put each material possession I own in a single cabinet I will NEVER be able to fill all the cabinets in this house. ANYWAYS. I found a few boxes of VCT tile! YAY....jk. BUT, this discovery did save me some dollabillz (I don't have to test the tiles anymore!). YOU SEE, the basement is COVERED in VCT tile. Not just one, but THREE different, equally ugly, styles. IDEALLY i'd rip them all out to attach the new flooring to the concrete. HOWEVER. Right on the box it said "VCT ASBESTOS TILE" *perma grumpy face* Anyone need a few boxes of VCT tile from the 70's?.....crickets....

Whatever, YOU CAN STAY. But don't think ima paint you (did you know you can paint over this? With outdoor porch paint?! COOL HUH?), or cover you in REAL tile, or carpet or crayon or SOMETHING. 

If you don't like it then you should put some stone on it.

Whilst in the trenches of the basement renovation, I taught myself how to clone a human so I could get some work outside done AT THE SAME TIME! Because, why finish one project when it's halfway done when you can start a NEW AND EXITING ONE!

SO, my geeeerahge. The siding is short about 2.5' riiihurrr, and it looks, meh...

See that little area to the left of the door? Or the corner by the downspout? Not a HUGE deal, but the patch jobs were...not so great? I knew i'd eventually want to beef this area up. Paint? Mural?! BRICK? ALL THE BRICK? So, when a co-worker came to me with a baller deal on a brick mosaic I was like...WHEN CAN WE START? 

Strategically hidden by blue table and chairs

I googled my brains out on how to install it and bought the materials and we just WENT for it. Thankfully, he just finished doing this on his house, so he basically taught me and then left me to finish the proj.

Brick mosaic (mine was about 1/2" thick)
Type S mortar (I used 2.5 bags for 70 sq.ft)
5 Gallon bucket
Hammer Drill (you can rent from Home Depot) & screws*
Wet tile saw (also rentable)

*unless you are installing on plywood, then you'll need to install wire mesh!

Juuust mixing up some cupcakes, don't mind me
FIRST, mix the mortar, you want it the consistency of peanut butter. If there isn't enough water, sticking it to the wall is going to be HORRIBLE, so just add more water/more mortar until you get the good stuff. ALSO, stirring mortar with a power drill is basically like using a blender,  it's SO FUN/FAST.

THEN, go to your wall and dry fit a piece of stone into place, mark the bottom line of the stone with a marker.

Make sure to drill on or above the line to fully prop the piece up

Then, use your HAMMATIME drill and plow through the concrete at two points along your line. We are doing this so we can use screws to hold up the stone while the mortar dries. If you want, you COULD hold it in place for like 24 hours, but your arms might get tired.

Then smear on someadat mortar. I also placed the screws lightly into the holes before placing the stone on. YOU SEE, the stone is kinda heavy, and SOMETIMES I lost the screw holes (it's super difficult to re-hammer drill holes WHILE holding up these pieces). SO. Make your life easier, and slide the stone in WITH the screws in place, then screw them in all the way after placing the stone.

You'll also need to smoosh some mortar all over the back of the tile before placing it on the wall. When placing it, slide it in there a bit for better adhesion. 

THEN, screw the screws all the way in to hold the piece TIGHT and move onto the next one!

Once I got in a groove it took about 5 minutes per tile, and I can only do 1 row a day, to let the mortar on that row fully dry before pulling out the screws and starting on the next row.

If you want it to go faster you can work your way from the bottom up, screwing a piece of wood at the bottom to hold up the brick. Ya know, DO YOU.

Hammer drill stage right

looks like it's time to pull some weeds...

The project took about 2 weeks, working every other day after work for 2.5 hours. Once you finish the tile, you'll want to caulk the gaps between the pieces and on all of the corners/sides to really seal the deal. And maybe paint your door because wtf happened there??!...

There's still a lot to be done on the landscaping front, but I feel it was a successful first summer here! We installed a rain barrel, removed the eyesore canopy, and planted some new greenery. Still so much to do, i'm most excited for some raised garden beds I've been noodling. AND to finally tackle the FRONT yard. Fingers crossed winter doesn't last until APRIL this season!