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What’s Happening In Waldo: Good-Bye Walls! Hello Family Dinner!

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Like many homes built in this era and area (say that five times fast), our 1920’s home is tall, narrow and full of lots of small rooms. It’s perfect if you have a dozen kids that all need their own space (or need to house your ever growing lone chair collection– leave no chair behind!), but not so great if you want an entire family to have a meal together in the same place. See this is what she looks like from the outside. We also have a killer hill for a front yard that makes our big beast appear a little more spooky than she really is.

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Today I wanted to dish about a wall removal that happened between our kitchen and dining room. Now, to start, let the record state that our dining room held our family of 5 just fine, but it wasn’t large enough to hold our local extended family for a holiday or big event — nor were any of their homes for the same reason. This of course makes the pressure (which is obviously self-inflicted — like any good over-thinker), to create a room that will house such an activity, immense. I come from a family that no matter how big it grew, we all dined in the same area, while wearing our un-ironic (at the time) Christmas sweaters, and thus I have every intention of putting my beloved family through the same torture. Somehow large gatherings are cool when Pokemon are involved, but less cool when it involves putting a napkin in your lap! *sigh* Kids these days.

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Our dining room is a funny space. It houses an extra-wide doorway to the living room (unseen as it’s on the left wall in the photo above) and traditional doorways to the kitchen and front hall. There’s also a door that’s been removed that used to lead to the deck. Wait a minute — have we acknowledged the hideous paint in this room? Sure, sure it doesn’t look too bad from this shot, but the white ceiling trim has this, not-always-consistently-dark-green paint all over it. Although, it could have been all moody and on fleek (can we use that word when talking about decor or just our eyebrows?), but it was wrecked by bad application and lack of anything bright to make it NOT resemble a Hobbit hole. Move over Frodo, we’re movin’ in!

 

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It also contained a sweet, built-in china cabinet with sliding doors and enough storage to conceal all drama pertaining to Taylor Swift and Kanye West inside — until I came along. Having lived in several open concept warehouse spaces in the past, I’ve come to love their floor plans as they tend to challenge our ways of thinking on how we use space and what things we can eliminate when we don’t have as many walls to keep stuff on. They’re freeing! Although it means you can’t hide your dirty dishes after dinner, it does mean you’re able to impart guilt on your guests to come help you tidy afterwards — and that’s what family events are for right? Guilt? (sorry not sorry Mom if you’re reading this).

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Alas, with this structure, that wasn’t in the cards as our balloon-frame abode just won’t tolerate such stress without pricey, supplemental support and so I’ve settled for more of an “open as I can get” space. This of course means, that beautiful china cabinet had to go. We had grand plans to simply un-house it from the wall and build a frame for it and use it in our decor upstairs until we started in on the project. The cabinet had been built from scraps and was quite literally one with the wall so first things first, we removed the plaster on the dining room side of the wall and then started the demolition of the cabinet.

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Now. normally, folks who undergo a renovation or repair on a certain part of their home tend to take a few precautionary measures before starting. They remove all furniture and accessories and decorative items and wrap in plastic or a tarp those that can not be removed. They might plastic off the area from falling debris or cover vents and open windows. Then — then there’s my husband. All of these seemingly large things are just too much when you’re SO EXCITED to tear something out.  His love of getting a project started is not unlike a kid in a candy store or a 7 year old on Christmas morning. Truth be told, when every part of your home has renovation going on in it, there’s little place to actually move things too, but I felt as though I needed a disclaimer as to why our tables and other areas are all seemingly still full of stuff (and weird stuff too!) Remember this is real, real life!

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So this is when I pause because y’all– removing entire walls from your home is TERRIFYING. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it, there’s still this insane fear that the house will come crashing in on you. No seriously. It doesn’t matter how much physics is up in your head, that all goes out the window when you start removing studs. I’m O.K. with this guttural reaction as I’m the type of person who will go all Fried Green Tomatoes on a wall and yell, ” TO WANDA!” and demo things just because I can. So it’s probably best that my brain comes pre-wired to keep me safe. Moving on…

Piece by piece (you collected me) it slowly came down. Now, we should probably note that this wasn’t our first project in the home and obviously isn’t the last, but it WAS the first time I’d seen my husband with a rather cautious look to him. I found out later, he actually WAS worried about the ceiling caving in and although he added additional header support to help hold things in place he couldn’t be positive that this wouldn’t yield in disaster. When I was younger I thought I’d be living on the edge by now. I guess this is as edgy as Wisconsin gets.

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As we removed the cabinet we uncovered all sorts of treasures that were built inside. For instance, there was a newspaper from 1957 that is packed with amazing line art illustrations and job listings for both women and men — because of course they can’t have the same job! Why I never! We found a shot glass, two feathers and a some coins along with a whole host of dead spiders. Ew. Gross.

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Once the main support for the wall had been removed there was this tension in the air. We had reached the point of no return and no matter what happened — this cabinet was coming out! It was akin to the suffering that plagues you the instant you realize you want to take your bra off for the night,  and then realize you can’t because you still have to walk the dog or take the neighbors brownies and you’re instantly annoyed. Aaaaaaand by annoyed I mean grateful for the opportunity to provide service to your family and to others — no wait, I really just mean annoyed. There were 5,000+ nails holding this sucker in place and it seemed it would never break free, but once it had been pushed off its axis it felt as though it needed to have been removed like yesterday and so piece by piece (he restored my faith) out it came!

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Two sawzall blades later it was on it’s way to heading out the door. We took every last bit outside to our burn pile. For most folks, a fire in your backyard is held in a cute, controlled, little fire pit and you roast a marshmallow every once in awhile. In our home, our fire pit is the fastest way to get rid of wooden building material that can no longer be reused. First we strip reusable wood pieces and hardware from the debris and sort it out by like size and material. It’s sent off to find homes in the garage or out back in what we affectionately call “the lumber garden” (more on that later).

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The rest, finds it’s way to the burn pile to die a fiery death, where it then turns to ash. It’s the cleanest way to remove old debris that can’t be salvaged or reused in any way, shape, or form. The ashes are then dug out every few weeks and we start all over again.

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As an added bonus, letting your oldest tend to a 15′ materials bon fire in your backyard wins you serious cool points. It should also be noted that we live within a holler (see: yell, shout, scream) of the 3 firemen for our village and our children were trained in fire safety before they could ride bikes.

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Now the space between the two rooms awaits its final treatments. The headers are in and we no longer worry that the sky is falling. We have a few ideas rolling around but as is the nature with working with found materials, you often work with what you stumble upon and not what you plan for! One thing we know for sure is this wall that leads into the kitchen will be covered in black pallet wood to help blend our homemade pipe kitchen shelving as we won’t be reinstalling cabinets, but I’ll save that story for another day! Thanks for tuning into our little “What’s Happening in Waldo” corner! Have you ever torn out walls? What sort of problems or things did you learn along the way? Let us know in the comments below!

Scandi Sanctuary Bedroom Dilemmas,Details, + Sources

Hey there!! Huge (massive!) thank you to everyone who took the time to click over and vote yesterday for this fun bedroom makeover, it makes my heart so happy to know that so many of you took the time to do that!  Remember that one lucky voter will win a $15k room makeover from the winner so chances are I could end up at your house!!  You can vote here! And I know that my international folks cant see the contest so here are the links to the Jen’s and Carter’s rooms.

Alrighty then, lets get on with the details of this space shall we? If you know me AT ALL you know I love a good accent wall. This dramatic black shiplap was one of those projects that turned out even better than I imagined. Its just so moody, and lets be honest, cool. Way too cool for a dork like me but I’m just going to pretend that I can hang.

I said it in my last post, but I feel like this room could have be in anyone’s house. It was a little bit of a beige jungle and guess what? Friends don’t let friends have beige houses.

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Tyler and Sarah have the same problem that a lot of people deal with. They have a king size bed and not a huge bedroom. In fact, the only wall that was large enough for the bed is the wall with the window on it, which isn’t ideal because it limits the headboard options (you obviously don’t want a massive upholstered headboard that blocks 3/4 of the light that comes through the window.) They also had a ginorm platform that the bed sat on.  It took up about 15” on all sides of the already huge bed. When they built it they had grand storage plans but weren’t using it all that much so it was ok to get rid of.

Ok lets discuss the curtain situation. One of the reasons that a bed against the window is a problem is because the curtains aren’t allowed to be super functional. The width of the curtain rod mount was also a bit of a contributor to this situation.

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If you happen to find yourself in a similar situation, here is a little trick. Mount the curtains higher on the wall and use a rod that is wide enough that the inside edge of the curtains can hang next to the edge of the window. Here, let me show you.

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Doesn’t that window look wildly bigger?! Its like magic!

Ok sorry, I went off on a curtain tangent.

Lets talk about the walls. The first thing that we did was repaint the walls with my favorite white (which has been officially titled Mandi White at my local Sherwin-Williams store) It is their extra white base with 3 oz of white pigment added. Its kind of crazy how much painting your walls and ceiling white opens up the room and gives it so much life.

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The headboard is a DIY that even the most beginner DIYer can knock out in less than an hour!! Though it did push me outside of my comfort zone and sent me to the actual lumber yard. (It was sort of terrifying!) Tutorial and story for that coming soon!!

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Do you recognize the wall sconces? If you are a frequent Target shopper than I’m sure you’ve seen these killer table lamps yes?

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Wellllll, all we did was take the weight out of the bottom (this will require you to disconnect and reconnect a pair of wire nuts) and hang it on the wall. FREAKING BRILLIANT RIGHT??! Man those things look like they should be hundreds of bucks. I love a good hack.

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The throw at the end of the bed is actually this rug from World Market! The original plan was to put it on the floor (obvi because its a rug and all) but I set it on the end of the bed so I could vacuum and I was like “Hmmmm. It looks like it should live there.” Is it a little unconventional? Maybe but man it looks so great!!

The one request that Sarah had was a vanity, which happened to be the perfect reason to get rid of the TV.

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The vanity is this desk from Target. I’m not going to lie, I was stressing about this situation. With such a fast turnaround I didn’t have time to order anything online so I was limited to what little (miniscule) offerings St. George stores had. I was striking out left and right and had saved Target for the end. When I saw this desk I was SO HAPPY, it was just the right size, the color was great because it was there, but not too bold, and it was available!  Bada bing!

I used a hanging light kit with beige cord from the shop and rehung the vintage cast iron mirror that they had. All of the trinkets and books are either thrifted, from the clearance section at Homegoods, or from Target. With the exception of the FREAKING AMAZING GEODES + STANDS. YOU GUYS. I died when the showed up at my house. They are from Vintau and I cant even put into words how much I love them. In fact I’m feeling a little Speidi obsessive about it. I mean, who ever thought I’d relate to Spencer Pratt?

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The amazing dresser is one that I’ve been hoarding in the back of storage unit #2 for a while. It just so so good.

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The Jackelope Tyler had just hanging out in his office…I love how it adds a little bit of weirdness to the serious wall. The hanging Macramé planter is from IKEA! I’m not going to lie, I feel a little ashamed that I bought something that I can so easily make but its hard finding giant wooden beads (do you know of anywhere!?) It comes with a tray that I didn’t use.  Clock is this legend from Target and is just like the one that I used in my Laundry Room. What can I say, its a good clock. The print is a picture that Tyler took when they were in Italy last year. He’s an incredible photographer (thats actually how we met, he shoots the landscapes for my Temple Prints)

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OK phew. Did I miss anything important? I swear that this post has taken me 3 days to write with Mr. Brem all up in my grill. Don’t forget to click over and vote for a chance to win a $15K makeover from yours truly!

Sources for everything linked below!

Sconces | Pillows (Homegoods) | Bedding | Rug/Throw | Curtains | Basket (Homegoods) | Jackelope (vintage) | Macramé Planter | Silver Bowl (Homegoods) | Planter  | Clock | Dresser (vintage) | Desk | Hanging light | Gold Vase | Gold Mirror (vintage) | Geodes + Stands | Black Square Mirror | Black and White Print | Antlers (vintage)

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