Sunday, August 2, 2009

Project I - Mom's Room

May 16, 2009

So, we actually started work on the house 2 months ago - these next couple of posts will be us catching up with what we've already finished. The project that quickly rose to the top of our list was to provide cozy accommodations for my mom who was arriving in late-June to help with my Grand Opening events at work - thanks, Mom! The least we could do was provide her with a nice, comfy room to call her own.

However, after moving in to the house in late-April, we quickly noticed a musty smell radiating from the back bedroom. This was supposed to be our guest room! We kept the door shut and proceeded to move in and settle into our home around that room. Mold, and unhealthy air-quality was a real concern for me - I already had my summer allergies coming on and had heard unfortunate stories about what breathing mold can do to a person. The last thing I wanted was our new home to cause harm to us or anyone else in our home.

It was obvious that condensation was a problem around the windows - single-pane, original 1950s windows left black mildew stains all over the window sills. We tried wiping down the sills with a solution of warm water and bleach, but the musty smell still prevailed. Spencer carved small sections of wall board out to see what he could discover in the walls - nothing visible. I'm not sure what he was expecting to see - something like this??! - Luckily, that was not the case. Regardless, we needed to rid our house of the smell and whatever harm was lurking in the room, so we decided to demo the outside walls in this bedroom - removing the wall board and insulation.

Spencer quickly saw a new talent of mine - efficient and effective destruction! We had fun :)

Even after ripping the guts of the wall out, we still didn't find much of anything to find that real ah-ha moment. We proceeded to wipe down the inside of the walls with warm water and bleach and then we added another layer of Mold Control solution.

During our demo and clean-up, it was incredible to find what lay behind the flat painted walls: 1 x 12 planks of knotty cedar. Sap lay behind these walls crystallized, revealing the purity of the product. A true testament that this is a tried-and-true Northwest home.

We let the room sit for a few days and went back in to find only the fragrant smells of cedar radiating from the walls. No hint of must survived. Satisfied with our remediation, Spencer proved to me that he was better than Heman and Spider Man combined - I got home from work to find that he had hung the room full of drywall and perfectly mudded every seam and crevice by himself.

To add the final touches, we needed a fresh layer of paint and curtains to match. Spencer's technique of choosing paint colors scared me at first: he hits up the Oops! shelf of mis-matched paint and chooses the colors he likes. A gallon of Yolo paint (No VOC, GreenSeal Certified) at Ecohaus (Environmental Home Store) runs $40. On the Oops! shelf it's a mere $8. At first my reaction was - We are going to choose the colors of our house, based on other's mistakes?! - Now that I've faced the daunting color charts myself and see the fun that these Oops! colors have brought to our walls, I realize the uncanny luck of turning one person's mistake into our indomitable first choice. We choose cloud blue and light olive green. I, too, choose a fabric from the clearance rack at Pacific Fabrics for curtains - a funky African-print in greens, browns and blues would finish the room perfectly.

Our spare room was ready for our first guest - Welcome Mama Gray!

For our friends and family who are out there reading - know that we invite you to come and stay and experience our cozy guest room too!

:) patty homemaker


  1. Nice Work! I see a two pronged outlet in the demo, did you add a grounded one while in there?

  2. You have a good eye! - that is something Spencer promised me he would take care of ... still waiting for that to happen :) This may be exactly the kind of outside rallying he needs to get the job done. Spencer, I didn't put him up to this!

  3. Great, thanks Paul. You home wrecker.

  4. I also spy my ladder... I miss my ladder :(

  5. Wow, you guys are good! Do you rent Spencer out? Our house needs some work ;)

  6. Yes, Amy! Spencer is for hire - he is starting a design + build business with his construction buddies. Let me know when you have project for him!

    :) patricia

  7. I already tried the room out, and it works great. I see grandma's quilt on the bed. While the guys are looking at tools & electrical outlets, us girls check the decor. Good job everyone.