Mancave Make-over

We admittedly got a slow start updating our second home. The main reason was because we learned from our first home, how difficult it is to live in the midst of a renovtion. As you can see below,  that is home depot blue outdoor carpeting.  We lived on pieces of it for 6 months while we saved money for flooring. There was one advantage to the outdoor carpet…We were also in the process of potty training our puppy.

(That is Sutter at 10 weeks old! Such a cutie!)


Essentially we lived directly on the concrete slab, no padding, all through the winter. The first house barely had a working bathroom, a mud pond for a backyard, popcorn ceiling, the list went on and on… Therefore we were not in a rush to undertake ANY remodeling on our second home.

The other reasons we were slow to renovate was because of our wedding and a career change. However hubby’s birthday was coming up and he needed the ultimate birthday gift…A man cave!

Good starting point right? Com’on you can’t really mess up a man cave!

There was a catch…It had multiple functions: a gym, a place to hang with friends, work space and (of course) dog space…. I had a lot of work ahead of me.

Luckily the bedazzled popcorn ceilings were gone. Yet we still had bright orange wood paneling, two tone cabinets (and not in a good way), beaten up workbench, and did I also mention the wasp nests and black widows…The garage needed more than a good cleaning, it needed an overhaul.See the before pics…

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Here was the TO DO list, break down:

1. Re-stain orange wood paneling a darker shade

2. Paint the cabinets, and work bench. Add new hardware

3. Cover old grout on paneling above the workbench

4. Paint and decorate the walls

5. Organize, and clean, clean, clean!

6. Keep the budget really low…Because men are normally happiest with creative gifts you spend the least amount of money on…wink, wink…

Here are some (in progress) “pseudo-after” pics…




Total cost and materials:

-Glidden (1gal) cement gray for west wall $23

-Glidden (1qt) custom color match of denim blue $14

-Dark Mission oak stain (1gal) $21

-10 chrome hardware handles $1.12

-16 roof flashing tiles $0.78

Total cost $81.68

I hope to change out some light fixtures, add custom shelving and even considering staining/sealing the concrete at some point. However this will be a  L-O-N-G project as there are many other rooms to update. (I’m sure batman did not build the bat cave overnight.) Both dogs and hubby love the new and improved man cave…. And I won the “wife of the year” award with just a little paint, and some elbow grease.

Hospital Walls Are Caving In On Me!

As the ceilings were still being painted, and fences installed I started planning paint colors. We were over at the new house taping up paint chips and testing colors on the walls. However we also wanted to ensure the dogs were being acclimated to the new backyard and home. We did not need our own dramatic version of Homeward Bound Dobes.

homeward bound dobes

Therefore we were taking daily jaunts over to the new house after work. Bringing over a few boxes at a time, with the dogs in tow.

As for painting I was going a little nuts trying to figure out a color scheme. Hubby reigned me in with logic…

  1. We haven’t lived in the house yet and don’t know how our furniture will look.
  2. Our mischievous dogs, had already wrecked a few paint jobs.

He knew if I had a chance I would go on a painting spree and then do it all over again because I wouldn’t be satisfied. Therefore we compromised, paint one room initially then figure out the rest later. Hmmm…Which room to paint?

I settled on the living room, because the current color was making me looney! It was literally the color of hospital walls. You know, that weird beige color stuck between peach and pink. I don’t know how the previous owner mastered that shade, but considering I was working in a medical clinic, I did not want to literally bring my work home with me…Here’s a before pic (I scrounged off the previous for sale website) so you can see the full effect of hospital beige meets burgundy fire place.

living room before pic

The color I ended up choosing was Olivewood by Glidden. However I knew if I wanted a green tone living room, the red 1940s brick had to go. (Or else it would look like Christmas year round) Taking a cue from Young House Love, (and a couple glasses of wine for courage) I painted the fireplace white. Here is an after shot.


Still a work in progress but at least I don’t live in a hospital anymore.

Glitter Popcorn Ceiling Be-gone!

Again we’re playing catch up from our last year… Also I figured I’d get all the ugly truths out on the table, there were a few projects where we had to call the professionals in. Even after the fences were up we still couldn’t move into our new home. Why? (Aside from my husband’s head exploding from wedding preparations) No, uglier…We found in the home inspection asbestos in the ceilings. There was white popcorn pretty much everywhere, including the garage…Yes the garage… It was even tricked out with glitter.

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We had two options:

1) Encapsulate the ceilings throughout; paint and /or hide it behind drywall.

2) Have it removed professionally.

We opted for the later, as we may want to renovate upwards and punching through two layers of asbestos ridden drywall did not sound appealing. Especially if we are living in the middle of the renovation.

This project may not have been dog centered, but we were considering ALL of the family’s health when we made the decision.

hazmat puppy


We also made sure the removal would take place before we moved everything in.

In the later choice our renovation budget took a major hit. Less money for all the “pretty,” eye catching projects I had brewing in my head. Also, as I told my friends and family, “I can live with ugly for a bit.”

We were so glad we did! (Poof, glitter begone!)

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We were actually able to see the curvature and details of our ceiling once the popcorn and glitter cleared!  The ceilings were higher, and highlighted some of the neat mid-century details.

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Aren’t they spiffy!

We went with an imperfect smooth texture that mimicked the rest of the plaster smooth walls of our 1950s home. The total cost of asbestos abatement in four rooms, disposal, then retexturing and painting put us back just under $4,000. However from ALL of our seven estimates this was by far the cheapest and best bang for our buck.

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We still have one problem to deal with…(Duh, duh duhhh! Cue dramatic music) Our dining room had popcorn ceiling that we couldn’t remove. The previous popcorn had been sprayed directly onto the plaster ceiling, then shaved and painted over. Albeit the asbestos was encapsulated and safe, it still screams ugly! I’ll post much later on how we plan on solving that problem…

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(Please ignore ugly fan and drapes…there are big plans for this room)

Altogether to remove all of it would’ve created a very expensive mess. The professionals recommended we hold off on removing it since the budget could not take another hit…We still have a roof to replace! All in all I can live with ugly…

For a bit….

Fencing It All In

Before we could move into our new place, with two “raptor smart,” over-sized Dobermans… raptor dobe

Therefore we needed an over-sized fence. This house had been fence-less for 64 years!

(Good sign, it was that kind of neighborhood for that long!)

Two big problems though:

1) Anyone could walk up the driveway and access the backyard

2) Sutter and Sierra would escape to go on neighborhood squirrel hunting safaris.

squirrel hunting

Before we could officially move in we needed fences. There were two conditions:

1) The fences had to be really tall (Sutter can look over fences when he stands on his back legs) and really strong…(So escaped dobes would not terrorize the neighborhood.)

2) They also had to swing open to the backyard. Since the fences would double as garage and backyard access. (Maybe someday with automatic opening capability…pause for dreamily sighing)

Essentially these fences would be very big and very heavy!

We were in the midst of wedding planning and packing so we had a friend build them for us…

(At times, certain projects needed to be left to the pros.)

Or this would’ve been my poor hubby…


(He was already suffering through all the girly wedding planning and weekly jaunts to the in-laws)

Overall, and sadly have to admit, we forgot to stain our newly constructed fence doors. They lost their beautiful redwood sheen, and started to yellow from the elements. Which brings me back to re-staining the fences…“lazy- man style”

I used a staining brush, about $5-$6 home depot and a lower VOC Pacific Redwood stain by Preserva Wood ($26)

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…See this Home Depot link for the proper use…but keep reading to see it done “lazy man style”

Laying down some left over (super thick) painting paper to protect the concrete we went to work on the fences. I tested a few spots to check if the color was right.

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Second hubby was my brave “spider killer” brushing out all the nooks and crannies with a broom. (As people in Sacramento know how prevalent black widows are)…GET’EM HON, GET’EM!

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(That’s me the scaredy cat with the extender pole above)

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The staining was turning out well till, I spotted a gnarly BW…Yikes! Promptly ditching the hand brush and attached the painting pole onto it.

Overall staining was easy, it only took about an hour to complete two fence doors (front and back) Drying time was quick, and we scheduled the staining for a hot weekend. The one casualty in this project was my favorite golf hat which I had forgotten to take off. Nice red stain drops=New favorite painting hat

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Considering how easy it was, we plan on adding this task to the “TO-DO” calendar for next year…Cinco de Mayo = Fence Re-staining day! A good excuse for a cervesa afterwards.

After shot…Cheers!

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A Year in the Making …Starting with a “Super Sized” fence…

This blog should’ve started three years ago, but we had some unexpected events happen…called life! Aside from the past couple years,  2012 was our busiest and happiest one;  planning and hosting a DIY wedding, buying our second home, rental renovation, starting a dream job…And Yay! In 2012 the world never ended or we wouldn’t have this blog.

Now that you’ve heard the excuses here we go…