When I first moved into my house 4 years ago, I knew it was a fixer upper.  I could see the potential the moment that I walked into the house.  Even though the carpets were a horrendous color, the walls were dirty, cobwebs hung from the ceiling and everything in the house was outdated, I knew it was home.  In my fantasies it was like a tool wherehouse commercial.  Everything would be quick and easy, I would be a superhero of home improvement with the lights of the heavens shining on me and music soaring in the background.  Angels would surely sing my name and clerks at the big box tool wherehouse would bow to me.   Reality check.  So many corners were cut by the old homeowner that nothing has been easy.  Any time I want to do a "simple" job, it turns into a gigantic cluster (insert expletive here).  Even just changing out sockets.  It's an easy job.  I've done it countless times.  Normally to change out a socket, I'm to the point that I don't have to turn off the power, well I didn't until this house.  The wiring is messed up, hence the reason I found quite a few of my outlets don't work.  One outlet had power going through the ground! How that never caught the house on fire is beyond me.  A "simple" sink install had to be reworked due to a 50 degree corner!  What?!  There have been so many jobs that "had" to get done that I stopped concentrating on one area and became flighty in what I was doing.  It was my step-mom who finally said "stop".  Now that the bedrooms are done, concentrate on finishing one area.  That's what I'm doing now.

I decided that since my son and I spend so much time in the family room (also called the game room), that would be the first project.  I had pulled the carpet up some three years ago because I couldn't stand walking on it.  You know in crappy hotel rooms with that really dirty, matted, greasy carpet........? No, just me?  The carpet was beyond, beyond gross and had to go.  It did, but not without a fight.  However, that will be in the next blog so read on.  The first thing that I did after getting the carpet up, was take down the popcorn ceiling and retexture.  I wish that I had taken pictures of that but alas I did not.  Needles to say that I have gotten very good at taking down that kind of ceiling.  Do note, if your house was built prior to 1979, have the texture tested for asbestos prior to taking it down.  There are online companies you can send it to for the testing.  It cost me $115.  Luckily no asbestos in my house.  I took down the popcorn, filled all sheetrock nail holes and any imperfections, used ceiling primer, retextured and then did the final painting.  Easy peasy and that was done in two weekends.  Now onto the walls.  See the walls, the walls have wood, there is no sheetrock under the wood.  I painted the wood.  Yep, for all you screaming out there, I did it.  Painted right over it. Actually I put on two to three coats of primer for wood, let it cure for almost two weeks and then painted over it. This room was dark and dingy before and then with the walls painted, wow.  What a difference.
The Family room 2 months after moving in. I was sleeping in here because I was giving my room a complete make over (floors, ceiling, walls). See the carpet, that is the top carpet, there was an even uglier one completely glued down underneath it. See the walls? Wood, all wood, with no sheetrock under it. Great, just great.
My son and dogs 3 years ago. My son is now almost 5' 7" tall and the littlest dog is blind. However, see the carpet he is standing on. EVERY. SQUARE. INCH. GLUED. WTF. Oh and see the tile in the kitchen, ugly, ugly, ugly (sorry if you like it). Once this room is done, I'm tackling that!
Removal of Popcorn ceiling

Water tank with attached nozzle 
Plastic sheeting
Compressor with Hopper (to spray on texture, this can be rented from your local hardware store)
dust mask
safety goggles
Sheetrock patch or mud
Ceiling Paint Primer
Ceiling Paint

First have your ceiling popcorn tested for asbestos.  With that done, you can move on.  This is going to produce a lot of mess and dust.

Start by taping the plastic to the top of the wall (where the wall meets the ceiling) and drape it down the wall and over lap the floor by 2 feet or so.  Next tape down sections of plastic in 8-10 foot sections to the floor and slightly up the walls.  This way anything you scrap off the ceiling will fall on the plastic and you can clean up as you go.  The plastic on the walls protects from the stuff coming down and sticking to the walls when you scrape the ceiling.  The plastic on the walls will stay up until your ceiling is complete.

You are going to use warm water only in the water sprayer as long as the popcorn does not have acrylic paint mixed with it.  Spray water on the ceiling starting in the farthest corner.  Spray only sections approximately  5 feet by 3 feet.  Do not over saturate since the sheetrock underneath will get too wet. Spray wait a few minutes and test by hand to see if the water has penetrated. You really, really need to wear safety eye wear and a dust mask as this is going to produce lots and lots of dust.  At first spray two areas, when you are done scraping the first area, spray the third area and begin scraping the second area.  This way as you are scraping one area the other is soaking.  As you move side to side in the room you can roll up and discard the plastic. Be careful when scraping, you don't want to gouge the sheetrock.  Once all the popcorn is off, let the ceiling dry for no less then 24 hours (depending on the temp, the cooler the temps the longer you need to let it dry).  Believe it or not, it only took me 45 minutes to remove all the popcorn (the room is 33 1/2 ft by 17 ft) The ceiling needs to be absolutely dry.  

Remember to leave the plastic that is hanging from the ceiling to the floor covering the walls.

Now patch any gouges, sheetrock screw holes, cracks ect.  Let the patch dry.  Sand flat.  I used a flashlight on the ceiling to be sure that I had found all divots, holes ext.  Let this dry over night.

Now get a good ceiling primer paint.  Paint the sheet rock using a roller.  Let this dry at least 24 hours.

Now for the Texture.  I did a knock down and I'm sure there are all kinds of ways to do this.  In fact on YouTube you can search and find hundreds of videos.  If this section makes you nervous, I would suggest watching a video.  Depending on the size of your room will depend on what you want to use to spray the texture.  I ended up purchasing a compressor and hopper (what you pour the mixed texture into and is attached to the 'gun') with gun because I have so many rooms to do.  I like the knock down, so I purchased the dry mix.  My room is so big that to buy the cans of texture would have cost more than a hundred dollars. The Dry mix was thirteen.  Mix it in a bucket until it is the thickness of pancake mix (or just a bit thinner). The best way to mix is using the attachment to a drill (see picture).  Prior to this it took forever to get it into solution and it would be lumpy.  Buy or rent the drill bit attachment, it is so worth it. Have a ladder or rolling ladder available.  Begin in one corner and spray in sweeping motions.  Your arm is going to get tired.  Wait 5 minutes after spraying an area and then use a trowel to "knock it down".  This is a sweep of what you sprayed on to just flatten and spread the texture a bit.  I would suggest doing a little practice on a piece of sheetrock prior to doing it on the ceiling.  You will know what you like and how thick you want it.

After applying and knocking down the texture, I let it dry for a week (I also had to work).  Next was the ceiling paint.  They actually sell a paint called "ceiling paint".  I don't know if it's special in any way but it is just a flat paint.  I rolled on two layers.

Now take down the plastic covering the walls.

attachment for drill that mixes. I've used it also for cement (smaller quantities about 2 gallons)
Just with the ugly carpets removed and the ceiling retextured and painted, the room is much brighter. Oh, and that red brick extends 15'. Still don't know what to do with it, but I have some ideas!!
Painting Wood Paneling

The walls in this room were completely covered with thick wood paneling.  I weighed the advantages of removing it and then hanging all new sheetrock.  The savings in time, material and money by just painting it was well worth it.  Trust me, my Dad cringed when I told him that I was painting the wood.  It was just so dark and well, manly.  It had to be painted.  It was like being in a cave.  
I wiped down all the wood first and then patched all the holes with a wood filler.  The baseboards were already gone (I had already taken up the carpet, see this post).
Carpet removed, ceiling retextured and painted, and primer going on the walls. What a difference. This photo is looking South in the room where as the ones above are looking North. The room is 33 1/2' long by 17' wide.
I purchased a good primer that is suppose to go on wood.  Many of the primers will tell you that it will cover in just one coat.  That is all bull.  I haven't found one yet that can do that.  If you look at the picture above you can see over the door how thin the coat is.  That is one coat.  If you are covering wood, make sure there is no varnish, otherwise you might have to rough it up a bit with sandpaper.  I also do not buy the paint that is "Paint and Primer" all in one.  Made the mistake one time and one time only.  Primer first and then paint.  The color is richer.  I covered with 2-3 coats of primer and then just one coat of my actual paint. For the walls, a Satin, doorways are Semi-gloss.
My desk and art table are now set up in the corner. I may move the elliptical back into this area also. We shall see.

The room is still not quite done but the finishing touches will have to wait until I am employed again.  I will put up crown molding the the double doors by the couch will become a swinging bookcase.  I have a bar in this room also right next to the bathroom.  I may turn the entire thing into a bathroom and install a shower. It would certainly help when family is staying.  I don't use the bar except to house the snake and lizard so it wouldn't be a loss at all.  Installing a floor drain would be the toughest part.

That is about all for now. 

I hope that description was not too confusing!  If you have any questions, please email me or leave a comment.   I also have a YouTube channel where I feature many of my recipes and Challenges.  If you would like to check it out, click on this link:  Bristlee One

Thank you for stopping by and remember, enjoy life.
It's the one you have,