Sunday, February 24, 2008

A huge project with daddy, and a big surprise for mommy!

It has been a while since I have posted, but it's been a busy time at the Ng household. Karen recently took a one-day holiday to go on a road trip down to Seattle with Katherine. So, Erich and I decided to get busy making Mommy a huge surprise. We decided to renovate the bedroom.

If you've ever visited our house, you will know that we have these wonderful, full-of-character wood paneling pieces all along our hallway. You can sort of see them in this photo taken when Erich was younger. They were probably built back in the 1930s when the house was built.

Well to make a long story short, Erich and I decided we would try to replicate this along two walls in the master bedroom - to serve as a continuation of the hallway theme, but also to serve as a backboard for our bed.

We would attempt to, in one day:

  • measure and model the renovation using Google Sketch-up.
  • paint the top portion of the wall a new colour
  • paint the back of the door a new colour
  • obtain all the paneling from Home Depot.
  • cut all the paneling
  • paint all the paneling
  • obtain all the trim wood from Home Depot
  • cut to size all of the trim
  • position and affix paneling to the wall
  • position and affix trim to the wall.
The above photo shows the finished product. Unfortunately, I don't have a "before" picture - but it is essentially the two walls you see without any of the moulding, paneling or paint.

Ambitious. In fact - crazy ambitious, especially with a two year old. But apparently doable. We did it, and here's how.

In the morning, after feeding Erich breakfast, I told him we had a big project that I needed his help with. I warned him it would be an all day project, and that it was a big surprise for mommy. I then meticulously measured with him every wall, and every piece of existing paneling I could find, and inputted all of the information into Google Sketch Up. (Sketch up is a wonderful program to help with this kind of stuff by the way.)

Then in the afternoon: off to Home Depot we went. You'd be surprised at the number of heads that get turned when they see a Dad walking in Home Depot with a two-year-old in tow ... particularly when that Dad is talking to the two year old as if he's his fellow contractor. :-) No worries - Erich was totally game for the conversation and enjoyed immensely as I explained to him the difference between various types of plywood, and what we were going to do with them. He also enjoyed watching Mr. Home Depot cut up the wood in the giant saw. To speed things up, I purchased the molding pre-primed by the foot, and did all my cutting in the store.

We arrived back home where I proceeded to madly paint every panel. This was by far the most challenging part, as I had to hold at bay a very eager two-year-old helper. He was afterall eagar to use his newfound art skills he learned at daycare! He did get his chance in the end to do a few strokes with the paint brush. :-)

Then, we affixed the paneling. This is when I ran into my first problem. Finding studs on an old lathe and plaster wall is next to impossible. After I finally found one, all my 16" measurements stemmed out from there. But a tip I learned from my father-in-law really saved the day: use glue. Using some specially formulated moulding and paneling glue, I affixed the panels to the wall.

Needless to say, this went way past Erich's usual bedtime. He was such a good sport though and insisted on staying up to present Mommy with the surprise. In the end though, Erich dozed off while watching Daddy put the finishing touches. When Karen did finally make it home, she had the shock of her lifetime. :-)

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