The Cover Up: DIY Exposed Beams

Do you guys remember one of the first projects Mom and I tackled? It was removing this guy.

Wall Down

Is it just me or does this feel like yesterday and forever ago all at the same time? Crazy-town. Anyways, when we took the wall down we were left with a not so lovely gap and seam in the bead board ceiling. You can see it in the picture below.


Seam + gaps in ceiling where the studs used to be = NOT CUTE!

As you may have noticed from our house tour the other day,  I kind of have a hoarding problem. Poor back porch never saw it coming.


HOARDER. Party of 1.

We have been holding on to old 2x4s (from the original walls) to use in the living room for a while, like over nine months. A few weeks ago, we FINALLY dug them out of our my giant must-save-all-the-things -pile and put them to use.

Originally, we were wanting to create a grid pattern with the old 2x4s, similar to coffered ceiling only more rustic. You can see an example here. We ended up changing our minds about the pattern mid process, but here is how we got started.

We started by ripping all of the 2x4s down in half so they became 1x4s. These pictures below probably make more sense. Here is the cut side (thank you table saw):


Here is the side we used as the “exposed beam.”


First, we figured out how much material we were going to need. Our living room and entry area is roughly 16′ x 32′ and most of the salvaged material was between 7 and 8 feet in length. With a little quick math, we figured out the perimeter of the room + 5 beams across  = 176 feet. We started by cutting 11 boards in half, creating 22 pieces of “beam.”

Then, Ryan and I started by working our way around the perimeter of the living room and entry area with the freshly cut pieces. Not only we were trying to cover up the seam between the two original rooms, but there were pretty significant gaps between the wall and ceiling in some areas as well.


The gap has been hidden by wallpaper for 40+ years I guess! Thankfully the 1 x 4 material covered all of those gaps. Hurray!! We worked our way around the room covering the gaps with the old (now 1×4) lumber. To secure the material to the bead board ceiling, we used a 16 gauge nail gun, securing it with a nail every three to four inches. If your ceiling is finished with drywall, I would encourage you to find a stud to secure the “beam” to. This is an easy two person task and the material isn’t heavy (always something to think about when hoisting it above your head). Easy DIY project!

Ladies, you can totally rock this project out!! No massive amount of muscle required 🙂


We did have to play with the material some. Seeing that the material we were using consisted of 100+ old 2x4s, some of them were just a LITTLE wonky (meaning it looked like the big dipper).  With that said, we did have to do a little bit of finagling with the material, so some 180 degree turning and puzzle piecing of material had to take place, but over all the task was pretty easy. I would hold up one and and Ryan would hold up the other. If the 1×4 was flush with the wall, we would nail it in place and move on to the next piece, cutting lengths if need be.

Once we completed the perimeter, we moved in to the perpendicular beams. We used the seam between the two rooms as the starting point for our measurements.


Boom! Seam and gaps covered. Yay!! With a little quick math, we were able to figure out the spacing for each beam. Thankfully each room was the same size. Whew! Be sure to measure, guys. You can never trust 100 year old houses. Ever. Trust me. I have learned this the hard way more than once, like 574 times.

We opted to to create three rectangles per room, with 42″ being our center mark for each beam.

Bead board with exposed beams

Instead of trying to actually lay it out on the ceiling, we just kept the tape measure on the floor and eye balled it. The eye ball method worked just fine for us!


We worked our way from the front of room to the back. Overall, the project took about 3 to 4 hours, so it is an easy afternoon project if you are just working on one room.

Once we finished all the beams in one direction, we decided to call it quiets just because we loved the look! We really love the way the ceiling turned out, both the bead board and the more rustic -almost-exposed-beams. I also like knowing that we re-used something original! Another big bonus is the fact this entire project was FREE! All of the material and supplies we already owned. Re-purposing for the win!

This look could easily be created using other old or new material. You could even stain new 2x4s to coordinate with your room. Maybe even just them painted white or a really fun color? I would love to hear your ideas, too! Ceilings are one of the places that are often over looked when designing space, but they add so much depth and texture to a room. Don’t ignore your ceilings! Consider this my brief Support Ceiling Rights campaign!! Ha. Ceilings deserve some love, too.




We are still trying to figure out what kind of ceiling treatment to do in the dining room. It is a little tricky trying to tie in dining room, kitchen and bottom of the staircase. Still on the planning deck with that one. We have some other ideas for our 2×4 lumber, so we’ll see what happens next!

What are you guys up to this weekend? Ryan and I have spent the morning working in the yard and getting our fall vegetable garden going. We are super excited about taking a stab at a garden! Enjoy your weekend 🙂



Kitchen Ceiling Update (aka Proof our friends rock)

I mentioned earlier this week that the structural beams in our kitchen are in place thanks to help of some of our friends. Well, when the guys installed the beams nice and level we realized just how much the roof has sagged over time.


Notice those small blocks above the beam? The ones that get progressively longer from one side to the other? Those are to accommodate the sagging. It was noticeable before, but you slap up a level beam and BAM! Holy-crooked-moley-batman!

Our friends suggested framing up a new false ceiling (lower than the current room but still vaulted) so we when we finished the ceiling with sheet rock or bead board we would have a nice level, even surface. Thankfully our friends also offered to come back the next Saturday to make that happen! So grateful. Honestly, my first thought after they pitched the idea of a false ceiling was, “Well crap, Ryan is going to have to figure out how to do that all by himself because I can’t help on a ladder. I’m sure it would look better, but Ryan is going to hate me.” Ha. What a relief when Ryan said they were offering to come back again and help. Whew. Ryan doesn’t hate me! 🙂

Here is our new “false” kitchen ceiling in all its glory.

Kitchen-ceiling-done kitchen-ceiling

Please forgive the night-time, Iphone photos.

You know what is not glorious? A leaky roof…and we have one.


Thank you, Mom, for giving me Granny’s giant bucket/pail/thingy-bob. It makes for a great rain catcher when the roof leaks. The good thing about still having all the walls and ceilings open while it rains for five straight days is that you can easily spot the leaks! We have a roofer coming out tomorrow to take a look.

With the kitchen ceiling done, we have officially completed our list for the building inspector, and we are hoping to have her back out tomorrow! We will keep you posted.

I also have updates on some window drama to share. For those of you who live in Alabama, are you as sick of this weather as I am? Blah! I think I am forgetting what the sun looks like… Thanks for stopping by and reading! What have you guys been up to lately?



Stair Update: Done(ish)

So the stairs are not done-done, but they are done enough that our building inspector can come back and check our work. That qualifies as done-ish, right? I’d say so!

Ryan and I spent last week working on providing proper head clearance for the stairs. Step  one was removing the tongue and grove planks.

stairs-before_How to give old stairs proper head clearance

With the tongue and groove planks gone and the hardwood taken up from the closet, we were able to see exactly what we were working with. After taking measurements we figured out we only needed to notch the stairs 12″ toward the kitchen to have head clearance. Once we had a plan, we put in place temporary wall supports to carry the load while we did the demo/removing-part-of-the-closet-floor-and-support part.


With temporary support in place (we used 2×6’s just because we had extra, you could use 2x4s), we removed part of the floor joist and replaced support where necessary. Here is a peek from under the stairs with the floor joists trimmed and new support in place.



From this view, you can see where we notched the closet inward.


From the top of the stairs, you can’t barely see a difference, but it is pretty noticeable when walking down the stairs. It is a amazing how much difference 12 inches makes!


With that part done, we headed upstairs to close up the area in the closet. It almost feels like having a tiny bench in the closet. Sorry I have no picture from the closet, only from downstairs.


Of course, Bella supervised us the entire time….


We secured everything with joist hangers and brackets. It was probably over kill, but we would rather go ahead and go a little over board instead of having our building inspector point things out to us.

Another few things our building inspector will hopefully be excited about…


New beams in the kitchen! Unlike the first round of beams, these are actually structural and will help keep our kitchen ceiling from gradually sagging (more, it already sags).  Wahoo! We are very lucky to have some pretty awesome friends who were willing to help with this task. I am useless on ladder and these suckers were H-E-A-V-Y! Thank you John, Wayne, Ron, and Steven for your help! I could not have held those above my head!!

For those wondering, my rustic beams will be going back up, but there is more work to do before that happens. Again, we have awesome friends willing to help! In fact, they were working on it this past Saturday, too. I will share progress soon! We have the best friends ever.



Frankly, I don’t have a lot of info about the beam raising progress but I get nervous just seeing people on ladders, even more so when they are holding heavy things! I just stayed out of the way. I didn’t even snap a picture! Blogger fail.

Holiday Fun: Christmas, Kitchen Beams, and Inspections

Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas full of family, friends, food and fun! I hope Santa was nice to you as well 🙂

Holidays_saffellsWe were both blessed to be able to have time off work to hang out with friends and family. We were also blessed to get a butt-load of Lowe’s gift cards, house related gifts, and some other fun goodies! Ryan thought it would be funny to wrap my gifts in house-wrap this year.


Tori and Bella enjoyed have some extra nap and cuddle time as well.


They have a rough life, can’t you tell? Now, something pretty much as exciting as Christmas: Beams in the Kitchen! We spent the Saturday before Christmas working on beams. You can see my inspiration for vaulting the ceiling here. Ryan and I have been saving some of our salvaged lumber for this project and were very ready to get it off the floor, out of one of our numerous piles, and up to the ceiling. Here is our final before shot!


We started the process by deciding what height we wanted to mount the beams, which ended up being the highest spot we could reach while standing semi-safely on the ladder. Have I mentioned I don’t like being on ladders? Like, AT ALL?! I prefer to be safely planted on the ground or on a small step stool. Beyond that is outside of my comfort zone. Thankfully Dad was around that Saturday, so he took my spot on the ladder and I got to eye-ball for level! Hurray!

We had just enough old 2 x 4 lumber long enough to install beams (each beam being two 2 x 4s) on three of the six rafters. Ryan then went about determining the angle of the rafters so we could cut the end of the beams accordingly. With our angle determined, we used the miter saw to make our cut.



Because of the angle, the miter saw would not cut through the entire piece  of wood, so we just finished off the cut with a circular saw. We made the same cut on the other end of the lumber, and ta-da!


It’s a hot look, I know. It was cold that day, if you couldn’t tell from my apparel. With the beam ready to go up, I handed it off to Dad and Ryan to put up.


We used a level to make sure it was nice and straight. Sorry, no photo! The old 2 x 4s aren’t terribly heavy, but anytime you are holding something over your head it gets heavy fast! Ryan simply propped the level on top of the beam for me to read from below. With the beam level, they secured the beam with our framing nailer. We love our nail gun!


Actually that is just a hammer. Not our beloved nail gun, but the nail gun did get a work out that day! I think Dad even wants one now.


We decided to double up each 2 x 4 to create a “beefier” look. Beefier is totally a design term, right? 😉 We put the second 2 x 4 right next to first beam, nailed into the rafter and the beam so it was well supported. Wa-La!


The first and second beam – CHECK! Who needs Christmas presents when you have rustic beams installed in your kitchen?! Not me. Santa can come every year and just bring me some really cool, rustic beams! Haha. We were able to get up all three beams in one afternoon. For anyone wanting to add beams, it is a three person job: Two to hold and one to hand up tools and supplies/check for level.

We also took care of installing a new door knob and an actual dead bolt on the front door. None of our exterior doors when we bought the house had actual dead bolts! Scary, right?!


We decided to stick with door knobs instead of handle because 1) it is what was on the house when we bought it and all the original door hardware are knobs and 2) it is easier for little hands to open handles! With little people in our future (not right now – just to clarify- but one day, sorry Mom!) we decided that knobs would be better.

Now, let’s talk inspection. Here is where I kind of loose my Christmas cheer. As you may have read last week, we passed our HVAC, electrical, and gas inspection. The day after Christmas we passed our plumbing rough in inspection. Yay! Then, we had our building inspection the following Friday and we did NOT pass. *Womp womp* The building inspector inspects framing and the overall structure, and she gave us a list of things we need to do before moving on with finishing. We weren’t surprised by any means, just bummed. She just confirmed that we HAD to do a few things we weren’t exciting about spending time and money on…like redoing our entire set of stairs to bring them up to code.


We knew they weren’t up to code from the get-go, but we were going to leave them be if we could, just to save time and money. Thankfully our gift cards we got from Christmas covered the bulk of the material we had to buy to make changes to the stairs and some other things! If you bought us a Lowe’s giftcard for Christmas, congratulations, you are helping us replace the stairs! 🙂

I will share later about the other things we have to do. I hope you all have a very Happy (and safe)  New Year! I will talk to you guys next year!