The Great Family Room Remodel

This is the nail-biting series that launched this very blog. It was the largest remodel project I'd attempted to date. I took a week off work to complete it. Of course, that was optimistic folly. It took longer than expected with overruns of material, hidden surprises from prior remodelers, family tragedy, and other nonsense.

The room had a horrible, stained commercial drop ceiling, that was way too low, and walls that didn't go all the way up to the crooked framing above. Pre-blog, I'd installed a new french door and refaced the dark, crooked built in shelving. The original scope of the project was to simply raise and replace the ceiling. See how that went...

episode 1

Startup and Demo


Workday 1

I had one week of vacation scheduled to do this project. I tore out the ridiculous dropped tile ceiling and discovered a host of challenges.  

episode 2

Electrical & the Wall

Workdays 2 - 4

Cleanup, rough electrical wiring, and extending the wall face to hide an intruding header.  I really love some framing nail-gun action! Skadoosh! 

episode 3

New Drywall

Workdays 5 - 8

Putting a new face on the extended wall. I wrap up the first of several unplanned cost and time-chewing detours that destroy my timeline. 


Episode 4

Framing & Insulation

Workdays 9 - 10

No two ceiling joists are the same height. I came up with a way to attach a level ceiling using 2x4s and a laser level. I'm installing new insulation too.

Episode 5

Framing & the Planks

Workdays 11 - 12

I wrapped up some tricky framing around the edges and finished the insulation. Finally, the planks are going in!

Episode 6

Tragedy & Last Planks

Workdays 13 - 14

Real life happened. In the middle of the project, one of my younger brothers suddenly passed away. After a delay, I get rolling again and finish the ceiling. Working helps with the grief.

Episode 7

Electrical / Molding

Workdays 15 - 20

Final touches! Dimmable LED can lights, crown molding, and chunky base molding go in. 5 work days planned = 20 work days actual.

Episode 8

The Final Reveal

The Before and After

Here's the the ugly to the beautiful. See how those shelves looked when we first moved in too. Ughhh!

Interviewed !

DIY Remodeling

I had the honor of being interviewed about this project by  Marcie Geffner of, She wrote about the "Rewards and Vexations" of DIY Remodeling.  The article was picked up by Fox Business and Yahoo Finance.