Living Room Remodel

A couple of days before the hard remodel took place.. Friday the 19th to be exact, I dropped off Brooke at work at 7AM with a plan already in place.  I would rush home after a brief stop at Home Depot for supplies and FINALLY get rid of the horrible drop ceiling that Brooke despised so greatly.  Arriving home at about 8:30, I began work.  First, I took down the tiles surrounding the A/C vents to evaluate what it would take to return them to their original position in the true ceiling.  I found out that their original holes were still there and that the previous owners (herein referred to as the PO's) had merely removed the vents, added extra ducting and fed it out the original holes.  They removed the vent housing from the attic and simply placed them on the top of the tiles that they wanted the vents affixed to.  Second, I removed the vents, then the housing.  To do this, I had to remove the duct tape holding the ducting to the vent housing.  Next,  I went up into the attic and removed the duct tape holding the original ducting to the added ducting and fed the extra back through the holes.  Next, I went back to the living room and pulled the extra ducting thru the holes and took the vent housings back up to the attic.  I placed the housings back into their original positions to evaluate the size and to make sure these were the original housings;  they were, and I could proceed.  Next, I re duct-taped the internal duct to the housing, followed by the insulation layer.  I set both housings into place and returned to the living room to attach the vents.  After a few problems getting the vents to secure to the housings, I found a way to make it work and continued.  I then removed the extra ducting and the first wave of tiles that I had taken down and relocated them to the garage for safe-keeping (and to prevent Brooke from seeing them and blowing the surprise).   When I got back into the house, I began removing tiles fairly quickly and only ran into a few snags.  The framing was a bit more difficult to negotiate than anticipated.  Most of the pieces were not properly locked into place, and removing one would set a chain reaction that would cause another or two to randomly fall.  Eventually, they all came down quietly.  After removing all tiles but the one holding up the ceiling fan, I decided to tackle that monster.  The POs had built a frame out of 2X4s that they drilled into the true ceiling (not the studs, mind you, JUST the ceiling).  First I shut off the power to the room, then, carefully undid the caps over the wires and loosened the restraining bolts.  I was then free to remove the fan from it's swivel ball joint.  Once removed, I merely had to remove the wood-golem-like mount they had built to hold the thing, and then, the final tiles and framework for the drop.  After several trips to the garage, I had finally removed the infamous drop ceiling and it's frame, the old ceiling fan (oh, and yes, I did remember to re-cap the wires before restoring power to the room) and was only left to remove the room-surrounding rail.  For that job, I used a wonder-bar to get under the rail, pry it up, then flip it and use the right-angles side to pull the nails.  LOUD and tedious.  The nails they used were knurled and screeched loudly when pulled.  30 minutes later, and a couple more trips to the garage and we were totally drop-ceiling free.  After filling some of the holes in the wall where the rails were, I only had to remove the 30 some-odd eyelet anchor bolts driven into the ceiling studs to support the drop.  As you can see from the pictures, the true ceiling was severely yellowed from years of smoke leeching into it.  At this point it was time for a yogurt break and back to work.  At this point, I began to prime the walls above the drop ceiling since we had already begun to prime and even paint the red on below it.  I felt that to simply remove the drop ceiling and leave it would be like saying "here hon, look what I did - I created a whole new task for us!!!"   I knew what was ahead...  vacation... only from our jobs, not from work... granted, satisfying work, but nonetheless work.  I wanted Brooke to come home to exactly what she had left behind... just a couple feet higher.   After priming and painting a small area on the ceiling, I went back into the attic to evaluate the mount requirements for the new, heavier ceiling fan.  I went and bought a standard ceiling frame support and decided it wouldn't suit my needs, I had to custom-build a support.  I decided to fashion a 2X4 that would sit above the ceiling, and fasten to an adjoining stud for extra support.  I then drilled from the living room up thru the 2X4 to make a hole for the wiring to pass thru and then mounted the fan support using lag screws thru the ceiling and into the support 2X4.  This would definitely be tough enough for the big Tiffany Ceiling Fan that would go there!  Once in, I had to wire the remote control box into the ceiling and to the fan wiring itself, this went off without a hitch and all works well.  I carefully replaced the insulation to where it had been removed for the ceiling work to be done.  For the entirety of the project, while working with any fiberglass or ceiling tiles, I used proper hand protection along with a 3M level 2 air filtration mask, which is recommended for use with harmful dust, including fiberglass.  ALWAYS USE PROPER PROTECTIVE GEAR AND PRECAUTIONS WHEN WORKING WITH FIBERGLASS, ELECTRICITY, LADDERS ETC...


Here is how it unfolded:

Check out the layers!

Bare Paneling.

Ugly Yellow, Kilz2 Primer

with 3 shades black,

Deep Red.

Bare panel above drop

Behr Boston Brick on

television wall on right.

Above the bay windows

primed.  Notice all the

stains on the true ceiling.

Bay windows after red

added.  Red was Glidden

brand paint.

Ceiling fan gone, notice

one remaining eyelet lag

bolt in ceiling.


Area around fan primed

and painted, ready for

installation of fan.

Whoohooo! Theres

the fan, lets see if it


YEP!  We have LIGHT!

The blades are being left off

until the rest of the ceiling

area is painted white.

Priming the picture wall.

And the final result!  We felt

the Boston Brick would

complement the red well.


Final touches on the TV

wall, and ready for the

picture rail to go up.

Picture rail...Check

TV wall mount... Check

(We decided to paint the

mount as well to blend

it in on the wall.)

TV... Check!

ohhhhh yeaahhhh!

We HAD to test it out...


The Xbox came in handy

for the test...


Once we had painted the

majority of the ceiling, we

added the blades to the fan.

Mainly-done white


We moved the DVD shelf

to the other side of the door

to clear traffic space and so

the doggie gate could open

all the way... FINALLY!



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