No sign of our butler yet…

… but we sure do like his pantry!

If Jeeves were here, I’d ask him if he liked the burnt sienna backsplash in his Butler’s Pantry… something tells me that his answer would be an enthusiastic “no ma’am.”

The "before" picture -- check out those lovely tiles ;)

The “before” picture — check out those lovely tiles 😉


Burnt Sienna! A perfect match.

Burnt Sienna! A perfect match.

Once upon a time, this delightful Crayola color may have been a popular choice, but not anymore! So, we had to bid farewell to all those little orange tiles and give the butler’s pantry a well-deserved makeover.

First things first, I easily chipped away the tiles with a hammer and chisel because the adhesive had lost a lot of its strength over time. Unfortunately, the adhesive kept a very strong bond with the plaster wall between the upper cabinets and the counter top. I tried to chip away at it with every tool I could find, but finally had to resort to our orbital sander and heavy grit sandpaper. It was a dusty, tedious, goggle-fogging job, but I finally got it down to the smooth plaster underneath with only a little damage that required simple patching.

No more tiles!

No more tiles!


Close-up of the stubborn glue left behind.

Close-up of the stubborn glue left behind.


I had to stop every few minutes to wipe out my goggles. Yuck!

I had to stop every few minutes to wipe out my goggles. Yuck!

Next, we discussed what to use for the new counter top that would complement and preserve the charm of the original cabinets. We landed on the idea of “up-cycling” some of the original ceiling joists we cut out to vault the ceilings in the family room and master bedroom. We took this idea to my dad, the forester and master craftsman, to request his expertise and ask for his help to bring the new counter top to life.

Naturally, he had an ever better idea! Our joists were certainly thick and sturdy enough to do the job, but they were made of pine. As mentioned in the floor refinishing post, pine does not stain well and our “vision” was of a darker, richer wood counter top, not raw pine. It just so happened that my father (the forester, master craftsman, AND wood hoarder 🙂 ) had a stash of beautiful walnut left over from when my parents built their kitchen island. Glory! It was just the thing. We are so fortunate that the Harpers were willing to part with such special materials and my dad created a handmade walnut counter top for our butler’s pantry by joining two large pieces together and lovingly applying coat after coat of tongue oil and polyurethane.

Special Delivery!

Special Delivery!


Cutting it down to size.

Cutting it down to size.


Daddy's favorite cutting stance. I believe we have seen this move before ;)

Daddy’s favorite cutting stance. I believe we have seen this move before 😉


Ready to install this beauty!

Ready to install this beauty!


Wrangling it into place.

Wrangling it into place.


Fastening it from underneath, so we don't mar the wood.

Fastening it from underneath, so we don’t mar the wood.


My guys admiring their work...

My guys admiring their work…


My dad also made a matching cove molding to give it the perfect finishing touch!

My dad also made a matching cove molding to give it the perfect finishing touch!

It came out better than I ever expected. In fact, it may just be my favorite part of our nest…

Ta-daaaaahhh! The finished product. Absolutely fantastic.

Ta-daaaaahhh! The finished product. Absolutely fantastic.


...and a very special message hidden on the underside. ;)

…and a very special message hidden on the underside. 😉

The sky is falling!

Chicken Little:  “Oh, help! The sky is falling!”
Henny Penny:   “How do you know?”
Chicken Little:  “I saw it with  my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears, and part of it fell on my head!”

If Chicken Little thought the world was coming to an end after a little acorn landed on his head, he and Henny Penny would have lost their minds in our house this weekend! Saturday’s major task was knocking the plaster off the ceilings. And yes, a lot of it fell on our heads.

It’s bad enough to have the plaster falling in your face, but we got the added surprise of loose insulation raining down upon us. There’s no way to spin it, this was a dirty, itchy, no good, very bad job. However, unlike Chicken Little, we know this isn’t a sign that the world is coming to an end, but more like a beacon of hope to know this dirtiest of jobs done and behind us!

We were again lucky to have lots of volunteers for demo day number two—Matthew’s sister Rebecca, my parents, my sister Emily, and our friend Skyler all came to help. Plus, we hired a local handyman named Doug to help with the really tough stuff.

Here’s a recap of all our dusty, dirty fun:

Matthew makin' it rain.

Matthew makin’ it rain.

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Loose insulation everywhere!

It's a dirty, dusty job, but somebody's gotta do it!

It’s a dirty, dusty job, but somebody’s gotta do it!

demo pics

Wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load to fill up Big Red…again!

We haven't scared Rebecca away yet!

We haven’t scared Rebecca away yet!

Even though my mom was down a hand, she went to town pulling nails out of the studs. A broken arm can't slow her down!

Even though my mom was down a hand, she went to town pulling nails out of the studs. A broken arm can’t slow her down!

My dad, the forester, came to help with a special wood project. ;)

My dad, the forester, came to help with a special wood project. 😉

My sister, Emily, is stylish as always with purple earplugs that perfectly matched her sweatshirt.

My sister, Emily, is stylish as always with sassy purple earplugs to coordinate with her sweatshirt.

Sisters that demo together, stay together.

Sisters that demo together, stay together. (We missed you, Rebecca!!)

Sledgehammer Sisters. #thoseharperwomen

Sledgehammer Sisters. #thoseharperwomen

Skyler joins the demo party!

Skyler joins the demo party!

Making progress!

Making progress!

Hammer down! (This actually happened twice!!!)

Hammer down! (This actually happened twice!!!)

Finished!

Finished!

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Another busy day... another full dumpster.

Another busy day… another full dumpster.

Excuse me, your studs are showing…

That’s right! Our studs are on full display, so try not to stare.

After our permit was approved, we slapped that baby up in the window and went to town with hammers, crowbars, and a lot of elbow grease. And, thankfully, we had a couple of volunteers, too! Matthew’s sisters, April and Rebecca rolled up their sleeves, donned dust masks and spent the entire day working with us on Saturday. Hours of hammering and one huge dust cloud later, we had exposed the bones of our little Nest!

Here’s a recap of our Demo Day:

Demo time!

Demo time!

Goodbye kitchen cabinets...

Goodbye kitchen cabinets…

The nastiest job of all... old carpet removal.

The nastiest job of all… old carpet removal.

Then linoleum floor tiles had to be scraped up!

Then linoleum floor tiles had to be scraped up!

Saving the cabinet hardware before the hammers begin.

Saving the cabinet hardware before the hammers begin.

Watch out! It's hammer time.

Watch out! It’s hammer time.

Making some progress.

Making some progress.

Real women swing sledgehammers (while kicking their leg up in an awkward demo dance move).

Real women swing sledgehammers (while kicking their leg up in an awkward demo dance move).

Taking a break in the bathtub.

Taking a break in the bathtub.

Clean up in bedroom three!

Clean up in bedroom three!

Dining room demo. April is meticulous!

Dining room demo. April is meticulous!

Removing ceiling tiles and  faux wood paneling in the family room.

Removing ceiling tiles and faux wood paneling in the family room.

Attic gold! Matthew found a beautiful vaulted ceiling after removing the old, yucky acoustic tiles in the family room. Jackpot!

Attic gold! Matthew found a beautiful vaulted ceiling after removing the old, yucky acoustic tiles in the family room. Jackpot!

Peek-a-boo!

Peek-a-boo!

Cleanup continues.

Cleanup continues.

Bin load #1,978. These ladies we troopers!

Bin load #1,978. These ladies were troopers!

Big Red is full again!

Big Red is full again!

Post-demo Kitchen.

Mid-demo Kitchen.

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Whoa! No more plaster in the dining room.

Lots of studs showing!

Lots of studs showing!

The dust cloud...a.k.a. the reason we wore masks!

The dust cloud…a.k.a. the reason we wore masks!

The Newtons -- happy after a hard day of work!

The Newtons — happy after a hard day of work!

Demo by the Digits:

  • 3 ladies and 1 dude
  • 6 hours of hard work
  • 2 sledgehammers
  • 2 crowbars
  • 1 rubber mallet
  • 4 sets of gloves
  • 8 earplugs
  • 4 respirator masks
  • Approximately 1 million (we stopped counting) bin loads full of plaster and insulation taken to the dumpster
  • 1 giant red dumpster – FULL
  • 1 big ol’ cloud of dust
  • ZERO injuries!

All in all, it adds up to a greatly productive day.