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Hiring Pros + Four Decisions Made

Do you remember when the ceiling in my dining room and entryway was drywalled? I had to go back and look because I couldn’t remember. It was April 28th of 2015. It looked like this for months…

And then a couple of months ago, I finally decided to try taping and mudding. I did a terrible job, and it looked like this…

ceiling after my attempt at taping and mudding

That picture doesn’t really do it justice. Nothing was smooth, and the whole thing was just a mess. It was just my first coat of drywall mud, but I would have been sanding for days between coats of mud. So I finally decided that after eight-and-a-half months of dragging my heels, procrastinating, and dreading this job with every fiber of my being, it was time to call in the pros.

I was amazed. They started working at about 9:15 yesterday morning, and worked until 11:00. Then they took an hour lunch, came back, and worked until 2:45. During that time, they did three coats of drywall mud (because they use the magical drywall mud that dries in 20 minutes), they didn’t do a single bit of sanding, and the ceiling looks almost perfect.

dining room and entryway with new taped and mudded drywall ceilings

I mean, I can’t even wrap my head around it. Not a single bit of sanding, and it looks perfect. I watched them part of the time, thinking that I could pick up some pointers. And I did. The pointer I picked up is always hire pros to do your drywall. I’ve learned my lesson.

And now I can finally get that ceiling primed and painted, and I can get my chandelier hung!! I’ve been waiting for so long! And yes, I’m going to hang the chandelier before I get all of the dirty projects finished, because that’s the way I do things. 🙂 I’ll keep the fabric shades off and hidden away for protection until the dust settles, but I think seeing that chandelier up will be great motivation for me.

So over the last few days, I’ve made some decisions. Here they are…

I’m going to hire out more.

I think I get in my own way quite a bit. This ceiling is a good example. I was determined to do it on my own. And why? What do I have to prove to myself or others? I CAN do drywall. I’ve done it in the kitchen, the bathroom, the music room. I’ve proven to myself that I can do it. I’ve also learned that I hate it, and I’ve learned that I can’t do ceilings to save my life. There shouldn’t be any shame in that. We can’t all be good at everything, right? But instead of making the decision to hire it out early on, I kept trying to convince myself that I could and should be doing it on my own.

I got in my own way, and wasted eight-and-a-half months trying to make myself do, and enjoy, something that I detest. In the end, I paid a measly $250, got it done by pros, and it looks great.

I need to do that more. I’m GOING to do that more. From here on out, if I’m stalled on a project because I’m just absolutely dreading the next step, I’m going to hire it out. I can’t keep stalling on this house because of projects I dread. If I keep stalling, while insisting that everything needs to be done by me, then this house will never get done.

I’ve made my window treatment decision.

Of course, all of my decisions are subject to change, and I make no apology for that. 🙂 But this is the direction I’m headed with the window treatments for the dining room — drapery panels on the fireplace wall, and Roman shades on the front windows.

dining room - mock up of window treatments - draperies and roman shades

After going over almost every possible combination in this Facebook post (Roman shades on the fireplace wall and draperies on the front windows, all Roman shades, all drapery panels, etc.), I’ve decided that this is my favorite. I hate the look of the drapery panels on the front window and Roman shades on the fireplace wall because the fireplace wall is the natural focal point of the room, and with the more dominant window treatments on the front windows, the two walls compete for attention. And I really hate the look of draperies on all of the windows because it starts to feel really busy and…well…prison-like with all of the stripes. This option just seems right to me.

My dining room needs wood tones.

I’ve written about dining room tables in the past, and at that time, I was thinking I wanted something kind of modern in black. But with my window treatment decision which will add even more black to these rooms (plus the fact that I want to stain my kitchen countertops black, and the fact that I have a black music room), I think it might be enough with the black. All of that black can start to look really harsh, and I’d like to soften it with some warm wood tones. So I want to find or make a dining table with a warm stained finish.

Right now, this table from Restoration Hardware really appeals to me.

restoration hardware spanish walnut trestle table

Or I might end up with something much simpler in style. But whatever the style, I think it definitely needs to be stained wood rather than something painted. And definitely no more black. My curtains will be bold, I already have two brightly-painted pieces of furniture in these rooms, and my dining chairs (at least the two captains chairs) will have bright, colorful fabric. I need some wood to tone things down a bit.

And finally…

I’ve decided on lighting for my music room.

I kid you not when I say that I’ve been looking for the perfect light for my music room for months. I absolutely love lighting, and I think it makes such an important statement in a room. But when you have eight-foot ceilings and are limited to flush-mount and semi-flush mount lights, it so hard to find the perfect light that’s the right size and makes a beautiful statement in a room.

And I’ve seen close to every single flush-mount and semi-flush mount light that the internet has to offer. I must be really hard to please, because I haven’t found anything that I like that I can just buy and be done with it.

A while back, I had talked about the idea of making my own light inspired by this Coleen & Company light. I even bought the chain to make the light! But I’ve had a hunch that that design might compete too much with the design on my doors. So after I finished the basics on the music room, I did a mock up with that light, and I’m afraid my hunch was correct.

music room ceiling light - light from Coleen & Company

So after wasting more hours looking for another light, and seeing the same lights over and over and over again, I went back to Coleen & Company and tried out more lights in my mock up. I finally decided that this one looks great in my room.

music room ceiling light - Coleen & Company Daphne semi-flush

I really don’t like the wave design on that light at all, but I can create my own inspired by this light, and do something else instead of the wave design. I love that it’s fun, and whimsical, but won’t compete with the doors. I also like that the main part isn’t metal, but it’ll still have brass accents to tie in with the lights on the bookcases. And I get to use the chain that I already bought! Now I just have to figure out how to make it. 🙂

And of course, you know me, so you know that decisions are subject to change. But I do feel like finishing up the main parts of the music room and getting the piano moved back in there has helped me to see how these rooms need to come together. I don’t want to waste too much time on the decision-making process, because I just want to get stuff done! 🙂



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  1. Exactly where does the light shine from on this fixture? I can’t figure that out. And yes use professionals to do things you hate so you can do things you love!

    1. Yep – drywall isn’t rocket science but… there are people who do it really well. They do it so well that it’s not a lot of work. Those of us who struggle with the taping and mudding just create so much more work for ourselves. I wouldn’t do it to save my life.

      My ex was one of them, more’s the pity for me, LOL. He’s not a pro – but he learned from one, his brother. When he cut out a section of wall in the bedroom to install the pocket door frame and then put the drywall back I barely had to run a sanding sponge over it before I painted. I KNOW exactly where that seam is and even when I look closely I can’t see it.

      I know 3 people who do drywall REALLY well.

  2. I’m happy to see you hired out the drywall mudding. Every diy program I have ever seen says that the professionals doing this is worth every cent and with time vs $$ it just makes sense. I knew you would get here eventually. Not alot of money, not alot of time, looks great, fast,no aches and pain. Priceless.

  3. I think it could be fun! Relieved you aren’t doing the wave–I wasn’t quite seeing that work. Maybe scallops instead? I also think you should consider round rather than square. The room is feeling a little bit angular with all the squares and corners, and I think a round light might add a bit of balance for the circles on the doors. Just a thought…

  4. I love, love, love the decision on your curtains. I cannot wait to see it done. What a great way to frame the fireplace wall. And yes, we learned too, hire out what you don’t want to do, as much as you can afford to.

  5. I love all of your decisions, as usual. Question for you – if that car is typically parked in the driveway outside of the window, would you consider doing some kind of a sheer shade or panel there to obscure it?

    1. Probably not. During the day, I like my windows completely visible so that I can see through them clearly. I don’t mind seeing my car. 🙂 But I’m hoping to eventually be parking the car in the garage.

  6. An excellent way to spend $250! Especially if it gets you energized and inspired. Can’t wait to see the rooms coming together now.

  7. Love the direction you’re going in. As far as drapes and Roman shades in living room, maybe consider making the Roman shades “top down- bottom up” so you have more options for privacy. 🙂

    1. Love that idea! Since I’ll be making them myself, it’ll be a challenge! I’ve made plenty of Roman shades in my life, but I’ve never tackled the top-down bottom-up kind. I’ll have to see if I can figure that out.

  8. Good for you! Yes, do hire out the things that aren’t fun for you and slow you down. I took upholstery classes so I can understand the process. I will do the seats of my dining room chairs but that’s where I draw the line. It’s worth my sanity to hire it out. And, craftspeople need to earn a living too. I consider it putting money into our local economy to pay someone else to do something I don’t enjoy and would take forever to get done.

  9. I love all your ideas! I have black stained concrete countertops as well! IMG_5397.JPG. I can’t wait to see how yours come out!

  10. Kristi…I couldnt agree with u more…I love all of your decisions..including the one to hire out…I struggled for months with the idea of reupholstering a chair that i love..finally called a guy and he did it for $300..well spent..and I prob would have had to have it redone if Id tried..some things are better done by the pros….Also..I think you have such an amazing eye for design…i totally agree w the window treatment ideas….and the lighting….its amazing the difference in the 2 pictures and the one you chose is so obviously the right choice….I think u can educate yourself just so much and then its a matter of innate talent…and you r just born with it…

  11. Good! You chose the window treatments I thought (and hoped) you would.

    I agree DIY doesn’t have to be DIAY (do it all yourself)!

    1. I use a program called Paint Shop Pro that I bought on Ebay for about $45. It allows you to create layers on a picture, which is how I copy and paste various things from different pictures onto my photo.

  12. For $250 you saved yourself a lot of hassle and angst. Good call. The ceiling looks great and will be light and bright with a coat of paint or two.

    Wood toned dining room table? If you make one, I’m sure it will be brilliant.

    Can’t wait to see that music room light fixture. Getting more excited with each post!!

  13. I love the light you chose for your music room! I think when you come up with your version of it, it will be perfect!!

    I’m glad you’re hiring out more! The best thing I did, when we bought our current home, is hire professional painters instead of painting the house myself! (as I’ve always done in the past) What an absolute gift that was!! Plus, the painters did such a GREAT job! I’ve learned my lesson!! 🙂

    I don’t have the vision for the window treatments, yet. But, I get it – too many black and white stripes would be a lot!!

    Re: your kitchen counters – I think they are gorgeous! I wouldn’t change a thing! Can you do a mock up of your kitchen with black counters?

    I agree re: the wood tones. Wood will warm up your spaces beautifully! Your home is going to be so pretty!! Yay for you!!

    1. I did one a couple of months back when I was trying to decide if I’d like black countertops, but I never shared it on the blog. I’ll see if I can find it!

  14. Drywall is something I’m quite thankful hubby did for years as a side job, and actually enjoys doing it still – certainly nice! When we had someone come in and change our countertops and install a beadboard backsplash in our kitchen, we (as in he lol) learned how nice it was to have the pro’s come in from time to time.

    We’re certainly capable of lots of things, but some things I look at while we’re capable – it may not be PERFECT if we do it. When it came to my kitchen and (someday soon) bathroom I’d rather the pros handle some of the dirty work while we focus on the finishing touches. Other areas of the house I can brush off imperfections a little more easily.

    I’m happy you got someone in to help out! It was probably the best $250 you’ve spent in awhile! So don’t ever beat yourself for bringing in re-inforcements! Just because you’re a DIY’er, there’s no shame in leaving things to the pros. As you mentioned, we all know you can do it. And if you HAD to, you would. We’re just more excited for the finishing touches and the projects associated with the room. No ones gonna get overly excited over the drywall process 😛

    Loving how everything is coming together!!

  15. Finishing the drywall (ours needed to be textured to match the texture on the nearby existing walls and ceiling) and jackhammering up concrete and relocating a drain were basically the only things we’ve hired out in our kitchen renovation. Both TOTALLY worth the price!

  16. Excellent job your dry wall-ers did! Good decision! Are you going to do the slated boards over this, like your music room? or just painted? I can’t remember you ever saying.

    1. I’ll just be painting the ceiling in the dining room/entryway. I considered doing some sort of special ceiling treatment to kind of tie in with the music room ceiling. I still might, but even if I do, the majority of it will just be painted drywall.

  17. After seeing the price on that chandy I don’t blame you for DIYing it! Is the chain you already bought the rectangular shape like in the picture? I am sure you will come up with a beautiful and brilliant chandy to fit your budget and space- can’t wait to see the finished product!!

    1. Yep, I got the rectangular chain. I love that chain, so I didn’t want to compromise on that design element. Took a while to find it, but I finally found it online.

  18. I love all the plans and reflections you’ve discussed here. I think a wood table is a must. And why oh why did you introduce me to that lighting company?! Everything else will pale in comparison! And it’s so expensive. I would love DIY instructions for the one you do build.

    1. Amazing, right?! I think that’s been my problem. I found that company many months ago, and since looking at their lighting, nothing else even holds a candle to it in my mind. Everything else just looks so plain and boring. Hopefully I can come up with something close at a fraction of the cost! 🙂

  19. For the light fixture, you might consider using crystals or some sort of bead instead of a metal edge. I think smooth teardrop crystals would be give some sparkle but would also be a bit modern, less fussy than faceted prisms. The roundness would relate to the pocket door design.

    I don’t know if it would be possible to DIY that light fixture into a round form but I think round would look nice in that room. Are any of the polyethylene, polystyrene, or other non-wood mouldings pliable enough?

    1. I think I would have a hard time bending anything myself and getting it into a small enough circle for a light fixture. I’ve always wanted to learn how to bend wood! 🙂

  20. I love that you are using wood for your table to add texture to all your painted smooth surfaces. Yesterday I wanted to suggest you put a wide wood frame on your dining room art piece. Another option is to mount your black frame on wood and embellish with molding and wood stain.
    Your projects are all turning out great. Another suggestion is white plantation shutters on the bottom half of your windows. I am a big fan of shutters for privacy. They can be opened completely or just the louvers opened for light. They are pretty too.

  21. So happy you are willing to hire out jobs that make sense. It’s probably a money maker too since there is no way you could complete the job in the time it took them….. oh yeah and you hate drywalling.

  22. Love the decisions! And the ceiling looks amazing. Cant wait to see it painted. As for your table, didnt you get a wood set from someone? Is the wood to dark or is it painted? Love the table you picked out too. I agree with other comments about the light in the music room, can you do a circular light with that same similar pattern?

    1. I actually have three dining tables now. 🙂 I have the one that I bought before we moved into the house (the one that I cerused), but it’s too country in style. I have the round one that I bought on Craigslist, but I’m going to use that in the breakfast room. And then I have the one that my step-sister gave me, but I tried stripping and staining the top, and it just didn’t turn out, plus the edge of the top was more like MDF, which doesn’t stain pretty at all. Plus, the base was metal and not wood.

      So I’ve got plenty of tables, but I don’t have what this room needs. 🙂

  23. yes, hiring the trades came to me slowly until it took me a month to strip the wallpaper in my tiny dining room. I’m on my feet all day at work and up/down a ladder wreaked havoc on my legs so I had the nicest gentleman come out and bid for the living room and he had it all down with the walls paint ready in 8 hours!!! I thought he reinvented the wheel I was so ecstatic. I’m 15 yrs older and looking at retirement and have absolutely no problem calling the pros.
    Kudos to you. Your house looks fantastic.

  24. So, this is not a comment on your room, it’s a flooring question. Do you know what the durability rating is for a floor treated only with Waterlox (the way you have)? We’re getting ready to purchase and install hardwoods throughout our house and I want to make sure we consider Waterlox.

  25. So, what I got from this post is. . . you’re staining your kitchen counters black?
    Now, I know enough to know that I really don’t know much about interior design. (Was that sentence confusing enough?) And I always love what you produce. But I just can’t picture black counters in there.

    Also, I’ve never heard of drywall mud not needing sanded. That sounds like heaven!!

  26. Love this post! I am not a designer, but I completely agree with your curtain decision, and why you like it. It just makes sense. I also think the room looks so much brighter. I love minimal window treatments myself, because I love being able to see the outdoors. And thanks for the link to the light, it made it easier to see….holy cow that’s an expensive light! I don’t love the wave thing on the bottom, so I am sure your version will be even better. And soapstone counters are my favorite. See? I loved this post. 😍

  27. I love that RH table! I am have found cheaper alternatives at Havertys and surprisingly World Market! Love everything you do!