We have walls!

Last we left off, I had demo’ed the spindley divider between our entry area and the formal dining room. It used to look like this…


and then it was looking like this…

new opening

(By the way, that first pic was taken when the house was for sale; when we bought it, the realtor had put paper blinds up on all the windows and we still haven’t taken them down.)

I went to Lowe’s the next day to get everything we needed for framing and drywalling (that’s totally a word, stupid spell check) and texturing (that’s for sure a word. who makes this spell check program?).


We got rid of my husband’s truck almost two years ago, after a fifteen year run. It was just done. So done. We bought a tiny little commuter car for him, so my mini van is the “work vehicle.” It holds a 4×8 sheet with a millimeter to spare.

I bought lumber, drywall screws, shims, drywall (Sheetrock is a brand name. pet peeve.), joint tape, and joint compound (also called mud or texture).

The hubs prepped for framing while I was gone. He pulled down this molding on the other side of the dining room and changed out a couple of light switches.

light switch

This was a three-way switch (on and off is two way), meaning it controlled the hallway light that could also be controlled from another switch by the front door. Once we closed this room off, the light switch for the hallway would have been inside the room. Obviously it needed to be removed.

It wasn’t a big deal at all. The other switch is a few feet away so it won’t be weird to not have one at this end of the hall. Besides that, there is another little hall area right behind here that leads to the laundry room, guest bath, and master bedroom. There is a light switch there that can be turned on if you come in from the garage.

He just turned off the power to that room at the breaker, and replaced the other switch with a two way, while removing this one completely. I tried to convince him just to tape up the wires and patch the hole (because that would be much prettier), and no one would ever know it was there. But he always follows code, so we put a plate over it. No big deal.

We tore all the old drywall off the headers and made a huge mess. Drywall is the worst!

drywall mess

The hubs framed the area where we had removed the fancy pants spindled room divider.


I think that was all the work we got done that day. We spent the entire evening reading about pocket door hardware because we bought really cheap pocket frames that came with pitiful instructions. We were butting two single pocket doors next to each other, and had never done that before so we needed to do some research about how the tracks line up and function. (It looked like there would be a gap, but I knew there had to be a way to make them not have a gap because I’ve seen double pocket doors with no gap.)

We’ve used french doors in this same type of scenario before, but since this wall is pretty much creating a hallway, we didn’t want the doors to swing right into the walkway. Also, I didn’t want them to swing into the room because I needed the wall space for a chalk board and white board. Pocket doors were a no-brainer right from the beginning.

We hung the pocket doors with only minimal frustration (if I was blogging this the day after I’d probably have lots to say, but two months out it’s fuzzy). I don’t recall all the details, but I remember being annoyed that the dumb pre-made frames we purchased weren’t even square.

You could totally build your own pocket door frames (and we might if we use them in the future), but since these were not terribly expensive and included the track, we paid the extra few dollars for them pre-made. Time was valuable here because we were trying to finish this project during Christmas time while my hubs was off work. (Ignore all the mess. That’s what happens during construction, especially if you haven’t even unpacked yet.)

single door track pocketdoors hung

We wanted to make sure the doors functioned properly before we covered them up with drywall, so the next thing we had to do was find doors. (I had already checked the big box stores and Habitat Restore.) Our house is 30 years old, so we were kinda hoping for a miracle. We crossed our fingers and headed to a local millwork place. (Like a lumber yard, but nicer.) We couldn’t match the doors, but we were able to match the baseboards and door casing. I was in shock! I had figured we’d have to get all new baseboards rather than finding some to match. Who knew they were still making the exact pattern three decades later?! Woohoo!

We could have paid a small fortune to have doors custom made to match our existing ones, or we could have tried to build our own I suppose (haha. I’m so funny). We decided to order some from Lowe’s instead. They weren’t a stocked item, so we had to wait nearly two weeks for them to come in. They aren’t an exact match, but I challenge anyone to notice. (They have one more ridge on the perimeter of the panels.) They’re hollow core and the rest of the house has solid wood, but they were only $35 each and I actually prefer the hollow on this track. I’d be worried about the weight otherwise.

We didn’t want to wait two weeks to drywall, so we hung a door from somewhere else here just to see if everything worked correctly. It did, so we got right to work hanging drywall.

drywall drywall outside

(He’s a s bad as the kids about stepping into my pics.)

I bought a new kind of joint tape this time, even though I have a couple other kinds in the garage. I’m always looking for an easier-to-use drywall tape. I’ve used the mesh kind that has adhesive and the regular paper kind that you put over the mudded seam and then smooth on. I don’t love either of them, so when I saw this fiberglass type, I thought it might offer the things I like from each other type. I like that the mud comes easily through the mesh tape, but it’s too thick for entire seams. The other kind is super thin, but it doesn’t always stick well for me (I’m not a professional taper and bedder).

joint tape

The fiberglass allowed the mud to come through well, and therefore the tape stuck better. It was also not so thick that it required fifteen layers of joint compound. I liked it pretty well.

We got a plastic (vinyl) edge for the outer corner. I’m not sure when metal is preferred, but plastic was fine for this job. I liked it better than when we’ve used metal. And I definitely like it better than those paper kinds.

vynil corner

If any of you have ever patched a leaky roof or repaired a hole in a wall, you know that matching the texture is the hardest part. I was a bit worried about this part right here. (This is the classroom side of where we took down the spindled divider.)

back of opening

This texture is on super thick. I knew I wouldn’t be able to live with a big line down this wall. I’d match it or die trying. Thankfully, I was able to get the seam flush. It took several layers over the course of a few days, but it turned out great.

cover old opening patch seam joint compound

putty knife seam1 joint tape

smooth tape seam4 seam2

seam5 seam6 seam3

Of course I did all my other seams too, but they aren’t newsworthy. New drywall next to new drywall is pretty straightforward.

Once my seams were perfect and everything was dry, I used a trowel to hand texture (as opposed to spraying texture), working diligently to match the existing style. Thankfully it was a technique that I’ve used several times in kitchens and bathrooms over the years, so I didn’t have to re-texture the entire room to make it match.

trowel1 trowel2 hand texture

I actually had to do three layers (drying in between) to get it as thick as the existing texture. If I were doing this new, I’d only do one layer. I prefer texture a bit thinner, but it’s not worth redoing the entire room.

The outside corner was also super smooth and showed no lines. I was so thrilled about it on that side because the opposite wall (by the kitchen and stairs) is smooth. I wouldn’t be able to hide any imperfections with texture, so getting this corner perfect was absolutely necessary.

corner one corner2 corner3

Then I covered my screws and sanded everything smooth when dry. (making a ton of dust…drywall is the worst!)

cover screws sanding block drywall dust

I also left the inside wall smooth on each side of the door opening so that I could paint a chalkboard on the left side of the door opening, and a white board on the right. If/when we sell this house, I can easily texture those two spots to match the rest of the room. (If. Hahaha.)

I’ll show you that next time, as well as what else I did while I had out those paints.