7th House on the Left

As you may recall, last week, we hung a new light fixture in our dining area, which left us with a nice round hole in the ceiling where the previous light once hung. Our ceilings are lightly textured – not your typical “popcorn ceiling” but still textured enough to make the patching process a little different. A lot, if not most, homes built in the 70′s – early 90′s have textured ceilings, so we thought this would be a helpful process to share here on the blog. If you don’t have textured ceilings, but still have a hole to patch, the process is the same – just skip the texturing steps near the end. Let’s get started…

For this home repair process, you’ll need to gather the following supplies: a plastic shopping bag, a small piece of sheetrock, a 1/4″ strip of wood (or a thick paint stirrer), about four drywall screws (more if your hole is larger), drill, a piece of paper, pen, jigsaw, spackle (we used this), a putty knife, a small disposable plastic container, a few paper towels and ceiling paint. Note: if you have a hole saw, you won’t be needing the paper, pen or jigsaw.

How to Patch a Hole in a Textured Ceiling // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Since it was going to be a day or two before we could get around to patching the ceiling, we decided to line the hole with a plastic shopping bag. This kept our blown-in insulation from falling through the hole. Even if you’re patching the hole immediately, this is a nice way to keep from having insulation fall in your face during the patching process.

How to Patch a Hole in a Textured Ceiling // 7thhouseontheleft.com

As you can see, I left my plastic bag in place. I’ll be sure to also go up in the attic, push the insulation back into place, and grab the bag – probably right after I write this post. The second step of this process was to take a piece of wood and place it across the hole. I used a strip of 1/4-inch-thick wood that I picked up at the hardware store, but you can use anything you’ve got laying around. Come to think of it, a thick wooden paint stirrer might do the trick just as well. At that point, I screwed it down with a couple of drywall screws. Make sure you get the brace flush with the back of the drywall. Otherwise, your patch might not come out level.

How to Patch a Hole in a Textured Ceiling // 7thhouseontheleft.com

After you get the brace in place, grab a piece of paper and trace the edges of the hole. I actually used a piece of label paper we had laying around (the kind that has two large labels per sheet) – I’ll get to why in a second. If you’ve got a hole saw big enough to fit just slightly inside the existing hole, you’re even better off. Just skip this step, attach your hole saw to your drill, and laugh as everyone else is trying to trace. For those of us without hole saws, don’t worry about getting the tracing perfect. You just need a rough idea–the spackling compound will fill in all the gaps.

How to Patch a Hole in a Textured Ceiling // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Remember how I said the people with hole saws would be laughing at those of us without them? Well, they’re still laughing in this step. All they have to do is cut a circle out of a new piece of drywall. As I mentioned, I actually used a scrap piece of label paper in the previous step. Once the circle was traced, I took the label off the backing and stuck it directly onto a small piece of drywall to serve as my guide. If you use a regular piece of paper, you’ll just need to cut out your shape and trace it onto your new piece of drywall. Once I had my shape affixed, I used my jigsaw to cut it out. Notice how I’m not calling it a circle. I told you it didn’t have to be exact!

How to Patch a Hole in a Textured Ceiling // 7thhouseontheleft.com

At this point, all you need to do is plug the hole and secure it in place. I used two drywall screws to hold my patch in place just so it wouldn’t spin or move while I was applying the spackling compound.

How to Patch a Hole in a Textured Ceiling // 7thhouseontheleft.com

At this point, you just need to apply the spackling compound as normal. Make sure you apply just enough pressure around the cracks to get the spackling to flow into them. Also, it looks like I’m applying a lot here, but I actually like to apply very thin layers so that I don’t have to do much (if any) sanding.

How to Patch a Hole in a Textured Ceiling // 7thhouseontheleft.com

After applying a few layers of spackling compound, this is what our patch job looked like. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s a textured ceiling. We’re about to mess it up, anyway. That said, if you’re a real neat freak, you can let the spackling dry a bit, then come back with a damp paper towel or cloth to smooth out any rough areas. It works great, and you don’t have to worry about drywall dust getting everywhere from sanding. For us, since our ceiling is pretty textured, I just left it as is.

How to Patch a Hole in a Textured Ceiling // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Texturing is an art form that I’ve yet to master, but I think I do a reasonably good job for a semi-handy computer guy. The lynchpin of my process is watering down the spackling compound slightly before applying it. I added a few tablespoons of water to a few tablespoons of spackle and mixed them together in a small disposable plastic container. This part isn’t really an exact science, you just need to get it to the right consistency that it will stick to the ceiling and make little peaks. If it’s too watery, add some more spackle. If it’s too thick, add a tiny bit of water.

How to Patch a Hole in a Textured Ceiling // 7thhouseontheleft.com

At that point, I put a bit on my trowel, push it up against the non-textured area, then pull it straight off (perpendicular to the ceiling). This should leave you with a nice, random pattern of peaks across the patched area. If the peaks are too tall, scrape off the spackling compound and water it down a bit more. I ended up using a paper towel to form smaller peaks to match the rest of the ceiling. It kind of reminded me of my mom sponge painting our living room when I was a kid. The step takes a bit of trial and error until you get the right look, but this method works really well.

How to Patch a Hole in a Textured Ceiling // 7thhouseontheleft.com

I’m sure this needs little to no explanation, but you’ve got to paint the newly patched spot to match the ceiling. I suggest a small roller with a thick nap. If you use a brush or a roller with a light nap, it’ll be hard to get the entire textured area covered. Also, be sure to feather the edges with a dry brush so it blends well with the previously painted portion of the ceiling. And here’s our newly patched ceiling…

How to Patch a Hole in a Textured Ceiling // 7thhouseontheleft.com

You can’t even tell where the old light was unless you look really closely. Hopefully this has been helpful to someone out there with a similar project going on. If you’ve got any additional tips or tricks to make this process easier, be sure to share them in the comments.

His + Her Favorite Things

posted by Greg & Ashley  /  13 Comments

It’s a beautiful spring day here in Hanover, Virginia. Seriously, with the copious amounts of snow we’ve gotten this year, we were pretty sure it was never going to happen. I was prepping for an ice age. With the new month comes a new edition of His & Her Favorite things…

His Favorite Things // 7thhouseontheleft.com

ONE // I’ve been using the same tool bag for the past 6 years, and while it’s great for toting my most commonly used tools around, I really need a place to put all of my constantly-growing set of more specialized tools. A real, honest-to-goodness toolbox is in my near future. TWO // Knowing I love toast (Yes, I promise my wife can actually cook.), Ash sent me over to this article. Who knew gourmet toast was a thing? Now, breakfast will never be the same. Who am I kidding? Lunch and dinner might not be the same, either. THREE // Ashley and I are both obsessed with Aloe Blacc’s new album (we “fought” over who got to put it on their Favorites list). Honestly, I’m not totally sure how to describe it accurately. It takes old-school instrumentation and mixes it with new-school production value for an amazing combination. Definitely worth a listen. FOUR // This isn’t exactly new news, but I love coffee. If you’re used to getting one of their over-sweetened delightfully sweet concoctions and have never had a plain latte, do yourself a favor: order a pastry (if you’re game for a treat) and a plain latte. It’s world-changing. I promise. I don’t always go to Starbucks, but when I do, I order a straight latte.

Her Favorite Things // 7thhouseontheleft.com

ONE // The new Oh Joy collection at Target makes me want to throw a party. I love all of the bright colors and touches of gold. Even though we aren’t planning any parties anytime soon, I’m thinking about stocking up on a few favorites just for future festivities.  TWO // Okay. Forget everything you think you know about skincare and buy this stuff. I don’t know what magical properties are in this bottle, but it has changed my life. Okay, maybe not my life, but it has changed my skin. No, I take that back. It is life changing. I’ve been using it every morning and night (paired with the Kiehl’s Midnight Recover Serum at night) for about two weeks and my skin is the best it’s ever been. THREE // I’ve always been a fan of Greek yogurt, and I normally stuck with Chobani. However, I kept seeing the Fage commercials with Bobby Flay. I figured he seems to be a food snob, so it has to be good, right? Well, Bobby Flay is my new BFF because this stuff is freaking amazing. Greg loves the honey version and I’m a big fan of the raspberry. I’m looking forward to trying the plain Fage for cooking. FOUR // I’ve always been a fan of clean, fresh perfumes. I’ve been wearing Clinique Happy since I was about 15. I still love it, but on a whim, I wanted to try something different, I got my hands on a deluxe sample of Tory Burch. I love everything Tory Burch, but I still didn’t get my hopes up because I love my Happy so much. You guys–this stuff is amazing. It’s a really nice citrusy, fresh, clean and floral scent and I love it. This one is here to stay for sure. FIVE // Greg bought this for me one night while he was on an errand run to Target. Yeah, he totally knows my gold-loving self. It’s the perfect size for a few deck of cards and our score-keeping notebook. It’s definitely one of my new favorite storage pieces.

So that wraps up this month’s edition of His + Hers. What are you guys digging this month?

I always try to keep negative thoughts off the blog –  goodness knows there’s enough negativity to go around for all of us on the World Wide Web. But truth is, this girl is irritated.

On the hunt for curtains // 7thhouseontheleft.com

Rant #1 // For me, curtains are one of the hardest – if not the hardest – decor items to shop for. I’m normally pretty good at visualizing what something might look like in place and seeing potential, but when it comes to curtains, I just can’t wrap my head around them. I recently started using the mindset of “they’re just like wall art”. That thinking has helped a little bit, but we’re still working on it. Reason #326 I’d be a horrible professional interior designer.

Rant #2 // In my despair, I turned to Pinterest for inspiration. When you type “modern rustic dining room” in the search box, you get huge lofty rooms with two-story windows that need no curtains – because the room is just that awesome on it’s own, and the house sits on a secluded 75-acre wooded lot. Obviously, Pinterest has been of little help. It just gives you a false since of hope for the average brick ranch.

Rant #3 // The more trouble I have finding curtains for any room in the house, the more I become obsessed with the dining room curtains. I guess these are so important in my head because the dining room area is open to the main living area and the kitchen. The kitchen is done, but the living room hasn’t been touched (though we’re planning on buying a dark gray sectional in the nearish future). Basically, these curtains have the potential to set the “stage” for not only the dining room, but the the living room, as well – and maybe even the rest of the house! Okay, simmer down there Ashley. A little dramatic.

After searching high and low for curtains for the dinning room, I finally (finally!) found some I liked and thought would look nice with the new table and light fixture while offering up a touch of color…

West Elm Curtains // 7thhouseontheleft.com

These beauties hail from West Elm. I really loved the modern Ikat design and especially the fact they were navy (I’m always a sucker for navy blue). I was excited when I noticed they went on sale and made plans to pull the trigger and snatch them up. A few days later, I clicked over to the website to look at them again, make sure I still loved them, to get Greg’s opinion, etc and… they were sold out. I emailed West Elm to see if they were planning on bringing them back anytime soon (once in a blue moon that happens). I haven’t heard back from them yet, but my guess is that they’re gone for good. I also checked Ebay (because you never know!) and found them in the 84″ version, but no 96″. Boo. Update: Last night, they magically reappeared online. Without even questioning myself, I put 4 panels in my cart and purchased them. About 30 minutes later, I got an email saying my order had been canceled because they are out of stock. Why, oh why, West Elm must you play with my emotions like that?

So now that those beloved curtains are no longer an option, I’m trying to turn lemons into lemonade and find something even better. Well, let me tell you, these lemons aren’t making good lemonade. I’ve searched every single store I can think of. You name the store and I’ve probably been to their website in the last 72 hours.

Anthroplogie Curtains // 7thhouseontheleft.com

I found these from Anthroplogie and fell in love with them at first click. They’re a really different from the first ones, and they’re actually not something I’d normally pick out. I really adore the embroidery detail (there’s a detail shot here) and the heavy weight of the fabric. They’re modern and fresh, and they look and feel like high-quality curtains. All that awesomeness comes at a price, though: $1,060.51 for two windows. While I’m totally down for a good splurge here and there, I just don’t think curtains for two windows justify a $1k+ price tag. So, sadly, I’m moving on.

Nate Berkus for Target Curtains // 7thhouseontheleft.com

My other thought is to go with something in the dark gray family (maybe these). I know, I know. Gray. Again. Just hear me out. Like I mentioned earlier, we’re planning on purchasing a super simple dark gray sectional (in the nearish future) and then piling it up with loads of colorful and fun pillows. So, what if… we paint the walls a lighter color so there’s a bit more contrast (the walls are a tad darker in person than they appear in photos), hang dark gray curtains (to tie in with the sectional) and make sure we add color to the dining area with art work and a table centerpiece? Or have I completely lost my gray-loving mind? I didn’t really intend for this to be a “brain dump” post, but I think that’s what it just turned into.

To Sew or Not to Sew // 7thhouseontheleft.com

For my last and final thought, I could always make my own curtains. I’m not a sewing guru by any stretch of the imagination (truth be told, Greg is better at sewing than I – oh, he’ll love me for declaring that to the internet), but curtains look pretty easy. I’m going to be checking out the local fabric stores and Spoonflower to see if I find the answer there. We shall see.

So, I’m now turning to you… what are your go-to stops for curtains? Any pro interior designers out there with some tips or suggestions? I’m all ears!