T^2: Texture & Tile


Before we moved into the shack, we were still dreadfully unemployed and had high hopes of completing just a couple of little projects. The first “quick” project was removing the texture from the ceilings in the bedrooms.

Textured ceilings was a genius idea from the ’80’s, ensuring all horrendous drywall jobs were perfectly disguised. The type of texture on our ceilings was in the same family as popcorn ceilings but more closely resembled a topographical map found in every elementary school’s library. Each bedroom had every rocky mountain peak represented at least 1000 different times.

Basically, it had to go.

Googling this issue, every blog said you need to REALLY wet the ceilings. I borrowed my dad’s poison-sprayer for weeds, you know, the one in the garage with the gallon jug and a little hose and you pump it. I rinsed it once, deciding to be a little risky, and filled it full of water. I laid down a sheet of plastic, hauled the world’s ricketiest ladder out of the basement, and got to work with nothing but hope and positivity!

You REALLY had to wet the ceiling, which in turn was a gentle shower that lasted for hours and into days. I was drenched. Once the texture was properly moistened, I scraped it off with a putty knife as it fell in gigantic diarrhea splats on my face, arms, shoes, and a little even managed to get on the plastic.

I did this in each bedroom by myself as Nathan started working (PTL AMIRIGHT?! we were down to just 100 smackers – meaning we spent our last 100 dollars on one hundred tubes of smackers chapstick – coca cola flavor).


Rickety ladder and mountain-texture ceilings.


Great Granny’s basement floors were tiled. Not just with any tile, but asbestos* tile! You could tell because almost every single tile had a crack in it and you could see the little asbestos-poison hairs sticking out of the cracks as they eagerly tried to crawl into your lungs and crystalize.

Google said the only good way to get the tile out was to shatter it with a hammer. Thank you google for a very “creative” solution.

My grandpa, Nathan, and I just whacked at the tile until it was a bunch of shards. A wonderful experience, indeed! I wore shorts (tempos, duh), and shorts go perfectly with remodeling** and so my legs ended up with roughly 1 million tiny cuts all over them. I could go into more detail about this, but it would turn into a horror blog, which the world does not need more of in light of today’s poverty rates*** but NOT TODAY.

We filled 5 heavy duty industrial size garbage bags full of the tile and the garbage-getters wouldn’t take them because they were too heavy. This was only the beginning of the garbage-getters being the Morgan-haters and never taking my trash.

After removing the tile there was a thick layer of oil-based black mastic – truly worse than mortar and I’m not being dramatic (WHICH IS SAYING SOMETHING). We tried scraping it off, which did nothing. We ended up trying 6 different kinds of chemicals to melt it away and the 6th one worked! It was basically battery acid and made me feel verrrrrrrrrrry whoozy. I poured $20 gallon after $20 gallon on the floor and pushed it around with a gigantic squeegee and then scrapped at it with a putty knife.

At this point – probably pretty high from all of the chemicals –  I was thinking maybe remodeling and homeownership isn’t going to complete my life…..maybe I’ve been lied to by Chip and Jo….maybe I should just build a Celebrity Home****. It was already too late tho, so we moved in.


Photo of us in the basement with the tile.


*Google asbestos if you don’t know what it is. They say it is very dangerous, but only if it is broken or cracked. LOL OUR BASEMENT WAS JUST ONE GIGANTIC BROKEN ASBESTOS

**It’s NEVER the right choice.

***Shameless plug about my other life’s passion/interest – POVERTY!

**** Celebrity Homes are the creation of some white male, in some office building looking to make a dime. They are these gigantic, sprawling developments where they build houses in mass and CHEAP AF. You can build a brand new 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house for like 170,000 bucks. Last year, Nebraska had a windstorm and it was bad, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t that bad and the roof literally just flew off of three of these homes. They’re made with popsicle sticks and meant to decay in like 15 years so then the white-office-man can just build a bunch more developments. People love these though.




GOTCHA YA S.O.B.! Tricked ya with the title. You probably thought you were getting before AND after photos, but alas, you are not. I know, you, my fans (hi mom) are disappointed! This is a post of just the before photos because I would have nothing else to write about if I just immediately showed ya the good stuff!

A fun fact about this hell hole is that it was very difficult to photograph: the rooms were chopped up, everything was on the red-brown color spectrum, and it had essentially been ransacked by my grandparents so there was no furniture to give dimension or a sense of space.

Below begins the photo montage!

There she is! This little nugget is nestled behind a ridiculously overgrown lawn, trees, bushes, and flowers! All of which managed to have thorns! WHY DO OLD PPL LOVE THORNY PLANTS?!  I call this house “the double-wide” because it looks exactly like a trailer park home, but I assure you this is firmly built into the ground. There is so much more to say about the exterior and we will get there! SO STOP ASKING! Be patient, you psychopath!


You walk in the front door-BAM! Immediately overtaken by the 1970’s “neutral” color pallet, otherwise affectionately referred to as “if red, orange, and brown had a baby!” Quite reminiscent of basements where everything went on from post Thanksgiving wrestling matches with cousins to awkward make out sessions your high school boyfriend. It is the perfect backdrop to all such occasions! The second living room photo is from the other direction. (Side note: the entire house, other than the kitchen, had blue shag carpet. Unfortunately, my grandparents removed the gorgeous monstrosity. They found wood floors throughout the whole house that had been perfectly protected by the carpet. Magic!)


Below is a picture of the master bedroom. The other two bedrooms look very similar so they are not photographed here. (Note: the drapes….to die for….)


There is not a “master bath” in this little shanty, but there is a large bathroom and a small bathroom. Below is the large bathroom and it is easy to see this is not actually a “large bathroom”. #ammmmmiright?! This bathroom was also shag-carpet laden and so my grandparents removed it and put in cement board. #blessed. (Please note the curtains! They’re perfect for any Valentine’s day fantasy in a motel, heart shaped bathtub <3)


Below is the smaller bathroom and the only remnant of the blue shag! SOAK IT IN PPL!


The photo below captures the dining area and the transitional space between the living room and kitchen. (Please note the paper-thin, office building carpet in the dining area. It went really well with the blue shag!)


Now…the kitchen! There are SO MANY things to highlight in this kitchen. For starters, the original appliances. They worked! Can you believe it? If we wanted an oven that was always the wrong temperature, we would have kept it. And of course there is the wide-gaping, I might lose my children in there, fridge hole. I love taking the food down to the “cellar” for cooling. Also, the fluorescent lighting. Nothing says home quite like having an oral-surgery-grade light fixture in the kitchen. And of course, the real star of the show: THE CURTAINS. Don’t worry, as sustainable remodelers, we were very intentional about saving things that could be reused or repurposed; we repurposed these into some sexy lingerie, a doily for the side table, and Pinterest inspired vintage pillowcase. Very handy!


LAST PICTURE PTL BECAUSE I AM OUT OF CREATIVITY: SCREENED IN PORCH. You could get to the porch through the lace curtains and door in the kitchen. The porch’s blue ceiling definitely did make it feel like the open sky. Another excellent choice by granny!




How we got where we are…

My husband and I dated quickly, got married quicker, moved to Denver from Seattle even quicker, rushed through grad school, a coding boot camp, and found ourselves in Nebraska after my great grandmother’s death. We are both TYPE A, high strung mofos.

During these times, my brother and sister-in-law were in the throes of remodeling their house and I thought “me too!”

I, too, want my life to be one of no free time, utter exhaustion, and dust embedded in to every square inch of my clothing and soul. I want my life to contain only conversation regarding remodel logistics. I want to plateau in my career!!!!! I want to perform half-assly at my job because I am working another FULL TIME JOB FOR NO PAY AND INVOLVES PHYSICAL LABOR! I want to have no time to spend with friends/family (WHO EVEN ARE THEY?! unless of course they offer to help with anything….then COME ON OVER FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND ENEMIES. I LOVE YOU AND YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!).

Even with great advice from wise people the temptation of remodeling still managed to pull me in.

It entices you with the photos of Joanna wearing THE PERFECT anthro/madewell outfit  while DELICATELY tiptoeing through a construction site.

It entices you with CHIP’S SEASON 5 LONG HAIR.


It tickles your fancies with the insta-perfect process of a couple giggling in flannels AND skinny jeans up against some 2 by 4’s in a gutted kitchen.

It drives your ambition with the ABILITY TO FLIP AN ENTIRE HOUSE IN ONE HOUR.

It convinces you that YOU TOO ARE A CARPENTER (never lifted a hammer in your life) AND YOU TOO ARE CREATIVE (failed high school art class) AND YOU TOO ARE AN INTERIOR DESIGNER (lol I love the Target home section).

Remodeling is the great temptation of today.

Ultimately, my husband and I moved to NE in August 2016. We bought my great grandmother’s house, found jobs, and lived in the house for four months before we started in on the remodel. Though, we had plenty of projects leading up to when we began in Jan. 2017.