By Eric Williams on March 4, 2014 2

This past weekend Rooney turned 2. And the week before that, we decided to power through and finish painting our main upstairs living space.

I say “power through,” because we originally decided to leave the stairwell and the upstairs hallway the ol’ taupe until post-party (our stress level was getting close to boiling point). But, Friday night (2/21/14) we got a crazy hair and decided we would spend Saturday finishing it off.

The whole reason we’ve been waiting to paint the stairwell is because while I am tall (6’2″)… I’m not that tall (like 20 ft). So, I had to figure out how best to risk my life for the sake of #operationwhitehouse (the official hashtag of our “paint the whole house white instead of taupe” project). Off to Lowe’s we went on Saturday morning on the hunt for a 2″x12″ plank to create scaffolding in the stairwell. But not before we looked at the house plants and took a Rooney in carts photo, of course.

Rooney in Carts

They make planks out of aluminum specifically for this type of situation, but the cheapest one is around $200. So we opted for the wood variety. A nice 2″x12″ 10-foot long board for around $14. I didn’t want anything longer, because I figured I would lose sturdiness, and, of course… nothing longer would fit in the minivan.

Prepping for Painting a Stairwell

We don’t usually tape edges, but we decided that tape would be the best approach for where the carpet meets the stair wall. Some stairwells have thick trim board that runs up that would have made this part of the project a lot easier (cutting a straight line vs. all the turns for every stair). Ours, unfortunately, doesn’t have trim…yet.

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By Eric Williams on February 21, 2014 3

On the surface, wiring a basement didn’t sound too difficult to me. A few outlets, lights in every room, run some wire. Boom. Done.

Yo! When we really started looking at our floor plan and mapped out where we wanted lights, outlets and other electrical features, it seemed I was in way over my head.

Electrical Box

Oh, and never mind that the extent of my electrical knowledge came from installing a dimmer switch in our upstairs family room. That simply took following instructions on the back of the package, and may have just been dumb luck.

Thank goodness I’ve got a coach with some experience. What up, Pops! He’s been leading the electrical project and helping strategize what’s needed and how to get it done in the most efficient way.

Learning Electrical 101

Please note the wise white beard my dad rocks… my red beard pales in comparison…

After buying more than 800 feet of electrical wire, I’m scratching my head. Who knew it would take so much?! And I’m constantly finding more wiring that needs to be done.

Like running coaxial cable through the basement and figuring out how to tie it to our existing cable network. Thinking about where our wireless router will live and determining if I want to run ethernet cords from the office to the media center in the family room. And, I guess there are these things called building codes that say I need to install smoke detectors as well. Sheesh.

Well, we’re getting closer. At this point we have most of the outlets in and a good majority of the lights in as well. I would say it’s about 82% complete.

Bedroom outlet

I’ll be sure to give an update when it’s done and I think I’ll also put together a beginner’s guide to electrical. It’s not as scary as it seems once you know what you are doing, but, as a disclaimer, if you are at all fearful, just hire it out to a professional.

Electrical Box


We spent a lot of evenings in our empty basement talking through lighting and outlet scenarios. Things have changed a little bit, but hopefully we’ll enjoy the extra outlets and lights we’ve decided to add as the project has progressed.

We’ve added outlets everywhere we think we might need them, and then a few more just because.

Lights have been fun to add, because for years, our basement has had terrible lighting, and it’s made it hard to visualize what might be needed in such a large space and in rooms that will have no natural light.

We’ve added some accent lighting that should help in the main living room. This set of three eyeball lights run just behind the ductwork and light down the wall. Should be nice for when we shut off the main lights.


Still Left

I still have to get coaxial cable wired in the basement. The plan is to have a cable outlet in the office, family room, bedroom and playroom. The cable modem and wireless Internet will live in the office, and we’ll have our antenna hooked up in our living room. The others are really just for future use/needs.

We may never get drywall hung in our basement… I swear, it’s taking forever, and there is so much to do! I’m trying to remember to take baby steps and enjoy the process of learning new things all the time.

How about you, any electrical projects in the books or on the horizon?