The Thrill of Smooth White Walls

By Kate Riley July 29, 2014

Hello friends, today it’s the weekly update on the remodel, and I have some absolutely thrilling pictures for you, images of a lot of white walls!! Okay not always so exciting but wait! These are not just your ordinary repainted white walls, instead these are completely retextured walls. So long vinyl wallpaper and orange peel texture medley, cue the famous Santana + Rob Thomas hit.

We’re not fans of the orange peel or knockdown textured walls, we love smooth (or even imperfect smooth) troweled walls. We decided as long as we were removing all the popcorn ceilings and vinyl wallpaper that we would go all the way and have the walls retextured so they would be so smooooooth and we hired a crew to help us achieve it.

In the breakfast nook we’ve removed the popcorn ceiling, the funky window treatments, the faded vinyl wallpaper on that back wall and also the ceiling fan.

breakfast nook before

That window on the right leads to a good size side yard with a covered lanai – we have plans to change the window to double doors to blur the line between indoors and out and allow for access to the patio. More on that later, as for now beautiful smooth white walls exist in the space and better baseboards are on their way. Blank canvas!

breakfast nook after

In the dining room, the popcorn ceilings are gone, so is the light fixture and the window treatments, and the space has been retextured in a smooth Level 5 finish. The carpet leaves tomorrow.

dining room before

dining room after

This was the family room when we began a month ago, since then we’ve removed the vinyl wallpaper on the left wall (hard to see but trust me, it’s there), the Golden Girls valance + vertical blinds, and the brown tile surround on the fireplace. I mentioned in last week’s update our plans to fill the niche above the fireplace and demolish the sheetrock mantel.

two kinds of flooring

Today, it’s like a breath of fresh air….

family room new texture

We disliked the niche, tile, and position and dimensions of the sheetrock mantel on the old fireplace so we got rid of it.

fireplace 2

   smooth fireplace wall

I was researching contemporary fireplace ideas and a few days ago finally found the perfect inspiration photo. I love the look of this simple mantel and sophisticated tile inset. I have my eye on a few different patterns to achieve a similar look.

tile fireplace


This week we gathered a few bids on replacing the old aluminum windows and the existing slider … gulp. So expensive! We think it will add value so the plan is to upgrade the windows and sliding doors later this year for more energy efficiency.

aluminum slider and window

A few of you have inquired what the kids are up to while we’re working on the house and you can see they spend several hours in the pool, we consider ourselves truly lucky to have one.

Their books and a few board games are also keeping them entertained, they’ve been so great about all of this. They like to hang out at my parents’ house down the street in the afternoons for a dose of Disney channel and a daily trip for frozen yogurt… swimming, games, TV, and sweets, isn’t that what summer is all about?

games outside

I found that wood veneer table with a leaf at a local Goodwill store for $40 and have plans to paint it and use it either in the dining room or breakfast nook. Thank you so much to a few local readers who have given me the inside scoop on thrift stores and their discount days, you are awesome! I can’t wait to go hunting for more great finds!

The rest of the house is in various states of construction debris, to be expected…

construction debris

Tomorrow the floor demo crew arrives so the old tile and dingy carpet and tack strips will soon be gone. We will be pulling baseboards and scraping floors to remove the underlying thinset. Out with the old, in with the new… perfect timing, several crates of Daltile’s porcelain wood Forest Park Sugar Maple tile arrived today.

sugar maple porcelain tile

I cannot wait to see it installed up against all of those white walls…  I’ll share another update on the renovation next week!



  1. What progress! Did you pay somebody to smooth your walls? What was the process? I have knocked down heavy (think stucco) texture that I do not like. I’ve wondered if there is anything I can do about it.

    • The walls haven’t been painted yet Jennifer but already I love that shade of white! I chose White on White by Glidden – that process begins in a few days….
      @Jami yes we hired a wall texture specialist to do what’s called a Level 5 finish, he was recommended by our handyman helper, he did an amazing job ! The walls are so very smooth they feel very clean and contemporary which was the look we’re going for!

  2. Awesome! It is my fiancé and I’s dream to flip houses. We’re almost done flipping our own home, and have high hopes to purchase another home to flip after our wedding! Love your post!

  3. Can I add my 2 cents?
    First let me say that what you are doing is incredible. Even though it’s not finished,, the place is looking great. Congrats on all your hard work.
    Just so you know, I’m not one of those people that make rude or nasty comments behind the anonymity of a computer screen. But the window next to the slider out to the pool looks odd to me. Since you plan on replacing them, I think it would look better to install just a wider slider. And eliminate the window.
    I realize everyone has an opinion & that was mine. In the end I know what you’ll do will look great.

  4. Hi Kate- I had to leave a comment about the windows since we just replaced a few. Check out Home Depot. We started with a national chain and the quote came back super high. We called HD and they come out, provide and quote and the windows have a lifetime replacement (random, lacrosse ball, whatever). And, it transfers with sell of the home (great selling point). We were shocked at the savings! laura

  5. Wow – what a difference! Looks like you guys have been busy. Can’t wait to see what paint colors you choose!

  6. This looks great! I really like your inspiration pic for the fireplace. To me, it looks contemporary, but traditional at the same time. The fireplace already looks so much better without that clunky mantel and weird niche. What do builders think people would put in those spaces, anyway?

  7. Kate, Looking AWESOME! I have to agree with what Mary said – I actually spoke out loud to myself (how weird is that) and said “there is a window beside the slider”. One larger slider would get my vote as well. LOL easy for me to spend someone else’s money.

    • Ha Denise and Mary, I totally agree, such weird placement ! We’re having that same debate, we definitely don’t want to have to retexture the outside of the home but that window! Ugh. I keep coming back to the fact that there will be long fabric window panels there to cover it so you won’t see it from the inside since that wall gets pelted by the sun. I love all the suggestions!
      @Laura – we did get a quote from HD it was still higher than we’re willing to pay now, the research continues, but we will need quality windows replaced at some point so we may just have to bite the bullet once we get a few more bids. I look at new windows and drool over their beauty and energy efficiency….

  8. Ah, a nice clean space and breathing room. Must say, though, I kinda like the funky light fixture in picture 3.

    You’re making amazing progress in such a short time.

  9. On the topic of replacing the slider + oddly placed window … have you considered replacing with french doors? 4 french doors abutting each other probably would span approx the same measurement as the slider + blank wall + window does, so you wouldn’t have to deal with outside resurfacing. Have the two center doors be operable (that would also reposition the traffic pattern to the center of the wall) with the “door” on both ends stationary. Its amazing what a better price point big box stores offer on in-stock single french doors over windows. Lots of the in-stock doors are energy efficient, include low-E or similar glass, and may even have pleated shades between the glass that could help further filter the strong sun on that wall … add a nice pair of curtains on the end … a symmetrical treatment for then entire wall. Just an idea.

  10. I initially thought you were remodeling this house to flip it, but now I’m realizing it might be a second home for you close to your parents. Is that the case? Otherwise, it seems like a LOT of work for something you’re going to flip.

    Also, as a faithful Las Vegas reader, any chance you’d be willing to share the best local thrift stores and discount days?? I’ve been to a couple, but haven’t been able to get the real “inside scoop.”

  11. I love the white walls. Awesome. Looking forward to the floors. Love the tile.

  12. Have you considered bi-folding doors to replace the slider and the window? I replaced an external wall in our playroom with a 3 metre bi-folding door. It has opened the room up entirely to the garden and has vastly improved the light (very important over here in Grey UK) and the flow of the room. Mine also have blinds contained within each glass panel which you can control either manually or with a motorised version (my 3m consists of 3 doors each with a seperate blind within the triple glazed glass). Have no idea if these are available in the US, so this is the link to the company we used in the UK Good luck with the development and love the blog!

  13. I am really enjoying this process and it is so much fun to hear input from readers, I go back to look at photos again to see what I missed. The place is really looking great!

  14. i agree with MY LIFE IN TUNE!
    PLEASE if u can give us locals a peek at who u have been using for your flip
    Good thrift stores here in Vegas are few and far
    any help is GREATLY appreciated
    Denise in Las Vegas

  15. SUCH an improvement! I still find it unbelievable that people who own their own homes would put up with vertical blinds. I even take them down in my apartment!

  16. Hi Kate, I look forward to the progress you’re making on your house every day and your creative ideas. You are my inspiration.


  17. Love all the work you have done. We have gone through the same process. Looks great. I would mention that replacing windows and sliders are not as difficult as it sounds. We were surprise and pleased at the savings. The only hard one we ran into was changing a slider to French Doors but it was well in the doable range. Only a suggestion since you are obviously handy we know you can tackle the project.

  18. Bye bye 1985! I share in your excitement of smooth walls! My house didn’t have textured walls just bad bad prior jobs and renovations. Applying joint compound over tape and never sanding just painting…yeah had that. How about entire rooms that were painted (who knows why!) with a rough BRUSH. Why would you ever do that and not use a roller! I had to skim coat everything to fill in the brush lines. Be glad you hired someone! I did not but now I am ‘spackle master’. I can get that wall smooth as a baby’s…… But, others will never understand because to them the wall just looks like it was supposed to! They dont know I had to fill in a hole because somebody punched it out! I’m just glad its now ‘perfect!’ Can’t wait to see that ‘wood’ tile. So pretty.

  19. For some reason the last several times I’ve tried to view the site, all your images come up as broken for me, so i can’t see all the beauty I am sure is going on here! I’d tweeted at you about it but possibly it’s just me, since all these commenters are looking at what sounds like a wonderful series of pictures! ~sad trombone~

    I’m using Chrome as a browser, and most often click through to you from my feed reader, Feedly, if that’s useful to know at all? Not having issues with other blogs I read so I figured just in case it’s an odd glitch I’d let you know.

    • Hi Liz, I subscribe to the blog through Feedly, no issues, also I’m able to view just fine in Chrome, try a browser refresh CTL+F5 – that seems to work for me most of the time!

  20. This is so exciting! I love living vicariously through you. I hope to be able to flip houses (that I’m not living in) one day too… thanks for sharing your journey!

  21. Is it possible to get the name and number of your texture specialist? I live in Las Vegas and am interested in getting some work done. Thanks for your help! BTW, regarding thrift stores, don’t forget about Habitat for Humanity ~ I’ve had good luck :o) This is so fun to watch…thanks for taking us along!

    • Email me Sandy, happy to share ! I’ll compile that list of thrift stores too for those that asked…

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