Here's what we've done in the study alone:
1. Basic demolition: ripped out drywall, outlets, lightswitch, ceiling fan, built in cabinets, tore up carpet carpet+padding. Opened hall closet into bedroom.
2. New drywall, taping and bedding. This was the most time consuming. For those who have never tried it: it's not that hard-- just get the tape wet before applying to the wall.
3. Textured walls. How? Watered down (like pretty thick pancake batter) compound and a paint roller. Didn't turn out exactly like the rest of the house, but it's subtle and it looks nice.
4. Finished subfloor around old crawlspace access (bottom left of picture below).
5. This is the biggie. When ol' Wendell put in his magical 80's mystery shelves, somebody went CRAZY with the ceiling texture-- it almost looked like acoustic (popcorn) texture, but it was made from compound. So I consider my options to make it look nice again:
- Tear down existing, then hang new drywall on ceiling. Cost? Another $30 or so. Time? Demo, cleanup, hanging new, taping, texturing... 12 hours work? Maybe. A big mess? YES.
- Hang new drywall over existing drywall. Still $30 and a lot of time.
- Scrape off fake popcorn texture and see what happens...
At the end of my two hours of backbreaking, over the head arm-work, I got to a spot in the ceiling that acted funny. I scraped and all that was underneath was more compound. I still don't quite know what's going on with it. Natalie suspects that his leg went through the ceiling at some point and he just patched the whole area (about 3'x3') with putty.
Anyway-- my idea was a bust. Which brings us to my solution:
4. Scrape off as much of the texture on the ceilings as you can. Sand down any noticeable bumps. After a good wipe-down, float a layer of compound with a 10" drywall knife in one direction (I started going south to north). Allow compound to dry. Sand again. Float another layer of compound over in the other direction (this time I tricked it up a bit-- I went west to east sometimes, and east to west other times-- it was a total hoot).
So-- here it is. The near final product. I'm about 92% happy with it. Maybe it will look better with a layer of primer then some nice paint.