Making Drywall Fun + A Tour of the Mudroom

This post is in collaboration with National Gypsum PURPLE XP®. #askforpurple

4 years ago (this week!) we closed on our house. We talk about those remember when?s often – from the moment we cut down the ‘For Sale’ sign on our front gate, to christening the new-to-us home with a good champagne smashing, to the first swing of our sledgehammers through the living room ceiling. It was all the emotions – excitement, eagerness, stress – and rightfully so, as it was (and still is) our largest renovation project to date! What we thought would be a 2-or-so month construction zone stage turned into 6, and we will never, ever forget the first time we saw fresh drywall being hung. It was at that moment when we felt like we had finally turned a corner; we had a house again! The mud was still wet and there would be days of sanding ahead, but we made it through the hardest part. Our house was beginning to look like a home.

Drywall, although a somewhat mundane concept, is ironically the most exciting stage in any of our home renovation projects! We tear old walls down. We move plumbing and update electrical, and it’s during this time (when any given room has been ripped to the studs) that we let the professionals do their thing, and we turn our focus towards finishes. We start thinking ahead. We look forward to that moment when we can paint the walls, hang the sconces and roll out the rug. We keep ourselves occupied pinning inspiration and shopping for said paint, lights and rugs, and we anxiously await the day when we hear our contractors sanding. It’s a sound we’ve become so familiar with – tch, tch, tch. Tch. Tch. When we hear that sound, we know we have walls again!

I recently received, admittedly, one of the more unique emails I’ve come across. National Gypsum (yes, the National Gypsum that produces the drywall that hangs in our homes!) invited us to their headquarters in Charlotte, NC. Specifically, they wanted to introduce us and a small group of renovation bloggers to their PURPLE XP® drywall products, to which I couldn’t help but say, yes! (And yes, the drywall is purple!)

It was an intimate group of five bloggers, and we were greeted by the most enthusiastic team. It’s important for me to mention that it’s always so heartwarming to learn more about the people behind a brand, especially when you can feel how much they love what they do. Their joy is downright contagious. For a jam-packed few days, we learned what makes PURPLE XP stand out from the drywall crowd, and we experienced first hand the differences between their many products that enhance the way you live in your home. While all gypsum based drywall is naturally fire-resistant, PURPLE products also resist mold and moisture and offer solutions to suit your needs – from reducing sound to resisting dents and scuffs in high traffic areas.

We were taken on a tour of the National Gypsum headquarters, where we observed a machine (above) exert enough energy to deeply scratch regular drywall (below, on the right), whereas it barely scuffed the top paper layer of Hi-Abuse PURPLE XP (below, on the left):

Later on, we were taken into a room where one wall was dressed in your run-of-the-mill drywall, and another was covered in SoundBreak XP. We listened as music played easily through the standard wall, and we strained to hear that same music playing through the SoundBreak XP! But. We might have had the most fun while each of us took our best swings with a baseball bat to Hi-Impact PURPLE XP, and yet the most damage we managed was nothing more than soft dents and a few bits of broken paper! (Also, how cute is Daniel?)

National Gypsum took us on a guided tour through their factory, and, okay, maybe this was the most fun? You guys, drywall is weirdly fun! We watched as slurry (the wet mixture that ultimately becomes drywall) trudged through the factory line, hardened and received its paper coat. We felt the slurry through paper cups, and we noticed how it heated up our hands as it slowly turned to rock. We caught a glimpse of scientists at work, and we were amazed to learn that the entire factory was so self efficient, that it’s run by a team of less than 15 people!

The next day, the National Gypsum PURPLE team put us to work, and we were challenged to hang, tape and mud drywall. (I was only a little a lot nervous!) We took turns putting our best dent into the opposition’s Hi-Impact XP drywall, so they could in turn patch and repair the area. As you can see, I took it easy on them (ha!):

I came home with a crazy deep appreciation for a material that surrounds us every day, and the whirlwind trip made us that much more excited for one of the biggest changes our garden apartment was about to undergo – the mudroom!

Do you remember the mudroom add-on we described in our video? Currently, the only way to access the whole-house utility room is through the garden apartment’s laundry room, which is directly off of the kitchen. As a result, flipping a breaker for a quick lighting swap requires notice to our tenant, which as you can imagine, is an inconvenience for all parties involved. That louvered door, below on the right, is the laundry room, and the utility room is just behind that right wall, adjacent to the back door:

And here’s this same view, in-progress! The door you see below leads to the small mudroom, and beyond that is a (new) exterior door. Actually, both of these doors are exterior doors, which will afford our tenants maximum privacy, and soon, we’ll be frosting the single lite, which will still allow for natural light to shine through:

Looking in the opposite direction, there used to be a (random) cabinet, but the entire kitchen layout had little rhyme or reason:

Now, we’ve created a half wall, along which will have cabinets and a stove, but it still allows the space to feel more open. Somehow, the kitchen feels a thousand times larger, despite shrinking by the size of a mudroom. Honestly, our new layout just makes so much more sense. There is much more to come on the kitchen design, but this is the smallest of sneak peeks in the meantime!

Back to the mudroom, this is the best chance we have to show you through it. You can see the utility room all the way in the back, and the beginnings of a pocket door frame! Because the mudroom is only about 3′ x 5′, we opted for a pocket door to keep the path as clear as possible (plus, cute!):

The mudroom will be a pass through for us and our future tenants (and for some reason, I imagine them taking their bicycles through this area and out through the back of the house), so all the walls in this room will get Hi-Impact PURPLE XP. On the kitchen side of the mudroom, we’ll be using PermaBase PLUS Cement Board for our tile, and do you see that opening at the very left of this photo?:

Just like in our own kitchen, there’s a big furnace closet in the corner, hogging precious space. Rather than fight it, we’ve decided to maximize this area as much as possible, and that opening will house cabinets for a pantry. The furnace is just behind that door (it still needs a vent; this is very in-progress!), so to prevent the roar of the furnace from becoming an annoyance, we’ve opted for SoundBreak XP to close up all the gaps on this wall:

Finally, I’m taking you back to the front of the apartment, where the gas meters are installed for the whole house. They’re new and wi-fi enabled, but these bigger boxes protrude past the drywall! To remedy this, our contractor built a thin 2″ x 3″ frame that will also receive the SoundBreak XP to help soften street noise. We’ll be leaving an access panel around the gas meter, too, but at least now, it will be flush with the drywall:

The contractors wrapped up all the drywall this weekend, and we can’t wait to get down there and show you how it all came together! Let’s just say, it’s very PURPLE, and we are thrilled with the shape of things.

Thank you to National Gypsum PURPLE XP® for sharing your enthusiasm with us renovation addicts! To find a PURPLE XP supplier in your area, you can get started here. You can also check out the bloggers’ projects at Manhattan Nest, Remodelaholic, Live Laugh Decorate and Sawdust Girl!

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  • Ashley Wilson - June 6, 2017 - 8:46 AM

    You are so smart to add on the extra exterior door so you have access to the breaker! I bet this is going to make your life so much easier! I’m excited to see what you do with this kitchen.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 6, 2017 - 9:56 AM

      It’s going to be a game changer! No more bothering the tenants when we need to do something so simple in our own home.ReplyCancel

  • Daria Perrone - June 6, 2017 - 9:42 AM

    Who knew I could nerd out to drywall! It looks amazing so far! Can’t wait to see the finished product.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 6, 2017 - 9:56 AM

      Thanks, Daria! We nerded out pretty hard. :pReplyCancel

  • ryan - June 6, 2017 - 4:24 PM

    I imagine the sound barrier drywall would also be helpful on the ceiling (if you were replacing that) in a basement unit to cut down on noise between both units.

    I saw some of the purple drywall on this current season of This Old House (they’re in Detroit) and it didn’t seem weird because I’d already seen Daniel’s post about it :).

    I’m excited to see more about this new kitchen layout and how you build out the pantry / furnace closet.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 6, 2017 - 4:37 PM

      Thanks, Ryan! There’s so much to dive into re: the kitchen. And wouldn’t you know, Daniel helped me with the layout. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Katie - June 7, 2017 - 8:41 AM

    Curious: are you drywalling over the larger window in the kitchen? The new layout looks great – can’t wait to see it finished!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 7, 2017 - 9:19 AM

      Nice catch – yes, one window had to go, but as soon as we landed on the final configuration, we’ve never been more excited about a plan. Looking forward to sharing more!ReplyCancel

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