Watch this video to see how we turned an unused room into a cool craft project workshop, including:

  • Remove glued down carpeting
  • Patch holes in drywall
  • Paint walls
  • Add fluorescent light fixture
  • Install resilient vinyl plank flooring
  • Construct wall mounted shelves
  • Build plywood workbench
  • Install storage cabinets
  • Add cork wall boards
  • Make window treatment from bed sheet

Further Information

Danny Lipford: This week the Today’s Homeowner crew is on the road in Olympia, Washington, to visit winners of the Win Danny and His Crew contest, Larry and Debbie Culwell. They have a project planned and we’re set to get started so don’t go anywhere.

Several months ago we ran a contest to ask homeowners to share with us the chores they needed done around their homes. From those entries were chose two winners. One in the east and one in the west. This week we’re headed to foggy but scenic Olympia, Washington, to help west coast winners Larry and Debbie Culwell with their project.

They’re empty nesters and their kids’ old playroom has become a catchall in recent years, but they wanted it turned into a hobby or project room.

Debbie Culwell: Well, when the kids were at home they used it as kind of a playroom. And then they moved out, but of course all of their stuff was still there. And then it just got to be a place where we could put things like the cushions for the patio and deck furniture.

Larry Culwell: The way it’s designed, it’s too small for a pool table, it’s got a couple of windows in it. It’s big but it’s not a room that you could do anything like a bedroom, because there’s no closet in there. So it looks like it was designed just to be a room for nothing.

Debbie Culwell: We were watching an episode on Saturday morning, and the information about the contest came out. So I said, “I think I’ll enter.” So I typed out my entry and I went and shot a video in the room, and sent it off, and that was it.

And then about six weeks later we got the call, and we thought it was a hoax. In fact, I didn’t answer the first call, and we were just floored. The episode we were watching at that time was an episode where somebody’s garage was being cleaned out. And it just looks so effortless, and one of us said to the other, “I bet they could do that with our extra room.”

Danny Lipford: It’s already dark by the time I arrived, but I can’t wait to meet the Culwells, and get ready the next day’s work.

Hello, hello!

Debbie Culwell: Hi!

Danny Lipford: Debbie?

Debbie Culwell: Yes. Nice to meet you.

Danny Lipford: Nice to meet you, finally, after talking to you.

Debbie Culwell: You, too.

Danny Lipford: Larry, how are you? All right, great to see you. And the dogs.

Debbie Culwell: Yeah. Come on in.

Danny Lipford: What are their names?

Debbie Culwell: This is Sheila and this is Jake.

Danny Lipford: All right, Sheila, Jake, good to see you guys. Well, it’s good to finally meet you after talking to you so much on the phone and so forth.

Debbie Culwell: You, too.

Danny Lipford: Oh, you got the fire going.

Debbie Culwell: Yeah, it’s pretty cold, little bit of snow.

Danny Lipford: Awesome. Well, I know when we talked over the phone, which has been a lot of fun talking to you guys about it, and wanting to transform a room that’s kind of been a drop off point, kind of a storage area?

Larry Culwell: A dump.

Danny Lipford: A dump?

Debbie Culwell: The room of shame, yes, that would be ours.

Danny Lipford: And so you’re planning on a little more time then on your hands, with the retirement, with wanting to turn it into a project room.

Debbie Culwell: Yes.

Danny Lipford: So, I’m anxious to see it. Take a look at it.

Debbie Culwell: OK. Here just right on through the kitchen.

Danny Lipford: OK, all right. Great.

Debbie Culwell: And the laundry.

Danny Lipford: Okay.

Debbie Culwell: And this is . . .

Danny Lipford: All right.

Debbie Culwell: . . . the project room.

Danny Lipford: Hey, a lot of room in here though. Look how big this place is.

Debbie Culwell: It is, it is. It’s like it could almost be a bedroom, except there’s no closet.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, right, yeah, that happens. But you know everybody has a little bit of a drop off area like this.

Debbie Culwell: Yeah. A little bit.

Danny Lipford: Well, we talked a lot about, you know, moving everything out and then, I know I sent you this drawing.

Debbie Culwell: Yes.

Danny Lipford: So if that still works, I mean, I really like it because of the natural light.

Debbie Culwell: Yes, it’s great having the light on two sides.

Danny Lipford: And then we can also put a florescent in here that will help a lot. Allen’s going to be here in the morning.

Debbie Culwell: OK.

Danny Lipford: And also Chelsea’s coming out to help us with a lot of the finishing touches that we’re going to put on it.

Debbie Culwell: Oh, good. Glad to have her.

Danny Lipford: So that will be plenty of help. And after doing some work on it, and trying to figure out how long it’s going to take. It’s actually a little bit more than a day’s work, so if you can put up with us for two days, and you have enough coffee.

Debbie Culwell: I’ve got lots of coffee.

Danny Lipford: Good, good. In addition to the built-in workbench we showed him on the plans, we’ll also be painting the room, updating the flooring and adding some better lighting.

The advantage of shopping at this time of night is that you practically have the place to yourself, so we can wrap up our trip pretty quickly. Which is good, because we have a big day tomorrow.

Our delivery of larger items arrives from The Home Depot first thing in the morning, and it almost looked like we might even get a little sunshine today, as we start clearing out the room.

Debbie Culwell: What is this?

Larry Culwell: The pump for your pond.

Debbie Culwell: Oh!

Larry Culwell: The timer.

Debbie Culwell: That’s a good place for it. I guess that feels a lot…

Danny Lipford: Hey, guys, good morning.

Larry Culwell: Hey!

Debbie Culwell: Hey, good morning.

Danny Lipford: I see you’re getting a little bit of a start on it here and I have a little help. I told you these guys are going to show up.

Debbie Culwell: Oh, Chelsea!

Danny Lipford: This is Chelsea.

Debbie Culwell: Hello.

Danny Lipford: And Allen of course.

Debbie Culwell: Hi, guys.

Allen Lyle: Oh, so this is the new project room, right?

Debbie Culwell: This is.

Allen Lyle: What kind of projects?

Debbie Culwell: Well, I think we’re going to do crafts in here. We’d like to and there are some started, but a lot of other junk.

Danny Lipford: Well, it won’t take long at all. We picked up a few boxes at the Home Center last night, so all five of us are going to jump in, get all of this stuff out of here, pull up the carpet and the transformation begins.

Debbie Culwell: Oh, that sounds too great.

Danny Lipford: How about this right here?

Debbie Culwell: That’s trash. That’s trash!

Danny Lipford: So this is all trash right here.

They say when one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and as we move all of this stuff out of Debbie and Larry’s spare room, I can’t help but pick up a treasure or two.

Now, I know that’s precious. You’re not going to get rid of that, are you?

Larry Culwell: Oh, yeah.

Debbie Culwell: If you want you can take it with you.

Danny Lipford: I think I’ll take it. I don’t know what in the world I would ever do with it.

Debbie Culwell: Oh, it’s so irritating. It’s this kind of jazzy alarm.

Danny Lipford: But, unfortunately there’s much more than the clock to move out, so, while we take care of that, why don’t you check out this week’s Simple Solution.

Joe Truini: The best way to mix any heavy-bodied materials—such as joint compound paint, grout, mortar—is with an electric drill and a paddle mixer. Now to make that job go even smoother, let me show you a little trick. This gives you greater control, by simply taking a small length of half-inch PVC pipe and slip it over the shaft of the mixer. And then put it into the drill, chuck it down nice and tight.

Now you’ve got a sleeve that you can hold on to right here on the shaft. Obviously you couldn’t hold this while it was spinning, because it would hurt your hands. So now with the sleeve, you can put it in there, hold right here, and mix. Only takes a few seconds to go all the way to the bottom all the way up.

Now the reason I cut the pipe so short, is that if you use a longer pipe, what happens is, if this bucket was full of compound, you can see what would happen. It’d be full of joint compound, and you want to try to control the mess as much as possible.

Danny Lipford: his week we’re in Olympia, Washington, helping homeowners Debbie and Larry Culwell, convert their children’s old playroom into a project room for Debbie and Larry. It’s all cleared out now, and it’s time to get to work removing the old carpet. That’s where we find a little surprise.

Uh-oh, it’s got foam on it.

Debbie Culwell: Oh, it does?

Danny Lipford: Ouch! Well, never mind. Not too bad. I think Allen can handle it. Allen, go get your scraper.

We thought this carpet was only held in place with tacks, but unfortunately there’s an adhesive under all of it. Fortunately, it’s a little old, should come up fairly easily. We just didn’t plan on all of the scraping in our schedule. So Debbie jumps in to lend a hand, then Larry joins the fun.

We’re supposed to be doing all of the work here.

Debbie Culwell: Oh, that’s okay.

Larry Culwell: We don’t never do anything simple around here, you always run into problems like this.

Danny Lipford: While the scraping continues. Take it easy.

There’s paint prep to be done, and a small hole in the drywall to be patched from an old plumbing repair. And a lot of little holes in one wall.

Larry what’s the deal here? You got…

Larry Culwell: You ever play darts?

Danny Lipford: Oh, is that what it is?

Larry Culwell: Yeah, without the board. This is the only good spot on the wall, is behind the board.

Danny Lipford: Ah, right there. All right I’ll tell you what I’m going to do on this. I’m going to try to take some drywall mud and then just try to…

Larry Culwell: Oh, that’ll work good.

Danny Lipford: . . .fill it in, because it’s pretty heavy texture on here.

Eventually, the floor is scraped and the walls are ready for paint. Uh, you roll, I’ll brush.

Allen Lyle: OK.

Danny Lipford: Look, one in each hand.

Allen Lyle: Now, I want to see that actually. You go ahead and do that.

Danny Lipford: Since the walls are also being painted, we don’t have to be too precise cutting in the ceiling. In no time, the ceiling is crisp clean white, and we’re ready to take on the walls. And once again, Debbie is anxious to get involved.

Debbie Culwell: Wow, what a difference.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, what do you think? It brightened up a lot, didn’t it?

Debbie Culwell: Oh, yeah.

Danny Lipford: Now, have you done much painting?

Debbie Culwell: Some.

Danny Lipford: Well, let’s see. You got your hat.

Debbie Culwell: Got my hat.

Danny Lipford: You got your tee-shirt on. Let’s see. Here’s something missing. You got to have that in your back pocket.

Debbie Culwell: OK.

Danny Lipford: OK. And I’m going to let you do the rolling.

Debbie Culwell: OK.

Danny Lipford: And what I’ll do is, I’ll take the brush and just kind of cut in. You want to make sure you don’t hit the ceiling.

Debbie Culwell: OK.

Danny Lipford: And then just keep it real even when you’re rolling it, so that any of the laps that you have there, that you just kind of keeping moving over and keep moving over. And I’ll cut in around here and put some painters tape on that.

Debbie Culwell: OK.

Danny Lipford: And then basically just start there, and we’ll go all the way around, walk all the way around this place.

Debbie Culwell: All right.

Danny Lipford: Let’s get you some paint ready here.

This pale green color is one that Debbie chose to try to brighten up this space, and it certainly looks like it will.

While we’re working on the walls, Allen and Larry are out in the garage staining the cabinet that’ll support the work surface in this room. For this, we picked the stain that should match the wood trim in this room and the floors which will go in soon.

Once that’s done and our walls are painted, we’re ready to put in the new light fixture. Get Larry to make sure that we’re centering it up. He’s turned into the foreman now.

Larry Culwell: It doesn’t sound good to me. I never liked doing that.

Danny Lipford: Here, put up. Oh, That’s perfect.

The light fixture will add a little style to the room, as well as plenty of light

Allen Lyle: Perfectly set.

Larry Culwell: Well, I hope those light bulbs last a long time. We’ll be having to enter another contest.

Danny Lipford: The flooring we’ve chosen for Larry and Debbie’s project room, is a beautiful resilient flooring from Shaw called Cascade Acacia.

Allen Lyle: First run, done.

Danny Lipford: It looks like an exotic hardwood, but because it’s made from durable vinyl, it’s ideal for a project room. It’s also great for do-it-yourselfers.

Allen Lyle: What’s cool about this, I don’t know if you saw it, Debbie, you don’t have to get power tools to cut this. You actually score it with a blade.

Debbie Culwell: Oh, nice.

Danny Lipford: Since there’s no need for a saw, there’s less mess and the work goes quicker as well. And that’s a good thing because it’s been a long day and there’s a lot of floor here. But with the installation of a last threshold, we reach our goal of finishing the floor on day one.

Well, this has been one long day, but everything is working out great. The floor is completely finished. Tomorrow we put in the cabinets and the countertops, and I think Debbie and Larry are going to be really happy.

Jodi Marks: You know what, I love it when manufacturers put a kit together for me, so that all I have to do is just show up, buy the kit, it’s got everything in it, and I can get right to work.

Now, Rust-Oleum has come out with this Tile Transformations kit. And this is perfect if you’ve got outdated or worn out looking tile, or you just want to transform the look of your bathroom. Because this is a coating that will make your old tile look like a natural stone finish.

Now, like I said, everything comes in the box. You’ve got step one here, and this is the textured coating. Now you mix these two together, and then you roll this on. And after eight hours or overnight, you come back, you mix up step number two, part A and B. Mix that together, you roll that on as well, and you’re ready to go.

Now, it will be ready for you to use that surface in the shower or the tub in 24 hours. There’s no peeling, there’s no sanding of the surface. Now, you do need to prep the surface though. Make sure it’s good and clean, and free of mold or mildew before you get started.

And take a look at all the color choices that you have to help you transform the look of your bathroom. I can’t wait to get this home.

Danny Lipford: We’ve completed one long day at work, at Larry and Debbie Culwell’s home in Olympia, Washington, to convert their spare room into a project center. So we thought it would be a good time to see what they thought of this home improvement TV circus we brought to their home.

Debbie Culwell: We have had a really, really rough year. And my parents both require care. I’m still working, and I also have lupus which is a really awful disease. And this was such a respite for us. It was a break, it was a really, really fun experience. And plus we really like everybody. It’s just been, it’s been like having family stay for a couple of days.

Larry Culwell: But, they go home.

Debbie Culwell: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: I’m really glad Larry and Debbie are enjoying this, because they’ve made our stay remarkable. With a constant supply of homemade chocolate chip cookies and fresh ground coffee, our crew may never leave.

And it’s a good thing, because there’s still plenty to do. The painting, lighting and flooring are done, but we still have a workbench to build.

Allen Lyle: So what I’m having to do is actually cut down a 2×6 a little bit to bring the height of the cabinet so that the countertop will hit exactly under the window frame.

Danny Lipford: But, before those cabinets go in, I’m building some shelves to go on the wall above them. About the time my shelves are wrapping up, Allen’s ready to bring the cabinet bases.

What’s up?

Allen Lyle: So I’m going to bring my cabinets in, just set them on top, attach them to the wall, right?

Danny Lipford: Mmm-hmm.

Allen Lyle: Skin them all the way down on each side that’s open.

Danny Lipford: Mmm-hmm.

Allen Lyle: And then on the front, what I’m going to do is actually I’ve cut pieces of the flooring, that is going to come up . . .

Danny Lipford: OK.

Allen Lyle: . . . and the toe kick will be the flooring. And then we’ll wrap it with a three quarter or the quarter round.

Danny Lipford: The toe kick going to be on all three sides or just the front?

Allen Lyle: Just the front.

Danny Lipford: Because the skins are going all the way down.

Allen Lyle: The skins are going to go to the floor.

Danny Lipford: And then the skin will tie it to the to this.

Allen Lyle: Exactly. Exactly.

Danny Lipford: OK.

So the cabinets come in. We finalize their positions, and secure them to the wall.

91 and 15/32s.

Then we add the skins. These are thin pieces of plywood that finish off the sides of the cabinets that’ll be visible. Between the cabinets we’re adding one by two cleats that will support the back edge of the countertop. Then we can install that toe kick made from the flooring that Allen dreamed of.

Now for the countertop that will make this room a useable work space. I’m ready to put the first piece of countertop on.

You know, I could have used regular laminate. It’s pretty inexpensive, but I’m afraid it would have kind of looked like a kitchen. And I wanted it to look more like a hobby room, and I used stained plywood in my shop. And it really worked out well, held up very well.

We’ve already stained this. This is birch plywood, three-quarter-inch thick. And after we get it on, get everything in place, then I’ll put a couple of more coats of polyurethane on it to really make it resistant to some damage. There we go.

Once the plywood is down, it gets a one by two band along the front edge and around the top. Meanwhile, Allen is wrapping the base in shoe molding around the cabinet. Then we can put in the drawers and doors for the cabinet, adding some cut-outs to access the outlets, and begin to putting the polyurethane on the brand new woodwork.

While all of this is going on, we’re keeping Larry and Debbie away from the room, so we can surprise them with the finished product. Besides, they’ve already worked pretty hard, considering they’re the winners of the contest.

Hey! Uh-oh. What you got?

Chelsea Lipford: Wow! Looks great in here.

Danny Lipford: Thanks.

Chelsea Lipford: I have an idea for a window treatment. And then . . .

Danny Lipford: Window treatment in a place like this?

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, for the windows.

Danny Lipford: Huh.

Chelsea Lipford: And then these cork tiles to put underneath the shelves. Besides, I’ve got some bar stools that Allen’s going to help me put together.

Danny Lipford: Man, that’s great. That’s going to look fantastic. Hey, we can put all of this together quickly.

Chelsea Lipford: I know.

Danny Lipford: So the frenzy begins. It’s been a couple of long days, but it’ll all be worthwhile, when Larry and Debbie get to see the results of all of our hard work.

Danny Lipford: Melinda asks, “How do I know when to use flat, eggshell, or semi-gloss paint?”

It really depends on your preference, and exactly what you’re painting inside your home. If you’re painting a lot of interior walls, most people choose a flat finish. It hides imperfections really nicely.

But I’ll tell you, if you need a washable wall, like you have small kids in the house, flat is probably not the right choice. I would suggest stepping it up to eggshell, which has just a little bit of a sheen, and is a lot more washable than the flat paint.

Now, if you’re moving into the bathroom or the laundry room, I would recommend going with either the satin enamel sheen or semi-gloss. That’s really good to protect all of your walls and again make it very washable.

And if you’re ready to top off the paint job with painting your trim or some cabinets, I would suggest stepping up to high gloss.

Our visit with Olympia, Washington, contest winners Larry and Debbie Culwell has been a busy one. We’d cleaned out and renovated their spare room with new paint, new lighting, new flooring, and a great new project work area with built-in storage.

We’ve added a few decorative touches, that Chelsea picked out for us, and now it’s finally time to show it off to Larry and Debbie.

Larry Culwell: Whoa!

Debbie Culwell: Wow!

Danny Lipford: Come on in. Come on in. Chelsea was able to put just a few little touches on everything.

Larry Culwell: We have windows in this room.

Debbie Culwell: Nice. Oh, nice, and there’s stools, oh, and the mats. Gosh! Whoa!

Chelsea Lipford: I made these curtains out of bed sheets, and it didn’t require any sewing.

Debbie Culwell: That is…

Chelsea Lipford: To accent your new found windows.

Debbie Culwell: Wow!

Chelsea Lipford: Then you see the cork board, too.

Debbie Culwell: Yeah.

Chelsea Lipford: To hang all of your pictures of your projects or whatever up there.

Larry Culwell: You got that from the idea with the old dart board that used to be there.

Danny Lipford: Right.

Chelsea Lipford: All the holes from the dart board.

Debbie Culwell: Wow, yeah!

Danny Lipford: And, of course, plenty of cabinetry. And to remember us by…

Debbie Culwell: Oh, we actually have a decent picture. Oh, thank you!

Danny Lipford: So you were wondering what we were taking that picture for.

Debbie Culwell: Yeah, Yeah.

Danny Lipford: You might want to hang it up in here, or wherever, but, uh… I thought that would be a nice little thing for you.

Debbie Culwell: Thank you.

Larry Culwell: Oh, right for the dart board.

Danny Lipford: Oh, no, no! Look, guys, we got to tell you, it’s been so much fun.

Debbie Culwell: It has been.

Danny Lipford: Coming up and working with you, spending a couple of days here with you. And congratulations again on winning the contest.

Debbie Culwell: Thank you.

Danny Lipford: And I hope that you have a lot of fun in here. It does look a little different than when we got here.

Debbie Culwell: Oh, it does. Thank you so much. Thank you.

Larry Culwell: Oh, I don’t want you. I’ll take her.

Danny Lipford: I hope you enjoyed… Oh, good. Hope you enjoyed this week’s show, and I hope you join us next week, right here on Today’s Homeowner.

Larry Culwell: Oh, well, sign up for more contests.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. Let’s see how long he can hold it. Tickle, tickle.

Allen Lyle: All right, now that’s not fair.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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