The Kitchen Renovation.
Betty VS the Brick Wall

Renovating a kitchen is hard work. It’s hard mentally and physically. Like eating hotdog flavoured ice cream.

This has been going on for months now and I finally decided to sub-contract out some of my demolition. To my (nearly) 80 year old mother.

Best decision I ever made.

After I sent measurements of my kitchen to my kitchen designer Carol Reed, she mentioned that the wall between my kitchen and my dining room seemed to be an old exterior wall, based on how thick it was. I, being the kind of person I am, HAD to know. So at about 1 o’clock in the morning when I was feeling especially exuberant I attached a holesaw to my drill and started working at it. About 3.4 seconds later I was through the drywall and peeking into it with a flashlight.

BRICK. I saw BRICK. It was pretty much the best Peep Show I’ve ever been to. Only sexier. Because brick walls, the lingerie of the design world, are sexy. Rip that clothing off and reveal the lingerie!

The drywall was coming down to expose the sexy brick wall for all to see. In a few days I’ll show you the results of that ripping, tugging and peeping.

Brick porn. Hotter than a pot full of steaming hotdog water.


  1. Shauna says:

    Jeez a person can get dizzy watching that. I didn’t know which way to hold my phone.

  2. marli says:

    best part: can you edit this? “yes, why?” oh, just wondering….


    I snorted, thanks!

    smiles, marli

  3. Debbie R says:

    Crack me up! hahahahaha

  4. Shel says:

    LOL! And LOVE the Dick Dale!

  5. Jennifer Fryar says:

    Love it! Too funny!

  6. Louise says:

    She doesn’t look frail to me! (Nor close to 80!) And yes, I can see that she’s where you get your, uh . . . moxie from.

    I love the second part, where she asks if you can edit the film (while she’s filming you upside down!).

  7. Anna says:

    So jealous! And tempted to drill a hole into every wall in my house until I find brick…which is very unlikely since my house was built in boring old 2002.

    Kudos to Betty on her artsy filming skills! Totally reminded me of my own mom who can barely turn on the computer and touches every screen in public (touch-screen or not), because “that’s how you do it at the casino”. She also is always telling people about her “website”, which I have to remind her is just the background on her desktop.

  8. Erika says:

    Well, the little red light WAS flashing! So adorable!

  9. Edith says:

    Oh that is so funny. Old people and technology!
    A few months ago my 79 year old mother in law pulled me aside from other family members and asked in a hushed tone, ” what the heck is a web site?”

    Congrats on your discovery, that’s so cool!

  10. An szabo says:

    I would love to be like her when I am 80.

  11. Stephanie Hobson says:

    Can you edit this?

    Best. Line. Ever.

  12. Susan says:

    Betty rocks! I want to be Betty when I’m 80 years old! Heck, I want to be Betty now…and I’m 44. Way to go girlfriend!

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Best blog post EVER… and I love the 1 a.m. explorations…. sounds like my house!

    • Phyllis Kraemer says:

      1 a.m. … to 911…”Um…I just committed “break & enter” into the store next door!……True story…took down a dry wall covered door…for extra storage…in my own store….at 1 in the morning…Surprise!! I completely understand your curiosity!!

    • cheryl seals says:

      WOW I so agree w Elizabeth this was a hoot ! And the part about can u edit this, your mom is a hoot ! And I love 1 am projects, like the one i did when we first moved into this house, I went upstairs w a glass of wine in hand (oh who am I kidding it was the whole bottle) an decided the fuggly uggly 1950’s wall paper in a room that was an extra kitchen HAD to go ! I got lucky it was put on lovely birch wood(not paneling) the whole upstairs is…So back to lucky the first piece i pulled on a corner an the glue was so dried out that it came off in whole sheets YEY ! I was done in a matter of two hrs, so only thing left was to wash the walls down that ended up being another day it took longer to clean up the mess an the wine was gone …hehe By the way just why do people cover up brick it is so appealing to the eye an comes from nature…

  14. Barbie says:

    LOL! The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!!! I LOVE you Mom!!!

  15. Amanda says:

    Betty rocks! Love her hot pink nails!

  16. anna says:

    Hahahaha…Your mom rocks! Not hard to see where you came from 🙂

  17. Suzan says:

    Love your mom! “Just wondering” slayed me!

  18. Susan Dulley says:

    Wow, been there, done that, but not with my MOM! Just wondering why you do not have a dust blocking sheet of plastic or fabric over the door leading to the dining room…Wow, the dust will be in every crevice, crack and cushion….Hang a dust blocker…Save yourself a lot of additional work….Anyway, listen to me telling you, the DIY Diva how to do something….Just saying…Continue on…

  19. Rhonda Topor says:

    It takes alot for me to laugh outloud but you always manage to do it. Thanks :))))

  20. Barbara R says:

    I can just envision a regular feature, let’s say “Blogging with Betty” where we now get caught up on a regular basis on what your mom is up to….lovely woman! Love her manicure! Just what one needs when they are doing demolition work! Cute! Don’t forget to wear air masks Ladies!

  21. Marti says:

    Lovely! Sorta surprised that there’s no swearing going on. Did you edit that out?

    Your mother has a lovely figure and style for her age. You’ve got that to look forward to… hahahaha!

    Thanks! There’s got to be a web award out there for you somewhere….

  22. Susan Preston says:

    Betty trumps the fella!

  23. Sue Ann says:

    I have projects, would Betty like to spend the winter in beautiful South Carolina, USA??? 🙂

  24. beth says:

    I come from the same kind of stock… you are so lucky! Thats was a great wake up video! More please cant wait to see the next phase!

  25. Beckie says:

    GO BETTY!!!

  26. Tigersmom says:

    Love. It. So much to love, too.

    Is Betty available for hire? I’m thinking I could use her for a few projects around the house and to liven up a few upcoming family functions, as well. I would really love to have the two of you, but I’m not sure I can afford you both. Although the mother daughter interaction you have is priceless.

    The music choice is spot-on, as always. Demo in your sassy red jeans because there’s no reason to not look cute during demo. And my favorite, “Can you edit this?” Hah!

    Congratulations on your brick discovery and on the gain of a good inch of square footage by removing it. Sometimes that extra inch makes all the difference.

    • Karen says:

      That’s hilarious that you picked up on that, because I was truly excited about the extra 2 inches, LOL! As most women are. ~ karen!

      • Tigersmom says:

        There’s your proof that I have done a renovation and had sex once or twice.

        Also, I thought I was imagining this for years, but I wasn’t. If you are ever dealing with a man regarding an important measurement in inches, ALWAYS use a measuring tape. The poor unfortunate creatures really do have a skewed perception as to the actual size of an inch.

  27. Izzy says:

    Reminds me of my Mum – 88 and can’t stop ‘doing stuff’. Her next ‘project’ is reorganizing my basement! There’s no stopping her!

  28. Judith says:

    Woohoo! Go Betty and Upside-down Karen!!

  29. I think your mom is as playful as you are…or is that you are as playful as your mom is? You come by it righteously anyway! I’m excited to see the finished result too….wendy

  30. Julie says:

    LOVED this post – this reminds me when my husband came home from work and said – ok this is it! This afternoon the kitchen wall is coming down NOW. So 5 mins later before anything could be covered – both kids had safety glasses and large hammers and they proceeded to hammer at the Dry wall that divides the kitchen from the living room – what a sight. It was down in 2 hours and carted out to the Garden!
    I took pictures – it was fun. Id been asking for that wall to come down for at least 2 years!
    How long it took to get the floor up and the new Kitchen installed is another story!

  31. Erika says:

    This is so funny, I had to watch it twice.

    2 years ago my mom told me, very prouldly: “now I also learned how to skate!”
    It turned out she meant “how to skype”…

  32. Is Betty for hire? Or better yet, for sale outright? If my Mum were living she would be almost 89… probably tearing out gyprock and videotaping upside-down!

    Betty, you are one hot chick!

  33. Your mom has mojo!
    (Ask her if she’d join me for Thanksgiving. I’m demolishing my concrete steps.)

  34. Debbie says:

    She is not old. She is not frail. She is awesome! I want to be Betty when I am nearly eighty. She is an inspiration and you are very fortunate. I love reading your posts in the morning. They start my day off right.

    A fun look that you could pull off for Betty – stylish goggles for over her glasses, designer work gloves and hand-decorated steel-toe boots for those heavy demolition projects. It is worth protecting every inch of her!
    Love the editing comment and so glad you included her video artistry!

  35. marilyn says:

    oh betty!! so friggin cute..and funny! love the little taps she gives the wall..she is a trooper and wow on her 79 looks AMAZING!!

  36. Maryanne says:

    Love Betty’s flip flops, polished nails and cute hairdo. We must work in style!
    I have a Betty but her name is Camille and she is 87.
    Years from now you will be Betty
    and I will be Camille… God willing!

  37. Emily says:

    Great video. I love older homes.. so much charm and suprises! Its not a weigh bearing wall…. is it? Are you taking it down or just exposing the brick?

  38. NikiDee says:

    I was grinning from ear to ear as I watched Betty rip into that wall. I was thinking I want to be her when I grow up. Then…. I laughed so loud I bet my neighbor (a half mile away) could hear me…. Betty’s camera technique was priceless!! What a marvelous lady!! Can’t wait to see more (kitchen AND Betty).

  39. Susan M. says:

    I might have wet myself a wee bit when “Mom” asked about the editing… for sure I snorted coffee. Absolutely the Best.Post.EVER.!
    Anxious for the reveal!

  40. jainegayer says:

    Betty is so cool! “Can you edit this?” I was laughing so hard I had coffee dripping out of my nose.
    Thank you Karen, for sharing your mom.
    PS- Will betty be on board for more of the great kitchen renovation?

  41. Mary Werner says:

    Can you edit this? Just wondering. BEST LINES EVER. I laughed out loud. We need more Betty for breakfast.

  42. Robyn says:

    What a great Monday morning hoot!

    gotta love Betty!!

  43. Reg says:

    Go Betty!
    Some of us seniors may be a little slow with the techie stuff, but a hammer and pry bar….piece of cake.

  44. Vanessa M. says:

    Ya’ll so crazy…..and I love it.

  45. Cathy says:

    Karen, Karen, Karen — I cannot believe you didn’t cover your gorgeous new floor BEFORE SledgehammerSally went to it! I can send some handy-dandy floor coverings if needed.

    “Can you edit this?”……best line since The Dowager Countess of Grantham queried: “what’s a week-end?”

  46. Pati Gulat says:

    Karen, that was awesome ! My mom is 77 and just like that ! Ain’t it great ? Lol !

  47. Kat says:

    That was too funny!!! Hope your new floor survived that mini demo!

  48. Nan Tee says:

    Karen, I love your mom. Betty rocks. So *that’s* where you get your rock-ness from.

  49. Hope says:

    There’s child labour and then there is….granny labour!
    Like I told my mom 80 is the new 60!

  50. Mary Kay says:

    Karen – you and your mom are AWESOME!!!

  51. Randi says:

    …can you edit this?… best line I ever heard!

  52. Patti says:

    Quite possibly the best video I’ve ever seen.period.

  53. Debbie from Illinois says:

    Go Betty!!!!!!!!!

  54. Jeannie B says:

    Your mom is awesome Karen. If she was a few decades younger, she’s have her own blog too. You two make a great team. Way to go!

  55. Lynn says:

    o.m.g. #1 .. Brick Porn – that is hysterical. [Permission to borrow that phrase? I’ll give you complete credit. ] #2. You indeed ARE your mother’s daughter. I for one say that’s a great thing. Has anyone ever told you that you sound a lot like each other? Especially the word ‘problem’. (Said the girl from the United States who loves a good Canadian accent.) Looking forward to the full brick reveal. Will we have to pay a cover charge?

  56. says:

    She said it so softly and meekly…”can you edit this?” I laughed out loud.

  57. kippy says:

    My mother is near 80 and looks much older than your mama. However she is just as stubborn and also loves to help her daughter. Got to love them!

  58. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Betty is such a hoot..I just love it when you include her in your posts..My Mom has been gone a long time now..You are so lucky to have her Karen!

  59. Judi Fleman says:

    OMG… this was a great video just watching Betty work, but then I saw you and you were up side down and it became a stupendous video! Thanks so much for giving me a lively Monday morning!

  60. Jodi T. says:

    Is Betty in her sock feet?! Love this. She’s awesome.

  61. Olequiltbat says:

    Mike Holmes….eat your heart out. We now have the next newest home renovators.
    Home renovator series will never be the same.
    Betty …you’re a girl after my own heart. Enjoyed seeing you both together. Betty’s a treasure.
    Hope we see more of you ladies working together.
    And….PS..don’t tell mom how to use the video camera. 🙂


  62. ally says:

    if memory serves, isn’t the outside of your house…..RED brick? So how is it that this previously outside wall is yellow brick??? hhhhhhmmmmmm.

  63. Rondina says:

    I wish I knew where I got that same gene from. Aside from me thinking, “I’ll still be doing this in 20 years?” I was, let’s say, “concerned” about your new kitchen floor. Notice I wasn’t concerned about Betty at all. Just the floor.

  64. Laura Bee says:

    We tend to get our work ethic & tenacity from our moms I think. You got extra lucky! Attitude is everything.
    Best video yet.

    • Laura Bee says:

      On the subject of walls – all I found behind our basement bathroom wall was handfuls of beer caps from the 60’s. There’s a hole on the other side in the main part. The old owner must have hid down there & drank beer & flipped his caps in! Again – you got extra lucky!

  65. Teresa J says:

    OMG!!! I love your Mom!!! “Can you edit this?? Just wondering…” I will crack up all day every time I think of it. Loved her shoes, loved her pretty nails!! I want to be like that when I am her age!! With no grey either!! I dye my hair now and will continue cause look how young a person looks! Thanks for sharing Karen!! Tell your Mom she is a hit!! You should call HGTV……

  66. Amanda says:

    You’re getting me all hot and bothered! I wish I had something behind my walls other than granny panties….

  67. Well, you come by your determination honestly that is for sure. LOVE Betty but I was concerned for her feet.

    Oh and an exposed brick wall in a kitchen is the BEST. I actually installed some in my last house when we built it just for the look. I miss it. Can’t wait to see yours.

  68. Bols says:

    Your mom is a feisty little devil, isn’t she? And yet, I was going to say that’s where you got if from but you said so myself. I am imagining you at the ripe of 80 building an extension to the Great Wall of China!
    This makes me recall one particular day at my old house when I decided at approximately midnight to patch a hole in the drywall. I cut an opening of about 5″x5″ and my mitre saw was sitting outside (it was summer and I can’t remember which particular project I worked at at that time). I figured the neighbours might wanna strangle me with their own hands in the morning if I fired it up (the neighbours on the west side particularly grumpy) so I decided to cut the wood that I used as a patch with a handsaw. Well, I am pretty good at that, so about 1/2 hour later, the drywall was patched and muddied. I think I actually even dried the mud with my hairdryer so that I can sand it. I can’t remember if I waited with painting till the morning.
    But midnight and the wee hours are PURRfect for all kinds of fixing!

  69. Stephbo says:

    I would say, “What the hell are you doing tearing apart walls at one in the morning?,” but that’s exactly the kind of crap I do. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. And I’m extremely impressed that you were able to do all of that work whilst hanging upside-down from the ceiling. Not every woman could do that. 😉

  70. Grammy says:

    Great video. Great mom. Great brick discovery! Additional amusement came when I finished watching the video and saw that the Google ad placed at the bottom of the video said: Find Drywall Contractors. Read reviews and get quotes from local contractors…

    With the still-screen of Betty hacking away at the drywall above it, the ad was priceless. I took a screenshot of it.

  71. TC says:

    Betty, the video & the brickJust AWESOME!

  72. Linda S in NE says:

    So is this the same 59 year old Betty, that’s going on 80?? Loved the video.

  73. Nancy says:

    omg omg. I watched the first half this morning, and finished when I got home from work. I agree, best video ever! Can we nominate you and your mom for something somewhere?

  74. kelliblue says:

    OW she’s (got) a brick….HOUSE
    She’s mighty mighty
    just lettin it all hang out
    she’s (got) a brick house
    she got a wall to smack
    that’s a fact
    ain’t holdin nothing back!

    Love your blog Karen, but this one is the BEST! As one who lusts after good brick porn, I await the end results. You–and Betty–totally rock! (awesome Dick Dale btw!)

  75. Connie says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t get fired this morning. I often start my work day with a quick visit to your site as I’m “getting organized” for the day ahead. This post had me laughing so hard I think I may have blown my cover!!!
    My sister and I are avid renovators, we just finished an awesome re-do of our old family cottage. Flip flops are our work shoe of choice, much to the horror of the workmen we had to hire for the jobs we weren’t able to do. I hope to be Betty in 20 years!

  76. Wendy W says:

    I LOVE BETTY!!!! She is so awesome! She reminds me of my Mom when she was well. Hope to see more of her soon!

  77. Mickey says:

    Thanks Betty….you made my day!

  78. kerry says:

    Love it!!! Although I’m a little concerned about showing it to my mom, who’s currently living in my house. That has a kitchen in desperate need of a makeover. Don’t want to give her ideas!

  79. andrea meyers says:

    can you edit this? love it :), almost snorted cocoa out my nose!

  80. jenny says:

    What a neat lady! Can you edit this? Bwahahahahaha!

  81. Ev says:

    Even though you COULD edit this, you chose not to! Good choice! HEE HEE HEE! Go Betty!

  82. Sharon says:

    What a Scream!!! Thanks so much for posting this. Couldn’t be more perfect!!

  83. Carole says:

    You two are hillarious and yes, we can see where you get your craziness.

  84. Jasmine says:

    Probably one of the best posts EVER. The nails, the shoes, the red pants and the editing….Love.

  85. Sarah says:

    Bravo Betty! Karen, I LOVE your mom!!! Does she like to build stone walls??? Seriously, Just yell my name out your window and I will happily join in the fun!! Finding a brick wall inside is very cool. Your kitchen is going to be fantastic!

  86. Evalyn says:

    The best part was when Betty took off her gloves to reveal the Manicure! She’s much like my mother (minus the Manicure) who just turned 91. I am always short of breath just trying to keep up with her. Only a woman that age would start demolition dressed in white.

  87. beth j says:

    Ah can we see Mom on a regular basis? She’s great. A star is born. Does she do stand up on the weekends?

  88. cate stavros says:

    This video made my day…and will make my two daughters’…I forwarded the youtube video to them. The subject reads: I feel sorry for you two in 15 years… of my fave websites! Thanks for all!

  89. Your Mom R. O. C. K. S.
    Best video ever, esp the upside down bit!

  90. OMG Your mom is queen!!!

  91. Terri Burdey says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE ~ Keep em’ comin’ Karen! And have your Mom email me; I have a very easy plaster wall that could use her mad skills ; )

  92. imdb says:

    Your mom rocks! 😀

  93. Shawna says:

    Hilarious! I just turned my laptop upside down and that fixed you up nicely, Karen.

  94. So late to the brick party but…your mum and my mum could take over the world with their tech skills. It’s the mixture of calmness and charming ignorance that just makes upside down seem normal.

  95. Josée says:

    I love reading your stuff and now must really go to bed. One thing – how the hell do I make that sidebar go away? the one that is for like Facebook, Twitter etc? none of which I use….I keep trying to play the game of ‘catch that grey arrow’ to hide it but it shows up a Lot. Let me know if I can annihilate it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Josée – I’m afraid you won’t be able to get rid of the sidebar, lol. It’s permanent so that people can share my posts. If you’re on an iPad or other mobile device, scrolling down to the bottom of the screen and clicking “use mobile version” should get rid of it and make the site easier to navigate at the same time. ~ karen!

  96. Patricia Gibson says:

    I love your Mother! Could I borrow her? I have lots of plaster walls I really need to demolish and obviously your Mother has all the necessary skills – her manicure was perfect even after all that work! That is so impressive. I mean really. Do you realize how much talent that requires? Her footwear selection, while not the safest, showed a great sense of style. The same can be said her lovely white tee shirt. Totally unmussed! Did you notice the toss of her head and now her hair fell perfectly into place? The woman is a construction, or should I say demolition, goddess!
    I hope you grow up to be just like her.

  97. Laura says:

    Hahah just watching this for the first time. “Can you edit this?” “Yep, why?” “I’m just wondering” made me laugh so hard. Betty is the best.

  98. Markus says:

    This is awesome. I’m a farly new reader and didn’t know who Betty was. Clicking that link named “Betty” was the best decision of the day. I already love that woman.

    Also: I have done almost the same thing in our house. Struck brick in one of the rooms in our old house and cleared it of drywall. Now it’s one of the best feature of the room!

    • Karen says:

      Yup. That’s Betty, lol. She’s quite a mother. Congratulations on finding a brick wall under drywall! That’s fun, and they always look great. EVen if they’re a wreck. ~ karen!

  99. Mark says:

    This is great! Do you have more funny/amazing videos like this?

  100. leo muzzin says:

    Hi Karen:
    Wear a facemask next time as there may be asbestos in old plaster. Is that a supporting brick wall? If so be careful that the house might sag if you play with it. LOL

    • Karen says:

      Hey Leo, not to worry it was relatively new drywall. The kitchen is a fairly recent addition. Certainly not older than 3 or 400 years. ~ karen!

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