Monday, April 13, 2015

Would You Believe...

This week The Builder and I were discussing what project to tackle next. We had several points to consider:

  • We still need to order a shower door for the new shower
  • We need to build a new double vanity for the bathroom
  • We have plans to tear out the garden tub and replace it with a soaker tub (and goodbye leaking jacuzzi jets that don't work right and are crazy loud!)
  • We plan to redo the toilet area as well.
  • The entire bathroom needs to be textured correctly and repainted
It's a fair amount of work and the vanity alone is going to cost several hundred dollars more once we build it and buy new sinks, faucets, and hardware.

We both agreed the next project needed to be simple and low cost. There is no money tree growing in our backyard (lots of weeds, but that's another story). So what did we choose?  

Yep, another bathroom renovation.  Of course.

Yes, I'm moderately tired of bathroom renovations. But The Builder assured me this one would be simple, done in a weekend, and maybe $40 tops.  Sounds good, right?

You may remember that several years ago, when we were still renting, we re-painted and put new faucets in the powder room downstairs. It didn't start off well. I tried to do it while The Builder and the boys were camping, ended up peeling off wallpaper I didn't know was in the bathroom, and The Builder came home to quite a mess.

It was a simple re-do since we had no plans of buying the house at that time. We were just really tired of the worn paint and the 80's faucet. After my modest bathroom re-do we haven't touched it since. It's ok. But I've come to hate the blue color. There's no light in the bathroom and after almost three years of that color, I've realized the color is too cool for that space. It's washed out and blah. Because of the size and lack of natural light, the flash added more color to this photo than what it had in real life.

So how is this relevant?

Let me backtrack just a bit. As I mentioned, we want to put in a new soaker tub in our master bathroom. To do this, we need to remove the current bathroom vanity. Since we had planned to build a new vanity anyway, this isn't really an issue.

You may recall when we re-did the hall bathroom last year, we put in a temporary vanity until The Builder could finish that vanity (vanities are crazy expensive and I am thrifty to a fault). We knew then we wanted to tear out the vanity in the powder room downstairs. It's boxy and dated and too large for the small space. Since we finished the bathroom upstairs, the small vanity has sat in the garage. So this was the weekend to tear out the powder room vanity, repaint, and install the smaller vanity. Particularly since we stopped in at ReStore this weekend and found our soaker tub on sale! The thought process is that we would update the powder room to have a nice functioning sink when we're ready for the next phase of the master bathroom redo. After all, The Builder assured me this was a easy re-do.

Famous last words.

Do you remember what happened when I decided to repaint this same powder room? I inadvertently pulled off a whole strip of wallpaper hiding under the texture that I had no idea was there. It required The Builder to re-mud the entire wall and then texture before we could paint. Well, guess what happened this weekend? Yes, you guessed it. When The Builder removed the baseboard to paint, there was a small strip of the old wallpaper. And when he went to pull it off... a huge piece that was hiding under the horrible texture came up too. So long story short, he has now re-muded that wall, sanded down the horrible texture, skim coated it and re-textured it. Needless to say, a lot more work than what we had anticipated. Here are some quick shots from the work this weekend:
Yep, it's yucky. This is the best representation of what the paint color looks like. This is where the sink and vanity were. Even with the vanity out, it's a small space. My thought is that the new vanity will center nicely on the wall and the "extra" space will give the allusion of more space.

We'll be using the same mirror we had before as well as the vanity light. I'd love to put sconces in here, but I can't justify the expense. There will be some modest updates to some of the decor and some big changes down the road but this is a good first step.
Quick shot of the peeled up wallpaper. Oops.  Glad it wasn't me this time!! And here is The Builder cutting in with the new paint. This was at 6pm tonight. No final photo's tonight, the evening light is even worse for taking photo's in this windowless bathroom than the daytime light. And even though this update is going to take longer than a weekend, we're on track to have it done in just a few more days.

Then we get to the really good part. Installing the soaker tub!!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Phase 1 - DONE!

In just a few short hours, I am going to take my first shower in my fabulous, beautiful new bathroom. I am thrilled!

If you will recall, this was my bathroom just a few short months ago:
At 30x34, the size was the least of it's issues. It was leaky, dated with the glass shower blocks, and just over all gross, despite routine bleaching.

And then there was the demo and repairs. I lived in concrete dust and debris for much longer than we had anticipated, but with repairs to make and a wall to build, it wasn't a small project. We had some added expenses with the roll on waterproofing deciding to add a light in the shower, but overall, we stayed on track with our budget and it turned out exactly as I was picturing it in my head. 

I may be more than just a little biased, but I think it's absolutely beautiful!! This is what a shower in a master bathroom should be.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Tile, tile, and more tile....

I wish I could tell you we've completed the bathroom over the past 3 weeks and that we're completely done.

But I would be lying. Not my thing!

And doing weekly updates on tile installation is...boring. The Builder had a ton of cuts to make to get the install completed. And he sat down and figured it out all mathematically:
Yeah. So I readily admit, this tiling job was way more time and math that I had given much thought to. He sat down and figured out where each piece needed to go, size wise. He cut them and polished edges. He cut chair rail tile to go around our niche. He made bullnose tile out of left over tiles to do the shower curb and the pieces framing the edge.  All of these specialty cuts took a LOT of time. And he did an amazing job!!!!

So rather than bore you with a weekly update of what appeared to be small progress, here's a quick collage of the last three weeks:
As of today, all the tile is in! The Builder is going to start on the grout this week so it's not usable yet, but the end is near! We plan to order a frame less shower door soon, but in the mean time, our shower curtain will be going back up.  We're about $1300 into this shower and the shower door is another $650. So it will have to wait. In the mean time, a shower curtain and shower rod will work just fine.

OK, this is not the best photo. However, it brings us into the home stretch of this first phase of this bathroom renovation!

The light is still dangling from the ceiling because the ceiling hasn't been repainted yet. To make it all match up, we're going to need to repaint the entire bathroom ceiling, which we knew due to moving light fixtures and vent ducting. We're also repainting the bathroom to coordinate with our bedroom, so again, more paint. We'll do that while the grout is setting 

Here are some close ups of some of the features:
This is a rain head shower head by Mohen. My kids have all already decided they want to take at least one shower in this new shower just so that they can stand under this BIG shower head. I don't think you can see in the photo how large this shower head really is, but it was one of the largest we could find. And it's a good 8-10 inches above our heads, so it won't spray directly in our face (like our old shower head!). We bought the extension piece too so it wouldn't be so tight against the wall.

And the floor with the tile installed:
I really, really love those hexagon tiles! Although from this angle, the shower looks small again.  Bad angle, it's not! Which makes you realize how small the shower really was before we expanded it.  Yikes!

The much mentioned niche:
Again, the lighting and camera angle are awkward in here.  Probably because you have to sit on the toilet to take the photo. Super fun. More on that in another post...

This niche replaces the soap holder that we used in the previous shower to hold our shampoo bottles and body wash. There's a ledge for each of us so we'll no longer be knocking over bottles if you look at them wrong. I plan to put some suction cup hooks in here to hold our shower loofah's so we don't have to hang them off the shower lever. I'll be able to put my shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and my deep conditioner and still have room. Yes, I'm doing the happy dance!!

I'll spare you grout updates this week. The next blog post will feature a working shower!!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Time to Tile!

This past week the waterproof membrane we ordered from Home Depot finally came in and The Builder was able to get it installed.Want a not exciting photo of it?
 OK, underwhelming, I know. 

And you can see the single piece we put down to try to get a feel for how it was going to look. Yes, I was completely tickled pink to see the prospect of tile finally going in! No more traipsing upstairs at 4:30am for my morning shower! But I digress...

Here's a quick close up of what the floor tile actually looks like:
I really considered the small penny tile that I have seen on some decorating shows and web sites. But The Builder was against it. In fact he hated it. Then we saw this one in a display and we both agreed it was exactly what we wanted. Each tile is about two inches in diameter. It's a carrera marble as well, but it's unpolished, so it won't be as slick in the shower. We'll have to seal it yearly to keep it from staining, but we know that going into it, and we're OK with that (I say that now, lol...)

I came home tonight and The Builder had done a dry fit of the floor. Those are the tiles that we chose leaning up against the wall. Even though they're not the shape of tiles I originally envision, they're still the marble that I wanted, so I'm happy. It was a relief to see that my shower isn't going to be the cave that the wood and cement was making it appear to be, even after the light was installed. Once the tile is up and the glass shower door is installed, there will be plenty of light reflecting off the marble we chose. 

Another close up. I'm mildly obsessed at this point...
The Builder did a great job of cutting around the drain (yes, I'm slightly biased in his favor!). An unexpected bonus was that the pieces along the back edge just had to be cut in half and were a very easy cut. Once the floor is in, we can hang the cement board and eventually, the wall tiles, so there will be plenty of overlap to cover any mild imperfections along the edges.

I haven't officially picked a grout color yet. And for that matter, most of the texturing in the bathroom is done now, so we'll need to start painting again soon too. I'm not 100% certain on the paint color yet, but that's a subject for another day...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Plumbing, Electrical, and Drywall, Oh My!

The shower pan I left you with last was exciting, I know. And I'm probably the only one excited about plumbing, electrical and drywall (oh my!). But it's one step closer to being able to put up tile. And that is my goal at this point.
The photo to the left shows electrical that needed to be moved.  The vent, the light switch, and a light not shown, over the toilet. We also decided to add some insulation because my youngest sons' room is right over our bedroom and stairs are on the other side of that wall. Also, The Builder is showing where the new shower light is going to go in.

The total cost on this part of the renovation was under $80. That included the light for the shower, insulation, and new drywall.  We'd already bought new electrical outlets as well as the light switch (I think we should buy stock in electrical outlets, we seem to be replacing them in every room!)
new light and light switch
I was moderately concerned that this shower was going to turn into a cave, since there is no natural light in this corner now that the glass blocks are gone. And trust me, I would rather have a cave than those glass blocks back! But The Builder assured me that a light would be an easy installation. Everything went smoothly on installing it, so I am very pleased!

Now we have the drywall back in, the insulation is done, the plumbing is closed up, and the electrical is all moved.  The arrow on the top of the photo is the new light. The middle arrow is the switch that turns on the light.  The arrow on the right is the new double outlets. You can see all the drywall is back in in the vanity area (a project for another time). The section in the shower that you see barely that doesn't have insulation is where the built in shower nook is going to go. If you look really closely, you can see where The Builder penciled it in. :)
Just a quick look at the light and the vent now that they've been moved. We'll be replacing both now that we've moved them. The a/c vent had been painted white. It was awful. The light we had replaced on our prior landlord's dime after the water leak upstairs. We both hated it from the get go, but The Builder we were trying to keep it inexpensive since it wasn't on our dime. I'm not sure what fixture we'll put in yet, but this one is already starting to rust. No real surprise since I think we might have spent all of $30 on it.
Ta da, the light on in the shower! I don't know if it's obvious in the photo, but it really makes all the difference in the world. We've got more insulation to put in, as well as a waterproof barrier (no more water damaged beams for us!) and concrete board, but we're that much closer to getting the tile in. I'm ordering the the shower pan membrane this week for next week's install, and then we'll have one more layer of concrete on the shower floor, but after that, it's tile time! I think I can see a slight glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel...

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Shower Pan

This is our new shower pan. The Builder did an amazing job. I came home from work Monday night and he was almost done. I am dually impressed!

We don't anticipate getting a whole lot done in the coming weekend since it's Valentines Day. We have plans to go to Waco and visit Magnolia Acres! For those who aren't addicted to HGTV, there's an awesome show called "Fixer Upper" which stars hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines. I absolutely love their show. Magnolia Acres is their store, and The Builder is taking me to visit.  I'm so excited!

Stay tuned, we have new shower valves to install and then the concrete board.  All leading up to new tile!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Building a Shower

Fast forward to this past Saturday. During the week leading up to Saturday, The Builder was chipping out the concrete from the bottom of the shower so that we could make a new shower pan. I'm not going to lie. This was the worst part of the demo. We had concrete dust from rafters to the front door. Friday night we had to go out to eat or we would have ended up with concrete dust in our food. I'll spare you the photo's of the dust cloud, even though we put up a tarp and tried to block as much as possible.

When we were done, this is new shower base:
The "square" bed is the original shower.  And the chipped out concrete section is the new extended portion of the shower. 

Clearly, we have more to do here.  In my previous post, I mentioned it was FFA show weekend.  The Builder and I had volunteered to do the concession stand before we ever ripped out a single piece of tiled or knocked down any walls.  Oops. So Saturday was a bust work wise (although we had a great time at the show and auction!). But this is where we were by the end of Sunday. Can you see the wall above? Yep, he framed in the wall as well. It's amazing how much an extra 16 inches of width and three inches to the depth. 

It's an awkward angle to get a photo because there's a wall to the left (the wall for the toilet alcove). But this is the new wall framed in. You can see that the light fixture is moved sideways. Yes, that will have to be moved as well. But that's a project for another day.

And here's the wall with drywall up:
Yeah, now it's really feeling like a shower!

For the rest of the week, The Builder is pouring the mortar for the shower pan, which has to be sloped to allow for proper drainage. We had contemplated tearing out the existing plumbing and moving it to the center of the shower. However, we watched a few tutorials on You Tube and realized that wasn't really necessary. And after the grit from concrete dust in my entire house after just that small section being removed, I can't fathom how bad it would be if we had to take out the whole thing. And The Builder said there is another layer of concrete below this one. No thanks. We The Builder can follow the You Tube tutorials to get the proper slope for the drain!

Have you ever read the book "If You Give a Mouse A Cookie"? In it, giving the mouse a cookie leads to more and more things. This is house this renovation feels. We realized after the drywall was up that with the glass blocks gone, the shower felt a little...cave like. I say that in the best possible way, and I'm sure the tile we chose will help lighten it up, but we also realized we're going to need to install a waterproof, recessed light. Which means taking the drywall down. And if we're going to install new electrical, we should move the current light, which is awkwardly placed between the shower and the toilet (yes, my toilet faces my shower. Don't get me started on that one..). So we're going to move that light to be centered over the toilet. At which point, The Builder noticed that the a/c vent is right in the path of the glass shower door we plan to install. So, that will need to be moved over about 6 inches as well. The Builder assures me these are all easy changes, just mildly time consuming. We shall see...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Demolition Day 2

The Teen's FFA project kept me busy this week, but The Builder has been working steadily on our shower for almost two weeks now. 

Today's post is all about tearing it down! I wish I could say I find demolition to be the exciting part of a renovation. But I don't. I hate the dust and the grime and the mess!

All the damaged parts have been completely removed. We found that the corner of the load baring wall had damage too, so we had to shore it up as well. You can see all the pink studs where we replaced the interior studs.

And yuck, look at all the debris!!!
Here's a quick picture of the corner. After The Builder removed the damaged piece, the wall actually sunk a bit. Yikes! Thankfully he was able to get the new piece in place and a little brute force later, everything was shored of securely. We'll have to do some drywall work, but at least there's no more rotten beams and load baring walls that could come down around us...

OK, the walls look lavender.  They're not.  But here's The Builder removing one of our vanities. We had to do this to move the plumbing. And the electrical. And install a new shower wall. Yeah, lots going on here. The vanity was probably the cheapest thing they could find. The doors and drawer fronts were real wood, but everything else was particle board. The last renovation this bathroom saw had them painting over the faux wood grain. Which bubbled up and peeled with the water leak. There was not point in trying to save this vanity. So it came out too.

And the only part of the demolition phase that I admit to enjoying?

Yes, down with the ugly 80's glass blocks!! We weren't sure how easily these would come out, but after trying a few different methods of removal, the sawzall worked best. These came down relatively quickly (I missed the rest of it coming out because I made a quick food run - that's how fast it went!). We've stacked them in the garage for now because I'm hoping to sell them on Craig's List. No, I would never buy them, but they still sell them at Home Depot, so someone must want them. I'm happy to make a small profit on them!

At the end of the weekend, we managed to get the drywall on the outside of the wall re-installed. Can you see how much larger the bathroom looks by taking out that glass wall?! I am never going to miss those blocks. I can say that with 100% confidence.

Yeah, the cat is really curious during this project. He refused to stay out of the photos at the end of the day, and I gave up trying to snap one without him in it. He's aptly named Zorro!

As anxious as we are to have our shower back, we're doing this shower in small bits each weekend. The Builder's work can start to get really busy in the spring and I don't want him to work 7 days a week!

Stayed tuned for more update...

Parting shot of Zorro. Because he's our little shadow!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Demolition Day

Today is the day. Today is the day I finally tear out the thing we call our master bathroom shower. The builder and I got up this morning and jumped head first into the project. 

First we tore out the drywall on the other side of the shower wall to determine how bad the water damage was to the wall studs:

As you can see, the water damage was limited to just the bottom portion of the wall where the leak was. We had opened up the outside of this wall during the fall to let the wall dry out (it had been heavily saturated at one point) and only closed it in with a piece of drywall during the holidays (because nothing says Merry Christmas when you open the front door like a glaring hole in the entryway wall!)

From first inspection, this really didn't seem so bad and was about what we expected to find. The Builder had already told me we'd need to replace the one wall stud and of course the drywall we ripped out.

What I wasn't prepared for was what we couldn't see. I felt like we were on a HGTV show where the host has to come tell the family the bad news that the damage is worse than they initially thought:
See the arrows?  That's where the stud is complete disintegrated from the water damage. And it's not just in one spot, it was two different beams. Thankfully, the one closest to the wall is not a structural beam. In fact, after closer inspection, that stupid part of the wall that juts into my shower and makes it the 30 tiny inches that it is is purely by design. So we're removing that section and moving the electrical to widen the shower and make it more functional.

Just in case you forgot, here's a close up of the actual shower itself:

Those gloss blocks were from a renovation after the house was built. No one in my neighborhood with my floor plan has a shower built like this. The arrows point to where we first started seeing signs of mold and water damage.  It was coming in BEHIND the grout and caulk. So no matter how much I bleached the shower, it was never really clean.  In the last couple of weeks, it started doing the same thing on the wall where the shower handle is too. There was just a little bit of water seepage when we pulled down the tile, but no stud damage, which was good. Can you tell how narrow this shower really is?

Here's what it looked like after we tore things out:
The tile on the back shower wall pulled off without any effort. Not even a hammer. The Builder just stuck his pry bar in to wedge out a corner and the whole thing came sliding down. The other side he did use his pry bar and hammer to remove the tiles. Except for the bottom corner, they took a bit of muscle to chisel out. That's how all the tile should have been!

This was all reduced to a pile of rubble by the time The Builder was done. We're going to have to remove the tile and that small shower pan so the curb is coming down too.

Let's take a minute to look at the section of wall that juts out to my shower:
The only purpose of that small section of wall that juts out the 8-10 inches is to house the only electrical outlet in the entire bathroom. No, you didn't read that wrong. That little plug is it. It charges The Builders shaver, my electric toothbrush, my curling iron, my blow dryer, etc. And of course, the vanity you're looking at is not mine. It's The Builders. He really loves sharing with me. Really...

If you look at the side between the shower and the vanity though, you can see that there is quite a bit of yuck building up:
Yes, that's water damage on the wall. And that section is SO hard to clean. My blow dryer typically hangs on a hook on the side here, but due to the dampness, the hook recently fell off. This vanity is coming out (we're buying new ones for this renovation) since we're widening the shower and we're moving the electrical. None of that will get done this weekend. This weekend is just about the demolition and repairing the rotted studs. We'll have to install new drywall too or you have a straight view from the front door to my toilet. Not my definition of room with a view! Also, since my bedroom is an "open concept" with no door to separate the mast bath from the master bedroom, the wall being down leaves no privacy whatsoever. 

The Builder is doing all the stud repairs as I type so expect another update soon!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Another Bathroom

The Builder and I are about to embark on another bathroom renovation, this time in our Master Bath. We've been putting it off for a good six months, but it really is time. No matter how much I bleach my shower, it looks gross in a matter of days. Plus we're worried about the structural beam getting damaged from water. In case you forgot, here's the bathroom at it's present state:
The shower in it's present state is 30" wide.  It's TINY. Since it has to be gutted, we're widening it to 47". We're also putting in a shower niche for a more practical storage for shampoo bottles. Instead of glass blocks (I really, really won't be sad to see them go) there will be a solid wall so we can have dual shower heads. Say goodbye shower curtain that hides the ugliness behind it and hello to a glass shower door.

The first step was to decide on tile. I stalled here because I wasn't really impressed with the selection at either Lowe's or Home Depot.  Then I happened on a local tile store and found this:

It may be hard to see in the photo, but these are large, rectangular tiles. And while I would love the diagonal (over and a herringbone) pattern, The Builder emphatically said no. Something about too many cuts, the expense of extra tile, blah blah blah (yep, that's what I heard after he said no, lol).

We also plan to run a band of decorative tile in a vertical stripe all the way up the middle of the back shower wall. The tile I fell in love with was on clearance that day, so we bought it. This will run through the niche as well:

I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but when I saw this tile, I knew it had to be my accent and we'd need to find a tile to coordinate with it (I suspect you're supposed to do it the other way around!). I was OK with the price, but when the cashier rang it up and it was 50% off (I literally spent $40 on one box and two extra sheets) I was beyond pleased!

Surprisingly, it was the shower floor tile that was the most difficult to decide on. We looked at a river rock style, but it was too dark. We looked at a "penny" style tile in gray, but the The Builder thought it looked too cheap. Then we came upon this octagon tile:

If you look closely, there's a band of dark tile sort of in the middle. On the left is a large tile, on the right is a smaller tile. We both agreed we like the larger tile better. This tile picks up the darker color in the accent tile, as well as coordinates with the carrera marble tiles in the wall. 

The shower doors we're ordering custom from Home Depot. A little over $200 for a custom fit, frameless shower door is a good price. Before we can order it though, we have to rip out the old shower, replace all the damaged studs behind the wall, replace the cement board, drywall, build a new floor pan (thank goodness for YouTube videos!!) build the new wall and redo the plumbing - not necessarily all in that order! It's going to be a lot of work, but definitely worth it in the end.

Since this is our master bath, the full renovation will have to be done in stages.  Here's the current plan:
  1. Shower renovation - we're hoping for a 6 week turn around, unless The Builder has to start working weekends again, then it could be longer
  2. Replace both vanities, which will include reworking the plumbing and adding more electrical (there is ONE plug in the whole bathroom, and it's not on my side). We estimate this to take about 3 weeks since we're purchasing vanities from Ikea (more on that in another post).
  3. Tub re-do. We're either going to refinish our existing tub, which we're not 100% excited about since the jets have recently started leaking rusty water even when we don't use them, or buy a updated tub from Restore, which still may need to be refinished. We're seriously leaning towards the second option, since we'd like a larger tub as well.  I'm a bath girl!! We also want to do built in shelving behind the tub for decorative and storage purposes, as well as tear out the medicine cabinet and put in a recessed panel there as well. I don't have a time frame since I'm not 100% sure which option we'll go with
  4. Add a bathroom door! So we have an "open concept" master bedroom where there is no separate of space. I hate it. If I leave for work first, I have to tip toe in a dark bathroom to get ready with only the light of my cell phone to do my hair. If The Builder leaves first, there's no way he can be quiet, and I'm going to get woken up anyway. Plus if the kids are hanging out with us watching TV, I have to have them leave if we need to use our restroom, or go use our powder room toilet. Not practical. This should be a weekend job for The Builder and is last on the list of priorities.
Huge list when I look at it, but since we won't start a new phase until the first one is completed, it shouldn't be too bad.  Famous last words...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Home Stretch

After almost 18 mos. the Guest Bathroom is 98% done. No, not 100%. I changed out the shower curtain and now I need new artwork. I know what I want, but I haven't gotten it yet. I didn't think my kids would appreciate if I dipped into the Christmas budget to pay for artwork and new towel bars...'

Here's a shot of the entire bathroom:
The Builder mostly finished the vanity this fall when his work schedule went back to 'normal'. The bottom shelf is missing. Which is important as I bought a basket to hold toilet paper. So he plans to finish that up this week while he's off.

The drawers aren't really drawers. The panel pulls out and is the place we store the laundry hamper! Which is full at the moment. Which is why I didn't take a photo. Kids and laundry, a never ending battle.

I also need to buy a new towel bar since the old one broke when we took it down. It was probably the cheapest one that the prior owner could find. No loss. Also, since The Builder I took down the cabinet above the toilet, I need shelves their for additional storage. So a few minor things still to complete. 

Taking out the cabinet and building our own vanity were important in this bathroom to make it feel larger. Four kids share this bathroom. The chunky, builder grade cabinets that were in here before made the whole bathroom feel cramped, We didn't gain any space by replacing things, but it feels larger. I'm good with that.

Take a look at the vanity:
We bought the top with the under mount sink at Habitat for Humanity. $75 for a granite top. It had a much larger counter top, but The Builder cut it to size. I would have loved double sinks in here, but that would have required a 60" vanity and 58 would touch the toilet. I looked at some small sinks at Ikea, but that would mean no counter space. I just didn't feel that was practical in a family bathroom, so this was a good solution. And being able to tuck the laundry hamper away is a bonus to me. When we had a cabinet, the kids would just stash things in it. It was gross. Once the shelf is installed on the bottom, I have two baskets to store practical things like extra toilet paper and towels. I have some more ideas for extra storage, but I'm not 100% sure which way I'm going with that yet.

We cut down the original HUGE mirror that was in here and The Builder made a new frame. We used the same molding he framed the faux drawers with on the laundry pull out. He mitered the corners. I love how it matches, although it's hard to see in this photo.

I am not thrilled that the brushed nickel cover for the electrical outlets is rusting at the screws. Originally this was only a single outlet. It wasn't practical so it was an easy choice to upgrade. We took out the ugly medicine cabinet and this blank wall is where I have plans to add more practical storage - once I figure out exactly what I want!

The tile back splash pulls the wall color and the granite top together. The counter top didn't come with the back splash piece and really, I'm not sure I would have wanted it. I really love this tile.

This bathroom makes me smile every time I walk by, It was totally worth the gut job all the way to the studs and the time we invested in completely redoing it!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thinking Fall...

Living in TX, fall isn't a season we really experience. Neither is winter (except when we have ice storms that shut down the entire city...) But I love fall.  The colors, the scents, the cool weather. Yeah, it's wishful think, today it was 85 outside. 

That hasn't stopped me from dreaming about fall. My living room has been recently decked out and so I was ready to put out the wreath I made last year. Only to find out it broke in the closet some time over the past year. So last weekend I set about making a new wreath. I'm pleased with final product.
For me, less is more. So as a rule, my wreath's don't have a lot of "stuff".  And I'm ok with that!

One more angle.
It almost makes up for having the ugliest door in the neighborhood.  But that's a post for another day...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Teen Boy Room - Day 2

It was a busy weekend. I decided that while The Builder was painting my our master closet, I needed to get another coat of paint on the wall in the boys room!

There's no art work up yet. I thought I wanted a desk in between the two beds, but now I'm questioning how well that would work. I might ask The Builder to make a farmhouse nightstand like he made for our bedroom. We could stain it to match the beds (which The Builder also made!) and would give them a small amount of storage. I haven't determined the rest of the wall. I need to buy the moose head (you can see his collection on the bed!) and get the night stand built and then go from there. 

Here's a better view with the drapes:
It looks like I matched the paint color to the drapes, it came out so perfect! I'm more convinced than ever that I need to warm up the other walls though.  That cream is too pale. I think the lamps need to have the color changes. A brushed bronze would go with the rustic them much better than the nickel finish they have now! When the blinds are closed and the drapes are dawn, the room is dark. That should help with the summer heat as well since this room gets full afternoon sun.  Thus the difficulty taking good photos!

I have some other ideas that I want to play with as well. Right now the boys are thrilled with the small update.  More to come!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

30 Day Challenge Reveal!

OK, I passed the deadline for the 30 Day Challenge. And ultimately, I'm OK with that since this is a project I'm going to cross off my list (for now...more on that later).

Today we started here:
Yep, except for putting my sewing table back in, nothing had been done in a month. My reality is I have four kids and The Builder has been working nights. Not conducive to completing projects. But I couldn't let another weekend pass without making the final push, and I'm so glad we did!

This is the hook of death. The Builder calls it the cranium buster. Either term works well. It was wedged in between the new dresser and the new bookshelf. It left an awkward space and if you happened to lean over to put a book or magazine away on the shelf, I had a bad habit of almost knocking myself out! I briefly debated leaving it there in case I ever wanted to put that low bar back in. However I have two bars still in place and the option of putting back the third one above the sewing table. I'm never going to use this fourth bar. So out it came!

We ended up with this lovely painted wall with no cranium busters:
(side note, I have double closet doors and I opened the one that is always closed so I could take a better photo - and discovered I think I like using this closet door better. Go figure). The other side of the closet also has a long bar, so as you can see, plenty of room! If you're trying to picture where the cranium buster is, look above two feet below the lower of the two shelves and smack in the middle of that newly painted wall on the far right. Yep, that's the killer spot.

At this point, I was pretty darn pleased with what I was seeing!

The Builder was really ready to stop at this point in the day. He did the last bit of painting during half time (it was NOT a good game!). But there is one thing that is really, really missing. The lights that I bought to mount on that bottom shelf for better lighting at my sewing table. I bought them on my second trip to Ikea and I really need them. The chandelier is pretty, but not as bright as I actually need for task work. Lucky for me, I think The Builder just wants me to quit complaining about this closet, so he very patiently wired them up for me:

I love them!!  This took a bit more patience for The Builder because the directions are minimal on install these at best. It also involved a Home Depot run to get the right screws (it didn't come with screws to install them!) and figuring out why they were flickering and being finicky. Turns out one of the wires was stapled too tight and was pinching the wire. Once he figured that out, they lit up beautifully!

Here is the 95% finished project:

<sigh> I love it! It is exactly what I was picturing in my head when I started this project. I have my space back to sew, my clothes are easy to find again, I've gained storage (a ton of storage) and it reflects me! I am very thankful that The Builder is happy with his little 2 foot space for his clothes. No worries, he has a nice large dresser that he uses for most of his things. And that he has no issues with a girly closet. I think he's happier that my crap stuff isn't all over the bedroom when I want to sew, lol.

And then, when I posted this photo, I realized there was still something missing....

For me, a room isn't really complete until it has an E somewhere in it!  (yes, it's like being at Disneyland - only instead of looking for hidden Mickey's, you look for hidden E's - it's just my thing). The Builder bought me this one when we first moved to TX. It's been in my bathroom, but I always knew that I hadn't found the right spot for it. But next to the only painting I've ever painted (and the only one I will ever paint) it's absolutely perfect!!

Here's a quick photo of the bookshelf I mentioned:
There won't really be an empty shelf once I pull out all my sewing books. Since I'm a self taught sewer, I've bought quite a few books over the years. It was one of the reasons I was insistent that I needed to find a place for a bookcase in the first place. All of these are within grabbing reach if I want to look up a technique. The chest of drawers is to the right of it. Nothing special to see there yet, just plain white drawers that match my closet perfectly.

So as I mentioned, I consider this project to be 95% done. And if I never did another thing to it, it would still be wonderful. But there are few more things I really want to get done!
  1. The peg board needs to be painted and hung correctly. I don't want it to stay white. I want it to blend in and be less noticeable. Also its not mounted to the wall, it's just leaning. It works, but it's not finished.
  2. I have a vinyl saying I want to put on the chest of drawers. I didn't have my settings right the first time I tried and I ruined the pink. I have black. It could be black. But I want it mimic the painting. So it needs to be pink.
  3. I want to paint the bins black! I know, they're storage, they're practical, it shouldn't matter that they're blue. But every time I look at them, they irritate me! And I'd like them to both be the type that have the fold down door. Much more practical for searching for fabric then having to unstack them to rummage through.
Small things. Things that if they never get done, won't be the end of the world!

One final look at the before (in all it's shame!) and after:

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