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!

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...

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!

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:

Teen Boys Room (Proof I'm Not Afraid of Color!)

My middle son turned 13 this week.  I'm a mom of three teenagers. It's horrifying to write that!

Back in July I posted this link  for inspiration.  I let my older son have the final say so on the room. As long at my 13 year old can have the moose he loves in his room, he's not overly picky. I can't say the same for his older brother!  When I was looking at room inspirations, he couldn't find anything he liked. Plaid was out (he wears plaid, but he doesn't want it in his room...). He didn't want anything blue. And here is what he finally picked out:
Do you see it?  The plaid? Yeah, I was confused. What it came down to though was the color of the room. He loved it. He didn't see anything other than the color. 

What I'm discovering is that my kids are not afraid of color. I think they get it from me. The Builder took one look at that Roycroft Copper Red and said "I want no part of that". He seriously hated the color! Well I bought the comforters, the drapes, even the paint. And they sat.  I was working on finishing the hall bathroom, my 30 day project, and this got pushed to the side. The Builder made sure to tell me he had to finish the bathroom project. The Builder is color phobic!!!

But I could see my son's vision with that room. This rich coppery red needed to get on the wall:
I really like the natural color in the color swatch above. We had a custom paint mix when we repainted their room last year. I have no clue what color it is, but it's light and creamy I think Natural will warm it up a little without overwhelming the room more with the bold color here.

The Builder wasn't so impressed after the first coat:
Yes, it's streaky. I wasn't surprised. When we lived in CA, several of the homes we lived in I used a red color. The first home we ever bought, I picked a color called 'Dare Devil Red' for my entry way. It took four coats to get it smooth and streak free. In the last home we lived in, I painted the back splash Antique Red. I did use a tinted primer, but I still ended up with three coats of paint. So I totally expected to need more than one coat of paint on this room. Plus one color looked much brighter than the inspiration photo. And my son was clear he wanted the color duplicated as closely as possible. 
So then it was time for coat #2:
Yes!  This is what I was looking for. Even The Builder, when he saw the second coat, was dually impressed. I still need to go back and do some touch up's along the cut in. And I really want to paint the rest of the room the Natural color. I'm going to let the paint cure completely overnight before I hang up the curtains and put the beds back in place. So there are no finished photo's this evening.

And then there is the moose head I found to imitate the antlers in the inspiration photo:
This will fit the bill for both of my boys, so I plan to order it this week from the Etsy seller. Restoration Hardware has an amazing set of moose antlers too.  That cost $500!!!  Seriously, who would buy them. Clearly someone or they wouldn't sell them, but that cost is crazy.

So tell me, are you color phobic or do you go for it?!

Weekend 3

You weren't really expecting weekend 2, right?!

After a quick trip to San Antonio to work with my best friend on her wedding plans, it was back to getting my closet back in shape!

Here's a quick peak at a few of the updates:

One thing I hadn't really planned on was the rug.  And it's almost my favorite thing in here. I went back to Ikea to get some more magazine holders and the rug that had called to me the first time I was there was really yelling this time. Our master bedroom is all tile. Great in the summer, horrific in the winter. The light fixture is SO pretty, but not very bright.  The task lighting still needs to be installed on the new shelf that was install, as well as the rest of the painting

The Light!!!  Tell me this isn't better than an ugly bare bulb...also, you can see the second shelf we installed above the original one. It's really nice to not have boxes of patterns falling down around my head when I reach up to grab something. My only 'oopsie' is that I thought it had a draw string, since this closet doesn't have an on and off switch.  It doesn't. The Builder said he will install one. My goal is to have it done before Christmas!

The last sneak peak (forgive the terrible lighting, it was dark at this point and the 40 watt bulb doesn't produce the best light for photograph!). The shoe rack is only going to hold the shoes I wear most frequently. My reality is that I would truly need a bigger closet if I was going to have all my shoes on display or I would have to take out my sewing table. Since neither of those is going to happen, this is the best option for me.

Still to do:
  1. Finish paining the closet
  2. Install some floating shelves
  3. paint the peg board gray to match the closet
  4. Print my vinyl that goes on the small chest of drawers I bought
  5. Install the task lighting under the back shelf

Weekend 1

It's the end of the first weekend and some progress has been made!  Not as much as I would have liked. I underestimated the amount of crap stuff that has accumulated in the closet over the past three years. 

I won't bore you with paint cut in photo's.  But here's a small peak at what was accomplished:
The color is the same as our master bedroom. I was going to go a shade lighter with my favorite Silver Screens but The Builder was concerned that it would look funny to have a lighter color when you open the sliding closet door. Eh, I think it would have been fine, but since he volunteered to help me paint, I decided to compromise. 

One thing we quickly discovered is that we wouldn't have anywhere to sleep if we emptied the entire closet into our bedroom. Oops. So I hung up a plastic tarp to protect my our clothes from any paint. The goal is now this weekend to finish painting the other quarter of the closet. This side of the closet has the least amount of stuff but has most of my clothes.

See the ugly bare light attached to the ceiling?  That will also be gone this weekend, to be replaced with the light I bought at Ikea last week.  Super excited to not have that ugly light bulb! I also think I'm going to need some task lighting under the shelf you see in the photo because that's where my sewing table goes. There has never been enough light in here and there are no widows for natural light (and yes, I asked my glazier husband if he would install one.  The answer was "maybe at some point" which might as well be a no, lol) so the extra task lighting would be helpful, but might take me past my budget.  

OK, this is looking a little more like it's supposed to! The additional shelf is really making a huge difference in my storage capabilities. This isn't exactly how it will be arranged, but it works for photo's. I bought a peg board to hang up my scissors and some other things. I have WAY more magazines than that and need to figure out a way to better organize them - a second trip to Ikea is definitely in order (but the budget!!!). I also want to tuck a small bookcase back in the corner behind the garment bag. I have a ton of sewing books as well. The painting is one I did with The Teen. The dress was Audrey Hepburn inspired and so it will remain as a bright pop of color in the closet, even if that's not ultimately where it ends up!

More to come!

30 Day Challenge

It's the last day of the month.  I'm still waiting on my boy's comforters to arrive. The shipping was free so I can't complain, but I'm itching to have them come in so I can pick out paint and get their room update done.

Because I'm impatient I have time on my hands, I decided to join the 30 Day Room Challenge. I knew that I needed a small project because:
  1. I don't want something I can't finish quickly
  2. I want to complete my boys bedroom as well
  3. I don't want to spend a ton of money
  4. I don't have time for another large project!!!!
So I chose my master bedroom walk in closet!

Yes, this is really the "room" I chose.  It also doubles as my sewing/craft space. It's also our "dump everything" closet. You know, when you're cleaning up the house in a rush and you 'need' to hide stuff you don't know where to put? Yep, that's my master closet. So aside from needing to de-clutter and toss some stuff, there simply isn't enough storage. So I've manage to cram it full of boxes and piles. And of course, that's not working. Here's my closet it all it's shame:
Up until Christmas, it was fairly organized. You can see boxes for my shoes, all my white hangers, and some storage bins on the shelves. But it was downhill from there.  My sewing machine is buried and I pull it out to use it on the dining room table when I need it. My craft supplies are piled willy-nilly.  It's a mess. That's the original paint color to.  Blah. I have bars to hang clothes that I don't want and I need more drawer space (The Builder keeps 90% of his clothes in the dresser in our bedroom).

I sort of have a plan!
I'd really, really love to build some custom storage, but my reality is, I don't have time (remember I still have a temporary vanity in the kids bathroom upstairs!)  I was at Ikea the other night to purchase the pendent light you see in the idea board above, when I saw that the Malm dresser was on sale. I realized the white dresser what exactly what I needed to copy one of my Pinterest inspirations:

I saw this at least a year ago and fell in love! However, it wasn't going to work anywhere in my home. But I pinned it. Because that's the point of finding things you like that you will most likely never use, right?! 

After going back to the original blogger's post, I found that she used a vinyl sticker.  I have seen them on eBay, but I think I want to do my own take on it.  You may have noticed the picture on the inspiration board. It's actually a poster. My thought is to use it in place of the vinyl sticker. Of course, The Builder thinks I should just buy the sticker on eBay. And I might. But I really think I want to personalize it just a bit! Although I may ultimately go with a black and white poster over a color one. We shall see.

My goal is break this down into weekend work:

Weekend 1: Paint the closet and hang the new light fixture (I'm giddy over this one, as I currently have a bare bulb attached to the ceiling with a pull string - don't even get me started!)

Weekend 2: Organize the sewing and craft supplies.  This closet is basically a big box for the most part, an the back wall has an outlet, which allowed me to put in my sewing table and set up my machine. The problem is that there isn't enough shelf space for all my stuff, so I need to get creative with storage.

Weekend 3: I will be out of town this weekend so I don't plan on any work getting done.

Weekend 4:  Complete the dresser update (this allows me to order the poster or vinyl sticker online this weekend and have time to get it shipped to work on during weekend 4!) and get my artwork hung up - I have an original art piece already completed for this one!

Weekend 5: (yep, 5 this month) Finish it all up!

The Boys

Since I can't start phase 2 of my kitchen renovation until Labor Day weekend (and it will probably take an extra Sunday or two to get it done) I decided to focus on the bedroom my two older boys share. You may recall that it used to have a large cut out over looking the entryway downstairs.The wall has long been finished, textured and painted on both sides, but I never quite got around to decorating. Once they had their privacy and the room had their creature comforts, they were content.

I was not.  

But then we had the bathroom renovation upstairs. The holidays rolled around. The Teen's room was looking bad.  And so my boys room went on the back burner.  Until now!

Here is the the look MJR finally decided he liked best:

While there are two boys sharing a room, the younger of the two will be happy as long as the final choice allows him to keep his beloved Moose. My older son, MJR, is MUCH pickier!!! I started by discussing theme's with him. Nothing I suggested appealed to him -surfer, skater, nature, cars, music....nothing! He doesn't look too many patterns. He's picky on the color. He doesn't want anything that would appear juvenile (which encompassed a WIDE range of things I never would have thought of, including sports - go figure). Basically a "theme" was completely out. So while surfing Houzz I came across the above photo, and while there is some plaid in it (plaid was out!) I know that he really likes the color orange and it would work for my other son as well. So when I show him this, he agreed - minus the headboard, the rug, and the plaid sheets. Because what he really liked was that stupid orange wall. 

Usually once I have an inspiration photo, I'm good to go. I started with bedding. My boys have twin beds that The Builder made them. I'm not changing beds, so those have to stay. I found a great orange plaid bedding set that I thought would look fabulous and had the write colors. To which MJR promptly but the kibosh on - he loves orange. He does not love plaid. More specifically, he doesn't just want the orange wall, he wants the room in THAT photo. Of course.

I did start by looking at quilts in a dark color to re-create that look. But the reality is, I'm working on a space for two, not one. I'm concerned two dark quilts in a space that is no that big to begin with will make it look smaller. So after two days of showing him multiple options, we decided to tweak the color palette a bit and it started with this comforter:
Pay no attention to the second set of colors shown. Apparently when you save it, it gives you both. I'm not sure the Roycott Copper Red is the right color for the accent wall. While we do want a rust color, that's too close to red. There are three shades that I'm debating on Behr's web site. Summer Heat, New Penny, and Glowing Fire. Once the comforter and the curtains arrive, I'll have a better idea which one is the right one for this room. Here's a peak at the design board for this room:
The Breakdown:

The desk will have to be built. The one on the design board is $1500 and I want two.  Clearly, that's not an option, but this is something The Builder can copy with ease. I figure two desks will cost a total of $250 (some of the flanges and fittings are pricier than you would think). 

The Keep Calm and Love Moose we already have. The Moose Love should be simple to re-create with my Silhouette, as will the hoop art in far less girl colors. I like the marquee light in the desk photo, so I think I'll do one for each desk. Again, plenty of tutorials on Pinterest for that! 

I went with energy efficient curtains. The boys room is on the sunny side of the house in the afternoon and that room cooks! We have cheap, faux wood blinds and they look like nice, but they do nothing to help cool the room. I bought the curtains online and they have excellent reviews, but I'll have to see how they work in the room. 

The lamp is from Ikea. They're $30 a piece. Again, very reasonable. The same with the tractor style desk chair. I found this one at Walmart.com and it mimics the one in the inspiration desk photo. 

I really debated putting some nice decorative pillows on their beds. And when they're older, maybe I will. But for now, I'm going to hold off since they rarely make their beds. I'm not sure about a rug yet. 

MJR has a big blank wall on his side of the room that I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with. Also I'm going to need artwork above his bed since his brother will have his moose artwork above his. But those things will be worked out once the paint has been chosen and we get things going.

The Kitchen - Stage 1

The Builder has been working like crazy so we haven't had a lot going on in the renovation department.  I think we have the master bath plan almost completed. But The Builder had a three day weekend last weekend and decided he needed a project to do. So after forcing him to relax on the 4th of July, he was ready to tear something apart on Saturday. He asked me if I was ready to take down the pass through in the kitchen.  I think he purposefully picked something he know I couldn't say no to!

Let me refresh your memory on the pass through from my kitchen to the dining room:

Like all pass through's that I've seen, this one is a waist of space. The 'bar' isn't wide enough to really eat at. The small opening isn't conductive to ventilation - in fact we swelter in here in the summer if we turn on the oven, even when the rest of the house is cool and comfy with the a/c running. When we had the TV over the fireplace, it did at least allow you to stand there and duck down a bit to catch a favorite TV show while doing dishes. Aside from that, utterly useless. 

When the builder first asked me about a kitchen renovation, I wanted to take down the wall that has the arched opening. Unfortunately, that corner there is a load baring wall. It would cost thousands of dollars to put in a new beam to support the weight of the upstairs. That might happen on design shows, but I have to live in reality, so it was a no go for me. The same with widening that opening to the kitchen. There's no place to widen since we're stealing the hall closet to expand the pantry (more on that in another post!). So that wall and that narrow opening have to stay.  The pass through does not.  So demo went something like this:
We removed the trim someone installed as an afterthought. I already knew we had the cheapest of builder grade cabinets, but the white paint gave me a false sense of thinking they weren't as bad as I thought. Ha. What we discovered is that only the front of the cabinets are wood. We have 'plastic' wood veneer adhered to the side of the cabinets and cheap trim along the top to add...something. The cabinets have always been to small to hold anything other than rarely used items. I'm sure I can find another spot for my Christmas Nutcracker plates and my Christmas tea set (the only thing of value that was in them!).

Next The Builder we took down the cabinet and started cutting into the wall:

Disclaimer:  The Builder was quite horrified annoyed that I was including the photo's of him in all his sweaty glory. We live in Houston and it's humid here. There's not much I can do about it. This is part of home renovations!

I was surprised at the beam running through the middle of the wall. The Builder was not. Apparently this is standard when you need to make sure you have something to screw the cabinets into so they won't fall off the wall. Go figure. He said the pass through was clearly an after thought as it didn't tie into the wall as it should have and was done later. Really, an afterthought?! WHY!!?
He even has helpers...

We needed to add a wall switch for the pendent lights we knew we were going to put up. The only way to really see where the electricity was running and easily install a new box was to take the drywall down. So we did. And if I was hoping beyond home that this corner wasn't really a load baring wall, my hopes were quickly dashed. This was one of the walls that had really bad texturing on it, so taking down the drywall allows us to re-install it and correctly texture. We also will be able to switch out the old beige electrical outlets and wall switches for nice clean white ones. Win win!

Everything all opened up. There are weird 'steps' in the wall where the beam came out. That meant more patch work than what I was thinking but The Builder took it in stride. Already you can see how much more open it looks.  This was Saturday afternoon.  The demolition part didn't take much time at all, aside from two separate trips to Home Depot to pick up supplies (we never remember everything in one trip, even when we have a list!) and a third trip to Lowe's because I didn't like the pendent options available at Home Depot. More on that in a bit. You can see the new junction box he installed for the double light switch. The power was off in this photo so he could get everything wired in, but I think you get the idea.

Let's cut to the chase, shall we:
This almost looks done.  This was last Sunday evening. The drywall was done and the spray texture was up. I was really itching to see how the pendants I chose were going to look once installed. But the reality is I didn't want ceiling paint on them or one of the two shades of wall paint either.

And now you can see my 80's laminate counter tops in all their horrific glory. Yeah, we're not doing the counters this year. Nor are we ripping out the rest of the disgusting particle board cabinets that desperately need to be replaced. Those will most likely be done next year (we still have an a/c that really needs to be replaced next year). I'm contemplating some type of counter top cover up but we shall see.

Yes, that's my dining room table covered in junk.  The few things from the cabinet, my cook books that were on a shelf above the pass through, and an assortment of nicknacks that need to find new homes. 

And here we have it this afternoon after the last coat of ceiling paint and touch up paint was completed:

 Yes, the ceiling is striped in the photo. In person, you can see a slight difference, but the camera really picked it up. "Eventually" we're going to have to repaint the entire ceiling from kitchen to dining room.  Eventually is a really distant thought right now.  This counter height bar isn't remotely practical enough to allow for every day use (I can see dishes falling off that narrow bar...) and it quickly becomes a clutter magnet. I'm going to have to put this picture on my phone to remind myself what it's supposed to look like.

This is from Lowe's web site to give you an idea of what it looks like when the lights aren't on (it's not photographing well either way:

There's a white paper shade inside so it's not spakly (which was not a look I was going for) and it blends well with the nickel finishes that are already in the home.

Lowe's really has the best selection for pendant shades.  I was terribly disappointed at the choices at Home Depot.  And the prices! Two lights at Home Depot would have cost about $150. These two with the pendant kits were less than $100. I'm happy to take the savings, thank you.

Take a look at before and after!

Already, the finial photo is out of date, our new refrigerator arrived today! And with that, this particular project is done!! We're hoping to do the pantry expansion over Labor Day weekend, which will be Stage 2. After that though, we'll be in waiting mode until we purchase all new cabinets and determine what the counter tops are going to be. Baby steps...

Same Story Different Day

The Builder and I were watching HGTV the other night (he'll tell you it's the only channel I watch - not true, I just love Property Brothers, Rehab Addict and Fixer Upper...well, and Sarah's House and Candace Tells all, but those two don't have new episodes anymore, bummer!!). You know, any place I can get ideas! 

Anyway, Fixer Upper was on and they opened up a wall and found water damage. And The Builder informs me he's afraid that's what he's going to find when he opens up our master bath shower. What? OK, there's a small hole along the baseboard on the outside of the wall, but it could be anything. Right? All he does is look at me. Yeah, probably not anything. Probably more shower tile that the grout is now leaking like it did last year in the kids bathroom upstairs. You know, the one that still has the temporary vanity and no bathroom mirror. Yeah. The Builder also informs me that since that's a load baring wall, we need to open it up and check sooner rather than later.  

Don't get me wrong. I am beyond ready for a bathroom update.  Take a look at what I currently have:
This shower is 34 x 30. A tiny shower. And look at those glass blocks!!!! I've seen other houses in the neighborhood - it's not original. Someone, at one point, chose to put that in. They were also leaking when we first rented the house but The Builder came in and put clear silicone over the grout lines. Overall, it's a functioning shower (and remember, this is the shower six people shared when he was renovation upstairs!!) but there is nothing about it that says master bath. I've also indicated where it's leaking (that we know of!!) which isn't apparent at all from the shower side. But take a look at the wall on the other side:

The stairs are to the left and the right opens to the dining room. That right corner is also load baring. Thankfully, we don't see any damage to that beam. This, in comparison to the upstairs bathroom, is mild. We've cleaned it up to leave it open to dry out for now but 4th of July weekend, we have plans to start our next renovation.

Here's a close up of what it looks like:


I swear, the hole was small. Like someone kicked the wall by accident coming downstairs (yeah, I don't know how you kick a wall by accident, but I have boys, so it could happen!). The Builder brought out his sawzall to open up the wall....but, it wasn't needed.  He just barely tapped it and it opened right up. No question is was water damage at that point. Might I add, this is the first thing you see when you enter my front door. Giant gaping hole. Fun. 

So, what do you do when faced with this dilema? Fix it and be done. A few new pieces of drywall, re-seal the grout, replace the hardy board. A true weekend project. So that would be the easy thing to do. We rarely do the easy thing.

As you can see in the first photo, this shower is ridiculously impractical. There isn't room for a single shampoo bottle or bod wash. I can't tell you the last time I bought a bar of soap. We're a body wash type of family! I've been on Houzz and I'm seeing a trend towards "shampoo niches" so this is what we're going for. The other thing we opened up was this weird spot in our wall that we thought might be part of the load baring beam. It houses the ONLY electrical outlet in the entire bathroom (which is the vanity that The Builder claimed, of course). 

Yes, it's really a two plug outlet. Enter my hair dryer, his electric shaver, my flat iron, my electric toothbrush, my curling iron, my hot rollers...at the very least, we should each have an outlet, right?! And you can see that this is about 10 inches off the wall.  It makes no sense whatsoever. 

So we have a plan.

The short term goal is to move his vanity to the right by about two feet. This will allow us to extend the shower to 54 inches wide. 34x54 is actually a normal sized shower (not super big, but almost double the width we have now). We have found shower pans online, which we won't be able to use since we are not moving the drain, but this will allow us to get rid of the hideous glass blocks and put in a standard glass shower frame. Since we're moving the vanity and the power, we're going to run power to BOTH vanities. Novel concept, right? "Eventually" we're going to build a new double vanity.

Right now we're picking out tile for the shower, which I think we've made a decision on, and pricing shower doors. I wanted a seamless glass frame but that may not be cost effective.  

Here's a few ideas for my inspiration
Traditional Bathroom by Etobicoke Design-Build Firms Design Excellence
This is about the size I'm thinking the final shower will be.  See the shower niche in the wall?  Love it! Practically speaking, we won't be tiling the ceiling, but it is lovely.

I like these vanities, particularly the bump out with the extra storage:
Traditional Bathroom by Edina General Contractors REFINED LLC

And since we're going to be opening up the wall on my side to run additional power, might as well go all the way and add some pretty shelving:

Traditional Bathroom by Clemson Architects & Building Designers Studio 511

I'm working on the final design board now. Stay tuned!