Showing posts with label home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label home. Show all posts


Bathroom Update

Six weeks ago, I came home from a typical errand-running trip to this:

Tiles piling up on the floor, toilet in the living know, typical Sunday-type stuff. Six weeks ago we began the process of renovation our downstairs bathroom to make it fresh, fun and open. Six weeks ago, we thought we'd have a brand-new bathroom, all sparkling and beautiful. Six weeks ago, we thought we'd have that four weeks ago.

But here we are, six weeks later with little to show for it.

Things got halted by trips out of town, a death in the family and busy lives. I laid some subway tile on the walls, Eric patched up some holes near the sink plumbing and that's about as far as we got. With more busy-times ahead of us, we finally accepted the fact that maybe, possibly if we wanted this project completed by summer, we should call in a pro. You know we love doing projects on our own, but this time we had to weigh the pros and cons (which I shared in detail over on Make, Do and Mend), and in the end we called over our trust handyman Jamie (remember him? He did our first-floor renovation and his partner was also the man behind the "Dusty" Mr. Pancakes video...).

Anyway, Jamie's been working on the bathroom this week, doing a much better job than the two of us buffoons could ever hope to (real, proper, smooth-as-glass subfloor! Expert trim work! The whole nine). Today he laid the floor tile and I am absolutely, completely, 100% smitten. LOOK AT THE PRETTY:

Well, it's not so pretty yet... but you certainly get the idea. I lovelovelove the black and white, vintage-style tile. It already makes such a statement when catching a glimpse from the living room. I'm pretty wild about it. You can also catch a glimpse of the initial tile work I did weeks ago...pretty....impressive? Anyway, it'll look lovely once finished.

We also scored a pretty incredible $25 sink from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore a couple of weeks ago. We wanted a wall-mount sink to open up more space in our tiny bathroom. And though it's not my beloved Brockway, it's definitely going to look beautiful in the space. We're aiming for a bit of a throwback look, and the sink will tie everything together.

Speaking of the sink, I wanted to share the faucet we purchased to install with it. Now, at first I had my eye on this gorgeous faucet, again from Kohler. would have set us back over $500. I tried to reason with Eric, saying how we saved so much on the sink, maybe we could splurge on the faucet a bit more, but we both agreed (or, should I say, he was very persuasive in talking me into agreeing) that $500 is just too much to spend on a faucet, especially when we've got two huge additions we're making to our home this summer.

So anyway, I conceded and Eric managed to find a brushed brass faucet set for just $90. To have an entire bathroom sink and faucet set come in at around $115 is pretty remarkable, in my ever-humble opinion.

Though I would have loved to share the step-by-step process of this entire project, including all the gaffs and swears that surely would have come with it if we would have done it ourselves, I know in the end we'll be happier with a more professional result.

And trust me, with those aforementioned additions coming up? I'll have plenty more blunders to share in the future.


Little Things

While we may be in the midst of a major bathroom renovation, there hasn't been a shortage of little projects around the house. Just teeny tweaks here or a refresh there. For me, winter is the perfect time to make little changes around the house; if I'm going to be stuck inside all day, I might as well be stuck inside with pretty things around me.

So today, while you wait with bated breath over the onslaught of bathroom-reno posts to come, why not check out some of the little updates, projects and additions I've been making around the house for the past couple of months?

First of all, we got new bedding for the guest room! I'd been wanting something a little less busy than our previous bedding, and I've always loved a plain white, big, cozy comforter, so I wanted to incorporate that in the room. I brought down the quilt that previously lived in the master bedroom to add a pop of color, and grabbed some toss pillows for some interest up top. I'm still on the lookout for the perfect shams for this thing, and maybe another bright pillow, but it's on the way to looking how I'd like it to.

The guestroom also got dressed up with a new desk and rug! I wanted a sleek, simple desk to work on, and I found the one above at Target marked down about to something like $80. It's pretty and sturdy and just what I was looking for. 

In that same trip to Target, I found this black and white rug from the (impeccable) Nate Berkus line. The flip-side of this rug is more white with black arrowheads, so I think it would work as a reversible rug, if desired. But even though I'm a color lover myself, I'm totally digging the black. Still can't wait to get rid of that rickety old chair, though...just holding out to find a great one.

While we're on the subject of the new desk, I've been having a blast styling it different ways pretty much once a week. Right now it's got antique blue mason jars, my Instax camera, some colorful pens, a framed photo of the mister and me, and, of course, this gold wire basket filled with washi tape. Because why wouldn't I have a basket filled with pretty patterned tape displayed on my desk?


While on a recent pilgrimage to Anthropologie, I spotted this woven coral rug and, because it was in the clearance section for $24, I bought it. The color isn't coming through right in the photo, but it's pretty much a dead-ringer for the color on our bathroom walls. I'm hoping that once the renovation's complete in there, it will make for a perfect bath mat. If not, I'm sure I'll find another place to use it eventually. Which is exactly what I said to Eric after I brought it home with no place to live. "Rachel," he pleaded, "You can't just buy a bunch of rugs just because they're on sale..." But I'll show him. I'll show you all. I will find a space for this thing!

On that same Anthropologie trip, I picked up these pretty knobs for something like $2.49 a piece. Again, the coral matches our bathroom perfectly, so I thought it might be fun to swap out the hardware on the vanity in there with either one (or both!) or these. Little did I know a few weeks later we would have no vanity and no bathroom to put them in. However, they will be used somewhere down the line. Maybe as part of a mismatched coat-hook display, or maybe on a refurbished dresser or just as pretty decoration somewhere. Believe it or not, this is not the first time I've purchased interested knobs with no place in particular to use them...

Nothing like a few new trinkets to brighten up the middle of a dreary winter. Now, onto the big stuff!



Well, this is happening...

Happy Presidents Day, everyone! Perhaps you're not celebrating, but I've got the day off, and it looks like this outside...

...So obviously I am celebrating the fact that I don't have to be out in the world fighting the big ol' snowstorm that's laying the smackdown on Southeast Wisconsin right now. It's been a pretty great day so far, spent finishing up a DIY project that will be up on Make, Do & Mend tomorrow. I also hit the treadmill while watching the Olympic Ice Dancing finals. Y'know, I love the Olympics. I get swept up in it all, devoting my nights to watching sports I only truly care about every four years like bobsledding, ski jumping, biathlon, alpine skiing, curling and... ice dancing? For the first time in my life I've been wrapped up in the ice dancing competition, mostly thanks to USA's gold-medal hopefuls Meryl Davis and Charlie White... they're nearly flawless and just beautiful to watch out there. Anyway, this morning, I found myself genuinely filled with nerves over their free skate program, barely able to watch their performance (the final of the night) because I didn't want to see them falter. I literally watched with fingers over my eyes because I was so nervous. For ice dancing. Who am I? Just two mornings before, I'm jumping up and down, screaming over the USA/Russia hockey game, totally bro-ing out over their win, and this morning I'm glued to the TV watching ice dancing as if I had big money riding on the results (I don't). I won't spoil the outcome for you in case you're holding out to watch during prime time, but the final group of five pairs were all something special to watch.

But Olympic ice dancing, believe it or not, was not why I came here today. Today I'm here to show you what I came home to yesterday after an hour of running errands.

This. This is what I came home to. Actually, more accurately, I came home and the first thing I saw was this:

That's our bathroom sink. And that is also our kitchen. That is our bathroom sink in our kitchen. 

Oh, hi, Eric. Why have I come home to see our bathroom sink sitting in our kitchen? 

That's when he walked me into the bathroom. And that's when I saw what once was our bathroom had now become an empty, cavernous white-tile wasteland.

We had maybe, possibly, planned on starting to tile the bathroom floor yesterday. It would be a relatively simple job, as our bathroom is teeny-tiny with not much square footage to cover. So Eric said he'd start on things while I ran out to Home Depot for my (what seems like weekly) visit to the paint department and, while I was in the area, a visit to Target to pick up some face wash and photo paper (...and two shirts, new sheets, a new pillow, earrings, foam-core board and a box of fruit snacks. Because, Target.)

So I came home, threw my shopping bags on the floor and out came Eric from the bathroom, looking a little overworked. He explained that once he took the vanity and sink out of the bathroom, then looked up on the bad tiling job that we've always hated around the lower walls of the bathroom, he thought, "Hey, might as well just do the whole damn thing now that everything's already torn up and out of the bathroom." 

So naturally, what came next was taking crowbar to tile and tearing apart the bathroom.

There we were, halfway through a Sunday afternoon that we originally had no plans for, suddenly with the bathroom in shambles. My afternoon now meant spending a few hours online shopping for new vanities, tile and inspiration for our soon new-to-be bathroom. Life is hard, you guys

Oh yeah, and our toilet was just sitting there, hanging out in the living room.
Hi, toilet.

So what comes next? Well, we'll be spending the week re-tiling the bathroom walls. This time, with the same subway tile that we've got going on in the kitchen. Why mess with a classic look?

The floors will be vintage-inspired black-and-white tile, kind of like this:

In my big, fat, totally unrealistic dreams, we'd have an old-school deep wall-mount sink, like the Kolher Brockway,  below.

One small issue, though: Kohler's Brockway sink would set us back over $1,100.... and, as much as I puppy-dog-eyed it, Eric was not going to give in to paying that much for something we only use to wash our hands in. No matter how absolutely brain-bustingly beautiful it is.

If I want a sink like the Brockway, I'm going to have to roll up the sleeves and do some digging at places like Habitat for Humanity's ReStore (where I've seen sinks similar to this in the past...) or flea markets. You know I enjoy a good dig, but we kinda need a sink pretty soon, so I don't think I'll have the time to scrounge for the perfect doppelganger. 

Anyone have a spare thousand just burning in their pocket? 

A new bathroom was not on our agenda for this time of year. You see, we're planning on a totally, major, huge project this spring, and now that project may have to wait a few months now that we've got bathroom stuff to do (ehhh... that was totally not the right way to phrase that. Sorry.).

So stay tuned for plenty of stories to come about our brand-new bathroom. I'm excited to plan and shop and hopefully get the bathroom we've always wanted (well, the bathroom we've always wanted that is also about three feet by five feet), but work and dollar signs are are lying so stubbornly between now and then. So. Brace yourselves.

You never know what Sunday may bring you.


The Guest Room Shift

Sometimes, when you don't feel like repainting or don't have the budget for new furniture, the best way to give a room a refreshing makeover is to simply do a little rearranging.

We've never really used our guest room for anything other than a place to throw all the junk we don't know where to put elsewhere in the house (unless, of course, guests come over. In which case all that random junk gets thrown into a closet somewhere). It's a little small, and the way we had the furniture arranged was not really conducive to the space we had.

I've always wanted to use the room as a makeshift office space, as well. A place for me to blog or write or craft. A place that isn't the dining table. This, trust me, is something that neat-and-tidy Eric wanted badly, too. So in order to make the guest room more user-friendly, so to speak, we decided to shift everything around just a bit.

And, oh, what a change it made!

Here's what you saw when standing in the doorway of the guest room before:

And here's what you see now:
Open, airy, bright. The room feels so much bigger! And the bed isn't right smack there, cutting off the flow of the room as soon as you walk in.

Where the rug is, below, was pretty much the only open space we had in the guest room before:

And now, there's so much more walkable space.

Best of all? We didn't have to move the makeshift headboard on the left wall, nor the floating shelf on the back wall. They both look great with the bed and the desk under them, respectfully.

Now, the room isn't perfect, for certain. I'm totally over the bed linens (I'm thinking a stark-white comforter with a jazzy throw or quilt over top), and I just purchased a new desk that I am putting off attempting to assemble, so those should dress things up quite nicely. Oh yeah, and I'm definitely getting rid of that rickety red chair.... I'm also dying to construct a headboard for the bed. Even though I like the shelf and mini bunting overhead, I think that space calls for something else.

But I really love the green "map" trunk underneath the window, which looks through to the backyard. The natural sunlight streams through the window and really highlights the trunk.

And, of course, it makes for a perfect viewing perch for a certain little dude.

Mr. Pancakes is super happy with "his" new room. He's been napping on the bed pretty much continually since Saturday. 

Although he'd really appreciate it if I knocked first before coming in...

Eric and I are super happy with the new arrangement; the room just makes more sense, and I'm sure we'll use it more than we did before. In fact, I'm blogging away from within the guest room right now! I love that it's a little more secluded than the dining area, and it's so nice to look to my right and see our pretty, snow-filled backyard.

Change, sometimes, can be a spectacular thing.


True Colors - A Bathroom Makeover

Since we moved into our home two and a half years ago, we've never really been crazy about our downstairs bathroom. It's small, short on storage and, most of all, we just didn't like its pea-soup wall color.

It wasn't terrible, just not our favorite color. But we decided to live with it. Not that changing the wall color was a huge undertaking; we just never got around to it. Until a couple of weeks ago.

During my holiday downtime, I decided to task myself with repainting our bathroom. I'd pick a color that would brighten up the room and make it a bit more airy and fresh. So I headed out to Home Depot and selected a beautiful super-light robin's egg blue (Behr's Spa color, to be exact). It was a very pretty color on the paint chip, but when I saw it up on the bathroom wall, it just seemed so boring to me.

Super safe, right? I'd seen this color in bathrooms so many times before - I mean, the color's name, Spa, should have tipped me off right there. It was blah. It was bland. It definitely wasn't our style.

So over the weekend I was thinking of how to make the most of this blah color. The only remedy I could think of was repainting - but what color? I did some soul searching (read: poring over my favorite design blogs), and decided to go with something fun, bold and peppy.

Coral was the answer.

So, just over a week after I'd initially painted the bathroom, I set out to do it again. I felt a little masochistic putting myself through the tedious process of painting so soon, but I had a free Saturday and once coral was on my mind, I couldn't shake the thought. I drove back to Home Depot, spent about 15 minutes comparing various shades of coral, selected my perfect color, and got to work. After two coats of Behr's Juicy Passionfruit plus primer, I fell instantly in love with our "new" bathroom.

It's fun and unexpected and just a beautiful, bold color. And, trust me, even though it's got a hint of pink, Eric's a big fan too. I'm a thousand times happier with it than with the Spa color. It's perfect for the small space.

I also love how you catch just a pop of it when standing out in the main living area. Between our light teal kitchen and minty guest bedroom, it's a bold splash of pep. 

The only thing to decide on now is a new light fixture (I loathe the one that's there now... super granny-ish), and new shelving to the right of the mirror (and I wouldn't mind trading in that mirror, while I'm at it). I was thinking maybe white open shelving with minimalistic gold brackets, maybe? But then I'd feel like I need to swap out all the hardware in the bathroom to match with the gold. Things could get out of hand pretty quickly, here.

Whatever I decide to do, I'm just happy the bathroom is finally a shade we are both happy about. Our existing shower curtain even looks great with the new color! Such a welcome change in a little room that we've never been able to do much with.

Now, I'm just a little tempted to splash this pretty coral color elsewhere in the house. Don't be surprised if you see it pop up here and there in the future...


Go with the Flow - Our First Floor Renovation

Okay, gang, this one has been in the works for a while. Our biggest home renovation to date. One that began waaaaayyy back in early March and wasn't completely finished (honestly, it still isn't), until a week or so before the wedding.

This one's a doozy.

If you remember, back in March I first shared about the removal of the wall between our living room and the "French" room (thus doing away with the French room altogether), and also our decision to open up the walls by our stairway to the bedroom upstairs, which sits between our living room and kitchen. Here's what it looked like back then:

Our contracter, JME Services, took over from here, reworking the electrical, removing the large post from the middle of the now large living/dining area, adding drywall, covering up ductwork, and doing patchwork. They also installed the stair spindles, bannister and the two huge pieces of rough-cut wood we used for the posts at the bottom of the stairs. They certainly had their work cut out for them.

For weeks, our house was in shambles. Our furniture all pushed together and covered by sheets and plastic, a thin layer of drywall dust over everything, pieces of wood in our living room, waiting to be used.... we were getting so tired of living in the mess as the house was being renovated, but we knew it would all be worth it in the end.

By the way, I just have to share a video that our contractor's assistant made of our little ham, Mr. Pancakes. P-Cakes and Lieu Lieu enjoyed the visits from their new friends who would work on the house while we were at work. And Mr. Pancakes especially loved getting into mischief while they were there.... namely, rolling around in all the drywall dust. Check out this hilarious video one of the workers made of Mr. Pancakes. It makes me laugh so hard.

Anyway, I'll just get right into it and share the before and after photos with you. The transformation is seriously incredible. Any photo captioned with "Way Before" is from the day we moved in. Any photo captioned with "Before" has been taken within the last year. Enjoy!

And here are your afters (sorry for the pic overload)!

From the living room

You can see the whole first floor (essentially) from the former "French" room!

From the front door

Seeing from the kitchen into the front area is my favorite part about this renovation!

From the former French room

From the far side of the living room

Again, from the kitchen

Night and day, AMIRITE?

We are so in love with the new, flowing floorplan. Our house seems twice as big with the two walls removed! We can actually have multiple people over without being cramped and confined to tiny spaces. We absolutely love the reno, as do Mr. Pancakes (who refused to move from "his spot" throughout the photo shoot... go figure) and Lieu Lieu. Lieu Lieu, especially, loves the stairs. She likes to sit a few steps up and look down on what's happening below. It's her one moment to be taller than everything else in the house.

Because we cut into so much of the kitchen wall, we have to completely reconfigure what we are going to do with that empty space.
Right now we've got a floor cabinet that we plan to mount this weekend, and above that we plan to hang three open shelves. We're finally getting some open shelving! I'm really excited about what we'll do with it.

We still have some touching up to do - like staining the wooden air return that we had to insert into the floor in the middle of the living/dining area, and refinishing the stairs themselves (the used to be covered with carpet, but Eric pulled it up during the renovation. The stairs are in good shape, but at a little paint splattered and need some refinishing and restoration before we're satisfied with them).

We've been living with the finished open floor plan for over a month now, and I still can't believe how in love with it I am. It's hard to think back to the time when we had a huge wall between our living and dining area - and I can't believe how we got along not being able to see the living room from the kitchen! Our home is brighter, seems bigger, and just feels a lot more homey and "us." 

We hope you like it too! Let us know in the comments below!



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