Guest Bathroom Reveal!

After starting this project the last week of October, our guest bathroom is finally finished! If you missed my previous posts for this project, you can check out our renovation progress and finishing touches.

When we first moved in, this windowless bathroom was dark (so much brown!), outdated, and didn’t function ideally. The shower was tiny and difficult for an adult to maneuver in, and the vanity left just enough space on either side for little things to fall down and get stuck. We didn’t really have many options for alternative layouts, but we decided to gut the space and start fresh. And fresh it is! In the words of Buddy the Elf, “I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!”

20191028_125741-120200211_152743-1

Ahhhh! I have all the heart eyes for this transformation. ❤

One of the biggest differences with the bathroom is the shower. I knew a tile shower would at least provide for a little more space inside than the previous fiberglass one and I fell in love with the handcrafted look of these subway tiles. Once our contractor ripped out the old shower, we realized that there was a ton of unused space behind the wall thanks to the built in cabinet in the bedroom, so we changed our initial plans to expand the shower and add a bench. While this pretty much destroyed our timeline and initial budget, it was so worth it! (I have no idea how I don’t have a better ‘before’ picture of the shower – all I have is a screen grab from my Instagram stories. Oops.)

screenshot_20200214-062120_instagram-120191030_202714-120200214_07063020200214_070536

The shower is not only gorgeous but so much more functional. I wanted matte black fixtures and particularly wanted a shower head with a hose because this shower is the one that people will come in and use to hose off from playing outside or swimming in our pond. The hose makes it much easier to quick rinse off without fully showering, particularly for children. The shower niche provides storage for toiletries, the bench is so useful, there is much more room overall, the varying tile and stone meshes perfectly, the glass door (I agonized over choices!) is gorgeous, I could go on and on. I love, love, love the new shower!

Another big change was with our vanity. I discussed the saga in this post, but basically, it took us a long time to figure out what type of vanity to do (plumbing limited my initial ideas) and then mid-renovation we started the process of getting a vanity top made. Unfortunately, we trusted the wrong company and they basically ghosted us and delayed the entire process. We started over with a new company and were able to find the perfect quartz remnant to use. I’m thrilled with the final product!

20191028_12580620200211_153008

We decided to save some money and keep the original vanity, but we updated it with a fresh coast of paint and new hardware. I love the mixed metal look so I used both matte black and brushed nickel finishes. We added a new board on the bottom front so we could elevate the vanity about 2 inches (it was lower than standard vanities today) and added a small piece of trim to each side to make it flush with the wall. With a new counter top and faucet, it looks like a completely different vanity!

20200211_153336

The little elevated bronze tray was a $2 gem I found in a thrift store and snapped up right away. I wasn’t sure what I would use it for at the time but I knew I would find a home for it. I love it in this space – it perfectly corrals the soap dispenser, a candle, and small (fake) succulent and I think the colors warm up what is otherwise a fairly cool-toned bathroom.

Because this is a basement bathroom, there is concrete foundation creating a half wall. I decided to use this to our advantage and make it into an intentional feature with board and batten trim and I LOVE how it turned out. It makes a statement right away when you first enter the bathroom!

20200211_152720

Justin cut a thick slab of white oak to fit the top of the wall and it makes the perfect shelf to display some decor and provide space for our guests to keep toiletries. We decided to leave it unstained – I love how the lighter color provides warmth to the space! – and just cover it with a few coats of water-based, polyurethane in a matte finish.

20200214_064518

The artwork is a custom piece by JBeck Studio and perfectly ties the bathroom and adjacent bedroom (reveal next week!) together. I had to go with fake plants since there is no window but I love the little touch of greenery.

Finishing touches like new baseboards and trim, a freshly painted door and new door handle, a wall heater (can you believe there was no heat source previously? Brr!), and updated lights and a mirror finished out the space. We’ve already had overnight guests and they gave the bathroom 5 stars . . . and I’m pretty sure they would’ve done that even if they weren’t my parents. 😉

Even though it’s the guest bathroom, it’s also the only bathroom on the basement level so it gets used frequently. I’m so happy we chose to do this as our first major renovation project!

20200211_15410520200211_15304820200211_15275620200214_07402120200214_06150620200211_15373120200206_15380620200214_080747And one final before and after because I just cannot get over the transformation. We may have gone over budget and timeline (we originally hoped to be done before Christmas) but we’re so happy with the finished space.

20191028_125815-120200214_080715

Sources

Wall Color: Benjamin Moore Smoky Mountain (color matched with Sherwin Williams)

Trim Color: Sherwin Williams Alabaster

Floor Mosaic Tile

Shower Floor & Niche Tile

Shower Wall Tile

Shower Head

Shower Handle

Shower Door

Bath Mat

Vanity Color: Sherwin Williams Repose Gray

Vanity Door Handles

Vanity Drawer Knobs

Vanity Counter Top: Viareggio Quartz Remnant

Undermount Sink

Vanity Faucet

Mirror

Hand Towel Rod

Toilet Paper Holder

Towel Hook

Behind Door Towel Hook

Shower Fan

Light Fixture

Wall Heater

Fake Plant

White Planter

Artwork: Custom from JBeck Studio

Linen Closet Reveal

The guest suite renovation is so close to being finished! We have an installation date for our vanity top and a few other odds and ends to put in place but it should all be wrapped up by the end of next week – I can’t believe the countdown is in single digits!

While the entire project isn’t quite done, I couldn’t resist revealing one aspect that is finished: the transformation of our built-in linen closet!

20200130_153306

I never thought I would be so excited about a place to store blankets, but here we are.

Let’s take a quick walk down memory lane and look where this all started.

20191028_125841

This was originally meant to be a TV cabinet; however, the house is 20 years old now and this built-in was made with big and boxy TVs in mind. Remember these?

Image result for sony tv from 2000
Source

What a flashback! Truthfully, even if we could have fit a modern TV, I doubt we would have. Since the room is our guest room, I wanted to make the built-in more functional and aesthetically pleasing. A closed linen closet was the perfect solution!

Since there is also a closet door on this wall and not much space for artwork, making the cabinet a focal point by painting it a different color was a no-brainer. After testing out multiple colors, I settled on Sherwin Williams Oyster Bay. I also knew I wanted to incorporate black accents into the guest room since I’m using a lot of matte black fixtures in the adjoining bathroom. I found these bin pulls and offset handles during Rejuvenation’s sale and fell in love.

20191219_152243

We had to replace several of the drawer slides and LJ enjoyed throwing toys in the openings before all the drawers were put back in. 😉

I knew we’d be storing extra blankets, pillows, towels, etc in the top cabinet and the large opening wasn’t very practical for storing all that so Justin made a simple shelf to match the one already in there.

20200112_213547

Our contractor built two doors to cover up the opening and installed them when they were primed but not painted. (Hi Vi!)

20200111_142354

We hit a slight hiccup here. When I first tested out colors for the built-in, I got those little sample sizes you see in the above picture. Unfortunately, what I had bought covered everything except the doors, so I had to go back and get another little jar to finish the doors and it wasn’t the same shade! I went to the same place and asked for the exact same color and product, but the shade was ever so slightly off. It probably wouldn’t have been super noticeable to a casual observer, but I could tell the doors were different than the rest of it and it was going to bother me to no end. I ended up going back to the store and getting the shade a THIRD time, hoping that the third one would match the first and I’d only have to repaint the doors, but the third shade matched the second. I ended up having to repaint the entire front of the built-in and the drawer fronts. Super annoying, but I was happier knowing everything matched perfectly.

Lastly, Justin drilled holes and attached the door handles and the cabinet was finished!

20200130_20333020200130_20355420200130_15480620200130_154949

The closet is stocked with extra pillows, blankets, towels, washcloths, and a variety of toiletry items that our guests may need. I keep things like travel-sized shampoo & conditioner, lotion, bar soap, toothpaste, dry shampoo, contact solution, q-tips, extra toothbrushes, extra razors, feminine products, cotton balls, extra toothbrushes . . . anything I can think of that a guest may have forgotten that they can use without having to ask. The drawers are empty and available for guests to use if they want.

I’m so happy with how this piece turned out – I can hardly believe it is the same TV cabinet from just a couple months ago! It’s so gratifying to see a vision come to life and this one turned out just like I had hoped.

20200130_153726

Now on to the next project!

First Home Project in 2020!

Our first home improvement project of 2020 is underway! (Even though we’re still working on it, I’m not talking about our guest suite since that actually started in 2019).

Our first project of 2020 is . . .

20200101_150119

this wall at the top of our garage stairs. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, huh?

I’ve always wanted to have a designated place in our home to measure the heights of our growing family. I love the idea of watching our children grow over time and documenting it in a permanent place that we’ll frequently see. Once we moved in May and decided this is the house we want to raise our family in, it was high on my list of things to do. The only problem was figuring out where to do it.

I’ve frequently seen it done in homes on a door frame or on the back of a door. This wouldn’t really work for us because we plan to eventually paint the doors and replace all the trim; I don’t want our marks to get removed or painted over! We had the same problem with interior walls – our laundry room wall would have been an ideal place, but we eventually plan to gut that space and change around the layout, and this would include painting. Plus, paint trends change over time and I would be nervous to commit to a wall color knowing I could never change it in the next 40+ years or it would cover the marks. Justin suggested marking our heights in an interior space like a closet or the pantry, but it just doesn’t have the same effect when it’s hidden and hardly ever seen.

This wall in our garage provided the perfect solution. Our home has a unique layout where the garage is actually on the level of our basement, so you need to walk up stairs to get to the main floor. The landing space right outside the entrance into the main floor was the perfect place for documenting our heights: it’s a discreet space (not in the middle of our living room) that we see every day, and since it’s more of a utilitarian space not subject to trends, I don’t have to worry about changing styles or decor. Hooray!

Now, I don’t love the color that was already on the walls, but we weren’t really up for painting the entire garage at this time. So we decided to just patch and paint the landing area for now. Since the garage is a bit of a workhorse space, there was a lot of patching to do! (Also, if you’re curious, that little extra stairway to the little door is our attic storage space).

20200114_082849

The wall is now dry so we need to sand down all those patches, wash the walls, prime, and paint. It’s a simple project, but I’m so excited about it!

 

Guest Suite: The final touches!

The guest room is getting so close to being finished!

20200108_064956-1

Truthfully, I had expected that we would be totally done with the project by now. We started the project in the last week of October and the estimated project length was roughly 4-5 weeks.

When the old shower was ripped out during the demolition stage, we realized there was plenty of unusable space behind the wall and decided to expand the shower and add a bench. This addition made our project timeline more like 6 weeks. So we hoped to be finished right around mid-December.

By December 20, almost everything was completed. But then the remaining projects unfortunately stalled. Right now we have three remaining projects that need to be finished:

1 – Add a shelf board to the top of the half walls in each room.

20200106_101230

Since these are basement rooms, we have a half wall of concrete foundation that juts into them. I’ve made this into a kind of accent piece by adding board and batten to the front of each wall, but we still need to finish it off with a stained board on top. It’ll create a nice shelf for guests to use when finished! We planned to use the same boards that were originally there to save some money, but we realized that the board and batten made the wall wider than the original shelf. Justin just picked up new boards this week, so our weekend goal is to get them cut, sanded, stained, and ready to install!

2 – Close off the former TV nook built-in with doors to make it a linen closet.

20200110_093429

The previous homeowners had a TV in their built-in cabinet, but since the space is boxy and doesn’t fit modern TV screen sizes well, we are closing it off with new doors and turning it into storage for extra blankets, pillows, towels, etc. for guest use. Our contractor is finishing up our doors this week (the only reason this got delayed was because of the holidays) and will be installing them Saturday!

3 – Order and Install a new vanity counter top

20200106_101216

This vanity has been a source of frustration for a while. We originally hoped to replace the entire thing. I really wanted a floating vanity, but in order to do that we would’ve had to totally rework the plumbing and dig out a bunch of concrete. It would’ve added a lot of cost to the project and we decided we would rather put the money towards making the shower bigger and more functional than just getting a different style vanity with essentially the same function. Now that the shower is finished, I think that decision was definitely the right one! Here’s a sneak peek:

20200106_101314

Unfortunately, the nook for the vanity space is a little awkward. It’s 39″ wide in the front and 38 1/2″ wide in the back. Standard vanities either leave too much of a gap on the sides for things to fall down or are too big for the space. A fully custom vanity wasn’t in the budget, so we decided to add a piece of wood on the sides of the old vanity to make it flush with the wall, paint it and add new hardware, and order a custom counter top. I contacted a company with great reviews to help us out. They came out and did measurements and were going to get back to me within 2 weeks. After hearing nothing for 3 weeks, I reached out and the woman explained that she had a death in the family and wasn’t expecting to have so much time out of the office around Thanksgiving but should have the estimates soon. Totally understandable. So I waited. And waited. And reached out 2 weeks later . . . and have heard nothing since. It’s been seven weeks since they came out to measure but they’ve essentially ghosted me. I’ve had to start over at square one which is extremely frustrating. I just went to another company’s showroom yesterday, and have another one to reach out to today. Hopefully we’ll be able to make some decisions and get a pretty quick turnaround because that’s really the last thing needed to make the bathroom fully functional!

20200109_103412

Other than that, I’m just figuring out final details like hanging artwork and installing towel hooks. Our window treatments get installed next Wednesday and we have guests coming Thursday (they’ll have to use the sink in the basement kitchen outside the guest room since that won’t be finished yet). I cannot wait to share the finished space soon!

Simplified Holiday Decorating

This year, I am really trying to keep the holidays simple. And one of the biggest ways I’m doing this is by simplifying my holiday decorating.

I’ve accumulated many decorations over the years, and I usually have something Christmas-y on every surface. This year, I scaled way back for a couple reasons. We just moved into our new house in May, and we are slowly slowly making it our own. This means we don’t have a ton of furniture and I don’t have many shelves or surfaces to decorate, particularly that are out of my toddler’s reach (he can pull candle lights off the windowsills and end tables are definitely out!) Plus, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas feels really short this year and we have our hands full with a toddler and newborn so we wanted to just spend a few hours decorating and then call it good.

I didn’t want to clutter up the space I do have, so instead of getting everything out, I chose a few of my favorite decorations to use and kept the rest in storage. I actually love that now there are just a few areas where Christmas decor is concentrated throughout the main areas! Today I thought I’d just give you a little peek into our home.

This kitchen counter feels so festive and makes me happy every time I walk by!

20191205_08052620191205_080548

I love seeing this sweet little nativity scene in the playroom and LJ loves to play with it. It’s a great way to start introducing him to the story of Jesus’ birth.

20191205_091556

We don’t have a fireplace, but our staircase is a focal point in our entry and living room, so this doubled as a place to hang garland AND all our stockings. Even Scout and Macie get one. 🙂

20191205_090141

I wasn’t sure how it was going to go to put up a Christmas tree with LJ, but honestly, after the first day, he’s mostly left it alone. He likes to look at the ornaments but he’s only pulled one off the tree. I have shatterproof ornaments I got several years ago at Target (mine aren’t sold anymore but these are somewhat similar and I actually like their look even better!) for the low branches and we also put the sturdiest ornaments at the bottom. So far, it’s worked well and we’ve had no broken ones!

20191205_091354

Outside, Justin hung one row of icicle lights on our porch, I hung a wreath and set up two little trees (my one Black Friday splurge!) on either side of the door. We also have smaller touches throughout the first floor like a festive runner on our table, a few festive pillows on the couch, some holiday towels in the kitchen and half bath, as well as a few candles. We didn’t put any decorations in the basement or any of the upstairs rooms. It’s not much (or at least, not nearly as much as it usually is), but it feels like the perfect amount this year!

My favorite part of Christmas decorations? The way it makes our house feel SO cozy at night.

Did you go all out for decorating or scale back this year?

Guest Suite Renovation Progress

When Justin and I moved into our house, we fell in love with the layout and all the space, but we knew that the house needed some TLC to make it our own. We’re so excited to tackle it room by room and I’ve decided to document it here on the blog – I hope you enjoy the updates as much as we do! Our current project is: our guest suite.

Our house has four bedrooms. Three of them are on the top floor and the fourth is in the finished basement with an en suite, making it a natural choice for a guest room. Guests have some privacy and sleep undisturbed should our children decide to cry in the middle of the night. We love hosting and have overnight guests at least once a month so it is a priority for us to have a cozy and comfortable space for anyone staying with us.

While we loved the location and general layout of the guest room, there were some issues with it that caused it to be #2 on our list of rooms to update (our playroom being #1 – see that reveal here). First, the bedroom is actually *not* technically a bedroom because there is no window. This makes it PITCH black at night (there is also no window in the bathroom). In addition, the shower was problematic (small and difficult to control temperature), there was no heat source (no vents anywhere in either room!), there were strange and inconvenient outlet placements, there was a weird little built-in with an awkward TV opening, and cosmetically . . . let’s just say even when I did some minor decorating it didn’t exactly fit my style.

20191028_12564220191028_12570920191028_12584120191028_12573820191028_125815

Our renovation list includes:

-Install a window to make it a legal bedroom and introduce natural light

-Remove wallpaper, patch walls, and paint

-Move several outlets to more convenient locations

-Put door on the built-in TV opening (will be used for linen storage)

-Remove shower and replace with tile, new fixtures, and niche

-Replace bathroom flooring

-Replace vanity

-Replace bathroom lighting

-Add some sort of heat source to each room

Whew! Quite the laundry list of tasks, huh? We’ve done a lot of DIY projects in our previous homes but a big renovation like this is far beyond our capabilities so we hired a contractor. I’d say we’re about halfway done with the renovation so I thought it’d be a good time to show you some of the progress!

So far in the bedroom, the trim and doors have been removed, the doors have been primed, the wallpaper has been removed (HALLELUJAH!), and the walls have been patched. It has been SO cold in Indiana so we’ve held off on the window, but next week the weather is supposed to warm up a bit so it’s going in soon!

20191114_085655

In the bathroom we’ve made a LOT of progress and it’s going to be even better than I dreamed! When we ripped out the old shower, we discovered that there was some unused space behind the shower wall due to the bedroom built-ins. Jackpot!

20191030_202714

We immediately decided to change our plans and expand the shower into that unused space. This means more room for our guests to stand and we’re also able to install a bench along the back wall (our previous plans involved just a triangular shelf in the corner). This does significantly impact the cost, but I think it will be SO worth it. Every time I look at it now I’m just giddy and there’s not even tile yet!

20191114_085735

Whoop whoop!! Look at all that space!

20191114_085715

The old tile is all ripped up and I’m so excited to see the new tile go in. We’re still waiting on the tile for the shower floor to come in but in the meantime I’m getting all the heart eyes looking at what we have so far.

20191114_085809

The one area that isn’t going to work out like I’d hoped is our vanity. I had hoped to replace the old one with a floating vanity. I dreamt of this Ikea vanity with Semihandmade drawer fronts, but our space is about 3/4 inches too small. We considered having a custom one made but then discovered that due to the way plumbing had been originally installed, we’d have to dig the old plumbing out of the concrete, move it, and create a faux wall at the base of the floating vanity. It could have been done, but at a much higher cost than planned. We had to make a decision on what to spend the extra money on: a larger shower or a floating vanity. The vanity would add style but the shower would add so much extra space, function, and value to the house. It was a no-brainer. So the plan now is to keep the old vanity cabinet but update it with paint, new handles, and a new vanity top. It may not be *quite* what I originally envisioned but I’m still super excited!

20191114_085723

This is the first time Justin and I have done full room renovation, so we’re learning a lot. Mostly, these things take more time and money than expected ha! Overall, we’re really happy with the overall process and are very eager to see the finished product in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

Phase One Master Bathroom Reveal

Today I’m finally revealing our master bathroom “Phase One” update!

I wrote about the start of our plans and progress in this blog post but in case you missed it, the goal wasn’t to make this space the bathroom of our dreams. Eventually, we plan to gut the bathroom and change the layout but we are waiting to tackle that until all Justin’s student loans are paid off and we save up to do exactly what we’d like. We’re probably at least 5 years out being able to do a full renovation, so in the meantime, we wanted to do some very budget-friendly updates to freshen up the space and make us fall in love with what we already had.

A reminder on where we started:

Phase 1 Bath 2

The first thing to go was the carpet and I was more than ready to say goodbye. We ripped up the carpet, carpet pad, tack strip, and alllll the staples (tedious, but rewarding!). After painting the floor with a primer, we set down these peel and stick vinyl tiles. Honestly, I was intimidated by the thought of these but they were SO easy to work with! They are super sticky but once they were down on the floor, you could slide them around a bit if needed and even peel them back up if you needed to rearrange.

20191019_120200

LJ learned firsthand just how sticky the bottom of the tiles are – haha!

Master Bath 7

There are a lot of different angles in the room but the tiles could be cut with a regular scissors which was great! We were able to cut down on a lot of waste by using the same tile to cut multiple smaller pieces to fill in when we just needed a little bit to reach the wall. To cut unique pieces, I first took a piece of cardboard that I had cut to be the same size as the original tile, then I cut the cardboard to the needed size through trial and error and used it to trace the correct shape on the back of the tile. Then all I needed to do was cut the tile, peel the sticker back (where I had trace lines) and place it down!

Originally we thought we’d have to put down quarter round but the tiles slid right underneath the existing trim and we were happy enough with how it looked that we just decided it was good enough for phase one!

20191106_145328

The one thing that was frustrating with the tiles is that the edge patterns didn’t always match up. I often had to rotate it around several times or try different tile combinations to find the best fit. There are a lot of tiles that don’t exactly match up pattern-wise, but the overall pattern is busy enough that I don’t notice it unless I’m looking for it.

I was glad to see the brown go, but I’m still not totally satisfied with the color of the walls. I was shooting for a light gray and even tested out a few different colors. I chose Sherwin Williams Gray Strand and it looked gray in the can, looked gray in the paint tray, looked gray when tested on the wall (surrounded by white primer), but now that it’s fully covering the wall, it often tends to look blue. Argh! I think there are multiple factors here: the brown trim brings out warm tones and there is a lot of natural light that does the same thing. At night or on a cloudy day when there is less natural light, the walls do look grayer, and that’s what I was shooting for.

20191107_083010

I considered re-painting a different color but honestly, for a phase one, I think I’m just going to deal with it. Plus we already painted a LOT – one coat of primer and two coats of paint on the wall, then two coats of paint on the ceiling. We hadn’t originally planned on painting the ceiling, but the ceiling color was a creamy, almost yellow looking offwhite and I wanted a true white to help bring out the cool tones of paint on the wall. I do think it helped make a difference, plus it just looks nice and crisp now.

When we eventually redo the bathroom we will replace the vanities, but in the meantime I wanted to give them a fresh face lift. I had some paint leftover from our previous house (Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze) and I love how it totally changed the look of the vanities for no additional cost. I picked up some new drawer pulls at Lowe’s to complete the facelift. We also ended up re-doing the caulk around the vanity top and sink since the old caulk was peeling and discolored.

Master Bath 1

We hadn’t planned on replacing the faucets, but while painting, the faucet on Justin’s head was knocked into and broke – you could no longer shut off by lifting the handle up and down but had to slide it to the right and we had to shut off the cold water valve because it never stopped flowing. Honestly, the old faucets were both not super functional and you had to push down the handle in a particular way to keep it from continuing to drip, so even though it put us over budget we decided to take this opportunity to swap them out for some new ones. I love the clean and simple look of these matte black ones and love the way it gives the vanity a cool mixed metals look with the brushed nickel drawer pulls.

Painted walls, refreshed vanities, new floors, some simple decor from things we already had (amazing what you can put together when you “shop” your own house) . . . I smile every time I walk into the bathroom now! It may still not be the bathroom of my dreams, but this little phase one update made me SO much happier with the space in the meantime. I’m loving the transformation!

Phase 1 Bath 220191106_143536

Phase 1 Bath 3Master Bath 2

Master Bath 420191106_143517

I love it so much!

Master Bath 3

Rough budget breakdown (we bought paint supplies like brushes trays, etc for multiple rooms of the house so I didn’t include them in this list):

New Vanity Handles: $19.07

Faucets: $189.57 ($89 each)

Toilet Wax Ring: $6.90

Paint: $30.87

Misc (chalk line, plumbing lines): $54.18

Vinyl: $332.21

Total: $632.80

We had hoped to spend $500 or less but once we decided to change out the faucets we knew we’d be going over. Justin and I are both still happy with the transformation and would definitely do it all over again. It was definitely worth spending a little now to love the space we’re in for the next 5 or more years. Honestly, even if we were never able to do more than this update, we would be content with the changes. It just goes to show you that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to love a space!

 

Phase One Master Bathroom Progress

A little while ago, I shared in my Instagram stories that we are doing a “Phase One” master bathroom update. It’s consumed most of my free time over the past week so today I thought I’d share our progress so far.

First of all, what do I mean by “phase one?” I was inspired by Chris Loves Julia and their Phase One kitchen update. After moving into their house, they weren’t ready for a full kitchen renovation but they did not like the look, feel, and function of their kitchen. So they set up to update it for under $1000 and make it work for the short term.  It’s still not their ideal kitchen, but the goal was to “fall in love with what they already had” with a few simple updates. I thought this was such a good idea, and it made me think of our bathroom.

When we first moved into our house, I knew I wanted to do major work in the master bathroom. Ideally, I’d like to completely gut it and re-work the layout (particularly the shower area, which is off to the right of the large vanity). We have a plan to do that someday, but we need to pay down Justin’s student loans first. It will likely be at least 5+ years until we can make it the bathroom of our dreams, so we decided in the meantime to just do a “phase one” refresh. My goal was to spend under $500 and do some simple updates to fall in love and be content with the layout as is, but make it feel fresh and clean.

Here’s what the bathroom looked like to begin with:

Phase 1 Bath 2Phase 1 Bath 3

The room is definitely dated, but the dark walls and carpet were my two biggest complaints. I am not a fan of carpet in the bathroom and this one had stains (mostly rust stains from the previous owners’ antique vanity) and other signs of wear and tear. That combined with dark colors just made it feel dingy.

The first thing we did was rip up the carpet. My dad came over last week and we spent an afternoon pulling it up and removing all the staples from the subfloor.

Phase 1 Bath 4

The nice thing about no flooring was it made painting easier – no worries about drips! I primed and trimmed out the walls quickly. You’ll notice I even painted a little love note in the space behind where my mirror will go on the wall. ❤

Phase 1 Bath 5

We’re going to lay down an inexpensive peel-and-stick vinyl and the directions called for the wood floor to be primed first. We used a shop vac to remove all debris and then primed the floors.

Phase 1 Bath 6

I finished painting the walls and then was inspired to also paint the vanities. I had plenty of paint in Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze leftover from our previous house so this didn’t cost anything extra. Score!

Phase 1 Bath 1

Now my plan from here was just to paint the ceilings a fresh white, lay down the flooring, touch up some caulk, and be finished BUT . . . I can’t decide if I like the wall color! I chose Sherwin Williams Gray Screen and tested it in multiple places around the room before painting. It always looked gray when I tested, but now that it’s fully on the walls, it looks blue! I think the issue is the wood trim. When I tested the paint, it was surrounded by white primer and looked gray, but now that it’s outlined by wood, it brings out the brown undertones and looks blue. Depending on the amount of natural light, it does vary a little (you can see in the above picture that the walls around the tub even look different than other walls) but it never really looks like the gray I envisioned. So I can either repaint the walls a different color, paint the trim white to help it look gray, or leave it as is and deal with the blue. Sigh. None of those options are particularly appealing so I need to spend some time thinking about this.

I’ll be sure to report back once the room is totally finished in a week or two – I’m so excited to have an updated bathroom soon!

New and Improved Playroom

As many of you know, we moved to a new house in May. The house originally had two eating areas: a large but casual space off the kitchen and a formal dining room. I knew from the get-go that I wanted to convert the formal dining room into a playroom. It’s a great size and there is a large cased opening into the living room so it’s easy to keep an eye on what’s going on in there. It was the first room we decided to put some time and energy into updating since it gets used every single day and all the changes we wanted to make were cosmetic and pretty straightforward and budget-friendly. Today I’m going to share a bit about what we did to update the space for use in our daily lives.

Here’s what the space looked like when we first moved in:

Playroom 14Playroom 13

It didn’t exactly scream “fun room for kids to hang out” huh? I was itching to brighten the room up with paint, but it unfortunately wasn’t as easy as grabbing a brush. The previous homeowners had painted the walls with a textured paint (we think they may have mixed sand in with the paint to create a texture because it was very uneven on the walls). This made the walls look dingy even after they had been cleaned. Before we could paint, we needed to remove the texture. There were a few ways to go about this but we ended up just taking an oscillating sander and buffing the wall smooth.

Playroom 12
Justin testing out whether the sander would work for this project.

This process was very time-consuming and created a lot of dust. We had a bag attached to the sander to catch dust, windows open and box fans going to encourage the dust to go outside, and we blocked off the room as best we could but dust still ended up traveling into adjacent rooms. The process of sanding took a few days because we did it in short spurts to avoid inhaling lots of dust (we did wear masks to help) and to give our arms a break, as this was a workout for them! We also had to spend quite a bit of time on each section to get things as smooth as we wanted. It felt like forever but when we finally finished the walls looked so much better!

We washed down the walls to remove lingering dust, patched little dings and holes and then it was time to paint! Because the previous paint was so dark we first went over the walls with a layer of primer and then two coats of Benjamin Moore paint in Greyhound. We only painted three walls because my plan for the remaining wall was to use a fun accent wallpaper. We did put a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling because it also looked a little dingy, and this made the room feel much brighter.

For the wallpaper, I wanted something fun, a little whimsical, yet not too crazy bold. I bought three rolls of Magnolia Home wallpaper in Pick-Up Sticks in blue. It was the perfect choice, although hanging was a bit of a challenge. The wallpaper is prepasted and (theoretically) easy enough to hang – you just spray it with water, let the water absorb for a few minutes, and then press it to the wall. It doesn’t dry immediately so you have a chance to slide it around a bit and make sure it’s lined up the way you want. The problem for us was, even after all that sanding, our wall still wasn’t perfectly smooth. This created some wrinkling and made things stressful and incredibly frustrating for Justin and I. There were also a few places where we couldn’t get the seams to line up perfectly because it would have made the pattern crooked and created really noticeable wrinkling so we had small gaps. Our solution to this was to fill in the seam gaps with a white paint marker after the wall was dry, which did help to mask the gap. It’s not a flawless wall, but thankfully the pattern is subtle enough that it’s hardly noticeable at all, especially now with furniture and art on it.

The final thing we did was remove the old light fixture. We had replaced the flush mount that was in our master bedroom with a ceiling fan, so I just updated the flush mount with some black spray paint and we moved it down to the playroom. I would have loved a new light but we were trying to keep the room budget-friendly so for now this was a good solution.

The room was finally finished and it was time to move in furniture! Justin made a bookcase for toy storage loosely following these plans from Bless’er House. We bought inexpensive ready-to-assemble bookcases from a local company which he screwed together and used thin lattice board on the side fronts to create the look of a custom piece. I painted the shelves in Sherwin Williams Oceanus (the previous owners fixed up cars and they had a perfect paint room already set up in the garage) and Justin topped the whole thing off with a long plank of stained oak. He finished by nailing thin strips around the plank to give it the look of a chunky butcher block-style top which I LOVE.

I adore how the piece turned out, but there were many snags along the way. The shelves didn’t hold paint well and required many coats (and will need subsequent touch-ups). One shelf was slightly bigger than the other three (even though they were the same style from the same company) which created measurement nightmares. The top plank was initially cut a few centimeters too short so it required Justin to cut notches in the trim pieces he used on the side to make it look flush. There were just a lot of little logistical things and the project had more headaches than we anticipated. We’d probably never do it again, but I’m glad we did it this once because it works perfectly in the space!

We got a super inexpensive futon from Aldi (anyone else love Aldi??) and finished off the room with a few plants, a colorful gallery wall using frames and mirrors I already had, and an oversized alphabet print from a local company. And with that, the room is done!

Finished playroom 8Finished playroom 3Finished playroom 6Finished playroom 5Finished playroom 4Finished playroom 7Finished playroom 2

I’m absolutely thrilled with it!

I love that the room has gone from dingy to bright and airy. LJ plays in it everyday and I can testify that while it’s cute (in my opinion ha!) and decorated, it’s also very kid-friendly and functional in our daily lives. It was the perfect first room to tackle in making this house into our home and I’m so happy with how it turned out!

Playroom 14Finished playroom 1

I can’t wait to continue to transform rooms throughout the house!