Archive for June, 2013

Bathroom Smorgasbord

Posted on June 25, 2013. Filed under: Home, Master Bath Remodel |

I admit that I’m slightly compulsive. I’d like to think that I like to keep busy rather than I’m a compulsive freak. I find a project to focus on and pour all of my energy into that whether it’s planning a trip, training a puppy, whipping up some curtains, launching an exercise plan, or plotting our next home renovation project.

As you know, we’ve been plotting and planning and crunching numbers and tile shopping. I’ve been pinning like crazy, spending a lot of my leisure time on Pinterest or Houzz or Google images trying to get visuals for what exactly we want.

I’m driving the design train here but I run everything by Adam. He has veto power. After a few weeks of research and window shopping, I think we have a good idea of design aesthetic for both bathrooms. Yes, we’re redoing both of them, but not at once. We’d prefer to shower in our own home and not at the YMCA down the street. In my dreams, I’d like to finish both bathroom remodels by the first week of December. It’s an unrealistic goal, but it sure would be nice. We’ll see how it goes.

So without further ado here is the mood board for the first victim, the master bathroom…



  1. Carrara Marble shower surround and frameless doors
  2. Cultured marble shower pan
  3. Biltmore Niles Polished Marble Basket weave floor tile (Tile Shop)
  4. Valspar Halcyon Blue paint or similar
  5. Home Decorators Collection Hampton Bay 28” W vanity (The Home Depot) or similar
  6. Sonoma Recessed Medicine Cabinet  or similar (Pottery Barn)
  7. ByGone Classic 3-Light Bath Light (Shades of Light)
  8. Moen Weymouth Fixtures in Brushed Nickel
  9. Moen Weymouth Fixtures in Brushed Nickel
  10. Concealed Door Storage (Grandin Road)

Our plan in here is to do basket weave floors (they make me salivate), pale gray walls, Carrara marble subway tile up the wall behind the sink, retro-inspired fixtures, gray or white vanity, white quartz countertop, frameless shower doors, large Carrara rectangles for the shower walls, recessed shelving over the toilet, new vanity light, and new towel racks and hooks. Of course, we’re not married to the items above but they give us a good idea of the aesthetic we’re shooting for.

What do you think? I’ve talked myself off the ledge so many times about using marble in a bathroom, but I cannot walk away from it. I want a gray, blue/seafoam color scheme in here and faux marble tiles don’t cut it for me. Everyone I’ve talked to say the new sealers are way better than they used to be, so I’m going to trust.

Anybody have experience with marble in a bathroom?

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Mod Podgin’ It

Posted on June 20, 2013. Filed under: Hobbies, Home, Purdy Things |

Sometimes good intentions don’t guarantee good results.

Case in point:


My scrapbook paper wall tiles

If I’m going to be honest, they never really lived up to my expectations and then they got worse. The sheets came off and I’ve had to glue them back on so many times.



Not to mention that people sitting over there are afraid twelve pieces of pine are going to wop them on the head. We could get sued.

So I decided to embark on another craft project that involves scrapbook paper and glue. I know. I never learn.

I wanted to work on a mosaic with a Moroccan trellis pattern using different pieces of scrapbook paper.


Here’s how it goes:

1. Purchase big giant canvas (hopefully with a coupon)

2. Purchase enough scrapbook paper to cover canvas (plus extra since you’re cutting it to pieces) in the color scheme of your choosing

3. Find a template on the internets of the repeating shape you’d like to use.

(It helps if it tessellates. If you don’t know what that means, go back to high school and take geometry. I’m kidding. I was the worst math student ever. Here’s a link to Wikipedia for you.)

4. Do some computer magic to make it the size you want.

5. Print template, trace onto thick paper and cut out for your stencil.

6. Trace stencil onto scrapbook paper (I’m sure you can guess what comes next…)

7. Cut out shapes (you’re so smart!)

8. Make a grid pattern on your gigantic canvas with a yard stick and a level (this will keep things from getting all sorts of crooked and help you to start at the center.

9. Arrange the shapes on your canvas the way you’d like for them to appear starting at the center.

10. Break out the modge podge and your inner craft.

11. You know what to do.

Now you can carry the mosaic onto the sides of the canvas if you’d like, or you can wait until it dries, trim the overhanging pieces, tape off the surface of the canvas, and paint the sides black or gray. Or you can leave the sides unfinished. I chose to leave my canvas unfinished because one, I didn’t have enough of the right-shaped scraps to use on the sides and two; it would have looked weird to have black sides when all the colors I used were light and bright.

I tell you what. This project turned out so much better than the tile project. I know that these little pieces of paper aren’t going anywhere because I modded til I podged-ed. The quatrefoils are adhered with mod podge and then I painted 2 coats of podge over them.

Here’s the final product:


It’s a big improvement. So shiny! Yes, there are itty bitty white spaces between some of the shapes, but I think it adds character. Call them grout lines if you’d like.



I do feel bad for asking Adam to mount 9 squares in a grid pattern only to change my mind later. But it’s better to accept failure and make it better than to live with it. This is what happens when you DIY. Some things work and some things don’t.


Though we are in the midst of a master bathroom renovation, we do have plans for our den. They’re small, but a lot of small changes can make a big difference. I’ll let you know what’s in the works soon!

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Silver Linings Bathroom Renovation Plan

Posted on June 11, 2013. Filed under: Home |

Over the past few months we’ve called in some contractors to assess our bathroom situation. To refresh your memory, we have a half bath downstairs that is now in good shape after a few tweaks.


We have a full bathroom off of the upstairs hallway that has had one too many doses of Pepto.


There’s also a funky linen closet in here built over the staircase. It slants. I have to lean in to reach things on the top shelf and almost always lose my balance and catch my fall on the lower shelf. Not fun.

Our master is what people these days are calling a ¾ bath. We have a toilet, sink, and standing shower. The shower is a pretty good size. The rest of the bathroom is not. I shared all the dirty details about our master bath a few weeks ago.

Here’s a very rough illustration by yours truly of our upstairs layout so you can get a better idea of what we’re working with here:

photo (1)

Sorry for the poor quality. The scanner wasn’t working, so this is an iPhone photo of my drawing. I’m high-tech.

Adam and I have had some passionate debates about our bathroom remodel project. For the record, I’ve said all along that we’re better off re-doing what we’ve got rather than changing the layout. We don’t plan to stay in this house forever so we have to be careful how much money we pour into it.

But Adam wanted to explore all of our options and hear from someone besides his wife (with no construction experience) about those options. At first he wanted to combine the 2 upstairs bathrooms since they share a wall. Then we would create a small Jack-and-Jill bath between the two guest bedrooms across the hall. I didn’t think it was possible without some very wonky bedroom layouts and taking space away from an already small bedroom.

Then we discussed the pros and cons of moving our master bath to where our walk-in closet is, using that space and the space from the office’s walk-in closet (it butts up against our closet) to make our bathroom. We would convert our existing master bath into our new walk-in closet.

The pros for this plan:

· Maintain the size and location of hall bath

· We could renovate the hall bath ourselves since it would only require cosmetic changes

· Have a decent-sized master bathroom

· Walk-in closet would become larger

The cons

· Lots of wall moving

· Running new plumbing which would entail tearing up and repairing the ceiling downstairs, possibly demolishing our newly tiled floor in the half bathroom, not to mention making darn sure the drains would drain from over there – expensive

· I’d want to punch out a window or sky light – expensive

· The chimney runs up that side of the house limiting our window options. Le sigh

· Pocket door or moving door down the wall because the current closet door already opens into Adam’s nightstand. This would involve tearing up another wall – expensive

· Taking away a rare 2nd walk-in closet from our mid-century home

· Decreasing the square footage of a rather large secondary bedroom

I agreed with Adam that we should have a few contractors come in to give us some estimates on these crazy ideas before we ruled a major renovation out and went on with a regular ‘ole renovation. To Adam’s point: at least we would know what could or could not be done and how much it would cost before we “settled” on a straight cosmetic renovation.

The first contractor we called was a typical contractor, no offense to you contractors out there. He didn’t show up. Out of the two of us, the more sweet, patient, and forgiving one (my husband), called him to reschedule. He claims his Google calendar crashed. Riiiight. Adam rescheduled. Contractor called 1 hour before appointment and said something came up. Peace out contractor.

We learned our lesson not to find a contractor on Kudzu and sought the advice of friends. Adam’s boss recommended someone who we called, he answered the phone, we scheduled an appointment, he showed up early and knew what he was talking about. Crazy, right?! But the sad news is that after much brainstorming, the only way we can expand our master bath is if we build a bump-out addition off our second floor in the back. This would require a lot of layout changes upstairs and would be close in price to a nice, new luxury car. Oy vey!

So we thanked our contractor, told him we thought it was impossible before we called him but wanted to make sure before we started working with what we have. We plan to call him in a few years when we begin our kitchen remodel.

We are disappointed that nothing can be done except for a large addition. We’re not really surprised though. What is so limiting is that all of our bathrooms are on the front of the house so we cannot add to them where they are unless we want our house to look super weird. Despite our disappointment, I think some good things will come out of this setback.

· Since the bathrooms will maintain their current footprint, we’ll save money because now we can do most of the work ourselves

· The money saved will either allow us to do a kitchen remodel sooner or better

· We won’t have strange men in and out of our house every day for a few months

· We won’t have to move to a spare bedroom for a few months

· We won’t risk investing a ton of money in our house that we may not get back resale

· WE are in charge of our project timeline and are in more control of how long the renovation will take

As project manager (self-appointed), I hope to have some demolition news for you soon. I’m wary that the bathroom tile is affixed with mesh and mortar. If you’ve read this post on Young House Love, you know that it almost killed John to get it out of there. Say your prayers!

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The Rock Garden

Posted on June 7, 2013. Filed under: Gardening, Home, Purdy Things |

I realize the majority of my posts the last year have been yard-related. We’ve really been trying to get our yard in shape for the summer. It’s getting there. I get prouder every day.

A couple outdoor updates for you…

We were good members of our community when we ordered 25 bales of pine straw from the local high school for their PTSA fundraiser. Too bad those high schoolers didn’t spread it. But now we have fresh pine straw at the mail box and in the backyard where we ripped out ivy. Huzzah!




You can see that my tulips by the mailbox were in full bloom a few weeks ago. They were so pretty. I hope they bloom next year.



We’ve filled in the cavities in the backyard dug by this guy:


We spread some fescue seed and we’re crossing our fingers, saying our prayers, hopping on one foot, sacrificing a lamb, and wishing and hoping we’ll get some grass to grow up ins here. So far, so good.

And the purpose of everything I’ve shared up to this point is to build your anticipation for the minor reveal of my rock garden. I use that term loosely.

To the left of the staircase that leads to our patio is a pretty slope with ivy, what looks like daylilies, and rocks. I filled in the gaps with salvia (a perennial so it will come back every year) and impatiens (an annual, but in my experience they tend to come back anyway).



Looks nice, right? It’s the small touches that sometimes make a nice impact.

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