Archive for September, 2013

It’s Pansy Time

Posted on September 30, 2013. Filed under: Gardening, Home |

We have a very bad neighbor and maybe some raccoons and opossums, that destroyed my mailbox bed this summer.


I am none too pleased.

Besides the poop, the dogs dig and scratch and send our pine straw into the street where it gets washed or blown away. They also urinate all over my flowers. There has been so much pee in this spot, that the ammonia has killed my evergreen perennials that are nearly impossible to kill.


I’m not a happy homeowner.

I will admit that I let Mason hike his leg on other people’s mailboxes, but never on their flowers. If there are flowers within 6” to 12” of the object he wants to mark, I don’t let him do it. I am a considerate person.

I’m thinking about putting up a sign. I’m that person. I never thought I would be, but when you spend time and money to make your yard look nice and inconsiderate losers ruin it with dog pee I get angry.

Tangent over. For now. I went to the neighborhood Lowes and got mulch instead of pine straw. My logic here is that it’s harder to kick up and won’t wash away as easy.


I also got a lot of pansies.

I wanted to get ornamental cabbage, but it’s very late summer/early fall in Georgia and I didn’t want to risk them getting scorched. Maybe I’ll plant those in a few weeks.

After I ripped all the plant carcasses out, I turned the soil and mixed in some compost so the pansies won’t get choked out by red Georgia clay.

Then I planted the pansies.



Spread the mulch.


And watered.

It looks so much better, but anything is an improvement.

I shall cap it off with a sign that features a skull and crossbones or a dog with a giant X through it.

Don’t mess with me. It ain’t right. It’s rude.

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Installing the Walls

Posted on September 23, 2013. Filed under: Home, Master Bath Remodel |

Well, in keeping with the wall theme, here’s another post for you about the all-important home feature:

The walls. They’re kind of a big deal.

We were not anticipating how much time installing walls would take. It took us about a month. (Most of our work is relegated to weekends. If you have the flexibility or the energy to work on a project like this during the week, you’re bound to finish it sooner than we did – and we’re jealous of you.) I thought it would take one weekend. I was very, very wrong.

It requires accurate measuring, a lot of cutting, heavy lifting and then having 2 people at install – one person to hold the board and one to screw it in. Although, Adam completed the whole shower while I was out of town by nailing wood “shelves” to the studs to hold his cement board while he screwed it in. That’s dedication and ingenuity.

But before we could even get started with the sheetrock and cement board, we had to add new support for our new and rather large medicine cabinet.


This was added time I didn’t anticipate.

We also had to install our shower shelves.


And then things got annoying because we didn’t have studs where we wanted the cement board to end and the sheetrock to begin. That was a tad problematic. After a trip to Lowes for a few 2 x 4’s, we installed additional studs for our wall transitions.

Guess what? Then we had to re-route the wiring, unwire, and re-wire the switch so the electrical could go through the new studs. Ah… the beauty of home renovation projects…

Several hours later – or maybe days – we started to actually install the walls.

There was no cement board in here before – it was mesh and mortar behind the tile – so we added new cement board and we replaced nearly all of the sheetrock. There was some sheetrock that was salvageable, but most of it had some major dents, scratches, puckers, spackle scars, or years of dampness that needed replacing.

Once the curb was finished, we were ready to install walls: sheetrock for painted walls and cement board for tiled walls.

That meant installing cement board from the floor to the ceiling in the shower, on both sides of the knee wall and the top of it, and on the sink/toilet wall from the floor to 48” high.


And cut the cement board to frame them out.


The hardest wall was of course this one:


It has 3 cut-outs: 1) the vanity light, 2) the medicine cabinet, and 3) the outlet. I messed it up the first time. So we had to cut it again. Nice one, Meredith. It took us half a day to do that one piece. The second time around, we scored the cut-out for the medicine cabinet and punched it out after we installed the wall. This kept the wall strong and sturdy during its trip from the garage to the bathroom. It also allowed us to manhandle it into position without breaking pieces off of it. Once you cut out a big chunk, it really weakens the wall until you can screw it into the studs.

We cut all of our wallboards in the garage because they make A LOT of dust. The cement boards were cut with a masonry blade on the table saw and we cut the sheetrock with a utility knife. It took two of us to get the larger boards in position, one of us to hold it, and the other to screw it in.

Around the window and door, we pried the trim off to get underneath it. We were able to do this without breaking it, so we will reinstall it once it’s time.


We kept the sheetrock on the ceiling, though it needed repair work on the edges and around our new vent fan.

After 3 weeks of wall install, we began the tedious process of mud, sand, tape; mud, sand, repeat. Of course the sheetrock required more finesse than the cement board. It took us about a week and 3-4 coats of mud. Each coat requires 24 hours of dry time, so we sanded and mudded throughout the week when we could. Public service announcement #1: close your doors, stuff a towel under your door, open your windows and wear masks while sanding sheetrock mud. It is DUHHHH-STEEE.

For the cement board, we used thin set in the seams, metal mesh tape made for cement board, and more thin set. It didn’t have to be perfectly smooth since we are tiling over it. For the corners, screw heads, and around the shower shelves, we used silicone to create a moisture barrier.

With the thin set dry in the shower, we began waterproofing with a liquid water proofing membrane called RedGuard.


It’s very thick, but you can roll it on with the proper nap roller. It took 2 coats with 90 minutes of drying time between coats. Public service announcement #2: wear a mask, safety glasses, gloves, and ventilate the heck out of your room. This stuff smells like a nail salon spilled all of its acrylic – in your nostrils. It’s not for everyone – let me tell you. With a high nap roller, I applied the first coat of RedGuard in up and down motions and the second with side-to-side motions. It’s supposed to seal it off better.


This stuff looks like Pepto Bismol pudding when it’s wet, but it dries neon red.


I kept coming up behind Adam while he was looking at my finished work growling, “Red room, red room!” I was high on fumes.

There are a few decisions you have to make in this stage of the process that I didn’t really think about before-hand: where you want your wall tile in the shower to end on the outside edges and where you want your shower shelves.

Our wall tile will overlap the outer-edge of the curb and half wall by an inch or two. We figured that it would be easier to intentionally overlap it than try to line it up and make a mistake. We wanted to put the shower shelves opposite the shower head/valve and there was only one place horizontally it could go: between two studs. It’s not exactly centered on the wall, but that’s okay. Then we hung the shelves at a height that made sense for us and the potentially taller people that might buy our house one day.

We’ve started to put most of our tools away and we’ve run the shop vacuum about 20 times in the bathroom in preparation of the tile. Yes, that’s right. Our next step will be tiling the shower shelves and walls. I’m so darn excited about it. With walls and tile, we’re starting to picture what it will look like.

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Our Gallery Wall (aka a lot of holes we’ll have to patch when we sell this house)

Posted on September 16, 2013. Filed under: Home |

Oh blogitty-blog-blog-blog. I haven’t been a very good blogger this summer. I made a rule for myself this year that if the blog ever got in the way of life or seemed like a chore, I shouldn’t do it. So I haven’t been blogging on a consistent basis. But I’m back. I can’t promise I’ll have weekly posts, but this blog is more for us than anyone else so I’m fine with that.

In the middle of bathroom chaos I decided to cross an ancient to-do item off the “We got a new house (2 years ago) list”: the gallery wall.

gallery wallImage from

Sheesh! I wish that was our gallery wall. It’s not.

In hindsight, I’m glad we waited on this project because there were about 4 places we could have put a gallery wall and after living in the house for 2 years, the other 3 wouldn’t have worked out as well. We opted to do our frame collage in our upstairs hallway.

We haven’t hung very many pictures since we moved in. Oops. Therefore, I had a stash of frames hidden away in our guest room. For the extra space fillers, I made a list of the frames I needed to buy (based on the prints and photos we wanted to hang) and went to IKEA and

Once I had all my frames together, I traced them all on newspaper, cut out the shapes and took my templates upstairs. I started with the biggest frame and taped it to the wall with painter’s tape. From here, I filled in around it and switched things up as I went. There were a few holes, so I scrounged up another frame and a decorative plate I got from a trip to Mexico.


Alert! blurry iPhone picture

Then over the course of several evenings, Adam attached hanging brackets and wire and hung picture frames directly over the templates on the wall until we had hung all the items!


I still didn’t have all of the correct photos in the frames at this point, so I had to print some pictures and mount a few instagram photos from prinstagram on burlap in these square Rivva frames.


And swap out some old photos from my college days with more current pictures:


Then you simply rip the paper off the wall and voila!



I must say, I’m pretty happy with it. There was nothing in this hall and it was a boring walk to the bedroom or the office.

For a project that seemed like such a beast, breaking it up into little manageable pieces over a few weeks made it so much easier.

  1. Gather frames
  2. Plan what you want to frame
  3. Write a list of what already have that you can work with and what you need to buy
  4. Buy new frames
  5. Frame pictures
  6. Trace all frames on newspaper and cut out
  7. Tape templates to wall in an arrangement you like
  8. Make your marks on the newspaper template after you’ve measured the brackets on the frame
  9. Nail through the paper
  10. Hang pictures
  11. Rip paper away

Anybody else have projects that you wish would just happen even though they aren’t that difficult to do?

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We are Living in a Material World…

Posted on September 3, 2013. Filed under: Home, Master Bath Remodel, Purdy Things |

…And I’m picking out some gorgeous items for our master bathroom renovation!

After about a dozen stores for bathrooms, faucets, tile, stone, flooring, etc., we’ve finally picked out the majority of our materials at the first place we went to (go figure) and I’m here to share them with all of you eager and aspiring bathroom renovators.

1. Floor tile

I had to have basket weave floor in one of our upstairs bathrooms. It makes me giddy. It’s a good thing Adam likes it too. I really like how this particular pattern is subtle and the Carrara marble has the gray, green/blue colors we were looking for. See those little accent pieces? Perfection.

floor tileSorry for the blurry iPhone picture

We actually decided to carry this tile over into the shower floor for cohesion and in an attempt to make the space seem bigger. Gasp! I’m surprised myself. I hate cleaning shower floors, but everyone has assured me that the new tile and grout will be much different than my 50 year old shower floor that is stained, not sealed, and just plain OLD.

Believe you me, if this shower floor situation doesn’t work out, I’ll tell you all about it and go to therapy. I’m slightly nervous.

2. Shower wall tile

Oversized subway tiles in Carrara marble for the walls of the shower. Tres chic. So pretty. They’re fairly large at 8×20”. Apparently big tiles cheat the space and make it seem larger. So do lighter colors. It will really brighten it up in here. I hope it looks bigger than it does now. We’re going to grout with a light gray to bring out all the veins in the marble and because I don’t want to clean white grout. Just keeping it real…

3. Accent wall tile

Same material as the shower tile – Carrara marble – but smaller in size at 4×12”. We’ll tile about 4 feet up the wall behind the sink and toilet, add a pencil border, this accent border of mixed glass and marble, a pencil border and a ledge piece, and call it a day. The tile will carry over to the half wall.

4. Counter top

We haven’t decided on the counter top yet, but we think we are going with quartz. It’s a very durable material and great for bathrooms and kitchens. Plus, it’s very versatile and comes in all colors and patterns. Yes, we have marble tile everywhere, but I was hesitant to have a marble counter top in a bathroom with lots of beauty products and curling irons that would inevitably make contact. These are the my top picks for counters in no particular order: marble-like, looks like Corian to me, probably the best match to our marble (I don’t think it has to match, just coordinate), a little bling and pizzazz with this one. Of course I’m leaning toward the sparkly one, but I haven’t seen any of these in person. Since we need such a small piece, I may be picking from the scrap pile anyway and my options might be limited. Then again, I don’t know if they have scrap piles for manufactured quartz since it’s – well – manufactured. I doubt they make a lot of extra.

5. Vanity

vanityImage from Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets

I ordered unfinished to save money and because I really like this vanity! We couldn’t find anything we liked that was ready to install. We plan to rent a paint sprayer from Lowes or Home Depot. I’d like to paint it a dove gray. We’ll finish it off with some satin nickel cabinet knobs.

6. Vanity Light

In my mood board, I used a fixture from Shades of Light which I lurrrve.

bygoneImage from Shades of Light

It’s down to $135 from $150 which isn’t bad, but isn’t great when you’ve spent most of your budget on marble tile. So I did some more browsing and looky what I found at the neighborhood Lowes:

sea gullImage from Lowes

Pretty darn similar, I say. Real close. So close that I don’t have a clear favorite. So I went with the cheaper option that wouldn’t have to be delivered. Plus, it comes in a satin nickel which will match the rest of our fixtures. It was a win win.

7. Fixtures: sink and shower

We didn’t pay near this much! Thank goodness! You’ve got to love amazon! But fixtures are one thing you don’t really want to skimp on. It’s very difficult to fix plumbing later on without ruining all your tile work. Who likes a leaky faucet anyway?

Brushed stainless steel, traditional with a modern twist. You gotta love it! It sure beats what was in there:



8. Storage solutions

medicine cabinetImage from Lowes

We’ll be getting a much larger and less industrial looking medicine cabinet. Hurrah!

shelvesImage from Grandin Road

Grandin Road makes this awesome shelf caddy that you mount into your door hinges. We’re still thinking about it. We may be able to get along without it. It is a pretty nifty design, but it’s expensive.

We’ll also get some wall-mounted shelves for over the toilet – TBD. I’m excited.

Bathroom accessories like towel bars and hooks will be a brushed nickel, but we haven’t picked them out yet since those are some of the last things to install.

And this is how we felt after buying our tile:

tile shock

It was painful. We did save a ton of moolah by buying it from The Tile Shop during their Memorial Day sale.  I plan to go to HomeGoods, World Market, and Hobby Lobby for vanity knobs, towel hooks, bath mat, etc. We plan to make a structured valance for the window ourselves and I’ll try to snag some sale fabric for that.

Does anyone want to help us grout? That basket weave floor has a lot of grout lines! It’s going to be so much fun!

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