Monday, December 5, 2011

Do you need to powder your nose?

Well I'm finally getting around to posting the last round of remodeling pictures from our latest big project - the guest bathroom. I think it is safe to say that our guest bathroom was pretty horrifying. It's laid out nicely with a jack and jill type vanity between the guest bedroom and hallway that opens into a small private bathroom with a toilet and tub shower combo. The fixtures and colors were awful though.

I'm not going to mess around with a bunch of banter about it so I'll just cut to the pictures.

bathroom/guest renobathroom/guest reno

               
On the top left you have the view from the guest bedroom. Look at that beautiful carpet in the BATHROOM. I keep asking myself, who puts carpet in a bathroom? On the upper right you had the view of the vanity from the small connected bathroom sans nasty bathroom carpet, plus Joel.

bathroom/guest renobathroom/guest reno

Now I'm a pretty tall gal but those cabinets up top? I couldn't even reach them so they were basically useless. So useless in fact, that when we demo'd them we found stuff that the previous homeowners left behind.

If you turn with your back facing the sink, here's what you would see. Oh that tile on the floor. And the brass doorknob. And that toilet from 1965 that wouldn't flush right and just kept running and running.
bathroom/guest reno

bathroom/guest reno

As far as the tub goes, we didn't mess with it. We know at some point we will have to have it professionally refinished but not now. The yellow shower tile, while not our first color choice was in okay shape, so we left that alone as well. Retiling would have taken  the project to a higher level and keep in mind, we were on a time crunch and trying to save money.

The floor, however, had to go and deciding what to do what not easy. To remove the tile all together would have required several days worth of chipping away, and the possibility of hiring a professional to jack hammer it out. It is the original 1960's tile and it wasn't going ANYWHERE. We also contemplated laying larger tile on top of it, but then the transition to the vanity/hallway would be odd since it would be two different heights of floors. We had been toying with the idea of painting the tile for a while, but were nervous about it looking DIY'd.

We finally decided to give painting a try. If it didn't work, we could still pry the tile out or even lay something on top of it. All that we would lose was the $40 in paint costs. Since we were already replacing the toilet, we took advantage of it's temporary absence to take care of business. Here's how it went down.

bathroom/guest renoJoel sanded down the floor with a low grit sandpaper, then cleaned it several times with a heavy duty kind of scary chemical cleaner that was recommended to us by the paint guy at Home Depot. Everything we researched said sanding it down and cleaning it really well was very important. The he put down three light and even coats of Kilz original oil based primer (following the directions for dry time).  And I took maybe 3 during pictures and constantly checked to make sure the exhaust fan was turned on. I also kept most of the windows open in the house because that stuff is nasty and crazy toxic.

Next, he put down one coat of an oil-based paint. Then we waited 5 days for it to dry. Yes, 5 days. We were really freaked out around day 3-4 but it did finally dry - or rather cure, because that is what oil-based paint does. Then we were done.

We had already textured and painted everything prior to our tile-painting, so the next step was installing the toilet, which Joel did. I provided moral support. There was only room for one person working in the bathroom at time so there wasn't

After that, it was time to demo the vanity/hallway, paint and texture the walls, put down flooring and install the new vanity - in that order. Joel did most of the hard work since I was down for the count with a horrendous cold because he is the best.

I think the pictures tell it better than I do so here are the afters.

bathroom/guest reno     bathroom/guest reno

                 


bathroom/guest reno
 bathroom/guest reno

                 
The bottom right photo is from the hallway. We just took the wood floor from the hallway, dining room and living room through. Since the vanity portion of the bathroom feels more like a hallway then a bathroom it made sense.

We also picked a new vanity that felt more like a piece of furniture than cabinetry to us to try to keep that little hallway feeling less bathroom-ish.

bathroom/guest reno      bathroom/guest reno

                 

bathroom/guest reno

We did splurge a bit on new light fixtures. The Allen Roth fixtures at Lowes are just so pretty I couldn't resist. The new mirror was a Garden Ridge find that matched the hardware on the sink.

We are about 3 weeks in with the painted tile and so far so good. We use that shower a lot, so it's getting traffic and getting wet and still holding up. If it starts to chip later on, we know we still have all the options we had before.

It feels so good to have everything done in there and really gives the whole front half of our house a finished feel. Next project? Master bedroom. We have decided, however, that we're not putting ourselves in a time crunch for it. We know we have another nice room to enjoy while it's out of sorts so there's no need to hurry.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Seriously, you can come stay with us.

To prepare for our big fat Thanksgiving family extravaganza, Joel and I decided to tackle the guest bedroom which also turned into complete renovation of the guest bathroom. We had 3 weeks to do it, while juggling work and squeezing in a 2-day trip to my parents' house for some family time and a 5K (which I proudly jog/walked). I think we may have been suffering temporary insanity, but the finished result was worth the stress.

I initially wanted to do one post with both rooms, but have since realized each room deserves its own time to shine. So without further ado, I give you the guest bedroom.

Before

bathroom/guest reno

This color is so much worse in person. It's this bright baby blue that screams, "A toddler used to live here!"

bathroom/guest reno
We also had a serious built in and some bi-fold closet doors to deal with...

bathroom/guest reno

...and not to mention nasty carpet in the bedroom and in the bathroom.  I want to know who thought carpeting a bathroom was ever a good idea. So gross.

During

bathroom/guest reno         bathroom/guest reno

Joel started out texturing while I tackled priming the built ins, trim and doors. That included filling in knicks and holes, sanding everything down and cleaning all the surfaces with a damp rag. Then I applied 2-3 thin even coats of Kills Low VOC and moved on to helping the Mr. with all that texture. Next Joel painted the ceiling a nice crisp white while I started to clean up.

Then we let things dry over night.

The following day we ripped that nasty carpet out prior to painting. I'll spare you the horrors of what was lurking in that carpet pad. Let me just say, it was scary. Really scary.

After recovering from the trauma of pulling up old carpet, I painted them trim while Joel started painting the walls. We chose Martha Stewart's Artichoke Heart and had it mixed in the Behr Paint and Primer in one and let me tell you - that stuff is where it's at. One coat. One coat people. That was all. Then we were ready for new floors.

bathroom/guest reno

When it came to picking out carpet, we were just ready to do it. Immediately after wrapping up painting, we went to Lowes and found a fairly inexpensive Smart Strand Mohawk looped carpet we liked and without research just took the plunge. Being the crazy, type-A, we-have-to-research-everything planner that I am, this was difficult. But we were on a time crunch. I didn't have time to second guess or overanalyze and it worked.  And also I happen to still love the carpet we picked.

After

bathroom/guest reno
Ahhhh. Sometimes I just come in here and sit on the bed and relax. Our master bedroom is a mess right now so I like being able to come in here and pretend that the rest of the house is in just as much order as our guest bedroom.

I didn't have any artwork on hand, so I cut out some squares from a couple of paper grocery bags and doodled a poem we read at our wedding on one and a favorite Beatles lyric on the other. I used frames we received as wedding gifts. It works for now until I find something more permanent.

bathroom/guest reno
The window treatment consists of a $25 bamboo blind from Walmart (it's the same one I used in our dining room) and two $10 panels from Target. The curtain rod was in the room before. The two bedside tables were thrifted in OKC last year and ran me about $15 each.

Spoiler Alert: You can see part of the bathroom. This is all you're getting for now though.
bathroom/guest reno
The bookshelf was another $15 thrift store find from last year. I sanded it down and painted it but am thinking of repainting it a softer color. The painting and the chair are also - don't be shocked - old thrift store finds

We hung some gray curtains from the inside of the closet to avoid dealing with the doors. it's easier than messing with those squeaky bi folds. We did keep the doors though. Someday we plan to sell this house and you never know what someone else will prefer.
bathroom/guest reno

And there you have it. Our guest bedroom is mostly complete. I'm still considering painting the bed frame a fun color, or even just an Oil Rubbed Bronze and am looking for more permanent artwork and perhaps a compact chest of drawers for storage, but for now, this does the trick.

Just let us know when you're ready to come over. We'll provide the wine and a cozy place to sleep.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

So Thankful.

I'm back and blogging again. A four-day weekend will do that to you. Time to upload and edit photographs, time to think about posting something and time to actually do it.

For Thanksgiving this year, like the adults we are, Joel and I embarked on hosting one big thanksgiving for our entire family - both sets of in-laws - and you guys, we actually pulled it off.

I think I should first disclose that I am no cook. I always tell myself that if I wanted to be one I totally could take the time and learn, but at this point in my life I am completely content with cereal for dinner. Martha Stewart my mom came up to OKC the night before to show me the ropes of this whole cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 15+ people, and boy was I lucky to have her here. With her help we managed a beautiful and delicious turkey (cooked by me - with guidance of course) and an overall amazing meal. She put together some desserts that were sinfully delicious.

Everyone had a fantastic time and we finished off the night with a lively game of wine-influenced Rock Band. Few things in life are as fun as watching your parents figure out how to work a plastic guitar.

Anyway, here are some photographs of the house. I didn't take any photos during the meal and fun - I was too busy enjoying it. And get ready - I have a HUGE renovation post coming up soon. We have been very busy.


            thanksgiving    thanksgiving
I kept the mantle simple with some thrifted and spray painted candle sticks topped with tapered candles and pine cones, book ended with fun wire pumpkins. They had inexpensive fall arrangements at Sunflower Farmer's Market and I couldn't resist picking up a couple for the fireplace.

thanksgiving
For our table setting, I pulled out leftover burlap from my wedding and used it to make a runner and some small placemats. I threw on some mini ghost pumpkins and moss and threw in some silver tea lights for that candlelight ambiance. We kept the dishes clean and white. To keep the tables simple, we served dinner buffet style which worked out really well.
thanksgiving

thanksgiving

thanksgiving

thanksgiving
This was my mom and I's breadstick cornucopia.  A completely edible centerpiece that no one actually ate. I cut some rosemary sprigs from my herb garden (they're all that's still alive after the first frost) and set out some olive oil and cracked pepper for dipping. We had fun making it and you know what? It's not very difficult.
thanksgiving

thanksgiving
We didn't have room for 15 at the big table, so we also created a very similar table setting on the pub table in the kitchen.

thanksgiving

thanksgiving

thanksgiving

And to end this post-Thanksgiving thankful post, I leave you with my adorable husband carving our first turkey as a married couple. I'm pretty lucky to have him, don't you think? Also, this is what happens when you refuse to take a serious picture to capture a special moment - I put it on my blog. Love you baby!

Monday, August 8, 2011

DIY Mantel Time.

Oh boy have we done a lot of stuff to our living room since this inaugural home improvement post of yore. This weekend we channeled our inner Young House Love and built a big chunky mantel for our fireplace.

I really wanted a beat up piece of reclaimed wood, but they're heavy and dirty, or expensive and I'm not up for heavy lifting, getting too dirty, or spending a lot of money. Alas, I found a tutorial on Pinterest and convinced Joel that even though my carpentry skills are limited to building a really crooked toolbox for a college stagecraft class, this was beyond do-able.

So the first big hurdle was the size of this bad boy. We have an oddly shaped fireplace - it's tall but not all the way to the ceiling and very wide.  In order to satiate my desire to explore every possible option, we taped off the sizes we were considering, stepped back, and over-analyzed.

Mantel Building
This here's the "Long and Slender."

Mantel Building
Then there's what I like to call "Eraserhead."

Mantel Building"
And last, but not least, "The Compromise."

If you couldn't tell, I preferred option one, Joel preferred option two (and we had already purchased the 6 foot boards). But we ultimately decided that we needed something that would extend out on either side to achieve some balance, and something a little slimmer since the top of the fireplace is already pretty tall. This is where a cardinal rule of home-improvementing comess into place: do not throw away a receipt from Home Depot until your project is finished and you've lived with it for a while. Luckily, we've already learned this lesson and had no trouble exchanging our 6 foot boards for 8 foot boards.

After cutting down our 8 foot boards (1 inch by 6 inch in case you're curious) with a miter saw that was luckily, though temporarily, left in our garage post-floor installation by my parents, it was time to - pardon the language - beat the crap out of the boards to add some years to them.

Mantel Building
I also think we should get some street cred for taking care of this business on a 109 degree day. Thanks for nothing Oklahoma summer.

Mantel Building
We banged the boards up with hammers, a chain, smacked them with a bag of nails, dragged screws across the surface and used just about anything we could to rough - CLAP - them up. Please tell me you get the Hans and Frans reference.

Mantel Building
ANYWAY, we used the hammer to imprint everything from screws and hooks to a metal paint roller into our future stocking-holder. We also just used the hammers by themselves.

Mantel Building
The end result was something like this. After that, we gave everything a good sanding with a high-grit sandpaper to soften the edges and keep us from getting splinters and wiped off the wood-dust with a clean, dry rag.

Next it was time to stain.
Mantel Building
Insert unpaid Minwax advertisement here.

Mantel Building
We brushed on thin even coats with $.99 foam brushes, let them soak in for 5 minutes, then wiped off the excess with a dry rag. We repeated that to get it a bit darker then let our boards dry for a couple of hours.

Mantel Building
Two hours later, we had these.

When it was time to actually build, we used wood glue in each seam, clamped the pieces together, and hammered in nails to hold things together. We found that the nails were almost entirely invisible which was awesome. After all, we wanted this to look like one solid piece of wood.

Mantel Building
Yes that is old furniture, a.k.a. future re-upholstery projects, stacked up as a makeshift sawhorse.

Mantel Building
We also cut a couple of pieces for the ends, and some of the same size to tuck down inside to brace things.

Next we hid the seams on the ends with iron on wood veneer. It irons on just like those stupid decals we all put on t-shirts in the mid-nineties. Only you don't need wax paper and it doesn't look tacky. Just iron it straight on, trim the edges with an exact-o knife, and sand down the edges and you're done.

Mantel Building

Mantel Building
We also used a little bit of stainable wood filler on the top and bottom seams. We just rubbed it in by hand then sanded it down. After that we let everything dry (wood glue, wood filler) and enjoyed our Saturday night.

The next morning, we gave the whole thing another coat of stain to get it just a shade darker and things got a little tricky. After about 6 hours the whole thing was still sticky. It may have been a combination of a rainy day and too-thick application, but after 15 minutes of soaking, the stain was sticky and difficult to wipe away.

We set up a box fan in the garage to speed the drying process, then consulting our dear friend Google for answers. We ended up wiping the whole thing down vigorously with dry rags with the hope of soaking up any stain that was still on the surface, and we used a little rubbing alcohol on the really stubborn spots and it seemed to work really well.  An hour later, everything was dry and we were able to roll on a single coat of polyurethane to seal the deal.

Hanging this big ole thing was a little more difficult than we had anticipated. We nailed a 2 X 4 inch piece of wood into the studs on the wall (also learned it's better to just spring for the $20 stud finder after a couple of , oh snap that's definitely not a stud moments), then hung the mantel on it, nailing down from the top. The hard part was getting the 2X4 on the wall in the right place. Our first attempt was so crooked that I did not even take a picture.

We realized that our mantel was not totally squared off, and the dimensions were hard to measure absolutely. I had an idea to try something I spotted on YHL today for hanging mirror and lo and behold IT WORKED.

Mantel Building
Originally those little scraps of paper were taped onto the backside of the mantel with little wings of tape hanging out so they could be stuck to the wall. Since our 2X4 fit perfectly inside of the hollow edge of the mantle, I marked our right and left corners with little holes, stuck the papers to the wall, and pulled back the mantel to several slips of white paper with guide for the 2X4 on it. I should also note that everywhere I say "I" here I mean "we." I couldn't exactly snap photos of the whole process since it took two people to hold the 6 and a half foot beast up.

Mantel Building
Here's a close up of the guide after we simply nailed the piece of wood on it.

The mantel fit right over it, we screwed down into it from the top and TA DA, there you have an instant mantel.
Mantel Building

Mantel Building
We love the finished product and I can't wait to get some more artwork to sit on top of it.

Mantel Building
And yes, that's the most awesomely comfortable new sectional ever. Last week we said good-bye to our too-small tan micro fiber college sofa to accommodate this awesome piece.

Mantel Building
And there you have it. We've still got lots to do in this room  - find a less conspicuous entertainment center, square coffee table, artwork, etc. etc. but wow does this room feel so much better than it did when we moved in. If you need a reminder of how far it's come - just revisit the salmon carpet.