Tag Archives: DIY

Our Bath Renovation: Pulling Together the Pieces

I am very excited for our upstairs bathroom to be out-of-order! After much deliberation, we decided to hire-out for some key parts of the bathroom renovation. In the end it came down to two main reasons:

1. We both work full-time, and DIYing would mean we would be out of a shower (and weekends) for a long, long time.

2. We are moving a wall and reconfiguring two closets, and our walls are plaster, not drywall. Best to bring in the experts. (Plaster is seriously an art form. I watched them work in our family room and it’s amazing!)

We will DIY the shower and floor tile (which I am very excited to learn),  install board and batten, as well as the normal painting and finishing trim work.

You saw my inspiration board here, and now here is a Photoshopped rendering (can you tell I am a visual learner?) of what look we are going for.

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In the mean time, we have been doing a lot of research (mostly Moose), shopping, and a LOT of time talking to sales associates. Here’s what we’ve gotten off the list so far:

Bathroom Materials

Faucets and showerheads are always going on clearance at Home Depot and Lowe’s. We check constantly until we find one that we like! We got our sink faucets for more than 50% the original price!

There is a Kohler showroom in Natick, MA where you can see their whole line of bath equipment. Because we ordered our sinks and tub through them, they shipped it to our house for free! (Don’t even get me started about helping carry that 400 lb. cast iron bathtub up the stairs though.)

The people at The Tile Shop are AMAZINGLY helpful. We waited for a sale and managed to get all of our tile for 20% off. They also have free classes every Saturday morning for those looking to DIY tile. My parents also recently DIYed their bathroom, and we split the cost of a tile-saw with them.

We still have to pick out our sconces, the mirrors, wall color, and, most importantly, our vanity/granite slab.

This past week we have been vanity hunting – if you are in the Boston area there are several great places: Frank Webb’s, Ferguson’s and Splash, and the custom cabinetry department at Lowe’s. We also went to New England Supply, but it was the least helpful. We saw a lot of great options are very close to finally getting that checked off the list as well!

In more exciting news…. who is ready to see the new Muppet’s movie that comes out next week!?!? Only me?? (Probably!)

Seeking Steamer Trunk Restoration Tips

All right, I am posting this bad boy for some project accountability.

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This fantastic steamer trunk belonged to my Granna. There is even a shipping label on the side in her handwriting when she sent her things to college! I love it and I can’t wait to refinish it.

The only thing is… I got it about six months ago and it’s been waiting in my basement for some attention ever since.

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Like many steamer trunks, it’s looking a little worse for the wear.

Dirty, scuff marks, broken handles, chewed up edges, and scratches.

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And the inside, oh heavens, the inside smells like moth balls are invading your brain. I can’t leave it open for more than a minute or you can smell it from across the room.

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Because of the odor the inside will definitely need to be stripped as well.

But I am looking forward to starting this labor of love! I am posting these “before” shots so I will feel pressured to finally make a crack at beginning it.

The only question is how. I’ll begin scouring the internet for tips, and if any of you have experience in this area please share your wisdom!

Have you restored a steamer trunk? Any tips? Suggestions?

Our DIY Family Room Before and After (Now that it actually looks like we live here)

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Almost a year ago we finished renovating our 70s-wood-paneled-sunroom-turned-family-room and I shared a before and after here on the blog. Well, more like a before and empty-room-after, which, let’s be honest, is boring!

The thing is that filling out a room takes time and effort! The family room has turned into one of my favorite places to spend time in our house (thanks to the bath of sunshine we get from 9 windows, and a constantly growing Netflix queue). While we’ve still got a bit to work on in this room, I’m happy with the cozy cocoon we’ve created. (Wood paneling be gone!)

The cracking linoleum floors, wood paneling, snake skeletons and rodent-poop-insulation feel (and are) a million miles away. (Thanks goodness!)

Just a reminder of where we started:

Lo and behold – it looks like we live here (finally!)

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We get TONS of sun in our house – and with nine windows, this room is constantly full of light. And no window treatments. Because that’s how we roll. Hopefully for not much longer.

sunroom4We bought the hooked pillows this summer when we were in Portsmouth for the weekend. They are my favorite part! We finally kicked all our old college stuff to the curb (except for the IKEA Poang chair – that will never die!). We’ve bought all of our upholstered furniture from Boston Interiors – and I couldn’t recommend them enough!sunroom5

I’ve been pondering artwork for this room. It’s a tough place to hang anything because – oh yeah – we have nine windows and two french doors. In an act of impulsiveness I hung those woven starfish and they’ve been there ever since.sunroom6We originally bought these colorful monkey’s fists to hang off the wall… but I’m not sure if I like that idea anymore. So they are just monnkeyin’ hanging around waiting to find a home.

sunroom7I found this lovely red metal waypoint at one of those local discount curtain and bath outlets. Then this month I saw it in the L.L. Bean home magazine! It’s more expensive at L.L. Bean, but if you want one for yourself I thought I’d share the knowledge.

“They” (who are “they” anyways?) say that every room needs a splash of red – now that we have one, I have to agree.

This brings us to the empty side of the room:sunroom8Our current TV stand is obviously way too small for the space. We are (fingers crossed) really hoping to make our first attempt at furniture building with a new entertainment center – so until that happens this one will stay. I’m hoping this spring we can finally get to it! Ultimately we’d love a long, low storage unit that will span the whole width of the room.

And YES, we still have our TV in front of a window – what a strange problem to have – not enough wall space! I’m just glad it’s out of the main living room now.

A tough part in the winter as a blogger is when to take photos. It’s dark when I get home from work and the last thing I’m thinking of on a Saturday morning is to run around and take photos of all the things I want to post about. Lucky for you, I happened to snap a few on my phone – because after I (finally got my act together and) took pictures of the family room, we got a new rug. The tan one now lives in our bedroom, and all my braided rug dreams have come true.

sunroom9 sunroom10This was a HomeGoods find.

Truly, I feel pretty self-conscious about posting a room just full of stuff. There’s NO PROJECT to explain, but my BFF convinced me that everyone loves a good before and after. I hope that’s the case! I must say, I don’t miss the old room one bit.

So, now that I’ve shared our TV watching room of the house… any Netflix recommendations? :p

Read all about how we DIYed our Family Room:

Updates on the Bathroom (Before it’s Gone for Good!)

I hear something ticking. And it’s the life of our upstairs bathroom.

Farewell old bathroom, won’t miss ya one bit.

Over the last almost-three years we’ve slowly made small and inexpensive modifications here and there, all the while not putting in too much effort, or cash-ola, because we knew this bathroom wouldn’t survive for long. You can see how we removed the glass shower doors and installed a vent system here (the venting will stay).

This is our only upstairs bathroom, and while we have grand plans harbored away in our brains for adding a second one, that could be a fleeting daydream so this one has to be done right!

We are currently shopping for and preparing to totally gut this room in the next week or two (and totally knock down a wall in our guestroom to change some things up – yikes!!), but before we get there, here’s where we’ve taken the space so far. (Spoiler: It’s’ not that exciting.)

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We removed the original medicine cabinet because the mirror was literally peeling off. (Perhaps because there was ZERO VENTILATION in this bathroom for the past 70 years?) We replaced it with a small cabinet we found in the clearance section of Lowe’s for $30 and it’s served us well these past two years.

Surprisingly, a small mirror actually makes the room feel larger. Who knew?

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We patched up the drywall from the mirror, but are having some cracking issues. The walls in our house are not a standard depth of drywall, so patching holes in the wall is always a complicated adventure- you can see where the wall has started to sink in to the left of the mirror.

We had planned to install floating wall shelves above the toilet for storage, and even bought some at IKEA about a year ago, but we just haven’t gotten around to it. Guess I will get to find a new use for those shelves!

The entire side panel of the original vanity was broken, so when we found a cheap vanity on sales at Lowe’s for $40 we knew it would be worth the money to use it for the next year. We will have to see if we can re-purpose the faucet somewhere else.

Window in the Shower? Not anymore!

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When we were re-siding the house over the summer, we decided to knock out the window and side right over the hole. With good reason – the wood was rotted out around the window.

Who ever thought a window in a shower was a good idea?

Unfortunately this means our shower is looking even grimmer than usual. We bought a sheet of shower wall covering and glued/screwed it into the tile. This is obviously just a band-aid until it all goes buh-bye!shower1

The thing I am THE MOST EXCITED ABOUT is getting rid of is that bathtub – ack!!

It’s one of those old, honking jacuzzi tubs and the jets take up so much space in the tub. I’ve never turned them on (the idea gives me the creeps). I’m also not going to be sorry to see that tile go. No amount of bleach / Comet / Magic Eraser / elbow grease has helped us there.

I can’t wait to rip up this bathroom! What would you like to shop for the most – tile, light fixtures, or shower curtains?