Tag Archives: renovation

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation

A final “beauty shot” compliments of iPhone Panorama camera feature.

There’s nothing like a good old renovation to get you feeling frantic about your home. I posted earlier this spring about preparing for our bathroom renovation, and it’s well-well-well underway!

I mentioned before we decided not to DIY this product project because it was complicated and messy and would have taken us a significant amount of time in addition to the other projects we already have going on!

After we removed the toilet, lighting fixtures, medicine cabinet, and vanity we were ready for the team to come in. And come in they did.

bath1

We had a Home-Alone-2-style tube hanging out our guestroom window for all the debris. I can’t say I miss demo and the heavy mess you have to deal with.

bath10

In order to make this bathroom larger we reconfigured the hall closet, a guest bedroom closet, in addition to moving a wall between the bathroom and the guestroom.

bath7We clearly weren’t thinking ahead! Our bedroom was behind the sealed-off construction area!

Obviously there are 1 million elements going on in this process. As a quick overview, after they tore down the walls and ripped up the floorboard, we were left with our new open space. We moved the doorway to the bathroom over by a few inches to maximize the new square footage we were gaining. (Originally there was a radiator behind the door, which we removed.)

bath2

Recessed mirror frames and plumbing for new double sink.

Rough plumbing was put in, and a significant amount of work needed to be done to move the toilet, like cutting through the floor joists and reconfiguring plumbing. From an amateur’s perspective, you would think you can move things anywhere when you are gutting a room, but that simply just isn’t the case!  bath3 New plywood subfloor, toilet plumbing moved and framing for new window is added.

Next, the plywood floor was put down and they cut down the wood floor in the guestroom where the new wall will be. The new wall structure was put up. Then we had rough electrical added (outlets, light switches, canned lighting, and where we’d like to put the lights above our bathroom mirrors).

bath8 bath5New guest room closet and rough electrical is added.

Additionally, we moved the access panel to our attic from the main hallway into the new guest bedroom closet. This allowed us to reconfigure our cam lights in the hallway. It’s easy to see how renovations can quickly spread and grow – you’re doing one thing you might as well do them all at once!

bath6Building the new wall between the bathroom and guestroom.  bath9Yep. I showered in that. 

bath11The skylight will no longer be in the bathroom, but become a part of the attic. It’s old and once it starts leaking we don’t want to have to rip the new ceiling out. Plus it will no longer be centered in the bathroom and will provide natural light in the attic.

bath4Recessed shelves for the shower and you can see where the old window frame in the shower was.

Although it’s been messy and we’ve been without a shower (for far too long) I’m extremely excited for our new bathroom and it’s definitely been worth the wait.

Have you experienced a messy renovation? Does it scream “adventure!” or “disaster!” to you? I can’t decide which one it is for me!

 

Laying the Deck (With Sir Kreg Jig)

Let’s have a round of applause for rising temperatures and the arrival of spring!

We christened the deck with grilled burgers and a delicious dinner – which brings to mind that I haven’t posted on the deck in a while. Last I left of it looked like this:

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

This project was a big undertaking. Normally, laying down decking can be finished in a weekend. True to form, we decided to choose the most complicated way all for the sake of aesthetics.

Naturally.

We worked for many weekends until, literally, the snowfall stopped us – so there was never a chance to take an “after” picture until now.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

This is not a tutorial post – there are way too many steps and I wouldn’t even know where to begin. It all started with the proper tools, as many projects do. We used the Kreg Deck Jig. The tool comes with a DVD on how to use it. Basically, it’s a tool that guides the angle of the drill to create the look of invisible screws.

But let’s go back to the beginning.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

The Decking

We purchased Veranda composite decking from Home Depot in Nantucket Gray. Composite decking is more expensive than wood, but more durable, less maintenance (no sealing needed!) and will save money over time.

It should be noted that the color will fade within the first year, so you should make sure you like the color it fades to.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

And also be prepared for all your grass in the front yard to die. 😉

The composite boards are heavy. So heavy that you need two people to lift it – otherwise it may crack in the middle due to the weight. Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLivelyWe put down plywood boards as we worked our way across the deck, as our deck is one story off of the ground. I did not like walking across those rickety boards – that’s for sure.

The Kreg Deck Jig

The Kreg Deck Jig process was time-consuming, but fairly straight-forward once you got the hang of it. As I said before, this is not a tutorial, but merely a brief overview if you are interested in DIYing your deck.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

The spacers are very helpful. they show you how far to space the boards for expansion and drainage. But most importantly, they keep the boards parallel  to one another at equal distances. If you start to get crooked, you’ll notice and it’s not a good thing.

The spacers shown above are 1/4″, Kreg also includes 5/16″ for pressure treated wood since it expands more than composite. The kit (as shown above) only comes with 3 red spacers (1/4″ ) and 3 blue spacers. (5/16″). Three spacers won’t get you very far on 16 foot runs, so we bought a dozen extra spacers from Amazon. I highly recommend buying yourself some more spacers.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

Here is the handy blue box! Your new best friend! The Kreg Deck Jig.

Centered over every joist, you will pre-drill and drill a screw into each joist, on both sides of the board.

My job was pre-drilling the holes. The drill can be set to a certain depth, so it’s easy and there are no questions asked. If this girl can do it, anyone can. (Although I admit, I was nervous at first. I only made a mistake once!)

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLivelyUsing our feet and hands, we pushed the deck board in towards the spacers as well as we could, especially when setting the first several screws in. You’ll want to make sure it’s tight to the spacers to ensure a straight line.

The deck boards took us quite a number of weekends. In all honesty – it took up at least a month of our weekends. But DIYing the deck saved us a pretty penny, and it was actually fun.

Random Recommendations:

  • It’s helpful to have two drills. Since you are constantly pre-drilling and drilling, you having to swap out the bit every time would be painful and slow you down a lot.
  • Use an impact driver as the drill for driving the screw. You will have a lot more control and no stripping of the screws.
  • Buy an extra kreg drill bit and extra driver.

 

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLivelyOnce we finished the decking (yahoo!!), we moved on to the railings.

The railings were pretty straightforward. We used the Veranda ArmorGuard Composite Railing in white. The post jacket will slide right over the wooden post.

Next we needed to decide how high we wanted our railing to be. Each town or county may have legal requirements on the height – especially if you are not on ground level like ours is.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

There are a number of railing specifications we needed to decide on:

  • How high do we want the handrail?
  • How much taller than the top railing do we want the post cap to sit?
  • How much space do we want between the bottom rail and the decking?

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

We made our decisions 50% on personal preference, and 50% based on standard measurements provided from a quick Google search. After we measured and marked – on both the wooden post and the post jacket, it was time to slice away!

As always, measure twice, cut once.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively(Notice our lovely yard from the pipe and excavation adventure we had last fall.)

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLivelyNext we attached the lower railings (with brackets) and cut the bottom middle spacer.

The nice part about these railings is that the balusters were pre-cut and spaced, so we only needed to pop the balusters right in! Next we attached the handrail to the post with the brackets.

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLivelyWell lookie here, the light is at the end of the tunnel!

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

We still have a bit of work left to do. All the trim boards (which will be white) need to be attached. And, you may have noticed that we have no back staircase yet!

Laying Down Decking with a Kreg Deck Jig - DesignLively

Soon we will have a concrete based poured (at the base of the patio) and then the structure can be built. Our GC will come back and build the structure, and we will do all the finishing work.

And about that patio….

Well, that’s just another story for another day.

🙂

I’m in the market for some type of deck furniture to store my potted herbs on. What do you keep on your deck?

Inspiration Board for a Cottage Bathroom

I posted last week about the small modifications we’ve made to our bathroom over the last several years to help us get by until we were ready to totally renovate this room – and I couldn’t be happier that the time is finally here!

Here’s what I am hoping this room ends up looking like:

bathroom-inspiration-board

As you can see, I am feeling drawn to whites, grays, and blues – light, airy spaces! It feels nice and clean, which is always a good feeling in a bathroom.

While we always make a big effort to do things as inexpensively as possible, we also have a strong interest in investing in pieces that last. Items in spaces like the kitchen or bathroom get a lot of traffic – and we have no desire to redo something in a several years because it couldn’t hold up!

For flooring: I have been drooling over this Carrara Hex Tile for a long while. I tried to convince my husband to put it in the powder room but couldn’t get him on board. He’s finally come around! I love the muted mix of grays and slightly vintage feel.


via For the Love of a House

For shower tile: While he came around on the floor tile, I’ve come around on the shower tile. I always pictured just a traditional white subway tile (like everyone else on the planet), but he’s convinced me to go with oversized matte-finish rectangular tiles. Bonus: less grout to get mildewy! (Still contemplating a penny tile accent wall.)


via Molly Frey Design

For lighting: We will add some recessed can lights, but over the vanity we both like the nautical touch of a galvanized steel vanity light.


via The Handmade Home

For the vanity: Since I would love to DIY either white beadboard or board and batten in this room, and the tile is all lighter shades of gray, we are both drawn to these dark gray vanities. We have a black vanity downstairs with white beadboard, and I like the contrast.


via Southern Living

For Storage: We have a few ideas when it comes to adding storage. We’ll add recessed tile shelves in the shower, and a cabinet above the toilet. I’d also love to recess the medicine cabinets to tie into the molding – similar to this photo.


via This Old House

For the sinks: While I’m not sure about the fixture (something stainless), we know we like rectangular undermount sinks like this one. I love my undermount kitchen sink. It makes the countertop feel more spacious and it’s easy to wipe down.

via Wayfair

For Personality: I’ve had this picture “pinned’ for ages and I’d love to make a sign just like it for our bathroom!


via Inspired Design

For a Whale of a Good time: We have the big old towel bars tiled into the wall. I can’t wait to get rid of them! I would love to have a long row of hooks for towels. I’m in love with these whale’s tail hooks!!


via Houzz

For artwork: If I see if every day while I’m brushing my teeth I want to adore it. Maybe something fresh and fun like an Alex Katz print or one of my local Rockport, MA favorites George Anderson. (OR maybe I’ll get some guts and paint my own!)

via George Anderson Gallery

As I mentioned, this is currently our only bathroom upstairs. It’s also pretty small. This isn’t uncommon with older homes, but we’d like to expand the size for our own use, as well as resale value. We plan to reconfigure two closets and move a wall between the bathroom and one of our guestrooms. This will give us a lot more space to work with.

Our “must” list when it comes to this renovation:

  • Get more square footage (thankfully we’ve figured out a way to make this happen)
  • Need to keep a tub (resale purposes)
  • More storage / countertop (we’d like to fit a double vanity)

Have you ever renovated a bathroom? Any recommendations?
What part of the bathroom would you spend the most time working on?

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.)

shower4

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?

shower3 shower2

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!

shower5

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?