Wednesday, February 26, 2014

finally a finished bathroom

Well we did it, the bathroom is complete and we are finally willing to show you our handiwork now that we are satisfied with the outcome! 

As a reminder to where we started take a look at our before picture of the bathroom, it was cute enough but there wasn't enough storage space and the little medicine cabinet mirror seemed to be shrinking over time!

All of these changes started because we didn't like the faucet fixture on the pedestal sink, along with the towel bar and toilet paper holder. We made our first adjustments to the room by adding shelves above the toilet and a shower curtain to cover up the glass doors (you can see all that here). 

After we lived with the pedestal sink and small mirror for about five months we decided to make some other small upgrades that gave the room the extra lift that it needed. It also opened up a can of worms, hence the month long delay in writing this post!

After getting our plumbing debacle fixed (thank you Steve!) we were able to install the new vanity properly! Rob and I, along with cheerleader/photographer Laura E. and our always-in-the-middle-of-everything Aussies, we were able to complete the install and enjoy our new sink.

Once the vanity was installed we realized that it further dwarfed the already small bathroom mirror/medicine cabinet so I decided that I would try and paint the frame to make it a bit more substantial looking and save us the cost of buying new. The color was nice and it wasn't a bad idea but the paint job just wasn't sticking the way it should have and I didn't trust it to last. 


Needless to say we were mirrorless in the bathroom for a week and a half and we made due by hanging a spare mirror on our towel hooks. Finally we just decided to search for a mirror that matched the bathroom / existing decor and would fit the space. I was so happy when someone suggested Home Depot as a source for a bathroom mirror. We were able to find one for 49.00 and of great quality to replace our old cabinet!


We had to remove the existing shell which left a lovely hole in the wall. If you look closely you can see the two prior colors this bathroom has been (grey under the white and speckled pink/blue/black under that)! We decided that because of the size of the mirror we were going to be able to leave this hole in the wall (for now) and just cover it up with the new mirror. Let's let that be our little secret! 


***Forgive us for the angles on these photos... it's hard to take a picture of such a small room! 

Overall, we LOVE the new look of the bathroom. It feels fresh and crisp and much more modern than where we started! The mirror has nice texture and depth but isn't overwhelming for the room. This was a slow but worth it transformation, thankfully it was also not that expensive either! 

I would estimate that we spent less than $300 on the whole room: 
vanity= $70
mirror= $50
shower curtain= $20
ikea shelves= $15 (for both)
towel hooks= $20
organization baskets= $30 (for three)
tp holder= $15
faucet= $40

I am glad that we took our time finding pieces that were on sale so we could make this such an affordable upgrade! We also took our time buying the pieces so the cost was spread out!

Has anyone else finished a project that has been a long time coming?! We'd love to see pictures of your finished projects!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

spring is sprouting

As I mentioned a while back in our post about our backyard plans, I have been very excited to get our seeds started for our new and improved yard and garden! Even though there is still snow on the ground (and sometimes falling from the!) we are hopeful and looking forward to the day when it's all gone! It helps to have little green sprouts starting to show in the basement where we have started our first batch of veggies and flowers! 

Unfortunately, we don't have a great place in the basement for a "sunny" all the time spot as is recommended for most seeds. Our basement is just an underground room with tiny windows at the top of the walls. I looked online for a solution to this lack of light and found an option that only cost us about $25 from Home Depot (fixture plus two light bulbs). 

This is definitely not going to be a permanent fixture in our basement as it intrudes into a large portion of our "finished basement" but it's perfect for what we need for the next 8ish weeks. The chain makes the light adjustable as the plants grow and it's big enough that it covers two of the seedling starter trays. 

I've never started seeds before so when I went to the store to get a "starter kit" I looked at all my options and this seemed like the best one. It has 72 cells and it self waters for up to 10 days. I still check on the moisture level every once in a while but it's nice to know that we can leave and it's still going to be ok for a couple of days! 

So far I have started Tomato, Onion, Eggplant, Sage, Rosemary and two types of flowers that we will be planting with our veggies for maximum pollination, etc. The starter kit comes with grid sheets so you don't forget what you planted where! Aren't they clever? 

It's almost like Spring has sprung seeing some little sprouts popping out of the soil! They look so fragile now but it's going to be so fun to see them grow and eventually get transplanted to our backyard! 

Has anyone else started their seeds? Any wise words for this newbie? Please, oh please, impart your wisdom! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Reader Redesign: Meet Hannah

Hello everyone, we apologize for the lack of posts lately! Life has gotten ahead of us and we have seriously slowed down in the renovation department. We still have lots to do and lots to post about but we have had some hiccups that we are trying to decide how to solve and therefore haven't had any big reveals to share. Soon, we promise!


To tide you all over, we have a Reader Redesign that was sent to us in response to our guest blogger post a couple weeks back! Hannah is an interior designer from the Grand Rapids area of Michigan and is currently working on flipping her second home (you go girl!). After looking through her website, it is obvious that she has a talent for home decor and renovation; we are so excited to share her "bookshelf" redesign with you now!

I am drooling over her shelves as a use of space for a seemingly small living room - so much warmth and personality is added by taking only about one foot of space out of the room. Now obviously it takes a while to collect all the items that she has on display (I love her use of books, plants, jars, growlers, and much more) but be encouraged: bookshelves are great to display all sorts of things, you probably have more items to display than you think! Shelves like this are a perfect way for anyone to put their personality on display and the cool thing is: everyone's shelves would end up so different!

In her original post about these shelves, she says that they only cost her about $180 as opposed to the much pricier wood built-in's she was originally thinking of installing. I personally am glad this is the route she took, I think the blue of the wall showing through really brings the whole room together and makes this feel like a part of the room instead of just an addition. That was some good thinking on her part! ***If you click the original post link you can see the before pictures of this room as well! 

Hannah's home renovation is really remarkable. If you have a minute to take a peek at her first and second homes you will see what I mean! She is also available for design consultation, etc. so if you have questions please post them on this page and we would be happy to send them her way! 

A BIG thank you to Hannah for sharing her awesome shelves with us! We are so thrilled to share them with you! 


Has anyone else been restyling their environment lately? Starting any new projects? We'd love to hear about them! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

confessions of a DIY life

We have proverbially broken into the "can of worms" territory! Oh yes, we have. So far we have been quite careful making sure to take things one step at a time but today I find myself elbow deep in that can of worms we tried so hard to keep closed. It was somewhat of an accident (doesn't everyone say that?!) but here we are. 

It all started with the new vanity for the bathroom, which you haven't seen because we are still working in the bathroom (hello can of worms). After installing the vanity with a fair amount of ease we looked around, ok I (Lindsey) looked around, and saw other things that needed some love. It all starts with love... please believe me. 

After deciding to paint the laundry chute, I also decided to take the medicine cabinet apart and sand and paint that, and then to top it all off I took down the shelves from above the toilet to make sure those were sealed properly. ALL really great ideas, but I shouldn't have decided to do them at the same time. My dad always said "one thing at a time, Lindsey" and I should have listened!


After the first coat on the medicine cabinet (in the same color as the hallway ceiling) I realized that it was going to take many coats and even a sealant to make this paint job last. These pictures are from one coat (left) and post sanding (right). The difference, even so far, is great! It make the medicine cabinet look much richer and it stands out against the white wall along with the hooks and the soon-to-be-reattached shelves. This should be finished by tomorrow; between drying time and jetting to and from work, this is taking longer than it should have! 

I also got my Polycrylic out to seal the shelves and they are already showing some vast improvement. This picture is from one coat and once they have the proper two (or three depending on how I think they look) they will get hung up and redecorated. WOOT! 

I can't wait to show all of you these minor, phase one changes that create an updated look in our bathroom. It's all coming along. 

Meanwhile, I've also been dreaming of spring and obsessing over our garden plans: you can just call me Nana! 

Enjoy the sun everyone! 
Until next time - L

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

trying our hand at sustainability

This was me in ACO Hardware yesterday buying seeds for a discount at their changing ownership sale. Rob always laughs at me for getting so excited about the simple things but in reality isn't that a good thing?! Please just say yes. 

I got home and laid out all my packets, knowing I had inevitably bought way too much of certain items but not caring because I am starting from scratch this year! Our (awesome, can't believe we got so lucky) neighbors had a great selection of veggies and herbs when we moved in last fall and after my small attempt to grow veggies on our apartment patio last year, I decided that I would be a big girl this year and start from seed. Also, Greg (one of those awesome neighbors) knows a lot about it and I may have to pick his brain!! 

Last year we bought some already grown plants from the farmer's market near our apartment and transplanted them into small pots on our patio. They did ok but they definitely did not flourish the way they should have. I barely did any research and I bought the wrong dirt, so... that didn't help them at all. What little we yielded was exciting but not necessarily a sustainable process. 

This year we have a YARD! This year I have started my research early! This year we are setting ourselves up for success!

Here is our plan: mind it's hand drawn (pardon my handwriting) and we have to wait to see exactly where the sun falls once there are shadows again but it's a general idea of what we are thinking and dreaming about for our backyard space. Finger's crossed I can get a general idea today because the sun is actually shining! 

The most exciting thing is that we have space to work with and some decent existing plants that will contribute to the overall look and beauty of the yard! 

We are going half-sie with our neighbors on a new fence this spring (just along one side of the yard) to replace the chain link fence that has seen better days! That and tearing down the moldy, dilapidated shed in the back, will be our first steps at rebuilding this yard!  

Bye shed! You're cute, but you are rotting and you smell terrible!

So far we have these seeds: 
  • Herbs: Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, Cilantro, and Flat Leaf Parsley
  • Flowers: Dalia, Delphinium, Marigold, Zinnia, Alyssum, Hollyhock, and a Wild Flower mix. 
We are looking to add these seeds: 
  • Veggies: Jalepeno, Tomato (a couple varieties), Zucchini, Cucumber, Beans (a couple varieties), Spinach, Onion, Garlic, Shallots and Lettuces
  • Herbs: Dill, Sage, Lemongrass (in big pots to keep the mosquitos away)
  • Fruits (these are all maybes): Cantaloupe, Pumpkin, Watermelon, Blackberries, Blueberries
  • Flowers: not sure what exactly we want, but we want it to be beautiful and colorful so we'll pick what ever fits that bill and matches the sun that area will receive! 
I can't wait to get started! Now all we need is a thaw, come on Michigan, you can do it! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

a step in the right direction

We are getting so close to the big bathroom reveal, there are just a couple of things that need to be accomplished before we show you the new vanity, etc. We decided that posting an "along the road" post about the bathroom would alleviate some length that the full post could take, so here is a snippet of what we have finished, what we are in the middle of, and what we have yet to do! 


1. The bathroom plumbing:
More on the install later but the water is running and we don't have any leaks!!

2. The Toilet Paper holder is installed:
We took down the ugly gold and silver original, puttied the holes it left behind, painted everything white again, and then installed the new holder. Even simply upgrades like this can make the room feel like new! 


3. The "towel bar" wall is mended:
Because of the new vanity, the old towel bar didn't make sense in the bathroom and well, it was just plain ugly. We took down the original and instead of adding anything in it's place we just repaired the wall by puttying, sanding and painting it back to white! It's nice to just have some fresh white wall space in a small bathroom like ours! 

As you can see in the first and third pictures, the space between the wall and the "counter" shrunk from about 10 inches to four inches. Hence, the awkwardness of a bar. 


In process

1. Laundry Chute makeover:
The laundry chute, our new must have house inclusion (we LOVE it), was looking a little sad and needed a pick me up. First, we scrubbed the metal to get it nice and clean and to rid the frame of most of its rust. Second, we removed the handle/latch and taped off the door. Finally, we painted the outside edge with a small paint brush in order to spare ourselves from streaking. As for now only the outside frame has been painted and the door still needs a coat or two but it's already looking much better! 


2. Medicine Cabinet:
With our new vanity the existing medicine cabinet is looking dwarfed and yellowed. The new crisp white porcelain sink creates a true point of color reference for the cabinet. We don't want to buy a new cabinet yet, and we don't want a gaping hole in the wall covered by a larger mirror either (we like the storage space) but something has to give. Our answer: paint! We haven't decided if we will go white like its surrounding walls or dark like the base of the cabinet but we do know it's getting some paint lovin' this week! So far we have removed the door and used liquid deglosser, a sanding agent, on the frame to ready it for paint! 



Coming up: 

1. Sealing the shelves: 
We have noticed that the shelves we refinished for the bathroom (here) collect a lot of dust and are hard to clean because we didn't use a sealant on them. We are going to use a water based sealant so we don't have to air out the bathroom (and house) for days after applying. 

2. Changing out the light fixture:
We don't like the fixture in the bathroom but it does give great light to the vanity area. We know we are going to need one that is generally the same shape etc, but we would like a bit more of a modern flavor. 

3. Taking down shower door: 
The shower doors have been a "take down" since the very beginning and we would like to eventually live with a curtain in it's place. We are most likely going to take the doors down before we retile the bathroom and just fill in the screw holes for the time being. 

Now you can see where are at, definitely in process but making great steps toward the finish line! Keep following us this week to see what we will come up with next! 

What did all of you work on over the weekend? Anything exciting, big or small? We'd love to hear from you! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

a birthday note to Oswin

Dear Oswin, 


It's amazing how time flies and how fun and distracting life can be. All of a sudden our tiny little, too cute to be true puppy is ONE! We can't believe you are so grown up, our little Winnie!

You will always be especially special to us because we got you right before we lost your brother Jack. You ended up being just the sunshine we needed to get through losing him. Look at that big brother protection, even for a short time he loved you so!! You have been lucky enough to know and love both your brother Jack and your sister Harlee, your best friend!

We brought you home from the Kalamazoo area in April of 2013 when you were 10 weeks old, you were irresistible with your light eyes, cute fluff and chubby belly! We never had a chance of getting out of there without you in tow, nor would we ever have wanted to!

We love you and we are so thankful for your sweet nature and the joy you bring us everyday!

We love you, girl! Can't wait to live years and years with you!

Happy Birthday!
your mom and dad