25 September 2015

Feline Friday

On Day One of the bathroom remodeling project, the contractors put down sticky plastic sheeting in the hallway and on the stairs to protect the carpet.  After the contractors left for the day, the kitties came out of the room where I'd been keeping them and encountered this strange new floor covering.

Oh, my! Neither of them would step on it!

They tried to keep their little feet on the wood trim as they walked up and down the steps.

It was hilarious!

I even caught each of them separately trying to make their way up the OUTSIDE edge of the stairs!

After a few days, they've adapted (sort of) to the plastic. Tinsel doesn't mind it too much but Lily would still prefer to be carried up and down the stairs. I'm not falling for that ploy! :)

21 September 2015

Target Dollar Spot Trays

I know I've posted about trays in the past (here and here are two of many posts), but I seriously cannot get enough of them! I have several trays in my craft room and use them all the time for corralling project supplies. Trays make it easy to whisk everything off to a different room to work or to keep materials separated if you're working on multiple projects at the same time!

A few days ago, I happened to find wooden black trays at the Target Dollar Spot for just $3 each! I cut some paper to fit inside them, then cut a separate piece of acetate to cover the paper. Nothing is glued down, so it's easy to switch the paper and use the trays for holidays or other occasions!

 I have a file of paper I've amassed over the years to match my craft room. Luckily, I had two sheets which worked great in these new trays. I've already put them to work!

19 September 2015

Bathroom Remodel: Choosing Materials

The fun part of any remodeling project is figuring out what you want to do with the space. We relied on the designer at a cabinetry shop to sketch out the space and design a new vanity. She has been a great resource for all kinds of design questions. 

We started with the vanity design as the main piece in the room. This vanity is not completely traditional or completely modern but has some elements of each. The name for that style (I've learned) is "transitional". The cabinet finish is walnut but the doors are more modern in style (clean lines, no fluting around the edges). The counter is cream-colored (traditional) and is extra deep along the front (modern), a look that I absolutely love.

We considered lots of different flooring options and ultimately decided on this 1" hexagon tile in a light caramel color. In person it is absolutely beautiful, and it reminds me of the tile we used to have in the bathroom of our 1923 home. We chose a creamy subway tile for the shower which coordinates nicely with the hexagon tile.

I picked it all up at the tile shop. It is HEAVY! I considered that my workout for the morning!

Next, we turned our attention to fixtures. After a lot of looking, we ended up choosing faucets and shower controls by Delta in "Venetian Bronze". The color is traditional but the style is more modern. Transitional, I should say!

After choosing the plumbing fixtures, we began looking for lighting. Turns out each manufacturer has its own version of "bronze" and, as a result, it was very hard to find light fixtures to match the faucets.  Color differences between "bronze" faucets and light fixtures can be substantial.

In addition to color, there were also other lighting considerations, of course. I fell in love with this hanging pendant light and thought it would be great in the space where the tub once was. I was even willing to spray paint the metal to match the faucets. But alas, the fixture components were too long for the space, even when adjusted. We can't be hitting our heads on the hanging light! So back to the store it went. Rats!

 When looking for lighting, you also have to consider brightness, which is (obviously) affected by the bulb and by the shade. I really wanted clear wall sconces with Edison bulbs, but they don't put out much light. And brighter light bulbs are just not that attractive when visible through a sconce.

Delta offers some limited lighting options which match their plumbing fixtures, and we finally settled on one of them. It's not what I initially envisioned but at least the metal will match! The shades will probably be too white for our counter and will have to be replaced. The next task will be to find matching pendant lights.

Next, we began to think about what to do with the walls. Spouse tried a couple of options for painting the wallpaper, including applying Kilz before painting multiple coats. Unfortunately, you can still see the seams (and a hint of pattern) through the paint.

We both really liked the bead board in the bathroom of our old house, so I began combing Pinterest for similar looks. After considering a few options, we decided on five foot high wainscoting painted in a cream color to match our wood trim (similar to the photo below). It will cover up a good portion of the wallpaper, leaving three feet at the top exposed.

I proposed covering the area above the wainscoting with wallpaper. Spouse is a very good wallpaper hanger, and he agreed that it was the best solution. My first idea was some sort of grass cloth (for visual texture) but Spouse isn't too keen on the look and it's very expensive. 

So I headed to Sherwin Williams to check out their wallpaper books. I was on the hunt for something with a low contrast pattern or design.

When I arrived, my inner librarian had a very hard time with the complete disorder of the wallpaper books! I had to spend a bit of time re-grouping them according to their labels. It was hard to find anything and remember what I'd looked at with this mess...YIKES! :)

Modern wallpaper designs are amazing! I saw so many great designs which would make a perfect accent wall -- just not in this bathroom! The hexagon floor will provide plenty of pattern -- we don't need to add any more on the walls!

Ultimately I brought home a few books with chocolate brown, low-contrast designs. The wallpaper will be the last part of the process so there is no rush. I'd like to see the cabinet in the space before making a decision.

Thanks for following along with me on this project. I'm excited to see the new space come together!

18 September 2015

Feline Friday: My Muffin!

There's a reason I usually don't have English muffins in the house. It's a battle to keep them on the plate! :)

Happy Feline Friday from Lily!

17 September 2015

Bathroom Remodel: Tear Out

After I said my goodbyes to the bathroom, the contractors arrived and got to work immediately. I was amazed at what they accomplished in just a few hours.

Shower? Gone.

Who knew there was this much insulation around the shower? That seems a little excessive! Sheesh!

 Corner tub? Gone.

Ginormous mirror? Gone.

Vanity? Gone.

Toilet? Temporarily residing in the corner of our bedroom. :)

Off it all went to the landfill. :(

 This is not a small project, and I really feel for the guys having to haul stuff up and down the stairs to our second floor bathroom. It's hot, dirty, and very tiring work.

All I can say is that you'd better be absolutely SURE you're ready before you call the contractors for a job like this, because once they arrive, there is NO TURNING BACK!

Stay tuned for ongoing updates!

Bathroom Remodel: Before

 Gentle blog readers: BRACE YOURSELVES! You are about to be transported back in time to the early 1990's, when shiny brass fixtures and forest green, mauve, and country blue were the all the rage. Our master bathroom, while very nice when we moved to this house in 1994, has been trapped in time. We have updated most other areas of the house but it seemed like a waste to spend money on a space that no one but us ever sees.

While the bathroom decor has never been my style, it is still functional, and I'd be lying if I didn't say I feel somewhat guilty about taking on a project of this scope. I am still having a hard time with the idea of spending money on a space that only we will use. I'm just not accustomed to using our resources in that way.

But, at the end of the day (as they say), this remodel is well past due and I know we will enjoy and appreciate the new space every single day. So on we go!

Like any diligent memory keeper, I took a few "before" pictures before the contractors arrived on Monday. And, because I'm pathetic, I gave the bathroom a good cleaning as a little "send-off" to the fixtures before they hit the dump. Who cleans the bathroom before contractors arrive to tear it out? I guess that would be me! :)  

I'm NOT sorry to see the shower go. The track at the bottom of the sliding doors has been very tough to keep clean. Goodbye, shower!

I have always disliked this type of light fixture. With all of the light bulbs on, it generates a LOT of heat so we have to keep a few of them unscrewed. I am very excited about new lighting -- although that has proven to be a somewhat challenging part of the process. More on that in another post!

We are lucky to have a very large closet which will not be touched during this part of the remodel. After we're done with the bathroom, we'll be doing some updates to the bedroom and will paint and replace the carpet at that time. It is original carpet and not in good condition, as you can see by the wrinkles!

I'm also looking forward to getting rid of this massive corner tub. It has only been used a handful of times in the 21+ years we have lived here. The tub has been a great place for my plants over the years, but for us, it is not good use of the space. And it seems that many homeowners agree: Our contractor told me he has torn out over 20 of these tubs in recent years!

After considering all the options, we elected not to put a tub in the space, since there is one right around the corner in the other bathroom.

I am also ready to see the wallpaper go. While still in good condition, it is out of date.


After thinking through a number of options, I came up with a plan for the walls which does not involve stripping wallpaper. More on that in a later post!

On the morning before the contractor arrived, I took a few pictures of the space in "stripped down" mode. I have to say that I felt badly knowing that all of these fixtures would soon end up in the landfill. I always try to avoid that, but it just was not possible this time.

I felt a little sad and sentimental (yeah, I know I am weird...) that all of the fixtures which have served us over the years were going to be put to rest. I took my "last shower", then brushed my teeth and dried my hair for the last time while standing at this vanity. I have many, many fond memories of rolling Bailey's hair for show choir competitions in front of this vanity. **sniff, sniff**

I didn't actually cry (kind of surprised about that!), but I did take some time to be in the space before the contractors arrived. I know I'm completely goofy but change is hard for me...
...even change that is well past due!

So I hope you'll follow along with me on this process! I'm excited about the design for the space and look forward to sharing our progress. Change can be good, and I know this change is going to be a big improvement!

14 September 2015

September Succulent (and Violet!) Check-In

Big news!

Well, not really. But I am excited that for (I think) the first time, I did not kill off any of my succulents! They all survived the past three-week interval between watering. That, my friends, appears to be an accomplishment.

If you are skeptical about this claim, I have some pictures to prove it!

The jade plant is doing extremely well. Maybe I should buy only jade plants in the future. It looks the same every day. I still think it might be plastic, but I don't really want to know so I haven't looked too closely.

 My Christmas cactus (which--remarkably--I've had for years) and the new aloe plant are also doing great. With me in the kitchen, it's reassuring to know that I can just nip off an aloe leaf and tend to my next burn.

 And here's the rest of my motley collection of smaller succulents. The one at the right just keeps getting taller. Something may have to be done with him but for now, I'm just happy he's alive.

 My violets are doing great, now that I moved them to a window on the other side of the house. (I'm sure feeding them has something to do with it, too.) The one at the left is getting ready to bloom for the first time since I bought it last spring. The small one was just a tiny snip from one of Bailey's violets. She cut and planted it for me in August and it has done extremely well. Bailey has proven herself to be quite handy with violets!

My violets are now occupying Tinsel's prime outdoor viewing bench. It's not an attractive place for them but it's working. Make room for violets, Tinsel!

This modest success gives me a small degree of hope for the future! No more death and destruction of cute little succulents!