Hall Bath Update – The Details!


Brighter! Whiter! No longer the color of a peach crayon!

Over the Christmas break when I had some decent time off from work, I decided to start chipping away at the bathroom “fix it” list. There are lots of items on that list, but fortunately they are all cosmetic. I must say that I’m thankful to have a fully-functioning bathroom, even if it is in dire need of a makeover. 

I figured the easiest part was to paint the cabinet and mirror glossy white over the flat (yes, FLAT) peach color that was there before.

Now, I know you’re probably thinking… “Hey, don’t you think peach is sort of a weird color to paint a bathroom vanity and mirror?” Well I thought it was weird too at first, but then I realized, “But wait, the shower tile is peach… so it all MATCHES. It all makes so much sense now!” 


Peach colored tile… I’m sure this color was très chic in the ’60s.

Just kidding… the peachy color is SUPER weird! Or should I say… WAS super weird? Hasta la vista, peachy! The vanity and mirror look 100% cleaner and fresher now with a few coats of paint.


To dress up the very blah cabinet doors, I added lattice moulding to make them more “shaker style.” I had to do some pretty… “creative” wood filling on the rounded door fronts. Hopefully you can get the gist from the pictures below.







Once I was on a roll making over the vanity, I decided I had to rip out the “base tile” that went around the whole bathroom. What had happened was… I was painting the walls in a greige color that I knew I loved (Behr Sculptor’s Clay), but it looked totally strange. I couldn’t tell whether it was because of the lighting in that room or if it was just clashing with the peach-colored tile. So you see, I HAD to remove the tile before I could finish painting the room. Seriously, it seemed like the only logical thing to do.

Here’s my actual thought process, which was fairly logical (albeit brief). I measured the height of the tile and then measured the height of the baseboard in the hallway. When I saw that they were the same, I knew I could rip out the tile and cover the damaged part of walls with baseboard. If the tile had been taller than the baseboard, I would have had to go a different route – probably beadboard – to cover the damaged drywall.

Lastly, I attempted the faux granite painted counter idea I saw on Pinterest.

It turned out OK… but i will probably still end up replacing it with stone at some point. For now I’m just happy that it’s not creamy yellow anymore! Hooray!

Next, we are planning to re-tile the shower and add a jetted tub, but that’s a ways down the road. A nice new shower curtain will buy us some time by covering up that part of the room. 😀

I always say this, but it’s amazing what a difference a few coats of paint make!

Thanks for taking a peek at the work in progress!

Until next time,


Hall Bath Update Sneak Peak


Have you ever thought, “I need a change, like… right now!”? I certainly have – in fact it probably happens about every other week. Luckily, it usually involves paint and power tools rather than some sort of lifestyle overhaul. Or haircut. That would just be unreasonable.

But really, it seems like every few weeks I get a sudden urge to fix or change something around the house (which I can only assume is totally reasonable). If I think about a project too much, I tend to agonize over the details and end up with decorating paralysis, which is a real thing. So, I find I work best when I let myself be spontaneous. Spontaneous remodeling… that’s a thing too, right?

It is SO helpful to have a borderline out of control stockpile moderate stash of leftover paint, caulk, glue, rollers, and other necessary stuff when I decide something needs to get done RIGHT NOW. In other news, “helpful hoarding” is now also a thing.

Over the past couple of weeks I have:

  • Painted the mirror and vanity cabinet (glossy white – what else!?)
  • Added trim to the cabinet doors to make them look more “shaker” style
  • Painted the walls greige (over the previous yellowish-khaki color)
  • Ripped out the base tile and installed base boards
  • Faux painted the countertop (over the previous off-white color)

So with just a few days of work and at a minimal expense, we are well on our way to a fresh-looking hall bath!

I still need to re-tile the shower and replace the vanity light, but those will probably have to wait a while since they require purchasing materials and ripping out walls. I did everything to this point with paint and supplies that I had on hand — with the exception of the trim and baseboard, which I had to pick up at the hardware store.

The full post is under construction, so stay tuned for more details!


Beachy Bath Update (Adios, Istanbul!)

Our cute little half bath gets a lot of use since it’s right off of our downstairs den / living room. It was in desperate need of an update from its builder’s grade plate glass mirror and whacky hookah-lounge-style pendant lights. It truly felt like you were ducking into a Turkish restaurant every time you went to use the bathroom. (Sadly, I don’t have pictures, but those pendant lights were actually fully enclosed lanterns before I removed the bottom halves!) It was so dark and gloomy! And for such a small room (just 42″ by 6 feet), that was just a sad state.

Here’s what it looked like before it got a makeover (but after I removed the original mirror and added a smaller oval one):

Don't you love the lighting?

Don’t you love the lighting?

The mirror came off first, and I found some really hideous colorful floral wallpaper underneath. My sweet husband helped me pick out a new light fixture and we got the mirror from a family member for free.

The ceiling had some peeling paint around the AC vent from condensation damage. Covering it with tongue and groove pine planks was a perfect solution for both the peeling paint issue as well as the holes left after removing the lovely pendant lighting.

Peeling paint be gone!

Peeling paint be gone!

The planks were fairly easy to hang using a little electric nail gun. If I did it all over again, I might consider using some Liquid Nails to help the planks stick better in areas where the ceiling wasn’t perfectly flat. I made sure to stagger the ends of the planks so that none of the seams were next to each other. And luckily the bathroom is right off of the garage so I could easily run back and forth to make the cuts using my table saw.

All done!

Tongue and groovy, baby!

I was planning to paint the newly planked ceiling a glossy white (like everything else I paint) but after one coat of primer, I was pretty much over it and decided that the see-through primer coat looked “beachy.” Theme selected… totally on purpose! (I lie… not at ALL on purpose. Total happy accident.)

Added a little primer and some painted quarter round to finish it off

Added a little primer and some painted quarter round to finish it off

In my near constant quest for perfection, I was also dead set on filling all the little nail holes. It’s amazing how a long drawn out unfinished project time makes you a little lazy helps you embrace life’s little imperfections. I figured no one cares about things like tiny nail holes when they are relaxing with a fruity drink in their beach-themed bathroom.

Don’t think too hard or long about that… the intended visual falls apart almost immediately. Who drinks an umbrella drink in a bathroom? That’s just weird.

Anyway, there’s lots more to look at now than the ceiling!

Lots of little holes to add to the "laid back feel... right?

Lots of little holes to add to the “laid back” feel… right?

I had some FABULOUS (and free) paint from a bad mix job at the hardware store. When I returned to the store and showed them that the color was way off, they kindly mixed another can of what I actually wanted and told me they couldn’t take the “bad” color back so I might as well keep it. It’s by far the BEST “bad color” I’ve ever seen! It’s actually very close to the color in my bedroom, which is Behr “Watery.” Throw in a few seaside accents and a rope-y looking rug, and call it finito!

Beachy and bright!

After… beachy and bright!

Crane figurine from my favorite antique store, coral from Beall's Outlet

Crane figurine from my favorite antique store, coral from Beall’s Outlet… shelf and orchid from Goodwill!

I got this from Target on sale... I thought it looked like rope and fit the beach vibe perfectly. Just love it!

I got the rug from Target on sale… I thought it sort of looked like rope and fit the beach vibe perfectly. Just love it!

Here's what it looks like when you walk in from the hall. It says "Come on in, the water's fine!"

Here’s what it looks like when you walk in from the hall. It says, “Come on in, the water’s fine!

When I first started this project, I desperately wanted to get rid of the original 1960s vanity. I bought a pedestal sink off Craigslist and a shiny new faucet to go with it. It was then that I found out that you can’t just swap a pedestal sink in place of a vanity because the drain and water lines are roughed in differently…. so that’s another project for another day. For now, I’m learning to embrace the gold-flake formica in all its subtle, sparkling glory.

How you like me now?

How you like me now?

This project took a few months from start to finish because I worked on it in fits and starts with a dozen other projects in progress at the same time (as usual). I probably could have gotten it done in a weekend or two if I had been able to focus a little more! Major props to my friends and family who were brave enough to venture into this room during the long in between phase.

Thanks for reading… and happy beach-ifying!

Kitchen Window Seat with Storage

This project has been on my mind literally since the day we first toured our home. (Can’t believe that’s been a year ago already!) We knew from the start that we would need to resolve the layout and storage issues in the kitchen. The previous owners’ solution was to construct a massive built-in pub table off the side of the countertop. It provided a ton of great storage space behind its hidden doors, but ate up entirely too much room in an already cramped space. After 9 months of contemplating its demise, we finally went for it.

Since I’m terrible at taking step by step pictures, I won’t attempt to make this in any way instructional. But it’s still fun to see the window seat’s progression from “looks like a toddler threw that together” to “kind of professional if you don’t look too close.” 😀  For instructional info, do what I did and Google “window seat DIY.” I watched tons of videos to see all the different elements that might be involved.

Before/After Pub Table

Here’s the “before” pictures (though not quite the best angles):


Listing picture from before we painted



Progress photo while in the middle of painting cabinets and adding pulls

It now occurs to me that I don’t have a SINGLE finished picture of the kitchen. Mental note… document final results!

Anyway, here’s what it looks like after disassembling the pub table. The window looks absolutely huge! The side of the cabinet will require some creative patch work.


Building the Window Seat

First we removed the baseboard, then built sort of a mini “wall” frame and anchored it to the tile floor along the joists with 3″ decking screws. We pre-drilled the holes so as not to crack the tile. That’s a ledger board screwed to the wall under the window for the top of the box to be mounted to.


After the frame was built and secured, we measured and cut the plywood for the front and the top edges around where the doors would go. The wall vent had to be extended to the front of the box using rectangular wall vent ducting and an elbow joint to lower it towards the floor a bit.


Adam built a plywood casing around the duct so it wouldn’t get squished when we loaded stuff into the cabinet.

I really took my time cutting the wood for the doors since they needed to be functional and also look fairly clean. It took 2-3 hours to measure, cut, and hang them by myself. They are 48″ and 30″ long.


As soon as the top was secured, Murphy laid claim to his new throne.


Trimming the Window Seat

After days and days of construction, I was so excited to do the finishing touches! Semigloss white paint and base cap molding boxes make it look almost professional. I also used cove molding to trim out the top along the wall and a piece of stop moulding to dress up the front edge of the doors. The baseboard was salvaged from the wall behind the window seat.



Pretty on the Inside

Once the outside was pretty, it was tempting just to throw my kitchen supplies inside and close it until Thanksgiving. But if you know me, you know I’m way too OCD for that. I just HAD to trim out the inside of the cabinet too. Really, I was thinking about resale. As a homebuyer, I wouldn’t want to open a shiny white cabinet and see this:

Yucky bare floor and torn up walls where we removed the baseboard. Not very clean!

Yucky bare floor and torn up walls where we removed the baseboard. Not very clean!

So I painted the bare wood, covered the walls with beadboard wallpaper, and stuck down some vinyl floor tiles. (I mean, I’m not totally insane… I wanted it to be clean and nice, but not so much that I was willing to use real wood and tile to do so!)


IMG_7820 IMG_7819 IMG_7818


Patching the Cabinet

I was even able to repair the side of the cabinet where the pub table came off. I spliced together some of the panels that made up the sides of the old pub table cabinet. They looked like Frankenstein at first….


Nothing a little putty and paint can’t fix! (OK, a lot. A LOT of putty and paint.)


A Pillow of Epic Proportions

Now I’m just working on finishing up the giant 7-foot pillow cushion. It’s hilariously huge. Someday I will make a high density foam seat cushion, but this will suffice for now!



Have you ever made a pillow bigger than yourself? It is a hilarious good time… I definitely recommend it. I might put it on my bucket list just to cross it off.

Happy window sitting,


Dining Room Update: Box moulding, cheapie curtains, and more!

At long last, we have a functional dining room!


When we moved in, this was a formal living room that we knew we’d never use. I searched and searched and finally found a layout for a dining room / sitting room combo from the design team at Ballard (howtodecorate.com):


This ended up being the perfect solution for such a long room where we hoped to accommodate a lot of people.

It took a lot more effort than we originally thought, but we finally got the chandelier moved from the old dining room to the new. (We had to tap into an existing electrical box in the attic, run new romex to a new wall switch – not to mention cutting a hole in the ceiling in just the right place… no pressure!) But that made such a huge difference in the look of the room, with the added benefit of not having to eat by lamplight / candlelight anymore. (Let’s face it – it’s only romantic when it’s elective!) We also moved the couch into the seating area at the end of the room… it’s the perfect landing spot for Adam and his near-nightly food coma.


So you know how Better Homes and Gardens sends out about 50 emails a week with “quick and easy” decorating ideas? Well I actually found a usable idea… check out my super sweet stag / gold branch pillows! I almost feel guilty that they cost about $2.00 apiece. Those are clearance “holiday” placemats from Target – ripped open and stuffed with batting. I call this one my “Frankenstein” pillow…


…on account of it’s stitched back together pretty roughly… but we’ll keep that between us! The others went back together almost undetectably since they were stitched at the edge. This one had a double hem so I had to open it up inside the second stitch.


The old dining room is becoming a “keeping room” of sorts. It looks somewhat better now that the chandelier is gone and we have a regular ceiling light in there. Not exactly sure how we’re going to end up decorating it, but for now it’s a great entertaining space. The console table on the left is perfect for serving drinks, and the doors at the back of the room open up onto the back porch. Mostly, it’s where I drink my coffee and eat my cereal in the morning since we don’t yet have an eat-in area in the kitchen.


Last weekend I decided to start tackling the box moulding project in the dining room. I had already hung the chair rail and acquired the paint, base cap trim, and other supplies that I would need. I started by painting the bottom part of the room in semi-gloss white with a roller and trim brush. By far the easiest paint job, EVER. Slapping paint on with total disregard for the edges – yes please!! Since the chair rail, base boards, and window frames were all covered in the same semi-gloss paint, it mattered zero if I overpainted in those areas.


Here’s what the half wall looks like with a couple coats of white paint while it awaits the moulding detail:20140105-233827.jpg

Once I had the half wall painted, I started hanging the box /picture moulding. I don’t own a compound miter saw, but I do have a table saw that I got at Goodwill (score!). I was able to make the 45-degree cuts, but they still weren’t perfect because of the off-ish angle of the saw blade. Luckily, we have caulk for that! Here is a painfully close-up shot of one of the boxes:


And here’s what they look like from a normal distance to the naked eye. (Notice I still need to sand and paint around the new light switch.)


This wall was a little tricky because of the air vent intake… I looked online and found a bunch of ways to address this issue (you can alter the shape of the box by skirting around the vent) – but I consulted with my husband and he wanted me to just terminate the moulding into the sides of the vent. Now I just need to give it a coat of spray paint – it looked plenty white before, but with the superwhite semigloss latex next to it, the vent now looks a little gray.20140105-230151.jpg

Here is a closeup of how the moulding and vent live together…20140105-230923.jpg

And here is the wall behind the china cabinet, which we will hardly ever see, but for the record, turned out pretty great!


I’m loving this project because I can do a little at a time without it looking terrible. It took a couple hours to do the wall painting, then I’ve hung about 2 boxes a day and am about halfway done. (Granted, with the learning curve, I’m sure the second half will go MUCH faster.) But if you look to the left and right of the window (below), you can see that the unfinished side of the room (on the left) is not terribly noticeable.


Now, on to my easy, cheapie curtains! I had some “Goodwill specials” up there before, but they were not wide enough to fully cover the window, and they were also too long – in the kitty danger zone if you know what I mean. 😐 I got 2 table cloths (60×102) at Target on clearance for about $8.00 each. I cut them in half after trimming them to the right vertical length and hung them on my curtain rod with the clip rings I already had from the previous set of curtains.

20140105-230357.jpgNo sewing, no hem tape, NOTHING! I literally measured, cut, and clipped. The raw edge blends right in – no fraying so far!


I used the leftover fabric from the curtains (two strips of about 28″x60″) to make pillow covers for the couch to pull the room together. The placemats on the table are from the same batch that I used for the pillows. I also snagged cloth napkins in the red fabric pattern, but those are in the wash right now.  😀


Do you love my twig candelabra from World Market? Thanks Mom!

All told, it’s coming together a little at a time. Definitely a huge improvement since we first figured out the layout of the room a few months ago!




60’s Fireplace Refresh

There are a lot of wonderful things about living in a house instead of an apartment. For me, one of the things I was MOST excited about was having a fireplace mantle to decorate. Especially around Christmastime. So I was super thrilled when we bought a house with not one, but TWO fireplaces! The catch? No mantles! NO. MANTLES. The builders clearly underestimated the sheer joy to be had in decorating and RE-decorating these wonderful focal points. What’s a cozy fireplace without a mantle full of family pictures and holiday decorations? And WHERE would you hang the stockings?

We decided to tackle the one in the den first, since it gets the most face time with us and our guests.

Before: Bold & Brassy


Isn’t it so dark? Just think what it would have looked like with the original wood paneling before it was painted. It must have been like a cave in here!

To be honest, I actually love the challenge of getting this little guy brought into the 21st century. Plus it gives me an excuse to try out this fireplace makeover technique I saw from The Yellow Cape Cod via Pinterest (where else?!).


And because I’m terrible at taking progress pictures, here’s the AFTER for the whitewashing portion of the project. Instructions below!


Phase 1: Whitewashing

Here’s what I did:

  1. Mixed about a cup of leftover white latex paint with water. I started with a 2:1 water to paint ratio, but found that a MUCH thinner mixture worked better. I just kept adding water so I’m not sure where I landed, but basically you want it to look like skim milk. You can always go back over any thin spots later, but it’s much harder to un-paint the areas that have too much coverage!
  2. Sponged the paint/water mixture on very liberally with a utility rag and an old paintbrush and followed with a dry rag to catch drips.


  • Pre-mix plenty of paint and water so you have enough for the whole project
  • Cover the hearth while you paint the vertical brick… otherwise the drips will dry in little circles and will show through when you white wash the hearth. They can be sanded off, but it’s easier just to put down some paper.
  • Vacuum the cracks before you start. It’s amazing how much loose mortar “dust” is hanging out between the bricks!

It probably took about an hour and a half to whitewash the whole fireplace. It still needs some more work, but I love that you can still see the different shades of the brick. Although now that the brick is painted, the brass surround stands out even more!  😐


Phase 2: Painting the Surround

The next step was painting the brass surround using Barbecue Black. I followed the tutorial at from Infarrantly Creative, but the steps are pretty intuitive if you’ve painted before. The major twist, however, is using spray paint INSIDE. Black paint, no less. This had serious potential to get reallllll messy.

My sweet husband helped me cover all the brick around the surround with packing paper. We made sure to slip it behind the metal and the brick so no paint spray would get through the edges. We also taped off the glass panes using pieces of cardboard we cut to fit.




Then, we assembled a crude paint tent with a plastic dropcloth and a chair. Hey… it doesn’t have to look pretty to work!


I suited up in black scrubs from head to toe and covered my hair and neck with plastic bags. I even taped my sleeves over my gloves to keep any paint spray from getting on me. Finally, I put Pond’s cold cream all over my face so the paint couldn’t stick. The heavy duty breathing mask was a MUST. Not shown are my dirtbiking goggles… gotta have eye protection!

Even with the mask, I ended up holding my breath while I spray painted under the tent. The fumes were crazy toxic! I ducked in and out a few times (even running outside to get fresh air) before I finally finished spraying the whole insert.

Here’s the before and after:


I liked the black, but it still looked so… BARE! We discussed installing a floating mantle shelf, wiring it for power so we could mount the TV over it…. I mean we probably waffled back and forth for weeks looking at pricing and wiring and such. Then, one happy Saturday, I came across this “headboard” at my favorite local flea market/antique shop. Thank goodness it wasn’t being sold as a mantle… the price ranch for headboards is much cheaper!


We had to remove the fabric covered panel and trim it down to size with a skill saw (it was too deep for our fireplace). We cut it down from 16″ to 9″.

But then, we had to learn how to affix it to the masonry. That was kind of scary. I pictured future children hanging on it and pulling it off the wall. I let the husband handle that part of the show.


After: Fresh and Bright!

Finally… at long last, the mantle is securely mounted and now just needs a fresh coat of paint! And some accessories. It looks so much more balanced… I don’t know how this house lived 45 years of mantle-less life. I think it’s happier now. 😀


Just in time for Christmas! 🙂  I gotta say, this makeover took some patience. We moved in June 3 and got this done in December… but it was SO worth the wait. I love my bright, fresh, cottage-y mantle and can’t wait to hang some stockings!


Thanks for reading!



A long overdue house update! Plus a Goodwill makeover

Howdy, friends! So, I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. 😐 Things have gotten quite busy on the work front, and consequently my free time had dwindled. But no excuse — I have been taking on little mini projects around the house and have gotten a lot done!

Thanks to a generous Home Depot gift card we got for our housewarming, we were able to update our super sixties foyer light with something more modern. I love this trellis pattern!


Much better, no? I just love it and think it makes our entryway look brighter and fresher!

We also finally got some cabinet and drawer pulls put on in the kitchen. We picked oil rubbed bronze to break up all the whiteness of the cabinets. Don’t worry – full kitchen photo update is coming soon! Currently finishing the polycryllic coat and picking the wall color. 🙂 Also, that dishwasher is being replaced AS WE SPEAK with one that will actually fit a standard 12″ dinner plate!


We also ripped off the bandaid and unpacked all 20 of our remaining boxes that were mostly filled with china and stemware. The result was a big mess of dishes and with nowhere to put them!


They used to all fit in our cabinets but the new place is slightly storage challenged in the dish/kitchen department (great storage everywhere else, though!)

So I decided I needed a new cabinet to store my non-glass pieces like ice cream dishes, sugar and cream containers, and tea pots. Hello, Goodwill!

I found this little number for about $20. The bottom door is missing but I plan to get some big baskets and store our one bazillion tupperware containers in there.


All he needed was a good cleaning and a new finish. And since everything I’ve painted so far was white, I went with black! (Daring, I know!)

Here’s the before and after:


I’m going to give the paint a few more days to cure before I load him up! I’ll be sure to post the full story when I’m all done. 🙂


Yours belatedly


House Gets a New Hat!

House Gets a New Hat!

New roof – “Tweed Blend” 3-tab shingles from Tamko

What a relief to have a brand new roof over our heads. For as much as I hated the brown in the kitchen, I sure do love it against the brick tones of the outside of our house!

It looks warmer than before and pulls in the brown tones from the brick. What do you think?

Before - old (VERY old) gray roof

Before – old (VERY old) gray roof