Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My potty: The Reveal


So, a reminder of where we started: (imagine dark brown walls--unlike a good blogger, I started priming without taking a true "before")

Brown walls, broken brown tile, golden-oak cabinets, dim light, off-white fixtures. Nice, huh? At least its big--but then, that means there was more room for UGLY!

This whole remodel began because the old brown tile had a big crack running from the shower to the tub, and we were worried about mold, especially since the tile was installed directly on the subfloor. This was directly after our moldy basement ceiling episode, so mold was on our mind.

Thankfully, there wasn't any mold, but it was a good excuse to make things prettier:)

And now--

Here's a sketch of the basic floorplan.

The room is essentially 10x10. Definitely big, but perhaps not the best use of space. (Giant corner tub that gets used only occasionally, vs a tiny shower that is used daily?). The ceiling is vaulted, starting at 8 ft on the exterior window wall and climbing to 12 feet on the door-wall. The cabinet is seriously 6 1/2 ft long. So there was no way we could do this without some major effort and serious consideration of cost.

We had to plan around the existing features, including the ivory/cream colored tub and shower. We have no plans to replace those. We decided to incorporate the color into the overall color scheme. I found this fantastic tile from Lowe's with blue, green, cream and white and it was the perfect jumping off point for the room.

This way, we were able to add in white trim, a creamy white tile floor, and fresher color while making room feel cohesive. I also found this picture,
(from a Lowe's magazine) which provided a good inspiration for the design.

I will say, hands down, the best thing we did was paint the walls, followed closely by painting the cabinets and trim. Thankfully, paint--the cheapest of all upgrades--has a huge impact. The wall color is smoke infusion by Valspar, and the trim is slightly off-white--cream delight, by Behr. The cabinets are bittersweet chocolate, by Behr. I also did a finish coat on the cabinets with furniture wax, just to try it out, and I really like the soft finish. I have painted cabinets twice before, but this time I put much more care into using good materials and doing it right, and it paid off. The handles are from Lowe's (and for those of you who follow blogs, they are the same ones used by Thrifty Decor Chic on her library cabinets, but I picked mine out first).

I bought the shelf unfinished from Michaels. With some sanding, caulk, and spray paint, it looks quite nice and friendly. The carved panels are a DIY copycat project (inspired by Brook from All Things Thrifty) that I started years ago. They are simply MDF, cut into three panels, and carved with a jig saw. I transferred the pattern using a transparent projector. My friend in Michigan, Liza, helped me with this before we move, and then I got frustrated and didn't finish them until last week.
(I love this shot of them, reflected in the mirror. They pick up the brown in the cabinets and make the whole thing looked put together!)
I backed them my hot-gluing brown felt to the back. They look great--but next time I'd use thicker MDF.

We still plan on replacing the counter top, which is starting to look very dull and dated now that everything else is updated, but that will wait until we're a bit more desperate to spend money. We also plan on adding a piece of furniture to go on the wall behind the door to hold towles and tp and other things.

So there it is! It's such a relief to have it done--but more than that, I love being able to turn a stupid space into something that I love, and to be able to work together with Christian. Thanks for being interested!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bloggy Catch-up

My poor blog is feeling neglected.

In early February, we finally had a good batch of wet snow--the kind that's great for making snowmen. Seriously, I can't believe we made it through a midwest winter without having to shovel even once. The kids had a fun afternoon spent building snowman bigger than themselves (with a bit of help from Daddy).

Hannah always seems to end up with the fun teachers. This year, her teacher hosted a family bowling party for current and past students, so we had a fun afternoon bowling really badly.

Last summer I bought a cheap-o side table with grand hopes to refinish it. Christian finally convinced me it wasn't worth fixing up, so I let the girls have their way with it. Between the three of us, this is what we came up with. It looks pretty cute between their beds.

Also, the kids enjoyed the beautiful weather so much, they decided to have an outside spa. They raided my bathroom cabinets for beauty supplies, set up a chair in the backyard, and gave me a foot soak and massage, styled my hair and did my make-up. A bit chilly and windy--but I guess that's part of the experience?

Thursday, March 15, 2012


So, I always say it takes a year in a new place before it starts to feel like home.
We've now been here one year. Just a year ago, we were saying good-bye to a house we loved, a ward full of friends, and a neighborhood and school that were wonderful for my kids. It seriously tore at my heart. I couldn't think too much about it--I just had to trust the decision-making process that brought us to that point, and go with it. Then there was a busy week full of settling into the new place, where the kids found lots of new places for hiding-and-seeking and we saw lots of potential in our new place.
We celebrated our one year anniversary of moving by heading back to Michigan for a friends' birthday and to see another friends' new baby. I missed Candace's fantastic 29th roaring twenties party because of the move last year, so this year we went back for an afternoon of bowling. Candace has since also moved away, but its still most convenient to head back to common ground to catch up. Jessica, who once swore she'd have a dog rather than a 3rd baby, now has her 4th, and we spent a fun afternoon checking out the little guy, playing killer bunnies, and eating. Sorry--we seriously didn't take any pictures!
We are starting to feel a bit more at home here, but its been a long process. During the past year, Christian and I have served in 5 ward callings between us, plus interpreting duties, and I think that helps in getting to know people and feel like we have a role here.
Our "special needs" home has come a long way...and still has a long way to go. We have the tendency of moving frequently, so we need to treat each home as only 1/2 ours...and 1/2 belonging to the next person to come along. Most of what we're doing to the home isn't because we're spoiled enough to need it fixed up, but because we know what happens when we try to sell a home that isn't cared for. We're proud of some of the progress we've made (the basement, the downstairs bathroom), and excited for some of the things in progress (the master bathroom).
Here's a taste of what we have in the works...and hopefully I'll have some pretty, finished pictures soon.