19 Aug

Check Out My Bathroom

It’s time for another house remodel update. When we bought our house (over a year ago!) there were several things that we knew needed immediate attention. The 30 year old rotting deck with no stairs was the first thing, which is now replaced by a gorgeous deck that connects to our yard (we hired a company to do all of this work). We took a short detour to the basement this last spring to fix some leakage (also hired out). And, we’ve spent the last six months working on renovating this downstairs bathroom:Downstairs bath reno before

This is what it looked like when we received the keys to the house. When we first saw the house there was stuff all over the counter and kitty litter all over the floor, plus the shower was really gross (and tiny). Looking at the house now, I can hardly imagine all the wall paper that was previously here.

Dowonstairs bath reno before 2

My first step was to sketch out ideas of what I wanted to change and what I could change. I even made a mood board to share with my mom as she was removing wallpaper in the house and I was still in Virginia. I wanted something that was contemporary, but simultaneously looked appropriate in a mid-century home. A grey and yellow tiled aesthetic fit the bill.

Downstairs bath reno sketch

My mom and step-dad removed the wallpaper and primed the walls. We hired a guy to take out the plastic shower insert and create a larger shower space for me to tile. He also installed a light in the shower stall and prepped the baseboard area for tiling, plus smoothed out a lot of the wobbly walls and coordinated with a plumber and carpenter. The result of this awesome team’s work is now ready to share:

Bath0

The key piece is the drop in, bull nose, new old stock yellow sink I found on Ebay before escrow had even closed on the house. Once it was installed, I realized that it was no longer centered under the light fixture (which I replaced with a retro looking update). My mom suggested, and my friends encouraged, a collage of mirrors to mitigate the imbalance. I think it adds a lot of fun to the room.

Bath1

The old vanity was small even though the room is large. The baseboard heating limits what will fit. So, I designed a vanity with an overhang of sorts. We researched retrofitting a standard vanity or something from the ReStore, but ultimately we decided that we deserved a custom build. I chose knobs from Rejuvination, and found a sparkly white quartz counter remnant which was ours for the price of cutting and installation. The result wasn’t exactly cheap, but it is so sexy and worth the investment.

Bath2

The baseboard in the bathroom was wood on some walls and vinyl on others (because of wobbly walls and floor). We opted not to change the heating, the floors, or the toilet because they would more than double the cost of the project and potentially affect other rooms as well. So, a tiled baseboard evened out the vagaries and underscored the retro aesthetic in the room.

Bath3

My mom and I did all the tiling. I chose DalTile 4″ porcelain tiles as they are essentially the same as would have originally been in the house. I had to special order the yellow ones which match my sink, but the yellow and grey mosaic floor tiles were a return from the University of Oregon and therefore on super-special while supplies last. The yellow and grey were perfect for my project! I replaced a few tiles with white to lighten the look.

Bath4

In the photo at the beginning of the post you can’t see how small the original shower was, but by taking 18″ from the closet in the room next door, our shower is not only attractive and clean, it is spacious as well.

Bath5

I painted the door grey to match the color scheme, and to continue the trend in the rest of the house. Doors into a room are different colors (to coordinate with the room), while closet doors are white.

I am so happy with this renovation. Not only does it make the room pretty and easier to use, it’s the first step in bringing the basement on par with the main house upstairs.

02 Jun

Our Deck!

Woo hoo, another finished home improvement project!

Actually, this one’s been done for a little while. We can report that this new deck is a success as we’ve been enjoying the evenings relaxing with the great view and an adult beverage.

Deck 1

 

The view was a big selling point for this house. The house is on a busy street, and is a bit odd inside, but the rooms are large and we can see Mt. St. Helen’s most days and the tip of Mt. Hood when the trees cooperate. When we bought the house, it had a large deck, but it was about 30 years old, rotting in many places, and didn’t have stairs to the yard.Deck 2

 

So, we had it torn down and started over with an upper deck to enjoy the view, and stairs down to the back yard. Because of the horizontal siding on the house, I really, really wanted horizontal cable railing. The compromise to be able to afford it was to use mahogany uprights instead of steel, and to forego a lower deck for the immediate future. I’m so happy we made that choice — I love the look of the deck, and all the neighbors who can see it from their yards have complimented it as well (no hiding the construction as the neighbors were subjected to the roar of power tools for several months!).Deck 3

 

The lower transition from the stairs to the concrete patio is larger than I expected, so it’s kind of a lower deck. Eventually, it will be the transition to a deck over the grass large enough for a big picnic table. Eventually, I’ll also paint the under structure to match the eventual color of the house, and do some tidy gravel area under the deck.Deck 4

We’ve now owned our house for one year and it’s feeling more like “our” home than something in transition. The deck is done, the garden is filling in, most of the rooms are freshly painted and decorated, we’re pretty sure the basement leak is fixed, and a bathroom renovation is nearly complete! It’s pretty nice.

30 Jan

A Facelift

Time for a Before & After.

Staging was not really a priority for the previous owners of our house. Luckily, we could see through such surface annoyances (with each mortgage check I write I tell myself how much higher it would have been if the house and been staged and therefore attractive to buyers). The biggest offender was the wallpaper everywhere! But there are many other things that were just dated or not our style.

Here’s the kitchen before:Kit Before

 

And now:

Kit after 2

 

The core members of Team Deco/Reno (my mom and step-dad) removed all the wallpaper and I joined them to finish painting the entire space white. We hired an electrician to replace the kitchen lights with recessed can LED lights and to install a cute retro looking pendant from my dad. We replaced cheap mini blinds with new roller shades and I painted the sideboard cabinet solid white.

Looking the other direction:

DR Before

 

Which now looks like this:

Kit after 1

 

And here’s the “dining room” at the other end of the space:

DR Before 2

 

And here’s the dining room now:

DR 1

 

We’re guilty of bringing some ugly with us too. Our dining room chairs, while stylish enough just a few years ago, and still quite sturdy, decided to shed their leather upholstery. With a kitchen/dining room renovation on the horizon, I can’t bring myself to replace these otherwise perfectly good chairs, so I made slipcovers.

DR Chair slipcover

Not wanting to spend much money, I couldn’t find any oil cloth or upholstery fabric that I liked. However, white denim remnants were a great deal at the Mill Ends store. Of course white would stain quickly in a dining room so I needed to do something to the denim. I considered dyeing each slipcover a different color, but then, inspired by the designs of Timorous Beasties, figured I’d try painting them in colors based on my collection of Bauer pottery.

Eventually we’ll do a big kitchen remodel, but in the meantime the space is clean and now light and pleasant to live in for the near future.

 

29 Jan

Fugly Friday

Fugly Lamps

Seen together, these light fixtures are almost NOT Fugly. However, in context, I know we can do much better. The pendant lamp hangs over our dining table, and in combination with the other lights the previous owners had in the space it was really ugly (see photo below of the kitchen end of the room with the old lights). Now, with the simplified scheme we’ve had installed, I can almost live with this. The horizontal lights are in the bathrooms and will eventually be replaced with something more streamlined.

Kit Before 2

More about our kitchen/dining room transformation tomorrow.

22 Jan

Fugly Friday

Some of our home improvement projects are too boring to blog about. You don’t really want to see our backup battery for the sump pump do you? Painting a white ceiling white? Nope.  Light switches moved to make more sense? Not so blog-worthy (or photogenic).

But then other projects are so horrible, they just might be good. So, I’m going to experiment with “Fugly Friday” for a bit.

My first Fugly photo is this one which could be inspiration for a minimalist quilt, yes?

Fugly Deck 1

 

When we bought our house, the deck was 30 years old and rotting in many spots. We negotiated price so that the sellers wouldn’t try a quick fix and we could use the money to just start over. In the mean time though, the inspector wanted the sellers to paint the deck. They painted it, but they didn’t move the piles of door mats or extra wood. Nor did they remove the bird feeders for painting or bother with the spindles. Matching the existing paint? Didn’t even try! This has got to be the F’ing Ugliest paint job, and maybe deck, ever.

Fugly Deck 2

The good news is that as of last week, this deck has been removed and construction of a new, not at all ugly, deck has begun.

02 Dec

Doors

Just a quick little post with a recent house project. Mostly, I’ve been painting white walls and ceilings which doesn’t make for good before-after photos, but does make the house clean and fresh. The living room is looking good, but the change is subtle.

There’s a bit of a door theme going on though. It started with my daughter’s mural room. She wanted a blue door. That happened to be in the same little hallway as the bathroom door, which I painted orange to coordinate with the orange niche where the toilet is. So, of course I had to do something with the master bedroom door in the same area. Now a formerly weird space with four doors is a playful spot in the center of the house.

Doors

 

Our son wanted something fun in his room too. No mural walls for him; he just wanted plain grey with orange accents. But he did request a galaxy on his door. I started with black chalkboard paint that I had out for another project and used leftovers from the girl’s room to create a space fantasy. It was surprisingly easy to create with a natural sponge. Flecks and dots of white for stars really pulled it all together. Since I had used the flat paints I had on hand, I gave the whole thing a coat of polycrylic for protection (except for the back side of the door which is plain black chalkboard — perfect for his sister to leave him notes!).X Door

Most of the other doors in the house have been painted white, but who knows what might happen in the future!

02 Sep

More DIY

Painting my daughter’s room was a fun and satisfying new-home project. In reality though, the vast majority of home improvement projects are much more mundane. We bought a 1952 cosmetic fixer-upper. As more rooms better reflect my vision for the house, I’ll post before and after pictures.

But for now, know that while this house is structurally sound, just about everything else about it needs attention. And even though we’ve set up house in about 10 places over the last 20 years, this is the first one that has actually brought me to tears. It’s kicking my butt like no home ever has. I think that the difference with this house is that for the first time ever, we own it. Every other place my husband and I have lived in has been a rental, and therefore we’ve just put up with their idiosyncracies knowing we’d be moving on sooner rather than later. This time, if I don’t like something, I can (and should) actually change it to work with our lifestyle. That means that my project list is essentially never-ending. Ah, the joys of home ownership. Most people have already learned this lesson, but it’s new to me.

Closet WIP

Right now I’m sorting out how and where I store things. Part of that is making use of the massive closet in the laundry room. Large as it is though, it didn’t have any permanent shelving. Given it’s location, I decided that it needed deep, sturdy, built-in shelves to store linens and kitchen overflow. I’m crafty, and have watched my parents dive into home DIY for years, so I was pretty confident that with a little guidance, I could construct the shelves rather than buy something pre-made or hire a carpenter. My mom came for two days and together we made use of lots of power tools. Another day of painting on my own, and voilá, a functional closet!

Closet done

It ends up that duvets are incredibly bulky, and not all the things I wanted to store in it actually fit, but this is such a huge improvement. Since building the shelving, we’ve removed a cabinet and extra appliances from the room, so now there’s room to remove wallpaper, paint the room and add in more storage (probably from IKEA). But that’s a project for another time as I’ve shifted my attention to the yard…

28 Aug

She Only Wanted One Thing

When we bought our house (our very first!), we asked the kids what they wanted in their rooms. The girl had only one request. She wanted to paint a scene on the walls. All the walls. And the ceiling. It’s only paint, so why not?!

K Mural drawing

Before the moving truck arrived, she and I spent some time looking at murals on Pinterest, sketching, and refining our sketches. The drawings above are the final concepts for the room.

 

K mural sketch

When we arrived at our new house, we jumped right into the room transformation. It was going to be much easier without any furniture in the room, and it was by far the most fun of the bajillion projects the house has in store for all of us. Using our sketches as a guide, I drew directly on the walls. By the way, my mom and step-dad, AKA Team Deco-Reno, had previously stripped the room of wallpaper, primed the walls, and painted the trim so the room was mural-ready.

 

K Mural paint

Next, we went to the hardware store to buy paint. We cleaned the closest one out of flat interior base in quart size and had to get the rest of our colors at another store! I would have liked to get tester pots, but those only came in satin finish. Oh well, we have more projects up our sleeves for the leftover paint.

 

K Mural WIP

The girl helped paint for the first two days. Then, she got bored and handed the more tedious work to me. That’s OK, I went faster on my own and could better control the quality. She was an awesome cheerleader though — frequently telling me how much she loved the mural.

 

K Mural dunes

The first finished wall was the desert.

 

K mural w K

Now the desert is partially covered by cubby storage. We made a trip to IKEA to get closet storage, a book case (with an eye on still being able to view as much mural as possible), and a rug.

 

K Mural forest

There’s a whole lot going on in the room now, with everything moved in, but it works for her, and I think the mural actually grounds her stuff in an odd way.

 

K mural pond

The mural took six days to paint and on the seventh day we ripped up the carpet a hour before the moving truck arrived. It was so worth it as the floor, while scuffed and worn, is in essentially good shape and looks so much better than the tired carpet that was there before. We hung just a few favorite things on the wall, to include the girl’s oil pastel of our beloved cat, Madison.

 

 

K Mural mountain

The closet is “behind” the waterfall, because waterfalls should always have secret chambers behind them. The finishing touches in the room were to paint the faceplates to match the mural and to change the closet doorknobs to pretty blue glass ones.

 

Mural ceilingFinally, painting four walls wasn’t quite enough. The girl’s concept included a “swirly night sky” on the ceiling. We tried a graphic solution like the clouds, but in the end preferred a more Van Gogh-esque style.

Just for fun, the photo below is how the room looked when we first viewed the house and made our offer to buy it.

K Mural before