I mentioned earlier I’ve been looking into some cosmetic updates for my guest bathroom. This is the bathroom located on the second floor of my home. It gets a lot of frequent use in my home since we’re both still enamored at the idea of having more than one bathroom.
The space is pretty nice with a full shower and a jetted tub. It also has a nice view in the shower of my neighbor’s window and I’m not down with exhibitionism.Tan tile isn’t really my thing but I also don’t want the hassle of ripping it out. The worst part is that the grout looks pink against the tan walls so I’ll definitely be changing the wall color. I also want a more functional space with some shelves and hooks.
On a design note, I moved the same art and towels from my last house over to the new place. My last house was more transitional, like this:
My towels are showing their age and I already bought a new white shower curtain since my last house had a glass stall. So far my new house has a French Rustic Industrial vibe going on. I want to bring this into the bathroom just a bit. I’m thinking metals and natural-looking woods, lots of white and tan tones, and some natural elements in this space.
This is the general vibe I want while not spending too much on the space.
To Do List:
- Add window privacy
- Paint the walls
- Change the light and mirror
- Remove the towel bar and put hooks on the opposite side of the bathroom
- Add functional shelving over the toilet
- Organize my under sink storage
That doesn’t seem insurmountable, does it?
I’ve told you I’ve moved but I never did a farewell post to my first house. This house means a lot to me, even though it also drove me crazy at times. My husband bought this house when he was still my boyfriend, I was in college and had just finished chemotherapy. He bought it in 2006, I moved in during the fall of 2007 the day after our wedding, and we moved out just before Christmas in 2014. I lived in this house when there was no kitchen, when we had no bathroom doors and had to cross those delicate boundaries, through cars that drove into the yard and into trees (but thankfully never the house), through getting our first dog, through a break in, and through our learning curve as DIYers.
This house was built in the early 1940s by my husband’s great aunt and uncle. My husband bought it from his great aunt before she died, and now another family member has bought it from us. Because it stayed in the family, we were able to have a simple transaction and the family member was very flexible while we had our infinite house hunting process. Additionally, the relative assured us he wanted to change things like paint colors so he didn’t require us to touch up before we moved. Nice guy, huh? So while I’m not proud of how every room looks here, I can tell you that there’s now a Blues shrine in the space we used as the office and that room seems to get a lot of love. Here’s a shot of the room before we moved in and when we moved out.
And again with the dining room
Here’s a glance at the living room:
The bathroom ended up changing places in the house, hence the major redesign. Here’s what we started with:
And here’s what we ended with:
We had a can of paint ready to go for this room and thankfully the new homeowner has already painted it in a color of his choice. This room was our test room for yellow and we ended up finding the perfect color and putting it in the kitchen. This picture is the last trace of our failed experiments.
That kitchen was really my favorite part of the house. It came out looking so good and while I love my new one, there’s a sense of pride that comes from planning and designing a space of your own.
I’m leaving out the bedrooms and some older exterior shots on this tour to protect our privacy and the new homeowner’s as well. I always thought this house had so much potential and while we found some of it, I know that the new owner will find even more.
Onto the final floor of the new house. (First floor, second floor) This space is where we go to escape everything in the world each evening.
When the husband and I first toured open houses we found this one house with a bonus space on the third floor. While that wasn’t the one for us, we both fell in love with the concept. Thankfully we found a space of our own.
I can’t decide what I like best about this space.
That I have another bathroom. (Can you believe I lived for 7+ years with just 1 bathroom in my last house?)
That I have this wide open space to fill
That I have this crazy kitchenette (that the old owners left all their beer in)
Or maybe that this staircase goes to a rooftop deck that has an amazing view.
A view that you’ll have to wait and see!
When we last left off, I’d shown you the first floor of the house. Now up the old staircase to the second floor. A quick note- this used to be a 2-family home. I have just scratched the surface into hunting down my house’s history but this wall you see here would have been fully closed off and this staircase would lead to the second story/second family property while the entire first floor belonged to another family. Kind of crazy to think about.
Once again, here’s a layout to help you orient yourself in the house.
We’re combining that front bedroom/sitting room into an office for the time being. We’ve got some crazy plans for a desk that we still need to work on and some major built ins we hope to include but we have hopes that it’ll end up really nice.
The majority of the walls involve doors, windows, or fireplaces so as you can see it can be hard to fit in furniture. Hence all the planning we’re doing so far.
We’ve got a guest bedroom that we’re just using for storage right now. Hopefully the guests stay a way a bit while we figure out some things around here. When we do pretty it up we have a really nice brick wall and pocket door to work with.
There’s also a nice guest bathroom up here
As well as laundry and linen closets
Then we come to the master suite. Let me tell you right now that this area has been a pain since we moved in thanks to the lack of weatherproofing on doors and windows, a squirrel getting into the bathroom vent, and yet I still love it.
This door here goes out to a deck. We’ve got it sealed off for winter right now but we hope to get out there and get planting soon. I’ll make sure you can see it when I show some exterior pictures.
There’s still some things to improve upon on this floor but it already feels like home. I hope to be back soon with some pictures of the third floor.
There’s one room in the first floor I didn’t give you much of a chance to see– the pantry. When we first toured the house the pantry was a mess and I was convinced I wouldn’t have the same problem.
The one on the left is from the old owners and the one on the right is two days after I moved in. Try as I might I could not unpack my last 4 boxes of food. It made making dinner difficult when I couldn’t find most items and I’ll admit I was looking for an excuse to try some of the new neighborhood restaurants. After trying a Thai place, a hot dog place, a diner, and getting a little sick of food out I knew I had to address this problem sooner than later.
The pantry is about 8 feet tall and only had 3 shelves. The shelves were sagging and when we took them out of the wall it turned out most weren’t even anchored correctly. It was a disaster waiting to happen.
I had been waiting for the big Elfa sale that the Container Store holds each January. You get 30% off all Elfa parts including installation if you aren’t a DIY kind of person. I was hesitant to buy a system like Elfa when I thought just one or two parts might work and we could custom build something but I figured we needed to start cooking ASAP and this was supposed to be a quick process.
My husband and I got to the Container Store nice and early and got the last spot before having to wait in a queue. Show up with dimensions of everything, from height to width to the depth of your doorframe. The associate helping us did a quick glance at the measurements and then walked us to some displays to talk about our likes and our needs. My top priority involved spice racks, shelving, and dog food storage. My husband wanted to make sure he could find what the recipes I leave him call for and wanted the platinum shelving over the white. After saying yay or nay to certain details, the associate told us to browse the store while she spent 20 or so minutes making a design. When she finished, she found us and had us look it over. This is usually the point where you can make changes but we were sold on the design. She double checked wood colors with us but it was so on target that we were able to hand over our credit card immediately.
There’s a lot of perks going through the Container Store for your design. One is that they assemble all the items you need for the install and you can pick them up same day or at a later date. We had enough time to go grab lunch and when we came back they walked everything to our car in bags and wrapped up. The other perk is that your Container Store account logs everything you bought, the design made for you, video tutorials, and even the custom instructions for install in case you lose your other set.
Here’s the sketches our designer was able to create for us:
Installation was really easy. I think we drilled in about 10-15 total holes and everything just hangs from the top racks. Here’s the completed look:
Here’s another look without any food in it
There’s still some adjusting I plan to do. The glass storage containers used to be on the counter or in my lazy susan and now all the labels can’t be seen in the pantry. I plan to swap in some different containers as I find items on sale or as the old containers run out. I also might still adjust what I store on the shelf above the dog food storage since it can fit my Kitchenaid mixer in there and that might be a better use of the space. While I figure out those little details, I can keep appreciating the details of the new look.
The shelves have plastic on top of them so nothing can fall through and so I can quickly clean the shelves if something spills.
Those shelves on either side hold soooo much. The ones on the left fit tall bottles or wider containers and the ones on the right hold all those spices I have and the skinny bottles for cooking.
And those drawers, man I wasn’t sure about them. I thought they might not hold enough but I was surprised. You can customize the size of your drawer so in my setup you see a 1-drawer at the top, 3 of the 2-drawers, and on the bottom is a 3-drawer. The top one holds kitchen rags and towels, the next one can fit boxes of rice, breadcrumbs, and chicken broths. The next one holds all our snack foods like applesauce and granola bars while the one below holds all my baking supplies. The bottom one fits all the trash bags, napkins, and paper towels. There’s also enough space between the drawers and the wall that we can fit a step ladder so we can reach all the things tucked at the top like crackers and my cake carrying cases.
Right now I’m trying to budget one expense a month to making over the house and the Elfa pantry was our January project. December’s expense was a sectional that should be arriving any day now, hopefully before I finish the tour. Now that it’s February I’m trying to figure out what to prioritize. Do I get a rug and chair to finish off the third floor? Do I build some shelves and finish off 3 of the bathrooms? I’m really itching to have some part of the house complete so it’ll likely be one of those two options but if there’s a sale somewhere all bets are off.
I’ve been having a bit of a time getting into the Christmas spirit for reasons that will soon be clear. I did make a few attempts to get in the mood though.
One of my 30before30 goals was to adopt a family for Christmas. I had no idea how hard this would be. I work for a satellite location of my main employer so I couldn’t easily join their program, my church wouldn’t be doing theirs until far too late for me to be prepared, and when I called the country social services program they were all out before the middle of November. That’s an amazing thing for all those families but I knew there still had to be a market. I managed to find one via my last employer’s giving tree, getting a mom and her daughter. I made sure to get them everything on their list and threw in a few extra holiday treats and gift cards so they can do some extra shopping too. It was an easy project but one that did make a difference.
The other way I got into the holiday spirit was by going on my last date night of the year. Another of my 30before30 goals was to go on a monthly date night for all of 2014. Date night had to be a meal + an activity. Can I just say I chose the absolute worst year for such a goal? (Don’t even get me started on the goal for Peru…) I had my job go from decent to destructive, I got a new job, had to start a new satellite office for my employer, my husband’s job took up a lot of his time, I stopped working out, my commute doubled/tripled, someone hit my car, a beloved high school teacher of mine passed away from cancer which sent me on a minor freakout, I decided to buy a house in January and spent all year looking, and decided to sell my own home. I don’t mean to say that my year was a bad one but it was unnecessarily stressful and I really just want to move on to 2015 and all its potential. Date nights for this year were hard due to scheduling, snow, stress, and at times being a little unhappy with where things stood in life. That’s probably why I wanted the date nights more than ever but there were moments when trying to grab a meal and a movie seemed like the most painful experience in the world.
Thankfully our December date night was a much better ending to the series. All those issues from before were over. My husband and I decided to take some time off work so this past weekend didn’t have work looming over us. We took my parents out to the Lafayette Square Holiday Parlor Tour in St. Louis. Lafayette Square is an old historic neighborhood in one part of the city. It was hit by a tornado years ago and parts of the neighborhood fell into decay while others aged and needed improvement. Starting in the 1980s the neighborhood improvement picked up the pace and they started renovating what could be fixed and doing matching infill to keep up the historic charm of the neighborhood. Now upscale bars, small businesses, art galleries, and brunch spots have moved in. When you see bad things about St. Louis on the news, know that the city and county are huge places and there are so many great things here.
A few times a year homes open their doors for tours. It’s a great chance to see how people have improved their homes, their antique decor, or just their fun touches on the houses.
After making it to most of the homes we jumped to the county for a meal at Pastaria. Pastaria is run by one of the top chefs in STL and the country, Gerard Craft. Pastaria isn’t one of those snooty kinds of places though. You can get pizza, pasta, and gelato and go home happy. The gelato is always a fun experience. Last time I went I got a salted caramel. This time I ended up with a blackened carrot while my parents ended up with a parsnip one. You just never know what you’ll get except you’ll be stuffed when you leave.
Date nights ended on a good note. I hope in 2015 we can keep making our best attempts to go on date nights and they can be a bit more spontaneous and convenient.
Who doesn’t love a 4-day weekend? This one was much needed. I started my new job the day after waking up at 3:30 AM and getting to bed at 12 AM and I was still behind on sleep 2 weeks later. I know, some people say sleep debts aren’t real but tell that to my lazy butt.
I say that but in reality I had a very busy weekend. I woke up early Thursday morning and drove 30 minutes to head to a Turkey Trot. My husband and I ran our first 5K run together! I had trained but switching jobs to something with a longer commute + the end of daylight savings time really cut into the hours I could run in a day. The race was hard, lots of hills in a mall parking area but in the end I finished and ran the whole way. My husband stayed by my side (even though he’s a much faster runner) and I shaved over 4 minutes off my previous best.
After the run I cleaned up a bit and then headed to Thanksgiving lunch with my in-laws. She had turkey, dinner rolls, sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. My sisters-in-law each made desserts and I brought a very empty stomach. I definitely didn’t leave with an empty one though. I didn’t take pictures because I was devouring but I did want to share my mother-in-law’s pretty centerpiece.
After a filling lunch, Dan and I then headed over to my parents’ house. Luckily our house is about 10 minutes away from each of their houses and they live about 10 minutes away from each other. Unluckily that did not allow a lot of time to digest. We had a deep-fried turkey that my dad fried, my mom tried out my sweet potato recipe, there were at least 2 casseroles, a jello salad (a true must), and a Thanksgiving miracle occurred when my baby brother tried and liked my cornbread dressing. We ate on my great great grandma’s china that my mom was just given.
That was all in one day!
The rest of my weekend was spent on a project I highly regret starting. Remember: when your husband says “Do you want to start on the fireplace or just put up the Christmas tree?” choose wisely. I was desperate to start on a makeover of the ugliest fireplace ever. I did not realize I would be dealing with moving furniture, flying debris, dust, 3 extra loads of laundry, eating on my bed, buying new tools, and realizing public enemy #1 is my former homeowner.
Has your past homeowner ever done anything to deserve a public shaming? Uncle Albert sure does. Letting someone set tile in concrete and using concrete as a grout is the.worst.idea.ever. There are not enough evers in a Taylor Swift song to cover the amount of worst idea evers in this situation.
I know this sounds like a busy weekend but I promise you I slept in till 10 AM, ate chili dogs, and watched The Walking Dead. I also caught up on giving my puppy some extra loving and I did not do a bit of shopping all weekend. It was bliss! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving with your families, friends, or just yourselves. I’d love to hear about how you do Thanksgiving your style.
Do you by chance remember my messiest closet ever? I don’t blame you if you don’t. I posted about that renovation back in May with a goal of being done in June. To be fair, I was 95% of the way done in June. I just had two tricky parts, one I eventually found a solution for and one that is still ongoing. To recap, this is the closet before.
I know, it is like a room on Hoarders.
I started off by doing just as I planned. I painted the door to match the trim in my house. I had planned to buy a door organizer from Home Depot but when I arrived in my car I realized the organizer would probably not fit in my car. I could borrow my mom’s van but I’d remembered seeing a smaller organizer at Target. Enter the ClosetMaid 8-Tier Adjustable Door Rack. (You might also want its buddy, some hollow door anchors that I ended up having to run back to Home Depot for). I then used that door organizer to put all my cleaning supplies in it. I’m still working on reducing how many containers I’m using but as I run out I’ll be replacing with more multi-purpose products.
Next up was emptying the closet, patching, priming, and painting. I had no clue that my crooked house had a closet with walls that sloped in random directions. I ended up spending nearly a week just on patching and sanding to try to make the walls straight.
In an effort to keep costs low, my husband and I thought we should reuse the original shelves and just hang them with two boards. In the photo above you can see the new boards attached to the wall while the white stripes represent how the shelves used to be hung. Wonder why they had a back shelf hanger? Those crooked walls. Apparently the walls were crooked even when they built the house so they just made small shelves and used an extra-wide shelf rack to accommodate their mistakes and laziness. So by being cheap/lazy, we ended up with the same issue. We had to create one more shelf hanger but luckily our entire basement is full of scrap wood so we still saved on cash.
The new shelves were much less obtrusive than the old ones and we painted them the same paint color as the walls to help them blend in. The paint color is a mistint from Home Depot. My local Home Depot seems to only have orange and forest green no matter when I go but this was one in West County so let’s call this right place, right time.
Now it was time to put everything back and get it all off my dining room table. I used some Closetmaid cubes to add some color and hide all the messy things. More on them in a minute. I bought an iron and ironing board holder from Walmart. Those cool things on the back wall are all from my Ikea trip last November. I have two Rationell Variera that are made to dispense plastic bags but I use them to hold towels and washcloths and they work like a dream. The bar and hooks are all part of Ikea’s Bygel rail system. I installed two of these. (Locals- Ikea will be coming to Kansas City in 2014)
To make things even more organized I spent about $2 on small wooden tags from Michaels. I spray-painted them with chalkboard paint and used them to label those Closetmaid cubes. The basket above holds all my extra lightbulbs, 3m strips, and candles. I have another one for seasonal gear like gloves and bags, and the third basket holds my extra cleaning items like vacuum bags or my shoe shining kit. Everything is labeled so I don’t need the products out in the open.
I also decided that I should probably get a full-sized ironing board instead of using my 9 year old dorm ironing board. I’ve already used it and it’s amazing the difference it brings. As a bonus, it really brightens up the closet and it matches my cubes I already had.
Ready for the final effect?
The top now easily fits all those items that used to sit on my closet floor. I have space for paper products, trash bags, vinegar for cleaning, all my bins, and even extra picture frames at the top.
The bottom of my closet it worlds better. You can actually see the floor! Over on the right I hung my swiffer and broom with a rack from The Container Store. I hung several cleaning items from my top Bygel rail and you can see my Rationell stuffed with the cloths. I decided to use the bottom rail to include the bags I use for shopping and day trips so the closet is even more practical. It might not be as pretty as without them but let’s be real, the practical has to win when you live in your house. Somehow I managed to actually put more items into this closet and it miraculously looks emptier. I am still needing a light in there (hence the dark photos) but having a lighter paint color and a more open space helps immensely in the meantime.
This project is being put in the finished category and I’m ready to tackle a new one. Home Depot sent me a coupon in the mail this month that I need to use soon so maybe that’ll jumpstart a big project once again. Hopefully this gets my closet out of the “Worst Closet Ever” category and into something a little more flattering.Pin It
My front flower bed wasn’t the only eyesore in my front yard. I have a second flower bed that sits on the front corner of my house that is just as bad or worse. My husband and I had pulled out all the eyesore plants but the remaining dirt and weeds became an eyesore themselves.
You can see that we’re testing out pavers for yet another retaining wall and we have one bush we plan to save. We’ll also be making a second rain barrel base for our other rain barrel. We also would love to see a pathway to walk on, one that would connect our front door to our side door. We’re not sure if we’re thinking concrete or stepping stones or some other material but we know a path of some kind is in order.
Our plans include designing an inner and an outer corner flower bed. You can see where our tentative dividing retaining wall would fall between the two but that bush would be in the outer ring. Then we’d build a sidewalk that would curve around the house to the side yard. We’ll dead end it where we hope to build a patio in phase 2 of this project. Phase 2 will be at some point in the future, probably next summer. Then we’ll expand the shade garden to follow the curve of our new path.
You can see it all on my super-awesome guide. The blue area is the front flower bed we just finished. The orange will be the new corner flower beds, the brown will be our path, and the yellow is phase 2 of the project.
I’m still working on the timeline for this project and it’ll probably take a bit of a backseat until we get the closet done. It’s been bumped up the list though so we’ll be working on this before our fireplace. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of the garden but for the most recent updates, make sure to follow my facebook page. I usually include progress pictures along the way over there.
I have a secret. There is one room in my house that is not fit for human eyes, and that’s saying something considering the state my home has been in during the renovation process. This space is a tiny space between my dining room and my kitchen. I’m talking about my one and only hall closet. It still has the original shelves in there, it has no lighting, and it’s very dark in color. There is a lack of storage and so items end up falling or being dumped on the floor. Yes, it’s that bad in there.
I’ll admit that this eyesore has actually gotten worse since I took this photo. Don’t ask me how that’s possible. Let’s just say I am hoping for a very dramatic transformation in the end.
The first stage of updating this closet was to define what I want this space to be. I want it to hold a vacuum, my steam mop, my iron, and all my cleaning supplies. I want my overstock of paper towels, napkins, and tissues in here as well. I don’t need the coat storage anymore so that rod can go. The games might stay or they might find a new home. Either way, it looks like this closet is due to be transformed into a cleaning closet.
The way I go about a renovation might seem a little strange so I’ll share my process with you. I do this behind the scenes of every project, though some have a much looser timeline. This project is on track to be finished right around the official start date of summer. Of course, we’ll be overlapping it with a few other projects so hopefully it won’t shift around too much.
First, I list out every step of the project. I’ll then reorder my list chronologically. Next, I map out a timeline for the project. On this project I am leaving the schedule very open, giving us entire weeks or weekends to accomplish tasks since my husband and I will have varying work schedules. It’s better to finish a project early than to have it drag out for months beyond what we expected. The last thing I do is assign each task to a person. Sometimes we’ll both need to consult on it, sometimes it just depends on who wants to work inside that day, while other tasks are claimed in a deathmatch. Or you know, just assigned because I like to micromanage.
The only real issue I foresee in this project is figuring out how to light it. We don’t really have the option of hardwiring it due to some limitations in the attic space above. I’d love to find a light bright enough to light the whole space and my two little wall lights that you can see by the ironing board just aren’t cutting it. Has anyone ever found success with a bright but not hardwired light?