Apr 9, 2014

Revolving Door

Spring Break is here and I am all-in with the projects!  First on my list: repainting the back door.  Last summer I decided to try to paint that bad boy an inviting yellow.  My patch job on the door turned out pretty well, but my painting technique left something to be desired (hello, visible brush strokes) and my color choices were somewhat... let's just be honest, they were bad.  The soft yellow put off too much of a "bathroom" vibe and the bright yellow gave neons a run for their money.

Too creamy.

We forgot to install a dimmer switch!

Believe it or not, I've had our "fix it" new door color picked out since last fall.  I just had to wait for the weather to be agreeable and the time to do it.  We went with a moody blue that looked somewhere between navy and peacock from Behr called Twilight Chimes.  We went with this blue for a few reasons.  It looked nice with our house color (Martha Stewart's Flagstone) and white trim.  I found a very similar color scheme on someone else's house and loved the way it looked.  It seemed to work well in both full sun and full shade, and it seemed like it wouldn't clash with our oddly reddish roofing.

I got a quart mixed, sanded the whole door down to hide the old brush strokes and give the paint something to hold on to.  I decided that this time around, I'd give the foam roller another go.  Wouldn't you know, it was just as I suspected last time I painted that door.  Those brush strokes were all user error-induced.  I still used my trim brush to do the inset panels and around the window, but this time I made such thin coats with the brush that it was really more like using a dry-brushing technique than real painting.  I made very thin coats with the foam roller as well.  It took five coats, but the end result was worth it.  The brush strokes are hardly noticeable, and the door color looks nice and even.

So much less jarring!  And less junk on the patio!

I figured as long as I was painting, I'd do some touch-up caulking and painting around the door too.  And, at Steve's suggestion, I painted the window frame white.

Looks nice under gray skies and full sun!

Hubba, hubba.  I am so in love with how this turned out, I'm thinking of painting the inside of the door and then our front door.  I think the rest of that back area needs some more love, too- string trim the tall grass near the house, pressure wash the patio, maybe get a little side table to set between the chairs and definitely make some flowering containers for back here once we make it out of the frost zone!

Mar 31, 2014

Nursery Plans

It's official, people.  Baby Williams is a boy, and he's due to arrive in about four months.  It's time to start thinking about a nursery.

We're actually a little ahead of the game.  When Steve's grandmother moved to a new assisted living facility in January, she upgraded to a full size bed.  The full size bed that had been in our guest bedroom, to be exact.  Since all of her linens were intended for a twin size bed, we went ahead and sent everything with the bed- the linens, the matching curtains and rod, the matching dresser and night stand, and the library table.  The end result is a rather bare room- perfect for starting from scratch.  Well, almost bare... we used a gift card to purchase the light-diffusing cellular shade for privacy reasons shortly after the curtains made their way to Grandma's new place.

Nice and bright, but neighbors can't see in.

The one thing we do have in this room at the moment is a box full of crib and another box full of crib mattress.  You can get a sense of scale of how small this room really is just by looking at the boxes on the floor.

Crib stuff.

There are very few things we're sure about with baby's room so far.  Neither of us really like the idea of a theme, so we're going to aim for a color palette instead.  We've got our crib picked out, and it's white.  Steve really wants to use a tallboy dresser his dad built in baby's room, and it's a light maple color (Steve is opposed to painting the dresser).  We'll need a rocker and a changing table and some room-darkening curtains.  We want to install crown molding in there.

Closet and the door to the hallway propped open.

Pretty much everything else is up for negotiation.  We love the idea of painting a sky and clouds mural on the ceiling.  Right now we are leaning toward a color palette that is mostly grays and whites with aqua blues and a few fun kicks of orange.  We are thinking the crib will end up on the longest unimpeded wall (not the wall it's pictured against now).  I'm totally digging the idea of doing a striped accent wall, but not sure how it would look with a busy ceiling and in such a small room.  We are struggling with what to do about the fuse box (I've said it before and I'll say it again- who puts a fuse box in a bedroom??!?) and we're feeling the need to go through the closet, which is packed to the gills with seasonal items, gift wrapping supplies, and random odds and ends.

So for now, here are some of the images that are serving as points of  inspiration for our nursery.

Love how calming this room is, with the fun pops of orange. {via}

My absolute favorite inspiration photo.  {via}

Gorgeous subtle cloudscape ceiling.  {via}

Obviously I am digging the striped wall thing.  {via}
Should be fun to get our little boy's room put together into someplace functional, peaceful, and a little whimsical.

Mar 29, 2014

Rub-a-Dub Ready

Good news all- the shower in our guest bathroom, after being out of commission for FOUR MONTHS, is finally serviceable again!

Once all of the grouting and haze removal was finished, Steve applied a sealant to the tile.  We selected one that was listed as "impregnable" and had great reviews on Home Depot's website.  It worked great- after we let it cure for 2 days, we tried splattering some water on the tile... and watched it bead right up and roll off.  Even on the grout.  Sealing your tile job isn't necessary, but we had read that it will prevent your grout from discoloring and make cleaning your shower easier, so we decided it was worth the extra $30 or so to make our lives easier in the long run.  We also caulked the bottom edge of the tub as well as the vinyl flooring that runs along the edge of the tub.  It's recommended that the joint between a tiled surround and a tub is caulked rather than grouted to allow for some expansion of the tile.  We're so glad we did that, although now we're regretting using the white tub and tile caulk- it just looks a little incongruous next to the grey grout lines, so there are plans to rip that out and redo it with the same grey flexible grout-in-a-tube that we used along the seams of the tub.

Ready for action!

 Steve also installed our pretty faucet, handle, and shower head.  I love the look of these.  Some minor adjustments that will take place after the fact... the flange around the shower head was not quite wide enough to conceal the gap in our tile, so we'll be looking for a wider flange to replace it before we seal anything in place.  Our extendable showerhead didn't come with the set; it's left over from our old shiny chrome set, so we have plans to replace it with a matching brushed nickel fixture.

Some of the drywall in question.

All in all, pretty small adjustments.  However, there are some not-so-small adjustments that need to be made elsewhere in the bathroom.  Namely, having to do with the joints between the existing mudded/taped/textured/painted drywall, and the bare stuff that replaced the parts we needed to rip out.  We have been pondering what to do about this, but we think we've finally arrived at a solution that was prompted by realizing we will have a small child living with us in just a few months' time.

More of the drywall in question, and girly breakable things.

Here's our plan.  Since baby Williams will be arriving soon, our guest bathroom is going to become baby's bathroom as well.  We are planning on cloth diapering, and we recently found out that baby Williams is a BOY(!!), so we are certain that not only will that bathroom need to be more kid-friendly than our current pretty soaps on a stand and a mercury glass display on floating shelves, it's also going to need to withstand a LOT of messes.  Because of this and our puzzlement over how to seamlessly bridge the gap between the finished and unfinished drywall, we've decided to make some changes in the bathroom.  The floating shelves will be moving out of the bathroom and into the nursery.  The mercury glass collection will likely end up in our office (more on that soon).  We are planning on running bead board all the way up the walls and installing some crown, so we'll completely avoid the hassle of trying to make our drywall situation look seamless and it'll be SOOOO easy to clean.  We are also planning on changing the color palette to be a bit less girly and tie in with our nursery plans (again, more on that soon).  The best part is that most of what we'll need to make these changes are things that we already have or were planning on purchasing for baby Williams' room anyway, so our only additional cost will be the beadboard, some new door trim and base trim, and a shower curtain.

Things won't look this way for long!

Which brings me to the cost aspect of this bathroom reno.  You may remember wayyyy back in October we solicited estimates from local plumbers for simply replacing our damaged fiberglass tub and shower surround with a new fiberglass kit and connecting all of the water bits- you can read about it here.  Our estimates ranged from $1300 to $2700, and didn't include any demo, the cost of the tub and surround, or finishing (the fiberglass tub kit alone would have cost us at least an extra $600).  Since we decided to DIY, we sprung for nicer materials (an Americast tub and a subway tile surround) and the current cumulative cost of our bathroom reno, spread across four months of work, is $1400 on the nose.  That includes everything- every little item we had to buy to complete this project, from the tub all the way down to a hook for the shower caddy.  By the time we complete the finishing work in the bathroom, we'll likely come in for a grand total of around $1500 to $1600.

Was this project hard?  Heck yes- the most difficult we've tackled to date.  Was it slow?  Yes, it was mind-numbingly tedious (this coming from the girl who painted all of the cabinetry in her kitchen).  Was it worth it to have exactly what we wanted, nice materials, the confidence that comes from tackling difficult things, the ability to take a bath in our own home for the first time in almost three years, and still come in at well under the cost of what a contractor could have done it for?  AWWW YISSSS.