May Monthly Roundup

Spring was a long time coming this year in the mitten, but lucky for us, it seems like mother nature is going to kick it into high gear and bring on summer. About time. Now, instead of wrapping up with a blanket and looking out dismally at snow (yes, it snowed in April), we are knocking out some serious projects. Something about that sunshine just puts the pep in yo step. For a little monthly re-capping, in April, we:

Basement Bathroom Remodel

Started renovating the downstairs bath. After testing lots of paint colors, we landed on Benjamin Moore Northern Cliffs, for both the vanity and the walls. After slapping down some marble tile, we just need some artwork and new lighting before we call this one done.

Benjamin Moore Northern Cliffs
Basement Bathroom
Northern Cliffs Bathroom
Basement Bathroom | After

Bathroom Reveal | Upstairs Bath

Since we already had the tile saw out, we decided to tag team the bathroom renos. Although our upstairs bathroom renovation started in March, we capped this guy off in April. We are still searching for the perfect mirror (procrastinators…) but overall, this room is functioning MUCH better (and looking a bit better, too!).

Completed Bathroom Renovation
Bathroom Renovation
Herringbone Subway Tile
Herringbone Subway Tile

Painted Doors

In addition to ripping out our bathroom(s), we decided to tackle some low hanging fruit too. Sometimes you just have to go for the easy win, right? We painted the last two doors in the house that had previously been paneled and pink. Not my cup of tea.

White painted paneled door
Attic Door | After

Installing Gas Line

After starting the process of reinvisioning our kitchen, we opted to do a gas line switcher-roo and move our oven over onto another wall. We opted to hire this one out. $250 (in my mind) is a small price to pay to have this one checked off the list with all our limbs intact.

How to install a gas line
New Gas Line

Countertops + Cabinets

Wanting a white and bright open kitchen space, Jay and I decided we were looking for something that aesthetically resembled marble, but without the upkeep associated. We found a few winners, and in the end, we are leaning toward Sugarbrush Quartz, through Lowes.

Sugarbrush Quartz with Shaker Cabinet
Sugarbrush Quartz with Shaker Cabinet

Wall Removal

Oh, and I almost forgot, we knocked out a wall. Almost didn’t happen, but gotta tell ya, so. very. glad. it. did. The kitchen/dining room space has been absolutely transformed by this decision. More light, better flow, bigger. Every time I walk into the room now, I smile.

How to remove wall
Removing Wall

Studor Pipe Vent 

And in the spirit of the wall removal, we had to mention our studor solution. Studor may or may not be my new favorite word. 😉

How to install air admittance valve
Installing Studor Pipe

B-B-B-Basement Bath

Since this is our main bathing local, it has been very nice to transform this little space into something a bit more updated, and a bit more our taste. Plus, relative to the upstairs bathroom, this one came in on the cheap. Still in need of a few more details, but the room now has paint, trim and tile so that is some solid progress!

Benjamin Moore Northern Cliffs
Basement Bathroom

For the paint color, we went with Benjamin Moore Northern Cliffs. It’s much darker than our normal paint picks, but I am totally diggin it. I like the warmth it adds to the space, and I like that it’s different than the rest of the house. Stands out a bit.

Northern Cliffs Bathroom
Basement Bathroom | After

With the more neutral (and lighter) tiles, I feel like the room is able to support the darker color a bit better. I’ve also thought about adding wainscoting at a later date, but for now I am really liking the look we got going on. Except that rug! I need to try bleaching it since it looks really dingy and almost pink next to the new tiles. So does the vanity top, for that matter.

Northern Cliffs
Cabinet and Wall

Funny thing is, the cabinet, and wall color are pretty much the same. The dude at Lowes messed up the cabinet color a bit, so it’s a shade lighter, but I really think it is difficult to tell how closely matched they are. They are also different sheens, semi-gloss on the cabinets and eggshell on the walls.

Down the road, I would definitely like to replace the light. In the interim, we should probably just get a new light bulb. he he. In the long term – I’ve got my eye on this guy. Kind of rustic chic. 😉

Lowes Bridgeview Sconce
Bridgeview 2 Light Sconce

Another big improvement is the door. Oye. This guys used to be lime green, like the rest of the room. And like the ceilings. Green – everything. I guess they had extra paint they had to use up. Here is what the trim used to look like.

Green Trim
Green Trim

Along with the green door. 😉

Green Bathroom Door
Green Bathroom Door

And the after! I think the oil rubbed bronze hardware on the door will look nice with light above the sink. Diggin’ it.

Simply White Door Trim
Simply White Door

So far our only costs have been the paint, the tiles and the trim!! So we are around $125 right now for the entire bathroom. Woott!!! After we purchase the new lighting, I’ll do a cost breakdown for you to get the total picture. As far as new bathroom reno’s go though, I think we will be sticking with these sweet little tiles from Home Depot. Marble – under $4 a square foot. Yes, please. There are still a few things that I want to tackle in the room, but that will come with time. For now – much better!

Small Bath Reno
Small Bath Reno



Pinterest. Seriously, how did we live without it? When it came to transforming our downstairs bath, I knew that I wanted to do something a bit different than I usually do, but still neutral and tres chic, ya know what I mean? 🙂 The upstairs bathroom is overall, pretty white. Love the look, but I was ready to grab my sir mix-a-lot hat with the basement bath just to add some spice to our life.

I lurrrve the look of a grasscloth bathroom … but … I would have to hire someone to put up wallpaper, and I can paint with my own two hands. That would mean that paint gets the first vote. 🙂 But seriously, grass cloth needs to enter my life soon.

Grass Cloth Powder Room
Grass Cloth Bathroom

Here is another classy grasscloth bathroom. Drool.

Grasscloth Bathroom
Grasscloth Bathroom

I don’t have the guts to go quite this dark in the downstairs bathroom, but it is definitely a look that I absolutely love! Maybe in the next house 🙂

Black Bath

Another look I think would be super fun in a powder room/smaller bathroom is a wainscoting treatment. After reno-ing our basement entry with wainscoting, I’m not quite as afraid of the process. I think something like this is a bit unexpected in a bathroom and really pops.

Small Powder Room
Wainscoting Bathroom

The final look for the basement bath is still coming together – but pinterest has surely been a treasure trove of ideas! 🙂 Anyone else out there working on bath renos right now?

32 Flavors and Then Some

Paint in general can be pretty tricky, but I’ve found that painting in our basement has been especially hard for me. The lighting down there is really quite bad (very little natural light), so all the colors I pick out seem to just look wrong once I get down there and starting painting away. This lesson (so sadly) was learned the hard way, when I just grabbed a can of paint from our last house, in a neutral wonderful color that I loved, only to have it look pink, like 5-year old ballerina pink, once it was up. Yeah – let’s just say it’s on my long term list of things that need the heave ho.

For the basement bathroom – I wanted to try doing some slightly less conventional colors, and perhaps go a bit darker in the room – make it a little moody. I totally love the look of wallpaper in a small powder room, but since paint only costs $30, I thought I would start there and see if I got more ambitious over time 😉 Since I love all the colors over at Benjamin Moore – we hopped over there first to see if we could get a color match with Lowe’s paint. We picked Northern Cliffs (on the left) and Chelsea Gray (right).

Benjamin Moore Northern Cliffs
Benjamin Moore Paint

Since our credit card (Chase Freedom) has a rotating 5% cash back bonus category for Lowe’s over the next 3-months, I’m on a mission to do all our home improvement shopping there to rack up some extra points. I’ve pretty much been doing a happy dance since they announced this category. Gotta love it when Chase actually picks categories we use, and home improvement definitely falls into that category 😉

For reference, here is a parting shot of our cabinet before. Just straight black. Classic, but not quite right for the new space. Let’s all wave goodbye to the black beast, and say hello to some soft and neutral gray tones.

Benjamin Moore Simply Black
Cabinet | Before

I was totally digging the soft gray that came through from the marble tile, and wanted to play off that a little bit with the color in the room, and the cabinet. I knew that I didn’t want to go straight up white, and gray seemed like a good middle ground. Plus, I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve been seeing some pretty chic bathrooms pop up on pinterest with the whole gray look going on, and I DIG it. Call me trendy, a pinterest sheep, just can’t help myself.

Benjamin Moore Northern Cliffs
Benjamin Moore Paint Samples

So I started by just slapping some paint on the side of the cabinet to see which ones I liked the best. I definitely thought that the gray one was a bit too gray for me, and I found myself starting to lean toward the more chocolaty of the two. In person, it reads much more of a soft gray to me, personally, but it definitely photographs like a soft chocolate brown. Also very nice 🙂

Watching Paint Dry
Speeding It Up

Being the super patient (snicker) person that I am, I decided to bust out the good ole’ hair dryer to get this show on the road, and see if the colors would vary much after they had dried up completely. Overall, there wasn’t much variation, but they both did darken up a wee bit as the dried.

Also, due to lighting in the room, it was a bit crazy how different these colors looked on the wall, vs. on the cabinet. The color on the top is actually the brown color from the cabinet. Crazy town!! I mean it almost had a purple hue to it on the wall, and that was definitely not coming out on the cabinet. Made it hard to make a decision though, seeing how different the paint could look from surface to surface.

Benjamin Moore Paint
Colors On the Wall

Overall, I think I’m leaning toward the lighter colored cabinet and trying to get a look similar to this when I am done with the room. Tres chic, no?

Gray Bathroom Cabinet
Bathroom Inspiration

I Like Shiney Things

I’m on a marble kick, what can I say. And when it’s $3.99 per square foot (thanks for the heads up Bryn!), say no more. Done and done. Here is a progress shot of our basement bathroom. Looking mighty fine.

Marble 12x12 Tile
Marble Bathroom

We had a few things to consider when plopping down this round of tiles, notably, what pattern did we want to do, and how did we want to deal with the threshold at the front of the door. Before, the tile hung over the threshold just a wee bit, and it actually caused the tiled to pop right up since every time someone walked over them they would be leveraged upward. Made for some easy demo on the first row of tiles, you could literally just pick them up with your hands they had gotten so loose over time. Not good, amigo. Not good.

Marble Threshold
Marble Threshold

Since they sell marble thresholds/window sills (typically used for windows in bathrooms), we decided to just snag one of those and use it as the threshold at the front of the room, thinking it would tie everything together and look at bit more seamless than putting down a wood threshold. Although the grain on this piece is a little different than the rest of the tiles, overall, I think it looks pretty good! We made sure to put the threshold right on the edge of the room this time, to avoid the popping tile issue we had last time around. Notice in the picture above that there is about a 1 inch incline between the rest of the basement and the bathroom.

How to install a threshold
Door Threshold

The front of the threshold will get some love when we add the trim in. Right now, it’s just some plywood and it’s looking a little rough around the edges. Hopefully that piece of trim will tie things together a bit more and make it look polished and purty.

Speaking of polished and purty – we had a little mishap with the tile around the toilet/plumbing opening. Jay got a little extra zealous with his tile cutting and trimmed too much off of this guy, below. Although we might be able to get around it with some caulk and clever positioned of the toilet – I’m not going to lie – I’m a wee bit concerned about how it’s going to turn out.

Tile Around Toilet
Tile Installation

A battle ensued – Jay: I DON’T want to cut another fareaking tile. That was really hard. I refuse to do that again. Arms crossed. Me: Ummmm….. but there is a giant hole where there should not be one. In the tile. Right there. Can’t you see it.

Jay won. I am getting weak in my old age. We are just going to caulk the heck out of it and hope it doesn’t show after the toilet is positioned. Stay tuned.

How to lay tile down
Laying Tile Down

It’s a pretty small bathroom, and the tiles were 12×12, so luckily it moved quickly and we got the whole room tiled in 2-nights. Since we already had the mortar and grout out and handy from our upstairs reno – this one seemed to move along quite swimmingly. Other than said mishap regarding au toilet.

How to install marble tiles
Marble Tiles

Before we grout, we’ll have to go back through and get the extra mortar out from between the tiles. Learned the hard way that this stuff has really got to be completely cleaned out, otherwise you have gray mortar creeping through after your grout. It’s not the best look. 🙂

So still to do on this bathroom:

  • Paint cabinet and walls
  • Re-install toilet
  • Grout and seal tile
  • Add new light fixture
  • Add trim and quarter round
  • Install artwork

Tile feels like the hardest part of all that to me though, so I’m glad we’ve got it behind us!

While We had the Tile Saw Out…

I’m all about efficiency. If the tile saw is already chillaxin for the upstairs bathroom reno, and I know I want to do a downstairs bathroom reno, welll … yeahhh. We just did both b-rooms pretty much at the same time. Our only stipulation was that we had at least one functioning toilet. 😉 When I saw Bryn Alexandra chatting about her plans to install some marble tile in her abode from Home Depot for $3.99 per square foot my reaction was. RRRRHHHRRRRNNNTTT. Hit the BRAKES – did you just say $3.99 a square foot. A promptly carted my bum out to HD (Home Depot) to check out the goodies for myself, and sure enough, there they were shining in all their glory.

Greecian While Marble Tile
12×12 inch Marble Tile

Since we had just payed closer to $12 per square foot for our marble mosaic tile in the upstairs bath, I really couldn’t resist this steal of a deal. And, the cherry on top was that our bathroom was less than 20 sq. feet, bringing the total cost of a marble tiled bathroom to only $79 buckaroos. H to the IZZO. Since we already had the grout and the mortar from the upstairs reno, we could get right to crack-a-lackin.

Tile Demo
Bathroom Reno

And that was just what Jay did. I mentioned I wanted to get started on the downstairs bathroom, and when I came back from the grocery store, this was what our basement bathroom looked like. That a whole lotta white tile. A sea of ugly white tile and thick grey grout. I practically shook Jay’s hand when I walked in the door I was so happy to see this. Progress. Music to my eyeballs.

$3.99 Marble White Tile
Greecian White Tile

While Jay was finishing up the demo and cleaning process, I was carefully laying down each tile to get just the right look going on for the room. Namely, I wanted all of the grain (is it even called grain on a stone, I don’t know) on the tile to be flowing in the same general direction, to provide some continuity in the room. Since the room is so small, I kinda felt like this step was extra important, since one misplaced tile has the potential to stick out a wee bit more when the eye only has so many places to go to. At least, that is what the diva designer in me says. 😉

How to install tile in basement bathroom
Laying the First Tile

Speaking of general looks, we also thought it was important to have the middle row of tiles perfectly centered in the room, to aid with the whole mission of good aesthetics. When measuring for the center, we omitted the area under the cabinet (to the left in the picture), since we figured that area would not be visible to the eye, and therefore could throw off our mission for a perfectly aligned tile. To help center the tile, Jay grabbed his trusty measuring tape, and the chalk line to carry the line down the room.

Malcolm the Cat
Orange Tabby Helping

Said combination of chalk string and management duties was just too much for the orange tabby to pass up. 😉

Although we were a little demo happy (ahem, Jay), we did snap some before pics after the tile had been removed, so you can see where we are starting from with this room. Lime green walls, and ceilings. Yes, there was some type of strange fascination with the previous owner of painting all the ceilings the same color as the room. Usually in lime green. (Both bathrooms had the same paint color).

Basement Bathroom
Bathroom | Before

And here is a view looking at the vanity cabinet. The cabinet is in great condition, so we definitely intend to re-purpose it with a coat of paint and perhaps some new hardware.

Basement Bathroom
Basement Bathroom | Before

I’m pretty pumped to see how this room turns out. It’s the bathroom we use the most, so it will sure be nice to spruce it up a wee bit, and make it feel more “us”.