The Warm Fuzzies

For the most part, whoever built the Little House did a fantastic job.  For a 74-year-old pier and beam house, it’s remarkably square.  Instead of traditional plaster, the original walls are Sheetrock, a product that wasn’t used extensively until about ten years after the LH was built.  And yet… there’s not a stitch of insulation in the walls.  In retrospect, this shouldn’t have surprised us; most homes built before WWII didn’t have wall insulation… but they need it.  Why?

Allow me to get on my engineer soapbox for a moment (feel free to skip this bit):  insulation increases the thermal resistance of your home’s walls, basically making it harder for heat to move through them. This means that in the summer, it’s harder for heat to get into your house.  In the winter, it’s harder for it to get out of your house (technically speaking, heat always travels from warm to cold, so in the winter it’s never the cold getting in – it’s the warm getting out).

Why does all that matter?  A well insulated home stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter, meaning you use less energy keeping the temperature where you want it.  It’s not worth tearing down walls to add insulation, but if you happen to have the drywall down anyway, throw some insulation in the walls.  It’s cheap, it’s efficient, and it’s easier to install than you think.

Little House Big Heart - How to Install Insulation

When installing insulation, the larger the R-value, the better.  You’ll also want to get the right sized insulation for both your stud spacing and stud size.  Our studs are 2x4s and are on (roughly) 15″ centers, so we bought the largest R-value insulation in that size that Home Depot carried.  Depending on your sizing, you can find insulation all the way up to R-30 (and above). In our case, that was R-13.  One roll set us back a whopping $12.80.

Little House Big Heart How to Install Insulation 1

A few notes on insulation safety: fiberglass can be nasty stuff. Be sure to wear long pants and sleeves, gloves, and even a mask when installing insulation (PS. I realize Kevin isn’t wearing long pants in the photos below… he got a stern talking to for it :) ).

Step 1:

Measure you walls and the insulation.  You want the insulation to go from ceiling to floor, so measure accordingly.

Little House Big Heart How to Install Insulation 2

Step 2:

Cut you insulation to size using a utility knife.  It’s helpful to use a board to compress the insulation so that you can cut through all the layers at once (ignore the scribbles on our board, we drew out plans and made cut lists on scraps of wood).

Little House Big Heart How to Install Insulation 3

Step 3:

Place your insulation in the wall and staple the flaps to the studs, being careful not to compress the insulation into the wall (you want to keep things fluffy).

Little House Big Heart How to Install Insulation 5

Step 4:

Repeat. It took less than an hour to insulate our entire bathroom (granted, it is tiny).

Little House Big Heart How to Install Insulation 6

The bathroom is on the west side of our house and gets full afternoon sun.  We can already tell that it’s staying cooler in there thanks to it’s new insulation.  For less than $13 and an hour, it’s a big difference.

Does your home have insulation? Have you ever installed it? Is your husband also too suborn to always wear the proper DIY-ing attire?

Venting My Frustration

For the most part, our bathroom has been surprisingly painless (knocking on every piece of wood I can find).  We’ve not found any water damage other than what we repaired on the subfloor, no termite damage, nothing, really, that we couldn’t handle 100% ourselves… that is until we unearthed the tub’s vent stack and thought we had to call a plumber.

Little House Big Heart How to Repair a Cast Iron Vent Stack 1

When our house was built in 1940, cast iron was a very common piping material.  However, at some point in the Little House history, there was a transition from cast iron to galvanized pipes…  not everywhere though; that would be too easy.  Someone decided to transition from cast iron to galvanized inside the wall between the kitchen and bathroom.  It required a coupling that looks like it should be on an episode of Doctor Who, not inside a wall.  However, the biggest problem with this coupling was that is stuck 2 inches past the wall stud, making it impossible to put our Hardibacker cement board up.

Little House Big Heart How to Repair a Cast Iron Vent Stack 2

So what is a vent stack anyway? A vent stack is a pipe that usually exits through your roof that allows for there always to be neutral (or atmospheric, if you like) air pressure behind the water in your drains, preventing it from backing up (which is a bad thing, I promise). They are completely necessary (have you ever seen Mike Holmes go crazy when he opens up a bathroom and doesn’t find a vent stack?!), so there was no way we could just rip that sucker out of the wall. The only solution was the flange/coupling had to be replaced by something a little slimmer and trimmer.

Unsure of what to do next, we turned to our dads (via text, of course).  Both came back with the same general consensus: we could do this ourselves. All we needed to do was to use our reciprocating saw to cut out the coupling and galvanized pipe, then replace them with new couplings and PVC.  We weren’t sure what type of coupling to use either – Should we put steel brackets on them?  Use a galvanized coupling? Use a black Fernco coupling? – but our dads had a solution for that one, too.  My dad let us know that black Fernco couplings would offer us the most flexibility, while still being strong enough to hold both pipes.  It also had the advantage of being the easiest of the three options to install… which is always a plus.

Once we had all our supplies, we headed home to cut the old pipe out of the wall. I personally enjoyed this because I got to put my reciprocating saw to the test.  Cutting through cast iron isn’t easy, and we went through three $7 blades on that one pipe.

Little House Big Heart How to Repair a Cast Iron Vent Stack 3

Things to remember if you have to cut cast iron:

1, Go full speed.  You won’t get through it if you don’t.

2. Have someone hold the pipe so it doesn’t shake.  Fortunately Jess did this for me.

3.  Don’t put a hole in the other side of the wall…more to come on that when we repair the kitchen wall.

Little House Big Heart How to Repair a Cast Iron Vent Stack 4

After cutting through the cast iron just below the bell flange, I went up in the attic and cut the galvanized pipe just below where it exited our roof. Then I replaced it with PVC and a Fernco coupling.  Jess had the fun job of removing the galvanized steel pipe through the bathroom and feeding the PVC back up to me  [WIFE EDIT: That sucker was HEAVY], then seating the PVC in the new 2”x1.5” Fernco reducing coupling.

Little House Big Heart How to Repair a Cast Iron Vent Stack 5

Little House Big Heart How to Repair a Cast Iron Vent Stack 6

It worked like a charm. The vent stack tucked perfectly into it’s spot in the wall and we were able to install our Hardiebacker over it (but that’s another post).

Little House Big Heart How to Repair a Cast Iron Vent Stack 7

In the end, the cost of what we used was:

2” to 1.5” Flexible PVC Coupling – $4.93

1.5” to 1.5” Flexible PVC Coupling – $3.84

Fernco2

10’ of 1.5” PVC – $5.13

1 and 1 half in pvc pipe

 

Total Cost: $14… much less than calling in a plumber!

 

Doing your own plumbing is not for everyone (and not all cities allow homeowners to do their own plumbing, so check that before you start), but if you’re willing (and allowed) to give it a go, it can really save you a lot of time and money spent on a plumber!
Have you had any plumbing surprises in a renovation?Is a pessimist’s blood type B-negative? Why does the Easter bunny carry eggs? Rabbits don’t lay eggs. Why does caregiver and caretaker mean the same thing?

 

The Little House and the List of Doom

Last night, Kevin and I sat down to make a list of everything left to finish on the bathroom.  Our thought was that because we’re so close to being finished, it would motivate us to see how short the to-do list is.

*cue the maniacal laughter*

The list is NOT short… not even a little short. If you made list of short things (like my attention span, Bruno Mars, and springtime in Texas), our to-do list would not be on it.  In fact, our to-do list probably wouldn’t even be allowed in the same room with the list of short things.

Yet.

We have a plan, guys.  We’re going to break this bad boy into bite-sized chunks to make it seem a little more manageable (and to keep us from going nuts).  First bite needs to be small enough to create a snowball.  That way we get more and more motivated.  Also, crossing things off lists just motivates the heck out of me. I tried to get Kevin to put everything we’d already done on the list so we could cross it off and feel good about ourselves, but in the end we agreed that the list was long enough as it was.

So without any further ado… the list.

Little House Big Heart Bathroom To Do List

Told you it was a long list. Our new goal is to finish the bathroom by Labor Day. We have a camping trip planned for the beach then and don’t want to have the bathroom hanging over our heads while we’re playing Frisbee with the pups in the surf.

Are you a lister? Do you lists help you work better or overwhelm you? Do you think there’s any way in Heaven we can finish by Labor Day?

[Shower] Curtain Call

Hey guys!  We’re going to start tiling on the bathroom tonight!  I’m so ridiculously, incredibly, little-kid-on-her-birthday excited.  Today is day 42 of the reno, so tiling feels like the light at the end of a way-longer-than-expected tunnel.

Tiling has got me thinking about the finishing touches in the bath.  I know were going to go with crisp white towels (hellllo bleachable linens), but I haven’t decided on a shower curtain yet.  Originally, we had planned on painting the walls a pale grey and going with the navy striped West Elm shower curtain we showed in our mood board.

Little House Big Heart Bathroom Mood Board Gray Navy

Now that we’ve painted the room a velvety navy, I don’t think that shower curtain will work out. I’ve found a few others I like, but can’t decide on which is my favorite.

I’m really in love with this navy Greek key shower curtain from Ballard Designs.  It’s $85 (which is pretty steep for a shower curtain), but I won a $50 gift card to Ballard Designs at haven, bringing my price down to a much more managable $35.  The more I look at this one, the more I think I could DIY it…

Ballard Designs Greek Key Shower Curtain

I also love this ruffly shower curtain from Anthropologie (let’s face it, I love everything from Anthro).  It’s so whimsical and feminine; I think it would contrast with our really geometrical tile and give it a little bit of softness.  They’re out of stock online, but most of their other shower curtain run in the $90 range.

Anthro Scallop Shower Curtain

I also really liked this West Elm Dotted Stripe shower curtain.  The pattern is subtle, but not so subtle you don’t see it.  I really like the texture in this option, too, and at $49 its price point isn’t out of the ballpark.

West Elm Dotted Stripe Shower Curtain

I’m really torn on which of these I like this most… and I haven’t even looked at Target or Home Goods yet. 

Which curtain would you choose? Does $100+ for a shower curtain seem a bit nutty to you, too? Would you check out some local stores before getting one of these?

A Little Bathroom Reno: How to Repair a Damaged Subfloor

It’s been a couple weeks since we shared anything on our bathroom renovation.  To be honest, we’ve been so busy working on it, we haven’t had time to write about it.  Like we’ve said before, not having a functioning bathroom in our house is a great motivator to do nothing but work every spare minute we have.

After demolition, the first step in putting everything back together was to start repairing the subfloor. When we demoed the floor we found old water damage (from leaks that were fixed long before we bought the house) in a couple places.  The Little House was built in 1940, so we were expecting something to be wrong with the subfloor.  The issues we found were relatively minor, so we knew we could fix them ourselves.

Little House Big Heart How to Repair A Damaged Subfloor Repairing a subfloor isn’t a task to take lightly; if not done well, it can cause big headaches down the road.  That being said, if you’re relatively handy (ie. you can use a tape measure, a drill, and a saw), repairing your own subfloor is a pretty easy job that you can definitely tackle yourself (we have faith in you).

Little House Big Heart Subfloor Damage

STEP 1:

The first thing to do when finding subfloor damage is to determine the cause.  Was it termites? Are the little buggers still hanging around? You probably want to call an exterminator either way to make sure that the problem is under control.  If the damage was caused by water, make sure that the leak has been repaired.  If you’re not comfortable with checking out the plumbing yourself, have a plumber come out to make sure everything is hunky-dory.

STEP 2:

Remove the damaged parts of the subfloor.  In our case, this meant just prying up the damaged planks.  If you have a plywood subfloor, you may need to get out a circular saw to remove all of the damaged wood.  Regardless of what type of subfloor you have, make sure you remove everything that looks damaged.  In the end, you should have a nice, clean hole in your floor.

Little House Big Heart How to Repair Subfloor Damage 2

STEP 3:

Once you have your hold cleaned up, you can measure and cut your new wood to fit.  We used 1×6” planks since that was what our original subfloor was constructed out of, but if your floor was plywood, you’ll want to go back with that.  You may also have to “sister” your joists if they were damaged or if you don’t have a say to screw into them. This means you may have to bulk them up by screwing additional wood to their sides.

Little House Big Heart How to Repair Subfloor Damage 3

STEP 4:

The last step is fastening your repairs.  You can use screws or nails, but if you’re repairing the subfloor in a wet location, be sure and use coated deck screws or deck nails.  This way, should the area ever get wet again, you fasteners won’t rust.

Little House Big Heart How to Repair Subfloor Damage 4

Depending on what you’re doing, you may be done at this point.  Because we needed to build up the original subfloor, we went a step farther and laid down 23/32” plywood (why they use such an arbitrary measurement, I have no idea) CDX exterior grade plywood.

Little House Big Heart How to Repair Subfloor Damage 5 

Little House Big Heart How to Repair Subfloor Damage 6

Sometimes it feels like we’re not getting anywhere, but we’ve come so far on the bathroom since we took these photos! In fact, we’re ready for tile!

Have you ever had to repair subfloor damage in your home? Did you do it yourself or call in the pros?

Bathroom Confessional

36 days.

That’s how long it’s been since there has been a functioning bathroom at the Little House. We put up the last (and I swear by all that is holy it IS the last) coat of mud on the drywall last night and are oh-so-close to the home stretch on this one… but we’re not there yet. Hold on folks, it’s about to get wordy.

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Needless to say, not having a toilet in our house for 36 days is starting to get to us. We started this project thinking it would take three weeks, tops… but we forgot we still have a life to live. We have to take a night here and there and do laundry, to clean house.  We have church commitments and work commitments and blog commitments (Hellllo, Haven!).  Some nights, we’ve just taken off because if we had to stand in that tiny bathroom one more minute we’d scream.  At each other. Not quietly.

And that’s happened, more lately now than in the beginning.  We had no idea the inner demons that could be summoned forth by a little box of drywall mud, but trust me.  They’re there and they aren’t pretty.  A few nights ago we were so mad at each other we could barely see straight over a not-so-straight corner mud job and it hit me.  The drywall demons had us.  We were focusing on what was going wrong with the bathroom and forgetting all the good things we were getting out of it.

So I put my big girl pants on, apologized for letting the drywall demons get to me (and maybe for calling Kevin a name we can’t repeat on here), and suggested we make a list of all the great things we were getting out of remodeling our only bathroom (did I mention ONLY?).

In no particular order, here’s the things we came up with:

1. We’re doing it right, not fast.  Sure, it’s taking forever, but that’s because we’re making sure every little detail is done correctly and thoroughly.

2. By doing the work ourselves, we’re saving so. much. money. that we can use for, I don’t know, our next crazy around-the-world trip?

3. We’re learning new skills. Neither of us had done much by way of plumbing before, nor had we ever done much framing or drywalling.  We’re old pros at all of that now!

4. We’re getting to spend a lot of time together.  When this is all said and done and I have a gorgeous marble floor to sit on and reflect back on the project, I think what I’ll remember most is not driving each other mad (and we’ve done plenty of that), but talking for hours while we worked together. Solving problems together we didn’t think we could do ourselves.  Singing along to Disney radio on Pandora at the top of our lungs (through our respirators).

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5. We’re getting a ton of new tools and renting a few more awesome ones.  Can anyone say Jackhammer? New 18V DeWalt jig saw?

6. We honest-to-goodness appreciate our western luxuries more.  Hands down one of the best parts of Haven was having a toilet and shower.  You don’t miss things like that until you don’t have that luxury anymore.

7. Although it’s definitely not why we started the reno, it does provide a lot of blogging material!

8. All of the difficulties we’ve encountered has given us a reason to plumb the depths of our dads’ knowledge.  And they know A LOT.

9. We can take pride in telling people we did it ourselves.  It may sound petty, but I can’t wait for the first person to say “No way!” when I tell them we did every single inch of the bathroom ourselves, from the plumbing to the electrical to the tiling to the decorating.

10. We’re learning about our ourselves. For example, we will never own another one bathroom house and drywall mudding brings out the worst in us.

11. We’re learning about construction materials and techniques which we’ll be able to use to help our friends and readers!  We never want to recommend something we haven’t personally used ourselves and know to be awesome!

12. We’re getting to put all of our fancy couponing and deal making skills to the test.  I won’t reveal how much we’ve saved so far, but it’s a pretty big number. As in 3 zeros big.  They don’t call us the Coupon Kids for nothing!

13. We’re increasing our home value and saleability.  The Little House is one of the few single bathroom homes in our neighborhood, so making sure it’s an awesome one will definitely help our saleability and home value in the long run.

14. We’re earning a ton of Home Depot Pro Rewards. We should probably have bought stock in the company before we started this reno, but pro rewards are the next best thing!

15. We’re going to have an awesome bathroom when we’re finished.  Seriously, guys.  I’m so excited.  It’s going to be classy and clean and GORGEOUS.

Everyone has told us that if our marriage can withstand home renovations, it will be able to withstand anything.  I don’t know how true that is, but if it is true, I expect I’ll be driving Mr. Beals up the wall for a long, long, long time to come.

Have you lived through your own home renovation? How did you stay sane through it? Any tips for us newbies?

A Little Bathroom Reno: Demolition Derby

Hey! Sorry we fell off the face of the planet (again)… the bathroom reno has been consuming every free waking minute of our lives (there’s something about not having a toilet in your home that motivates you to work on remedying that situation instead of writing blog posts).  We’re back though and here to share the first stage in our big bathroom reno: demolition (aka. the fun part for me).  Did I mention this is our ONLY bathroom?

I love demo.  It’s definitely my favorite part of DIY.  It just makes me feel so powerful and strong and sore… very, very, can’t-get-out-of-bed-walking-like-an-old-lady sore.  And because I’m weird, I like that.

Just for grins, here’s what we started with:

Beals Bathroom Befores LHBH

Before we swung the first hammer, we prepped everything by taping brown paper down to protect the wood floors in our hall and plastic over the door to try and keep some of the dust contained (I will draw your attention to the expert taping job at the top of the door… expert, my friends, expert).

Door Plastic

We also gathered up all the supplies we though we’d need to properly demo:

Tools: hammers, mini sledge, crow bars (in three sizes), screwdrivers
Clean Up: Flat shovel, broom, heavy-duty contractor bags (don’t skimp… go with the expensive heavy ones)
Personal Protection: Respirators, goggles, gloves

I can’t stress enough how important the respirator and goggles were.  They were hot, uncomfortable, and a royal pain in the derriere, but it was way worse in there without them.  Besides, they made a great fashion statement paired with an old sorority tee shirt, don’t you think?

PPE Fashion

And now for an action shot to further showcase my fabulous demolition fashion sense and my impressive muscles…

Just joking about the muscle part. This is where we discovered that we had a really progressive builder in 1940 who used drywall instead of plaster on our walls (hence the “There’s nothing there!” comment from me in the video).  We were fully prepared to deal with plaster in the entire bathroom, so finding out that half of it would be easy drywall demo was like finding a $20 in an old pair of jeans. Seriously.  There were high-fives and a little victory dance.

We got almost all the drywall removed in the first night.

Drywall on the Floor

Day One Demo

The next day we said bye to our toilet (We miss you!) and started demo on the tile portion of the walls.  The tile was laid in thick thin set (oxymoron, much?) over expanded metal mesh.  We were expecting it to be really difficult to remove, but Kevin was able to get it out in fairly intact chunks, leaving us with only the floor to demo.

Wall Demo Complete

For that, we brought in the big guns… in the form of a 20-lb. demolition hammer rented from Home Depot.  Don’t worry, Kev put on his respirator and goggles before we actually got to work.  If you ever use a demo hammer/jackhammer, you’ll also want to use ear plugs (otherwise you’ll be yelling “Huh?!” at each other for the rest of the day… we know from previous experience).

Kevin Demo Hammer

The demo hammer made short work of the floor.  Kevin used it to break up large chunks of tile and I came behind with a crowbar and hammer to pry them up where they were stuck to the subfloor (on a fun side note, I saved a bunch of the little white hex tiles from the floor and plan to make something for the new bathroom with them… I’m just not sure what yet.  Any ideas?).

Bathroom Floor DemolitionIt took much longer to clean up the floor than it did to actually demo it.  We used a flat shovel to scoop the smaller pieces into a contractor bag and carried the larger pieces out to our driveway. We weren’t able to get a dumpster (long story about an even longer phone call), so everything is just hanging out waiting on disposal.  We did put up some yellow caution tape in hopes of covering our behinds should anyone be dumb enough to try and go through the piles (I’m sure our neighbors just love us).

Demo Pile

It took the two of us about three days to completely demo the bathroom (if only real life were like HGTV and it took that long to put it back together again).  We were left with a blank (if somewhat holey) slate.

Demolition Completed

We’ll be back later this week with a guest post from my sister and maybe a little more on the bathroom progress, so stay tuned!

Let’s Talk Tile!

This is it, guys. The week we start the bathroom.

Probably.  If I can ever get over the debilitating fear of not being able to put it back together.

Luckily, we’ve sourced everything but the shower fixtures, so there’s no turning back now.  Which means… we have tile (and we saved over $300 buying it)!

For the walls, we decided (after a ridiculous amount of agonizing on which white was the right white) to go with White Daltile from Home Depot.  In the end, it matched our new sink better than any of the other (five) samples we tried.  We also picked up matching trim to go along the top.  They don’t look like they match in the photos below, but they do in real life (and let’s face it… real life is what matters).

Daltile Rittenhouse White Subway Tile Home Depot 1

Daltile Rittenhouse White Victorian Trim Home Depot

As usual, we used giftcardzen.com to buy Home Depot gift cards at 9.5% off and a 10% Lowes coupon (which HD matches) to save about $100 on the wall tile!

Our marble was delivered on Friday.  Two things about marble. One, it’s heavy. Really, stupidly heavy. Two, it’s beautiful. I probably spent a good half an hour “Oohing” and “Aahing” and holding up the trim here and there in the bathroom admiring it. It’s mesmerizingly gorgeous.

We bought our marble from an online retailer called marbleonline.com.  I’m not going to lie, they seemed a little sketch to me at first. But Kevin had done his homework and it turned out to be a really highly rated company with great reviews. We ordered 44 square feet of 3″ Carrara Hexagon Mosaic tile and enough marble pencil trim to do a subtle accent around the entire room (and in the shower).

Marble Online 3 Inca Carrara Hex

Marble Online Carrara Pencil Liner

When we ordered our marble from MarbleOnline.com, they sent us an email with pictures of their current stock so we could choose the tones we were liked in our marble, then they sent us only marble with the color variations we were wanting.  Their shipping was free and they were great to work with (we don’t have any affiliation with them – we’re just passing on the info on a great company)!

Not only were they great to work with, but their marble prices were anywhere from $2-$5 cheaper than the other places we got samples from.  All in all, we spent $483 on our marble hex tile with MarbleOnline.com. If we had purchased from BuilderDepot, it would have been $626 after shipping or $762 from The Tile Shop after Texas sales tax. If you average those together, we saved about $210 by shopping around for our marble!

If you add the ~$100 we saved on our wall tile and the $210 we saved on our marble to the $299 we’d already saved on buying our sink, console, and medicine cabinet, we’ve saved a total of $610 on our renovation so far just buy using coupons, sales, and shopping around! $610!!

What have you saved on lately? Have you ever spent half an hour staring into the complexities of a piece of marble (no? I figured it was just me)?  Can you believe we’ve saved $610 on our bathroom before we even started it?

Partially Ensconced

We’re at T minus not-very-long until we start the bathroom (or at least that’s what we keep telling ourselves).  Recent life events have pushed out the start date, reeled it back in, and left it basically in limbo.  Honestly, it has me a little frustrated that it’s so indefinite… I’m ready for a little sledgehammer therapy session.  Instead, I have to be patient and content myself with sourcing our materials (which, to be honest, has to be done first… I just really need that sledgehammer therapy).

Lately I’ve been pondering sconces for our bathroom.  Right now we have one of those $20 cheapie unibrow sconces the previous owner installed. It’s not centered over the sink (seriously, none of the lighting is centered in the Little House) and the more I look at it, the more I’m pretty sure I want to do something different next time around.

Beals Bathroom Before 1

I’m leaning towards two single sconces flanking our new medicine cabinet, like the photo below.  I’m all about symmetry and that part of me likes how balanced it looks with a single sconce on either side.  Also, I might be able to convince the hubs since it’s one light bulb less than our current arrangement… less light bulbs means less electricity used, right?

Pottery Barn Recessed Hotel Medicine Cabinet

I’m loving these sconces from Shades of Light. They’re vintage, but not too much so. And at $62 each, more affordable than I expected.

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I also really like this one from Destination Lighting. It’s a little cheaper at $50 and I think I might like the shape more than other. I’m just a little worried about the scale though… it seems to be a lot bigger (and we can’t do bigger in this bathroom… we have to do tiny and compact).

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Hopefully we’ll get the ball rolling soon and start swinging the sledgehammer, but in the meantime we still have to decide on tile, purchase it, get sconces, and a ton of other things.  We’ll keep you posted on all the riveting developments.

 

Mirror, Mirror

Do you know that feeling when you put on a jacket you haven’t worn in ages, put your hand in the pocket, and pull out a $20? It’s the best, right?  Kev and I had that happen to us this weekend… except the jacket was a dresser drawer and the $20 was two gift cards.

The first gift card was to Lowe’s and Kevin used it to buy a 20V DeWalt jig saw. Woot.

The second was a $50 gift card was to Pottery Barn… which got the wheels in my head a-turnin’.  I have been coveting this recessed medicine cabinet from Pottery Barn pretty much since we decided to remodel the bathroom. But at $250, it was more of a splurge than I was willing to make, especially when Home Depot has a similar-but-not-recessed version for $109.

Pottery Barn Recessed Hotel Medicine Cabinet (via)

Now I had $50 off that $250.  Things were starting to look more attractive. And then yesterday morning when I got an email from Pottery Barn for 20% off a single item, I knew it was a sign from God (assuming God busies himself with things like Pottery Barn sales and bathroom renovations).

With the $50 gift card and the 20% off, the cabinet was down to $150.  As usual, we checked Gift Card Zen and scored just the right amount of discount gift cards to get us another 8% off, meaning we paid just $138 before tax.  I won’t lie, I did my happy dance when Kevin wasn’t looking.

All in all, we saved $112 on the medicine cabinet. If you combine that with the $186.85 we saved on our console sink, we’ve saved $298.85 so far on our bathroom renovation!

This has inspired us to add a new goal for our bathroom remodel:

Save $1000 on what we were already planning to purchase for the remodel by getting creative with sales, coupons, and discount gift cards.

It’s an ambitious goal since we don’t have too many major purchases left, but I know we can do it. Only $700 more left to save!

How was your Easter weekend?  Have you ever had that found $20 feeling?  Have you gotten creative with sales or coupons lately? Do you think saving $1000 is too ambitious?