A Step Back

We’ve had some pretty serious discussions around the Little House this week and have decided to put off actually starting on the bathroom until late May or early June.  It kills us to have to wait that long (I’d be in there with a sledgehammer right now if I could), but we’ve got to be responsible adults (ugh) and do what needs to be done before we do what we want to do.  Here was the reasoning behind our decision.

1. Our parents are visiting this spring.  We figure they won’t want to drive to the gym every time they need to shower and won’t want to share our spare bedroom with construction materials (and even if they’d be okay with it – and they probably would be – we don’t want to inconvenience them like that).

2. We have lot of almost finished projects around the Little House that need to be wrapped up before we start another (even bigger) project. Almost finished projects lurk on our deck, in flower beds that aren’t yet dug, a laundry room shelf that fell off the wall, crushed granite yet to be laid on our side yard, wood yet to be stained on our garden, and thresholds and grout yet to be sealed in the office, not to mention tons of frames to be hung around the house.

Office Progress3. We have to declutter and organize.  There’s no way we should be gutting one room in our home when we (literally) can’t walk through another. What is supposed to be our spare bedroom is right now a disaster zone we call the Room of Requirement.  It’s where everything we don’t know what to do with ends up.  And until everything in here finds its proper home, we can’t start the bathroom (please don’t judge us by this photo… honesty in blogging, y’all).

Room of RequirementWe have a plan laid out to get all this done by the time June rolls around so we can swing that sledgehammer.

Until then, we’ll be sharing our purchases, decisions, and quest to get the Little House in shape.

Have a great weekend!

Sinking Fast

Happy Monday!

Kevin and I spent most of yesterday braving torrential rain and near-arctic temperatures (it was 47 F) to visit five different stores in search of the perfect tile for the bathroom.  We didn’t find the tile, but we found out what the tile is supposed to be: Carrara Bianco marble hexagons.

Carrara Bianco Builder Depot(via)

Carrara bianco has the right mix of gray and white without the creams and tans we were finding in the Hamilton Carrara.  We’ve ordered a couple samples and I can’t wait to get them! Of course, we still have to decide on whether we want 2″ or 3″ hexagons (as of yesterday we’re leaning towards the 3″, but are worried they could be too big for our small bathroom).

Even better than deciding on a type of marble, though, is actually buying the first item for the remodel… our sink (squeal).  It’s exactly what I was hoping for.  I mean, exactly.  It’s perfect. It’s gorgeous.  And did I mention we got it on sale?

American Standard Retrospect(via)

It’s the Retrospect sink and console stand by American Standard.  Most places online have this combo for about $650+, but we managed to score it on sale from Home Depot for $453. (!!!!) How? Here’s the math:

Sink Regular Price: $176
Legs Regular Price: $415
Total Regular Price (with TX tax): $639.75

Sink Sale Price: $140.80 (20% off)
Legs Sale Price: $332.00 (20% off)
$10 off $100 code: -$20 (code: HDSPRINGBF)
Giftcard Granny: -7.6%
Total Sale Price (with TX tax): $452.90

Getting your dream sink: Priceless.

Seriously though, I’m ridiculously excited about this sink. Probably way more excited than a person should be about a sink (if that’s even possible).  At this point, I can’t even imagine the level of excitement when it’s actually installed.  Be still my heart.

And Kevin is my hero for not only finding a $10 off $100 coupon code for Home Depot to save us an extra $20, but for remembering to buy Home Depot gift cards on giftcardgranny.com and save us even more (for the record, we’re not paid to endorse any of these companies, we just like them).  All in all, we saved a grand total of $186.85 on our sink – probably enough to entirely cover the faucet and plumbing.

I call that a win.

Would you go with 2″ or 3″ hexagons in our tiny little bathroom?  What do you think of our new sink?  Have you ever used discount giftcards to make any purchases?

Letting My Inner Nerd Out

After a pretty intense bathroom planning/research sesh last night, the hubs and I realized that we have a lot to learn.  A lot a lot.  So in order to quell the pangs panic creeping down my spine, I decided to revert to something I know more about than drywall and wall tile: math and drawings (a mechanical engineer’s best friends frenemies).

A quick 20 minutes spent in the bathroom with a tape measure, and the hubs and I had a rough sketch of the the dimensions of our little bathroom. Then I used floorplanner.com to sketch out the bathroom with dimensions.  The site’s pretty easy to use and you can create one floor plan for free. We were able to show where all of the bathroom fixtures were located and to label whether or not they’re staying in the bathroom.

Bathroom Corrected

This morning I set up an Excel spreadsheet to calculate our wall and floor areas. We’re going to need about 136 sq. ft. of wall tile and around 34 sq. ft. of floor tile. Of course, we’ll have to get more than that to account for cuts and mistakes (not that we’d ever make mistakes…).  We’re going to hit up some tile shops here in Dallas this weekend to price and hopefully order our tile.

We still have a ton of research and planning to finish before we can swing the first sledge hammer, but getting this step out of the way makes me feel so much better. There’s something about having concrete dimensions that seems to make everything less up in the air.

Have you used floorplanner.com? What are your plans for the weekend?


Now that we’re in the full fledged bathroom remodel planning process, we sat down to make a list of goals for the project. We didn’t want too many, but we wanted something to hold ourselves accountable to (and that you can hold us accountable to).  Of course, we want to make the bathroom prettier, but that’s not our only goal.

Little House Big Heart Bathroom Mood Board Gray Navy

So without any further ado, our five bathroom remodeling goals:

1. Finish the project by June 2014. And I mean finish. Paint, curtains, decor – everything. Why? We can’t drag this one out. It’s the only bathroom in the Little House, so we have to finish this project quickly.

2. Stay under our budget of $5000. That includes demo, drywall, tile, paint, refinishing the tub… the whole kit-and-caboodle.

3. Do everything ourselves (except for refinishing the tub and any major plumbing).  We don’t expect to have to do any major plumbing, but we’re prepared for it. The Little House isn’t exactly a spring chicken, so we know that we may run into issues we won’t know how to handle. That being said, we want to do as much of this project ourselves as we possibly can.

4. Maintain the vintage character of the bathroom, while making it more functional and modern.  I know that we’ve mentioned this before, but it’s really important to us. We love the original tile, arch shower surround, and linen closet in our current bathroom.  We want to update those things while preserving the feel they give to the house.

5. Increase the value of the Little House. As much as we love the LH, it’s not our forever home.  So as with every project that we complete, the main goal of this remodel is to increase the saleability and value of the Little House.

Sorry for the wordy post, but we really wanted to share these with you guys.  We’ll be more likely to make sure we stay on budget if we know you know what our budget is!

The Big Bathroom Kickoff

Now that we’re back in the States and (mostly) over our jet-lag, it’s time to officially kick off the next big project around the Little House…

The Bathroom.

Here’s our official befores so we can compare them down the road.

Beals Bathroom Befores LHBH Beals Bathroom Before 1 Beals Bathroom Before 2 We’ve started sourcing our materials and getting quotes on the necessary plumbing changes and tub refinishing, so it’s only a matter of time before we swing that first sledgehammer!

Stay tuned!

Oh, and I just bought my Haven ticket today! Who else is going??

Linen on a Prayer

This is the last call for guest bloggers! We still need a few bloggers willing to post while we’re in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Check out this post if you’re interested. If you’ve already volunteered, THANK YOU and we’ll be emailing you later on today!

If our little bathroom has one redeeming feature, it’s the linen closet.

Wait, you didn’t know our bathroom had a linen closet? Don’t worry. It’s easy to miss.

LHBH Linen ClosetIt’s on the left right when you walk in the door and is the only real storage in the bathroom. We plan on keeping it around when we demo (you know, keeping that vintage vibe and all that), but we’d like to update it a bit. It’s pretty closed off and not as functional as it could be.

Ideally we’ll create something like this glass-fronted beauty. It’s clean and simple, but still has tons of storage and functionality.

linen closet 3(via)

Of course, I’d settle for something that looks like this (because that’s not unrealistic at all).

Linen Closet 1(via)

In all probabality though, we’ll end up with something like this. Don’t laugh at my sketching abilities, I drew this up on a break at work. The cabinet doors on the top are glass and the middle drawer already exists in our linen closet (it’s where I keep my makeup and hair stuff, so it has to stay).

SketchSince our laundry nook is right outside the bathroom, the two drawers on the bottom would be hampers for dark and light clothes, giving us a place to sort laundry other than on our hall floor.

Another option would be to put horizontal drawers where the hampers are for extra storage, but the more I look at the hamper idea, the more convinced I am that we’ll probalby go that way.

What would your ideal linen closet look like? Do you have issues sketching too? Are you tired of bathroom posts yet?

Sick and Tiled

Okay, we’re not sick. But between my surprise root canal last week and our camping trip this weekend, we haven’t had much time to work on the Little House.  Instead, we’ve been dreaming of our bathroom floors.  We 100% sure we want to go with Carrara marble, but we have no idea what style. Sure, it’s expensive, but the room is tiny and shouldn’t be too much of a splurge – if we can ever make up our minds as to which kind we want.

Initially, we were planning on going with 2″ hex tile in order to recall the white ceramic hex tile on the floor in there now.

Carrara Marble Hex Tile(via)

Then there’s large scale hex tile which I recently fell in love with at The Tile Shop.

Carrara Marble Large Hex Tile(via)

Along the same lines is this small square mosaic floor seen over at Life Begins at Thirty.  It’s clean, it’s crisp, and it has a lot of little white grout lines to get dirty, just like the small hex tile.

Carrara Marble Small Square Tile

And in a completely different direction are herringbone floors. I’ve been in love with herringbone for a long while now and would LOVE to try it out. I just don’t know if I love the large scale or the small scale herringbone more. Probably the large.

Carrara Marble Herringbone Large Tile(via)

No, the small.

Carrara Marble Herringbone Small Tile(via)

We don’t want to do anything too trendy and want to keep the vintage character of the Little House going, but I don’t want it to feel too dated at the same time.  We also want to go with white grout (or nearly) which could pose problems (although, it’s holding up really well in the office).  Above all, we have to be able to do it ourselves.

All the design decision on this bathroom will be the death of me. I’m terrible at making decisions and these just seem so permanent!  Help!

Flattering My Vanity

When I posted the mood board I’d put together for our only bathroom, I showed a GORGEOUS dual console sink.

Little House Big Heart Bathroom Mood Board Gray NavyUnfortunately, that particular sink (and most like it I’ve seen) costs upwards of $1500.  Considering we’re hoping to do the entire bathroom remodel for under $3000 (and most of that will be tile), I don’t think that’s going to happen.

So I started thinking: What was it that I loved about the console sink?

  • It’s open: since our bathroom is so small, I don’t really want a large bulky vanity to make the already tiny space seem even more cramped.
  • It’s narrow: this particular console sink is only 17″ deep, a perfect fit for our tiny bathroom
  • It’s historical: we’re trying to preserve the vintage vibe of our 1940s home, so having a sink that might have graced the house when it was new is a pretty big deal
  • It’s gorgeous: Need I say more? It’s just a beautiful fixture, plain and simple.

That left me with four essential criteria for choosing the perfect vanity for our eensy-beensy bathroom: openness, width, style (historical), and overall aesthetics. Then I started perusing Pinterest to see if I could fine any vanities with these feature that might be more budget friendly.

The first I found is this one:

Bathroom Vanity Console Carrara Marble Top(Via)

This vanity has everything except for the width – it’s too wide for our little bathroom. It does have storage though, which would be a big plus.  I’m not sure where this vanity is from, but I love the Carrara top, the drawer pulls, and how the bottom portion is open, keeping it light.

Next I found this vanity:

Restoration hardware Weather Oak Single Console Sink(via)

It’s basically everything I ever wanted in a vanity. It’s classic, open, has storage, is all-around gorgeous… and is $1250 from Restoration Hardware. It gets me thinking though… I think we could DIY something similar if we found the right piece of furniture and the right vessel sink.

Finally, I found this one.

dresser vanity(via)

It’s not as open as I’d really like, but it has tons of storage. Another downside is it might be too old fashioned: we live in a house from the 40s, not the 1800s. I like the idea though, and it wouldn’t be that hard to find something similar to fit our little bathroom.

We’re hoping to start on the bathroom when we get back from Asia, so deciding on what we want to do here is actually pretty important.  If only money were no object in this reno. Le sigh.

Have you ever DIYed a vanity before? Would you? What would you put in your bathroom if money were no object?

Feeling Moody

The big bathroom renovation is finally upon us. We’re planning on swinging the first hammer as soon as we get back from our big Southeast Asia trip. In the meantime, we’re selecting our supplies, calculating costs, and figuring out where the heck we’re going to shower.

Our goal with the bathroom reno is to update the bathroom, but still keep the historical feel it has. That means using traditional materials and preserving the architectural details (like the arch over the shower).

Here’s a little taste of what we’ve got in mind.

Little House Big Heart Bathroom Mood Board Gray Navy1.  Our walls will be tiled half way up with simple, clean subway tile, like this from The Tile Shop.  We’ll probably go with a light grout to keep thingy bright and airy.

2. The floors are going to be our big splurge; we’re going to be going with Carrara marble hex tile, probably the 2″ size like this from The Tile Shop.  I love the classy, old fashioned feel it brings to a space.

3.  We’ll go with all new white, fluffy towels. I’ve long been a convert to all white linens and the new bathroom won’t be any exception.

4.  In case you’re new around here, I’m obsessed with navy and gray. So like every other room in the Little House, our remodeled bathroom will have to have some navy accents. I’m in love with this navy striped shower curtain from West Elm.

5. The Little House isn’t long on storage, so any extra we can squeeze in will be awesome. I’m loving the old-fashioned simplicity of these medicine cabinets from Home Depot. One for each of us should help us keep our sink clear of the toothbrushes, contact solution, and whatnot that hangs out there now.

6.  This is my dream sink. I’m pretty sure that it will neither fit in the room nor in our budget (it comes in at a cool $1500), but if I could have anything I wanted, this would be it. I’ve has serious conversations with myself about DIYing the base out of stainless steel pipe and then having it chromed, but I still haven’t convinced myself.

7. The colors in this room will echo the color scheme throughout the Little House: gray, navy, and white. I’ll probably throw some pops of coral in because I’m daring like that, who knows.

I’m so excited to get started on this project! I’m also scared to death of it. I’ll be the single largest thing the hubs and I have tackled together, so who knows how it’ll end up. We’re definitely going to make sure we have enough saved when we start that if we have to throw in the towel and have the pros come in, we can.  That’s not going to happen though. We got this.

I’m working on a week of posts dedicated to how Kevin and I afford and plan our crazy awesome trips around the world. I’d love to address any questions you might have about how we do it, how we pack, or travel in general, so please let me know in the comments below, tweet me (@lilhousebgheart), or email me! Have a fantastic weekend!


Crack Me Up

Lately we’ve had a few questions asking why we’re planning on gutting and remodeling our bathroom. It has gorgeous vintage tile in a pretty minty green; why would anyone (especially two people who claim they want to keep the “vintage vibe” of their 1940’s home) want to take a sledgehammer to that?


Because looks can be deceiving. Just like a 40 year-old model on the cover of a magazine, this bathroom has a few wrinkles underneath her Photoshop magic. There’s irreparable cracks, busted out corners, horrible caulk jobs, permanently stained grout… I could go on, but I’ll spare you the gory details.

And just so you know… we neither caulked nor attempted any of these repairs ourselves. The bathroom looked exactly like this when we moved in.

Little House Big Heart - Cracked vintage tile with poor caulking

Little House. Big Heart - Holes in vintage bathroom tile

Little House. Big Heart. - Busted Vintage Green Tile

Little House. Big Heart. - Cracked bathroom Tile

The faucet is in bad shape, along with the horribly apparent patch job behind it (ignore the homemade sugar scrub I made for Mother’s Day). And while it may look moldy, I assure you that I have used every possible cleaning agent I can think of to try and clean that horrible caulk and have come to the conclusion that a sledgehammer is the only thing that will ever get it truly clean.

Little House Big Heart - Vintage Tile and Faucet

We’ll probably start this project sometime in late summer (as the backyard project is turning into a much bigger beast than we had anticipated), but until then we just wanted y’all to know we weren’t completely crazy for wanting to demo our vintage bathroom. We’re completely crazy for different reasons (like each other).