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.
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…
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.
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.
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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).
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!
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?
You know you had a good weekend when it’s Tuesday morning and you’re still sleepy and wondering where the heck the weekend went… and that’s pretty much where I’m at right now. I spent this weekend at the Haven Conference in Atlanta brushing up on my blogging skills and meeting some amazing women. I wish I’d taken more photos, but with all the sessions, swag, drinks, and dancing, I was just too busy to take any!
Everything kicked off with a fantastic keynote speech by Chip Wade (who I found out is a fellow mechanical engineer!). Seriously, any time he wants to come and make some Elbow Room in the Little House he is more than welcome. I’m just kidding. But seriously. Come convert our attic, Mr. Chip Wade. We’ll give you carte blanche.
I attended some fantastic sessions that boosted my blogging confidence and helped me realize where I want LHBH to go. The Blogging Trade Secrets session with Laura, Jen, Erin, and Dusty was AMAZING. I mean, mind-boggling good.
I also really loved the Working with Brands session with Brittany, Diane, and the awesomely funny Mandi. Not only did I really enjoy this session, but one of the best moments of my weekend was Mandi dancing on me (and I mean on me) to get me on the dance floor Friday night. Her fearless spirit is so infectious I was out on the dance floor in no time (hence the lack of sleep)!
Next year, I’d love a few classes on web design/Wordpress wrangling, the business side of blogging, and maybe a couple on how to grow your blog.
Another highlight of the weekend was meeting (and rooming with) one my long time blog besties, Ashley from Attempts at Domestication. This girls is seriously so much fun! If it weren’t for her I might have spent the whole weekend hiding in my room.
I was also lucky enough to meet Kim from Newly Woodwards and Michelle from Decor and the Dog. It was so fun to finally get to put names (and voices!) with faces!
I met a TON of amazing women this weekend, including (but not limited to) Rachel (and her sweet little one), Amanda, Anna, and Kelly. They (and their blogs) are amazing and definitely worth adding to your Bloglovin’ feed (and your Instagram and Twitter and whatever other social media you can follow them on). We had some really great conversations and even started our own club, Oversharers [not] Anonymous. Okay, not really. But we could have.
I did get my hands dirty at the Ryobi power tool workshop. For the most part though, I stuck to the blogging sessions – this girl is no stranger to power tools!
I learned so much at Haven that I can’t wait to implement here on the blog! Kevin and I are so excited about the changes we’re noodling on (yes, noodling is the technical term) and we can’t wait to share them with you.
What did you do this weekend? Have you ever met any of your internet friends? Are you a stranger to power tools?
It might be all-bathroom-all-the-time around the Little House right now, but we don’t want to subject you guys to that! We’ll have a few posts now and then that are completely unrelated to the crazy reno going on. We hope you enjoy them!
If there’s one piece of furniture I remember most growing up, it would be a little table and two chairs given to my sister and I by our paternal grandparents. I don’t remember getting the table; we just always had it. It was brown wood and was home to more tea parties, Play-Doh creations, Easy Bake disasters, and pretend restaurants than you can shake a stick at (not sure why you’d want to shake a stick at my childhood memories, though…).
As we grew up, the table passed down to the scores of younger cousins (yes, scores) that were always visiting and playing in our forgotten playhouse in the basement. The table was covered in doodles in marker and crayon, vestiges of artwork that couldn’t be contained on a single sheet of construction paper. The chairs were as coveted a seat as any first class recliner on a long-haul flight and squabbles to claim one resulted in many a time out being given.
Eventually, even the scores of cousins outgrew the little table and chairs and they were left to sit alone in our basement and wait for the next group of kids to come along. Instead of kids, the next thing to come along was a flood. After a torrential rain, our childhood home was left with several feet of water in the basement that didn’t recede for days. When the water finally drained, the little table was a broken down wreck of itself and was tossed to the side to be taken to the dump.
That’s where my sister found it. That’s where she rescued it and took it to her grandfather-in-law to be saved. They replaced the parts that couldn’t be repaired and restored it to even more than it’s former glory. A coat of white paint and a chalkboard top have given this little table a new lease on life with a new kid, our niece, Emma, to doodle and have tea parties and to run imaginary five-star restaurants.
My sister even wrote a sweet note to my niece on the bottom of the table explaining its history.
It’s a little hard to read, so here’s what it says:
Sweet Emma Sue,
This table was Mommy and Aunt Jessie’s (EDIT: that’s me!)back when we were just little girls; our Mamaw, your great-Mamaw, Virginia McKinley, gave it to us. It was probably the single most used piece of furniture we had. In 2008 there was a bad flood and Mamaw and Papaw’s basement filled with water and the table got wet and destroyed. When you were 2 years old, mommy saw it in pieces at their house and saved it. I took the pieces all to Daddy’s grandpa, your great-grandpa Ike Wasson, and he managed to restore and repair all the wood and put the table back together and even added the wood buttons. We all hope you have so much fun with it, and may it always remind you of who you are and the one who have loved you along the way!
I love you more than words can say, Love, Mommy
PS. Mommy painted the top with chalkboard paint and the sides white after Grandpa restored it.
Seriously, I tear up every time I read that. I think I need a moment.
What was your most memorable piece of furniture growing up? Have you passed any of your old things on to your kids/nieces/nephews? Does anyone else want to play with Play-Doh now?
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:
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).
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?
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.
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.
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).
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?).
It 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).
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.
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!
Hey, what else could I call a post about a firewood rack? “How to DIY a Cheap, Easy, and Fast Firewood Rack?” Nah. Too boring.
Some of you remember “Treemageddon” last spring here, here, and here. It left us with a surprisingly large amount of free firewood which we burned last winter.
Lots of firewood…no rack
We noticed, however, that the bug population where we kept the wood exploded. This is not comforting when you have a lot of wood siding 4 feet away. In order to stop the bugs, you only need to get the wood off of the ground. Hence, the need for a Firewood Rack. This was surprisingly easy. Since most wood racks on the market are $100-$300, this is an easy way to save some cash while looking like you know what you’re doing!
(2) Cinder Blocks = $2.76
(2) Landscape Timbers = $7.94
(4) Mini Fence Posts = $12.68
TOTAL = $23.38
Supplies for the Wood Rack
Determine where you want your rack. Make sure you don’t have the wood touching anything except the rack or there is a greater risk of bugs eating the wood (or your siding!). Also make sure it’s not sitting in standing water or that will defeat the purpose of building the rack in the first place!
Place cinder block where you want the rack and slide one end of the landscape timber into the hole of the cinder block.
Landscape Timber in Cinder Block
Do the same thing with the other landscape timber.
Both Landscape Timbers in Cinder Block
Place the other ends of the landscape timbers in the other cinder block (did I mention this was ridiculously easy?). It helps to have one person making sure you don’t slide the wood out the other end!
Base of the DIY Wood Rack
Hammer in a green fence post so it blocks the hole of the cinder block using a 3 lb sledgehammer if you have one…a regular hammer works but it’ll take a while. This prevents the landscape timbers from ever sliding out and gives you something to stack your firewood against.
A 3 lb Sledge Hammer makes quick work of the fence post
Repeat 3 more times on the outside of every cinder block hole.
Notice how the landscape timbers can’t slide out
Stack the wood on it. That’s it. You’re done. It should look somewhat like this:
Cheap DIY Wood Rack
Affordable DIY Wood Rack with wood on it
Is it pretty? No. Does it work really well? Yep. The whole thing took about 15 minutes and saved us about $100. Can’t beat that! Time to go find some firewood!
What do you think? What happens when you put a lightsaber in water? When sign makers go on strike, is anything written on their signs? Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii? If a bee is allergic to pollen would it get the hives?
I’m not a city girl. I grew up on an Indiana farm in the middle of trees and cornfields so far off the county road you couldn’t even see it. Growing up, we never locked our front door – there was no need. I always felt safe and secure tucked back far from “town” (town being a bustling metropolis of less than 1,500 people).
Now that I live in a metro area of almost 7 million people, I feel a little less safe. Okay, maybe that’s an understatement. I feel a lot less safe. We live in a great neighborhood, but even so, we’ve had our cars broken into and bikes stolen out of our garage. That’s why we opted to get a security system last year. It was a DIY system (of course) that we installed and set up ourselves, then is monitored by a company we subscribe to (Kevin’s planning on a Handyman Wednesday on it soon). It works great and has a handy key pad for arming and disarming the system that we keep by the front door. When we installed it, we set it on our bench with intentions of hanging it above our mail slot the next day. Fast forward to last weekend.
The control panel was still sitting exactly where it had been since we hooked it up. Since we were trying to finish some smaller projects before starting the bathroom, we got out the drill and some anchors to hang that baby up over our mail slot (Rosie was trying to get her leash out of the box where we keep them).
We used simple anchors to hang the control panel. You simply drill a pilot hole with the provided drill bit, pinch the anchor, push it into the hole, then put in your screw. We used these same anchors (in a heavier size) to hang our floating bar shelves and love them.
I’ve still got to tack the cord in alongside the mail slot, but the control panel is doing great in it’s new home. An added benefit is that Fievel can’t step on the unit in the middle of the night and set off the alarm (it’s happened).
This little corner isn’t quite finished. We still want to build a cubby hook shelf thing similar to this one from Target – it’ll just have to wait until after the bathroom.
Have you tackled any simple projects lately? Any you’ve been putting off (for years, like us)? Don’t you think we should paint the back of our front door navy? Me too!
Last year in the Winter Wonderland post, we showed you how beautiful the Little House is with a 1/2″ of ice. What we didn’t show was later that day when part of the tree by the front porch decided it didn’t like the ice as much as we enjoyed the day off work. Unfortunately, it left a gap in the front where greenery should have been. That tree next to the front porch looks a little off, doesn’t it? Trust us, in real life, it looks pretty bad.
In the Beginning
So, we decided the tree had to go. Plus, we recently got a chainsaw that we’ve never used before and were excited to give it a go. The tree had three tall remaining sprouts that had to be cut off. The entire project took about an hour and was super easy…but we haven’t dug up the stump yet!
After Branch #1
After Branch #2
After Branch #3
I cut the third branch down by hand to feel manly (as if using a chainsaw wasn’t enough). This is my serious tree murdering face (#selfie):
Kevin’s Serious Face
Fortunately, in Dallas the city comes around once a month and hauls off branches and bulk trash for free! Well, I guess we pay it in our property taxes, but it feels free. Here was the pile:
Standing on our porch
Looking at the Little House
This opened up the Little House to so much more light! We were planning on planting another tree, but now we may just put in a couple hydrangeas and call it a day. Here are the before and after photos to compare:
Would you plant another tree in its place? Do you think grass will grow by where the tree was now that it’s gone? Did you know it is NOT wise to run a chainsaw without oil (I knew I forgot something my Dad told me!)? Alternatively, we could have used a woodchuck/beaver-like animal for this. If you have a pet that eats wood, can we borrow it for the stump?
We finally, finally finished the bar rail (and it only took us a year and a half to get to it)! We’ve already had a party with it (for my birthday) and it was awesome to have a second seating/conversation area.
The whole schebang took us less than two hours total to build and cost less than $60! Honestly. It was so easy… if you can sand, stain, and use a drill, you can build one of these.
We started out with two 16′ pressure treated deck boards. I sanded the ends of the boards out in our alley (no judging my painted pink Soffe shorts from high school), then we stained them with some of our leftover fence stain. This took about an hour, tops, then we left the boards to dry in the warm Texas sun (seriously, it’s not even hot yet!).
While the boards were drying, we turned our attention to attaching the brackets that were to hold up the bar. We went with four smaller metal brackets on each of the four posts on the section of deck were the bar was to go, screwed in with coated decking screws to prevent rusting. In order to get the right spacing between the top of the bracket and the railing, we used a scrap piece of decking leftover from the big deck project.
When the boards were dry (we gave them a full day to get that way), it was time to attach them to our brackets. We used short (1/2″) galvanized screws with head big enough they wouldn’t slip through the holes on the bracket (learned that one the hard way).
Did I mention I can’t believe we put this project off for so long? It was so fast and so cheap and so good looking I don’t know why it didn’t happen sooner. I mean, look at it.
It’s gorgeous, isn’t it?
Here’s the cost breakdown (from Home Depot):
(2) 16′ Pressure Treated Deck Boards = $27.14
(4) 12in x 8 in Metal Shelf Brackets = $27.44
Stain (Leftovers) = $0.00 Screws (Leftovers) = $0.00 Grand Total = $54.58!
Have you finished any projects you’ve been putting off lately?