Jun 23 2010

Downstairs Bathroom – the After Pictures!

Alright, finally it’s time to show the pictures of our finished downstairs bathroom! I’m really excited to show you these and very pleased that the design I had in my head was realized so well in this renovation.

Hooray! The renovation is complete! As you can see, we painted the wooden slats that are above the beadboard and trim in alternating white and tan stripes, which run all the way up on the ceiling. The other elements in the room are dark brown wooden and natural elements.


I got this adorable octagonal mirror for a whopping $3.75 on clearance at Hobby Lobby.


I also got this vintage packing crate on Etsy and hung it on the wall as a shelf for hand soap.


We bought brown bamboo roman shades at Home Depot and cut them down to size to fit the window.


I got brown woven basket at Michaels to hold extra toilet paper and towels and you can see the pretty striped blue and tan and white towels that we got for the room. The towel and toilet paper holders we got at IKEA. I think they were something like $8 each, and match the brushed nickel of the existing light fixture pretty well. You can also see the new floors Kelly talked me into installing! It’s a really cool vinyl tile that looks like planks of wood. Kelly had to do some creative cutting to get it to install around the trim on the doorframe, but he did, and it looks great! I am so glad we did the floors. The room looks 100 times better with them done.

And then of course, there is the crowning jewel of the room – the one item that gives this room so much more function – the toilet lid sink!


It was (according to Kelly) a snap to install – it just hooks into your existing water line. When you flush, fresh water from the pipe gets routed through the spigot and then after you wash your hands, the gray water fills the tank. Even though the lid expands and contracts to fit multiple sizes of toilets, the one we have in the bathroom is really too small for it. But it still works fine and Kelly sealed it up well with some kind of sticky roofing sealant product that he got for free from a friend.

I don’t have a great picture of the hallway, and really, it’s not quite done yet. Kelly has to shave a few centimeters off of the bottom of the doorway that leads outside so that it can actually open over the new flooring and also create a new threshhold. We also need to save up a few pennies to get a few of the remnants of the historical wallpaper we found preserved and framed. We plan to hang them on the wall in the hallway. But you can see from this shot that we installed the beadboard and trim here as well, and then, rather than stripes like we did in the bathroom, we painted all of the exposed wood the tan color.


Also, I must say, just washing the window panes in that door changed that space COMPLETELY. There was years worth of grime on them. And now I look at the other windows in my house and cringe…

Anyway, so there’s our new bathroom – what do you think?


Jun 23 2010

Downstairs Bathroom – the During Pictures

We started this project on Memorial Day Weekend and finally finished it up three weeks later on Fathers’ Day weekend. What was originally going to be “Ellen’s project” – i.e. I was going to paint, saw, nail, etc. turned out to be a little much for me, and while I did help him out as much as I could, especially with the painting, Kelly was the real workhorse for the majority of the project. Also, the project grew to be a little bigger in scope – what was originally going to be just a bathroom renovation turned into the bathroom/hallway renovation. Although, keep in mind that both of these spaces together aren’t that big. The bathroom is 4 feet by 4 feet and the hallway is about the same. I’m glad we ended up doing both spaces because they really flow from one to another and it would have looked quite strange had we not done the hallway. We also ended up replacing the floors, which we hadn’t planned on, but again, the old floors would have looked so out of place with the new paint and beadboard and everything.

So, without further ado, here are the renovation in process pictures! This is a very picture heavy post, so here we go!

First we ripped down the paneling.

Jack helped.

There was still a lot of the old muslin stuck to the nails, so Kelly had to make sure it was all gone before we put anything else up – or accidentally painted over it.

Here is the bathroom with the paneling taken down.

Kelly measures and cuts the beadboard in our increasingly messy landing. (He did cut the beadboard outside though…)
Here I am trying to install the beadboard. I wasn’t very good at it. (We might possibly need a nail gun, but don’t tell Kelly I said so…)

The beadboard installed – shorter than the original paneling, but that’s ok.

Aaaaand…. the trim.

Closeup of the trim. Kelly did an amazing job wood-filling and caulking all the nail holes and seams.

Here I am, painting the stripes. Kelly wasn’t too thrilled with the Behr-brand paint we bought at Home Depot. It was cheaper and quicker to buy it there, since his favorite paint store – the Benjamin Moore store – isn’t open on weekends or after 5 pm. It just took so many coats to cover properly.

Here’s another picture of the pocket window we discovered as we worked in the bathroom.

And here is Kelly, working on the extended project – bringing the renovation into the tiny landing just outside the bathroom. He tore down the paneling on the walls (you might remember how we discovered 1916 wall paper beneath it!) and the acoustic tile on the ceiling as well.


What the hallway and the downstairs staircase landing looked like during the demo.

Next… the after pictures!!

Jun 19 2010

Downstairs Bathroom – the Before Pictures

Kelly is hard at work finishing up the final final touches on the downstairs bathroom today, while I am at the very quiet reference desk at work. While he finishing things up, I thought I would post the pictures of the bathroom renovation in process and all the things we did to beautify this space.

First of all, the before pictures…

Half bath

This really wasn’t a pretty space. The cream paint just looked dirty, and the 3 foot high paneling was cheap and wasn’t installed well.


The floors were a horrid vinyl tile, again shoddily installed (bad installation was a theme all over the house for the previous homeowners…) and they just looked filthy.


The tiny window was showcased (that’s sarcasm…) by cheapo blinds.


In fact, until we started the renovation, we had no idea that the window had a few hidden treasures of its own! First of all, that there was an original blue stained glass window panel still left in one of the panes! And secondly, that the window actually opened! And opened up – into the wall. We have a pocket window, y’all!

You can see part of the blue pane of glass

You can see part of the blue pane of glass

In fact, the only thing this space had going for it was the nice light fixture and the cool looking exposed wood slats, which eventually gave me the idea for the design.

Half bath detail

I don’t normally go for “cottage-y, beach-y” design, unless it’s actually in a cottage by the beach. But the exposed wood boards were so cool and are definitely a beach cottage staple. I had been reading a design blog called “The Lettered Cottage” and the designer, Layla, had a few rooms which sparked off the inspiration for our renovation.

First of all, she has an addiction to tearing down drywall and exposing wood planking!
Pictures from The Lettered Cottage

Pictures from The Lettered Cottage

Secondly, she painted these gorgeous horizontal stripes in white and tan.Pictures from The Lettered Cottage

(Notice also the exposed wood planking on the ceiling!)

So I thought to myself – we don’t have to expose the wood planking – ours is already there. So let’s take advantage of this feature and combined the white and tan stripe idea with the exposed wood! (And add in a little beadboard wainscotting and trim while we’re at it.) So that, my friends, was the inspiration for the renovation of this tiny, dingy, but full-of-potential space. More renovation pictures to follow in the next post!

Jun 15 2010

Bathroom Sneak Peek

We’ve been working pretty much every weekend and a few weeknights on our downstairs bathroom renovation and it’s ALMOST done. There are just a few more things to hang on the wall and the baseboard quarter round to install and paint. The hallway outside the bathroom could use some paint touchups as well. (Yes, the downstairs bathroom renovation turned into the downstairs bathroom and hallway just outside it renovation…)

Since it’s not completely ready for the final reveal yet, and since I’ve gotten a few queries from friends about it, I figured I should give you a little sneak peak of what it looks like. Enjoy!


So, what do you think of the stripes? ;-)

May 30 2010

Renovation Discoveries

It’s pretty amazing what you can discover when renovating a 94 year old house.

We’ve been working steadily on our downstairs bathroom this weekend (which quickly morphed into “downstairs bathroom and the little landing outside the downstairs bathroom…). Yesterday, Kelly ripped down the paneling in the bathroom, cut and installed beadboard wainscoting and trim, and caulked. As I was painting the bathroom today, Kelly started ripping down the paneling in the landing area and he came across the coolest discovery in this house so far: original wallpaper!

Check it out!

Original wallpaper hidden under the paneling

Original wallpaper hidden under the paneling

Kelly was able to save a few remnants of it, and I hope to frame them and hang them in the landing!



May 19 2010

Bathroom Ideas, in Visual Form


I recently discovered a cool tool called Polyvore that lets you clip images from around the web to build design boards. So here is my idea for the downstairs bathroom in visual form. I’m hoping to get a lot of work on the bathroom done the weekend after next. (Not this weekend, because it’s our anniversary, and we’re not going to be in town!)

Anyway, what do you think?

May 12 2010

Downstairs bathroom ideas

Sorry I haven’t posted an update on here in a long time. After the push of getting things painted and ready for our house blessing party, we took a long break from projects. Aside from when my parents were here and my mom and mother-in-law gardened and my dad cut and primed the quarter round for the living and dining room floor trim, we haven’t done much. I think we may finally be coming out of our project hiatus now. Last weekend, Kelly started to caulk the molding in the living room to get ready to add a second coat of paint to a few walls (which we skimped on in order to finish before the party…) and in order to paint the trim. I also got busy on a furniture refinishing project which I had been meaning to do for several months as well. (Before and after pics of that to come in a future blog post.)

Half bath I’ve got a ton of pictures to upload from off of my camera, but my home laptop is poorly at the moment, and I don’t want to upload all those pics to my work laptop just to have to transfer them all over to the other one at another time.

Anyway. To the subject of today’s post: you may know that we have a downstairs “half” bathroom. Although, it’s not really a half bathroom, because basically, it’s just a toilet under the stairs. A very cramped little room with barely enough room to turn around in. If someone goes up the stairs when you’re in there, it sounds like a herd of buffalo just went up the stairs. But cramped and noisy space aside, it’s very nice to have a bathroom on the first floor of our house.

We really would like to put a sink in the bathroom, but it’s a really tiny space! So I started looking around online for some small sink solutions. In my hunting, I did find some really cute sinks for small spaces, and some of them were pretty affordable. But since we don’t really have a budget for plumbing and construction at this time, I filed them away until we could afford it. Until I found this beauty: Sink Positive.

Kelly said "I'm in!" when I told him there would be no construction.

How cool is this? You replace your tank lid with it and hook it into the existing plumbing line. Then when you flush, the tank refills and sends the water through the tap on top and the gray water from washing your hands fills up the bowl! Kelly was very excited to discover a solution to the sink needs in this bathroom that don’t require construction!

Now, I’m still not 100% convinced that it will work for us. The contraption is adjustable to fit several sizes of toilets, and I’m a bit afraid to measure ours, thinking it might be too small (it is a very small toilet…) But I hope to do so soon because if we were able to get ourselves a sink in that bathroom, I’m sure it would inspire me to renovate the rest of the space too.

Renovation ideas: pulling off the paneling and replacing it with beadboard, painting the whole space a crisp white – maybe painting a subtle tone-on-tone stripe on every other slat of exposed planking – putting up a shelf for soap, hanging a towel rack, putting up some kind of natural element curtain (bamboo?) to replace the vinyl shutters and if I can squeeze it in, some kind of a mirror. What do you think?

Half bath detail