Feb 12 2011

The Stairs – Before

We have already done quite a lot of work on the staircase refinishing project, including ripping up carpet, sanding and putting down two coats of stain. But before I blog about the process, I need to show you what we were working with in the first place.

Here are the bottom steps of the staircase, which are in the hallway off of the living room. Check out the cool bench seat! It currently holds a bunch of crap that we have thrown in there in tidying up before people come over to the house…


The paint is all peeling off, the carpet was horribly dirty and stained and generally, the stairs were just unappealing.


We have already replaced the faded red curtains that came with the house, painted a red accent wall next to the bench seat, hung some pictures and a coat rack and replaced the landing lighting. At this point, I thought we needed to catch the rest of the landing and staircase up with the other things we’ve done.

Because frankly, this staircase is horrible and needs major work:


So, here is the plan. The staircase treads we will refinish in a nice walnut color, and we will paint the risers white. Sort of like this:

Picture from Apartment Therapy

We are also planning on painting the rest of the walls a light gray color, and keeping the trim the same bright white as the risers. Kelly and I are still debating on whether to paint the trim detail on the banister around the bench seat with that same gray with white trim detail. I’m for it, Kelly isn’t sold yet. We’ll let you know how it goes…

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!

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