Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Over Due Bathroom Do-Over

If you have followed along in the last two posts you know that our small and only full-bath in the house was getting a new floor. The catalyst for the decision was that I wanted storage space that the room greatly lacked. We did a mini update on that bathroom about 10 years ago with a limited budget. Because an old steam radiator stood in the way I was convinced that we couldn't put in a vanity so we opted for a pedestal sink. My thinking was, "It's a small room so keep the necessary pieces small to make it not feel cramped."

While living in the house for all these years it has bothered me that the steam radiator in that room was just about useless, being the last radiator on the line. Annoyed with the fact that it took up such precious real estate in the small room, I was determined to get rid of it. I got Mister on board and that hunk of metal was kicked to the curb. (Not really, they're wicked heavy! You'd break your foot.) You can read about the in floor heating here and here.

That left me with a blank slate, or at least a little less crowded slate. We are not changing the tub nor the storage next to the door. So, with grid paper in hand and some photos that I had squirreled away on Pinterest I went to work measuring, planning and shopping online. Here was my preliminary thoughts.

This step in imperative for me in order to get Mister on board. I don't explain my visions well and he doesn't picture these things in his mind's eye the way I do. Also, with space being a premium I need to make sure everything was going to fit and not look/feel too crowded. 

My number two problem with the bathroom, after getting rid of the radiator, was that the toilet flange sits so far away from the outside wall. ( "Number two" haha! I crack myself up! Yes, that was potty humor. Ha! I did it again!) This is an old house and that waste pipe was retrofitted to a house that probably didn't originally have indoor plumbing. Long story short, we can't move it without a plumber and mucho money! We opted for a toilet made by Kohler. It has an elongated bowl and the tank sits far enough back that it takes up some of that space. This was a whole ugly business trying to find and get during Covid but we did it.

I had Mister cut a hole in the wall that plumbing and electrical chases down into. A small niche was made using left over plywood and some scrap pieces of flooring. A piece of glass from a local company divides the space for apothecary jars housing q-tips and flossers. 

The plastic apothecary jars in the niche were from Amazon.

The vanity was a stresser for me. I went back and forth on a 30" versus 36" length. Since I am working with a small space I want to make sure knees aren't hitting the vanity when someone is using the potty. I also don't want the room to feel stuffed and tight. Mister was the voice of reason here. We got the 36" vanity with the understanding that we could always return it if it was too big but we're going to try to get the most storage possible.  

I found a vanity in stock at my local Home Depot and was able to order the back splash pieces to match online. In this old house nothing is straight, flush, level or at a 90 degree angle so some finagling has to take place to get things to look and fit right. Here we had to cut into the drywall to get the top to sit on the vanity right. "Don't worry," Mister said, "a little caulking and nobody will ever know." I have learned that caulking in an old house is like wearing a little, black dress; it is a master at tricking the eye! Oh, and the size? Perfect! 

And a piece of trim down the side by the wall will get a coat of paint to match the vanity. 

Another Home Depot a few towns away had the faucet I wanted.

I waffled between wall sconces and pendant lights. I opted for pendant lights with mixed metal. I love the black but wanted to introduce a bit of the trendy champagne gold to warm up all the cool tones. The flooring has both those warm and cool tones so I am taking my cue from that. 

Like so many other people,  my Amazon Prime membership really paid off during quarantine time. The vanity came with hardware but I wanted drawer pulls to match the gold in the pendant lights.



Bath mat towels in a dark gray will replace the rug that used to be there. It stays draped over the tub edge instead a rug on the floor. A hand towel bar and toilet paper holder in flat black and a big round mirror finish off the vanity area. I LOVE the mirror. The frame is rubber!


Can you see a peek of the new shower curtain there? I loved the graphic design of this octopus shower curtain. I showed it to Mister and he said, "Yup, that's the one!"  Because the curtain hangs lower and because these floors are not level I had to cut about seven inches off the bottom and re-hem the curtain. Thankfully, it didn't cut into his head. 

I had a couple of the better photos I had taken over the years enlarged at Walgreens photo center and I framed them to hang over the niche and over the toilet. Art doesn't have to be expensive.

And a little zhooshing...


In this room we have put a bigger toilet and a 36" vanity and the room actually feels bigger than it did with the littler pieces we had before in this 7.3 x 6.8 space. What had I been so worried about? That is a lesson for me. The bonus in all this...I got radiant heat and more storage. I'm not one to rush summer along but I know when the days inevitably start turning colder I will have some nice, warm tootsies and a lovely space to relax in. 

Thanks for spending time with me and for following along on another project. 

Vanity-Home Depot
Backsplash-Home Depot back and side
Faucet-Home Depot
Towel bar-Amazon
Toilet paper holder-Amazon
Apothecary jars-Amazon
Shower curtain-Amazon
Drawer Pulls- Amazon
Shower curtain hooks, large picture frame-Walmart
Towels and washcloths-Home Goods
Hand towels- Target,

I will be linking up to these host's parties: 
Grammy's Grid,  Create With Joy, Finding Silver Pennies, Love My Little Cottage, Farmhouse 40, April J Harris, Stone Cottage Adventures, Lou Lou Girls, The Dedicated House, A Stroll Thru Life, Ducks N A Row, Home Stories A To Z, Jenerally Informed, Across The Blvd, My Wee Abode, Wonder Wednesdays, Apron Strings and Other Things, Imparting Grace, An Artful Mom, Oh My Heartsie Girl, Two Chicks and A Mom, The Pin Junkie, The Cottage Market, Pam's Party and Practical Tips, Katherine's Corner

Friday, June 12, 2020

Warm Toe and Tones; Radiant Heat and Luxury Vinyl Floors

If you tuned in last time you know we are working on our only full bath in the house. Sometimes you have to work with what ya got. That is the case regarding the size of our small bathroom. It can have it's bad points but there are good points to. I hate cleaning the bathroom but with such a small space it does take less time and it takes less material to change things up which is helping us watch our expenses as we go forward. That is a huge consideration as we had to sure up joists and replace the sub-flooring. But all that got done and we got to move onto the in-floor heating!

After some research we decided use to Quite Warmth heating mat products. Part of our decision was the easy to follow and thorough videos that gave a clear picture about installation. I found their products on Amazon and had them sent directly to my house; a plus during quarantine. (I've included links to Amazon under each photo.) If you are going to put in in-floor heating you will need underlayment, a heating mat, and a thermostat. Another reason we chose this product is because it is designed to use under luxury vinyl plank flooring which is what we are installing in the bathroom.

The first step is to measure how much matting you will need and order accordingly. There are guidelines concerning where the mat should be. It is not to sit under cabinetry. It is not to be installed too close to the toilet as the heat could effect the wax ring, melting it and causing your toilet to fail. (Bad!) I told you our bathroom was small. The actual size is 6'8" x 7'3". That includes the tub area. Total floor space is less than 35 square feet. With all the considerations we figured that we needed a mat that is only 3 feet by 3 feet.

Step 1) Clean the floor. Any debris will become a permanent reminder of your failure to prepare.

Step 2) Install the underlayment. This is literally a matter of rolling it out and if needed, taping seams. the product has a built in system to tape seams. How easy is that?

Step 3) Installing the mat. The mat we ordered is 3 feet wide and we cut the excess off, per the instructions, and installed. I'll not bore you with the details as the video is an excellent source. We're not having to do anymore than one run of the mat due the size of our space.

Step 4) Tape down the leads to the mat that will be attached to the thermostat. This will require you to cut small channels in the underlayment. (Refer back to video.) And tape everything down so it doesn't wiggle out of place. Anytime you get to use duct tape is a WIN for Mister! (I think it's a guy thing.)

QuietWarmth Programmable Push-Button Thermostat (Universal)

Step 4) Thermostat. Mister connected the wires to the new, totally programmable, thermostat that we installed on the wall where the waste chase is. This thing is amazing! It allows us to program the heating according to time intervals. For instance, we can set it to heat up to a nice and toasty temperature for when Mister gets up in the wee hours of the morning to get ready for work and then drop down until I take my shower a few hours later then back down again until the evening for other members who shower before bed. It's programmable for every day of the week so if your weekend schedules are different-no problem.

Once we were sure that was installed and working correctly we started the installation of the flooring. Again, a little research led us to a product available at Home Depot.


The flooring is called Lifeproof. It is waterproof and scratch resistant. Again, a video or two helped us to see the installation process. This stuff is waaaay easier than tile and real wood flooring and looks great. The flooring I chose is a wood look product. It is textured to resemble wood. You simply score the flooring and snap at the score to cut it. (This video shows how to cut the product.) Mister did have to use the table saw for a piece or two to rip them down on the width to fit our space.

A word on the installation. Pay attention to the placement. You don't want to easily see repeat patterns. If a piece has a "knot" make sure that the next time you see that same knot it is not in line with the last one and not too close to the last one. Also, stagger the seams. You don't want to see a line of seams. Some may chose to do a brick-like pattern and while this looks great with bricks a wood floor is usually not the place to have an "H" pattern.

Our project took 2 1/2 boxes of product. We had purchased 4 to be sure we had enough and to take into consideration any damaged product. That is a reality and you want to be prepared and not have to stop everything to run back to the store hoping they have more. There were 3 pieces that were damaged but we were able to cut those pieces and used them for ends. I have a plan for a little bit of the leftovers, too.

And, voila. Flooring! I am over the moon with the colors and the feel, and the heat! The warm tones mixed nicely with a little of the cool grays but the warm toes are real treat.  The edges will be covered with baseboard and colored caulking.

Okay, now some of the practical but pretty things start happening! And, true to fashion I made a drawing to keep myself focused. Stayed tuned to see how close I can come to this!

Linking to these parties: 

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Heating Things Up

Disclaimer: This is not a post about warmer weather.

Our house is officially 200 years old this year! In houses this old there were no grand master bathrooms in the floor plan. They weren't built with beautiful walk-in showers. Instead, there are slanted roofs and tight floor plans, weird bump outs that hide vent stacks and waste lines, wonky wiring and water lines that were retro fitted to bring bathrooms indoors at some point. And they are probably all in desperate need of upgrading... unless you're lucky and the people that owned it before you bought it did all that for you. Well, we are those people.

In 2005 we tackled the only full bath in the house with a very limited budget. I found some tile I loved (and still do) and Mister put it down on the floor and put a row of accent tile in the shower for me.

There is a radiator in the room that takes up precious floor space- 12"x 22".

Originally, a door swung into the room hitting the shower wall. Mister made a pocket door for me using the existing door.

Mister also had built and installed some shelves on the wall to make up for the lack of storage but they always look messy.

Yes, that is a window that is 1/2 in the shower and 1/2 out! Who does that? 

And for the past 15 years it has sufficed.

Much more time at home lately has had us thinking about all the things we could be doing. I have wanted to put radiant heat in that bathroom for a l-o-o-ong time. There are 3 reasons for this: 1) that 12 inches I mentioned before and 2) a real vanity with storage vs. the pedestal sink would be so nice and 3)the radiator was the last one in the house to ever heat up-making it basically useless. Don't get me wrong, I loved that pedestal sink when we put it in years ago and I still do but I need storage!

Mister's initial and usual reaction to any of my ideas is "it won't work, we can't do that". Hmm. So, I let it sit for a little. But, true to form, it came up again. Now he has had a little time to get used to the idea and what that means as far as learning something new. We've never installed radiant heating so some internet research and some videos helped to explain how it all works. Mister said "I need to make a small hole in the floor to see what we are dealing with. The old radiator will have to be removed and the line will have to be capped." Me, I am okay with that. (I think it's because it's not me doing the dirty work.)

Off he went. 5 minutes later he came back with a hammer, jigsaw, and a flat bar. I knew it was about to get real. There is no such thing as a small hole with this guy. Upstairs he went. I stayed downstairs trying to occupy my mind with the pretty things that will fill the space after all the ugly happens. But for now, ugly is my new reality. 15 minutes later Mister informed me that he never said "little hole".😳😲

(The toilet waste pipe. If you're to attempt this, block that bad boy off! The gases are noxious.)

3 layers of flooring removed revealed joists that had been cut up to put in supply lines. All those had to be sistered up. That means putting uncut wood next to the original piece and screwing it in to restore integrity.

Long story short, it took a larger "hole" to figure out how all this old house was rigged but since it is our only full bath in the house we're trying to have product on site to make it still usable during all this. In the present state of our country that may prove more challenging than usual.

We were able to pull the radiator and supply pipe, clean up the joists, level out the floor better and put down new plywood as the underlayment.

Much better! 

My lesson in this has been that sometimes when Mister says it can't be done it means that he isn't confident that he can do it. That is where my inner high-school cheerleader needs to come out to encourage him. Worst case scenario... well, who knows but right now I just need to find my pom-poms. This is gonna be great!

Stay tuned.

Linking up to these blog parties:
Katherine's Corner, The Pin Junkie, Shabby Art Boutique, Dabbling and Decorating

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Another Gallery Wall Tutorial

I love gallery walls. They are not just for museums. They've been popular in decorating for a while. and there are as many versions as there are decorating styles. They all appeal to me depending on the applications. I my home I have a wall in my living room that incorporates many different items rather than just photos. You can find the instructional post on that here. And the shelf allows me to add seasonal changes.

Sometimes, you don't want a lot of things sticking out from the wall. I've used a series of prints to build a much more formal grouping. Below are the same set of prints framed differently but displayed in the same manner.

(Print Source)

In a series of posts from late 2018 til mid 2019 I documented a makeover of a friend's house. In my friend's family room there is a large stairway taking up one side of the room. The ceilings soar in beautiful room and opposite the stairway is a large Palladian window. The window accentuated the vast nakedness of the opposing wall and we wanted to do something about that.

I wanted this to be a less formal grouping as it is a part of the family room. Some grid paper and a pencil helped to form an idea of what I was trying to achieve.

We purchased three photo ledges (don't pay a lot) to anchor the space. I stair-stepped the ledges to mimic the stairs. Measure the space you want to fill and divide that number in half. (I use chalk to mark the walls, easy to clean off.)

To mount my ledges I found the center point of where I wanted to collection to hang. I measured the center of my middle ledge and marked it with chalk on the ledge. Line it up with your mark on the wall, check for level and screw into place. Next measure from that center mark to edge of your space and divide by 2 again. That will be the center point for the next ledge. I did that on both sides. My ledges were 48" long and that allowed them to overlap a bit. This is subjective and really up to you. Because it is a staircase wall I wanted to be able to see the photos from the floor so I made sure to hang them high enough to be seen over the railing.

Next, I had my friend gather all her photos, most were already framed. We decided to use colored photos vs. black and white because 1) this family has some beautiful red-haired members and 2) the cost to reproduce all the photos in black and white would have made the project expensive.

Now I could start hanging photos. There were a couple of larger photos that I wanted to use as anchors and because of that I worked those onto the wall first. From there it was a matter of sitting some on the ledge, hanging others both above and below the ledges. Finding the right sized frames was trial and error.

The first attempt still looked too stuffy to me and there were sooo.... many great photos. Just keep adding until you get the look you're after. Don't be afraid to move a photo if it doesn't fit right. Notice where the military photo, top right? It won't stay there. 

Once I got the photos and placement figured out I took down the frames that were different colors. I wanted one, cohesive color. Now, you can buy matching frames like in the previous photos but this is a big project and it would take a lot of money to do that. My solution was to set up my spray tent and spray paint all the frames that were different colors. Black allows the eye/mind a place to rest and allows the photos to tell the story. I like the idea of different finishes of the frames that were already black so I left them alone.

After I was happy with the placements I went back in with some poster tack and put a little behind the frames to keep them from shifting. This is a stairway and it will get much traffic. Trying to keep photos righted would be a full time job. This is what I use:

I found a large gold B, the families surname initial. I painted it black.

My friend found some words online that she wanted to incorporate into the mix. You can find similar metal cutouts from Hobby Lobby for a few dollars each.  If you don't want to spend money on that consider something like this from another friend's house a few years ago:

I used a piece of fabric and a Sharpie and framed it. Easy right? Handwriting isn't pretty? Print it out on the computer and put it under your fabric and copy or just frame the copy.

Paint was dry, photos were reinstalled and all that was left was to take final photos.

Again, my drawing...

And the final...

You could incorporate your children's artwork or family keepsakes like marriage licenses or diplomas. This project's will cost you less than $100 depending on where you get your picture ledges and how long they are. That price includes ledges, picture hangers, poster tack and spray paint. Additional costs would be the metal word signs.

 So, what do you think? Is there a wall in your house that could use a refresh? Why not try a gallery wall? Happy decorating.

Party Time:
Finding Silver Pennies, Our Home Away From Home, B4 and Afters, The Dedicated House , My Uncommon Slice Of Suburbia, Create With Joy, Lou Lou Girls, April J Harris, Ducks N'A Row, Katherine's Corner, Gingersnap Crafts, Life Beyond The Kitchen, The Pin Junkie

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Seeing The Light

Mister and I took what is becoming an annual late winter trip to Texas. It is a three-fold trip. We first hit the Austin area to visit old friends from high school-and this time around we made some new friends!

High-school friend, Lady, and me in New Braunfels, TX

After a couple days we drove north to visit Chip and JoJo's wonderland! We perused Magnolia Market and picked up a healthy amount of cupcakes- like one of every flavor.

Then we headed another three hours north to visit with my dad and brother.

When we left for the trip this year we were just beginning to hear about CoVid19. Since then everything... plans, work, and life have come to a screeching halt. Everybody is home right now. We are six weeks into everybody being home. I have found myself overwhelmed by all I have seen on the news, in our country, in my state and local towns and grumbling at all the changes. Mister is home a lot now. I keep trying to distract myself-and him-with a lot of little things that have been needing to be done in our home.

One of the projects that we've talked about for years is to move a light over the stairs. Our stairs are treacherous! At least, that is how it seems to people who visit. The house is 200 years old this year-at least according to sign on the front of the house.

When the house was built 'codes' weren't a thing. The steps are short and the rise is not to today's standards but we have lived here for 17 years and we're used to them-mostly. Not gonna lie, there are sometimes when the steps just feel a little wonky, especially in the dark. Four years ago (!!!) Mister painted the stairs and walls for me. (You can see that here.)


I purchased a light for the front room a few years ago and Mister has not liked it ever since. I love the light and for several years you could find it anywhere "farmhouse" decor was sold.


Mister doesn't hate the light so much but rather the height it hangs at. Because it is over my desk area I am fine with it but since everything is feeling 'off ' in the world right now I am questioning everything and so I agreed to change it. But, I still love the light and Mister agreed to move it over the stairs! Seems like a perfect compromise to me.

Well, that is easier said than done but Mister is amazing (in my humble opinion) and did all the work for that which also meant that the attic got all straightened out! SA-WEET!

And.... since we took that light from over my "desk" (which is really a table my grandmother purchased in France after WWII) we had to get a new light for the room....



a new light for over the front door!


And it all started with the stairs being lit up. Who knew?

I've been spending some of my quarantine time watching Rebecca Robeson videos. Her lighting choices are simply    S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G!

And, this is what I have learned about myself recently... I love lighting, beautiful lighting but I'm on a budget (wah-wah). That doesn't limit me as much as I thought it would. I do have a propensity for locating the most expensive thing available- "Champagne taste on beer budget", my mom used to say. But there are options and I think I have found some reasonable ones considering our limitations.

Back to me... So, I now recognize I have a thing for fabric, pottery, and lighting.

It didn't stop with the entry, stairs and front room. I just purchased another light for what has become my dressing room.... more on that later!



What have you been up to? Projects, reading? Art? Teaching? Or, just trying to keep a sound mind with everyone home? My mom used to always say, "It won't always be like this." She was right.

Last week I met with my bible study group online. We had spent the time looking at Hannah's prayer in                    1 Samuel 2:1-10 as she poured her heart out in thanks to God for the gift of her son, Samuel. I could so intimately identify with Hannah's heart attitude in the previous chapter. She was well cared for and provided for by her husband, Elkanah. She lacked nothing. Elkanah abundantly provided for her because he loved her so much and yet for her it was not enough. She had her own idea of what it meant for her to be "complete"; happy and fulfilled. She wanted a child!

I know there are many women out there who can identify with Hannah. Every mom can identify with Hannah's later prayer that "for this child I have prayed". But what got me most is this... Hannah had a preconceived notion of what happiness looked like to her. All that had been provided for her was not enough-she wanted more and because she didn't have it she was visibly stricken, so much so that her husband asks her "Am I not enough?" (My paraphrase.) But God, -aren't those the MOST BEAUTIFUL words?- heard the pleas of her heart and answered her! Now, if someone said to me, "Hey, God heard your prayer and He will provide for you as you prayed", I may walk away a little encouraged but it wouldn't take long for doubt to creep back in and cause me to question and drag my feet. But not Hannah. We are told, "the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad." Oh. My. Goodness!

So, the light bulb went off in my dim brain. Have I been complaining in spite of all that God has provided for me? I'm tired of being in my house, tired of not seeing my friends, upset that I can't be at regular church meetings, painting class, and all the many other things I have been missing out on .... But, God has heard me! I am reminded that I have a home, our bills are being met, I have food (and toilet paper), I have friends and a church family to miss. God has provided for me, abundantly. Hopefully, when my heart is reacting rightly, I will look at the lighting in my house and remember this moment when I could see clearly; when I could recognize my natural bent to not be satisfied with all God has blessed me with. And reminded when the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ once again witnessed to my soul that because I am his my grumbling and discontentment can be repented of and forgiven. I too, like Hanna, can have a face that is no longer sad!

I think my mom had heard from God at some point in her life those precious words; "It won't always be like this." I believe her and more importantly, like Hannah, I believe God. Praying that you are seeing the same light; finding comfort and peace in the God of Hannah during these times.

Linking to these parties:
The Dedicated House, Our Home Away From Home, Blue Sky At Home