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Becoming a Minimalist: Kitchen Edition

I’m not really sure what got into me over the weekend, but I went on an organizational tear. I started with my clothes, and weeded out three bags for Goodwill & one for textile recycling. After a short – ahem – discussion with Robert about his pint glass collection, I moved on to the kitchen cabinets. I boxed up anything that we haven’t used in the past six months to a year I fairly ruthlessly, until I got to the Fiestaware. I loosely followed what I called on Instagram “the William Morris Rule” (more on that below).

dishcab_after

The following list is completely for my own benefit, to remind me where things came from and in case I need to try to track replacements down. All you really need to take away from this is, not all of our dishes are white, I swear!

  • Everyday dishes  – Eight Wave dinnerware plates & eight bowls from West Elm, two Hand-painted Dotted bowls from West Elm, and seven Threshold Ashwood Blue salad plates from Target. I wish we had more of the dotted bowls, and I would like to replace the salad plate that broke.
  • Lenox Butterfly Meadow Salad Set & six dinner plates – The salad set was wedding shower present from my Aunt Susan & cousin Allison, and I collected the dinner plates over a few trips to HomeGoods.
  • Four Jade Moon bowls – Part of the dinnerware set we bought from Target when we were first married. The dinner plates were too big for our current microwave and several had chipped/broken over the years, so I had already pared these down about a year go. We do use the bowls for prep a lot, and they are also nice for soup.
  • Rice Bowls – I’m not sure if that’s the right name for them, but this set of bowls, spoons & chopsticks was gift from Robert’s grandmother, and we use them a lot when we make beef & broccoli or if we get take-out Chinese food.
  • Hall’s Jewel Tea Company Autumn Leaf platters & serving bowls – I inherited a couple of severing bowls from my paternal grandma, and I added on to the set from eBay before last Thanksgiving.
  • Yellow & Blue dishes –  I may add a photo of these to the post later, since I forgot to take one showing their pattern, but I inherited these from my maternal grandma. I think there are six bowls, nine salad/desert plates, six teacups & saucers, and six or eight dinner plates.
  • Two glass sundae dishes – Inherited from my maternal grandma (they look like this).
  • Assorted platters and serving bowls.
  • A smattering of Bodum Pavina glasses.
  • Eight seeded glass tumblers from West Elm.
  • Nineteen Impressions Highball glasses (12 used at Thanksgiving, plus seven of mine after one broke).

mugcab_after

The mug cabinet is usually the hardest one for me, but for some reason that was pretty easy this time. Maybe because I’d gone through it recently, and pulled out some to hold supplies in the art room? I mainly focused on weeding out travel mugs and paring down the plastic cups we use while working outside. I didn’t really leave any space for Tervis tumblers, but those are usually in use or on the drying mat anyhow, so it probably doesn’t matter. I might use a few more of the mugs in the art room if we end up adding on to our Starbucks city mugs (do they make these anymore? also, I apparently forgot to buy the Charlotte mug) or buying more diner mugs.

fiesta_before

This time the hardest thing was our Fiestaware. My parents always had a set of these plates, and they remind me of summer dinners, usually on the back porch and accompanied by blue handled silverware & watermelon. I inherited a few plates from my maternal grandmother and if I remember correctly, my mom has added colors over the years for birthdays & Christmas. I couldn’t decide whether to part with a few of the colors, even though red makes me angry/anxious, and I’ve never really been a pink or purple person.

When I posted about my indecision on Instagram it spurred a nice conversation with my Aunt Patsy, and then later my sister commented asking me to save any castoffs for her. Suddenly it was easier to part with Scarlet, Plum, Lemongrass, and Rose (I think that is what the pink is called). I kept the colors Periwinkle, Persimmon, Sea Mist, and Yellow -which are the colors I remember using at my parents’ house – as well as Peacock & Shamrock. I’d like to try to add Sunflower, Cobalt, Lapis & Turquoise, and maybe some of the retired colors (Cinnabar, Heather, Evergreen & Flamingo) if I have room and can find them on eBay or Amazon.

The William Morris Rule

It’s not really a rule so much as it is a guideline or a good reminder, but in my mind it’s a rule. A few years ago I started reading the blog Pancakes & French Fries*, and when she started a 31 Days project, which she dubbed The William Morris Project, it resonated with me. Especially posts like this one explaining the reasoning behind the project and this one (side eye to the corner of our living room that always gets relegated as the Goodwill pile).

Something about the end of my 20s is turning me into the kind of person who longs to have an organized house. I don’t know if that comes with age, or if it’s related to the fact that friends & family are moving, clearing out storage units, and organizing estate sales. I may never have an organized junk drawer (isn’t that an oxymoron anyway?) or a capsule wardrobe, and the bathroom closet might always be a disaster, but lately something is driving me to simplify. I’ve always somewhat enjoyed organizing, but I’ve never been very diligent about weeding out things we aren’t using and making it stick. Maybe it’s because I form sentimental attachments to just about everything. I set out with high hopes of this being the time that everything is going to magically stay organized, but life doesn’t seem to work that way.

My sister, Jess, would routinely go through her bedroom when we were growing up, and often rearrange the furniture while she was at it. My mom & I would kind of look on in awe. (Or was it horror?) I distinctly remember my mom going through the castoffs when Jess was done, just to make sure. Not to say my mom & I are pack rats, but I think the two of us have a definite genetic predisposition to holding on to certain things we’re attached to or that could be useful later. Having gotten to know Robert’s family over the past few years, he and I are in big trouble if we don’t start

Over the years I think my mom and I have gotten better about letting go of sentimental items, but Jess is definitely still the queen of minimalism in our family. Also the queen of pockets & zippers – my mom’s term for Jess’ love of backpacks, bags, and purses – and packing in a carry-on.

*Jules now blogs as Mrs. Kendall.

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Categories: Becoming a Minimalist, Organizing

Quick Thoughts on the Master Bathroom

Robert and I have decided to make the best of the master bathroom for the time being.  We want to make everything functional and save up to redo the entire addition someday in the future. This past weekend, we came up with a plan to fix the gap around the tub and I brainstormed with Casey and Emily on Instagram about a two inch gap behind the master toilet. The gap behind the toilet was caused when Robert and I apparently mis-measured by about an inch when installing the toilet flange.

toilet gap 2

toilet gap

master bath from doorway

We’re hoping that we can install horizontal paneling on the walls to take up about an inch, since the toilet in the hall bath has about a one inch gap. If needed, we will add some sort of small bumper or rubber stop on the wall in the center of the toilet tank.

robbie_after_221

from Merrypad

robbie_after_19

from Merrypad

robbie_after_20

from Merrypad

The main thing we’re trying to decide on, especially after looking back at this post from Emily, is whether to only panel the lower portion of the walls and add a wide ledge or go all the way up to the ceiling. Before we decide, I think I need to find a few more inspiration photos with horizontal paneling that stops partway up. We’re definitely open to suggestions, so please feel free to share your thoughts!

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Categories: Master Bathroom, Master Wing, Our House, Plans, Projects

Oops

I tried to update to the newest version of WordPress and completely broke the blog. Hopefully I can have at least some of my blog content back up soon!

Update: I managed to salvage the 7 most recent posts, and I’m slowly going through archives to see what else I can save of the blog, focusing on my favorites and the most popular posts. Probably goes without saying that I’m feeling like an idiot, although I’m sort of welcoming a chance to start fresh.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Quick Update on the Office

Robert and I had planned to install new library blinds over the weekend, but then we discovered that the custom Graber blinds we ordered through Lowe’s were the wrong size. Also, we had ordered a 2-on-1 headrail configuration for the longer, 106″ side of our corner window and thought that the two blinds on would be controlled by one cord, but each blind ended up having its own cord. Not sure if this was due to a miscommunication while ordering or a misunderstanding of how the 2-on-1 headrail design works on our part. Either way, we ended up returning the blinds. Thankfully the employees we talked to at our Lowe’s were very understanding and great to work with.

It turns out that we will have to order directly from Levolor next time for the library (and the two 110″ living room blinds), but luckily after that all our other windows are narrow enough that we should be able to order through Lowe’s. Unfortunately, we were planning to use our Lowe’s card for the blinds, but that’s (understandably) not an option when ordering straight from Levolor. Since our savings took a bit of a hit from taxes and we have an upcoming trip planned, we’re uncomfortable spending that much on blinds right now. (At least we fixed our withholding through work, so next tax season should be less painful?) Hopefully they will go on sale again in June or July, and we can try to order them then,

After the disappointment with the blinds, we regrouped and decided to paint the office. Luckily we had paint already on hand, because we had planned to use Valspar’s Allen + Roth Portland (ar1317) in the dining room and library, but after painting the dining room we ultimately decided it wasn’t the right color. We had about 2/3 or 3/4 of the gallon left, and the swatch looked much better (less purple) in the office.

office-cleared

before, after we cleared the room

I’ve mentioned that this room previously really only served as Robert’s closet and the room the dogs stay in during the day, so we had a lot of things to clear out before we could get started. After moving a small pile of supplies for the hall bathroom (sink pedestal, medicine cabinet, vent fan), a laundry hamper, a rocking chair, the dog crates, and a few piles of Robert’s clothes, we were left with a mostly empty room. Also, the amount of dog hair behind/under Freckles’ crate was disgusting. Since I have asthma and dust mite allergies, Robert took the lead on sweeping, vacuuming, and wiping down the walls & floor. After carefully moving the dresser & former china hutch into the center of the room, the taping and painting only took us around two hours.

office-after-with-tape

office after

We left the window wall unpainted, since we are planning to add built-in bookshelves and either a window seat or a counter with file drawers along that wall. After removing the tape and cleaning up the paint supplies, I measured and reconfigured the floor plan while Robert washed my car.

office-floor-plan2

If we put the rolltop in the center of the room, “like a real office!” in Robert’s words, then we should have enough room to keep the hutch for the time being. Right now the hutch holds some of Robert’s hats, and a few stacks of papers. Eventually it may get replaced with file cabinets, but it depends on how we built the area under the windows and how quickly we get the master bathroom functional so we can move into that bedroom and the walk-in closet. We’re undecided about whether or not we should switch the orientation of the office door to the hallway once the dog crates are built into the closet. We will most likely keep that door shut when they’re crated, so it won’t block the kennel on the right, and we can leave the fan on for air circulation.

Since we already have the furniture, rug, artwork, and wall paint on hand, we’ll just need to buy the supplies for the built-in shelves & dog crates, some new 72″ blinds to replace the cheap plastic mini blinds, and a few frames. Once we move the desk in, I can turn some of my attention back to organizing the art room. I had made some progress, but with the office in progress, the art room is back to being a bit of a dumping ground. Hopefully this happens to other people’s house, too.

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Categories: Office, Our House

Whoa, Dream Big: Some Thoughts on the Master Wing

Friday seems like a good day for daydreaming. I call this the “Whoa, Dream Big!” plan, a la Juno. It goes right up there with my fantasy about a garage/studio space in the backyard, in place of the current shed.

The last time I talked about our master bathroom, Robert and I were still completely undecided about how to proceed with things after we hired out the tile and everything went south. I was also trying to figure out whether it was to make our laundry room more accessible from the rest of the house, without adding another door in the living room. That way potential children are not walking through the master bedroom to do laundry. (I’m assuming these hypothetical children do their own laundry.)

Then one day recently I was daydreaming about carports and mudrooms and, for whatever reason, something finally clicked. I suggested to Robert that we bump the side wall (below left) out several feet and switch the placement of the laundry room & master bathroom. Seems somewhat feasible, since both rooms have water running to them, but we will have to figure out the cost of enlarging the space and moving the hookups for the washer/dryer. If it’s even possible for us to afford it, we’re thinking that this would start around the same time we replace our roof, since moving the wall would require a different pitch on that area of the roof.

Below is a simplified floor plan of the master addition. The whole house floor plan can be see here.

master_wing_current1

I think I’ve mentioned before that the master bedroom, bathroom, and closet were originally a carport. This is a very common placement for laundry rooms in houses in our area, where most of the houses were built in the 1950s. Some homeowners have since enclosed the carport into a garage or living space like our house’s previous owners did.

The sketch below gives general idea of where this renovation would take us, and below that I’ve added room dimensions, furniture and fixtures to give a better sense of the space. I’m envisioning double doors with frosted glass (like this) going into a spa-like master bathroom. A large shower to the right as you enter the room, and a freestanding tub to the left. Another door will lead to the outdoor shower.

master_wing_possibility3

I think adding a hallway to the new laundry room would give Robert and me a little more privacy, since the master bedroom door is currently right off the living room. We considered having the washer & dryer next to each other, with a laundry tower for detergent between them and folder surface above, but we both like the more open look of the room with the washer & dryer stacked. I’ve seen a few laundry rooms on Pinterest with a pull out shelf between the washer & dryer, so that may be an option. I think having a sink in the laundry room will be great as a place for anything from treating stains to washing up after working on the cars, especially since the new exterior door will be at the top of the driveway.

master_wing_possibility_plans2

I’ve also added all the windows (shown as light blue rectangles), because dark houses make me sad. I used 48″ wide windows in this plan, but the ones in the closet, over the toilet & in the shower would be higher up for privacy reasons. Depending on what is available, they may end up closer to 36″ wide by 12″high. I’d like them to let in plenty of light and views of the surrounding tree tops. The one beside the toilet would either be higher up, or frosted a the bottom. I also considered adding some high, transom style windows over the dresser in the bedroom to let light into the hallway, but I’m not sure if that would work out with my vision for that hallway. Maybe some skylights instead?

I have a feeling that the cost of this renovation could skyrocket if we’re not careful. Robert is usually the voice of reason, reining me back when I get overly excited about the idea of something. We might be able to move the exterior wall when we do the roof, and then save up to move the interior walls, plumbing, and electrical at a later date.

For the time being, this also means going with Option A, the least expensive, in the master bath. We’ll make the sink & toilet usable, then demo the deck part of the tub surround and re-install the current tub with a flange. Rather than tiling the wall in front of the tub again, we’ll probably use bead board to keep the cost down.

So that’s my possibly-unattainable dream for the master wing. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

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Categories: Laundry Room, Master Bathroom, Master Bedroom, Master Wing, Our House, Plans

Some Thoughts on the Sunroom

Since the weather is getting warmer, it seems appropriate to give you an update on our back porch. The last time I talked about plans for this space, it looked about like this. The space is about 14 feet wide and 28 feet long, with salmon pink stucco walls, a (somewhat bizarrely) tiled floor, and OSB plywood walls below the screened windows.

porch-from-door

porch-from-wall

Since then, we painted the walls, windowsills & backdoor, replaced the fan closest to the back door, and hung an IKEA pendant light over the pool table.

conversation-area3

The design board above was the general idea we had in mind, but we made a few adjustments. When the plumbers were working on the master bathroom in 2013, we had them install a utility sink (on the step where the grill is in the photo above). Robert and I later built an outdoor sofa rather than buying the one shown above, and installed a wall mounted tv & vapor proof light fixture by the back door. We’re also planning to build a factory cart style coffee table (with salvage parts I bought on eBay), and we DIYed a vapor proof light for over the pool table, modeled after this pricy one. Robert and I both still love the fan we bought at ReStore, but it’s a little worse for wear, so we may replace it at some point.

outoor-sink

tv-wall

I’m having trouble moving forward with the design of this space until we rework the two exterior walls. Robert uses the porch fairly often to play pool, wash large dishes in the utility sink, or watch something nerdy on Netflix, but it’s usually too hot (even with the fan), too cold (by Floridian standards), or too covered in pollen for me to be comfortable.

patio

porch_small_wall_outside

I’m hoping to enclose the porch into a sunroom, with larger, sliding glass windows and centered french doors.

sunroom_plans_outside

I got the slope of the roof wrong on the mock up of the short side.

I was able to find some large sliding windows and a couple of french doors (below left) on Craigslist. Ideally, we would use the salvage items to make the room more functional for us. Later we would consider replacing the older windows with more energy efficient ones when we replace the windows in the rest of the house, and replace the two salvaged doors with newer ones in the same style when we can afford it. Unfortunately, my success rate with using salvage building materials in combination with new is pretty 50/50, so I’m getting nervous about things working out. The french doors are already a bit rough and there are only two of them when we need three (the door on the right is intended for the laundry room). We’re also a window or two short. Fortunately, we didn’t spend much on the windows or doors. If they end up being unusable we won’t be out too much money on these, although the replacements are probably outside of our current budget.

craigslist-doors

I would prefer the french doors to be stained, but since the veneer is pretty rough they may end up getting painted.

Once we figure out the best way to move forward, I can start to turn my attention to the interior finishes for the sunroom.

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Categories: Our House, Plans, Projects, Sunroom, Sunroom Conversion

Art Room Shelf

I know my recent posts have been all over the place, but the master bathroom is still at a standstill, and Robert & I have never been great about focusing on one room at a time. It seems like one thing always leads to the next.

Anyway. Just a quick update on the art room.

Robert & I started on some major organizing in the art room and office yesterday, spurred on by the desire to get the giant World Market shelf box off the library floor. Now things are in that “organized mess” stage, where things look a lot worse then before we started, but each pile is strategically placed and waiting on something else to happen before it can be put away. For me, organizing always seems to like solving a slide puzzle or playing Tetris in that way. I’m told it’s genetic.

emerson-shelf-in-art-room

Overall the shelf went together fairly easily, and stores a lot more than the old Expedit shelf. I started to “style” it, but it quickly became a staging area for more breakable items while I sorted and cleared off the rolltop desk & flat files. Ideally I’d like to add some more baskets, but I’m wavering between woven and metal. The two woven baskets on the bottom shelf were from HomeGoods years ago.

I mentioned last week that the rolltop desk will move into the office and the flat files are destined for the shed, but the roll top is wider than the doorways, so we will most likely need an extra set or two of hands to help us move it. I vaguely remember declaring it would not be moved again after we gouged a floorboard in the hallway floor moving it into the art room five years ago, but that was before we realized that the top section can be removed. I also don’t remember whether we thought to remove the drawers that time.

It also seems like we should paint the office before moving furniture around. I am letting Robert have the final word on paint color, because I think he will probably spend the most time in there. We’re looking at colors in the blue and blue-gray family, and have narrowed it down to about five options. Apparently our Lowe’s got rid of the Allen+Roth, Pantone, and Creative Ideas paint displays this month, but they should have the color formulas in the computer for at least a little while.

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Categories: Art Room, Office, Our House, Plans

Art Room Refresh

As I mentioned last week, converting the “dog room” into an office and moving the rolltop desk in from the art room means there will be a few changes in the art room.

art-room-current

This is an old picture, but currently the art room is a horrible mess, with some random piles of stuff all over the floor. I’ll do my best to post a more recent photo soon, but I make no promises, especially given my track record. Since the photo above was taken, we moved the white IKEA desk on the right to my parents’ house, and moved our old dining table under the windows. Not pictured is the IKEA Expedit shelf to the right of the table, that we moved in from the library to corral one of the piles of random stuff that had accumulated. The yellow bankers chair has also moved to the closet desk to replace the rolling bungee chair, which broke one day while I was sitting in it. (Don’t worry, Mom, I was fine! Bruised pride, but fine.)

The overall vision for the art room has stayed pretty consistent since we bought the house – a colorful and inspiring room to draw, paint, or work on blog posts, with an eclectic mix of furniture. Someday way in the future we may build garage with an attached studio space or enclose the back porch into sunroom and move my art supplies out there, potentially making this a kids’ room, but for now it’s an art room. Or it’s intended as an art room. Unfortunately, the reality is that the room has never really been very functional, because I made the mistake of loading it up with entirely too much furniture, and then slowly added piles of random things (mostly stuff from my childhood bedroom, or things that we should have thrown out three moves ago). Currently I really only use the room to write the occasional blog post. And yes, I realize that with this admission I’ve now recently mentioned three rooms in our house that have barely been used up to this point. I think this is a product of the fact that we intentionally bought a house house we could grow into, and simply that we’ve (as mentioned above) done a pretty poor job of sorting, organizing and purging things we don’t need.

shoe-cabinet

Once we move the rolltop desk into the office and (eventually) the flat files into the shed, there will be room for an easel on one side of the room and the Pottery Barn Square chair that is currently in the green bedroom on the other side. I’d like to also move the “shoe cabinet” (shown above, before I painted it) from the green bedroom in to take the place of the flat files. It’s narrower and won’t take up quite as much floorspace as the flat files. I’m a little bummed that I painted it, and may experiment with sanding it down or simply give it a better coat of paint in a color other than blue-gray.

art-room-floorplan1

I think it would probably make the most sense to have our old dining room table under the pulldown map, and the PB Square chair in front of the corner windows. We recently got a rain check from World Market for an Emerson shelf to replace the Expedit, but the Emerson hasn’t come in yet. If I can stomach the price of the ones I want, the Emerson will house art supplies in metal baskets and books that don’t fit on the shelves in the librart. Also, if I can find a reasonably priced set, I’d like to put three single-tier lockers on the other side of the table where we currently have one turquoise IKEA PS locker cabinet in that corner. Two more of those would be perfect, but it looks like they’re discontinued now. Rearranging the furniture will make room for a larger rug, so I might swap out the IKEA Gislev for the the IKEA Tarnby from the master bedroom.

I forgot to take a recent photo of the closet desk, so maybe I’ll save that for a separate post.

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Categories: Art Room, Our House, Plans

The State of the Master Bathroom

So, the master bathroom. It’s been completely unusable since April of 2011, and it’s still not even close to being finished. Robert and I have also been through almost all seven stages of renovation grief – shock & disbelief, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, and finally acceptance & hope – over the time, energy, and resources/money we’ve wasted.

When you first walk into the bathroom, it looks ok. The shower head is missing, as are the tub handles and tub spout, but it’s tiled. And the tub is in place.

master-bath

Ok, the tub is only sort of in place. I’ll get back to that.

The drywall on the walls and the ceiling looks really good. We need to put a second bulb in the light fixture, hook up the sink and add baseboards & a switch plate. I’m not really a fan of the medicine cabinet anymore, or the light fixture that I picked out after we found out there was a stud in the way of the sconces I wanted. Maybe they’ll look better when things are usable. If not, I’ll chalk it up as a consequence of a renovation taking four years.

master-sink

The toilet is in place but the water line isn’t hooked up, mainly because we bought the wrong length and haven’t bothered to go back and buy the right length. Also, Robert and I calculated something wrong when we changed the bathroom layout and moved the toilet flange, so the tank is a little farther away from the wall than it should be.

master-toilet

All of that might seem easy enough to remedy, so let me recap the backstory, show some close up photos, and then try to explain our current dilemma.

In April of 2011, the hot water handle suddenly stopped working on the master bathroom tub. (At the time we were referring to as the guest bath, because we chose not to move into the actual master due to the carpet and my allergies.) We assumed it was something simple, maybe the cartridge, and weren’t too worried about it because the cold water handle hadn’t worked since our home inspection. Then Robert noticed as he was washing out the coffee pot that the water pressure was low. He assumed I had flushed a toilet or something, but the toilet wasn’t running. There was, however, the noise of running water coming from inside the master bath wall. The hot water heater was also filling and refilling continuously.

Unfortunately, it turned out that the problem originated when a previous owner converted the carport to the master bed & bath. Someone installed PEX piping without the inserts, which meant that over time the pipes leaked and eventually blew apart. (The same thing later happened in our laundry room.) Apparently it had been leaking in the bathroom for quite a while, because there was also mold inside the wall. This series of unfortunate events was then followed by several bad decisions from Robert and me, at least partially because we were young, inexperienced homeowners. Side note: Not everything is as easy as renovation shows would have you believe.

First, we enthusiastically demoed the entire bathroom, even though we didn’t have the money to deal with it at the time. Then we treated the mold, sealed off the bathroom, and ignored it while we started saving up to redo everything. Along the way, I stupidly started buying fixtures piecemeal, hoping we could put together a cohesive bathroom. Inexpensive drop-in tub, mainly because it’s rectangular and cheap at ReStore? Sure! Mismatching, cheap subway tile, also from ReStore? Perfect! I also splurged on a few things like an electric radiant heat mat and hex tile for the floor. Finally, Robert and I started trying to put things back together. Around that time, I got strep throat and an ear infection, my grandmother passed away, and this happened. Not surprisingly, renovating the bathroom no longer seemed like priority number one.

We worked off and on (mostly off, especially after our case concluded) from fall 2012 through spring 2013. As summer 2013 rolled around we finally decided to just hire the finish work out. Several things factored into this decision, but it mainly hinged on the fact that Robert was trying to finish his last semester of college while working 40-50 hours a week, and I was working 60+ hours a week. We hired a plumber who came highly recommended, and everything seemed to be going great. After the bulk of the plumbing we done, we decided to keep the progress rolling and hire a contractor the plumber recommended. It seemed like the perfect solution.

I’ll kind of let the pictures take over from here.

Here’s a closer look at the tub edge and the floor. I know it’s important for the tub to slope slightly toward the drain, but this is a bit excessive. Also, tile spacers are necessary even when the floor tile comes on a mat, and starting with a level floor is key. If the floor looks wavy in this photo, it’s because it is.

master-bathroom-floor

Grout is also necessary, even if there is mold and moisture resistant greenboard behind the tile.

step-behind-tub

And drop-in tubs are generally supposed to… drop in.

close-up-of-drop-in-tub

I will say that some of the issues with the subway tile are my fault, because not all the tile from ReStore had self-spacers. I think that it could have been used together by a very experienced tile guy, but the jack-of-all-trades contractor we hired was probably more experienced at patching tile than installing a entirely new tub & shower surround.

As far as the tub goes, that was a giant miscommunication. There are ways to install a drop-in tub in an alcove using a tile flange, which I researched when we were planning on doing the work ourselves. Unfortunately I (stupidly) assumed the contractor would already know this, and I was (again, stupidly) feeling bad about the specific instructions and printouts from this Pinterest board that I left regarding the tile pattern, so I decided not to be as detailed about the tub. As it turns out, the contractor apparently didn’t know about the flanges (or follow my tile pattern requests), which brings us to today. Ah, hindsight.

craftsman-bathroom
found on Houzz

So now, four years after we started this process, we’re trying to decide where to go from here. Do we make the sink & toilet usable, then demo the top of the tub surround and re-install the current tub with a flange? Do we demo the tub part of shower surround, install an alcove tub, and live with the rest of the wall & floor tile issues for it for a few years? Or do we make the sink & toilet usable, and just hang a shower curtain to hide the rest while we save up to expand the bathroom into the neighboring closet?

The first option is certainly the least expensive, and the last is the most expensive. The last option would potentially mean we could install a freestanding tub and walk-in shower, but we would most likely have to bump the master bedroom wall out in order to add a new closet (or two). I’d prefer to have a large bathtub in the master, rather than a tub/shower combo or simply a walk-in shower. We have no plans to overhaul the hall bathroom, especially after we updated a few things in 2012. The 1950s bathtub in there will be a good size for kids, but it’s not exactly great for soaking.

Robert and I are still working towards a compromise for the master bathroom, as I’m leaning towards the last option and he’s leaning towards some combination of the first two. While we decide (and save up), I created a new Pinterest board for the bathroom, and we’re working on a pretty long list of projects that we acquired the majority of the parts for during the bathroom saga. Hopefully we can achieve a sense of accomplishment elsewhere, even if the bathroom isn’t fully done until 2017.

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Categories: Life, Master Bathroom, Our House, Plans, Projects

A Post About Closets and Things

As I mentioned in the last post, I finally got around to planning out the best way to organize the closets in the three original bedrooms. I made some diagrams in Photoshop that Robert and I can reference while we’re building the organizers, uploaded them and started to write a couple paragraphs explaining my thought process. Then I realized it was the kind of post I might skip on another blog. Shoe rack, hanging bars, and shelves? Not exactly revolutionary!

So, moving on.

The fourth bedroom in our house has always referred to as the Dog Room. It pretty much serves as Robert’s closet and the room the dogs stay in during the day. Dots’ and Freckles’ crates are in there, as well as a dresser from my childhood bedroom, a hamper, the blue and gray hutch we had in the dining room several years ago, and a small cabinet that the router sits on because the cable guy drilled through our hardwood floor to install the internet when we moved in. Delightful.

I’ve basically been racking my brain for the last five years, trying to figure out a better solution or location for the dog crates. They’re kind of unavoidable, especially since Freckles has some slight separation anxiety and does better in a crate when we aren’t home. (Dots would prefer to just lay on our bed all day, but in fairness to Freckles we crate her, too.)

Over the years I’ve considered things like building wooden crates and disguising them as end tables, but none of my ideas seemed like quite the right solution. The style of crate/end table would clash with the rest of our furniture, and sometimes it’s nice to be able to crate the dogs in a room with a door. That way they’re out of the way of older, less mobile company, or anyone with allergies.

Finally I saw the photo below on Pinterest a while ago and thought “What a great idea! Too bad we don’t have a mudroom.”

crate-in-mudroom
found via Pinterest

At some point, possibly after after Googling crate solutions and reading about yet other blogger with a small dog whose crate would easily slip into a coat closet, I thought “Too bad our dogs’ crates don’t fit in the closet.” I might have also Googled “dog crate in closet”, trying to see whether it was a good idea or a bad idea. Enter this picture.

crate-in-closet-540x720

found via Pinterest

Amazing! Closets are den-like, right? Plus, Freckles loves to hang out under tables, and even wedged himself under the sofa a few times. Dots doesn’t really care where she naps, although her obvious preference is our bed. I feel like using the office closet (which is 67 inch wide by 24 inch deep) to make two built in dog crates is the perfect solution. The crates would be similar in size to their current crates, and we practically regain an entire room! The top of the closet would still be perfectly useable for Robert’s clothes (for the time being, until we move into the actual master with the walk-in closet) or holiday decor. We’d probably also put doors on the top. The bottom could also be turned into drawers or shelving at some point in the future, whether by us or future homeowners.

After figuring out the crate situation, I started thinking about how to furnish the office, mostly using things we already own. I think the best use of space would be to move the dresser currently in the room to the left of the door, and then to move the rolltop desk from the art room into the office, along with the round jute rug that used to be in the dining room. I think we should also reverse direction of the door, so that it doesn’t open to the right and block the dogs’ crates.

Office-Floorplan-675x720

As the floorplan above shows, I want to build bookshelves on either side of the window, about 24 imches wide, and a windowseat with large file drawer below the window. We’d probably just use some sort of hanging file system like this so that the drawers could be used for another type of storage later.

office-window-wall-2-720x566

The bottom of the bookshelves would be cabinets, where we could put the router, and maybe the printer & scanner, which we don’t use often.

All of these changes to the office also mean there will be a few changes to the art room, which I’ll talk about more in a later post.

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Categories: Office, Our House, Plans