Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bathroom Makeover Part 2: The Great Wall

After several months of work, our master bathroom is finally done. (or at least close enough to blog about it!) If you missed the first part of the bathroom remodel, you can read about it here.

The biggest thing we had to tackle next was the outdated style of the vanity/sink area- it was completely open to the rest of the bedroom. Just like the popcorn ceilings, this style is best left in the 70s. And that meant wall building time! 

The goal: enclose the bathroom from the bedroom and install a door in the wall. It definitely wasn't a fast-moving project. And also one that we will NEVER tackle again. Here's a condensed version of the play-by-play:

1. Measuring. I thought this step would be easy, but you'd be surprised how many times you have to measure the opening to get the correct figures for all the pieces that go into the wall. And of course, factoring in the space for the door.  

2. Building the frame. This went well until we realized that we measured slightly off even after thousands of tries. Thank goodness we only live a couple miles from Home Depot! (and they are INCREDIBLY helpful) After much toil, we finally got the frame assembled and ready to install.

3. Removing floor tile. Turns out that to build an interior wall, it needs to be anchored to the foundation, not the tile or flooring on top of the foundation. This means we had to remove a couple tiles. It may sound easy, but this took almost as long as the wall building itself!

3. Installation and anchoring. This part wasn't as challenging. We left .25" for drywall and then nailed the frame into the side walls and the foundation. To anchor into the foundation, my dad let us borrow a contraption that uses a bullet to shoot a nail into the concrete foundation. WHOA. That's when we should have known we were out of our league. But like all first-timers, we gleefully pressed on.  


4. Drywall. Thank goodness the steps started getting easier after the frame building or we may have thrown in the towel. Measuring and cutting the drywall was a little time consuming (again with the multiple measuring), but at least the installation was easy. Drywall, check.

5. Joint compound and tape. I definitely didn't even know this step existed until I started wondering what filled in the cracks between drywall pieces. You guessed it, joint compound and drywall tape! The compound is like thick putty and can make a huge mess if you're not careful (oops...). The tape goes on after filling in the cracks. Then two more layers of compound and on to the texture.

6. Texture. This part was tricky and involved a lot of YouTube searching. Basically there were two options for getting the knockdown texture that we needed to (somewhat) match the original surrounding walls.  A) Buy a $200 texture sprayer (NOPE). or  B) Figure out how to DIY (winner!). I used the "Target bag" method. I know, it sounds so professional. Basically you spread on a medium layer of compound and then smash a target bag into it and pull it off to form peaks in the compound. Let it dry for approximately 35 minutes (time varies by compound thickness) and then go back with a trowel and scrape off the top of the peaks. Wall-ah!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bathroom Makeover: Part I

As many of you have probably discovered with home projects, they take about twice as long and cost twice as much as you think they will (bummer!). But man, when one gets done, it's a great feeling! We had this sigh of relief recently with our first home makeover project in the new house - the master bathroom.

The master bathroom definitely left a little to be desired when we started. First of all, the sink and vanity area was completely open to the bedroom. Such a staple of 80s houses.

View walking into the master bedroom. 
To the left is the toilet/shower & to the right is the closet. 

Toilet and shower area (the left). 
Don't mind our messy closet! (the right)

Ugly mirror, ugly cabinets, and ancient vent and light switch. Needless to say, we had our work cut out for us. We started off by fixing the little things. 

New light switch
and new vent/light combo!

Turns out, electrical wiring is a mystery meant only for geniuses and definitely not for us. Good thing Dad knows a lot about wiring! The late night frantic phone call went something like this:

Me: "Okay, there are 3 black wires and 1 white wire coming out of the wall and we have a red, blue, yellow and black one on the switch. HELP." 

 And somehow he knew exactly what to do. Genius! With only minor frustration, we got the new vent and light switch in. Oh, and some minor surgery on the opening in the ceiling.

Next, that mirror. Nothing can ruin a bathroom like an ugly mirror and I hate the plain Jane mirrors with no character. Especially when they are cemented to the wall. After reading some tutorials on how to remove a mirror without shattering it and inevitable getting speared with breaking glass, we were ready to go. 

Tape on mirror to prevent shattering? Check. Protective eye wear? Check. Then we pried and prayed it wouldn't break. And with some luck, it came off the wall in one piece. Who knew they used so much glue to hold up a mirror?! It even took some of the texture and drywall off with it. Good grief. 

Next came paint, which was fairly easy. In place of the sandy brown/tan/pinkish/yellowish terrible color, the bathroom is now a pleasant light blue (pic above on the right). 

The next big issue was to somehow make the bathroom not completely open to the bedroom. And you probably won't believe me when I tell you what we did. Stay tuned for part 2 and updated pictures. That is, if we make it out alive! 

Monday, January 6, 2014


This year was great to say the least. It was filled with travel, friends, family, jobs and so many adventures in between. I started doing graphic design and photography on the side, our fur baby turned a year old, and the hubs and I built a wall. Yes, you read that right. Be prepared for an epic blog post about that home renovation adventure. We joined a wonderful church community, celebrated our one year anniversary in our first home, and started clean paleo eating (or at least attempting it!). I hope your 2013 was fun-filled and fabulous!

Here is a little peak at the backside of our Christmas card:

Cheers to 2014!