Four Year Home Tour: Part Two

Continuing the tour, let’s walk down the hall and peek into the bathrooms and bedrooms.

Four years ago, when we closed, the only tub in the house was the clawfoot in the main bath.  Having two little kids and guests, a tub only wasn’t the most ideal layout, nor were the finishes selected.

New-House-Main-Bathroom April 13 2012

Our first project was to remodel the bathroom, adding a tub/shower combo, and create more privacy by the toilet.

House-Tour-Four-Years-In-Main-Bath-from-Door

Across the room, a large, intricate vanity with small drawers and little storage took up a lot of floor space.  Note the plug-in sconces, in a bathroom.

Main Bathroom Vanity Before

Utilizing vertical space, we built the floor to ceiling narrow shelving for storage.  Keeping the vanity open, and painted a unique color, visually lightens the room, while still offering storage for toilet paper, towels, and bath toys.

House-Tour-Four-Years-In-Main-Bath-Vanity

The smallest bedroom in the house, the guest room, featured wall to wall, floor to ceiling oak bookshelves, a boob light, and another broken window.

Guest Room Before

With a tight layout, we wanted to create a useful room, with plenty of walking space and even a dresser.  To do so, we cut out a notch in the shelves to recess the bed, making a cozy nook.  Sconces flank either side, with the shelves serving as a nightstand.  A larger window creates an egress access and brightens the north facing room.

Guest-Room-Makeover-Green-Walls-Upholstered-Headboard

Across from the bed is a petite dresser and small closet.

Guest-Room-Makeover-Green-Walls-Toward-Door

Perhaps the most neutral space before, the boys’ bedroom, had two windows and oodles of sun shining in.  It also had unevenly patched walls and popcorn ceilings.

Boys Room Before

When working on spaces for kids, I like to ask for their opinions.  Before getting started on the fun stuff, I fixed the walls, scraped the ceiling smooth, and we replaced the fogged up old windows.  Then came the fun part, and the boys helped choose the wall color, art, and stripe curtains.

Boys-Bedroom-with-Large-Rug-from-Door-Wide

There’s a small space between the entrance and closet doors, but the starting point was a blank slate.

Boys Room Before

To use the small space, a handed down bookshelf fills the space nicely, without eating up precious real estate.  Of course the Star Wars gear makes an appearance.

House-Tour-Four-Years-In-Boys-Bedroom-Closet-Side

While the boys’ room was neutral, the master bedroom had peeling/painted over wallpaper, electric blue walls, two large windows, an ugly ceiling fan, and popcorn ceilings.

New-House-Master-Bedroom-Front-April-13-2012

As with the entry, we added a wood planked wall for texture and interest and later painted it white.  On other walls, I painstakingly peeled off the old wallpaper and scraped off popcorn ceilings.  A custom bed, sewed leather top curtain panels, and floating nightstand add character and warmth.  We also replaced the window and added a door leading out to a small, private balcony.

King-Bed-Frame-Finished-Overall

Along the left wall is our walk in closet.

New-House-Master-Bedroom-April-13-2012

Oh the power of paint!  Blue walls be gone, in with bright white and nearly black walls.  A large leaning mirror is a functional way to put the small area to work.  Storing extra blankets looks good on a DIY ladder rack.

House-Tour-Four-Years-In-Master-Bedroom-Left-Side

Across the room is the entry door (to the right) as well as the master bathroom (on the left).  With a generous open area, it’s a bit challenging to put to good use.  A master sitting area seems to be the go to.

Master-Bedroom-Bath-Side-After-Move-In-April-30

Instead, a recently found Craigslist dresser brings the warm wood tones over to this side of the room.  Added storage is always a plus, but I love having a surface to hold decorative items, too.  I hear masking tape is the new, modern alternative to picture frames, didn’t you?  Haha, no, a frame will happen…eventually.

Craigslist-Dresser-with-Emily-Jeffords-Art-by-Bathroom

Four years ago, if you went through the door you would have seen a hot dog covered with ketchup and mustard-esque room.  Red walls, yellow tile and sinks, and brown floors.  In a word, woof.

Maroon Master Bathroom Before

After a full gut remodel, we have a modern meets rustic retreat.  Ben built a custom walnut vanity, topped with a stainless steel counter and vessel sink.  More tongue and groove is a durable lower wall and a high contrast against the dark upper.

Abstract-Landscape-Painting-in-Bathroom-Version-2-with-Vanity

Double sinks on a long vanity were nice, but not something we really need.

Maroon Master Bathrom Vanity Before

Instead, we shortened the vanity to five feet with a single sink, allowing room for the clawfoot tub we pulled out of the main bath.

Master-Bathroom-Vanity-for-BHG

Though much of the basement is still in the process, here’s a peek at the previous arrangement.  Door number one (to the left) led into the under stair storage, and the small French doors went into a big, open space.

New-House-Garage-Entry

With a bit of reconfiguration, we turned part of the under stair storage into a small mud nook.  Straight ahead is a bedroom, with a theater space on the other side.

Mud-Nook-from-Garage

Stay tuned for the exterior changes, as this post has also gotten lengthy.

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Luck of the Irish

I may not have Irish heritage, but I undeniably love the color green.  As a kid, when coloring or painting, I didn’t consider my work done until I added a splash of green somewhere.  If you’re wondering, yes, I was a complete nerd who loved to draw, paint, build and decorate cardboard doll houses.  I remember making a yellow-backed floral wall paper by drawing on white printer paper.  It’s too bad I don’t have photos, because I’m sure it was just lovely-haha.

To me, green adds a vibrancy and lively element no other colors can.  Yes, yellow is bright and cheery, but it doesn’t add the right warmth.  Blues are beautiful and soothing, but can’t quite make the statement green can.  Green is so abundant in nature, whether light, fresh spring green, dark mid summer grass-green, or the muted tones found in fall and winter.  As a general green lover, I’ve incorporated some of each throughout my home and I urge you to do the same.

Some rooms have just a sprinkle (nothing too in your face) of green, such as our family room. In a mostly neutral space, nearly citron green pillows liven up the couch and add a jolt of color.

Sofa-Swap-Old-in-Family-Room-Detail

A brightly colored green and blue landscape painting perks up the mantle while the lumbar pillows pull the color down to the neutral chairs.  Just a few small green accessories like books, a small vase, and candles pepper the color around the rest of the room.

MCM-Chairs-Updated-in-Family-Room

Our kitchen counters are dark, nearly black green soapstone that still reads as a neutral.

Long-Narrow-Cutting-Board-in-Kitchen-Toward-Ovens

Small additions like towels, plants, dishes, even fruit are quick, zero commitment ways to add even more color.

Kitchen-Dish-Cabinet

Other rooms have a slightly bigger swath of green, like our living room.  Six sets of luscious grass-green velvet curtains flank the windows.

Parallel-Couch-Window-Seat-Arrangement-From-Stairs

Cover the curtains with your hand and you’ll notice just how much life and personality they bring to the room.  When in doubt, always default to house plants to get that bit of color without overwhelming a room.  Bonus, you don’t have to deal with picking paint colors or fabrics.

Horizontal-Railing-and-Living-Room

Speaking of paint, sometimes a quart can make the biggest impact.  At less than $20, what do you have to lose by giving it a try?  Our main bathroom rocks an olive-green vanity, which has so much more character than any neutral ever will.

Campaign-Mirror-in-Bathroom-Overall

Toss a few more green accessories, in this case, hand towels and a nearly ugly 70’s landscape painting, around the room to complete the look.

Main Bathroom Overall

According to the color wheel, green is a cool color, but it certainly adds warmth to any space.  A muddy sagey olive acts as an almost neutral backdrop in our guest bedroom.

Guest-Room-Makeover-Green-Walls-Upholstered-Headboard

Pairing with bright white it feels so fresh, clean, and simple.  But greens really shine next to warm wood tones, much like a tree trunk and leaves.

Green-Guest-Room-Dresser-Chair-and-Art

By far the most overtly green room in the house is the boys’ bedroom.  Back when I gave their room a makeover, I asked each of them what color walls they wanted.  One said green and the other said yellow.  We compromised with this lemongrass yellow-green.  It’s fun and happy, but is tempered by white, gray, and navy.

Boys-Bedroom-with-Large-Rug-from-Door

Our master suite, though mostly white and black, has green tucked here and there.  More grass-green velvet wraps the headboard for a touch of color against an otherwise white wall.

King-Bed-Frame-Finished-Overall

Opposite the bed, a few bright green plants and (soon to be framed) landscape painting flank a dresser, bringing color around the room in a simple, easy-going way.

Craigslist-Dresser-with-Emily-Jeffords-Art-by-Bathroom

Even our master bathroom has touches of green via plants and a very abstract landscape.

Abstract-Landscape-Painting-in-Bathroom-Version-2-with-Vanity

Though we’re not quite at the point of the basement remodel to paint and add accessories, I’m trying to narrow down green paint options to use down there in a few ways.  I think we all have a color we naturally gravitate toward, right?  What’s yours, and more importantly, how do you use it in your decor?

My Good Friend

I’m not sure about your house, but we have hard water, which leaves hard water spots that are especially noticeable on our stainless steel.  If the water gets wiped up right away, we don’t have problems, but of course, we actually live in our house so that doesn’t always happen.  Unfortunately, it leaves our sink area looking like this:

Stainless-Steel-Sink-Before-Bon-Ami-Cleaning

I know, it’s not completely awful, but my OCD side disagrees and I needed something that would work.  After discovering how awesome these cleaning wipes worked on our appliances, I thought I’d rest easy.  Cue the sad sound effects, because the wipes did work, but only until we wiped the sink with a wet rag and the spots showed up again.  I headed back to the store to see what else I could find, and that’s when I met my good friend, Bon Ami.

Bon-Ami-Cleaner-for-Stainless-Steel

It’s about two dollars and basically powdered rocks, so it gently polishes the surface.  A damp sponge with a little sprinkle, followed up by a wet cloth to remove the residue, then a drying session does the trick for small areas like faucets.

Bon-Ami-Residue-on-Faucet

 

Always go with the grain of stainless to avoid scratching, but it’s amazing and thrilling how shiny the stainless looks after.

Stainless-Steel-Sink-After-Bon-Ami-Cleaning

What I really needed this for is our stainless steel shower pan.  As much as we love it, the water does spot like crazy.

Stainless-Steel-Shower-Pan-Before-Bon-Ami-Cleaning

See what I mean?

Stainless-Steel-Shower-Pan-Before-Detail-Bon-Ami-Cleaning

Finally, I’ve figured out a way to fight back, without using harsh, smelly chemicals.  To get a good clean, I generously sprinkle the base with the powder, then scrub, scrub, and scrub some more before rinsing and drying.

Stainless-Steel-Shower-Pan-After-Bon-Ami-Cleaning

This was after a light scrubbing, which removes the droplets, but a more intense scrub gets the drain lines sparkly, too.

Stainless-Steel-Shower-Pan-After-Detail-Bon-Ami-Cleaning

Not only does it work well on stainless, porcelain and enamel can get spiffed up.  Our old cast iron tub had a rust streak from the faucet, which came off with a good scrub.  Just thought this might be useful if you’re an OCD crazy and are prepping for guests this holiday weekend.

His and Hers Tasks

Good news, everyone.  The siding is 99 percent finished!  Ben took the last three days off work to get everything done before this weekend’s cold snap hits.  After starting with the most tedious part, everything went up smoothly and mostly without incident.  With much hemming and hawing, we decided to wrap the bathroom bump out in steel.  During install, Ben was on the scaffolding while I was at the bottom pounding each panel up.  While pounding a panel in place, a prybar fell off the scaffolding and on my arm.  A string of four lettered words spewed out of my mouth.  Other than that, no problems.

Lower portions were a breeze by comparison and Ben had most finished by day 2.

Steel-Siding-Lowe-Section-on-Front

We know this siding choice is different.  People seem to love it or hate it.  Fortunately, several neighbors have come over to tell us how much they like it.  They could love the steel, or just that it’s finished.

Steel-Siding-on-Garage

Regardless, we’re thrilled.  Both with the look and that we’re almost done.  To finish off the outside corners, we’re waiting on five pieces to cover the edges.  You can see one by the front door.

Steel-Siding-by-Front-Door

While Ben was siding (and didn’t need my help), I was inside painting trim and a few walls.  Here’s a peek at the first coat in our bedroom.  As the McDonald’s slogan goes, “I’m lovin’ it.”

Master-Bathroom-Wrought-Iron-Sneak-Peek

Hopefully tomorrow we’ll get our siding trim pieces to wrap things up.  Once that’s finished, we can take down the scaffolding and get working on kitchen plans.  Wishing you all a fun and productive weekend.

We Did It

Something crazy and exciting happened last week.  While getting our usual groceries, I saw the new October issue of Better Homes and Gardens was out.

Better-Homes-and-Gardens-Oct-2014-Issue-Cover

You know, the one with our DIY master bathroom vanity featured in the ‘I Did It’ column?

I flipped to the back page and saw our bathroom and faces and I’m sure a huge, goofy grin crossed my face.  I resisted the urge to show others in the store.

Better-Homes-and-Gardens-I-Did-It

I showed Ev and he said, “That looks like our bathroom.  Wait!  That’s you and dad!”  Cracked me up!  I’m not sure about you, but I never fully realized how much time, effort, or equipment went into styling and photographing a room.  Stylist Char and photographer Edmund showed up the first afternoon to drop off three bags of cameras and lighting tools.

Better-Homes-and-Gardens-Equipment

The next morning, Char came in with several bags of styling goodies.  Soon after, our master bedroom was full of diffusers, stands, and other things I wouldn’t even begin to know how to use.  They had a 10 hour day of work.  Staging the accessories.  Photographing, then nit-picking over the computer.  Tweaking the rug ever so slightly.  Changing the way the towel hung.  Shifting a bottle a half in to the right.  It was so fun to observe.  Char and Edmund were awesome to chat with, too.  Lots of fun stories to hear from their glamorous lives.  After getting all the shots from their list in the master bathroom, the equipment went into the guest room for safe storage.

Better-Homes-and-Gardens-Guest-Room-with-Equipment

Oh, and we preëmptively took the doors off the hinges because the bathrooms are so small.  Edmund said it was a genius idea and made everything easier.  Day three in town, the main bathroom got a little attention.  Prop rugs, towels, jars, bins, even cotton balls.  Here’s a little peek at the first styling round of the shelves.

Better-Homes-and-Gardens-Main-Bath-Sneek-Peak

I did get to keep some of the goodies, too.  From the master bathroom, I still have the only three added props: a soap pump, teal hand towels, and the jute chevron rug.  The rest was already ours, just elsewhere in the house.  A few more things from the main bathroom stayed.  Lidded Jars, a few bins, and the toiletries.  All things that had been openend or tags removed.  Here’s where most of those accessories live now:

It was a wonderful experience.  Something I was so nervous about.  I asked Char a million questions about wardrobe options.  I’m usually in jeans and a t-shirt or paint covered work clothes, so fashion is far from my strong point.  Luckily, Kit, Char and Edmund were excellent at their jobs.  We’re so honored to be featured!  Thank you so much, BHG!