Another Goes to the Dark Side

Our master bath is still one of my most favorite full room makeovers we’ve ever tackled.  Maybe it’s because I still have nightmares about the starting point and appreciate how far it’s come.  Or perhaps I simply love the contrast of dark and light, warm and sleek, natural and industrial.


I think for most people, the nearly black walls are a big part of the equation, as it’s not a color ordinarily found in bathrooms.  But, when paired with white lower sections and a large window letting in plenty of natural light, the dark color doesn’t feel cold or cave like.  Rather, it’s a warm, but bold neutral that packs a punch.

When the lovely lady that bought our old house asked me if I thought the same color (Wrought Iron in flat finish from Benjamin Moore) would work in that master bathroom, I said yes.  Like our current master bath, this room also has a window and plenty of white wall trim to balance out the dark, pulling color from the tile up to the walls.  In a moment of insanity, I offered to paint it for her, as a fun reveal of sorts.  Fortunately, she didn’t find it crazy and agreed, to painting as well as a post about the changes.  Here’s the bathroom, in all its pink glory while we still lived there.



Master Bathroom Painted Pink After Sink Side

Eek, that last photo looks really bubblegum, though in person it looked softer and deeper.  I figured the only room I’d ever paint pink was a bathroom and went for it.  Three plus years later, the current owner was ready for a change.

After only a few hours of painting, and a handful of new accessories, here’s it is after:


While the pink was light, airy, and borderline cottage-y, the dark is masculine, enveloping, and modern.  Along with ample natural light, wood tones keep the dark walls from feeling sterile and lifeless.  In the case of our bathroom, the walnut vanity adds that natural warmth.  With a white vanity here, a couple of dark wooden accessories and art peppered around the room do the trick.  I sanded and stained a bamboo tissue cover and created a custom wooden sign.


For a dash of fun and humor, we agreed on the ‘get naked’ design, as it hangs across from the shower.


Over by the sink, we added a circular trio to fill out the wall space.  Using a kit and 10 inch wooden disk, I painted and hung a distressed clock, small wood slice art, and the owner’s antique hand mirror passed down from her grandmother.


The other side is simple with a hand towel and wooden bowl for hair ties.  Going so dark on the walls really emphasizes the white trim, too.


It was fun to be back in a familiar space, working on a project and the happy couple love the changes as well.  So, it goes to show that an unconventional, unexpected color can work in different spaces.  Worst case scenario, if the changes aren’t great, it’s only paint.

The End of an Era

After living in and perfecting our first house for eight years, we found a new fixer upper that stole our hearts.  Our first house will always be our first house love, but we’re officially back to owning one house.  It’s a little sad,  but we’re so happy in the mountain house.  Even more so, we’re happy the buyers are happy in our old home.  Let’s take a walk down memory lane with a reverse before and after picture tour.

Living room before, recently opened to the kitchen:

After our move out:

Dining room before:

An empty after:

Kitchen, just after finishing a complete gut and remodel:

And after the after:

Guest bedroom before:

Now ready to house a cute little girl:

Main bathroom before:

After, emptied out:

Boys’ bedroom before:

And now, ready for the new owner’s stuff:

Master bedroom before:

And after, complete with the custom-made bed built (our buyer bought it from us):

Master bedroom before:


When Ben bought this house, the basement was completely unfinished.  Here it is after finishing it while I was pregnant with Everett:

And two years later:

My office, stocked and ready for work:

Now sad and empty, but ready to work for someone else:

The basement bathroom before:

We never did finish the steam shower under the stairs, but that can be a project for the new owner:

Laundry room and Ben’s reloading office before:

And after we moved everything out, including the washer and dryer:

The small basement bedroom as we had it just before moving:

And after moving:

The large basement bedroom pulled double duty, acting as both a bedroom and a storage room before:

When emptied, it feels even bigger:

Seeing the house empty is especially strange to me because I’ve never seen it this way.  Ben bought the house a couple years before we met, so he had already moved in.  If we’re in this house again, we’ll be visitors.  We’ve become friendly with our buyer, and we’d love to see how the house evolves over time.

Have you been a house after selling it?  Was it odd, or cool?  Did the new owner make any changes?

P.S.  To see true before and afters, check our Our First House page.

You Say Suspenseful I Say Fenceful

After this post, a lovely reader asked if we could write-up a quick post about our fence and how we made it.  Always happy to answer questions, here it is.

The fence is made up of 4 inch by 4 inch by 8 foot long posts and 2 inch by 6 inch by 16 foot long lumber from Home Depot.  Ben measured eight feet apart, used a post hole digger to make a 4 foot deep hole.  He did this for each post, 22 total on our property.  After setting each post, leaving it 4 feet above ground, we attached the 2 by 6 horizontals.  These are about 4 inches apart, for a total of five high.

We staggered the seams to keep the fence as strong as possible.  The gate took longer to finish because Ben couldn’t find strong hinges.  But, with the impending closing date looming, we knew it had to happen, sooner than later.  Ben bought a set of hinges and a latch at Home Depot.

To build the gate, Ben cut a 2 by 4 to the match the height of the horizontals.  Then, he screwed five 2 by 6 pieces, keeping the gate square as he went.

On either side of the gate we have a 4 inch square post and a 2 by 4, which is actually part of the gate.

Luckily, the hinges are perfect for the 2 by 6, so Ben installed one at the top and another on the bottom to hold the gate in place.

To protect the fence and keep it looking spiffy, we use Behr’s Solid Color Wood Stain, just like the rest of the fence.  So, that’s the simple fence we have and how to make one yourself.

Previously, we had a chain link fence, which Houdini, I mean Jack escaped from regularly.  We’re happy to report she hasn’t been able to get out of this one.  Also, this style fence can work for smaller dogs by adding 2 by 2 pieces between the 2 by 6s.

What style of fence do you have?  Why did you choose it?  To keep kids and pets in?  To keep neighbors out?

All the Fixings

Now that we’ve sold our house, we’re working on it again.  Nothing major, just small projects we want to finish up.  Adding fascia to the exterior.

Installing and staining window trim.

As you can see, Ben had a little help(er) for this project.  I went into the house to get a paint brush for Ben, came back out, but didn’t see V.  Ben asked if he went in with me.  Then V popped up from the window well.  Scared the crap out of me!

One of the things we promised to finish was the fence on the ends of the house.  Ben didn’t finish the south end when he worked on the rest of the fence because the old posts were cemented in.  Finally, he had a reason to tackle this.  Simple enough, and I stained it to match.

Here’s what the north side looked like last summer.  The fence is done, but we lacked a real gate.

That’s done now.

So much better.  Jack approves, too.

For the past two years the French doors in my office have been without door handles.  We recently replaced a few handles for locking levers in the basement, so Ben retrofitted the old handles to work for the office.  He just removed the plungers and we’re good to go.

See the gaping hole below?

Here it is today, complete with closet doors.

Ben still has to cut a trim piece to hide the track, but we’re getting there.

We’ve done all this, but I have yet to pack a single box to actually move.  I’m afraid it will jinx the closing (our situation is slightly different than usual).  So, keep your fingers crossed everything goes smoothly and we’ll update you as soon as we can!

Trim Tutorial: Master Bedroom

Shame on us.  We haven’t shared a trim tutorial in quite some time.  What were we thinking?  Obviously, we weren’t.  How would you like to see our master bedroom and bathroom trim?

Let’s get started.  We (well, Ben) started with 4 foot by 8 foot MDF sheets.  One that is 3/4 inches thick and another that is 1 inch thick.  He cut tons of 2 inch wide strips, several 3 and 5 inch wide pieces out of the 3/4 sheet.  Then, he cut 1 1/2 inch wide pieces from the 1 inch thick MDF sheet.

To start, we installed the 5 inch baseboard around the perimeter of the room.  Then, we started placing the 2 inch wide verticals, placing one centered on each wall.  From there, the verticals have 12 inches of wall space before the next edge.  The horizontals are also spaced 12 inches from edge to edge.  With the grid in place, we added the three-inch wide top rail, capped off with a 1 1/2 inch deep by 1 inch thick piece, to finish it off.

Now, onto the tricky parts, the doors and windows.  Ben had the idea to install lights above each window and door in our master bedroom.

Door and window casement starts out the same as the rest.  Rather than a piece of casement at the top, we’ve added three trim pieces.  First, a piece of 1 inch thick MDF, cut into strips and routered for a decorative edge.  Then, a piece of 3/4 inch thick MDF cut into 6 1/2 inch widths.  The tricky part was cutting the crown to fit against walls; both doors nearly touch the wall.  For Ben, the easiest way to tackle this obstacle was cutting, gluing, and nailing the crown to the flat trim, leaving a 4 1/2 inch reveal.  After the glue had set, Ben cut the pieces to size, installing the whole piece over the routered rail.

The lights tuck neatly inside the crown, glowing at night.

That concludes our current home’s trim treatments.  Anything else you want to know before closing day?