Simple Solution: Great Bathroom Lighting

So, this might seem strange.  More than once, we’ve had people ask, “Why is the lighting in your bathroom so great?”  They weren’t referring to the actual lights, rather the quality of light.  Three things are going on to make that happen.

1.  Large mirrors.  Both of the mirrors in our upstairs baths are huge.  The main bath mirror is three feet wide and 4 1/2 feet tall, so it reflects a lot of light.  Our master bathroom mirror is about the same size, filling the wall both in width and height.  Mirrors are your friend, in almost any situation. 

2.  Light colored walls.  This isn’t a must, but again, it helps bounce light around the room. 

3.  Ditch the overhead light fixture which casts harsh shadows.  Opt for sconces on either side of the mirror.  By using sconces, you’re getting equal lighting from both sides, eliminating those harsh shadows.  It doesn’t matter much if you choose a down lit or up lit style.  Ours happen to be down lit, just because the fixtures we chose looked better hanging.  Height matters!  A rule of thumb for hanging pictures is eye level or 60 inches from the floor. 

We have sconces in all three of our bathrooms and all are within five inches of each other.  The main bathroom sconces are 70 inches from the floor to the center of the electrical box.  The master bath are 66 inches from floor to center.  By keeping the fixtures near eye level (even if it is someone who is 6’2″), the lighting is more direct.  This also means you can use a lower watt bulb and pitch the flood light. 

Anyone interested in changing out their bathroom lighting?  Do you have a design problem and would like our help?  Send us an e-mail at

Take it for Granite

We recently revealed our new DIY dining table, complete with a dark green-black marble top.  This isn’t the first (or last) piece of marble or granite in our house.  In fact, we have quite a bit in 1 1/4 inch thick slabs and tiles.  I thought I’d give a pictoral view showcasnig the granite and marble we have in our home.

All three of our bathrooms have granite-topped vanities. 

The main bathroom granite is Giallo San Francisco:

Our master bathroom color is Galaxy Black:

The basement bathroom counters are Verde Maritoka:

Part of my office desktop has Carrera marble, while the other areas have Brazilian Cherry.

Each bathtub has a matching granite sill to rest on.  Both the main and master bathrooms have marble tub surrounds, too.

The master bathroom floor is covered in white marble and absolute black granite checkerboard.  The main bathroom has white marble floors in a brick lay pattern.

We decided to install granite and marble as some of our window sills to protect them from moisture.

The kitchen and dining room sills are Silver Spark:

Our master bathroom has Carrera Marble:

The half wall by our stairway has a brown granite topper:

Our love of marble extends to a few pieces of furniture other than our dining table.  Two small side tables in our guest bedroom have marble tile tops.

This little table had a clear glass top, but it was easily replaced by one 12 inch square tile, left over from our bathroom remodel.

Why limit marble to counter tops when you can have a marble table lamp like this:

Just to recap, we have 4 countertops, 3 tables, 6 window and tub sills, 2 shower surrounds, 1 lamp and we haven’t remodeled our kitchen.

Why do we have so much marble and granite you ask?  We love the timeless look, durability and we can get remnant slabs for a great price.  And, it’s almost easier to work with than wood.

Where’d Ya Get That?

Here’s a source list for items in our house.  If you have questions about anything, just ask!

Living Room:

Paint: Wicker Chair by Olympic and Behr’s Vermont Cream color matched in Wal-Mart’s Colorplace brand    Rug: Flor  Sofa: HOM Furniture    Chairs: Dolce Lounge Chair from Target    End Tables: Dror by Target    Lamps:  TJ Maxx    Curtains:  Target    Throw Blanket:  TJ Maxx    Pillow Covers: Hand Sewn Fabric from Joann    Bird Candleholder:  Target    Picture Frames:  Wal-Mart, Target, Michael’s    Artwork:  Custom made by me    Front Door:  Home Depot    Floors:  Original Red Oak Hardwood

Living Room Other Side:

Rocking Chair:  Lay-Z-Boy (is now in the basement)    Desk:  Repainted hand-me-down    Desk Chair:  Target    Black Picture Frame:  Target    Large Frame:  Target 

Chair:  Hom Furniture     Mirror:  Garage Sale-only $5.00!    Candle Sconces:  Linens N Things    Pillow:  I made it.  Here’s how.

Entertainment Center:

Entertainment Center:  Custom Built by Ben    Door Hardware:  Home Depot Modern Bar    TV:  32″ Vizio from Costco    Silver Picture Frames:  TJ Maxx    B Monogram:  Target    Candle Holders:  Target    Clock:  Restoration Hardware on Ebay    Tall Blue Vase:  Crate and Barrel  Short Blue Vase:  TJ Maxx    Wooden Sculpture:  Target    Magazine Files:  IKEA painted Green    Books:  Used, Barnes and Noble    Print:  Made by Me    Hour Glass:  CB2

Dining Room:


Paint:  Mistinted version of Restoration Hardware’s Silver Sage (The paint is from Wal Mart and they used the light base. The formula for one gallon is B-37, E-39.5, and T-37.  This is the color used in our basement, too. It can look more green in some light) and Behr’s Vermont Cream-both color matched at Wal-Mart    Dining Table:  DIY Table    Chairs:  World Market    Rug:  Flor    Curtains:  Hand Sewn from Fabric From Hancock Fabrics    Fruit Bowl:  Thrift Store    Plates:  Linens N Things and Target    Candle Sticks:  Target    Light Fixture:  CB2   Curtain Rod:  Wal-Mart    Floors:  Original Red Oak Hardwood

Guest Bedroom:

Paint:  Restoration Hardware’s Sea Green, color matched to Behr and Behr’s Vermont Cream    Headboard:  Free from an apartment tenant    Floral Bedding:  Ross    Sheets:  Linens N Things    Blue King Pillows:  TJ Maxx    Striped Pillow:  Hand Sewn from Fabric from Joann    Picture Frame:  From my Great Grandma    Photo:  Forsyth Park Fountain taken on our Honeymoon in Savannah, GA    White Nightstand:  Built by Ben    Lamp:  Target    Clock:  World Market    Candle Sconces:  Bed, Bath and Beyond    Curtains:  Wal-Mart    Curtain Rod:  Target    Apothecary Jar of Shells:  Michael’s     Pendant:  DIY with coffee filters  

Guest Bedroom Other Side:

Mirror:  Found in the Trash-from Target    Bedside Carafe:  Two Glasses from World Market    Shell:  Target    Artwork in the Hall:  Family Tree made by Me

Main Bathroom:

Paint:  Behr’s Vermont Cream and Restoration Hardware’s Lilac    Vanity:  Built by Ben out of Maple    Drawer Pulls:  Home Depot    Countertop:  Giallo San Francsico Granite Remnant    Vessel Sink and Faucet:  E bay    Mirror:  Reused from Remodel    Light Fixtures:  Home Depot    Picture, Frame and Mat:   Michael’s    Glass Box:  World Market    Soap Pump:  Target    Lotion:  Bath and Body Works    Candles and Jars:  Target  Purple Towels:  Target    White Towels:  Linens N Things   

Main Bathroom Shower:

White and Grey Marble Tile (also on floors):  Home Depot    Faucet:  Delta at Home Depot    Shower Curtain:  Target    Towel Bar and Toilet Paper Holder:  Home Depot

Master Bedroom:


Paint:  Restoration Hardware’s Bay Laurel and Behr’s Vermont Cream   Bed:  Custom Built by Ben    Coverlet:  IKEA    Pillow Shams:  Linens N Things    Throw Pillow:  Hand Embroidered by Me    Nightstand:  IKEA    Lamps:  Home Depot    Clock:  World Market    Pictures:  E Bay    Picture Frames:  Michael’s    Curtains:  Wal-Mart    Curtain Rods:  Wal-Mart   

Master Bedroom Other Side:


Mirror:  Michael’s    Upholstered Bench:  HOM Furniture

Master Bathroom:

Paint:  Behr’s Vermont Cream and Restoration Hardware’s Bay Laurel    Curtains:  Wal-Mart    Floors:  Absolute Black and White Marble from Home Depot    Toilet:  Kohler Highline from Home Depot    Vanity:  Built by Ben    Countertop:  Galaxy Black Remnant Ben Finished    Shower Curtain:  Target   Towels:  Target    Towel Bar and Toilet Paper Holder:  Home Depot    Clock:  Gift 

Boy’s Bedroom:

Paint:  Ralph Lauren’s Riesling and Behr’s Vermont Cream    Crib:  Garage Sale    Dresser:  Hand Me Down    Curtains:  Wal Mart    Curtain Rods:  Home Depot    Crib Blanket:  Crocheted by Me    Sheets:  Target    Crib Skirt:  Target    Rocking Chair:  Family chair    Storage Bin:  Tuesday Mornings    Mobile:  Made by Me    Owl:  Made by Me    Silhouette:  Made by Me    E and V:  Hobby Lobby    Pillows:  Made by Me

 Bed:  Hand Me Down Painted Red    Bedding:  Target    Stuffed Animals:  Kohl’s     Pillows:  Hand sewn by me      Footprint Art:  Inked Feet of my Boys    Artwork:  Canvas Painted by Me    Bookshelf:  Hand Me Down   


Paint:  Benjamin Moore’s Raisin and Behr’s Vermont Cream    Cabinets and Shelving:  Custom Built by Ben    Countertops:  Brazilian Cherry and Carrera Marble    Desk Chair:  IKEA   Desk Lamp:  Target    Storage Boxes and Magazine Files:  IKEA    Curtains:  Hand Sewn from Fabric from Hancock Fabrics    White Marble Vases:  Restoration Hardware    Small Blue Vase:  Target    Little Bird:  Felt Pincushion from Etsy    Picture Frames on Shelves:  Target    Map Frame:  Michael’s    Map:    Light Fixture:  Home Depot    Magnetic Tins:  IKEA   

Office Bookshelves: 


Chair:  Target    Accent Table:  Target    Picture Frame on Table:  Target   White Vase:  Target (was a reed diffuser)    Storage Boxes:  IKEA    Brown Frames:  Hobby Lobby   Art in Brown Frames:  My modern portraits   Drawing Figure:  IKEA    Rose Candle Holders:  Michael’s, Big Lots and Ross    Bird Art:  Custom Painted by Me    Orange Clock:  Hobby Lobby    Wire Buildings:  Target    Butterfly Artwork:  Custom Made by Me    Globes:  Garage Sales and Target    Vacation Jars:  Hobby Lobby filled with vacation items    Books:  Barnes and Noble, Thrift Stores and Garage Sales

Our Past Four Years…

We have done quite a bit to our humble rancher since Ben bought it back in 2004.  Most you can see, like paint and trim, but others are a little more difficult to notice-if you can see them at all.  So, here’s a little recap of things Ben did before we were married:

  1. Cut out and installed egress windows in basement bedrooms and the office.
  2. Drilled a well.
  3. Installed wood burning fireplace.
  4. Removed siding to add insulation all around the house.
  5. Replaced all upper level windows, enlarging the bedroom windows by one foot.
  6. Replaced the kitchen linoleum with tile.
  7. Knocked down the kitchen wall to create a half wall: 

8.  Closed ½ bath and created ¾ master bathroom.

Changes we’ve made since we’ve been married:

  1. Added trim to the 3rd bedroom and repainted.
  2. Added trim to the guest bedroom and repainted.
  3. Repainted living room and built an entertainment center.
  4. Gutted and refinished main bathroom.
  5. Added oak floors and trim to master bedroom.  Repainted.
  6. Installed a new glass back door.
  7. Finished 1st basement bedroom.
  8. Installed a central vacuum system.
  9. Added trim to the dining room and repainted.
  10. Removed the chain link fence and built a new painted white fence.
  11. Planted 17 fruit trees, boxwood, roses, peonies, lilies, and other flowers.
  12. Installed a larger electric panel and moved it to the laundry room.
  13. Built and hung new shutters and window boxes.
  14. Dug a trench to install the geothermal system:

15.  Gutted and unfinished master bathroom.

16.  Installed a new front door.

17.  Finished office, including built-in bookshelves and cabinets. 

18.  Finished basement living room with painted trim and built-in entertainment center.

19.  Finished basement bedroom with trim.

20.  Finished basement bathroom, complete with 6 foot jetted tub, open vanity and soon to be steam room.

Of course there are several smaller projects we’ve finished, too.

Things I Love About Our House

I’m sure most homeowners at least like their houses.  We love our house, especially some of the features and details.  Here are some of our favorites:

Our deep windowsills:

Our master bath window sill is marble clad:

The pantry above our stairs is great, too, although the doors could use a little love. 

It is huge and holds almost all of our non-perishable food items, paper towels and larger dishes. 

We have added white trim to almost every room in our house.  It seems obvious that we love it, so here are some detail shots:

I love the crown moldings above the doors and windows in our master bedroom.  It is convenient to have the hidden lighting, too. 

The guest bedroom trim is simple, but definitely adds character to the room.

Here’s the plate rack we added to our dining room.  Capped off crown molding and quarter round trim provide storage for large platters, but serves as artwork, too. 

White trim in a basement bedroom brightens up the space and adds interest. 

Our basement bathroom is outfitted with simple trim topped by a shelf, providing a display area and small storage.

What do you love about your house?  Maybe some architectural details?  Lighting?  The layout?