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.

Plunge into the Lagoon

Well, I did it.  I painted the bathroom mirror.  Before, the mirror had a finish straight from the 90’s.  It didn’t look too bad from afar.

But get up close and you’ll pick up what I’m laying down.

On Thursday, I didn’t know which color I’d choose.  After much careful consideration deciding to take the bull by the horns, I chose the boldest option, Lagoon.  If I hated the color, I could easily paint the frame a safer color, like ORB (oil rubbed bronze) or white.  I picked up another can of Rustoleum’s Lagoon blue (a super pretty greenish blue) Ultra Coverage spray paint and got started.  First, I taped off the mirror, being careful to cover every part.

Two light coats of the satin finish paint later, I had a bold mirror.  And guess what?  I loved it.  After allowing several hours of air drying time, I brought the mirror downstairs and hung it up.  I peeled off the kraft paper, but left the taped edges, just incase Ben hated it.  I don’t know how he could, just look at the drama the color adds.

By the way, the color in this photo seems off.  In person, it looks extremely similar to the Ikea bottle on the left.  This is the most accurate picture I could get of the color.

Pretty, right?!  Luckily, Ben saw it and said he didn’t care whether it was blue or the original finish.  Right after his half-hearted approval, I tore the tape off to make the mirror officially done.

Now, when you enter the bathroom, you’re greeted by this.  Hello, lovely.

And, the bold color still works well with the muted sea green paint color in the adjoining theater room.

I think we’ll keep on trucking in the peacock-blue direction.  So much so that I’m looking at everything to see where I’ll add another unexpected pop of color.  Next stop, art.  And finally putting an outlet cover on that outlet.

Do the new changes float your boat?  Like the bold color enough to try it in your own home?  Where do you have unexpected pops of color?

Feeling Peacock-y

Our basement bathroom is sort of boring.  Lots of beige and white with some green.

I want to change that, but we’re not replacing the floor or repainting.  So, how can we add character without hours of work?  By adding interesting elements, like cute deer hooks for towels, and color, of course.  You probably already guessed which color we chose to add based on the post title.  If you’re dense, we chose peacock blue.  Why?  Because blue and green look great together and the adjacent theater room is sea blue/green.

This all started with a harmless trip to Ikea in December when I snagged a set of three Limmaren bottles.  We use the clear bottle in our bathroom for mouthwash and love it, so I decided to fill the blue bottle up for the basement.

For another splash of peacock, I bought a three dolla hand towel from Target.

So far, so good.  I still have to convince myself Ben to paint the mirror a similar shade.  I have no qualms about painting the mirror, because I definitely don’t like the current finish.

But, do I use spray paint with limited options?  Maybe the same color we used for the shelving?  Or a more boring route, ORB to tie in with the other fixtures?  Or old-fashioned latex for a custom color?

I have about 10 ideas swirling in my brain for art, but I need to try some things out to see what I would like best in the space.  I know I want something long and narrow over the bath tub, but would it look strange to have another long, narrow piece over the toilet, sitting on the shelf?

That blank wall to the right of the toilet bugs me, but eventually we will finish the steam shower under the stairs so a door will swing out toward that wall.

More color to come, but I haven’t decided on other items.  This rug from Urban Outfitters is fantastic, but could be too busy in the space.  And it’s a simple cotton rug and Ben would hate that it doesn’t have a non slip backing.  However, the size and price is right.  You know what they say, “If the rug boot fits.”

Usually a shower curtain would add a ton of color, but we don’t need one because we have a tub only.  However, a small window sits above the bath tub.

 The window is the same size as the other small windows in the bedrooms.  Could we treat is sort of like the window in the basement bedroom?

Would it look odd to hang a boldly colored, fun patterned curtain there?  While I’m showing you the basement bedroom, you should know that they saw some changes yesterday.  I’ll share more on that next week.

What would you do?  What other ways do you add color to a bathroom?  Any art placement ideas?  How much is too much in a bathroom?

Bathroom Business

Not that kind of business, though.  We’ve managed to cross another item off our to do list.  You’ve seen our new cabinet doors and my office drawers.  The office drawers took a little longer to install than planned, so we put off finishing the bathroom and laundry room.  Last weekend, I prodded Ben until he gave in we found some time to finish the bathroom.

Before I share the ‘after’ pictures, I want to give a little explanation on how we install drawer fronts.  First, we measure the width and height to find the center.  Then, either make a template or mark the drawer pulls on the drawer front.  Drill holes in your drawer front, but not the drawer.  Use screws to attach the front to the drawer.

If you’re working on a drawer stack, this allows you to attach everything from the front, make sure all faces are level and spacing between drawers is even.  We use nickels as spacing guides for our drawer fronts.  Start from the bottom drawer to stack the remaining drawers on top.  This way, as long as your drawers are even and square, your stack will be level.  Once you like the arrangement, screw the front in place from inside the drawer.  Remove the screws from the front and drill through the rest of the drawer to install the handles.

Now, we’re ready for the main event.

Remember the before?   Yes, those openings bugged the crap out of me for the past year.

The center is a false front and the ends are functioning drawers.

We chose oil rubbed bronze drawer pulls to tie the faucet finishes together.

Towels and extra toilet paper are stored below on the open shelving, giving the perfect balance of large and small storage.

Yep, lookin’ good, if you ignore the pile o’ tile and a saw in the corner.

What is your favorite type of bathroom storage?  Drawers and cabinets?  All drawers?  Drawers and shelving?  Maybe your have a medicine cabinet for small items and don’t need drawers?  Is your bathroom filled with products?

Just Hangin’ Around

Last weekend we hung around, literally.  We finally hung the mirror in the basement bathroom.

I don’t know what took us so long, it wasn’t a difficult task.  But now, I want to paint the mirror.  Of course, I could paint it black, white or grey, but a color would be a fun pop.  Maybe a blue to tie in with the theater room just outside?  We’d love to hear your suggestions.  While Ben was working in the bathroom, I asked him to cut down the bolts that hold the toilet down because the cover caps couldn’t snap on.  Now, the little caps are tightly in place, not resting on bolts 1/4 inch above the base.  After he took care of business in the basement, he went to the master bathroom and did the same thing.  That took two and a half years.  Riveting, I know.  Can you say, ‘Slackers’? cause that’s what we are.

After hanging the mirror, we hung two candle sconces in the theater room, flanking the fireplace.

As you can see, we still haven’t touched up the areas we taped off around the rock wall when spraying the basement a year ago.  (Slackers!)

Though, in my defense, I plan to touch up the white areas when we paint the laundry room cabinetry.  But, who knows when that will be done.  We haven’t worked on it for a few weeks.  (Total Slackers!)

Then, I (well, I started, but my bother-in-law saw that I was using a screwdriver and finished the job for me) hung two  curtain rods in the small basement bedroom.  One behind the bed, by my newly finished $10 lamp.

And the other above the other window.

Now, let me address a few issues.

One, I bought the panels from Target on clearance for five bucks each (wahoo!); I couldn’t even make curtains for that price.  The issue here?  I could only get two because that’s all she wrote.  So, ideally, we would have been able to balance the off centered walls with more curtain panels, but it wasn’t in the cards.  That and the fact the window trim goes right to the ceiling with crown molding butting up to the casement.  Mounting the brackets would have been a nightmare.  It just wasn’t meant to be.

Two, because the windows are so close to the ceiling, the panels look like they’re waiting for a flood.  I do have a plan to remedy this, though, just haven’t done it yet.  I know, surprise, surprise.

Three, the curtain rods were cheap, like $3 a piece cheap, so features on more expensive rods are missing.  Namely, the small screws that keep the rod from sliding around every time the curtains are opened or closed.  I did fix this with a few small chunks of sticky tack (you know, the stuff teachers use to hang posters and other temporary items) on each bracket, under the rod.  Works like a charm.

In summary, it takes us a year to finally finish something that is super simple.  It also takes us a week to post about the weekend progress, making it last weekend’s progress.  The good news?  Ben cut down trees all weekend at the apartment complex, so we didn’t get any work done around our house.  Actually, that’s not completely true, but stay tuned for that tomorrow.  (Hint: it involves nice weather)  All in all, we’re slackers.

Anyone else a slacker?  Do you have simple projects on your to do list for a year (or longer)?  Maybe you’re the opposite, the overachiever?  I bet you got some work done this weekend.  Please share, with links, if possible.  We love to see what you do!

P.S.  Have you voted yet?