Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kids' Bathroom

Since we're pushing a month since said I so profoundly said, "I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that tomorrow will be a before and after day", I thought it was time for an update. I fully intended on spending June working away on the house, crossing things off the to do list, making it so I had nothing to do in the fall except watch football and eat nachos, but as it so often does, "stuff" got in the way. I've actually spent the last two weeks painting the outside of a house (sadly, not my own) in this ridiculously hot Georgia weather. It blows my mind that the thermometer says 98, but "real feel" is 108. It's nuts! It really makes outside work miserable. But I had the kids to keep me company, so it wasn't all bad.

Anyway, the bathroom is 98% done. But since I'm all about the "so it's not perfect", I'm going to show it anyway. I didn't even clean it before I took pictures (even though I wanted to really, really bad!) because I'm trying to live by this new mantra.

I don't have a true "before", just imagine the ugliest bathroom you've ever seen. Now add green and yellow plaid wallpaper, a yellow counter and matching pea green sink. That's my before. The after is MUCH better. I'm pretty happy with how it came out though, even though technically it's not done. We still have the floor and ceiling trim to do, but it's fully functional and looks pretty darn good.

Originally we thought that this would be the "guest bathroom", but 1. we don't have many guests, and 2., we have two kids who really wanted their own bathroom. So now we call it the kids' bathroom. If it was a guest bathroom, I would've fancied it up with some flowers or something, but for the kids, it's just not practical at all. The kids really couldn't agree on anything, so I suggested painting the walls white and using black accents, and they loved that idea. So we went for it.

These two pictures were painted by each of the kids.We got them at their school's art show this spring. I thought hanging these in the bathroom was a great way for them to be able to really be a part of the decor, plus they're colorful, fun and are a great contrast to the white walls and whitewashed floor.

We hung the medicine cabinet over the toilet. The extra mirror really opens up the whole room, which is no easy task in a window-less bathroom. My daughter uses the baskets underneath to store all those girly things that used to clutter up the bathroom (brushes, elastics, lotions, soaps, etc.). This used to hang over the sink, and Hubs and I really liked it there, but my daughter's number one complaint was that she couldn't see herself in the mirror over the sink.

We addressed her complaint by hanging a larger mirror and making it low enough to work for her. This mirror was one of the first things I bought after moving here, and I love it. I had envisioned using it in the living room, but it really looks great in the bathroom, so I don't mind giving it up.

I really love how it looks like it belongs with the vanity and sink.

For once I picked the cheapest fixture! We got this fixture at Home Depot, I think it was $20 or something like that. I think it's so retro and cool.

It's a really, REALLY small bathroom, so I tried to keep it light, and of course I tried to keep the kids in mind when decorating it. The wall color is Valspar Ultra White, and the floor is the same vinyl planks that I used to cover the walls, which of course what led to this whole renovation!

Overall, I'm really happy with how it came out. It was A LOT of work, so much more than we thought it would be. But it was worth it, the kids are thrilled and I'm thrilled not to have four people sharing a bathroom anymore!

Friday, June 4, 2010

So it's not perfect...

Unfortunately yesterday wasn't a "before and after" day. Yesterday was more of a "sleep all day and be lazy day." The bathroom is still not done, but it's close. Maybe tomorrow (fingers crossed!). Yesterday was also a "have an epiphany day." I've been talking a lot with Hubs lately about how frustrated I've been with the house. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love it. But I'm exhausted. I have spent nearly every waking hour trying to perfect every corner of this house. I look at catalogs and magazines and try to duplicate what I see on their glossy, perfect pages. It's just not working, not for lack of trying, but there's just something missing.

Hubs (in his "I'm saying this as nicely as possible so you don't hate me" manner) told me that maybe it wasn't working because I was trying too hard. At first I was really, REALLY offended. How could he be so nonchalant? Didn't he understand that I was trying to make our little house into the perfect cottage? But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right, as much as it pains me to say. In striving for the "perfect cottage", I got so lost in mimicking someone else's vision of cottage, that I lost my own vision. The reason I wanted to make the cottage vibe in our home was because I love the feeling of a cottage. To me, cottage means, comfortable, easy, unassuming. It's a kind of relax and just chill out vibe. It reminds me of being a kid at my grandparent's summer place, it just makes me feel like home. The fact that I wasn't capturing that was maddening. And Hubs was right, I was trying too hard. You can't perfect a vision that isn't even your own.

This is our first home, and I'm learning as I go. The biggest lesson so far? So it's not perfect...but maybe, it's just right. It's a lesson that I need to remember not just about our home, but also about life in general. So I've changed the name of my blog. I want to reflect who we really are, and we're not perfect, and that's just fine by me.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In a handbasket, Part 2

It occurred to me this morning, I'm ridiculously bad about updating this blog. I don't have time to update my blog about my home renovations because I'm too busy doing home renovations! However, I'm going to try REALLY hard to do better. I miss writing, a lot. I feel like I need something to do other than be covered in a constant shroud of drywall dust and paint.

Anyway. I was telling about the horror that was our front yard: broken sewer pipes, hand digging trenches, plumbers who won't show up, etc. I know, I sound bitter. It's just that we went from this:

To this:

Ok, I may be exaggerating a bit on the first picture. It actually looked like this:

What you can't really see in this picture is how awful it really was. Yellow plaid wallpaper, straight out of the 70's on one wall, the other walls were this horrid green color (which you can kind of see in the mirror's reflection). It's also the size of a small closet. Literally, my bedroom closet is bigger than this bathroom. But, I was determined to make it better. When we moved it, there was a wall to wall sink/vanity thing that took up nearly half the floor, it was so big you couldn't even use the toilet without bumping into it. Oh, and the countertop was yellow. Like the wallpaper. It was so ugly. I don't think I even have any pictures of it, it was out of here so fast! We took that out almost as soon as we moved in and discovered the previous owners didn't tile all the way to the wall. They only tiled to the vanity. So we had an area of bare concrete covering about 20% of the floor, which was super pretty. We replaced the sink with a much smaller, much less Brady Bunch sink.

The walls were also in really, REALLY bad shape. They had wallpaper and paint layered and layered. I tried refloating the wall (did you know I could do that?! Shocked me too!), I tried painting (you can see my test area on the left of the picture, a rally pretty blue), and finally I had the best idea ever. I'm talking EVER, people. I took some whitewashed vinyl plank flooring, the peel and stick kind, and used it as wall covering. See it there in the picture? The pretty boards?Basically, redoing the walls weren't in the budget and I wasn't about to live with yellow plaid for the next 10 years, so I thought this was pretty smart. I really liked how it was turning out, it was very beachy and cool. My only problem was that because the walls were in such bad shape, the planks weren't sticking very well, so we got out the nail gun and away we went. So here I am being all crafty and smart, and the plumber says, as she's hooking up the plumbing in the master bathroom (which is adjacent to this bathroom), "what is this? A nail?" I wish I could describe the sheer horror that was on Hubs face. Indeed it was a nail. Right through the copper pipes. Then she said, "Hmmm, I see some mold back here." I literally thought I was going to pass out. Just so we're totally clear what I'm talking about here, the pipes were the pipes inside the wall, like the ones that you're never supposed to have to worry about, or even know are there...unless of course you decide to nail up vinyl plank flooring to the wall, then it might be a good idea to know where they are :(

Suffice it to say, the walls were coming down. Hubs and I decided there was no way we were going to chance letting the mold spread, so we ripped down the whole wall. Just for good measure, we ripped out the other 3 walls too. I mean, why not, right? You're already down to the studs, it's not like you're not living in a horrific mess anyway.

Hubs ripping down drywall.

See that purple through the wall? That's our bathroom. We were already putting up sheetrock in there because they hadn't been up since we moved in.

He thought it would be helpful to demonstrate this point. I tried to demonstrate the same point, but I got my head stuck in the wall and got a bruise on my face from trying to squeeze it back through the wall. Sadly, we don't have a picture of that.

Ok so, down to studs in the bathroom. Which is no problem because our plumber has agreed to fix all the pipes, hang the new drywall, re-install the tub surround, and basically get us back on the right track again. Except she disappeared. Again. For several weeks, she came off and on. She'd work for about an hour and leave. Then one day we decided we'd had enough. We asked her to complete all the plumbing, make it functional and all that, which she did. We fully planned on asking her not to come back when we spoke to her the next day, but she never came back. It's been 4 weeks, we think she probably won't show up again. So, Hubs and I did it ourselves.

To date, we've hung all the drywall, taped and floated all the seams (I did that part, which I still can't believe. I'm really good at it!), we put up the tub surround, laid most of the new floor, and Hubs reinstalled the sink. We still have a little more left to do, I have to caulk the tub seams, we have to attach the knobs in the shower, finish the floor and touch-up paint, but we're almost done. I'm hoping (fingers crossed) that tomorrow will be a before and after day. I can't WAIT for it to be done.

For anyone keeping track, this week marks our 6th month in the new house, as well as the 8th week that we've been dealing with these plumbing issues.