December 29, 2010

In A (Brown-Sugar-Encrusted) Nutshell


Merry late-Christmas-almost-New-Year’s!!!

We had a VERY busy week last week, with trying to get all our contractors in and out and done before Christmas.  With one exception, we succeeded!  The bathroom floor got tiled and grouted, the vanity got completely installed, the plumbing was all hooked up, and we *mostly* moved back into our closet and bathroom. 

As of Christmas Eve, we still did not have mirrors, so I was still using the guest bath for things like makeup and hair etc, but for the most part we were out of the way when my mom arrived for Christmas festivities!

Christmas was lovely!  Both our families are in different towns from us, so every year we have to get a little creative.  This year my mom visited for Christmas Eve and Christmas, and then on Sunday she headed home and we went to Hubby’s parents’ house a few hours away for the second Christmas.  Hubby has a very large family, so they’d already celebrated (mostly) but it was a nice holiday visit anyway.

Since I haven’t shown you any décor, here are some highlights before it starts coming down:

My impromptu centerpiece/tablescape (a charger with a footed plate in the middle, and with dollar store florals stuck underneath, plus a beaded garland):



Our tree:


Although I love seeing the beautiful decorator trees with huge toppers and gorgeous color schemes….our tree has special ornaments that don’t have any particular theme or color scheme , so it’s just a cozy mis-matched family tree for us.

And the mantle (yes I’m even showing you the sloppy looking surge protector):


Finally, our exterior lights:


These puppies went up last year…and didn’t work.  So they came back off the house and were returned to the store.  This year we got different lights and finally succeeded in getting them up on the house (and working!).  It’s not a huge display, but it was definitely an accomplishment for us!  (And the sweet little neighbor girls even “helped” me put the garland on the front pillars.)

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

December 22, 2010

Bathroom Light Fixtures: A Review

Way back in early November, I started my hunt for bathroom light fixtures. 

Right around that same time, incidentally, CSN Stores asked me to review a product from one of their extensive websites.

It worked out perfectly!

I found *exactly* what I was looking for at CSN, and I’m very happy to be reviewing it now for you!

We picked out the Vaxcel Vine Vanity Light in Oil Shale from

They are very similar to some at Home Depot, but the Home Depot version was too long….and this one was just right, at 18”.  One of the greatest things about the CSN websites is you can set a ton of different criteria so you don’t have to filter through hundreds of options that don’t work for whatever reason.


And here they are on the wall, lit up for the world to see!!!  (Bathroom is still only partially finished…)


The fixture is rated for up to 100 watts, and we put 75W bulbs in them. 

The only downside so far is I had to tape around the base of the fixture when I painted over a patched area of drywall, and when I took the tape off, some of the fixtures’ finish came off too.  Super bummer. 



It’s not very noticeable, especially since you’d have to be looking right up into the lights to see it.


I still love the design…and the price was right too.

Overall, I’d say they’re 90% perfect Smile

December 17, 2010

Update aka ‘Bout Dang Time


Wow I have a lot of updating to do on our bathroom project!

How about some pictures to get started?

Here’s what we’ve accomplished so far:

Needless to say, as you will see in all these pictures….the drywall is up Winking smile


The trim is back up in the bedroom and closet



The bathroom has been painted (but needs a second coat …)


The closet has been painted and the new clothes rod is almost finished


Now we have working electrical outlets!  And light fixtures!


We installed the concrete board on the floor in preparation for the tile:


And we have the bottom portion of our vanity installed, with the countertop sitting in place (but not yet glued on):


Whoo hoo!


Almost every one of those things I just mentioned has a “but” that goes with it.

  • The light fixtures are in place, but the drywall needed to be patched, so now I need to prime and paint around the fixtures where the new drywall is.  It was just patched yesterday, so I’m on the 24-hour wait before I can go  prime it. Um… then an hour before I can paint it.
  • The clothes rod is almost done, but we got the wrong shelf board and there’s a slight problem with one end of the rod that needs fixing.  And I need to prime and paint the wood to match the rest of the closet.
  • The bathroom is painted, but every time I go in there, I see another thin spot that needs touching up.
  • The trim in the closet and bedroom is in place, but the nail holes need to be filled in and the trim needs to be caulked.  Then it needs to be painted.
  • The vanity is almost done, but it’s waiting on me to get those patched areas painted so the cabinet guy can come back and help me with the counter and the hutch.  The plumber can’t come back over until the cabinet guy is done…the cabinet guy can’t come over until I’m done….and I won’t be done until tonight…and he probably doesn’t want to come on the weekend….
  • The floor has concrete board, but now it needs tile…and 24 hours after that, it will need grout! Open-mouthed smile
  • And I haven’t mentioned that we need to paint the bedroom ceiling (ugh, I know, and totally unexpected)….and the walls.
  • And that we have the carpet being installed on ….Monday!
  • Excuse me while I go freak out.

December 9, 2010

Bathroom Remodel 101


As I prepare to discard my bathroom planning materials, I thought I’d lead you through some of the planning process.  And the huge stack of brochures necessary for that task!  I hate to get rid of them without at least some fanfare.

Here’s part of the pile….I almost needed a briefcase or a tote bag or something just to haul all these suckers around!

We started (months ago) by picking up a brochure at Home Depot for a line of pre-made cabinets.  It’s a cool concept, because you can piece together various sizes for whatever total length you need.  We thought we’d be going with a 24” vanity, an 18” drawer bank, and a 24” vanity which would have given us a total 66” long vanity.

But…Once we had decided on a new layout and gotten the contractor’s blessing that it was doable, well, those cabinets suddenly didn’t work anymore. 


Because the real measurement needed to be 65” long.


Luckily, our contractor knows a great cabinet guy who could make us the exact size vanity we needed, with the stain (and wood species) we wanted.  We ended up using only the ideas from the original brochure, but not ordering from it.  PLUS the cost was $500 cheaper to go the custom route!  Surprising, huh?

Next, we tackled the plumbing issue.  We decided to get our faucets etc from a plumber’s supply house.  I PORED over the Delta catalogue…lots of notes….a couple visits to the showroom…and plenty of dog-eared-pages later, we had our fixtures picked out.


I love that shower set!  But it’s not the one we picked out.  This one is pretty pricey.

Then we picked up information on shower doors.  Solid glass? Check.  1/4 inch solid glass? Check.  5/8 inch solid glass? Check.  Price of solid glass?  GASP.  Rewind!

Despite the price of the beautiful, heavy glass shower doors, they didn’t really work in our space anyway.  We needed a bypass sliding door.  And good thing, because they’re a LOT cheaper!

Then we had to figure out the countertop situation.  I told you all about that here, so I won’t bore you again with the same-ol-story. 

The light fixtures were easy – CSN Stores made sure of it.  As soon as they’re installed, I’ll finally fill you in on those.

And whoa nelly, tile was the final challenge.  Wow.  The tile surprised me.  (Good thing there wasn’t a brochure for tile, or I’d need a rolling suitcase.)  We found some pieces at the big-box-stores that we liked initially.  The price on them was very reasonable as well.  But they didn’t have certain pieces we needed….like bullnose edges.  We’re also planning to do a dual-color pattern, but we had a LOT of trouble finding the same tile in those two colors. (Oh yes, I should mention, they are exceedingly UNUSUAL colors too – like uh, gray?  and tan?)

Alright, well we finally went to a “real” tile store.  We got fabulous service there, a lot of installation tips, and more choices than we can shake a stick at!  In fact….we got more choices than we need, because it does get a little paralyzing with so many options.  We found great tile in the perfect colors, plus some fun little trim pieces.  We’re going back tonight to get it all ordered and on the way. 

Did I mention the floor tile is SO.COOL??? It is really neat stuff…not your typical tile, peeps!  I’ll show you soon!

I’ll also mention that we had to be careful at the tile store.  There are some gorgeous options….but some of those come with scary-high prices.  Sticker shock! 

And now it’s all coming together!  The drywall will be done by the weekend (drywall really takes a while doesn’t it?).  Over the weekend, we’ll prime and paint.  Then hopefully next week, the vanity will be installed and we can get the floor tiled.  Whew. 

I haven’t even THOUGHT about the Christmas tree yet…

December 6, 2010

Bathroom Update! And more!


Whew!  I’ve been out of blogging commission for a while it seems! 

This past weekend was major catch up time.


We got our vanity top ordered, finally.


We explored tile options and realized how disappointing the tile aisle is at Home Depot and Lowe’s. 


And the big news is our second building inspection (the first inspector – a substitute for the regular guy- laid some very unreasonable demands on the table) was a success, and now we can move forward with drywall in the new bathroom.

Here’s where we’re at:

Looking from the bedroom, into the bathroom, through the future shower cubby:



The newly insulated shower wall:



The wiring for the new dedicated “shower light”":



Some paint splotches of a color that actually will end up in the bedroom, so I’m not even sure why I kept putting it on the bathroom wall… what do you think?  The darker or the lighter one?


The view from the bathroom into the newly expanded closet (you can see the stripe on the floor where the old wall was):


One of the new light fixtures waiting to be installed.  I got it at CSN Stores!  I’ll definitely tell you more about this one later too.


And tomorrow…I THINK….we’re getting drywall.  Whoo hoo!!! 

Then we can prime, and maybe paint. (But we need to pick a color first…)

And then our vanity (which is done!) gets installed! 

And THEN we start the adventure known as “a couple of ignoramuses tiling the bathroom floor and shower without knowing what they’re doing.”

Should be a disaster fun!

December 1, 2010

Christmas Décor!


Is coming!  I promise.  It’s been crazy and tonight is only the second night I’ll be in my own bed since last Tuesday.  I had a very unexpected and short notice business trip that was supposed to end last night, but a flight connection was missed and I found myself getting up at 4 am to catch the 6 am flight back home.  Plus, the par-tay all night in the next hotel room over from mine made it even more fun to get up at 4. 


I have bathroom updates to show you…

Christmas décor to get out (and fall décor to put away!)…

Exterior lights will probably go up this weekend….


And I’m sure the list goes on…stay tuned.

November 23, 2010

Busy Busy Busy


It’s Thanksgiving week.

And I feel so busy!

Our master bath is still rough plumbing and 2x4s….

I’ve got some cookin’ to do.  Ok, just one casserole, but still.  It’s on the list!

I went somewhere at lunch today…my car died three times.  Fabulous.  I’m embarking on some DIY car repair tonight.  Wish me luck.  I hope it solves the problem. 

Gotta travel halfway across the country for work on Monday morning.  Found out about it …yesterday.  ugh.

The electrician is coming tomorrow.  At 7:30.  In the morning.

We leave tomorrow night for Thanksgiving #1.  Then we leave Friday morning for Thanksgiving #2. 

Fun fun fun.

Busy busy busy.

November 17, 2010

Construction Update


As of today, both our heat registers and the vent from the downstairs bathroom have been rerouted.

It did look like this:

And now:

We also have a drain for the new shower:


And the toilet plumbing has been relocated (turns out he didn’t need to cut into the laundry room ceiling either!):


And the bedroom heat register which found itself UNDER the new framing was also relocated:


Making progress!!!  There’s more plumbing to be done tomorrow.  Then no more work until next week when Mr. Electrician comes on Tuesday.  Meanwhile, our vanity is being made (we chose knotty alder with a walnut stain).  Sometime this week, I’ll make the final decision on the faucets (need to make a trip to the plumbing supply house) and then this weekend we’ll get our vanity/sinks and tile ordered.  We’re going with a black solid surface vanity top with undermount sinks.

A little more info on the vanity top if you’re interested:

We initially were going to go with the new “hi def” laminate that looks like stone.  We like it a lot and it’s definitely the least expensive option.  It was something like $200 for our project.  But then we found out that if we wanted undermount sinks with the laminate, it would cost $350 extra just to install the sinks! 


Well, the next choice up in the price line-up was solid surface.  And for about the same price as the laminate + undermount cost, we could get the solid surface with undermount sinks included and factory installed. 


Well…(a lot of “wells” today)

Then someone told us about granite remnants.  If you pick your granite countertop from a remnant of someone else’s project, it’s like $15 a square foot.  What they DON’T tell you is when you add the cutting, polishing and installation of that remnant, it jumps to about $55 a square foot.  And what they also don’t tell you is you have to buy your own sinks and provide them to the granite people to be undermounted.  (I assumed sinks were included in the cost because they ARE included in the cost with the solid surface counters.)  So we got all excited that granite would be affordable for our bathroom….and then found out it would actually cost around $1000.  

So we fell back to Plan B – the solid surface!

November 15, 2010

Master Bath: Demolition!


Over the weekend, we went from this:

The closet, with one section of drywall removed.

Looking into the bathroom from the closet.  Flooring has been removed (a strip of carpet covers the sticky adhesive and makes the floor tolerable to walk on.)



New and improved!!  NOT.  The bathtub and old vinyl surround were installed pre-sheetrock, so the tub in this picture is actually stuck until those studs come down.  We learned a LOT about plumbing this weekend.  I won’t mention the hairball that became our “cheerleader”.  Oh wait, I just did.  Well, thank me for not taking a picture of it. Winking smile


The closet, complete with a mile of cable.  The “cable” cable comes down from the attic.  But we don’t use cable, so the line from our satellite dish comes in along the baseboards on the other side of the closet.  Yay.  Cords.  At least they’re usually attached nicely to the wall.


Anyone want some 12-year old cream colored carpeting?  We’ll even throw in the pad FOR FREE Winking smile


And now the pros can handle the hard stuff.  I think I hear a Saws-all right now!

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