Updating some not quite vintage Thonet chairs

These hideous lovely Thonet chairs are circa 1986, not quite vintage, but not far from being vintage either. If you’re curious the chairs were made by Shelby Williams Industries which purchased Thonet Industries U.S.A in the mid 80’s and continued to make the iconic bentwood chairs. I know these are pretty ugly, but I bought them for $10 a piece which I thought was a steal! Pictured below are the 6 I originally purchased, the seller wanted to keep 2 of the set of 8 for some reason, but I was able to go back and buy the other 2 because 8 really worked better at my table than 6… it was super nice of her to sell them to me, but I will tell you her husband was “thrilled to get rid of the ugly chairs”!

Upholstered Thonet dining chairs

All of the chairs were structurally sound and very sturdy, but not exactly the look I wanted. So I set about making them a better fit for our family.

I started with removing the fabric from the chair backs. The seats were just plywood covered fabric that were easily removed by unscrewing a couple of screws from underneath.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

I used my needle nosed pliers to grab hold of the piping and by pulling it away I was able to remove 99% of the staples holding the front fabric the frame… by the way please use gloves doing this kind of work, it will save your hands for sure!

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

Underneath of the fabric is batten covered foam easily removed by just pulling on it.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

Behind the foam is cardboard which is stapled onto the frame, I just pulled that off but most of the staples didn’t come off with it unfortunately.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

Behind the cardboard is the back of the fabric, again I used my pliers to remove the back and most of the staples.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

At that point I had an open back chair, which looked so light and airy I was pretty sure that was the way I wanted to keep it, the problem was the bottom back stringer rod, it looked weird and needed to go. I used my jig saw to cut the stringer off and then used a flexible fine toothed handsaw to cut as close to the wood as possible.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

And this is what I ended up with, a wood frame with a grove running all around the back and a couple of handfuls of staples to remove.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

As a small side note I purchased these Kobalt 4.5” pliers a few years ago, they make removing staples so much easier and they cost about $6. This was the tool I used to remove all of the carpet pad staples from the upstairs subfloor so we could install the hardwood floors. It would be a great addition to your toolbox!

Kobalt 4.5-in Pliers

Next I used my pliers to remove any staples that still remained.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

Then I mixed my wood filler, below is my favorite 2 part wood filler, it is awesome for filling large holes and rebuilding parts of furniture. The down side is that you must work fast as it starts to dry in about 5 minutes, but that is also the upside of the product. You can carve it with a knife after just a few minutes of applying it and you can sand it in about 30 minutes. It’s pretty stinky and you most certainly want to wear gloves, but it’s a fantastic product!

Minwax High Performance Wood Filler

I basically globbed (very technical term) the wood filler in the holes and then sanded the areas down with 120 grit sandpaper on my mouse sander. I would usually use my orbital sander, but for this application the mouse sander was easier to control and rotate back and forth to maintain the round shape of the wood.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

I then inspected each area and added a second coat of filler where necessary and repeated the sanding process as well. This is an example of what most of the areas looked like once everything was filled and sanded.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

Before priming each chair I took a piece of 150 grit sandpaper and lightly hand sanded the rest of the chair. I then cleaned the chairs with a paper towel and Formula 409. My plan is to paint these chairs a shade of grey, so I chose to prime them with grey spray paint.

updating / refinishing Thonet upholstered dining chairs

I’m still trying to decide what color to paint them and I’ve picked up several swatches of fabric but none of them is just right, so the chairs will not be finished for a little while yet. However, they’ll need to be finished by Thanksgiving because I already sold the chairs we were using (oops!) at least this “problem” will keep me motivated to finish them!

Also, I would like to point out that each chair took me about 30 minutes to get to this primed point. I can guarantee you that if I had chosen to reupholster the seat backs it would have taken me at least 3 times as long. So even though this looks like a lot of work it was less work and expense than if I had reupholstered them, plus I like them this way so much more!

Hopefully I’ll find some fabric soon, any suggestions you may have for fabric choices are always welcome!! Thanks as always for stopping by…

Until next time!


Building a Knee Wall Built-In Cubby

Last week I shared with you my pretty built-ins that we completed in the dormer knee wall areas, but today I want to discuss with you how we built the cubbies for these improvements. The definition a a knee wall is a short wall, typically under three feet in height, used to support the rafters in timber roof construction. In our bathroom we had a knee wall on the right hand side which was about 6’ tall as shown on the right of the picture below. The closet knee walls were a full 8’ height.


We knew that there was a ton of wasted space that we wanted to gain access to. So in the bathroom we decided to use up a portion of the space to create a nook for the laundry cart, it’s not a big deal but it’s a good use for space that would otherwise be unused.

First things first we decided how big we wanted it and then cut a hole in the sheetrock. My Hubby built 2×4 walls in place to hold all of the “guts” of the cubby. The walls were attached to the floor and the ceiling rafters and built like a typical (albeit small) walls are built.


Hubby thought I went a tad overboard with the insulation of these boxes, but I’d MUCH rather over insulate than under. So he wrapped the outside of the box with a radiant barrier insulation, stapling it as he went and taping the seams with foil tape. Then he installed R-13 bat insulation between the studs on the inside of the box.


We then installed 1/4 plywood sheeting to the studs, securing it with nails and caulking all of the seams to prevent air leakage.


Then we installed 3/4 MDF, securing it with nails to the frame and I again caulked all of the seams. I also filled any gaps around the sheetrock on the outside frame with spray foam… look guys I was being THOROUGH!


I then added the molding and trim around the inside and outside of the box, caulking and filling where necessary.


This was the end result, a perfectly insulated built-in cubby! just ready for our laundry cart!


The cubby was perfectly sized, we made it a lot taller though so that I could add a shelf to the area, I’m waiting to see how I use it first before moving on to that step.


We also built 2 other boxes into the knee wall in the closet, to which we then later added pull out shelves. These boxes were built the exact same way as the one in the bathroom.


We also added a radiant barrier to the walls inside the closet knee walls while the walls were open, this extra step will also help with heating and cooling loss. I feel very confident in the insulating job we did on this project and I can’t stress enough how important it is to do so anytime you open up a wall into an un-insulated space.

I hope you enjoyed this project!

Thanks as always for stopping by…

Until next time!


Sharing a Fun Date Night Idea

I just wanted to tell you about the date night my Super Awesome Hubby and I had last Friday night. It was a different date night than usual and because we had such a great time I really felt the need to share it with you just in case you might like the idea too!

We took a “Date Night” cooking class!!! It was held at Cooking in the Cottage in the St. Matthews area of Louisville. Chef David Moeller of Sullivan University was the chef and he was wonderfully entertaining and educational. To set the scene, it was a full class of 13 couples, with ages ranging from the early 20’s to their mid 70’s. The long tables were arranged in a large U in front of the kitchen and each table station had a small gas stove, utensils and all of the ingredients prepped, labeled and ready to use.

At the Cottage each date night menu is different and ours was Fried Green Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Roasted Pepper Relish, Cannelloni with Shrimp, Scallops & Lump Crab Filling in Tomato Cream Sauce and for dessert a Pear and Brie Tartlette with Bourbon Sauce… YUMMY right!!! Oh, it was so delicious and all of it easy to make, granted we didn’t have to prep the ingredients but that is more time consuming than difficult. Also, you can bring your own wine, but they also give you each 2 glasses of either red or white with the meal. So for $95 per couple we had a delicious 3 course meal, 2 glasses of wine each and we learned how to cook some new recipes! We really had so much fun sharing this experience with one another, for us it was much better than just going out to dinner and we plan on taking these classes many more times!

So I only took a couple of pictures, which I will share with you, but I’m also going to give you the recipes… and I’m telling you they are worth trying for yourself! FYI, all of these recipes are for serving 2 people.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Relish


  • 3-4 sliced green tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 egg for egg wash
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 oz. diced roasted red peppers
  • 2 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 2 oz. cider vinegar
  • 2 oz. granulated sugar
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • vegetable or Canola oil for frying
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. For the green tomatoes, dredge in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Set aside for frying.
  2. In a sauté pan, combine peppers, diced tomato, vinegar and sugar.
  3. Heat pepper mixture and cook until slightly syrupy; set aside
  4. Heat oil to 350 degrees and fry breaded tomatoes until golden brown
  5. Remove and drain on a paper towel or rack
  6. To serve, top fried tomatoes with goat cheese and pepper jam
  7. Serve immediately

(sorry no photo here, we ate them before I could even think about taking the picture)

Cannelloni with Shrimp, Scallop and Lump Crab Filling in Tomato Cream Sauce

Ingredients for Filling:

  • 4 Cannelloni pasta shells, cooked al dente and shocked in ice water, set aside
  • 4 oz. shrimp, cut into 1/2” sections
  • 4 oz. bay scallops (these are about the size of a dime)
  • 3 oz. lump crab meat
  • 2 oz. heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. basil pesto
  • Panko bread crumbs, as needed to bind (I think it was about 1/4 cup)
  • vegetable or Canola oil as needed
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat sauté pan and add enough oil to coat the pan; heat oil
  2. Sauté shrimp and scallops until about 2/3 cooked; add cream
  3. Heat thoroughly and season with salt and pepper to taste
  4. Add just enough breadcrumbs to bind
  5. Add pesto and crab meat; gently incorporate
  6. Open shells and stuff with mixture, set aside

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 4 oz. heavy cream
  • 3 oz. tomato puree
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a sauté pan, heat cream and tomato
  2. Add vodka and reduce sauce consistency
  3. As it reduces gently place stuffed shells in sauce, to heat through, ladle sauce on shells
  4. Serve!

Seafood stuffed Cannelloni in tomato cream sauce

Pear and Brie Cheese Tartlettes with Bourbon Sauce


  • 2 individual tart shells
  • 2 Tbsp. room temperature brie cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 oz. bourbon
  • 1 pear, ripe but still firm, cored and diced


  1. Place brie in the bottom of the tart shells (it will work best if it is spread evenly across shell)
  2. In a sauté pan, melt butter
  3. Add sugar and incorporate
  4. Add pears and coat with butter and sugar mixture
  5. And bourbon and cook to a syrupy consistency
  6. Pour pear mixture over brie cheese in tart shells
  7. Serve

(umm… sorry about the half eaten dessert picture, this was fabulous)

Pear and Brie tart

Ugh, now I’m hungry!!!

Well I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend, thanks for stopping by!

Until next time!


A Tale of Two Dormer Windows

Well, believe it or not we have parts of our master bathroom & closet remodel complete! They are just a very small part of the total renovation, but hey I will take what I can get! So basically the dormer window areas are 100% complete, these are the two windows over the garage area as shown below. The window on the right is in the closet and the one on the left is in the bathroom.

Domer windows

These are the original plans my Hubby drew up before we moved in, you can see the dormer areas effectually created a 8ft long “hall” in each of the rooms. It was a lot of wasted and unused space, plus they really bothered the heck out of me.

Bathroom and closet plans

Let me start with the bathroom window makeover as it was especially annoying to me… I mean who puts a window seat down an 8ft. long bathroom hall. Just stupid and serves no purpose whatsoever. Would you sit here? What reason would you have to sit here? I just don’t get it…

Before dormer area

See what I mean? Obviously we removed the brown wallpaper (again people, why?!) and removed the stupid window seat (and the door to nowhere). You see, I had a plan for this space… and it’s going to be mine… all MINE!!! (can you read that sentence in a sinister tone, not sure how to make that come across just right in print Annoyed)

In progress dormer area

While I couldn’t make the “hall” any shorter without affecting the amount of space in the closet (nope, not making the closet smaller)I could however make the destination worth the “trip”! First we installed a floating vanity top. Nothing fancy, just smooth plywood with a 1×2 plywood face on the front edge. It is attached to wood cleats which are attached to the studs in the walls for extra support. Then I painted the wood the same color and sheen as the window trim (BM Decorators White Semi-Gloss) . This area is going to be my makeup/getting ready space. Also, you can barely see it, but my Super Awesome Hubby installed an electrical outlet on the left (smart right?) and a junction box for a sconce on the right.

Adding floating vanity top to dormer area

We also cut a big ‘ole hole in the wall on the right for a built-in area to house the laundry basket (this dormer is right across from the shower so it’s a very convenient space as well).

Using knee wall space for built in

Here is the “box” almost complete, I will have a how-to on this project that I will be posting soon for those interested.

Using knee wall space for built in laundry basket

Now for the finished project… my vanity area! Look at all this wonderful light I get in here!

Custom built in makeup vanity in dormer window space

I recovered the vanity stool and made the valance using the same fabric. I also spray painted the stool blue, it was originally black and just really didn’t have the “feel” I was going for. I do so love it blue and with the sheepskin rug draped over it, it feels and looks luxurious.

Custom built in makeup vanity in dormer window space

You’re also getting a sneak peek at the Board and Batten I installed. It’s only in the bathroom and it was a HUGE pain in the ass project but it really adds so much to the room. Plus the new engineered flooring that has made me so happy as well!

Custom built in makeup vanity in dormer window space

What do you think about my swing arm light? It’s perfect for getting additional light just where I need it and then I swing it back up against the wall and out of the way! Plus the color is divine…

swing arm light for vanity makeup area

Here the finished nook for the laundry basket. I was originally planning on adding a shelf in there above the basket, but I put that on hold because I want to wait and see how I use the basket before committing to the shelf idea… but it looks like I’ll have plenty of room for one if I want it.

Built in laundry basket space in knee wall

So now onto the closet dormer area.

Here is the sad BEFORE, again 8ft long wasted space, we really couldn’t utilize this space at all.

dormer window space before

Here is the “hall” now greatly diminished, by 4ft. to be exact, you can see the original footprint of the walls painted on the subfloor. Look at how much light floods into the closet now!

dormer window space in progress

This is just after the drywall crew came in and did their thing. Yup, we made use of the rest of that unused knee wall space, on both sides!

dormer window space in progress

These niches are about 2ft deep each and make the most of not only the unused space in the knee walls but of the (now) little hall.

dormer window space in progress

But did we stop there, oh no we did not! My Super Awesome Hubby (SAH) made and installed fabulous pull out drawers. They have full extension, under mount slides that are also soft close. Listen, these slides were not cheap at $20 a pair, but they will hold up to 75lbs. per pair and they open and close as smooth as silk… they were worth the extra expense in my opinion.

Dormer window space built in shoe shelves in knee wall

Dormer window space built in shoe shelves in knee wall

Plenty of room for shoes & purses!

Dormer window space built in shoe shelves in knee wall

I even have some empty shelves to fill Party smile

Dormer window space built in shoe shelves in knee wall

I also wanted some low profile handles for the drawers (I was concerned about jabbing myself on the handles, yes I factor in my clumsiness when decorating) and had settled on the idea of leather pulls. I couldn’t find anything that I really liked or if I really liked them they were $$$$ (of course right?!) so I decided to make them. All 16 of these pulls cost me $57 to make (not including the special end punch) and I absolutely adore them! I dyed the leather hot pink to match the drawer liner and they’re a pretty close match if I do say so myself. FYI all of the materials I purchased from Tandy Leather and are readily available online or in the store if you’re interested.

DIY hot pink leather drawer pulls

The other dilemma I had was what to do with the bottom of drawers. I knew I was going to have shoes in them and I wanted the shelves to remain in good shape, but I also wanted to do something fun, you know jazz it up a bit! My final solution was vinyl fabric, yes I said vinyl, this hot pink vinyl fabric was less than $8 a yard and I only needed about 3 yards. So not only was it more economical than contact paper, but it feels and looks like leather and lays in such a way that I didn’t even need to attach it in any way to the drawer bottom, it’s just laying in there all nice and purdy…

Dormer window space built in shoe shelves in knee wall

Did I mention that my SAH also added an outlet in the dormer? I’m going to eventually use the space for charging my phone & iPad. I had originally planned for a floating wood shelf here, but when we did a dry fit for it I didn’t like the way the shelf blocked the light from the window. So I found this great glass shelf online, it will hold more weight than I will ever need to have there (over 50lbs.) it really helps complete the space and gives me some room for jewelry, display items and maybe even a plant!

Floating glass shelf in dormer window area

My one and only Derby hat and a sun hat adorn the right side while on the left is a wonderful mushroom watercolor my very talented oldest daughter painted me for Mother’s Day.

hat wall decormushroom watercolor

So these dormer window areas went from bothersome to beauties and I cannot be happier with both the way they look, but also with the way they function!

As always thanks for stopping by, I’d love to hear what you think about the spaces!

Until next time!


Linking to these parties: Blesser HouseDesigner Trapped

Master Bedroom Complete, YAY!!

Just typing that the master bedroom is complete makes me smile! It’s been a L-O-N-G five month journey and to finally be able to check this renovation off of the list feels pretty damn good. I know some of you may be thinking “jez why did it take her 5 months to finish a master bedroom remodel” and you’d be totally right to think that, but the MB was just part of the renovation which also included the upstairs hall, master bathroom and closet. The renovation of the bedroom included replacing the carpet with wood flooring, reinstalling the baseboards and adding shoe molding, painting the walls, painting the trey ceiling, adding a chandelier, moving and installing a new HVAC thermostat to the room, making Roman shades and replacing the blinds. Some of the projects were easy (painting walls) some of them not so easy (replacing the flooring), but I’ll share with you the before and after so you can see the progress we’ve made!

This the room prior to us moving in, very vanilla and those SUPER heavy brown/gold drapes were just disgusting (although very well made 13 years ago) and they had to go! I’m also not a fan of a ceiling fan, I have allergies and the damn things just move dust around and dry me out, so I knew the fan was going and soon…

master bedroom before

This is how we had the room setup for a time, it just felt too cluttered and full to me, I think I am really leaning toward a more simple feel. Plus after moving this last time I really would prefer to have less “stuff”. Also, it’s hard to see, but that carpet was N-A-S-T-Y, even though we had it professionally cleaned it was 13 years old and on it’s last legs as well.

master bedroom before

Does this wall look familiar to any of you? Maybe you have one (or two) at home as well? That’s 6 different samples of paint colors… it took us forever to agree on a color. My Hubby likes more blue whereas I would have preferred more grey, he won this round in case you’re wondering Sarcastic smile

choosing paint colors for the master bedroom

This next photo is my favorite part of the room, the painted trey ceiling, I was concerned that it would be too dark, but it’s perfect! The color is the same as we painted our dining room (Benjamin Moore Old Navy) and it’s a perfect dark navy blue. At night with the chandelier dimmed it’s very romantic… The chandelier is from Home Depot and the bronze color works perfectly with our bedroom furniture… and it has just the right amount of bling.

Navy Blue painted trey ceiling in the master bedroom

My view from the bed… I had a hard time getting this picture without the dogs trying to photo bomb wondering why mom got back in bed…

The walls are painted Benjamin Moore Stonington Grey, which does pull more to the cool side of grey, sometimes it will look more purple than blue.

Navy Blue painted trey ceiling in the master bedroom

It’s overcast outside today, but I got a break in the clouds just long enough to get some natural light in! Can you see those gorgeous wood floors? Man do I love them!

Master bedroom remodel / renovation

And I found the perfect spot for my Craig’s List chair score! The rug we picked up from the Ballard Design outlet store for less that $300! Did you know there is a Ballard Outlet near the Ikea in Cincinnati, which is only 1.5 hours away from Louisville? If you can you should check it out, it has awesome deals!!! Master bedroom remodel / renovation

I really didn’t want a rug at all (again with my stupid allergies), but our Weimaraner was sliding all over the floors and click-clacking on them at night walking around so this purchase was basically for him and also so I didn’t kill him… seriously this face!

Weimaraner face

I did make the Roman Shades, I don’t have a tutorial to share as they are a little jacked up, but they look pretty good right? The are outside mount and lined with blackout fabric, I basically never pull them up as I like my bedroom as dark as possible when I sleep. The fabric is Dwell Studio “Pantheon-Admiral” in I just adore it!

I also replaced the old blinds with these bamboo ones. I really love the filtered light and view I get when these are down during the day.

Custom Roman shades Dwell Studio Pantheon

Master bedroom remodel renovation

So now back to the bathroom remodel… we’re in sort of a holding pattern waiting for the marble to become available for us to choose for the vanities and shower curb. However I am starting to put my clothes back into the closet/dressing room so that’s super exciting and I’ll share some pictures with you soon!

Thanks as always for stopping by…

Until next time!


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Refresh Restyle

Sometimes you just get lucky!

On Craig’s List that is… jez, get your mind out of the gutter Winking smile

So seriously though, I have had the worst luck with finding furniture on Craig’s List here in Louisville, KY. I’m not sure what the deal is, but people don’t sell or buy as much on CL here as they did in VA (or in NJ where one of my sisters live). So here’s my plea to all of you “Louisvillians” out there… post your stuff on Craig’s List (and buy stuff too) lets get this ball rolling here!!! I personally am still in the midst of our master bathroom remodel and I’m not ready to start refinishing furniture quite yet, but I’m ALWAYS on the lookout for good pieces, which is where this story truly begins (sorry for taking the long way around)…

So I was searching through CL, as I do every morning while I drink my coffee and listen to the news, when I ran across these chairs that had just been listed an hour or so ago.

Baker mid-century Regency modern barrel back chairs

(These are pictures are of them once I got them home.)

Let me tell you they are in FABULOUS shape, they were given to a lady by her mother-in-law who was the original owner and they were used as bedroom chairs, rarely if ever sat in. The foam cushions were in perfect condition, the velvet was immaculate and the wood looked barely touched! For chairs from the 60’s that’s pretty impressive!

Baker mid-century Regency modern barrel back chairs

What drew me to these chairs in the first place were the incredible backs!

Trying to find out a little more about the chairs I did some research on them and found the exact same pair listed on 1stdibs (mine came with the little pillows too but they obscure the back so I don’t want to use them)

1stdibs ad

In case you didn’t bother to read the listing above I will tell you the price they wanted for their pair… $4,500!! Now I’m not saying they are (or are not) worth $4,500, but you can bet your sweet ass that I didn’t pay that for mine! Want to know how much I scored mine for…  the bargain basement deal of $50 for the pair!!! Yes, a pretty darn good deal if I say so myself!

Well the green color cushions don’t really go with my color scheme and I just don’t have the time to sew new covers right now so I decided to try and dye them. I removed the covers, washed them in a mild detergent then used RIT DyeMore Synthetic “Graphite” (following the directions on the product). For whatever reason my simple brain cannot grasp the color wheel or what happens if you have green and you add graphite to it! So rather than trying to figure it out I just thought I’d try it and if it turned out horrible I’d just have to find time to make new covers.

Well H-E-L-L-O lovelies…

Baker mid-century Regency modern barrel back chairs

So apparently green and grey make navy blue, FABULOUS!!! The picture shows them lighter than they actually are, which is a very dark navy almost black out of the light, so I actually got lucky twice!

I washed them in cold water after I dyed them (using no detergent) and hung them to dry. They were a tad snug to get back on the foam, but everything fit back in just fine. I think that’s pretty awesome for a $5 bottle of dye don’t you!?

I’m not 100% sure where they will go, I’m think our new master closet for now or maybe the master bedroom. I really don’t care where they go as long as I get to see them everyday!

So be sure to check your local Craig’s List, you’ll never know what treasures you might find!

As always thanks for stopping by…

Until next time!


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Life on Virginia Street, Designer Trapped in a Lawyers Body

Master Bathroom & Flooring Progress

It truly has been a long 5 months working on our master bath renovation. Luckily we had another bathroom close to us that we have taken over during this renovation, not to worry the bathroom “belongs” to our middle daughter who is away at college in Virginia 99% of the time so no one is really being put out. However, it’s still been a long renovation, but since we’re doing it ourselves and mostly on available weekends progress has been s-l-o-w.

So here’s a little glimpse into where we stand so far…

We have gotten all of the tile up and grouting will be happening soon.

Master bathroom walk-in shower

(The shower curb will be covered with the same marble we use on the vanity tops which is why you still see the waterproof membrane.)

We had a few weekends of flooring installation… this flooring is a 7” wide plank engineered wood flooring with 2.5mm oak layer on top (which means it can be refinished at least twice if need be). We opted to nail it down, but it can be glued, floated or nailed if you want. It has a wire brushed, hand scraped finish to it so I am hoping it will show less wear. The flooring extends from the upstairs hall, through the master bedroom, bathroom and closet and we freaking LOVE it!

New hardwood flooring installed in hall, bathroom, master bedroom and closet

My list of things to finish is far to long to type, lets just say it’s extensive… but Lieutenant Dan I have floors!!

Engineered oak wood flooring in master bathroom

More glorious uninterrupted floors on my side of the closet, I cannot wait to see how good the molding looks after we get it installed!

Engineered oak wood flooring in master closet

We’re still cutting trim etc. in the bathroom, but we have organized everything on one side of the closet… still this is way better than trudging up and down the stairs a gazillion times. The down side to this is that the dust pretty much is EVERYWHERE!

Master bathroom renovations

The vanities are ready to be put in place, we have to cut the water off to install them so we wanted to wait and install both vanities and the toilet at the same time to be slightly more efficient. Once they’re in place we can get the countertop guys to come over and get the template for the marble for the tops and the shower curb!

Master bathroom renovations

Below is one of my favorite areas in the bathroom, my little vanity “nook”, it’s the dormer window area that we have added electricity and a floating table top to. Also, on the right hand side of this “hall” will be a built-in area for the laundry basket with a shelf above it for whatever.

It’s was originally a very awkward space… trust me… (*update: I posted a picture on my Instagram account Sunday of the board and batten in progress here, check it out on the sidebar if you’re curious)

Look at all of the light I get, plus we have 3 large shade trees in the front yard that dapple the light and add to the privacy.

Dormer window vanity makeup area

This is what it looked like before, an 8ft. long “hall” to a window seat… now please tell me who the hell would sit on that seat? It was so weird! The hobbit door on the left was what they described as a luggage room, it was weird too… it may have even been haunted…

Stupid seat in dormer window hall

So that’s pretty much where we’re at with the renovations so far. The very next things on the list the hubby and I will be tackling together are grouting, trim installed in water closet, toilet and vanities installed. I myself will be filling nail holes and caulking until I never want to caulk again… fun times at home!

If you have any questions or comments you’d like to share please do, I get to them WAY faster than I get to writing my posts. And if you happen live in the Louisville, KY area and want to help me caulk let me know, I’ll make us some Mojito’s and we can play some groovy 80’s cardio music Party smile … UGH…


Little progress, a fun project and anxiety embarrassment, oh my!

So we’ve made very little progress in the bathroom, but here are some pictures of the progress we have made:

We ran new wiring and installed new vanity lights over both vanity areas.

master bathroom renovation

We repaired the area around the tub with green board and a ton of mud

master bathroom renovation

We installed a wallpaper focal wall on my closet side (I’m sooo in love with it)

wallpaper focal wall master closet

We have tiled some of the shower walls (hoping to get to the herringbone top section this weekend)

tiling shower master bathroom

We have the flooring, but we don’t want to install it until we finish the tiling so we don’t mess them up, tiling is a dirty job!

So because I just need a break from the bathroom progress I bought and am updating a super cute drafting table for my little artist… the drawers are almost done.

drafting table drawers

And on a personal note I am working with my eye doctor to deal with this GPC (Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis) problem I am having with my eyes. GPC is an allergic reaction to my contacts, but since I have been wearing glasses for almost a year straight I’m very confused as to why my eyelids are reacting to something that is not there. Anyway, I basically have swollen upper lids, can’t wear my contacts and have problems with bright light. So I am currently running through a course of steroid drops, which can cause eye pressure issues so the doctor needs to check my eye pressure. Well I’m not ashamed to say I have pretty high anxiety levels when people are “messing” with my eyes or teeth, I don’t know why but I’m just afraid they will poke or knock them out or do something irreversible. The lady came in to do the test and I lost it, I started crying tearing up and asking if I HAD to do it today, couldn’t I do it another day (you would have thought I was 4, not 43)?! It was so embarrassing, they finally convinced me to take the test, which was much less of an ordeal than I made it out to be, but the whole thing was draining for me… and probably the doctor’s staff as well. I also did something very similar at my dentist several years back when they were going to measure my gum height. I saw her “coming at me” with this very long, sharp curved instrument and I was all… “Umm, what are you doing?” She said she had done this test several times on me before (I had been seeing this dentist for well over 20 years), but I didn’t believe her and wouldn’t let them preform the test. They gave me a prescription for valium to take before I came to the next visit, I never had to take it and next time I was fine, but I think that there are times of the month that I am far more anxious or maybe even crazy feeling than others… I should figure that shit out and not schedule appointments during that “time” I think!

Well I guess I better get back to work! Thanks for letting me share!


It is amazing what sheetrock can do! (Bath & Closet, part 5)

It never ceases to amaze me how a room can feel so different once the sheetrock goes up. Sometimes it can make what felt like an open space seem closed in, while other times it grounds the room and makes it feel just right. Thank goodness we are in the second camp. The last 2 homes we built so we know firsthand how a room can look just the right size on a plan, but once the walls go up it can magically transform into you questioning the room size! At this stage in the bathroom & closet renovation I feel so happy with the space, the design just has much better flow, feel and natural light, it’s very exciting! We subcontracted the sheetrock work out, this was a big job and neither of us felt qualified to handle it.

Master bathroom renovation

Master bathroom renovation

The contractor we hired to install the framing is also helping us out with the shower. We are having him install the liner, mortar bed and cement backer board on the walls. We ended up using a pond liner instead of the traditional pan liner, mainly because the tile stores don’t stock 9×8 liners and recommend you seal two of them together in order to get the size you need. I did find some online, but it cost over $100 just to ship it and would have delayed the project. So I looked at pond liners as an alternative, they are made of the same product and thickness and I saved over $300 and have a single piece rather than two seemed pieces.

Building a walk in master shower

I have already taped the seams, but I still need to cover the mesh tape and screw holes with thinset and then paint 2-3 coats of a waterproof membrane called RedGard for waterproofing and crack prevention.

Building a walk in master shower

All of the new LED ceiling lights are in, but we still have to add junction boxes for the new sconces beside the vanity mirrors. This was not in the original plan and is what my husband lovingly refers to as my “scope creep”…  The nice thing about being our own General Contractor and doing a portion of the work ourselves is that there is no fee to make this change, just the cost of the material and the time is takes us to do it.

Also we will be installing Board & Batten on the bathroom walls, I have already installed and painted the top trim (it is a lot easier to paint the walls prior to the rest of the trim being installed). Our plan of attack for the rest of the room is to tile the shower, install the vanities, install the flooring, install the baseboards, then install the vertical B&B trim.

Master bathroom renovation

The closet doesn’t get B&B, but will eventually have built-in cabinetry, it is painted the same color as the top portion of the wall in the bathroom (and in the master bedroom) Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray.

Master closet renovation

Thank goodness my sweet Hubby painted all of the ceilings for me, ceilings are such a pain for me so I was very grateful for him doing that.

In case you’re interested these are some things I have learned by being our own General Contractor:

  • One good contractor can lead you to other skilled tradespeople, if the contractor is nice and helpful (which ours was in spades). He recommended the sheetrock guy, the shower glass guy and let us use his discount at the tile store.
  • Let people know you are working on your home, we got a referral for a great plumber from a parent of our daughter’s when my hubby dropped her off at a sleepover!
  • You can take your time and work at your own pace, which may be slow or fast depending on what else you have going on.
  • You can make changes on the fly when you see an opportunity you didn’t think of when you were in the planning stage (without the burden of creating a change order and the associated costs).

So far the only major problem that has occurred is with the flooring. When I opened the shipment we received the other day it was the wrong color and wrong width although the packaging was stamped with the product I ordered. I hope the company has the correct product and can get it to me in a reasonable amount of time otherwise I have to start all over again looking for flooring… not fun!

Well I’m off to work on the shower, let me know if you have any questions about our project so far, I think it’s going to turn out beautifully!

Thanks as always for stopping by!


Master Bath & Closet Renovation (part 4)

Choosing tile for the master bathroom shower is where I left off a couple of weeks ago. I did decide to go with marble instead of the considerably less expensive ceramic tile, I will share with you sources and actual selection soon… I’m still picking out exactly what I need. In the meantime all of the walls in the rooms have been constructed, well except for one small one that cannot be erected until the plumbing is moved, and the insulation is in! It was VERY cold in the bathroom and we did have a small problem with the copper pipes bursting, but Super Awesome Hubby drained them, capped them off and wrapped them in foam so they are ok now. The temperature in there still hovers around 42 degrees in the room, but that is so much better than the 7 degrees it is outside!

So this is the current view looking back toward the door to the master bedroom. The shower is on the right and to the left of the shower is the water closet. See all of that lovely pink insulation in the floor? If you remember these rooms are partially over the garage and stayed cooler than they should so we had blown insulation added on top of the bat insulation that was already there for added floor warmth.

master bathroom remodel construction phase

I constructed a niche on both sides of the shower walls, the Hubby relocated the whole house vacuum pipe and I installed the new electrical switches and roughed in the wiring. The plumber is supposed to be here at the end of the week, barring any more emergency pipe bursting calls that is, the plumbers around here have been VERY busy!

The picture below is of my Hubby’s closet space, seriously the man has a ton of clothes and shoes! The wall on the left will be double and single handing rods and the wall directly ahead will be all shelves for shoes and folding items. The wall on the right will also be for hanging clothes with a window seat under the window. The way it works out is that he “gets” everything to the left of the window and I “get” everything to the right.

master closet remodel construction phase

This is my side of the closet. The knee wall on the left will be for long hanging items and the one on the right will have short hanging with shelving below for shoes, sweaters, purses whatever. The other wall (across from the right knee wall) will have two hanging rods for short hanging items as well. Also, the area behind the knee walls, which is accessible from the dormer window area, will have built-in cabinets for additional shoe storage. At this point in the construction we also made sure to add additional bracing to the walls so that our clothes rods will be well supported.

master closet remodel construction phase

If you remember this closet space was broken up before with this center wall that blocked the natural light from getting to my side of the closet… I hated it! Just removing this wall made such a big difference I really have no idea why they designed it this way in the first place… and don’t get me started with the wire shelving, but rest assured there will be no wire shelving in our “new” closet.

master closet BEFORE

A birds eye view of the closet layout is this, more efficient use of the space and the natural light available to the whole space. I like having one big closet space, no one gets short changed with the “small closet” you can be a closet hog or not it’s up to you!

master closet design

With the addition of the insulation the room is at least bearable to work in now. However, I am looking forward to the sheetrock installation next week and no we are not doing that ourselves. I’ll leave sheetrock and plumbing to the professionals, we are doing a lot of DIY on this renovation, but those two items are just ones we choose not to do.

We still have quite a ways to go and I feel like I am going a little crazy trying to source the perfect flooring option, but I’m hoping I’ll find something soon. In the meantime we still have to install all of the can lights in the ceiling this weekend so that if there are any mistakes the drywall guys can fix them…

While our bathroom is being remodeled we have taken over our daughter’s bathroom (she’s away at college), it has great natural light in there but I miss my nice, deep tub so I’m hoping that once the drywall gets installed I can use my tub again.

Stay safe and warm guys… I’m hoping that Spring comes to us all soon!

Until next time…


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