Princess Bathroom Updates

Well I’m happy to say that we made pretty good progress on the “Princess” bathroom the last few days or so… unfortunately it was a beautiful weekend here in Louisville, KY this past weekend and we basically spent it inside working on the bathroom Crying face. However, my Hubby was not complaining as he was the one cutting all of the wood outside so he would much rather it have been 70 degrees than 50!

So the first thing we did was install the under mount sink and faucet on the granite. We chose to install these while the granite was upside-down because otherwise we would have had to remove the drawer runners and quite honestly this was just the easiest way. The process is as follows: align the sink over the whole appropriately, mark on the granite the sink placement, remove the sink, put down a bead of granite caulk, replace sink and attach hardware… easy-peezy just a little nerve racking! The faucet install was just a matter of following the included instructions, which was also easy and made much easier with so much access! We let this sit for 3 days before we installed it.

installing undermount sink on granite

We reinstalled the baseboards and started our planking leveling each board as we went. We are using the same process and V-groove planking and bead board we used on the other girls bathroom.

installing wood wall planks in bathroom

We didn’t finish all of the planking (explained below) but I went ahead and primed and got one coat of paint (BM Decorator’s White) on what we did have installed.

installing wood wall planks in bathroom

We had to take a pause here in the planking because the new sconces haven’t arrived and I want to place the mirror and dry fit the sconces before we decide where to install the new junction boxes for them.

We installed the granite and backsplashes which was as easy as applying a bead of silicone caulk in the top edge of the vanity cabinet then placing the granite on top and ensuring levelness. The backsplashes are adhered to the wall with caulk as well.

honed black granite vanity top

This is my SUPER fast mock up of the mirror and sconces… I’m hoping I like them as much in person as I do in the photo!

vanity mirror and sconce mock up

I also found a few items for the bathroom that I’m excited to mix in! This cute little hanging basket from World Market!

copper hanging basket from World Market

These baskets from Target for the little linen nook.

basket for bathroom toiletries from Target

And this fun canvas print from Joss & Main that brings the bedroom colors into the bathroom. I just love the whimsical feel of this piece!

Mad Hatter deer art for the bathroom

I’m hoping to get the sconces before the weekend so we can finish the walls up. The floor will be the last to put in place and I’m soooo not looking forward to it…

Thanks as always for stopping by!!


The Princess Suite Bathroom Renovation

This bathroom belongs to our middle daughter Cassidy, who is a Sophomore at Radford University this year, she’s rarely home but her bathroom needs updating for sure! Her bedroom has it’s own bathroom and her bedroom/bathroom combination is sometimes referred to as a “Princess Suite” by some builders. I like the term so I’m going to refer to her bathroom as the Princess bathroom ‘kay?

Here is a picture of the bathroom on our walk-through day. It has gold sort of nautical rope print wallpaper with coordinating valance and shower curtains (with boats on them) someone certainly paid a lot for this look at some point. While this is a cute nautical theme it’s a) a little much for me and b) not quite what a 20 year old girl would like either… other than that  the bathroom is not too bad!

kids bathroom before

Step 1 & 2 was to remove the valance and shower curtain, I sold them on Craig’s List for $20 to a mom with a little boy who is just going to love his little boats!

Step 3 was to remove the wallpaper, which I was expecting to be easy and come off in great big sheets like the other 3 bathrooms of wallpaper… well it did NOT!!! Pictured below was about 3 hours worth of wallpaper removal because they didn’t paint the walls appropriately before they papered!!! Please people properly prepare your walls for wallpaper!!!

Wallpaper removal nightmare

My original plan was to install board and batten (like we did in the master bathroom) and paint the top third of the wall, but the wallpaper removal tore the crap out of the walls (that’s my technical term) and I just decided to finish the walls the same way we finished the other girls bathrooms. See I can be flexible… however this left me with all white planked walls and I really wanted some color in there so I rolled a quick coat of Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue on the ceiling, which I had on hand from painting my two front porch ceilings… and yes I used an exterior satin paint inside and I think it looks gorgeous!

Palladian Blue painted bathroom ceiling

There is also a little linen nook in the bathroom, where we are adding nicer shelving, which I painted the same color as the ceiling.

Palladian Blue painted linen nook

Now as to the floor, seriously I could have left the 8×8” white tiles, but I HATED them and their stupid stained white grout. So I removed them with my hammer drill (super easy just use ear plugs and eye protection for sure) and was left with the underlying mortar to remove.

Bathroom tile removal

I was also left with a large hole near the tub, but using a grinder I proceeded to remove the mortar to make a smooth surface for the new tiles to stick to. I could have used a self-leveler over the existing mortar (I think) but the mortar bed and lathe were already adding 1.5” to the height of the floor and I didn’t want to add anymore. By the way the grinding of the mortar was AWFULLY messy and I hated it and I’m pretty sure I won’t do that again if I can help it.

Bathroom tile removal

I stopped here because this hole was really bothering me… how do I fill it? Can I just pour new concrete in here, level it and that would do? Well based on my many hours of research the answer could be yes, could be no… seriously the web was not very helpful in this case.

Bathroom tile removal

In the end I decided I’d rather be safe than sorry so I removed all of the concrete and lathe with my trusty and much loved hammer drill (which took about 45 minutes) and got the surface back to the subfloor. Now I can start from scratch and feel confident in the job I’m about to do!

Bathroom tile removal

I purchased this pretty white hexagon tile with black flowers and a box of just black hexagon tiles to create the border around the room. All of our girls had b&w mosaic tiles in their last bathrooms and I just really love the classic look of them. I did a dry layout on the bathroom floor to ensure I had the look I wanted and enough tile for the job.

Dry layout of black and white mosaic tiles with flowers

I then moved all of the tile out of the bathroom to an out of the way place in the bedroom, trust me these steps will save you when you go to actually lay the tile.

Dry layout of black and white mosaic tiles with flowers

We’re also installing a new top on the vanity. I did look into replacing the vanity entirely, but it was cost prohibitive and this one is in very good shape anyway.

Bathroom vanity before

I made a trip down to the stone yard and perused their remnant slabs for options. I went there thinking I’d want something light-ish with some white and gray, but when I saw this slab I stopped and said this is the one! I was not envisioning a black top, but I’m totally digging the idea! This is honed Negresco Granite and it looks a little like soapstone.

Honed Negresco Granite for vanity top

The cash and carry price for the top (including an under mount sink) was $410, which I think is pretty good for a 44” long granite top, the only issue is they cut the backsplash a tad long and I need to take it back and have it re-cut…

Honed Negresco Granite for vanity top

So that’s where we stopped for now, we’ll be working on installing the concrete backer board on the subfloor next so we can move forward with the floor tile installation!

Until next time!!


Master Bathroom Final Reveal

So the Master Bathroom is D-O-N-E, as in there is nothing left to do and we love it, it’s perfect for us and most importantly I’m very glad it’s finished!

So the photo below is a view from the bedroom into the bathroom, the top of the walls are painted Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray (same as the bedroom) and the wainscoting is painted Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White. The new recessed lights are all LED in a daylight temperature as we like our bathroom to be nice and bright! You can get a glimpse of the closet at the end of the hall which is painted the same as the bathroom, but the lighting is a soft white which is why you see a color difference, crazy right?! And “yes” we love the engineered wood floors in our bathroom and have had no issues with them at all!

Master Bathroom Renovation

I installed all of the board and batten myself and let me tell you it was no fun… a ton of sanding, caulking, painting, design layout etc. went into this project. I chose to use pre-primed MDF boards in standard sizes and I just love the final look, very upscale and traditional. If you’re curious each wall panel was configured based on the length of the wall vs. each panel being the same size and then you end up with an odd sized panel at the end… I only had 2 small walls where the panels look larger than the rest of the panels, other than that the panel size differences between the walls are very insignificant.

Board and batten walls in master bathroom renovation

The mirror is from West Elm, but the original wood frame was much lighter than I thought it would be. I darkened the frame by wiping on a coat of Dark Walnut stain, super easy and it only took a couple of minutes. The color of the frame is now very close to the color of the wood floor.

Grey vanity, white board and batten walls, master bathroom renovation

Two sections of this vanity I purchased off Craig’s List months ago, but my Hubby made the curved shelf piece at the left end to finish it off.

Grey vanity, white board and batten walls, master bathroom renovation

The vanity top is honed White Mountain Danby marble from Vermont, it’s beautiful with loads of grey veining and it has a hint of blue/green to the white. It was more expensive than the Carrera marble we were originally considering, but it is supposedly more dense and honestly I just couldn’t resist all of the beautiful veining… The installers did a great job installing the vanity tops and shower curbing too!

Honed White Mountain Danby Marble from Vermont

The drawer pulls are polished nickel and I painted the cabinets and tub apron in Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray which is a very light gray with blue undertones. I chose to spray paint the drawer and door fronts, but I brushed the cabinet frames. I used the BM Advance line in Satin and it was fabulous to work with and left virtually no visible brush strokes.

Custom painted vanity in Wickham Gray

I really wanted to replace my tub with a freestanding pedestal tub, kind of like this one… isn’t it gorgeous?!

Parisian® 1

But the $4k-$8k in additional cost to replace the original tub just didn’t make sense for us Crying face… I do really like our corner jetted tub, it’s deep, fits perfectly in the room and I use it all of the time, but I still dream about the tub above…

Custom trimed corner jetted tub, board and batten surround

The light over the tub we made with products from the Color Cord Company and it adds a little interest and light in that corner… the lights are spaced perfectly so I can stand up in the tub without hitting any of them.

Master bathroom renovation in shades of grey and white, with engineered hardwood flooring

Here’s a Before and After comparison of my vanity area for you… the original builders really loved their mirrors didn’t they?

Master bathroom renovation in shades of grey and white, with engineered hardwood flooring

On the Hubby’s side of the bathroom we used this cabinet (1 of the 3 cabinets in the set we purchased off Craig’s List) to create his vanity.

Original part of 3 part vanity

He deconstructed the original cabinet so we could use it as two pieces and then added a new unfinished sink base cabinet from Home Depot in the middle to make this one of a kind piece… I think he did a fabulous job!

Custom vanity in master bathroom renovation

We were going to make new doors for the center cabinet, but decided to install a removable back and shelf instead. He didn’t need the storage space under the sink and I really love this look! The inside is painted Benjamin Moore Black Iron, which I have also used in many other places in our home.

Custom vanity in master bathroom renovation

The faucet is a chrome American Standard “Town Square” faucet, all of our faucets and shower heads are from this suite. We prefer the ease of a one handle set, but it is hard to find one that is not too modern looking so I’m really happy with traditional look of this suite.

Honed Mountain White Danby marble from Vermont

The Before and After of this vanity area.

Custom vanity in master bathroom renovation

The water closet is no longer for showering too! We installed a new American Standard VorMax toilet and decreased the overall size of the room since there was no longer a shower in it. For privacy we added this solid core door on a barn door track. The door is painted the same Black Iron as the vanity cubby.

Barn door in master bathroom renovation

This is now our view of the bathroom from the new closet area… we still have a few cabinets to make before I can share the closet makeover… The runner is Dash & Albert, but I did cut and sew one end in order for it to fit the space exactly.

Master bathroom renovation in shades of grey and white, with engineered hardwood flooring

So much better right!? I will tell you that while this was not an inexpensive renovation, we did figure the renovation costs into the offer we placed on this house and because we did so much of the work ourselves we saved thousands! The total cost for the closet and bathroom remodel was roughly $20,000, here’s the breakdown:

  • Barn door & toilet = $464
  • Closet = $450
  • Dumpster rental = $180
  • Electrical = $618
  • Flooring = $2,000
  • Vanity mirrors = $523
  • Shower (complete build) = $7,466
  • Vanities (inc. sinks & fixtures) = $3,290
  • Walls & insulation = $4,773
  • Wood trim = $720

Of the $20k we spent roughly $11,000 was spent on contractors for shower glass, marble installation, plumbing rough in, framing, blown-insulation and sheet rock installation and finishing (items we felt were best left to the professionals). One of our contractors flips houses and when he was here he said that this job was about a $35,000 remodel job if we had hired out all of the work so I was very happy to hear that!

Master bathroom renovation in shades of grey and white, with engineered hardwood flooring

I so hope you enjoyed seeing these pictures and following along with this renovation! If you have any questions or comments please leave them below!

By the way we will have the closet finished by the end of spring, there’s not much to do but build and paint 4 cabinets but I want to spray paint them so I’m “waiting” for warmer weather! In the meantime we are renovating another bathroom, but this one is small and on a much leaner budget!

As always thanks for stopping by!


To see other parts of the renovation: Master Bathroom Remodel Part 1, Master Bathroom Renovation Part 2, Master Bathroom Renovation Part 3, Master Bathroom Renovation Part 4, Master Bathroom Renovation Part 5Master Bath Flooring Progress, A Tale of Two Dormer Windows, Building Knee Wall Cubbies, The Evolution of a Walk In shower

Linking up to these parties:

The Evolution of a Walk-In Shower

I just realized I have not shared any master bathroom renovation updates in a L-O-N-G time! I have shared some pictures on Instagram, but have totally been behind posting updates here! So thank goodness we finished the master bathroom portion of the renovation a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and I am super thrilled with the final results! It was a ton of work but well worth it in my opinion…

I wanted to take some time to run through the steps we went through in the shower building process. It was a first for us and I will share with you where we did get help from contractors and where it was just me and my hubby plugging away at the job.

This is what we started with, hubby took this picture on the original walk through of the house, it’s a toilet and shower “room/closet” inside of the bathroom space. So the vanities and tub were all in the main room, but the toilet and shower were in a “closet” inside of the room (I hope that makes sense). It was dark, I hated it and I thought it was just strange… it had to go!

Here is the original setup of the bathroom closet area.

Bathroom closet plans

Original bathroom shower toilet combination

So as part of the overall bathroom remodel we removed the shower and the wall separating the closet/room from the rest of the bathroom. It was pretty easy to demo, as a matter of fact I took out the shower by myself. The walls were that faux marble, heavy, but easy to break up with a little force and of course safety gear.

Bathroom shower renovation in progress

We laid out a rough outline of the new shower dimensions (6ft. deep x 7ft. wide) with spray paint to validate size and position within the space.

Bathroom shower renovation in progress

We did all of the demo ourselves, but did have a contactor come in and rebuild the walls. I helped him a lot (so I could pick up some tips for the future) and I really enjoyed working with him and learning from him as well. We also hired a insulation contractor to blow in more insulation in the floor (which is over the garage in some areas) and also wrap reflective insulation around the backside of all of the walls to help with deflecting heat off of the roof.

Bathroom shower renovation in progress

We also hired a plumbing contractor to add an additional shower head and move the drain. He had to tie the new head off of the incoming 3/4” copper pipe rather that running it straight off of the 1/2” pipe that was already there. This will allow 2 people to take a shower at the same time and get both get perfect water flow Send a kiss … just in case you were wondering why… We saved some money by locating the 3/4” junction ourselves and cutting the flooring for the plumber to gain access to the pipe.

My Super Awesome Hubby and I had to shore up the floor openings with 2×4’s attached to existing support beams in order to add plywood over the holes to close everything up. We also installed all of the bat insulation in the new spaces ourselves.

Bathroom shower renovation in progress

We hired out the drywall installation and finishing, we’ve done drywall work before… it sucks and we done do a good enough job at it so we almost always leave the large drywall jobs to the professionals… just like rough-in plumbing…

Our contractor then came back in and he and I  installed the shower liner on the shower base. Making sure that the base was free of debris and all screws were countersunk in the plywood so that nothing could puncture the liner. By the way we used a pond liner here because I couldn’t find a shower liner big enough locally. It’s made of the exact same material, but it’s a lot cheaper and was plenty big!

Bathroom shower floor installation in progress

We then mixed the Mississippi Mud base together by placing the dry material in the center of a tarp and adding the water to it in the center and shifting it back and forth by lifting the tarp up and down from the 4 corners. It’s a neat trick he learned and it made mixing the product super easy. He laid all of the mud down and using a level made sure it sloped properly towards the drain… I just watched him Open-mouthed smile

Bathroom shower installation in progress

After a few days he came back in and installed all of the concrete backer board. I then added the mesh tape to all of the seams and then filled the seams, holes and any low spots on the floor with thinset.

Bathroom shower installation in progress

After everything was dry and smooth I painted 3 coats of RedGuard over all of the walls, floors etc.

Bathroom shower installation in progress, RedGuard

We then dry-laid out our tile pattern on the floor to determine layout.

Shower tile dry fit layout

We then used a laser level and marked a level line about 3” off the floor to ensure a nice straight line, we temporarily installed a 1×2 on this line to ensure we maintained a level line. We then started applying thinset and laying the tile. We found it worked best to apply the thinset to the wall in about a 3ft square and then affix the tile to the wall. It also helped that we broke up the responsibilities, I laid the tile and my hubby marked and made all of the cuts… this was definitely a team effort!

Tiling master bathroom shower walls

I’m not going to lie to you… the herringbone tile part was a HUGE pain, I didn’t have to figure out the cuts, but it was a lot of little tile to lay and it took a long time!

Tiling master bathroom shower, herringbone subway

We installed the Carrera Marble 3” hexagon floor tiles next, which compared to the herringbone tiling it was a walk in the park! Then after the tile was set, 72 hours I think, we went back and installed the last row of wall tile.

Tiling master bathroom shower, herringbone subway and carrera marble

The shower sat ungrouted for a VERY long time while we worked on flooring and other projects, but we finally got it grouted with a white grout. I had originally wanted grey grout but changed my mind pretty much at the last minute…

Tiling master bathroom shower, herringbone subway and carrera marble

We were then in a holding pattern for over a month waiting for the marble to arrive for the vanity tops and the shower curbing, but it was worth the wait to get exactly what we wanted!

The hardware is all polished chrome and its as frameless as the glass guys could build it considering the size…

Master bathroom shower stall, white ceramic herringbone and subway with Carrera hexagon tile floors

The setup we chose for the shower heads was very simple, 2 heads one on either side of the shower. We gave this a ton of thought and we decided that we wouldn’t use a bunch of different spray heads or a rain shower head often enough to justify the additional cost.

Master bathroom shower stall, white ceramic herringbone and subway with Carrera hexagon tile floors

Each of the heads has it’s own max temperature setting, mine VERY hot, my hubby luke warm… The heads and trim package are a chrome American Standard set.

Master bathroom shower stall, white ceramic herringbone and subway with Carrera hexagon tile floors

We actually used a marble threshold for the bottom of the niches, it worked perfectly and was significantly cheaper than other options.

Master bathroom shower stall, white ceramic herringbone and subway with Carrera hexagon tile floors

I really love how the curb turned out. It coordinates with the Carrera marble but because it is so thick and solid I think it really shows well! The curbs are White Danby Vermont Marble in a honed finish.

Master bathroom shower stall, white ceramic herringbone and subway with Carrera hexagon tile floors and White Mountain Danby Marble curb

Master bathroom shower stall, white ceramic herringbone and subway with Carrera hexagon tile floors and White Mountain Danby Marble curb

Master bathroom shower stall, white ceramic herringbone and subway with Carrera hexagon tile floors and White Mountain Danby Marble curb

Even though I’m more of a bather than a shower-er I really do love this setup! It’s obliviously plenty big for two of us to shower at the same time and with the ability to have our own temperature settings it makes it that much more enjoyable.

I do have one “complaint” with the shower, which at first when I saw it I thought I would cry, but I have sense gotten used to it… you see the glass surround distorts the color of the tile! I had no idea that the glass would have a slight green/blue hue to it so the tile doesn’t look white. I was not given the option of a pure colorless glass and when I spoke to the glass guy he indicated that this glass was the norm. I researched it a bit and found that colorless glass is available (not sure at what expense) so do consider that option if you are going to install glass in your shower… just a thought!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Linking to these parties:

Redhead Can DecorateBetween Naps on the PorchBlesse’r HouseDesigner Trapped

Another Dormer Window Nook Update

I PROMISE this is the last dormer update you’ll see from me (mainly because it’s the only one left  Winking smile) So we have been working on this little space for a while and to be honest it’s not technically complete, but it will probably stay in this state for a while until I’m ready to get back to it… honestly that’s the way it is sometimes! As you may remember I have already renovated / updated the two other dormer windows in the master bath and closet, but this one is in the “Princess Suite” which is our middle daughter’s room. Again it was just a long hall to a seat destination, not very comfy but it did have a little storage.

This is the picture my hubby took during the walk through inspection.

dormer window before

At this point I have already painted the nook Benjamin Moore’s Teal, which is quite a lovely very dark color that coordinates beautifully with her wall color which is Benjamin Moore’s Sagebrush a totally soothing spa like green/blue/grey… I want to envelope myself in this color it’s so perfect!

I have also made a window shelf with vintage wood brackets and a blackout Roman shade for her as she loves sleeping in pitch black and lets face it at 20 years old she doesn’t want to wake up with the sun!

Dark teal painted dormer window

I had measured the length and width of the dormer and determined it was the perfect size for a twin size bed and what a great place to curl up and read a book (Cassidy is an avid reader) or maybe if you have a friend come over there is a place for her to sleep. It is also a great place to watch the deer in the backyard or just enjoy the scenery.

So rather than remove the existing set we just added to it, much easier in the long run and no need to make a big mess…

First we added 2×4’s, screwing them to the studs with 3” screws after ensuring they were level both front to back and side to side.

How to DIY build a platform bed in a dormer window space

Then we added cross braces in order to support the plywood platform.

How to DIY build a platform bed in a dormer window space

I was very concerned about screws not being able to withstand weight so we used these hanger pieces to add additional bracing and support

How to DIY build a platform bed in a dormer window space

We added 3 cross braces in total, feeling like that should be plenty of support.

How to DIY build a platform bed in a dormer window space

We added a 3/4 plywood top, which will eventually have pistons installed on it so you can access the area for storage, but for now is just sitting on the 2×4’s.

We then built a box out of MDF (using the Kreg jig and pocket screws) and nailed it to the sides of the end 2×4’s. This area is right near the outlet and we thought it would be a great charging station area for cell phones, iPads and laptops.

How to DIY build a platform bed in a dormer window space

We added MDF around the face of the box, caulked, spackled and added back the baseboard molding to the space.

How to DIY build a platform bed in a dormer window space

It took about three coats of teal to cover all of the raw wood, had I primed it with my grey tinted primer I’m sure I could have done it in two. Also, I added a little trim to the front just to jazz it up a bit and that was it!

DIY built platform bed in dormer window area

A nice place to store books and show off collectables… and collect dust if I’m being honest…

Blackout Roman shade with shelf above

Throw a bunch of comfy pillows and a blanket here and it’s such a cozy spot!

DIY built platform bed in dormer window area

I hung up a charcoal drawing self-portrait my daughter drew in high school. She’s a very talented artist I just hope she keeps it up!

DIY built platform bed in dormer window area

DIY built platform bed in dormer window area

Like I said it truly is a great chilling out spot, the kids used it a lot during Christmas break for watching movies and napping (the shades are blackout). The mattress pad that I have on it I bought at Ikea for about $100, it’s foam and comes with a cover and is about 3.5” thick and it’s pretty comfy. I have temporarily wrapped it in a twin sized white duvet cover, but I will get around to making a real cover for it eventually. Like I said we still need to add the pistons on it that will allow easy and safe access to the storage portion, but since we don’t need to store anything there it’s on the backburner for now.

We have three dormers in our home and for each one we have customized it to work for us. I understand why the contractors build little seats in dormers to make them seem useful, but for us I’d much rather have a space we would really use, not just something to fill the void… So what do you think? Have you done anything awesome to your dormers? I would love to know what other people are doing too!

Thanks for stopping by!


Thonet Chairs Refinishing Complete!

Well Happy 2016 to you all! Over at our home we had a very busy Christmas Holiday with our normal household of 3 humans and 2 dogs increasing to 9 humans and 4 dogs!!! It was crazy and lots of fun, but I’m glad we’re back to normal capacity now! Believe it or not I did get the Thonet chairs finished by Thanksgiving and I would have posted about them earlier, but with all of the blogosphere hyper focused on Christmas decorating I felt like this little post might get lost in the shuffle and I totally think it’s worth checking out… just saying Open-mouthed smile

So you may remember that I started off with this set (plus a couple more I picked up later) of Thonet chairs. (If not you can check out the post I wrote on the refinishing process here) Man have I forgotten how ugly these were to begin with!!

Vintage Thonet Chairs

This is where I left off while I moved on to refinishing the farmhouse table, see I wasn’t 100%sure how I wanted them finished so they sat here empty for a couple of weeks as I thought on it…

Vintage Thonet Chair Update

I had initially thought I wanted to use faux leather on the seats to help with the inevitable cleanup, but after looking at several (let say 10 or so) samples I couldn’t find one that I liked enough… they were either too shiny, too fake looking or just not the right shade. So I ended up finding this very extremely soft grey crocodile embossed velvet.

Velvet Croc Zinc Fabric

Of course this fabric was the most expensive fabric I looked at (isn’t that how it always goes!), at $28.00 a yard, but I only needed 3 yards. The cost breakdown of the chairs is: $80/set of 8 chairs + fabric $92 + paint $25 + $10 repair product = $207 or $26 per chair, which is pretty freaking awesome don’t you think!?

To reupholster the seat cushions I just cut the fabric off, using a sharp knife and cutting as close to the staples as possible. There were a ton of staples and honestly I just didn’t want to remove them, had I been upholstering these for someone else I would have probably started with a new wood seat and foam as that would have been less time consuming than removing all of the staples.

Reupholstering chair seats

I chose to leave the original bottoms (less the previous owners address stickers) and stapled the fabric right near the old staples, it worked like a charm and only took me about an hour to do all 8 seats. Having said that though I should mention that I do have an electric stapler that uses very fine staples, I would never have been able to recover them so quickly with a manual staple gun, you know the old saying about using the right tools for the job!!

Look at that gorgeous velvet!

Reupholstered Thonet Chair Seats

Originally I was thinking I would paint the chairs grey (which is why I used a grey primer) but once I found my fabric I decided to paint the chairs Benjamin Moore’s Linen White in Advance Satin. I sprayed about 4 light coats on each of the chairs, which would have been less had I primed them with white primer instead of gray Baring teeth smile but oh well!

Updated Thonet chair set, new upholstery and paint

I tried to get a good picture of an area that I repaired, I will say that the repairs are about 99.9% invisible! I think they look like they were built this way originally and I’m pretty proud of the job I did…

Repaired Thonet chair backs

Updated Thonet chair set

I’m really digging the different shades of “white” I used, it helps make the table feel like it is less of a set and more of a collection… if that makes sense?!

Thonet chair set and farmhouse table updated

Now that I have all 8 chairs in they really are a little snug around the table, but one day I will be able to used both ends of the table and it will be the perfect amount of chairs! I love the finished look of the chairs and I am so happy I took the time to update them. I hope this post may inspire you one day to take on a project like this, it really was pretty simple!

Thanks as always for stopping by! By the way I’d love to hear what you think about this project!


Our Much Loved and Abused Farmhouse Table

Our poor kitchen table has seen so much abuse love since we purchased it 13 years ago. It’s been the center of most of our family activities in three homes now and it has withstood all that we did to it.

Our beloved table was made by a Virginia based company, Hoskins Creek Table Company, and is 8ft long but only 33” wide. We bought such a long table to accommodate our girls and all of the friends they might bring home, believe it or not we fit 17 kids here one time! However, it was also our everyday family eating space, craft table, sewing table, homework table and even one time I caught a VERY bad Weimaraner sunning himself on it!

Here we are at our home in Montpelier, VA, celebrating the first of many birthdays that our table will see, it was only a few months old at this point and had yet to see any real abuse.

Farmhouse table

I know for a FACT when we moved into house number two in Short Pump, VA this table had dog claw marks on it (thanks to the aforementioned Weimaraner), glitter that wouldn’t come off (my bad) and more than a few blemishes from random acts. Still, it looked like a wonderfully worn table and we all loved it! This was the last birthday celebrated in this home before we moved to Kentucky and you can see the abuse clearly!

Abused farmhouse table

Here is the table once we were mostly settled in our Louisville, KY home. In order to keep the table we did have to “loose” one of the ends in order to maintain the flow from one room to the next, but the table fit well enough. If I’m being honest a smaller (probably round) table would have worked much better, but I just can’t bear to let this table and all of it’s memories go!

Farmhouse table

So here we are in 2015 and I am ready to change up the table, nothing drastic, just lighter colors and some new chairs. Our youngest daughter is 13 and way past the destructive stage, our Weimaraner who loved to sun himself on it passed away long ago and it’s just the three of us here now as the two older girls are either in college or have joined the working world. Anyway, most of the time we sit at the kitchen island to eat our meals and the poor table gets very little use these days.

So here it is with it’s fresh new update guaranteed to last for another 13 years!

Refinished farmhouse table

First we removed the old wax finish and lightly sanded the table to remove some of the scratches, mainly the dog claw marks and the annoying blemishes.

Refinished farmhouse table

The final grit we used on the sander was 220 which gives the table a perfectly smooth feel.

Lightening up the farmhouse table

We then oiled the surface with Natural Watco Oil which allows the beauty of the wood to shine through. The final result is a table top that is about half as dark as the original finish.

Refinishing table and pine tabletop

After the oil had to time to do its thing we then waxed the surface with clear wax and buffed it to a beautiful sheen!

Refinished natural pine table top

The combination of the oil and wax has restored the natural beauty and durability to this Southern Yellow Pine.

Refinished natural pine table top

You can still see dents, marks and small scratches as evidence that this table has history, but gone are the glitter and truly ugly spots on the table.

Refinished natural pine table top

For the base I painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old Ochre, did some light distressing, sealed it with clear wax and buffed it to a soft sheen. I really like the lighter feel of the table with this combination.

Refinished farmhouse table, natural finish and Old Ochre

One of the other things I adore about this table is the “old world” craftsmanship that was used to build it. Wood peg joinery on the legs and old style nails to attach the top to the base really adds to the overall character of the piece.

Refinished farmhouse table, natural finish and Old Ochre

I have all of the new chairs for this table primed and the seats reupholstered I just need to spray the final paint coat on them and they’ll be ready to go! Everything should be done just in time for Thanksgiving…

I will say that I’m so happy that we were able to keep this table and with just a little bit of work update it to fit our style today. Hopefully one day this table will be passed down to one of our girls who will enjoy watching her kids craft, play, eat and grow up using the same table she did as a child… the thought makes me well up with tears…

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time!


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!


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