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!


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…


Choosing the shower tile, I need help!

Hey guys! I’m in need of some advice / opinions, you see I’m struggling with some design choices for our shower in the master bath renovation and I just can’t seem to get unstuck!

We have removed most of the walls in the closet / bathroom area and now have this wide open space. It’s amazing how big a space looks and feels when it has no walls up. Alas, we need those walls though… We have laid out the walls placement on the floor, as you can see in the photo below.

master bath shower tile

The wall you see with the plumbing in it will be removed once the plumber comes to move the pipes, we DON”T mess around with copper pipes here. The space outlined around it will be the shower, the inside dimensions of the shower will be 6ft deep by 7ft long, giving us plenty of room for 2 to shower. The shower heads will be on both sides of the 6ft wall.

Here is our very rudimentary plan for the glass. All of the glass will extend to the ceiling with a glass transom over the door to allow for ventilation. We texted this to the “glass guy” and he said it was doable which made my day!

master bath shower tile

It was very important to me that the side glass and front glass (as noted in blue) would be frameless as this will be the first thing you see when you walk into the bathroom.

master bath shower tile

Pictured below is roughly the tile layout we are considering, herringbone top, subway bottom. We are not installing a shower seat though, but this gives you an idea of the direction we are going.

Here are the tiles I’m thinking about. The subway, herringbone and large tile to the left are ceramic “Carrara Gris Gloss”, the hexagon is “Hampton Carrara Polished”, the black tile is “Noir Honed” travertine.

master bath shower tile

The plan for the floor is to border it in the black travertine and use the marble hex (in a honed finish) as the main floor area, using a dark gray grout for it all. I love this plan, have no issues with it at all.

The wall will be the longer ceramic tiles set in a herringbone pattern for the top half of the wall and the bottom half of the wall will be the ceramic set in a subway pattern (either the small tile or the large tile to the left we haven’t decided that either).

My issue is with the ceramic “marble” tile. It is very pretty, but I don’t care for the glossiness of it and they don’t have this particular type in a honed finish. They do have a “Calcutta marble” in honed, but it has little gold streaks running through it that I’m not sure I like. Also, there is the fact that this is a product produced to look like another product, basically a faux marble if you will. Even though this tile looks awesome to me I’m wondering if it will turn off potential buyers later on? Like will it look like we got chintzy with the tile, I really want this shower to be a stunner!

So should I just opt for a white ceramic tile in similar sizes, but use some real marble around the shower heads as an accent? I feel like having all white subway tile on all of the walls in a 6×7 shower would just be too much white for me… argh, decisions… decisions…

Let’s not forget to mention that there is the cost to consider… the ceramic tiles are roughly 1/2 of the cost of any of the marble tiles, which when you consider the shower is 6×7 makes a big difference in the overall cost of the tile.

So what do you think? Faux marble or no? All white ceramic set in the same pattern? If you were buying a new home and saw this awesome shower could you or would you even be able to tell if it was not real marble on the walls? Would you even care? Please let me know what you think, because I just seem to be stuck and I need to make a decision soon!

Thanks so much for listening to me ramble!


How to Remove Tile Flooring, master bath update part 3.

You might remember that we are in the beginning stages of a remodel of our master bathroom and closet. This weekend we decided to tackle removing the tile floor from the bathroom. I had every intention of hiring the contactor to do this, but the feedback I was getting for the costs were more than I was willing to spend on demo. I’m not going to sugar coat this for you… this is a sucky, messy job, but totally a DIY one if you’re willing…

Again, this is what the bathroom looked like just before we moved in. We had already started some updates like wallpaper removal you can checkout here.

Master bathroom BEFORE

After removing my vanity we discovered that the floor tile was set in a bed of concrete and lath and it was roughly 1.5” thick… that’s a LOT of concrete and mainly why we didn’t want to tackle this ourselves.

This is what the layers looked like. Starting with the base there is OSB, tar paper, metal lath, concrete, mortar then tile. Looks fun right?

DIY bathroom tile concrete and lath removal

We used our hammer drill with the spade bit attached for the entire job, I would HIGHLY recommend this tool as it made removing all of these layers a ton easier. Also, you MUST wear eye protection and a face mask, I would also recommend earplugs and something to cover your hair as well… did I mention how dirty this job was?

We found that removing the floor in layers was the easiest and fastest way to go:

Using the hammer drill (with the spade bit attached) we removed all of the tile (which I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to remove), then we separated the concrete from the lath by inserting the spade bit between the two layers, then we pulled up the lath which was held in place with staples (instead of screws which you would most likely see in older homes), then pulled up the tar paper which was also stapled down.

DIY bathroom tile concrete and lath removal

I did most of the removal while my Hubby had the backbreaking chore of lugging all of the debris down to the garage. After 5 hours of work we ended up with this. A nice clean sub floor that was still in good shape thanks to the tar paper and lack of screws holding down the lath.

DIY bathroom tile concrete and lath removal

We’re not 100% done though as we still need to remove the flooring from the water closet / shower area. We originally thought we would still use this area, but decided against it at the last minute. We will need to remove the toilet prior to removing the floor, but that shouldn’t be a problem. BTW all of that dust you see is not from my lack of cleaning, it’s the concrete dust from the demo… trust me you do not want this stuff in your nose or throat so please wear protection.

DIY bathroom tile concrete and lath removal

We still have quite a bit more demo work to do in here, a couple of walls to remove, my Hubby’s vanity, the toilet and shower not to mention the baseboards and door trim, but we feel pretty good about saving money by doing much of the demo work ourselves. Yes, I took some Aleve before I went to bed and when I woke up this morning, but this job could’ve been MUCH worse than it was.

I hope this post helps anyone looking at tackling this particular type of tile and concrete removal. I personally am hoping to never have to do it again…

Have a great week everyone! And as always thanks for stopping by!


The Master Closet Remodel Part. 1

We had SOOO much fun this weekend starting on our master closet remodel / renovation. Lots of drywall dust, carpet crud and insulation removing fun! Here is a recap from the beginning…

Our closet is located off of the master bath, on the end of the house over the garage. It was by far the largest closet we saw while house hunting here in Louisville (which is just one of the reasons we loved this house). Having said that though it has some “issues”, it’s layout is awkward and it’s chilly in there in the winter. As a side note we have already replaced the 2 windows so we are assuming the problem is in the way it was (or was not) insulated.

This is the view looking into the closet from the bathroom:

Master closet renovation remodel

This is my side of the closet. The door you see is access to the unfinished area that slopes down to the garage side walls, it’s large but freaking cold and we didn’t really use it.

Master closet renovation remodel

This is my hubby’s side of the closet, lots of nice natural light on this side, which he totally needed in order to help him determine blue from black suits…

Master closet renovation remodel

Here is the original layout of the master closet, just LOOK at all of that unused space marked “storage”!

Master closet renovation remodel

Below is the most recent plan for the new space, but since we are building the units ourselves this plan is certainly subject to change.master closet plans

One of the closet walls is being moved back in order to enlarge the shower, which is on the other side of that wall. Also, we will be removing the walls on both storage sides of the closet and installing a new knee wall 4 ft. back from the original walls. These changes will make the new walls about 5ft. tall (the original walls were 8ft. tall) and give us an additional 63 sq. ft. of closet space.

I was just thrilled with the space after we removed the center wall, the light just fills the room now… By the way there are 2 windows in the closet, the one you see pictured and the dormer window on the front of the house.

Master closet renovation remodel

We are saving all of the lumber we can so that they can be used to create the new walls. We removed all of the nails out of the wood before removing them from the wall.

Master closet renovation remodel

Now on to opening the side walls. There was insulation in these walls, but only R-13 which I think is the minimum for our zone. We did not save it to reuse as we will need to insulate this room better. This is the unfinished area on the left that they had setup as extra storage space.

Master closet renovation remodel

We then hit a “little” snag… my Hubby was a tad overzealous and started removing some of the vertical 2×4’s before we had a good look at the wall structure. Once we did we stopped removing the 2×4’s. See we’re not 100% sure if this is a load bearing wall or not. See photo of top of the wall below.

Master closet renovation remodel

See the 2×6 beams going across the ceiling of the room appear to be resting somewhat on the wall. Most of the beams appear to be nailed in with 2 nails on one side to the rafters but that doesn’t seems like enough support to us. After HOURS of research we think those beams are collar ties that also happen to be used as the ceiling structure, however we’re just not sure. To be 100% sure we’re having a contractor come by and look at it, if he’s not sure I’ll have a structural engineer come by and take a gander. You don’t happen to be a structural engineer who might know what’s going on here?

 Master closet renovation remodel

We moved on to removing the sheetrock on the other side of the room. This is another extra storage space that they had access to from the bathroom. I think they called this the “suitcase storage” on the realtor listing… again a VERY cold space. Same deal with the walls seeming to support collar ties?!

That’s where we finished up on Sunday. We filled up a bunch of bags of debris and cleaned up as much as possible, but we’re at a standstill until we here about the walls. Luckily we have a door on this room so it’s coldness can be closed off from the rest of the house… BRR!!

If you have any suggestions or ideas about these walls or the space please comment below! Thanks as always for stopping by!

Until next time…



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