...because home doesn't happen overnight.

We’re making progress on the master bathroom! Before, the bathroom contained original fixtures and pink ’50’s tile. {And some stylish vinyl accessories I might add – shower curtain, valance and curtains. Yes, you heard me. Vinyl valance and curtains. With bathroom scenes printed on them. Tasteful.} The one thing I really liked about the bathroom was the window. Bathrooms with no windows can feel especially dark and cramped. We had planned on living with the bathroom as-is for a while but discovered that some of the tile surrounding the tub/shower was cracked and allowing water to seep through into the walls.

It’s difficult to see in the picture, but there was a hairline crack through a few of the tiles in the bottom left-hand corner. Unfortunately, water doesn’t discriminate between small and large cracks – it’ll find a way through them all!

In true renovation style, we gutted the room down to the studs removing the original tub, tile and vanity. The porcelain throne was the only keeper. Then something miraculous happened. A marketing rep from The Tile Shop contacted me to see if we’d be interested in using some of their tile for our Underdog’s renovation. Um, please and thank you!

I chose this inexpensive large textured tile for the shower surround. My thoughts were that the white would keep the bathroom feeling bright and the shiny, textured surface would bounce even more light around the teeny room. Plus, who wouldn’t want to take a shower surrounded by glittery tile?!

I decided on this penny tile for the floor. Another affordable option! {The sample of wood flooring next to the tile sample is the flooring we’re using in our adjacent master bedroom.} Can you tell I was going for lots of texture in the bathroom? To ground the room a little and add some contrast, I went for a gray-ish floor tile as opposed to something white.

We got the bathroom put back together {foam insulation, updated electrical, new window, new tub, new lighting fixtures, drywall & paint, backerboard, etc.} somewhat and then Handy Hubby proceeded to prep for the tile installation which involved studying this DIY video and lots of measuring. A few days in, our bathroom is starting to look, well, like a bathroom…FINALLY! Instead of a jail cell.

The shower surround is up and waiting for pencil tile edging and grout. Even without finishing touches, the bathroom is so much brighter and fresher!

There’s my lovely little window! HH installed the tile horizontally in a brick pattern all the way to the ceiling. I think the large size of the tile goes a long way in making the small area feel bigger.

A bullnose version of the large tile finishes off the window inset perfectly.

With the window right inside the shower/tub area, it allows natural light to pour in and make the tile all the more shimmery.

This tile might not be good for our utility bill. I don’t think I’m ever going to want to turn the water off and leave the shower! Is it weird to want to rub my hands all over the shower tile? Yeah, I thought so.

The plan is to add pencil edging along the border where the tile meets the drywall. HH had to install two sheets of backerboard on top of one another on the toilet wall to get proper coverage over the top of the new tub. {The tub was a little shorter than the width of the bathroom.} As a result, the shower tile sticks out further than the drywall – which would happen anyway but in our case it’s exaggerated – so we aren’t able to use the bullnose tile like HH did for the window inset. After a quick call to The Tile Shop {I tell you what, those people know their tile!}, we were happy to learn that we’d be okay to use a pencil tile with some more height to it for the shower’s border.

Once the edging is complete, HH is grouting and moving onto the bathroom floor tile. He’s a weekend warrior that man. Love him. Even more than that glittery tile.

Our goal of having at least one functional bathroom before moving into the Underdog is slowly becoming a reality. Let’s not forget that we have another full kid/guest bathroom to tackle {which I’m just as excited about} along with a mudroom/dining room – both of which are getting tile treatments. We’re not out of the tiling woods quite yet.

What about you? Any bathroom business under your belt? The DIY kind, I mean. Any plans for updating a bathroom in your house?

FYI – The Tile Shop graciously offered us the products linked to above free of charge. In that way, we’ve been compensated for mentioning them. However, we would highly recommend their products and services regardless of compensation. They have been extremely helpful to us in selecting tile, ordering product, and DIYing the installation. We can always call the store with a question and get a quick and educated answer. They even offer DIY classes in-store if you’re a tiling newbie.

images: all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

02.27.12 / A Cradle in Waiting

It’s unofficially official. It’s likely we won’t be moved into the Underdog before baby #3 arrives. I’m due in early April but rumor has it this lil’ one could come as early as a week and a half from now. Yikes! While I’m doing my best to keep this bun in my oven as long as possible, Handy Hubby and I have decided not to put the added pressure of ‘we must move!’ on ourselves. If someone would have told us six months ago that we’d be bringing this baby home to our temporary apartment, we probably would have told them they were crazy.

We had every inclination to be moved into the Underdog by now but life has thrown us some curveballs as it does from time to time. {Not to mention that we were probably a little overzealous in predicting how long it would take us to complete the long list of projects required to make the Underdog livable.} For one, HH got a promotion at work that required him to travel extensively over the past several months. Some months he was gone for as much as 3 weeks out 4. And there’s no such thing as long-distance DIY!

Once we got the Underdog’s progress to a place where we could bring the kids along with us safely while we worked, we had a major setback with the flooring. What we had guessed would take us a couple of days ended up taking us a couple of weeks! Par for the renovation course. {The good news is we’re thrilled beyond belief with the results.}

Then came the whole preterm labor thing a few weeks ago that has forced us to refocus our priorities {especially mine} elsewhere.

So, we’re still here in our cozy lil’ apartment. And we’re entirely thankful for it! Downsizing and buying a fixer-upper has afforded us a teeny monthly mortgage payment {probably less than most people’s car payments} so we aren’t strapped to pay the rent for our away-from-the-renovation-dust oasis {if you can consider faux wood vinyl floors and primer white walls an ‘oasis’ that is}. Sure, we could have hired someone to finish up the Underdog in a timely manner {i.e. well before baby’s due date} for us but it would have cost us waaaaay more than to pay a few more months’ worth of rent. We’re hanging in there! We can see the light at the end of tunnel!

Which leads me to today’s topic and some pics…finally! Since there’s a very good chance we’ll be bringing baby #3 home to our apartment, I’m getting antsy about throwing together a little nursery in the corner of our bedroom. Our apartment only has two bedrooms – one for us and one for the boys. Luckily, newborns don’t require a lot of space.

Over the years, I acquired this antique cradle that has been passed down through my dad’s family. I think it may have been his cradle when he was a baby so that makes it 50+ years old. It was the cradle my parents put me in as a newborn too. It’s petite enough to fit into a small corner of our bedroom and it’s still sturdy after all these years, so it’s perfect for what we need – a temporary sleeping spot for our impending arrival.

It’s not what I would call ‘my style’ but I can’t see spending a bunch of money {or any money for that matter} on something else…something we won’t even need in a few short months. My first inclination was to paint the cradle but I haven’t decided yet whether or not that’s a good idea. For one, I feel like I would be breaking some kind of unwritten family law that says the cradle must stay in its original condition. For another, I plan on passing the cradle down to my younger sisters when they become mamas and I’d feel bad if they would have wanted the crib in its natural state.

The wood isn’t in bad shape – just worn well. What is an expecting, nesting mama to do? Whether or not I paint the cradle, I do plan on dressing up the corner of our bedroom for the baby. Maybe hang some stuff on the walls and make it more personal, celebratory. Nothing too difficult since I’m still taking it easy these days.

Oh, and I think I might have figured out why I’m drawn to geometric prints. It’s in my nature. The quilt in the cradle was mine as a baby as well. Notice the zig-zag, chevron-like pattern? My grandma has pictures of me playing on this very baby quilt as an infant.

You know the Dirty Dancing quote, “Nobody puts baby in the corner”? Well, I’m about to. Hopefully, that doesn’t make me a bad mom.

images: all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking






Remember this mood board for our master bathroom?

Master BathroomTo keep the bathroom from feeling too sterile with all the hard, shiny surfaces {tile, gloss vanity, galvanized wall sconce, etc.} I wanted to incorporate a few natural elements in the form of warm wood tones. I thought that bringing in a small woven ottoman and/or a mirror with a wooden frame would help balance out the harshness of the other very bathroom-y elements. And if the ottoman and mirror were round, they’d also break up the strong rectangular lines {vanity, tub, overall shape of the room, shower tile, etc.} of the bathroom.

The bathroom is openly visible from the master bedroom. In fact, I plan on placing the bed so that when lying in it the bathroom is directly across the room. So, I’m going for more of a dressing room effect in the small bathroom vignette {sconce, mirror, vanity, sink} that will be seen from the bed. It helps that the toilet placement is off center from the bathroom doorway! Otherwise, I’d just close the door and call it a day.

I featured the Jules Mirror from Home Decorators in the original bathroom mood board. But with a price tag of $300, it was more than I was willing to spend. So, like I typically do, I used my mood board as a jumping off point to search for another mirror that was cheaper but still retained the two elements I was wanting – warm wood tones and round shape.

I create mood boards for my own home not to pick exact items but rather to create an overall look for a room. So, if an item that I use in a mood board is not at my price point {or if I simply think I can do better}, I have no problem straying away from the mood board and finding something different. I would say normally I end up buying maybe 60% of the mood board items and finding practical replacements for the other 40%. That’s just a rough estimate and every room is a different experience, of course. Still, it’s a process that has worked well for me so I continue to use it.

Now, back to my mirror search…

Somewhere along the way, it crossed my mind that hanging a wood-framed mirror might not be the best option for a bathroom. What about all the moisture? But I really wanted to make it work if I could. I searched everywhere for a round, wooden mirror – online and offline – to no avail. I decided to take a break from my mirror hunt. After all, it wasn’t pressing. We don’t even live in the Underdog yet. I thought I’d give it some time and eventually ‘the mirror’ would come to me.

And that’s exactly what happened. Weeks ago, on a trip to a local salvage/closeout store while looking for rugs, ‘the mirror’ found me.

Round? Check. Warm wood tones? Check. Budget-friendly price? At $79, check. I called Handy Hubby back at the homestead {Surprise! HH was at the Underdog working.} to make sure the mirror’s diameter wasn’t too big/too small for what we needed in our master bath. Wouldn’t you know? The size was just right. Another big check for the salvaged mirror. Then the “do I put a wooden mirror in a wet bathroom?” question popped into my mind again. That’s when I saw it. The mirror’s description tag. It read ’round teak mirror.’

I was sold. Why? Because teak has natural oils that make it ideal for wet conditions. It’s commonly used to make outdoor furniture, boat decks, exterior architectural elements and cutting boards. It doesn’t matter if the wood is treated or not. This round teak mirror was the perfect solution for our master bathroom! It came home with me. FYI – I didn’t find any buy-worthy rugs. You win some; you lose some.

Yeah, I know it’s just sitting on the floor leaning against the wall up there but can you picture it hanging? It’s gonna be fab. I don’t think I’m going to mind staring at it from my bed across the room. Not at all.

I especially like the wedged design of the frame. It gives the mirror interest, pattern and variation.

The wide frame does take away from the surface area of the mirror but HH and I only use the bathroom mirror to wash our faces, brush our teeth, put on a little makeup {me not HH} and fix our hair. So the size of the actual mirrored surface is plenty for us. A leaning floor mirror in the master bedroom has always been a part of the design in my head and we’ll use that larger mirror for full-length once overs.

And that’s the story of how a round teak mirror found me when I wasn’t even looking. That’s usually how true love starts, right? It is how HH and I met. And here we are 14 years later happily living in an apartment, renovating a house, raising two healthy kiddos and expecting another! I expect just as many fulfilling experiences from this mirror. ;)

In other bathroom news {ew, that sounds gross, sorry}, HH has started work on prepping the master bath for tile!!

He picked up supplies from The Tile Shop this past holiday Monday for all of our tiling projects to come {master bathroom, kids’ bathroom, mudroom/dining room} and there was some concern that his Danger Ranger was going to lose an axel. Luckily, the Danger Ranger held in there and pulled through.

Even with it in the box, I couldn’t stop googling over the shower surround tile. It’s so sparkly! HH has been busy throughout the week {after his long day job hours} prepping the master bath for tile. That’s the first room we’re going to tackle with tile. Should be fun!

So how about you? Ever found love for someone/something when you were least expecting it? Ever put off searching for that perfect piece only to have it find you later? I have a feeling when baby #3 arrives, it will be a similar experience as we definitely weren’t expecting to have more children. Sometimes you just have to let things come to you, huh?

images: 1&2, 4-9) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 3) Home Decorators Collection