...because home doesn't happen overnight.
Someday this is going to be a really awesome bathroom. For the past two years, it’s been this unfinished eyesore that I shield my eyes from every time I pass by in the hallway. I pretend it’s not there. When we have guests over and they want a tour, I’m all “…and here’s where we hold our Amazon deliveries for inspection…” When I’m embarrassed, I try to be funny but I think it comes across as awkward instead and then everyone ends up feeling uncomfortable. And even though we don’t mind guests traipsing through our bedroom to use the only functioning bathroom in the house, I’m guessing they feel a little weird doing it. So for the sake of our houseguests comfort, we really want to tackle this bathroom. Getting the mound of bathroom finishes (tile, tub, toilet, vanity, wall sconce, plumbing fixtures, etc.) out of the garage would be nice, too.
Maybe 2014 will be the year we park a car in our garage?!
Two weeks ago our plumber adjusted the water lines for the tub. We tried leveling the concrete floor in here over a year ago (life has totally gotten in the way of this project) but the water lines needed to be sunk a little deeper into the slab for us to tile over properly.
During renovation we had the plumber update the water lines for the tub. At the time, he was afraid they were too high and he told us to give him a call if we needed him to adjust them. So two years later that’s just what we did. He didn’t charge us for this most recent work since it was his error. I love our plumber. He’s a man of his word, returns our calls and shows up when he says he’s going to. (He’s Pete the Plumber in Lebanon, Ohio for any locals needing a good plumber.)
Some jackhammering was involved in sinking the lines so Steve patched the floor this weekend. We have to let it cure for a while before we can start any tile prep but the good news is the floor is level! Dirty, but level!
We also decided to create access to the water shutoff in the bathroom. (We’re overly paranoid about water leaking, pouring, seeping, dripping and flooding into our home.) Our hope is we’ll never have to use it but if we need it, it’s there.
The bathroom shares a wall with my workspace in the kitchen. The water shutoff is located behind this base cabinet. We thought creating access to the shutoff within the cabinet would be discreet but effective. To prep for an access panel, Steve removed the cabinet doors (Ikea cabinets make that super easy, btw.) and emptied the cabinet.
Steve picked up an inexpensive access panel from Home Depot for about $12. He traced its dimensions onto the back of the kitchen drywall from the bathroom. (We had already cut out a panel of cement board for access to the water shutoff during renovation. It goes back in place with a few screws.) He drilled a small hole in one corner (seen above) to get started then used a small hacksaw to cut out a square. He did this from the bathroom side and was careful not to cut through any pipes.
He cut right through the drywall and the back of the cabinet.
As you can see, he had some helpers. Everett was so excited. He thought we were making a secret passageway. Sorry, buddy, just trying to give you somewhere else to pee.
Then Steve slipped the access panel into place.
The cabinet frame and new access panel are both white so the result is pretty inconspicuous.
Then we loaded everything back into the cabinet.
It’s like it never even happened. Having access to the water shutoff gives us peace of mind. Man, I hope we never have to use it. Now we’re just waiting for the concrete to cure and then it’s on to tiling! We don’t have a set deadline for finishing the bathroom. We’re working on it when we can – in between the kids’ activities, Steve’s work and business trips, episodes of New Girl, birthday parties. But it’s something we’d really like to see to completion before nicer weather hits and all we’ll want to do is GO OUTSIDE.
The plumber asked to see the floor tile and tub fixture for measurements when he was here adjusting the water lines. I sorted through the beast that is our garage to find them and then I got excited all over again about this bathroom. After sharing one bathroom with four other people for the past two years, having two working bathrooms is going to be such a luxury!
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
So much to smile about this week!
*Cuddling with Mabrey and reading her absolute favorite book before nap time is something I look forward to every day. Our copy was Steve’s when he was little. Dare I say it’s vintage?
*Finally, we created attic access in our home where there was none and then we organized said attic. Hurray for not paying to heat / cool attic space anymore!
*These painter’s pyramid stands came in handy when I tweaked an Ikea step stool earlier this week. Such a clever product!
*Lauren’s tips for styling a console. Her home is featured in the current issue of Domino magazine which I just picked up this morning. Guess what I’ll be reading tonight with wine in hand!
*A little bathroom humor never hurt anyone.
*You know that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow we’ve all been searching for? Turns out, it was in someone’s backyard.
*We got a taste of spring. It was delicious.
*I placed second wayyyyyy behind one of my all-time favorite designers in the annual Homies Awards. Emily slayed it and rightfully so! Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote. Love ya.
Do something that puts a smile on your face this weekend. We’re hoping to level out the floor in our unfinished bathroom after our plumber came and adjusted a water line last week. Gotta start somewhere!
image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
That’s Everett. He’s five. He wants to do everything his big brother does including wash his hands at the kitchen sink even though he can’t reach the faucet. Instead of walking back to the bathroom, because you know it’s sooooo far, he climbs up on the counter and precariously balances on the edge of the sink. Obviously, it isn’t safe. I keep picturing him falling head first into the sink or backwards onto the floor. Plus, there’s no center support in the cabinet under the sink so I don’t really think it’s meant to hold the weight of five-year-olds.
Enter the Ikea BEKVÄM step stool. It’s $15, constructed of solid wood and sturdy. (We have one in the boys’ room so I can vouch for it.)
(I got a little carried away with laying out the unassembled pieces. Doesn’t it look like a graphic group cheerleading pose?)
Before assembly, I painted the legs and stained the steps. I walked into Sherwin Williams (I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket) and was immediately drawn to a fiery red-orange swatch. The paint color is called “stop”. I guess because that’s what you do when you see it. STOP! I like mostly neutrals in our house but I thought it would be fun to have a shot of color on the stool. Also, I seem to be on a red-orange kick lately. The paint guy said since it was in the red family I was to use a primer first. I didn’t. I’m such a rebel. I brushed on two thin coats in a semigloss finish and the coverage was great so I left it at that.
Ikea advises against painting the steps due to the risk of slipping. And since safer was my goal in the first place, I decided to stain the steps with one coat of Minwax special walnut. We had some leftover from previous projects so all I had to do was walk out in the garage and search for a half an hour through our own private paint department. Oh, wait!, first I used a coat of wood conditioner…then I stained. I always use a wood conditioner before staining. Okay, so that was one coat of wood conditioner then one coat of special walnut. I decided not to seal the steps because I like the raw, matte wood and I kinda love the idea of it getting beat up and taking on a patina over time.
Isn’t it spicy against the black cabinets?! HOT. With hints of orange and coral, it’s such a great modern red. I’m so happy I only did one coat of stain on the steps and left them unsealed. I love me some rustic-modern juxtaposition.
Now the lil’ man can wash his hands, no problem. Everett was so excited when I told him the stool was for him.
But there was a *slight* ulterior motive for this stool. I have a hard time reaching a cabinet above our microwave. I usually end up hoisting myself onto the counter or dragging over an extra tall stool from the island. No more.
When the stool isn’t in use, I’ve been stashing it next to the fridge. (Mabrey is all about climbing up and messing with the papers and magnets. One problem solved, another created.) Eventually, it will go live where the high chair is now in my workspace.
I am a little worried about the paint marking up the cabinets but I talked to Everett about it and so far he’s been really careful not to bump the stool against the cabinets. Like I said, he LOVES the fact that this is his stool and he’s taking it very seriously. Ha! I’m hoping the high quality paint won’t be prone to leaving marks. I also made sure to let the paint cure thoroughly before bringing the stool into the kitchen. So far, so good.
Isn’t it just the hottest lil’ thing? All of a sudden I’m craving a margarita and chips & salsa. Any takers?
images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking
There’s a short hall that connects our mudroom / dining room and great room. (You can see the original man door to the garage that we still need to trim out and paint. Sometimes the littlest projects take the longest. Grrrr.) It’s so short that I’m not sure it even qualifies as a hall. But we refer to it as a “hall” nonetheless.
Way back when I painted the mudroom (for the third time), I had the inclination to DIY a magnetic display wall in this deficient hall. I thought it would be fun to display the kids’ creations and give the pass-through something. I rolled on four coats of Rustoleum magnetic primer and two coats of paint on top of that to match the rest of the room. Then I hung the kids’ works of art…with one major snafu. The wall was barely magnetic. No magnets would stay on the wall, let alone a magnet plus a piece of paper. I followed the directions to a T and even added an extra coat or two but the magnetic property of the wall was weak at best. I’m not sure what went wrong.
So the kids’ art was moved to the quintessential home gallery – the side of the refrigerator – and my magnetic wall was forgotten. I added word magnets to the fridge when Everett was learning to read and quite liked the messy display of brightly colored rainbows and jumbled words. If you ask me, every family needs at least one vertical surface on their fridge smothered in rainbows, stick people and barely legible love notes.
At some point, someone (I think it was Steve) had the idea to leave funny messages on the magnetic wall using the word magnets. They stuck! The magnetic force wasn’t super strong but the words stayed on the wall and that’s all that mattered.
My magnetic wall wasn’t a lost cause after all! I just needed magnets with a decent magnetic surface area.
Enter StickyGram. (This is not a sponsored post, btw.) You’ve probably heard of this before but if not StickyGram allows you to turn your instagram photos into 2″ x 2″ magnets. They are a little pricey ($14.99 + free shipping for a sheet of nine) so I waited until they were running a sale earlier this year to order several sheets.
For Valentine’s Day I thought it would be fun to create a heart-shaped display using my StickyGrams and barely magnetic wall. The little magnets stick! There are a few duplicates that will eventually make their way to Steve’s file cabinet at work. Can you spot them?
The heart could stand to be larger but I think it will be fun to add more StickyGrams over time. My goal is to cover the entire wall someday.
For fun, I added “love always” with our magnetic words. You could go crazy and add all kinds of phrases if you wanted.
I love how the colorful images look against the dark wall. The magnets read as one display from a distance but then you get closer and the individual images draw you in.
This is definitely a cutesy V-day idea that could hang around all year long. Instalove!
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images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking