...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
Many of you want to know what’s become of our outdoor furniture this winter. We don’t have room for it in the garage. We don’t have a shed. We don’t have an off-site storage unit.
In the fall, we arranged the sectional, chair and coffee table pieces into two rectangular shapes (kinda like a 3D puzzle), covered them with two outdoor covers and pushed them up against the back of the house under an eave. Everything sits up off the ground on the platform deck. I washed the cushion covers and sealed them in plastic bags then took them and the cushions up to the attic to hibernate for the winter.
On a tangent, you can see more of our newly organized attic here. The Home Depot contacted me earlier this year about collaborating on a storage / organization post. Seeing as how we had been living with two pieces of foam board taped over our attic access for months in order to prevent heat from escaping into the attic, it seemed like a good fit. I love it when collaborations work out that way. When they give us a kick in the butt to tackle something we should have done already. Deadlines are good motivators!
Anyhow, the outdoor sectional cushions are up in that tidy, blue-carpeted attic space waiting for spring.
Let’s get back to the sofa. (I feel like this is a very scatter-brained narrative. Steve is out of town this week and I’m running on two hours of sleep sooooo…yeah, that explains a lot.) Our hope was that the deep eave would shelter the furniture from the elements somewhat. It does okay. Obviously, snow and rain still get on the furniture but that’s where the covers come in.
We bought the covers online. I don’t remember where (Steve has all that info. I’ll ask him when he’s back.) but I do remember we opted for ones near the “high quality” end of the spectrum but they weren’t the most expensive option we came across. We figured it was worth it to protect the not-so-cheap furniture we invested in. With the way this winter has been, we’re happy with our decision.
The one drawback is that snow, water and ice tend to accumulate on the covers causing them to dip. Every few days I go out and brush them off. The worst is when it’s water or ice. Water and ice are HEAVY. I use a pitcher as a bail to scoop and dump the water. When it’s ice, I gotta put my back into it. My fear is that the weight will pull on the covers and rip them. So even though the covers are protecting the furniture, our setup isn’t completely maintenance free. Then again, it’s been some kind of winter.
You may have noticed the outdoor dining chairs hanging out under the eave as well. They’re plastic and don’t hold snow like the bigger furniture so we left them uncovered. They’re swell.
The outdoor dining table is uncovered, too. We left it open to the elements all last summer and it was fine so no cover here either. It has a slatted top so water can drain off. If anyone’s been wondering about the DIY wood art, it still looks brand new. No worries.
And now this is the end of a very boring, snowy post. Wish it was the end of a very boring, snowy winter instead.
Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to browse beach cottage rentals online just to torture myself a little more.
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
This winter has been brutal. Most of you already know this from first-hand experience. We’re in the midwest and have had record snowfall and cold temps. Part of our bedtime routine with the kids is sharing something we’re thankful for and every night this winter I’ve been thankful for shelter from the cold and snow. So many people don’t have basic necessities (shelter, coats, warm meals, etc.) during winter and I think it’s something easily taken for granted. I try to remind my kids how lucky we are to have a roof over heads, all decorating aside.
On a lighter note, I thought it might be helpful to share a few of my favorite winter essentials (non-shelter related) today. You know, since there’s a polar vortex right outside my door. Also, can I just say that persons in southern California should not be permitted to do winter essential roundups? That’s just ridiculous. But maybe Canadians feel the same way about midwesterners??
Anyway, here are six things that made this winter a tad more tolerable for me.
1 – organic, unrefined coconut oil I switched from regular body lotion to coconut oil last winter and I have nothing but good things to report. I picked up a jar at a local health food store and keep it in my bathroom vanity. I rub one to two teaspoonful into my skin right after showering to lock in moisture for days. My husband and kids use it as well. The oil is solid at room temp but melts to the touch. It might seem expensive but the nearly empty jar pictured here is the original jar I purchased last year. It’s lasted me that long! A little really goes a long way. I use it in the summer, too, but in the winter it is a godsend. Bonus: you can cook with it!
2 – easy-to-maintain houseplants In Ohio, everything goes dormant and turns brown for the winter but I need greenery around me. To me, houseplants are signs of life and warmer things to come. They purify indoor air and, since we spend most of our time inside during cold & flu season, they help to keep us healthy. I’ve been known to have a black thumb but I’ve had luck keeping jade and snake plants alive throughout winter.
3 – honest dryer cloths It’s so dry here in the winter that static cling is inevitable. I find it sooooo annoying. Typically, I don’t use dryer sheets but this winter I’ve had to. The static is that bad. I’m a big fan of The Honest Co. (This isn’t sponsored, btw.) I buy their products with my own money and usually receive an order from them every other month. You can easily customize your personal ship date by clicking a box online – no phone calls necessary. For the past few months, I’ve been ordering these dryer sheets. They are wet, plant-based cloths with no artificial fragrances or animal fats. Each sheet can be used twice. And best of all, they work!
4 – vitamin D3 About one month into winter, I wasn’t feeling like myself. I was drained – emotionally and physically. On a hunch (I’m a pharmacist by trade although I’m not practicing at this time), I picked up a bottle of vitamin D tablets at the grocery store to see if they would help. You guys, I noticed a difference within 24 hours of taking my first dose! I had more energy and felt more like myself. This might be a little TMI but…the vitamin D also helped regulate my out-of-whack menstrual cycle, too. My vitamins are a cheap-y version because I wanted to see if they made a difference before I invested in something pricier. When my current bottle is empty, I’m upgrading to a higher quality, organic softgel. FYI – Check with your physician regarding vitamin D deficiency and dosing.
5 – fekkai advanced brilliant glossing conditioner By far, the best conditioner I’ve ever used. Back to the static cling that drives me insane in the winter…it affects my hair, too. But when I use this conditioner, BAM!, no staticky flyaways. I use it year round and it’s worth every penny. One bottle usually lasts me a year (I use it once or twice a week on the bottom half of my hair after shampooing) so, like the coconut oil, a little goes a long way. Pssst – I tried using the coconut oil as a conditioner since I read it was great for hair but it was a total flop. Using a little resulted in oily hair for days.
6 – C.O. bigelow night balm Dry, cracked lips are no joke but I’m prone to them during winter months. My sister gifted me this balm for Christmas after raving about it. She was right. It’s the bomb. I apply just a little before bed every night and it’s enough to keep my lips supple for 24 hours.
I’d love to hear about your winter essentials! This list is mostly health and beauty related but a glass of red wine in the evenings always helps take the chill off for me, too. Mmmm…warm fuzzies.
image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking