Thursday, October 8, 2015

Two Room Challenge - Week 1, Room #1

Does it drive you crazy that I move on to another space before ever really showing you the finished space of the last post?  Me too.  The reality is that we never really finish anything.  Hopefully I can show you the basement slider in the next few weeks.  Don't hold your breath though.

So as long as it already looks like a bomb went off in my house and I'm spending money like it is going out of style why not add another room to the mix?  Linda, from Calling It Home is hosting the One Room Challenge again (a bunch of like-minded lunatics redo rooms in 6 weeks) but I may double down and attempt a Two Room Challenge.  That's right - 2 rooms in 6 weeks.  Bring it.  One was planned, the other was not.

I was ready for a change in the family room.  The couch was 6 years old (not terribly long but when you consider that those 6 years included countless kid stomach bugs, 3 potty training boys, etc. it was time).  Then Piper ate the rug.

The room started like this the day we moved in.  Salmon walls with a coordinating salmon cornice box.  Big window and door.  A hot mess.

Lots of brick and an itty bitty fireplace insert:

So we swapped the window and door for a big slider to the deck:

Pulled out the brick and added a stone fireplace and built-in's.

All 100% DIY with newborns, mind you.  We were are crazy.  I can feel that brick dust in my nose just looking at this picture.  And this is what the room is looking like today.  A couch the color of dirt was strategic.  It is completely fine and I still like it.  Just don't look close - it is gross.

This room redesign was intentional.  A renovation of room #2 was not.  I'll show you that one tomorrow.  Here we go!

Click here to check out the rest of the participants.  
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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Good News / Bad News

I've got good news and bad news.  Good news is I'm back.  Bad news is I'm back to share a project we weren't planning on tackling.  Time and money we hadn't planned on spending.  Good news is I've never liked our powder room floor anyway.

Let me back up.  We were swapping out a rotten window and door in the basement for a big slider door.  It would eventually be the entrance to a small kitchen accessible from the pool.

When Sean pulled down the dry wall to prep for the install he found mold and rotten wood under the 1st floor powder room.  The toilet had a bad seal that leaked, probably for years.  The door installation just moved down on the to-do list and out the bathroom fixtures came.  See this floor?  Yick.  A light colored, cool tile with a warm tile inlay?  Hate it.

View from the basement, under the bathroom:

So gross.  The only thing to do was to pull up the tile, subfloor and any other pieces of moldy, rotten wood and replace it all.  Who knows when we would have eventually found it if we hadn't replaced that door.  Makes me wonder how many other lurking surprises there are.  Ignorance is bliss until you have a mold problem I guess.

As long as we were ripping out the door why not also rip out the fake bead board panels while we're at it and install real bead board (we have some left over from our porch ceiling)?  Scope creep is how we roll.

Sean bought this neat little moisture sensor from Ryobi that takes moisture readings and connects to your phone so that you can plot out changes as it dries out, etc.  After we ripped out all the bad wood we used a heater, fan and dehumidifier to dry out the wood for a couple days.

So good news is that I'm getting a new tile floor.  The bad news is the only 1st floor bathroom was out of commission at exactly the same time the 4 year old came down with a doozy of a stomach bug.  Excellent timing.  We are motivated to get this bathroom back up and running quickly.  Which meant I needed to pick a tile and it had to be in stock.

Having lived and learned with light tile and light grout in this high traffic room with little boys I knew the tile had to be very durable and easy to keep clean (or at least hide the dirt).  I love the look of slate but didn't want to deal with the maintenance of natural stone in this room.

I think I found just the thing.  This is a porcelain tile that looks and feels like slate.  In stock, not crazy expensive and both of us like it.  Done.

Now for layout.  I love this herringbone floor.

Greig Design
Somehow I actually convinced Sean that all that labor would be worth it.  I'm surprised he still likes me.  So we ordered the porcelain tile in 8"x32" tiles and will cut them down to 4"x8" subway tiles.  This is a huge gamble and may end badly.

The design will be a beast so Sean had the genius idea of having my Auto Cad pro brother plot it out so that we could decide on tile placement, determine centers, etc. and then have his engineer brother print it out on huge blotter paper.  This way we could lay the paper out on the floor, trace, cut and dry fit the entire room first.  It is sure is handy having engineers, architects and auto cad brothers in the family when you have an addiction to interior design like I do.  Or maybe they just enable me.  Either way I'm getting a herringbone floor :)

This is where our design ended up.  The bottom border row is a double row b/c the back row is actually hidden by the baseboard heater.

If you remember what the room looked like when we did the wallpaper install the hopeful end product will be something like this:

powder room

So now Sean is working on prepping the room for tile.  New insulation, new heating element, replace the rotten nailers and subfloor and install backer board.

The plumber just left and it turns out the stack line has seen better days.  He says it'll probably be fine for another 5-10 years but because I'm not interested in opening up the floor or walls anytime soon we'll have to bite the bullet and replace that now but can't get it done for 3 more weeks.  All that hurrying up just to wait.  Sigh.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Long time no post.  Sorry.  I've been trying to avoid house projects :)

We have a new Martin male in our household!  Meet Piper, our 7 month old rescue.

He has an insane amount of energy and eats everything in sight.  So basically he fits in with the other boys perfectly!

In other news our baby turned 4 last week.  If you're keeping track that makes a 4 year old, a 5 year old and a six year old in our house.  The puppy made perfect sense for our zoo.

We celebrated his birthday with a Monsters Inc. party.  With all the party supplies I've collected over the years I was able to pick out the purple and teal things from prior parties so I didn't have to buy much.

For some reason the boys have become anti-cupcake.  How is that even possible?  So I gave cake decorating a shot with this Sully cake.

I used store bought cake and frosting and used a decorating tip typically used to mimic grass to create the fur and my professional cake decorating sister sent me the door topper.  Piper got within an inch of eating it which meant he was an inch away from becoming a shelter doggy again (I'm kidding).  I'll keep my day job but the birthday boy loved it.

I added food coloring to 2 of the white cake layers for the surprise center.

We did finish the porch, I just haven't gotten around to writing that post yet.  Soon I promise!
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015


99% complete - just ignore the black square hole - that's where the outlet needs to be pulled through.  This was the "small" paint job that turned into a massive project but I'm really happy with the end result.

And the reason we needed new paint was because the old green clashed with the green wallpaper in the powder room.  Sherwin Williams Slate Tile which is approximately a 4:1 mix of Benjamin Moore's Haley Navy and Revere Pewter.  Mission accomplished.

Sean showcased some of his carpentry skills.

I picked up this canvas abstract from

Sean's already talking about how we "have" to carry the wainscoting through the foyer and family room now.  It is a good thing we're married to each other.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Blue Hue

So I mentioned previously that I had planned to go with Indigo Batik by Sherwin Williams.

Spoiler alert - it looked terrible on my walls.  Getting swatches always feels like a waste of money and time but almost every time I end up choosing a different color than I would have thought based on the little cards.

When choosing a blue for your wall paint always go grayer than you'd think.  In large doses it reads way bluer than it does on the card (and even on the small test swatch).  Also apply test swatches on each wall as each wall may show the color a little differently based on lighting.

I mixed some Benjamin Moore Haley Navy and Revere Pewter I had on hand (4:1 ratio) and ended up with that gray blue on the white scrap wood in the bottom right hand corner.  That was my end goal.  I ordered samples of 4 different shades of what looked like gray blue on the cards.  Top left was too green, top right (Indigo Batik, the original inspiration) was too purple and the bottom two were the contenders for a true gray/blue.  The one on the right looks about right and the one on the left looks pretty gray but using my "always go grayer than you think" rule I went with the one on the left.  Slate Tile by Sherwin Williams.  Even the name sounds gray.

This one ended up as the winner winner, chicken dinner:

Pretty gray right?  

Then in large doses it looks like this.  Magically it reads much more blue.

I'm still not totally sold but I'm hoping that once I get rid of that green and add some art I'll feel better about it.
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Friday, April 10, 2015


Wainscoting has begun. A reminder of what we started with: 

We're not carpenters by any stretch of the imagination but the approach that has worked best for us in the past is:

Measure, measure, measure and then cut all the pieces

Dry fit everything.  This isn't exactly what our design looks like (ours doesn't have the 2nd baseboard) but pretty close and gives you an idea of how to layer wainscoting:

Mark the centers (building a jig helps) and number each piece while still on the wall so you can put it back together again.

Biscuit the ends.  Biscuits are little discs of wood and if you route small holes on 2 pieces of wood, apply glue to both holes will create a nice, strong bond.

Ask your 6 year old to mark all the studs.  Giving a kid the freedom to write on the walls is pretty awesome to them.

Apply construction adhesive to the backs.

Apply glue to the biscuit and the holes.

Place and level before the glue dries.

Nail all the boards and screw the outside corners (so that as the seasons change and the wood wants to expand and contract the seams won't pull away).

This is where we currently are.  We still need to add the rest of the trim to the boxes and the ledge up top.  Then I have to finalize a paint color.  

I'm pretty sure my cleaning lady hates us...
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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Here We Go Again

Remember that time I said I never needed to install wainscoting ever again?

And then how I totally forgot and did it again here?

Well apparently amnesia has kicked in again and my husband has allowed me to sweet talk him into it yet again.  I got bit by the paint bug last week and casually mentioned to my husband that the green may be disappearing soon and that the "long term" plan would be to add wainscoting like this one to give us some additional color options:

He responded with "it shouldn't be too hard" and kind of agreed.  I took that as my green light and literally began drawing all over the walls 10 minutes later.  No going back now.  Very 4 year old of me.

So my plan is go go with a wainscoting 3/4 of the way up the all and then go for this faded navy up top.

Sherwin Williams Indigo Baltik
Then hopefully add some interesting art to tone down the color and to incorporate some other tones.

Here we go again...
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