Bathroom Remodel: Improv Style

I have a problem. I can’t finish a project before starting a new one. We finished the hardwood flooring demo, prep, and install and were finishing up painting doors and trim throughout the house. I planned to paint the doors and trim in the guest bathroom and decided to go ahead and paint them while we had all the painting supplies out (If you have done any amount of painting, you know the biggest hassle is getting the stuff out to start and putting it away when finished).

We took the doors down and got them painted while I painted the door frames and trim (there are 3 different doors in the guest bathroom- door from the hallway, a closet, and a door into a separate room that houses the shower and toilet). While painting the trim, I pulled up a bit of the wallpaper that had come loose to paint under it and the next thing I knew, I had pulled down all the wallpaper.

Andrew was not happy with me since this was on Monday night and we were planning to host our family for lunch the following Sunday to reveal the floors. Now we had to finish painting the trim and doors and deal with a bathroom that was halfway demolished.

Backstory: Our bathroom was livable. It was functional and didn’t look horrible, but it was not good. The wallpaper was old and stained, the grout on the backsplash, well what was left, was gross and cracked. The cabinets screamed 1980’s, the trim and doors didn’t match any of the other wood in our house (even before the floor remodel) and the laminate flooring had seen better days. And we had planned to work on it, just not right now.

I had planned to paint the cabinet in the coming weeks because it would be an easy, 1-2 hour project and planned to tackle the rest (wallpaper removal, paint, grout, caulking, etc.) this summer. But all of that went down the drain when I couldn’t keep myself from taking down all the wallpaper.

Luckily, we were snowed in all week. We got about 12 inches of snow in the course of 3-4 days, which is a lot for our area, and school had been closed the entire week. This gave me the opportunity to finish the bathroom.

I painted the terrible cabinets a nice brownish gray and changed the hardware. I’m not really sure why these cabinets were two-toned. They had been painted this way! Super easy fix either way.(PS: Ignore the blue painter’s tape, I had already taped everything off before I remembered to take a picture)

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2015-02-20 12.16.35I was just joking with a friend today that I spray paint everything, which in reality, is true. The hinges on these cabinets were made specifically for this design of a door and they were brown. I didn’t want brown and could not find a replacement at any of the local hardware stores, so what did I do? I just spray painted them a nice chrome to match the fixtures.

Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of the room before to upload, but you aren’t missing anything….just image textured wallpaper that used to be white and you’ve got it.

Basically I just did what I do best, painted. I did have to repair a few spots that had some wear and tear from well, just being in a bathroom and being covered in wallpaper for 40 years. I started in the smaller section of the bathroom that houses the shower and toilet and moved from there. I decided on a darker brownish-gray to complement the white fixtures, doors, and trim.

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Luckily for us, the previous owners had updated the light fixture as well as the light switch and outlet plates and the towel racks, toilet paper holder, and faucet were all new. Because of that, once I was finished painting, there wasn’t much left to do.

I did re-grout the backsplash and you can read about that adventure here but once that was finished, all that was left was to caulk (everything..tub, toilet, trim, cabinet) and decorate.

I got lucky and found towels that matched perfectly on clearance and a shower curtain at Kohl’s and a nice over-the-toilet shelf from Wal-Mart for $20. My grandmother gave me a set of prints that my great-grandmother had sketched that I was able to use and display along with another one of her other paintings that I already had.

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In the coming weeks I plan to use some left-over moulding to trim the mirror (I just have to convince one of Andrew’s friends that his help is worth a Mexican dinner or something comparable for pay) and eventually tile the floor.

To be honest, when I first started on this project I HATED the countertop and couldn’t wait to replace it, but now seeing it with the updated room, it’s not so bad. It’s funny how remodels can do that.


Hardwood Flooring Overhaul- Part 4: The Reveal

I’ve been waiting to reveal the finished flooring until we showed our family and FINALLY finished painting the millions of eleven doors to match the new trim.

Honestly the change that these floors have made to the house is crazy. It truly looks like a completely different house. The process was grueling, expensive and stressful but as I sit here and look at everything, I wouldn’t change a thing.

We still have a few things to complete (an area rug to pick out and purchase and some pictures to hang) but we could not be more thrilled with how the floor turned out.

**Click on a photo below to enlarge it and open the gallery**

Happy Anniversary Robin Lane!

Well it’s official, we’ve lived on Robin Lane for exactly one year. We signed the papers and got our keys on February 18, 2014 but did not move in until February 22, 2014. I cannot believe how fast the time has gone by and more importantly, all the projects we have completed

Here’s your look back……

#1 We painted and decorated the dining room

Remember those awesome bamboo vinyl decals? Yeah, who doesn’t? We also put up new draperies and replaced the light fixture. Next up in this room? Replace the sliding glass doors with french doors.


#2. We painted the master bedroom walls and doors from that terrible corduroy thing the last owners left us with.

I know this photo is not from the same angle, but its the only one that really showcased the awesome paint job before I got my hands on it.


#3. We removed the off-centered window in the master bedroom by covering it up with a handmade headboard. The only thing left in this room is to fix the closet situation (not enough closet space for two people) and find the perfect mirror to hang over the dresser.


#4. We replaced every light fixture in the house, literally. The dining room, the upstairs hallway, the downstairs hallway, the entry way, the guest bathroom, the kitchen….here’s just a reminder of what we were working with.


#5. We painted what we still affectionally call, “The Blue Room” aka, spare bedroom #1.

Oh my goodness, do you remember the disaster that was this room? I still remember the look Andrew and I exchanged when we walked in this room when looking at the house. With a little help from my mom, it turned out nicely. This room really is perfect and doesn’t need any more help from us for the time being, but eventually will have all the trim and doors painted white to match the rest of the house.


#6. We painted what we still affectionally call “The Yellow Room” aka spare bedroom #2.

Oh those walls! I swear you got a sunburn just standing in that room! This room, much like the other spare bedroom is in pretty good shape. It is furnished, functional, and appears “finished”. I eventually plan to repaint the trim which the last owners had painted FLAT white. *Yuck* It will get the same semi-gloss white we painted the rest of the trim in the house.


#7. We took down the 80’s-refic wood spindles that “separated” the entry way and living room.

If I had known it would only take the 5 minutes it did to get these things down I would have done it February 22, 2014. We were so worried that the ceiling underneath the wood was not finished, which caused me to not want to take them down just because I didn’t want to deal with the hassle. When we got ready to install the wood floors, I knew if I wanted them down, it had to be now so we could fix the ceiling beforehand. It took Andrew and one of his buddies literally 5 minutes. The ceiling underneath turned out to be finished and all we had to do was a bit of touch up paint! IMG_0486#8. We painted the basement’s wood paneling.

You remember the story, it was supposed to be stained a nice dark brown, but that didn’t work out for me, so instead it got painted the nice cream. It truly brightens the room and I’m happy with the outcome!


#9. We’ve added a few personal touches to the basement recreation room.

This room is not anywhere close to what I want it to be, yes it is painted and the wall storage units have had a facelift, but I’m not done yet. We had tons of other things to do to make the upstairs of the house feel more homey and haven’t had the money, resources, or time to tackle this room yet. Next up for this room is a complete revamp of the furniture. I plan to purchase a large brown leather sectional and a HUGE television. We also plan to replace the sliding door that goes to the front walk-out with french doors. I’d also like to look into putting an electric fireplace unit in our fireplace so we can use it easily and more frequently.


#10. Andrew has added his own touches to the downstairs office.

This room was one that didn’t require any work other than decorating. No paining, no floor fix, nothing! The laminate flooring that is in there now works awesome for Andrew’s office chair and he liked the the current paint. He added some of his own favorite things and moved some stuff to put actual office supplies of mine (like paperwork and bills and boring stuff). We do however plan to purchase a new desk, one that is larger for comfort and storage.


#11. We did a minor master bathroom remodel.

We painted, hung a new mirror, and added a nicer over-the-toilet shelf to make this room look a little more put together. I also repainted the cabinets and replaced the hardware. Next up for this room is a new counter top and tile floors.


#12. We did a minor guest bathroom remodel-last week actually.

The guest bathroom was functional, but it just looked worn and tired and kind of sad. I started this project last week by accident while painting the trim and doors to match the other trim and doors in the house (we wanted to finish everything up while I still had all the supplies out). I lifted a piece of wallpaper to paint the board under it, and well, suddenly all the wallpaper was gone.  We painted the walls a brownish-gray, put up a new over-the-toilet shelf, and bought a new shower curtain. I also painted the cabinets, because they could not have been worse to look at before.  IMG_0628

#13. We re-grouted the tile backsplash in the guest bathroom.

This was pretty simple and created quite a bang for our buck. In the coming weeks I plan to frame the mirror using leftover molding from the floor install and replace the fan/light. The room eventually will get tiled floor and a new counter top.


#14. We replaced the outlet covers and light switches from cream to white, to match the new white trim.


#15. We painted the front door a nice cheery blue.



#16. We painted all the doors white, replaced all the hardware (handles and hinges) and replaced the old floor molding.IMG_0480

#17. The most impressive and extensive project of the year? We replaced the carpet in the living room, dining room, hallway, and master bedroom with hardwood.

This has been my goal since we moved in and to see it in real life is crazy. It has completely changed the look of the house. It makes it look bigger, cleaner, and more modern. You can read about the week long process here, here, and here.

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So, as you can see, we’ve had a busy year here on Robin Lane and we’ve checked off most of my short term goals. What’s up for us next? I’ve still got quite a few more projects to check off.IMG_0606


Quick Tile Re-Grout

In the midst of an unplanned guest bathroom renovation, I decided the re-grout the tile backsplash. The current grout was old, stained, and dried up. I planned to go darker with the grout to match the darker walls.

This was actually super easy and took less than an hour. I purchased a pre-mixed grout from Lowe’s. It cost me about $25 but the price was worth it for the sake of not having to mix the grout myself.



So basically, you just spread it into al the grout lines using a straight edge of some sort. I used a plastic paint edger because that is what I had handy at the time. Depending on how the current grout has held up, you may need to scrape the old out, but mine was pretty much non-existent, so I just filled in the gaps.

*Make sure you press in firmly and wipe away excess grout*



Honestly, it makes a giant mess and an even bigger mess when you go to wipe everything down once you are done. But don’t fret, just keep wiping until the tiles are clean.

Super easy process that produces a big bang for your buck.


Hardwood Flooring Overhaul-Part 3: Install

With over 700 sq. feet of installation to complete, in addition to putting up the baseboards, our installer Lenny had us on the books for 4 days, Tuesday, January 26th-Friday, January 30th. He started early on that Tuesday and was able to get the padding put down throughout most of the house as well as get a lot of the living and hallway finished.

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Seeing the wood finally on the floors made all of handwork the week before worth it. Andrew and I had to move some furniture around that night/the next morning so he could start on the bedroom the next day.

The next afternoon when I got home from school, they were finishing up the the bedroom by installing the baseboards so we could go ahead and move the bedroom furniture back in and not have to sleep on the floor somewhere. To say we were THRILLED was an understatement!

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On Thursday, Lenny finished up the dining room and hallway. The amount of work he put into making this floor look complete blew our mind. Under each door frame he had used a drimmel to ensure the flooring laid perfectly under the frame, and since we have 7 doorways in the hallway, this was quite a feat.

On Friday, we had our first “big” snow of the year that resulted in covered and ICY roads. I was on a two-hour delay for school and the news was warning drivers of treacherous conditions. The interstate had experienced some serious accidents that had it closed both directions at one point and I was a little upset because I didn’t figure our flooring would get finished that day. Lenny called me at 7 to ask if he could still come up and finish the install, which we were surprised and thrilled. He came up and finished our entry way, stairs, and the remaining baseboards to complete our project.

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Stay tuned for the final reveal, once I FINALLY finish the never ending project of painting and re-installing the remaining doors!



Hardwood Flooring Overhaul-Part 2: Prep

With all the old floors gone, we were ready for the second part of this massive project-prep. To really update the look and feel of the house, we had decided to accent our new dark flooring with a clean white trim. Again, to save some money, I planned to paint the existing door frames and doors to match the new baseboards we were having installed. We also had other parts of the house the needed the wood that couldn’t be removed, for one reason or another, to be painted as well. A few weeks prior, we removed the wood spindles that I have HATED since the first time I stepped into the house. 2015-01-03 13.21.58  2015-01-03 13.28.13 I now needed to touch up the ceiling and railing these things had previously been attached to. I used the same process as the stair trim-sand (and touch up), prime, paint, and caulk. While I was working on this, I also had to paint some trim on the wall that used for decorative purposes but that could not be removed. 2015-01-19 13.19.22 2015-01-19 15.34.53 2015-01-19 16.03.15 After this was done, I moved on to painting the dining room and kitchen openings as well as working on all SEVEN doorways in the hallway. Everything had to be hand sanded and taped off. Then I went door by door to prime, and paint. The most time consuming part was the first coat of paint. The primer and second coat went on easily and quickly.                              2015-01-24 18.58.26 2015-01-24 18.58.07   2015-01-24 19.51.04 2015-01-24 19.50.56 2015-01-24 19.08.49 I also had to paint the attic door and trim because once everything else was white, it stuck out like a sore thumb. This was tricky because the door could not be removed (easily, at least) so it had to remain open while painting so as not to paint it shut. 2015-01-24 19.55.30 2015-01-25 14.58.41 2015-01-25 14.58.02   The next part of the prep phase was pretty easy. We had to paint the 16 foot long baseboards. Luckily we purchased primed baseboards so all we had to do was paint each with one coat of white paint. We laid 5 or 6 out on the saw horses at a time and finished those things in no time. 2015-01-27 20.35.54-2 With the prep completed, we were ready for installation!!!!! ****The last part of the prep project (that I am STILL working on, 2 weeks later) is painting all the doors. This has been a major undertaking that is TIME COMSUMING. With 7 doors in the hallway, plus 2 additional doors in the hall bathroom, the master bath door, and master bedroom closet doors, I am beginning to think I will never finish. Each door must be sanded, primed and get 2 coats of paint on EACH SIDE. It takes about 2 hours to dry between coats, so about 6 hours per door. I am working on the last 3 doors and will get those installed before we do our REVEAL.***** 2015-01-29 17.15.06

Hardwood Flooring Overhaul-Part 1: Demo

I have been so busy the past 2 weeks with this flooring project that I haven’t had a free minute to sit down and commit to writing a post, but this morning with Andrew running sound at a wedding, I told myself I would at least start with Part 1 of this MASSIVE project.

It has been my dream to have hardwood flooring throughout the main living areas in our home. That was actually the first thing I looked for when we first looked at our house last February…I found a floor vent, pulled it out, and lifted the carpet to see if just maybe, there was hardwood floor under the nasty carpet (crazier things have happened). Sadly, no such luck and we were stuck with the gross carpet that was bunching in multiple places throughout the house. We knew the eventual goal was to rip out all the carpet and lay hardwood in just over 700 sq. feet of our main floor including the dining room, living room, hallway, master bedroom, stairs and entry way.

I finally was able to convince Andrew to start this project in the hopes it would be finished before our One Year Anniversary of moving to Robin Lane. We looked at several places including Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Lumber Liquidators as well as spoke to several installers before deciding on using Lowe’s and one of their installers. We had originally planned to do a true solid wood floor, but because our subfloor is pegboard, solid wood was not an option for us unless we laid a new layer of subfloor before starting the project. We decided against the extra cost and went for an engineered hardwood which is a layer of real wood on top of a core of plywood. It is locking much like laminate in the way it is installed, but the top layer is true wood as opposed to laminate that is a photo of wood.

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To save some money, like I’m always looking to do, I opted for us to complete the demolition of the current flooring and baseboards as well as moving the furniture. I knew this was going to be a big undertaking, but it was saving us about $1,000 so I also knew it would be worth it.

I started the demo on the steps because it didn’t require any furniture to be moved. I ripped up the carpet and padding and used a pair of slanted pliers to pull up the staples. Lucky for us, the previous installer had not removed the staples from the old carpeting before installing what was currently there, so I had the joy of removing double the staples. 2015-01-18 18.52.05After removing all the staples, I knew I needed to paint the trim around the stairs white to match our new trim since this specific trim could not be removed without ripping up the stairs (good plan, I know). I taped it off, sanded, primed and painted. It took 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of beautiful Valspar white paint. I also used a white caulking to fill in any gaps that had been caused by shifting throughout the years.

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After seeing the difference already, I was energized to get to the rest of the house. Andrew and I pulled up most of the trim together since we were not worried about saving it and then he called up some of his wonderful, fantastic, did I say WONDERFUL, buddies to help us with the rest. We shoved the furniture into any free place we could find and ripped up the carpet and padding and then followed closely removing the staples. With their help, we were able to finish that HUGE part of the project in one evening.

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Oh I forgot to mention, our flooring delivery was pushed ahead FIVE days, so we had to move all the boxes of flooring (all 32 of them) before removing the carpet in the dining room and then move it back after the staples had been pulled up.

Our entry way had some tile that was probably really pretty when it was first installed. It was expensive Italian granite that had discolored over the years and was stained with paint and who knows what else. We had to break it apart, scape it all up, and get it out of the entry way before the installers were able to start. This was fun. Have pent up anger? Break some tiles!!

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With the tile and carpet gone, we were ready for Part 2: The Prep!