How to Change Out a 220 Outlet

Remember how my kitchen looked like this the last time I talked about it? Transformed, but still a hot mess. Not a hot mess actually, just a mess. There was a lot still to be done. And one of those things on the to do list was fixing the 220 appliance outlet on the back wall beneath the windows. This was the outlet for the stove.

Not that the house came with a stove. It just looked like this when I bought it and my best guess is there was an older pre-1960s stove next to the stairs on the wall opposite the windows. This guess is based on the grease pattern that was left on the floor and wall there and the fact that there’s another 220 appliance outlet on that wall. The one under the kitchen windows is probably left over from when there was laundry up here. You can see the old dryer vent next to the outlet here below. We removed the vent when we demo’ed this wall down to the studs in February 2018. Yeah this really was the glorious kitchen I fell in love with when I bought the house. Can you believe it?

I wanted to place the stove on this wall because it made the most sense and because I didn’t want anyone falling down the stairs and burning themselves on the stove. Plus, who doesn’t want to look out the window while they cook?

Anyways, the problem with the existing 220 outlet was a) that it was ancient and looked suspicious and b) I’d shorted it pretty badly when I ripped the homasote off this wall during demo and one of the screws holding it to the wall came off inside the outlet. Whoops. Definitely not a safe move. You can see on the back of it that hole near the top where the screw went from inside the outlet and secured it to the wall.

The wiring had been checked by my electricians when they came in October 2017 and it was good to use, but I hadn’t bothered to flip the breaker back on this guy after shorting it. Just in case, I did double check that it was off using an electrical tester before doing anything further.

Then I gathered some supplies. Tea always comes in very helpful during electrical work! I’d picked up a new 220 wall outlet at Home Depot for about $10.

The old outlet had certainly seen better days, and I was excited to switch it out because this change officially meant I would have a working oven! At the time I did this, I hadn’t had a working oven in 6 months and pretty much cooked everything in a toaster over in my dining room. You can see that delightful set up in my February 2018 House Tour!

I unscrewed the screw in the middle of the outlet and loosened the cover. The outlet cover slid up and off the 220 outlet exposing all the guts.

At the bottom of the outlet you can see the screw that came out and shorted it. I’m lucky I’m alive, ya’ll, I do a lot of stupid things. Don’t do that. Turn off your electricity before demoing around it, please.

Now to unattach the wires. This was simple, just unscrew the machine screws connecting them to the outlet and pull them out.

Then I shoved all the wires together, unscrewed the outlet box from the conduit pipe using a pair of pliers, and pulled the old outlet box off the conduit pipe. Now there were just some wires floating there!

I took my new outlet out of it’s box and was very thankful that everything looked nearly identical!

I removed the bottom knockout on the new outlet with a screw driver (super easy: stick screwdriver in slot, twist, and pull) and crossed my fingers it would fit on the old conduit pipe.

I wrangled the wires and stuffed them through the knockout and pulled the little nut over everything. Luckily, it all fit nicely!

Then I used my pliers again to tighten the little nut so the new outlet was secured to the conduit pipe. I made sure that baby wasn’t going anywhere! There was also a screw at the top of the outlet which would have allowed me to attach it to the wall, but since it was secured pretty well to the conduit and my new drywall was 2″ without all the old siding behind it, I ignored this screw.

Now it was time to attach the wires to the outlet. I slid them in one at a time and tightened the machine screws that hold them in place.

Once I was done it looked like this! All the wires in place and ready for a cover plate! I was this close to a real working kitchen again! Woohoo!

The outlet cover snapped on to the outlet and all of a sudden I was done! Now just to get an oven in here and fire it up! All in all this project took less than an hour and used only the simplest tools: pliers, a screw driver. Anyone could do this, and I’m sure it would have cost at least $150 to have an electrician come out to do something this simple. That’s just money in my bank now! Well… I mean… I probably spent that $150 on something like paint soon after, but, still. DIY saves ya moolah!

You better bet I coerced my sister into helping me carry the oven into the kitchen that night and testing the new outlet. It worked! WE COULD COOK AGAIN. I roasted squash and made a mirepoix for butternut squash soup literally 20 minutes after this picture was taken. WOOHOO!!! It was such a relief to be able to use a stove after six months of nothing but toaster oven! I wanted to boil water and fry eggs and sauté veggies! There is nothing like not having a kitchen to make you appreciate all the little things you use a working kitchen for, amiright?

Have you ever done a quick electrical project? Or would you only trust an electrician with this type of thing? I’ll admit, after the house behind ours caught fire in September 2018, I’ve been a bit more nervous about electrical work, but not so nervous to not do it with careful consultations and triple checks! Are you someone willing to work on this or would you hire it out?

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One Room Challenge: Week 6 – Final Master Bathroom Reveal

It’s done — whoopee!! — get ready for the reveal!!! Welcome back to the One Room Challenge: Berrybrier Master Bathroom Edition. I finally have a place to get ready that doesn’t make me concerned for my personal health and it looks so good! First, let’s remind you where we all started here.

The Master Bathroom at Berrybrier is — like most Master Bathrooms — right off the Master Bedroom. It’s an awesome addition that is so great to have, even if it is only a half bathroom. When I bought the house, it was right there, peeking out into the periwinkle and red Master Bedroom.

When I moved in, the bathroom had yellow walls, faux wood wainscotting, loose peel & stick vinyl tile floors, a sink falling off the wall, and a deep and desperate layer of grime. It was a teensy little room (only 54″ deep by 30″ wide!) off my Master Bedroom and hardly big enough to use! The sink stuck way out into the space and you could easily brush your teeth while on the toilet.

Even though the space was small, I knew that with two roommates, any additional toilet and room to get ready for the day in would be an asset! Plus, it’s super great to wash your hands while still sitting on the toilet, right? Right?!

With my moodboard in hand and the One Room Challenge deadline, I got to work demo’ing this little room down to the studs and completely rebuilding it!

Bath Accessories | Sink | Tile | Beadboard | Lighting (Similar) | Paint | Bracket | Faucet

At the end of last week’s post you saw this little sneak peek of how the room was chugging along after all the fixtures were installed and before I worked on final styling. It was a far cry difference from where this space started!

Well, look at her now in all her styled glory! I am just so excited, y’all! This little bathroom was one of the worst rooms in this house when I bought it, and now it’s bright, light, and oh so happy!

I had fun styling out all the shelves in this space, because designers just looove open shelving! I know it’s not for everyone, but if you can style shelves and maintain that look, it becomes such a fun thing to play around with. In this room, a heavy cabinet over the toilet would have felt like too much, so open shelving was really the only option. I’m so glad I went with it though!

Because the room is still tiny, adding inches when I reset the side wall to it’s original location only brought it to 40″W x 54″D! So yes, you can still reach out and turn on the water to brush your teeth while sitting on the toilet, and no, there’s not room for two in here, but it’s just SO MUCH BETTER than before!

I’ve added tons of plants to the shelves, because even though the window faces north and is only about 20 feet from the neighbor’s house, it still gets decent light. Plus, it’s one of the few rooms I can hide spider plants in without fearing that my devil cat will bite off the leaves to play with! I had fun styling it out and just adore the face planter and how the little aardvark I got in New Mexico 11 years ago hides in the string of bananas plant!

On the wall with the sink is the ring for the hand towel and the toilet paper hook. Because this room needs to pack in all my bathroom storage, I also utilize the deep window sill. I keep a black Target tray here with little glass jars holding my incense matches (if you haven’t tried these you need too!) and bobby pins as well as a tiny bowl that I use for the incense. The incense matches are my fave, because I can light one in the mornings when I’m getting ready and enjoy the scent and by the time I’m done with my routine, the incense is out, so I don’t have to worry about it.

My tiny sink is just perfect for quick mornings and I love the accent the black and ceramic faucet brings in as well. I’ve tied in the black faucet with other black accents throughout the room, so it feels purposefully mixed in with all the chrome fixtures.

As for the shelves, they pack in the bulk of my storage! The top shelf holds some extras of hand sanitizer (back stock for one I keep on my desk at work), magic balm, bubble bath (just in case!), etc. The gold container holds tampons, and next to the plant are three bars of soap in front of the art. Yes, I am the only millennial still using bar soap, but I love it and have no plans to stop!

The next shelf holds a basket chock full of the tan Target wash clothes I use to take off my make up and wash my face, as well as some tightly folded bath towels.

The second from the bottom shelf contains more towels, the pot I hang all my earrings from (inside the pot are earrings that don’t hang!) as well as my extra shampoos and conditioners. Since I always buy the same brand, I stock up, and some times there are more or less bottles.

The bottom shelf has two capiz shell boxes that contain all of my make up, my three-eyed cat bowl (which I use for quickly dumping earrings or whatever when I’m feeling lazy), and my stash of extra hand towels.

On the toilet, I’ve squeezed in even more storage, stacking a row of jars that hold q-tips, cotton balls, and flossing tooth picks.

I love that a quick glance at my shelves lets me know if I’m low on shampoo or if I need to wash a load of towels, because I’m getting low. It’s nice to have it all within sight, but organized and contained. All of this used to be stored behind a closed door in an old IKEA wall hung unit that came with the house. It looked terrible inside there! Having it all styled on shelves forced me to not only take a hard look at what I have and pare down, but also store it in a way that is pleasing to look at and very organized.

On the right wall I decided to add a medicine cabinet beneath the light fixtures. Although it’s not right over the sink, it’s still practical. In here I keep my contacts and solution, my jar of make-up brushes, my tooth brush and paste, face creams, sunscreen, moisturizer, and deodorant.

Can you believe that medicine cabinet used to be in the Main Bathroom off the kitchen?! I kept it after I demo’ed that room and a quick coat of paint made it better than new! It’s hard to believe it’s the same storage unit.

Now, it sits on the wall underneath one of the scones I got from my Aunt Steph, next to a picture I found at Goodwill. I love that I was able to reuse the mirror that came with the house, even if it wasn’t exactly original to the house (which probably had an out house when it was built!). The towel bar is centered between the two light fixtures below it.

Undoubtably, the shelves are FULL. They are packed with storage, yet there’s still room for more if I did need it. Most of the items I keep, I’ll have a couple on hand and even if I doubled those things (like shampoo), I wouldn’t need to restyle or move anything.

These photos really show the paint color true to life. It’s Benjamin Moore’s Pink Beach and it’s the most perfect, subtle shade of pink! It really does look like calamine lotion. I actually took the lid of one of the boxes I store my make-up in (bottom shelf) to the Benjamin Moore store and picked a paint color that matched the one on the box then and there without even swatching it on the wall! It was a bit crazy, but I knew what I wanted and I knew the color was greyed out enough to look good in any space. It worked out just as I’d thought! I really couldn’t be any happier. I love how the little room just glows pink in the morning light and how the color is flattering, so I even look good in this space on my most exhausted mornings!

So did I meet my spending goal of less than $650? Let’s see…

  • Drywall = $15 (one sheet, plus left over pieces)
  • Electrical Box + Wire = $50 (I bought extra wire, so I’ll have some for the next project)
  • Sconces = $0 (free from my Aunt Stephanie)
  • Tile + grout + mastic = $20 (tile was left over excess from my parents’ bathroom reno and I had left over mastic and grout from my Main Bathroom tiling, but I did pick up more grout in the end.)
  • Beadboard + Crown/Baseboards/Shelves = $250
  • Shelf Brackets = $32
  • New Sink + Plumbing Pipes = $100
  • Faucet = $75
  • Bathroom Accessories = $40
  • Styling Accessories = $0 (I had all of these already!)

TOTAL SPENT: $582

Now, that’s certainly not free. It’s actually quite a lot to spend on a bathroom I don’t even feel will be permanent (I eventually want to knock down the right wall and steal the shower from the main bathroom to create a true master bath), but for a down to the studs bathroom renovation, that’s pretty damn good! The space is a million times better now and even if I had spend a little on things like tile and lighting, I still would have stayed under $1000.

I think it’s great to consider something like this for your own bathroom renovations. If you have a space that’s just making you unhappy, if you can get pretty thrifty, you can still completely transform it!

How’s this for a before and after!? Can you spot all the big and the little differences? Can you guess what else I’ve been working on? Can you believe it’s the same space, same toilet, same configuration? I can barely fathom how far this little room has come!

Now that’s a real transformation! I’m so glad it’s complete and I’m just absolutely loving getting ready in this new space! What do you think of how it’s turned out? Would you be able to keep all your bathroom and make-up items in open storage like this?

Have you followed along with any of the other One Room Challenge transformations? There are some impressive ones out there!

One Room Challenge: Week Two – Electrical & Drywall

I’m chugging right along with my tiny Master Bathroom renovation. You can check out my plan for the space on the Week One post for my One Room Challenge. One of the first things I needed to do in this space was to actually finish demolishing the homasote that covered the right wall.

Demo is something that is just so satisfying! A few quick hours and you can completely transform the space, every swing of your hammer is progress. So quickly a space can go from this lovely little 70s space…

…to this hot mess. And then you have to clean it all up. Whomp, whomp, whomp. And this stuff gets heavy too! Make sure to use contractors bags rather than normal trash bags since they’re so much stronger and don’t get ruined by the rogue nail! I probably should have removed the plumbing in the bathroom before doing this, but I was hoping to maintain the basic function of this room as long as possible.

It resulted in a whole lot of crazy, but demo’ing this wall allowed me to get a good look at the electrical situation that was going behind it. This house (like most older homes) has a whole lot of secrets hidden in it’s walls. When I opened this space up, I was able to see the new electrical my electricians had installed in the house back in October 2017 and where they’d tied in some older electrical to the new lines. It also exposed some of the willy nilly “structural” supports that were added when some previous owner decided to bump the wall out to fit in the old bathtub in the main bathroom. You can also see the new framing I added to support the original wall location and the backside of my new shower surround.

Once I got my eyes on the electrical I was able to figure out what was going on and replace the existing older wires with new in the locations I wanted. I’d gotten two free light fixtures from my Aunt Stephanie who’s neighbor was replacing some newly installed fixtures after buying their house. Since the original light in this room was above the door, once I’d removed the homasote walls, I could just pull that wire over to the location I wanted my new fixtures. I planned for two sconce fixtures in the space to wash the room with light. Then I could install my medicine cabinet beneath one and a framed picture beneath the other. I also moved an outlet to be next to the light switch for convenience. For the most part, this wiring was already in the walls, I just shifted the locations and switched out any really old wires for new.

Once I’d measured where my new sconces should be I nailed up a horizontal board to hang the far sconce off of and wired up the second sconce to the first.

Simple! Since I needed light to work by in the evenings, I ended up wiring the last sconce in and then hanging it from the grounding wire. Which is probably not the safest idea, but it was very effective and approved by my contractor neighbor. I also had him double check that the electrical all made sense and I wasn’t going to kill myself or burn my house down. He said it looked good, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I’m super nervous about fires now, so it’s nice to have a second pair of eyes. Thanks, Erik!

Then it was time to stuff the wall full of insulation to create more of a sound barrier between the two bathrooms and to keep the bathroom off the kitchen warmer. I just filled in the space and stuffed it all behind the wiring, I tried to make sure it was less compressed than in this picture before I closed up the wall with drywall! Mostly I wanted to keep that main bathroom nice and toasty.

You may have noticed this old fuse box in the picture above. It was the reason the old wall was bumped out only in the lower portion! See how the right wall recesses at the very top in this picture from when I first got the house? The shadow kind of gives it away. I guess the old owners didn’t want to mess with it. I wonder if they put plants or anything on that ledge? That would almost make sense… except the bathroom has a north facing window about 20′ from my neighbors house so it gets no light…. Hmmm… so many questions!!

And even after I had my electricians rewire the main bathroom and tweak this box, it still looked like a mess! The fuses are misleading though, my electricians had switched the wiring to hook into my new circuit breaker, but left these fuses in place… connected to nothing. They used this box as a place to tie all of their wiring together. Which mean it would need to be accessible still. Since one of my sconces was right next to it, I knew that a simple double outlet cover plate would be pretty hidden and allow enough access to this spot. Doesn’t the old wiring look super weird though… I was told it’s not knob and tube, just old.

I knew having an outlet would next to the light switch would be a lot easier to access and prevent me from having to make even more cuts into my beadboard, so I moved it up and placed it right where I wanted it in a new electrical box. Now when I blew dry my hair (which is never) or straightened my hair (once every two years) I’d be prepared! Seriously though… what else do people use bathroom outlets for? Electric toothbrushes?

And finally, it was time for drywall! I bought one sheet of drywall for $15 from Home Depot for this project. I knew it would take care of this wall and I could use scraps from the bathroom and the kitchen to cover up the wall with the door. You can also see here where the old wall was when I bought the house, with the top of the wall niched back. Such an odd arrangement. I filled in a little bit of plaster to help even out the back wall here. Since I was covering everything up with beadboard, I knew exacts didn’t much matter.

And thank god for beadboard, because trying to smooth out all these drywall pieces patched together would have been no fun at all!

Meanwhile, that wasn’t the only thing that needed to be patched either! The former space in the bumped out wall had holes in the floor as well as in the old wall where the plumbing for the original bathtub from the other bathroom had been. I patched these in the same way I patched in the floor in the main bathroom using scrap wood and some clamps. You can also see where I’d slapped a coat of primer on the subfloor after removing most of the peel and stick tiles at one point. It was so much “nicer” this way. Hahaha! Since the peel and stick tiles were coming off and sliding around anyways, there was all sorts of gunk beneath them. Covering it all up with concrete board and tile was going to be amazing!

Now, I can’t say this space was looking a whole lot better yet. But progress is progress, and the middle makes no sense! At least I had the lighting in and the space was suddenly bright and ready for the big transformative touches! I still needed to remove the sink and address the left wall, but everything else was ready for beadboard!

So Week Two is now wrapped up and it’s now on to tiling for Week Three! It’s my second tiling project after the main bathroom, so fingers crossed all goes well. I have just baaaaarely enough tile left over from my parents’ bathroom renovation to complete the floors in here! Soon this little room is going to be looking completely different from when I bought the house. Hopefully, more authentic feeling with more storage and function and much, much prettier to boot!

Boy will I be excited when this is finally done! It’s a pain storing all my bathroom stuff in my bedroom and to encapsulate all the old gross with clean and new is going to feel so amazing.

Definitely check out some of the other participants in the One Room Challenge. There’s a ton of amazing talent out there, it’s so fun to join in for the first time!