One Room Challenge: Week 5 – Installing Plumbing Fixtures and Accessories

One Room Challenge: Week 5 – Installing Plumbing Fixtures and Accessories

Once my tiny little master bathroom was painted and tiled I could not be any more excited to start getting my plumbing and accessory fixtures installed into the room! The space was really starting to look like I’d envisioned when I first laid out my mood board.

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One Room Challenge: Week Four – Installing and Painting Beadboard and Wooden Shelves

One Room Challenge: Week Four – Installing and Painting Beadboard and Wooden Shelves

Once I had wrapped up the drywall in my bathroom and installed the tile the room was ready to take the next steps towards function! I knew that the drywall scraps and odd corners would be difficult to touch up, so I decided to switch gears and use beadboard to transform the space and make my Sharp Objects bathroom dreams come true. Beadboard was signifcantly less time consuming and less dusty than trying to tape and mud and repair all the drywall / lathe & plaster in the small space!

Those of you with eagle eyes will have noticed from last week’s post that I was able to start installing the beadboard around the time I finished the tile. Here’s that snipit picture showing the one back wall of beadboard up. Sometimes, you just can’t wait any longer, right?

I used simple MDF sheets of beadboard from Home Depot, because they were the least expensive and I wanted to keep costs down as much as possible since this space is “temporary.” If this bathroom was more of a long term space I would have used wood plywood panels or individual beadboard planks. But, since I plan on turning this room into a full bathroom (flipping the shower from the current main bathroom into this space), when I eventually turn the dormer into a bathroom, short term solutions work well.

The back wall of beadboard was the most difficult to install because it was extraordinarily difficult to get the piece into the room. It had to fit through the small door and then squeeze into the entire back wall space while not bending or snapping. After that it was just a matter of cutting the boards to size and chopping out holes for lighting and switches and then a whole lot of nail gunning! I did also have to remove the trim around the window which I’d then have to reinstall. Immediately after I finished this project using a borrowed nail gun and air compressor from my neighbor, I bought myself a battery powered nail gun when Home Depot was having a huge sale. The difference between the ease of use is phenomenal and I adore my new nail gun! Now I need another trim project…!

After the beadboard was nailed up to the walls, I was ready to attack the baseboards. I used the same 8″ flat stock for baseboards that I’d used in my main bathroom, but skipped the decorative trim piece on top. I had over purchased my baseboards originally and was able to use scraps for the whole space! Then it was time to add the finishing touch of quarter round (which ironically, I’d skipped in the main bathroom). This was also scrap pieces left over from the kitchen (which I promise to finish and show you soon!). So yay! Free baseboards!

Before the quarter round was added, the rough edge of the bathroom tile was obviously apparent and it looked pretty terrible. But when I was calculating how much tile I had and laying out the space, I realized as long as I installed quarter round the edge would be hidden and I could get away with my minimal amount of free tile.

Once it was installed, the edge was completely hidden and it looked great! You can see below how the quarter round on the right has all been nailed in, hiding the edge and the left side of the quarter round is lifted, not nailed in yet. It was a TIGHT fit to get the tile to work in the space with clean finished edges, and I’ll admit, it’s not perfect, but it’s a million times better than the space before!

After the baseboards were complete, it was time to address the ceiling as well. The beadboard edge didn’t align perfectly with the not-level ceilings (old house problems!) and so I needed something to hide that edge and create a finished look. I picked up some simple crown moulding from my favorite wood store here in Portland, Woodcrafters. I picked up one 16′ length which gave me just enough to finish off the space. But then, I miscut a piece and rather than try to feather in two pieces along such a short length of ceiling, I bought another 8′ length and cut it to size. It was under $60 for all that crown and now I have a bunch leftover, but I do curse that mistake!

I’d never cut crown moulding before and spent some time googling to figure out how to do it. I found a handy guide that explained all these angles the chop saw needed to be at in order to make angled cuts to the crown when lying flat on the saw. The measurements were insane! 31.6°?! How?! I took a cheat sheet I found out to my saw, determined to somehow make it work, and discovered that my saw handily marked and locked to the crazy angles. Perfect! With that guide, and one miscut, I was able to get the crown up and finish off the ceiling! The corners of the room still had the same gap that that was now hidden by crown at the ceiling, but I had a plan for that too.

Before I could address those corners, I had something else to tackle. I knew that my little Master Bathroom needed to pack in storage while still looking good, but for a while I wasn’t sure the best way to achieve this. After searching around for inspiration, I found this image which I shared when I kicked off this project. I loved how the simple wooden brackets supported the shelves. It looked elegant, old-world, and inexpensive, a wonderful, and rare, combination!

I set out to create something similar in my space. I found these incredibly inexpensive brackets from Home Depot for under $4 each. I calculated I could fit 4 shelves in my space and bought 8 brackets. I bought another 16 foot length of 8″ flatstock (having exhausted my reserves on the baseboards) and carefully cut four boards to the length of my bathroom back wall. I then measured out the distance between my shelves (settling for 14″) and marked up my wall with bracket locations. The brackets slipped over screws drilled into the wall. That was supposed to secure them, but they still tilted and moved a bit. I added a few 2″ nails with the nail gun to further secure them to the wall, just in case! Then all that was needed was slipping the shelves on top. I left a 1/4″ gap behind the shelves so they’d extend into the room just a tad more (and allow me to place deeper items on top of them) and then nailed them into the shelf brackets and side walls with the nail gun. Suddenly it felt like the room had character!

I needed to address the corners of the room still though. I bought corner pieces that were intended to trim out outside corners, but flipped them around to use on my inside corners. I’m a rebel! See how big and ugly that gap in the corner between the panels of beadboard looks? Yuck.

I cut a corner piece to length and nailed it into the corner. Instantly, it looked way more finished and – strangely – more historical. I was just glad to not have a gap!

I cut the rest of the corner pieces to length, carefully measuring between each shelf and lined them up. I figured it was easier to do this now after I’d installed the shelves than to try to notch out the shelves around the corner pieces if I’d installed them first. (I’d also nailed the window trim back up!)

Once I’d cut all my lengths, I simply nailed the pieces into the corner, easy, peasy.

After all the trimwork was installed, it was time to get caulk-happy. SO MUCH CAULK. I caulked all the edges of the shelves, filled in all the nail holes, caulked the window trim, caulked the crown, caulked the baseboards. SO MUCH CAULKING. But, damn, it was looking good in here!

So good, in fact, it was time to prime! Wooopeee! I covered my newly tiled floors with rosin paper and slapped Zinsser’s No-VOC primer over everything. When it was done, you guys, I almost second guessed myself. Should I leave this room white?! It was simple… clean and maybe even historically accurate?

But no, in the end I decided to go with my original design plan and pick up some pink paint. Afterall, this was a tiny bathroom, where if not here should I have some fun?! White paint with black and white floors would be boring, I told myself. But still… it was looking pretty good!

The pink I chose for the space was Benjamin Moore’s Pink Beach, which is the perfect pale shade of calamine lotion. It’s not too pink, nor is it fleshy. It’s simply excellent. At night, compared with the white primer, the pink is a barely noticeable hue. I picked up a can of Benjamin Moore’s Natura in Satin which is my preferred paint and sheen. The Natura brand is no-VOC, no-formaldehyde, and uses special no-VOC pigments as well. There is no off gassing smell and the light color paint is thick and easily applied.

Once the first coat was complete, the space really started to come together though! I couldn’t get enough of the color! It did feel old-world. Historical and somehow more beautiful than I expected. It really was the perfect shade of pink, definitely not too pink, subtle and muted enough to feel truly old. Basically the opposite of the bold, coral I’d chosen for the exterior of the house!

With one coat complete that night, I was ready to attach the second coat the next morning and finish off any patchy pink areas. Because of the beadboard and all the trimwork and because it was such a tiny room, I ended up forgoing a roller and brushing out the entire space! I even painted the ceiling by hand in the same shade (it’s such a tiny space, no sense in breaking up the color). The shelving looked great and the entire space felt like an old 1900s pantry, just like my inspiration! Of course, I’d be filling those shelves with linens and bathroom needs rather than dry goods, but the feeling was conveyed so beautifully!

I got ready to do the second coat the next morning and ohmygod I just couldn’t fall more in love. In the morning light, the room glowed pink, like something out of a movie. The light is incredibly flattering and made my skin look amazing and I felt like Glinda the Good Witch from Wizard of Oz!

The window allows just the right amount of light into the space and boy was I astounded by the beauty of this little room. It’s so hard to believe this little space looked like this not that long ago! It was so dark and dingy!

Now it’s light, bright, and glowing! It feels intentional, like it was always this way! And most importantly, it feels like it belongs to this 1909 house. The space speaks to the character of the old house and I just adore it. The color looks good with the old, stained wood doors and I can’t wait to pull up that rosin paper and see how it looks with the black and white tile floor!

Boy am I pumped to get the plumbing fixtures in here and style out those shelves! Designers love open shelving!

Have you ever transformed a small space? What were your small space storage solution spaces? Could you live with only open shelving as your primary linen / bathroom storage? Would you ever paint your bathroom pink? Let me know what you think of how this little room is coming along in the comments below!

I’m chugging away on my little One Room Challenge. Be sure to check out the other projects too.

One Room Challenge: Week Three – Installing Marble Basketweave Tile

One Room Challenge: Week Three – Installing Marble Basketweave Tile

It’s lovely to have a concrete plan for a space before you dive into a project. That’s why people hire interior designers! When you’re working on your own space it’s a lot easier to make decisions as you go… but doesn’t always create the best results. That’s why this One Room Challenge is so nice! I’ve got my plan and am slowly making progress. It also encourages me to actually finish the project, rather than getting it to 90% and leaving it there. Ha!

After last weeks bathroom demo, electrical, insulation, and drywall, I was ready to tackle the bathroom floors! I was excited to start tiling again. The first time I’d tiled, I’d run into a few bumps so I felt a lot more prepared this round. I picked up another sheet of concrete board from Home Depot for $10 as well as this nifty little concrete board cutting tool which was also $10. Oh my god, you guys, this tool is amazing! It made cutting the concrete board SO MUCH EASIER. Last time I tiled, I’d used a simple box cutter and it took way longer and didn’t work nearly as well as this tool. 100% worth the $10!

I laid out the hardibacker in my bedroom and marked where I needed to make my cuts for the doorway and toilet. Then I started chugging away at my cuts. I then ended up cutting the entire thing in half, because I wasn’t actually able to get it into the bathroom in one piece.

Then I simply took my trowel and scraped out a bunch of mortar left over from tiling the Main Bathroom. I like to make lots of long grooves, but I don’t stress about making them perfect.

It took three sections of Hardibacker to cover the room. The larger sections were from what I had bought for this room and the little scrap on the right was left over from the Main Bathroom.

It was strangely wonderful to finally have this laid down. The room instantly felt so much cleaner! I just wanted to walk all over it barefoot. Ha! You can see I continued to leave the sink up. Excellent tool storage spot, you see.

After the Hardibacker was laid, I waited 24 hours and then went ahead and used the last little bit of mortar I had to tape all the seams and smooth any bumps. This was the final step before I could begin tiling the next day! Woohoo!

Tiling is kind of soothing, so I couldn’t wait to start. I dry laid the whole things to start to see how things would need to sit. Then I made all my cuts and got out the rest of my mortar, so I was ready.

I was very tight on tile for this project, so at the back of the room I put in three inch by 12″ pieces of marble. They’d be mostly hidden behind the toilet and a basket of toilet paper, but I kind of liked how it mirrored the transition at the entrance to the room. On each side of the room I barely had enough tile. I measured out where the baseboard and shoe base would be and laid just enough tile to tuck beneath that.

It was very tight on both sides. But I crossed my fingers and double checked my measurements and was pretty sure it would work out.

On the right side of the room, I was even tighter, but the longer white marble part of the basketweave would nicely support the baseboards.

At the front of the room, my tile transition strip was looking pretty good. I knew I would finish it with another fir transition strip at the edge so no one ever stubs their toes.

Then it was just time to lay it down with mortar. It looked soooo good! I really like the impact mosaics like this one and the one in the main bathroom make. It’s super easy to lay, since it’s attached to a sheet, though I did need to cut the marble mosaic tiles with a tile saw I borrowed from my next door neighbor, Erik. The hex tile in the main bathroom, I was able to cut by hand with a simple tile nipper. I was excited to get the grout in and finish it off the next day.

The next day, I opened the container of black grout I had left over from the main bathroom and got to work! I love a high contrast grout for making the colors pop out! I had about 5/8ths of a large container of grout left from the Main Bathroom so I expected to have plenty for this room. One thing I hadn’t considered though, was the depth of the tile! Even though this room was about half as large as the Main Bathroom, the tile was probably more than twice as deep. It ate up the grout and I ended up back at the store to get another quart of grout for $20. I like the Fusion Pro grout since it doesn’t need to be sealed or anything. It makes the process even easier.

Once I’d gotten that grout in, wiped up all the excess, the space looked SO GOOD. I adored the floors! They have an excellent presence and really feel like they speak to the character of the house. It makes the bathroom feel older and more authentic. And, let’s be real, it’s 100% better than the original un-stuck peel and stick tiles that came with the house!

I love that the black grout adds so much contrast and drama to the floors. It makes it feel so much more dynamic. You can see here below how my little trim pieces at the top of the bathroom turned out. I don’t think it looks that bad!

I’m just so ecstatic to have real floors in this space for the first time ever. It’s like Christmas morning walking in here now! I will say, that marble tile is COLD underfoot in the mornings though. As a dedicated slipper wearer, that’s fine for me. If it was a bigger space, I’d have considered using one of those electric heated floors underlayments. It would definitely be worth it in a bigger room. This tiny little one though works just fine as is.

I can’t wait to show you how the space looks with all the beadboard and trimwork next week! It’s such a huge transformation for this little room and so, so much nicer to get ready in!

Have you done any fun tiling projects recently? How did they turn out? Are you happy with the end results? Do you like contrasting grout or more subtle grouts better?

Be sure to check out the rest of the participants in the One Room Challenge! There are so many cool spaces shaping up, I’m ecstatic to see the final results of all these spaces in three weeks!

One Room Challenge: Week Two – Electrical & Drywall

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!

One Room Challenge: Week One – Master Powder Before Pictures and Inspiration

One Room Challenge: Week One – Master Powder Before Pictures and Inspiration

First off, hello to all of you new to this blog! I’m so excited to be guest posting as part of the One Room Challenge this Spring 2019. I’m Laurel and I’ve been working on my house — which I named Berrybrier after the brambles of blackberries and raspberries in the backyard — since I bought it in Summer 2017. It’s been a huge project full of ups and downs and I’ve been living here throughout it! I painted the house a happy, salmonberry, coral pink color and finished a DIY gut reno on the Main Bathroom all by myself. I am currently working on the Kitchen as well as the other main spaces! Click around and check out the progress while you’re here!

But while other renovations were taking place, the little Powder Bathroom off my Master Bedroom was neglected! So this room has become my One Room Challenge guest project! It’s difficult to force myself to finish and style a space before moving on to the next one, so this is a great incentive!

This space was a delightful shade of yellow when I bought the house. A 24″ wide door (very narrow!) allowed you to squeeze into the room from the Master Bedroom. 1970’s or ’80’s faux wood wainscot paneling did not help the overall space. The room was absolutely tiny at 54″ deep and only 30″ wide! You could barely scootch yourself around the sink to get to the toilet, let alone use this space to get ready for work! It felt immediately dated and old in here and it didn’t belong with the house. The layer of dirt, grime, and gross that coated the space did not help at all!

The sink in the Powder Bathroom was falling off the wall since the bolts holding it to the wall had missed the backing. It was so large for the space you could quite literally wash your hands while sitting on the toilet. During the demo of the Main Bathroom at Berrybrier I ended up removing some of the paneling in the room in order to get at the bath tub pipes which had to be cut from this side in order to remove the tub. When I took off the paneling I discovered that there already was a nice, small, square hole underneath to access those pipes, so that’s probably why that paneling was added!

I made the hole a LOOOOT bigger to cut the pipes and then I left it like this for four months. And yes, I did still use this bathroom every single day to brush my teeth and get ready for my 9-5 job. Go me!

After I completed the Main Bathroom, this space still got ignored until the rest of the house improved. But no longer! I am finally ready to attack this poor room and make it something that functional for getting ready in the mornings, packed full of storage, and beautiful to boot!

Since I love a challenge, things are a bit tight at the moment, and because I don’t plan this to be a long term bathroom, my renovation budget is going to be $650. That’s right, a full gut renovation of my bathroom for less than $650! In order to meet that goal I’m going to use as much as I can get for free and make some other smart decisions.

So let’s check out some inspiration so you know where I am headed!

I will need to significantly reduce the size of the sink so this room is easier to navigate around in! The one now is a pretty average size, but this room is just not an average size. As much as I’ve tried to make the existing sink work to save money, it’s just not working. So I’m taking a page out of Young House Love’s book and splurging on a tiny sink! I know they didn’t think their sink was right for their large Master Bathroom and eventually replaced it, but it’s the perfect size for my tiny Master Powder! I found something similar on Wayfair and bought it.

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The plumbing will all be staying in the same locations, but I’ll be adding lots of storage around it. I’ve decided to add wall to wall shelving above the toilet and use simple wooden brackets to keep costs down. I love this picture of a kitchen which shows how classic and aged this look can be. It doesn’t feel cheap at all, even though it is super affordable at only a few bucks a bracket!

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I watched Sharp Objects around the time I first started brainstorming for this room and fell in love with the pink beadboard in the bathroom featured heavily on the show. Since the walls were a mess in here and I decided to use as many of the scraps of drywall I already had, trying to tape and mud would have taken a thousand years. I decided the best use of my budget would be to cover the drywall with beadboard panels from floor to ceiling. The Sharp Objects bathroom served as an inspiration for the beadboard and the color though.

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This color was going to be tricky! I want this space to be blush against a formerly white cheek; hint of pink in a white climbing rose; a calm pink, mature, pale, and barely there. It was a tricky color to land on! This color was the closest inspiration I could find. It’s just a drop of pink in white without too many overt undertones.

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For the floor, I didn’t need much tile at all since it was such a tiny space! My parents had some left over tile from their bathroom renovation and offered it up. A marble mosaic for free? Yes, please! It’s a pretty two tone basket weave like this here. They also gave me a few leftover 12×12 marble tiles from the same renovation which I am planning to try to use as transition strip into the bedroom. The tile is very similar to what’s in this shot below, but I’m planning on using a black grout instead which will give it more contrast. Now if only my bathroom could expand to be this big too!

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I want the new bathroom to be packed with the storage I need, while still feeling light and open. It’s important that the space feel like it belongs to the rest of the house and isn’t a dated addition. Overall, I want the room to be light-filled and bright, with just the palest of calamine lotion pink on the walls and ceiling. After much debate, I landed on Benjamin Moore’s Pink Beach as the perfect barely pink and not beige color. The soft pink tone with be juxtaposed with a more dynamic black and white floor, a black faucet, and black accessories. The chrome accessories and lighting should thus fade nicely into the background. And of course, I’ll fill the shelves with houseplants!

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

Check out all the other One Room Challenge Guest Participants here!

What do you think of my plan? Would you get ready in the master bathroom as it currently is or would you hold out for the renovated space? Have you ever tried to put together a renovation project with only the cheapest and free materials you could find? Let me know in the comments!

What to Know Before Buying a Sofa

What to Know Before Buying a Sofa

Sofas! Everybody needs ’em. Usually, you don’t buy them frequently, every 5-10 years or so. Sometimes, more years go by if you’re lucky. Unless, you’re me, of course. I buy a sofa at least once a month, sometimes I buy more like 4 in a month! Because I’m an interior designer, I am always hunting for sofas for my clients. I’m constantly keeping an eye out for new places to buy sofas and I’ve found quite a few great stores. So today, I’m going to show you my secret stash of sofas, as well as tips on what to check before you buy, just in case you’re in the market! People are constantly telling me they need to sit on a sofa before they buy it. But, really, you don’t! You just need to know what you like in a sofa and what to look for to get that comfort. And I’m about to dish, ya’ll!

Continue reading “What to Know Before Buying a Sofa”

Designing my Kitchen: Inspiration for Phase II and a Phase I Plan

Designing my Kitchen: Inspiration for Phase II and a Phase I Plan

I would love to gut and completely reconfigure my kitchen, but right now my savings are focused elsewhere! So in the meantime I’ve begun Phase 1 of the kitchen renovation. This Phase is to hold me over until I can do a Phase II gut renovation and really move things around. Phase I includes a lot of cosmetic updates that have a big visual impact, but smaller financial impact: removing the sheet vinyl, refinishing my hardwood floors, painting the cabinets, and painting the walls. But while I’m elbows deep in those projects, I’ve still got kitchen planning on the mind. I’ve been pinning tons of inspiration of old kitchens and kitchens with old vibes, so when I’m ready to renovate, my vision for the space simply needs to be detailed out. In the meantime, I’m ready for Phase I to transform the space so it no longer looks like this hot mess!

Since I ultimately want my kitchen to speak to the age and historicism of my 110 year old home, I spent a lot of time looking for images of 1920s kitchens. This one below shows so many elements I’d love to bring into my own kitchen. Can we just talk about high backed kitchen sinks? I know that inset sinks are all the rage these days and they’re FAR easier to clean than a drop in sink which sits on top of the counter, but can someone please explain to me why high-backed sinks ever went out of style? The splash guard alone is so amazing! Never worrying about water getting behind the sink and damaging the grout / caulk where your backsplash meets the counter? Count me in. I have been on the hunt for the right restored sink for a while now. I love the aspect of the built-in dish drain rack too! So cute! I will probably place mine on top of the counter rather than having exposed legs though since storage is always an issue here at Berrybrier. Another wonderful thing about this picture is it shows a glass hutch in a kitchen. Something I loved about the kitchen when I first moved to Berrybrier. I’m also very curious about what the cabinet on the left held since it looks very similar to modern day pull out trash drawers!

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This is just a sketch below, but again, it really drives home some of the aspects of early 1900s kitchens that I want to incorporate in my future kitchen and preserve in my existing one. Here’s a high-backed sink shown placed on top of a counter with a cabinet below. I’d choose a closed lower cabinet for myself (my cats seem to think it’s such a fun game to play in open cabinetry), but the almost-symmetry here interests me. Again, the glass hutch makes an appearance, here as a duo framing the window. I love it!

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When I bought Berrybrier, one of the most charming things in the entire house was the glass cabinets in the kitchen. I adored them! They struck such a lovely vintage note and as a designer, I was so excited to have some shelving to style out! Within just a few weeks of living there, I filled the shelves with my things I used most frequently (note these aren’t styled at all). Even with the rest of the kitchen in chaos, I wanted to be able to use these dreamy cabinets. So seeing those kitchen above with their glass hutches makes me want to keep this aspect in a future kitchen. I loved the idea of a hutch with glass doors way back when I lived at the Duplex in Portland, so this is a nice continuation of that theme.

Okay, let’s get into some modern inspiration now. I loooove this image below which has so many amazing take-aways! First, the trim color obviously makes me ten kinds of happy since I love a bold trim paint. Second, the pot rack over a small island is exactly the kind of smart storage solution I need in my own space. And finally, look at that hutch. I mean, god help me, that thing is gooorgeous! I love the paneling on the lower doors, the beadboard, the accent color, the fact the the glass doors are sliders. They seem to not have a ton of storage needs however, since the cabinets hold a collection of vintage ware rather than every day necessities. While we’re taking design tips here, please note the picture hanging above the door. Such a cute and creative way to make use of high ceilings! I am 100% doing that in my kitchen now and for Phase II!

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This image intrigues me with the wood counters on wood cabinets look. It feels so vintage and folksy doesn’t it? This type of simple kitchen cabinet feels like it gets to the heart of my house. It’s not fancy, but it strikes a note of casual, antique charm. Should I do wood cabinets with a buncher block counter? Butcher block counters would be super affordable and this makes them feel so fetching in a non-farmhouse-y way.

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My kitchen has the 9′ ceilings and since it’s a smaller space they feel even higher. I’ve alway dreamed of a library ladder in my kitchen (or library!) and this feels so practical for upper storage too. If I could find away to make this work (and be reasonably affordable!) in my Phase II kitchen I would just about die every time I walked in and saw it! The down fall of these is that they take up a lot of space and constantly need to be shuffled around and out of the way. They work best on straightaways, like the one here in this galley style kitchen, so with my kitchen split onto three walls, it might not make sense. But! I admire it just the same and take a lot of other inspiration from this picture. Again, we see sliding glass cabinet doors on the uppers. We’ve established that I am HERE for that! But have you noticed what else repeats? Stained wood cabinets with wood countertops! Am I doing this you guys?! I really love this stylistically. Is it super practical? Probably not. Will I ever be able to install crownmouling without a butt load of caulk and paint to make it look right? No… the cabinets and crown themselves would definitely need to be professionally installed. Not exactly a moment for savings there. Hmmm…

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There are a lot of very formal traditional kitchen out there, stunning ones, and I love them all. But that kind of traditional formality doesn’t really work in my more modest house, which is why I’m looking for more casual traditional inspiration. This image below tiles that together well. I love the elements like the v-groove backsplash and the simple inset shaker style cabinetry. The knobs and bin bulls are simple without intricate ornamentation and the shelf above the range utilizes an affordable, simple wooden bracket.

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This kitchen is stunningly gorgeous and the deep green painted cabinets are calling my name. The woodwork here is a bit more formal and complex, but the hardware remains simple, which I like. I’m also a sucker for an upper cabinet that comes down to kiss a countertop. Such a simple, stunning detail. The green tied with copper and brass accents makes a strong argument for painted cabinets as well! Marble countertops would be a wondrous luxury, but one I’m unlikely to afford anytime soon.

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My kitchen is not quite big enough to have a proper island, and I don’t love the modern concepts of islands in every kitchen. Older kitchens had freestanding tables, sometimes counter-height, but often with chairs. In my space, however, I don’t have space for a true dining table. But an old wooden counter-height table with a few stools that could be tucked underneath would be a great place for guests to perch while I cook. Considering the current favored place to sit is the stairs, this would be a nice upgrade! This kitchen appears to be a bit wider than mine, but has a similar layout with a skinny table through the middle. I love how this table ties this recently finished kitchen in and makes it feel like part to the past. It’s clearly a well-loved antique and is the showstopper of the whole space. Maybe I can find something like this for my own?! It would be an amazing touch. Or is it possible to build something with this much character using reclaimed woods?

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Since marble countertops on the perimeter are more of a pipe dream than any sort of reality, maybe the island is a better place to make that dream come true. A remnant slab could make a great small, freestanding island top! This one sits on a rustic, reclaimed wood base which almost looks like something I could actually build.

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Or, to simplify, there’s always the option to buy a freestanding island. There a lot of metal islands with marble top readily available online. This one comes with shelves for storage, which would be a wonderful addition since I live with someone who seems to own every baking utensil, pan, and toy. As a packrat myself, I’ll admit I never seem to have enough space for my cooking items either! A freestanding island or table of some sort is definitely a component of the Phase I kitchen renovation.

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Then there’s the stairs. I have to admit, it’s been a year since the kitchen floors were finished and almost a year since the stairway was completed, but I never finished restoring the wood on the kitchen steps! I was in such a hurry to redo the floors I didn’t want to waste any more hours working on the steps that looong weekend. And then I just kept putting it off. A few weeks ago my roommate was gone for a long weekend and I planned to finish the steps while she was out, but then I was in such a rush to work on some other things and realized there was no point in stressing myself out even more trying to squeeze in refinishing stairs. So where the stairs enter the kitchen they are still half-stripped, half-sanded; and the landing still has sheet vinyl on it! I’ll get on finishing up that project…eventually. But let’s talk about what the stairs could look like in Phase II. I’d really love to open up the stairwell to the kitchen and add a wood railing instead. It would make the stairwell feel so much bigger! I could raise the ceiling above the stairs in the kitchen so the header height was more than 5’9″ and not having a tight U-turn framed with walls would make bringing furniture to the second floor much easier. For reference here’s what it looked like in February 2018, before the kitchen floors were refinished. This is a screenshot from the video I shared last week of the whole house during this crazy time! That door in the right of the picture used to be at the stairs, separating the stairway!

This picture is my inspiration for what the kitchen stairs could be in Phase II! I love the mix of the wood railing with the painted post and balusters. The dark risers look a bit like mine too, right? This little stairway is simple, yet stunning! I love the details of the small art pieces and open space on the walls too.

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Part of Phase I will definitely be a hutch. Since I have this one I brought with me from the Duplex, it just might finally be time to paint it to work best in the new space! I could paint it black to match the cabinets and then add the same cabinet hardware as the cabinets and I could add a fun pop of color on the inside like this below. If you scroll all the way up, one of the first kitchen inspirations has a pop of color inside the hutch too. I think this is just so fun. And for those of you worried I’m painting an antique, I am definitely not. My hutch is almost definitely from the 1980s!

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So, that’s a whole lot of ideas and inspiration, what am I actually doing for Phase I? Well, I made you a mood board, so check it out below! First up, all the cabinets will be painted Benjamin Moore’s HC-190 Black. I’m going to add reclaimed V-groove wainscoting that I was gifted from my Uncle Scott’s Uncle Dan and Aunt Sherry who live in Portland and work in construction. It’s exciting because this wainscoting doesn’t look brand new, it’s aged and full of marks and history. SO MUCH BETTER than brand new. The image on the mood board is from Emily Henderson’s Portland Master Bathroom renovation project. A gorgeous shot that really shows how a deep color can bring this wainscoting to life. It’s going to look even more amazing painted Benjamin Moore’s 1498 Forest Floor, which is the same color I painted the bathroom that’s off the kitchen and will continue to use on the trim throughout the rest of the house. The final color is Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue which is the color I painted my pegboard which I made for the kitchen at the Duplex. I’ll be utilizing the pegboard again in my new kitchen and I think it’s such a fun and unique combination when used with the moody dark green! I’ve also replaced the cheap hallow core slab backdoor with an antique half-lite door to let more light in to the kitchen. The door will also be painted Palladian Blue. I’m debating also using this color on the inside of my hutch! Either that or a pale, pale pink / calamine lotion color.

Wainscoting Inspiration | BM Palladian Blue | BM Black | BM Forest FloorIsland | Bin Pull | Knob | Hinges | Refrigerator

There’s more though: my fridge (which came with the house) bit the dust in June 2018, so I replaced it with a black one which ties into the black of the the kitchen cabinets, allowing the fridge to blend in rather than stand out like a stainless steel or white one would. Plus, black appliances are back, haven’t you heard?! I love this marble topped island from Crate and Barrel. It’s simply gorgeous and ties in a bit of an old world element, doesn’t it? I’d buy it in a second if it wasn’t over $1000. Plus my dad got a slab of butcher block and is building an island / baking table for my sister which will likely land in my kitchen for the time being. I’ve been hunting at all of the Rejuvenation Factory Sales for new hardware for the kitchen and snagged a bunch of these knobs and bin pulls in unlacquered brass for a steal! I bought as many as were available as I’m hoping to hunt down some cabinet door latches at one of their future sales and reuse all this hardware in the Phase II kitchen. FYI, the bin pulls I got aren’t quite these, mine are no longer sold, but these are equally beautiful. The hinges are from Hardware Hut and also incredibly affordable (though let me tell you, they’re about half the size I thought they’d be! Always, always check dimensions!). So that’s the Phase I kitchen plan! It’s been chugging along and hopefully my pictures can be recovered so I can show you the journey I went through along the way.

Have you ever done a Phase I renovation to tide you over for several years until you could tackle a much larger renovation of the same space? This one is such a transformation since the space was quite dilapidated – despite the charm – when I bought Berrybrier! Please tell me your thoughts on my direction. Are you on board for this look? What would you choose from the inspiration photos for Phase II? Should I eventually do wood cabinets or painted? So much to think about, are you excited? I am excited!

Potager Plans and Garden Inspiration

Potager Plans and Garden Inspiration

It’s starting to inch closer to Spring here in Portland, OR. And by Spring I mean, it’s March but the weather is still 27° in the mornings and it’s supposed to snow next week, but hey, who cares right? ME. I care! It’s FREEZING and I am over it. I am ready for warm weather and sunshine and sitting in my backyard enjoying the heat. So I’ve begun daydreaming and planning and pinning my backyard renovation. It’s a long ways to completion since demo and rebuilding of the garage is not on the docket until next summer, but I do want to get quite a few other things done out here this year.

As a reminder, this is what my backyard looked like when I moved into Berrybrier. Very little has changed since then, although the chicken coop is now gone and the vines are less developed since I had help whacking them all back in the fall of 2017.

So since the garage isn’t going to be touched, I’m mainly just looking at the right side of the garden and the rear of the garden this year. There’s a lot of things I want to squeeze into this space: a firepit (how could I not?!), cafe lights (the designer in me requires this), a chicken coop (literally a lifetime dream of mine!), and a vegetable garden! And that’s where my brain really starts to take off…

You see, the front yard (which I worked on a bit last summer with mixed results), I envision as this colorful, English country garden full of a chaotic mix of plants and some veggies with a meandering path leading around the house. Some of this will continue around the edges of the backyard as well. It will be full of life and slightly overgrown, a bit like this but more natural chaos. Lush greenery and bursts of color. Yum.

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In the backyard, I want to grow a whole ton of vegetables and this requires a more organized space. So I hoped on Pinterest and got inspired real quick. I want a potager, people. I want a fancy French kitchen garden and I want it to look a little something like this one below. The composed order of these beds just delights me. I know, I know, I am weird, but seriously, this really floats my boat. I can see walking out my backdoor and walking down my backsteps into this little potager full of veggies with a big firepit in the center and cafe lights on either side stringing from the house to the chicken coop at the back of the yard. Sounds dreamy, right?

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I dream of having something very organized and orderly. Yes, I am extremely Type A, how perceptive, of you! I’d love four large garden beds eventually encircling a firepit centered on the back of the house. A bit like this but with the center being a firepit with four big chairs rather than another planter. This shows a more naturalized garden beyond the potager as well, which is exactly what I have in mind!

The stone lined beds above have so much more of a European vibe than a wooden raised bed to me. They’re pretty, but stone gets expensive quick! I love the bricks here below surrounding the in ground vegetable beds. It’s beautiful and romantic and I love the mix of materials. I am leaning towards this over raised beds or stone lined beds, as it’s a bit more flexible if I want to change things up next year when the garage is demoed. Plus, when I bought Berrybrier, there were a ton of old bricks which I’ve moved around my yard aimlessly and they would be perfect for this purpose.

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This potager is entirely charming and I love the little outbuilding here all in white. I plan on painting my chicken coop white to match the house trim paint and if I’m lucky it will look half as cute as that little she-shed! Although I like the look, I won’t be paving the entire space between my garden beds with brick.

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For my garden pathways, I plan to use flat stones and fill the spaces between them with various varieties of thyme and other low growing groundcovers. I recently picked up some quartzite from a family friend and laid that as a path in the front yard, I’ll pick up more of it to really create a path. And then once the plants grow in, it just might look like this.

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This picture below I’ve pinned at least a dozen times. It is utterly charming and what really catches my eye (other than the darling chickens) is the boxwood hedge lining this part of the garden. Am I crazy to want to attempt that too?! I will need to measure my space to see if it makes any sort of sense, but I am very tempted to create a natural fence like this somewhere on the Berrybrier property. I also love how beautiful the vines climbing the outbuilding is, sculptural and lovely in summer and winter.

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The chicken coop would be a simple little structure with a central door and windows with window boxes on either side. On the inside it would be separated into two spaces one for storage (and maybe future Nigerian Dwarf Goats?!) and the other for the chickens.

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In both the front and the back, I want to add lots of evergreen plants so the whole yard isn’t just sticks in the winter. I have a lot of trouble with sticks all winter here in Portland. In California, winter is green and lush and summer is brown and dry. Here winter is grey and dull and the rest of the year is green and lush. It’s not my favorite.

I’ll also find/built some architectural pieces to support some climbing plants. Hopefully this will add to the landscape and create a secret garden feeling. I want the yard to have several meandering plants and some visual barriers that force you to discover different spots as you walk around.

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Another dream for the distant future would be to add an above ground hot tub to the side yard and surround it with greenery and some cafe lights for a dreamy place to relax and soak in the evenings. I desperately love soaking in hot water and not having a bathtub anymore is definitely not going to work for me in the long term. I love the way this tub seems to be part of the landscape! Mine would definitely be above ground, but if I can channel half of these vibes, I’d be ecstatic!

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It will take years for the plants to mature and grow in this manner and I’m not likely to afford such a luxury as a hot tub anytime soon, but in the meantime, I am going to continue dreaming my dream and planning and planning. Oregon is so nice to plants and gardens and the lushness here is barely comprehendible for a California girl like me. Hopefully with a lot of effort and care and good ole rain, I can achieve something like this dream!

What is your garden like? Did you take time to plan it before planting or are you more of a plant as you go type of person? I am completely in the middle, planning the general direction and planting whatever I fall in love with at the nursery!