Demo Day! Goodbye Bathroom!

We demo’ed the bathroom! It’s all gone now. Actually it’s been all gone for many months and I’ve just been too busy putting it back together to actually blog about it. 🤣 Anyways, I thought I’d give you the run down of the demo days and some excellent after pictures… of my filthy demo face. Overall this was my second time demo’ing a bathroom and I have to say it went vastly better than the previous time as I did not end up in the hospital with a cornea infection. Yup. That happened a few years ago when I helped demo my parents master bathroom and it hurt like a motherf***er! But that was last time and this is this time. Let’s concentrate on Berrybrier today!

Let’s start with how the bathroom started out. Do you remember this magenta madness? The bump out above the mirror floated there like an overly long soffit that just might fall off while you were on the toilet. There were only about 12″ between the sink and the corner of the tub for you to slink by to get to the toilet. The shower head was not operational, but someone had used it previously which is why everything was rotting. Everything was filthy. I can’t even talk about the floors, but I will say someone decided to wrap the flooring vinyl up onto a teensy counter by the sink. That tub was amazingly comfortable and taking baths is my favorite, but this tub was ginormous. WAY too big for such a tiny bathroom.

Demo day got off to a slow start as I was exhausted and slept until 8am; which isn’t really even that late honestly. My mother was still staying here and she had planned to have a visit with our cousin Mary that am. So I slithered out of bed half comatose and made myself some toast and jam and was munching away on that sitting in my bathrobe when Mary arrived. Let me clarify: Mary arrived in work clothes ready to help with demo. Somehow my mom had missed that memo and here I was totally unprepared to start with lots of helping hands. Ofph! 🤭

Once the confusion was sorted out, I threw on some proper clothes and we got to work. First we removed the mirror on the back wall and Mary and my mom tackled the weird wooden tub surround.


They were removing the decorative molding and flat panels so we could see properly what was going on beneath it. We’d already drilled enough holes in it to know that it was not a clawfoot. Cue the ugly crying. But! This worked out because knowing it was a clawfoot would have caused me to try and save it and this bathroom is just WAY TOO SMALL for a bathtub that large.

Underneath, you can see this tub was barely supported from the upper lib, nothing was supporting it below. We eventually wedged a furniture dolly beneath it in hopes we’d later be able to roll it out of the bathroom that way.


After that, we moved on to tackling the removal of the sink and toilet. Since none of the water shut off valves in the bathroom actually functioned, this involves turning off the water at the main. Eek! Which in turn meant my house no longer had a functioning shower or a bathroom or even running water in the kitchen. Yay! Also… I had to google how to remove a toilet. Thank god for the internet, it’s basically teaching me everything these days.

The more we removed, the more we found, like this cute swans wallpaper!


At this point, things were looking… better?


Seems like a good time for a simple, easy task like removing the little corner Ikea cabinet, right? Well, that came down quick, but we also discovered some gnarly mildew behind the Ikea cabinet! At this point, Mary had to leave, which was extremely understandable. Ha!


After Mary was on her way, it was time to turn our attention to the elephant in the room: the overly large (but extremely comfortable) bathtub. In order to move that tub anywhere, I had to disconnect the plumbing. Well… the pipes I needed access to were in the wall, so I had to do a little demo in the half bathroom as well! I removed the faux wood paneling from two of the bathroom walls with a mini crowbar and hammer in less than 15 minutes and what to my wondering eyes should appear? A miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer hole already cut into the wall! This is probably why that paneling went up!


I made the hole bigger with my hammer, grabbed a metal blade for the sawzall, and started cutting. Bing, bang, boom and the tub was no longer connected to the house! Yes that is the toilet in the foreground of the picture below. The half bath is VERY TINY. It’s basically a quarter bath, but don’t that to him, he’ll get all offended.


Once it was disconnected, it was time to try to get this tub out of the bathroom! With enough prying of the tub with a spare 2×4 we were able to raise the tub high enough off the supports to get the furniture dolly wedged nearly all the way under the tub. Once that was done we were able to a remove the rest of the rotting wood surround and supports and the bathtub was freed! I know this is a terrible photo below, but you get the idea.


We wheeled the bathtub out of the bathroom, taking out the door frame in the process and left it in the kitchen, because that was as far as two people could move it alone. Now that bathtub stayed in my kitchen until early February when my Aunt Stephanie and Uncle Mike came to visit and helped me conquer a few tasks around the house. The two of them, plus my sister and I were finally able to move it out of the house lifting together! But don’t let me get distracted, back to demo day 1: after the tub was out of the bathroom and into the kitchen, though, it was time to go to sleep. We were exhausted.

The next day was lathe and plaster demo day! We spent the entire Sunday taking out as much of the lathe and plaster as possible. It was crazy town and filled the floor with debris. We filled 7 contractor bags full of lathe and plaster from this little room, despite me keeping a ton of the longer pieces of lathe!


Seriously, you think that it’s a small room, but oh. my. god. The whole room was 2 feet under lathe and plaster. We filled SO MANY BAGS! All stuffed and weighing a bazillion pounds, full of lathe and plaster!


Once the lathe came down, we found some not so great things, like exposed knob and tube wiring. And knob and tube wiring that just ended in the plaster after someone removed some sconces… Yeah, not good. Luckily, electricians were scheduled for just a few days later!


Once the floors were swept clean of all the debris and the little discoveries were made, we were even more tired than the night before and we were absolutely filthy. Oh, and my mom was so ready to fly home he next day to her comfortable bed and house that requires no demo. She was ready to relax!


I was also filthy, but very much excited for the projects ahead! I knew that this was a huge step, but a super exciting one because soon I’d have a fully functional bathroom and it was going to be so freaking pretty!


Of course… finishing that bathroom took me about 2 months longer than I thought it would and in my incessant push to finish, I neglected this blog. But don’t worry, y’all. I still took pictures and am here to overshare.


Throwing Some Green At the Bathroom

When I first toured Berrybrier with my realtor back in the beginning of July I was convinced the bathroom just needed a quick coat of paint and some cleaning. What’s a kind way to say that was really freaking idiotic? However you decide to phrase it, I was stupid and the bathroom needs to be gutted. Doesn’t everyone love an unanticipated multi-thousand dollar side project? Oh joy!


But let’s be real, this bathroom is BAD. It’s gross and there is a rot problem as things are not properly water proofed. Now I was hoping this was just dirty. It’s not. Enjoy this blurry picture of the wood tub surround. Doesn’t that just make you want to take a leisurely bath? Mmmm mmm good!


The bathroom is right off the kitchen and is the primary bathroom not only for all three bedrooms to bathe in, but also for visitors to use. Storage in this bathroom is a bit questionable. The previous owners added this IKEA cabinet to the corner here, but it overlaps the door trim and is not really the right style. The bathroom vanity cabinet is a beautiful antiqued mirror, but it’s beat up and gross inside. There is an extension cord running from the light fixture to power two little plugs on either side of the mirror, which seams super safe. Not! Oh! And the best part? The little floating vanity covered in the same sheet vinyl as the floor! On the bright side, this bathroom does have a  wired light fixture and switch!


So as you can see, pretty much every finish in the space needs to be changed, but more importantly, the layout needs to be changed. See the toilet? To get to that you have to turn sideways and scootch past 12″ of space between the sink and tub. It’s great! The tub – while exceedingly comfortable – is way too big for the small room. The bathroom is only 54″ wide and about 8 feet long. It was actually elongated by about 12″ in order to fit that tub in at some point. Which is why you see the soffit in the first picture above the mirror. The tub is so large you can basically take a poop while showering things are so crammed together!


So, everything needs to be changed. Let’s start with the layout. The soffit is like that because when they moved the wall, they just cut off the wall. Which doesn’t really work structurally. The wall needs to be reframed at it’s original location reducing the depth of the bathroom by about one foot, but the half bath on the other side will get just a bit wider. The bathing part needs to be rotated 90° and put against the back wall. Because the bathroom is only about 54″ wide, a tub won’t really fit, so I will be putting in a 48″wide shower. If I’m lucky, I’ll be able to steal a little bit of the extra room besides the shower for little cubbies to hold rolled towels. The sink and the toilet will be relocated on the same wall as the sink closer to the entry to the room. That will provide a nice circulation path along the exterior wall with the window. I’ll add wood shelves above the toilet for additional storage. Can you envision that? Here, let me help. Excuse the dimensions, I had to get it all on plan to show my plumber.

New Bathroom Layout | Land of Laurel

Now that I’m committed to moving forward, I’ve decided to dive in head and heart. Which means I’m now really excited! What’s a designer’s dream? Getting to do everything they want without any one holding them back. Now, I can’t go crazy, since I do not have unlimited funds. My funds are incredibly limited, but I can use these limited funds to have some fun. I wanted the bathroom to be classic, yet dynamic. In character with the early 1900s house, yet with modern conveniences and style.

If you know me, you know I love green. It’s classic, yet very in right now. Green is a wonderful color that speaks to the nature of the lush surroundings of the Pacific Northwest. My bedding is green and floral, I often wear green, and I’m pretty much planning on painting everything in this house green. So prepare yourselves! Dark green looks amazing with gold and we all know that’s one of my favorite materials too. What can I say? I’m predictable.  Plus, you know I’m going to try to create another bathroom jungle, right?

I was very inspired by Dana’s bathroom and loved the 2″ black hex floor tile. I spent a lot of time thinking that’s what I should do at Berrybrier with black grout that would hide grime. But, my dear cousin Mary very kindly pointed out that black shows soap scum and dirt easily. I started to rethink this plan, though I still think it looks amazing.



I still wanted to do a hex mosaic though since it’s classic and looks amazing! I found inspiration everywhere I went, like random apartment stoops.

Hex Inspo | Land of Laurel

And then I thought, well, I’m a designer, I should do something ultra designer-y, like this:



or this:



Or this:



Then I realized I have to get this bathroom done before 2020 and I really don’t have a lot of time to wait for custom colored tile nor the time to hand-lay a complicated pattern. So I did some soul searching and decided to go more classic. I found this at Home Depot and placed my order. Simple, classic, black and white daisy.

For the bath fixtures, a coworker let me know we get a lip smacking good designer deal from Delta. I picked out their Cassidy collection for a vintage inspired, modern look in their Champagne Bronze finish (which is gold). A modern white toilet and pedestal sink will be a nice change from the pink throne too! Dark green walls in Benjamin Moore’s 1498 Forest Floor will add drama. Vintage picture frames and dark stained shelves with black brackets will look classic. Pretty soon, my design palette came together and I was ready to go!

Demo starts this weekend and the electrician and plumber come next week! I’ll be showering at my cousin Kristen’s next week. Thank god for local family! The only sad part of the renovation is the bathroom walls will no longer match my toothpaste! 😂

Have you ever renovated a bathroom by yourself? Am I crazy to hope to get it completed in just a couple of weeks?! Wish me luuuck! I will need it!

To-do Von Listerstein

So now that I’ve been at Berrybrier almost a month (oh my god, how?!), I’ve got a pretty good plan of what I’m going to do for the next several years! Boy, is there plenty of work to do, but I am only excited. Before I can do the fun stuff, there’s some big stuff that needs to be done by the professionals. Whoop! There goes my savings! Luckily, once these things are complete, I’ll be able to rent out the two upper bedrooms and start saving up for more fun projects.

Right now I kind of have a hand in every pot of honey around this house, trying to do a million things at once. There are tons of little things that needed to be updated around here before it’s truly livable. Once these more behind-the-scenes items are complete, I’ll get to dive into more of the showy stuff. But I thought I’d break things down for you – and for myself! – to see what’s going on right now and where things are headed.


Front Exterior:


  • Trim back plants from street and sidewalk to allow passage of pedestrians and cars parking
  • Cut down bamboo
  • Trim walnut tree
  • Cut down palm tree
  • Turn soil
  • Plant clover as a cover crop
  • Cut back and remove berry bushes 
  • Move raised bed to side yard
  • Weeding!
  • Beef up front porch column
  • Replace lattice at porch with proper railing
  • Remove railing from side of house


  • Paint house!
  • New roof and gutters
  • New house numbers
  • Line driveway with bricks
  • Remove chain link fence
  • Re-stain front door
  • Add new door knocker
  • Re-landscape front yard
  • Add white picket fence

Maybe Projects:

  • Add front porch along entire front of house
  • Turn existing porch into mud room
  • Turn existing front window into new french doors






  • Add coat rack
  • Add hooks
  • Add entry rug
  • Switch existing light fixture for new flush mount

Maybe Projects:

  • Center light fixture on entry
  • Add sconce?



Living Room:


  • Add furniture I have already
  • Cross fingers for roommates with furniture


  • Paint!
  • Buy furnishings (loveseat, chairs, cocktail table, ottomans, rug etc…)
  • Remove stone from fireplace and build more traditional look
  • Trim out opening to kitchen
  • Build attractive wood storage
  • Switch light fixture for new
  • Center light fixture on fireplace

Maybe Projects:

  • Turn big window into french doors to new porch


Dining Room Before | Land of Laurel

Dining Room:


  • Add existing furniture
  • Remove terrifying glass and concrete block shelving system from closet


  • Paint!
  • Add functional storage to closet
  • Add panels to existing closet door in interim
  • Switch existing light fixture for new pendant over table
  • Line walls with bookcases to create library dining space!

Maybe Projects:

  • Re-work closets and lower floor bedroom entry?
  • Center light fixture





  • Clean, clean, clean
  • Buy stove
  • Sand existing cabinets
  • Paint existing cabinets
  • Scrape existing flaking sheet vinyl up to expose original hardwood floors and stair treads
  • Purchase small butcher block table for next to stove
  • Remove small full height cabinet
  • Add my pantry china cabinet from the Duplex
  • Remove wallpaper


  • Paint
  • Paint pantry china cabinet
  • Re-finish hardwood floors
  • New lighting (cans? pendants? semi-flush mounts?)
  • Remove cabinets on west side and replace with new
  • Wire for stove and vent hood at south side window
  • Plumb for sink beneath windows looking into backyard
  • Add new cabinets at new sink location
  • Remove door at stairs

Maybe Projects:

  • Add dormer on west side of house
  • Rework stairs with new railing using height from dormer to eliminate dual landing



Main Bathroom:


  • Replace toilet seat with new so it feels less disgusting in here
  • Clean and pray the germs away


  • Complete demo!
  • New flooring!
  • New fixtures!
  • New layout!
  • New vanity cabinet!
  • New storage!
  • Paint

Maybe Projects:

  • Switch walls to make this bathroom the half bath and a full bath off the bedroom



Lower Floor Bedroom:


  • Add existing bedroom furniture
  • Add curtain rod and curtains


  • Paint!
  • Clean and organize closet to make functional
  • New light fixture
  • Remove paper residue from wood floors

Maybe Projects:

  • Re-work entrance to room to be centered off dining room with his and hers closets



Powder Room (Off Lower Floor Bedroom):


  • Clean!


  • New toilet
  • Secure sink to wall
  • Remove VCT flooring
  • Tile floors
  • Add wall paneling
  • Paint walls and ceiling

Maybe Projects:

  • Switch walls in bathrooms to make this a full bathroom and the one off the kitchen a powder room





  • Clean


  • Paint walls
  • Paint risers 
  • New hand rail 
  • New motion sensor or 3 way light switch
  • New light fixture

Maybe Projects:

  • Add sconces?
  • Add door where current eave access door is leading to north side dormer at top of stairs
  • Raise ceiling height at bottom of stairs / kitchen with south side dormer
  • Turn dual stair landing into single with extended ceiling height



Upstairs Bedrooms:


  • Clean


  • New light fixture
  • Paint
  • Make closets more functional / attractive

Maybe Projects:

  • Add more outlets


Basement Before | Land of Laurel



  • Clean!
  • Strap hot water heater to concrete walls


  • Vent dryer to exterior
  • Clean washer and dryer
  • Paint floors and walls
  • New 200 amp electrical box
  • Add storage
  • New front loading washer and dryer (stacking?)
  • Add laundry basket storage
  • New stainless steel utility sink
  • New lighting on single switch
  • Add rug and shelving at laundry

Maybe Projects:

  • Upgrade furnace and oil tank to new gas
  • Add outlets?



Back Exterior:


  • Turn soil
  • Plant clover as a cover crop
  • Move bricks from behind garage, evaluate if enough for patio
  • Cut back and remove some berry bushes 
  • Cut back asparagus
  • Trim magnolia tree
  • Build a brick patio beneath magnolia tree
  • Weeding!
  • Demo existing falling down fence
  • Build new fence
  • Buy outdoor table and chairs
  • Demolish deck roof


  • Paint outdoor table and chairs
  • Demolish deck
  • Demolish chicken coop
  • Build new chicken coop and run
  • Plant raised bed vegetable garden
  • Add shade garden beneath Magnolia
  • Cultivate existing herb garden
  • Add fire pit with adirondack chair seating
  • Landscape yard

Maybe Projects:

  • Demolish existing garage
  • Add large shed
  • Add outdoor shower / tub?


Garage Before | Land of Laurel



  • Clean!
  • Remove chemicals and toxic waste
  • Remove junk and toss
  • Organize existing nuts, bolts, screws, etc


  • Organize with proper tool and wood storage

Maybe Projects:

  • Demolish garage, replace with large shed


Whew! That’s a lot I’m working on and a lot to do coming up! Somehow it feels like I haven’t done anything, yet I’ve been working my butt off. I think all the little things happen over time and most are still in progress so although I haven’t checked a lot off my list yet, there’s still a lot going on! Luckily, I have an amazing amount of help. My dad came up for two weeks, my mom has been here helping for a month, my cousins Mary and Ted have been incredibly kind, dedicating hours upon hours to slowly tame this garden! I am so thankful for all this help. I am just overwhelmed by the generosity of my family members. I am looking forward to whipping the main bathroom and kitchen into shape so I can finally feel moved-in. Right now I feel very guilty showing people into my bathroom. Somehow, I’ve grown accustomed to it, but boy, it is not hygienic! Luckily the big items will get ticked off the list in the next couple of months allowing me to go into the new year in a fresh, clean space! Can’t wait for y’all to come visit in 2018!