Delays and Ongoings

Hello everyone! Sorry for the amount of time between posts. We've been having quite a bit of delays in our projects due to unforeseen circumstances. These delays have set us back on completion of our bathrooms, but we are continuing to slowly move forward! So I figured I would share some updates on what's been going on in our world because we haven't disappeared!


Remember back to the powder room project? That is slowly coming together, but after some changes to our original plans. The sink we were planning to use was the original ceramic wall-mount sink and we were going to pair it with sleek new black fixtures. However, once the plumbers came in to work on the sink, they quickly shared the news that the sink drill holes for the faucet were not set in the correct position to allow the use of our new faucet. So, ultimately we had to ditch our whole sink idea. Bummer... We ended up buying a sink/cabinet combination from IKEA - not ideal, but it works. We'll show pictures once we get the whole room together!

Now as for that other bathroom... We nearly got the whole thing completed, but then of course a leak started. The pan for the shower in the third floor started to leak and slowly began to work its way through the second floor bathroom's ceiling. Several hundred dollars later the leak was fixed, but there is now a 2'x2' hole in the drywall ceiling. Mikael is planning on fixing that here in the next few weeks. So we finally have all of the bathroom furniture in the room, but there's just a big hole in the ceiling. To be fair though, if all had gone according to plan we would have been able to complete the bathroom remodel in 3 days, which is pretty awesome! I won't leave you completely hanging though, above is a picture of the freshly painted linoleum and the new yellow rug I picked up at TJ Maxx! Our cats are very happy with this new purchase.


While at TJ Maxx, I also picked up several faux orchids and succulents. I love how they look in the living room because I cannot seem to keep any plants alive in that room! 

a fun pop of color for the front entry!

Also for fun news this week,  we discovered with our plumber that our house gas light pipes were still active. Ok, so let me back up and explain. Before our house was wired for electricity, the original lighting was fueled by gas funneled through pipes throughout the house. As we were removing the horrendous ceiling fans in the second floor rooms we saw the pipe stubs of the original gas lights coming through the hole in the ceiling. We had known that there was gas lighting throughout the house previously, but assumed that all of that had been turned off. We had a plumber out to double-check the gas was off, but quickly learned it wasn't! So that was exciting.


Last week, I ended up lucking out and found fiddle leaf figs at Home Depot! I've been looking for fiddle leaf figs for ages and had never found them anywhere. I was so excited to find them and I cannot wait to see them grow nice and tall! (I've got them planted in IKEA pots! I love their crisp white color with the simple pattern.) Hopefully, my black thumb will turn green for these guys!

I hope you all have a great weekend! Mikael and I are headed to South Dakota for Dane Days - a Danish festival in Viborg. It's going to be a fun time!

The $1200 Bathroom Flip


Just as we're beginning to finish up the first floor powder room, Mikael and I (officially crazy people) decided that we should just go ahead and tackle another bathroom because we are crazy people. In the powder room, nearly all is done except for the plumbing, which is to be completed tomorrow! So we'll be sharing the final reveal soon!

pre-flip, mid-demo

So here's how this whole other bathroom reno came up... The heat of summer has made sleeping in the master suite on the third floor unbearable. We've tried increasing the number of fans, closing vents to increase air flow from the HVAC, and even bought a portable AC unit from Costco. Unfortunately, none of those attempts made the room sleepable. Eventually we will have to get a mini-split AC unit for the third floor. In the mean time Mikael and I are sleeping in a guest room on the second floor. It's been a bit complicated because most of our stuff is upstairs and then our toiletries can't fit in the second floor bathroom. Thus, we thought "Why don't we just put in a new vanity? That'll be easy." Ohhhh that's how it always starts.

With this bathroom, though, we have WAY less work to do. It's encased in drywall (wooh!) and no plumbing or electrical is being moved. This is going to be our quick bathroom flip that will take us a week or less (!!) and come in at less than $1200! 



the ugly vinyl flooring


As we were planning it out, we knew we wanted a new vanity and sink that had plenty of storage. Additionally, a new mirror was necessary as it just looked old and not the good kind of old either. There was this ugly cabinet above the toilet with mushroom door knobs - so we removed that and needed to put in a new storage solution. This bathroom is going to be our summer bathroom, a guest bathroom, and eventually the kids bathroom too. We're keeping the toilet (for now) and the bathtub. We also are keeping the vinyl flooring (for now), but we are painting it white!

Sunday, we officially began the renovation by making a trip to IKEA to pick up a vanity, sink, mirror, cabinet, and towel rack. We chose from the Hemnes collection in black-brown so that all of the pieces matched. Demo began once we got home as we took down the ugly mushroom cabinet and Mikael began to patch and smooth the drywall. 

notice the paint job on that door! it's on the repainting list


While Mikael was at work on Monday, I finished patching the drywall, sanded those spots, and then painted the room! It already looked so much better with a fresh coat of paint. We chose the same Winter Solstice color from the living room (a beautiful blue-grey) for the walls. 


inspection phase by Bear



Today, work began on the floors. Since it is vinyl flooring, it is paintable, but it requires prep. I started out by thoroughly cleaning the floor, applying a sanding deglosser, and painting primer on the floor. Depending on the color and adherence, it could require two coats of primer, but I likely will only use one. Once that dries, I will paint the floor with Behr Porch and Floor paint in glossy white. Hopefully that will dry in the next few hours and then Mikael and I will be able to put together and install the IKEA pieces!

priming the vinyl floors

I can't wait to share the final pictures!
 

Powder Room Inspiration

art via versoPRINTS
As I envisioned the space of the newly renovated powder room, I knew I wanted it to be an elegant, chic, and stunning little room. Since it is so so tiny, it really gave us the chance to play a bit risky with bolder colors than what we might normally do. I adore the color emerald with its multi-dimensional hue - it varies from bright green to dark green to dark teal. I love the mixing of the colors because it aids in the vibrancy of the hue. So emerald was the wall color I decided upon for the powder room. When I told Mikael about my idea, he was pretty reluctant. He thought that maybe we should just do one wall or go with another color. However, once I painted the room he definitely was convinced!
To help lighten the space, we are using white penny tile and contrasting it with black grout. Additionally, we're painting the tin ceiling tiles white. So both of these will play well off of the darker emerald walls. 

Powder Room Inspiration


Although I wanted to use gold fixtures, Mikael convinced me to go with matte black - so our faucet, toilet paper holder, and plumbing will all be black. Beyond that though, I was able to get some gold touches into the room. We've picked up two beautiful gold light fixtures, one from etsy and another from West Elm!

Finally, in the bathroom nook we're installing cedar plank shelving. They will house two copper baskets that will hold toilet paper and linens. I can also foresee creating a mini-gallery wall within the room as well!

I cannot wait for the room to come together! This weekend we are going to tile the floor, so that's going to make it feel like we are so much closer to the end!

Powder Room Reno - Part 3

Here we are! Part three of the powder room renovation and we are nearing the end! Walls are up, drywall and plaster are skimmed, and paint is done! 
As we left off in the last update post, the wall was framed and the next step was to put up drywall. It ended up being a bit more challenging than we initially accounted for. It involved a lot of measuring, re-measuring, and a few instances of screwing in and then removing drywall! Again, it comes in handy that Mikael is an engineer and good with numbers, which helped with all of the calculations that were involved. 
Once the walls were screwed in, taping and mudding had to be done. Remember how I said before that we were going to hire this part out? Nope, we really did do it. (As in Mikael really did do it and I cleaned up the mess.) The challenge that we ended up facing was ensuring that the tap laid flat against the drywall. 
Here in the corner, you can see the lovely taping job that Mikael did! 
Here's the little cubby that we built! It was already there behind the previous drywall, so we opened it up, re-drywalled in the area so that it will hold shelves to store toilet paper, linens, and pretty items.
The next steps involved smoothing and sanding all of the walls in the bathroom - trying to fix any imperfections in the walls. Mikael quickly learned the lesson of making sure the mixture was thinned enough to let it dry quickly enough. One other thing we quickly learned is how messy all of this was. The drywall dust and particulates got everywhere! In the future, I'm going to make sure we put up a plastic protective sheet to help keep the dust limited to the work area.
You may notice that the wall into the hallway hasn't been taped. Mikael decided to hold off that project until we work on the actual hallway. 
We then primed the wall for painting. It likely would have been better if we had chosen a primer that was suited for darker colors, because it took us 3+ layers to completely cover the wall in the finished paint. The color I chose for the room was Sherwood Forest by Benjamin Moore. It's a lovely emerald color that is going to make the space look stunning!
So here's how the painting turned out! I adore the color and it is going to look unbelievable once we are finished! Tomorrow, I'll be sharing my vision for the space since we are getting much closer to the end! Be on the lookout for that! 


Our next steps in the process are to tile the floor, paint and install the ceiling tile, paint the moldings, and install the plumbing and light fixtures! That'll be on the next (and last) powder room reno post!

Spicy Cherry Chia Jam

We were so excited about the cherry tree in our back yard and even more thrilled that the cherries are edible and sweet! I spent hours and got many mosquito bites picking them from the branches. All of a sudden we had a couple pounds of cherries and quite honestly I had no idea what to do with them. I knew I needed to make something with them because we couldn't possibly eat them all before they went bad. I took to Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest looking for the perfect idea. 
Cherry jam seemed like the ideal choice because 1) I wouldn't have to bake and 2) I could make it semi-healthy. I ended up stumbling upon a recipe for a Cherry Chia Jam from My Heart Beets blog and adapted it to my tastes. The best thing about this is that in only has five ingredients and takes just fifteen minutes to cook! (A bit longer if you are pitting your own cherries.)
I made it with jalapeño flakes, added a dash of vanilla (totally optional), and used Turkish honey (from Trader Joe's), which gave it a fragrant flavor profile with a nice heat at the end. It's not by any means super spicy, but it strikes the perfect balance between sweet and heat. And trust me, it tastes good on everything! Toast, waffles, pancakes, Greek yogurt... It also could be mixed with cream cheese for a delicious dip! So many good options! 
If you have cherries, seriously you have got to try this out!

Spicy Cherry Chia Jam

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of pitted cherries
  • 2 tablespoons of Turkish honey
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of jalapeño flakes (could substitute for fresh jalapeño)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Instructions

  1. Add the pitted cherries and Turkish honey into a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook for five minutes, stirring frequently. Gently mash the cherries with a spoon to release their juice.
  3. Stir in the jalapeño flakes and vanilla.
  4. Bring the mixture to a low boil then reduce the heat to low and cover, simmering for 10 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the chia seeds. The jam will begin to thicken as it cools.
  6. Once cool enough, taste and add more honey to sweeten, if needed.
  7. Store in a clean mason jar. If air-tight, it should keep for 1-2 weeks.
Let us know if you try this recipe! I'd love to hear your thoughts! For me, I'll be putting it on everything for the next couple weeks! 

Updating the Front Porch

If you remember this picture from the Spring Garden post, you may have been distracted by the "beautiful" furniture on our front porch. These were gifts from my mom (AKA she was cleaning out her house and decided to gift us these pieces) and had this ugly brown paint color that was chipping and revealing a horrendous green paint underneath. We knew immediately that although the loveseat and chair were ugly ducklings, with just a bit of paint and new cushions, they'd become beautiful butterflies! It was really important to us that we updated our front porch furniture ASAP because it's our favorite place to relax on weekend mornings when its warm! On Sundays we grab breakfast, head out to the porch, curl up on the loveseat, and go through the newspaper. 
in the process of painting
First thing we had to do with those furniture pieces was to clean them up. I took a wire brush to them and scraped off as much excess paint as I could. Then I wiped them clean with cleaning wipes. Once cleaned, I went to town spraying them a semi-gloss black color. We knew we wanted black because it is easy to maintain and contrasts well against all of the red and white of our home! It took two days to complete with the dry times and I went through about 5 cans of spray paint. But the time was worth it because it took these frumpy looking chairs from drab and ugly to chic and like-new!
Once the painting was complete, we went out to At Home - a home decor store way out in the suburbs. They essentially are a brick-and-mortar Overstock and the store is enormous! We went in just to buy new cushions, but ended up buying way more! We picked up an outdoor rug, side table, candle, flower pot, cushions, and pillows all for about $250. All together, they have enhanced the porch space immensely!
It's now become this new outdoor living space for us and really helps enhance the look of our front porch! I love escaping to this space in the morning and getting to pretend for just a few minutes that we don't have any more work to do!
As you might have noticed from the pictures as well, our roses have bloomed! In fact quite a few of our plants have blossomed here in the past few weeks.
The roses are so beautiful and bring me so much joy when I see them! 
Our peonies too have bloomed and now I'm making lots of bouquets to decorate our house with the gorgeous fluffy pink flowers! My favorite thing is to go to Trader Joe's and pick up a few flowers and make a bouquet that is enhanced with our own garden! In the picture below, all I bought were the yellow sunflowers! I added in our red roses from the rose bush, the pink peonies, and gigantic hosta leaves from our front lawn. Simple and beautiful.
We've also discovered that our cherry tree in the backyard produces edible, sweet cherries! So this past week, I've been out on the ladder picking as many as my little arms can reach! I'm not entirely sure what we'll make with them. I've already frozen a bunch for future use, but its now time to make something specific. I've gotten so many great suggestions already, so I'm going to have to do a bit of research to make a final decision there!
Aren't they gorgeous? We've already been enjoying these cherries in yogurt, smoothies, and on top of oatmeal! Surrounding all of this though, we are still hard at work on the bathroom. Later this week, I'll provide an update of our progress because we are getting close!! So be on the look out for that because, people, we have walls!! I am so unbelievably ecstatic about that! 
Catch you soon,

Powder Room Reno - Part 2


Hello! Sorry we've been so few and far between in our posts recently. Quite honestly, progress has been a bit slow here at our home. We've still been working on our powder room, but it just is taking a while to accomplish any changes that really show in pictures. So let me remind you where we left off - we had pulled out the drywall ceiling and some of the wall framing in the bathroom. So inevitably, we had to remove the remaining framing around the door. Thankfully with our saws-all we were able to make pretty quick work of that. However, keep in mind, we were removing the framing around the door, plus also the ceiling too in both the powder room and hallway.


We took a brief break with the bathroom and decided to go ahead the clean up the walls in the hallway. If you look in early pictures, the hallway was just painted this light blue color, not the prettiest but nothing a can of paint can't cure. Unfortunately, upon closer inspection we realized the walls actually had wallpaper on them and then were painted over! So cool. As a result, we took a sidestep down a renovation rabbit hole and decided to remove the wallpaper down to the plaster walls. This took us about 3 days to accomplish and quite honestly was hard work. But it goes pretty well when you have a partner. It also makes it go way more quickly if you use a wallpaper steamer and putty knives to scrape. Be careful though - that water in the steamer can get dangerously hot! Also, if you pride yourself on having perfect nails, you might want to wear rubber gloves.


Next, Mikael built the frame for the powder room. After a lot of research and calculations, he figured out the layout and built the frame on the floor of our kitchen. The only minor issue we ran into was the fact that Mikael measured so well that the frame was suuuper tight as we tried to put it in. However, he managed to hammer it into place and that baby isn't going anywhere!


Framing and hanging the door was the next step, because you just can't have a bathroom without a door! We picked up the door at Architectural Salvage. Its only a two panel door, but its vintage quality will make it match well enough with the rest of the house. We then ran to Lowes and picked up an oak door jamb. Mikael then notched out the door hinges and built the jamb inside the door frame. Initially, when put into place the door was just a hair too high, so Mikael just barely shifted the door down to allow more gap at the top. I was really impressed with his calculations here because he set the door just perfectly so that when it is open, the door won't slam into the window frame in the hallway.


We then reinforced the floor with a plywood subflooring to create a solid surface for the tile. On Monday we had an electrician out to rewire the lights and install outlets. We set it up so that the light switch to the hallway is in the kitchen (just on the other side of the wall). We also had a double outlet put in the back corner of the hallway for our future coffee station in the pantry. New lights were wired in the hallway and powder room ceilings as well. So finally we had light in the bathroom!! Small wins.



As I'm writing this, Mikael is just finishing framing out the nook in the powder room. Initially, we didn't know it existed, but as we were demolishing we discovered the cavity had been covered with drywall. So our plan is to create built in shelving for the bathroom to house all of those necessary accessories for the room (toilet paper, towels, etc.) and decorative items. He's just finished the framing so we can now begin to move on to drywall! I cannot tell you just how excited I am for that to get started!

So what's next? Drywall and mudding and skim coating. Remember how I told you we were going to get professionals in to do that? Nah. Not happening anymore. We've decided we're doing it ourselves (aka Mikael has decided!!)! We'll see how that goes. But once that's accomplished, we can begin painting. We're in the process of ordering a tin ceiling for the bathroom and hallway. It will help cover up the crumbling plaster ceilings and make a statement! We're going to paint them white, so it won't be too crazy.

our tin ceiling pattern

inspiration photo from American Tin Ceilings

Next, we'll install the tile flooring. We chose a shiny white penny tile with an onyx grout. It should be dramatic, but fit in with the historical trends of the house! Finally, the fixtures and then we're done! I can't wait! It should be all finished up by early June and I could not be happier to have my first floor bathroom back soon. 

We'll keep you updated on how drywall goes! Have a great rest of your week!