Let’s call it done

If I had to vote, the worst room in the house upon moving in would be the master bath. The halfplex problem is that both bathrooms have no natural light from windows and are somewhat small. The master bath had this huge cabinet and countertop, an older toilet, crappy shower stall, ugly flooring, a slab mirror and spotlight looking lights. not to mention it was beige and purple with a festive fish border and recessed wood cabinet.


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2011_09_08 Master Bath

These were some of the first pictures of the house from way back in 2008.

Because I had so many other projects and so little money, the makeover began with taking down the border and painting the whole room – ceiling included – Rice Grain. It was… okay for a $20 investment and a couple of hours.

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Oh and I took down the big slab mirror and replaced it with one from Target that I picked up on clearance.

My damn selective perfect memory will never let me forget the guy who took the old mirrors when I put them on Freecycle and announced they would be going on his bedroom ceiling. Thanks, dude. Really needed to know that.

In 2013 I was ready to get this party started so I demoed the floor, finding 2 layers of vinyl flooring I named ugly and uglier. With the floor out and the concrete slab cleaned, I shopped for new tiles and found a great neutral one at Home Depot on clearance.




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The new floor tiles were great, except I had nothing else in the room and it was annoying to go down the hall to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Mostly because the dogs would follow me and then I had to play dog wrangler half asleep.

Before installing that tile of course we had to demo the old countertop and shower in (2012?). The original sink was in rough shape with multiple stress fractures and a faucet that was nasty (also where giant spiders like to hang out).

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We had purchased a pedestal sink and toilet from Osh on clearance, so it wasn’t too difficult to decide to install beadboard to both cover the messed up spots on the wall and create a much brighter room. While I tried to decide what style and trim I wanted we installed the new sink and toilet knowing that they would be coming back out to do the finishing touches since we would cut around all the pipes for the beadboard

Oh, by this time I replaced the shower head with a detachable model:

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and painted the inside of the recessed storage beige and the trim white.

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Okay, by now in my little timeline we’re up to 2014 when Toby began replacing lights allll over the house. I’d picked up a light at Osh when I found the sink and toilet on clearance so we swapped out the spotlight for something a little more subtle:


The only problem with the new fixture was that it puts off less light – which is great when you’re just waking up, not so great when it comes to seeing if you got all the grass off your legs in the shower stall after mowing the lawn.

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Okay. It’s 2014. The floor is in. The new toilet, sink and light are in. I finally buy the trim and baseboards, cut them in my garage and begin to install. Six months after I start the trim Dad makes it up for a weekend to remove the sink and toilet so we can finish the trim.

By this point I have also painted the walls a bright blue, although it’s not permanent because a few weeks later I repainted the walls a softer blue.


It takes a couple of hours and Dad does most of the cuts to fit everything together like a really simple jigsaw puzzle with big, big pieces.


But when we’re done it looks seamless, the toilet and sink get reinstalled and I’ve only lost 2 pieces of trim (on the left) to damage in the process. It’s easy enough to replace those and the room is done! Right?

Not quite. Remember how the shower becomes a cave? Well the blue paint makes it even darker so I start by picking a lighter shade for the walls. Because I looove painting bathrooms. No, not at all.

Then I have Toby return and install a waterproof can light in the shower stall and it’s wired to the room fan.

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It’s glorious. Except now I can see exactly how bad the shower is thanks to that door and trim slowly disintegrating.

Oh, and the mirror? is now way too large to be re-hung and there’s no way I’m cutting into my newly perfected trim.

So, and now we’re up to April when I picked out the Krabbe mirrors from Ikea and hang them across 2 walls like such:

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And I’ve hung the towel hooks right next to the shower so they’re handy right when you step out of the newly bright shower onto my comfy rug:

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The antique letter press that I got from Mom a few years ago is hung again and filled with all those tiny makeup bottles and such that get lost in drawers. It’s the only way I can remember to put on chapstick in the winter.

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On the far wall I’ve collected a series of prints, canvases and water colors to go with my “under the sea” vibe in here. I’ve left room below the prints for smaller prints or robe hooks. Remains to be seen.

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For storage I am maximizing the space in the recessed cabinet with dirty laundry, towel storage and toiletries, but I am also using this blue cart from Ikea for the things I use most often,

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and this wood shelf I made for spare toilet paper and towels.

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To celebrate being d.o.n.e. I splurged on new towels from Costco which are fluffy and awesome. Oh and that tiny succulent planter which I will probably kill soon.

And THAT my friends wraps up the 5.25 year remodel of my master bath. If I say anything about painting in here, please, someone slap me.

Pssst! I also updated this on my home projects page which is slowly getting updated with all the changes I’ve made over the last year or so.

master bath remodel


All Wilson’s Fault

When I got back from my recent trip to Mexico, Wilson came home a little sick. Not sure what was wrong, I was keeping a close eye on him. Until, one morning about 4am he got out of bed (where I was watching him) and peed on my bedroom carpet.

He didn’t whine at the door. He didn’t go on the laminate in the bathroom. He just squatted and went.

I turned on the light and he stared at me with pathetic eyes and I knew he really wasn’t feeling well. Still, I grabbed the cleaner, scrubbed the carpet with some rags and tried to get back to sleep.

A few days later, when we were back from the vet (diagnosis pending), I began moving all of the furniture out of my bedroom. The following morning I placed at order at my local Home Depot and within the day had the carpet torn up, carpet pad bagged for the trash, baseboards carefully removed, tack strips trashed and door frames in pieces.

It’s like after months and years of hating my carpet and the smell steadily getting worse I just couldn’t take it anymore and needed it gone now.

Like I said, all Wilson’s fault.

Although, once I saw the back of the carpet I knew that this was a long time coming and I wanted to immediately tear up the rest of the carpet in the house. Except, you know, no where else to put furniture.

So with the old carpet chilling outside I began to work on the new floor.

I’m not an expert, nor am I even remotely qualified to talk about flooring. But it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want to.

Step 1: the demo

I guess step 0 would be moving the furniture but that’s boring. Even if Nixon absolutely loved having my bed in the living room where he played the floor is lava by jumping from chair to bed to couch all the time.


Once the furniture is out demo can begin. Some people start by removing the baseboards but for me it was easier to get the nasty carpet out of the way.

I started at the door to the hallway, temporarily removing the door from the frame – hinges and all.

The transition strip of metal was a bitch but I eventually clawed under it with the wonderbar (aka crowbar) and took it out carefully. From there it’s pretty easy to pull the carpet away from the tack strips that border the room and I moved quickly, folding the carpet in on itself.

I found that I had one seam across the closet opening so I took out the largest piece before removing the carpet section in a second piece.

The carpet pad, frankly, was disgusting. I wish I could unknow what was lying under there all this time.

Not bad, right?


This is what I found. Eek.DSC_0600

There was a thick layer of dirt from the carpet pad breaking down and tons of debris from replacing the baseboards and just junk that got through over the years. I estimate the carpet had to be 15 years old because disgusting.


The carpet pad had many more sections tapped together so I ripped that out in smaller pieces and stuffed everything into 2 large garbage bags.

Then came the tack strips. And although I’m writing this very quickly, keep in mind this was an all day project from start to finish.

Again the crowbar did most of the work on the tack strips and the wood was very brittle and easy to break. I threw the pieces into an old trash can as I went and then used the crowbar to take out the nails driven into the concrete slab.

Oh. My. God.

I was breaking so much concrete, I was sure something was going to break from the debris. It flew off in pieces sometimes landing on my laptop where a movie was keeping me entertained, to the kitchen sink, one piece flew up and hit my face. Let’s just say I’m grateful I wore the dorky science geek safety glasses the whole time.


After the tack strips were up I moved on to removing the baseboards, numbering them as I went and keeping a key on the pink sheet of paper.


Using this tool meant for cutting wire, I took out all the nails and used my box cutter to trim off the caulk from the edges.


Next to be demoed was the door frames which I am going to replace and it just makes sense to do when the baseboards are out.

Yes, I know I spent the last 6 years finishing baseboards finally getting them done, oh 2 months ago. I know the irony is hilarious.

Step 2 Prep

I consider this a different step than demo, even though it happened simultaneously because there was a lot of work to do on the slab. Most homes have a plywood subfloor and have to deal with thousands of stapes. I was lucky and just had concrete with 500 divets in it from those damn nails.

So I picked up a filler in the concrete aisle and really liked the squeeze bottle factor to getting those holes filled. Also a really long crack that went across the room got 2 fillings of concrete mix.


Throughout all this I was of course sweeping and tossing trash constantly, even vacuuming up all the dust that accumulated under that carpet pad.

No one tells you how disgusting the walls are at the corners but let me just say: ewwww.


Once everything was thoroughly demoed and prepped, I went over the floor once more with an ice scraper which helped get the rest of the carpet pad and glue up.


Finally, by sundown on the first day I was able to clear the room of all tools and sweep it like my life depended on it. With the floor really, really clean and concrete filler drying fast I could bring in the first boxes of flooring to acclimate to the room and begin painting the subfloor.

Step 3 Paint

Okay wow, we’re still on day 1. That night I pulled out the new Kilz paint, an oil based primer that was specifically recommended for covering all sorts of animal related stains on a floor. Lucky for me, there was a Behr and Kilz rep on hand at the paint center (I think they were doing a sales call) so we compared a few different types of paint and I came home with this one:


Because it’s oil based I’m resigned to the fact that it will ruin any paint brush I use and, once I put it on, I’ll be essentially locked out of my room (the same one without a door) lest the dogs decide to run across the floor and get their paws wet.

So it was essential to do this and let it dry overnight after the dogs had gone outside and hopefully with fans blowing, be dry by morning.

It was not a fun process. About halfway through the quart I realized that my shaking was ineffective and since I did not get these shaken at the store the last bit of the can was really, really thick and hard to apply.

So I got about a third of the room done before calling it a night.

Step 3.5 should be take 2 tylenol and sleep on heating pads all night.

Day 2 I got the remaining paint shaken, painted the rest of the floor and waited for it to dry. I tested it once and came out with a white palm. Doh.

Step 4 Waiting

Since the wood has to be acclimated for at least 48 hours I was resigned to wait. I’m not a great waiter.

So here’s where I stand so far with tools and supplies:

  • 2 Quarts of Kilz Primer: $15.96
  • 1 liter of cement filler $7.29
  • 1 mallet for the boards: $4.97
  • 7 boxes of Lakeshore planks in Pecan: $133.63
  • 2 rolls of underlayment $49.96
  • Ice scraper: $21.97
  • Knee pads:  $19.97
  • Packet of spacers: $5.16
  • tapping block: $22.98

Also in the expenses category is the cost of dumping the old carpet and carpet pad, so add $11 for the county dump fee.

Total so far: $292.89

Which isn’t terrible in my opinion, more than 60% of that cost is the tiles and underlayment alone and I know the tools will be useful for more than one project. Don’t even think about doing this without good knee pads, seriously.

Want to see how it turned out? Part 2 is here

this and that

I’m once again waiting on the world to change pictures to be edited to finish up a couple of post for the blog here but instead I just decided to write.

Because I’m a writer. It’s how I communicate best and win the most arguments with myself.

I am slowly downsizing in the house and need to make another trip to a) the dump and b) Goodwill this month before my next out of town trip. I also have 6 or 7 packages of gifts to send from my last out of town trip that still need to be wrapped, labelled and taken to the Post Office. Details, details.

I’m also trying to narrow down which prints from my vacation will make it onto canvases. So many to choose from.

mexico sunrise

Wilson has been sick lately so after an expensive vet visit I’m keep a close eye on him and seeing if he’ll need on-going medication. Surprisingly Jackson has been the naughty one, deciding to bite a hole in the back of my new couch cushion this week. My dogs are naughty.

Maybe this was all to remind me that I can’t have a new puppy because oh I really, really want one. The litter out at the farm is just too damn cute for words. And snuggly.

new puppy

Slowly I’m tackling all the paper piles around the house – something we like to call “shitepiles” on the organizing thread I participate in. Mine tend to be 90% junk mail, coupons and bills. Oh and now a survey from the government I’m somehow legally obligated to complete and mail in which I find to be ridiculous.

What else is going on… oh somehow and someway moths are invading the house. I am trying to find where they’re originating from (an old book? sweater? pillow?) and so I’m slowly killing them when they appear. And because I read that it helps, I bought a pound of dried lavender and put it in tiny sachets to hang around the house. At least I like the smell of lavender.

Right now I can’t take any pictures in the house because every room has been thrown into chaos from my recent project (I know, what’s new?) but I am slightly in love with how the garage is looking these days. I picked up some supports for hanging the next set of pegboards in my makeshift workbench area so maybe before May rolls around I’ll be able to hang that on the wall.

Any work in the garage is pretty much limited to the weekend since the new car takes up so much room… wait, I didn’t post about that here. Well, here she is:

new car

Tentative name is “big red” because this car is a beast. 19 feet long, 12 mpg, electric windows, top and front seat. There’s a slight issue with the gear box and the radio doesn’t want to work but I’m looking to get those fixed up soon. The leather seats also need conditioning and I’m shopping for new tires.

Anywho, I had to rearrange the garage because the space is only 20 feet long which means I couldn’t put any furniture along the shared wall with the house and then had to hang a tennis ball on a string so I don’t pull in too far and hit the drywall (again).

But although I never knew it should be my goal to own a classic convertible in California, I highly recommend it!

Okay, what else is happening…

I think that’s it for now, I continue to hold out hope that this little dude could come live with me because hello, cuteness.

new puppy 2

Simple Office Clean Up

As usual I have a bunch of projects to update but today I decided to tackle my office for 15 minutes because it was getting out of hand and impeding my ability to concentrate.

Before I show you the “before” pics keep in mind that I’m just back from vacation where I picked up a bug and spent most of the last 2 days pathetically attempting to work in the comfy chair in my office.  You know this is a true before because I didn’t even close the desk drawer hanging open.




That’s my comfy chair with the desk chair serving as a foot rest because the dogs insist on sitting ON me at all times. Also they’ve dragged in some blankets to “nest” in the closet.



My plant here looks like it’s dying and is dropping leaves all over the place. Classy. Also there’s a huge stack of files, notebooks and binders on the bookshelf that I didn’t have a chance to put away properly before going on vacation.




In the closet the old curtains hung up on the clothing rod, there’s a mess of dog blankets and a bunch of boxes I need to go through.


Armed with a timer set to 15 minutes I started working, putting things away in different rooms and quickly coming back to work in the office.

If you’ve ever done this do you find that you become really compelled to clean other spaces? I so want to tackle the bedroom next but gah, work still to be done in the office!

Here’s the “after” – the biggest difference was taking out the plant for some pruning and closing the closet curtains. Still haven’t cleaned up that wall shelf yet though.



The pile of files is much smaller but I was in the midst of sorting them when the timer went off. I do find it convenient to have my tape, post its, pens and pencils easily accessible like this. And those boxes and bins are super easy to keep things organized.



This is the best chair in the morning even if the back gets smooshed by Nixon sitting on it all the time. If I were a proper blogger then I would have turned on the overhead reading lamp and staged it with a throw blanket or something.



Desk got a little cleaner and I cannot wait to replace my computer so I can have a better system for all those necessary (but annoying) cords:


Last shot of the closet and my new curtains from Ikea (where else?!). The green bin has files I’m archiving so it needs to stay accessible until I finish sorting through files on my desk. I still need to decide what’s going to hang in that spot between the doors but all of my pictures are revolving throughout the house constantly so I’ll find something soon I’m sure.


There you have it, my slightly updated office, cleaned and not at all staged for the blog. Now that I’m done with that project I really want to go do another room. I might just power clean the house but who knows if I’ll blog about it. Because 15 minutes of cleaning + 30 minutes putting together a blog post is a little weird. Especially when I have that stack of papers to go through!