Monday, November 14, 2016

First Floor Half Bath

In my old house one of my favorite rooms was my half bath. I picked a very relaxing color, and beautiful vanity and cabinet, flooring was a neutral porcelain tile. That was a big half bath too, once you lose square footage you realize just how much space you had.  But that house is no longer mine so the bathroom belongs to the new residents, I hope they are enjoying it.

The new bath, oh gosh it was so plain and not functional, not sure how the lady before me dealt with it for 5 years. It's tiny first of all like a small kitchen pantry. She had it painted a darker shade of brown and before selling it she painted it a beige color, it was so so plain.  The bathroom had a pedestal sink, a too big towel bar, and a small unframed mirror.

I personally hate pedestal sinks, they function to wash hands, that's it. They have no storage, get my theme?? It's all about storage for me. Also, that pedestal was huge! too big for that tiny room. I would always demonstrate to friends just how big by sitting on the toilet and showing them that I could reach in the sink and pretend wash my hands at the same time as I was on the pot!  Not cool

My opportunity to remodel this room came when I got my new flooring, because the sink and toilet had to come out in order for flooring to go down. Once the pedestal sink was taken out there was no going back. I found a perfect sized vanity at Lowe's it was Drayden 25 inch grey brown vanity,  I paid $159. It's not solid wood but in that size vanity I really could not find anything in real wood except a few that were between $800 - $1500, which was out of my price range and really nothing I cared for. I chose the faucet Delta Boardwalk in chrome for $84, the towel ring and TP holder were also Delta Boardwalk for $21 and $24. The mirror I bought was Style Selections Chrome Framed mirror in 24w x 30h I paid $49 (my link goes to the Allen and Roth equivalent but it's $78). I changed the cabinet knobs to a chrome finish Sutton Place knob from for $8.03 each.

First order of business, patch walls and paint. This was a job because previous owner did a BAD patch job on the wall, but its all good now. Next was painting the walls the blue color, I chose Ocean Boulevard by Behr in satin but used Glidden paint which was $23 per gallon. This color was soft on the card but kind of bright on the walls. Last was installing the toilet and sink (thank you to my friend Michael for being my contractor).

Art I already had from old house, Museum Print James Ensor Seashells

After that came the more fun items like towel ring, tp bar, mirror, new outlet covers, and shelves. I made the shelves and will show that in another blog. The only outstanding item is the light fixture (Allen & Roth Flynn $112) that has not been purchased yet.

My goal was to do this one on the cheap, but with all the new items and the cost to uninstall and reinstall the sinks and toilet, I came in at $500 for the supplies (including the light) and $300 in labor cost.
Cabinet pulls from, print i had from old house, and shelves that I made
I am so happy with how this room came out, it has storage, counter space, shelves for some decor, and a pretty spa like blue color. Not exactly like the bath in my old house but similar and designed for this space.

Friday, November 11, 2016

New Flooring First Floor

Hi friends I have been hard at work on my house. It's amazing how much time and focus you can put into a house. This has been a whirlwind of a year with buying a new house and trying to get it fixed to look and function how I want it. 

My kitchen is a major area of focus for me. We spend a lot of time in there and most of my stuff is kitchen stuff so having storage is the most important aspect to me. Secondary is how my kitchen looks, though it's still important.

I busted through the cheap and easy early on, which was cleaning and painting. My kitchen stayed in a state of flux for the past year. It was a matter of working on how it looked as I figured out how to get more storage and worked on getting more storage. I think my kitchen just fluctuated between ok and disaster every few weeks, and I shuffled stuff around constantly as I worked on something new. If this doesn't motivate you to get stuff done nothing will. Plus I had walls, cabinets, and counters that all clashed so I was eager to get projects knocked off my list.

I had gotten to a point where all the cheap and easy was completed so it was time to move on to a more expensive checklist item. The first step in my opinion was the flooring, it made sense to start at the ground and work my way up.

My ideal floor was a wood floor or engineered hardwood, but I was very apprehensive because my kids are a bit rough on everything and the bigger concern is my little toy poodle who still has accidents. The move in floors were carpet in the livingroom and vinyl sheet on the rest of my ground floor. The carpet was 5-6 years old and looking every bit of that, but the vinyl was in good condition and it really didn't look bad, but neither were what I wanted.

I wanted one flooring that covered my entire first floor to make it flow consistently and hoped it looked bigger.  I looked for 10 months, but finally settled on Coretek Plus engineered vinyl planks, it looks like wood but is 100% water proof, kid proof, and pet proof. Vinyl was not what I wanted but surprise! it's what I chose in the end. And I must say price was a couple thousand less than the wood I had picked out, so the floor I got was still pricey, but worth it.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Nordstrom Find (Sole Society) Bucket Bag

I love handbags/purses! It's trendy to say handbag, but I tend to say purse, I am not that cool, ha! As my daughter is getting older she loves mom's stuff so while I would love a closet full of expensive bags its just not practical, but who needs expensive to look cute?

I have a Macy's like 10 minutes from home and like 2 minutes from work so it's more convenient but the selection of the "cheap" bags isn't that great. They have beautiful designer bags but I am posting about cute affordable bags today!

Nordstrom I find has some affordable and cute bags and many are vegan, so no animal is harmed to make a bag! I also like that I can shop online and the pictures are true to life. Another bonus is I find bags on sale (so cheap cheap). My closest Nordstrom is a 30 minute drive! so online is ideal. I love some of the brands like BP, Street Level, and Sole Society.

This little Sole Society bucket bag is a dream. I have been wanting one for a few months and finally this one originally $59.95 was on sale for $25.98! So no way I was passing on this. It has beige interior and while there are no pockets it does come with a wristlet that attaches so no digging to find it! I just looked and black is gone but this is still available in white and cognac, both beautiful!
I haven't removed the plastic or tags yet! 
The material is a faux leather and it looks real and is so soft! The shoulder strap is adjustable. Also the bag has a magnetic close and the drawstring so not much is going to fall out if it's cinched shut.

I had a couple other items so my order was over $50 and my shipping was free! They ship as they have the items so my order has not all been delivered yet, but I like that they try to get what they can to you as quickly as possible.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

10 Minute Clean Ups

I am not afraid to admit that my house looks like a tornado blew through on most days. My kids are messy and leave dirty clothes/shoes, backpack, dishes, bottles, crumbs, or you name it laying around.  My dog Buddy will grab pencils that the kids leave laying and chew them up and he likes to pull the stuffing out of his favorite stuffed animals.

I have been looking for ways to keep the weekday messes under control without spending too much effort because I am tired after working all day  and I want to reduce the amount of weekend cleaning I need to do. Weekend cleaning should be the deep cleaning like in bathrooms, mopping floors, some laundry, and dusting but I do not want my entire weekend taken up on this.

I have been experimenting the past few days with 10 minute clean ups. I set a timer and choose an area to focus on and see what I can get done. I have done this twice with my kitchen and in 10 minutes I find I can unload and reload the dishwasher, wipe counters/surfaces/sink and make my breakfast or prepare kids lunches for next 2 days, or pack lunches in the morning. I get a good amount accomplished and my kitchen is cleaned up. I have not been able to get sweeping the floors in the 10 minutes though. I have been able to get a load of laundry started in these 10 minute kitchen clean ups too.

I had quite a bit of clean laundry sitting around waiting to be put away from the weekend, so my daughter and I did a 10 minute clean up for laundry before bedtime last night, and we were able to sort all laundry and put her and her brother's away in the 10 minutes. My laundry and towels didn't make it but it will be a 10 minute clean up for me after work today.

I will keep doing these as it is a challenge and being competitive it appeals to me.  Working in these short 10 minute increments breaks it up and makes doing weekday chores less taxing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Small Changes: Lighting

Hi friends - I have been hit or miss here, but so incredibly busy. Buying my new house was not expected and comes with starting over. My house is now 6yrs old and the original owner was cheap builder grade all the way, so updates were necessary. I am slowly, very slowly getting things put together but with work, kids, budget, and weather it takes so much time for those of us in the real world to finish a room. 

Most changes are small and affordable, and those are my first priority then I will move on to the more expensive changes. Ideally I would put in all new cabinets but I am being conscious of my home's value and not overspending on my changes. But some changes like the laminate counters and the vinyl flooring have to go! Flooring will be my first expensive change. All new lights posted here were paid for by yours truly, no freebies (haha I am not that "important"!).

One change I have been making that gives an immediate impact is the lighting. I have put a huge dent in the lighting change and am getting there! Just a few more to change out.

Here is a sneak peek of the fixtures I have changed, before (mostly the same ugly lights throughout) and my afters. I look forward to showing you what I have done so far in my house. Sorry these are all iPhone pics, I will post better ones as I show you the rooms!

Before: This one isn't bad and was in a Martha Stewart ad photo, but I had something else in mind. 
After: Globe from

Before: Nothing wrong with it, in 2,3,and 4 light in all baths, just not what I had in mind
After: Only in one bath so far, but I love it so it will go in all baths 
Before: This little $15 beauty was everywhere! I think 7 in total and 6 have been changed out!

After: These 4 lights replaced 6 of the 7 little white lights

Before: The standard boob light, all gone!

After: Another globe light
Before: 2 more boob lights, slightly different

After: Kids picked what they liked for their rooms

I have so much to share and am working toward getting enough down time to start showing you my work so far (nothing is completely finished yet!). More to come I promise.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pottery Barn Outlet - Lina Duvet Cover, Dip Dye Duvet, and Fragrance Oil

While my kids were invited to a private suite for a baseball game last Saturday, I had plans to go to a birthday party at a co-workers house and then take a trip to Pottery Barn Outlet to see what new stuff they had out.

There isn't a lot that I need but I do like to look to see if any items I do have on my list for the future are in the Outlet discounted.
I did find some living room tables I wanted but I decided to hold off. I did however find a pretty duvet cover for my bed. I had been looking at Crane and Canopy pintuck in white, but it seems like everyone has that now, so when I saw the Lina Duvet in white it was similar to the pintuck duvet but still different. And it was discounted and it had no shipping and I got it now. It is still needing to be placed on my bed but is washed and waiting on me. I post a picture of both the white and the blue because the blue shows the detail a little better.

My daughter has a Dip Dye Duvet but mine has been problematic from the get go. Honestly I am not sure if she is just very rough on it or if the quality is not great. I have had to fix rips in the material and the material where it is gathered. The strip on the back has torn in several places which undoes that puckering of the material. So I have to keep repairing it from the inside.

The duvet I found was a return that had been washed, so the duvet was heavily discounted to $24.99! This is a $180+ duvet so I was pretty thrilled to find this. I already have the shams so I am all set.

The other thing I found at the PB Outlet was an oil fragrance/air freshener, I bought the Pomegranate. It smells really good.

Of course I like regular Pottery Barn too, but you cannot bet the prices at the PB Outlet. I found my kitchen table (Benchwright) and 2 of my chairs (Stella) at the PB Outlet along with many small decor pieces that were perfectly ok and discounted much more than the regular store or online. Really its a matter of looking at the item and making sure its not damaged and many times you get brand new items in boxes, so yay! Feel lucky to live close to the PB Outlet.