Weekend Warriors.

Weekend Warriors: Bathroom Reno!

Welcome to our renovation!

I thought I’d give a bit of back story before I get to the good stuff. Because why not?

This is the second home that we’ve bought and are working to transform.  Our previous home was in Richmond, Virginia – It was a solid 1950’s brick ranch that was DESPERATELY in need of updating. Dirty light tan carpet throughout, lots of wallpaper, dingy ceilings, greasy knotty pine kitchen cabinets. All of the things someone looking at the property would be disgusted at. “Too much work.” But not us! The bones of the home were imaculate, I felt like it would protect us from anything.

It just needed lots of TLC and …. paint.

This being our first DIYer, we were excited but totally in the dark. So we started small. Wallpaper down. Paint colors decided and applied. After that was done … we went bigger. The carpet served as our drop cloth for all of our painting – mostly on my accord, so there would be NO WAY we would keep it. So when we took a deep breath and ripped up ALL of the carpeting to (thankfully) find beautiful hardwoods hiding underneath? *sigh* so wonderful. In this home we were lucky that baseboards were traditional and pretty and we had crown moulding everywhere. What a difference something like that brings to the texture and feel of a home! Once those projects were done, we brought someone in to give us an estimate on a new kitchen. Whoa. Even just to reface the cabinets went over our budget! It also felt like we were losing the charm of the home by taking out what had been built, by hand, to last. Things aren’t made like that anymore. I felt bad for the history of the home itself, not to mention the cabinets were in PERFECT condition; just tired. So based on that, we decided we needed to save the money anyway and went on a mission to sand and paint the original knotty pine. We put some sweat equity in being weekend warriors and wow, what a difference! We LOVED it and thankfully got them put together just in time for the Super Bowl party we held later that day. Talk about pushing the timeline!

Through our pretty minor experiences with DIY projects we gained a huge sense satisfaction of a job we did together. With help from resources like Google, some phone calls to our Dads and the http://www.YoungHouseLove.com website, we could do *almost* anything! (I wanted to take down walls, but we moved to New England before any of that could come to be. I’m sure the hubs wasn’t sad.)

The best compliment we got was from our Realtor (who was the listing Realtor when we bought the house). He walked in and said, “Oh! I remember this house…… WOW! I feel like I’m in an HGTV episode!”

How’s that for a freaking phenomenal feeling?!

Now we find ourselves on the shoreline in Connecticut. When we first got here our experience finding a place to live was a NIGHTMARE. We got into town, U-haul in tow, and the place we planned on renting fell through at the very last minute. On top of an outrageous security deposit they wanted an additional $600 non-refundable deposit for our 7 year old Lab and the cat. Last minute. Excuse us, but screw that. So we lived in a hotel room for 3 days while it snowed, rained and we searched again. The place we settled on was a last resort. A roof over our heads. That’s pretty much all I could call it. When the decision was made to say “yes”, I got in the car and left. I cried. Dirty doesn’t even begin to describe the place. A 1/2 inch gap between each original 1700’s oak floor boards caught everything from the previous renters. Dog hair, nails, dog food, people food, people hair, coins, paper clips. The paint job was a mess. The bathroom door wouldn’t shut. A gap under the back door almost welcomed a snake in the house. A frat house would be cleaner than it was.  BUT … the rent was cheap and it was month to month. In that aspect it was a win. I think? A few months after moving in we started looking at homes all around the area, then eventually narrowing down to neighborhoods we would want to live in. We spent time in the neighborhoods. (I ran in the one we currently live in a few times a week.) When we were in Richmond, I was always a little bummed that we went from living smack dab in the city to living on the outskirts of the city limits. The “midtown” area was so appealing to me because we could have walked or biked to our favorite spots, shopping, etc. But it was more costly, of course. We got a lot more for the money just being 3 miles away. So with that in mind, and now being on the Long Island Sound, we found that the best spot for us would be near a beach or at least water, near the Town Green (the downtown area with restaurants and shopping of our small town) and closer to New Haven for bigger city offerings. We found a house, looked at one more to be sure, and had a few more visits – once with a contractor & once with my parents – to say “let’s do it!!!” Our main concern was the size. 900 square feet. 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom. The listing said it was a “condo alternative” and that’s exactly what it feels like. Simple living. But could we add on? Could we build up? Yes, it’s small, but it’s forcing us to live with less stuff. We’re also walking distance to the beach. We have 2 lobster boats that dock at the end of our street. Marina’s abound. What a joy to hear lines *clanking* on the sailboat masts during walks around the neighborhood. We can walk or bike to the Town Green. We have a brewery 3/4 of a mile away. We can put our kayak and paddleboard in and tool around in the water (sometimes hitting up the brewery en route). 900 square feet, but LOCATION. Our immediate neighborhood is great, I can see the salt marsh out front and I can smell the sea air when I walk out of the house. 900 square feet, but LOCATION. The house was being used as a long term rental, so it wasn’t taken care of like it would be if there was a homeowner living there. BUT, that’s where we come into it’s developing history. We have SO MANY ideas and visions for it and we are SO excited to see them all come to life. I’m anxious for the day that we can sit at the fire pit in our Adirondack chairs (a gift from our Richmond home and the previous owner) gazing at our landscaped backyard, amid flowing seagrass borders and green lush grass, sipping our craft beer, with hearts in our eyes of a beautiful airy and bright indoor “cottage”.  Feeling that sense of satisfaction again … and the knowledge that if we can renovate together, there’s nothing we can’t do.

That, and what do people in their 30’s do who don’t have kids (…yet)? Travel and renovate. Duuh.

I’m not sure why we started on the bathroom, we just did. One day we decided on paint. The next day we just decided to take out the vanity. Once the vanity was gone, it was do or die. Gotta move on to the next step! We previously really liked the rustic barn feel, but fresh and modernized. In this house, if we’re going for a coastal vibe, we had to drop the barn feel and go a little more light. Not so heavy with lots of dark wood, however some works well, as you’ll see. We went for penny round tiles on the floor, mostly because I’m in love with them, but also because they worked perfectly in the small space that is our bathroom. Clean, crisp, bright, airy and fresh with lots “movement”, color pops and texture is the feel we’re going for. Like feeling the coastal breeze making its way through the front windows and back out the back windows (because that can literally happen – ha!) I can feel it now and I can see it too. And my dudes, it – is – AMAZEBALLS. Eventually we’ll need to buy a bigger home (ya know… babies) but we may have to keep it forever and rent it out as a vacation home! …hmmmmmm… the train station is also walking distance. Those Big Apple city’folk like to get away, ya know.

So here’s the BIG REVEAL! I took some of the photos when it was dark outside. Hindsight and knowledge for the next project, daylight is much better than a flash. We’re really happy with how it turned out and I’m so proud of us. It’s definitely the most in depth project we’ve done so far in our home owning career! We learned many new things with this one and didn’t kill each other – YAY!

Official “Before” shots:

IMG_6658Normally a bathroom like this I wouldn’t mind. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either.

We needed MORE. More piZazz. More life.

Taking out the vanity. (What a nasty mess!)


And then… SHIPLAP…

We got it in the bathroom and realized we should prime it first. So back outside it went.


I was told by a friend of ours who had made the mistake of NOT painting the wall behind the wood, to PAINT THE WALL BEHIND THE WOOD. She installed a barn board wall in her resturant and neglected to paint the wall black behind it. So through the knots in the wood, the light wall peeked through. Not a life stopper, but for those of us who are pretty immersed in the details, it’s important. We knew we would be painting the shiplap white, so the wall behind became white also.

Here we go!

Tip: Use a few nickels placed in between boards when hammering to give the authentic look – if you’re channeling Chip and Jo on Fixer Upper (like we were).

Progress and beginning paint.

We got this small black barn light from Home Depot, but had it up for a day and realized we hated it. Cute, but not enough light for a bathroom vanity purpose. Down it came and the search continued. Third purchase was a charm!


Next up: FLOOR (my favorite part!)

Don’tcha like my safety glasses?

IMG_6959We browsed different styles, did some research, bought different tiles. In the end, the white penny rounds won. My favorite from the beginning but hey, gotta give the other guys a chance sometimes too!


The install was tedious, but super fun. Josh laid the glue stuff and I laid the tiles. If you know me, you know I have some teeny weeny control issues with things like this. If Josh had made a mistake … well, let’s just say I’d try to unsuccessfully let it go. If I make a mistake I think, “aw, screw it”. I hate it, but what can ya do? Live, learn and not get a divorce mid-reno. That’s the name of the game.



Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! SO PRETTY! After I tidied up the tiles from dry grout, I applied a waterproofing sealant. Super easy. Spray on. Wait 5 minutes. Wipe off. Repeat.

So this was a pretty SWEET find. The registers in the whole house are dirty, painted on multiple times, rusty SOB’s. I realized we could potentially replace them all, but not wanting to deal with the heavy work of a gas line (not to mention, we’d probably blow the house up!), I wondered if there was an alternative. THERE IS. Enter this clean piece of hard plastic. It fit right over the old unit and BAM. Clean and NEW! How ’bout them apples!?


Ok, so I won’t make you wait ANY longer.

Seriously, we’ve never done a job like this before and I’m SO proud of us and what we did together. We researched and dreamed, plotted and planned. Bought things and returned them. Time and patience for all things: the deco, the process, US … it paid off in the end. We have two more things we want to complete (a cabinet and upper shelving in the closet and a new bathroom door) and then we’re absolutely done with this room.

I’m so proud. (Did I say that already?)

Even at night, so much brighter!


We bought a 6 x 4 board from Lowe’s, pipes from the plumbing section and stain. BOOM. Custom shelving!



As the Little Miss Cleaner Bee that I am, I love the new high faucet and the handles spaced a little farther apart. It’s quite a B to clean in-between them if they’re super close neighbors like they were. Years of grime turned mold ain’t my jive… ya dig?

We searched high a low for a mirror that would live up to the green we fell in love with at the beginning. Still have to return the one we thought would work better.

…sounds like the story of my wedding dress…



This part of the transformation is still ongoing. I would have liked the wall to come down between the closet and the vanity to open up the bathroom. But tearing down walls isn’t in our comfort zone yet. Storage in our small home would also be compromised. Soooo… we opted to keep it open. To come soon will be a cabinet on the bottom portion for the ugly items we need to hide (cleaning supplies, make-up, toilet paper, etc). Installing a nice butcher block-eske counter for pretty items, then possibly creating shelving for neatly folded, matching towels. Hip Hip Horaaaaay for wedding gifts! White towels abound!

This is the closet “after” with wallpaper and towel rack from World Market. I miss World Market. We have to travel to Boston or Jersey for a store. meh.

PS – I adore it, but wallpaper is a two-eyed nelson that I’d rather not deal with ever again. And I only did one wall!

Unfortunately, now I never want to leave the bathroom.

Now on to the next project! It’s April and the weather is finally becoming less psychotic. So if Spring warmth truly graces our presence, we’ll start working on outdoor landscaping! So excited. I could spend hours at the garden store… and lots of dolla dolla billz too, ya’ll.

Peace out girlscouts,



I didn’t realize I never posted the closet progress and after shots! It’s now January 2017 and we’re far on our way into our Kitchen renovation (which I’ll post on when we’re done!). We finished the bathroom in July. I still love it and I feel like I need to post what it looks like now that it’s been lived in for 5 months! We took some design parts of the bathroom into the kitchen. Can’t wait to show y’all!

Anyway … here’s the bathroom closet once we were finished.

Remember, it looked like this:

And here’s our progress:

Figuring out how the doors will work.


And the finished product!

Before:                                                               After:


Before:                                                After:

It’s a bit more “full” with more towels and such, but with the small cabinet below I’ve been able to keep clutter off of the shelves and they look just as tidy as they did here. It definitely makes the bathroom look bigger too. Love it!

Cheers! Can’t wait to show you the *new* kitchen!




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