Archive for July, 2011

July 25, 2011

Guest Bath Redux: Another Look at the Budget

by Cait

Remember back in April when we tried to fix a pipe that burst in the wall of our guest room, wound up discovering mold in the walls, and decided to do a complete bathroom overhaul instead? Yeah… about that. Sadly with everythig we’ve had going on the bathroom has pretty much been sealed off and waiting for us to have the time & money to tackle it since mid-May.

the guest bathroom in its former “dealing with it” stage

We haven’t done much besides gripe about how we need to get the guest bathroom back in working order think about exactly what direction to go with for the guest bathroom. I knew I wanted white subway tile and blue walls even before I found this picture on Houzz (back before Pinterest stole my heart), and thankfully Robert liked that direction a lot.

from houzz

Then the oval tub we removed during demo and put upside down in the backyard cracked on one edge. We tried to see it as a good thing, since making a solid surface tub surround would have been a pain in the neck with an oval tub. And then the second-guessing started. Did we even want a tub in that bathroom or if did we want a stand-up shower? Did we want hex tile on the floor or something more unique and unusual? Should we buy a new tub or cast one out of concrete? Pretty much the only things I never second guessed were white subway tile and blue walls.

 Last Thursday I was thinking about bathtubs (I prefer plumbing fixtures to jewelry) and looking on Pinterest when I saw the very modern Kohler Underscore. I fell in love with it for just long enough to realize that it’s supposed to retail for $1100 ($755 at Home Depot) and have a panic attack about our budget. Thankfully my good sense returned quickly and rather than resorting to desperate measures to fund our bath remodel I started searching around again. I sent Robert a link to the Kohler Devonshire ($350 at Home Depot) but neither one of us really liked the indentations around its edges. Then asked him sort of offhand if he could stop by our local ReStore to see what they had.

iPhone picture Robert sent me of the tub

Cue the heart palpatations when he sent me this picture a little while later. Someone must have heard my feeble cries for “fabulous on a budget” (to quote Jami from What The Graham), because this white tub was only $124.99 and it fit perfectly into our plan for the bathroom. I spent the rest of Thursday and part of Friday freaking out that someone else was going to buy it out from under us before he could go back, but luckily no one else was interested.

With that new addition, I decided it was about time to update the design board and reconfigure our budget tracking. We are still nowhere near ready to finish renovation, but I wanted to take a look at what we have ahead of us.

updated design board

You’ll notice that since the last design board I changed my mind on the sink faucet. I’m sure Robert is thrilled. However, he likes the tub spout I picked out, and agrees that the new faucet coordinates better. (Both from Overstock.)

I used a tub, toilet & sink that are similar to ours (tub shown is by Kohler, toilet by Glacier Bay, but the sink was something I Photoshopped together using one by St Thomas Creations and one by American Standard). Our sink is by St Thomas Creations, the tub is by Aquarius Bathware and I can’t remember the brand of our toilet (Zeus maybe?), but they’ve both been discontinued.

The sconce is from Lowe’s, and is similar to this one from Pottery Barn. The mirror was a HomeGoods purchase from right about the time we started the blog, but I’ve seen the same mirror at Pottery Barn, on Amazon, and possibly on Overstock.

Not pictured on my design board are the shower diverter escutcheon I ordered from Period Bath, and the shower diverter handle and faucet handles with escutcheons that I scored on eBay. We splurged on the shower diverter escutcheon, but I think we made up for it with our eBay finds. Period Bath has great customer service and quick, shipping, but it would have blown our budget our of the water to buy the other pieces from them, too.

shower diverter escutcheon and my eBay finds

Costs Thus Far:
Shower Arm: $22.99 (eBay)
Sink: $20 (local home renovation outlet)
Shower head: $25 (local home renovation outlet)
Toilet: $149 (local home renovation outlet)
Mirror: already owned (HomeGoods)
Shower Diverter Escutcheon: $65 (Period Bath)
Vintage Porcelain Faucet Handles with Escutcheons: $20 (eBay)
Shower Diverter Handle: $5 (eBay)
Bathtub: $124.99 (ReStore)

$485.02 (that includes sales tax and/or shipping)

I mentioned last time I did a budgeting post that we had spent about $326 thus far. I’m not sure if I factored that with or without tax&shipping, so I added everything again (minus the faucet spout and the metal cross handles, since we’ve changed our minds about using those) and then factored in the bathtub and a few other smaller things that we hadn’t purchased yet the last time.

Still to Buy:
Tub Spout: $40.99 (Overstock)
Sink Faucet: $159.99 (Overstock)
Sconces: $17.98 (x2; Lowe’s)
Recessed lights
Curtain rod
Tile (walls & floor)
Caulk & grout
Drywall & green board
Tape & mud
Insulation (two rolls)

And I might be forgetting some things. Again, we’re not ready to jump back into things, but we’re hoping that when it’s all said and done we’re under $5,000. To me that seems like a huge jump from $485, but Robert points out that we have to redo all four walls, the ceiling, insulation, the floor (and parts of the subfloor), some of the electrical, and all of the plumbing (inside the walls as well as moving the toilet and shifting the sink over). I know all of that is going to add up to a lot more than I was expecting, but hopefully it will still end up being a lot less than $5,000.

I’m starting to panic again. Sometimes I think Robert is rounding up and fearing the worst about what we’re going to run into as far as unforeseen-costs, but then I look back at other bathroom redos and realize they didn’t have to demo nearly as much as we did. Robert says the ones I’ve shown him don’t count because they didn’t fully demo everything, and then he tried to prove his point by giving me a panic attack talking about his plans for the hall bathroom. Which he says he can get done for less than $700. And then it led to a “discussion” about pocket door hardware.

What about y’all? Has anyone done a complete bathroom redo, from the studs back out? So please, help a girl out by sharing the figures from your bathroom redos!

PS- We weren’t paid for this post in any way, all opinions on Pottery Barn, HomeGoods, Overstock, Period Bath, etc are entirely our own. (Although if any of them would like to help fund our renovations, that might help with the panic attacks and heart palpatations.)

July 21, 2011

Guest Posting at The Lil House That Could

by Cait

Today I’m guest posting over at The Lil House That Could about our plans for our entryway, so be sure to check that out!

Welcome to anyone who is stopping by for the first time! We love new readers!

July 19, 2011

Take Two

by Cait

Remember my Summer List? With summer half over I decided to check in on how we were doing. I’m sorry to say it’s not looking very good. We’re about 2 for 18 (Frozen yogurt, and Friends&Family).  Things are looking pretty bleak for the CJ-7 and a lot of unexpected circumstances (like getting sick, working Sundays, and The Two Big Things I Don’t Want to Talk About Yet Annoyingly Allude To) have made the rest of the list pretty much impossible.

In order to feel less like a failure (and because lists make me feel better), I’ve decided to make a second Summer List. I figure it’s not cheating as long as I don’t put everyday things we do anyway on it. That way I still have some little things to work towards.

seen on Pinterest

  • Date nights.
  • Go bowling.
  • Trip to Ikea.
  • Take pictures.
  • Eat watermelon.
  • Make a new recipe.
  • Walk on the beach.
  • Rent concrete saw.
  • Go to St Augustine.
  • Work on closet desk.
  • Work on front porch.
  • Enjoy the little things.
  • New light for Art Room.
  • Splurge on string lights.
  • Tub spout for guest bath.
  • Pick exterior paint color(s).
  • Console table for entryway.

Of course there are other summery things that weren’t on my original list that we did so far this summer. We went to an outdoor concert by one of our favorite musicians. We had a great Father’s Day hanging out with my dad, and swimming at Robert’s parents’ house. Robert went out on his dad’s boat 4th of July weekend and they had a great time. Our friend Jason introduced us to an awesome speakeasy, which I’m sure it will be even better when it opens in its new location.

Sometimes I just feel like the year is flying by and I haven’t enjoyed it to the full extent.

July 15, 2011

Curb Your Enthusiasm

by Cait

Does anyone else ever feel like they are stylistically confused? As I mentioned in the last post, I’ve been planning a mini makeover for the front porch. I also mentioned in this post that the style we’re going for with the exterior of our house is rustic & electic modern with traditional & Spanish influences (no, I still have not figured out a better way to say that). 

This is what I’m considering:

door hardwarelight; paint color; mailbox; brushed nickel doorbell; house number; Mexican tiles; brass doorbell; iron doorbell; steel house numbers

We recently got a great deal on new front door hardware, thanks to Robert and our friend Lisa pointing out a mixup with price stickers at Lowe’s. It was actually marked $59.99 instead of $122, but the manager on duty would only go as low as $80. Legally we technically could have made him sell it to us for the marked price, but $80 sounded like a good deal to us. Robert & I bought one for our house, and Lisa & Jordan bought one for their new house. You can see our old hardware below, from when Robert & I were trying to decide on an exterior paint color (still no progress on that venture, but we’re thinking tan with light blue shutters.)

We decided on a new porch light (though I think the one at our Lowe’s is actually black instead of brushed nickel, which is fine with us). We’d also like to paint the ceiling a light blue from the Valspar Creative Ideas for Color line at Lowe’s, but we need to work on the porch ceiling. There are a couple of weird trim piece that need to be removed but we’re not sure if they are covering wires or just seams in the ceiling. Hopefully that will be fairly simple. (Famous last words?) 

sorry for the old, crooked iPhone picture

Then comes the issue of house numbers. Hopefully you understand that I don’t want to show you our actual house number, but I cant tell you it’s a DIY project we tackled pre-blog. I covered 6 inch ceramic tiles with scrapbook paper, stenciled the numbers on, and then we framed it with some molding we already had. The whole thing probably cost about $2 (for the scrapbook paper), and I’m ready for a change. I really like the idea of using Mexican tiles on the front of our steps (which is why I’ve pinned a few on my Curb Appeal board). I feel like these blue house numbers would go along with those  nicely with those tiles, and I also think they would pair well with our Swedish mailbox that Robert’s parents gave me for my birthday. 

On the other hand, I also like the style of these steel house numbers (and the idea that they could be backlit with LEDs).  I made a mock-up of how it would look if we mounted the steel numbers under the library window. Our current house numbers can be a bit hard to see up on the porch, even with the light on, and the tile numbers I’ve been eyeing are ever smaller. Maybe adding some well-lit ones beneath the window would help that?

Putting my Photoshop skillz to good use, though the tiles would be more random than that.

As for choosing a doorbell, I know that mixed metals are in right now, but I think it should probably be brushed nickel since it will be so close to the door hardware. I’m leaning toward the satin nickel one above, from Restoration Hardware. We’re going to have to figure out a way to move the doorbell to the right side of the door, because the ones we’re considering are probably too wide to fit in the same place as the current narrow one. Moving it to the other side may be tricky, thanks to the stucco/plaster wall and possibly having to rewire things in the attic. Here’s hoping we can work something out with all of that.

Replacing the doorbell sort of dovetails into an entryway project. If we replace the button we will probably end up also replacing the door chime, which is currently mounted on the wall to the right of the hallway entrance. Then that segues into a fireplace project because I want to remove the tile, which wraps around on three sides.

Very old photo, best one to show where the door chime is.

We’ll probably try to tackle the porch ceiling and light this weekend, and then work our way from there.

Do y’all have one design style or is it more of a hodgepodge like ours? What about mixing metals? And does anyone else notice that one project leads into the next, and the next, and so on?

July 13, 2011


by Cait

I’ve been MIA again.

While I was sick, Robert installed new hardware on the front door, removed the kickplate, painted the back of the door & the trim, and replaced the storm door hardware only to discover it wouldn’t close (so he moved the storm door to the back porch, where the previous door was falling apart). I didn’t take pictures of any of that, though (and I’m not sure we have “befores”, but I should take some “afters”!). He has also been helping out at our friends’ new house, prepping the walls for paint. I’ve mostly been eating chips and chocolate cream Oreos, and planning a mini makeover for our front porch.

In addition to not helping and taking pictures, I also did a lot of thinking during my bout of strep/an ear infection. (And we’re not even going to discuss the fact that my throat may be starting to hurt. Again.) I’m not much of a talker. I prefer to listen to others, observe, and interject only after I’ve thought about exactly what I’m going to say. I’m also not the sort who can just sit and think. I sometimes have trouble doing just one thing at a time (my mom says I’m a kinesthetic learner), I prefer to occupy myself with something else (be that far too many reruns of Grey’s Anatomy or wallpaper peeling) and let my mind go where it may. When my maternal grandmother passed while I was in college, I spent the better part of a week on Robert & Ryan’s couch watching Law&Order reruns with Freckles. I didn’t talk much, I was content to know that they were there if I needed them. It seems that these days I generally prefer company of those who will sit quietly with me and not try to force conversation.

seen on Pinterest

In 193 (this makes 194) posts, I haven’t talked much about our personal lives on the blog. Not in ways that matter, really. I’ve mentioned that Robert and I live in North Florida (and I’d prefer not to narrow that down any further), that we have a few close friends who mean a lot to us, and that my parents live around the corner from us, but I never did much of an introductory “this is who we are” kind of post. The reason for that is the fact that I’m not great at spilling my guts about how I feel. I can’t list the reasons why I love Robert, or my parents, or anyone else. I can sure as heck try to show them and hope they understand the meaning behind my actions. In literature I generally prefer authors who weave descriptions of their characters into the story, rather than telling you at the beginning that Suzie has red curly hair and big green eyes. I guess you could say that is sort of what I am trying to do with this blog, show you who Robert and I are a little at a time.

I’m not really one for organized religion, I’m more of an “everything happens for a reason” kind of person. I can certainly understand the comfort that others find in religion, but that isn’t something that speaks to me. While some people might prefer to pray when times are tough, I prefer to surround myself with those I care about. As I mentioned in this post, over the years I’ve lost so many people who mean the world to me in ways that were unavoidable, and all I want to do is hold on to the ones who are making the conscious decision to cut me out. Suffice to say, unavoidable losses tend to resonate within me in a way that causes my thoughts to center on the avoidable losses.

seen on Pinterest

I don’t make friends easily these days. It has nothing (ok, almost nothing) to do with the crippling shyness that hindered me when I was younger. These days I am much more “this is who I am, like me or don’t”. The resistance in making friends stems from years of opening myself up to people just to have them walk out of my life later. I know that people grow apart, and that not everyone is still friends with the same person they were when they were four. I have had many “best friends” over the years, some who moved away and some who I simply grew apart from until we had nothing in common aside from the fond memories. I don’t mourn the loss of those friendships, they made me who I am.

seen on Pinterest

Having said that, I am tired of showing people who I am, and giving them my trust, only to have them break my trust later. When someone says to you “I’m not going to walk away. You want someone to talk to, I’m there. Someone to hang out, I’m still there. Whatever it is. If I were the give up on friends type, I’d have been gone long ago”, and then turns around and willingly walks out of your life it hurts.  It’s heartbreaking in ways that should not be possible by someone who is not a lover. And it’s hard for me to trust after that. It’s also hard for me to admit how much I’ve been hurt, so sometimes I yell instead. And after the yelling there is only silence. Not the good silence like before, but the silence that comes after a desperate act. Sometimes that silence is a brief moment, and sometimes it spans weeks, and months, and years.

seen on Pinterest

I know myself, and that I am not the sort of person who has a huge group of friends. It it rare for me to find someone who gets me. Someone who is not shocked by my blunt nature, who understands my cynical side and my inability to express how I feel, and who sees the intent behind my actions. When a person like that walks away the loss is every bit as raw and real as a death, and yet there is not the closure that comes with a service. There is only silence.

July 6, 2011

Lighting the Way

by Cait

Thank you all for your well-wishes yesterday! I’m feeling much better now, and I’m turning my attention away from Grey’s Anatomy & How I Met Your Mother reruns and back to house-related topics, like exterior lighting.

It’s a subject I’ve touched on before, but we have yet to actually buy any. When we left off last time Robert and I had been planning on getting a couple of lights like the upper left for the backyard. Having looked at them in Lowe’s several times since then, we’ve decided  that we prefer the style of the  lower left light for the backyard (slash Robert used his veto power, and I agreed that the galvanized will look nice with the outdoor shower and eventual tank pool).

The light in the lower right is what we already have near the top of the driveway (we replaced it last year pre-blog when the old light began letting rain water in, which besides being generally unsafe was causing the bulb to shatter) and the upper right is what we are currently considering for the front porch. (Sidenote- we replaced the “boob” light from the former owners on pre-blog. Below is a super-old, super-crooked iPhone picture of our previous solution.) We also have these lights from Target strung across our porch.

cheap HomeGoods lantern turned porch light; worked like a charm for over a year

The  style we’re going with for the exterior of our house (at least for the front, but we’ll get to that later) is rustic & electic modern with traditional & Spanish influences*. Yes, that’s a mouthful. (Please, someone invent a design term for my style! If I have to coin a term it’s going to end up something like Dowisetrepla.)

So the question is: should our exterior lights on the front of the house coordinate with the ones in the backyard, or does it not matter? Generally speaking I’m a “buy what you love, the rest will fall into place” kind of person. I think the galvanized lights will fit better with the plan we have in mind for the backyard. We do have a corner lot, but for the most part you won’t be able to tell that the front and back lights are different styles.

What do you think? Do the front yard and backyard have to be cohesive? And also, does your design style mesh bewteen the interior & the exterior of your house or are they totally different?

*The direction of the backyard is a bit more rustic modern while the front of the house is (currently) more traditional. we’re working to make it more modern, with Spanish influences. (Both because of the area of town we live in, and the fact that we love some of the elements of Spanish houses, but more on that in another post.)

July 5, 2011


by Cait

This post made possible by the kind folks at my local Publix Pharmacy, and Augmentin*.

I sort of went AWOL this holiday weekend, and I wish I could say that it was because we went on an amazing weekend getaway. In actuality, I started feeling sick Tuesday after my guest post went up, Wednesday & Thursday I thought it was a bad cold, Thurday night while Robert worked on the front door hardware I texted my sister (who just wrapped up her first year of a physian assitant program) about my symptoms. Then I woke up in the middle of the night to pain in my right ear. I missed work on Friday to see a doctor, and it turns out I had strep and an ear infection. Or at least I’m guessing it was strep. The doctor looked at my ear first and proclaimed it as red as the wall behind me, then looked at my throat, laughed, and gave me a prescription for a really strong antibiotic. (Which are gigantic, by the way. Hello gag reflex.)

Saturday morning we had some family things to attend to, and afterward we went to Hurricanes Bar&Grill with my parents and a group of their friends where I saw some teak & aluminum outdoor bar stools that I would love for our back porch. They’re pretty similar to the chairs I wanted for the patio, so I shamelessly checked the label. A quick Google search and I found the stools on their website. As far as I’m concerned? Freaking jackpot (assuming they sell to consumers as well as resturants).

you might have seen this on our Facebook page

Sunday we helped our friends, Lisa&Jordan, work on their house, which is about three blocks from ours. (By “we helped”, what I mean is “mostly I just peeled wallpaper, while Robert sanded any excess wallpaper paste and gunk off the walls so that they’re ready for priming and painting”.) Monday I layed on our the couch watching too many old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, and Robert split his time between a father-son trip on his dad’s boat and worked some more on our L&J’s house. One bedroom will require texturizing between coats of primer, there is even more wallpaper/wallpaper paste steaming to be done, and then the prime&paint fun begins.

So that was our holiday weekend. No fireworks, no cookouts, and the only burgers we had came from Five Guys.

How did everyone else spend their 4th of July weekend?

*That’s sarcasm, they didn’t actually sponsor this post, but I would be flat on my back if it weren’t for them.

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