Posts tagged ‘Shopping’

November 17, 2011

Tips for Designing on a Budget

by Cait

Since I’ve scored some great deals recently I thought I’d share a few tips on what Robert and I do when we’re trying to stick to a budget. This could probably be broken up into a several posts, but I figure I’ll at least lay the groundwork here, and expand on things if anyone has questions. Also, these tips probably won’t work for everyone, it’s just what we do.

1) Determine how much you have to spend – In the case of our guest bathroom our budget is roughly $2000-2500. It’s best to determine the budget before you start a project, but in the case of our guest bath that wasn’t really an option. After a pipe burst in the wall we found black mold while trying to repair the pipe, so we pretty much jumped headlong into demolishing things and never looked back. Which is basically the reason it sat for six months while we saved up to redo it. Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote about the Guest Bath budget a while back before we started hardcore crunching numbers.

    “…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.”

2) Research – Figure out what it is you want to do. Search on Pinterest, read blogs (in addition to all my blog friends’ blogs I sometimes troll sources like Apartment Therapy, Decor Pad, Design*Sponge, Desire to Inspire, Fresh Home Ideas, and Houzz), flip through books & magazines, ask your friends, ask your mom (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – my mom is creative, resourceful, thrifty, well-informed, eco conscious and hilarious. She is the perfect person to bounce ideas off of, and often picks out design elements that I never would have considered.), bounce ideas off your blog friends by email. Whatever works best for you.

3) Measure – Take some basic measurements of the space before you start shopping. Better to know ahead of time that you have 96 inches to play with instead of falling in love with a 103 inch sofa and not being able to fit it in the room. The same goes for tubs, sinks and shower arms. If your bathroom is 76×93 inches, you probably don’t have room for both a garden tub and a stand up shower. Consider having your smartie husband do the math for things like square feet to avoid trying to remember algebra to make him feel included.

image from Home Depot

4) Price It Out  – Now that you know how much you have to spend and what you want to do, start estimating how much the material costs are going to be. Loving white shaker cabinets with honed carrara marble counters? Shop around to figure out what the average price is at the usual suspects – Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ikea, and any regional chains you might have. This is also a good time to start adding the prices of everything you want to see how it fits into your budget. (Robert created a spread sheet for the guest bathroom because he’s a big nerd we like to be organized.) It might work out that there is a way to get those honed marble counters and still stay within your budget, but sometimes you have to get creative.

5) Consider Your Options – This gets its own step because this is where you somtimes have to get creative. Once you’ve figured out how much things typically cost see if there is a way to make it work for you. Maybe Ikea cabinets paired with marble from a local outlet is the best option, maybe it’s Habitat for Humanity ReStore cabinets retrofitted to work in your kitchen & countertops you splurged on, and maybe it’s a less expensive countertop for the majority of the kitchen and a marble remnant topping an island. If your heart is set on something there is usually a way to make it work, or at least there is an agreeable compromise until you can pull the trigger and go for it. (We pretty much hated the crumbling tile in the guest bath from the moment we moved in, but we made it work for a while with a coat of paint, a new mirror, shower head and spa-like shower curtain. A full bathroom redo was simply not possible with our budget when we first moved in.)

6) Shop Around – Be sure to check out local places, ask around (friends, relatives, other bloggers close by) if you aren’t sure where to start. Most of our best deals came from a local home renovation outlet and our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Also check online at places like Amazon, eBay, Overstock, Craigslist, Freecycle. Thrift stores and salvage yards are great, too, and I’ve heard some cities have a “Love it or Leave it” section at their local garbage dump. We aren’t lucky enough to have that here, but Robert and I aren’t strangers to the occasional curb-shopping-on-trash-night episode (that’s where our yellow Art Room chair & front porch bench came from, as well as a few other pieces). Read sale ads, search for coupons (online and in the newspaper), consider asking family members for gift cards for holidays or birthdays, ask stores to price match, and haggle if you have to.

7) Buy – This part is probably obvious – when you find what you want for a price you’re willing to pay- buy it! Hypotheically, if you find 351 glossy white 3×6 subway tiles at your local ReStore, consider looking like a crackhead sitting on the floor counting them all to makes sure there are enough. Also hypothetically, it’s good to know how many of something you need before you start looking around, to avoid making math errors while hurredly counting tiles.

A few other tips:

  • Make a design board to see how purchases work together. I’ve made several variations of our guest bathroom plan, it helps make sure everything looks cohesive.
  • Keep an updated list of purchases (including where you bought it from and prices) to help keep yourself on track. Keeping receipts is good too if the places accept returns.

What about y’all? Any tips of your own? What works for you when trying to stick to a budget? I’d love to hear any tips you have!

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October 21, 2011

Guest Bath Redux: A Few More Purchases

by Cait

Absolutely no work has been done on the guest bath since the last time I talked about it. Unless you count all the hours of overtime I’ve put in at work to save up the funds to work on it again. Fortunately the nice chunk of change from that has eased the spending freeze on the bathroom a bit.

That being said, I finally ordered the faucet and tub spout because today the price on the faucet was down to $158 again (from $176) and Overstock had also sent me a coupon. For $180 with free shipping they are both on their way into my hot little hands. Now on to bigger and better things like drywall vent fans.

You may notice that I also changed our floor tile choice on the design board. We perviously chose white hex tile ($5.95/sq ft), but the about the same time I was falling in love with this lantern shape tile ($6.95/ sq ft) I noticed that octagon dot tile was only $2.57/sq ft. Fortunately we liked all three choices equally, because we’re saving quite a bit of money by changing our minds. Also, both our local Home Depot and Lowe’s carry this tile in store, so we can buy only what we need, rather than ordering full cases (unless they let you order partial cases? I didn’t get that far in my research).

Also, anyone who follows me on The Twitter knows that with the recent cold snap (record lows this time of year for sunny Florida) I have been complaining nonstop about the frigid tile in the hall bathroom. Here’s hoping I can convince Robert that we should add radiant heat to our list of things we want for the bathroom (and eventually hall bath, kitchen and laundry room). Maybe he will agree because I have been so good at saving us money on big ticket items thus far? And because I’ll let him keep the thermostat lower in exchange for toasty floors?

Here’s hoping.

And for those of you playing along at home, here’s a round up of what we’ve spend so far.

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)
Sink faucet & tub spout: $180.87 (Overstock.com)

Total:
$665.89 (includes sales tax and/or shipping)

I’d say we’re doing pretty well on budget (we’re hoping to keep things below $5,000. Hopefully way below.)

Still to Buy:
Sconces
Recessed lights
Vent fan
Curtain rod
Tile (walls & floor)
Caulk & grout
Drywall & green board
Paint
Tape & mud
Insulation
CPV & other misc plumbing bits

Anyone else working on (or recently finish) a complete gut job of their bathroom or take on any other big projects? I’m loving Our Humble A{Bowe}d’s kitchen reno. Who thinks I’m crazy for wanting radiant heat for a bathroom floor in Florida?

May 2, 2011

Guest Bath Redux: Budget Tracking

by Cait

After planning out what we want to do in the guest bath, I went to ReStore on Saturday to see what they had in the way of tile (sadly no subway tile), and ended up finding a couple of things for the bathroom. I snapped up 8 of these metal cross handles for 75 cents each, and the shelf was $9.


My dad texted me about the time I was picking these up, so after a bit of looking at $20 sinks, we grabbed lunch, made a brief stop at another store where they treated me to exact bathroom shelf that they bought me for my birthday last year (and later returned because the size didn’t work with the bathroom layout at the time) for $9. I forgot to take a picture of it, but it’s the style most often referred to as “train shelf”.

$20 sinks (sorry for the iPhone pictures, I snapped them for reference)

At the outlet store, I found a white, chair height, elongated bowl, dual flush toilet, a shower head, and a larger $20 sink with more space to put soap/contact cases than the ReStore ones.


I have picked up a couple of other odds and ends online, as well. I bought a faucet spout (which we’re hoping to use with two of the cross handles from ReStore, otherwise I’ll buy a couple of matching Delta faucet handles), a shower arm, and a shower diverter escutcheon (which was a major splurge at $65 from Period Bath, but it makes me laugh).

For those of you playing along at home, that brings out total for fixtures to $326. We do still need …. well, everything else, but we’re feeling pretty good about how we’re doing on budget so far.

Next up? Tracking down a tub spout (Ryan has sensibly forbidden me from using Glacier Bay for the tub/shower because they tend to fail and require ripping out the wall. Which.. yeah, no thank you.), DensGuard, green board, tile, grout, bead board (for the walls other than the shower surround), etc etc etc. Just thinking about it makes my head hurt.

April 29, 2011

Guest Bath Redux

by Cait

So you saw how our evening went last night. Now we’re talking about what we want to do to start over.

I am slightly obsessed with Houzz (you can see my Bathroom Inspiration ideabook here), and we had already pretty much decided what we wanted when we found this picture:

from houzz

I love the idea of white subway tile for the shower walls & behind the sink. I want hex tile for the floor, but we are debating between the kind with black accents and just plain white with black grout. The walls will be painted the same color that they are now, Valspar Summer Sorbet. We hope to get the same faucet we have for the other bathroom ($25 by Glacier Bay), a wall hung sink (possibly one from ReStore, but the one below is a $32 Glacier Bay) and a new, chair height, elongated-bowl, eco-friendly toilet (one shown is $118 Glacier Bay with good reivews). We haven’t decided on a tub faucet yet, but the shower head is the one we were considering for the outdoor shower, which is $35 from Glacier Bay, and we’d buy or make a 90-degree arm for it. Our ceiling will be white (and flat! goodbye terrible popcorn!), and the tile won’t go that far up the walls.

We have not been paid or perked by Home Depot or Glacier bay, we just really like that brand of plumbing fixtures for the quality and price!

April 18, 2011

On the Table

by Cait

I’ve been thinking a lot about patio/deck furniture recently, especially since the weather is warming up. Our current set is fine (comfortable & in great condition), but I’m very tempted to Craigslist/garage sale it and start over. I have no idea how much we’d be able to get for our set, but it’s $299.00 at Target.

our current set

If we had an unlimited budget I’d probably go with something like the CB2 Encore chairs and Darjeeling dining table. (I know these pieces aren’t meant for outdoor/patio use, but if we had an unlimited budget, who cares?) Since we shockingly </sarcasm> don’t have $1500 to spend on patio furniture, I’m considering chairs from CSNstores.com or Ikea.  The CSN set is $159.98 for two, and the Ikea ones are $49.99 each.

Left from CSNstores.com, right from Ikea

As far as tables, I’m debating between DIYing one, and buying something. If we opt to buy something, these are the styles that I like:

Top from Ikea, bottom left from Target, bottom right from Target 

I don’t want our set to be perfectly matching (that’s part of what bothers me about our set now), so I’d probably pair the CSN chairs with something like the Target Schou table (bottom left), or the Ikea table with the Ikea chairs.

If we were to build something, it would be similar to the Schou table, metal frame with reclaimed wood top. Kind of a table version of the Crate&Barrel Fulton desk, but with chunkier legs. I have dreams of having a friend weld the frame, but I might take the easy way out and use Ikea Moliden or Vika Lerberg legs with a reclaimed wood top. (Kind of like this desk except, y’know, table-like. And not with white legs.) Ana White has good designs, too, but I really like the metal&wood look.

Does anyone have any of the pieces we’re considering?

April 4, 2011

The Bachelor

by Cait

My friend Ryan recently asked me for ideas on an inexpensive yet nice looking media tower (ok, so his exact words were “cheap neat furniture”) to house his media components, since the tv is on its own stand.  Something about his personality that makes me think he is a metal/glass/reclaimed wood kind of guy; I guess it’s probably because he is practical, creative & resourceful, he build his desk out of shelving similar to the Ikea Omar, and he has a stoplight in his house.  When I saw Kara Paslay’s husband’s first prototype it reminded me of something Ryan would make, and when I saw the entertainment unit in this Apartment Therapy House Call it also struck me as something he would do.  (Minus the gold pig and the Dia de los Muertos stuff.)

from Apartment Therapy

Based on that, I came up with a few ideas that I think would fit his personality (remember, this is the guy that made a rebar dragon).

1. Aiden Etagere $259.99 – I could really see him with something like this, but definitely not for that price. Hell, he would probably make something like one of those a lot cheaper, and it would be stronger and better looking.

2. Limhamn Shelving Unit $79.00 – Technically this is meant for a kitchen, but I think it could just as easily hold an amp, cable box and Playstation.

3. Hyllis Shelving Unit $14.99 – I think this galvanized shelf could easily be shorted to hold components, and if he added wood to the shelves it would look similar to this much more expensive Restoration Hardware piece.

4. Dwight 3-Shelf Bookcase $99.95 – I don’t really like the way this or the 5-shelf version taper at the top, but the powder coated steel and glass strikes me as something he’d like.

I could also see Ryan’s house having at least one large scale close-up photos of his motorcycles (like the photo below, but most likely without the storm trooper), a coffee table he made from a engine (like the one on Top Gear), and side tables he made like the CB2 Skinny Dip side table or the West Elm Framed Side Table (though I think his version of the Framed would use raw steel).

Ralph Lauren’s NYC Apartment, from Houzz

Top Gear coffee table

left from CB2, right from West Elm

Of course, Ryan hasn’t asked my opinion on anything other than ideas for something to hold his media components (I don’t think he really needs my opinion).  I just picture his house as a comfortable collection of practical and creative industrial pieces that you might expect to see somewhere like Restoration Hardware.

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March 22, 2011

Not So Mellow Yellow

by Cait

Ever since we changed up the curtains and added a new pillow to our master I’ve been wanting to add more goldenrod to the bedroom.

After seeing this tour linked on Apartment Therapy, I became convinced me that what I really need to do over the shoe cabinet (above this) is hunt down an ornate oval frame to go over the shoe cabinet.  We already have two mirrors in the bedroom, so I’d probably back the frame with screen  to hold my earrings.  We’ll see if that happens, I’ve been scouring eBay, Etsy, and a few thrift stores but I haven’t found anything yet. 

I also want to add a few goldenrod accessories to the dresser to help balance things out.  Maybe something like a laquered tray, or a bright picture frame.  Probably whatever I can find at HomeGoods or Goodwill and spray paint.

Oh, and after reading Russet Street Reno I am about 85% certain that I need to head to Ikea soon for some new bedside tables.  (Sara recently replaced her table with something else and you should go look at its cuteness!)  Don’t worry, I probably won’t paint them yellow– but I make no promises about a distressed finish blue.  (Distressed because with the recent jewelry holder addition I feel like the room needs more rustic.  If i wasn’t so in love with our bed I’d do a rustic headboard like these.)   I would love to add a chevron runner to our hallway like the one Sara has, but I don’t think West Elm has those anymore(my bad, they do still have it!) Helper Dog would have far too much fun sliding on it (do they make really, really sticky rug pads?)

February 26, 2011

Measure Twice, Buy Once

by Cait

This post is pretty much a random stream of thought fueled by coffee.

After reading Micha’s comment on my last post, I started thinking about using the Gislev in the art room again.  So I cleaned up the place where projects go to die art room, and stole the Gislev from the master bedroom (which I must say made the floor on my side of the bed look very naked).

While it doesn’t look too dark anymore (I may not have mentioned in this post that when I tested it for size it looked too dark for the room), but the Gislev is 4’4 x 6’5 and the rugs I’ve been looking at are all 3’6 x 5’6 – way too small, so glad I didn’t go ahead and order something!  I can’t decide if the Gislev is winning me over (and Robert is working on a friend’s car, so he hasn’t seen it yet aside from the picture I texted him).  And the Oh. My. Hell. moment of the day?  The much coveted  Option C from my last post is $345 in a 5×8.  So in short? Gislev it is for now!  (And also, if one of both of those chairs stays in the room, they need to have their seats covered again.)

Speaking of rethinking, a recent Apartment Therapy post (and the fact that the shelves we were going to use are “last chance” at Ikea) has me rethinking the build-in in the library.  That will be another post in itself, but it means that we need a place for our two Ikea Expedits from the library to go to die.

Messy Corner, I see a shelf in your future.

I have no idea what that means for door I had to have from ReStore.

While we’re looking at new pictures of the art room, to clear up any confusion: the closet office.  Currently it is hidden with a shower curtain from Target (that we originally bought for another purpose) when not in use, but  I will be making a curtain from the swatch on the wall soon.  Hopefully we can get the countertop from Ikea soon so the desk can go all the way across.

Oh, and when I stopped by Merrypad to oogle Emily’s Pebble rug in her bedroom?  (Not that I can afford that either.)  I found Zelda, and decided she needs to come live somewhere in the house.  Maybe the art room, maybe not.

So to recap,  I think this means the art room rug shopping crisis has been averted for now.

February 25, 2011

At a Standstill

by Cait

When I posted yesterday I mentioned my rug paralysis as far as what I think will play nicely with the new curtains in the art room.

I have scoured Overstock, RugsUSA.com, World Market, Target, etc etc, but at the moment I keep coming back to these 5 on RugsUSA.com.  I think I’m making it harder on myself than it really needs to be because I keep forgetting that it’s an art room and that the point was to find something that looks nice but can get paint and glue all over it.

See how I overcomplicate things?

a) Surya Frontier Collection FT50 Grey Rug $145
b) Surya Fallon Collection FAL100 Yellow Rug $165
c) Surya Frontier Collection FT40 Grey Rug $145
d) DC Mills South Seas Collection 90100 Natural Rug $89.76
e) Kas Oriental Yazd Collection Harmony Ivory Rug $144

I love a, b and c (ok, who am I kidding, I love a & c and love, love, love b to the point where I’d almost be willing to paint the guest room grey, and give my beloved Tarnby the boot).  Sadly when I look at it with the design board for the room I really feel like the less exciting d is still the way to go.

Would that make for waaay too much jute in our house?

February 24, 2011

Landing Pattern

by Cait

Now that most of the house has new curtains, I’m starting to notice that while I love mixing patterns, certain things just aren’t working.


Ikea Gislev rug beside the bed?  Sorry, this means you.  It’s been great, but now you’re cramping my style.  We’re over.  Maybe you’ll get along with the living room “entryway”.

On the other hand, our new West Elm pillow looks lovely with the curtains (at least until it decides to migrate somewhere else in the house).


And it would look nice with these West Elm sheets


And all of the above? I think it could look good with this rug.  (Although the website says it’s actually grey, which makes me nervous. Maybe it’s greige, that would be nice/perfect.)


And because we all know that things like to migrate around in our house, it also looks quite nice in the art room/office…  Which is good, because I STILL can’t decide on a rug for in there, especially since Megan mentioned RugsUSA.com on my last post about the art room/office. So. Many. Choices!

Does anyone else have competing patterns or rug shopping paralysis?