Friday, April 17, 2015

Master Bath Floor

I've mentioned before how I really don't love our master bathroom. Well, with the sale of our house coming up, we decided to finally do something about it. I've already shown you how we took down the builder grade mirror and replaced it with a tile wall. We repurposed the mirror into two smaller mirrors and repainted the vanity. The next thing that needed an overhaul was the floor. 

Before we owned the house, there was a leak in the shower. It was fixed but left a lot of water damage on the wood floor surrounding the shower. This made it look horrible and feel wonky.

We went back and forth a lot on what we wanted to do with the floor and finally landed on vinyl tile. I know what you're thinking, but vinyl tile has come a really long way in the past few years... all the way to wood.... at least a wood look a like.

This stuff is gorgeous and it is even textured so that installed it looks like hand scraped wood. It's amazing and since it's vinyl, you don't have to worry about the water in the bathroom damaging the floor. Win-Win.

Oh, and you probably noticed that our old wood floor turned grey. Remember the wonkiness? Well we didn't want that to transfer to the new floor so we mixed up a bag of self-leveler and poured it out on the floor. It worked wonders and we checked with the Lowe's guy... you can install the tile right over the self leveler.

We used similar peel and stick tiles in our last house with grout. This time, I didn't want any seam lines so everything was installed flush with the other tiles.

This stuff is so easy to install. You measure the length of the space and then use a utility knife to scour the front side of the tile at the right length. You can then just snap the tile and it breaks to the right length. Peel off the back paper, stick it down and apply some nice firm pressure. That's it!

I alway put the cut edges towards the wall since we used quarter round to finish the trim. That way, if you don't get a perfect cut, it really doesn't matter. Also, if you scour the back of the tile and snap it, you can damage the front of the tile... like peel off a huge chunk of the vinyl.

For this bathroom I used less than one box of tile. We used Style Selections 6″ wide antique woodland oak luxury plank from Lowe's which we got for $1.19/sq ft. With the self leveler, we spent about $70 on the floor.

It took me about 2.5 hours to lay the entire floor after the self leveler was dry. You can see how the edges aren't perfect before the quarter round trim went in but then you can't even tell after. We caulked and painted the trim, added a new threshold, reinstalled the toilet and that was it!

We love the look of the new floor and it makes the bathroom feel new and clean.

What do you think? Are you team pro vinyl or con?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Two Years Old

Our little guy turned two about two weeks ago. Just like last year, my schedule was super crazy and so this year I didn't get a big party planned. We had cake and presents spread out over a few days and some playdates with friends instead. 

We can't get over how much Will has changed even in the past year. He's just like a little man now and sometimes we have to remind ourselves he's only two (when he's throwing a fit) and other times we are astounded by how much he's able to do and notice.

Right now I'm:
  • Loving to read Hungry Hungry Caterpillar and Giraffes Can't Dance
  • Dancing to the Hokie Pokie, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, I'm a Little Teapot and If You're Happy and You Know It
  • "Singing" Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Old McDonald 
  • Watching Curious George and Thomas (and can say both names)
  • Obsessed with yogurt (and can say it)
  • Always asking to "wash??" (wash his hands)
  • Saying my name (with a bit of a southern accent so it sounds closer to wheel)
  • Loving the pool and will go get a swim diaper and take off my clothes when I want to go swimming
  • Always asking "outside, bubbles??" to go blow bubbles
  • Saying "bless you" if you sneeze 
  • Asking if everyone is ok if I fall down (OK Mamma? OK Dada? OK Will.)
  • Insistent that we go "that way?" in the car, always pointing in the direction of the park (how he always knows the right way I have no idea)
  • Climbing everything ... loving the rings and pull up bar at Crossfit... doing somersaults 
  • 28 lbs (51%), 35" tall (75%) and almost has the same size head as Mommy

After 24 posts with little Will updates, we're going to start spreading them out a bit. I haven't decided if they will be every six months or every year but it's going to be less frequent. I'll probably decide when he's hit enough new milestones for me to want to document. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Builder Grade Mirror to Multiple Custom Mirrors

Ok... does anyone else hate the builder grade mirror? They always look so unfinished to me. I mentioned last post how I finally took the time to investigate the mirror and we were able to really easily remove it.

Now this thing is HUGE (and very heavy). Madeline was nice enough to be my reference (16 lb dog +2 lbs hair) and I'm pretty sure we could fit about 12 of her on this mirror no problem. I didn't want to just throw this thing out since we still did need some mirrors in the bathroom so I decided to try and cut it down (without killing myself... preferably).

After looking into it a bit, I picked up this little tool from Home Depot. Basically, you coat the tip in oil, set up a straight edge on the mirror and press the tip firmly against the mirror and pull it the length of the mirror. You should hear a slight screeching noise as you do it and it should leave a noticeable line on the glass.

The next step is to put a dowel under the line and to press firmly on both sides to snap the mirror. This took me a few tries to get it. For the first one, the mirror actually snapped while I was trying to get the dowel in place. I guess the weight of the mirror was just too much and it definitely didn't snap how I wanted it to.

I did get the hang of it though and I was able to get two pieces that fit into 16 x 20" frames that I found at Michael's on sale for $10 each.

I wasn't perfect with my cuts, so to keep the mirror from moving around, I added a bead of caulk to the gaps.

The mirror was thick so I could put the back of the picture frame back on but I couldn't close the little tabs. Instead, Nate cut down some thin plywood we had in our scrap bin to create new backs. I simply used a staple gun to attach it to the frame.

Initially, we used a basic picture hanging thing (it looks like a saw and I have no idea what it's called) but after we had hung the mirrors up, we had someone come and do work in the bathroom and one of the mirrors came crashing down (shattering everywhere!). I still don't know if he hit it with his ladder or if the mirror was too heavy for the thing but to be safe I replaced them with eye hooks and wire.

Luckily, I had kept a few good size pieces of the left over mirror so I could cut a new piece to replace the one that shattered. For all the pieces that weren't usable, we double baged them in thick garbage bags and I had some fun going at it with a hammer.

We were lucky and the grout lines lined up with the center of the mirrors so we didn't have to drill through any tile. A couple of nails and some leveling and we had a couple of mirrors that I like so much more than the big huge mirror!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Master Bath Tile Wall

It's going to be all about the bathroom this week! Specifically the master bathroom. It's in the addition of our house and it had the classic builder's grade look to it when we bought the house. 

It also had some water damage around the shower before we bought the house so we wanted to give this room a little facelift and fix the floor before we try and sell. Things on my hate list in this room were

  • The light - I don't think flourescent lights really have any place in a bathroom 
  • Huge mirror- combined with the mirrored doors on the closet you can always, and I mean always, see yourself in the mirror... once again, not great for a bathroom
  • White on White vanity- we fixed that a few years ago
  • Floor - I love wood floors but not in bathrooms
  • Shower grout - despite many attempts to salvage it, we finally bit the bullet and had someone come and regrout the whole thing
So we set to get rid of the ugly in the bathroom. We'll give you a run down of everything, and today we are going to start in with the wall with the huge mirror.

Initially, I was just going to frame out the mirror and try to somehow make it look smaller. These mirror usually are really well glued to the wall so that they don't come crashing down on you and I just didn't want to deal with taking it down.

This is when having a really bad install job comes in really handy. I finally took a look at the mirror a couple of weeks ago and realized that it wasn't glued at all and just held up by 4 brackets. They easily popped out and Nate and I were able to just lift the mirror off the wall. The mirror is SUPER heavy so we're lucky it didn't decide to kill us at any point and that we could now do something fun with the wall!

While we were at Lowe's I spotted some tile that was on a super sale that I really liked. Since we were trying to do an inexpensive facelift, sale tile that I liked was pretty much the best thing ever and we bought them out of it (they didn't have much left).

Our friend Desi helped me put the tile up one afternoon. She spread the adhesive (I got the extra strong stuff since they are bigger tiles) while I cut down the tiles with our tile saw. It only took a couple of hours to do the whole wall. I was a little worried that the tiles wouldn't adhere well since they are pretty big/heavy but I messed up the pattern a couple of times and boy were those tiles tricky to get back off! Those things aren't going anywhere.

Things sometimes work out in my favor and the base color of the tiles happens to be the same as the wall color in the bathroom and the grey accent color is the same as the painted vanity. I was super happy with how this turned out but in the store the tile looked much more white so I ended up having to return the white grout I originally got for a light beige.

I went with 1/8" grout joint and used an unsanded beige grout from Lowe's. In the past I've gotten the premixed grout so this was the first time I mixed it myself (and used unsanded).

It took a few tries to get the right consistency (I didn't want to mix the whole bag) but it wasn't too bad and I really like the unsanded grout in terms of application.

I broke the wall up into thirds and used a float to spread the grout and push into the joints. Above you can see the grouted section on the left and ungrouted on the right.

I found that for the size of the wall, doing a third at a time allowed me to go back and wipe off the excess grout before it dried on the face of the tile.

You have to make sure you don't get the grout joints too wet when wiping down the face of the tile so I find that you still have a hazy film on the tiles once everything dries (below on the left). Once the grout joints were completely dry, I scrubbed everything down (below on the right). It takes quite a bit of elbow grease but the result is totally worth it.

We added some trim at the top of the tile and caulked around the edge with the wall and we went from huge mirror to awesome tile feature wall! It cost about $25 in tile, $20 in adhesive and $13 in grout to completely transform the wall.

Curious what happened to the mirror? Come back tomorrow to find out! 
Hint: You're still looking at it!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Life Changes

The past couple of weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions. We generally only share a small part of our life here on the blog so here is a quick run down of things you might not know:
  • We've been living in Florida for 4 years and I've spent 3 of those years working on my Ph.D. in Medical Physics
  • While we initially moved down to FL for Nate's job, he switched to a different position last year that allows him to work from home
  • Nobody ever knows what a medical physicist does so if you are interested you can read more details here but basically I work in a hospital making sure that cancer patient treatment plans are correct and treatment machines are working properly
  • New regulations require a 2 year residency for medical physicists to sit for their board exams and this year they switched to a match system  (identical to the system for medical residents) in order to get a residency spot.
  • I've been interviewing for positions for the last few months and our match results came through  last Friday
  • Also on Friday, I defended my dissertation
So, Friday was a really big (and stressful) day. I had put in my rank list a week earlier and I was lucky enough to get quite a few interviews, but there were a lot of rumors that the numbers were pretty bad this year so there was still potential that I wouldn't get a spot so I was pretty nervous. 

It turned out that the numbers were bad and only 39% of people who submitted rank lists got placed, but I was incredibly fortunate enough to match with my top choice, Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, AZ. I also successfully defended my dissertation... Yay!

So what does this all mean? 

We're moving! This is both exciting and sad. We've developed a great community here in FL and it's tough having to start all over again and leave all our amazing friends. We also have put a lot of work into this house and it'll be hard to leave it. We are planning on trying to sell it but we have a quick turn around (we'll be in AZ by the end of June) so we may end up renting it out. Luckily, Nate's job moves with him so we don't have to worry about him finding a new job.

But... we will have a new area to explore and a new place with new projects so that'll be super awesome! And... we have a ton of projects that we are finishing up around the house to get it ready to sell so we'll be sharing those over the next couple of months.

We'd love to hear any suggestions on good neighborhoods in Phoenix or places we should check out!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bathroom Preview

Today is a really big day for us and I've spent all week prepping for it. Instead of going the whole week without posting, I decided to give you a preview of the work we've been doing in the master bathroom. We'll give you all the details next week!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Master Bedroom Evolution

You ready for the entire Master transformation in one post? I'm super happy with how everything turned out! I split things up into three different view points and went from beginning to end so enjoy the 4 year transformation.

Wall shared with kitchen:


We bumped out the center of this wall to make the appliance nook in the kitchen which allowed us to build in two closets where there previously were none. We added the shelving and barn door and awesome planked ceiling.

Wall shared with bathroom:

We painted and had wall-to-wall carpeting installed and we added a few fun touches like the map art and the canopy.

Wall shared with sunroom/dining room:

On this side we moved the door from entering into the sunroom (don't have any pics of that) to entering into the dining room. The flow is so much better now and if we keep the door to the dining room closed, people have no idea that there is another huge part of the house behind the door!

This room isn't huge but it perfectly fits our king bed and it's really the perfect spot for us. We love having a bedroom on the first floor and even thought it took a long time to finish, I really think taking our time paid off. 

There is almost nothing to source in here but if you are interested:
- we made the bookshelves years ago
- the bedding is from Ballard Designs (similar design different color)
- the ceiling lamps and window shades are from Lowe's
- the table lamps are a DIY project but the original lamps are from Target (similar style) 
- map art frames are from Ikea
- barn door hardware is from Amazon
- tree art is from Christmas Tree Shops
- wall cabinet is from my parents
- clothes hamper is from West Elm
- step stool is from Ikea

So what do you think?