Category Archives: Addition

Master Bathroom Ahoy!

I promised you guys a post on Tuesday and Thursday every week for the month of April at a minimum, and I’m bent on keeping that promise. I’m battling my first nasty cold in a while, and my biggest event of the year at work is in two days, so bear with me. I expect my post for Thursday will be up a little later than 10am, so I’d check back in the afternoon.

When we completed the addition, and especially the master bedroom, we left one place pretty much untouched-the master bathroom. We simply didn’t have the money or time to finish it up when there were other things (like siding) that needed to be completed first. So while our bedroom is beautiful ,the master bathroom continues to be roughed in only.

DSC_9025-01This room is one of the few rooms in the house that is extremely difficult to photograph. It’s quite small and will be nothing like the master bathrooms you see all over the place. Double sinks? Not a chance. Soaker tub? Sure, if you want to sit at the bottom of the shower and pretend you’re in a tub.

We really wanted this bathroom for function – i.e. shower, toilet, sink. Though, I’ll admit that I actually fought against having this within our bedroom. We had a bathroom in our bedroom in the house we lived in before we bought this place and I hated it. You read that right. I might be the only woman in all of America who absolutely disliked having a bathroom off of the bedroom. I also don’t like bathrooms directly off kitchens. Your bedroom and your kitchen are two places that should never smell a certain way. I was finally convinced when we realized the layout for a second upstairs bathroom wouldn’t work anywhere else and one stipulation would be adhered to – absolutely, positively, no…uh…number two…unless there’s an absolutely unavoidable world-is-ending emergency.

Now that the bathroom is there I’ve grown accustomed to it. Despite my initial reservations I had to agree that an upstairs bathroom was pretty necessary and space simply wouldn’t allow it anywhere else. Secret between us is that I’m looking forward to see how it turns out. It’s going to be tiny, but it’s going to be beautiful. Right now we’re talking a hardwood cherry floor, douglas fir custom vanity, douglas fir custom mirror/medicine cabinet, douglas fir ceiling perhaps and definitely 100% a sliding barn door since a regular door wouldn’t work in that space. The barn door was another one of my concessions to having a bathroom upstairs. I like them a lot, but it really came down to a big space issue. We couldn’t have the door swing out or it would hit our master bedroom door, and we couldn’t have it swing in because it would take up too much room. Also, we have a locking bedroom door so there’s really no need for a traditional bathroom door anyway.

Without further ado I give you all of the roughed in “before” photos with a little blurb about each photo above the shot.

Facing the shower. We’ll have about a 34″ shower stall here. We’re looking at corner units so we can have more open space. A traditional one would essentially give the feel of a wall and would make the space tinier than it already is. While I would like an acrylic base and tiled walls, I think Andy is going to go the full acrylic route. I admit it would be a lot easier to clean and less likely to leak.

DSC_9016-01The ceiling is currently vaulted and I’d love to keep it that way, but loving something doesn’t mean it loves you back. The vaulted ceiling just isn’t into me. While it would be a great way to add a spacious feeling to the room it just won’t work. We need the space so we can put in a strong ventilation system. Damn.

DSC_9018-01This is the toilet corner. I’m picturing a white toilet with a couple picture frames above and maybe a few plants on the top of the toilet itself. I also don’t love toilets in my bedroom. Might as well try to jazz it up a bit.

DSC_9017-01This is where the vanity will go. It will be tucked right into the corner. Because of the plumbing layout it will be flush to the floor since it’s not meant to go with a pedestal or legged vanity. It will work better anyway since we need the storage. Function wins, though I suspect it will be pretty to look at as well.

DSC_9021-01One more overall shot for good measure.

DSC_9023-01I’m not sure when we’ll start this project, but our hope is this summer. First, we need to finish siding the house and perhaps finished up the porch. If we have enough time this will be tackled too. It’s definitely on the 2014 roster though since we have to have this one done before we tear out the original house (and only current bathroom).

Hopefully I’ll get to update on some details in the next month or so, even if it’s just picking things out for the bathroom. You guys know you can’t wait until I tell all about the toilet we finally pick out. Sounds like another “How To Be Classy Like Me” post. I am nothing if not the classiest broad you’ll ever meet (she says while coughing up a lung).

xo,

Heather

Renovation Update: Rail & Baluster Installation

It was really cool watching the staircase come together, since it was my job to sand and finish all of the stair parts. Even though Andy built all the parts and put the staircase together, this is definitely the project in the house where I feel like I helped the most. It made it so satisfying to watch come together.

In part 1 of this post, I explained how Andy installed the newel posts on our staircase.

DSC_8578-01

Part 2 – Rail, Baluster & Newel Post Cap Installation

Seeing the rails and balusters go up was very cool, not only because I had a part in it, but because it was the first time I really saw how things happened. I was too enthralled in the process, and admittedly busy taking care of other things around the house, that I sort of forgot to take photos of the baluster installation. I’ll explain as best I can with finished pictures. When it came to the rails, which are made of walnut, I was curious to see how the exact level and angle was determined. Turns out, you need a few levels and a few clamps.

DSC_8583-01 DSC_8586-01 DSC_8590-01This method was awesome because it really gave me a chance to visualize where the rail would fall, but also to figure out if it was at a comfortable height. Andy nailed it the first try, so he marked it off with painters tape, and measured and cut the rail.

DSC_8594-01To install the rails to the newel posts Andy attached them a couple ways. Most of them were attached through a groove in the bottom of the rail, but a few needed to be attached through the top. Either way, Andy drilled two angled holes on each end of each rail at the same angle as the rail and screwed them into each newel post.

DSC_8596-01For the rails screwed through the top, Andy made plugs and glued them into place.

DSC_8939DSC_8935Each rail attached through the bottom groove didn’t need to be plugged, since they were patched after the balusters were installed.

To install the rail to the wall where we had no newel post, Andy did a simple block. We debated on doing a half newel but though a block would look better.

DSC_8940For the balusters (painted poplar, also known as aspen) Andy and I decided on a spacing we liked (two balusters per tread). Andy then cut each baluster to the correct angle and nailed it into the bottom groove of the rail. Once all balusters were installed, he then cut and placed a piece between each baluster to fill in the groove. Each piece was secured with a finish nail.

DSC_8933Once the rails and balusters were installed, it was time for the crowning glory, and the final parts, of the staircase—newel post caps. When it came to what wood to use we debated on a nice maple, walnut, or beech. We finally decided on a chunky but simple walnut cap to tie in the rail. I loved the idea of bringing in some darker wood somewhere else. Even better, Andy had a piece of crotch walnut which he could make one of the caps out of.

DSC_8938 The other two caps were made of regular walnut and are also very beautiful. To keep the balance we put the other two on each end, and the crotch walnut in the middle. We also did this because the stairwell light is directly above the middle newel post, which highlights the beautiful cap even more.

DSC_8931 DSC_8934DSC_8961Overall we really love how the stairwell turned out, so here are a few more pictures of the final stairwell.

DSC_8929 DSC_8946 DSC_8952 DSC_8957 DSC_8959This spring we’re going to start building out the upstairs bathroom, and I can’t wait to share that process with you guys. It’s going to be beautiful when it’s done and should hopefully be an inspiration for all of those with a tiny 3/4 bathroom. Once the bathroom is finished, and funds permit, we’ll be able to start the big renovation on the original house which can only mean one thing—kitchen time!

For now we’re staying busy fixing our cars that keep breaking (oy vey, don’t ask – a new car is on the near horizon), working out in the woods with our neighbor, starting seeds for the garden should the snow decide to fully melt at any point this spring, and over all just doing the day to day working & typical house cleaning and errands!

xo,

Heather

Renovation Update: Newell Post Installation

We finished the stair tread installation a while back but we had yet to install the newel posts, rail and balusters.  Up until about a month ago we’d had a staircase with no rail, but that is no more! We officially have a full staircase which Andy completely built by hand. I’ll be breaking this post up into two so it won’t be so long.

Part 1 – Newel Post Installation

I have to first say I love the newel posts Andy built. Like the stairs, they’re made of beech and they’re beefy which looks so good in such a huge stairwell area. The photos below show how nice they are, but at the end of this series you’ll get to see the caps we put on them which are beautiful.

To install the newel posts, Andy started by ensuring they would have a solid base and be super secure. We have three posts, so we picked up three Sure-Tight newel fastening systems.

DSC_8449-01Next Andy test fitted where the newel posts would go, marked it off, found the center, and drilled a hole for the screw.

DSC_8496-01To ensure the screw would thread in easily, Andy utilized a soap scrap from Green Barn Soaps.

DSC_8499-01 DSC_8501-01Once the threads were soaped up, it easily screwed in.

DSC_8517-01A quick vacuum of the soap scraps that inevitably turnout while you screw it in, and a quick ensure that the screw was deep enough, and Andy was ready to install the newel post.

DSC_8523-01To start he vacuumed out the post from the bottom and top just to make sure no wood shavings from the drilling process were in the way.

DSC_8525-01 DSC_8526-01Once the newel post is put on the screw, there’s a nut that holds it down inside. The thing is, of the hundred wrenches we have, none would fit properly to be able to screw it in. Andy, of course, didn’t let this hold him back. I give you newel post installation fabricated wrench.

DSC_8547-01 DSC_8548-01Win! Andy removed just enough of the metal to be able to fit the wrench, and also turn it to tighten the nut.

DSC_8558-01 DSC_8560-01One by one the newel posts were fit, drilled, and installed.

DSC_8486-01DSC_8578-01I really love how these look installed, and will be sharing the rest of the installation process of the rails and balusters this week! While you’ll have to wait, don’t worry, you’re not the only one!

DSC_8575-01xo,

Heather

Treading It Up

There are also a lot of other dogs in our lives between our two, our friends, and our families. When it came to our new stairs we knew there would be scratches and marks, but let’s just say we weren’t expecting total destruction, at least not so soon.

StairTreads_January (4)It turns out dogs don’t get great grip going down the stairs so it looks like they are running in place a la Wiley Coyote, or they get nervous and fly down them so fast while digging in the entire way. While our girls have become used to the stairs finally, and we’ve taught them how to go down gently, the damage had been done.

StairTreads_January (2)Andy kept asking me to look into options to protect the stairs going forward, but permanent carpet in my house is a huge zero. We had a permanent runner before renovations and the amount of hair/dirt, etc. I found underneath of it when we ripped it up was enough for me to swear them off. Also, I LOVE the feeling of wood stairs below my feet. I do not love however the damage being done to the stairs.

StairTreads_January (3)After looking online and discussing it more, we landed on carpet stair treads that can more or less be held in place with a piece of anti-slip mat beneath the carpet. They fit the bill in three ways:

  1. They aren’t permanent. This means no holes to patch down the line when we refinish the treads.
  2. They are easily cleaned. All I need to do it pick them up, vacuum under them, shake the rugs off, and toss them in the washer and dryer.
  3. They’ll give the dogs security. Our dogs have really appreciated the other two area rugs we’ve put up at the top of the stairs and on the landing. Winnie has definitely felt more comfortable walking around in these areas.

About two months ago I started doing some research knowing I wanted at least partially natural fiber, and a neutral light color. I looked around and found a couple different options, and while nice they were ultimately too expensive. My favorite on Amazon, would have been just right but I couldn’t stomach paying almost $32.00 a tread. It would have come out to $320.00 not including the non-slip mat, tax and shipping. No thanks.

I had put the tread issue on the back burner until Andy asked about it again recently. I gave researching a second shot for something both appropriate in material, color and budget and came across these babies on Sierra Trading Post from Colonial Mills.  Wool blend? Check. Good price? Check. Oatmeal color? Check. Rounded edges? Eh, we’ll live with them. I also picked up the adhesive kit which I might just buy an extra roll of because it is seriously the best adhesive I’ve ever used. Overall the entire cost, including a discount code they had on the website, came to $153 and change.

Earlier this week this box showed up at my house.

StairTreads_January (1)With these inside.

StairTreads_January (5)When it came to installation it might have been the absolute easiest project I’ve ever done in my life. I needed one tool – a box knife.

First, I figured out where I wanted each tread to go and since our treads are the same exact size the whole way up  and we don’t have to deal with a tapering staircase like some people do when they install a runner. I decided to center them after deciding I didn’t like them closer to the wall.

Second, I measured out the adhesive which is sticky on one side and a protective sheet on the other. You can either cut it before you stick it down on your tread, or do what I did and stick it down on the tread while on the roll. Once I had it where I wanted it I simply pulled slightly up and slashed it right below where it came off the roll (so I wouldn’t cut into the next layer on the roll). Note that I did not cut on the stair itself, that would have left a gash in staircase.

StairTreads_January (6)Once it was all laid down I peeled the plastic off, and then laid the carpet tread on top of it. I made sure to press down all over the tread to get good contact and make it stick well.

StairTreads_January (7)

StairTreads_January (9)The dogs are particularly huge fans of them. Winnie and Rosie have realized they don’t have to worry about grip and have been going up and down them very easily.

StairTreads_January (10)StairTreads_January (11)There has been one persistent case of stair related stress these treads won’t fix – Primrose trying to steal whatever Winnie is carrying in her mouth while descending the stairs. What a brat. A brat I love very much and who might be starting to think her name is, “LEAVE IT.”

StairTreads_January (12)Overall we’ve had the treads installed for a few days now. So far we’re really happy with them. They haven’t shifted a bit despite multiple trips up and down by two adults and two dogs. I even used some of the extra awesome adhesive backing to keep the runner at the top of the stairs in place and it too hasn’t budged which surprised me.

As for cleaning, these treads are meant to be spot cleaned but hah, in our house they’ll be thrown in the washer at some point. I’m sure of it. As for design, they fit the bill for what they are. They might not be the most fashion forward decor item you can put up but sometimes function edges out style and truthfully, we really don’t mind them.

xo,
Heather

Closet Organization Overhaul

When we built our master bedroom we knew there would be one thing that wasn’t very “master” about it—the closet. Before we even started building we knew we would have to run the stove pipe through the corner of our closet and then box it in to protect against the heat and to finish the space. While the other bedrooms have full closets, this one needed to be designed to utilize all the space most efficiently. It also meant cutting down my wardrobe and being honest about what I actually wear. Truthfully it was cathartic. Since we keep our shoes here, I don’t have to worry about closet space for them.

Once the bedroom was done and we moved into it, we knew some of the finish work was going to wait until winter – and that meant a closet system. Until then we moved the wire rack we had been previously using up into the closet, and threw a basket on the floor next to it. It was…uh…well, it worked for the time being.

DSC_7874-01Weeks ago we decided it was time to start building a closet system. Last weekend after all of the holiday hubbub Andy took my plans, changed them around slightly to make things flow better, and built an awesome free standing system that incorporated everything we needed. When it came to building storage for our closet I knew I had to have at least three types of areas:

  1. Two hanging rods for Andy’s shirts, and my suits, button downs, professional shirts, etc.
  2. A smaller but longer hanging area for my dresses so they aren’t wrinkled
  3. Cubbies for my trousers and sweaters, with space on top for sweatpants/shirts

Andy did not disappoint, then again, he has never built something that did. Using Poplar sawed from his grandfathers lot in Ohio, he ran it all through the jointer, the planer and then the table saw to prep all the pieces. He built the system using a series of dado’s, glue and screws.

DSC_8001 DSC_8002 DSC_8008 DSC_8009DSC_8024 DSC_8032 DSC_8040This is where things got a bit hairy for me. This is one solid piece, just as it looks. We had to get it up the basement stairs and around a corner into the main house, and then up the new stairs and into the bedroom. It was heavy, and I’m awkward so it wasn’t the easiest thing for me to help with but a woman’s got to do what a woman’s got to do.

DSC_8044 DSC_8048 DSC_8052It was a feat getting it up the stairs, but also into the closet. In order to get it in we had to remove the wood around the wood stove pipe and very carefully tilt it in and then up, and then replace all the wood around the pipe. In the end it all slid in without having to rebuild anything. Even though it’s free standing, it literally cannot fall out of the closet. It can tilt forward until it hits the header, but it can’t actually come out. That said, we’ll still be securing it with screws we just haven’t done it yet.

DSC_8054 Andy then measured where all the rod holders had to go, screwed them in place, and then cut the wooden rods to fit and installed them.

DSC_8060 DSC_8067On the top we have a larger space and a spot to hang my dresses, and on the bottom we have a larger space and I ended up with a spot to hang my skirts too! The skirt rod ended up being a last minute addition that ended up working perfectly and I love it.

DSC_8069 DSC_8068We’ve had this system in place for almost a week and  it is already way better than the previous wire shelf which has been relegated to a plant stand. I haven’t been able to get a great photo of it filled out yet, but here’s the one I snapped the other day on Instagram. You can see here that Andy has also put a few hooks up so our robes no longer get tossed over the end of the bed.

31ba8c5478c111e381dd1273149d0f6d_8Let’s just look at that before and after again.

Before:

DSC_7874-01After:

31ba8c5478c111e381dd1273149d0f6d_8Junky iPhone photo and everything, and it still looks way better! Here’s to the small things being finished up.

xo,
Heather