Reading Room Revamp

I still don’t know what to call this room. The Former Dining Room? The Library? The Reading Room? How about the Book Room? I kind of lean towards the latter because it sounds less-pretentious to me than the others. Well, other than The Former Dining Room. That just sounds stupid.

Since we will soon be installing new floors in the kitchen, we thought we should just continue the floors that are in the Living Room and the Foyer into the Book Room. There I said Book Room. So it is. But I digress … We contacted the place that installed our floors to buy more flooring and they had to search their warehouses. But they found some for us. This is what the floors look like in the Living Room and Foyer:

I did a little research, watched a few videos and thought that it might be a job that my Dad and I could tackle together. It’s a small room, a square, with just 1 door jamb to concern us. How hard could it be?

Sunday evening Hubby and I ripped out the carpet. What glorious fun it is to rip out carpet. Although it’s quite nasty.

Brandon digging carpet tack strips out of the slab. Niiiiiice holes that they leave in the foundation!

And me … sanding the edge of the stairs …

My Dad came over Monday morning and we commenced to attempt to kill our bodies that day.  Let me just say that, yes, it was fairly simple. But no, it was NOT easy. I have no pictures of the actual installation process because we were rolling through and didn’t want to stop even to eat or get a drink of water … we just wanted it done!

Here are the floors after we finished. They looked great, even with the spacers and no quarter round moulding yet.

The next day my Dad called me and asked me if I was as sore as he was. My answer? YES!!! I could hardly roll out of bed the next day. This “little” project surely had me feeling all of my 40 years. I guess it was all the time spent on our hands and knees (yes, we had knee pads, thank God!) and then getting up to make cuts, then back on our knees … over and over and over. All.Day.Long.

But it’s done now. We did it, and did it well, I might add, and it looks fabulous!

Oh, I went to the bathroom later that evening and found this:

Ha … my silly Dad. He left me a quarter ♥

So here is the completed room, ready for everything to move back in …

And with everything moved back in …

This is what the room looked like before the floors (well, and before the books and curtains and light and stuffs):

What a difference the floors make!

My shelves ♥ …

My books ♥ … I collect antique books … but not just any antique book!

My antique cameras ♥ (that all still work!)

One of my favorite additions to the room … Brandon’s grandfather’s tube radio ♥ … we sent it off to have it refurbished and it works

Now begins the kitchen adventure. I don’t know if I should be excited or sacred. I hear it’s a little of both. Stay tuned.


Powder Room Done: check!

Oh my. It looks fabulous. To us, anyway. We worked hard all of yesterday and today, and we are finally finished. And what a great feeling it is! I feel like we have really accomplished something. The final stages …

Here is hubby trying to figure out what that hole is for. Just kidding … I really don’t know what he is thinking right there:

Here is the new toilet dry-fitted in the room 🙂

And we have a working toilet with no leaks!!

Here Brandon is cutting the bolts to the right length … love the Dremel tool!

Dry fitting the sink … it’s starting to look like I envisioned!

Oh, behold the beauty of polished chrome! By the way, the faucet and sink came together from the Atlanta Re-Store 🙂

Another shot … I adore this faucet!

And again … did I tell you I love this faucet??

Brandon doing plumbing work with his one good arm … he amazes me … ♥

Working on the sink plumbing while the paparazzi attacks …

Oh, and I bought a new door knob to replace the old brass one. This was the first time I’ve ever put one in and I am thinking, “Why have I not done this before now?”


And … here is the bathroom … 

And the medicine cabinet …

And the sink …

And the toilet …

And that lovely sink again (sorry, can’t help myself!) …

The view into the bathroom from my couch ♥

I can’t believe it, so another shot …

The towel ring and towel (World market ♥)

And chrome toilet paper holder …

Ahhhhhhhh … I just ADORE it! ♥

Here is the before:

And the after:

Amazing transformation, no? Yes!! ♥ … Now it’s on to renovate the kitchen 🙂

White and Bright

Because the powder room (as I now call it since it will, indeed, be one) is a small room with no windows, I decided that I wanted the walls to be white and bright. All color in the room will come from art and accessories. I’m not afraid of color, I just didn’t want any on the walls.

So it was time to putty holes and caulk cracks and paint. First, let me say that this stuff is fabulous for filling in nail holes:

Caulking …

And now it’s time to paint. First coat of 3 of primer … Kilz 2 Latex Primer in case you want to know …

Primer is done … time for paint:

Paint is done …

Time for installing the toilet and the sink!

Baseboards and quarter round and a light … oh my!

This bathroom renovation got stalled for a bit when hubby had shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Ouch! I didn’t do too much work that week because I didn’t want to disturb his resting. But once he felt better I decided it was time to cut and install the baseboards and shoe moulding … all by myself. I love to work with my Dad, but I wanted to do it myself. So I did.

The baseboards worked out great – I learned from my Dad how to measure and transfer the markings to the front of the boards so that I could cut them with my compound miter saw ♥ and the backs would be the right length. I used one of my newest tools – the rafter angle square. We did it this way because the of the shape and size of the moulding pieces. By the way, when I received my compound miter saw as a gift on my birthday a couple of years ago, my nephews didn’t believe that gift was for me. 🙂

So since the baseboards worked out well I wanted to finish up and do the shoe moulding. Confession time – I though that I had to cut them the same way that I had cut the baseboards and trim. So I proceeded to measure and transfer my markings. Little did I know that you don’t have to cut shoe moulding that way. It just sits upright in the saw and I could just cut it at a basic 45° angle. There’s no need to measure on the back and then transfer the markings onto the front so you’ll know where the blade needs to cut through the front so that the 45° angle cut makes the back the right length. Did I say that right? I think that made no sense. Anyway … I proceeded to ruin ➂ 8′ lengths of shoe moulding before I called my Dad and he set me straight. The next day we went to Lowe’s (because my favorite store – Home Depot – doesn’t sell 8′ lengths of primed quarter round!) to buy more.

Then Brandon was talking to a fried of his who used to be a contractor and he told Brandon that I need a coping saw and I could use it like this to do trim. Yes, I believe that I do need one 🙂 … lesson #124 learned on this project!

Oh, here’s a lovely picture of my new favorite power tool:

That’s my air compressor and a brad nailer (for use on the quarter round).

Baseboards done: ✓

Oh, I almost forgot … when we went to buy the quarter round we also picked up a light for the room:

It’s difficult to see in that picture, but it looks like this:

Remember this is the original light:

And this is the new one:

Not only do I love the look of the new fixture, but it gives off tons of light with only 1 lightbulb! The space now feels bright and less like a dungeon.

Next stop: caulking and painting!

Hexagon Madness

If there is one thing hubby and I knew that we wanted in the new bathroom it was an antique-style floor. It’s such a small room that we knew we could play around easily with whatever tile we wanted. We both adore old tiled floors and hate to see them ripped out of homes being renovated. A few of the houses we looked at prior to our decision to stay where we are had tile floors from the 60s and 70s. I’m a sucker for funky tile. I toyed around with different ideas, from Moroccan tile to penny tile to hexagon tile with cool patterns. In the end we decided that we wanted to stick with something nice and timeless, but interesting and beautiful. We chose hexagon porcelain tiles.

And who knew what a process it would be to find them?? We decided to venture out to buy them on New Year’s Eve day. EVERY tile store was closed. You can’t get these just anywhere – you have to go to a good tile store. So we ended up having to wait until the following Monday.

Aren’t they lovely?

I began to dry-fit them that night. What an adventure that was! It took me several hours between fitting them in the room and figuring out what pattern I wanted. I chose something classic and not too busy for my eyes in the end.

Here is the floor dry-fitted. Each 12″x12″ sheet of hex tiles is labeled so that I will know which sheet goes where. Not only are they labeled with a number, but those numbers all face in a certain direction so that I will know which direction the tiles are to be laid … you see, the sheets can only go in one way and I want to be sure that I start out and stay in the proper direction …

Mess. But it’s time for bed!

One more look at the dry-fitted floor before I dive in and lay the tile. Boy, was I scared!

Alright … here are the sheets laid out on my table in order and by row. On the far end of the table is the last row in the room.

And here we go … no time like the present, just dive in and do it! I watched a few videos on You Tube  and especially like the ones on Ask the Builder – he knows his stuff and his videos about mixing thinset were very helpful.

Oh, I almost forgot. We rented a nice tile saw from Home Depot and it was fabulous! I really, really loved that thing! You can’t cut yourself, so you can hold these tiny tiles right up to the blade and get them cut exactly the way you want them. I loved using it. I need one.

And it’s done!! Oh my goodness this was SOOOOO difficult to do! When I was finished I felt like I could do anything! I mean, seriously, I’ve never laid a tile floor in my life, so let me choose the most difficult tile I can and try it. Well, I must say it worked out well!

The next morning I had to get in there and clean up a few areas where thinset had come up between the tiles so we could grout. That was fun! No, it wasn’t. Since these are 1″ hex tiles, the only way to do that is to get on your hands and knees with a utility knife and carve the thinset out. I was glad there were just a few places where it had come through.

TIP: when laying small tiles use a trowel with a ¼-inch notch. Otherwise, you will have way too much thinset. Thankfully, I knew this ahead of time thanks to a friend who was once in the tile business – I must say that never once in all my reading and research did I come across this information!

Once I got a little too ambitious and popped out a tile. I cried. But Brandon quickly and calmly told me to just mix up a little thinset and lay it back into place. So I got myself together and I did just that. And I found 2 other tiles that were not even set, so I laid them back in place as well. Then when I was vacuuming up the debris from the dried thinset that I had carved out and when I looked down that shop vac had sucked up 2 more tiles that were not set. I wish I could somehow describe the look on my face. It was something like this:

But I didn’t cry this time. I just set new ones in place and went about my work. And then I was done and ready to grout. Well, after waiting for 12 hours for the newly-laid tiles to set …

Left-over tiles …

I do just ♥ them!

My homemade wood black that I used to make sure all the tiles were consistently set and level. It’s a just a 12″ 2×4 covered with an old rag. It worked nicely.

Cleaning up the mess …

And now it’s time to grout. We started this process after the girls went to bed on a Saturday night. Brandon wanted to get this part done before his shoulder surgery the following Monday morning.

Ooooo what  mess!

The first cleaning after grouting. It took several cleanings …

It’s starting to look nice …

And the finished floor:

Oh my goodness … ♥♥♥ !

Beadboard in the Bathroom

Hubby and I decided we wanted beadboard on the walls in the bathroom. Before I started the this project, we also wanted them in the kitchen. We have since nixed that idea. Yes, they are lovely, but such a pain to install and paint. But enough about that, back to the bathroom …

My sweet Dad came over and helped me with the beadboard and moulding. I honestly don’t know what I would do without him! He knows so much and I know so little. There were so many things that he thought of that I did not.

First thing, though, was that we had to cut the panels down 4 inches because I forgot to factor in the moulding when I was thinking about how high I wanted the beadboard to go. oops! Thanks, Lowes, for the free cuts, but I needed them at 38″ and not 42″. Oh well … I learned many things along the way 🙂

Like … the need for a paneling blade on your circular saw. Here is my Dad switching out his old paneling blade for a new one. Funny … I asked him if he wanted me to buy one for my Skil saw and he said no, that he would get one for his. Any excuse to buy new tools …

Mmmm … I do love the smell of sawdust …

My makeshift workbench …

And my Dad’s ancient Black and Decker circular saw. But it was made back in the day when Black and Decker actually made decent tools, so it still works well.

Beadboard waiting to be cut …

Oh, and I ♥ this … marking the wood with my Hello Kitty pencil … this just makes me 🙂

It’s time to put the beadboard on the walls … with some help from construction adhesive!

A sneak peek at our awesome sink from the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store in Atlanta …

Alrighty … holes are drilled for the plumbing … it’s time to get this done!

Stuff …

My Dad tapping in some finishing nails that didn’t quite sink all the way in with my, ahem, pink hammer 🙂

And here is me with my favorite new power tool (apologies to my trusty drill) … my finishing nailer! ♥

And testing the outside cut off spigot to make sure we can access it …

My cool Dad getting the beadboard ready …

He’s taking his Dremel tool and sanding away all the rough edges on the overlaps and underlaps …

I thought I might try it … I need one of these!

Awesome … the beadboard is up!!

The holes we drilled are perfect (of course … if you know me and my Dad, you would never doubt that!)

And on to the moulding … oh, how I ♥ this moulding! It was expensive, but very worth it!

And now the room is ready for a new floor!

Bathroom Demo!

Hubby and I have been discussing remodeling our bottom floor for some time now. We thought there was a possibility of buying a house sometime in the near future, but we have since realized that the wisest thing is for us to stay put and love the house we’re in. So a few weeks ago I got a wild hair and decided it was time to start the renovations. And I proceeded to demo (demolish, not demonstrate!) our half bath …

I wanted to document the entire process, so here are pictures of the before:

And now I have begun the process:

First, the baseboards had to some off the wall:

Yes, that is a pink hammer. A loooooooong time ago, when I didn’t know any better, I asked for a pink tool set. Yes, they are crappy tools, but this hammer serves its purpose 🙂

Baseboards gone: ✓

Now to remove the toilet:

Toilet gone: ✓ It was surprisingly simple and easy!

Now to remove the cabinet and sink. Boy what a project that was! It was wedged in there well! Remember, I’ve never done anything like this in my life! I finally got it out and I must say, it was quite cathartic … I thoroughly enjoyed the process 🙂

Sorry for the crappy picture, but I wanted to show you the room sans toilet and cabinet/sink.

Cabinet and sink removed: ✓

Oh, and there’s my trusty drill. I ♥ it so 🙂

Now … it was time to remove the mirror. It wasn’t a big mirror, but it was glued to the wall. And we were working in a small space. And we did something really, really stupid to remove it from the wall. We taped it up and proceeded to break it. Yes, yes … stupid. But kind of fun. Don’t worry, we’ll remove all the other mirrors in our house the right way 🙂

Mirror gone: ✓
Floor gone: ✓ oooo that was fun to rip up and remove!

The bathroom is demo’d and ready for a renovation …