Christmas, Holiday, Home Improvement, Paint

A mini fireplace renovation and Christmas decor

I love the winter holiday season and all of the decorating that comes with it. I was extra excited to decorate our mantel this year because I just completed a mini fireplace reno.

Do you remember this gem of a fireplace that we started with when we moved in?

Before fireplace

This is how we changed our fireplace after we did our family room reno.

fireplace

The difference in the brightness alone is nuts! But something was still missing. The fireplace was outdated with the old metal doors. New doors are so expensive, so I decided to DIY the doors and the inside of the fireplace to complete the three-years-long reno.

Brass doors

To start, I removed the doors and cleaned out the fireplace. Then, I painted the inside of the fireplace black with heat-resistant paint.

Fireplace unpainted

I did two coats of paint on the inside to cover up the soot, and it turned out really nice! I actually contemplated not adding the doors back on, but Brian said he prefered doors to an open fireplace.

Fireplace Brick

Once that was dry, I started to work on the doors. At first, I sprayed the doors with heat-resistant black spray paint. I taped the glass, but didn’t cover all of the panes with newspaper. (Word to the wise — cover the glass! I had to later scrape off paint. Oops.)

Spray painted

The spray paint didn’t hold up so great, so I ended up painting the doors with the same paint I used for the inside of the fireplace. Once that dried, I was able to rehang the doors.

Ready for the big (small?) reveal?

TA DA! Oh, and Christmas decorations ūüôā

fireplace3

Do you love the black doors? It’s taken me a while — I actually hated them at first — but I really like them. I’ll admit that I wish they were new and fancy and not spray painted, but considering we don’t use the fireplace and the doors are rarely opened, this little DIY will work just great for us. Buh-bye brass!

The only downside to the painted doors is the paint does scratch off if nicked in the right way. Other than that, I’m really happy with the new look. I don’t miss the old, dated color at all.

OK, enough reno talk. Check out my Christmas decor! I absolutely love my Christmas mantel.

fireplaceremmy

As you can see, Remmy loves it, too. Really, he just loves to sniff his stocking to see if there’s anything in it yet. Sometimes he cries because he can’t get it down. I think it is hilarious — does that make me a mean doggie mom?

santas

On my mantel I have my collection of Jim Shore Santas. We got one as a wedding gift, and I’ve been in love with them ever since. I can’t wait to see which new Santas I get this year as gifts.

Christmas is the one time of year we do seasonal decorating, so we take it pretty seriously. We have one real Christmas tree, a small fake tree I decorate with flamingo ornaments, a decorated mantel, a decorated TV shelf and a decorate console table. We even decorate by our bar. And, of course, we do lights outside.

How do you all decorate for Christmas? If you have a blog, I’d love to see what you’ve been up to this holiday season. And if you don’t have a blog, no worries… the rest of my house (outside of these photos) is messed up with wrapping paper shreds and stuff¬†I had to move out of the picture frame. It isn’t quite as perfect as it may appear ūüôā

Speaking of perfect, I have not been on the ball this year with holiday cards and gifts.¬†I am looking to get holiday cards a.s.a.p.¬†and¬†I found the most adorable cards on Shutterfly¬†that are in the cutest shapes (i.e. not just rectangles). Some have scalloped edges, some have rounded corners and some look like quatrefoils. They are such a fun twist on normal cards — now I just need a cute photo of me, B and Rem!

I also need to get a kickstart on my gifts. I’ve purchased quite¬†a few things, but there are so many gifts¬†I want to make that I haven’t even started on! Work, class and other life craziness¬†has made this holiday season fly by so far.¬†Where are my elves when I need them?! Luckily, I am fortunate enough to have time off before Christmas, so I’ll be my own elf and make my gifts then.

Are you making gifts this year or tackling any mini makeovers before your relatives come to town this holiday season? I’d love to see your holiday decor, renos and crafts! The holidays really do bring out the most creative and fun ideas.

Advertisements
Home Improvement

Master Bathroom Reveal

I was a little neurotic with getting my bathroom to a place where I was ready to share it on my blog. I could have shared it last weekend, since it was mostly finished. Paint, bead board, shelves, hooks, etc. — that was all taken care of … but I hadn’t gotten bath mats! And my shower curtain was still in the mail. And I wanted art!

Finally,¬†almost all of the pieces are together (I still can’t find a nice soap dispenser ¬†that matches the chrome in my bathroom. They are all too warm-tones. My chrome is cool toned — like I said, neurotic!) and I can¬†finally share my reno.

OK, back to the beginning. Here’s the bathroom when I started:

Before4

There was nothing terribly wrong with it, but I didn’t love the whole look. Our house was a Fannie Mae house and they redid a few rooms, but with not-so-great stuff. The builder-grade vanity and sink weren’t so nice and seemed to clog all the time. The drain wasn’t installed properly and the stopper wouldn’t go up or down.

We’d already replaced the mirror with a surface-mount medicine cabinet, but I quickly grew tired of having the mirror sticking out in my business when I tried to brush my teeth and do my hair.

Before

You can also see the $8 light and us using the top of the cabinet for extra storage. Part of this problem was remedied by us just having less stuff in the bathroom.

Before2

Anyway, while a lot of folks would have been fine with the bathroom the way it was, I got tired of the little annoyances and the design, errr, flaws. So I told B that for my birthday I was going to redo the bathroom. That was back in February. I couldn’t decide exactly what I wanted so I put the project on hold for a few months.

When I visited my friend’s new place a month or so ago she had a bathroom similar to what I’d been thinking for ours, inspiring me to revisit the bathroom reno!

OK, so there’s the before and the back story. Now to the project.

I researched what I wanted for weeks before starting this project. And then I stock piled supplies for a few weeks longer once things started coming in. My original idea is nowhere near what I ended up with, but I love the final product.

Let’s start with demo¬†talk!¬†First thing’s first, I needed to remove the tile at the baseboards.

IMG_3728

I used a pry bar to take off all of the tile, hammering it behind to get the tile to pop off the wall.

IMG_3729

This demo took all of 1o minutes and was so much fun.

IMG_3730

Next, I took off the medicine cabinet. Then I promptly hammered a hole into the wall. Muahahaha. It was AWESOME! Brian freaked out about this part, but I reassured him that it would all look nice when I put a new medicine cabinet there.

Bathroom Reno_Medicine Cabinet hole

I finished demo by taking out the vanity, toilet (thanks, Allie!) and other features.

Once I had everything taken apart, I had to put it back together The plan was simple. Bead board. Floating vanity. Tile accents. Thick moldings. Tile insets in the wall. Wall hooks. Industrial vanity lighting. Vessel sink.

Some of that stuff happened! Let’s start with the bead board.

BEAD BOARD

I used PVC bead board, which will hold up to the moisture in the bathroom. Good call.

The PVC bead board came with two options: standard plank (three per sheet) or wide plank (two per sheet). I preferred wide plank as a slight twist on the classic. Each sheet was 8 feet long and 7 inches wide. Before I could install the bead board I had to cut all of the sheets in half using a mitre saw.

Once that was complete, and my neighbor came over to help me, we jumped right on installation. It took us about four hours to make it around the whole bathroom. Corners and pipes were slightly tricky, but nothing we couldn’t handle.

Bead Board Corner

I¬†didn’t worry about getting the corners just right because I bought corner trim. You can see the gap in the photo above.

We cut around the pipes behind the vanity, then used a hole saw for the pipe behind the toilet. It worked great. To install the bead board, I used adhesive and my nail gun.

Bead board 2

We called it a night with the bead board on the walls.

The next morning, I started installing the baseboards. Allie came over to help me with the ¬†chair rail molding, which was wonderful. The baseboards were easy, and I tackled those no problem, but the thicker molding at the top was more of a challenge and I was grateful for Allie’s help.

The trickiest part was around the window. We opted to rip out the bottom of the window sill, cut off the top piece of molding, then install the molding around the window as if it were always like that.

Molding

You can see the little gaps that I was later able to fill with caulk.

With all of the moldings up, I caulked the whole bathroom — twice. We installed the chair rail¬†molding on top of the bead board, which left a decent gap from the wall. Because of that, I had to fill in with a lot of caulk. When it dried, it needed a second round. It was amazing was the caulk did to “finish off” the molding.

Up next, paint! The bead board and trim got three coats of white paint.

Then, the hubby and I reinstalled the toilet. And then the sink. Our neighbor Chad helped us a great deal with this since neither of us have any experience with plumbing.

The vanity I bought (not the floating one) had a shelf that (of course) hit right at the pipe coming out of the wall. SOOOOOO, we had to cut up the vanity to make it work.

Plumbing1

Plumbing2

It’s not pretty, but it got the job done. AND, you can’t see this little jigsaw action until you open the cabinets. There’s plenty of storage on either side, so overall we didn’t lose too much space.

The plumbing with the sink wasn’t a joy ride either. It seems the sink and faucet (not a vessel sink) weren’t the easiest things to install. We got it kind of hooked up a few weeks ago, but the hot water leaked and the center faucet could easily turn (not good, not good). Thankfully plumber Chad came to our rescue again, installing the faucet the proper way last weekend.

OK, so I’m gonna jump around a little in the timeline here since we did parts of the medicine cabinet project early on, and other parts later.

I shared the hole in the wall photo already. After we installed the bead board, but before we added the chair rail molding, Allie and I cut out the hole for the medicine cabinet. This was one of my favorite parts.

I knocked out a bunch of the wall with a hammer first. When I made sure I wasn’t going to totally destroy any wiring by using a saw, I starting cutting along the edges of the 2x4s with a drywall saw. The tricky part, which I didn’t photograph, was there were two 2×4 supports running horizontally in this portion of the wall. We removed both, but then relocated the bottom 2×4¬†so it could add extra support for the cabinet.

Medicine Cabinet

Then, we popped the mirror into the wall — it fit perfectly!

Medicine Cabinet2

OK, so I said I had to jump around for this part — I partially installed the medicine cabinet when we put up the molding because I wanted it flush with the bottom of the cabinet. Then, I¬†removed the cabinet again and left it out until the room was painted.

Now let’s talk paint. I wanted the bathroom to feel really bright, hence the all-white molding, sink and vanity. I continued this idea with paint choices, opting to go with Breath of Fresh Air from Benjamin Moore. The other thing I did with the paint that I’ve never done before was painting the ceiling the same color as the walls. I absolutely love this choice — it really separated the top of the bathroom from the stark white of the bottom and ended up being one of my favorite design choices in the whole room. You can see the color in the next few photos.

Once the paint was dry, the last thing to do was install the fixtures. I went with chrome for everything, even though the rest of the house is brushed nickel. I added a new toilet paper holder, two hooks for hanging our towels (instead of a towel bar) and a floating glass shelf. I permanently installed the medicine cabinet, too.

Then it was time for the light. The light was tricky for me. You can see in the photo below that the junction box is fairly close to the medicine cabinet hole, which we had to make higher on the wall since the hubster is 6’2″ and would like to be able to see his face in the mirror instead of his chest.

Because of this, finding the light was tricky. On the plus side, the light I ended up going with (not the industrial lighting) ended up being super cheap — $26, plus the globes.

Lighting

I bought two kinds of globes from Lowes. You can see the large white globes on the fixture and the clear option on the vanity. The white globes were too large, the clear globes were WAYYYYYY too bright. It was blinding in that room.

Lighting2

We ended up with smaller frosted glass globes that we are both really happy with. Brian liked the white color of the first globes. I liked the size of the second globes. The final choice was a happy marriage of the two.

Lighting3

All right…. I’ve given you more pictures of the actual process then you probably ever could have wanted. Time for the reveal!

Ta daaaaaaa! My first renovation where I didn’t have to run to my dad, step dad or family friend/contractor for help. Damn, that feels good ūüôā

FINAL_WINDOW SHOT

I am beyond pleased with how the bathroom turned out. And I’m beyond proud of myself for everything that I tackled on my own. I manned the saws and all of the power tools. That list included a compound mitre saw (SO MUCH FUN), a circular saw, a jigsaw, a nail gun, a drywall saw, a pry bar (also so much fun) and a brief stint with the reciprocating saw…. then I decided that was a surefire way to cut through the wall in my other bathroom by accident.

FINAL_TOILET SHOT

I tackled demo on my own (except¬†the toilet… thanks to my neighbor Allie for being¬†such a good friend¬†and helping me remove our toilet. That’s a real friend, guys.) Using a pry bar was so fun, although quite nerve wracking the first time. I knew I wanted to get rid of the baseboard tile, but I didn’t want to mess up the floor tile. Luckily, it came off without a problem.

FINAL_SHOWER SHOT2

I’m also really pumped that B and I reinstalled the toilet ourselves. That involved scraping off an old wax ring, which Brian was SO grossed out by. He went downstairs to get gloves (he grabbed gardening gloves instead of rubber guys…. poor choice) and while he was looking for them I tackled the wax ring issue on my own. Gross, but oddly satisfying.

FINAL-GARDEN STOOL

The design looks on point, for sure. I think the all while bottom, including the sink and vanity, looks really crisp. I chose beige bath mats to blend in with the floors versus having a color pop out on the floor. My only color rebellion is my new garden stool that I rest my hairdryer and brush on when I get ready.

FINAL-SINK SHOT

The sink was like my zillionth choice. I wanted a larger, longer vanity to fill all of the space to the left of our vanity (where the garden stool lives). But that would have involved moving plumbing, which would have been much more costly and such a pain. The other issue with that was my bathroom is so narrow that the depth of the vanity (19 inches) didn’t seem to exist with the width I wanted.

That’s when I had the idea to to the floating vanity with a vessel sink. Brian loves vessel sinks, so I thought that would be a nice way to get his taste in the bathroom. That ended up being a logistical nightmare. I wasn’t confident in our ability to support the sink.

So then I toyed with the idea of essentially building an open box with legs as more of a modern look. 1. I’m glad I didn’t do that. Modern is not my style. 2. I wasn’t feeling my wood options at Home Depot or Lowes and was finding it tricky to find other sources for a super small order of lumber. That and I have ZERO experience with building a sturdy piece of furniture. There’s a first time for everything, but¬†maybeeee not when it is attached to plumbing that could rip out of the wall if something went wrong.

My investigation finally led me to the vanity you see. I found it on Amazon, of all places. And that’s where I got the sink (Kohler) and the faucet (Phister). The first vanity came damaged, which actually worked out great because we used it as a test vanity for cutting out the shelf for the pipe. ¬†Overall, the vanity I ended up with is very much my style. Had I thought to look on Amazon for a vanity in the first place (versus Home Depot and Lowes), I think this would have been one of my top choices. I wasn’t having the Home Depot or Lowes vanities since they are made of not-so-lovely materials. My vanity is sturdy with soft-close cabinets. Awesome!

FINAL-SINK

The faucet, although a pain to install, is one of my favorite parts. It was expensive and worth every penny. I love the look. I love the feel of the water. I love the chrome. I love it.

FINAL-FROM THE SHOWER SHOT

And last, but not least… the bead board. Oh how I love my bead board. I love my molding. I don’t miss the tile that I thought about installing between the top of the bead board and the thick molding. It is so classic. It is so clean. I freakin’ adore it. Look for more bead board projects whenever we have a nursery to do. It is happening.

So there you have it folks. Possibly the longest blog post on A Smith of All Trades to date. I am so damn pleased and proud of this bathroom. It was a labor of love during which I proved to myself that I am a bad ass chica who can do construction and not totally botch it up. And, like so many of our other projects, I am reminded of how awesome and helpful our friends are. Without them, I couldn’t have made it through sane.

One last before & after for good measure…

BEFORE:

Before4

AFTER:

FINAL_WINDOW SHOT

It is magical.

Home Improvement

Bathroom Reno

It took six months, but I am finally starting on my master bath renovation. It was supposed to be my birthday gift, but I couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted.

I don’t want to give too much away, so I”m only sharing a few demo pictures today.

Bathroom Reno_Medicine Cabinet hole

Who am I kidding… all I’ve done is demo! My Labor Day weekend will be spent putting the bathroom back together. So exciting!

Here’s a sneak peek at the bottom of our new vanity.

Bathroom Reno_new vanity

I am hoping to get the whole thing finished this weekend. Brian has his doubts ūüėČ

Happy Labor Day — enjoy your long weekends!