DIY Wood Plaque

15 Mar

Lately I have been feeling the urge to do even more DIY craft projects (it may have something to do with my Pinterest obsession!).  Anyway, when a friend posted a plaque that she bought off of Etsy for (what I thought) was an outrageous price for something I could do myself, I decided to get to it!  Here’s the plaque:

Check out instructions here.

DIY Bathroom Makeover

14 Mar

Okay, people! The last couple of weeks have been a little crazy with parties and, let’s be honest, the weather was so nice I couldn’t stay cooped up inside. 😉  With the exception of some caulking and touch up paint, the main floor half bath makeover is complete!  I’m going to give you the details on everything we did.  I started this project promising my hubby it was going to be an under-$250 temporary bathroom makeover, but he (and I!) fell in love with the stone floor… and I was off!  We ended up spending way more than we originally intended because we bought a new vanity, faucet, and light fixture, but I can honestly say that I am in LOVE with this bathroom.  Plus, why would I want to remodel the bathroom twice?  Why not just do it right the first time? 😉

Here’s the list of improvements that were made:

1. Remove old gold and chrome fixtures and hardware–>New oil rubbed bronze hardware

2. Remove wallpaper–>Paint and trim

3. Remove popcorn ceiling–>Smooth and paint

4. Remove old “built-in” style vanity–>New furniture style vanity

5. Rip up hardwood flooring–>Install sliced pebble tile

6. Remove 3-bulb over mirror lighting–>Reroute electric and install two sconces

7. Reroute plumbing and install new faucet

8. New mirror (downsized) and DIY frame


If you need a cheap way to remodel, definitely start with the labor intensive, cheap materials projects: paint and hardware.  If you haven’t been to my other site yet, check out this post where I remodeled a full bathroom on a $125 budget!  If you are up to doing a little bit more, new mirrors can be bought on sale/clearance very cheaply (or simply reused with a new frame!), some great looking accessories (towel bars, toilet paper holders, etc) can be purchased for under $20 at any home improvement store, and new bathmats, towels and coordinating decorative items and soaps are always on sale at Kohls.


Here is our finished product, minus the decorative accessories. 😉


Faucet is Delta 554LF in Venetian Bronze. 

Hardware is Delta Victorian Collection.


Next project: wall decor and decorations! 😉

How to Install Pebble Tile

27 Feb

With the hardwoods in, I have a little more time to update you on what I have been up to these last few weeks!  The main floor half bath is done except for the lighting and plumbing (I ordered the sconces and faucet last week so hopefully they get here soon!), and, I have to tell you, it looks fantastic!  It looks even better than I imagined.

Here is a picture of the bathroom before I started renovations:

Half Bath Before

Check out that wallpaper! I hope I took a picture of the light fixture… hold on:

Light Fixture Before

I feel like I’m back in the 80’s! 😉

Here’s what the bathroom looks like now…

Half Bath After

Half Bath Vanity After

Now I’m going to show you how to install this gorgeous floor:

Step 1: DEMO!  Pull off all the trim, remove toilet and vanity (if you are replacing flooring under the vanity) and rip out the old flooring.  Ours was hardwood (in a bathroom?!) which can be a pain to rip up.  It was a fairly tedious task, but didn’t take too long because there wasn’t much to pull.  Make sure you cut the seems between rooms!  The hardwood from our bathroom was continued into the hallway.  We were not going to replace the hallway floors yet, so cutting the seam was necessary.

Ripping Up Hardwood

Cutting the Seam

Step 2:  Lay down cement board and screw to floor

Cement Board

Step 3:  Dry-fit the pebble tile

Dry Fit Pebble Tile

Step 4:  Apply thin layer of natural stone mortar in small sections and lay down pebble tile.  Over cement board seams, lay down drywall tape before applying mortar.  Continue over entire surface, making sure to press pebbles down gently to ensure strong adherence.  With pebble tiles, there will be some places where you may have to remove some of the stones or add stones to blend well.  Use a utility knife to cut out the stones.  When inserting extra stones, apply a small amount of mortar to the back of the stone and press into gap.

Pebble Tile Before Grout

Step 5:  Allow mortar to dry.  Usually it will take 24-48 hours for the mortar to dry before you can walk on the pebble, or continue the process.

Step 6:  Seal the pebbles.  I used a giant car wash sponge to lightly apply 2 coats of sealant.  There are several different kinds; I went with a matte finish because I wanted a more natural, earthy look to the floor.

Step 7:  Apply grout.

Applying Grout

Step 7:  Usually the package of grout will have you wait about 30 minutes before starting to sponge off the grout.  The better you are able to scrape of the grout when you are applying it, the easier it will be to clean off.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of this!  After a couple rinses with a damp sponge, use cheesecloth to get the haze off the pebbles.

Step 8:  After allowing the grout to dry (48-72 hrs) it is time to seal one more time!

Step 9:  After allowing the sealant to dry (6 hrs or so) you can reinstall the toilet and vanity.  Make sure the toilet is level! 😉

Oh, My Aching Back!

27 Feb

Happy Monday, everyone!  Our work weekend turned out to be very successful, even with our help bailing!

Here’s a recap:  Friday night we began demolition, worked until about 1am (around midnight we found mold in the subfloor and back patio door) and were able to rip up about 3/4 of the existing hardwood floor and take out a half-wall.  Saturday morning hubby ran a load to the dump, stopped by Home Depot to rent an air nailer and buy a new piece of plywood–I painted walls (yes, I’m still working on that project) 😉 and watched the girls (we have a 3 yr old and 10 mo old).  Saturday afternoon we finished demo, did prep work (pulling nails, staples, vacuuming, etc).  Went to my folks for dinner (thanks Mom and Dad!) and dropped off the girls overnight so we could really get busy Sunday!  We got back from their house around 9:30 or so, decided what the heck! and started putting in the flooring.  The first row was pretty slow because we had to hand nail it, but we ended up getting 6 rows in before going to bed around midnight.  Sunday we spent the ENTIRE day putting in the flooring.  We seriously took maybe two 10 minute breaks all day until we finished at 5:30.

I still have to put up the baseboards and base shoe, but the floor really looks fantastic!  It has completely transformed the house and is becoming more and more our style every day.  Here are some pictures of our work (keep in mind we still have some finishing work and decorating to do!):

Entry Before

Entry After

Great Room Before

Great Room After

Closeup View of Hardwood

Handscraped Vintage Timber 7-7/8" Plank Hardwood Flooring


The Hidden Devil: Mold

25 Feb

After finding out that the two people who were supposed to help us remove old and install new flooring could no longer help us, we wanted (and needed) to get a head start on our weekend project.  We spent the majority of the evening and into the wee morning hours ripping out old hardwood… what we knew was a possibility we didn’t think would be quite as big a problem: we have MOLD.  Unfortunately, the mold is rotting the entire subfloor under the exterior wall of the house and exterior door.

We had three options that we could think of:

1.  Take out the door, rip out the subfloor, put in new subfloor and new door.

2.  Take out the door, rip out the subfloor, put in new subfloor and replace old door.

3.  Replace as much of the subfloor as we can without taking out the door and save that project for another (warmer) day.


Since we found the rotten part of the floor at about midnight, we didn’t have a lot of time to figure out what we were going to do today and after some discussion, it was decided that we would go with option #3.  One of the biggest factors was that it’s a frigid 13 degrees today in MN!  If we had taken out the door, we would have a big gaping hole in the wall for a few hours while we replaced all of the subfloor under the door first and then put the door back in.  Not to mention, we would have to go buy a door somewhere and, since we’re going to be living here for the next 10+ years, we don’t want to just throw something in from Home Depot.  We are also fairly short on time and need to get this project moving if we’re going to get all the hardwoods in by the time Tony goes back to work Monday!

Don’t worry, I’ll update with pictures soon. 🙂


20 Feb

I know it’s been almost 2 WEEKS since I updated (oops!) but I have just been so crazy busy I haven’t had much time to organize pictures or post!  The bathroom is nearly done… I had to wait a while for the vanity and flooring to come in.  THEN I realized that the walls were in such bad shape from the wallpaper that it’s (A.) going to look like crap or (B.) I’m going to have to have to get creative.  Obviously I opted for option (B.), so that’s where I’m stuck right now until hubby brings home some wainscoting for me tonight. 😉

Ideally it would not have taken me two weeks to remodel a half bath.  I mean, come on, I only had about 30 sq ft to work with!  Unfortunately, my girls (10 mo and 3 yrs) keep me pretty darn busy so I don’t have much time to work on it during the day.  To be honest, I hardly even have time to clean much less renovate!  I long for the day when both girls are in school and I have time to get everything done!

Because it’s impossible for me to not be working on SOMETHING… I have also been painting like a madwoman, contemplating renovations for the great room and adjoining rooms, and ordered new flooring for the entire main floor of our house.  I’m so excited to start sharing all of these projects with you… but for now you’ll just have to imagine!  Bathroom is being finished TONIGHT and new floors (to be delivered, hopefully, on Thursday) will be installed next weekend.  I was even able to recruit a girlfriend to help install and another girlfriend to watch the kids.  For those of you who think I’ll take my dear sweet time working on that project, you’re sorely mistaken.  I’ve got to get that stuff in before the parties I’m hosting the first weekend in March!

Stay tuned… I will be posting A LOT in the next week!


7 Feb

So, after I ripped off all the wallpaper and scraped off the popcorn ceiling, I started thinking about how I would REALLY like a new vanity to spruce up the half bath, and if I was going to get a new vanity I would have to get new flooring, too.  So a project that initially was supposed to take a couple of days to finish is ending up taking a couple of weeks, but I’m good with that!  I’m getting way more exercise running up and down the stairs to use another bathroom since ours is now gutted. 🙂

For you DIY women out there, I’m going to show you how to turn off the water to the vanity and toilet so you can quit relying on a man! 😉  (For the record, though, my hubby actually did show me how to do it this time because I had never ACTUALLY done it myself before… I will be in the future, though!)

First things first… for most built in vanities you will need to remove the trim surrounding the vanity (it is usually nailed or glued to vanity and floor).  I used my trusty multi-purpose scraper for this task.

Then you will need to take off any surround that is sealing the sink/counter to the wall.  Anything that is caulked can be loosened by sliding a razor blade between the surround-wall and surround-counter.

Granite slab should pop right off after breaking the caulk seal.  Again, used my trusty scraper.

To turn off the water to the sink, turn both water shutoff valves (aka knobs) clockwise until they lock.  If the water hasn’t been turned off in a while they may stick; we had to use a wrench to get them unstuck.  After you have turned off the water, disconnect the supply lines (they are connected with a bolt on top of the valves).  Remove the p-trap or piping (usually white).  Use a bucket to catch any water that drips out of the supply lines or p-trap!

After the plumbing is removed you should be able to pull the counter off the vanity.  If you can’t, check underneath (usually hidden by drawers) for screws holding the counter in place.

If it’s a built-in vanity, there may be additional screws holding the vanity to the wall.

Once all screws are removed, the cabinet should pull away from the wall easily.  Use a rag inside a plastic bag to seal the drain (to keep exhaust fumes from coming into the house-the plastic acts as a seal).  Then you’re done!  Next post: How to remove a toilet. 🙂

Main Floor Half Bath Part I

1 Feb

My first major project in the new house is the main floor half bath.  Since this bathroom gets the majority of daily use as the only main floor bathroom, I wanted it to be a sweet surprise for guests, and be a place that I would actually enjoy being in.  The first project was removing all the nasty old wallpaper.  After taking it off it was obvious that it was original to the house (built in 1992) and had not been well taken care of.  Getting close to it, I realized how grungy and dirty it really was!  Good riddance to you, wallpaper!

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After the wallpaper, I just HAD to get rid of the outdated popcorn ceiling.  Super easy, just REALLY messy! All you need is a yard and garden sprayer (I got mine at Home Depot), a scraper, a ladder, and tarps or plastic to cover anything you don’t want to get dirty (I used moving boxes to cover the floor).  I also used a paint roller tray to catch the popcorn bits when I was working over the light fixture.

Step 1:  Cover anything you don’t want to get dirty or wet.

Step 2:  Spray the ceiling.  I sprayed from about 6 inches away because I didn’t want to have too much over-spray.

Step 3:  Let it soak in about 30 seconds to 1 minute then scrape off.

Step 4:  Give yourself a pat on the back, clean up, and go take a shower.  You’ll need it! 😉

Hello world!

30 Jan

HELLOOOOO DIY’ers!  I am a stay-at-home mom (or as I like to call it, a “domestic goddess”) who has an unlikely talent: I am an extreme do-it-yourself maniac.  Most of the time I am a mother to a couple of active little girls (3 years and 9 months), but during nap time my skills come out.  My husband and I would much rather sacrifice our own time than pay someone to do something we think we could do.  Maybe we’re a little cheap, but we would rather buy a hot tub than pay a contractor!  This blog is to document all the hard work I (and occasionally my DH) are putting into updating our new house, and making it OURS! 🙂 I’m so excited to share this journey with you and I hope you enjoy it and learn a thing or two, too.  I only wish I had documented all our hard work when we gutted our California house (pics of before and after of CA house to follow).  Be prepared for some extreme DIY projects.  Many will be things that don’t require a lot of skill, but some things will be so out of left field you may be thinking what the… 😉  Feel free to post comments and volunteer any special techniques you have in your back pocket.  I’m a fairly new do it yourself-er and am always looking to learn.  Enjoy and I will post new projects soon!


Here are before and after pics from the California house:

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