One Room Challenge: Week 3

Can you believe it’s already Week 3? The pressure is definitely on…

If you’ve missed any of the action, make sure get caught up on Week 1 and Week 2.

A couple days ago I freaked a little when I figured out we’re almost halfway through this thing, so I sat down with my calendar to get a solid project schedule in place. I didn’t realize just how much was left to be done, and ended up filling the entire calendar—every single day—until May 6th with something we have to do in order to finish in time. We’re DYI’ing 90% of this ourselves and there’s no room for error. Gulp. Let’s hope it goes faster than our laundry room makeover! Please send all your positive DIY vibes out into the universe for us.

Here’s how the room looked last week:

The shower tile will extend to the ceiling so we had to remove the rest of the old drywall above the old enclosure area. Brad took care of that Friday night—first by cutting out every last bit of the old fiberglass shower nailed to the studs:

Then he scored and cut the drywall out:

Eventually we were left with a nice, clean slate. It’s amazing how much larger rooms feel when walls aren’t divided horizontally by two different surfaces (it’s why I always extend my cabinets, tile, stone, planks, etc up to the ceiling—it makes all the difference!)

Next to go was this old window:

You can’t really tell how obnoxious it is from this shot, but it was such an eyesore from the outside of our house (as seen in our fall porch post):

Brad’s friend came over Saturday morning to help out. I wasn’t home for the first hour so I didn’t get a play-by-play, but fortunately the new window we bought from a local glass company fit perfectly so no modifications were needed. They pretty much just popped the old window out and removed the surrounding drywall…

Removed the old frame/trim…

And attached the new one in its place.

SO MUCH BETTER. We’ve waited a long time for this.

It’s frosted for privacy and simple so that it doesn’t draw attention away from anything else in the bathroom.

Once it was in place, I cut, painted and caulked new trim in from the outside to match with the rest of the house.

I left the inside alone for now since I’ll be planking the walls first.

As we were finishing up with the window, our plumber arrived and started on the sink faucet. It had to be completely redone since I’m using an in-wall system and the placement is different. Those two gold plates are where the hot/cold handles are, with a hole in the center for the faucet.

Behind this wall is our foyer coat closet, so he was able to cut an access panel behind it to finish hooking it up after our plank wall is in (lucky for us!).

Here’s how it looks with the drywall back on:

On Monday he came back to redo our shower plumbing. Same situation here—completely different layout than the original.

It took him around 8 hours for everything, and of course he’ll need to come back to install everything once we’re ready.

Our shower fixtures also arrived… isn’t it pretty?!

I think it will look so clean against the glossy white wall tile.

And, hello, look at this beauty in the garage:

My first clawtub… it’s everything I ever dreamed of.

I ordered the feet in white to save some money…

Then used Rustoleum primer, and paint in satin black. I was considering gold but I love the way they look black so I think I’ll stick with it (I’ll add a layer of varnish for protection):

We have a lot to accomplish by next Wednesday to stay on track. Here’s the complete Week 1–Week 3 to-do list broken down (not including any item purchasing/ordering!)

Demo shower, tub, vanity, flooring

Install recessed ceiling lights

Add second switch for vanity sconces

New ink area plumbing

New shower/tub plumbing

Install new window

Paint ceiling

Prep floor/tile underlayment

Tile & seal floor

Grout & seal floor

Prep shower walls for tile

Tile & Grout shower walls

Convert/makeover antique buffet for vanity

Panel/paint entrance door

Paint & varnish bathtub & feet

So… everything that isn’t crossed off this list above, we have one week to do it. And photograph/post about it. While working only nights/weekends. I sense some all-nighters in our future… hopefully the other bloggers are on schedule! See them all here:

Jana Bek

Autumn Clemons

Coco+Kelley

The English Room

Vanessa Francis

Greige Design

Hi Sugarplum

I Heart Organizing

Jenna Sue Design

Stephanie Kraus

The Pursuit of Style

Julia Ryan

Savvy Home

Simple Details

Simply Grove

6th Street Design

Jill Sorensen

Swoon Worthy

Waiting on Martha

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman

Trademarked by Calling it Home

On a lighter note, I wanted to share my new favorite addition to our house!

Did your eyes go immediately to that sign? Mine do—I just hung it up yesterday and can’t stop staring!

I’ve always wanted to put something above that empty space but everything I found was either too big, the wrong shape or just not a good fit for that wall. Then I was introduced to Andy & Tara from Between You and Me Signs (you’ve probably heard of them before—their handmade wood signs are all over the blogosphere!) and knew I had found the perfect solution.

They have a ton of great pre-made designs to choose from, but they can also make anything you can think of from scratch. I’m all about personalization so I sent them the text along with a few inspiration photos and they executed it perfectly.

It’s actually the name of a real château in France, and a lot of my inspiration comes from the french country style so it feels right at home.

Andy & Tara were kind enough to extend a discount to my readers throughout the month of April! Perfect for sprucing up your walls for spring. Just use the code JENNASUEDESIGN15 at checkout on any pre-designed (non custom) signs their Etsy shop. (and for more Spring home decor inspiration, take my full spring tour here!)

This is the last post before the big laundry room reveal on Monday! I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to share anything with you guys. I hope you’re ready for this before and after!


Subway tile install tips and tricks

New Laundry Room: Subway Tile & Grout – Tips & Tricks

You may have heard the news on instagram that our laundry room is FINISHED!

Well technically, our sink plumbing still needs to be hooked up (which we have a plumber lined up this week) but for all intents and purposes, the room is picture-ready and we had a photoshoot (with the help of my neighbor and his fancy camera) last week. I’m dying to show off those photos, but first I wanted to share the not-so-fun experience of tiling and grouting, and pass along everything I’ve learned which will hopefully save you some headaches if you’re planning to DIY your own tile.

Here’s how we left off last week after the cabinets, counters and sink had been installed:

Before tiling, we went ahead and installed our drawer pulls. One of my favorite sources for inexpensive pulls is Ebay—we saved a ton on our kitchen cabinet hardware and it’s always the first place I check for any project. I found these for just $2.90 each, total bargain!

If you’re installing more than a few, an easy way to make sure they all line up equally is to make a jig. Brad put one together using two pieces of scrap wood.

We just set it on top of the door, measured the distance between the two holes on the handle, marked it on the wood and clamped it down tight. Then I drilled straight through each hole.

Once the holes are drilled, you just remove the jig, slide the screws through the back and into the handle from the front, then repeat for each door. Fast and easy!

Now, let’s move onto the bigger stuff—tiling.

I wanted something classic, timeless, inexpensive and straightforward to install, so subway tile was the answer. I used the same 12×12″ sheets from Lowe’s as we used in the kitchen—remember that install?

It was quite the task to take on for our first tile job ever, but in the end it wasn’t so bad and I definitely felt more comfortable this time around (now that we have three big tiling jobs under our belts).

Tiling is very messy so preparation is important. We were nervous about ruining our butcher block counter (even with 3 layers of poly) so we taped plastic around it to protect everything.

We had a large bucket of mastic leftover from our laundry room floor tile which we were able to use for this job as well.

Tip: Mastic the pre-mixed stuff in a bucket so it’s easier to use than thinset which is powder you mix with water, however they are not equal. Mastic is designed for areas that aren’t heavily exposed to water. When tiling a tub/shower surround or wet areas like bathroom floors, thinset is recommended (and even used exclusively by many contractors).

We began tiling Easter Sunday morning, starting in the bottom corner and this part went fast.

Tip: Leave a small gap at the bottom of your first row for caulk. Use a level to make sure the tile is straight and don’t rely on the surface below. Since our cabinets were professionally installed, they were fortunately already level.

No cuts yet—this part is easy!

It’s helpful to assign duties during this process. Brad was the official tile cutter and deliver-er and I measured, marked and laid the tiles. We had the bottom section finished in about an hour. Teamwork!

Important Tip: Wipe the mastic off as you go! Once dried, this stuff is a pain to remove and will be stained the color of your grout. Scraping it off is not fun and your nails will hate you.

The top section was a repeat of the first, but there were a few obstacles in the way. We tried to cut around this light but curved cuts weren’t an option so we ended up tiling underneath instead.

Also… don’t run out of spacers midway through. We had to use broken pieces pieces of scrap wood, a few of which got stuck in between the tiles after the mastic had dried.

Cutting around all the ceiling joists was a tedious job but it had to be done. I didn’t plan on using trim to cover any mistakes so things had to line up pretty perfectly. We wrapped up just in time for Easter dinner with my family. #Worthit.

The next day it was time for grout. Tip: Save yourself an extra step and buy grout with the sealer built in! Trust me, it took us all night to seal our kitchen wall.

We had purchased our grout at Lowe’s with the tile, and at the time they had a very limited selection on the shelves. I wanted something medium-dark but not too dark, and found Charcoal Gray but there was only one tub left. Then I saw Light Smoke and thought if I just mixed the two, it would be the ideal color! Perfect solution…. right?

What I failed to remember is that we also needed to order the special color matched caulk for where the tile met the walls/ceiling/counters. And I also failed to read the instructions carefully because both tubs combined wasn’t enough to cover the wall.

Of course, I didn’t figure all this out until after we had started grouting. And then it was too late. Did I mention grouting is my least favorite part? I’d rather tile all day.

It’s messier than tiling and especially so when you’re using a dark color.

The Light Smoke colored grout didn’t make the grout any lighter… just more brown, so that experiment pretty much failed.

Grouting is time consuming because it’s impossible to keep your sponges clean. We had four sponges and a rag and after wiping down one tiny section, our bucket was full of muddy water and we had to keep emptying and refilling it (and there was no sink nearby).

We tried to conserve our grout in hopes we could stretch it out to cover the whole wall, but by the time we got to the upper section, we knew there was no way we were going to make it. I immediately called Lowe’s to find out if they had any more Charcoal Gray and Light Smoke and they had neither. Not sure if this a nationwide thing, but Lowe’s had pulled all of their old TEC product of their shelves and will be rolling out a new line of grout/mixers/caulk etc in the next couple weeks. Their new grouting system uses (at least some of) the same colors but they are color additives that you mix with a white base. Luckily I was able to find the additives in the two colors I needed online, but they didn’t have any of the white base so I bought some plain white grout to mix them with and hoped for the best. I also found the colored caulk in Charcoal Gray and hoped it would be a close enough match.

Fortunately, you can get away with a lot of color variation without noticing when working with thin lines (the same is true in art/graphic design) so I was hopeful that it would all look the same even though I was using completely different formulas.

I felt like a chemist—mixing together different bits and pieces of powder to try and get the perfect match.

Once I was happy with my color, I resumed grouting and was pretty relieved to find that there was no visible difference from the old grout. Major bullet dodged.

Did I mention how messy grouting is? You can’t avoid getting it all over any adjacent surfaces. Just accept that touch up paint will be involved.

I was most nervous about the charcoal gray caulk not matching, but that actually worked out quite well too…

See it along the edge of the wall? It came out of the tube lighter but dried darker. It all blended together once the job was finished.

I know they make those big yellow sponges for grouting, but I found that my small dish sponge worked 10x better to clean the grout residue.

Also, tip: wear gloves unless you want a grout manicure for the next week.

This tiling/grouting/caulking around each joist situation was tricky but I thought it worked out quite well.

Our efforts to clean all the mastic off before it dried really paid off. We were left with just a few touchups around the edges which I scraped off with a screwdriver.

All that was left to do was a couple coats of touch up paint!

And finally Brad installed our sconces. Three days of work here… no pain, no gain right?

Apparently I forgot to take these photos after the paint had been touched up, so ignore that part!

Here’s a handy pinnable image for your reference…

Clearly this wasn’t our best experience/easiest DIY but projects like these are really what makes you learn and grow—and appreciate the room a whole lot more once it’s done! It has been a week now and I still pinch myself each time I walk in. I honestly can’t wait to show you the Afters of this room next Monday… definitely the best photos we’ve had of any project—and of course the BIGGEST transformation of any room we’ve ever done. This is going to be one for the records, folks.

Before the reveal, I’ll be back here on Wednesday with the latest on our One Room Challenge guest bathroom! Now that the laundry room is out of the way, we can devote our full attention to getting this thing done. Three more weeks—ack!


One Room Challenge: Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of the One Room Challenge! If you missed the big announcement, I’ve signed on to renovate our guest bathroom in six short weeks along with 19 other bloggers. Each Wednesday we’ll document our progress, with the final reveals on May 6th (mark your calendars!)

Last week I shared the Before pics of our guest bathroom along with inspiration and design boards. Since we’re on a tight timeline, we got straight to demolition!

First to go was this awful fiberglass tub/shower…

We’ve never dealt with something like this before, so Brad used a reciprocating saw to cut it out in pieces…

After a couple hours of hard work (Brad was on his own for this one), the harvest gold was gone!

Next up was the vanity. So glad to see this thing go!

Making progress…

The linoleum floor, mirror and lights were last ones out…

And we had ourselves a blank slate! Brad wasted no time starting on the electrical. He had installed a couple ceiling speakers a while back but the only light source was the outdated vanity lighting. There’s a good sized window in there which is great for natural light, but more light options are always better—especially in a bathroom!

We used two of these 5″ recessed ceiling lights from Lowe’s (same as in our bedroom which we’re super happy with, and they’re only $14 a piece). Brad drilled the holes using a 5″ arbor bit and ran the wires in the attic.

One above the shower and one above the vanity area.

I also wanted a wall sconce on either side of mirror above the vanity, so Brad cut a couple holes and ran some wiring to those locations.

The ceiling lights and wall sconces are on their own circuits, and on dimmers (which I believe is entirely necessary for bath taking!)

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff—what I’ve been buying!

I received my floor tile samples in the mail from the Cement Tile Shop (Agadir White and Agadir styles) and was stuck on what to do, so I asked for some help on instagram

I was trying to decide between the black & white tile and a white tub, or the gray tile and a black tub. There were some pretty strong opinions in favor of both options, but I’ve finally reached a decision!

The winner is…….

Black and white tile, BUT with a custom warm gray tub. Yep, I switched things up at the last minute. Before I share the gray color I picked, here’s the tub I ordered:

I’ll be painting the feet either black or an antique gold-ish color (to be decided). There’s going to be literally zero clearance on either side of the tub after we tile the shower walls so I’m super nervous about it fitting. We’ll have to make it work one way or another!

So, I’ll be painting the outside of the tub a warm gray tone, and made my color decision after ordering a couple Valspar sample pots (I usually just go by the paint swatches but haven’t always had the best luck with that method—so glad I tested these out first!)

It was between Gray Silt and Frappe…

I really thought Frappe would be the winner, but after getting them on the wall, it was a much cooler gray than I had hoped. You can see Gray Silt on top and Frappe on the bottom here (and again on the right wall). Keep in mind this is under artificial light so the colors are cooler during the day.

Another angle… Frappe on top and Gray Silt below:

The walls were also going to be gray, but I didn’t want them to match the tub (I think that would be too much) so I’m still in the process of deciding on a color for that.

Here’s the sample tiles in the space, along with the paint tests (and two kissing kitties photobombing in the hallway):

In other news, our sink faucet has arrived:

Isn’t it lovely? And for only $72 shipped… seriously, what a bargain. Ordering overseas from Ebay is always a bit of a gamble but I’ve had good luck in the past and the pieces are heavy and look/feel solid.

Just above the faucet will be this beautiful mirror I ordered a few days ago…

I originally spotted it on Wayfair and unfortunately it’s out of stock right now, but luckily I was able to find and order it here.

I also ordered our sink so that should be arriving soon:

And yesterday I placed an order for this shower/tub faucet set:

This weekend I’m hoping to road trip to pick up the tile for our shower. I went with simple 12×24″ white ceramic planks to let the floor and tub shine as the focal points. We also bought a new frosted window to replace the old aluminum and yellow speckled glass window. And a plumber came by to give an estimate (which was way too high) so we have another coming tomorrow who is hopefully a bit more reasonable. We’ll need to get that started ASAP to finish on time!

This weekend Brad and a friend will be installing our window, I’d like to paint the ceiling and possibly start on the wall planks, and hopefully we can get some plumbing done. I’ll be back with a full update next Wednesday, but as always you can check the real-time status over on instagram!

Now I’m off to see how things are coming along for the other bloggers in this challenge…

Jana Bek

Autumn Clemons

Coco+Kelley

The English Room

Vanessa Francis

Greige Design

Hi Sugarplum

I Heart Organizing

Jenna Sue Design

Stephanie Kraus

The Pursuit of Style

Julia Ryan

Savvy Home

Simple Details

Simply Grove

6th Street Design

Jill Sorensen

Swoon Worthy

Waiting on Martha

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman

Trademarked by Calling it Home

Who else is joining in on the fun with us? Have you linked your room up to the event on Linda’s blog? I’d love to hear what you’re tackling and how things are going!

Be back Monday with a laundry room tile update… last post before the big reveal!


New Laundry Room: Cabinets, Butcher Block & Farmhouse Sink

Hello friends, and happy Monday! Are you still recovering from all the chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps during yesterday’s festivities? I wish I could say we were able to relax and enjoy the holiday, but instead we found ourselves tiling for 7 straight hours. The scheduled laundry room finish date is Wednesday so we’re down to the wire! But let’s back up a moment.

When I left off last, we had installed our reclaimed wood floating shelf and the wall looked like this:

And finally, after TEN LONG WEEKS, our custom cabinets arrived at Lowe’s (Diamond’s Hanson style in Cloud). We happened to be in Florida last week but we were still able to schedule our install during that time. A friend went to check on the house and sent us this photo:

Can I get an Amen? These ten weeks have felt like ten months! We were so happy to have them taken care of when we returned. But there was no time to celebrate because the next day we had to install the counters. Now, we’ve had our fair share of bad luck/DIY struggles in this room, but these counters turned out even better than I had hoped and I’m so so glad I went this route.

In the interest of saving money, and also because I just love a nice wood countertop (which Brad vetoed for the kitchen), I came across the Ikea Akerby butcher block for only $99. At that price it was pretty much a no-brainer. I just went to find the link and it’s not on the website anymore for some reason… but here’s the item info:

I did find one version on the Ikea Australia website but it seems slightly different. As long as there’s real wood on the top layer (mine had 3.5mm of oak on top) this tutorial will work.

Here’s the counter, straight from the factory:

Nice enough but not quite what I was going for. I wanted something more rustic and with that “aged wood” coloring that would match the reclaimed wood shelf. So I started sanding with 120 grit…

After removing what I thought was the top layer of wax, I mixed up a concontion of approximately 2/3 Minwax Provincial and 1/3 Rustoleum Weathered Gray and stirred it up…

Then applied the stain with a rag:

Immediately I knew that I hadn’t sanded enough—the stain went on too smoothly and seemed to just sit on the surface. I stuck it out though to see if it might improve once dried…

Nope. Time to bust out the big boy. I broke my dad’s belt sander (it was older than me… time for an upgrade) and after reading a bunch of reviews, I chose this Hitachi belt sander for $149:

Holy crap… what a difference!

In 5 minutes flat the entire counter was sanded down to the bare wood. So easy. Worth every penny, and now I can’t live without this tool.

Since I was going for a more rustic/rough look, I skipped any wood conditioner and went straight to staining. The light colored bare wood absorbed it beautifully.

I had to buy two counters since our cabinets were a couple feet too long—so for the second shorter piece I only sanded & stained as much as I needed to save time.

After letting them dry overnight, they were ready for a protective coating. I used my go-to water based poly, Rustoleum brand in matte. Love this stuff.

It goes on a opaque-milky white but dries clear.

I used the recommended three coats and let it cure for a week, then they were ready to be fitted and cut!

The measuring part was easy since the cabinets were already in place and we knew where the sink was going. Once I made my mark, we clamped a straight edge down as a guide to keep the circular saw straight. This really wasn’t even needed since the edges would be hidden under the sink lip, but it never hurts!

With the way our sink is designed, the front corners also needed to be notched out, which we did with a jigsaw:

For the sink, I knew right away I wanted a farmhouse style (the sink in our kitchen is one of my favorite things in the room!). Since we didn’t need an undermount in this space, the Ikea Domsjo was the best and most cost effective option. I bought the single bowl—if you follow me on instagram, you already saw it a few days ago…

We’d never installed a sink before so it was brand new territory here, but fortunately there’s a lip around both the top bottom so all of our cuts would be hidden. Whew! Our former-carpenter-neighbor also stopped by for a few minutes to help.

After hoisting the sink up onto the top of the cabinet, we marked where the cuts needed to go. We had about an inch of buffer space here where the sink overlapped so it didn’t have to be exact.

Using a squared straight edge we connected our lines…

Our neighbor offered to make the cuts and used a circular saw to get the straightest lines. We also taped around the edges so the saw guard wouldn’t scratch the cabinets.

Once the piece was cut we did our first test fit…

Totally did not fit. Sigh. This is why:

With Ikea cabinets, the sink is held up by brackets from underneath and rests along a thin metal piece across the top but our cabinet is wider than the sink so we couldn’t use the brackets. Instead we spent about an hour modifying the opening to get it to rest properly on the cabinet.

There were a lot of spots where the opening was a little tight, so we slimmed down the sides and parts of the counter with a jigsaw…

But the biggest obstacle was having to taper down the edge to fit that angle underneath the sink…

We jigsaw’d and sanded and dremel’d…

Once I grabbed the belt sander and switched to 80 grit, the wood tapered down in no time.

We finally got it just right.

Success!

Because this room was just thrown together as an afterthought and the walls/floors weren’t square, the cabinet installers had to move everything forward so it could be level but that left us with a bit of a gap behind the sink and counters. It will mostly be covered by tile and grout, but I still thought we should put a small piece of trim against the wall so nothing could fall back there.

Once that was up, we could secure out counters and sink. After a bit of research we decided that liquid nails would work just fine for everything. There are lots of contact points along the underside of the (heavy) counters, plus the (also heavy) sink which is sitting on top and holding it. I ran a thick bead along every piece that would touch the counters, front back and sides…

Then once the counters were set, I ran it along the edges where the sink lip would sit.

Brad also used it all along the base of the sink underneath the cabinet. They aren’t going anywhere!

One last matter of business… because these cabinets were shimmed like crazy to get them level, we ended up with some unsightly, quite visible shims on the left side:

At first we were going to add trim but a special color matched piece would take weeks to get in, be an added cost and make it stand out even more… so we improvised. I found this scrap wood piece in the garage that happened to be the exact same size as the shiims:

I used an arbor to drill out a couple perfectly sized holes and colored them using the touch up crayon that came with the cabinets. Now we have little feet that look like they’re just part of the design.

Can’t even tell when you’re standing.

And there you have it… custom cabinets, counters and Ikea farmhouse sink! I’ve waited so long for this post.

Here’s some handy pinn-able recaps for reference…

We’ve already installed the door pulls, finished most of the baseboards and tiled the back wall but I’ll save that for next time! Tonight night we’ll be grouting, Tuesday and Wednesday are the finishing touches, and Thursday will be our photoshoot. And hopefully we can get a plumber in there to hook up the sink during that time. THREE DAYS UNTIL THIS ROOM IS DONE FOREVER!!! I hope you’re excited too.

I’ll be back on Wednesday for a One Room Challenge update on our guest bath makeover. It’s already an entirely different room, so make sure to check back in a couple days to see what’s been going on. And as always, you can catch me on instagram for real-time updates!


One Room Challenge: Week 1

The secret’s out… I’m so excited/nervous/honored to announce that I’ll be participating in my first ever One Room Challenge!

For those of you new to this concept, it’s a bi-annual design challenge event created and organized by Linda from Calling it Home. 20 brave bloggers have accepted the challenge of designing and executing a room makeover and blogging their progress along the way—all in six weeks! I have to admit, I was very apprehensive about taking this on considering we’re almost 3 months into our laundry room renovation which was supposed to be done a month ago! I know firsthand how easily things can go wrong and set you back, especially as DIY’ers. But I couldn’t say no to this opportunity, so believe me when I say things are about to get crazy here with two major renovations happening at once.

If you’re just visiting for the first time, welcome! My name is Jenna and I live in the northern California foothills with my husband Brad. We bought our current home a year and a half ago and have been renovating and DIY’ing our way through it ever since. We’re not at all professionals—I just have a strong desire to transform my living space and fortunately Brad agrees to help 🙂

So let’s get down to business! If you’ve been following me on Pinterest lately, you may have noticed some major bathroom fever lately—yep, we’re finally redoing our original 1970’s guest bathroom!

This is one room we have competely ignored since moving in. We stuck Susie’s litter box in the bathtub and hid it behind a shower curtain. Poor girl had to look at this thing every day.

And it must confuse our guests, walking into this newly renovated, bright and spacious home, then suddenly finding themselves in dark and cramped yellow time capsule.

Your days are numbered, harvest gold.

Now comes the fun part—the plan! I’ve gone back and forth so many times since agreeing to the challenge. My first thought was a calm, serene, spa-like space but after seeing some amazing inspiration on Pinterest, I decided to do things a little differently. Here’s the vibe (click images for sources):

Aren’t these to die for? You can find and follow along with all of my inspiration photos here.

The design is still pretty consistent with my usual style—casual, cottage, cozy, rustic & sophisticated, but I’ve decided to get a little more adventurous and mix it up with fun patterned cement tile and even (gasp!) mixing metal fixtures. Design rules be damned.

It’s a small space, so there’s not a ton of configuration options, but after considering a few different arrangements I decided to leave the layout as is.

There will be a clawfoot tub involved. Maybe white, maybe black, who knows.

And I already bought the vanity—a vintage buffet found on Craigslist. We’ll have to refinish and modify this baby to fit.

Ready for the design board? These are just a general idea, as I still have a few design decisions to make. Here’s some ideas I’m throwing around:

The biggest unknown factors are tile choice and tub color. I’m obsessed with that black and white tile, but I also love the black tub, but I’m concerned it will be too much black for such a small space (the door will be black also). The gray tile is lovely too though and I know I could make the black tub work in there. I have tile samples on the way so I’ll have to make a decision soon. The walls will be planked a soft warm gray and the shower tile will be white. What do you think?

So there you have it, my life for the next six weeks (along with trying to finish the laundry room and get caught up on work!) As you’re reading this, we’re on our way back home to California after visiting Florida for a week. This month is going to be hectic so I hope you hang in there and join me on this journey—I need all the support I can get! Aside from posting challenge updates every Wednesday, you can find me sharing sneak peeks on instagram so make sure to follow there if you aren’t already. And you definitely won’t want to miss the other 19 talented bloggers who have taken the challenge!

Jana Bek

Autumn Clemons

Coco+Kelley

The English Room

Vanessa Francis

Greige Design

Hi Sugarplum

I Heart Organizing

Jenna Sue Design

Stephanie Kraus

The Pursuit of Style

Julia Ryan

Savvy Home

Simple Details

Simply Grove

6th Street Design

Jill Sorensen

Swoon Worthy

Waiting on Martha

Kimberly Schlegel Whitman

Trademarked by Calling it Home

Wish me luck 😉


Spring Home Tour (& a Giveaway!)

Welcome to my Spring Home Tour! I’ve teamed up with Kirkland’s and a wonderful group of talented bloggers to open our doors and share how we’ve refreshed our homes in anticipation of the warmer weather.

A quick background if you’re new here—we moved into this 1970’s fixer upper a little over a year ago and have been doing some pretty major renovations—our kitchen, master bedroom and living room have seen the biggest transformation, and we’re currently wrapping up our new laundry room. Our home is in the California foothills and my decorating style is consistent with our surroundings—it’s a mashup of what can be described as “calm cozy cottage farmhouse cabin” as I’m drawn to elements from each style, which I try to maintain despite the season. I absolutely loved decorating the space last Christmas and I had just as much fun scheming new ideas for Spring, this time sticking with a soft, pastel infused, romantic shabby chic cottage vibe.

I may have gone a tad overboard with 70 photos in this tour, but the bug has bit and I’ve got serious spring fever 🙂

Without further ado… let’s start at the front door, shall we?

I kept this space relatively simple with crates, an old chair and buckets all from our local flea market (I get most of my finds from there), lanterns, flowers, and wreaths made from preserved greenery.

The large planter boxes were a DIY project.

Susie is our official greeter today.

Upon entering, there’s a tiny foyer which I made most out of with a DIY shelf ledge to place our mail and small belongings.


Just behind the foyer is our kitchen, let’s step in and grab a cold lemonade before we continue the tour…

The table was set using simple white dishes, vintage linens, glass bottles and gold candlesticks (all from the flea market), as well as a lace table runner found on  Ebay.

And here’s Biscuit, or other rescued kitty, cozied up on our DIY bench seat (made from Ikea cabinets).

I swapped out the winter pillows for happy floral designs using discounted fabric from Ebay that my sweet friend sewed into covers for me.

Our DIY shelves were also updated with a pitcher, basket and wooden bowls (flea market) along with dishes collected over the years.


Just below that is this cute shabby white tray I found at Kirkland’s (on sale!)

This fruit bowl and vintage linen cloth were another recent flea find which I’m slightly obsessed with.


I love switching up our giant chalkboard for different occasions, and the change of seasons was a great excuse (read more about my  easy hand lettered chalkboard method)

The bar shelves were pared down with this Antiques sign I scored for free and refinished, my DIY planter box filled with clippings from our front yard, a 50 cent flea market wooden bowl and glass barware.


Now that you’ve grabbed a refreshment, let’s go for a walk down the hallway to our master bedroom.

This space was completely renovated last summer, and it’s absolutely my favorite room in the house.

When I’m not working in the studio, you can usually find me right here, curled up in bed.

For the first time I’ve swapped out our navy bedding with this ivory quilt (another flea find, of course!) and added these DIY Roman Numerals of our wedding date over the bed.

The kitties also spend at least 75% of their day in here. They don’t get along at all but will snooze on the bed next to each other because it’s the best spot in the house.

This DIY chandelier is still one of my favorites—the perfect romantic touch for a bedroom.


I stole these flowers from my parents backyard. Aren’t they gorgeous?

This Ikea-turned-vintage mirror is still one of my most favorite DIY projects ever.


Still with me? Great, let’s head back down to the living room.

This is an open space on a half level, with the kitchen overlooking it just above the railing.

We had these  white slipcovers custom made last fall and I’m still a huge fan. They’re like a blank canvas—so easy to decorate around.

More spring pillows made from fabrics found on Ebay.

I wanted the mantel to be neutral and simple, and also free, so I pulled a bunch of old white Ikea Virserum frames out of storage and filled them with pages from old books.


Fresh flower clippings gives it a romantic touch.

And on the hearth, a tiered basket from Home Goods (spray painted black).

This console table is one of my proudest DIY’s.

I love the color and the function it brings to the space—and it’s just so pretty to look at! Especially when topped with fun spring finds like this metal bird cage and vintage clock, both from Kirkland’s.

Hidden behind this DIY table is our subwoofer—one of the best solutions I’ve ever come up with to keep the peace. (Can you tell I have a thing for  roman numerals?)

The DIY Amour sign was another fun spring project.

Also still loving this old flea market trunk.

One of my favorite new purchases in the room is this ruffle throw from Kohl’s (on sale plus 30% off!). I kind of want to leave it here all year.

More simple decor on the antique cabinet I refinished last year.

White Ikea pitcher filled with bush clippings; scale, trophy, vintage books and metal boxes all from the flea market.


I love this space because it lets in so much light, and is wide open to the hillside view. You can see it right when you walk in the house.

Speaking of outside… that’s our last stop, so let’s step out onto the deck.

We normally keep our Ikea furniture set under a waterproof cover (you know, for protection from these brutal California winters) so I uncovered and dusted them off just for you guys.

I even set up our DIY bar cart—lemonade refill, anyone?

While we can still technically barbecue and enjoy a movie out here off and on during the winter, I’m so looking forward to warmer weather when we can leave the furniture uncovered and make bbq’s and outdoor parties a regular occurrence. And this house was built to entertain, so you’ll definitely find us out here often in the coming months.

These large glass lanterns from Kirkland’s will be so pretty lit up at night.

Ahhh… I can just feel the sun’s warmth now. For those of you still suffering from snow, you’re formally invited to come visit and crash on our deck 😉

And that wraps up our tour! Susie will walk you out…

If you’ve made it to the end, thanks for sticking around for the entire journey. I hope you leave feeling inspired and catch the spring bug that’s been going around this blog hop!

A huge thanks to Jen for inviting me to participate—make sure to check out all the other fabulous bloggers on this tour and don’t forget to enter for your chance to win one of THREE $100 Kirkland’s gift cards so you can get your own home into shape for spring!

PSA: I have a very important announcement on Wednesday—so mark your calendars… things are about to get crazy around here!

Kirkland's Collage

Monday

Migonis Home | Maison de Pax | DIY on the Cheap | Cottage in the Oaks | Town and Country Living

Tuesday

The Blissful Bee | Rain on a Tin Roof | Ciburbanity | Fox Hollow Cottage | Setting for Four

Wednesday

House by Hoff | Love Grows Wild | All Things G&D | Life on Virginia Street

Thursday

rooms FOR rent | Everyday Enchanting | The Happy Housie | Wicks Nest | Kindred Vintage | So Much Better with Age

Friday

Just a Girl and Her Blog | The Wood Grain Cottage | Jenna Sue Design | At Home with The Barkers | AKA Design

Giveaway Time!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Spring Preview: Easy & Inexpensive DIY Projects

We’re only a few days into spring but I’ve been mentally preparing myself for weeks—staring at pretty pictures on Pinterest, hitting up the local flea market and collecting new seasonal treasures to display. I just love the transition of seasons and that “fresh new start” feeling—after purging our home of every last pine needle and red accessory, it was time for a change.

I’ve been sharing glimpses of our spring makeover on instagram… here’s a bit of what’s been going on over there if you’ve missed any of the action:

I can not wait to share the full home tour this Friday, but for now I’ll have to tide you over with a few simple DIY projects and sneak peeks.

For this spring refresh I’ve stuck to a certain style—think shabby chic, pastels, vintage, romantic and of course, plenty of natural blooms and greenery. I came up with this idea of a word or symbol shaped from some sort of vine to hang above our bed. I found this preserved angel vine on Save On Crafts and for $8, I couldn’t pass it up.

I liked the idea of using the word “love” but wanted something a bit more original, and the french translation seemed to fit my spring decor theme quite nicely. “Amour” it was.

To create the base, I used standard floral wire and formed it into my word (using one continuous piece):

This would end up shifting so it didn’t have to be perfect.

The angel vine wasn’t as pliable as I thought, so instead of wrapping it all the way around the letters I had to break it off into sections. I grabbed a few at a time so it would be thick enough, and started wrapping my floral wire around everything to hold it together:

I continued to work my way around the wire base, one section at a time…

In no time at all it was finished. I used a handful of small brad nails in between the planks to suspend it, but after staring at it for a few days, I decided I didn’t love it above the bed. There just wasn’t enough contrast against the dark planks.

After circling the house a few times trying to find the perfect spot, it hit me…

The short empty wall above the couch made for a nice simple backdrop to let this natural element stand out. Here’s an early preview from Friday’s house tour…

I still wanted something above our bed, though, and for inspiration I looked no further than just to the left of our new amour sign. The roman numerals print in our living room represents the date we purchased this house, but I thought it would be a nice touch to have our wedding date displayed in our room. Rather than making it a focal point however, I wanted to keep it subtle, so I found these 8″ customizable letters on Ebay:

They’re made of MDF (which absorbs paint wonderfully), 1/8″ thick so they’re nice and lightweight, and only $2/ea. For $18 I got a set of eight letters shipped to my door in just a few days:

I gave them two coats of the same paint color as the walls (Valspar’s Ocean Storm):

To keep the wall damage free, I picked up a set of command strips for under $5:

I just cut them in half to save some money (the letters are so light, I probably could have cut them into thirds even).

Then I measured the total distance, found my center and placed the letters along the bottom of one of the planks.

I love it. It just adds that extra little special touch.

Okay fine, one more preview from the tour.

And finally, I dusted off a stack of old Ikea frames in storage and pulled together a simple mantel using old book pages. 100% free using items I had on hand already—that’s my kind of decorating!

A lot more photos of this to come on Friday! The last time these frames were in use was in Florida… you may remember some of them from these photos:

The prints were still inside, and since they’re no longer in use I decided to make them all available for you guys by listing them on my instagram Sale page at up to 60% off! Only one of each is available so scoop it up before someone else does! To claim, simply click on the instagram photo of the print you’d like and comment with your email—I’ll send an invoice right away. If you don’t have an instagram account, go ahead comment on this post with your email and the print you’d like instead. Invoices must be paid today and sale items will ship today or tomorrow!

And speaking of Florida, in less than 24 hours we’ll be on a plane there to visit my sister and friends (we also plan on stopping by our old house to check up on things so that should be interesting). That means today is the last day to get any shop orders in before April!

This week long vacation will be a nice break from working on the house almost non-stop. As soon as we get back it’s going to be hectic around here with trying to wrap up the laundry room… and another secret project which I can’t share just yet 🙂 It’s going to be a good one though. Just you wait. I’m excited.

This week I’ll be releasing some early images of the house tour over on instagram, so if you can’t wait until Friday make sure you’re following along! They may show up on Facebook as well so you can catch me there also. See you back here at the end of the week for the spring tour!


New Laundry Room: Farmhouse curtain, Ironing board & Shelf lighting

First order of business—the laundry decal Giveaway!

The lucky winner is @michelleleigh74! Congrats Michelle, I hope you can find the perfect place for it in your home!

If you’re not Michelle, I still have some good news: the Etsy shop I ordered it from has decided to list them for anyone to purchase, in multiple sizes starting at just $3! And she generously offered up a coupon code to pass on to you all—use JENNASUE20 at checkout for an additional 20%. I definitely plan to get more from her in the future and I’m already thinking about what I can use it for next! Get your decal here.

And a quick blog update: I have an all new DIY Projects page! It has a brand new layout that’s easier to browse through and includes all of my most recent projects. It’s crazy to look back and think about how much has really been done—I had almost forgotten about some of the early DIY’s! If you catch anything I’ve misssed, let me know and I’ll add it in. There’s a permanent link to this page on the right sidebar and I plan to update it regularly with new projects to make everything easier for you guys to find.

Now, laundry update time!

Remember when our drawer making attempt failed and I decided on a farmhouse stye curtain instead? The fabric arrived Friday and I couldn’t wait to test it out!

I opted for a classic black and ivory ticking stripe from fabric.com after falling in love with my friend Shayna’s striped ironing board—don’t you just love this room?

My fabric wasn’t the same as hers but I loved the pattern and colors and knew it would be perfect for my space. I bought two yards so I could have an ironing board cover made, and there were just enough scraps leftover to make a wide curtain. Shayna’s seamstress kindly offered to do the job and I did a happy dance when I saw my new ironing board:

I had the perfect spot to hang it underneath the wall sconce, so I decided to make a hanger for it using a scrap piece of wood and a couple hooks. I found a leftover chunk of the reclaimed shelf we used on the other side of the room and cut off a smaller piece (around 11″ wide):

Then I centered it under my light, positioning it so that the left screw would end up in a stud.

The right screw would need a drywall insert, so I drilled a pilot hole to mark it.

I found an insert and selected a drill bit around the same size to make my drywall hole for it to fit.

Then I held the board back up and inserted the screws:

I found a couple small hooks at Lowe’s, spray painted them black and attached those to the board (covering each screw):

Finally, a simple and successful laundry room project!

Moving on to the curtain… I bought an inexpensive 1/2″ tension rod on Ebay for $12.50 shipped. There was a pocket sewn in at the top of the curtain which I knew wasn’t going to work but I gave it a try anyway…

Looks nice, right? But not functional at all…

The fabric bunches together and will only open so far before pulling the curtain rod out. I anticipated this, so I bought these little clips on Ebay that I could attach to the fabric and use the rings to freely slide across the rod—but clearly, that didn’t turn out as I had planned:

Time to get creative. I removed the rings and stuck them directly into the fabric:

Ding ding ding, we have a winner.

They’re a little larger than I’d like though (you can still see the rod peeking out from the top) and I need a lot of them so I ordered these cheap 3/4″ rings for $3.50 shipped (gotta love Ebay!) They should be here at the end of the week so I can finish this project then, but for now I am absolutley loving this new fabric in the space. It’s the first step to softening up all the hard lines and stark white.

This side of the room is almost there! Just need to add baseboards, some art on the back wall, and a jute runner to cozy up the space.

Meanwhile, the other side of the room is a total disaster area. But we made one small step this weekend when our LED strip lights arrived! Brad wired them up and I started running them along the groove we routed into the shelf last week. The back has sticky tape for easy installation so they can be mounted anywhere.

When we turned them on… it was not an ideal situation.

The groove they were sitting in created a weird lumpy shadow and the edge of the wood cast a yellow tint onto the wall. Argh! So we decided to try running them underneath the wood instead, alongside the groove.

Much better. Light is so hard to capture in person and it really doesn’t look this bright at all in real life, but we think it will work out nicely once the cabinets are in.

With our subway tile… just for fun:

After going back and forth with Lowes for months, we finally have a scheduled arrival date for our cabinets. March 25th (yes, that is nearly 11 weeks after placing our order). It’s not Lowes’ fault, but the cabinet maker (Diamond) for taking forever. We’ll actually be in Florida at the time but we have someone watching the house so they’ll be able to let the installers in to get it done while we’re away. At least it will be done when we return! As of now, the only thing left to do after the cabinets come in is tile the back wall, hook up the wall sconces, add the baseboard, and the final decorative touches (and organize the storage room which I need to finish this week). That means this is the last laundry update you’ll get until April, but in the meantime I have some serious spring fever and I can’t wait to share all of the seasonal touches I’ve been adding to our home!

More on that next week, and as always you can find more frequent updates on instagram. Four days until Spring… you ready? 😉


New Laundry Room: DIY Reclaimed Wood Floating Shelf & Laundry Decal Giveaway

When it comes to shelves, I generally prefer them to be a simple floating installation (like the ones we DIY’d for our kitchen and bar wall), but this often requires some creativity. Our kitchen and bar shelves were all lightweight and hollow inside, but what happens when you want to use a big reclaimed piece of wood?

Here’s a mockup I posted of the back wall when we started this project, to give you an idea of the plan for the back cabinet wall:

That floating shelf is what we were attempting to make.

If you’re following on instagram, you may remember that I set out to find a perfect rustic board at our local lumber yard:

After an hour of sorting through a few acres of piles, I found the one, happily paid the guy $20 and was on my merry way.

It was 2x12x10.5′ which was a bit larger than desired…

So I cut it to 10′ (the width of our wall) and ripped it down to 8″.

For the installation, I decided to try out a new method. It involved inserting four big 10″ lag bolts into the studs, then drilling holes into the shelf and sliding it onto the bolts to hold the weight. Sounds so simple, right? Well, this project ended up turning into a 7 hour nightmare but at least this one has a happy ending!

First, I decided where I wanted the shelf to be and drew a line across the wall using a big level.

We used a stud finder to locate where our studs were behind the line, and selected four locations spread out across the wall. Using a ratchet, Brad slowly drove the bolt into the stud (about 4″ deep), working carefully to ensure everything was as straight and level as possible.

We held a small level on top but there was no way for it to sit completely flat, and also no way to know if it was 100% straight from side to side… a lot of variables in this project here.

In order for the shelf to be able to slide on, we had to cut the bolt heads off. Brad used a reciprocating saw for this:

After about a minute per bolt, they snapped right off:

We held the level up to see how we did, and surprisingly it was pretty close to perfect:

Back to prepping the board. We realized that with the two lamps above the shelf, it would create a shadow on the counters so we bought this LED light strip on Ebay to use underneath it:

We use the same one in our kitchen and it has worked great so far, and we like that it’s super low profile and can be hidden:

It’s dimmable and needs to be wired on its own circuit, so Brad cut a chunk out of the drywall in the corner to tap into the wire:

The light strip is flat but we wanted to make sure it was competely hidden, so we borrowed my dad’s router to hollow out a channel that it could sit in. This was our first time ever using a router—I think we need to buy our own!

To keep the router steady and make a straight line, we clamped down some wood in the correct position:

Then simply guided the router down the length of the board:

At the end of the board where the wire would need to pass through the wall, we routed out another small channel (don”t mind the unevenness, our router bit was having issues—it will be hidden):

On the back side of the board we had to drill the holes for the bolts to slide in. To make sure they lined up exactly, we brought the board down and held it up to our bolts:

And marked the back where the bolts were touching:

We had marked a chalk line along the center (you could just as easily measure and mark though) and used a spade bit a little larger than our bolts to make the holes.

This was another one of those situations where there was no way to really know if it was going in 100% level and straight side to side (our drill doesn’t have a built in level).

Our bit was extremely dull and worn out so this part took forever. But we finished it.

Then came the moment of truth…… we slid our shelf onto the bolts and crossed our fingers:

Nope. Not level. At all. Despite our best efforts, the forces did not align and between all the variables working against us, we had no luck. So we started trying to figure out how to remedy this situation. First by wallowing out our holes to see if we could even things out somehow. No luck there. Then we decided that our only option—as much as I really wanted a floating shelf—was to use brackets on the ends. Sigh.

So I grabbed some of the scrap wood and cut a couple cleats.

Of course there was no stud behind the wall so we used an insert, pushed up on the shelf to get it level, and attached the cleat.

This worked to make the shelf level, but we were left with a noticeable gap between the shelf and the wall (you can see it in this photo):

I was not having that, so we removed the cleat, removed the shelf and Brad spent some more time trying to make the holes larger so we could slide the shelf over. After exhausting both drill batteries, we put it back up and it was exactly the same. Then I got an idea… why don’t we use shims wedged between the shelf and the wall to force it over? That ended up working—and not only that, but if we lifted the shelf at the same time, it held the entire thing in place and kept it level! That meant we could ditch the cleats! Happy dance.

We had to shim both sides to keep the front end raised up.

Once it was in the correct position, we snapped off the shim so you couldn’t see it. This left a small gap on either side but it wasn’t super noticeable. The walls aren’t perfectly straight and they get narrower in the back so there’s really no way to make it tight up against the wall on both sides (we already scratched the wall a few times trying to get it in).

Brad thought I should use a bunch of liquid nails between the shelf and wall for a little extra protection. I applied it on the sides and around the bolts to ensure it wouldn’t move after it dried, and we noticed that the shelf had settled back down a bit and was no longer level. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it was originally, but still.

As a last ditch effort, we found a large bolt in the garage and decided to drive it into a stud in the very back of the shelf, hoping it would pull the back of the shelf closer to the wall, lifting up the front, making it level.

It worked PERFECTLY. If we had to do it all over again, we could have saved ourselves a few hours and just drilled a few bolts in from the top.

We counter sunk it a little but it was still sticking out, so Brad used a metal bit on the dremel to shave it down.

It blends in just fine with the shelf, and especially once I fill it up, you’ll never see it.

After an exhausting and challenging day, our shelf is finally complete… whew!

The light strip should arrive later this week and it won’t take Brad long to install. Here’s how the channel looks from underneath:

I’m loving the way this looks next to the barn door…

We just received word that our cabinets have shipped, so I’m really hoping they will arrive by this weekend!

If you’ll notice our new Laundry decal on the door—I had ordered a replacement last week since our installation was a little off on the first attempt, but this time it went on just right (I think it’s easier when the door is already hung). Anyway, Jessica was kind enough to send me two decals just in case we messed up again, and since we don’t need it I thought I’d give one away to one of my lovely readers!

You don’t need a glass door for this—you can use pretty much any flat surface (a wall, wood, plastic, metal, etc). I think it would be fun to make a sign using a scrap piece of wood to display on a shelf or wall in your laundry room or even on or above the door.

To enter, simply follow the instructions over on my instagram account! If you don’t have instagram, you can leave a blog post comment as I’ll be including them as extra entries. Deadline to enter is this Sunday, March 15th and I’ll be announcing the winner on Monday the 16th. Good luck!

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New Laundry Room: Frosted Decal Door & more details

Well, we’ve made it through another week of DIY misadventures and I’m back to share what went down.

If you caught last week’s post, we were about to build some drawers for underneath the washer/dryer…

First I had to order some drawer slides. The box depth is only 12″ and I wanted to maximize the space so I looked for full extension slides on Amazon, settling on these since the price was right and they could get here in 2 days:

We were disappointed to discover that the were not, in fact, full extension as stated in the title. Not only that but one set was missing screws and the other only had eight for all four rails. Unfortunately you can’t just use any old screws with these so we had to go digging through our spare screw stash to find anything that would work. But let’s keep moving along…

I enlisted my former-cabinet-builder Dad to help, as I’m 200% confident I’d never be able to do anything this precise on my own. After deciding on a game plan and picking up some wood at Lowe’s, it ws time to get to work. My dad suggested two drawers instead of one large one to help hold the weight, so we had to build a divider in the center. We used a 2×2″ scrap piece of wood for the base, first drilling countersink holes:

Then securing it to the bottom after making sure it was exactly straight and level (super important when dealing with drawers):

Once that was in, we cut a 1×2″ for our vertical divider piece (which the drawer fronts would rest on) and my dad fashioned a couple pocket holes on either side to secure it to the top.

This is what they did before the Kreg Jig, folks. It’s actually way faster if you’re doing just a few than having to break that thing out.

Once the pocket holes were ready, we nudged it into place…

And in it went.

Next it was time for the sides. We used 1×3″s here cut to 12″ and attached the slides first:

Then we attached the slides to the center piece:

And the framework was in place.

After inserting the slides, we had to measure the precise distance between both sets to find our drawer width.

Once we had our measurements, it was to the garage to start constructing. I should have consulted my dad first, but I ended up buying 1×10 boards to build the drawers. He said a sheet of 1/2″ plywood is actually ideal since 1 by’s tend to be bowed/warped a lot, and when you’re building drawers it needs to be a very precise operation. I didn’t feel like running back to Lowe’s so we stuck with the 1×10’s and hoped for the best.

Here’s all the drawer parts—4 sides, 2 fronts and 2 backs:

For the bottoms, I had a scrap sheet of 1/4″ plywood we cut down on the table saw:

Next it was time for assembly. I positioned a square to make sure it was level, and we used wood glue and finish nails to attach the pieces:

It seemed pretty straight to me… (as good as you can get with this type of wood):

We used more wood glue and finish nails to secure the bottom:

Then attached the rails at the bottom:

Finally, the moment of truth….

Nope. Not gonna work.

Between the original construction of the enclosure, the variances in the drywall and trim, the fact I used the wrong kind of wood for drawers… it really would have been miraculous if everything came together perfectly. Too many factors working against us, I should have known all along.

So instead of trying to make the impossible happen and stress over it, I decided to scrap the drawer idea altogether. I’m learning more than ever with this room that in matters of DIY/remodeling, you just gotta go with the flow and be open to a change of plans. I actually can’t think of any room makeover that has ended up exactly as I had planned, but often times failed plans lead to an even better solution—and I do believe that is the case here. I’ve found the perfect fabric to make a curtain, and I’m loving this idea because it will give it a farmhouse touch, soften up the space which I think it really needs, and I don’t have to debate over stained vs white wood 🙂 I even have a matching ironing  board cover which I can’t wait to share soon—hopefully next week!

For now, we are getting used to the new space and loving how much easier the laundry process is. Here are the machines in action—no movement at all since adding the trim so we’re really pleased with how they ended up!

Now, let’s talk about this doorway issue:

The new door is wider than the original so the doorway had to be opened up, leaving this unsightly gap in the tile. Unfortunately we don’t have a single piece of the old tile to replace it, so we had to get creative. Eventually we plan to upgrade the tile so we didn’t need any elaborate/costly solution. A reader recently pointed out that in Europe they often use wide transition pieces (I believe as a design element?) and linked to a beautiful white marble threshold which I thought was perfect:

We weren’t about to go spend $$ on a custom marble piece for a temporary solution, of course, so we looked no further than a scrap piece of plywood in the garage to do the job. We had some tricky edges to cut around though, which Brad did with some careful measuring and a jigsaw. Here was a practice piece:

After refining the shape, the edges were sanded down for a smooth transition and it was painted in a semi-gloss white to match the trim:

To secure it to the ground, we used a bunch of liquid nails (on the old tile only as not to leave anything permanent on the new tile:

Not too shabby, right?

I caulked in the seams and added a couple layers of protective poly to make it durable and easy to clean.

Once the door was put back on it all came together.

Speaking of the door… we’re finally getting to my favorite part. Remember how it looked before?

Just a nice, simple glass paned door. But I wanted to give it some style… frosting was the key. After reading multiple horror stories about canned spray frosting, we decided to skip the headache and buy a roll of Gila window frosting. I won’t give an in depth step-by-step here because you really need to watch the video on their website, but it pretty much went as hoped. We managed to get by without any air bubbles, but you do have to be careful about bits of paint getting stuck to the film. As part of the prep work, we had to scrap the edges clean of paint with a razor and somehow, little specks of black paint made their way underneath the film while installing. It’s really not too noticable though, and not at all from a distance.

Once the frosting was done it was time to add the decal! I whipped up a simple Laundry design and sent it to this shop on Etsy who made and shipped it to me for just $5.75:

We found a Youtube video on how to properly install decals and followed it closely. After measuring and taping it into place in the center, we cut the backing off one side and smoothed it onto the glass with a credit card:

It seemed to work great!

Same process on the other side—remove the backing and smooth it down…

Then carefully peel the front off:

It came out so perfect. We loved it.

Awesome, right?

Until we looked at it from another angle and realized it was crooked! Do you see it?

We have no idea how/when that happened, but I already ordered another one and it should be here in a couple days. Sigh. I think it will be a lot easier to install with the door already hung though, and we’ll make sure to triple check our measurements before removing the backing.

Here’s how it looks from inside, if you were wondering:

So that’s the latest from the laundry room. If you’re wondering where on earth our cabinets are… well, so am I. Lowe’s told us originally that they’d be finished in 4-5 weeks… and somehow that turned into 9-10 weeks, and we still don’t have an exact date. Estimated delivery date is 3/12-3/20 and it’s looking like we aren’t going to get this room finished this month. We’ll be in Florida the last week of March and I was really hoping to have this room wrapped up by then, but with all that’s left to do after the cabinets arrive (installation, counter tops, plumbing/sink, tile, baseboards, finishing touches) the chances are looking pretty slim. Another setback in this room, but c’est la vie. Life goes on.

Elsewhere in the house, I’ve been getting out of this winter rut and adding some Spring touches to make things a bit more bright and cheerful. I’ll be sharing more on Instagram throughout the coming weeks, so make sure you’re following me there so you don’t miss any of it!

There will also be a full Spring house tour coming up in a few weeks here on the blog. Bring on the warmer weather!

This week in the laundry room, we’ll be installing a giant reclaimed wood shelf on the cabinet wall. We’re trying out a new installation method which should be interesting if it works. Stay tuned for that!