before and after

guest room before after

I’m mostly German, but my husband has Scandinavian in his blood, and as I began looking around at ideas for our guest room, I kept coming back to the simple, clean lines and white, with touches of red that I found online. Here’s the board I started.

It was such an antidote to the conglomeration of leftovers that had been put in there.guest room from hallway

You know how it is. You have a room. It needs stuff. So you grab what you have and throw it together. There’s no shame in that – that’s life!

But after several years of beige walls and mismatched furniture, it was time for a change.

Here’s the BEFORE tour.

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Doesn’t exactly scream, “welcome to our house! relax!”

So I went to work.

First, time to lose the beige walls. I went for Nano White from the Home Decorators paint collection at the Home Depot.


Since I was doing this room on a budget, I found a headboard on Craigslist. It was bad 60’s brown, fake wood, and the perfect candidate to paint a nice semi-gloss black.


I knew the room needed help in the lighting department. I love the look of wall sconces, so I chose almost-black, swing-arm, plug-in sconcesIMG_7544 IMG_7547 IMG_7576

For the remaining furniture, besides the bed, I shopped from around the house, or bought second-hand. I used an old pair of end tables that used to be in my living room two houses ago, as the nightstands. As luck would have it, they were already black.IMG_7594 IMG_7597

The antique dresser was handed down from my husband’s aunt and uncle. The mirror used to be in our dining room, in our last house.

I picked up the vintage wood luggage rack at a flea market for about $20, and found a small bench at the World’s Longest Yard Sale for $6. Both needed a makeover to fit into the black, white, and red color scheme.guest room bench in progress

I picked up the great suzani fabric from Online Fabric Store a while back, and had enough to make the two curtain panels as well as cover the small bench seat.

curtain panel fixed

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I gave the mismatched picture frames a cohesive coat of black paint. and got some black curtain tiebacks.

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For the bedding, I reused a plain white quilt I had. I found some red striped sheets at HomeGoods, as well as the map throw pillow. I used a needle and thread to add a small heart over our hometown. IMG_7580 IMG_7585The grain sack pillows were a find from the Country Living fair in Columbus, OH, last year. (Highly recommend going sometime – great stuff!) I also found a red throw blanket on clearance at Pottery Barn.


The bed skirt I found at Target on clearance, and it was about an inch or so too long, so it was bunching up on the floor. I put it on the bed, and pinned to where it needed to be hemmed, then did a simple straight stitch all the way around with my sewing machine. IMG_7569 IMG_7581

Now for the finishing touches.  I had a piece of reclaimed lumber that someone had given me. IMG_7542I painted a little message for our guests on it, added a sawtooth hanger to the back and hung it up. I also grabbed a set of wall hooks from the home improvement store, so people have somewhere to hang their purse, hat, keys, whatever. I hung both over the painted luggage rack. guest room wall hooks

guest room corner

Also from the Country Living fair, came this adorable little tin with a chalkboard inside. I put our wi-fi info on it and hung it up.IMG_7549

The walls still needed a little something so I pulled out a great, neutral boat pic that I’ve had forever, and hung it opposite the bed.IMG_7583

OK…Are you ready for the AFTER tour? Let’s do it!guest room tour1

guest room tour2

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guest room tour4

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guest room tour7

guest room tour8

One last word on pulling this room together. Picking out lighting, bedding, decorative touches, and fabric took me over a year, easily. Did I get frustrated that making this room over was taking SO LONG? Sometimes. But I live in the real world. I do what I can, when I can, with as much DIY and fiscal sense as I can. That’s how we roll. It’s easy to go online and see a reveal post, and think the process is faster or easier for other people. Making things better, making them beautiful takes time, money, and energy. What combination of those things it takes will be a little different for everyone.  I’ve learned to be OK with that.

guest room before collage

guest room after collage

We’ve had several friends and family members stay here since the makeover, and all have slept well. So I’m calling the room a success.   :-) Thanks so much for stopping by!

guest room before after






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top5tipsmanaginghomeprojectAs I typed this, a couple of really nice guys were hammering away right outside my back door, where a cute little enclosed back porch used to be.  We had some great family dinners out there.

Back porch

Right off the back porch was a nice little yard,Caroline Backyard

where so many games of catch and tag and whiffle ball have been played, that I lost count.IMG_7943 IMG_7957 IMG_7959 IMG_7962 IMG_7975

It’s where my kids have celebrated birthdays and caught lightning bugs and picked up several thousand walnuts from the tree we have.

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So why did my husband and I agree to trade all that in for a huge construction project, piles of dirt and debris, and months of noise and disruption? We may have an illness… this is the third house we’ve owned, and the third one onto which we’ve built an addition.

The surprise, perhaps, is that we honestly don’t regret any of them.

IMG_7065Our current house is situated on an old street in a great neighborhood with a great school district.  We wrote offers on four houses in the district before we got this one.  It’s a great house overall, and for the most part we live very well in it. But. Last winter was very snowy and very, very cold and we really tired of scraping our cars off.  We have no garage.  One of the joys of buying an old house. (This was taken from our front porch.)


My finished basement houses our family room.  Since I left TV news and started my own business, our finished basement also houses my projects, furniture pieces I’m working on. (Dad, too.)IMG_6535 Other people’s stuff. My stuff. Lots of stuff. Did I mention the stuff? I do my best to keep them moving and cull the stuff from time to time but it is the nature of the beast when you do what I do.

The bottom line is this.  Our main level just cannot accommodate a nice, big TV room where our whole family, plus friends or grandparents, can hang out and enjoy each other.  Our front door opens right into this:  IMG_1430

It has a lovely fireplace and built-in shelves where we love to sit and read, where the kids play, where my in-laws have happy hour when they come to visit.  It’s a great little gathering room.   I decided early on that we would not put a TV in there at all.  We listen to the radio, we read, we nap.  But we don’t watch TV in there.  And that’s how we like it.

So when last winter hit it was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back.  We started asking around for contractors.  Turned out a good friend whom I’ve known forever is a contractor, and that he was just the guy for the job.  But then we hemmed and hawed about spending the money.  It’s a lot of money. So how did we decide to add on?

Here were all the PROs about doing this project:

Would give us much needed storage space for our cars and other outdoor equipment.

Would make our lives easier (having an attached garage is of course not a necessity.  It is a luxury.)

Would give us the opportunity to put a family room on top of the garage, freeing up the basement for my work.

Even with the significant investment, we would not have a house that was too expensive for reasonable resale value.  We didn’t want to price ourselves out of the market.  We talked with the agent we used to buy the house, and she reinforced this for us.

Here are the CONs.

Cost. It is a big investment.  There’s just no getting around that. But there are ways to mitigate.  I’ll expand on that…

We’d have to lose a great old tree in order to get the driveway back to the new garage. (I will just tell you, before you send me hate mail, that I hated losing that tree. We love our trees. If there was any other way to do this, we wouldn’t have taken that tree down. Sniff.)

IMG_3711Noise and disturbance to us and our neighbors.  We try to be as considerate as possible, but construction is loud and messy and our property sits in close proximity to three others. We of course took all that into consideration.IMG_4319

Our back yard would shrink.  We thought long and hard about doing this addition, and what size it should be.

Time and energy. Think you’re just going to hire some people, write checks, and be done with it?  Not so much.  I’ll go into this more in a minute.

In the end, the PROs outweighed the CONs.  We have moved several times as a family and have no desire to do it again any time soon.  So that meant that if this project was really something that was important to us, we should do it.

Now, there may be something you noticed that was missing from our list.  Did you catch it?

I did not list resale value under the PROs.  It was not a mistake.

IMG_3908Could an attached two-car garage in a desirable school district be valuable for resale?  Possibly.  Can anyone, anywhere accurately predict the real estate market, or what a specific buyer would be willing to pay for our house at some point in the future?


The answer, no matter what anyone wants you to believe is NO. THEY CAN’T.

I say this to underline the fact that as unbelievable as it may be to some, we forced ourselves not to factor possible resale value into our decision, as much as possible.  We are choosing carefully how we spend our money on this project, keeping costs in check while still maintaining quality, so that we do what’s best for us and our family, without compromising our financial security.  In short, we are building this addition for US.

IMG_4156With all that said, here are my own personal insights on keeping costs down and keeping sanity in check while adding onto a house:



 1. Get opinions, and then get more.

One contractor may have a good idea for how to accomplish what you want.  But the fourth contractor you talk to may have the BEST idea.  Ask around.  Ask friends who have built houses or added on, what they like best about their home and what they would have done differently.

2. Be honest about your finances.IMG_4503

DO NOT depend on some future sale of your house for your financial security.  If you are a professional house flipper, then that’s your prerogative.  Otherwise, be honest with yourself and your significant other. How are you going to finance the project? How will it affect your day to day budget? What about future investments that you may be taking money away from – college, retirement, vacations? We sought out a financial advisor before we ever turned our first shovel of dirt.

IMG_4514(TIP: When you’re planning your project, watch out for what is and what is not included in the cost.  Your contractor’s proposal may be right in line with your budget.  BUT… I bet you it doesn’t include furnishing and decorating your new space.  If your yard will be disturbed, do you know how much it will cost to landscape and replant your property? What about the amount of money you’ll be paying each month to heat/cool/clean/maintain the rooms?)

3. Be honest about your time.IMG_4515

You will have to spend time meeting with your contractor, and sometimes their subcontractors.  You will be asked to make choices about what you want, which will require research on your part. Prepare to get lost in the rabbit holes of Pinterest, Houzz, and Hometalk, as well as the aisles of several home improvement stores searching for information and inspiration. You’ll want to make sure the space you end up with is what you really want.  That doesn’t just happen.  If you don’t know what you want, you’re likely to get it.  

IMG_4578Take a brutally honest look at your lifestyle and your schedule. Do you have time – or are you willing to make time – to be on top of this project and do it well?

IMG_45284. Expect the Unexpected.

Watch home shows on TV for about 2 minutes and you’ll soon realize that every time there’s something unexpected that turns up in a home buying/renovating/addition project, the people look shocked.  Puh-leeeeese.  I’ll save you the drama.  IMG_4162Here’s the deal – once you turn a shovel, open a wall, or pull off a piece of roof, just EXPECT that something crazy/wrong/old/leaky/asbestos-ridden will be in there.  It just will.  If by some miracle it’s not, and you never have the knock at your door from a contractor with that look on his face, then get down on your knees, thank your lucky stars, and go buy a lottery ticket because your house is a freak of nature.

And do not tell me about it. :-)

The rest of you, have a bottle of wine in your pantry and some wiggle room in your budget, because IT WILL HAPPEN. Now you can just rest easy and wait for it, and it will roll off your back like water off a duck.  Chances are, it’s really not the end of the world.IMG_4596


With each of our projects, I’ve learned something.  Something about how space can be used, when walls are necessary vs. when they’re not, and the kinds of things that can really make a space sing.  Do not be afraid to question what your contractor is doing, why he is putting something where he’s putting it, or if it might be better off put somewhere else.  I have memories of these kinds of things from each home.  In the first one, our contractor was working on our master closet and had HVAC ducts and plumbing running up and down one end of the closet.  He was going to just wall them off, effectively decreasing the square footage in there.  I asked him if I could have the space in between them back – about 2 feet wide by a foot deep or so.  He asked me why I’d want that – we ended up putting shelves in that space from almost floor to ceiling and it housed all kind of shoes, etc.  I’m awfully glad I asked.  He had not thought of it because although he was an awesome contractor, he probably does not care where his shoes are stored in his closet.

And I am also a “storage space” hoarder.  (Case in point below: that time when Dad and I ripped out a friend’s only bathroom and gave it a much needed overhaul, complete with – you guessed it – built in shelves snuggled in around water pipes.)  You can read that here.  :-)


In planning this addition, the original plan was to build stairs in the new garage, up into the existing house.  But we soon realized that the stairs were going to eat into our space in there, which we really didn’t want, and couldn’t spare. Instead, I asked if it would be possible to cut a doorway from the garage (which is being built at basement level), through our existing foundation, into our existing basement, and use the stairs we already have, thus eliminating the need to build a new stairwell.  It is going to cost a minimal amount more, but it will be so much better, in my opinion! I’ll be turning my small craft room into the mudroom, which is fine because I’m gaining the whole rest of the basement as workspace.

I hope this post has been helpful.  I’d love to hear about how other families think through these things, too.



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Hey everyone!
Hope you all had a great week. I am in the midst of training for a half marathon in a few weeks and I had my 8 mile run today. Oh. Dear.
I am exhausted and my whole body hurts so I am writing this post from my couch with a glass of wine.

So to distract myself from the ache in my muscles let’s talk furniture!
I had some fun working on these chairs for a great client this week.




She has fantastic taste and decided on a wide navy striped fabric from Premier Prints for the upholstery, and an espresso stain on the wood.

Once I took the backs off, she and I both decided we liked the chairs better with no back cushion! So we left it off. (We’re crazy like that.)

Wowsers, what a difference!



Love these. Love how simple and striking they are. Minwax Polyshades is your friend, people!

Now how about some great CL finds this week? Let’s go.

1. This hall tree is amazing. So gorgeous!! Hooks, umbrella stand, marble and mirror and it’s $50!


A vintage piece like this is a one stop shop method for adding charm, character, and function to your entry.

Source: Decor Arts Now

Source: Decor Arts Now (and be sure to read the post attached to this picture for excellent tips on making a new construction home look “old.” I’ve pinned it myself for future reference!)

2. Have you seen any projects that have gone for the card-catalog look? Lots of small drawers with that cool label holder hardware on them?

D Lawless Hardware Label Holder

(Btw, D. Lawless Hardware is an excellent source for label holders. I met the founder’s grandson at the 2014 Haven Conference, and what a cool company!)

My friend Bee from Windgate Lane did this one. Adorable, right?!


That look is totally attainable. You just have to look for the right piece of furniture. Which is what I found on Craigslist this week!

This dresser.

IMG_4094.JPGPut three of those label holders on the three spaces across the top, and maybe some matching cup pulls on the bottom two doors.D Lawless Hardware Cup Pull

This piece would make a perfect “card catalog” entry table for a mere $25!Craigslist Hall Table

Give family members their own drawer to stash their stuff.  Again, add some of those label holders and you are good to go (although I really like the dark stain on the body of this one on Etsy)!

Card Catalog Foyer Table via Etsy

And this cool side table is practically screaming. “Someone please make me a card catalog!”  Can you hear it? Yeah you can! $40!

Craigslist Side Table with Tiny Drawers


3. I love campaign furniture. It has those metal – brass if you’re lucky – pieces on the front of it, at the corners.

Here’s a great set for the right space. Maybe a boy’s room?Campaign Desk and Hutch

Campaign Dresser

And here’s a smaller piece, too.

Campaign Nightstand

Gorgeous, no?!

That’s it for this week. Have a lovely one, friends!



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I’ve corrupted my Dad.
A while back, he was at my house helping me on a project. We finished up and he left. About 10 seconds later, he called.
“Anne, there’s a bunch of kitchen cabinet door samples out on the curb. Do you want ’em?” he asked.
“Heck yeah I want ’em!”
(He has not been doing this his whole life… What can I say? 😉
The samples were sitting outside a small kitchen design shop right around the corner from my house. They were discontinued so the owner was throwing them out.
Dad asked if it would be ok if we took them. The owner kind of gave him that look (you know the look, right? I bet you’ve gotten it yourself before) and said he didn’t mind.
20140514-144437.jpgThere were about 15 or so and they were heavier than I thought but Dad took every last one.

I knew right away – they’d be perfect for a project I had in mind.

Our fridge is stainless steel and I don’t like the mess of taping stuff on it so that leaves me with no good place to hang the kids’ school papers and art work.

20140514-144742.jpgI got out my HomeRight Finish Max paint sprayer and took a couple cabinet doors outside. This was my first time using the sprayer, and I found it easy.

IMG_8493I used the viscosity cup and realized very quickly that the primer and paint I was using was WAY too thick. (You fill the cup with your paint. If it takes longer than X number of seconds to empty, it’s too thick. The little chart is right on the directions. )

No biggie. I thinned both with water and was ready to rock and roll.





I used water based primer and regular old white semi-gloss latex.

(I also did a little bench at the same time.  That’s probably one of my best tips.  Gather up a group of stuff you want to paint, and spray them all at the same time. It’s NO more work than spraying one thing, and you’re already going to be cleaning up, so get as much bang for your painting buck as you can!)

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Easy peasy. The sprayer was easy to use and I didn’t even mind the cleanup – everything washed up easily.

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You can also see that I had a large piece of cardboard under my things. If you’re doing small pieces, definitely try this. You can grab the cardboard and turn everything easily so you can be sure to spray from all angles. If you have enough extension cord to walk around, that’s fine, but I didn’t so this was a big help.


I picked up these metal bulldog clips from the office supply store, and with my drill, added a pilot hole to each sample where I wanted my papers to hang.

I decided to spray my clips to match my boards.IMG_2738

Then I screwed one clip right into the door on each sample so it was nice and secure.  Once the paint was dry, I flipped the samples over, secured the doors shut, and added picture wire for hanging. I used a little black craft paint to put my children’s names on them.cabinetdoorsDIY

I am thrilled with how these turned out!

They are part of a kitchen wall re-do, that also includes my Pottery Barn office organizer, a little DIY embroidery hoop art, some sticker charts, and up high, a yard sale wall shelf with rotating display space.

If you don’t have access to kitchen cabinet door samples (although I have to believe if you contact a retailer, they might hook you up), you could easily recreate the look with some plywood and a little decorative trim.


This was a very inexpensive project that solved a problem for us while maintaining the aesthetic I want in a space we use ALL the time – isn’t that just the best?

discardeddoorscollageNow the kids love to have their special piece of art or good school paper hung in a place of honor.
I’m so glad I taught my Dad not to pass up the potential you can find on the side of the road! Thanks, Dad!

(And thanks HomeRight! They provided me with the sprayer. All opinions and comments are mine.)






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Hi friends!

I recently had a classmate from high school contact me. She was expecting her first baby, and had a rocking chair she wanted refinished.  This is what it looked like when I got it.  It looked like someone had previously stripped it. So it needed a good sanding before I could get started.

 It has this beautiful carved detail on the back, but the carvings are not in wood.  It looked like plaster, or something similar, and had cracks throughout.  I didn’t worry too much about the cracks.  I think it added to the charm of this piece.

 I think there have been a lot of babies rocked in this chair.  It was passed down through my client’s husband’s family.

My client/classmate was not finding out the baby’s gender, and wanted a bright, bold color that would work for either a boy or a girl.
We decided to go for a color like Annie Sloan’s Emperor’s Silk. It’s been a long time since I painted anything red.  In fact, it had been long enough that I had somewhat forgotten (OK, really completely forgotten) how HARD red can be!  I wanted to give my local Sherwin Williams a shot. So I chose SW Positive Red in their All Surface Enamel (Acrylic Latex in Satin finish).
Here’s what it looked like at first. Uh Oh. Someone forgot to get a tinted primer.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it’s off to the paint counter I go.
One can of pink primer later (they tinted it as dark as they could – thank you to my trusty old Home Depot paint folks) things were looking better. You can see where I added the primer, on the right side. On the left, you can see how transparent the red went on.  Yikes.

In order to achieve the deep, rich red in this paint, the base has to be translucent. Which means the paint is not opaque.  Which means you have to keep adding coats, and adding coats, and adding coats.

Which is exactly what I did.
So… 17 coats of red paint later…..

Positive Red was actually looking positively great.
I wish I could tell you there was some other way.  I can’t speak to other kinds of paint (AS Chalk Paint, etc.) but for regular old latex, that is what you can expect.
LOTS of coats.

I added a coat of wax when I felt the color was even enough.  And here we are.
Now, for the glamour shots.

 I foresee many, many snuggles happening in this chair.

There is something special about the things passed down.
Thank you to my client Jessica for trusting me with this piece.
And best wishes for that little one!


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Hi Friends!

Are you in the Polar Vortex, too?

This is ridiculous.  It’s been so cold for so long, I think I’ve actually given up hope that Spring will ever come.  So, let’s think about things that are more fun.  Like furniture.  And paint.  And painting furniture. :-)

Off we go.

1. Lingerie dresser.  $75

Love what Tami from Curb Alert did for a super girly, French look.

Oui, oui! So cute.
But what if you need it for a boy’s room?  Swap out the hardware for something less frilly and go dark and numbered like this one.

2. Midcentury stuff isn’t for everyone.  But in small doses, it can really wake up a room and make it look contemporary…the stuff is wildly popular right now.  (Because of things like Exhibit A, this gorgeously staged black number from Natty by Design)

For those not sure they love it, here’s about the smallest furniture investment you can make and still get the look…a $20 desk.

I love a $20 desk, people.
This one is small enough that it will never overwhelm a space and its clean lines make it great for kids or grown ups, boys or girls.
As it turns out, Natty by Design has a knack for making awesome midcentury desks over.
Exhibit B.

Nuff said.

3. This is a great set of furniture for $150! Classic lines, and “good construction.”  can’t ask for much more than that.  (And it must be the week of the lingerie dressers)

I love a hutch. It makes great use of vertical space without the need to install shelves.  If this set looks as good in person as it does here, I’d go for it in a second.  Don’t just think you have to leave it in the bedroom, either.  I LOVE the woman who put a set, almost identical to this, in her craft room. Here’s a peek.

Ack!! Look at how awesome that is!
And check out the rest of the board for more pics of the room, including a black and white settee.  Be still, my heart…

4. It’s not often I can show you a virtual before and after with two identical items (found separately – the internet is an amazing thing sometimes.)

You know I love gossip benches, phone stands, whatever you want to call them.

I especially love the curved wood on the phone stand part and the wavy slats on the chair back. This one is $60.
If someone is interested in trying their hand at a furniture project, I think this is a great place to start. You can easily recover the seat and wa-la… have something like this!

How cool is that?!

5. Find artists and people who love furniture as much as I do. I’m seeing more and more pieces that have already been transformed, listed on CL.
Since I do very few pieces that don’t already have an owner or buyer, I think you should check them out.
People are getting out there, getting their hands dirty and saving pieces of furniture and they should be supported!  Just my two cents. :-)
Here are a few pretty finds I love.

If you’re interested in finding a piece already done, search for things like, “painted” “upcycled” “restored” “vintage” “distressed” “waxed” or “refinished”.  And remember, if you have a smartphone, use it to set up a search for those words, both in the Furniture and Antique categories, on a Craigslist app.
It will alert you when there’s a match.  I find the app to be a great tool to help navigate a sometimes not-so-user-friendly, or organized, website.

That’s all for this week. I hope you are staying warm and safe.

Have a great week!


PS – I’d love it if you shared this post wherever you are active online. Thanks!

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It took 6 weeks, a couple hundred man or woman hours of labor, and about $2,000 in materials to get this job done.  And I am SO proud to finally be able to show you this!! Step right in!
(Here is the complete background on this room. In short, a family friend’s house caught fire last year. Insurance paid for everything except her only bathroom, which dated to the prehistoric era. She desperately needed a complete gut job and reno, so my Dad, his good friend, and I set out to give it to her, pro bono.)

 The light, you might recall, came from National Builder Supply. It is a Seagull Lighting fixture from their Sussex line and Dad chose to hang it with the bulbs facing up.  The light gets bounced around on the ceiling and diffused nicely in the space. Bathrooms must have enough light! This fixture is like the crown in this room.

 The vanity came from Lowe’s and included the granite countertop.

 The faucets are Moen, the Caldwell line.

 We really wanted to be able to get rid of a storage tower over the toilet.  Really.

It was taking up way too much space in this tiny bath.  Here was the inspiration photo we worked from.

And here’s the design I sketched out once we found out that we wouldn’t be able to do one wide set of shelves because there is a pipe that runs vertically right behind the toilet.  

The thick white arrow represents where the pipe runs.

I had to either abandon the built-in idea, which I did not want to do, or work around it.  So I worked around it. I’m very pleased with how this turned out!  It adds architecture and storage and I think makes the room feel much more well thought-out.

We went with a mirrored medicine cabinet with storage behind it, to maximize the amount of storage Ms. H gets overall.  This is a small bathroom, and the only one in her house.  Storage is important!

Moving on… The shower curtain, I will confess, I chose myself and surprised Ms. H.  When I saw it on the JCPenney website, I knew it would be perfect for this space. It lends a great pattern and color to the room and the brown in it ties in with the oil rubbed bronze fixtures beautifully. A HUGE thank you to JCPenney for supplying this curtain to Ms. H.  It totally makes the room, if you ask me!  I’m impressed with the newer offerings in JCPenney’s home department.  This ain’t your grandma’s JCP!

Dad also added a privacy film to the window – you can get them at the home improvement store.  It was a necessity as this bathroom is on the first floor. 

When we began, Ms. H needed a space that was brought into the current decade.  But it also needed to withstand the test of time.  We wanted this room to look current and lovely 30 years from now, and if all goes as planned, this space should last at least that long!  It was built to last!
That guided our design choices – white subway tile, beadboard wainscoting, neutral floors and counter.  Timeless and versatile, clean and classic.  

Last, I wanted to give you my best accounting of time and money that was spent on this room. 
Labor was free for this project – but please remember if you are hiring someone to do this kind of job for you, that labor costs are at least half the total budget.  This is hard work and if you want it done right, expect to pay someone for their time.  We had the ability to volunteer our time for this project, and we wanted to… even then, the cost for materials was about $2000.

That includes everything – new subfloor and waterproof backer board around the shower. Tile, mortar, grout, and sealer for the floor and shower walls. Beadboard sheets, chair rail, baseboard, lumber for the built-ins, and trim around them. Mirrored medicine cabinet. Vanity, countertop, shower and tub fixtures, and some new copper pipe, as well as some plumbing supplies to install the vanity faucet. Primer, ceiling paint, and trim paint. Safety handles for the shower. Caulk and spackle. Privacy film for the window. Shower curtain rod and towel bars.

The light fixture and shower curtain were generously donated, as was the incredible RIDGID tile saw from the great folks at The Home Depot, which all would have increased our costs.  Not that you have to buy a tile saw to do a project like this – you can certainly rent one, but that too has a cost.

As for time, my Dad was at Ms. H’s house 5 days a week, almost without exception.  I was there an average of 3-4 days as was Keith.  I worked about 5 hours per day when I was there.  Dad and Keith probably worked closer to 7 hours per day.  And from demo to completion, it took us the better part of 6 weeks to complete this project.  We did everything ourselves – demo, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, tiling, and painting. 

I won’t lie.  It was a TON of work. 


 That said, I think there is enormous value in choosing to do this kind of work…

 learning new skills…



 becoming more self-sufficient… 

 and going beyond your comfort zone when it comes to getting your hands dirty and getting to know how a home functions, from the inside out.

 I encourage you to educate yourself…

 do your homework..

 look around at the other phenomenal projects that people are taking on… 

 roll up your sleeves…

 and take a risk.


Try something new. 



 Ask for help.

And reach out and give help to someone if you see that they need it.

 (that’s my cute mom, with Ms. H.  Decades-long friends.)

 I especially encourage you to find those around you who know how to do things that you do not.  If you are fortunate enough to find them, take full advantage of it.  People like my Dad and our friend Keith, pictured in many of the photos above, are wealths of information – and kindness.  They are do-ers.  Take a page from their playbook.  Use your own two hands, your intelligence, and the unprecedented amount of information that exists in the world, and do something good.  
This has been such a valuable experience for me personally.  Spending this time with my Dad is an experience for which I’ll always be grateful. 
It’s my hope that this room will give Ms. H much joy in the years to come. It has given us much joy to see it through to completion.

Thank you so much for coming along with me on this journey.  I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts.  I’d love to read about your projects.  Why? Simple.  Because Home Should Be GREAT.



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Hi y’all! Summer is winding down. The World’s Longest Yard Sale has come and gone (my finds…coming in a separate post).
A three piece vanity set has just been delivered to its happy recipient. A big ol’ buffet is in the works right now. Suffice it to say life and good and full!
 I am slowly learning all about this blogging/furniture designing/entrepreneurial stuff. Today, I decided it was high time I learned how to edit some photos because I really needed some good Before & After pics. I mean, they are just SO gratifying, are they not?
 I introduced myself to and boy, do I love it!!
 So without further ado, here are the collages I’ve made to show others, and especially potential clients, my work. Thanks for viewing.

 Have a great day!

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