National Builder Supply


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 everyone!

Catching up on how my Dad, a friend, and I wrapped up the renovation (down to the studs!) of a family friend’s bathroom.
Here’s the back story in case you missed it. If you look for the label “bathroom” down on the right side of the blog’s home page you should be able to find all the posts in between.
Once the beadboard, built-ins, mirror, and all the trim went in, we could install the new light fixture.   

Before, though, my Dad moved over the electric box from where the old light was, as we needed to hang the new light higher and a bit more to the right.

(We re-hung the old light temporarily)
The great people at National Builder Supply offered the homeowner a fabulous new light to complement her lovely new space.  We went with this one from Seagull Lighting
We chose a 4-light option as this is our only light in room, and it turned out to be fantastic!  We love the oil rubbed bronze… so beautiful.

The globes around the light bulbs aren’t on yet in these pics because we still needed to paint the walls.

So a huge thank you to National Builder Supply!!  Doesn’t this look so much better?
In addition, the vanity got caulked.  
My Dad and Keith added handle bars to the shower for safety.

Coming up… we wrap it up.  And I create a (cheap!) custom piece of wall art for this space.  I’ll show you how you can, too.  Are you getting excited for the big reveal?  I sure am!!!
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My Dad and I are good pals these days.  He’s my go-to guy for many of the projects I do.  Anything that needs fixing, shoring up, or building gets put in Dad’s capable hands.

He’s been DIYing stuff, big and small, since way before DIYing anything was cool.  He’s retired now, so we have loads of fun together when we get to work on projects.  (Here’s the link to the post when we built this cool hall bench, for a good cause!)

The next thing we’re doing is a complete bathroom reno for a good family friend.

We’ll call her Ms. H here – and she’s been friends with my parents literally for decades (she’s with my little girl in the pic.)  She and my mom are both nurses and have spent their whole lives taking care of other people.

My mom’s on the left, and another very good friend is on the right.  Aren’t they adorable?

Ms. H has a small home that she shares with her furry companions.  Recently, the house caught fire.  The damage was extensive.  Thankfully, insurance took care of almost eveything.  Almost.  The home’s one and only bathroom was left untouched.

It’s in need of a top-top-bottom reno.  The “vintage” pink porcelain tile was probably swanky in its heyday but now it’s falling off.

The tub and toilet will stay.  Everything else – tile, fixtures, vanity, light, linoleum floor, medicine cabinet, and yes, the shiny wallpaper all must go.

Dad and I took Ms. H to Home Depot last week to look around and try and narrow down some choices and pick a direction for the room to go.  I’m very happy with where we ended up after only one day of work, and as soon as we gather our supplies it’s go time.
Ms. H will go stay with a friend while we’re doing this, so it will not be a do-it-in-our-spare-time sort of event.  We need to rock and roll!  I’m very excited and a little nervous.

Dad’s done bathrooms before – bigger than this one – by himself.  Tile, fixtures, all of it.  He’s very skilled.

I am his apprentice.  I’m eager.  And I have designed bathrooms from the studs up in two homes that my husband and I have owned.  They turned out fabulously, and stayed mostly on budget, if I do say so myself, so I feel good about at least being able to contribute that way.

Right now, Ms. H is agreeable to doing a white subway tile with some decorative white accents around the shower.  I love it.  Subway tile can do no wrong in my book.  It goes with everything.  I think it will be a perfect choice for this home’s one bath.

 For the floor, we’re thinking these 6″x6″ tiles will be perfect.  It’s a small room, so keeping these tiles proportional will be good, and rather than doing a 12″x12″ tile, these will give us more grout lines on the floor, which will help with traction.

Ms. H likes oil rubbed bronze fixtures (great taste, right?) so we’ll go with that.

Beyond that, no decisions have been made.  We’ve got our work cut out for us but we are ready!

And last week, I got in touch with the awesome people at National Builder Supply.  They heard about Ms. H’s story and have GENEROUSLY offered an item from their website to put in the bathroom!  A light fixture, maybe? A sink?  It’s so good of them.  And I know Ms. H will appreciate it.  I’ll let you know what gets chosen, and of course, I’ll have pics once we start demo-ing this baby!  My fingers are itching, I will confess.

I spotted this room on Houzz.  Same layout as Ms. H’s.  Nice right? (source below)

(source: Creative Eye Design + Build, via Houzz)

Pretty soon, I hope I’ll be able to share just a lovely an “after” photo with you here!


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Hey y’all!
I’ve got my Southern twang on now since spending three wonderful days in Hotlanta for the 2nd annual Haven Conference!

Let me just get this out of the way for all my fellow bloggers – I WILL be moving myself over to WordPress…and figuring out the hosting thing…and probably consolidating my blog name with the name I’ve chosen for my furniture/decor business…so there is no shortage of housekeeping work to do BUT I couldn’t wait til all that was done to post about Haven!

As a fairly newbie blogger, I wasn’t sure at all what to expect from the experience. Lemme tell you… it was better than I ever could have imagined!

400 (give or take) other women and 4 (give or take) husbands who all love home/DIY projects and love blogging all about it!  These women were friendly, outgoing, and talented.  It was like being in a room full of unicorns.  These people don’t exist in normal life – at least not in mine.  It was fantastic.

I attended sessions with some super well-known, gifted women, and got to meet and greet some of my favorite bloggers!

Here’s me with the incomparable Mandi of Vintage Revivals.  We laughed. We cried. It was REAL. And I’ll be forever grateful for her openness and her sense of humor.

I also found the sweet Jen of IHeartOrganizing!  She has inspired me to make my own home a more tidy, well-laid out, adorable place and I was already a big fan.  She is just as nice in person!

I got to meet Ashley of The Handmade Home (on the far right – whose home tour is NOT to be missed.  She’s lucky I don’t live in Alabama or else I might move in.) and Lindsay of Makely School for Girls (on the far left – who is hilarious and also a MEAN dancer.  Just take my word for it.)
I didn’t get the name of the other lady in the pic…

The enormously talented and very insightful Ana White gave the opening Keynote and we were all hanging on her every word.
(My pic of Ana didn’t come out very well.)
I remember finding Ana’s blog once upon a time…and just trying to pick my jaw up off the floor.  Here was this tiny woman, with babies on her hip, in ALASKA, building her own house and then building everything else in sight.  And sharing it all with the world.  Yeah, she’s all that.  And a bag of chips.

I got to take a painting class with the super down to earth and incredibly talented ladies, Shaunna from Perfectly Imperfect, and the one and only Miss Mustard Seed.

I would probably still be there painting if the hotel people would let me.  Alas, I had to leave.  But not before soaking up their energy and wisdom and hoping to meet them again!  This was one of the highlights of my trip!!!  Still smiling. :-)

My new friend, car ride partner, and roomie, Jessica of Mom4Real, and I laughed in the car for 6 hours on our way down to Haven.  Instant friendship.  I am so so glad to have met her! (This was on the way home…and I was re-enacting part of the Haven Shuffle. Yeah.  We had our own dance at this conference. We’re just cool like that.  Thanks Traci of Beneath my Heart!)

I can’t even begin to count all the other new friends I made, from all over the country (adorable pinboard from the sweet gals at Online Fabric Store)!

Let me just say that if these women ever decide to stop blogging and DIYing, and decide to take over the world, you had better watch out.  Because it is ON.

I had the pleasure of attending an awesome cocktail party with the peeps from Ryobi and believe you me – these people are friggin fantastic!!

Not only do they make great tools, and love to share them with bloggers, they are super friendly people, who truly GET what bloggers like us are trying to do, and when they gave us a real, honest to goodness shout-out for the work being done in the DIY blogosphere, I almost teared up.

 (RYOBI gals in the house!!! And my new BFF, Darla of HeartWork Organizing is in the back – another mystery attendee on the right – sorry! Darla decided we may have been separated at birth, only she got all the tall and slender genes. I decided to like her anyway.)

The RYOBI folks all just ROCK. And I’m not just saying that because they throw such a wild party*!

*Understand that if the people from Ryobi invite you to a party, you’ll want to nap first. Consider yourselves warned. And yes, it was “Raining Men” on the dance floor. You can’t make this stuff up. :-)

I knew only one person before stepping foot into this conference.

I left feeling like I was part of a family.  Everyone was so excited to be there, so geeked out about all the awesome speakers, so ready to party and learn and share and grow.  The energy was phenomenal.

And these women are not just in it for fame and fortune (although no one’s turning that down, of course!) A group of them had connected with the people at GMC and spent three days hunting down treasures at the World’s Longest Yard Sale, so they could pretty up and furnish a home for a Habitat for Humanity family in Alabama.  Talk about teary-eyed!  What we home/DIY bloggers do may appear superficial (burlap! chevron! mason jars!) but I assure you, what is happening in these bloggers hearts and homes and families and their communities AND the blogosphere is much deeper than that. (Mandi, I’m going to start crying again…)

They are creating spaces and places that are inspired.  They are making their houses true homes.  They are doing for others.  And they are inspiring change and improvement and letting people know that they are WORTH having beautiful surroundings, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money is in their bank account.  These women have bright minds and fantastic, creative ideas to share with the world, for sure.  But they also have good hearts.  And it doesn’t take long once you start spending time on their blogs to realize that in the end, we are all BETTER for it. They want you all to know that YOU can do it, too.  Whatever “it” might be for you – painting a room, making furniture, trying something you’ve never done before and that scares the bejeezus out of you – power tools for me… They want you to get out there, get your hands dirty, and DO something.  And they want to hold your hand and laugh and cry with you along the way.

I hope to go back to Haven next year.  It was a kick-ass dance party. It was a good laugh.  It was pages of notes that I need to process.  It was bags and bags of awesome swag – this is not all mine, btw. It was my roomie’s too!

But above all, it was salve for my soul.

After years of moving and working and not working and having babies and raising babies, and loving my family but honestly giving away little pieces of myself to all those worthy endeavors, I needed this.  I needed my bucket filled.  And now, it’s overflowing, people.  So batten down the blog hatches.  Readers everywhere, prepare to be flooded with good stuff.  Several hundred of my closest friends just got a recharge of their batteries.  I don’t know what will come of all this goodness, but it is going to be epic.

Peace, Love, and DIYing,


Find a bunch of the awesome ladies I met – I’m following as many as humanly possible on Twitter and Instagram.

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