Hi friends!

It’s been way too long since I did a good Craigslist post and there are some really great finds out there (on the Cincinnati site) right now!  I’ve even picked one or two up myself.

So without further ado, here are some fab pieces you should consider scooping up if you’re in the market for any furniture!

1. How about a $10 bookcase?

Look at how cute I'd be with some paint! :-)

Look at how cute I’d be with some paint! :-)

This one reminds me of a sweet little  number that Land of Nod sells.  Even on sale the cute one from LoN is $250!! I mean come on…..jenny-lind-bookcase-azure

You too could have the look, for a whole lot less moolah.  This is an easy target for spray painting too.  Repeat after me, “Spindles and paintbrushes don’t mix.”  Good. Now go grab it before I do.  Perfect for a kids room or playroom.

2. I love scrolling through the cute dress-up storage that people have made , like this “Dress Up Headquarters” posted over at A Turtle’s Life for Me!

Dress Up HQ via A Turtle's Life for Me

Dress Up HQ via A Turtle’s Life for Me

And this little cabinet would be just perfect, don’t you think?

Craigslist Dress-Up Dresser

It is only $10!  What if you took out the bottom drawer, and made that area a little shoe shelf, then used the drawer to hang necklaces on the wall?

Etsy jewelry display drawer


3. This is a unique find, and for the right kid, would be a TOTAL score! I love this little wood workbench.

Kids Wood Workbench on Craigslist

Kids Wood Workbench on Craigslist

My head just swims with all the fun ways you could paint it and accessorize it, like this posted over on Ana White’s fabulous site.

Kids Workbench

I think I’d stain the legs, too, and then paint the pegboard in the back with their name… like “Sam’s Workshop.”  Add some hooks for hardhats and the like, and a bin for scrap wood pieces from Grandpa’s shop.  Waa laa. Boy. Heaven.  And the Craigslist version is only $15!! You couldn’t make it that cheap. Score!

4.  Some of the things I love buying most secondhand are storage and organization pieces. I love storage – who doesn’t? But I hate paying a lot for it.  Pieces like this one are so super versatile.Craigslist Wood Shelves

Mudroom. Closet. Foyer. Bedroom. Laundry room.  Anywhere. It is wood, has shelves and cubbies, and is $20!

Looks an awful lot like the beginnings of this fabulous entry organizer from Better Homes & Gardens, huh?

BHG Entry Organization

Or, if the open space at the top isn’t working for you, add another board across the top and increase the storage even more.  Aren’t the cubbies on the sides perfect looking for small bags/purses or shoes? What about books? Toys? Arts and crafts supplies.  Love it.

5. Last but not least is this charming display shelf/bookcase/etagere.

Craigslist Etagere

I just love it. Think it looks too dark and heavy? Think again.

Somerset Bay St. Bart's Etagere

This one from Somerset Bay will set you back $2000. For reals.

Save your money. You can paint this $35 Craigslist find. And then go on vacation. :-)

Thank you so much for reading. Have a suggestion or something you’d like to see on these posts? Let me know in the comments! I just love to hear from you.

Have a wonderful day!



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TwoToneDresserCollageA family friend recently brought me a dresser, and as soon as I laid eyes on it, I knew it was something special.

It had beautiful wood veneer top and drawer fronts, the original brass hardware,


gorgeous turned legs in front, and just a very special sense about it.  But.  It was TIRED.   The veneer on the drawers was chipped in places.  The legs were scratched and scuffed all over.

The top was exhausted.


Believe it or not, I really feel like the furniture I work on tells me what should be done. No, I’m not hearing voices, and yes, sometimes in the process I have to go back and readjust or redo some parts because either I or the client wants something a bit different.Ginger'sDresserVeneerBefore

But most of the time, each piece, with its own edges and angles, corners and carvings, details and designs, sort of begs for a color, a stain, sanding, distressing, and whatever other treatments or effects will bring out the kind of beauty that will most resonate with its owner.

I felt the body of this dresser would look great in black, to show off those legs, and contrast against the wood grain which we would revive on the top and drawer fronts.  My go-to paint, when someone wants black, is Plaster Paint Company’s Black Tie.  I wrote to them quite a while ago, interested in the paint.  They sent me a can.  I used it on a couple projects and liked it enough to go buy another.  gingerdresserplasterpaint

Now, I keep it in my stash.  It is very opaque, and has always worked for me. It does have a very plaster-y, dry, chalk-y finish to it so you have to put a topcoat/sealer on, and I’ve used both Minwax Polycrylic as well as various waxes to seal it. If you’re looking for a great black, I’d suggest giving it a try.  I even had a question about waxing it the first time, and decided to email the Plaster Paint Co. and ask for advice.  She got right back to me and I was able to finish the piece. :-)

Now, back to the dresser.

gingerdressercornercat I took my Ryobi Corner Cat to the veneer top, and carefully sanded it down to bare wood.


I chose a Minwax stain (Early American) for the top to match the lighter wood of the drawer detail.



Here’s a great pic to show you – the top of the dresser is the only part that I re-stained.  The drawers are several different tones of veneer and all blend gorgeously together.  Far too pretty to paint over, which is why we chose to do the body of the dresser in black and show off all this beautiful wood grain. (the furniture told me to do that. :-)gingerdresserwoodI used a Minwax stain stick to fill in chipped areas of the darker veneer on the drawers.gingerveneerrepair

Then I cleaned the drawer fronts up well, and gave the entire thing a couple coats of semi-gloss Minwax Polycrylic.



I used Brasso to clean up the pulls, which in all honesty took a long time just because of the nooks and crannies on these.  I used cotton swabs and toothpicks to clean them up.  Painstaking but SO worth it.

That bright, ornate pop of brass is just stunning!

There is also a mirror, which we did in black, and which the owner may or may not use with this piece.

I was grateful for the chance to work on such a piece of craftsmanship as this.  gingertopviewfinished

As you can see, it took very little actual “updating” to get this lovely antique into great shape, and ready for its next several decades.gingerdresserlegsfinished

You might also be able to see, I wasn’t able to rid this piece of every single one of its “flaws.”  And that’s OK.  It has a story to tell.  It’s not new.  And it doesn’t need to be perfect to be beautiful.  gingerdresserfinal
Its owner will give this piece a home in a place where they are working to get a fresh start in life. I think this piece is the perfect symbol of how, even though things are not how you want them to be, there is beauty to be found, with some effort and a little faith.
I hope this thing of beauty brings them a little happiness every time they see it.

I know it did for me.


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Hi friends!

I hope Spring has sprung where you are. It was LOVELY here in Cincinnati yesterday, and it felt SO GOOD.  I survived five winters in Chicago, but I have to admit, this winter here kicked my butt. Man, am I happy it’s over.

It’s time to move this Craigslist hunt farther South, and visit a city in North Carolina. One of my favorite people used to live there (hey Sis!) and a very good friend/client still does (hey Liz!) and per her request, I combed CL in RDU. So here we go!

1. It’s time to start thinking about that garden, people, if you haven’t already. And I think this industrial work stand would be the perfect little potting bench!

potting bench


Pick it up for $75 (Actually, I’d start with an offer of $50) You could glue a cork board to the back, pin up your seed packets, etc. Or, you could line the back with pegboard. Then stack your pots below. I’m thinking a mini version of this, done by miss Robin from Robin’s Nesting Place.

Incredible potting bench by Robin Fleming

Can we all just take a minute and drool over her potting bench?!

Pegboard and corkboard to organize and inspire. Perfect!

And, she’s a girl after my own heart.  This whole setup was done with thrift in mind.

Well done, Robin!  I want to go plant something, and maybe wear some adorable Hunter boots while I do it, right this minute.  😉

2. Sometimes Craigslist is an oyster with a real pearl inside. Like this vintage wood office chair, listed for a mere $10.  vintage wood office chair

They turn up on Etsy frequently, for way more than $10.  This one is $175 PLUS $65 shipping. Wha??!

Etsy wood office chair

Like I said, RUN, don’t walk!

3. In my last Craigslist post, I learned about Barley Twist furniture, the kind that has beautiful turned legs and spindles. But that beauty does not usually come cheap. That’s why I picked this Barley Twist coffee table this week.  Barley Twist coffee table

It is a stunner!

Barley Twist coffee table closeup

I think it’s gorgeous just the way it is. Asking price is $85.

4. You may be one of those people who says a Federal mirror like this one just isn’t your taste.

Federal Mirror 1

And I think that’s precisely why you should buy it, if you are trying to up the style of your current living space. The longer I blog about home decor, and the more I immerse myself in all things interior design, the more I’ve come to learn that in 2014, curating a room, and a home, that is interesting, unique, and timeless is really about mixing it up. It’s the push of old and new, bright and neutral, sleek and ornate. 

via Hannah Kate Flora

You may say you have a “French Country” look right now.  Or a clean, contemporary look.  But I really believe that sticking to only one genre of decor is the fastest way to date yourself, and your room, and honestly, I bet you’ll get bored with it faster than if you mix in some pieces that on the surface, don’t “go together.”

via Little Green Notebook

Your home is not a movie set.  It doesn’t have to represent one particular moment in time.  If you keep things fresh with pieces that A.) Speak to you and B.) push the boundaries a bit on time periods and motifs, what you will end up with is a mix that is ALL YOU.  It says, “I collect things I love,” and not “I bought all of page 24 of the Pottery Barn Spring 2014 catalog.”

Designer Alexa Hampton was recently quoted in House Beautiful and she made this point perfectly.  She said in a time where most every piece of furniture, and yard of fabric, is available to most everyone, customizing your home to YOU is the ultimate luxury. 

So if you look at a mirror like this and love it, but think it’s wrong for your current space, buy it anyway.Federal Mirror2

PS – I’d check the mirror once you go see it.  It may be a reproduction piece, not a true antique, and if so you can offer less than $30 for it.

5. Last, is a great old kitchen scale.  Kitchen Scale

These are the types of things I love to pick up at thrift stores, yard sales, etc.  And I don’t think the price is bad, either. They’re asking $25. It’ll become a cool conversation piece. Love it!

Thanks for joining me this week.

My blog has moved from Blogspot, and if you like these posts, I’d simply LOVE to have you as a subscriber here at annethompsondesigns.com! Mwah!




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Hi frosty friend-sicles.
Super snow gals.
Chilly chicks.

DANG it’s been cold, icy, snowy, windy, and just plain hellish where I am. I write this knowing full well that many people farther North of me have it colder, icier, snowier, windier, and more hellish.

I broke my scraper in the 45 minutes it took me to de-ice my minivan today.
My kids were getting super frustrated because they couldn’t actually shovel the snow, because it was mostly ice.

BUT. Our power did not go out. Amen.
My husband got safely to and from work. Praise the Lord.
And Spring is a mere 43 days away. HALLELUJAH.

Soooo…until then, I’m here to bring warm, happy thoughts of awesome furniture to my friends in Minneapolis! Goodness knows, I’ve scoured Cincinnati’s Craigslist long enough. Time to take this show on the road. Without further ado, here are my picks for what to go buy on Craigslist this week.

1. I’m not saying it would be the easiest thing in the world to paint (lots of tape on all that glass), but man, I think it’d be worth it!

I LOVE barrister bookcases. They are just so cool! And in all the time I’ve been a Craigslist fan, I have only seen a handful, and they were way more expensive than this one.  GRAB it for $40 and RUN!

This one at Home Decorators will run you $489.  Paint the CL piece white, swap out or paint the hardware and laugh all the way to the bank.

2. I love this antique standing mirror.

What a perfect piece to add to the front entry! You could add wall sconces, or hooks, or both to the wall on either side. A nice umbrella stand. Gorgeous! You don’t see pieces like this every day. Asking price is $100.

3. Next is a cute piece that I think some crafty soul DIYed.

For those who can’t, or don’t want to, make things themselves, here’s a chance to get your hands on a rustic looking ladder that makes an adorable place to hold blankets in your living room or bedroom.
So cute, right?
For those of you who are interested in making this yourselves, here’s the tutorial I’d use, from the sisters at Shanty 2 Chic. You can make this piece really inexpensively.
TIP: Make sure you add a coat of poly when you’re finished. It is mentioned in the comments, but not the tutorial. Otherwise you’ll be heading to the store to buy new blankets. :-(

If you do decide to buy the ladder from Craigslist, I personally would offer $30. Asking price is $40.

4. I have done quite a few desks – they are just really useful pieces and people many times use them as vanities or dressing tables.

This one is adorable, already painted and shabby chic-ed up, and only $85!

I don’t know why they’re selling it for that.  I’d never make any money (and I don’t make a killing as it is) if I sold desks for $85, but I digress. :-)

This thing is a great deal. RUN!

5. Outfit the kids rooms. Or playroom, or basement…
  Vintage kids chairs by Heywood Wakefield.

I love, love, love cool old chairs like these for kids.  I wouldn’t do a thing to them, either.
What about an adorable place to easily stash their favorite books?

This cheery vintage magazine rack couldn’t be cuter! Grab it for $20.
A globe is conducive to all kinds of lessons. And this has an awesome stand. It’s $15.

But if you really want to rock their world, give Bill a call.  He’ll custom build you a playhouse that will be the envy of every kid in the neighborhood! I am drooling. (Do not ever let my kids see this. They will hound their grandfather to no end.)

No, I have don’t have any idea how much this would cost.  But DANG it would be awesome…

And last but not least, my very sweet friend Alana asked me to look around for chairs to go with the cool new dining table and bench she and her husband are having made. Do these not look incredible? Here’s the shop

There are a million different directions you could take this, keeping in mind that they do have three young kids so whatever is chosen has to be comfy and easy to clean.

So, Alana, here are my picks:

The Herman Miller Eames look
Wildly popular, clean lines and wipe down with a dishrag. :-) $200 for the pair.
(originals will run you waaaay more.)

Budget re-do.

These are kinda tacky fishing cabin-esque. But they don’t have to be. They are a basic, simple chair with pretty caning on the back (one needs to be recaned) and seats that are super easy to take off and recover.  These could be anything you want them to be.
And $60 for the whole set? You can’t beat that.

I saved my personal favorite option for last. The super pretty set, also with caned backs, but also lovely arms, turned legs, and cool seats.

Imagine them in a creamy white (caning looks so pretty in white) or black. Or a bright red. They will stand out against the strong lines and heaviness of the table and bench and just look awesome.
One chair needs to be recaned and the seats look like they may need some work…but oh, it would so be worth it.

Asking price is $75 for the set of four chairs AND you get the pedestal table (re-sell it or find another place for it)!

I just realized this is kind of like House Hunters for furniture.  Haha!  Alana, you’ll have to let us know what you end up with (and of course it’s perfectly fine if it’s none of these.)

That’s it for this traveling roadshow.
Minneapolis is awash with great stuff!
(Here’s my usual disclaimer: If you buy from someone on Craigslist, or anyone you don’t know, BE SMART. If the piece is small, you can ask that they meet you in a public place. Take a friend with you. Tell someone where you’re going. I can’t vouch for any of these sellers.  I just love their stuff.)

Now go forth and find something great!
If you find something awesome, let me know!


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Hi friends,

I don’t know about you but life is moving at break-neck speed around here. Life is full. And it is good. I played some driveway basketball today with my kids and their friends, and we had such a good time. It was one of the last warm days for what will probably be a while. And if I’m being honest, I’m not a huge outdoors/sports person. But…the kids each had a friend over and we all ended up around the basketball hoop. I can’t quite put my finger on what exactly was so special about it – it was just one of those moments where time seems to pause and I stood back, and heard all four kids whooping it up, laughing, and playing nicely together, two boys and two girls, third grade and kindergarten, and it struck me that they are growing up so fast but that moment was ours. I was grateful for good, kind friends for my kids, for a nice day outside, that they were safe and happy right there with me.

Maybe the magic was that I was content. That’s an elusive little thing, isn’t it?

So I hope you find a moment like that somewhere in your week. (It’s hard, because I don’t yet know how to conjure them up. I try to be good at recognizing them before they pass, though, so maybe that’s a start.)

(This pic is from earlier this week when my bestie and her little boy came to visit. Salve for my soul. Love you, J.)
And that’s a lot of rambling in what is supposed to be a furniture post.
Thanks for indulging me.

Here’s what caught my eye this week – hope you find it useful or helpful in some way!

1. Outdoor furniture. If you have the room to store it, now can be a great time to get some pieces for next spring. I know, everyone has Thanksgiving and Christmas on the brain. But that means you can score some deals. This wicker set is lovely and only $40.

Leave it white, or give it some punch.  Either way, your porch will thank you next summer!

2. I just love this charming little desk and hutch for $30. I was actually looking for someone who had mentioned their daughter needed a desk. I hope they got this one!

The desktop lifts up, and I bet a little girl would love to keep some treasures in there.
I adore the paint job on this similar piece done by Fab Rehab Creations.

3. Midcentury Modern, Danish Radio/Record Player cabinet.

This looks like the outside is in fantastic shape. I’m torn over whether I’d paint it or not. The radio inside still works, but the record player does not.

If someone was handy enough to fix the record player, I would totally leave the inside alone and just bring this into a room as a conversation piece, element of surprise, and a great way to introduce some clean lines into a space.  Love it! And…wait for it… it’s $25.

4. Excuse me, I have to go take a call at my telephone bench.  I love these.

Totally makes me yearn for the days when telephones had actual cords and you had to go to the phone to answer it and have a conversation. Not convinced? OK, you don’t have to yearn for yesteryear to see how adorable this could look in your foyer. Asking price is $35.

5. I know I already wrote last week about the dining room furniture bonanza on CL right now, but I thought this set was worth mentioning
I just love its classic lines and elegant oval shaped table. 
Gorgeous! And there’s a matching china cabinet. They’re asking $300 for the set. That’s a lot of furniture for $300.
There you have it.
Now go forth, and get some great stuff! 
As always, I do not know these sellers, and I have not seen these pieces in person. If you buy from Craigslist, use common sense, take someone with you when you pick items up, and just generally be smart and safe. 
Have a great week!
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Hi friends!

I have been a busy bee, painting a huge three piece entertainment center with bookshelves, gathering supplies to make a custom hall bench cushion, and I’m about to put nailhead trim on a cool chest of drawers for a client.  Fun times!

Let’s get to the good stuff out there just waiting for a new lease on life.

1. It is the season of family gatherings coming up…kitchens smelling like turkey and trimmings…Black Friday…and you may not have known this, but it is also the season of lets-get-a-new-dining-room-set-quick-before-everyone-comes-over!

Behold exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

Exhibit C.

And I could go on. Be forewarned…there are approximately 2.6 million dining room sets listed right now so if you decide to look through them in search of the perfect one, pack a sandwich.
And the three I listed here are UNDER $100 for the set – chairs included. It’s almost laughable. Why anyone would buy a brand new dining table and chairs (unless you really can’t find a size or style you like) is just beyond me.

2. This gorgeous cane chair. listed for $75  Drool…

I kind of don’t even mind the upholstery, although you’d have to check it out in person. A coat of paint on all that gorgeous wood and cane and BAM you have this:

And there’s a surprise on the back.

This woman did a similar surprise shot of color on the back, too.

LOVE it.

3. This settee is so charming and classic. I love a settee. For some reason it sounds so much more exotic than a loveseat.

They’re only asking $40! And there’s even better news if you go and read the listing because the seller has TWO matching pieces.

A pair of settees facing each other makes for a fantastic living room if you ask me (granted these are much fancier than the one for sale, but you get the idea.)

I love that they have a smaller footprint than a couch.  Lots of options.

4. Someone PLEASE buy this vanity and ask me to paint it. Because wow, is it ever a stunner.

Can you imagine this in a little girl’s room? To die for!! You can’t walk into Pottery Barn Kids and find this, my friends. In my humble opinion, things like this take a room from good to truly unique and memorable. PS – Look at that headboard in the mirror….  :-)

5. This Queen sleigh bed for $60.

I love it in a gray as seen here

or in bright pink for a girls room.

That’s it for the week.
Let me know if you score any great finds. And as always, if you shop Craigslist be careful and smart!!


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Hi friends!
It’s been a busy week here – I am in full-on house purging mode.  Man, it feels good to get rid of stuff, to actually know where my belongings are, to see my basement floor again.

I also have been switching up and adding to our wall decor all over the house.  Here’s a sneak peek of a super cheap DIY project for displaying my kids school work that is now residing in our kitchen.

These were old cabinet door samples that someone had tossed……More to come on that in a future post.
Now onto the Craigslist buys for the week!

1. I love this solid oak chest of drawers, but something is bugging me about it – I think it needs legs.

Like this one from the blog Chrissie’s Collections.

She did not have to add the legs, but don’t you think the proportion is so much better with them? For $60 plus the cost of legs, I say go for it.  This piece is so stately and lovely!

2. This vintage stereo cabinet ROCKS.

I’d strip out the inside, redo the outside and make it a fantastic buffet, media console, or otherwise gorgeous storage piece. Take a look at these pieces where folks did just that.

Etsy yellow cabinet

Wonderful white cabinet

The seller also has another stereo cabinet that would be worth picking up.

He’s only asking for Best Offer. Do it!!

3. A couple little antique side tables like this one

and this one

might stump some folks…after all, there are only one of each of them, so you don’t have a matching set.  But that really is OK.  In fact, I love it.  Mixing it up is what keeps your home from looking boring, dated, or too matchy-matchy.  Paint them a bold color like this project (that has a secret twist – posted on Hometalk.) 

Or this sunny yellow one from my friend Shanna at Restoration Redoux.

Or a vibrant red like this one seen on Apartment Therapy, originally listed on Etsy.

You can stick these great little useful pops of color anywhere! You’ll smile every time you look at them. Promise. They’re $25 each.

4. This amazing, walnut, vintage drop-leaf table. DROOL.

Love those pedestal legs! I don’t have anything else to say about why you should GRAB this table for $50… all you have to do is look at this picture, also shared on Hometalk.

That is just stunning.

5. I know I featured another rocking chair recently. But I think this one is unique enough that it warrants being on the list.

Love this.   It’s listed for $65. The picture is kind of fuzzy, but you can still see those arms! They make this chair for me.
Recover it, freshen it up with a nice, soft coat of paint like this one, and get ready to have a new favorite chair.

And rockers don’t have to be confined to baby’s rooms.  What about your guest room? Reading nook? This, to me, says “slow down. read a book. close your eyes for a few minutes.” Aaaah.

**As always, if you do decide to shop these or any other pieces on Craigslist, be smart. Be safe.  Always take someone with you to pick up an item and if it is small, you can also ask to meet in a public place like a grocery store parking lot, or, you can ask the seller to bring it to the front porch, etc.  I don’t know these sellers, and I cannot vouch for their items.  These are just the things that caught my eye!

If you would like me to purchase and restore or redo any of these pieces for your home, let me know! I am happy to do it.
You can email me at

That’s it for this week!
Have a great weekend!


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Before I share the entire bathroom reveal, I wanted to show you how I made a nice piece of wall decor for super cheap.

 I went to Goodwill and found this botanical print.

  I chose this one because it has a nice double mat inside and a good quality wood frame. And it was on sale for $5 – marked down from $8.  But we’re not buying it for the print.  We’re scavenging the mat and the frame which would cost big money at a craft or framing store.

 I removed the backing, and pulled off the print. 

  I would normally have saved the print – it wasn’t bad! But this one was glued on to the mat and got torn when I pulled it off.  No biggie.

 Our co-worker and friend Keith was nice enough to print off a photo of Ms. H and my parents, as well as Keith and his wife when they all went to Ireland a few years ago.  He printed it in black and white, 11×14, to fit the mat. 

I took the mat and frame and grabbed a can of Zinsser BIN Shellac Primer which is oil based – it will cover beautifully.  Just be sure to use it outside or in a well ventilated area.

It took several coats and several times repositioning the mat and frame before all sides and angles of the pieces were covered. 

Once the primer was dried, I was actually fine with the color of the mat – so I didn’t bother to spray it with a white paint.
I grabbed a black gloss spray paint and hit the frame.  Again, several times repositioning the frame and it was done.

 We put it all back together and Dad added some picture wire to the back.


 Personal, chic wall art for less than $10!! Big bathroom reveal is next….

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Since we last checked in with our caped crusaders, aka the bathroom bandits, aka my Dad and our friend, LOTS has been movin’ and shakin’ at Ms. H’s house.  It’s a tale of plumbing, subfloor replacement, cement board installation and built-in planning.  There’s drama.  There’s comedy.  But mostly there’s just work and progress, which is the way it’s supposed to be.  And in this post, I also have some handy *tips* sprinkled throughout!

If you missed the earlier posts, this is what we started with:

After taking all the tile off, removing the old vanity, and  getting down to the studs in the shower surround, my Dad and our friend Keith soldered new pipes in place for the tub and shower.  They also had to install new 1/2″ Hardiebacker cement board which will allow us to put fresh tile on the shower walls.

And here’s your first *tip*:  If you’re cutting a large board like this, lay 2×4’s underneath the board, on top of your sawhorses.  Then, cut right down the middle of them and you won’t accidentally cut anything underneath. – My Dad says to help support the weight of a large board while it’s being cut, he would also sometimes put another layer of 2×4’s across the first layer.   Think Lincoln Logs…

 Dad did the cutting with my new Ryobi circular saw (woot woot!) which worked like a charm.

 In order to complete hanging the cement board around the shower, we had to add a few 2×4’s to give the boards a secure place to be screwed into. Time for me to step up and use my own saw!

Here’s your second *tip*: If you have to add reinforcements to existing studs, err on the side of cutting the support piece a smidge too big rather than a smidge too small.

I was worried I’d cut it too big at first, but my Dad encouraged me to pound it in place.  Man, it was snug.  Dad said, it’s better that it be a snug fit than too small – because then you end up having to brace it, or start all over with another piece of wood.

And here’s our hole where the old medicine cabinet was.

 To the right is where I sketched in  the location for the new recessed shelves.  I used a level to make sure everything was precise.

 I had to make sure we were building them around the existing vent pipe in the wall, so I drilled small holes where I thought the edges of the pipe were. I didn’t drill deep enough to hit the pipe. But the holes  weren’t big enough to see through.  So I had to devise another way to identify where exactly the edges of the pipe were.

 I used a leftover piece of insulated wire to stick through the holes.  It was firm enough that it didn’t crumple when I poked it through.  I could clearly feel when I hit the pipe and when I didn’t.  Mission accomplished!

Cement board nearly done on the shower, we attacked the floor.


Scraped up old linoleum.

Measured for the new subfloor.

 Dad taught me how to lay 1/4″ Hardiebacker on the floor.

The Ryobi saw cut out the notches for the vent perfectly.  Dad was careful not to notch in too far… it worked great.

Here’s your next *tip*!
Before we went and mixed up the mortar for the new subfloor pieces, we grabbed the vent cover and made sure it fit :-)  Not that this has ever happened to my Dad before… he may in fact just be that smart.

And for my next *tip* – this rectangle was the last bit of floor we needed to cut a piece to fit.  I would have just measured the length once and the width once.  Dad, again, Professor Smarty Pants (he does have an actual PhD) told me that especially with a corner piece like this, you should measure the length at one end AND the other end, and the width at one end AND the other end because HELLO – corners in houses are not always 90 degrees!  He was right. One end was different than the other by 1/4″

Then I strapped on my knee pads and learned how to spread mortar on the floor.  A lot like icing a cake.  The pieces went into place perfectly and now we have a fantastic new subfloor that will ensure the new tile floor we lay will last.
This picture is somewhere…….

Next up is to frame in the recessed shelving above the toilet.  Since that wall is where all the plumbing in the room is (contractors might call it a wet wall), there is extra space in between the wall in the bath and the room on the other side of the studs.  If you can, TAKE ADVANTAGE of this space!  It is prime real estate!  You too, may have spaces, all covered up and unused that could be put to work in your own home.  It may not seem like a big deal, to have a few square feet to tuck away small items.  But in a bath like this – the only bath in this home – every inch needs to be maximized.
Again, here is what we’re sort of going for:

We picked up the mirrored medicine cabinet at Home Depot, a frameless, beveled mirror that will be recessed into the “wet” wall above the sink.   Keith held it up so Ms. H would be sure to sign off on the height where it’s placed.

Two sets of shelves will be built in to the right of that.
This is not the first built-in I’ve planned in a home.  But it will be the first one I help build and execute myself – and for someone else’s home.  So a little nerve-wracking.  But mostly just exciting!

Yes, Ms. H could put a storage tower back over the toilet, and it would work fine.  But, if all goes as planned, we’ll add some quality storage – and a bit of character and architecture – to this small room.
That’s an investment I can get behind!

In case I haven’t convinced you yet that I’m obsessed with built-ins, here’s my Pinterest board to drool over prove it.  Have a look.  If you’re not dying to suddenly call a carpenter, we need to talk!
Thank you so much for reading!!


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