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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. 

Learn. 

 Work.


 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.

XO,

Anne

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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.

 Wa-la!

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

XO,
Anne
 
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Hi friends!

Made my first pot of chili… I love fall.  But it’s also the time of year that yard sales tend to start winding down where I live. So, besides the thrift store, Craigslist is my fix. :-)

So here goes:

1. This adorable white spindle table.  It has great lines and detail.  And it’s $35.

Put it in a girls room.  Or the guest room.  Or the bathroom.  Or the living room.

I think I’d leave it white, although this looks awesome painted bright blue.

2. This $25 planting table/workbench.  If you have room for it, please buy it so that when I build my garage I can buy it from you.  :-)  

This one is featured at HGTV.com

I must be feeing lazy this week because I actually like this just the way it is, too, although this one in white is so great.  Doesn’t it just make you want to plant something??

I just love the idea of a place to store your tools, and pots, and watering can and cute garden gloves.  Organize it all this fall so that when spring comes, you’re ready to roll.

3. Pick up this very vintage 70’s looking queen/full size headboard for $30.

Don’t make that face.  I’m telling you, bad 60’s and 70’s furniture with all the carvings and turned posts on it is the BEST stuff to paint.  Looks fabulous.
Don’t believe me?  Now, it’s not identical, but our friends over at Pottery Barn would ask you to cough up $1500 for their white version, the Caroline bed.

But if you don’t want to use it as a headboard, you can do what this brilliant woman did and turn it into a fantastic front porch welcome sign…. what?! I love that!!!

Heck this other headboard is a measley $10.

Paint the panel with chalkboard paint and rotate messages.  Seriously? People are so smart.  This is just adorable.

4. These $6 footstool legs are so great (so long as they are sturdy – and I’d ask when I contact the seller.)

Besides having a pretty footstool around to look at,

I think it’s great to have in case a little one would like to pull a chair up to the coffee table and color or something.  Get a piece of plywood, some foam and batting and cover it in anything you want! You could easily add higher sides to it like this one, also.

I also think it would be cute to put next to a kid’s bed if the bed sits up high.  Sooo cute.

5. I think this is a very old antique rocking chair.

And I bet it would look amazing recovered and updated in a very special little one’s room.  Can you see it?  I sure can.  That’s exactly what these people did.

What a cool piece!

As I mentioned up top, I went thrifting this week (to escape the madding news coverage of the government shutdown #furious) and scored two great pieces…one for me!

Here they are – a vintage 60’s or 70’s coffee table (remember? great pieces to paint) and this unusual arm chair.

It was the woodwork on the front of this chair that had me at hello. SO cool!! I cannot wait to see it in a fresh new fabric and a coat of paint. Those turned legs and carvings are just going to pop!

And I am keeping the coffee table.  More about that later.
Remember, friends, if you decide to buy something on Craigslist, BE SMART.  I do not know any of these sellers – and I always try to make my Craigslist interactions as transparent as possible… take someone with you.  If the piece isn’t huge, you can ask to meet in a public place like a grocery store parking lot.  If your gut tells your something isn’t right, listen to it.

Now, that said, get out there and do something awesome!

XO,
Anne

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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!!!
XO,
Anne
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Grout for the subway tiled tub/shower went up on our little bathroom project, and by little, I mean the biggest thing Dad, Keith and I have ever tackled.  :-)
We used a white, unsanded grout.  And wow, what a difference it makes!! If you look at this first picture, you can see where the grout has been applied to the upper left hand corner.

 You can also see the beadboard went up all around the room.  It comes in 4×8 foot sheets for $20.

We cut it so that it ran 4 feet high, put Liquid Nails on the back, and then nailed it for real into the studs. WHAT an improvement!

A standard chair rail tops it off.  Make sure it’s level.  Liquid Nails on back. Nail it in.

I also primed the cabinets for the recessed shelves/built-ins.

 Don’t forget to go back and sand once your primer is on.  Mucho important.  It will give you the nice, smooth finish you want.

 Once they were primed, and had a few coats of paint on them (Behr Ultra White out of the can), it was time to hang them.  The were screwed into studs and into pieces in the back that my Dad and Keith put in. These puppies aren’t going anywhere!

 You can see in the back where the shower head also got installed.  Yay! It’s Moen the Caldwell line.

We chose a piece of door/window trim to put around the mirror and shelves.  It was mitered on the ends and fit together really nicely.  I think it makes the whole thing look more cohesive and “done”.

Once the shelves were in and the beadboard, chair rail, trim, and baseboards were in, it was time to spackle nail holes, any spots in the wall that still looked lumpy, recessed, or just not flat. It goes on pink and when it’s white, you know it’s dry.

 After the spackle was dried, we gave it good sanding, wiped it down and it was time to caulk! (I will admit, I LOVE caulk.  It’s like magic. It can hide a multitude of “sins” or just areas that aren’t perfect, and if you have ever owned an older house, you are one of the members of the “nothing here is 90 degrees club.” :-)

I am behind on my posts – next up is the new light fixture from our sweet friends at National Builder Supply, paint and finishing details, including a brand spankin new shower curtain from the great people at JCPenney (which I am secretly plotting to buy myself and put in my own bathroom).  WOOO HOOOOO!!!!!

XO,
Anne

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Hi friends!

There is a chill in the morning air, I have a cup of Pumpkin Spice coffee in my hand, and we’re plotting a trip to the pumpkin patch.  Fall is lovely right now.

Here’s a few gems I found on my local (Cincinnati) Craigslist this week.  See what you think.  I also have a few tips for how I mine CL for the best and most useful things.

1. Buffet/server/sideboard.  This piece is classic, can be used in a million different ways and rooms, and did I mention it’s $60?

 Put it in a foyer or front hall with a beautiful lamp and a mirror. This piece from the Turquoise Iris looks so gorgeous.

Use it in a bathroom as a vanity – just add a sink – there are tutorials all over Pinterest.
It just so happens that the super talented Traci and her husband Cy over at Beneath my Heart found almost the exact same piece as the one I picked this week.  It’s in their master bath and it looks like a million bucks.

Or put your TV on it and have the classiest media stand around, like Carrie at Hooked on Decorating did.  (Again, almost the exact same piece – so cool!) I love that she took out the top drawer for technology stuff and had a piece of glass cut to fit the top.  Fantastic.

PS – tip #1 look at the other stuff in the picture/listing.  Be observant.  The other items this seller has – table and chairs, etc. are all awesome!

2. Vintage Gun Cabinet.

Stay with me.  Look at it for a minute.  What else does it look like to you?

It screamed hallway bench to me.  Apparently I’m not alone! Ericka at Rose Colored Glasses did exactly that.

Her piece rocks!

3. Pick up this entry bench for $20.  It looks like it’s in great shape.

Yes, you can use it in the front hall or mudroom.  But a la Pottery Barn, you can also stick it at the foot of a bed

or use it as a coffee table. It’s $20!!

4. Waterfall hutch

This can be turned into a lovely storage and display piece for just about any room.  Just as shown at The Weathered Door. Charming.

Tips for searching Craiglist with the best results?  Use the CraigsPro app.  It’s far better than the actual website.  You can set up searches and it will notify you when there is a match.  You can also mark your favorites (which you can do online, too.)

Use the search limiting functions.  I usually start my searches looking only at items that are listed from $5 to $75.  It’s a pet peeve of mine when people put $1 in the cost for the listing, so I just start above there.  Sort from the lowest price up, then check the most recent listings.  But don’t forget to check the oldest listings.  If the item is still around, the seller may be very willing to negotiate and get rid of the thing they’re selling!  Once you’ve skimmed through the items up to $75, you can then go higher if you want.  Remember – the price is just what the seller is asking.  It by no means is what you are required to pay…it’s all up for negotiation, unless the seller says the price is firm.

Check different sections – Antiques, Furniture, General, Household, and yes, Garage Sale.  People list stuff everywhere, it seems.

Use keywords: cabinet, bookshelf/shelves, hutch, storage, drawers, and wood are all some of my go-to’s.

If you want to see if you can get a better price than what’s listed, I have found a good way is to simply write, “Would you be willing to work with me at all on price, please?” and then offer to pick the item up at their convenience.
Hard to say no to that… in my opinion. :-)

Hope Fall is fantastic wherever you are.
Cheers!

XO,
Anne

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Happy Friday!

Since my last Craigslist post, I had a friend contact me, and now one of my recommended CL finds is residing in my basement for her. :-) It’s even better in person!  
The sellers said it belonged to their Grandma and they never seemed to find the right place for it. They called it the pumpkin chair.  I expect you’ll see this in some fall sessions with the lovely and talented Emily Thies.
Now, onto some new finds!
I’m no vintage expert, and I cannot even for certain tell you the difference between wicker and rattan.  But I can tell you this old thing can still look fresh and modern, in a living room, on a covered porch… it just works.

Here’s the stool version. A set of two for $400 on Etsy.

You can leave the wicker as-is and it will work in almost any room.  Or, you can try this and give it a French vintage vibe.
2. You could use these $40 glass display cabinets for anything. 
Of course, paint them white and store your dishes.
Make them all rustic and keep towels in them in your bath.
Add a great vintage-looking graphic to the doors and go old school.
Or paint the inside purple and put all your shoes on display.
If you’re going to put a desk in a room, why not take advantage of the space above it – valuable real estate. A hutch like this does just that.  
I’m loving this minty green color.  
Very fresh.  Very Martha.  Might just make you want to sit down and pay the bills.
4. Here’s a waterfall dresser (called that because the top front edge is rounded like, well, a waterfall. 
Ahem.  Pick this thing up for $45 (it looks like it’s in great shape!) and do this.  I just love it.
5. Here’s another tip when you’re trolling Craigslist.  Every once in a while, go check the *Free section.  Yup, Free.  There will be lots of stuff like this:

BUT.  Every once in a while, there will be stuff like THIS:

Or these:

The *asterisk with these listings is that the good stuff often goes FAST.  You kind of have to be willing to get into your car the second you see something good.  But, hey.  It’s free.

That’s all for now.
No go forth and SAFELY start shopping the world’s pre-loved items.  Make me proud!

XO,
Anne

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It’s week FOUR, people, and things are hoppin’ in this bathroom.

Did I already mention that the toilet got re-installed?  Woo hoo! No more potty trips to the gas station for us. :-)

Besides that, we the last week putting up subway tile – and some coordinating white trim tile – from the tub all the way up to the ceiling.  It was my choice to run it all the way up.  It was a little extra work, but I don’t regret it one bit.

Getting the first, bottom row of tile straight was probably the most stressful part.  Shims – those little wood sticks – are crucial.  They kept the tiles from sliding down while the mortar was setting.  We used chalk lines and levels and our eyeballs to make sure nothing got out of line in that first row.

I chose subway tile for this bathroom for several reasons.  It is a great price performer.  Looks polished, fresh, and classic. It is the Little White Dress of kitchens and bathrooms as far as I am concerned.  I’ve used it before in two of my houses, and I’d use it again in a heartbeat.  White subway tile can do no wrong in my book.  When in doubt, use white subway tile.

These tiles were self-spacing, which just means they had slight ridges on the edges that save you from having to use spacers.  Just put your mortar on the back, and press it on the wall.  Slick it and stick it, as I like to say.  (Make sure it’s level, of course.)

Now it’s time for me to introduce you to my new bestie.  RIDGID’s 8 inch wet tile and paver saw and stand, which you can find at the Home Depot.

This thing rocks.  The tiles that needed to be cut for this bathroom were probably a couple hundred, including floor and walls.  Using an inferior machine to do that, or trying to rush because we had rented  one would not have been fun.

 The folks at RIDGID and the Home Depot supplied us with this saw, and I’m not sure I can adequately express how grateful we were to have it.  We wanted to do something good to help out our friend (she needed a new bathroom, badly in case you missed it.)  And RIDGID and the Home Depot decided to do something to help us (we needed a tile saw, badly.)  This is a win-win.

So…We marked where the tile needed to be cut.

Before turning the saw on, we lined the piece up with the blade to make sure it would be correct, and then we turned it on, lowered the blade, and smooth as silk, this thing took care of it.

Effortless, really.  I feel completely comfortable using this by myself, and am thrilled with the results.  And my Dad?   Let’s just say he petted the box when it arrived. LOL… what a fantastic tool to have in our “tool box” to pull off this job!  Thank you RIDGID and Home Depot!

It truly is one tile at a time, but it does move along pretty quickly – especially if you have several people – who can be measuring each space where a cut tile needs to go, making the cuts, putting mortar on the tiles, setting them into place, and making sure they stay where they need to be without any slipping.

The accent tile comes in a pre-cut set of four pieces, and we added a plain 4 inch white square to the center.  The rope trim is sold a single piece at a time.  All the tile came from the Home Depot.

Tiling this standard size tub all the way to the ceiling took us five solid days.  That’s two or three people working 5-7 hours per day.  It’s work.  But it is so do-able.   And the payoff is big. You know that advice that you should hang your window treatments as high up as possible to make a room feel larger?  I believe it worked here with tile, too.

A clean, white, unbroken space. I’m thrilled!

SO here’s my take-away.  If you have the ability to take accurate measurements, the patience to mix mortar and grout to the consistencies necessary for spreading, the attention to detail to make sure your pieces are level and straight, and the willingness to learn how to operate a good piece of machinery safely, then I say taking on a tile project is a MUST-DO.  It adds value to your home, and it will make you smile every time you walk into the room!

Next post, grout and beadboard!

XO,
Anne (and Ken and Keith)
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Hi friends!
You know I love Craigslist, probably more than the average bear.  It is a treasure trove of things just waiting to be reinvented, or used again.  As always remember that safety is the most important thing when shopping Craigslist!!  Be smart and safe and always take someone with you if you are picking an item up, and make sure someone knows where you are going and who you are expecting to meet.  That said, I don’t know any of the people selling these items.  I haven’t seen any of them in person.  So if you want to buy one of these things, just know I can’t personally vouch for them.  But I would buy each of them myself if I could. :-)

1.  It’s not furniture.  But it’s adorable and vintage and would look fantastic sitting on a table in a hallway somewhere.  Add a vase of flowers.  Be tempted to start that novel you’ve been meaning to write (this thing still works!)  Hint: if you’re not the novel-penning type, get a cool piece of card stock.  Type out a page full of “Happy Birthday from the Smiths,” cut them up, tie them on to gifts and look COOL.

2.  Run.  Do not walk.  And someone please go buy this chair.  Why, you ask?

Because you paint it a gorgeous creamy white, and join the ranks of happy people everywhere who have cheated the Pottery Barn Gods by stealing a look of theirs FOR $300 LESS.


3.  Fuzzy picture.  Clear winner.  This coffee table has loads of character, storage, and leaves you can pull up for more space with guests or with the kids to play a board game.

Paint it and show off all the great detail (like this one that looks like it sold for $225 on Etsy although the link is broken.)

4.  Find a cozy corner of your home, fill it with books, a blanket, and this chair.

Or this one.

But first, give it a fresh blue and red color scheme. Gorgeous, right?

5. Ok this last one requires a little imagination. But it would be a conversation piece for sure!
Pick up this unique side table.

Paint the body of it white like this one.

Then paint the faux book spines a soft beige, or mod podge some burlap onto them. Grab a stencil and some white paint.  Stay with me.
You would hopefully end up with a look like this on the spines:

Would that not be cool?!
I hope you can see that in your head as I can.

Now get out there and make something awesome!!

XO,
Anne

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We are into our third week of the Bathroom Reno and things are moving right along.

Dad, Keith and I spent a few days working on installing the tile for the floor.  I picked a 6″x6″ tile and the homeowner, Ms. H. agreed.  Going smaller than a 12″x12″ tile means more grout on the floor, which means better traction overall.

This is the tile, from Home Depot.  We needed 34 square feet.  It took several hours to lay it all down.  We laid them in a staggered pattern, to echo the subway tile that will be going in the shower.

 We ran them in straight lines, the length of the floor.  I think visually it helps make the space seem a bit larger.

 I chose Bone colored sanded grout, also from Home Depot.

Love, love, love how it turned out!!  Blends extremely well and the color will help hide some stains, cat hair, etc.

We let it set overnight and it’s good to go the next morning.  Woo hoo!!

Then Dad and I set out to create the cabinets that would become the built-in, recessed shelves.  Dad did all the measurements to make sure they would fit into the space available, and taking into account the thickness of the poplar wood we used, made sure we would get as much storage space as possible.

 I had to wear my sunglasses because we were cutting these in Dad’s basement and left all the safety goggles at the job site :-)

We used Dad’s table saw, and under his supervision, I learned how to make good cuts, counter-sink screws to hold the pieces together, and they turned out beautifully!  We set them in the wall just to make sure they fit.  They do!  We’ll wait until we move the old light fixture to secure them in the wall but it was great to see them in even temporarily!

The space right below the shelves is where the toilet goes. Once we are ready to install them, we’ll prime and them paint them the same white as the beadboard and other trim in the bathroom. I cannot wait to see it all finished!!

Next up was to install a piece of beadboard paneling where the toilet will go, so we can re-install the toilet and turn the water back on.  We’ve also chosen trim for around the built-in, and a chair rail to top the beadboard.

Tired yet? 😉

I am.
Thank you so much for reading!

Next post… you’ll meet my new BFF.  Big, strong, reliable, and hard-working.  It’s a tile saw from the great people at RIDGID and the Home Depot and boy, are we ever grateful.
:-)

XO,
Anne

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