Bathroom Renovation (Alternate Title: We Are Crazy)

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about any real projects around these parts, huh?

Let’s fix that.

Yeeeeah. That is happening.

Remember a couple of years ago when our master bathroom shower collapsed on me  and I thought I just ate too many cookies? It happened again. Not to me this time – it happened to Corey. It’s possible he had too many cookies too, but I think it was probably a quality issue.

You see, our shower is built with drywall. Just plain ol’ drywall. Which is not exactly up to code, but apparently was when our house was built. But drywall isn’t exactly waterproof. And guess what showers have a LOT of?

When the shower caved in on us again, we honestly thought about just patching it up. That would be easy. Cheap. Fast.


We already had plans to re-do this entire bathroom down the line. Down the line was supposed to mean a few years from now, but what was the point in putting (another) band-aid on the shower when we had every intention of just ripping it out in a few years? And really, what would be the point in just patching that one area when the rest of it was still drywall? And, um, let’s not even mention the mold that had inevitably gathered after nearly 30 years of showers.

I didn’t really take any photos of the process of ripping everything out, because it was messy and gross and hectic, and we squeezed it all in during Jackson’s naps, so we were in a bit of a hurry. But now? It’s looking like this:

We ripped the entire shower down to the studs (and will have to get rid of the insulation because of mold). The demo isn’t completely finished yet – in fact, there’s still quite a bit left, but this is a start. So what’s next on the demo list?

– We need to finish demoing the shower – there is still some trash/tile in the bottom of it, and we need to pull out the insulation/clean the mold. Our goal is to tackle this by next week, since we’ll have houseguests and would really like our bathroom to be at least accessible (we haven’t been using it at all due to the mold, but would like to be able to access the toilet/vanity while we have extra people in the house).

– The tub. It’s been used approximately four times in the two and a half years we have lived here, and we would much prefer a larger shower. There’s a bathtub in the other bathroom down the hall, so we aren’t worried about getting rid of this one – it’ll be much more functional for us.

– The tile. We figure if we’re gonna do this we might as well go all in. We don’t love this tile and have had plans to replace it for a long time, so while we’re in here ripping stuff up, we’ll be pulling this up as well.

– The walls. These walls have a strange, patchy texture that is different from the rest of the house. The only rooms with this texture are the kitchen and all three bathrooms. So random. We plan on sanding these walls down and re-texturing when we paint.

So, basically, everything is going. Except for the vanity – we’ll be keeping that and giving it a major overhaul.

This won’t be a quick renovation by any means. We have every intention of paying cash for this makeover, which means we’ll be doing it in bits and pieces as we save. As we look into it, most of it isn’t quite as expensive as we originally anticipated, though, so I have high hopes of getting it done sometime before Jackson starts school. Realistic expectations, right?

We don’t have anything set in stone yet, but I threw together a quick mood board to give you an idea of the general direction we are headed – light and airy, a little rustic, some mixed metals, and just generally things that make us happy.

Master Bath

(Click for sources)

Mmmmm, makes me happy. We’ll see where we actually end up as we get further into the project, but this captures the feel we are going for pretty well. Once we finish up demo we’ll get started on the shower first – I am SO excited to see it all come together…and a little terrified about how we’ll get it all done with a baby in the house! Be patient with us, ’cause this will be a slow project, but it will be worth the wait!

Have you ever had a shower cave in on you? Ever tackle a giant project with a newborn in the house?

February Organize-A-Thon: Bathroom

There’s just something about an organized home that makes me really happy. Maybe it’s actually being able to find things without having the contents of an entire cabinet fall onto my head, and maybe it’s just the peace of mind of knowing that behind my pantry doors things look nice and pretty. I don’t know what exactly it is, but it’s a wonderful feeling.

That happy feeling I get when things are organized is exactly why I put together this little Organize-A-Thon – and I’m excited to be back this week sharing what we did to make our home a little less cluttered. I’ll give you a hint – it involves those pesky, impossible-to-keep-clean bathroom drawers. Is it just me, or are the bathroom drawers the hardest place in the house to keep organized?

But, before we dive into that, let’s do a quick recap for anyone who isn’t all caught up with the good ol’ Organize-A-Thon. I started this last year as a way to help me get some clutter under control at the beginning of the year, and I loved it so much that I decided to make it a tradition. It’s a pretty simple concept – each week, Corey and I tackle a new area of our house that’s in need of some organizational love. Then, I come back here to report how we did. It’s a great way to keep me accountable and motivated to get things done, and hopefully it can provide a bit of inspiration for those of you who need to get some de-cluttering done in your own home. I hope that at least some of you are playing along at home, because once it’s all said and done I’m going to set up a link party so all of you can link up with the amazing projects you did to get your house organized, too! It’s not too late to join in – even if you don’t get something done every week for the whole month, one organizing project is better than none, right? So far, Corey and I have taken on the paper clutter in our house and several spots in our kitchen.

Okay, now that we all know what’s going on, let’s get to chatting about what we did this week. Like I said before, I’m awful about keeping my bathroom drawers organized. There are so many things I use on a daily basis and I’m constantly grabbing stuff out of them, and for some reason I just can’t be bothered to keep them nice and tidy. What’s worse is that over the last year and a half that we’ve lived here, my drawers have slowly become more and more stuffed-to-the-brim with things that I don’t even need. Which means that when I was first starting this project, this is what I was working with in my bathroom:

Ugh, right?

I’ve gotten embarrassingly complacent about the insane mess in these drawers and cabinets mostly because I really only have a few key things that I use on a daily basis, so I would just grab what I need, use it, and close the drawer as quickly as possible without thinking about the mess. But, luckily, this Organize-A-Thon is just the kick in the rear I needed to get this mess under control, so it’s looking a lot better now.

Before I got started, I gathered up all of my organization supplies. I had a few extra baskets and containers laying around the house that weren’t being used, and I also bought a couple of cute blue baskets from Target and a roll of shelf liner to keep things nice and clean (and cute!)

Then I, of course, dumped everything out of the drawer and onto the ground. Only way to see what you’ve got, right? I decided to take it one drawer at a time rather than tossing it all out at once so it didn’t get too overwhelming.

Because, um, one drawer was overwhelming enough.

Once I had everything on the ground, I went ahead and lined the bottom of the drawer with the shelf liner.

Then I got to organizing. I was able to toss out quite a bit of the stuff that was in the drawer (a lot of it was trash, including a couple of completely empty containers. Seriously. I’m that lazy, apparently).

Once I had the stuff I didn’t need out of there, it was a pretty quick process to put things back in the drawer in an organized manner. I used a long, skinny container that used to be in our pantry to corral my curling iron and straightener…

…then I just put in the rest of the stuff for this drawer! I decided to use this drawer for the things I use on a daily basis (like my makeup, hair stuff, etc.), and it was pretty easy to finish it up since my makeup and hair supplies (like bobby pins, headbands, etc.) were already in bags. I used one of the blue baskets to keep a few other things like my Clarisonic, perfume, and deodorant from just floating around in the drawer.

Ahh, so much better!

One of my favorite parts of this drawer? That little hanging basket – I got it from Ikea, and it hangs perfectly on the edge of the drawer (the drawer has no problem closing with it there) and keeps some of my smaller stuff grouped together while still saving room in the bottom of the drawer. Love!

Then, it was time for the other drawer. This was pretty much the same routine as before: dump it out…

…line the drawer…

And put it back in!

As you can see, I was able to take a lot of the stuff that had been in this drawer and move it to a different place in the bathroom (our linen closet). I had a few different jewelry boxes in there that weren’t being used at all (because I try to keep my jewelry on display now so I wear it more!), so I tossed them into the closet where I can still access them if I need them, but they aren’t taking up valuable drawer space.

Finally, it was time to tackle the space under my sink. There actually wasn’t a ton of stuff down there, but it was a complete mess organization-wise, so it still needed to be taken care of. I was running low on shelf liner at this point, so it’s a bit…interesting, but it works, right?

Once I had everything dumped out I pretty quickly realized that what was under here was mostly extra makeup bags that aren’t being used right now. I didn’t want to get rid of any of then (they’re fabulous to have around!), so I just tossed all of them into the biggest one and zipped it up, so they’re nice and contained but still easy to get to. Then, I just put everything back into the cabinet in a slightly-more-organized manner.

I used one of those wire shelf things in the back, not because I really need the extra space, but so all of my bottles and cans are easier to access. When you have a ton of little bottles in a cabinet like this it can be really difficult to see them all, so I’m hoping that having a few of them elevated will make them easier to see and easier to get to. We’ll see how it works!

And with that, I’ve got a much more organized bathroom. It’s made it much easier to get ready in the morning, and I’m hoping that I actually keep up with keeping it like this!

Anyone else find it impossible to keep your bathroom drawers organized?

Confessions of a Jewelry Hoarder

Am I the only one who has absolutely zero organization for my jewelry?

Like, seriously, when I get dressed in the morning I have to spend about ten minutes rooting around in the linen closet just to find a necklace, much less find one I really want to wear. And if I actually have a specific necklace in mind? Forget about it – it’s just not gonna happen. Last week, I finally got to the point where I just. couldn’t. take. it. anymore. and I told Corey and I wasn’t going to put any of my jewelry away until I had a better way to organize it. About two days of that, and I think we were both about ready to lose our minds, so we decided that something had to change immediately.

So…I picked up this set of antlers from Hobby Lobby. Yup – antlers. I figured they would be perfect to hold my necklaces and keep them in a place where I could actually see them. I found this in the “Men’s Decorating” section, or something ridiculous like that, and it just happened to be 50% off! So, for about $12.00, I got the perfect set of faux antlers to hold my jewelry.

…Or, at least I knew it would be perfect once I made it a little less ugly. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

I also grabbed this cheap-o gold frame from Goodwill for $2.99. It was even uglier than the antlers, but it had some pretty detailing on it and while it looked awful to have the ornate detail combined with the gold, I knew that with a quick coat of paint it would be looking much better.

Let’s start with the frame – my plan was to use it to organize my earrings. For years, I’ve just kept them in a little plastic tackle box with dividers, but I was definitely suffering from the “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome and I rarely used any of the earrings that I owned. And when I did use them, I rarely took the time to put them back in the tackle box, so they were just floating all over the place. So, the goal was to have them visible and easy to access (and easy to put away!) so that I’d be more likely to actually use them on a regular basis.

I grabbed some chicken wire from Lowe’s (I think it was something like $12.00 for this insane amount – I’m going to have to dream up some other projects so I can use it all!) and gave my frame a few quick coats of glossy black spray paint.

All I did was cut some chicken wire out to fit in the frame, pop it in, and call it a day.

Super simple, right? I used Command Picture Hanging Strips to hang it up, because I had plans to hang it on the inside of our linen closet door and I knew I wouldn’t be able to use a nail. I popped three strips on and then pressed it to the door – the whole thing took about 2 minutes to hang!

Then all that was left to do was fill ‘er up!

I absolutely love how easy it is now to access my earrings, and I know I’m going to be a lot more likely to wear them. I’ve got plenty of room to add more, so maybe I can finally lift the “no-earrings-because-I’ll-never-wear-them-anyways” ban I put on myself awhile ago.

Next up, let’s check out my antlers. These required even less work because all they needed was a few coats of white spray paint and they were ready to hold all of my necklaces!  I was definitely having a similar “out of sight, out of mind” problem with some of my necklaces, because I was starting to notice that I was rotating through the same 3 or 4 necklaces and I kept forgetting that I even owned some of them. I’m sure part of my problem was the fact that I had absolutely no organization system for them before – they were all scattered in about four different places, and they were all just tossed into different jewelry boxes with no organization or system. Getting them all out to hang on my new antlers gave me a chance to get rid of some of the ones I’ll never wear and to organize them a bit better so that I can actually see what I have and hopefully switch it up a bit more.

We hung it right next to my sink for now, but someday when we get around to gutting and re-decorating this bathroom it may migrate around a bit. I definitely like having it near my sink, though, because I’m a lot more likely to browse through my necklaces while I’m getting ready in the morning, and I’ve already found myself switching it up a bit more than usual.

I’m completely head-over-heels in love with my new jewelry organization system, and I am very hopeful that it will keep me motivated to actually wear all of the jewelry I have. Plus, I’ll take just about any excuse I can to display more shiny white animals (or…parts of animals) in my home!

How do you organize your jewelry? Do you have a brilliant system, or do you just toss it into random places?


Our First Tile Job

That’s right – we’ve officially tackled our first tiling project.

But, uh, don’t get excited.

You see, it wasn’t a fun tiling job – we kind of had to do it. Why?  Because I one night when I was taking a shower, this happened:

Need a closer look?

Yeeeeeeah. Oops?

After having Corey reassure me that it was a problem with the shower and I hadn’t just been eating too many cookies lately, we did some investigating. Turns out, there was a small leak in the grout near the top of this half wall and whoever built this house way back in 1986 decided that cement board wasn’t necessary – the tile was was attached directly to drywall.

Yes, drywall.

And once we started pulling tiles off, we saw that the water had done more than just make the wall collapse – we had some fun mold to deal with too.

After doing some research to reassure ourselves that mold isn’t quite as scary as everyone wants you to believe (it’s definitely not good to have, but it’s surprisingly easy to get rid of) we got to work ripping the wall out.

After all of the tile and drywall was down (we had to remove the entire half wall, because the drywall was compromised throughout the whole thing), Corey sprayed it down with a mixture of bleach and water and soon enough it was nice and clean and ready to be fixed.

Now, if we were actually planning on this project being here for the long haul, we would have done a lot more work here – we would have replaced that top board that isn’t looking so hot, and we would have went ahead and taken apart the rest of the shower, since it’s probably just drywall as well.

However, we have plans to rip this whole shower apart within the next few years (the bathroom has obviously moved up on our priority list after this!) and it seemed silly to take a ton of time to do a perfect job when we’re just going to be taking it all back down as soon as we get the chance. So, we decided to just get the shower back in working condition until we save up the money to give the whole thing an overhaul.

My dad came over this weekend to help us out with the project (we’ve never done anything structural like this, so we wanted a little guidance our first time) and it didn’t take long before our shower started to look like a shower again.

The project was surprisingly simple – we just attached some cement board to the wall and tiled right on top of it! Since neither of us have any experience in tiling and had no clue what we were doing, my dad did a couple of rows for us before letting us try it out on our own.

Then, Corey and I both took a turn – I was pleased to discover that tiling really is almost as easy as it looks on television. The only tricky part is making them line up correctly – we didn’t use spacers because we didn’t really care if the job was perfect, but we would have if this had been for a long-term tile job.

Just a couple of hours after we got started, we had a tiled wall! It’s (far, far) less than perfect, but it will get the job done. This particular wall was difficult, because in order to do a really good job on it, we would have needed to remove the glass doors and the tile on the rest of the wall and start from scratch. It’s hard to explain but it was impossible to have all the tile line up correctly without taking the whole shower apart. We weren’t willing to spend that much extra time and money, though, so we can deal with a less-than-perfect shower for now

We let the tiles set for about 48 hours before adding the grout and the sealer, and we finally have a working shower again!

(I promise the tile is white – I took this photo at night so the coloring is off!)

Corey still needs to caulk the shower, so hopefully tomorrow or Friday I’ll be able to take a shower in my own bathroom again!

This was definitely not a pretty or exciting project, but it was one of those projects that just had to be done. This was definitely one of those things that reminds you why being a homeowner isn’t always quite as easy as renting, but I feel pretty proud of us for handling it without calling in a pro, and it felt so nice to be able to fix a problem in our home ourselves, rather than waiting for a landlord to call a repairman!

And now, let’s hope that the next time we have to tackle a job like this it will be on our own terms and not because a wall caved in on me again!

Have you ever had a wall cave in on you before? Tackled any of those not-fun-but-totally-necessary project lately?