If I was creating my dream kitchen, it would include lots of simple white subway tiles with black grout.
Quite frankly, I could probably cover every wall in my house with white subway tile and black grout and be happy. I have a problem.
But that’s not what this post is about.
You see, in our kitchen, there are some things standing in the way of a pretty white-subway-tile-covered wall. Namely, the texture – at some point someone got the grand idea to cover the walls in the kitchen and every bathroom in our house with a strange, splotchy texture that is so ugly it confounds me than anyone would ever choose it. In order to install tile, we’d have to scrape that texture off the walls and start from scratch. And, let’s be real – I’m not doing that.
I love DIY, but I just don’t have the time/energy/patience/willpower. Not. Gonna. Happen.
So, since our dream of white subway tiles wasn’t going to become a reality anytime soon Corey and I decided to go a different route. When my mom offered up some beadboard that they had leftover from renovating my grandmother’s house, we jumped at the chance. I had plenty of people look at me kind of funny for saying I was going to install a beadboard backsplash in my kitchen (including my husband, let’s be honest), but I knew it would look fabulous so I stuck to my guns.
When it comes to projects that Corey and I have completed in our house, one of the things we get asked about more than anything else is our flooring. We installed the Style Selections luxury vinyl plank flooring from Lowe’s in Jackson’s room a little over two years ago, and in our living room and dining room about a year ago. We frequently get asked if we still like it, how it’s holding up with dogs, and how we clean it.
Well, I’m nothing if not helpful…so here’s what we think after living with this floor for more than two years:
In case you missed it, I shared the “big reveal” of (phase one of) our kitchen makeover yesterday. Basically, it involved a lot of paint and elbow grease. We love the result, but I have to say that the countertops are the part where I knew we were taking a risk. We originally planned to do a concrete overlay, and we still might, but we decided to try out this treatment first because it was significantly cheaper and easier.
Ahhh – it feels so nice to finally be rid of all of our carpet downstairs.
(Please excuse the baby paraphernalia. I live in a house with a 6-month old, so it’s inevitable. My house definitely does not look like a magazine with no baby toys floating around, so there’s no reason to pretend it does!)
We’ve been talking about doing this for forever and we finally got around to it a few weeks ago – for those of you who missed it when we did Jackson’s room or the dining room, we’re slowly going through the process of replacing the flooring throughout our house with this “luxury vinyl” flooring from Lowe’s. It looks surprisingly like actual hardwood but is really peel and stick vinyl. It’s incredibly affordable and easy to install, and it’s super durable (which is vital when you have three dogs and a 6-month old!)
We also switched up a few other things around the living room while we were at it. Hadley was not a fan of the new flooring (it’s slippery and she still has to learn how to walk on it) and so for the first few days after we installed it she hid upstairs all day long so she didn’t have to step on it. We finally decided to bring in the big rug from the garage as a temporary measure to make her happy and to make the floor a little softer for Jackson. Turns out, though, we love how it looks in here and it’ll probably stay for the foreseeable future. It’s super sort and feels good underfoot, and it’s a really easy to clean rug so it’s great for a high traffic area like the living room.
We also switched out some pillows and got a fiddle leaf fig (I’m determined not to kill this one!). We don’t love the ottoman in here now with the new rug…it feels a bit too formal and out of place, but we haven’t decided what we’ll do about that yet. The options are to get a different rug (which we aren’t sure about, since we really like this one) or replace the ottoman (which makes us sad, since we really like it and haven’t had it for that long). We’ll see where we land, but for now we’re just happy it’s looking so much better in here!
It makes me so happy to see consistent flooring again from one side of the house to the other – dealing with that carpet transition for the last few months hasn’t been fun…the house feels so much more cohesive, and it immediately felt so much cleaner!
We still want to bring this flooring into the kitchen, but that’ll be last on our list – we want to finish all of the upstairs first. The next step for now is to re-install baseboards in both of these rooms and to fix the fireplace – Corey accidentally knocked off one of the tiles on the wall when we were working on the flooring. We had already been planning on doing something to update the fireplace, anyways, it’s just a little higher on our priority list now!
Whew, it feels good to be done with this! Now we just need to take a breather for a few weeks and then muster up the energy to tackle the baseboards – it’s never a fun project, but it makes such a big difference in how finished the room looks!
What have you been working on in your home lately?
Alright, so I wish I was coming back from my impromptu blogging hiatus with a more exciting post, but I’m not. It may not have the prettiest photos or be the most fun to read, but I searched the entire internet for posts like this as we were gearing up for this project and they’re sadly lacking – so I want to document this for anyone else who might take this on in the future.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get to it. A few months back, Corey and I replaced the flooring in our dining room – it was a major change and we’ve been very happy with it. Our goal was to get the living room done as well before summer ended, because Jackson has been spending more and more time on the floor lately and we hated to have him on that nasty carpet.The only problem with tackling the living room was all of the tile – there was a small spot of tile in front of the fireplace and a larger area by the entryway…and we were terrified of getting it up.
My sister and brother in law took this project on a couple of summers ago, and we have heard nothing but horror stories about how tough it was to get the tile up, how long it took, and how much they hated the entire process. So needless to say, we weren’t looking forward to it. But, as much as we weren’t excited about it, summer is quickly coming to an end so we decided to get it done last week. My sister emphasized to us that we needed to get some sort of a power tool to get it up rather than doing it all by hand, so we knew we wanted to start there. We headed to Home Depot (we chose them over Lowe’s this time because they’ll rent tools and Lowe’s won’t) and asked the guy at the tool rental department what he recommended. He pointed us to a demolition hammer with a chisel bit (for getting the tile up) and a scraper bit (for the thinset). It was a bit pricey (about $100) to rent it all for the day, but we figured if it made the job easier, it was well worth it.
I could practically end this post here and just call it a day – I’m telling you, that tool was amazing. Most of the blog posts and tutorials I read prior to renting the tool didn’t seem to give us much hope – people mostly seemed to just use a plain hammer and chisel to get rid of the tile and thinset, or they didn’t elaborate on what they did. Let me tell you again – the demolition hammer is the way to go.
It was noisy and messy to get all of the tile up, but Corey got everything up and smoothed out about an hour – it didn’t mess up the concrete foundation at all, and thanks to how smooth it left the concrete there was no other prep work for us to do besides cleaning up. It was fabulous! Once we had all the tile up, we ripped up all of the carpet in the room – while we still had the tool, we also used it to smooth out any weird areas of concrete that were bumpy or would otherwise interfere with the flooring. It was exhausting (and disgusting) but soon enough, we had a carpet-less living room…and a giant mess.
And here’s where I’ll leave you because I haven’t gotten around to taking photos of the finished room yet. But it is finished, and I’m in love! I’ll take photos soon and hopefully be back next week to show it off – it’s looking amazing!
Okay, anyone have any fun house updates? Up to anything exciting lately?
When Corey and I first moved into our current house, we loved the charming feel of it, the (manageable but significant) amount of love it clearly needed, and how fresh and clean it felt for a home that was over twenty years old.
Then, we brought in our three dogs.
And a few years later, a baby.
We were all able to co-exist with the house for a while, and we even reached a point lately where we felt good about the progress we’ve made and have been moving pretty slowly with changes to the home. There weren’t any pressing situations, and we felt good about how things were looking. But. We had a few things brewing that added up to disaster. We had…
– Decade-old (at least) carpet.
– Three dogs
– A doggy door
– A backyard. With dirt.
– Rain (an unfathomable amount of rain, it seemed).
– A baby who is getting ready to learn how to crawl.
Do you know what happens when you add all of those ingredients together? You know what, don’t guess, I’ll just tell you.
Mud. That’s what happens. All over my house. Everywhere.
I tried to clean the carpet. I really did. For what felt like hours. And then? One of the dogs needed to go outside. And it started all over.
So instead of cleaning the carpet, we decided to get rid of it.
Mmmmm. Yeah, that’s much better.
This is the same flooring we used in Jackson’s room – just plain old vinyl plank flooring. Peel and stick, y’all. And I love it. It’s durable, it’s easy to lay down, and I don’t have to stress when the dogs scratch it up because it’s cheap. And it looks fantastic, to boot.
I won’t detail the process (because I already did that here), but I will add that it was slightly different than it was upstairs, since we have concrete subfloors down here. It just meant a little more cleaning/sanding and we had to fill in some holes from the carpet tacks, but other than that it was the same basic idea!
I don’t have to stress about nasty, stained, smelly carpet in my dining room. And really, in the end, it was either the carpet or the dogs. Lucky for them, we found this stuff.
I’m so excited that I no longer have to worry that Jackson will just be rolling around in mud whenever I want to lay him on the floor, and it’s a much quicker process for me to get everything cleaned up now when the dogs inevitably track in nastiness. Another fun side effect of the new flooring is that my house instantly smells cleaner without the musty old carpet. And, it’s hard to describe it exactly, but the air even feels cleaner now!
I’m all about a solution that makes my house look, feel, and smell cleaner on a daily basis with zero extra effort on my part.
So far, I can’t recommend luxury vinyl plank flooring enough. It’s incredibly affordable, it looks fantastic, and it’s beyond simple to install. I cannot wait to bring this flooring throughout the rest of our house, and banish carpet from my life forever!
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.
(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?
Decorating a nursery has been one of the most fun projects I’ve ever taken on. It’s completely different than any other room I’ve ever done, and there’s just something so special about turning a room into something amazing for your kid! When we started off with this room, it wasn’t totally empty – it was being used as a reading room.
I’ve already shared a lot about the nursery so far as Corey and I have been slowly putting it together over the last several months. If you need to catch up, you can click here to see all of the posts leading up to this…the “big reveal”!
This is the first room in our house that we’re genuinely able to say we’ve accomplished pretty much everything we want to, and there’s nothing left on my list of things to do in here. It feels a bit silly because our little guy couldn’t care less whether or not his room is “finished” but it makes me happy to know that I can put him in a room that is complete, calm, and relaxing for all of us to be in. Corey and I were just discussing the other day that we’re really happy we got this room done before Jackson was born, because we spend a lot of time in there, and it’s such an enjoyable room to be in now.
You’ve already seen most of what’s been done in this room, but there are a few more updates that I haven’t shared, and I want to have one post with all the details and sources…so here it is! Get ready for a photo overload.
When we first started this room, I don’t think I ever would have imagined it would end up here. It has ended up being a little more tranquil and neutral than we originally planned, but I kind of love that there is lots of room for more fun and color in the future as he gets older and the room turns more into a fun place to play and not just a place to sleep.
My sister showed the animal prints hanging above the crib to me months ago and I fell head over heels in love (they’re by MissBojambo on Etsy) so she gave me a few prints for my shower. I’m completely obsessed with them. They have the perfect amount of quirk and color for the room, and I can’t stop staring at them. I paired them with some prints from PrintableWisdom on Etsy, and I love how it turned out.
I’m still not 100% sold on the styling of the bookcases, but I don’t think I ever will be. I don’t feel like I can ever make bookcases look as nice as I want them to, so I am sure this will be an ever-evolving display as we change it out for new toys, books, and other things for our little guy. We also added some hardware to the doors, because we thought they needed a little extra something. I adore the gold detail (it breaks up the sea of white a bit!) and I’m glad we decided to go for it.
Overall I can safely say I’m incredibly proud of how this room turned out, and I could just sit in here for hours and stare at it, and sometimes I do. But, of course, that could also just be me falling asleep with my eyes open…because I have a newborn.
Regardless, I’m excited to see how it changes over the years as J gets a little older and his needs change – I think we’ve got a nice solid base for a lot of fun possibilities!
And now for the sources – please let me know if I’ve left anything off!
After about 3 hours of caulking a couple of weeks ago and about 6 hours of painting and cleaning this weekend, I can finally call the basics of our nursery donezo.
Can we just celebrate that for a moment? Because it’s freaking fantastic.
Let’s back up, though. The last time you saw Monster’s nursery, this is what it looked like:
We have come a long way, my friends, and I’m so excited to share today. So settle in and get yourself ready for a long post, because I have quite a bit to update you on!
Let’s get this out of the way though and show you what you’re in for (got to have a little teaser if I want you to stick around, right?) – here’s what it looks like as of today:
Vast improvement, no?
Let’s talk about how we got there, though. The first step after installing the flooring was getting the bookcases back in place – just that one little step did a lot in making the room feel a little more put together…
And, as you can see in the above photo, we also installed some baseboards. We went with some simple, chunky baseboards from Lowe’s along with some cove molding (instead of shoe, because we prefer the look).
At that point, all of the trim in the room was technically installed, but it still needed a lot of work. Most of it needed a coat of paint (the crown and most of the chair moldings were already painted, but could use some touch ups) and all of it needed to be caulked. It sounds like a simple step, but it’s one of those that makes a huge difference in how polished the room feels…especially when the trim looks like this:
It’s hard to see in photos, but there were gaps all along both sides of the trim, and lots of nail holes to be filled. Oh, and our doors and door casings looked like this…
The yellowed color is not a cute look next to the crisp white wall and trim.
So, I spent an embarrassing amount of time caulking, touching up paint all around the room, and painting every last bit of trim (plus the doors and door casings, and the windowsill). It was exhausting, boring, and incredibly frustrating. But it was oh so worth the effort…
It’s one of those things that’s really hard to capture the drastic change through photos, but Corey (who doubted me when I said all of this needed to be done) walked in the room for the first time after I finished and was completely blown away by how much more polished and complete the room looked with all of this done. It makes a gigantic difference in the entire feel of the room, and it feels so much more finished! I’m so, so happy I put in all the work to get it done…and pretty proud of myself for accomplishing it all at almost 7 months pregnant!
Now that all of the trim work was out of the way, I finally got to put all of the furniture back into place and get everything settled and ready to be decorated. You’ve obviously seen bits and pieces from the above photos, but let’s take a closer look at everything, because I’m pretty thrilled with how it’s all coming together so far!
Whew. Photo overload much? There was a lot to share this week!
As you can see, we’ve got all of the basics in there – changing table, a crib, and a chair. I’m obsessed with the crib we chose (and the mustache blanket hanging over it is just there for decoration for now, we’ll obviously move it once Monster comes along) and after we bought it I found out it’s the same style of crib that I used when I was a baby – how random!
There is still a lot to be done in here, but I feel like we’re finally at a point where the rest is just decorations – the essentials are there. I’ll do a run-down of what’s left on our to-do list next week, but for now let’s just bask in the glory of a TON of nursery progress!
Oh, but in the interest of keeping it real, I feel like I have to show you what you see when you walk out the nursery door…
Yeah. That’s our guest bathroom and it’s completely and totally unusable right now. It’s stuffed to the brim with tools we’ve been using and a ton of stuff to go back in the nursery (or find a new home) and I’m dying to tackle it next. That is definitely next on my list!
What rooms have you been making progress on lately? Any other expectant moms having some crazy nesting urges lately? I feel like I can’t sit still for more than 5 minutes because I just need to get stuff done!