New flooring!

Look!  Another post!  See, I’m trying!

2012 is going to be the flooring year for us, I can already tell.  Up to this point, we’ve only touched the flooring in the downstairs bathroom, and that was out of necessity- a rotten subfloor meant the linoleum had to come up.  Ooof.  That was an eye-opener, 4 months into home ownership and we’re tearing out floors!!  But we survived, and the floor looks great.  Here’s a reminder of that process (and you can read more about it here):

Allure Trafficmaster vinyl plank flooring in “Cordoba“, mid bathroom re-do

 We’ve been holding onto an almost full box of this flooring for about a year and half, and I’ve been DYING to do the upstairs bathroom floor.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that floor (thank goodness!) aside from looking a little dated- but hey, we had some of the flooring already!  So I begged asked my husband nicely to help me install the flooring- I even said it could wait until after football was over- and he said sure.  He even got the DIY bug and we installed it over the weekend! 

Here’s a look at the bathroom when we bought the house:

And here’s what it looked like before the weekend:

Looks good- but it just needed that extra ooohmf from new flooring!

We choose the Allure Trafficmaster flooring (from Home Depot**) because of price and ease of install.  It’s around $50 per box, which covers about 25 square feet.  Three boxes was plenty to do the upstairs bathroom, with room for mistakes, and we only used a little over 2 boxes in the downstairs bathroom, so it’s a pretty inexpensive adventure.  It’s also waterproof, has a 25yr warranty and is scratch resistant- love all of that.

This flooring is installed as a floating floor, over the existing flooring or subfloor, with 3 tiles “combined” together in a plank (with fake grout in-between the tiles).  The planks get stuck together with overlapping sticky strips- it’s hard to describe but they stick together very well (although if you make a mistake you’re stuck- literally).  It’s kind of like click and lock flooring, but click and stick instead.  The best part is, it’s vinyl and you can cut it with a box cutter!  No saws involved- just score and snap.  Well, score several times and then snap- it’s not quite as simple as they make it sound, but it’s certainly easier than using a saw, that’s for sure.

Here’s an up-close photo of the “tiles” so you can get a better idea of the sticky strips:

The tiles are nice and thick (0.15 inches)- not flimsy at all- and each strip of tiles weighs almost 5 pounds- it’s pretty heavy duty.

Here’s a mid-install picture:

Why yes, yes we did use a rolling pin in this process- that’s to seal the seams after you stick the tiles together.  You can also rent a 100lb floor roller to press the seams, but the company actually recommends walking on it- the more you walk on it, the better the seal.  I wouldn’t walk on it until you get it all stuck together, since it is a floating floor.  Walking on it mid-process can make the whole thing slide around a little and throw your alignment off, which is key, especially around doorways.

Flooring a bathroom can be tricky-  you barely get one run of tiles laid out before you encounter a doorway or something you have to cut around, which can be a bit of a brain puzzle.  For that reason it took us about 8 hours from start to finish to get this done.  I’d imagine if we were doing a living room that was basically a rectangle, things would go a lot faster.  That’s what I’m trying to convince my husband anyway- Trafficmaster makes a wood version of this, and I want to install it in our living room/dining room/kitchen!  Which will be a lot of work, I know!  But I still think we can do it ourselves.

Ok, I know you’re dying for the finished product, so I won’t disappoint!

I LOVE it.  Love.  I can’t believe we waited so long to do it.

Just for fun- another photo, with the room all put back together:

Oooooooooh.  Ahhhhhhh. 

What do you think?

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated by this company for my opinion- we just shop there A LOT, and have had good experiences with our local store

Mirror makeover

Happy Monday!  I hope your weekend was great!

Today I’m going to tell you how we framed our bathroom mirrors- because I must have done 5 million (no exaggeration here folks) Google searches in order to figure out how to do our mirrors.  There are SO many different ways to frame mirrors out there, including kits that you can buy.  I’m going to add my tutorial to the list- I’m not saying it’s the best, but it was simple and involves very few tools.

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

1.  Square or rectangular mirror
2.  Low profile mirror clips
3.  Pine base molding (we got ours at Home Depot- Home Depot** will cut it for you, or they usually have a hand saw in the lumber area where you can make your own cuts)
4.  Miter box saw
5.  Mirror adhesive
6.  Pre-stain wood conditioner (recommended for soft woods such as pine)
7.  Sandpaper (150/220 grit, just to smooth down the edges where you make your cuts)
8.  Stain color of your choice
9.  Polyurethane of your choice

First, you’ll want to remove your mirror from the wall.  Then, measure the dimensions of your mirror and figure out how much of your mirror you want to frame.  We did ours a little “wonky” because of the location of the holes for the original mirror clips.  Basically we had a GIANT mirror hung on the bathroom wall with 4 plastic flowers that had screws running through them, inset ~4″ from the edge of the mirror.  I wish I had a picture.  I don’t.  It was hideous, trust me.  I guess lucky us that the mirror wasn’t also glued to the wall.  Anyway- so we had the holes cut off the mirror- again, lucky us that the mirror was giant because we did have to cut off quite a lot.  Here’s a terrible drawing from mspaint to illustrate:

The dots are where the flower clips were and the lines show where we had the mirror cut down


Because we’d made the mirror narrower when we had it cut, we didn’t want to cover up a bunch of it with frame- we wanted to keep it’s original rectangle shape.  So we decided to go with this plan for framing (again, excuse the terrible mspaint drawing):
The red is the edges of the mirror and the brown is the wooden frame we made

This way, the frame would conceal the new clips, but not cover up a ton of the mirror’s surface.  After settling on this method, we then placed our molding pieces on the mirror and measured the length that each board needed to be on its outside edge (the longest edge).  Then we went out and cut each board at a 45 degree angle with the miter box saw.  Pine is soft enough to be able to make the cuts with the miter box saw- which is good because we don’t own a miter saw!
After making the cuts, we sanded down the edges and the faces of the boards to make them nice and smooth, and then prepped the wood with a wood conditioner.  This allows the soft pine wood to better accept the stain.  
We stained the pieces according to the directions on the stain can (we used a tiny can of Minwax English Chestnut and had enough to do both mirrors, plus some extra).  Make sure you stain the back of the wood as well, because you will see a little bit of it in the mirror.  After the stain was dry, we applied several thin coats of polyurethane (Minwax fast drying poly in satin).  Alternatively, you can get a stain with a poly built in- I used this on our coffee table and it worked great.  Or, if you don’t like stain, you can paint the frame.  Your choice!  
Once the frame pieces are dry, you’ll want to glue them to your mirror (*NOTE* This is why we used the pine molding, because it was very lightweight and could be glued easily, without fear of it falling off.  Also, you need to make sure you use glue rated for mirrors).  We glued the edges first, because they were going to be fully glued to the mirror and we could easily line them up with the sides.  Plus we needed to hang the mirror back on the wall with the clips before attaching the top and bottom pieces.  Once the sides were fully attached (about a day of drying), we took the mirror back inside and hung it on the wall with our low profile mirror clips.  Then, we glued the top and bottom on to the mirror.  We were able to use the side pieces and a little bit of painter’s tape to keep them in place.  You’ll want to make sure you keep the door closed and turn on the bathroom fan during this process, because the mirror glue is very smelly.  Here’s the finished product:

Loving that stained glass in there…

And a couple close ups:

The stain really brought out the pretty wood grain of the molding

Mitered corners- if you don’t get your miter cuts just right, you can fill in the gap with some wood putty that accepts stain.  If you decide to paint your frame, fill in the gap with some paintable caulk or spackle. 

Ta-da!  Not too difficult and it dresses up a mirror nicely.  Plus, it’s affordable.  All in all, we spent around $55 per mirror to get this project done- $20 to have the mirror cut down, about $15 for the molding (our mirrors are about 4ft long x 3ft wide), $20 for the stain and poly and wood conditioner (which we used on both mirrors and still have some leftover), $8 for 2 packs of mirror clips, $5 for mirror adhesive and $8 for the saw kit.  If you don’t have to cut your mirror down, you could easily do a large mirror for $35- WAY cheaper than those mirror kits!!

Framing the bathroom mirrors has to be one of my favorite projects that we’ve done in the house- a lot of impact for very little effort.

What do you think?

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated by this company in any way for this post.

Bathroom break…?

I’m back again, with another bathroom post.  Don’t worry, we only have 2 bathrooms so this will be the last bathroom post!   
We actually re-did our upstairs bathroom (master bath to us, but really sandwiched between the 2 upstairs bedrooms) before the downstairs bath.  It looked like this when we moved in: 
Giant mirror and 80’s light fixture?  Check.  White laminate counter top and linoleum?  Check.  Towel shelf precariously hanging on wall (wouldn’t be able to hold a towel)?  Check.

 The first thing we did was remove the giant mirror, because we needed to have it cut down (it too was held on by plastic flower clips, 4″ in from the sides.  Bizarre).  A tip- any local glass shop can do this for you, and to cut ours down it cost around $20 per mirror.  This beats buying a new mirror- even cut down ours measure ~4 ft x 3 ft.

Look what we found behind the mirror:

Oh yeah, blue flowered wallpaper.  Awesome.  Gotta love it when someone just paints right over it…

Because the wallpaper had been painted over many times…we painted over as well.  Not ideal, but way less work than removing it.  We did remove pieces that were peeling off, then put spackle over the line between the wallpaper and bare wall and sanded in smooth.  We have flat walls, and I think this method worked well- you cannot see areas where we spackled.  Where the prior owners spackled?  You can see that.  And we’ve fixed some ugly spots thanks to them.

We used the same counter top, faucet and light fixture as the downstairs bathroom, which we installed ourselves.  The mirror got framed in this bathroom as well- hmmm, I think I should write a separate post on how to do this, since I googled all over the place to figure out how.  I sadly do not have in process pictures, but I can certainly explain how we did it – I think it turned out well.  We did not re-do the floors in this bathroom- that’s on the future to-do list.  The floors are fine (and thankfully no rotten floor in this room- yikes, I can’t even begin to imagine how we’d deal with that in a 2 story house!) just not updated.  When we do the floors in this room, we’ll probably use the same vinyl flooring as downstairs, (we still have an almost full box left from downstairs- hmmm, that reminds me, we should buy it before they discontinue the color!) but we are NOT removing the linoleum first.  We are going right over the top- because I am never removing linoleum again.  That was a nightmare.

Care to see it?

Done!  We used Contemplation by Behr as the wall color.  This color is the same color that’s in our master bedroom closet and master bedroom ceiling.  Master bedroom walls are Sage Grey by Behr.

And a view from inside the room.  The picture frames have changed since this picture was taken- they’re now white.

As in every room we’ve re-done, we changed out the door hardware from brass to brushed nickel (drawer pulls were already that way when we moved in) and replaced all the switches, switch plates and outlet plates to white (seriously- this last part is the easiest, cheapest way to update a room!!)

That’s the upstairs bath!!  I love it- it’s very calming.  Thankfully this was a pretty simple re-do. Not like the downstairs bath (which you can read about here).

What’s your favorite room in your house?  I’m not sure if this room is my favorite, but it’s pretty close!


I’m back!  Betcha didn’t think I’d make it after the weekend!!  Ha- maybe I will stick to this blogging thing.
So after we bought our house, we spent the next 8 months painting every. single. surface.  (I don’t think we did anything have to do with the outside, except stain the fence- and technically that could be considered painting as well!)  Some people say that a room in your house won’t feel like your own until you paint it- I can see that.  Especially since one of the draws about owning your own home is making it your own space.  We had two motivators for painting the rooms soon after moving into our house, aside from making it our own space.  1. The people who lived there before were TERRIBLE painters.  I have a sneaking suspicion they painted right before they put it on the market, because that paint was slapped up on those walls.  Example: our bedroom was tan except part of one wall (not the whole wall) got left blue- why??  2.  We didn’t want to move furniture into a room until the room got painted, because we didn’t want to be playing furniture shuffle.  So our bedroom was the first to be painted, then the kitchen, then the living room, etc etc. 
Now where am I going with all of this?  Well, a few months after we’d moved in, we decided to paint the downstairs bathroom.  This was about a month before my husband’s parents were coming stay with us.  The bathroom wasn’t terrible from afar:
See- not too bad.  What you don’t fully see is the slapped on paint that’s too dark for the space, the white laminate counter top that is separating from the plywood and the giant mirror/light fixture that’s straight from the 80’s.

But up close it needed some love- especially after we’d freshened up the rest of the rooms of the house. So my husband took it upon himself to start painting the bathroom one weekend.  We like to start by painting the trim, because it’s easiest to tape off.  Around the tub is quarter-round trim that is sealed with silicone.  He started by scraping off the old silicone…to discover the quarter-round was soft.  As in squish your finger into it soft.  Whoops.  So out came the quarter-round.  Then, he got a wild hair to peel back the linoleum to see if there was any water damage to the sub-floor.  Can you guess what he found?  Yup.  Next thing we know, the bathroom starts looking like this:

Wasn’t this supposed to be a simple paint job??

 And this:

Yep, not simple.

 What we discovered was the subfloor by the tub was rotten.  And water had actually seeped under the wall, into the bedroom next door.  Yikes.  Luckily, the wall was not soft.  And we were able to pull back the carpet in the bedroom and air dry everything- the water seepage was fairly contained to a small spot and the only major damage was in the bathroom.  Phew.  (But picture me panicked when this all first started- that’s what I do, panic like it’s my JOB.)

So my husband cut out a piece of the sub-floor (FYI- never done this before- another great thing about owning your own house, you learn on the job!) and replaced it with a new piece of plywood.  What you don’t see pictures of is the 3 days (!!) it took to remove the linoleum first.  They glue that sh*t down!  I never, ever want to repeat that process!!

After the floor was finished, there was just the simple task of patching holes, leveling the walls with spackle and sanding (FYI- never put layer after layer of paint around a light fixture/mirror- it leaves a giant ridge), replacing the counter top (can’t have pretty walls with out a pretty counter!), oh yeah and laying a new floor!  Did I mention that my in-laws would be visiting within the month and that this was our only bathroom downstairs??  Nothing like a little pressure to get you moving.

We didn’t have the tools to lay tile, and I personally do not love the feel of tile, nor the amount of effort it takes to clean it.  So we picked up some vinyl flooring from Home Depot** that is a row of 3 tiles that “stick” in place (it was kind of like laying tongue and groove flooring that’s sticky) and looks/feels like tile.  See:

Not too bad for vinyl!!

The counter top was ordered from Home Depot (seriously, they love us there!) and is a solid surface coating over cultured marble (special order, made by St Paul, color is ginger).  We chose a rectangular, undermount sink.  LOVE (all sinks should be undermount, IMHO).  The faucet isn’t pictured, but it’s this one by Glacier Bay.  The light fixture is similar to this one (the sides are square though, not rounded like the one in the picture)- I was limited by what I could choose for the new light fixture because the hole for the electrical was a large square, not a small circle.  Boo.

We also had the mirror cut down, because it was mounted with plastic flowers that were 4″ inset from the edge of the mirror- gag.  Plus it was GIANT.  After re-mounting it with thin silver mirror hooks, my husband framed it out with pieces of stained pine molding.  Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the frame- that was done long after my in-laws visit (Note to self- take updated pics!).

Want to see the end result?

Ta da!  The stained glass came from my husband’s grandparent’s house.  It happened to fit PERFECTLY in the window and the frame matches the stain on the vanity- total coincidence.  It looks really lovely during the day when the sun is shining through.  The paint color is Harvest Brown by Behr, with Raffia Cream on the ceiling (we also used these colors in the living room and laundry room- they read differently in ever room)

Phew.  That bathroom was a lot more work than we’d expected it to be- but it looks so nice now.  Well worth the effort.  What do you think?  Have you ever found a surprise while doing a simple project at your house?

**Disclosure:  I was not paid or compensated in anyway by this company for this post.