Master Bath Renovation, Part One

When we purchased this house we knew that gutting the master bath for a complete renovation was going to be a priority. This was a really dated bathroom from the early 90s and we had a sense that things probably were no longer functioning properly.  The tile in front of the shower had been patched, indicating the shower pan had leaked at some point.  One of the vanity faucet handles was hanging on by a thread.  We knew that this type of renovation would not be a DIY type project.  We could have done some of it ourselves, but we don’t move pipes or electrical (yet) and I have never tiled over sub-floor.  These and a few other factors determined that this was best left to a professional.  When we moved into the house we took one shower before we realized it was still leaking!  So much for the patch job that had been done.  We decided that we would shower somewhere else since sooner or later the bathroom would be completely out of commission.  I was certainly hoping for sooner rather than later!

Since we were so new to the area I got referrals from a couple new neighbors and our real estate agent.  We got our bids and made our decision.  I felt really comfortable with one person in particular and we really appreciated the way he bid out the project, leaving out many of the materials so I could source them myself and find the best deals.  We tried to act pretty quickly on this right after we moved in, but we still had to wait over a month for him to start due to his current projects.

 

The lighting is bad in these before pics, so it is hard to see, but the originally white countertops had yellowed.  I think they were Corian, but I have never seen Corian do that before.  You can see the patched tile on the right.

 

The shower had dual shower heads and was totally enclosed in glass for a steam shower effect but no steam controls.  The seal was so tight on the glass you could not hear the person talking on the other side.

 

Here you can see how well the tile on the tub deck was holding up.

 

Changing the layout of the bathroom wasn’t feasible due to due to door and window placement, but the shower size would likely change a bit and we wouldn’t be replacing the large corner jetted tub.  The vanity locations remain but the vanity seat will go, which will allow for my vanity to be standard height.  I have never been comfortable sitting for makeup or hair.  At this point I could not wait for demo to begin.

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Drying Hydrangeas

 

Drying hydrangeas is one of the easiest things I have ever done.  Its amazing how beautiful they turn out for almost no effort.  The colors of the limelight hydrangeas preserves beautifully.   I kept these stored in closet in another unused jar and then just carefully placed them in this vase.

Steps to drying hydrangeas

  1. Cut hydrangeas
  2. Remove leaves from stems
  3. Put hydrangeas in vase, jar, etc with water filled about halfway
  4. Let water dry up
  5. Enjoy beautiful dried hygrangeas
Continue Reading

REPAIRING THE DRYER MYSELF (IS THIS A BAD IDEA?)

Diagnosing the Dryer

At the beginning of the week our dryer went on strike.  It would turn on, but no heat would come out.  This is has happened twice before.  The first two times it was the heating element.  The first time I called an appliance repair company and they replaced the heating element for somewhere around $200.  The second time we got crafty and did it ourselves with the help of Youtube.  It was an easy repair taking only 30 minutes and about $20!  I assumed that I would just be doing that again so I ordered a new heating element and waited for it to arrive.   I took the dryer apart (using the same Youtube video as last time) and replaced the heating element.   The old one didn’t look broken but I figured I could be just missing it and went ahead and put the new one in.   I got the dryer put back together, plugged it in, turned it on and NO HEAT!

Re-diagnosing the Dryer

Back at square one, I decided to do some more research.  I learned that there are few other small, cheap, easily replaced parts that might be causing the lack of heat.  I didn’t want to just replace them without knowing which one was really the problem so I ran to the hardware store and picked up a multimeter.  This was going to tell me which parts had continuity (were working) and which didn’t.  I tested the thermistor, thermostat and thermal fuse and the thermal fuse was the guilty party.  I ordered one on amazon and sprang for the $3.99 one day shipping.  I’m still waiting for it to arrive today, in the mean time laundry has been piling up.  I called the appliance guy to find out when he could come if my repair attempts fail.  He can’t get here until Tuesday so the laundry situation could get a little dicey if the thermal fuse doesn’t work.  I’ve been drying small amounts of the backs of kitchen chairs and laundry room counters, but with a soccer tournament this weekend the uniform situation could be stinky.

 

Continue Reading

Curb Appeal Game Changer

The Old Door

If ever there was a door stuck in the early 90’s, this one was it.  Plain white, dated glass inserts that were falling into the doors, and a worn brass handle set.  As an added bonus, if the doors were unlocked and a slight breeze came through the door would blow open.  If the doors were closed and locked you could feel the breeze underneath them.  I don’t think this qualifies as energy efficient.

 

We had a pretty good idea of what we wanted.  Hubs wanted a wood finish and I wanted a lot of glass with few lights/panes.  I started perusing pinterest to find images to show our contractor.  I came up with these.

 

We would not have an arched top but the rest was right.

Amazing home via Sotheby's. Also some mid-week sales picks on the blog. Have a great night!

A post shared by Becki Owens (@beckiowens) on

 

Ordering New Doors

We decided on a fiberglass 3/4 panel 6 light (panes) door set.  He took these and worked to figure out where the doors should be ordered from.  Home Depot ended up being the winner for Thermatru doors.  We signed off on the quote and the order was placed.  The waiting began.  The waiting continued.  The estimated time for delivery passed.  Calls were made and we were informed that the order was in some limbo place in their system.  The order had never actually been placed with the manufacturer.  We were not pleased but it didn’t seem there was anything we could do and the order was then placed for real and the waiting started over.

After 6 more weeks our contractor got a call that the order was in.  The time had come and we would get our new front doors, or so we thought.  What actually arrived was a pane insert for doors, but no doors.  It was kind of comical at this point that one order for some doors could go so wrong.  We decided to cancel the whole order and unfortunately it came to light at this particular Home Depot location that there was a particular employee who had made a number of big mistakes.

So here we were back at square one.  I decided to email Home Depot customer service because I thought they should have a system for catching errors like this.  Exterior doors are expensive and they had a whole bunch of money tied up with out having placed an order.  I received emails from their corporate office and phone calls from the store closest to our house.  As a result of the response I got I threw caution to the wind and went ahead and placed the order again with the store by our house.  At this point what else could go wrong?  Our contractor had refunded the money for the doors because he was as fed up as we were and he felt bad so I was going to go ahead and use the Home Depot installer.  He came out and did the measurement that they require before they order the doors and the order was truly placed.  For real this time.  I asked to be certain!

Installing the Doors

Less than 6 weeks later we got the call; the doors were in.  There were actual doors this time and the install was scheduled.  For February.  In the Midwest.  After all these delays the timing for a front door install was pretty bad.  The actual install went off without a hitch, assuming you don’t count 30 degree weather.

 

The New Door

 

Isn’t Zoe a cutie?

 

 

Now all I need is someone to come teach me how to not be the worst Windexer ever.  Streak free glass and mirrors are not in my skill set for some reason.  Puppy noses don’t help either but they sure are cute.

 

 

Continue Reading

Fun Foam Tiles

When the basement flooded we really considered a number of options for floor replacement.  Ultimately we decided to put new carpet back in, but for this one room we decided it didn’t make sense.  Instead we chose to install foam floor tiles.   This type of flooring is a better choice than carpet for this space and there was definitely a savings factor.   All you need to install these is a sharp knife and a framing square.  Most of the tiles go together quickly like like doing a puzzle where you know exactly where the pieces go.  We have some interesting angles in this room, but even with those angled cuts this took only an hour or two.

Installing the foam flooring directly over concrete

 

We started on one side working our way across using the square to measure and cut straight lines.

 

 

When the new carpet is installed it will meet up with the foam tiles in the center of this doorway.  We may use double sided tape to hold them down.  I don’t really like metal or wood floor transitions.  The tile is the perfect height to fit underneath the baseboards.

The sump pump closet is in the back corner of this room.  We have taken measures to hopefully prevent something like this from happening again, but there is additional comfort in knowing the flooring surrounding the sump pump are foam tiles that will dry out if they ever got wet.

 

The completed floors.

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Carpet Excitement!

Today is carpet install day in the basement!  We are very excited for this major step in getting the basement put back together.  We took a few weeks before deciding to put carpet back in the basement.  We considered stained concrete, vinyl plank flooring, replacing the padding that was removed, and new carpet.  I was worried with the “harder” flooring liked stained concrete and vinyl plank (which we have in the bar and bathroom, and love) that the basement would feel cold and have an echo.  There are only so many area rugs you can put down before it the floor starts looking like a patchwork quilt and not a in a good way.  We could have had new padding installed and the carpet re-stretched because it is actually in decent shape, but I have really disliked this carpet from the day we looked at the house the first time.  I always wanted to replace it someday, someday just came sooner than we expected.  That’s what happens when you get 7″ of rain in 8 hours.

This is what it looked like just before the installers arrived.  The lighting for these pictures is not good, because well, basement.

This is the main open area of the basement and where the bulk of the carpet that got wet is.  The room that has the sump pump closet is to the right of this and where the water originated from.  Since that room is a workout room we decided not to put carpet back and installed foam tiles instead.  That was a really easy project and if by chance we get water again (I sure hope not!), we will have those closest to the sump pump instead of carpet.   Those carpet rolls are actually from the workout room.

 

This is the spot at the bottom of the stairs.  The padding and carpet here were mostly dry (the right of the column was wet), but since it wasn’t reasonable to replace only some of the carpet it goes.

Media room waiting for carpet.

 

This is the carpet we chose.  The free installation, removal and haul away was impossible to beat.  Its is actually a stock carpet that they keep in the store, but due to the fact we needed around 1800 sq ft it had to be special ordered.  The carpet is a neutral greige that will lighten the space and help take it out of the 1990’s.

Continue Reading