Bathroom Update Take Two.

For far, far too long, we have been staring at and showering in an old, outdated bathroom and this weekend I had enough! If you recall, last year we started our inexpensive bathroom update project before baby Battin was born. The idea was to make it a quick and relatively inexpensive project. After running into some plumbing issues, that inexpensive update left an expensively bad taste in my mouth. And while I had plans to potentially redo the floors and maybe even the vanity, I threw my hands up in surrender. Luckily, the beautiful shower was enough to get me through another year.

And so, here we are again. I have been eyeing Craigslist for some time hoping to come across a vanity (with or without a top) that would fit our space. It’s been over a month and nothing. Nada. Then one day as my husband was bathing Liam, he went to shut the vanity sliding door and smashed his finger pretty bad. Again, I threw my hands up in surrender. That was it. Time to do something about this ugly, now dangerous, room.

Bathroom Update

Our bathroom prior to destruction. Adios ugly tile and fugly vanity.

Project to do list:

  • Remove and replace baseboards
  • Remove and replace vanity and top
  • Remove and replace closet door
  • Sand and paint any imperfections
  • Install new flooring
  • Give the closet a paint refresh
  • PURGE AND REORGANIZE (my personal favorite)

Demo day (the easiest) came and went in a flash. The man of the house did most of the work. My responsibility consisted of running after LT and keeping him busy.

Bathroom Demo

He-man hard at work.

Now that everything was removed, it was my turn. I’ve become the resident tiler in our house. A few years back I tiled the laundry room and spare bathroom.

trafficMASTER Ceramica Install

(never mind the mess, please)

Now, you may be thinking, “Whoa I might hire this gal to do my tile floors too!” Not so fast, though this may look like ceramic tile, PSYCH it’s not. It is actually vinyl peal and stick tile. It’s called trafficMASTER ceramica and let me tell you, it is one of the more amazing products I have ever come across when it comes to home DIY. The tile is thick and has beveled edges which gives you the ability to grout and best yet….the only tools needed for cutting is a straight edge and an exacto knife. Simply score and snap! There are tons of how to videos online and the product is only sold at Home Depot.

Now, that said, I always always underestimate how much time it actually takes to lay this stuff out. To do it right, you have to work from the center of the room and work your way out which means, if you are unlucky like me, you may have to cut tiles on each end of the room. One day later though, our room looked like this (pre-grout because the floor has to adhere 24 hours before you can grout).

trafficMASTER ceramica tile

 

And now….after grout……

trafficMASTER Ceramica with grout

trafficMASTER Ceramica with grout

Stay tuned for the rest of the project reveal.

Our inexpensive bathroom update.

It was March 2013 when I first learned we were expecting. It was also March when I went into turbo gear trying to get last minute household projects complete because I knew after Baby Battin was born, there would be little time to do anything.

We were in desperate need of a bathroom update. It has truly been the bane of my existence since we moved in. It started off as a room with chair rails, awful textured walls above the chair rails, green speckled paint and wallpaper border.

Before BathroomSince October of 2010, I’ve spent a lot of time in our bathroom – not doing doing the obvious, but painting. In the past three years, this room has been about three different colors. I just couldn’t get quite the right color that I wanted. But by golly, I think I’ve got it now!

Before we began our bathroom update, we established a budget. I didn’t want to spend more than $700 which was tricky because there was a lot I wanted to accomplish.

  1. Remove the chair rails
  2. Sand the walls
  3. Paint the walls
  4. Paint the vanity
  5. Remove medicine cabinets
  6. Replace light fixtures
  7. Replace floor
  8. Tile shower walls

Whew! That was a long list for our tiny budget. But I was confident that it was doable. My husband was in charge of removing the chair rails. While this would have been a simple project, the original homeowners thought it would be a fantastic idea to texture the top half of the walls above the chair rail. After a few days, and a nose full of dust, we had two items checked off our list.

Sanded wallsStill in need of my husband’s help, we both removed the two awful medicine cabinets that took up way too much space and replaced them with a large mirror we bought for $40 at Old Time Pottery. We also added in a new light fixture to complete the look.

 

Next up – paint (again)! We opted to play off the color of our shower curtain which is a variety of browns and tans.

Another eye-sore of our bathroom has been the marble counter top on the vanity. Because we wanted this bathroom update to be as inexpensive as possible, I thought I would give a Pinterest project a try and painted the counter top with a sponge and acrylic paint and then sealed it with Polycrylic from Minwax. To my surprise, it turned out pretty good. I did it in stages with four different colors. I’ve had to do a few touch-ups here and there, but for the most part I like it. Eventually, we will replace the entire vanity, but that wasn’t in our budget just yet.

Marble countertop

Marble counter top before paint.

After we accomplished all we could, we called in some help from my father-in-law to install tile shower walls. We saved money on the tile because we were given free tiles from my cousin. All we  purchased was the border, which wasn’t entirely necessary, but really completed the look. The original walls were an acrylic inlay that was cheap and cracking. It took about three full days to complete the project. At the time of this construction, I was about eight and a half months pregnant. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. Thank goodness our friends offered up their shower so I was able to feel somewhat human. We ran into a bit of a hiccup when our old piping wouldn’t fit the new fixtures we purchased. Because our house was built in the 50’s, there was no way around it – we had to call a plumber. This is when our budget was tossed into the shredder. $700 later, we had new fixtures. Just goes to show, nothing is ever easy! But I must say, it was all worth it!

I am saddened to say, we never got around to replacing the floor before our peanut was born, but we do have the tile in-hand. So while our inexpensive bathroom update isn’t 100% complete, at least now I can walk into it without cursing everything about it. And the final cost, without the unexpected visit from the plumber: $773.  Not too shabby!

How we cut the cable cord.

For the last year or so, my husband and I have gone back and forth discussing whether or not we should cut our cable expense. A hundred extra dollars a month in our pockets sounded really good, especially now that we have another member of the family. The downside would be the lack of sports my husband would be able to watch. But last month we finally decided to do it. It was a lot like pulling off a band-aid. The initial sting was a bit painful, but eventually, you forget all about it.

Here’s how we did it:

  1. Research, research, research. We looked into all of our options for streaming programs which included Roku, Google Chromecast and Apple TV.  Once all the pros and cons were weighed, we decided to go with the Roku. We liked the various options Roku offered, as well as the price and free channels it already came with. The best way to describe Roku is that it looks like a tiny box that hooks up to your tv and internet. When you turn it on, it displays a series of apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, etc. All you have to do is sign up for accounts with these sites and then you can stream shows right from your tv!
  2. After we bought the Roku, we immediately began our free trial with Netflix. To our surprise, there were more television shows then we were expecting. It’s great for catching up on older series that you may have missed.
  3. Next came Hulu Plus which also offers a free trial, but unlike Netflix, it’s only a week. While Hulu Plus is great for watching more recent television episodes, I must admit, I was a bit disappointed in how they claim to carry certain networks – particularly Bravo and E! The article I read explained how they now carry episodes from these networks which was music to my ears given the fact that these are the two networks that probably take up most of my television-watching time. Unfortunately, once we got Hulu Plus, not only could those networks only be streamed on your computer (not the Roku) they only feature clips of shows from these networks – not full episodes. So I’ve had to say ‘goodbye’ to everyone from all the Real Housewives, as well as Chelsea Handler, Reza Farahan and his Persian posse, Andy Cohen and many, many more.
  4. During these free trials, we still kept cable just to be sure we were comfortable with our new entertainment situation. It wasn’t until my husband went on our cable provider’s website to look at our account when we decided enough was enough. For two + years we had set up automatic pay for our cable. Well, come to find out, they increased both our internet and cable multiple times over those two years and never notified us, so now we were looking at a balance of close to $300. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
  5. During our call to cancel our cable, we made sure we upped our internet speed. Since Roku runs off your internet connection, a fast speed is of the utmost importance.
  6. Now that cable was history, we lost all of our local channels and if I didn’t have my mornings with Kristie and Wayne, I would not be happy camper. Luckily, all we needed was a digital antennae. These range anywhere from $20 – $70. We ended up buying two, one for the bedroom and one for the living room. The antennae purchased for the bedroom was of the lower end (similar to your typically rabbit years)  while the other was much more expensive. My husband was sold on the fact that the more expensive one would be able to pick up more channels. Well, it doesn’t and because we have our television mounted, we can’t get away with purchasing the cheaper one for the living room, so the expensive one is here to stay.
  7. The final step was to purchase another Roku for the bedroom, since we already knew we liked the first one we bought. Now we can watch the same channels in the living room and bedroom.

Since cutting cable, I have noticed that I really don’t miss it all that much. For all the shows that I can no longer watch, I have found new ones to replace them. It really has been one of the better decisions we have ever made and I’m really happy with how easy it all was. The initial start-up cost is a bit pricey. I think we spent around $180, but in the end, we are saving about $1,200 a year. The biggest change I have noticed is that watching a full episode of anything is next to impossible with a newborn and when we do get a chance to watch something, I usually fall asleep 10 minutes in, so that could very well play into why I don’t miss cable as much as I thought I would.

This USA Today article/video series on cutting the chord was very helpful in starting to process to getting rid of cable. Got any questions that I may not have covered? Just leave a comment in the box below!

Not your grandma’s hutch.

My grandma pasted away several years ago when I was a teenager and after her passing, my mom inherited her china hutch. So naturally, when my mom decided to update her entire living room, she passed the hutch down to me. Enter new project: furniture update!

Hutch Before Paint

While the hutch was pretty and petite, it was not technically all wood. Parts of it were made of particle board. Right away I was ecstatic that this furniture update would not involve staining as I didn’t think it would be appropriate for the particle board. Instead, I decided that it needed to be transformed from a wood, stained hutch to a painted hutch.

I started off explaining the project to a coworker of mine who, luckily for me, also loves furniture update projects. I brought in one of the wood drawers that he took home to strip and sand for me. My original plan was to strip and sand the rest of the doors and sections made of wood, but then I came across this: Klean-strip Sander Deglosser. This product is perfect for those furniture updates that you don’t want to strip and sand.

Deglosser

The directions were so easy! Pour the deglosser onto a course rag and rub in a circular motion over the desired area. I repeated this method twice over every section of the hutch. From there, since I was planning on painted the hutch, I went back over the entire hutch with a light sand paper, followed by primer.

Finally, the fun part came – painting! I love this part because it is the first time that your updated furniture starts actually turn into something nice. After two full coats, some touch-up coats and new hardware, I had myself a painted hutch.

Painted Hutch

The last part was probably the most difficult. I really wanted this painted hutch to be different and unique to my style. Thanks to Pinterest, I came up with the idea to wrap fabric around the backing behind the glass. It was the perfect way to transform my updated furniture from old to modern! The hardest part was picking out a design that matched the living room and the dining room since these two rooms in our house are connected to each other. Surprisingly, I found the perfect design from Walmart!

Walmart Fabric

I wrapped the fabric around the back piece using Elmer’s Spray Adhesive from Pat Catan’s, asked my husband to nail it in place and voila! My new piece of updated furniture: a freshly painted hutch.

hutch before and after paint

hutch after paint

I image grandma is either really proud of me, or rolling over in her grave. I like to think it’s not the latter.

Do you have a question about my furniture update? Leave it below in the comments section!

What you see is what you get.

For a few months now, I have been collecting photos of my crafting projects and filling up Word documents with how they were done. I’ve gone back and forth wanting to start a blog of my own, but it wasn’t until my fellow co-worker, Rachel, started her blog, The Reveler, that I decided it was time.

Generally speaking, just about every week day around 5:00 pm, my husband receives the following text or call, “Are you going to be home on time after work to let the dog out?” This usually means one of two things – I am heading to the gym (I love to run) after work, or I need to run into Pat Catan’s. And by ‘run into Pat Catan’s,’ I mean, spend at least 45 minutes there, along with $50 more than I had originally planned.

I currently work full-time in the advertising industry. When I’m not at work managing clients, I like to craft. To me, the idea of crafting is synonymous with taking on a challenge. Can you turn this ugly piece of furniture into a work of art? Can you string these beads into a pair of earrings for next week’s part? Challenge accepted! And when I am not crafting, I organize. My motto is, “An organized life is a happy life.” I love giving everything a home, even if it means spending $75 on baskets to hold a pile of light bulbs and wash cloths.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t have so much passion if it wasn’t for my encouraging, loving husband of 2+ years. He always thinks the highest of me and loves everything I create. And if by chance he does not love it – he tells me that, too.

While I am starting this blog to share my crafting, organizing and home improvement projects with the World Wide Web, I started finding my zazu for no one other than myself. I wanted a place to keep all of my ideas, visions and creations. All of you reading them is just an added bonus.

So what does finding my zazu mean? Not to be cufused with the bird character from the Lion King, zazu (pronounced za-zoo) is defined as something special, a passion, a feeling like love. Zazu is precisely what is inside me when it comes to organizing, crafting, home improvements, designing, cooking, running, music and now, anything babies thanks to my new baby boy, Liam. The blog name pretty much speaks for itself. By reading this blog you will be witness to me finding my zaza through everything I create.