Lessons Learned

The powder room is well under way. I don’t know why I get motivated to do one project then in the middle I feel the need to start another one. For example:

Powder room  >>  guest room  >>  office  >>  back to powder room

I recently finished laying the floor tile in the powder room and I even learned how to grout! (My aunt has been guiding me through this entire project so I’m also working on her schedule) Taking pictures of the smallest room in the house is really hard so bear with me.

All the floor tiles in place!
Tile with grout.

I know it’s hard to see the difference in the pictures because the grout color seems so dark. This was taken while the grout was still wet and since it’s mostly dry now it has lightened up.  In real life, it matches the gray tones in the wall tile perfectly and ties the wall and the floor together.  Grouting wasn’t as difficult to do as I had thought. I imagined mixing up grout from a bag and having to subjectively guess what the consistency of peanut butter is.  It was a messy job and the size of the room didn’t help, but with my aunt’s guiding hand, I got the grout in.

Tonight Alex and I will be installing the toilet together which is like the blind leading the blurry, but pay that no mind!  We have been without a toilet on the first floor for too long. Installing a toilet is supposed to be really simple so I am sure with a little Youtubing and calling my dad we will be able to manage.

This is our to do list:

  • Demo the bathroom
  • Lay floor tile
  • Lay wall tile (80% done)
  • Install new toilet
  • Install new vanity and sink
  • Paint
  • Update the light fixture

I’m feeling really confident with the choices I’ve made so far (vanity and sink are already picked out), but I’m not sure where to go with the paint color. I think a dark, moody greige would give it the look I want, but it’s such a tiny room with no natural light that I am afraid to go too dark. We shall see. I just want you all to rest with the notion that I won’t have to scale a flight of stairs just to visit the loo anymore.


DIY Servant

I mean, serving tray. Tray. This post is about a tray. It all started with this tray I found for $8 at Ikea.


Then I was browsing Etsy and found this dreams-really-do-come-true fabric. $10 a yard. I was in love. Sometimes things just come together better than you can even imagine.  It would make a beautiful tray bottom.  I wasn’t digging the bottom at all.


I began disassembling the tray. Thanks Ikea for making it easy!


I’m not really one for measuring so I just laid the fabric down and cut around the now free bottom.


I gave the fabric a good ironing to get out all the folds.  I knew I would not be able to tolerate them showing up once I’d completed the project.


I then covered the entire white bottom the tray with Mod Podge and placed the fabric down over that.


I plastered the entire piece of fabric with Mod Podge and – this is really important – smoothed the fabric out in all directions.  The Mod Podge should dry and help any ridges to shrink down a little, but I did my best to preemptively handle that issue.


Once it had dried completely, I trimmed the edges off.


After sliding the bottom piece back in a few of the edges escaped the groove they are meant to rest under. I took my exacto knife and just trimmed them off.


At this point you can stop, sit back and enjoy a really cute tray. I did not, and I wish I had. I tried using this stuff.


Using Acrylic Water is still something I want to do on a future tray, but maybe not one that is made up of many pieces. The acrylic water leaked out of the cracks something fierce. I suppose you could try to seal up the cracks with caulk or use wood glue when you reassemble, but that all seems like an awful lot of work for a tray that you are probably trying to make on a budget. I have considered Mod Podging all the cracks and edges and then using the acrylic water, but I’m a little afraid to pull the trigger on that.

I Love Lamp: The Saga Continues

Nothing makes a home sadder than not having enough windows or light.  My house is quite sad. Very few windows make for a very distraught Katie. When we moved in, there was no shortage of brassy and oddly shaped lamps. We took full advantage by adding new lampshades and light bulbs and making due. Then I found this monstrosity. Where can I find a blissfully out of touch mom stuck in 1992 to take this off my hands?


Then a light went on in my head (pun intended). I should just pull a YHL and paint this mutha. First, I had to scrub the dust, grime and nicotine off and….it wasn’t much improved.


Then I wrapped the metal bits and cord in plastic and painter’s tape.  Target bag, so fancy!



Then began the gloriously cathartic spray painting in the garage. There is something so refreshing about making something your own. Confession: I propped the lamp up off the floor with stale marshmallows. It was the best thing I could think of at the time.


After a few coats, you can still see the raised lines from the pink glaze.


A few more coats of navy and a few of super gloss and I was beginning to think I hadn’t gone insane. Then, one miraculous browsing trip to Target, I found this navy ikat lampshade and I nabbed it for a staggering $8. Boom. You can still see the raised stripes from the pink glaze, but thankfully the hearts are MIA for life. I like the texture the stripes add more than I thought I would.


Thus ends the story of how I took a lamp from Full House and made into something that I actually love.

Have you done any projects with a “make do with what you have” attitude lately?

Projects in the Pipeline

I am not sure how many times I’ve mentioned this, but I am reminded during every waking hour I’m in my home that it is a complete and utter disaster in almost all facets. However, being my father’s daughter, I’m constantly brainstorming and working on remedying it.

Right now I have these projects in progress:

  1. Tray project
  2. Lamp makeover
  3. Bathroom reno

If I were to make a list of all my To-Do projects this post would never end but my high priority projects are these:

  1. Bar makeover
  2. New flooring (whole house)
  3. My entire master bedroom (the whole thing needs love, desperately)

As I look around my house, there is no place I find that doesn’t need some kind of help.  Thank God for handy aunts, Ikea, Pinterest, and blogging.

It’s Happening!

I’ve talked about our downstairs bathroom before, but last night I had a super not-even-remotely-a-secret meeting with my aunt about it. She offered ever so sweetly to help me rehab the bathroom as my Christmas present. She has insane amounts of experience with this stuff. She and her siblings are basically gutting and redoing an entire house for their parents. They added a second floor all on their own! So yeah, I’m gonna take the help.

She has some great ideas and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for me. I was too afraid to tackle that vanity top, but she says it’s out of here!



I showed her the towels and hardware I bought for my little plan so those will be the springboard for the design. She is the kind of person who can envision a room and execute it perfectly. Actually, all my aunts are that talented. I’m a very lucky neice. So stay tuned for the revision of my bathroom plans!