Works in Progress

Downstairs Bathroom: Progress + Plans

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

When we left Las Vegas a few weeks ago we had made some changes to the downstairs bathroom in the house. Here’s a picture of the space from when we bought the house back in June and before we started any improvements. So.Very.Blah.

original bathroom

There have been several changes since then, first we removed the vanity, countertop, and mirror and donated them to ReStore. I’ve written about the new tile floors and smooth textured white walls, both made a huge difference. The addition of a new vanity and toilet have also transformed the space, but we’re far from done! 

This Madeline vanity we chose with a plain white solid surface top is from Home Depot. It’s taller and only 48” wide instead of the 60” builder grade vanity that was there before, so the proportions are so much better, allowing space on both sides for a trash can and more leg room around the toilet. I shopped everywhere for a new vanity and settled on this one because the price was right and I liked the curvature of the front of the cabinet, also the legs sitting on top of the tile feel fresh and modern. 

downstairs bathroom progress

We also replaced the old toilet with a thinner taller one, more comfortable and more contemporary, also from Home Depot. The sides are sleek and don’t have that ceramic pipe shape along the sides that you see with other toilets. Little details like that make me smile, even if it is a toilet I’m admiring. :)

One thing I’m happy we thought ahead about was ripping the top of baseboards with a table saw before installation so they have a flat top since I plan to do a board and batten wall treatment in here. (Baseboards with a curved lip on top don’t match up to flat bottom battens, see this post from 2011 on installing board and batten wall treatment). I’ve ordered a pretty wallpaper to install above add color and pattern to the space.

I’m feeling the color green in here, so the plan is to do a mix of soothing monochromatic shades of that hue mixed with white painted board and batten below and featuring touches of brass with oil rubbed bronze hardware/lighting. These are some of the products I’m considering …

downstairs bathroom plan

I already bought this Franco wallpaper by York and this Chinoiserie style mirror from Ballard Designs for the space. I’m thinking of painting the vanity and I’m leaning toward a favorite: Kennebunkport Green by Benjamin Moore. Or perhaps a semi gloss black. Or I might leave it stained dark wood, I’m not sure yet, I want to reevaluate when the wallpaper goes up on the walls.

I’ll share all the sources in the final reveal. I’m headed back in a few weeks to continue working on this space and others, it will be so pretty when complete!

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Remodeling Grandma’s Kitchen

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Matt’s grandmother passed away in January at the age of 104, she was a lovely woman who lived a full life and we miss her very much. Her small home that she shared with Matt’s grandfather needs to be sold, so we are evaluating the task of remodeling the kitchen before it’s placed on the market.

It’s a small kitchen with a nice L shaped layout that receives natural light from an adjacent courtyard. The location of the appliances makes sense so we have no plans to alter the configuration. We want to stick to a budget and not over improve the space, so we’re looking at affordable upgrades like laminate countertops instead of stone, and cabinets from IKEA or another similar brand that offers quality at good prices.

The remainder of this 1,100 square foot home is in good condition but the kitchen cabinets and appliances are dated and could hinder the sale. We stopped by over the weekend to take measurements and wrap our heads around what needs to be done to upgrade the space.

grandmas kitchen before

The cabinets are not horrible or bad looking but they are very old and layers of paint have left them sticky in places and dingy on the inside and upon inspection not appealing to a future buyer. The Formica countertops and appliances? Same issue, old and funky.

grandmas kitchen appliances

One of the debates we’re having is about this cooktop. We believe it was lowered decades ago before his grandparents moved in to accommodate a wheelchair bound person but to us it looks odd as it is.

lower cooktop

With any other remodel, we wouldn’t hesitate to raise it up but this home is in an age restricted 55+ community, so the issue remains whether to keep it at this height or raise it up to a standard countertop height.

sink cooktop

The sink and oven are a standard height, but not the cooktop, so we don’t really see the rationale of the lowered placement which makes us want to raise it up to a standard height for consistency but then again, is there value in having it lower in a retirement community? I welcome any insight you may have on the issue !      

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