Thursday, August 22, 2013

subway tile, now we can be together

And in the shower no less.  Prrrrrrr.

Seven years ago, we bought our 1891 house in New Bedford from people who flipped it.  We saved them from a plummeting housing market and they bestowed upon us their crappy renovations.  Don't get me wrong.  I love our house - the beautiful trim, hardwood floors, the sunny kitchen.  But the modernizations done by the previous owners weren't the greatest.

Case in point, the uber-cheap tub surround they installed.  You like its matte, stained, almond-ness, right?  I feel dirty just looking at it.

The tub was also put in crooked so we had this lovely gap where water could drip downstairs into the ceiling.  And yes, that tub is also grouted into place.  No trim here. 

But wait, it gets better.  Here's what the vinyl surround was attached to....just the lathe, baby.  The new tub can been seen below too.

THANKFULLY the studs weren't rotted and we were able to attach the new cement board easily and securely.  I say easily but of course this whole project almost killed my husband.  :)

Soon, we were tiling.  It took a lot of convincing for the hubs to agree to tackle subway tile.  We were a bit scared of the precision and math aspect of it.  Nothing in our house is plumb or level, but we did it!!!  And the butterfly tile effect in the corners looks pretty good.  This was definitely a two-person job.  Me, sitting on the toilet, making sure things were level and symmetrical, while my husband did the hard work.  Thanks, honey!  

And here's the finished product!!!

We love it so much and can't believe we waited 7 years to get the courage to do it.

Next I'll post about our recent rip-out of that lovely tile floor....

tile - white 3x6 subway tile from Home Depot
grout - Delorean Gray grout from Home Depot

faux barnwood shelf

Or the other title for this post "How to keep shit away from my crazy toddler."  I swear, he's like a raccoon, scavenging with his paws to knock something on the floor.  Cute vignettes....they don't last.

Our foyer is a special vortex of mischief for him.  Turn your back for a second and he's grabbing keys, knocking coffee over, dumping my make-up case.  All while I'm trying to get myself, his sister and he out the door in the morning.  

A shelf!  Yessss. 

I love the contrast between raw wood and industrial hardware.  It would also be an interesting addition to our traditional, old house. 

Unfortunately a barn isn't falling down in my backyard, nor do I want to buy this raccoon-proof piece through a catalog.  Time to go shopping in my shed!

Enter a piece of 2" by 10" wood from Home Depot that had been lounging around.  Mostly used to load my husband's '67 Harley Sportster in and out of the bed of pick up trucks.  That'll do nicely.  

I used the standard cider vinegar and steel wool method, topping it off with some Minmax Finishing Wax in Natural.  The brackets are plumbing fixtures in galvanized black.  (I am a Chicago plumber's daughter after all).  

More on the foyer transformation to come.  Hint: the gray dresser is an Ikea Rast hack.  Not raccoon proof but good for corralling 12 bottles of sunscreen.


Friday, August 9, 2013

DIY pottery barn grosgrain roman shade

My upstairs bathroom has had a vinyl roller shade in it for about 7 years.  Pretty ugly but functional.  Little did I know that those shades start to breakdown over time.  And they start to smell.  Bad.  Like armpits.  Not a nice treat when the shade gets heated up by the sun.

It was time to upgrade.  I've had my eye on Pottery Barn's grosgrain cordless roman shade for a while.  Loving the black ribbon for its graphic punch. 

Grosgrain Ribbon Cordless Roman Shade

On sale for $186 right now.  But that is still WAY more clams than I planned to spend on a shade for the bathroom.  There had to be a cheaper DIY solution.

Here's more grosgrain inspiration....


Enter Bed Bath and Beyond's cordless roman shade in white.  The fabric is polyester with the weave of indoor-outdoor fabric.  Not nearly as nice as the PB cotton but's for a steamy bathroom.

I bought some stitch witchery and black grosgrain from Joann Fabrics.  The instructions that came with the BBB shade said do not iron.  Hmmm.  Not good.  Gluing the ribbon down was an option but I liked the instant gratification of the stitch witchery.  So I took a chance.  If it totally ruined the shade, I was out 50 beans.

Keep in mind, I wasn't going for perfection here. But it doesn't look too bad.  The stitch witchery worked - I just didn't leave the iron on there for too long.  Just long enough to get it to stick. 

The horrible hack job white tile is coming out soon....thank god!  Loving the new Dash and Albert diamond rug though.  And it will look much better over TrafficMaster Allure in Hickory.