Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Hello!  In case you hadn't already noticed, were taking this week off blogging.  We will be back to  our regularly scheduled program next week.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Today is the day.  The day that I come clean on my budget breaking bathroom remodel.  You know, it's strange, I am typically great with budgeting.  Heck, I am the girl that came in under budget at my own wedding.  Who knew that was even possible?  However, when it comes to bathroom remodels, it seems that my budget was not entirely realistic.  This brings me to why I am airing our "dirty remodel budget laundry" here.  I want to give people a realistic cost analysis of a bathroom remodel because I couldn't find related data/breakdowns in my online searches.

Mind you, we were not the best at bargain shopping.  I think that we did really well on our tile (the floor tile was purchased at Costco for $218), but on some items, shower door and counter top for instance, we just blew the budget.  You may be wondering if I feel any remorse or guilt over this, but the answer is NO. Counter tops and shower doors are in my mind a great place to spend the money. They are investments, so I am not guilty for having invested in things that will not need to be replaced for years upon years.

Here is the breakdown:

Tile 700
Paint 72
Hardware (towel bars, hooks, etc) 96
Closet doors 150
Vanity lighting 150
Vanity  1721.5
Counter tops 1778.4
Sinks 149.45
Toilet 409.85
Shower faucet 177
Sink faucets 212.29
Custom Shower Doors 1640
Plumbing accessories 42
Professional Plumbing work 481
Spray texture 30
Custom shower pan 765
Crown molding 200
Recessed lighting 136.02
Grout and grouting supplies 350
Miscellaneous 300
Drywall, hardiebacker, screws 363
Total $9233.51

Yup, that is right, we spent nearly $10,000.00 on a bathroom.  It seems like a lot considering that we did 90% of the work ourselves and didn't move any walls or expand.

Let me explain where things got slightly out of hand.  First, we found that due to the size of our vanity, our only options for counter tops (in a stone-natural or manufactured) were either quartz or granite.  Cha- ching.  Second- we found that our shower pan had to be professionally installed.  Third- surprise (!) our entire ceiling in the shower/toilet room had to be ripped out and replaced.  This included new recessed lighting.  Finally, we chose to use epoxy grout everywhere instead of sanded grout.  Having said all of this though, I think our bathroom would have cost more like $15,000 had we not done the work ourselves.

So, there you have it.  The bottom line is that bathrooms are expensive, but it has been shown that kitchens and bathrooms sell a house.  Could we have done it for cheaper- absolutely, but we love our bathroom and know that it will last us for years to come and will hopefully help us sell our house one day.

Monday, October 21, 2013


The master bathroom is completely done.  It took us 2.5 months of working weekends, but we did it and are thrilled with the results.

Let's do a little comparison, shall we?  The old bathroom had carpeting in the vanity area.  A very low vanity with formica counter tops.  Old lighting, white walls,  a gross shower, etc...  Need I say more to convince you that it needed a complete overhaul?

The toilet and shower room did have a tile floor, but it was pretty gross.  Also all trim was straight from the 1970's.

This lovely ceiling is what was in our shower/toilet room.

And, last but no least, the shower.

Yuck.  Trust me when I say that no amount of cleaning would get those grout lines or shower doors looking nice.

Here we are now:

The frameless glass shower doors were installed last week and came from Denver Glass.

What a difference, hugh?  Showering in that new shower is so enjoyable!  

I will be back later this week with the budget breakdown.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Time Grout Saved The Day

Let's get back to some DIY today, shall we?  When last we left off, our shower was finally done being tiled. The final step (to be done by us) in the bathroom makeover process was grouting.  I generally enjoy grouting.  That may seem a bit nuts, but it is not stressful like laying tile, and you can just turn your mind off and smoosh grout around.  It makes me think of icing a cake; basically, there is huge reward for very little work both mentally and physically.  In this instance, I was especially thrilled to get my grout on because, well, confession time.  I wasn't loving the look of our ungrouted subway tile.  It just seemed REALLY busy and made me almost dizzy to look at.  I was worried that I made a big mistake going with such small tiles. However, seeing as how I wasn't about to rip it all out and start again and asking Eric do it it may have been grounds for divorse, I was relying on grout to save the day.

As in the past, we chose to use Epoxy grout for this project.  This would prove to be an expensive decision ($300 in SpectraLOCK verses probably $60 in regular grout), but knowing that we were using white grout, the promise of no staining, mold resistance and no need to seal sold us once again.

So we got to work mixing up our SpectraLOCK per the instructions.  Note that we only mix up one batch at a time.  The work time with this product is short and you definitely do not want to have to waste any because it dried out.  The directions say you have a little over an hour on average, but we find 30 minutes is about the max time that it stays "workable".

We also found it best to save 10% of the Part C mix back rather than using it all.  It gets even harder to work with if you use all of Part C.  This is a fine line though because when grouting vertically, you do not want the grout so loose that it starts falling out of the joints.

 Then it was time to spread it on the wall creating this mess:

However, a quick scrub with the vinegar/water solution directed in the instructions and suddenly you have beautifully grouted tile.

The walls took us four 2.5 hour installments that we spread out over four days.  We did this because we wanted to make sure that we were never grouting on an area that could be wet from previously installed grout.  We wanted nice dry grout joints.

The final step was the floor, which was a bit more tedious.  It basically just required much more grout, which meant a lot more cleanup.  I think that the floor alone took me about 3.5 hours of work.  Three of those hours were just cleanup of excess grout.

Almost done.

Finally done!

We let the floor cure for 24 hours and then came back with our final touchup- caulking all corners and seams.  Inside the shower we used sanded caulk.

Outside the shower, we just used regular white silicon caulk for bathrooms.  Taping is time consuming, but key to a nice finished look.

With the caulking done, the shower was finished!!!!!  Now we just have to wait for the doors to be installed this Thursday.

I am happy to report that the grout saved the day.  I now love the shower- crisis averted!

The faucet is the Kohler Mistos from Home Depot.  I love it and it was very easy to install.  The only set back we experienced with it is that our shower required a longer tube for the shower head.  Nothing a quick trip to Home Depot didn't fix.

Next week I will be back with the final bathroom reveal and budget breakdown.  I may have gone a wee bit over budget, but I am thinking that it is totally worth it for our peace of mind and a professional looking job!

Monday, October 14, 2013


The weekend before last, Eric and I took some time off of bathroom work and flew out to Omaha to visit family.  It's funny, when I mentioned to my co-workers that I was flying to Omaha for the weekend, the general response was, "why the heck would you want to go there?".  Having never been there before, I could only respond that I was going to visit family.  After having been there though, I can now say that I truly love Omaha.  Oh how I would have loved to do some house crashing there; think gorgeous historic homes.

We stayed at the Hilton Omaha, which was a beautiful hotel.  It had a really nice bar (key) and our room overlooked the ballpark.  I really loved that downtown Omaha is clean and feels safe.  To get ourselves around, we rented a car that became a huge addition to the weekend (odd to say about a car). We ended up with a Fiat.

It was hilarious because Eric and I are not tiny people and we somehow ended up with the tiniest car on the lot.  I will say though, that it was perfect for our little weekend away and it was so much fun to drive.  We called it the "meep, meep".  Surprisingly enough, it was perfectly comfortable for just the two of us.

We generally just soaked up as much time as possible with family.  It was so nice and relaxing!

The weekend culminated with Eric and I becoming Godparents to our latest niece Adelaide!

It was such a wonderful weekend and refreshed us for the final push of finishing the bathroom, which is now done (posts to come soon).

We will be heading back to Omaha next month for the holidays and I can honestly say that I am thrilled to be heading back!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Stitch Fix #2

Yeah, it's Stitch Fix time of the month again!  I cannot begin to tell you how excited getting one of these packages makes me.  This months package wasn't quite as fun as last months, but I still found some great things.  I had specified that for this month I wanted fall tops and a pair of skinny jeans, and that is just what I got.  The reason why I say that it wasn't quite as fun is because I feel like I was sent a lot of "safe" options.  The colors were neutral, the fits were forgiving and it didn't seem quite as trendy. Maybe this is a good thing in the long run, but I didn't feel as compelled to want everything this month. I chose more for function than for the true love of any one item.

So, without further ado, here are the clothes.

Item detail:

1.  Corinna Striped Dolman Top, Hawthorn- $48.00
2.  Hensley Tie-Waist Hooded Cardigan, Under Skies- $68.00
3.  Gorden Ikat Print Sleveless Tunic, Collective Concepts- $68.00
4.  Antwerp Long sleeve Tunic Sweater, Willow and Clay- $78.00
5.  Johnny Skinny Jeans, Kensie Jeans- $88.00

Of all the items, I ended up keeping two; the Corinna Striped Dolman Top and the Antwerp Long Sleeve Tunic Sweater.  Both fit perfect and were very comfortable.  I was lucky that I had a $25.00 referral credit so I paid $110.00 for my order.  It is definitely more than I would usually spend on two tops, but I really loved them.

Unfortunately, both the Ikat tunic and the Skinny Jeans were WAY too short for me.  I wondered if maybe my stylist this month didn't notice that I am 5'9"?  The other sweater was really cute and seemed very comfortable, but I didn't like the tie waist on it.  I am not really wanting to draw attention to my waist line as of late...

Here is the Dolman top on.  The awkward picture was taken in our hotel room last weekend while we were visiting family in Omaha (I need a fully length mirror at home).  The shirt is so comfortable, washes well (I already washed it once) and I love the length!

 So, I am already looking forward to next months "Fix".  I am crossing my fingers for some cute printed tops and maybe a neat necklace.

If you are interested in signing up, here is the link:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Who Knew Tiling Could be Fun?

Tiling is definitely not at the top of my "good times" list.  Mind you, some tiling jobs are more interesting than others, but we finally found one tiling job that was, fun (imagine my surprise). River rock tiles are amazing- easy to install, fun to arrange and then feel really great on your bare feet!

To back up a bit, I pre-sealed all of this tile with a premium stone sealer before we installed it.  I did this for a couple of reasons- 1.  because I wanted to see how it affected the color of the tile, and 2. because I didn't want our grout to be able to affect our tile color (stone is porous and can absorb grout color).  The sealing was really simple and took about 15 minutes of frequent brush applications.

I am so glad that I tested the sealer because I ended up having to exchange the river rock I originally chose for the floor for a carrara marble river rock tile.  The initial tile went entirely too brown with the sealer, whereas the carrara marble stayed true to original color.

On to our tiling- Much like our wall tile, we used a 1/4" x 1/4" trowel for laying our white mortar for the flooring.  This is important because you do not want so much mortar that it pools between the rocks, but too little and your rocks will not stick well enough.

We also noticed that there was a fit pattern with the 12x12 river rock sheets.  However, even though they fit well together side by side, we had spaces to fill in next to our straight walls.  To do this, I bought a couple of extra sheets of tile and cut out the individual rocks.  I used these to fill in the empty spots and hide tile seams.

It was almost like putting together a puzzle!  Also, it was super fast.  We had the entire floor done in 45  minutes.  I tried to pay special attention to color placement and pulled any rocks that were sticking up too much.

Note, our drain is still covered in tape for protection.

I love it!  With that done, we are moving on to grouting.   Final tile reveal pictures are coming soon!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Curb Appeal

Hey, lookie there....  We have a shower curb!

I don't not know why exactly, but tiling the shower curb really stressed me out.  Maybe it was the fact that everything has to be leveled properly vertically and horizontally, but there also needs to be a perfectly calculated slope to the top of the curb.  Sounds like a job for an engineer, right?  Insert the husband and his trusty level.

This video was also really helpful-

Not quite there.

Our issue was that we were dealing with an uneven floor that we had to compensate for.  To do this, we started tiling from the highest point on the curb and leveled all of the other tiles against it.  We also made the tiles on the front of the curb 3/16" taller than those on the back.  That way, water will run into the shower rather than out if it falls on the curb, while simultaneously not being too large of a slope that it obstructs our opening the shower door.  See, I told you there are lots of details involved in a shower curb...

After all of our tile was perfectly arranged and dry, we filled in the top with mortar to create a nice even surface.  

Once that had 24 hours to dry, we were free to tile the top of the curb.

We chose to use beveled tiles for the top to avoid harsh tile edges scratching up our feet.

No sharp edges to be seen!

For the center, we just used some left over pieces of our wall tile.

Final revel pictures will come later this week because in the midst of all this, we tiled the shower floor! Finished shower pictures to come Monday.

Enjoy your weekend!