Monday, January 30, 2012

Calcutta Gold, I Love You

Dear Calcutta Gold Marble Remnant,
I knew from the first time I saw you in person I had to have you. You were snow white and beautiful with your deep gray and gold veining. Sure, you were more expensive than your friend, Carrera, but you matched the tile floor in our guest bath perfectly.

Chris and I had to wait a long time before the nice man from the stone yard could come to our house and make a template of you on our vanity. We decided you'd look best with a 15 inch Kohler undermount sink and 3 1/2 inch backsplashes.

A week later, you were ready to come home!
I was so excited, I took pictures through the window as the nice men drilled the holes for your new faucet.

Here you are in your new home looking absolutely fabulous...

We hope you'll be very happy here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Got Clean Grout?

It is probably no surprise that the tile grout in our guest bath floor is filthy. We live in an old house so old tile and old grout come with the territory. We're replacing just about everything else in the guest bath when we remodel it, but the floor is staying.  I need to find a way to make it look bright white again.

A quick search online overwhelmed me with suggestions to clean it...I found solutions ranging from Magic Eraser to oxygen bleach, baking soda & vinegar to whitening toothpaste.

You guys are the smartest resource I have, so I figured I'd ask you before I do anything...

Do you have a tried and true solution for cleaning grout?

Update: Per some of the suggestions from commenters, I tried Barkeeper's Friend with great success! Read about it here

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vanity Old and New

I received a lot of questions about our bathroom vanity and how we made it darker. I actually did it on a whim almost a year ago.  I had extra stain left over from another project and figured I had nothing to lose. If I didn't like it, I could just paint over it.

To refresh your memory, here it is in all its blond oak glory.
This is the product and color I used. 
 Not only is it a stain and polyurethane in one, but the directions say that you can apply it over existing stain. No sanding or stripping necessary. By my own admission, I'm really lazy when it comes to projects like these (much to my husband's chagrin), so naturally I was all over a product that did most of the the work for me.

After the first couple of brush strokes, I remember thinking, "Yikes! There's no turning back now!"
 When I decided that I liked it enough to continue, I removed the hardware and the doors and stained those separately.
I ended up applying 3 coats to get the color I wanted.
Not too bad for the cost of a can of stain and a few hours of my time.

Click here see the finished guest bath!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Putting It Back Together Again...

We (and by "we", I mean Chris) have been making great progress in the guest bath. You can catch up where we left off here.

Remember where the ugly three pane inset mirror used to be?
 I asked Chris for crown molding, but he said he needed to build a soffit first to manage the slope in the wall (Truthfully, I think he just likes to make soffits).
 We also had a plumber come to install our new tub. It is so much nicer than the almond colored one we had previously.
 Next Chris installed new cement board to line the tub walls
 and applied Red Guard as a water barrier.
 As a result, this is what our shower currently looks like.
I painted the ceiling of the bathroom light turquoise. I think it will contrast nicely with all of the white that will be in the room.
Phew. I'm glad that's all over with. This is always the phase of the project I enjoy the least. All the dirt, construction materials, and tools lying everywhere really start to irk me after a couple of days.  Good thing that it won't be much longer until we get to the fun stuff. New paint on the walls, countertop, and tile are thankfully close behind.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Good Reads

On Wednesday I mentioned that I had read Restoring a House in the City and learned that I'd been in one of the homes featured in the book (btw, I like the room better painted brown, however the blue version was quite striking in person).
Restoring a House in the City was actually one of five books I purchased for myself recently.
Maybe I'm late to this "discovery", but did you know that you can purchase hardcover decorating books from Amazon sellers for just pennies? The catch is that they are used and you may have to do a little digging to find them.  Don't expect to find newer titles that cheap either.

Here's what I got on my book binge:

My total for all 5 including shipping was under 40 bucks.

Do you collect decorating books? Please share your favorites!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Deju Vu

Have you seen this room before?

House Beautiful, photo by Jose' Picayo
House Beautiful, photo by Jose' Picayo
House Beautiful, photo by Jose' Picayo
These photos were published in House Beautiful, but it wasn't until I saw the room in Ingrid Abramovitch's book Restoring a House in the City, that I made the connection...

I've been there!

Turns out that these pictures are from the very same home that Chris and I toured during an open house when we were visiting San Francisco last May! 

Seems the homeowners have been doing some redecorating because here's what the room looks like now (photos from the real estate listing).

I keep going back and forth between the two to try and pick out what has changed and what they've kept the same. 

Which do you like better? 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Demolition Day

Chris and I are starting to get good at this.
We managed to remove all the wallpaper, tile, and wallboard from the guest bath in about half a day.
Removing the wallpaper was a dream. Enjoyable almost.
I scored the walls then soaked them with hot water & DIF. It took about 3 passes to get the paper really saturated.
I started to get really excited when I saw the paper pucker.
But I was thrilled when it came down in huge sheets.
Bye bye sailboats. 

Meanwhile, Chris was busy removing the mirror, light fixture,
 and all that brown tile.
 Phew, what a mess.
 Then he removed the old cement board that was behind the tile.
In doing so, he found this:
Who knew our bathroom was last renovated in 1992? Looked totally 80's to me. Interestingly, when we bought the house we learned that this bathroom used to be a bedroom. That would explain why it is so big. No complaints here.

Okay, back to the demo...

Chris got rid of the old tub too.
That black box will eventually be our new shampoo shelf. We were excited to try it out.
Demo done. How I love a clean slate.
Hope the neighbors won't mind looking at the old toilet that's now on our front porch.
Yup, we're classy. Real classy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Small Room, Big Plans

You might be curious to know what we'd like our guest bath to look like once we're finished with it.

Here's what we're planning

1. A DIY silver leafed mirror (image via Restoration Hardware)
2. Beveled edge subway tile inside the shower. We chose tile from Adex.
3. Calcutta gold marble countertop
4. Existing floor
5. Behr paint in "Glimmer"
6. The "Wilshire Triple Sconce" by Restoration Hardware
7. A DIY shower curtain (image via Heirloom Philosophy)
8. The "Lugarno" faucet by Restoration Hardware

Looks good on paper. Now let's see if we can pull it off in real life.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

No Sew Fabric Scrap Placemat

I had some leftover fabric from making the butler's pantry box pleat valance, so I thought I'd use it to make a matching placemat for the dogs' food dishes.

It couldn't have been easier. In fact, this project hardly needs a tutorial because you are basically just sandwiching some fabric and ribbon between two sheets of contact paper, however I did learn a couple of things along the way that you might find helpful.

My materials included a piece of scrap fabric, some leftover ribbon, and clear contact paper.

I measured my fabric 1 inch smaller in the length and width than I wanted the finished placemat to be, then cut out a sheet of contact paper slightly larger than the finished size (you'll trim it later).
Peel back the paper off the contact paper.
 Then place the fabric right side up on top of the sticky side.
 Trim any excessive threads.
 Use ribbon to cover up the raw seam by placing half on the fabric, half on the contact paper.
 When all four sides are finished, cut the second sheet of contact paper larger than the bottom sheet and position it over the ribbon, fabric, and bottom sheet of contact paper.
Make sure all the seams are adhered.
 Trim, leaving about a quarter of an inch of contact paper border.
Oh look, here comes one of the dogs to test it out...
 What do you think, Harry?
I love when my hard work is appreciated.
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