Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The First Steps

So we have finally started the bathroom renovations! Thank goodness, I was getting antsy. We started with paint, of course, because we don't care about messing up the floor or the rest of the hullabaloo that is in there. The down fall to this is that once we remove the toilet, medicine cabinet and vanity sink combo, I'll have to make some touch ups for those hard-to-reach places. If you have the option of removing said items, then I highly recommend it. Unfortunately having one bathroom does not lend itself to do that option.

Before-Tan walls, brown bath mat. The colors really muted the space.
After- Cotton White with Blue Paradise accent wall.  Makes the space bight and open

We chose to do Cotton White walls on 3 of the walls and Blue Paradise on the wall with the sink, mirror, and toilet. The Blue Paradise is a great accent color to the shower curtain and lovely soap pump that inspired it all. It is by no means a match. I did not want a monochromatic bathroom. In small spaces monochromatic can look lovely, but this tiny bathroom could not handle that. We felt a splash of color would liven things up while the white would definitely brighten things up.  

The white that I went with as stated was, Cotton White, it is a shade darker than a clean bright white. It's amazing how many whites there are to choose from out there. I swear I spent 10 minuets considering my options between 3 different shades! While it is still a clean, crisp white, Cotton White was not as harsh as the Bright White I was considering or as yellow as the Yummy Vanilla that was also in the running. I wanted white, but not sterile white.

I started with the ceiling. I removed the vent and the fan cover first. One because they would be getting their own coat of paint, and two because it really just made sense :). Being 5'2", on a good day, was quite a handicap while painting this ceiling. From now on, this job will be left up to Joe. Because of my height, I will have to go back and do more touch-ups than I was anticipating, but I know it will pay off in the end. This is really a very important step in painting. Always go back and do the touch-ups. It really makes a world of difference in your paint job. Any small blemish can really be an eye sore to the casual on-looker. From there I tackled the walls. Now you may be saying to yourself, "Where is Joe during this?" Well, he had the luck of being at work :). 

Before Ceiling- Dingy with mold and mildew stains. Vent and fan covers yellow with age and  dirty, dirty, dirty

2 coats and newly spray painted fan cover and vent make each appear like new! Total cost of project $2.47 
I highly recommend patients while painting in tight quarters. Take your time and make sure you have the time to do so. I ran into many problems while painting this tiny room. The roller was too large for a space, I didn't have the height, the extender was hitting the wall, or my big butt was removing the coat I put on. Like I said, patients is most needed for small spaces. Also, please make sure you have a variety of tools to paint a small space. I know this is a mistake I will not be making again. In my haste to get this part of the project rolling, I did not prepare well. 
Before-Drab colors, muted and blending into everything made the bathroom dark and unwelcoming.

After- A touch of color make the bathroom open and inviting

I ended my last post with the #1 rule of working with small spaces, know what you are working with, and I broke it left and right during this project. I ended up with far too much paint and not enough wall to use it on, and I did not have all the necessary tools to use. All in all, the paint was applied to the walls as I wanted and the finished product looks better than I was expecting. But, because of the rule breaking, I'll have to do more touch-ups than wanted. 

Next on the bathroom agenda, it's demolition time! This is really the part I have been waiting for. Ridding this space of 1992 for good. Getting rid of that tired sink vanity combo and the medicine cabinet that is really an eye sore. I would love to do the floor and remove/replace these items at the same time, but as stated earlier, having one bathroom makes that option not ideal. Once these pieces are in, it'll be floor time! By doing the floor last we won't have to worry about adding missing pieces if something is not the same size. This will really keep the job from looking piecemeal. 

I hope you enjoy these early before-and-after photos. I apologize for the angles - it really is a small space!

Friday, June 24, 2011


With any new project, research is key. I have been searching home improvement websites, contacting family, and skimming any home magazine I can find to improve my skills. From what I have found, I can do anything, as long as I have the right attitude, tools, and the right measurements.

When we first looked at this house, we ran practically screaming out the door. In fact, we didn't even step foot inside the door once it was opened. The problem? Not the size, but the stench. After much consideration, we decided on a second look. With hands appropriately clamped to noses, we ventured inside. What we found was a house with a simple design and a gorgeous picture window in the living room. Once we found out the bank was going to pay for paint and new carpet we were sold. This is where the right attitude comes in. We - I - had to get my head around space, or lack there of.

Working with small spaces can feel daunting. The space is small, but the ideas are large. This is a problem I was finding within myself. Many of the ideas I originally had for the house were just not practical. Hence why research is so important. I have started to grasp the small space design scheme.

While waiting on Joe to meet me at one of our favorite restaurants, Laurienzo's, in Mt. Airy, I stepped inside a joining store. An eclectic type store that has trendy items along with antiques. Sitting on a table at the front of the store was a book, "Small Spaces, Maximizing Limited Spaces for Living," by Elizabeth Wilhide.

How perfect! Sometimes websites and magazines just don't have enough information. I think I even gave out an audible "Hell Yeah!" in the store when I saw this book. I was so excited that I found a whole book dedicated to small spaces. I wasn't even looking for that. I was just wasting time :). Who needs more than 942 sqft? Not this couple! Now, I realize if I stepped inside a Barnes and Noble there is probably a whole section dedicated to this subject, but as I said, I wasn't in this store looking for small-space design books, so I felt it was meant to be, and I bought the book without even looking at the price. The smart shopper in me was not around to talk some sense in me. I immediately began reading, which in turn made me late for dinner.

I couldn't wait to get home to really read this sucker. The biggest thing I am taking away form this book is keeping that right attitude, and utilizing the positives of having a small space to decorate. For example, since there is less surface area to cover with flooring or paint, we have a little extra to spend on small details, which really pull a room together. Unlike a website or magazine, this book has helped me look at ever corner as an opportunity instead of frustration. I am now visualizing ways to use that tiny corner as storage! With all this research, I am realizing that some of my original ideas don't need to be tossed out the door, but tweaked.

Research has also shown that not all small spaces have to be white and sterile looking. Color is an option, people! Don't be afraid to go bold, but be careful on how you use it. A wall of a bold color, or a splash of color with a vase or inside a bookcase can go a long way. Also, just because it's white doesn't mean it has to look sterile. In my head, I'm knocking down walls and tearing up new carpet. In reality we're still starting in the bathroom :).

Paint is on the agenda this weekend along with a new fan and light. You've seen the inspiration so let's hope the finished project turns out. We'll be measuring twice and sketching to make sure it fits. Rule #1 of a small space design, know what you're working with!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bathroom inspiration

So I'm wandering through a local store, think red, with my mom on a mission, finding inspiration for the one, yes one, tiny bathroom in our home. It's almost a blessing because bathrooms can be scary to decorate. So having only one in this house may turn out to be a good thing. So we're walking and chatting, sharing the latest gossip, making our way to the bath section, when I see it - a small soap pump. I knew as soon as I saw it I was sold.
Being a smart shopper, I breezed by it, only taking a quick peek. We browsed through the bath section commenting on this is nice or that is nice, but I couldn't get this soap pump out of my head. Silly as it seems, it was calling to me. So after much processing, I held it. After that it was all over. Finding coordinating pieces, and thinking of paint colors to match, imagining how the new floor will look with this small soap pump flooded my mind. 

Needless to say the bathroom will be the first project. It is a very dated space. Our house was built in 1992 and it shows. Our goal with the bathroom is to lighten up the space while giving it that sanctuary feel as all bathrooms should have. A place of solitude to attend to your needs.

On the agenda first is paint. The ceiling is in dire need of refreshing, and the walls leave a lot to be desired. We'll be adding a new fan with a light to improve the lighting in the bathroom. We'll be tearing down dated medicine cabinets and demolishing a child-sized toilet, updating light fixtures and faucets, as well as adding visual interest with shelving. 

The ball is rolling on this project so please be patient as pictures are soon to come. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! 

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Beginning

In our quest to make our new house a home, Joe and I decided to start a blog. We felt that this was the best way to share all the upgrades and updates we make to family and friends. Bare with us as we stumble through this process. We are new to home ownership and to blogging.

Our house consists of 942sqft of small house love. We share this tiny space with one big Newfoundland, Sweetums, one tiny Boston Terrier with attitude, Poe, and one petite kitty cat, Tilly. Join us as we learn, love and live :)

As we go through this process, we welcome any advice, as most of these projects will be DIY projects. Renovating is something that is completely new to Joe and myself as neither one of us has used more than a hammer or screwdriver. Our goal is to become savvy do-it-yourselfers, as well as share with you how to embrace a small space and make it something to love instead of loath. We hope you enjoy!