Master Bath Renovation is DONE

We had a busy Labor Day weekend attending our nephew’s beach wedding.  This wedding was a small, intimate family affair full of charm and simplicity.

On the way home it occurred to me that a wedding at the beach is the perfect way to end the official part of summer.  You have the beach, you have romance, and there’s a party! I highly recommend it.

Because of taking off for the wedding, I did not have time before now to do a blog post on the master bathroom renovation.

But it was finished last week.  It’s wonderful to have a beautiful and functional bathroom again.  Did I tell you that my shower had not been operational for a year?  Yeah.  Over a year actually.


The old shower developed a leak that required tiles to be removed in order to repair it.  So we had the leak fixed until we could decide what we wanted to do.
And that took a year.

Let’s take a quick look at where this bathroom began.



What can I say?  It was, and still is, small.  But it’s no longer dated and I have a shower that works.

I knew that I wanted white and I wanted simplicity.  And I am very happy with the way it turned out.








I will probably change that mirror at some point but I have not found anything I love.  
The wall color is Dovetail by Sherwin Williams.


I love the grainy look of these tile floors.  All tile is from The Tileshop.




If you haven’t gotten your fill you can see more about the bathroom reno here and here.

I loved it so much that I started some updating in our other bathroom.  More on that later.


BATHROOM STORAGE

Now that I have a nice new bathroom I want it to stay beautiful (no clutter on the counters!) and function as efficiently as possible. 
Since Mr. DB and I are empty nesters, we each have our own bathroom, which is such a luxury.  I  am able to set up this room to suit only me.

After careful thought, I decided not to have a medicine cabinet in here. I know you don’t see them in beautiful bathrooms these days, but there are some acceptable ones out there.  Ultimately I decided I wanted a beautiful mirror (I have a temporary one while I’m looking).  All the more reason to maximize the space in the vanity.  I found a few ideas on the internet.
I like this idea of placing a corner shelf under the sink in order to use some of that vertical space in this area.  This got me to wondering about other small shelves that could be placed in here.

I found a few good ideas on this website: One Crazy House.  Using the vanity doors keeps you from having to stoop and peer into the dark recesses of the cabinet. This hanging pocket organizer enables you to grab what you need quickly.

This tiered lazy susan is a good use of space as well.

I Heart Organizing is such a good resource for ideas on organizing.  I’m thinking of adding contac paper to the drawers.  It does add something.

I will definitely be using this idea from Martha Stewart of affixing cups to the door for toothbrushes and toothpaste and hairbrushes.  These are the items that always litter my counter!

As I was browsing websites and blogs for ideas I noticed that the blogs had practical, DIY ideas that are easy to adapt to your space while the websites for magazines had pictures of beautiful bathrooms, which often involved a renovation or a carpenter or an extremely skilled DIY person.  I love how blogs keep it real.

Anyway, with these ideas in mind I went off to The Container Store and voila!  I found these acrylic cups (they had lids, which I set aside).  They have a flat side which I attached to the door with Command strips.


I had purchased this organizer for a desk drawer and then never used it. I may change it later but it is doing the job now.

The hairdryer is easy to access on a Command hook on the door.  You can’t see it but I used one of those large cord clips from The Container Store to secure the cord.


My make-up is in these acrylic holders that I used in the old bathroom.  I’m not sure if I will stay with this arrangement but I’m glad to have it out of sight.


And that is my small start to getting things organized in here.  I will live with it for awhile before I make any other adjustments.

While I was at The Container Store I bought a few things to organize under Mr. DB’s sink.  He needed an upgrade.  More on that later.

There has been no word about my shower door, which I am waiting for.  Oh well, it’s not as if I don’t have a place to shower.




BATHROOM RENOVATION, almost done

Our master bathroom renovation is almost done; we are down to the last little bits.
One of those last bits as you can see from the picture is the shower door, or in our case a shower partition.
Our bathroom is so narrow, barely 4 feet wide, that we decided to have a glass partition instead of a door.  I really hope I don’t find water all over the bathroom after my first shower.   I will let you know.

Anyway, this is what we started with:  a 1960 yellow tiled bathroom.


I made a few half attempts at modernizing, meaning I painted the walls.  I then gave up until I could afford the gut job that it needed.
It felt so good when all of that old dated tile was removed.


I chose a long subway tile in gloss white for the shower.  The longer tile adds a nice modern feel.  
And a gray and white penny tile for the shower floor, all grouted in dove gray.  I wasn’t sure whether to go lighter or darker gray.  I ended up going lighter and I’m glad.


I don’t have strong opinions about every little aspect of a renovation.  But there are always one or two things that are must-haves.
In this case, the vanity selection was of utmost importance.  I knew I had to have drawers in the vanity.  Drawers make it so much easier to organize and find your products without standing on your head.
Remember how narrow my bathroom is?  It’s barely 4 feet, which meant the vanity could be no deeper than 18″.  Let me tell you, that really narrows your selection#pun intended.
It took some doing, but my contractor found one, and at Home Depot no less.
Alas, it had a beige countertop#that won’t work.
But we found another vanity with a white countertop in the same size and were able to switch them out.  Yay!


If you remember my before picture the previous vanity had doors enclosing a  cavern of space that was impossible to use efficiently.  Believe me, I tried.

The mirror is okay.  It came with the vanity and I had the contractor put it up until I find something I like better.  I hope it doesn’t take 5 years.
The wall color is Dovetail by Sherwin Williams.  I really love how it makes the white tiles and fixtures stand out.

You can see from the above picture the other details that are waiting to be completed: wall plates, trim by those drawers.

I think I need new towels for my fancy new space!
‘Back next week with the finished space.


6 THINGS I LEARNED FROM SLEEPING IN THE GUEST ROOM

Due to the master bathroom renovation,  I have been sleeping in our basement guest room.  Moving down here, I wondered how I would like it.  I suspected I might find that a few improvements could be made.  After all, I’ve never spent a night in my basement in 18 years of living here.

Well.

I will just say that the experience has not been all I had hoped for.

First, and worst, there was an odor.  You would think I’d notice an odor when preparing the room for my guests.  But prolonged exposure to a room exposes things like mustiness.  We have had quite a bit of rain lately which caused me to wonder if the smell was caused by mildew.  Anyway, off I went to the hardware store to buy Damp-rid to see if that will help.  And I am looking into the purchase of a dehumidifier, like this one.

B0029EGUNG


Secondly, one of the lamp shades was shredding.  Somehow I had previously failed to notice the long threads hanging down, wafting like cobwebs.  That went into the trash and a new one was purchased the next day.  
And, speaking of cobwebs, I knew this to be a problem in the basement.  Except I somehow missed a couple in the windowsills.  Yeah.

If I was staying in someone’s guest room and saw cobwebs and shredded lampshades, I might wonder what else had not been taken care of?#head bowed in shame
Another (number 4) problem I noticed was how completely dark the basement is at night.  Having a few nightlights around is such an easy, thoughtful way to help your guests find their way in the dark.  These electric plates have LED lights on the bottom that are effective and unobtrusive.  They were easy to install too!







Living in this room gave me the time to really look at the decor and assess the feel of the space.  Some of the furniture and the art has an old, hand me down, feel to it.  While I had made a few feeble attempts at modernizing and updating I had not gone far enough.  That chest below is outta here.  Wouldn’t a nice upholstered bench look good at the foot of the bed?





This mini kitchen is located outside the guest bedroom.  I do have some chocolates in the that jar, but how about a few other snacks, like cookies or pretzels?




I made a big push to polish this area a couple of years ago.  I think I probably did my usual “get it almost to the finish line, then get excited about another project”.  Sheesh.  I don’t want to think about the fact that I have had some guests here in the meanwhile.

Lastly,  spending time down here on a regular basis will not only bring life to this area,  but will also help us notice and correct the deficiencies. 

Do you have some neglected, rarely used areas of your house that need attention?

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THE DECORATOR BEE GETS MOTIVATED to organize under the kitchen sink

One reason I love to read blogs is for the  pictures (of course!) but also for ideas  I can use in my home. For ideas I can use I have my favorite go-to blogs, those that inspire me so completely that I get up from the computer right then and go try to create the very effect that I have just read about.

One such blog that always inspires me is IheartOrganizing.  Her before pictures are my idea of organized. 
When I saw this post on under the sink organizing I was immediately motivated. Again, in my world, her before picture looks pretty good.  But, of course, the after is so much better.
When I saw this post, I immediately wanted to create my version, under my kitchen sink.
Since I don’t have quite the same needs I knew mine would be a bit different. Also, I wanted to try and use organizers that I already had without buying anything new.
I was so ready to get going that I forgot to take a picture of the true before with all its chaos.  But here is a picture of the cleaned out cabinet.  You can see that the cabinet floor is damaged from a couple of leaks. 
The plumber did mention that it is optimal to have some air flow in this area.  Thus I do not keep a lot of cleaning supplies here, only the essentials.

Since I had a spare roll of contact paper from another project I used that to cover the cabinet floor.  

The bin on the side has worked well for organizing my dishwasher pods and trash bags, extra sponges. It fits the space just right, spanning the depth of the cabinet and allowing that air flow.

 I spray painted an old round tray white and use that to organize other cleaning products and brushes.  It is easy to grab from there when I need anything.

Keeping the dishwasher pods in the large glass jar is a helpful visual reminder when I am running low and need to add this item to my grocery list.  Same with the trash bags; I see the roll dwindling and add it to the list.

My favorite tip in the IheartOrganizing post was this one:  adding the clear plastic spice rack to the door with the command hooks.  This idea can be used in so many places, like bathrooms, cupboards, closets.  Not that I have done that, but I could.
This little project only took a morning to complete.  I had to run to The Container Store for the spice rack and that took the most time.

So that was one blog inspiration that motivated me to improve an area that I use every day.  I did this a few weeks ago and it still gives me satisfaction every time I go into that cabinet.

See the IheartOrganizing post on organizing under the kitchen sink here.

Have you ever been inspired by a blog post to do something similar in your house?  I’d love to see your pictures!


This and That

I recently had some free time which allowed me to indulge in my favorite hobby of thrift store browsing.  As many have said, shopping at thrift stores is akin to being on a treasure hunt, you don’t know what you will find.
I usually have a somewhat vague list of items I would like to find, but I’m always open to the unexpected.
I thought I would share a few of those unexpected finds from my recent excursion.

I can never pass up an urn of any type.  I knew this lovely blue vase would add charm to so many spaces in my house.  It’s perfect holding the purpley blue hydrangeas from the garden.


I’ve actually had these bottles for awhile.  I got the inspiration to use them in this old candlebox while watching an episode of “Fixer Upper”.  Joanna did something similar with a cute hanging rack.


I collected the small bottles because I wanted to try the sea glass paint by Krylon.  The paint worked pretty well but I never found a satisfying way to display the bottles.  Until now that is.  Thanks Joanna!

Am I the only one that would like to see more of Joanna’s styling and less of Chip’s clowning around?  We see so much of the demolition and construction, but not nearly enough of the styling process to suit me.

This last find may not be as exciting to everyone as it was to me.  I have been on the lookout for any Thomas Keller cookbook every since some friends recommended them.  I hate to spend $50 on a cookbook so I was delighted to find this one for $3.99.  


I enjoy the way these inexpensive purchases motivate me to refresh my space a bit.
And, hopefully, the cookbook will motivate me to try some new dishes.





How to Make a Tomato Sandwich

Mr. DB is  deep into the best part of the garden season, the harvest.  He recently brought home our first homegrown tomatoes of 2017.  That called for the first tomato sandwich of the year.

You might be thinking how hard can this be?  A tomato sandwich sounds pretty simple.  But, as with any recipe, ingredients matter.

Tomato sandwiches must be made with white bread, which I typically do not buy.  But when I do buy it I prefer Pepperidge Farm white.  It has firmness and doesn’t turn to mush from the juiciness of the tomatoes.

Everyone has their favorite mayonnaise.
I grew up with Hellmann’s and so I think it’s the best.  I use their Light mayo and I love it.
Both sides of the bread should be covered generously with the mayo.  
Mr. DB is having bacon on his sandwich.  I am a purist today, tomatoes only.

Don’t forget to salt your tomatoes.

Back in the day our sandwiches were accompanied by large glasses of sweet tea.  Today, we settled for sparkling water.

I’d love to hear how you make your tomato sandwich.  I’m sure there are many variations, probably all good.


Potato Salad

Everyone has a potato salad recipe, right?  And by recipe I mean a group of ingredients in your head that you throw together in a bowl in varying proportions.  No two of my potato salads have ever been alike.
The game changer this time is that I add Greek yogurt and mayo in equal proportions.  I love the creaminess that the Greek yogurt adds.  I made this version earlier this week for some friends and it was a hit.  I couldn’t wait to have the leftovers the next day for lunch.

Creamy Potato Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
28 oz.bag of ruby potatoes.
3 eggs boiled
1/2 c of Greek yogurt (I like Fage 2%)
1/2 c mayo
1 teaspoon of Grey Poupon
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 c celery diced
Boil the potatoes until they are tender.  With the ruby  potatoes there is no need to peel them.  Cut them to bite size pieces.  Chop the eggs and add to the potatoes with the scallions and celery.

In a separate bowl mix the yogurt, mayo and Grey Poupon.  Then pour over the salad.  Of course you can adjust the dressing mixture to your taste.  Then add 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. of pepper.  Again, adjust to your taste.  Chill until serving.

 

These are the ingredients that I prefer but using your own favorites would work too!
 
Enjoy!  And Happy Fourth of July!
 
 

 

Fourth of July

For some reason the Fourth of July always sneaks up me.  It seems as if summer has just gotten underway and then suddenly it’s the Fourth.

This year I have a good reason for my distraction.  We are new grandparents!  Our little granddaughter Hailey was born last week.  I’ve been spending every spare moment staring at her.  I will share a few pics later but today I am focusing on the Fourth, since my family (including Hailey) will be here to celebrate.

 I have been getting out some of my red, white and blue in preparation – at least I will have the decor in place!  Well, maybe I will.  I can be so indecisive on these things sometimes.  But I did set up a non-alcoholic beverage area in the dining room.  I will add an ice bucket later.


I almost forgot my flags!

We will certainly play some games.  Have you ever tried ladder  ladder golf?



This game is truly fun for all ages.  We have had our game for years and no party is complete without playing a couple of rounds.

It’s supposed to be almost 90 here on the Fourth!  I’m not sure how long we will be outside.

I’m still working out my menu.  I have changed my potato salad recipe a bit and I will share that tomorrow.  I’m definitely having potato salad though.  And Mr. DB’s cucumbers are coming in so we may have a cucumber salad too.

I will let you know our final menu.  What do you cook on the Fourth?  Do you always make the same thing or mix it up each year?

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Baby Shower Fun

We had a fun weekend that included a couple of milestone events.  There was a 90th birthday celebration for my mother in law, followed the next day by a baby shower for my daughter.  Holding the events on the same weekend allowed the out of town relatives to attend both parties.
We held the baby shower at my house and I spent last week on all the last minute details.
But we got very very lucky because my daughter won a raffle for a dessert table.  A very talented co-worker of hers is a part time caterer who is seeking to expand her business.  The desserts were incredible to behold.





They were almost too pretty to eat.  Almost.  They were delicious!

We had a few savory treats as well, which did not seem to get in the pictures.  Oh well, pictures of sandwiches are not all that interesting anyway.  We ordered them from Wegmans and they were so good.


Cupcakes arranged in the shape of an initial.  And check out those candy apples!





One of Lilly’s friends planned some fun activities:  an adorable alphabet book made by the guests and a guess the due date calendar.  For the alphabet book, each guest took a letter, drew a picture and wrote the word below.  What a wonderful keepsake this book will become.






There were so many wonderful gifts to start this new baby girl on her way, from the artistic to the practical.

We are feeling quite thankful for this generous and loving group of family and friends.  

The due date is 4 weeks away!