30 July 2014

Bungalow Update: Bathroom Reno

As you know from my most recent 'lately' post, Maple and I have ourselves a new little bungalow in a charming downtown neighborhood that we are head over heels smitten with. It's 90-years-old and filled to the brim with historic charm. But, being that it's 90-years-old, it of course required a bit of revival work, and that bungalow charm didn't exactly carry all the way through the entirety of the home...

...Like...that bungalow charm didn't even exist in the bathroom. Not even remotely. (Except for the window and the tub!) Not only was the bathroom 110% lacking in terms of aesthetics...with its vinyl paneling, yellowed linoleum flooring, janky built-in storage...but it had a DROP CEILING. (So did the kitchen, but that's another story.) Yes, I said a DROP CEILING. Pretty much my arch-nemesis. And no, not a pretty drop-ceiling with architectural paneled tiles...but the kind of drop ceiling that I'm sure 99% of you had in your elementary school that so badly needed a reno...the kind that looks smashingly similar to asbestos...the kind that is porous and horrible and ridden with really harsh and terrible fluorescent lighting...and therefore that harsh and terrible plastic light panel. Yep...it was bad. See for yourselves:

Okay, I know....I've seen worse, too...but it was most certainly not the clean-feeling, serene bathroom that Maple and I were wanting for our little house (the door is blocking the view of the built-in storage that used to flank the left-hand wall). But that tub is cool, right? And the window...it's good and charming...especially now that its roller shade is in the trash.

So, we initially decided we could live with a few minor upgrades, and someday make this bath into the bath of our dreams when we added onto the house. But for now removing the drop-ceiling, changing out the flooring, and installing a new vanity would suit.

And then we removed the drop-ceiling.

And then this happened.


Long story short: the drop ceiling was covering terribly cracked plaster. We were expecting that, yes, but not to the extent that it was damaged. And, the paneling didn't extend to the ceiling...only to where the drop track was installed. To repair the ceiling and top section of the wall would've been a pain, and we would've still been living with dingy paneling. So off came the paneling. And with it the horse-hair plaster. And with it the termite-damaged lath and wall joists. And the janky built-ins. the stained linoleum. And the water-damaged subfloor (which could've easily crumbled beneath the extreme weight of that cast iron tub, which is original to the house). You get the point--it ALL CAME OUT. And it feels SO MUCH BIGGER!

Andddd out came the toilet. And my amazing handy Maple (and his equally handy brother) ran new plumbing and moved the toilet to the opposite side of the bathroom (where the built-ins used to live) to make room for a long vanity. Other pipes were replaced, and the subflooring was installed, and the tub was cleaned and recoated with black Rustoleum paint (90 years of cobwebs = not okay).

Yep, the tub made its little home in the nook of the hallway for awhile. P.S. how cool is that mercury glass pendant light? Another one of those 'original charm' pieces we lucked into. 

We had to push the pause button on the bathroom while the hardwoods got refinished, but now we're in full-on finish it mode. Maple's been laying backer board for flooring tile, and prepping for other necessities. And I've been doing my research/planning/designing...trying to come up with a cost-effective aesthetic solution that looks super clean and polished and...not-so-cost-effective.

So I've been channeling the likes of Darryl Carter's well-edited and understated simplicity:

I mean, that Darryl is just crazy brilliant...don't you agree?

I've also found inspiration in these bathrooms...with their neutral palettes and black tubs (for that crisp, masculine design emphasis that's greatly needed). I also wanted to keep the tub black to really draw one's eye in and anchor the room, since mostly everything else will be in the white palette.

So this week we will begin installing sheets of 2x4 Carrara marble for the flooring. I wanted to keep it simple and classic (and elegant), so I chose this for our material:

And then I scored an amazing lucite tiered chandelier from my best friend ebay:

We finally decided that we'll be cladding the walls in floor-to-ceiling beadboard. Drywalling was our original plan...but it takes so long and creates such a mess. It's also pretty permanent. We eventually want to run plumbing to the upstairs, and add a master bathroom directly behind this one you are seeing, so we thought it best to leave the wall framing fairly accessible. Beadboard would be sort of easy to remove and reinstall when that stage of our house reno ensues.

So beadboard the walls will be. And a simple linen shower curtain will soften the room but keep things very natural, serene, and sophisticated.

Gorgeous turkish guest towels will hang on individual hooks, or a shaker-style coat rack...

And someday in the near-ish future we will build-in some solid cabinets and shelves above the newly moved toilet to really enhance our storage capacity. And someday I will clad them with leaded glass door fronts (sigh)...much to the likes of this built-in inspiration above.

So there you have it. Our bathroom update. It may be awhile until I'm comfy enough to show you the real finished and styled deal...but I'm sure you'll receive some updates along the way. And soon I'll give you a new bungalow tour. But for now I'm calling it a day :)


11 July 2014


Feeling a bit chaotic this week...aka...overwhelmed. Lots going on, with our new (old) house under repair/reno, a tight move-in deadline, our current property in need of showing and renting, design projects, and a bebo on the way...who's starting to grow...and slow me down. All good things, though, I must add (truly...I am by no means complaining). But regardless, I'm feeling the need for some mind (and stress) clearing simplicity...and inspiration. And what accomplishes that better than a summer palette of soft and serene neutrals?

Quiet. Calming. And perfect. No?

Hope your weekend is simple...and perfect.

01 July 2014


I'm not sure where time goes these days. Life seems to be incessantly hectic. I always think it's just a phase--that things are going to slow--and I'll be able to drink every day in and really enjoy it--but that pretty much never happens. But busy is good. And we've certainly been busy! Here's a little glimpse into our lately (in no particular order):

The amazing team at Home Depot asked me to participate in another patio style challenge (remember my courtyard update from last spring?). This time it was a 'patio redux'--reusing the same furnishings, but freshening things up and adding to the mix. Here's a little glimpse at the photoshoot -- my friend and photographer, Geneva, and her insanely cute shoes.

Backyard bliss...again...thanks to Home Depot. 
I'll be sure to blog the link when my patio redux goes live! 

Maple and I spent a week beach-bumming it with my family. The solitude and salty sea air was everything and more that we needed...I tried so hard to relish every ounce of it!

It was bebe's first trip to the beach (ha!). Here we are...5 months along...just starting to show. You know...that point where everyone on the beach wonders if you ate too much ice cream for lunch (and yes, I did).

Hubby and I broke away from the oceanfront, and reminisced in Charleston for a few days. We paid homage to our favorite fooderies (made up word...yes...), and a few newbies that we were dying to try, like Leon's. It was nothing short of amazing, I tell you. I ate there twice...in two days...

And as if the food isn't enough to draw you to Leon's...just look at that decor. Simple and perfect.

Sweet tooth had to be satisfied by my favorite gem of a bakery, of course. 

And, back in Lexington, design projects are rolling right along. This one's taking shape as a dapper dude office space/bachelor pad studio. I snapped this pic right after cabinets were installed, but so much has taken shape since! Flooring is in...counters are on...appliances are installed...furnishings are arriving...and a custom concrete vanity gets installed this week in the bathroom. Can I move in? 

Umm...speaking of moving...Maple and I bought our third little casa. You see, the downtown cottage where we currently live was purchased as an investment property (it's actually zoned commercial). We said we'd live in it for a year or so until it was ready to be rented. Well, bebe came along this winter, and suddenly this one bedroom building on a super noisy street was no longer cutting it. It was a hellacious process (aka we are both self employed aka banks hate us)...and I recommend you never step foot into a for sale by owner without a realtor (so worth their fees, people), but we finally, finally closed! And this charming bungalow in the downtown neighborhood of our dreams is where Maple, Poppy, and girlfriend now call home. And it feels dang good.

Well...we almost call it home. Of course this girl wanted to make a few minor changes, so we are painting (and painting...and painting)...reworking a few ceilings and a bathroom...and refinishing those floors back to their 100-year old glory. And then we will move...and it will all be worth it.

Meanwhile, the bump is steadily progressing...

Into a full-fledged seven-month baby belly. And I couldn't be more thrilled. I never really knew if I'd like being pregnant...it always seemed so foreign and I honestly rather dreaded it. But, friends, it's been so fun, and I am already super sad that we're rounding third base and nearing the home stretch. Must relish these last few months! 

And there you have it. 
Our little lately.