Step 1, Wallpaper!

Well howdy there!

Now that I’ve finished up the fireplace and I’m still scratching my head on the master bath, I think I’ll move on to our powder room.  Why not?!  And this is a project that I want to have done before the holidays – Because I’m a crazy person who likes to be stressed.  Honestly, I’m not sure I can do it, but heck it’s worth a shot!  (Insert my husbands panic here.)

The room right now is ok… It’s covered in wheat colored grasscloth, has travertine floors and a custom (albeit small) vanity from Thailand.  The combo isn’t the worst.  But it’s in NEED of repairs – the wallpaper is lifting above the sink from moisture, the drain isn’t working properly, and the wheat color is kinda blah in a room with zero natural light.  (Never again will I go with a yellow undertone if there are no windows!  Lesson learned.)  Plus, little boys and natural stone are not a good fit – I didn’t know 10 years ago that I’d have so much “splashing” to deal with.  And yelling, “Just sit down!!” or “Watch where you’re pointing that thing!” doesn’t seem to be working.

So, I’m slowly formulating a plan.  I really want to have all the elements ready before I start tearing stuff out.  And I figure the perfect place to begin is with wallpaper!!  I just LOVE wallpaper.  It makes a huge statement, for not too much dough, and it’s fairly simple to put up.  In a powder room I know I can go a bit bolder with my choices and make this tiny bath super fun!  The feeling I’m going for – Fresh, California, Happy, Collected, Fun.

Both bathroom inspo photos – Tracy Hardenburg

I immediately went to Wallpaper Direct and ordered a bunch of samples – 12 actually!  I’ve ordered samples from them before and theirs have always been shipped so nicely and the prices are great!

Here are my favorites…

Banyon Tree,  2.  Dancing Cranes, 3. Kallvik,  4.  Oodi Blue White,  5.  Vertex,   6.  Sussex Downs

As you can see I’m definitely leaning blue, but grey and green are also options.  I think I could honestly make an argument for any of them, but I’m curious which one you’d pick!!

Once I nail that down, I can move on to floor tile and ceiling color decisions.

Or shall I just start demoing this mutha out!?!?

Well Hello, Blue Goddess


Wanna see my new napping buddy?  Hahaha (add 5 more minutes of laughter/sobbing) NAP?!?  HA!  As if!  Okay, well she is a very nice spot to watch Project Runway and Superstore, with my eyes open, surrounded by 4 boys who giggle when models try on clothes or when Glen says just about anything.

After years of waiting and plotting, I have my new sofa.

You can now see that there’s actually a doorway there to the right and hey, walk into the other room… what a concept!  Except that the last sofa completely blocked off this door so we are still walking around like a bunch of idiots.  Habits are hard to break!

I really didn’t change too much to take the photo – I kept lagging because I wanted new pillows and I wanted to restyle the shelves and a new rug… But hey, THAT SOFA IS BEAUTIFUL and so only look there.  I do have plans (don’t I always?) but in time…it’s enough training my wild boys to not spill food or sit on the cushions naked, I really don’t think I could handle rug duty too.

And would you believe this beauty is already over a month old?  And has not been burned to the ground!!  There were a few nay sayers, but I’ve showed them!!  As of yet, I have not removed or washed the cushion covers, but I was told that it may be an ordeal… Like, say what?!

No Cinderella Sofa tale is without a little drama, and mine is no exception.  Originally the plan was for the sofa to be one whole piece.  Then no legos or remotes or ANYTHING could get lost in between the crack.  Well, a few weeks before D-day (delivery day) I get an email that making a 14 foot sofa was just not going to happen.  I could get it in two pieces that would connect together – it would be seamless, it would be perfect.  I wasn’t thrilled, but I kinda figured that might happen.

When she arrived, the delivery guys couldn’t get the two pieces any closer than this.  Oh no, this would not do, so I sent a photo to Clad Home and they called me the next morning and sent a tech within 48 hours to my house.  BOOM.

The guy was super nice and made it right.  That’s when he told me that it may be difficult to put the covers on the bottom cushions.  Of course, you and I both know that I got these specifically so that I could wash them regularly.  So, I have fear in my heart that it’s going to be a P.A.I.N.  But I will let you know when we get there.  Right now, I’m pretty thrilled.  It’s beautiful, comfortable, cleans well with a rag and makes the room look much bigger.

I’m not embarrassed anymore.  There’s that too.

And now I don’t find as much crap IN the sofa and nada underneath it.  Small victories.  We’re all enjoying it… some more than others…

So, that’s all folks!  I did get the fabric we chatted about and it’s on it’s way from Thailand.  And the rug we have now is way too small for the room, so I’m thinking Black Friday deals may be when I pull the trigger on something new… I can train them by then, right?!?

A New Fireplace for Me!


Finally I can check this project off my list!  Yipee!!  It took sooooo much longer than I expected, because of a few issues that I’ll explain later, but thanks be to the diy fairies, it’s DONE!

It all started because one day at the end of summer, I got a wild hair up my parts, and said to the boys, Hey wanna rip out the fireplace??  They were THRILLED.  Like, ran to the garage for hammers and all kinds of dangerous stuff thrilled – and I actually let them (and at some dire parts, welcomed them) in on the action.

I couldn’t believe how long they lasted… Like if demo were a subject in school, my boys would be A++++ students!  We bonded, we got HELLA dirty and got all cut up and bruised.  It was a good two afternoons.  I think they even thought I was cool for about 2 seconds.

Trouble for me set in once I realized that the bottom was never level!!  The back was actually 0.5 inch lower than the front.  This really left me with two options – to either scrape the front down or raise the rear up… I think you know which option I choose!!  Ha!

I ended up using this premixed tile adhesive to build up the back of the fireplace and get the whole thing level.  It was a messy endeavor.  I figured that I’d get it perfect when I went to set the tiles, which is what I ended up doing, but it was super tricky!  In hindsight, I should have gotten it perfectly level first… especially with the tile I selected.  I think with larger tiles it would have been a slam dunk, but with these smaller pieces it wasn’t fun getting them perfectly set on an uneven surface.

For the edges I decided to use a metal tile edge trim!  I wanted the bottom to have rounded corners for safety reasons, so I simply cut the weaved portion and used a 90 degree table corner to bend it into place!  I think it turned out GREAT!  And since I painted it with spray paint (with primer built in) I was able to buy the cheaper trim pieces.  For the top of the fireplace (where one trim piece wasn’t long enough to cover the whole area), I used a hand saw to cut and then join them together at 90 degree angles.  To secure them in place I grabbed my air pressure machine and staple gun.  You could probably use a hand stapler or nail in a few screws but, tools.

For Mother’s Day, I got this super fun Tile Wet/Dry Saw, which worked really well! I was able to set it up in about 5 min and get right to cutting!  Just make sure you put the center piece down or you will get sprayed!!  Other than that, I had a trowel and grout float already, but I grabbed these tile cutters because A. I’m building an arsenal and B. they were great for those onsie twosie pieces in corners.

I didn’t use tile spacers – but they would have come in handy.  I just dirtied up some perfectly good nickels.

After the rigor of the bottom, the sides were a breeze and the underside, a bit more challenging, but still not bad.  I was SCARED all the tiles would fall off, but alas, I kinda did ok.  (SHOCKED that it worked the first time!!)

I grouted with an unsanded mix that I stirred up myself.  After all that cleaning and wiping, the only thing left was to fix up the small space between the fireplace wall and tile edge.  I used some paintable black caulk for that.

All in all, not too shabby!!


I think the trim gives it just that something extra and the tile is beautiful in person!!

I wish my photography skills were on point, but hey, at least I’m ready for some cozy nights by the fireplace!

How about a before and after for funsies?

Now to repaint the sucker.