The Light is Here!

I enter my last semester of grad school tomorrow. I can’t believe it. I’ve had people start asking for interviews at work and I’m freaking out. I don’t feel like I’m knowledgable enough yet to start this new role. But it’s here, the light can be seen!

I started the first floor bathroom reno over Christmas break after having my beloved noir hex tile since last year’s President’s Day sale. The bathroom looks great, though many finishing touches still need to be had. I’m struggling with the hand towel and what that will look like, but more importantly where it will go. I’m thinking a hook between the mirror and door since there is no good place for a towel rack (except for maybe above the toilet) and a towel ring just seems too big. 

I’m envisioning a hanging planter in front of the window. A toilet paper holder under the window. A basket under the sink cabinet. Some art. No rug–I like the floor too much. Plus, smaller tile=more grout lines=less slippery :) Not to mention, in a bathroom that we never use the shower.

I really wanted an olive linen-like shower curtain but couldn’t find one.The graphite one I picked is a beaut, but makes inside the shower super dark., though I guess an olive colored one would do the same.

I wanted a cognac wooden elongated mirror, but couldn’t find one. I feel like I’ve settled, but I had little time and ultimately could return them if my dream piece is reasonable.

I spent more money ($70 a piece) than I ever wanted to on a mirror and shower curtain, but what gives?

The door still needs to re-hung. But I’m enjoying the view from the kitchen of the wood planks too much. Plus my #1 is out of town ;) I’ll apologize for the iphone photos at night now. See you in 5 months!!

Unexpected Wallet Emptying

Late last year I was sick of not being able to clean my shower. The tub had lost its top layer and was looking dirty constantly. It also had a few dents.

The faucets leaked at the handles. I wanted someone to replace these, and clean my shower tile well, then seal it. See the huge dent below the faucet?

There had been tile placed as the baseboards, which I thought dated the entire room. I wanted it gone and replaced with crisp white wood baseboards. I asked for a new toilet for my birthday in September for these reasons:

That is not poop. I like clean things and none of these were helping me achieve a clean bathroom. After living this way for 2 years, I wanted them fixed.

So after having my dad remove my vanity and toilet I hired out to have a new tub placed and removal of the tile baseboards. AKA my first contractor experience. Aside from my uncle who did my roof and skylights last year.

Here’s the new shiny tub :) . What I didn’t know was that he would need to remove some tile to insert the new tub. Enter the unexpected mess: finding matches. The tile backsides were red, same as the floor’s. They don’t make them that way anymore. They may have been Mexican or Spanish tiles. So to find matches to replace around the tub was a nightmare, and then basically ended. I decided over night to rip everything out and replace with new tile, instead of replacing the space with completely different tile, like an accent strip.

I went with standard white subway tiles. I thought it was classic, clean, and cheaper than something fancy.

To save money, I went with chrome instead of brushed nickel. I also only opted to get one shelf for shampoo bottles, and one soap dish per #1′s request. I’m really trying to cut back the amount of “product” I use. I only wash my body about once a week, with Lever 2000 (also my #1′s). We share shampoo. Most recently we’re using Dermorganics, but I also have the Honest Co. My contractor informed me that all of the pink scum that builds up in your shower is from soap and shampoo dyes. Gross. I’ve really been trying to watch chemicals and additives in my daily living. And by watch, I mean, rid.

The grout I chose was light grey, not sure what it was called. The contractor used a grey caulk to bead around the tub and up the corners of the walls. Sorry for the iphone pics.

My dad replaced the new toilet and put the vanity back after he cut and installed the new baseboards. I painted and caulked. Here is the after:

I’m pretty pleased. However, my wallet isn’t. This cost about $2,000, not including the work my dad did or the new toilet. I was hoping to spend about $800. Surprise! Oh, the joy of owning a house. :) I’m a perfectionist and notice the smallest imperfections (like a small hole in the grout that one would need a magnifying glass to see) while I’m showering almost daily. Which is why I’d like to tackle our first floor’s bathroom with the help of my dad. Hey, when I fork out big bucks, I expect it to be perfect.

Who’s with me?!



I bought this adorable hanging planter from Ikea, but can’t decide where to put it! I thought the colors would go great in the office, but with the vaulted ceilings it’s not working out.

RISKORN Hanging planter IKEA A plastic inner pot makes the plant pot waterproof.

Once my generous cousin does my taxes, I’m hoping to re-do the first floor bathroom with my returns. Paying off student loans or redoing the bathroom? Easiest. decision. ever. Not really, but I’m 90% sure it’s happening. Maybe this cute planter could hang from the ceiling in front of the window in there.

The bathroom needs a new floor, paint and removal of the tiled walls. They are cracked and sunken and ugly. We’ve lived with it for almost 3 years. The toilet, sink and tub are newer, and the tile in the shower has been updated. This is what I’m thinking:

Better After | Bathroom Makeover. Love the wall color & board and batten together.

Similar floor, paint and wall coverings. Not sure on the paint, but I’m loving the moody grey-blues. This 2 inch marble hex tile is so dreamy, but would probably cost $500 alone. AmIinsane? I want to tackle all the this with my dad. I’ve been dying to learn to tile, everyone else is doing it!

The paneling will hopefully make it easier to hide the mess we’ll remove off the walls. I’m sure there will need to be some patching of drywall, especially if I want to achieve this desired look:

floor to ceiling board and batten bathroom - Google Search

Lastly, if time and money allow, I’d like to make the ceiling above the shower as high as the ceiling in the rest of the room. Not much light gets into the shower because the opening now is so small. Hopefully this will make the room look bigger and I will be able to buy a longer shower curtain as well. A new mirror will be in order, and maybe a new light. I’d love a pendant… I’ll keeping stalking Pinterest for ideas.

I’m hosting 2 showers at my house this spring. It’d be a miracle if this was complete for at least one of them!

Do you think I’ve exceeded my tax return yet?

Radiant Books and A Sleeping Pup

The book self and TV moved to our bedroom from the office a month or so ago, and it’s dangerous. Some days I am tempted to stay in bed and watch the local news all day. Three years of bunny ear antennas will do that. I attempted a rainbow scheme to display our books, but quickly learned it was a gradient I created. Oliver hasn’t noticed. It’s not permanent, but provides the pop of color(s) I was going for in our neutral bedroom.

Yeah, you saw correctly, there’s more than one of Kate Gosselin’s books. They didn’t make the garage sale pile. Murder me.


Office Photo Dump

I’m happy. The office is ready for us to put long hard hours of work in there. But am I ready? It doesn’t matter, it’s coming anyway.

The lamps are dark. I’ve lived with them this way for a couple weeks and they’ve grown on me, but I think I may ultimately change their base color. I borrowed  a spare chair that I used at my desk as a child at my dad’s house. He gave it to me when I moved in and it’s been sitting in the guest bedroom. I haven’t found a permanent chair for my desk yet. I like the wood feel of this one, it ties into the small wooden lamp on my #1′s desk.

It’s a bold difference from the color I’m used to using. But it’s a nice view from the hall. The curtains compliment my hallway DIY art.

This is real life. Used desks and working computers with TWO keyboards and TWO mice mouses?

Those books are for ONE class, and it’s not stats. Yikes. I made the art on the wall near my desk for inspiration. The photo on my desk is more inspiration. It’s a photo of my #1 and I laughing during a card game on spring break when we were in college. It’s inspiration to get through school, which equals increased salary, which equals more money to go on vacations, which equals laughing and playing cards on the beach with the people I care about.

My fig plant (courtesy of IKEA) is struggling. But he’s hanging on. Maybe it’s his cry for needing a prettier pot.

I love these colors and books that speak to my #1′s heart. Surfing, motorcycles, and Hawaii. I may have sneaked “Fix it in a Flash” and “Rules for my unborn Son”.


This lamp and it’s polka dot shade is the

It’ll do, eh?

Our Office is Singing the Blues

Our office is painted. IKEA furniture is assembled and in it’s place. The curtains are in the dryer, awaiting ironing and ready to be hung. The office is almost “finished”. I still need a rug, a desk chair, to hang art, and paint some lamps. Lucerne by BM was the color we chose. Disclaimer: I’m a light and cool person, not a bold and masculine person. The color is not horrible dark, but at night, forget it.  The room has 3 flood lights on a track that came with the house, plus a window and skylight which only add mood lighting. I’ve added 3 lamps on our desks to brighten this space up at night so we don’t go blind. Day time lighting isn’t bad, that is if the sun would shine! COME ON SPRING!!

I can’t wait to call this space ‘finished’ and get school started you three the final pics!

High Hung Remix

The curtains have been hung for almost 3 weeks.

I’ve really grown to like them. They were another sweet Christmas present from my sweet mom (hi mom). I searched for curtains for while, wanting something bright with fun design. But I didn’t want this room to be too busy, and if I changed the wall color, or pictures, or couch, I didn’t necessarily want to replace the curtains. I also wanted to possibly use the same curtains in the dining room since the two rooms flow into each other. Ultimately I went with something neutral. They are the Farrah Cream curtains from Target. At $16.99 a panel, I  my mom couldn’t beat it.

Believe it or not, I did iron these! I searched long and hard for cheap curtain rods too. They don’t exist. At least not my standard of cheap, especially when I needed a long one. So I made these. I bought 3 of these rods from Home Depot. Electrical Conduits. Don’t ask me about their intended use. These are 10 feet long and $4 a pop. I brought them home, spray painted them oil rubbed bronze, measured them out, and cut to size.

The windows by the fireplace only allowed for me to hang the curtains 9 inches from the window frame without hitting the wall, and 2 inches into the mantle.

The front window allowed for 12 inches on either side of the window frame. I wanted the curtain to just graze the window frame. This makes the window look bigger and does not block any light from entering the room.

The brackets also came from Home Depot. A set of 2 with hardware ran me about $4 each. The ring clips came from IKEA. Which are by far the cheapest out there. A set of 10 for $3.99 was a dream. The curtains could have just slid onto the rod, but I opted for the ring look.

All said and done for these 3 windows it cost roughly $115. Minus my Christmas gifts, my cost was only $47! And that I can’t beat.

A little before and after:

My curtains touch the ground. That wasn’t my goal, but it happened. I intended for the rods to hang higher near the crown molding. But after holding it there, it looked weird touching the molding. So we brought it down a few inches and now they touch the ground. I could lose the rings and be fine, but I think it looks delicate this way.

My DIY rods don’t come without flaws. My conduit rods are slightly thicker than my brackets, so they are just resting on them. I could attempt to get them in, but then my curtains will touch more of the floor, and worst of all, I could crack my plaster walls by forcing them in. So I’m leaving them be. Did you even notice that?

My rods could also chip since there are spray painted. These curtains are decorative. They will not be sliding back and forth against the painted rods. My white blinds will hide our faces at night from the outsiders.

I bought cheap finials from IKEA too, which I didn’t use. Did you notice? Does my rod look naked? They are VERY simple:


But there is nothing to screw these into at the end of the conduit. I thought about a glue and electrical tape concoction. Instead, I’m leaving them be. More industrial, with very clean lines.

As for the dining room and using matching curtains (since I have all the rod supplies now), Target was SOLD OUT of the 95” curtains! Until yesterday….

Closet Reorganization

Our closet shelves and floors needed some love. Our closets have slanted walls which leaves lots of unused space in the back and narrowed shelves on top.

Or, maybe we just have too much stuff. That is really the truth of it all. So, I went out and got some more things…

I purchased some bins at the dollar store for $1 to give items on the shelf a home.

Obviously jeans and such won’t fit in the bins. Hats, tennis shirts, tanks, and shorts did find a new home. Hopefully these things find their way BACK home. The before and afters don’t do much for the outsider, but it feels more organized to us.

Shoes were all over, especially in my closet, in boxes and lined on the floor. I found these nifty shoe organizers at IKEA for $6 that made for more floor space.

And my #1′s side: with a shoe rack, and another bin for winter accessories.

I also used a few command hooks for necklaces. I have a hanging jewelry organizer, but these chunky necklaces that are now in style were not fitting.

Unused space in the upper corner of my closet is where they are now living. There is definitely more room for other things, like bracelets, in the future.

Now I’m searching for some type of drawer system to fit under the hanging clothes for our clothes that are not in season.

Spring cleaning is approaching, or maybe even in progress. Consignment shops are on my list of errands, to drop off items we no longer use. I’ve also started a garage sale pile in the basement. Our city doesn’t have a “city wide” garage sale day, so maybe I’ll haul everything to my mom’s neighborhood for theirs, just like I did last year.

Happy Spring Cleaning!


Office Inspiration

As grad school approaches, I wanted to get the office in order. My #1 starts his MBA program this summer too. He scored a 710(!) on his GMAT (thanks for letting me brag on him). He’s still deciding on which school to attend, though he’s pretty much welcome anywhere. Xavier accepted him the SAME DAY he applied. Say What?! Oh, the life of a genius…

Last weekend we made the hike up north to IKEA. I needed a desk, and we wanted to check out their options for better storage to make the office more user friendly. We came home three hours later with a station wagon full of boxes.

My #1 has generously allowed me to be a part of his office. Moving his desk to left side of the room will allow for more ceiling to floor wall space. My new desk could then fit in the small nook next to the closet, which will allow the surf- photo gallery wall to be open. The bookcase/ TV stand and TV might live there, or find a new home in another room.

I bought TWO parson desks at IKEA because I couldn’t believe how cheap they were. I’ve been eyeing one for the craft room. I needed space to wrap presents and craft, so I bought one for that room too. $15 for the legs and I bought 2 different sized tops: $6 for the office one and $16 for the craft room top. Done.

VIKA AMON/VIKA ADILS Table IKEA The high gloss surfaces reflect light and give a vibrant look.

My #1 has a ton of junk stuff that needs a home. Electronics, magazines, books, ticket stubs, small trinkets, etc. Mostly it’s stored in shoe boxes or larger moving boxes in closets that have never been unpacked. In IKEA’s showroom, right next to the parson desk I was eyeing sat this bookcase:


He really liked it and picked it out all on his own. It had glass jars, white cardboard boxes and magazine holders in it, as well as books. He bought all it’s components to hold all of his stuff. I liked this cabinet because it’s exactly that. It has hidden storage as well as a glass display on top to show off prettier things. I like the big glass jars as alternative storage devices too.

We decided to pick out paint and get the office painted prior to loading everything upstairs. Ugh, picking out paint! I tend to always lean towards a light grey blue that looks almost exactly like our entire upstairs. I needed something DIFFERENT! My #1 said to pick 5 colors I like and then he’ll choose. If he had his way it’d be a rich dark ocean blue. But I thought that was too much for such a small room. I found 5 swatches which were all similar light blue-greens. I sat on those this week and finally decided I needed 5 different colors. Then, YHL announced their Ben Moore 2013 paint picks, and a couple dark blues stuck with me. Lucerne by BM:

The office is small, but has cathedral ceilings, and 2 windows that bring in a lot of light. I plan to paint the ceiling this color too for better flow. With light accents such as pillows and art, I think this color will work.

My dark grey curtains will be too dark with this color. I found these super affordable curtains at IKEA for $25 for the PAIR, AND they’re 95”.

JANETTE Curtains, 1 pair IKEA Eyelet heading works on curtain rods.

This family room will be my new inspiration. With Lucerne on the walls, the white bead board as our bookcase and new desk, and the grey couch as my #1′s desk, I’m in awe.

I emailed the color swatch, curtains, and this photo to my #1, and got the response “It looks rad!” Sold.


PS. Maybe I’ll use this same color for the craft room too. I’m not enjoying the pale green in there of late. And this inspiration photo with the bright white bead board is making me dislike it even more.

You’ve Got Mail

Christmas gifts are just now getting put to good use, as it took us nearly a week to get adjusted to the eastern standard time zone. We’ve been hating on our mailbox since the day we moved in, and I’ve even heard my mailman bully it. It was small! Greeting cards didn’t even fit in it, nor magazines (that we get a lot of). It was rusting, the whole front would fall whenever we simply tried to retrieve our mail.

I’d been eyeing this mailbox on Pottery Barns website for over a year, but never could bring my self to pay Pottery Barn prices. So I asked for it for Christmas, and got it from my dear aunt, who also gifted “You’ve Got Mail”.

My #1 hung it and we’ve all been enjoying it, even the mailman! Should I apologize for the iphone pictures? Nah, but seriously, I’ve got to find my Nikon’s battery charger! Last seen: Asia : /