String Art

Our cousin Jackson has been doing some really cool things lately.  He’s making string art, and he’s really good at it!  He’s done a few pieces for some family and friends and has decided to start selling them.  He takes pieces of wood and stains them, then creates designs with nails and string.  He made us one for Henry’s nursery that I just love!!  It goes so well with all the other wood and rustic pieces I used in the nursery decor.  He’s about to work on a really big piece for Greg’s new office.  It’ll be the Vehicle Media logo, and I know it’s going to look really awesome and unique.

If you’d like one of these art pieces for your home, contact Jackson Schnell at  Just let him know what you have in mind and he can whip up a design just for you!  Here’s a few pieces he’s made so far…

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Bath Reno 2- Tile Work

Taking a study break for a quick bath reno update.  So the guys were here working all day Thursday and then all day again today.  We are less than a week into this project and honestly, there’s probably only about 2 more days of work left and it’ll be complete.  Best. Reno. Ever. 😉  My last update was on day 2 of this project and the shower had been prepped, the plumber had adjusted the height of the shower fixtures (since we converted from tub space to shower space), and the bathroom floor tiles had been laid.  The guys couldn’t come Friday since Greg was out of town and I had to work.  So Thursday they started the shower tiles, and today they finished all the tile work (minus grouting, that’s for tomorrow).

Feb26-bathreno2 (1) Feb26-bathreno2 (3) Feb26-bathreno2 (4)There was some debate on the tile for the shower niche.  I originally planned to do the herringbone pattern (which is also on the shower floor) in the niche, but once we got the marble subway border up, Greg felt it would be too busy to mix the tiles.  We took pics of our options and I looked at more Pinterest pictures online for some guidance.  I was a little worried my pregnancy state of mind might be leading me into a bad decision.  In the end, I didn’t have enough confidence in my choice and feared an “I told you so” moment.  So I went with Greg’s choice and did all marble subway tile for the niche.  Thankfully, I love how it turned out!  I still don’t think I would have disliked my choice, but I’m happy with his too. 😉  And actually, I did the same thing with grout options.  I wanted it to be dark enough to see the brickwork pattern in the subway tiles, but didn’t want to go too dark and make it too contrasted  So I sent Greg a picture of 2 colors I had narrowed down and said, “which one?”  Sometimes I like not having to make all the decisions. I like that Greg has an opinion (ya know, sometimes, haha).  It takes the stress off of me when I can just say, “what do you think” and he just makes a decision.  Teamwork. 🙂

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So here’s where we stand at the end of work day 4.  Tile work is done.  Grouting will be completed tomorrow along with installing the baseboards.  The rest of the bathroom still looks a little disastrous, but that’s because we didn’t strip the walls down to the studs on that half of the bathroom.  Our plan is to get a painter out to strip the ceiling, sand down and possibly re-mud some patchy spots on the walls, and then repaint.  Nothing major.  After that, the plumber will come back and install the shower fixtures, toilet and sink. And we will pretty much be done! 🙂   I’m pumped!

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Bath Reno- Take 2

I worked yesterday, but Greg kept me updated on bathroom demo!  There was lots of progress made on day 1. All the demo was completed and the plumber moved the bath drain, raised the height of the shower faucet controls and shower head (tall people can now comfortably shower in our home 😉 ), and began prepping the toilet and sink plumbing.  So here’s how the first day of renovations went…

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Today, the guys came back for another long day of hard work.  The walls went back up, the shower floor was prepped and concrete was poured, and the bathroom floor tiles were laid.  It’s coming along!  Tomorrow is tile day in the shower (I’m really excited about that part!).  Greg had a good idea to do a border around the shower walls, so I took a trip to Lowe’s today to get some of the same marble subway tiles we used in my bathroom.  The walls in the shower will be solid white subway tiles with 2 layers of marble tiles around the middle perimeter. The shower floor will be herringbone marble tile.  This project has been such a breeze compared to last time.  Here’s how day 2 unfolded…

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Here We Go Again…

Remember that other bathroom we have?  The “master” bath…which is so far from being masterly.  We’ve had it on our to-do list to renovate for years.  We did the hall bathroom first (because it’s the one people see the most and the one I use on a daily basis).  But the other bathroom has been needing some attention for quite some time.  We had planned to renovate it during my Christmas break from school (ya know, when things were a little less chaotic).  haha, well, Christmas break came and went and here we are. But our true motivation has been to get it done before Henry arrives so that all major house renovations would be done by the time there was a baby in the house.  So we found a new guy this time.  Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE our hall bath from reno #1. It turned out fantastic…but, what was supposed to be a 2 week project really took about 2 1/2 months, and we endured lots of headaches along the way.  And maybe a few crying meltdowns. Yep.  So, new guy, new plan, hopefully a new bath in 1 week! 🙂

We actually did a small update to it in 2011 shortly after we got married. We repainted, installed a new sink, toilet (which is terrible), fixtures, and medicine cabinet.  And while that was ok for a few years, here’s where we stand right now.  It’s embarrassing, please ignore the yucky mold around the bathtub.  I don’t use this bathroom, so it’s the only part of the house I don’t bother trying to keep clean.  It’s the “boy” bathroom…for now 😉  Hopefully that will soon change when everything is fresh and new.  So here we go, the BEFORE pics:

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We took a trip to Lowe’s yesterday to pick out all new tile.  We’ll keep the sink and faucet, but we’re definitely putting in a new toilet.  Other fixtures in the room will get an update but overall, it’s mostly just demo the old tile and sheetrock and start new.  I would love to put in a glass shower door, but for budget purposes, we’ll just do a curtain for now.  Oh and the tub is coming out.  Since we opted to keep a tub in the hall bathroom, we’ll convert this one to a shower space.  Here’s what we picked out at Lowe’s and the other pictures are some of my Pinterest inspiration 🙂  It’ll be similar to the hall bathroom, but with dark tiles on the floor to add some masculinity to it.  The herringbone marble will go on the shower floor and white subway tiles will be on the shower walls.  We’ll update the paint color with a fresher white, not the “antique white” that it is currently (which looks yellow/beige).

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the Construction Chronicles- Bathroom is Complete!

Wow, somehow I never posted pictures of our completed hall bathroom! Whoops.  I think I was so excited to FINALLY be done with it (it was a looooong 2 1/2 months) that I just breezed past documenting the big finale.  So here it is…the bathroom that I thought would never be finished.  It’s beautiful.  And 2 years later, we are still loving it 🙂

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Laundry Room Fiasco

Remember that laundry room we’ve been working on?  Geez, is that ever gonna end?  Will we ever be done with construction at our house?  haha, welcome to our life these days 🙂  It truly has been quite the experience.  Greg and I didn’t do marriage counseling before we got married, but he has said several times now that surviving months of renovations together has been counseling enough!  If we can survive this, we must be doing something right.

So right as we came to a close on our bathroom construction, we decided to splurge on our laundry room renovations and switch from a tank water heater to a tank-less system.  And honestly, our biggest reason was strictly to save space.  With the water tank in place, we lost a nearly a 3x3ft corner of the already small laundry space.  So by getting rid of it, we opened up the floor space which will allow for more storage room. Mar4-laundryroom (6)

And in our weeks of contemplating this decision we tried to plan it out best we could around our work schedules so that the time between disconnecting and removing the old tank and installing the new one would be minimized (and ideally fall on days I was off from work). We figured 2 days tops.  So on a Tuesday afternoon (while I was already at work that day), they came to disconnect the old tank and put in the tank-less system.  When Greg and I got home Tuesday night we discovered the tank wasn’t working.  We did not have hot water.  I didn’t have to work the following day, so I just skipped my morning shower that day.  On Thursday, they sent the plumber back out to run a new gas line directly to the tank-less system (instead of running the line off the furnace, which also runs by gas). After a few hours of work, and a few troubleshooting attempts, we still didn’t have hot water.  So Thursday, I had to go back to work (just washed my hair in cold water under the tub faucet) and a “specialist” came out to investigate our set-up.  He determined we needed a different vent, which had to be ordered and would take a few days.  So, at this point we started bumming showers from friends. I spent the night Thurs night with a friend so I could get a hot shower Fri morning before work.  We showered at another couple’s house Saturday night while we were invited over for a cookout.  And loooooong story short, our contractor and V&W supply were going head to head trying to get the right parts, blaming each other for this and that, leaving us going ANOTHER FULL WEEK without hot water.  Finally, Greg just ordered the supplies himself, got the specialist to walk him through the installation steps and installed it himself Tuesday exactly 2 weeks from when we’d disconnected the old tank.  I have never appreciated hot water so much in my life!!  I was stressed, tired of showering at others’ houses, angry, and very emotional those last few days.  Greg was very patient with me.

So now that we are back on track with the laundry room, we have made some more progress.  Actually, during the first weekend without hot water is when I spent the whole day Saturday painting bathroom trim, and Greg got started installing the floors and worked on more electrical in the laundry room.  Then two weekends ago, Greg and his buddy Aidan got started installing sheetrock.  The room is coming along.  🙂

Here is the tank-less hot water system. It just mounts to the wall and frees up all that floor space below.May11-laundry (5)May11-laundry (9) May11-laundry (8)May11-laundry (14) May11-laundry (15) May11-laundry (13)May11-laundry (3)May19-laundry (3)May19-laundry (1)May19-laundry (9) May19-laundry (4)

The plans for this weekend are to work on plumping for the washing machine and possibly make some more progress on the floors. 🙂


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the Construction Chronicles- Coming to a Close

The last month has been jam-packed, busy, and a bit chaotic.  We literally haven’t touched the bathroom in about 3 weeks.  As far as construction goes, it was completed the last days of April (minus the fact that we have to re-order the correct sink faucet). The last few tasks on the list we decided to complete ourselves to help save a little more money.  We cleaned and sealed all the tile, which took a night’s worth of work, plus 48hrs to cure.  We puttied and painted the baseboards and crown molding.  Greg installed the toilet, which by the way, is probably the best toilet we’ve ever owned!  If you’re in the market for a new toilet, the Kohler Cimarron is the way to go!  Anyways, we did get the plumber to come install the sink and (wrong) faucet.  Then about a week later, I puttied the new door trim, and a few days after that I sanded and painted all the trim. And while I was at it, I went ahead and repainted all the trim down the hallway….  Why not, right?  It needed a fresh new coat!

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At that point, it was almost ready for me to move back in except for 1 thing.  Remember this big built-in cabinet we took out?Mar7-bathroomsBEFORE (18)We decided not to put in another built-in and instead find a free standing cabinet instead.  I thought it would feel less cramped if you could see wall space above and tile below the cabinet.  So I found this one at IKEA that maximizes the space and has the right look for the new bath.

May11-bath (10)However, we don’t have it yet.  I refuse to pay $60 in shipping cause that’s just ridiculous in my opinion.  But of course a trip to Atlanta just for that didn’t make much sense either.  Well luckily Greg needed to go to Atlanta for work the week of Mother’s day so we decided he could swing by IKEA and bring it home with him.  Perfect.  Until I got home the following Tuesday from work to discover he had come home from Atlanta and TOTALLY FORGOT to go to IKEA.  Super bummer.  So literally for the past 3 weeks I haven’t moved back into the bathroom because we don’t have the cabinet.  Stubborn?  Maybe.  But I’m a penny pincher.  As soon as we get the cabinet (hopefully Greg will need another trip to Atlanta soon), I can get all my stuff moved back in and enjoy the new bath.

In the meantime though, I’ve spent plenty of time decorating the space!  I have bought probably 8 shower curtains at this point, various accessories, towels and brain-storming some ideas for the space.  Here’s a few of those options I contemplated…  (and remember, the sink faucet will be brushed nickel eventually!)

May13-bathcurtains (5) May13-bathcurtains (12)May13-bathcurtains (7) May13-bathcurtains (15)At this point it’s between the first 2- blue paisley or pink birds.  The 3rd option was ombre and I didn’t like how the lighter upper half looked against the gray walls.  And the 4th one was actually ivory and blue, not white…so it just looked dirty against everything else in the room which is crisp white.  I put out a vote on Instagram and blue was heavily favored, but I don’t know if I can turn down the pink flowers and birds.  It’s really a salmon colored pink, which I think is nice.  When I get everything 100% done, cabinet installed, art on the walls, I’ll do a big final reveal.  Until then, you’ll just have to wait and wonder…pink or blue?  😉

So that’s where we stand on the bathroom.  2 months and counting but it’s been worth it!

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Laundry Room Catch-Up

I realized I haven’t really blogged about the laundry room progress in a while.  I believe the last step I wrote about was Greg’s progress on the floors, which you can read about in my Handyman post.  So at that point we just had an outdoor storage closet with floor joists in place.Apr7-laundryroom (21)That was almost a month ago, and since then we’ve gotten the room wired for electrical, installed a pocket door, done lots of research and decided on installing a tankless water heater, and installed a window!  And besides getting an electrician out to clean up the electrical jungle in there, Greg has done all the work!  My husband has turned into such the handyman.  Seriously. I’m so proud of him!  We are thankful his good friend Aidan has chipped in to help some and given some construction input along the way, but for the most part Greg has taken this job into his own hands and is making it happen.  My hubby is building me a laundry room 🙂

So let’s go back to our progress over the past month.  The electrical box for the whole house is located in this space, and obviously it’s been an open-walled room since it was built, so all the wires are exposed and it was a bit of a jungle.  So we got an electrician to come out and clean it up a bit.  He disconnected any wires that weren’t being used anymore, and hooked us up with 2 additional outlets and a junction box for the washer and dryer.  We used On Time Electric and let me tell you, there were wonderful!!  He knew we were on a budget and the electrician tech was great about talking with Greg about what Greg could handle doing on his own to help save money (like drilling holes in the studs and re-running the wires so that they would actually be behind the walls (when we get ready to put sheetrock up).  I came home that afternoon and the tech had already gotten started with the work (and Greg was back at work at this point), and he was SO NICE about explaining it all to me and showing me what he was doing and what he and Greg had discussed.  I cannot say enough nice things about the work they did!  I highly recommend them for any sort of electrical work!

The next step was getting our pocket door into place.  The pocket door will go between these two built-ins in the dining room (so the laundry room will be off the back of the dining room).  I know, it’s not the MOST IDEAL spot in the house, but it’s the only option we have if I want an actual room, not just a laundry nook off the kitchen (which if you remember is what we have now).  So here’s the room prior to any work being done. This picture was taken a year ago and is how our front room looked prior to a March 22 when it became a construction zone 😉  This is our dining room directly off the kitchen (which is just to the left).Mar 10-framing projects (2)So the botanical prints came down, and we had to rip out that storage bench between the built-ins.  And all of our small tools and any DIY equipment was stored in that bench, so for the past month they have had a new home in the floor of our family room (so much fun).  So while I cooked dinner one night, Greg went to town ripping out that bench.Apr8-laundryroom (5)Apr8-laundryroom (2) Apr8-laundryroom (4)And we were really excited to see that the hardwoods continued under the bench! So all we’ll have to do is get them stained to match.  Whoop whoop!  And then once that space was cleared, it allowed Greg to dive into installing the pocket door.  So Greg and Aidan spent a long Saturday a few weeks ago working hard installing the door while I was at work at the hospital.  (Somehow all the big steps have taken place while I’m at work, so I don’t have many pictures of these steps.)  But basically what they did was take out all the studs along the backside of the wall (on the closet side) where the pocket door needed to go, tear down the sheetrock in the space and installed the pocket door.  So when I came home from work that evening, this is what I saw!Mar4-laundryroom (1)Crazy, right!?  Just wait.  It gets EVEN BETTER.  So I worked yesterday as well, and Greg spent another long Saturday installing a window in our new laundry room.  We originally did not even discuss putting in a window, and the more I thought about it I just didn’t want a tiny dark room that felt like a dungeon.  I desperately wanted a window to bring in as much light as possible into the room.  So we looked at the walls inside and out and discussed our options and looked online for window sizes, and Greg figured out we could make it work.  And so last night when I came home from work, I had another wonderful surprise waiting for me 🙂  Granted it was dark last night, but check it out today…

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Look at all that light that streams in!  I LOVE IT!  And the view is pretty nice.  By doing it on this wall there is enough distance between our house and the neighbors behind us that I don’t have to do much as far as window treatments go.  Maybe just something sheer or just a little valence of some sort.Mar4-laundryroom (11)

And since we’ll be getting a tankless hot water heater (which will hopefully get installed Tuesday), this space hog will be outta here.  And on the opposite wall to the left will be our washer and dryer.

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Oh and here’s the view from the outside (before and after).  It’s a bit of a mess because Greg just has the plywood up right now.  And the bottom portion will get some sort of crawlspace door put on it since we wanted to leave to floor open beneath to access that space if anyone needed to.  And we had a debate last night about whether we would just put siding up to match the siding around the window (Greg’s thoughts) or try to find some brick to finish out the brick wall (my thoughts).  We will see which option wins out 😉

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Whew, that was a long post, but we’re all caught up now.  Now the fun part begins…picking out cabinets and paint colors.  I’m leaning towards a soft teal or robin’s egg blue color.  Something light with white cabinets.  Any thoughts?  Looks like I’ll be creating a new board on Pinterest 😉

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the Construction Chronicles- So close…

Yet so far!  Ugh.  I cannot even begin to explain the patience we have had to have to endure this bathroom renovation.  It has been baby steps the whole way!!  But finally, all that’s left is just a few quick installations and we are done!  The plumber came Friday to install the shower faucets, sink and toilet.  Although, our contractor has our toilet and sink faucet.  So, basically the plumber just installed the shower faucet.  And assuming our contractor drops off the toilet at our house tomorrow, we will just install it ourselves to save a little money.

The painter also came this week.  We picked some gray tones out at Lowe’s and decided on “Voyage” by Valspar.  But once it was on the walls and dried, it seemed to have a lavender hue to it.  So Thursday evening I went back to Lowe’s and got a quart of “Gravity” by Valspar.  It looks much better.  It blends well with the tiles and keeps the room nice and light.


So although we’re days shy of 1 month in this process, here’s where we are…

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So fingers are crossed that our toilet and sink faucet show up at our house tomorrow so we can get them installed.  Then just a few more tiny details, like trim, light fixtures installing the medicine cabinet and hopefully this project will be DONE.  I am more than ready!

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the Construction Chronicles- Tile work

Our tile guy showed up bright and early at 8am this morning to begin working on tiling the tub surround.  He was at our house last Thursday laying the tile on the floor, which looks great by the way! Apr16-bath (3)But he also started working on the tub surround last Thursday.  Well, I was in Atlanta with my mom at Scott Antiques market so the tile guy was just at the house working on tile while Greg just came and went checking in on him between meetings.  Well I get a phone call from our contractor and he said the tiles seem to be pretty extreme in their coloring, and he and the tile guy decided it might be best to stop installing tile until we could take a look at them all that night.  We had chosen a natural stone marble tile from Lowes, so the tiles were white with gray veining.  Well apparently, some boxes have mostly white tiles and some have mostly gray tiles, or a mixture of the 2.  I got this picture message sent to my phone from the tile guy and I immediately was grateful they decided to stop!  As you can tell, there were extremes of dark gray and white tiles.Apr11-tileSo over the course of Thursday night and Monday morning (when we got more tiles), I pulled every single tile out of the boxes and laid them all out on the ground and tried pulling out some of the extreme gray ones.  The hard part though was if we wanted to stick with mostly all white tiles, we would have had to order tiles from all over the state of Alabama, I’m sure.  We had already bought out the Homewood, Hoover, and Leed’s Lowes supply and our contractor drove to Gadsden for the remaining 25 boxes or so that we needed.  So I decided to try to use some of the gray ones and just blend them in better (although we did still pull out a decent amount of really dark gray ones).  Here’s how they all looked laying out on our floor.

Apr11-tile (2)So then today, the tile guy returned and starting working on the surround again.  It’s definitely darker tone than we thought we would have, but like I said, I don’t think we could have gotten enough tiles to only use white ones.  And we only have 1 single light bulb shining in the bathroom right now, so I’m also hoping when the other light fixture gets reinstalled, it will help brighten up the whole room.  (Can you tell I’m trying to convince myself that I love it?).  I do like it, don’t get me wrong.  It’s a MUCH better improvement from what we had in there.  I really shouldn’t complain.  Hopefully when everything else get’s finished it’ll grow on me.

So here we are….  floor and wall tiles are in place!  They will come do the grout tomorrow.Apr16-bath (1) Apr16-bath (2) Apr16-bath (4) Apr16-bath (5)

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