the Construction Chronicles- Prepped and Ready

Quick post.  The construction guys made some more progress in the bathroom today.  They were here working at 9am (hallelujah) and stayed until 3pm.  They finished mudding and sanding all the sheetrock, sprayed it with some moisture barrier stuff and primed the walls and ceilings for paint.  So we went from having a bright green bathroom to an all white bathroom.  And boy does it feel bigger already. 🙂

Apr1-bath (4)-001 Apr10- bath (2)-001 Apr10- bath (3)-001Tomorrow, the goal is to start laying tile.  Hopefully the bad weather we’re predicted won’t keep the guys from working.  Excited to see how it looks tomorrow!  Here’s a sneak peek though 😉

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Greg was quite the handyman today.  So along with our bathroom renovations, which are by the way…taking FOR-FREAKIN-EVER, we have started renovations turning an outdoor storage closet into a laundry room. You can read details on those plans here.  So we already cleared the shelves out last weekend.  Then yesterday Greg got to work removing the walls.  So in two weekends we went from this…Mar30-shedcloset (8)to this…

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Luckily two buddies stopped by to lend a hand.  The three of them were knocking out those black walls and taking out the remainder of shelves and bench.  And then they hauled it off.  That’s what they were doing while I was tackling weeds!

Then today after church, Greg was back to work.  The next step was building up the floor.  Right now the “floor” is level with the ground outside.  But to function as a laundry room off the dining room we have to raise it level with the house.  Which, luckily there are cinder blocks that are already in place to support a floor (because the wall shared with the dining room is already set-up this way).

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So Greg setup shop, and began building the framework for the floor.  We got all our measurements and Greg went to Lowe’s to get the appropriate lumber.  We needed boards to frame out the perimeter, and then boards to make the joists.  He also got brackets to support  the floorboards.Apr7-laundryroom (2)

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Then we had to determine the spacing needed for the floor joists.  We decided to place the 12 inches apart, center to center of each board.  (Now that I’m looking info up on the computer, I find that you can space them up to 16 inches apart).  Oh well, we have more support, I suppose 😉  The boards themselves are 2×8.  We brought the frame board out to the work station and Greg screwed in the brackets at the appropriate spacing.Apr7-laundryroom (6)

Apr7-laundryroom (7) Apr7-laundryroom (9)Next we took this board back into the storage closet, put it in place on the cinder block frame, and then we had to line up brackets on the opposite wall.  Apr7-laundryroom (16)Apr7-laundryroom (11)Apr7-laundryroom (10)

Once the brackets were in place, Greg cut the floor boards to size and we set them into place.  A quick “stress test” as Greg called it, and the floor seems sturdy!Apr7-laundryroom (18)Apr7-laundryroom (21)Apr7-laundryroom (20)Before we continue with the rest of the floor, we have to get a plumber and electrician in to do some work.  The water heater will have to be removed, then the remaining floor can be installed, and then the water heater will be raised and put back into the room on the new floor.  So, depending on how smoothly and quickly those steps go, we will be without hot water for a day (or more!).  Not looking forward to that part.  But I’m excited about progress!!

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the Construction Chronicles-Power and Pipes

So far this week we’ve had the electrician and plumber come out to work.  The electrician installed a new can light above the tub, added 2 new outlets to the bathroom (which originally had NONE), and moved the over-the-sink light fixture up a bit.  Oh and he moved the light switch so it’s now actually IN the bathroom.  Yeah, the light and fan switch has always been in the hallway, outside the bathroom. Weird, huh?Mar23-bathdemo (30)-001He worked Monday afternoon and then finished up the job this morning.  He made sure the bathroom had its own new circuit, since it has 2 added outlets to it. And then today the plumber came to do some work.  He installed a new tub/shower valve, and got the tub drain hole drilled and hooked up.  So there’s not a whole lot to share so far this week, at least as far as pictures go.  Besides having the tub installed, the room doesn’t look that much different. But I’m glad we have more light in there!  We should pick up Thursday with painting.  We’ll see how that goes! 🙂  I think I’ve narrowed it down to a few gray/blue tones that I’ll get Greg’s opinion on tomorrow night!  Progress! Progress!Apr1-bath (1)Apr1-bath (5) Apr1-bath (4) Apr1-bath (3) Apr1-bath (2) - Copy

Oh, I did accomplish something of my own yesterday.  While the electrician was doing his work, I spent 3 HOURS doing some major deep cleaning and organizing in Greg’s office, or his old office I should say.  For the past 2 years he has worked from home, but for various reasons, we’ve figured out it might be better that he actually goes to an office each day.  He can focus better and it will hopefully be better on our marriage as well.  Before, when he was working from home, it was easy for him to never really leave work.  And it was taking a tole on our home relationship.  And then when renovations were in the plans, he knew he had to get out of the house!  But this room will stay as an office for now (no nurseries in our near future yet!).  😉Apr1-officeLet’s hope it stays this clean for a while!!!

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the Construction Chronicles-Hit a Wall

Day 2 of construction actually started bright and early.  The framing guys arrived at the house to finish putting up sheetrock at 8:30am.  They worked for a good 4 hours, got all the sheetrock up and muddied (is that the right term?).  They were even able to patch up our little demo blunder in the hallway…Mar23-bathdemo (20)Mar26-bathday2 (7)Don’t worry. We need to repaint the hallway anyways.  So at the end of day 2, we had all our walls sealed in the bathroom.

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Then unfortunately, due to issues I don’t even want to get into, all work was halted for the remainder of the week.  I’m putting my faith in the contractor (and my husband, who has had to calm me down from a meltdown or two this weekend) and hoping this upcoming week gets better in regards to time spent working on our job, communication with the contractor, and an inspection coming up.  Greg assures me it will all work out and says I need to be patient.  And I consider myself a patient person, but it’s been a rough week dealing with the lack of commitment I feel we’ve been getting with our renovations.  And I’ll just stop at that.

The good news is our sink and floor tiles were delivered during the week.  All we really have left to decide on is paint color.  So I’ll be hitting up Pinterest again over the next few days trying to see what colors catch my eye.  We’re thinking a smokey gray color, but haven’t nailed that down just yet.Mar29-floortileSo here’s to hoping for the best this week!

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the Construction Chronicles- A Slow Start

So I was told construction workers would be here around 8am Monday morning to begin working on our bathroom.  Anyone who knows me know I am not an early bird. But I didn’t want to have to answer the door in my PJs, so I got up when Greg got up, showered and was dressed and ready for them to arrive by 8:10.  Since I was gonna be stuck at home most of the day, I got started on some laundry.  Around 8:30 I got a call from the contractor saying he was waiting on his framing guys and they’d be here between 9-9:30.  At 10am they finally showed up.

They came in, looked at the floors and decided what they needed to do.  The contractor was going to go get supplies while they (the framing guys) went and checked on another job.  He told me they all would be back in about an hour and a half (so, 1130/12ish).  Well, also this morning before they arrived the garbage men came and rang the doorbell and said if we moved all our cans of trash, and old bathtub full of crap (tile, plywood, old sheetrock, etc) to the street they would come back and get it.  Great!  That meant we didn’t have to lug it to the landfill ourselves!  So before the contractor left, he moved the entire pile to the street (thank goodness!).  Tub and all! I don’t know how he did it.  So that of course took some time, and I figured it might be a little later than he originally told me.  At this point he left to do his business and I left to go to Home Depot to buy a shower/tub faucet combo.

Greg called me at noon and said the pest guy was on his way.  We have a history of rats in the attic (Greg dealt with the worst of them years ago when he first bought the house, but recently we starting hearing critters in the attic again!).  So we weren’t taking our chances.   A pest guy from Waynes came out and quoted us on a full house pest care plan.  First they will deal with the critters in the attic (I guess by tossing some poison into the attic and making sure all entry points are sealed up).  Then, they will spray the interior and exterior of the house with a pest killer.  They also do a lawn treatment that will kill any termites, fleas, ticks, fire ants and whatever other bad bugs in a 10ft perimeter around the home (that will be great for our dogs too! No fleas and ticks here!).  Then monthly they come out and do various treatments depending on the season…they’ll treat for various bugs according to when they flourish the most.  Obviously it’s about to warm up (at least I hope!!), so we’ll probably start seeing roaches soon.  Boy, do I hate those guys!  We also have an occasional ant problem in one of our kitchen corners.  We’ve just been buying ant killer at Lowe’s and applying that every few months or so, but that wears out and they reappear after a while.  So his treatments should take care of them as well.  So hopefully, for $32/month our house will be totally critter and bug free!  YAY!  At first, $32/month sounded expensive, but it comes out to $385/year.  That’s like 1.5 days of work for me, so I think I can handle working an extra day once a year to not have any bugs in the house 🙂  Yep, I’ll take it!  And the great news is anytime another customer uses us as their referral we get $25 applied to our services!  SO LISTEN UP…if you need pest control or lawn care for your home, CALL WAYNES!  🙂  And tell them Greg and Amy Boggs sent ya!!  I mean that’s a pretty good deal.

Ok, back to the construction work…or lack thereof, I should say.  The pest guy left around 1pm, and guess what.  Still no workers at the house working on our bathroom.  Oh wait, I take that back.  The framing guys did show up around 1:15 I think, but they asked me where the contractor was (he was supposed to be back with their supplies).  I told them I hadn’t heard anything from him, so they went and sat in their cars to give him a call.  About 20 mins went by and then I noticed their truck was still here, but they weren’t in it.  (Apparently they had 2 cars with them and had left in the other). Then the next time I looked out the window, both cars were gone!  So, around 2:30, I called the contractor and said his framing guys had left.  He said he was loading up at Lowe’s and would be at the house shortly.  FINALLY, around 3:15 he and the framing guys showed up and began working on the bathroom.  Talk about a slow start.  So glad I got up by 8am :/

The first thing they had to do was fix some old rotten floor joists. Remember this bad corner here?Mar23-bathdemo (24)

We had some water damage under one corner of the tub, so he cut out some of the bad boards, and replaced them with new ones.  Then he nailed new sister boards next to the some older ones for added support.  The original boards actually run the whole length of the house. So we couldn’t just take them out and replace them….they just had to be supported with new beams lining up next to them.  I wish I had gotten more pics of the process, but I was trying to stay out of their way, and then the next thing I knew, they had the floor laid down.  So I snapped this picture real quick to show how the sister boards line up with the original joists…

Mar24-bathday1 (2) Mar24-bathday1 (4)The beams run the whole length of the tub side of the bathroom (where most of the damage was).  And then they rest on a new support beam that runs perpendicular to them at the entrance of the room.  It’s hard to explain, which is why I wish I’d gotten better pics before they laid the plywood down.  My bad.  They were making so much noise getting these installed, I decided I better stay out of their way.  It sounded like they were gonna come through the walls into the back den at some point!

Next they filled the room with insulation, which it had none of before! Can you believe there wasn’t a lick of insulation in these walls?  No wonder I always cranked up the heat in the winter when I took a shower…it was cold in that bathroom!  After insulation, the sheetrock went up on the ceiling and all the walls (I couldn’t get an official final pic cause they took the light fixture down when they put the walls up).  But that is where day one finished.  Oh, wait, they also partially installed a new vent fan.  A much much quieter one 🙂

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Demo Day 2

We continued onto demo day 2, but thankfully it’s finally all done.  Again, Dwayne worked his tail off. Me and mom tried to help as much as possible, but demo isn’t exactly our specialty. Greg helped a lot too though, and we actually could have gotten the whole job done in a matter of a few hours, but we waited around for about 3 1/2 hours for the contractor to come by and give the ok on a few things.

But anyways, let’s look back at the destruction we created today!  Mom and Dwayne arrived bright and early (well, 9am-ish).  I rolled outta bed, threw on some work clothes and we got to it.  Dwayne let me take a shot at the rotary hammer.  That thing is hard.  It was a huge help in the demo process, breaking up all the tiles and concrete slab under the floor, but I had a hard time with it.

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I can’t believe they worked with that thing all day yesterday.  Once we Dwayne and Greg got the rest of the tile broken up (and me and mom walked and dumped bucket after bucket after bucket into the growing pile in the front yard), it was time to get the storage cabinet out.  And it was big.  We hoped it would fit out the bathroom and down the hall, but that wasn’t the case. We had to break it apart and take it out board by board.

Mar23-bathdemo (5) Mar23-bathdemo (6)Mar23-bathdemo (9) Mar23-bathdemo (11)Mar23-bathdemo (10) Mar23-bathdemo (12) Mar23-bathdemo (14)Remember the tub?  And how apparently it was blue at one time?  Well it appears there must have been a lovely blue floor to match as well.  Cute huh?  Oh, and instead of ripping that layer up whenever previous homeowners remodeled the bathroom, they just decided to add the current layer right on top.  Which meant that floor was THICK with tile and concrete!Mar23-bathdemo (7)Mar22-bathdemo (51)

The next 45 mins or so were spent ripping out more floor and walls…

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Then we discovered a problem.  This corner (underneath where the tub once stood), had some pretty bad water damage.  And the further we investigated, would could see that it was an active leak.  The wood was wet!  Well, obviously I hadn’t showered in this bathroom in over 24 hours, but it was still leaking from somewhere.  The more we poked around we realized it must be coming from the fridge (which sits just on the other side of the wall).  Sure enough, when we pulled the fridge out from the wall and pulled up the water line, there was a hole in the line!  A tiny stream of water was just streamlining out the line like a garden hose with a puncture hole.  There’s no telling how long that had been leaking!  Thank goodness we did this bath demo and discovered the leak, or the floor boards under the tub would have SURELY rotted right out from underneath!

Mar23-bathdemo (24) Mar23-bathdemo (32)So Greg went to Lowe’s, bought a new water line (and he chose a stainless steel flexible line), and then had to crawl up under the house through our giant hole in the floor to replace the line.  Hopefully this is a better fix.Mar23-bathdemo (45)The last and final step of the day was ripping out the ceiling.  Well, after we piddled around for about 2-3 hours waiting on the contractor to stop by and check things out.  I’m learning I have to have a lot of patience with this guy.  Hopefully he’s worth it in the end.  Props to Dwayne again for standing on rickety ladders, prying sheet rock off the ceiling, and knocking out insulation.  It was a messy job!

Mar23-bathdemo (37)Mar23-bathdemo (38) Mar23-bathdemo (33)Mar23-bathdemo (34)Mar23-bathdemo (39)Mar23-bathdemo (44)And at the end of the day, here’s what we have.  We are officially demolished and ready for construction to begin on Monday!

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Bringing Down the Bath

UPDATE! Got a few more pictures from my mom this morning that she captured on her phone early in the demo process yesterday!

Demo has begun.  Boy, oh, boy has demo begun!  Have I mentioned how AMAZING my stepdad is?  Oh dear Lord, that man is a machine!  I had to work today, and Greg had to get some work done as well.  But my mom said she and Dwayne would head over to our house and get started on demo in the bathroom.  Well, not only did they get started, they practically finished it all!!

There was a plumber that was supposed to come disconnect the plumbing lines to make sure we didn’t bust through any pipes during demo.  Well, Dwayne basically took care of that, and we were able to tell the plumber he was no longer needed. (Money saved!)  And speaking of money saved.  We were quoted $600 for demo and haul-away.  That included putting a dumpster in our driveway and the costs to haul it off.  Granted, poor Dwayne probably deserves $600 for the work he did today, but we are saving big bucks by doing the demo ourselves and hauling our trash to a city landfill (which I was quoted would costs $60).

Thankfully Greg was able to take a long lunch break and then another break later in the afternoon to come home and help with the demo.  And mom helped as well, especially since she took all the pictures for me!! 😉

So I kept getting pictures texted to my phone while I was working away at the hospital today.  I felt so bad not being home to help.  But I’m sure they’ll put me to work tomorrow!  We still have the ceiling which has to come down, and the rest of the floor needs ripping out.  So, there’s not much to explain, except that a rotary hammer apparently is a life saver!!  If you’re ripping out tile, get you one of these!  Thanks to our friends (and sorta in-laws) Kyle and Lisa for letting us borrow theirs!  And I say sorta in-laws because Kyle is Chuck’s older brother, and Chuck is my sister’s husband.  So, that kinda makes them our indirect in-laws, right?  Sure.

So without further ado, check out what went down at the Boggs’ home today…

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It’s hard to believe I just took a shower in here this morning!bath (13) bath (17) bath (18) bath (20)bath (22) bath (23) bath (25) bath (28) bath (29) bath (33)

Time to get that tub out! I don’t know how they did this.  Seriously, for weeks I’ve been wondering how this was gonna happen.  But Greg and Dwayne did it somehow.  And I haven’t found any holes in the walls since coming home 😉bath (35) bath (37) bath (34)bath (38) bath (40) bath (42)bath (41)bath (36)

And somehow this guy was spared another day!  Enjoy one more night little fishy…tomorrow, I’m coming for you! 😉

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Let there be light!

We have a shed in the backyard that we bought shortly after getting married for added storage.  We keep all the holiday decorations, suitcases, wheel barrow, lawn mower, and any other extra stuff that simply won’t fit in the house in the shed.  When we helped move Greg’s parents out of their house, they gave us their upright deep freezer.  I’ve been wanting one, but we don’t have a basement, and our porch space is too small to store one.  So we put it in the shed.  Problem was we’ve never had power running to the shed.  Until now.

My handy dandy stepdad came over on Sunday and he along with Greg and our friend Michael went to work.  I had to work that day, but thankfully my mom snapped some pictures of the process.  Our breaker box is in an outdoor storage closet off the back of the house.  They obviously didn’t connect the new power line to the box until the last step, but for the sake of explaining the process, the power line began at the box, ran into the crawlspace under the house, and came out another corner closer to the shed.Mar10-shedlight (17)A trench was dug about 6-8 inches deep leading from the back corner of the house to the shed.  The power line was fed through a small PVC pipe and placed in the trench.  A hole was drilled in the floor of the shed and the power line ran out the end of the pipe under the shed and up through the hole in the floor. Mar10-shedlight (1)Mar10-shedlight (2)Mar10-shedlight (3)Mar10-shedlight (4)

They installed a junction box and outlet on one wall (which will solely run the deep freezer).  Another outlet was installed on the back wall, and a light switch by the door.  They drilled holes through the framing around the inside of the shed to run the power line to each unit.Mar10-shedlight (10) Mar10-shedlight (11) Mar10-shedlight (12)Mar10-shedlight (8)

Once the power lines were hooked up to the outlets and light switch, Greg and Michael installed the light to the back wall.Mar10-shedlight (15)Mar10-shedlight (16)Mar10-shedlight (14)Once everything was installed and connected, it was time to connect the power at the breaker box.  And tada….there was light!Mar10-shedlight (18)Mar10-shedlight (19)Great job guys!!  Lots of hard work, but it all looks and works great!  Can’t wait to put that deep freezer to good use, and it’s nice to have some light out there after the sun goes down 😉

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There’s an App for THAT?

We’ve been in a kick lately to update the house.  Obviously, the biggest update will be getting the bathrooms redone.  But today Greg was at Lowe’s and he picked up this handy-dandy gadget.

Mar9-thermastat (16)It was on sale (regular $100, marked down to $80), so in efforts to continue updating the house, Greg snagged it.  And I have to admit, it’s pretty stinkin’ cool.  It’s programmable, and there is an app you can download to your phone that will control the settings.  Say what?  Yes, we can control the heat/air settings from our phones!  So if we leave town and forget to turn down the settings, we can do it from our phone.  If I’m laying in bed at night and need a little more heat on a cold winter night, I can turn it up from the bed.  Ok, that sounds really lazy….but the going out of town thing is definitely helpful!

So here’s our old unit.  Nothing special.  Pretty blah.  It said it was programmable, but since it’s pretty old, and we don’t have any original manuals, we never could figure it out.

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So Greg cut the power to the unit (safety first!), popped the front off and unscrewed the base from the wall.

Mar9-thermastat (5) Mar9-thermastat (6)Then basically you just disconnect the wires and match them up by color onto the new unit and screw the new base back onto the wall.  And the front just snapped onto the base.

Mar9-thermastat (7)Mar9-thermastat (8)Look how pretty! 🙂  And it lights up!

Mar9-thermastat (17)Ok, so here’s the cool part.  It came with a sensor that you plug into the internet router.  Then you download the app for the system.  It gives you a long code that you register with and you sync it up so it controls the right unit.  Then you can control every aspect of the unit right from your phone.  Greg set the time, switched from heat to cool, and changed the temp settings.  And you can fully program it to whatever schedule you want.

Mar9-thermastat (15)How cool is that!  And it certainly looks better on the wall.  Yay for another DIY upgrade!

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the INSPIRATION- bathroom edition

Now that you have seen what we’re working with, let’s move onto more fun topics- like where we hope to be at the end of this renovation journey.  Let me show you my inspiration!

But wait, first there are some stipulations.  I have to keep myself from going overboard with what I really really want, and stick with some basic upgrades that I know will add value for re-sale.  Because in the end, we don’t plan to stay in this house forever.  So it doesn’t make any sense to design and put a lot of money into making this our “forever home”  with all the fun character I hope to have in a home one day.  But luckily, a lot of things I do really like and do hope to have in our family home one day, are things that are popular and other people really like right now too.  Secondly, we live in an older home. The city of Homewood has been around for a bit.  I know my house I bought on Raleigh Avenue was built in the 1950s (if I remember correctly).  And I know this home (which Greg bought about 5 years ago), isn’t quite that old, but it’s certainly not new, chic and modern.  So it doesn’t make sense to put a bunch of sleek, super modern elements into our new bathrooms, because they would just stick out like sore thumbs from the rest of the house.  So I have to gently introduce our new babies in hopes they mix and mingle well with their elderly counterparts 🙂

I don’t know the proper name for the style I like.  It’s a mix of Pottery Barn, flea market, antique shop, cottage-rustic look.  Not too country cottage, although Greg has called my style “grandma” at times.  I can appreciate some modern things, but I love wooden accents, whites, florals, grays, antiques…you get the idea.  So one of the first things going into our bathrooms are subway tiles.  I’m in love with them right now, and thankfully, so are a lot of other people (and hopefully our future home-buyers!). haha.  For our particular rooms, I think we’ll stick with white, but I do love colored glass subways tiles, especially for kitchens!glasssubway glasssubway2 glasssubway3And while we’re talking tile, let’s move to the floor.  Our contractor suggested mixing patterns, so if subway tiles are going in the shower, he suggested a herringbone pattern for the floor.  But I think I’ve decided on hexagon tiles instead.  Again, it hints towards retro but I think a cool white and gray tone will keep it modern at the same time.

flood2 floor1Today in Lowe’s I found this combination of options.  Looking good!floor3Moving on…sink and toilet.  We currently have a vanity sink.  Which is great seeing as how storage is kinda limited in our house.  But honestly, we only keep a plunger and a few bottles of bathroom cleaners in the vanity storage.  So I think we could nix the vanity, use a pedestal sink instead and as a result, open up the floor making the room feel bigger.  And in this tiny bath, bigger really IS better 🙂 sink1

And as for paint job, well I haven’t really dug deep into that category yet.  I really like light blue and green hues in bathrooms.  And we have some pretty sage green bath towels I picked out and we received as wedding gifts.  So I may try to match those.  If not, I’ll probably stay neutral and play with color using a rug and towels, which I can always change out….ya know, for holidays 😉  Of course. bathpaint bathpaint2 bathpaint3

I’m totally loving that floral yellow shower curtain!  haha, Greg would totally call that grandma!  It’s so cheerful though 🙂

And as for Greg’s bathroom, we may or may not do similar elements.  All the fixtures in there are a rubbed bronze color (more manly, ya know).  He talked about doing some sort of stone in the shower, but budget will determine if that’s possible or not.  I certainly don’t want to do anything too dark.  There’s no windows in our bathrooms, so dark walls will definitely make it feel cave-like.  I’m really at a loss right now for his bathroom, but maybe something like this would work…