Guest Bathroom Facelift

As I’ve been blabbering about as of late, I worked on our guest bathroom this past weekend. With Clay away and entire nights to myself, I downloaded podcasts, poured some wine, and participated in some do-it-yourself delight (which totally sounds dirty, now that I see it typed out…). I wanted to get this bathroom squared away before my sister and her family fly out for a visit next week. I couldn’t in good faith have our first house guests use a bathroom that sported a rifle and duck motif.

Trust me, it was a lot worse in person. To give you a better idea of what we were working with before, let’s look at a pros and cons list…

  • PRO
    • new tile
    • new toilet
  • CON
    • shower door that wouldn’t close all the way
    • rifle wallpaper
    • duck border
    • duck light plate
    • sh*t brown countertop (great condition)
    • not so pretty cabinet original to the house (great condition)
    • rusty cabinet hardware
    • awkward wall shelf
    • awful shower head
    • not so pretty shower tile (beige..blech)
    • poor lighting

As you can see, the CONS far outweigh the PROS. And as tempting as it may be to rip everything out and drop some serious money into the room, we chose to spend our money on more important things, like diapers for the little guy and wine for mommy. In all seriousness, we’re waiting to see just how long we’re going to be living in this house before gutting any bathrooms and spending more than $1000 per room. So I gave this gunshow of a bathroom a facelift. A very inexpensive facelift. I’m not finished yet – still working on the details, but I thought I would share my progress with the world. Or at least the 10 people who read this blog on a regular basis. Hi Mom & Dad!

Not too shabby, right? First of all, I knew that I wanted to work with the beige shower tile. Not only is the tile relatively new (redone within the past 5 years), it is in great shape so I can’t stomach tearing them out at this point in time. So I chose to paint three wallsOregon Coast by Valspar (same as our family room) and then did a stripe pattern (see below) on the fourth wall. Because the room is void of any natural light and a relatively small room, I avoided a bold color and limited the bold pattern (stripes) to one wall only. I also painted the cabinet and wall shelf Cooper Adobe Brown by Valspar (same as our mantle), added new hardware (these guys), removed the shower door and put up a curtain ($13 at Ross), and painted the countertop. Yes, painted the countertop.

Before we discuss the countertop situation, let’s take a look at the stripes. I apologize for the quality of these pictures – I obviously haven’t learned how to use my fancy pants camera to the best of it’s ability. The new bathmat draws out the blue in the shower curtain and I had the green and white towels already.

So the countertop – I know that we will eventually replace the sucker but once I painted the cabinet the lovely Cooper Adobe Brown, it clashed horribly with the existing brown countertop. I didn’t think to take a picture but trust me, it was ugly. Like it didn’t even have an alibi. It was that ugly of a combination. The actual process was quite simple – I used regular latex primer (after sanding, of course), then paint – making sure to let each coat dry overnight – and then used crumpled saran wrap and paint in a contrasting color to make the pattern. Again, I apologize for not taking pictures of the process. If anybody is interested, I can break it down step-by-step (oooh baby, gonna get to you giiirrrlll) when I do this technique for the countertop in the laundry room. I am about 98% sure I’m going to go for it. Again, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as a 10-year solution (although when properly sealed, it should be no different than any laminate countertop), but it can be a great place holder until a full-scale remodel takes place.

It honestly looks no different than the ‘fake granite’ laminate countertops on the market today. While I’m making headway in the bathroom, I’m not finished yet. I still need to seal the countertops, replace the shower head, and touch up the paint on the walls but so far, I’ve quite happy with the results. I have spent about $36 thus far, which leaves some $$$ to spend on a nice shower head. Happy shopping to me!


No Time for Pouting

Phew. The month of February is almost over and (I’m sorry for the cliché…) I can’t help but ask myself where has the time gone? In typing that sentence, Paula Cole and “Where Have All the Cowboy’s Gone?” immediately wormed their way into my head like a bad hangover. Apparently it is 1997 up in there – everybody is welcome to attend the party (in case you were wondering, I just finished Googling ’1997 trends’) but no “Barely Breathing” by Duncan Shiek will be heard. That song seriously makes me want to repeatedly stab my ears with forks – very sharp forks.

Getting back to the original point of this post – I worked the past two weeks and couldn’t have asked for a better introduction into the world of community college instruction. My schedule was flexible and I thoroughly enjoyed the adult interaction – not one student asked me for milk, juice, or a granola bar.  I don’t teach again for a little while (I teach week-long courses for soldiers on post) and I am looking forward to the ‘free’ time. I have a couple of community projects planned through our church and some home improvement projects I am antsy to begin. And of course, there are some other goals I’d like to work towards accomplishing.

It is amazing how much has changed since this time last year. There is no time for pouting. We’re finally settling into Lawton and finding ourselves liking Oklahoma more and more each day. There are still aspects of the area that we’re not crazy about but when we find the little nuggets of greatness, it makes us appreciate them that much more. In fact, my sister and her family are flying out in a couple of weeks and we’re excited to show them what life is all about in the Great Plains. I am currently trying to figure out if there is a realistic way for them to bring cheesesteaks and water ice with them…I need a fix!

It’s Lovely to See You, Fireplace

Rejoice! Our television is no longer chillin’ on the hearth like a causal acquaintance that won’t stop talking to you about how the South Beach Diet changed their life. As explainedyesterday, we decided to build a surround for the fireplace to rest the existing mantle. Remember – the original mantle placement was too high and we didn’t want to cut into the stone to secure it slightly lower. After a couple of coats of paint, we hoisted the new shebang into place and set the television on top. I may or may not have let loose a tear of joy.



As you can see, we’re still working on the hiding of the cords solution but we’re confident we can make it work. Also, you can see the protruding stones on which the mantel was originally resting. We have plans to ‘hide’ those as well. But gosh darn it, I was just too excited not to share our progress.

Let me just say that I love this color we choice. We looked at a couple of different colors and even briefly entertained the idea of white to match the built-ins, but in the end, we decided that we wanted to make the piece muted and not necessarily a stand-out piece, so to speak. The color is Cooper Adobe Brown from the Valspar Signature Collection at Lowes and we used the paint & primer-in-one. Seriously, we couldn’t have asked for a better match with the stone, it plays off the various colors in the fireplace without competing. Perfect!

In the future, we’re probably going to attach a mounting system to the mantle so we can tilt the television downwards. At this point, it isn’t necessary for comfortable boob tube watching but it will help the experience. But we’re not any any hurry and planning on enjoying our new television arrangement for some time. I am looking forward to adding more pops of color to the room. As it is right now, it is a bit too brown-centric for my tastes. To illustrate my point, here is a view from the other direction…

Little pops of color, but not enough. <insert sad face>.

Price breakdown:

  • 6 pieces of wood = $39
  • 1 quart of paint = $12
  • 4 pieces of trim = $5
  • TOTAL = $56 (includes 10% military discount)

Happy Presidents Day!

(PSA – there is no apostrophe…)


Clay has the day off so may get a little wild and buy some bar stools. I know, I know – it is tough keeping up with us and our crazy adventures.  If we’re really feeling rambunctious, we might even go to a couple of thrift stores. Watch out!