Bathroom Makeover Reveal!

When we originally bought this house, one of the first things we planned to do was gut the master bathroom since it was so incredibly ugly. We hated the handicapped bars in the walk-in shower. I wanted to get rid of the shower and install an antique clawfoot tub. We couldn’t stand the forest green tiles with the pale green walls. The sink and countertop were made out of some awful, really porous material that kept every stain (that really did not work well when coloring my hair). The sink also had a leak, and the vanity was starting to rot away. We also didn’t love the glass block windows since they looked a bit outdated, but I did appreciate how much light they let in. It seemed like we would definitely be tearing everything out and starting from scratch.

However, our first major project had to be the kitchen since that was barely even usable when we moved in. Then once I got put on pregnancy bed rest, we decided the bathroom project would have to wait since I couldn’t walk all the way to the guest bath. Before you know it, I was sitting in my hospital bed after E was born, reviewing  a handicapped products catalog with an occupational therapist. Suddenly, I felt like our hideous handicapped bathroom was actually a blessing in disguise from God, saving us a major expense and project. I decided that I would make some lemonade out of a huge lemon, and see how I could improve the bathroom without having to do a complete remodel. Now that I have to use a shower chair, I can’t use our tiny guest shower in a practical manner since it is a bit too tight.

The first thing my husband did was remove the vanity and sink. He used leftover bits of bamboo counter from the kitchen to make the new bathroom counter. He cut a hole in the wood for the sink, following the instructions from the sink manufacturer. Unfortunately, we then realized that the instructions they gave were for a hole that was too big, and made the sink sit way down inside the counter. To counter this problem, I came up with the idea of surrounding the bowl with a mosaic. It took me a long time to get that mosaic perfect since the pieces I used were all of varying thickness, but we absolutely love the end result!

Next he replaced the medicine cabinet to something with a bit more style. He bought lights but soon realized that he would need to replace a big  chunk of wall to switch out the lights since the previous owners left a mess behind the light fixtures. The lights are going on the “good enough for now” list. 🙂

After that, I started working on finding a way to make the existing colors and features in the room feel cozy and intentional, and less outdated. I painted the same dark tan that is in our bedroom, which I love against the forest green and brown flooring! I re-stained the grout to freshen everything up. I brought in tons of amazing exotic plants, a bohemian dream of a shower curtain that I found at World Market, and some other little finishing touches that really seem to complete the room. One of my favorite things is the plant hanger next to the window. Suddenly, with the plants there, the glass block window doesn’t bother us anymore! The best part was that the plant hanger display that I put together for the window was all with bits and pieces of things that I found around the house.

I absolutely love the end result, and am perfectly fine if we never get around to a “full remodel”. My most hated room of the house has quickly turned into my little bohemian spa retreat and I am so happy. 🙂

Here is the before picture:

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And the after photos….The flooring isn’t really shown in the new pictures since it is still the same (and that is the one thing that I still do not love). Eventually we will get around to replacing that once we decide if we are going to reconfigure the bedroom layout and redo all of the flooring at that point.

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Shade Garden Update!

There are two last places in the front yard that have been needing some planting attention.  One is a bare area underneath the two large pine trees on the lower level (still yet to be tackled).  The other was the full shade area along the one retaining wall, under a bunch of trees.

The previous owners (or whoever they hired) had planted the worst possible items in this area…roses, some unidentified plant (possibly some kind of pomegranate), and an ornamental strawberry tree.  All of these plants were needing full sun, and were planted in full shade.  They all looked horrible.  I will show a before shot in an upcoming post, detailing all of their mistakes that I have cleaned up lately.  The strawberry tree and the mystery plant were also both sending out runners and seedlings, all over the lawn.  I couldn’t handle it any longer, so I took action.

I dug up everything along that wall except for the apple tree and the pine tree (obviously I wouldn’t touch those!).  I double dug the very compacted soil, and added tons of compost and fertilizer.  I planted a variety of colorful shade plants including an asparagus fern, sword fern, polka dot plants, coleus, heuchera, iresine, and caladium.  I love all of these plants for this area since they have a variety of bright colors and don’t require much sun at all.  There are literally no flowers in this section but it is full of color!

On a side note…We recently had some trouble with our sprinklers in the upper part of the front yard.  There are no sidewalks in our neighborhood, and the grass goes all the way to the curb.  Some neighbors (or their guests) kept stepping on the sprinklers near the edge of the curb and breaking them.  I was trying to water the grass by hand and with those little hose sprinklers until my husband had the time to fix the sprinkler heads, but it was quite difficult to get everything evenly watered this way (especially in the middle of the hottest summer ever!).

Much of the grass started to die off in the upper part of the front yard.  I was so discouraged since I had done so much work on this grass to revive it when we first moved in.  I started again with dethatching the dead areas, and used my cultivator to work in new shade grass seed and fertilizer.  I also poured my compost weed tea on the troubled areas.  After daily watering for a few minutes each day, the grass is back to full and green and lush!  I am so happy. 🙂

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