10 Things I Hate About...My Bathroom

1. The 12 different wall finishes.  Okay, so 12 is a bit of an exaggeration, but there are 5, which is pretty excessive for a smaller bathroom, (or any size bathroom in my opinion).  We have white wall tile, yellow wall tile, green paint, green and white stripped wallpaper, and finally some green and white toile wallpaper thrown in for kicks.  The worst is behind the door, where they all meet up.

2. The vanity speaker.  A really weird 1970's addition, (the last time the bathroom was touched).  Cool idea, but obviously not i-anything compatible.  When we moved in it wasn't hooked up to anything and the wires just kinda hung down in the cabinet.  We removed the wires and took the dial off and Benelli uses it as a daily scratching post (he's declawed so it doesn't tear it up at all).  Even though I hate it, this is the only thing that I'm going to be sad about seeing thrown into the trash.  I know Benelli will hate us for weeks when we get rid of it.  He'll get over it.

3. The crappy drawers.  The whole vanity is about 40 years old so it's no surprise that the drawers are starting to not function properly.  It's just really annoying.  Some slide effortlessly, some need a lot of elbow grease.  The biggest drawer's bottom slide is broken so every time it opens, this happens:

4. The hardware.  They're so ugly.  They don't match the rest of the chrome fixtures.  And, most annoying, sometimes the cords from my curling iron or hair dryer will get caught when I'm trying to do my hair and my whole body will jerk because I expect it's going to reach my head and it doesn't.  Not a good thing when you're half-asleep and using a hot curling iron next to your face.

(The edges of the drawers look dusty, but that's just the edging of the particle board the vanity is made out of - just one more thing I hate about them.)

5. The giant, dark, cabinet as the first thing you see.  I've talked about this before, but we love the storage the giant cabinet gives, but it's a little assaulting to the eyes being the first thing you see when you open the door and walk in.  It's big and dark and sucks the life, I mean light out of the room. 

(Benelli hates it too.)

6. The dark shower.  The boob lights are the only lights in the room.  This means when the shower curtain is closed the shower's a little dark.  We've even been using only a plastic frosted curtain which allows some light, but not enough.  We plan to add an overhead light/fan combo to bring some more light in.

7. The mold-producing fan.  Not that we have any mold, but if we used the fan we could potentially be allowing mold to form in the attic.  We found out during our home inspection that each of the bathroom fans vent straight into the attic, so we haven't used them at all.  Kind of defeats the purpose of having a fan.  We obviously plan to get a new fan and vent it correctly while we have all the walls and ceiling opened up. 

8. The colors.  This kind of falls into the different finishes category, but the colors are ugly.  Like, puke green and baby food yellow, ugly.  And that yellow is the first color you see when you walk in.

9. The faucet.  I HATE this faucet.  Not that it doesn't provide hot and cold water like it's supposed to, it's just a pain in the butt to clean.  This is definitely one of those things that you don't realize until you live with it for 2 years.  But with a chrome finish, every loose water drop shows up, and all the little spaces make it impossible for a quick clean-up.  That's why the one we are eying only has one handle, and a satin finish.

10. Boob lights.  I know many people like them, but I'm not a fan.  Especially when two of them reflected in the giant mirror looks like some sort of weird teenage boy's dream.  I mean, why do they have to make the little finial things look like nipples?!

And one thing I don't hate:

1. The layout.  The original builder did at least one thing right, the layout of the room is the best usage of the space.  We won't be changing it.  We're hoping to shift things a couple inches here and there, but everything is staying in the same area.  The only change to the layout we have planned is the removal of the chimney which sits between the bathroom and guest room.  This is going to be opened into the bathroom and used as a shelving space, (probably the biggest change to the way we use the current bath right now - majority of the storage behind the door).

Although we planned on taking our time and getting a few things in order before the renovation, the purchase of the vanity really got us chomping at the bit.  This weekend I already cleaned and prepared the basement bathroom and moved all of our stuff down there.  And, I'll go into more detail later, but we've already got a big chunk of the demo done!!

A Killer Christmas Tree

I didn't think I would be writing about Christmas for another year, but I wanted to share one of the decorations that we added to our house over the holidays.  Not that it's even remotely related to Christmas, other than it was a little tree, but it was there during the festivities, so it counts.

A couple weeks before Christmas we were busy getting the house ready for company and the holidays, but most importantly, we were glued to the couch every Sunday night watching the last couple episodes of Dexter Season 6, (this season=crazy town).  Most of you know that we're huge Dexter fans, something about that crazy Dexter and his dark passenger just gets us all excited.  And when our cable company screwed up a bill one month, they offered to give us Showtime for 6 months for free (yeah, picture me doing cartwheels around the room).  Since we usually have to wait until they come out on DVD we were super excited to watch in real time. 


Okay, back to the decorations part of this post.  And, if your not Dexter fans, (you should be), but you might not completely understand the references so go Google it, or again, just watch it!  Well, we were hanging out with some friends talking about the latest season and the series in general when we came up with an off the wall comment about making a completely themed Dexter Christmas tree (there was a giant decorated tree in the room so it wasn't that crazy).  You know, with knives and hypodermic needles as decorations.  We all laughed about it and went home, but the idea was planted.  Mike and I started making comments over the next couple days, like "We could make a tree skirt out of plastic sheeting, like his kill rooms." or "How cool would it be to use saran wrap as ribbon?".

Anyways, we started thinking we should really do it, but obviously we're not totally crazy enough to make our big tree completely themed, so I bought a 2' white tree from Target for $8.  It was white shimmer which did not look very Dexterish, so I bought some flat white spray paint and sprayed the whole thing.  (For anyone like Mike, who thought it would be flaky and crunchy, it is a tiny bit crunchy, but I used very thin layers and sprayed at all angles using the kind that's made for applying on plastic so it wasn't flaky at all).  Then I used my paper crafting skills and some things we had around the house to make our 'Killer' tree:

Like I said, we used some plastic sheeting that Mike found in the garage as our tree skirt, some little tiny trash bags I made cutting squares from a regular bag and filling with scraps as the presents, or anyone familiar with the show - body bags, and although you can't really see in this photo, saran wrap folded into a long ribbon that wraps around the tree.

For the ornaments we had different things from the series, including gloves, needles, knives, hammers, scalpels, and of course blood slides.  I used a transparency sheet and cut them into little rectangles, then I used food coloring and clear glue to make the fake blood.  The night I made them, they looked really good and more opaque, but as they dried they got weird looking and the centers more clear.  Next time I need fake blood I'll have to try something different.

Some close-ups show some of the ornaments:

Overall, we had a blast making our creepy little tree.  And, pretty much all of our friends and my family watch Dexter and got all the little references.

We only spent about $10 so we thought it would be a one-time thing, but it was fun having a little themed table top tree so we saved the tree and are already thinking of next year's theme!

That Didn't Take Long

Just 3 days after Christmas we already started to get antsy to start our bathroom renovation.  Our tree and decorations aren't even put away!

I regularly peruse the DIY blogs and hit up Home Depot and Lowe's websites every once in a while, but today I decided to check out the local surplus and salvage building material store, Building 9.  Their selection is constantly changing and we've gotten some great finds like our basement glass block windows and our front and back doors all for insane prices.  While I was browsing the site I came across a great find.  Specifically, these Albany Birch paneled cabinet bases in the Sarsparilla finish:

We've talked about starting to shop now for the new bathroom and that way we can take our time and find some good deals and also keep our wallets from feeling a giant withdraw all at once.  So, when I found these puppies, which have the same look that we wanted, (and I talked about back in April in this inspiration post), we wanted to leave work and go buy them right away.  Of course real life doesn't work that way, and we need our jobs to pay for these projects, so Mike and I emailed each other back and forth talking about different configurations and used inspiration photos from the web to talk our ideas through.  After a quick measurement of the existing cabinets on my lunch break, we were ready to go see them in person.

Since we're using the same layout in the new bathroom we used the existing cabinets as a starting point.  Here's a reminder of what we've got:

Sorry for the funky angle, it's hard to get a shot of the entire vanity.

The vanity now is 76" long and it leaves the toilet feeling a little cramped.

I looked at the options available at Building 9 and put together a few options.  I even drew up a quick sketch to show Mike what my ideas were:

We definitely are going with two sinks, so I started with the sink bases and added a drawer base in the middle.  Option #1 has two 24" sink bases and an 18" drawer base for a total of 66" long.  Option #2 uses two 30" sink bases with only a 12" drawer base in the middle totaling 72".  Since we have two sets of drawers on either side of the sink now that we use more than the under sink cabinet, I knew it was more important to have more drawer space than cabinet space.  The added bonus that we could move the toilet paper holder to the cabinet side, making it not the first thing you see walking in, made Option #1 the clear choice.  Allowing about 6" for the toilet paper and holder, we're only at 72" long and an extra 4" for the toilet that we don't have now. 

The only problem I saw choosing Option #1 was this sink from Ikea, that we had mentally chosen, was 24" long. 

That means that it would take up the entire 24" sink base cabinet.  And, the side of the sink on the left side of the vanity would sit right up against the wall.  Not exactly what we had in mind.  So, I quickly did some sink browsing and found some other options like this one from Overstock.com, that's only 18.8" long, leaving some space on each side of the counter.  A little more money than the Ikea one, but overall worth it for the look and function.

Okay, back on track, as soon as we got out of work, we ran over to Building 9.  I was a little dejected when I saw that they only had the cabinet above, (which I think is the 36") and not the 24" sink base, or any drawer bases.  I kinda stood there frozen, literally, since it was 27 degrees outside and it's a giant unheated warehouse, until one of the workers came by and told me the could order any of the sizes and styles for us.  It's a little like Re-Store where they get surplus items and once they're gone they're gone sorta thing, so I was excited to hear that they have some suppliers that they order from and regularly have in stock.  For a $25 shipping charge (per order, not per item) I could get any configuration we wanted.

After a little misunderstanding with the internet price vs. the catalog price, (which they honored the lower internet price), we had ordered a 66" vanity for the bathroom upstairs.  With the New Year's holiday we'll have to wait a little longer for delivery, but we should see them in about 2 weeks.  I'll be sure to let you guys know when they come in, and keep you up to date on any other bathroom purchases.  Or, if we go crazy and start demolition.  Just kidding...I hope.