A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

Building a Bathroom + Going Green: Installation Time

We’ve just finished installing our new vanity, vanity top, faucet and toilet! Our previous set of three closets is really beginning to look like a bathroom now.

To date, we’ve demoed those three adjoining closets, reframed all walls to create one 10×10′ ish room, Kevin used his amazing skills to plumb the entire space, tile was installed, electrician came out to help us with lighting, we’ve painted and we chose a vanity, sink and toilet.

Let’s start with the toilet. I’m excited because it’s been a while since I’ve had an opportunity to post on anything Project Going Green and this first install more than fits the bill.

Did you know that all toilets manufactured today use less than half the water of older models? The average pre-1992 toilet uses 3.5 gallons of water per flush (wow) and today’s low-flow versions use a mere 1.6 gallons. BUT there’s an even better solution. High Efficiency Toilets – or HETs – (which are marked with a WaterSense label by the EPA to vouch for their credibility) drop that number down to 1.1 or 1.28 gpf (gallons-per-flush for those not up on their toilet acronyms). That adds up to a savings of about $90 per toilet per year. Consider that an average toilet lasts upwards of 20 years (that’s nearly $2,000 in savings) and since the program’s inception in 2006, WaterSense has helped consumers save a cumulative 125 billion gallons of water (a finite resource) and over $2 billion in water and energy bills. Now those are some numbers.

Okay, stepping down from my green soapbox now.

Back to the down and dirty. This here is the nifty little space that we used to use to pass tools to one another from the bathroom to the crawl space below. There was never a toilet there before so it was basically just a clean hole in the dry wall.

Then along came our Kohler WaterSense toilet from Lowe’s.

I don’t have any fun pictures of Kevin reworking the plumbing below or above the floor (more about plumbing a new toilet here) but he’s a self-taught master DIYer.

A helpful tip for caulking the base of the toilet is to use painters tape. You can see that the little blue bits above help to keep the caulk from getting caught in the grout (they’re not placed under the toilet but right up against it). When you wipe up the extra caulk and pull up the tape you have a nice even line.

If you are replacing a current toilet these are the pitfalls to watch out for: make sure your new toilet will fit where your old toilet was once installed (measure from behind the toilet to the floor bolts – you don’t want to get stuck with a toilet that is too long and doesn’t line up with the drain when you are in the process of removing your current one), turn off your water supply before you start and don’t forget to plug the drain hole to keep gases from escaping (but don’t let that rag or whatever you’re using fall down the drain). Lot’s of tips can be found right here.

Now onto the vanity. You can read all about this big decision (I agonized over it…) and how we found the perfect vanity and top combo here.

Before any securing, screwing or gluing went underway, we had to get the vanity on level ground.

Shims are used to level out the vanity and are almost a guaranteed necessity in a home full of unlevel walls and floors like our 1930′s bungalow.

Those guys will stay put during the install and then will be snapped off (half remaining under the vanity) when we’re finished.

The part of the cabinet that actually makes permanent contact with the wall is the back of the vanity – two screws later and she’s stuck.

Next is adding the vanity top, complete with a thick line of adhesive (applied with a caulking gun) for an extra secure hold.

That line of adhesive is applied to the top of the entire cabinet (where it will come into contact with the vanity top):

As well as to the back of the top.

Not to worry if it makes a mess, you can wipe up any smooshed out adhesive afterwards.

It looks great!

Kevin has also finished installing the new faucet which looks really great with the combination of the dark cabinet, sea salt blue walls, glass shower tile and white subway tile. I initially was leaning towards an oil rubbed bronze faucet for that vintage vibe (since the goal of the new bathroom was to build a modernized space that fit in a 1930′s home):

Not sure why it felt more vintage to me but I love our oil rubbed bronze faucet in the kitchen and I thought from the get-go that that would be my choice.

After much wondering I picked up a brushed nickel and an oil rubbed bronze version from Lowe’s…

And eventually settled on this Moen Caldwell faucet:

A brushed nickel finished in a slightly vintage shape and feel. Love how it looks with the rest of the bathroom (we have the matching shower head and tub faucet on the other side of the bathroom now, too). The new bathroom is almost here!

More building a bathroom posts: vanity wars, subway tile installation,  floor tiles and toe warmers, a quick catch-up on our work on the bathroom in 2011, tiling with recycled glass, choosing and installing a bathtub, demo time!, a peak at the layout, initial inspiration, partnering with Lowe’s

We partnered with Lowe’s on our bathroom remodel and received some product at no cost and some product at a discount. The ideas and stories shared in this post are entirely our own.

Whew…

We are in the middle of refinancing (have you seen the rates?) and the appraiser has just left the building house.

We. are. so. tired.

On the plus side, we completed a ton of 10% projects (you know how you finish 90% of a room but you put off that last bit? those are my 10% projects) this weekend. And we’re hopefully going to lock in a low mortgage rate that will help us out a bunch in the long term.

On the down side, we. are. so. tired. Kevin more than I – he pulled an all-nighter last night (if only that poor appraiser knew what we went through before he arrived! 30 minutes early! while we were balancing mop buckets and Mrs. Meyers running around like crazy people). Anyhow, there was plenty of painting, scraping, grouting, molding installation, nailing and cleaning to be had and we are even more grateful for our friends who came over both Saturday and Sunday to help us out. Nothing like a good deadline to get those little projects done.

I promise to take pictures of our house while it’s in this ‘clean’ state and get back to you. And to let you in on a little hallway project that might involve chalkboard paint very soon…

Until then, a little cuteness to brighten your Monday:

Found a pair of mom’s sunglasses. 13 months going on 13. (do you see that little snap and swing of the hip?)

I must now get back to work and Kevin (lucky duck) doesn’t have class until this evening. So I think he’ll go sleep.

Office Makeover: What I’ve Learned About Color

I may have just found my new inspirational color palette for the office.

I borrowed this beautiful boutonniere from Pomp & Plumage and inspired by a color palette from Pinterest, created my own with the office/guestroom in mind. When I first came across the image I adored the color combination and decided that perhaps this is the direction I should work towards (you can see in the bottom final color line up that I’m leaning towards the softer pinks and beiges over the burgundy reds though).

Here she is now, clearly in need of some of those alternative colors since the room is full of teal, tan and brown (the teal is hiding in the window curtains, on the bulletin boards, in the artwork and in the fabric leading back to the kitchen):

Color is not really my thing. I think that in general I have a pretty good eye when it comes to mixing color schemes but sometimes I get stuck (and that leads to a crazy amount of frustration because I can’t pinpoint the problem and then am nowhere near a solution).

But over time I’ve pulled together a resource list from those great design experts (you know, the ones with the degrees in color theory and not business – I am the latter) and I have come to embrace these color strategies:

Color Palette Inspiration

  • Nature: color schemes in nature are perfection. They can provide inspiration and always always look beautiful. Nature does not screw this up.
  • Room temperature: warm and cool should exist in every room. It’s not a hard and fast rule – you will find all blue or all green rooms and they will be beautiful, but one of the happiest pieces of advice that I have heard and attempt to implement today is to make sure that I balance my cold and warm colors in a room for that overall harmonious feel (you know when you walk into a room and it just feels right? I think this is the secret). Now if only there was the perfect tool to find the right warm orange for the right cool blue.
  • Shelter magazines and blogs: color schemes resonate with us when we see them. Pull images from your favorite rooms and dissect to learn what it is about those color palettes that you love.
  • Fabrics and photos: pull colors right out of a beautiful swatch of fabric or a favorite photo. They work well there so they’ll work well in your room.
  • Fashion: trends in fashion turn into home decor and color inspiration soon after.
  • Color wheel: stick to color and use it in various shades (from the lightest light to it’s darkest saturation) – and then head to the opposite side of the color wheel for that ‘pop’.
  • Online tools! See below.

A few favorite online tools include:

  • Colour Lovers: You can search the millions of palettes for a few specific keywords (I chose teal and brown here) and it offers up hundreds of color combinations to choose from. For those of us stuck in that color rut (why don’t they offer color theory in business school?) it’s kind of a sweet life saver.

  • Kate and Katie each shared about their experience with Colortopia and it sounds like a great site to have in that color toolbox. The idea here is that you can upload your own favorite photo and select areas or colors from that image – Colortopia will create several beautiful color schemes for you to play with.

  • Elle (a reader) mentioned Design Seeds in the comments, which after checking out I had to add. Maybe they were the designers of the original inspirational palette of that above boutonniere that I saw on Pinterest? What I thought was especially cool is that you can enter a color value (I could use a color directly from my curtain design, for example) into the Palette Search tool and it listed all posted palettes. So neat. Anyway, worth a look:

  • Pinterest, Houzz, Etsy & blogs: these are often forgotten about as color tools, but when it comes to online solutions there are few better resources than experts out there that have shared their work. Be it for a party, home or piece of art. Use these experts to inspire good color choices.

Speaking of using alternative inspiration, here’s a wedding shared over at Style Me Pretty that inspires my love of natural wood in the home. Mmm beautiful!

There you have it! This is where I turn when I’m stuck in a color rut.

A quick wrap up: turn to nature, take your room’s temperature, be inspired by shelter magazines & blogs (a few of my favorite who readily offer advice are Emily, Jenny and Janelle – among countless others), find fabrics and photos, take a nod from fashion, don’t forget the all mighty color wheel, utilize online tools (such as Colour Lovers, Colortopia) and turn to a diverse round up of inspirational sites (Pinterest, Houzz, Etsy) and blogs that break out of your traditional design reads (especially wedding sites!).

Any other suggestions out there? am I missing any key tools? At the end of the day, I just love me some color.

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