Next up!

>> 10.30.2009

I promised to stop talking about my finished bathroom reno, right? That means I have to start moving on to other projects. After polling you all and getting some excellent suggestions (you rock!) on what I should through my money into next, I’ve come to the decision to go with the most popular choice: updating the countertops.

1.) countertops 2.) reface cabinets 3.) new appliances 4.) French door/ windows 5.) wait and do all

While drooling over Micah’s new Silestone countertops, I realized I shouldn’t hold myself to going with granite. My goals are to: stick with a budget of under $3,000, get something that’s great for resale, and dramatically improve the look of the kitchen. I’ll be sure to post updates on my choices and how I came to the thriftiest decision.

I’m hoping that I can also make room in the 2010 budget for new windows (before the Energy Star tax rebates expire). Also, I’m going to keep my eyes out for great deals on appliances. Kelly over at Tearing Up Houses had some great tips I think I’ll try to use!

I really appreciate everyone's advice! Remember, I'll be happy to head over to your blog and take a poll or let you know my thoughts if you just ask me in the comments.

I hope you all have a fun/ safe Halloween weekend!

Like a typical busy bee, she was moving around too fast for me to get a good shot of her costume :).


My Thrifty Bathroom Reno Tips

>> 10.29.2009

I know, you’re probably over my bathroom talk, but I felt like I needed to elaborate on how I saved on the bathroom renovation for the people like Dolores who are just getting started on their projects (I don’t want you to have to spend a penny more than you need to!).

Check out my tips for getting a fresh, new look for less:

-Re-use when you can. A fresh coating of glossy black paint and new hardware instantly sharpened up the vanity (you should have seen the disgusted look my tiler gave me when I told him it was staying). I also kept the original ceramic floor tiles in the space, saving $300. The faux stone tile isn’t my favorite, but I knew that they were in good shape and I could always cover them up with a bathmat.

-Think about going with subway tile. White ceramic subway tile is one of the most affordable materials out there AND can be purchased off the shelf at Home Depot or Lowe’s. In addition, it’s a timeless look that will end up matching with any color scheme you use in the room. -Look outside of the bath isle! You never know what you’ll find to fit in with your bathroom. My mirror is just a regular old wall accessory, the shower curtain is meant for a window, and the towel hook I chose was really a coat hook. Who says you need to buy the matching bath sets? I use a fun thrifted coffee mug as my toothbrush holder (I get worried about toilet germs so it says in the vanity drawer until I need it).
-Go for the polish. Bushed nickel is really popular right now so finding it in the sale sections is much more difficult than a finding a polished nickel or chrome. That’s one of the reasons why I was able to find such an amazing deal on the $140 Restoration Hardware light fixture. Remember, thrifty is about getting a cheap price on a nice product, not a cheap price on a cheap product! -Take your time. This was not an instant-bathroom project. I collected ideas and bought materials over a four-month span. Last minute trips to the store scrambling to find items will have you paying full price and settling for what was available. I ended up going with a $150 shower fixture set that I know I could have done better on (by going through Ebay, Craigslist, or finding sales) if I didn’t have to run out and buy a replacement at the last minute.

For those of you who have finished bathroom remodels… what thrifty tips do you have?

For those of you who are sick of all my bathroom talk... I think this will be my last rant for a while. I’ll let you know what the next big project on my list is tomorrow!


Bathroom Budget Breakdown

>> 10.28.2009

When I revealed the after pictures of my bathroom last week, I promised that I would share the budget breakdown of how I did the entire thing for under $3,500. To make it easier for those of you who aren't up for tearing down walls and moving plumbing, I’m going to break down the redo into the facelift and renovation portions:

Vanity Area:
-Repaint vanity with glossy black: $8.50 for quart of paint; $5 spray primer (Home Depot)
-New vanity hardware: $3/each x 3= $9 (Restoration Hardware Outlet)
-Glass shelf: $25 (Target)
-Black mirror: $25 (Marshall’s)
-Light Fixture: $25 (Restoration Hardware Outlet)
-Soap dish: $3 (Target)
-Towel ring: $5 (Target)
-Hand towel: $3 (Marshall’s)
-Vase: $1 (thrift store)
-Outlet Covers: free (came with house)
-Painting tools: free (used for home painting project)
Facelift: $109.50
Renovation: $0
(before... obviously)

-Paint for base and stenciled portion: free (left over from painting other rooms)
-Semi-gloss paint for upper base: $9 (Home Depot)
-Painting tools: free (used for home painting project)
-Stencil for creating faux wallpaper treatment : $2 (JoAnn Fabrics)
-Artwork: $4 (garage sale)
-Coat hook for towel: $3.50 (Target)
-Towel: $6 (Marshall’s)
-Labor to remove old cabinet and mirror: free (diy)
-Wall resurfacing supplies: $48 (HD/ Lowe’s/ local store)
-Wall resurfacing labor: free (diy)
Facelift: $24.50
Renovation: $48

Tub Area:
-Shower fixtures: $150 (Home Depot)
-Shower curtain: free (repurposed IKEA window treatments left in house)
-Trash removal: $90 (Craigslist)
-Tile supplies: $175
-Contractor’s fees associated with turning tiny shower area into space for deep soaking tub: $2,612 (see itemized list for more budget details... I paid in two parts- $2,000 and $612. A $110 fixture credit was given after that invoice.)
Facelift: $150
Renovation: $2,877

Total Facelift Costs: $284
Total Renovation Costs: $2,925

Grand Total: $3,209

Not so bad, right? I had an original budget of $2-3,000 so I’m happy with the final total. It definitely wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t go diy with the drywall finishing and wall retexturing- that project was estimated at $500.

Do you have any bathroom renovations in your future? Have you recently completed a project? Comment with the link- I’d love to see what you’ve done!


Last Minute Costumes on the Cheap

>> 10.27.2009

I thought the boyfriend and I were all set to spend the night in watching scary movies and stuffing ourselves with candy on Halloween… until a surprise party Evite came into my inbox yesterday. Obviously, I’m not the type to break the bank on a costume and I’d much rather put my extra money towards projects in the house so I’ve been brainstorming cheap, low effort costumes.

Yes, this was the image off of the Evite. Looks like it's going to be a classy affair!
image found here

Check out the ideas I’ve come up with for which I can us my own clothes along with a few accessories or some dollar store make-up:

-Zombie: Wear some ripped up clothes, add a little greenish makeup, create crazy hair look with hairspray, and smear fake blood liberally
-Vampire: Go the Twilight route and wear normal outfit, but add fangs and some powdery facial makeup for that sickly look
-Rapper: Grab some extra large clothes and add a little bling
-Celebrity: pick a celeb that I look similar to and mimic hairstyle and outfit- Think how easy it was for Tina Fey to dress as Sarah Palin.
-Hillbilly: Blackout a few teeth, add a bandana, throw hair into pigtails, tie the bottom of a button up shirt
-Nerd: Roll up jeans, tuck in shirt, add prop glasses, poof up hair
-Witch: I’ve done this before using a black dress, dramatic makeup, knee high boots, a hat, and broom
-Ninja: A friend of mine used this one once- it’s an easy costume for someone who does karate and owns numchucks.
-50’s Housewife: I happen to have a dress that’s pretty 50’s looking. I’d just add heels, an apron, curl the hair and carry around a plate of cookies (maybe the cookies will distract everyone from my last minute duds).
-Hippy: add a headband, a tie-dye shirt, jeans, sandals, wide leg jeans… I think I’ll keep saying, “peace” to everyone until they catch on.

What do you have planned for Halloween? Have any cheap and easy costume ideas?


Creating Faux Wallpaper in the Bathroom

>> 10.26.2009

When I revealed my bathroom after pictures last week, many of you seemed interested in learning how I did that wallpaper-esque wall treatment. Well, here's the breakdown:

1. I decided to go with the faux treatment rather than buying and installing real wallpaper because it is cheaper and much easier to change. The supplies are pretty minimal and if you are already on a painting frenzy (as I am), you probably wont need to buy more than one or two items. Supplies:
-painter's tape
-paint roller
-stencil (I created my own using a $2 craft store kit and a utility knife)
-mini paint roller (I snagged mine from the dollar store)
-Paint: I took the easy way out with this one and used three paint colors off of the same sample card. In addition, I already had two of the three in other rooms of my home. The most important part of this treatment is using a semi-gloss layered under a flat paint. Really, any color combo will work, but you might have to pay more attention to detail if you go with a high contrast combo like orange and white.

My colors were: Behr's Irish Mist in semi-gloss, Silver Drop in flat(a color I'm using throughout the downstairs), and Dolphin Fin in flat (another color I'm using in the house).

2. Paint the two base colors.
The top will be the semi-gloss and the bottom will be the darkest flat color. For this step it's okay to make a messy line where the two meet.

3. Prep the paint surface by leveling off the connecting line. To do this, I put my level at the height that I wanted the base to come up (roughly 4'6) to and marked that line. *Thrifty tip: a used match can be used to mark lines on walls. The mark will easily rub off instead of needing to be erased and won't need several coats of paint to cover up.

When the level line is marked, just roll the darker paint up for an even effect.

4. Create or buy a stencil. I wanted to save the money and time it would take to find a stencil I would like, but feel free to buy one from a craft store or online boutique.
To make the stencil pattern, I folded a piece of paper into four and cut out the shape I wanted for the wall.

Then, I traced that shape onto the long stencil plastic that I bought from the craft store for $2. After cutting the shapes out with a utility knife, I was ready to paint!
5. Tape your stencil up using the painter's tape and paint the medium flat color with a mini-roller.
I marked 9 inches between the start of each stencil then went back and added the middle row as the paint dried.

You'll probably need to go back and do a second coat of paint (unless you go with a really nice paint in the first place) or do some touch-ups, but that's basically it!

In the end, I'm happy with the outcome and I'll probably do it again in the guest bathroom. When I do it again, I'll probably buy some better-coating paint for the stencil portion so that there aren't as many touch-ups to be done. Also, you probably won't see me attempting to stencil a room any larger than this one!

Have you ever tried a stenciling technique on your walls (I'd love to see a link)?
Are there any paint treatments in your future?
Update: I've linked this post to DIY Day over at A Soft Place to Land. Head over to enjoy all of the other DIY projects!


Bathroom Afters!

>> 10.23.2009

I wrote my first post on this bathroom almost two months ago so I'm excited to finally share some after pictures! So, let's get to it...

Before: A cramped space with the 'tiniest shower ever' was a little less than welcoming.

After: The room is much more welcoming and open-feeling thanks to the addition of a 18 inch deep Kohler soaking tub and white subway tiles that reach up to the ceiling.

I'm loving this counter-height shelf I had tiled in so that I could store my bath products.
Before: It was a joke for someone like my 6'4 boyfriend to try to take a shower in the cramped space.
After: It's a space fit for a king (or basketball player)
Before: The left side of the room was an embarrassing mess straight out of the 1980's.

After: Updates to the walls, fixtures, and vanity create a modern French hotel vibe.

It went over-budget and over the timeline, but now it’s just over! While I’d love to take a bow and embrace the thrill of victory, I think I’ll just go take a bubble bath instead ;).

Oh, but come back and see me next week- I'll have a full breakdown of all the costs associated with the project (hey, I still came in under $3,500) as well as more on how I pulled some of the details together. Plus, I'll let you know what's next on my list (hint: you helped me to decide).
So, what do you think? …by "what do you think?" I really mean, “say really nice things to me after I’ve put so much into this project.”


It was a loooong night!

>> 10.22.2009

...but I finially finished the bathroom! I want to do the space justice by taking good pictures so you'll just have to wait for tomorrow. For now, yet another tease:


How Much Does Your Hair Cost You?

>> 10.21.2009

After spending 100% of my free time working in the bathroom, I have bath products on the brain! In addition, I recently watched an Oprah show dedicated to discussing all that goes into a woman's hair. These things gave me the urge to break down the costs of the products I use:

Shampoo and conditioner- $1/ each
So far, I've been quite happy with the cheap stuff.
Blow dryer- $12 (from discount store)
I have stick-straight hair so I don't really use this very often. Usually, I just drive to work with the windows down (yes, seriously).

Hair gunk- $4
I don't use this very often either, I think the last time was at a wedding in June.

Hair brush- $5

Hair bands- $3
These are a must! A package usually lasts me six months.

Bobby pins-$3
I use these when I want to get fancy. They usually last me a year.

Headbands- $5
These are great for running; I'll buy a pack a year.

That puts me at a grand total of about $34. I don't use any hair color and I get a $17 hair cut at Great Clips once every couple of months... so I average about $13/month on hair expenses.

What about you- is your hair something that you'll splurge or spend less on? How do you cut back on the costs?


Bathroom Half-ters

>> 10.20.2009

EDIT: I finally finished! Read through this post, then come by and see the afters!

I was reeeeally hoping to have the full afters of my bathroom ready to show today for the Procrastinator’s Party at the Inspired Room.

Back when I joined the party , I came up with the following goals:

-finish out drywall; float walls
-paint vanity cabinet
-add hardware
-hang new mirror
-install new light fixture

Well, I didn’t get to all of them, but I’m happy with the progress that I did make (and the $300 I saved by going the DIY route with the drywall floating ):

A large dark cabinet and dated fixtures took over the small space.
In addition, the walls had a dust collecting frosting-like texture.

I scraped off the texture.

Then I took down the cabinet during my crowbar phase.
I painted the walls a modern grey combo (don't worry, I have plans for that line)...

...and freshened up the old vanity with glossy black paint and new hardware.

What’s left? I need to:
*Finish the paint- I have a special faux wallpaper-stenciling project in the works.
*Hang light fixture and mirror- I called in reinforcements for this one (the boyfriend)
*Add accessories such as art, towel bars, and soap dishes.

Not too bad of a list, right? Please hang in there with me; I hope to have the big reveal for you later this week! For now, you can probably check out some fully-completed projects over at the Procrastinator's Party.


A Little Lazy?

>> 10.19.2009

Recently, LizzieBeth was kind enough to give me the One Lovely Blog award (thanks!). Feeling a little more than exhausted and a little lazy from all the work I’ve been doing on the bathroom project, it seems like the perfect day to let other blogs do my work for me by sending you over to them… I mean share the link love ;).

I highlighted some first time homebuyers with the Honest Scrap a few weeks ago, so I think I'll give the shout-outs to some bloggers whose writing keeps me hooked:

We Took the Bait
Mabel’s House
Yellow Brick Home
Twenty-Six To Life

Make sure to come back tomorrow... it's the big reveal day for the Procrastinator's Party! With a little luck and a lot of hard work, I should have my finished bathroom ready to share :).


It All Came Crashing Down

>> 10.16.2009

It all started with the dated textured walls in the cramped and disgusting bathroom . I knew that they had to go when I added the new tub and surround.

With all my popcorn scraping experience, I thought I would go ahead and scrape off the texture as well. Unlike with the ceilings, the the top layer of drywall paper came off with the texture and left me with an unpaintable surface.

I knew that the wall needed to be floated, but after getting a $300 estimate for the project, I was motivated to tackle it myself. I got some advice from friends with experience and grabbed some supplies from the HD so that I could go to work.
After hours of floating the walls with a thin layer of drywall mud, I encountered a problem. Unfortunately, I didn't have all of the paper layers evened out and air pockets started to form. This caused the mud to lift off of the wall surface.
...and that's where the 'came crashing down' part comes in.
After a taking a moment, I was back to try it again (and much, much happier with the results). I'm determined to finish this project by Tuesday! Wish me luck :).

Have you ever had to restart on a project after hours of hard work?


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