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Well Hello, Fireplace

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in Home Decor, Home Improvement | 5 comments

I’d like to introduce you to our fireplace.


It belongs to a part of the house that I have neglected to share on the blog: the living room. Here’s a pic looking back in that direction.


I currently hate the living room. It’s barely furnished and the layout just doesn’t work. But that’s a post for another day. Today we’re focusing on the fire place.

I’m not a huge fan of the brown tile. If you look closely at the first photo compared to the second, I started painting the grout grey to give it a small face lift which helps a little (I just haven’t gotten around to doing the back side yet).

But I have grand plans for this fireplace. Ripping up the mud room floor has given me all sorts of courage to tackle the fireplace next, and Zack seems to actually be on board with this. When I first mentioned it months ago he didn’t quite like the idea. But I think after the success of the mud room floor and how many positive comments we’ve been getting, he has more faith in me and my projects.

The plan is to pull off the tiles and resurface it. Ideally I’d like to mount the TV above the fireplace which would help with the layout issues in the living room. Then I’d live to add a mantle. I’m thinking two different textures on either side of the mantle, so it would probably have to wrap all the way around.

I really like this fireplace with the planked wood up the top. But I’d probably paint it white to light the room up some more.


I’m not quite sure what to do underneath. It’s a large surface area so it’s going to get expensive really quickly.

I love herringbone tile but I think the area is just too big for it:


Although maybe I could sneak something like that on the hearth?

I quite like the white marble the Petersik’s from Young House Love did in their old house (again with the herringbone):


I think it would look great if I did planked wood above it in a dark stain.

Then I could also do the same textile on either side of the mantle like Jenna Sue did. But again, I think this would get really expensive quickly:


I’ve also thought about doing a bench around the bottom like this 3 sided fireplace, but I’m worried about it eating up to much space.


Any thoughts/suggestions? It’s so much surface area I know it’s going to cost a bunch.

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I Tiled A Floor

Posted by on Feb 5, 2015 in DIY & Crafts, Home Improvement | 7 comments

It’s amazing how much work goes into tiling such a small space. I think I underestimate how much work a project will be every time. This was no different.

A couple of weeks ago I left you with the saga of the old thinset on the floor.


Saturday morning we opened up the window, the door to the garage and the garage door, put up some plastic, and taped over the bottom crack of the door to the bathroom, and sanded. There was way too much to just sand it all off, so I just sanded it down to a relatively flat surface. In the end there was dust EVERYWHERE. Just everywhere.

Anyway, that afternoon I began the process of tiling. I didn’t take many pictures cause I was too busy dying tiling. I laid down, measured and cut some tiles before I actually started, then started cutting tiles as I went (with the help of Zack, love him!). I ended up picking out the MS International Metro Gris tiles from Home Depot. They’re pretty big measuring at 12×24 which has its pros and cons. The bigger the tile, the less tiles I had to lay down, but my biggest downfall was their weight. When you’re lifting, measuring, cutting them all evening it gets exhausting. I don’t think my body has ever hurt so much in my life. I didn’t even get it finished that first night.

When it came to cutting the tiles I used two things. First, a tile cutter:

Tile Cutter

You can get a small one for about $20. It scores the tile, then snaps it. It worked 99% of the time, only screwed up once. I borrowed one, but it only fit tiles up to 12 inches, so I could only cut the width of the tile. I didn’t want to spend $70 on a 24in cutter. The other downside is it will only cut the full length/width of the tile, no partial cuts. So to make any funky cuts we had to use a wet saw. I was lucky enough to borrow this from someone too. We used it to cut the length of the tiles, and to cut around the corners and pipes.

On Sunday Morning I finally finished the tiles. I did a victory dance which consisted of slowly easing my sore body onto the couch. But I was so happy with how it was looking:


Despite me trying to clean as I went, it was still a big mess.

Tuesday night I was finally able to grout which is one of the easiest parts… but still really messy. Friday night I was able to caulk around the edges of the room. A great shout out to Polyblend because they sell grout and caulk in the same colours at home depot. I’m sure there are other brands that do that, but I’ve used Polyblend stuff a few tiems now. I went with the dark grey “Pewter” colour. Then on Saturday I put some sealer on the grout.

And I’m so thrilled with how it turned out:


I actually thought the grout would come out darker, but I’m still pretty happy with it. Ignore the horrible mess I did around the edges with the caulk. It was my first time caulking and the trim is going to get painted again when I install the beadboard anyway.


For now everything has been shoved back into the room to save our poor kitchen from the dusty, messy disaster it was for two weeks.


What’s left to do in this room?

  • Install beadboard
  • Cut/hem curtains
  • Install shoe cabinet
  • Install Coat Rack
  • Install bench
  • Build extra shelving
  • Build/Install cabinet to hide litter tray
  • Replace light

    What did I learn on my tiling adventure?

  • Buy premixed thinset. It’s more expensive, but SO worth it
  • Don’t use too much thinset. If you do, it squishes up between your tiles and makes a big huge mess when you try to get rid of it.
    And because before and afters are the best:



    I almost hate walking on it…

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  • The Thinset Debacle

    Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Home Improvement | 3 comments

    Ok, let’s take a look at the last time we visited this room. It was looking like this:


    So way back in September (wow!) I shared this post asking for opinions on a mud room colour. And everyone was like “OMG! Too dark!” so I went back to the store and got more paint swatches and my wall looked like this for a while:


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    Mud Room Blues

    Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Home Improvement | 4 comments

    A week ago I went to a festival and was getting hot in a shirt and shorts. Now I’m cuddled up in long pants and a hoodie with a blanket. I hate you Michigan.

    Anyone get up to some grand adventures over the weekend? I actually worked on a fun house project and took my friends engagement pictures, so I would call it a successful weekend.

    Today I’m going to venture back to my mud room plans. Last time we visited this room it looked like this after losing the washer and dryer:


    It still looks like this, just with cat food, a litter tray and a rack of shoes added.

    I’m still not 100% on what I’m going to do with the room layout wise, but first I need to paint before I can do anything. I’m still planning on going with a greyish blue. So I went to Home Depot and grabbed a bunch of swatches. This room doesn’t get too much light. There covered porch is outside the window. I tried to get the photo to match the lighting in the room as best as I could.


    The white is there in the middle to help visualize what it would like like with the white bead board I’m planning for the wainscoting across the bottom.

    Since it’s a darker room, I’m a little afraid of going too dark. But I feel like most of the other rooms I’ve painted I didn’t go dark enough.

    So what colour do you like? (note that 5 and 6 look like there are two colours on the swatch, they’re just in eggshell vs glossy)

    1. Glidden – Blue Grey Slate
    2. Glidden – Village Blue
    3. Behr – Dark Storm Cloud
                  – Myth
                  – Marine Magic
                  – Night Shade
    4. Behr – Shale Grey
                  – Smokey Blue
                  – Distance
                  – Velvet Evening
    5. Behr – Hampton Surf
    6. Behr – Rush Hour
    7. Glidden – Approaching Storm
    8. Behr – Newport Blue
                  – Waterscape
                  – Heron
                  – Rain Storm

    Or do you have another suggestion? Pretty much every paint brand is sold in a store within 10 miles of me. Help me!! Zack’s opinion as always is “whatever you would like” *smacks him*

    I’m so nervous about doing this room, but I just want to dive in and make it happen.

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    Ahhh… Carpet!

    Posted by on Aug 29, 2014 in Home Improvement | 4 comments

    Something amazing happened last week. When I left for work Monday our basement floor looked like this:


    And when I got home it looked like this:



    Everyone hold onto your seats, cause this is a pretty awesome before and after.

    Here is our basement a little over a year ago before we moved in:


    And here it is all carpeted:


    Crazy happy dance!


    There are still some things that need to be done, but let’s revisit that to-do list.

    Finish wallpaper liner. We just have all the little awkward parts to do
    Second coat of primer on bottom half of walls (1/2 of room) & ducts
    Paint bottom half of walls white (hopefully one coat)
    Paint top half blue (two coats)
    Fix/replace lights (half don’t work)
    Create bartop seating/shelving between poles to separate room not doing this anymore
    Get carpet installed
    • Paint/put up chair railing – Still need to do a little bit of work on this
    • Furnish! New couch sectional, Entertainment stand under TV, perhaps some shelving, a ping pong table and some decor
    • Cover up electric box
    • Fix closet doors. They don’t fit now that there’s carpet :(
    • switch out power outlets to white outlets

    Of course once everything is complete there’ll be lots more photos and details. But for now I’m happy to just lovingly roll around on the carpet.

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    Operation Mud Room

    Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 in Home Decor, Home Improvement | 3 comments

    Months ago I shared our current laundry room:


    And my crazy photoshop skills to show you my thoughts on turning it into a mud room:


    Wow. You can really envision it, right?

    Well, over the last few weeks, Zack and his Dad have been working on moving the washer and dryer down into the basement. At one point Saturday I came home and found the room looking like this:


    Gross, but YAY!!

    On Sunday I cleaned:


    Now it’s time to plan!


    I’m pretty set on the idea doing a bench around the corner. But is it too much? It wouldn’t leave too much coat hanging space, but I could put hooks on the wall by the bathroom door to the right. The bench is going to be fairly high so that the litter box will fit underneath, so I think I’ll split the space underneath with a shelf, so there’s extra shoe/storage space. I’m still not sure if I’m going to keep the cabinet door or take it off. The wall colour isn’t set in stone, I literally just went to behr’s colours and grabbed one I liked. I think I might like it a little more grey.

    As for the other side, I have a few options:

    Option 1


    Continue the bench to the wall. We’d have to cut down the water pipers that are there. See Helo in the litter tray there? He’s so cute!

    Option 2


    Turn the cabinet into shelves that go all the way to the floor.

    Option 3


    Kind of a weird choice, but since there are already water hook ups, we could put a sink in. But as you can see, there’s literally a sink right there in the bathroom. We’ve previously always had to keep that door closed (there’s another door on the other side) so it’s weird to access the bathroom from here.

    So what are your thoughts? Blown away by my mad photoshop skills? Have a better idea? Want to tell me how to do this massive project? It will involve making things with wood. Scary.

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