7th House on the Left

Last time we posted about the hall bathroom, we talked about what to put on the counter between the two sinks. Well, we finally came to a decision and some wall art, a few hooks, and a toilet paper holder later, we can officially call this turkey “Done”. Holla.

complete bathroom renovation

We’re really happy with the final outcome and feel that the year spent in the making was well worth it. To refresh your (and my!) memory, here’s what the bathroom looked like the day we closed on the house…

As you can probably see in the photo, the bathroom before was extremely cramped and dark. As a result, we decided to do a little rearranging…

To give us some more breathing room, we opted to take out the hallway’s second linen closet (remember that?). We then gave that space to the hall bathroom making room room for a much larger vanity and a second sink (read more about that here).

When it came to countertop decoration, we decided to keep things simple. We started out with the tall Boxwood topiary we picked up at Ballard Designs. I love how the greenery brings in a classy natural element without being too “woodsy”. We then decided to pair it with a small antique silver tray to house the hand soap, some PB room spray, and a small glass jar to house over night guest’s jewelry or whatnot. We could always fill it with individually wrapped mints too. Yay for multi-use items!

The wall art was created by yours truly (you can find it in our Etsy shop here) and is made up of the well-traveled streets around town. We love the contrast it brings against the light and bright tiled wall.

On the wall opisite the vanity, we hung two oil rubbed bronze hooks (found here at Restoration Hardware) for guest’s towels and we hung an ultra soft plush robe to go with the whole spa-like motif. When we drilled them into the wall, we made sure to drill in the grout line to prevent cracks in the tile. That would have been bad.

After living with it for a few months, we’re really happy with the decision to include some open shelving in the middle of the vanity. We added a small wicker basket to corral the washcloths. It’s convenient and great for guests because they don’t have to wonder where they are.

As for the toilet paper holder (found here at Pottery Barn), we decided to go with a satin nickel finish to tie in with the faucets and vanity hardware…

Overall, we’re really happy with the outcome and the fact it doesn’t even feel like the same room as when we first bought the house!

Now time for the nitty gritty… I’m sure there are little things here and there (like switch plates and new junction boxes) that we forgot about along the way but to give you an idea of what cost what, we went through our receipts and came up with this general budget breakdown:

Demo: $0
Framing/Sheetrock: $600
Plumping (pretty much everything had to be replaced): $900
Tile (including labor): $1,500
Vanity: $1,750
Bathtub: $850
Toilet: $255
Sinks: $300
Plumbing Fixtures: $680
Lighting: $94
Exhaust Fan: $185
Quartz Countertop: $900
Accessories (rugs, art, hooks, etc): $325
Mirrors: $120

Even though we had a pretty good idea of how much the overall reno would cost, we never started with a “set budget”, so we can’t say if we came in under or over budget. We just did things (or had things done) as we were ready to pay for them. Which yeah, with everything else in the house going on at the same time this made the process go on a little longer but now we’ve got a completely new, much larger bathroom with no debt whatsoever – which is how we like it.

To look back at the action as it happened, check out these posts where we…

So, what do you think about our very first, totally finished “after”?


posted by Greg & Ashley  /  19 Comments

We can’t believe it’s already 2012! What in the world?! 2011 really flew by. I guess that’s what happens when you’re having fun, right? Speaking of fun, we’re here with another installment of His + Her Favorite Things. Here’s what we’re digging these days…

1. Goof Off Professional – This stuff is absolutely great for getting those annoying price tag stickers off of porcelain or other glazed, smooth-surfaced items. All you have to do is drip a little bit on to the sticker, wait a bit, then wipe it off. Every now and then it takes a little bit of elbow grease, but it’s better than picking the sticker off with your fingernails. Just make sure you test it in a non-conspicuous area beforehand, and don’t get it on anything that you don’t want unstuck. We’ve used this a lot over the past few days, getting things ready for the kitchen, and it has really come in handy!

2. John Mayer’s Where the Light Is DVD – Say what you will about John Mayer; that man can play a mean guitar and writes some really fun and interesting music. This DVD has a little bit of something for everyone, as it includes an acoustic set, a blues set (with the John Mayer Trio), a pop/rock set (with the regular John Mayer band), and a bunch of other gems thrown in. It’s on my short list of must-have music DVDs, and I see and hear different things every time I watch it.

3. Steak ‘N Shake’s Milkshakes – I spent the first eight years of my life in Belleville, Illinois, where Steak ‘N Shake was about 5 minutes away. When my family moved to Virginia, I dreamed of the day that Steak ‘N Shake came to Richmond. Now that day is finally here! Yeah, it’s not the best thing for you in the calorie department, but a treat once in a while isn’t too bad – at least, that’s what I keep telling myself. The food is great, sure (the Frisco Melt is my favorite), but I’m really looking forward to reliving a bit of my childhood from time to time with a classic chocolate shake or orange freeze!

4. Dr. Who’s Sonic Screwdriver of the 11th Doctor – No true fan of Doctor Who should be without some sort of sonic screwdriver replica floating around his/her desk, so Ashley put one in my stocking for Christmas! Since I got the 11th Doctor’s screwdriver, I’ll probably be looking for a 10th Doctor’s screwdriver to fill out the set. Feel free to discuss David Tennant vs. Matt Smith in the comments! If you’re a geek like me that is.

5. Phineas and Ferb – Phineas and Ferb is one of the best shows on TV, in my oh so humble opinion. When I have a few minutes of television time to spare, but not enough to watch a regular hour-long show, Phineas and Ferb is my go-to source of quick entertainment. It’s clean, hilarious, and filled with little details that kids would never see.

6. Grow Your Own Coffee Kit – I’ve been pretty busy lately, so I haven’t had time to really start cultivating my coffee plants yet, but I’m pretty excited about this stocking stuffer from Ashley. I don’t know if coffee plants will actually grow in Virginia’s climate, but I’m more than willing to try. Who knows? Maybe I’ll end up with a coffee farm in our back yard!

1. iPhone 4s – If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a total Apple fan girl. Anything Apple, I’m all there. I finally got around to upgrading to the iPhone 4s last week and let’s just say, I’m in love with it. The main, notable upgrades (for me, anyway) are the camera resolution (which is going to come in handy for blogging on the go) and Siri. Oh, Siri. She’s hilarious. You can ask her anything, tell her to add something to your calendar or even remind you to get milk when you go to the grocery store (she actually picks up on when you go to the grocery store by tracking your location! Kinda scary but very cool just the same. She’s also got a few funny things up her sleeve. Like, if you ask her to tell you a joke, she’ll respond with something like, “Two iPhones walk into a bar… I forget the punch line.”

2. Nivea Chapstick – One word: addicted. I know, I know… I say I’m addicted to every lip product whenever I talk about one on a His + Hers feature. But this stuff… seriously. Awesome. It’s super milky yet light, so it gives you that in between lip gloss and chapstick look, and it helps keep your lips ultra hydrated. It’s the bee’s knees.

3. Tapestry Napkins from Anthropologie – My mom got these for me recently and I’m so in love with them! I can’t wait to use them in the soon-to-be-completely-finished kitchen. They pick up on the color scheme we’re working towards and are super soft which gives them a feeling like they’ve been in the family forever.

4. Homemade by Clodagh McKenna – This is such a great cookbook! Not only is it full of great recipes, but there’s also a lot of great photography and the pages are designed beautifully. Whoever was the graphic designer for this project did a great job… and I want to be their BFF.

5. Downton Abbey on PBS – My cousin, Danny, suggested that I watch this show while I was recuperating from surgery. Seriously, there are only so many coloring books and Words With Friends games to occupy my time. Greg and I ended up watching all seven 1-hour episodes in one day. Ordinarily, Greg doesn’t really get into period films/series, that’s normally my cup to tea, but he ended up really digging this series too. The second season airs here in the States January 8th and you can catch the first season on Netflix!

6. Bananagrams – Every single holiday get together we wound up at this year, the night always included a few rounds of Bananagrams. If you haven’t played it yet, you must! Especially if you like word games. It’s fun, addicting, and a great game to play when you’ve got a bunch of family/friends together. Except… don’t play with Greg. He’s too good. Just a warning.

That wraps up yet another installment of our favorite things. Do you have any favorites this month? 

With everything going on at casa de Brown, it’s hard to pick a place to start to fill you all in on what’s been happening. To make things a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of things we’ve done in the kitchen over the past week. Hopefully this will shed light on the 411 without being too confusing.

So, this week we…

  • Patiently waited for the new, massively huge farmhouse sink
  • Installed a new vanity in the half bath (more on that later!)
  • Had the cabinet installers come back to install the new sink
  • Installed dishwasher
  • Installed the dishwasher cabinet panel & hardware
  • Ran low-voltage wiring for the future under cabinet lighting
  • Had our plumber install a recessed water line for the fridge
  • Went counter top and backsplash shopping (more on that later!)
  • Had the countertop company come out and measure (ya to the hoo!)
  • Took Bentley to the groomer – he wanted me to be sure to add that event
  • Began making sense of what’s in the kitchen boxes that have been hanging out in the dining room

It doesn’t seem like a very long list, but we’ve been playing the waiting game because of the damaged sink. For a few days, it seemed like everything was ready to go… everything but the kitchen sink! Having one little problem hold up progress feels completely terrible, especially when you’re trying to get everything done during the holidays. The sink being damaged held up the plumbing being hooked up and the measuring session for the new countertops. In turn, that put the the backsplash tile on hold. Etc, etc, etc. But now the sink is HERE and we’re on a roll.

Here’s a few photos I took with my iPhone last night…

The box in the middle of the kitchen is the new range hood – holla! My dad (who, lucky for us, is a licensed electrician), with Greg’s assistance, is going to be putting that in for us. Maybe Greg will learn a few electrician tips/tricks along the way, too!

As for the laundry room, we’re just now getting used to the fact that there are hardwood floors in there, and we’re loving it! It makes the room feel so much larger.

You may have noticed we moved the antique dresser from the foyer into the laundry room. It just fit too well not to put it there. We’re planning to store umbrellas, batteries, bug spray, extra light bulbs etc. And we’re kind of digging the quirky blue and green color combo.

Oh, and just for good measure, and in case you’re getting bored of all of the kitchen photos, here’s a photo of our cute little mascot sitting on my lap as I type…

Yeah, he’s between me and the keyboard. He likes to be in the middle of things. Oh, come on, you know he’s the cutest dog ever. ; )

There’s a lot more in store for next week – it’s going to be one big whirlwind of kitchen reno fun! Where’s the vitamins?