Bathroom Remodel

DSC02656At the end of October, we noticed a  water spot on the kitchen ceiling.  I knew it was right under our master bathroom shower.  Bradley cut some of the drywall out and we could see the drain from the shower, covered in white residue with a single drip of water every so often.  We had a contractor in our neighborhood look at it for us, and not surprisingly, in our 40-year-old home, we had a leaky shower pan.

Bradley had four contractors look at the bathroom, but only two ever came back with an estimate.  I had always wanted to expand the shower into the dead space between the shower and the linen closet because it was so small you had only enough room to turn around inside.  So we had the contractors let us know what that would cost and what it would cost to also move the toilet and vanity around to make better use of the space.

Because the renovation was due to a leak, and not a result of saving for it, we decided just to expand the shower.  That option did include replacing the floor tile and the toilet, but no plumbing was moved.

Here was the bathroom when we toured the home two years ago:

P09 P10 P11

After we moved in, I did a few minor DIY projects – painting the vanity and the walls, adding new hardware, and a towel ring.  Here is the bathroom before renovation began:

DSC02600The room had white hexagon tile on the floor and white square tile in the shower.  Not bad, but had to go.

DSC02601DSC026042016-02-09 15.54.37-2

The entire renovation took three weeks.  The only problem they uncovered was some rotten subfloor evidently due to an old toilet leak.2016-02-09 15.55.24-2

The door to the linen closet was closed up, and an angled wall was put up to expand the shower size.  I had them make an arched opening for the shower.  A smaller opening was made for the linen closet on the wall behind the bathroom door.  The closet remained the same size but is now deeper and less wide with the opening moved.2016-02-09 15.55.52 2016-02-09 16.10.59-2I chose white octagon and dot tile for the floors and standard subway tile for the shower walls.  The grout is a warm grey.  I had them take the tile to the ceiling – I never understand stopping the tile a foot or two from the ceiling.  They also installed two niches for us – one 12×12 and one 6×12.  A small foot prop went in under the window for shaving my legs.DSC02621It turned out that we were able to keep our original window because it is not near the water from the shower.  Also, it is high enough that we didn’t even have to replace the glass with tempered.  The contractor used an oil-based enamel-like paint to protect the wood from any moisture.  The tiler did a great job around the window, and also lining up the rest of the tiles considering all of the funky angles and niches.
DSC02626The only area I wasn’t happy with was the threshold of the shower opening.  The tiles didn’t line up with the sides of the arch.  I understood why, but still didn’t like the way it looked.  Turns out the tiler probably thought we would be installing a glass door that would hide the tile in the center of the threshold.  I opted not to have a door on the shower.  I hate trying to keep glass in a shower clean.  The fix we decided on was a piece of marble with a slight overhang on the threshold.  DSC02628I decided to change the paint color from the same as our bedroom to Sherwin Williams Rainwashed.  Depending on the light in the room, it can appear more blue, green, or grey.  The vanity and trim are painted Sherwin Williams Dover White.DSC02633DSC02636 There was already a light in the shower, but we had them change it out to a light/exhaust fan combo.  They were able to put a timer on the fan for us and split the line to have the light on it’s own switch.

DSC02648DSC02654DSC02640DSC02643In the linen closet, they installed new shelves to my specs.  We added roll-out wood baskets on the shelves to make it easier to reach items in the back of the closet.


We plan to save up and have custom cabinetry doors added to the linen closet.  For now, I had them leave it as a simple drywall opening.  We will also change out the vanity in a couple of years.  I ordered extra floor and baseboard tile so that we can continue it under the vanity when the time comes.  If I can find a mirror I like that isn’t too expensive, I would also like to change that out.  We are on the lookout for a piece of art to go on the wall with the commode as well.


Master Bathroom DSC02658

The electrician added an outlet to the funky angled wall in the corner of the bathroom so that we could set up our towel warmer inside the bathroom.  It had previously been outside the door in the sitting area of our bedroom.

Finding a toilet was a little difficult because I prefer a standard height versus the popular ‘chair height’ or ‘comfort height.’  Also, I was set against having a button on top of the tank for flushing.  The plumber switched out the contemporary handle that came with the toilet for a polished nickel one from the same line as my towel ring – Moen’s Waterhill collection.

The drawer pulls are from the Martha Stewart collection at Home Depot.DSC02668We changed out the vanity light ourselves.  The original one had an antiqued brass finish, so I ordered this one from Feiss on Amazon.  I think it picks up on the details of the drawer pulls nicely.

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Bathroom Remodel

Vanity Light: Feiss Concord Three Light Bath Vanity in Polished Nickel
Vanity Pulls: Martha Stewart Living 3 in. Polished Nickel Finial Pull
Vanity Paint Color: Dover White by Sherwin Williams
Floor Tile: Daltile Octagon & Dot Mosaic Tile
Shower Wall Tile: TBA
Grout: TBA
Shower Trim: Delta Cassidy Thermostatic Shower Trim Package
Toilet: American Standard
Toilet Handle: Moen Waterhill Tank Lever in Polished Nickel
Towel Ring: Moen Waterhill Towel Ring in Polished Nickel
Linen Closet Pull-out shelves: Style Selections from Lowe’s
Wall Color: Rainwashed by Sherwin Williams

Progress Report: Year 2 in Review

We started out year two in what we call our forever home by having four large pine trees and four large Sweet Gum trees cut down.  The pine trees were buckling the driveway and the sweet gum trees, in addition to their annoying gumballs all over the yard, were in decline and needed to go.  That project took two days and the cost came in at $2300.

Sweet Gum Trees

Pine Trees (1)

We also checked off a couple of boxes from our home inspection.  There were two vent boots on the roof that were cracked, so we had those replaced at a cost of $200.  Also, our electrical panel was an electrical hazard, so we had a new one installed.  At the same time, they added an outlet to our foyer and were able to get the stairwell light to work using the switch at the top of the stairs.  The electrical work came in at $1848.

Cracked Vent Boots(Cracked Vent Boots – No after pictures)

Electrical Panel

As our anniversary gift, we had sun tunnels installed in the den to allow more natural light into the room.  That upgrade came in at $1470.

Sun Tunnels

We had a few minor plumbing and HVAC repairs that came up – the repair costs came in around $550.  This included repairing a leaky drain in the guest bathroom tub, replacing a leaky faucet in the main floor bathroom, and replacing the contactor in the upstairs HVAC.


Smaller projects around the house included adding curtains to the master bedroom and Bradley’s office.  I added chairs and tables to our front porch to make it feel more inviting.  Bradley changed out the fluorescent light in the kitchen for a new polished nickel track light.

Master Bedroom2

Office 0715b

Porch Chairs1

Kitchen Light1

We also moved the full-size bed into the spare front bedroom and put a queen-size bed in the guest bedroom.

Third BR 0715a

Guest BR 0715a

We continue to make progress pulling out unwanted overgrowth in the yard.  I was able to add more Daphnes behind the Drift Roses to the right side of the front porch shrubbery bed.  In front of the garage, I added two Miss Scarlett Illiciums on either side of the Gardenias.  My mom planted daffodil and tulip bulbs along the driveway as well.  Before we know it, we will have flowers popping up throughout the year.


Looking forward into 2016, our big to-do list item is a master bathroom remodel.  We discovered a leak coming through the kitchen ceiling back in October.  It turned out to be our master shower pan leaking.  We have had several contractors out to get quotes on a small remodel, and we will begin moving forward shortly.  That renovation will probably exclude any other major projects around the house this year, barring any unexpected repairs.

I hope to finish pulling out the azaleas that are floating in the middle of the front yard without anything to anchor them.  And since I didn’t get to it last year, I hope to paint the shutters navy – December’s Eve by Sherwin Williams to be exact.

Countdown to Christmas: Amish Friendship Bread

Friendship Bread

Every year, I start a batch of Amish Friendship bread before Christmas.  When it is time to make the bread, instead of giving away part of the starter, I go ahead and make all five batches of bread.  It yields 30 small loaves.  I cut nesting tags using my Silhouette Cameo and tie each loaf with baker’s string.  We give them to co-workers, neighbors and other friends.

I thought I would share the starter/bread recipe that I use here.

Amish Friendship Bread


1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup sugar

*Do not use metal bowls or spoons.  Do not refrigerate*

Dissolve yeast in small amount of warm water.  Mix all ingredients together in ample size bowl (it will grow).  Transfer starter to a 1-gallon ziplock bag.  This is day 1 of the recipe.

Day1:   Do nothing to starter
Day 2:   Squeeze bag.
Day 3:   Squeeze bag.
Day 4:   Squeeze bag.
Day 5:   Squeeze bag.
Day 6:   (In bag) add 1 cup self-rising flour, 1 cup milk, and 1 cup sugar.  Seal bag. Squeeze bag to mix.
Day 7:   Squeeze bag.
Day 8:   Squeeze bag.
Day 9:   Squeeze bag.
Day 10:   In a plastic bowl, combine the bag of mix with 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup self-rising flour.  Mix well with spoon.  Pour 1 cup of starter in a 1-gallon ziplock bag.  Make 3 more bags with 1 cup starter each.  Total of 4 bags.  Keep 1 bag and give the other 3 bags with this recipe to friends.  You will be left with 1 cup of starter in the bowl.

(Bread may be made on day 8, 9, or 10)


2 c. self-rising flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. sugar
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
1 c. oil
1/2 c. milk
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix by hand.  Grease 6 small loaf pans.  Mix 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 3 Tbsp. sugar.  Coat bottom and sides of pans with mixture.  Fill each pan 1/2 full with batter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Bake for 45 minutes at 325° (I use the convection oven at 300°)

Holiday House Tour 2015 (part 2)


This year, I was able to plug our tree up in the foyer without running extension cords into the living room, thanks to the new outlet the electricians installed earlier this year.  As always our tree is filled with ornaments we pick up on vacations and for important life events.  This year we added a few more:

Jovie OrnamentIn April, we adopted our second dog, Jovie.  Her ornament is almost identical to Buddy’s but I couldn’t find anything else I liked any better.  The Personalized tags I added to the top were from a necklace I ordered through Groopdealz.
Seattle OrnamentIn August, I picked up two ornaments during the road trip from Seattle to San Francisco with my mom and sister.  The first was from the Space Needle, and the second is from the National Redwood Forest.
Redwood Ornament Dianne OrnamentIn May my mom’s only sister passed away from cancer.  She was like a second mother to my sister and me – we took most of our vacations with her as we grew up.  She has given me quite a few ornaments over the years, but each niece and nephew got these this year.  She had cross-stitched them in 1990.  She is so missed by all of us.

To check out our other ornaments and trees from years past, go here.Card HolderI moved my card holders into the foyer this year now that I’ve added the botanical prints on the dining room wall.

Table SettingOn the breakfast table, I added my one-piece nativity under a cloche and slipped an old beaded wreath around it. I use simple snowflake dishes from Target and pair them with my everyday china and some silver glass chargers that I picked up at Goodwill several years ago.  I added the red plaid napkins this year to pick up on the red wreath in the center.DSC02592In the dry bar area where I keep my stand mixer, I filled the bowl with contemporary Shiny Brite ornaments I found on clearance after last Christmas.

Christmas Centerpiece

My dining room table is almost bare this year.  I end up using the table a lot so this is what happens.  I’ve been looking for a table runner that can at least fill it out a little more – I just haven’t found one I love yet.  I filled my large lantern with vintage ornaments I started collecting a few years ago.  I buy a couple more each year.

In the background, I’ve added a couple of red pillows to my normal green ones in the living room.  I also use a red metal tray on the coffee table to add a little more color.
I put all of my nativity sets in the den.  I used the Willow Tree set from Bradley’s grandparents on the mantle.  I added magnolia branches and some electric candles my mom gave me for my birthday to fill out the sides of the mantle.

Christmas Mantle

This nativity was a wedding shower gift from my aunt.  She knew that I prefer nativities with abstract faces.  It means even more now that she’s gone.Dianne Nativity

Bradley’s dad brought this nativity back from Africa several years ago.  Africa Nativity As always, one our favorite Christmas tchotchkes is the big bulb ornament I made several years ago.  I also put out some brass deer I got from Goodwill with a gold mercury glass tree.Bulb Ornament

And the bulldog treat jar can’t be left out, so he got a santa hat this year.  The tiny nativity ornament next to him was a gift from my best friend.  Her husband picked it up on a mission trip to Peru.Christmas Bulldog

View part 1 of my Holiday House Tour HERE.

Holiday House Tour 2015 (part 1)

House ChristmasFor Christmas this year, I broke down and bought wreaths for each window, because with so much symmetry to our house I really like the look of the wreaths.  I was able to get them hung, but bows will have to wait until next year.  I just have too much going on to get 11 wreath bows made before Christmas this year!

I kept the UGA wreath on the front door, because I still love it.

Front Door

Front Door2

For my birthday, my mom and sister made and bought cheery pillows for the chairs on our front porch.  I love them!  I should probably change out the seat cushions this time of year as well…

Front Porch2

Front Porch1

The only other outdoor decor we do is white string lights wrapped around the trunk of the Japanese Maple tree in front of the garage.

View part 2 of my Holiday House Tour HERE.