Winter AKA “Before Baby” To-Do List

Yep, a few things on our list have changed in priority due to the impending arrival of Baby H. I love doing these lists because they really help me stay accountable to Future Cathy, who is notoriously hard to please. We managed to get most of our Spring/Summer list done, with the exception of the sunroom, which I didn’t think we’d get to til next year anyway. Honestly, I’m just so glad we got the foundation done!

Here’s what I’m hoping to get done before the end of February (fingers crossed Baby H doesn’t decide to come any sooner):

  1. Finish the nursery. Obviously, we need somewhere to put that baby. We are most of the way there, or at least we have all the furniture. I still need to do all the requisite organizing of baby clothes and hang pictures on the wall, but we’re making progress! Check out my post on our plans for the nursery for more details. I’m particularly loving this corner and have been trying out that rocker already! As you can see, we’re still deciding on a paint colour for the accent wall.IMG_5112
  2. Work on the back entrance. Now that our kitchen floors are done, it has put into sharper focus how truly terrible the back entrance is. We’ve been using it as our main entrance while we wait on redoing our landscaping- we don’t have a path leading to our front steps any more (come to think of it, we don’t have front steps period at the moment) and due to Richmond’s lovely clay based soil, this leads to an obscene amount of mud being tracked in the house- so we’re using the back door until we figure that situation out. Luckily (ha) all the snow we just got has covered up the entire mess of our lawn so we can pretend it doesn’t exist until April-ish. I’ve already ripped up the old carpet, which has reduced the old person smell drastically! The paint colour will be the same as our hallway and the trim will just get a fresh coat of white paint. We’ll probably continue the vinyl tile from the kitchen here, maybe with painting the steps and risers.CPZY1511
  3. Shoe moulding. Seriously, for real this time. After ripping up the carpet in our living room/dining room and laying the new tile in the kitchen, this is the last step we have to finish the floors off in that half of the house, and somehow it keeps getting pushed back by other stuff. It’s the kind of thing you can ignore for a long time and as soon as you notice it again you’re like “Hmm. This looks really crappy and we should change that. But wait, let me do this other thing first…” and repeat 10x.
  4. Floors in the hallway. After we discovered the hardwood didn’t continue down the hall like we had hoped, my husband ripped up the vinyl flooring that was underneath the old carpet and the first layer of subfloor as well. Since then we’ve been living with it and it’s annoyingly shabby looking, and is really affecting my selfie game. Plus those different levels and rough wood won’t be so kind on sweet little baby hands and knees. We want to try to match the hardwood in the living room and hopefully the transition won’t be too obvious.
    IMG_4898
  5. Touch up paint. Ugh, but I don’t want to. Our carpet installation messed up some of the pain paint (haha, I just Freudian slipped that) in the hallways and bedroom trim, so that needs to be touched up. Also, one wall of the kitchen never got a 2nd coat of paint and it’s kind of obvious in certain light. Plus there are just spots that I didn’t do the world’s best paint job on initially.
  6. Basement plans. Now that the foundation waterproofing is ♫ALL DONE♫ (sing it with me!) we can start to think about how we want to plan out the space- all 1100 square feet of it. It’s entirely unfinished so it’s a beautiful blank slate for us. Our plans will most likely include at least one bedroom, enclosing the laundry room and adding a toilet/shower there for a second bathroom, walling in a family room/rec room, and figuring out some sort of extra pantry storage area. Part of the basement will also remain unfinished for tools and general storage.

And that is probably enough to keep us busy! Realistically this will probably take us into the Spring as well, I’m sure I’ll find the time with a newborn baby… I hear all they do is sleep and poop, right?

If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard anything lately about our bathroom reno, it’s because we decided to put it on the back burner for now. Although it’s hideously ugly in all its green, bronze, floral-wallpapered glory, it is functional. And it’s our only bathroom. Our strategy going forward is to rough in a second bathroom downstairs before we start any work on our bathroom, now that we have firsthand experience about how not-fun not having water is from our foundation well water line shenanigans.

Stay tuned for my progress!
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Bathroom Hopes and Dreams

Since we finalized our bathroom plans, lately we have been tackling the next hurdle: deciding on our fixtures. Our goal was to order the vanity, tub, and faucets by the end of January but we had a bit of a setback; when we got the quote prepared from the bathroom warehouse, the cost of the vanity we liked was quadruple what we were willing to pay. Yep, I said quadruple.

wet style frame collection vanity

Wetstyle vanity, Frame collection

Actually when we first saw it we weren’t 100% convinced, but the more we looked around the more we wanted it. It had an option for putting a cupboard on one side instead of the 2 drawers, and I liked the combination of the warmth from the wood with the coolness of the modern white. Plus it was the size we were looking for and had really great use of the storage space- a lot of the 48″ double vanities we’ve seen left hardly any room for toiletries due to the space allocated for the plumbing or poor layout design.

But we were not able to stomach the hefty price tag. So we went back to the drawing board to try and find a different vanity that would do the job but not completely break the budget, and settled on this one from IKEA.

IKEA godmorgon odensvik double sink

Godmorgon / Odensvik sink vanity with 4 drawers

Compared to the vanities we saw at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Bath Depot, and many others, the IKEA one actually has the best design and use of storage space, the lowest price tag, and highest build quality (solid wood drawers as opposed to MDF). We could even modify it to put a cupboard on one side with a piece of walnut to emulate the look of the too-rich-for-our-blood Wetstyle vanity.

We’re going to pair it with the Godmorgon tall cabinets and mirrored medicine cabinets for lots of storage space. I haven’t decided yet on lighting… we will probably do some recessed lights above the tub and shower, with sconce lights on either side of the vanity similar to this:

[from Houzz- click on photo for source]

[from Houzz- click on photo for source]

For the faucets, we decided on the Delta Trinsic collection in chrome. I don’t love the hand shower attachment for the tub but none of the collections we saw were completely perfect, and I’ll use that less than the vanity, shower, or tub faucets.
delta trinsic lavatory faucet delta trinsic roman tub faucet w hand shower delta trinsic shower head
As far as the tiling and general aesthetic of the bathroom goes, you may remember this photo that I shared in one of my previous posts- our tub and shower will be perpendicular to one another, with a glass partition separating the shower area from the rest of the bathroom, and a sloped floor for drainage.

[from Houzz- click on photo for source]

We will stick to something pretty similar for the flooring and accent tile, except in grey tones. We are leaning towards white subway tiles since they are relatively cheap and easy to keep clean, providing we use light grey grout like in this bathroom (who wants to spend their life scrubbing white grout with a toothbrush? Not this girl!).

[from Houzz- click on photo for source]

Whew! Now that the major decisions have been made, the only thing standing between us and starting this reno is installing our water softener to take some of the iron out of our water- no one wants a brand new white bathroom only to ruin it with rust stains.

Tell me what you think of our plans and if you have any other suggestions!

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More bathroom plans

Ok, seriously: we are getting closer to making a decision on our bathroom reno. After 11+ SketchUp plans, I feel as if we are narrowing in on our dream bathroom. If you didn’t catch my last post on our plans, we have about 75 sq ft to work with and a want list of: separate shower enclosure and tub, double vanity, and storage space (thinking the toilet goes without saying).

My husband had found an idea a while back to fit both a tub and separate shower enclosure in a smaller bathroom, but I was having a hard time imagining how it would work in our space. Basically instead of having them separate with the usual amount of space between them (24-30″ is the guideline I’ve found), you could have them as one entity, making sure to tile around the tub so that the water splashing from the shower wouldn’t be an issue. I had a pretty hard time visualizing this, since the one example we found was of a long and narrow room. The shower enclosure took up the entire width of the room, and you walked through it to get to the tub, which also took up the width of the room. There was a glass half-wall between the shower and the vanity to enclose the shower area and the rest was open. We lost the link to the image, of course, but here is a rough idea of how that layout looked.

sketch up long narrow bathroom layout

As I said, that wouldn’t work in our bathroom because it is not long and narrow. But we found another example online with the same idea, except with the shower and bath perpendicular to each other, like this:

joint shower and bath enclosure

joint shower and bath enclosure 2

I have a really hard time visualizing spatial orientations of things so having this photo helped me see how this could look in real life, and I quite like it! We really like the glass enclosure, which will keep everything looking open in the small space we’re working with. We also like the gentle slope for drainage from the floor to the shower- no curb to trip over or stub your toe on! Finding this photo got the old cogs turning again and I came up with a new layout.

sketchup layout 11

It ticks all the boxes on our list, but without the compromises that some of our previous layouts had; the biggest in my mind being a double vanity so small that two people couldn’t use it simultaneously, only 40″ wide. I found a slightly larger vanity from Home Depot online that is 17.75″ deep by 48″, which I’m not completely sold on, but it gives us a starting point. We could even get away with one a bit larger!

Virtu USA Model # UM-3067-C-ES Opal 48 in vanity

Virtu USA Model # UM-3067-C-ES Opal 48 in vanity

Virtu USA Model # UM-3067-C-ES Opal 48 in vanity

I love that this layout gives us space on the wall between the vanity and shower enclosure for towel racks, and space for a small storage cupboard to house stuff that doesn’t fit in the vanity drawers. It affords us a bit of flexibility too; once the tub and shower enclosure are built, if we decide it’s too tight for both the cupboard and the toilet beside the bath, we could move the toilet over and have a cupboard mounted above the toilet for more storage space.

What do you think, are we ready to start knocking down walls? Any last advice before we start putting the wheels in motion?

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Bathroom plans

We are at a bit of a standstill at the moment. The next big thing on our list is tackling our bathroom reno, but we haven’t decided how to do it yet- and quite honestly, I’m a little scared to take the plunge! What if it’s awful? Bathrooms are expensive, it’s not like we can try again. And it’s hard to move a tub once you’ve installed it but discover you should have put it a little more to the left. This will definitely be the most ambitious project we have attempted so we are thinking long and hard about how to make it happen!

Currently our bathroom layout leaves a lot to be desired. The vanity is huge but only has one sink, so there is a lot of wasted space there. The back hall closet and our hall linen closet cut into the footprint, so if we knock down some walls we could steal a bit of extra room. The available floor space is white in the picture below.

Google sketch up current bathroom layout

If we knock out both the back hall closet and the linen closet, we will have about 75 square feet to work with. Not exactly massive, and on our wish list is a double vanity (me), a separate shower stall (my husband), and some sort of storage space (me again). While it is theoretically possible to cram all of this stuff in, we’re not sure it will be worth the trade-off on clear floor space. Plus the “double vanity” that we found that is small enough to fit is a double vanity in name only: there is actually not enough room for two normal-sized adults to stand beside each other and comfortably use both sinks at the same time.

Ikea hemnes odensvik vanity

Ikea Hemnes/Odensvik vanity

Here are the viable options we have so far:

  1. Free standing tub against one wall; toilet, shower enclosure, and vanity against the other; door opens outwards or install pocket door.bathroom layout 1
  2. Switch the shower and vanity, move the tub against the back wall; door can open inside the room or may install a pocket door to save space.
    Google sketch up bathroom layout 2
  3. Move the toilet where the linen closet is currently; build a knee wall for a modicum of privacy should someone barge in on you; move the vanity beside the bath; shower enclosure where the back hall closet is currently; door swings out or install pocket door.Google sketch up bathroom layout 3
  4. Move the tub parallel to the back wall, vanity and toilet on opposite sides; move the shower to wear the storage cupboard is currently and move the door to wear the linen closet is currently.

bathroom layout 4

Soooo…. now we have to decide I guess? We have cleared a space in our living room to mark down possible layouts with painters tape, so we can get a feel for how much room will actually be between everything. We did this with option number 3 above, which seems to have the most open floor space available… and it still felt pretty cramped. I’m starting to lean towards keeping the current layout and just tearing out the old stuff and replacing with a new shower/tub combo and new vanity. Luckily we have already replaced the toilet so at least that’s one bathroom fixture down *nervous laugh*. Ack! At least one thing I’ve gained so far is learning how to use Google Sketch Up. Apparently it’s great when you know what you’re doing, but sadly I am still in the swearing-at-the-computer-stage.

Any advice or opinions? Should we go for it and knock down the walls, or leave the layout as is and just replace everything?

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No more avocado toilet!

Since moving in we’ve made a few changes in the bathroom, and one thing in particular was pretty crappy: putting in a new toilet! See what I did there? If you follow me on Instagram @cathyatdeardiy, this will be old news to you, but I still wanted to share how we did it for those who might be intimidated by replacing a toilet.

Getting this done wasn’t really at the top of our priority list but I am coming to realize that our priorities need to be flexible. These days I find myself repeating “Well, we weren’t planning on doing that yet, but…” since there have been some unexpected things that crop up that we need to deal with before we were intending to. Like replacing the toilet.

avocado toilet with wood seat

Isn’t it lovely, in all its Avocado and wooden seat glory? The look wasn’t bothering us too much, because there is so much ugly in the bathroom it all just kind of blends together: white and gold glazed tile, green fixtures, floral wallpaper, starburst chrome towel holders, and pendant globe light fixtures on thick brass chains that were collectively the height of home decor fashion in 1960. But the constant running of the water in the toilet tank and its tendency to spontaneously clog was definitely a pain, seeing as it is our only toilet!

So we picked up a Flushometer 4000 (actually an American Standard dual flush something or other) and set to work. My husband was the one doing the real dirty work but I had the important jobs of wrapping and taping garbage bags around the old toilet so we didn’t leak poo water all over the house, and scrubbing the grime off the floor once the toilet was removed. I’m telling myself that it was grime at least, it was very cringeworthy. And now we have this to look at instead:

new American Standard toilet after replacement

I won’t go into detail on how to replace a toilet, there are excellent videos on YouTube that my husband watched to prepare (sorry, plumbers of the world). It looked pretty straightforward to me. I will tell you about some of the snags we hit along the way that may save you some trouble:

  • The original toilet rough-in was not the standard 12″ from the wall but it was close enough to make it work. If yours is off by too much, you may need to install an offset flange or, worst-case scenario, an entirely new rough-in.
  • We didn’t realize that we needed to exchange the original bolts for the bolts included with the toilet. The old ones were not high enough to secure the toilet, so we ended up ruining the first wax gasket and having to run to Home Hardware for another one. This meant we had to scrape all the wax from the first gasket off so we could start over and put the new bolts in. Not the end of the world, just annoying… but it might be a good idea to tackle this kind of project during normal working hours of your local home improvement store, just in case you need to pick up something that you weren’t expecting and don’t have a second bathroom!
  • The length of the piping that runs water up into the toilet’s tank did not fit on the new toilet, so that was another trip to Home Hardware. The original one was 8″ but the tank of the new toilet was higher and needed a 12″ one, so it’s a good idea to measure the old and the new toilet for this!

If you plan on replacing a toilet, just make sure you have a couple of buckets handy that you don’t mind disposing of afterwards or can bleach the hell out of. Rubber gloves and a few sponges are also necessary, as well as a putty knife or something to scrape off wax/brown-stuff-you-hope-is-wax off the floor.

Happy Flushing!

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