DIY Bathroom Refresh

>> Tuesday, October 24, 2017

This is the story of our bathroom renovation.

I don’t have many photos of our upstairs bathroom to serve as a before. Regardless, it’s the main bathroom for all our showering/bathing. We do also have a shower in the basement, but it’s a bit of a dive. We left the old green tiles from the 1960s these last several years because they were in great condition. We also knew we eventually wanted to knock down this little half wall that divided the space, and it would definitely destroy the tile.

Anyway, here’s a before from the day we moved in.

We didn’t have a ton of cash to spend on this project, but I was getting sick of trying to clean all the grout on the floor . . . and I also just get bored without a project. We allotted ourselves $350 to do the work, knowing we also had some materials left over from previous projects.

The first step was knocking down the wall. Then came tearing out the tile. In the process we accidentally knocked the toilet tank, cracking it. We decided to keep our current vanity.

Progress photos:

That last one still gives me the chills. There was plaster and tile . . . EVERYWHERE. Three huge garbage cans full of the stuff. It took a long time to clean up and get a blank slate to start with the new stuff.

We put down the flooring first and then installed the new toilet. Then we got to the walls. We had some vinyl tile leftover from a project I did in the master bedroom, and I knew I wanted to put it to use. We also bought some plastic/vinyl wall coverings for the bottom half of the walls, as well as a few decorative pieces to dress it all up.

From there, I got a couple knobs for the vanity, a piece of artwork, and a cool door with hooks for towels. I also got a nice sturdy bench to stand or sit on. We left the tile behind the vanity and in the tub area (as well as the tub) the original green color. We eventually want to get it reglazed white. I’ve done a lot of research on this DIY reglazing kits, and it looks like a lot of work that doesn’t really hold up. The tile and tub are in good condition, so I’d rather wait and have it done the right way.

I realize I’m skipping lots of details, but I don’t want this post too long. So, I’ll just post the AFTER photos here. If you have questions, let me know. I estimate this project ended up costing around $400 if you don’t count the stuff we already owned (mostly some adhesives, grout, and the vinyl “wood” wall tiles).

My favorite part is how much space we gained by knocking out the wall. And how clean everything is now! It’s all vinyl basically, so you can just wipe it down with some homemade vinegar cleaner and a rag -- done! I also like the grey and wood tones. I am a huge fan of the vinyl floor tiles -- we also have them throughout our main floor . . . and they have help up well to high traffic.

I’m thinking I may do another post with more details on how we did different things, a cost breakdown, and answering any questions you guys have. Leave a note in the comments!


Instant Gratification // Musings

>> Monday, October 2, 2017

Growing up in a small town before the internet became a big deal, I generally accepted that items I wanted/needed would take weeks to arrive and that most things I wanted/needed to do would close by 5PM.

It was a time of slow living. Simplicity.

There was no such thing as instant gratification. I remember browsing through the movie store, for example, looking at VHS after VHS. Finally, I’d arrive on the movie I wanted to see . . . only to find that all copies were checked out and I’d have to wait at least another week to see it.

24-hour grocery stores

Streaming television/movies

Amazon Prime’s shipping

Walk-in clinics open on Sundays

It sounds silly, but these things amaze me. They still do even years after first being exposed to them. I remember leaving home to go to college in Ithaca, which isn’t some big metropolis, and getting delivery calzones at 2AM. Can you imagine! That’s the middle of the night, and I could have hot food brought to me while I was in my pajamas. We won’t even go into the freshly baked cookies you could get at that hour. I’d sometimes drive to Wegmans just to walk around the empty store at midnight because I found the whole novelty of it just so incredible.

Small town girl right here. That’s me. Born and raised. Fifth generation, too. But life is so different now. And this applies even to my small hometown. I cannot even begin to tell you how Amazon would have changed my life. If a store didn’t have X, Y, or Z that you needed . . . we still joke that the owner would say “well -- long exhale -- we can order it in” and it would take seemingly weeks to arrive. As if by horse or something.

But, 2017. We can have basically anything we want, whenever we want it. Sure, some things are still more difficult to get. (Polar’s Unicorn Kisses sparkling water, anyone? Which, by the way, I found here!) And there are times when demand is high. Instant gratification is a great thing -- at least sometimes.

Lately, though, I’ve been grappling with how to bring up my girls in an age when they have access to so much. (PS: Has anyone read Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World? Wondering if it’s worth adding to the library list.)

I would love for them to feel that immense satisfaction of when you have waited so very long for something. It’s this painful place -- the waiting. I think it’s important. For one, it makes the reward so much sweeter. I feel like we’re missing that so much these days. Not that I want to give up any of it. Nope. I’ve become far too accustomed.

But I feel like always getting what we want (even if it’s just immediate rental of a movie) leads to this feeling that we NEED/WANT so much more. We’re ever-addicted to the feeling of joy, however fleeting it may be. And to rarely if ever have that waiting? I just wonder what that does to a person and his/her expectations out of life.

I feel like a lot of my homesteading efforts are also efforts to recapture those old times when things didn’t come so easy. To get that whole feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction again. Many of you were so kind to point out that convenience (from my last post) isn’t always such a bad thing. I totally agree with you.

When most everything is made for our convenience, I’m not so sure. But here I am today with another one of those aimless, thought-circling posts. I’ve been thinking a lot lately, so I suppose it’s good I’ve had time for that.

I’ll be back soon with some new meals that we’ve been making! Meal planning is much easier when you brach out and get excited about new recipes, right?!

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