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Guest room | Progress

May 7, 2016

Last time we checked in the guest room was demoed, both of the old windows removed and framed for the new ones going in.


Lots has happened since! We added insulation, new drywall and even had an unforeseen project that included the removal of the main vent stack in the house. More on that later…


We decided to do a skim- coat over the room, and opted for the smooth museum finish instead of traditional texture. This was incredibly time consuming so we enlisted the help of a friend who had lots of experience with applying mud to achieve the desired finish. You can see the finish below as the windows are going in.


We chose a 4ft. x 2ft. casement window for the south facing wall, and a 3 ft. x 3 ft. single-hung window for the west facing wall.


We finally took my Dad up in his offer to help -here he is helping Nick out in the first window.

Below you can see the almost finished room! We used tongue-in-groove cedar planking for the ceiling and painting the room in a pastel blue.

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

Guest room | Demo Days

April 19, 2016

Our most recent project has been the guest room. When we moved into the house, this room had an itty bitty closet in one corner that was a huge eye-sore and not practical given the space -the room is almost exactly square at 9’5″ x 10′. It had one dark blue statement? wall and felt dingy and dark.


We painted this room with Killz primer when we moved in to subdue the harsh smoke scent and added new electrical outlets since we were doing new electrical throughout the rest of house. Before the floors were refinished we ripped out the closet which you can see below.


Amazing what a coat (or 3!!) of fresh paint can do for a room. You can see here where the existing heater vents came up through the floor. When they refinished the floors we had them patch all of these as our new ones are in the ceiling. Once the floors were finished and cured we covered them up with RAM Board and went to town demoing the existing walls.


It was a serious mess. Even though we’ve systematically torn down almost all the walls in this house it still amazes me how much debris lath and plaster creates. We even found some chicken wire hidden in the plaster. THAT was fun. But we did find an old window that had been covered up – Hooray! My main concern with this room was that it would still look dark even after we remodeled it. Not anymore! We now now have western and northern exposures in this room and I couldn’t be happier! We ordered two new windows and they should be here at the end of the month.


Why the siding around the window is cut in a “V” we have no idea. Any guesses? Also, we found out we have two layers of siding, some straight cedar planking. Which, coincidently looks SO much better than the green cedar particle stuff we’ve got on there currently. We hope this can end up saving us some money, but more research is needed.

Original Hardwoods | To refinish? Or not. 

April 13, 2016

Our current home was built in 1926, at a time when most homes were ordered from the Sears catalogue at your local store. The materials were shipped in a rail boxcar which included everything needed to build the home. Once delivered, these homes were often assembled with the help of family and relatives. There were two options for floors, oak or fir. Oak, the harder of the two was considered an upgrade, while fir came standard with most homes.

We have fir. You can see below what they looked like when we moved in.



We went back and forth trying to decide whether the floors could be saved, or if we were better off putting in new engineered hardwoods. I love a good story, and the history behind these floors was no exception. I spent countless hours mulling over what to do and working to convince the efficient, ever practical engineer in the house that they were worth it. We knew that because they are a softer, more lightweight wood they would dent easily -something hard to stomach after spending a pretty penny to refinish them. However, after a few quotes and an extensive amount of research, we decided to refinish. One of the reasons was our original floors have a much tighter grain than anything we could afford to replace them with. Below is a look at the floors after the walls had received new drywall, can lighting and fresh paint.


We brought in a professional to do the job, as fir is extraordinarily soft and someone as spastic and inexperienced as myself should never be allowed near a drum-sander. We moved out for two weeks while the team refinished them. We also timed our two-week vacation right after so that the floors could have almost a month to cure. The Swedish-finish that is recommended for floors in the PNW is really toxic and it took a few weeks for the fumes to air out completely. Below are photos of the process.


Picking the stain. We went with the darker of the two, New American because it showed the variation in the grain of the wood but hid many of the small imperfections and variances in color due to age and wear.


It took five passes on a drum sander to reach a clean slate. Naturally, there were spots around the house where it was impossible to remove all signs of previous wear. And in a few places it appears the wood was dyed by some kind of spill, but it’s character and this stain certainly showcased the richness of the fir. Note: having your carpets cleaned commercially in place is a great way to damage the wood underneath. We think this is potentially what caused the dark squares in our living and dining rooms.


The photo above was taken after one coat of stain. We opted to have them apply three coats total to give the wood a more durable layer. Fir is really soft and we were/are concerned that it is going to wear quickly with heavy traffic and dogs. See below for the finished product!


They are beautiful, and needless to say we are thrilled with how well they turned out. Whether they were worth refinishing only time will tell -there will eventually be another post on that.






Bathroom progress | Tile

April 6, 2016

In the last post I mentioned some tips for choosing bathroom tile. Since deconstructing the bathroom we updated the plumbing for the sink, shower and toilet and ripped out the existing green board and replaced it with concrete board on the floor and walls (see it here). This will help support the weight of the subway tile, and is also a much more durable water barrier.

Additionally, we installed radiant floor panels, however one thing we didn’t plan on was the uneven surface that the panels presented. Hex tile comes in 12×12 squares that are incredibly floppy and hard to work with on an uneven surface. Before we could lay tile we decided to thin-set the floor with concrete so the tile would lay perfectly flat.

2015-01-08 22.18.05

Here you can see the floor tile going in. Finally!

After the floor tile was in and cured we grouted and replaced the toilet. Below you can see a few stages of tile going up on the walls. We chose a simple white ceramic subway tile to contrast with the black hex we picked for the floor.

Stay tuned for more progress!

Materials: Snow White Ceramic Tile from Home Depot  // Hexegon Black Matte from Statements Tile in Seattle // PolyBlend Sanded Grout in Charcoal from Home Depot //

How to Pick Tile | Bath progress

March 31, 2016

Wood is beautiful, but in a bathroom tile is functional. Our current 1926 home had hardwoods into the main bathroom however we opted to take them out in favor of tile. the idea of guests, kids (not to mention, ourselves!) splashing water continuously on those wood floors was enough for them to acquire water damage; in my mind at least. Most of my favorite bathrooms include two types of tile – one for the floor and one for the walls. Taken together they can contribute depth and interest to a space that wasn’t there to begin with.

bathroom inspiration

The first tip is to use a small scale pattern and a large scale pattern together. The primary reason for this is two small-scale patterns will compete with each other rather than accent. For example, in our current bathroom I plan to use a small-scale hex tile on the floor and then couple it with a larger-scale, simple white subway tile for the walls.


Photo: Style at Home

The second tip is to realize it’s not paint. You’re putting it in for life or at least 20 years so you should think of it differently. It should be classic and fit with the architecture of the space to which you’re applying it. We have all seen bathrooms of the pink palace variety, where the sink, toilet and all the tile is glowing shade of faded blush. Eek! I grew up in one such bathroom, but thank goodness I had parents that instilled in me the blessing and the curse of perpetual home renovations.

The third tip is to use the same color on the floor and the wall. One look in particular that I love is the Carrera hex tile on the floor and a smaller subway tile on the wall, seen below.


Photo: Studio Mcgee

The wonderful thing is that tile has really shifted in the last decade. It used to be that underwhelming tile show rooms and the uninspired choices at Home Depot were all that you had to choose from. Now with Pinterest, Remodelista, and Houzz there is plenty of choices and inspired design to take your bathroom and/or kitchen from zero to hero.

Currently our bathroom has been completely demoed around the exisiting tub (it will be saved and refinished). There is new plumbing and electrical and the concrete board is up and the radiant heat panels have been laid.

Here is our inspiration for the space. Stay tuned for more updates!

Bathroom | Before & After

March 28, 2016


To Recap… About a year ago we gutted this entire space and started from scratch. The goal was to restore the charm of this 1946 bathroom and rescue it from the drab oak cabinets and laminate flooring. Below are the photos from before we started the project.





Once we took the walls out we found traces of mold and deteriorating drywall so it all had to go -we took the 8ft. by 5ft. space back the studs. We were able to reuse the bathtub but updated all of the existing plumbing. The medicine cabinet and pedestal sink were found at Second Use (in Seattle, WA) and are period specific to the house.

While installing concrete board wasn’t originally in the plan we didn’t have any expectations that what we found -once we tore down the walls- could be salvaged. Next came the tile, we did white subway tile for the walls and hex penny tile for the floors. We added radiant heating panels under the hex tile for toasty warm feet on chilly northwest mornings.

We went with a charcoal grout to play up the subway tile and also subdue the floor a bit. With pets and kids white grout isn’t a great option and I’m thrilled with how polished the tile looks with the charcoal option. We decided on fixtures from Rejuvenation Hardware and subtle blue paint to brighten the space. The finishing touch was wrapping the window in wood to give it an undated modern feel.

The upside of completely gutting the space? Now we know exactly what is behind all that beautiful subway tile, that it is watertight and that this sweet bathroom will serve its people well.

Product Sources: Moen Chrome Faucet from Home Depot // Carlton Double Wall Sconce from Rejuvenation Hardware // Landry Shelf from Rejuvenation Hardware // Landry Toilet Paper Holder from Rejuvenation Hardware // Landry Single Towel Bar from Rejuvenation Hardware // Towels from Hotel Collection // Duck cloth Shower Curtain from Rejuvenation Hardware // Paint Color:

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