Friday, July 25, 2008

Newly Framed Art

While the official Apartment Therapy Cure is long over, I've still been making some small improvements and will make updates here occasionally.

I possess one and only one piece of real art, a painting by my sister. I decided it deserved a real frame, not the Ikea frames I use in the rest of my home. I got a recommendation for a DC frame shop that lets you do some of the work yourself to reduce costs. The frame looks great! Here it is:

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Final Touches

I will still make a few tweaks here and there, and complete some final paint touch-ups, but here are "after" and "before" photos from my project.

The bathroom (I'm very pleased with my final choice of linen colors!):
The bathroom "before". The photos just don't convey the state of disrepair:

The living room "after." (I still have a few paint touch-ups to make):

The living room "before." I'm so happy to be rid of the louvered wall (on the left between the kitchen and the living room):

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Choose your own adventure

I took some photos of two different options for towels/bathmats. (I haven't had a chance to touch up the paint, so forgive the obvious smudge about the TP.)

The towels I originally purchased (I can't remove them from their packaging until I decide to keep them). If I do keep this set of towels, the trash can doesn't have to stay:

Another option:
The second version definitely pops A LOT more and I like that. I'm just not sure it is as warm as I would like. I like that the bathroom is so cool and clean, but I would like also like it to feel warm and comfortable.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Too impatient

I'm too impatient to wait for the final reveal. It is probably going to be a while before I can complete my final paint touch ups (that's my job, not the contractors'), so I have decided to post photos of the not-quite-finished product. Besides, I'm having second thoughts about a few of my accessories and I could use some feedback on that.

Photos as of 10 minutes ago are below (first the overall effect, then some details, including the new tile baseboard).

I bought towels in two colors, this pale grayish blue and a darker blue (What you see hanging is actually the bath mat). I'm having double thoughts about the towel colors now that I see them here. I think I would prefer towels that are more turquoise, like the trash can shown in the second photo. Any thoughts?

Right now the art is propped up on the towel bar and not hanging on the wall. That's because I don't like the frame it is in. It adds one too many silver/gray to the room. That's an easy fix though:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

It keeps going and going...

I was back in town for the weekend and I was sick. Which is too bad, since I had a lot I had to get done. To save some money, I decided to paint myself. My boyfriend helped me with that this weekend. In any case I'm a day or two away from a completely functioning bathroom. At this point I'm going to save the photos for a final reveal...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Looking good

I'm still out of town but my boyfriend was nice enough to stop by and take photos of the recent progress on my project. They look great and I can't wait to see everything in person.

The shower tile:

The floor:

The knee wall in the kitchen. I talked to the contractor about the finishing they added that had not been what we discussed. They redid the finish and this is more in line with my tastes:


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Losing track of days...

I've been traveling from one place to another-- this past weekend I was in Michigan and now I'm in Minnesota for work. As a result, I haven't been able to take photos of the most recent progress. As I understand it, the contractors have begun tiling the bathroom. I'm looking forward to seeing it on my return. In the meantime I am enjoying the fact that my hotel room has a functional bathroom.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Day 4

Here is the most recent progress.

The shower nooks are taking shape. They look great. I am concerned that the bottoms should have a slight slope so that they will drain, so that is a question for the contractor this morning:

The knee wall in the kitchen is being finished. They aren't finishing it the way we discussed, which was with a narrow ledge of leftover counter from another project my contractor worked on. I don't love the aesthetics of the way it is being finished. So that's another thing I could talk to the contractor about. But I'm not sure I should worry about it since I do hope to get new kitchen cabinets and counters in the next year or so, and plan to install new the countertop on the kneewall at that time. So in my mind this is (and always was going to be) a temporary finish and I wish they hadn't spent so much time on it. They did a nice job, it's just not my style:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Day 3

Some more progress on day 3.

Some plumbing work was completed:
The workers shown here completed more work on the floor, ceiling, and walls:

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Day 2

Day 2 was not nearly as dramatic as day 1., but overall I was pleased with the progress.

A little bit of drywall was installed:

Yesterday the contractor alerted me that some of my floor joists were not in good condition. A piece of plywood was screwed and glued to the floor over the warped joists. I'm worried about this... I thought the message I got this morning was that the joists would be repaired for some added cost. They have not been repaired, but the plywood has been installed. If you step on the portion shown in the upper right hand corner it is quite bouncy and not level:

The new bathtub was positioned in the bathroom:
And the bonus project! I had the contractor remove the white louvered wall that served as a divider between the kitchen and the living room. This shows progress of the new knee wall being constructed to replace it. It's almost there:

Monday, May 5, 2008

End of Day 1

I checked in after work and was surprised to see how much had been done.

The walls and ceiling:

The pipes where the vanity used to be:

The quarantine bubble between the construction and my living room:

The scary thing is that I got a phone call from the contractor this evening. He wants to meet me first thing in the morning. Apparently there's something unexpected with the floor. I'm seeing dollar signs, and is this an ulcer I feel forming? (How fast excitement can turn into stress...)

Pre Remodel Chaos

My contractor should be here in a few minutes. Here's what my apartment looks like.

The living room is more crowded than it has ever been. The bathroom and my closet are completely emptied of my belongings:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Finishing Touches

This weekend I spent some time on the finishing touches for my new bathroom. I bought some towels and framed some art. Now if only I could jump forward in time and see everything installed...

Construction begins one week from today!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Almost there!

It's really amazing. I almost have nothing left to do and I still have one work week and two weekends before the contractor starts work. The most recent development was today. I just picked up my floor tile and I like it even more than I imagined.

Here's a photo of the floor tile with a few tiles of the shower tile, the vanity door, and the sink faucet. I like the way everything looks together!

(Alana in Canada... I may end up putting white contact paper on the inside of the frosted glass if I find that it looks too messy.)

Summary of this week's accomplishments:
  • Floor tile arrived
  • Matching towel bars, TP holder, and glass shelf ordered
  • Toothbrush holder purchased
  • Saw my contractor featured on television news (a feature on green design)! Good thing I've already got a date set for my job!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tile Choices

I've been asked what tile I ended up choosing for my floor. I wasn't able to get the Eco-Gres Mosaic tile that I wanted because the manufacturer was out of stock. I found a replacement by Daltile. Here's a simulation I created on their website:

This looks NOTHING like my bathroom, but the floor tile and wall tile shown here represent what I have ordered (with the exception of the trim between the floor and the wall, I'm not using what is shown here and I couldn't seem to make it go away).

This is the Daltile Colorbody Porcelain, in their Keystone line. The color is Suede Gray and the tiles will be 2" square.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

To Buy List

One day later and here's my updated "to buy" list:
  • Grout
  • Towel rack/TP holder/Glass shelf
Which means I just purchased the following:
  • Threshold
  • White trim tiles
  • Tub spout/shower head (and drain/overflow)
  • Shower curtain rod
  • Tub
I don't love the tub spout/shower head, but the one I got was the nicest I could find for my price range. Even the majority of the really pricey ones don't seem to match my aesthetics.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Art and Color Scheme

I think I will frame the art from this month's page of my calendar for the bathroom, as shown above. I like the graphic, but I also love how calm the colors are. This is going to come last, but I'd like to have bathroom towels in two shades of blue to match the shades in this. I believe I will have white walls in the bathroom, but paint the ceiling a pale sky blue.

Date Set!

The contractor is going to start work on May 5. He estimates the project will take two weeks (that's the worst case scenario, assuming I have all the supplies before work starts). I even gave him a deposit check (40% of the estimated labor cost). As far as having all the supplies, things are looking good. My faucet came today and my floor tile (a new order that I made on Tuesday) should be in next week.

My "to buy" list is getting fairly short:
  • Grout (to be purchased after floor tile arrives, for color comparison)
  • Tub/tub spout/shower head
  • Threshold
  • Towel rack/TP holder/Glass shelf
  • White trim tiles (Home Depot was out of stock when I bought the rest of my tile)
I'm going to finish a couple weeks late from the official "Cure" schedule, but I'm ok with that because I think it will be well worth it!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Continuing Saga of the Floor Tile

Today I decided that I would order the Eco-Gres Mosaic tile for my bathroom despite needing to order nearly twice the quantity I needed. I decided I would use the extra tile to create a horizontal stripe about 2/3 of the way up in my shower (with white subway tile above and below). Or maybe I would use it to create a back splash in my kitchen. So I placed an order. My credit card was charged (I even received a fraud check phone call about the transaction from my credit card company-- this project is certainly resulting in charges that deviate from my usual patterns). All was looking good...

...Until my phone rang this afternoon. The manufacturer is out of stock of my tile. Estimated lead time is 16 weeks. It's time to move on to something else...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weekend Accomplishment!

Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better...
This is where I'm storing everything I need for the bathroom remodel.

A summary of what I accomplished this week/weekend:
  • Toilet arrived
  • Purchased Ikea vanity and wall unit
  • Assembled vanity and wall unit (doors not yet mounted)
  • Purchased white subway tile for walls
  • Ordered bathroom sink faucet
  • Looked at bathtubs shower faucets, towel bars, and toilet paper holders
  • Did some editing in my living room
  • Filed my taxes
It doesn't look like much, but this will become my new bathroom vanity.

Goals for this week:
  • Order/purchase floor tile
  • Order/purchase shower and tub faucets
  • Decide whether to buy new bathtub or to refinish existing bathtub (please offer your opinion!)
  • Schedule work

Faucet ordered

I just wanted to show off the faucet I ordered for my bathroom (Fontaine RIVIERA Brushed Nickel Centerset Bathroom Sink Faucet):

Still Here-- One story about yesterday

I've been working behind the scenes to further my bathroom remodel project but haven't found a chance to post my progress. I have picked my contractor, Emilio, and now just need to buy all my supplies and schedule the work. Let me tell you a story from yesterday...

I went to Amicus Green Building Center to look at tile for my bathroom floor. By chance my contractor Emilio was there taking a class! I looked at their selection of tile and found a couple things I liked. I asked about prices and learned that the ones I liked were $16-$18 a square foot (not including installation). This was lovely tile and I'm sure it is worth that price, but it is just too far outside my price range. But then I found some tile that I liked just as well and my excitement grew when I learned it was $6 per square foot.

Example of Eco Gres Mosaic Recycled Porcelain Tile

Sample of the Color I Picked: Silhouette (it is much more attractive in person-- it has a beautiful and subtle sheen)

I talked to Emilio about the tile and he told me he thought it would be a good choice and that it would be easy to install. Everything seemed to be going my way, so I bit the bullet and decided to place an order. The sales woman (who was very helpful) started filling out my order form. When we got to quantity, I told her that my floor was exactly 22.5 SF and that I wanted to order 25 SF.

This is where the story turns sour. This particular tile is only available by the box. A box covers 22 SF. Apparently, the company is very strict about never breaking a box. So I would need to order 44 SF of tile to cover 22.5 SF of floor. That's a deal breaker for me. I thought about maybe using some of the tile to form a back splash in the bathroom, or to line the top portion of the shower, but I don't think that fits within the aesthetic I'm looking for.

I guess I need to find a new floor tile...

Monday, March 31, 2008

Bathroom remodel: Progress

While so far none of it is visible, I have been making progress on my bathroom. The toilet is ordered and has been shipped (it was shipped freight, so I don't know when it will arrive). A friend highly recommended a contractor, and he's going to come over on Friday to take a look.

I've been looking at vanities and tile and will hone in on purchasing these items once I've talked with the contractor.

I'm getting excited about all this!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

In bloom

More flowers in the apartment! The art to the right of the flowers was created by my sister-- I just got the piece a few months ago and would like to have it professionally framed. Right now it is on top of an old poster in a cheap Ikea frame.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

One Project Completed!!!

Here's a project that my boyfriend helped me complete this weekend. It was a simple project that began when I got a great deal on some nice solid brass doorknobs (thanks Tuesday Morning!). But turns out that it wasn't as simple as I would have liked.

The photo on the left shows my old doorknob, deadbolt, and chain. I never liked any of them. The new doorknob and chain were easy to install, but turns out that the door under the deadbolt and the plaque surrounding the doorknob was in very bad condition. It took a lot of work to make everything look good. In the middle photo, you can see the door in progress, with wood putty filling in the damaged part of the door. On the right, you can see the door after I finished repainting just this afternoon.

I changed all of the other doorknobs in my apartment to match. Here's one more example, first the old ugly doorknob, then the nice new one:


During week two, I organized my kitchen. I did this last Cure and after doing it again this week, I'm convinced that it needs to happen every six months.

Here are some photos representative of my progress. Below is how the cupboard over my stove used to look. I had trouble finding the items I needed and every time I opened it I worried that something would land on my head.

Below is a photo of the same cupboard after pruning out the items that have been there too long. It is so much easier to use these items now. I was even able to order the cupboard by type (in general: vinegars on the left, salty in the middle, and oils on the right):

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bathroom Style Brainstorm

Here are some ideas for the bathroom.
  • Shiny gray floor tile
  • Standard white wall tile (likely with gray grout)
  • White vanity with glass doors (white ceramic sink)
  • Wall cabinet with glass doors
  • Linens and floor mat in two different shades of blue.

Bathroom Remodel: Speed Bump

Well, I ordered a new toilet! The Toto Aquia, a dual flush model. It was very exciting, I felt an incredible sense of accomplishment, and I even felt that I had gotten a great deal.

And then...

I got an e-mail from the company. Turns out the toilet is not in stock. They estimated a 25 week lead time. 25 weeks! That's nearly 6 months. Needless to say I canceled my order. I hope to find another company that has it in stock. If not, I'll order another model/brand.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

New hallway lighting

Here's a project I completed between the Fall Cure and this one: new lighting in my hallway. My apartment has a long hallway and it used to have one ugly ceiling light fixture at one end of the hall. The hall was so dark and shadowy that I could hardly see what I was doing.

I replaced the light with some simple track lighting. I wanted something compatible with compact fluorescent bulbs that would disperse light throughout the length of the hall. This is what I found. They are not the most attractive light fixtures, but they are subtle. The hallway is much improved with the new lighting.

Meals at Home: Homemade Pizza

Part of the Apartment Therapy Cure involves cooking at home. I enjoy cooking at home and I'm always trying to do more of it. Lately I've been making a lot of pizza. Homemade pizza dough is surprisingly easy, but even easier using the recipes in the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. This pizza has tri-colored peppers, sun dried tomatoes, and just a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. I've found that I prefer simple pizzas with just a few toppings.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Just a short post to share the joys of Paper-White Narcissus.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Beginning the Spring 2008 Cure

Example of damaged tile in my bathroom

Existing storage in the bathroom

I accomplished a lot during the Fall 2007 Cure, but feel that there is a lot more to be accomplished in my little apartment. During the next eight weeks, I hope to complete a one-room remedy for my bathroom. I tend to be an overly ambitious person, so I also hope to accomplish some deep treatment throughout the rest of my apartment. I know I won't get to all of my goals during this Cure, but I'm going to list them anyway:
  • Remodel the bathroom (which I have been putting off, and saving money for, for years). This includes:
    • New tile (floor and ceiling, something simple so I can redecorate anytime with accessories)
    • New vanity/sink
    • New toilet
    • Reglaze the existing bathtub
    • Additional/More useful storage
  • Bring order to the entry closet
  • Find new solution for upper shelf storage in clothes closet (current sweater boxes are breaking beyond repair)
  • Replace doorknobs throughout the apartment
  • Fix water-damaged wall on bay window
  • Think about new art behind sofa
  • Frame artwork from my sister (currently in an old picture frame on top of a cheap poster)
  • Quick bit of editing in the kitchen (it's close already)
  • Make murphy bed cabinet less busy (my constant struggle)
The Wish List that is REALLY Stretching it:
  • Remove ugly divider next to stove and replace it with ???
  • Refinish legs on chair and loveseat (will get to this, but probably not in the next eight weeks)
  • New kitchen cabinets, counters, and floor
  • Replace floor lamps
  • Window coverings?
I'll be adding new goals as I start this process. Here goes...