Bathroom Remodel – Part 5 -The Whole Picture

Note: I wrote this in January 2015. I was thankful that I was able to get a good idea of what the bathroom was supposed to look like when it is done. In the last picture, you can see that the wall above the vanity area is up.


Lowe’s has a virtual room designer on their website that is easy to use.  I wish it had more options for design but I was able to make something close to what we want the bathroom to look like after we are done.  I was using it mostly to figure out what colors in flooring and tile we should do.

Here is a link to the website: Lowe’s Virtual Room Designer

Here is a picture of what I came up with:

With wood-look floor tile


With white floor tile

We are trying to decide if we should go with a dark wood-look tile, which in a way would pay homage to the wood planks that used to be on the walls, or a large white tile with some texture to it.  I do think the wood look warms up the space instead of having it look so sterile white.

An example of the wood-look tile we are considering: Black Walnut Porcelain Stone at Crossville

Black Walnut Porcelain Stone at Crossville

An example of the white tile: Emser Surface Linear White

Emser Surface Linear White

It’s a good thing we don’t have to decide this right now.  Josh still has to get the bathtub fixed up and rip out the shower.  The floor is the last thing that will go in.  For sure, we will have to change the floor tile though.  At first, we thought of leaving it the way it is, but our shower and bathtub tile came in yesterday and it is really white compared to the floor.  The floor now looks yellow!

We are going with a large format (12″ x 24″) white tile from Home Depot for the shower and bathtub: Emser Times Square White tile 

Josh won’t have a chance to work on the bathroom this weekend so he has been prepping the vanity area after work every day for the countertop installation next Friday.

We currently don’t have a bathroom sink so we are brushing our teeth in the kitchen.  It is a little odd to tell the boys to go brush their teeth in the kitchen!



Bathroom Remodel – Part 4 – Demolition


I was going to try and put all of demolition into one post but for some reason, the posting feature went on the fritz for me. Oh well. I will just put it here in a new post then. These pics are all from January 2015.

My FIL taking out all the old tile on the vanity. The tile was mortared to the plaster wall behind it.
The vanity area after the plaster wall and tile was removed.
The tile surround on the bathtub was also removed.
The hole in the bathroom ceiling. We’re still not quite sure why there was a soffitt here. My son Ian hated this hole. He was scared to use the bathroom because of it. To be honest, I didn’t like it much either! The ceiling was like this for about two weeks.
The new lighting! These helped our bathroom look so much brighter than it was. It kind of looked like a cave before!
The new ceiling light
The pendant lights were actually pretty tricky for my FIL to install. I think this was because he was starting from scratch with the housings and the wiring.


Bathroom Remodel – Part 3 – Demolition

Note: The first half of this post is Josh’s writing. I wanted to get demolition all into one post and it looks like we didn’t do that over on our old blog.

The first big remodel project that I have chosen to do is the bathroom.  It is incredibly ugly and needs to be updated and brought out of the 50s and 70s.  Just before Christmas I took the old wall coverings off.  Rather than paint this bathroom was done in wood slats.  It wasn’t exactly paneling, but was instead some unfinished wood nailed to the wall.

Before removing all the wood, I often wondered why somebody would put wood slats on a bathroom wall.  I was able to look under the wood a little bit and see dark gray paint with some shiny gold showing through the paint.  After taking down the wood, I found the walls had been covered in gold foil wall paper.

Unpainted gold foil wallpaper behind toilet

As I removed the wall paper, I was able to see yet further into the past.  Under the wall paper was yellow and pink paint.

It was fun to remove all the ugly parts of the past in my bathroom.  It was interesting to me to see what it looked like in the past.  Nothing had been taken out in the entire 60 years of the house’s history.  Everybody before me just covered up and moved on.  While that created more work for me, it did give me more insight into my house and the decorating ideas of the past.


The Things We Make

Josh would like us to move toward making as much of our food and cleaning products as we can. This won’t work for everything but it is still a good idea!


My kids adore homemade bread. In fact, two of them told me today that we need two bread makers! Actually, what needs to happen is I need to get on the ball and learn to bake bread without using a machine. 

Josh takes his lunch to work so I have been trying to have a loaf already sliced up for him to make a sandwich. I haven’t had to buy a loaf of sandwich bread in about a month I think. This does mean we go through flour like crazy though.  I stock up on bags of unbleached all-purpose flour when I see it on sale. I also have a bag of active dry yeast in the fridge that I refill my jar of yeast from.

Kitchen cleaner and hand soap

I recently started using essential oils in a diffuser and realized that I could make hand soap using them. I used a hand soap recipe from The Wellness Mama.

Instead of buying new foaming hand soap containers, I just reused my empty foaming hand soap containers that I and my mom has on hand. At first, my boys weren’t sure what to think of the homemade hand soap but I think they’ve gotten used to how the soap feels because they don’t complain anymore! I haven’t bought hand soap for a few months at least.

Changing my cleaners might take me a little while. I am pretty happy though with the vinegar kitchen cleaner I am using now. At first, the vinegar smell bothered me a little bit but now I don’t notice it. I don’t think this cleaner will work in the bathroom though especially on our counter.

I can’t seem to find the recipe I used for my kitchen cleaner but recipes are definitely easy to find on the Internet! I used lemon and lavender essential oil in my kitchen cleaner. I will probably use more of the oils in my next batch.

I do have some bottles of 409 and bleach cleaner if I feel like I need to do a deeper cleaning.

Dryer Balls

I don’t make these but since they are reusable I think they belong in this category. I haven’t bought dryer sheets in months! 

I use Woolzies dryer balls

Two things I have noticed:

They reduce drying time on small loads mostly. I tend to have large loads all the time so I am still having to run my dryer twice to get large loads dry. Our dryer also came with our house and I have no idea how old it is. Maybe we just need a bigger dryer! Or I need more dryer balls.

Static is still present in loads during the winter. It could be that I need a new set of dryer balls. I have had my current set since probably the spring.

Laundry Detergent

Josh wants us to go back to making our own laundry detergent. We were using soap nuts for a while but I just didn’t feel like the clothes were cleaned, especially Josh’s work clothes.

I still have a big box of Eco nuts. Josh is the one who uses them. I use whatever I find on sale laundry detergent.

There is a good reason Josh wants to change our laundry detergent. He wants to install a gray water system to the washer so the detergent we use has to be okay for plants. I guess that is also a good reason to use soap nuts. It would be better if we could find a recipe for a plant-safe laundry detergent.


I’m sure there is more that will be added to this list, but it might take us some time. Baby steps, right?

A quick update: 

Josh replaced the drain pump in our washer but it didn’t work. The washer did need a new one because the old drain pump rattled when it was shaken. He thinks it might be the circuit board so he is going to replace that. If that doesn’t work, we will have to buy a new washer.

Also, the sourdough bread was actually good! It wasn’t a brick like I thought it would be. I used most of it to make garlic bread to go with Italian wedding soup.