February 19, 2011

Bathroom: Before and After (Sorta...)

We just went from this:

And this:

To this:

My husband just finished the demo work in our downstairs bathroom about ten minutes ago, and wanted me to come take some pictures. Isn't it a nice, clean slate? :)

This project started innocently enough. There was some nasty blue and gray tile on the floor that I couldn't decide whether to decorate around or to just ignore entirely. I decided on the latter, and covered up half of it with a fuzzy ivory shag rug (which we sometimes tell Leo he'll turn into if he's naughty. Just kidding- I jest, I jest. But really, sometimes...)

Like I said, this project started with the floor, and $43 worth of faux marble peel and stick tile. We were going to put lipstick on that pig and call it a day. I came back from walking the dog to find the sink, trim, and (floating) ceiling gone. And my husband standing in the bathroom looking thoughtful.

He'd realized that we'd have to take out the trim and the sink to put the tile down anyway. I'm not entirely sure about the ceiling, other than that it's a floating ceiling (who has THOSE in their homes?) and was just ugly.

"What about a new toilet" he says. It's nasty and small- we call it the midget toilet. And the wall color is no where near what I was going for when I painted last year. So how about some new paint. And that pedestal sink offers no storage. We have a storage-less bathroom on our hands, which is no good. Maybe a different vanity?

Our conversation started with upgrading the tile, which turned into cheaply changing out the fixtures, and ended with a "heck, let's just do the whole thing."

And so you have it. Our bathroom is entirely gone. We're a one toilet house at the moment. And you can see from our laundry room straight through the bathroom into our massive under-the-house storage crawl through. It's a little weird. But it'll be so great when it's finished!

February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Dessert

For some reason, Valentine's Day screams chocolate and raspberries to me. I don't know why. It just does. I received an "All-time Favorites" mini cook book along with my February issue of Better Homes and Gardens, and just HAD to try the cheesecake recipe on the front cover. We're having this for our dessert tonight- yummy! Here it is:

Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake
  • 1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces, melted and cooled
Mix the crackers, powdered sugar, and butter together in a medium bowl until just moistened. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside

Mix 1 cup of the raspberries with sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and milk together until well mixed. Add in eggs and vanilla. Mix until just combined. Divide the batter in half. In one portion, stir in the raspberries and sugar mixture. In the other portion, mix in the melted chocolate.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the crust-lined pan. Spoon the raspberry mixture on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until at least 2 1/2 inches around the edge is set when gently shaken.

Cool the cheesecake in the pan for 45 minutes, then removes the sides of the pan and refrigerate at least 4 hours until firm and chilled. Top with remaining raspberries and serve.

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 3, 2011

Trim Painting

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted. We've HAVE been project-ing around here, but there's been nothing to show for it until today.

When we moved in, all of the trim in our house was a dated orangy oak color. It's fine, but not my taste. In every room we've painted, we've painted the trim white. I just like the look of it better. Our living room/ dining room/ entry way/ hallway are all connected, so I've been hesitant to paint the trim in ANY of these rooms, because then I'd have to paint the trim in ALL of them (for cohesiveness sake, of course :) We got some quotes to have it done professionally since this felt like such a big project (and included a massive railing with spindles. Has anyone done this before? I'm intimidated that I'll leave drips all over them). The lowest offer was $1,800. Are you kidding me? Yikes.

So we're doing it ourselves. At least, the trim. We'll probably hire out the railing since I just know I'll botch it if I try myself.

Here's the wonderful before shot:

Can you see I remembered just in the nick of time to even take a before pic? I always forget.

And here's the after:

Not sure why the sunlight looks red. Hmm. Much better, don't you think? I'm excited to tackle the rest of the trim. Okay, not excited about the prepping/painting part, but the look-it's-all-done part. We started with the hallway and will paint room by room so the entire main living area isn't in upheaval until mid May.

This project wasn't expensive, but took a lot of time. Here's what you need to paint your trim (well!):
  • oil-based primer
  • white latex paint
  • a good quality paint brush
  • fine grit sanding block
  • old rags
  • paintable caulk
  • painter's tape
  • dry wall repair
  • kitchen scraper
Lightly sand the trim to give the primer something to grip to, and then wipe it down to get rid of all of the dust.

Fill in any nail holes or dents in the trim with dry wall repair, let dry, and sand.

Tape of the walls and the floor. In order to help with trim paint not leaking onto your walls, press the edge of a plastic kitchen scraper into the corner of where the paint and the trim meet. This sort of "seals the edge."

Next, fill in any (and I mean ANY, big or small) cracks in the trim, especially in the seams of doorways with paintable caulk. If there's even a small (as in hairline) gap between the wall and the trim, or between pieces of wood in the door frame) fill them in. I didn't do for the other rooms I've done, and am already regretting it. It makes the paint job look a lot more professional.

The last step of prep is to put a small layer of caulk between the edge of the tape and the trim. Once the caulk is dry, it will create a barrier between the paint and the wall and you'll literally have NO drips/leak throughs. It's rather unbelievable. If you do nothing else, do this. That seemed unclear, so here's a video to make up for my inadequate description.

That was all the prep work- ugg. I hate prep work, but it was so worth the effort for the results I got. Next, apply a thin layer of primer, and two to three coats of paint. I used Behr's Ultra Premium Plus, which has a primer built into the paint (which equals less coats and better coverage.) Note: It doesn't have oil based primer built in, just latex. You'll still need the oil based primer first.

After everything is dry, run a razor blade along the crack between the wall and the trim. The last thing you want to do is take of the tape and have the latex come rip off in small chunks.

That's it!

On another note, we started a bathroom renovation. Like a full scale "strip everything down to the studs and replace everything but the plumbing and electrical" type of reno. We're excited! There's no fun pictures of this one, since my husband just finished taking out the icky plastic shower insert with a saw. It's very much in demo mode at the moment.

Happy Thursday!