Empty and ready to rent…

Well, I promised a posting with a few pictures of the house all empty.  I didn’t take pictures of all the rooms, but this is to just give you an idea.  And, for good measure, I’m including some  pics of when we first moved in just to give you an idea of how far some of these spaces have come…

Here’s the family room prior to us moving in three years ago:

…and here it is when I snapped a few pics of it before we closed the door that last time.  It’s amazing how much more homey it feels with curtains:

Our dining room/front hallway when we moved in:

…and here it is after lots of paint and a new chandelier:

The room of requirement, looking pretty dark and bleak at move in time:

…and here’s what he looked like the day we moved out.  With storage and love to spare (and a complete 180 degree turn from the original photo above):

The Guest bedroom, looking pretty sparse on day 1:

..and here it is three years later, with beautiful crown molding and beadboard that we installed ourselves:

…and the Laundry Room, way back in 2009, sans washer/dryer and cabinetry:

…and loaded up with storage, lighting and cabinetry galore that we installed awhile back (more on that project here).  We also purchased a couple of used appliances to be used for the future renters that might call this place home:

…and, of course, last but not least, the Master Bathroom back in 2009, all grody and boring and foreclosed upon:

…and here she is all beautiful and gleaming and glamorous.  You’re welcome, bathroom.  You are definitely proof positive that sometimes things do improve with age:

It was an emotional walk-through.  Mixed feelings doesn’t even begin to describe it.  When you put so much of your blood, sweat and tears into a house, it’s hard to see it as “just a house”.  At the same time, I’m also super excited to be tackling a “new” project down in California, but since we’re only renting, it will be interesting to see how we can manage that without, ya know, tearing down walls.  This house was most definitely ours so tackling a massive project like the bathroom or the laundry room required only the limits of our imaginations and our pocketbooks.  Le sigh…Goodbye, house!  You were lots of fun, lots of Maalox and lots of Painkillers…but you were worth it.  🙂

We’re looking for a renter for this house.  If you live in the Portland area and are interested in renting it, then feel free to email me privately at tellerallaboutitATgmailDOTcom (replace ATs and DOTs with you know whats) and I’ll put you in touch with our Property Manager.  You can see a full house tour here and even a video house tour here.    


Shut the Front Door!

We’re on an exterior mission to fix up the house’s curb appeal before we lease the house.  Here is step one!


It’s pretty sad and pitiful, isn’t it?  We heard from several of our neighbors that this door had been “knocked in” by the previous owners.  Something about being a foreclosure and them trying to get in and “steal” things from the bank (like the kitchen sink and all of the appliances).  Pretty sure they won “Homeowner of the Year” award in a parallel universe.  Oh, and we still haven’t traded out the Sheriff’s Locks on this bad boy.  We’ve been rocking the two toned handles since 2009!  Pretty sure we win “Homeowner of the Year” in this universe – haha!

But as if all of that weren’t bad enough, the door also faces west and gets all of the prevailing winds and moisture from our rainy Pacific Northwest winters.  Once it’s wet, the sun comes out and bakes it so up close it’s looking a little more like this:

…in other words, kind of warped, damaged and dried out from the sun.  We kind of hemmed and hawed around repairing this door for awhile for God knows why.  First it was because we thought we would need a handyman or carpenter to repair it because it looked like it was “out of true” and we wanted to try and salvage it.  The door looked crooked in the frame but after breaking out our level and straight edges we realized it was the casement that was crooked and not the door – haha!  Classic.  Reminded me of that Shel Silverstein poem about the kid who has wavy hair and eventually shaves it all off only to discover he just has a wavy head.  Well, we definitely weren’t going to tackle repairing the casements (that takes a calibre of skill that neither of us have and a can of worms that we didn’t have handy).  So that kind of gave way to the fact that we could go ahead and try refinishing the door and then seeing what happens.  After all, replacing this door is not an option.  It’s a full 8′ tall and as expensive as they come so may as well try to give it some spit polish…

So we removed the door:

…which gave Maggie a perfect perch to monitor all of the goings on:

…and then Dr. J got to sanding it down so it was smooth as a baby’s behind – literally took like 20 minutes:

…then it was into our secret stash of stains and paints and we found a leftover stain from….mystery project?  It may have been leftover from when we finished the Ikea Countertops for our desk in the office but we really don’t remember.  In other words – it was free.

Then we let it dry, sanded, poly-ed, sanded, poly-ed, replaced the door hardware and VOILA!

How’s that for some updated curb appeal?  Not bad for a quick weekend project that only cost us the cash to replace the locks.  Is it perfect?  No.  But we’re renting this house from here on out so it doesn’t have to be perfect for us.  It just has to look good!  And since we’ve purchased a nice storm door to protect it, we’re hoping that this finish will be nice and protected from the elements – fingers crossed.

First comes the bed, then comes bedding…

You may have noticed that even though we’ve wrapped up the big bathroom renovation of 2011, we are by no means done with all of the housework for the year.  Does it ever stop – really?!?  Our master bedroom is kind of in a “transitional” period right now.  After all of the hoopla of the master bathroom renovation and associated dust, dirt passing through our master bedroom every single day with some kind of tool or bucket of grout, etc the bedroom is feeling a little tired and DEFINITELY ready for a 2011 and beyond makeover.  So first came furniture…

….and then came bedding!

Quite a difference!  I have literally been searching for bedding for something like a year and a half – back when we switched up the color palette to a more soothing blue and taupe-y scheme – and I finally found something that both Dr. J and I could agree on from Overstock.com!  In fact, I believe they are still selling it, so you can click here if it’s up your alley!  This bedding fit our need for something that was more colorful and contemporary.  It also fit the bill for something that felt both feminine AND masculine – a near impossibility, lemme tell ya!  I was also looking for something in the blue/green color range, which was ALSO a difficult find.  And since I’m SUPER lazy, it also helped that it came with reversible shams and a few accent pillows that are making me rethink the whole soothing blue color scheme.  Hrmm….

Notice anything else?

We *finally* got nighstands!!  And the best part is that they actually are the same height as the bed, which is a huge improvement over what we had before.

And the source on those nightstands?  God bless JCPenney.com.  Though I admit we had to buy three of them and return one because the first one we got had a nice big crack in the front drawer, but it literally took a day or two, so no big deal!  I love how light and bright it feels even though it’s so much bigger than our previous nightstand (which didn’t match!).  And since it’s “mirror”, it automatically reads as a neutral so it really could go with any piece of furniture because it will always match!  How cool is that?  Oh, and here’s the other one just for kicks:

Pretty cool, huh??  So here is where we are now:

  • New nightstands.  Hopefully something shiny!
  • A new mirror
  • New bedding – ideally something with a little bit more color
  • Paint!  That wall paint is starting to feel a little too muddy to me.
  • Curtains
  • Accessories
  • Furniture re-arranging??  We’re talking about moving the current tall boy to the opposite corner, but it’s still up in the air
  • Get rid of our old “tallboy” dresser – it’s still sitting in the left corner which you can sorta see in this picture.  It’s totally empty, it just needs a new home:

It’s progress, but we still have to paint.  Paint….urg….this could take us awhile.  Ideally, I want a lighter color so that our furniture will pop against the walls.  But the lightest colors on the bedding are creams and I just don’t know that I could do a creamy-beige bedroom.  The room was originally “builder’s buttercream” as I liked to call it back when we moved in:

Wouldn’t it just be kinda silly if we went back to that??  God, I hated that color anyway – blech!  Ok, bad idea, bad idea!  If I could go with something more blue-y and/or gray or maybe even a very pale aqua, then I think I could be okay with that.  I’ve even considered taking the original color that we painted this room (Olympic’s Stone Gray, I believe) and just upping the white tint for a lighter version of the same color.  But I’m seriously SO OVER TAUPE!  I’ve really got to start looking around…

Jeepers, Creepers…where’d you get those….faucets?

I don’t usually do an entire post to one room’s sources, but I thought the bathroom renovation was kind of a special situation.  It was a HUGE renovation and I’m getting a TON of questions about where some of the items came from so I thought this would help everybody!  I’ll just do this one picture at a time, so bear with me.

The Vanity Area

Paint Color:  Light French Gray by Behr (Home Depot) Cabinetry:  Thomasville Cabinetry from Home Depot in “Heirloom Black”, Countertops:  Samsung Composite Manmade Countertops in Aspen Snow from Home Depot, Sinks:  Integrated with the countertops, Floor tiles:  Marble from Home Depot, Backsplash tiles:  White Subway tile from Home Depot, Mirrors:  Home Depot, Door Hardware:  Home Depot for the knobs, eBay for the bin pulls, Faucets:  Chrome fixtures from Faucetdirect.com, Lights:  Build.com, Plant on the left sink:  Faux orchid from Target, Towel Bars: Home Depot, Towels: Bed, Bath & Beyond, Bath accessories: York accessories from Bed, Bath & Beyond, Bath mats:  Fieldcrest Blue Stripe from Target

Tub Area

Faucets:  Faucetdirect.com, White Mirrors:  Target black mirrors that I painted white, Glass canisters:  HomeGoods, Tile and trim:  Home Depot

Silk Embroidered Prints:  Souvenirs from my Mom’s travels in Vietnam, Silver metal frames: Ikea, Glass canister:  Unknown

Toilet:  Sterling Brand from Home Depot, Toilet Paper holder: Home Depot, Face Tissue Box on toilet: York brand from Bed, Bath & Beyond, White Shelves:  West Elm, Wicker baskets:  Upside down face tissue boxes from West Elm, Conch Shell: West Elm, Print + Frame:  Pencil drawing of Biltmore Mansion in a Target Frame


Shower door:  Home Depot, Floor tile:  Tumbled Carrera Marble from Home Depot, Faucet System:  Dual head shower system from FaucetDirect.com, Wall Tiles: White Subway tiles from Home Depot

OK, I *think* that’s it!  But if I’ve missed something, please let me know!  I’ll be happy to update it if I know or point you in the right direction if I don’t :-).  Happy shopping!

Before & After Bliss: Our Monster Master Bathroom Renovation

**Warning** This post contains a LOT of pictures!  Please be patient while it loads!

It’s done!!!!  If you’re new here, then take a look at this post, which did a pretty good job of rounding up all of the dirty details that we’ve been doing over the past 6 months!  There’s also a chapter run down at the END of this post if you need more information.  I am SOOO excited to show you this makeover and thank you generously for your patience during this renovation!  This is by far the most amazing makeover we’ve done to this house – and we’ve done a LOT.  I’ll keep the commentary to a minimum and let the photos speak for themselves…

The Vanity


As you walked in the door, the first thing you saw was the vanity to the left.  Before it was a pretty builder’s basic set up with stock cabinetry, off-centered plumbing and lighting, a wall-to-wall mirror and damaged marble countertops.  The finishes were also mismatched (Oil-Rubbed Bronze lighting and door hardware + brushed nickel faucets = ick!).  I could go on, but you get the point.


We replaced EVERYTHING!  Nothing here is original.  New cabinets, lighting, counters – slam-damn EVERYTHING!  There’s so much going on here that I’ll just let you look at the pictures to take it all in.

The Tub


To the right of the door and facing the vanity, we find the tub.  The tub was fine – good size, good placement, good condition.  But that tile surround simply had to go.  It was cracked, damaged and just plain ugly.


We kept the tub but replaced everything else, including the backsplash and tub deck tile.  We opted for a board and batten treatment on the face of the tub deck rather than more tile (it’s an easier and cheaper installation that honestly looks more “custom”).  We kept things feeling serene and restful by limiting the color palettes to whites, pale blues and grays.  Though you can’t see it in the pictures, we also added a can light above the tub for more lighting.  Here is the tub area after our renovation:

The Loo


I don’t have a ton of pictures of this area – it’s just not one of those things people really want to take pictures of.  Regardless, this toilet was never going to stay – it wasn’t a comfortable toilet to sit on and could barely handle the job it was designed to do if you know what I’m sayin’ (*wink*wink*).  Also, in the process of foreclosure, they had installed that air freshener above the toilet, which left a sticky residue behind that we had to *cut*out*of*the*wall* in order to remove, so some patching work was definitely in order:


We replaced the loo with an elongated bowl, which is much more comfortable for my hubby and dudes in general.  Then we added some modern open storage shelves from West Elm and topped the whole area off with beautiful crown molding.  There wasn’t much to look at before and I’m not one to really get all giddy about a toilet, but, boy, is it pretty now!

The Shower


Ahh….the space that pretty much started it all.  I did a pretty extensive post on this area back in June when we finished it (which you can read about by clicking here).  But it’s worth it to see what it was like before.  Cramped, dark and growing black mold – ick!  We had a light-blocking arch that didn’t do much except make that area feel smaller – as if that was possible!  We had no storage in the shower – not even a decent place to put our soap!  We pined for something larger, grander and more functional…and I apologize on the quality of these pictures – it really was a difficult place to photograph before…


I saved the best for last.  Wow, what a difference 6 months make!  NOTHING here is original.  And this shower is absolutely bee-you-tee-ful.  You can read more about this process by clicking here.  Essentially, we demoed this area down to the studs, added more plumbing so we could have a dual shower head system, built a custom shower pan (it’s easier than it sounds – more on that in another post), tiled floor to ceiling with crisp white Subway tile, added some soap dishes and storage shelves and installed a gorgeous Carrera Marble tumbled stone floor that has a nice flat and smooth finish – super easy on the feet!  Check out this after – it literally takes my breath away every time I see it!

Other Views

…anything that wasn’t covered above will be here.  Enjoy!

That’s it!  Thank you to everyone for your patience and encouragement during this journey.  It’s been a process and I’m sooooo glad we’ve done it.  I’ll work on a source list and our overall budget breakdown in the coming weeks.  But in the short term, I’m exhausted.  I’m so glad it’s done.  I’m so glad we did it.  Would we do it again?  Not in this house, no.  But in a future house??  If it needed it, then yes, definitely!  We learned so much doing this bathroom and I was continually surprised at what my husband and I were able to accomplish with our own four hands.  It certainly has given us a good deal of confidence that if you put your mind to it (and your back INTO it), you really CAN accomplish anything…

But now I’m off to take a long soak in my tub.  I think I’ve earned it, don’t you??

We remodeled our master bathroom and it was a doozy that took 6 months!  We did absolutely EVERthing ourselves except for installing the countertops and shower doors.  Here are some links to read more about the process and maybe it’ll give you the confidence to tackle your own renovation! 

The Bathroom begins…Demolition Day 1 and Day 2 and how we got rid of all that trash!  Our budget and a tile preview and a little look-see into what MY view is when my hubby is installing electrical and video view of what all of the demolition looked like before we started installing things. Check out our desperate attempt to keep the house clean while we renovate and another video update with a sneak peek at our gorgeous marble floors!  Then you can also see moments of despair as we struggle to maintain sanity after over a month of bathroom renovating!  And then there was paint…  And then the cabinets and toilet were installed…  And then we began tiling…….and then it started to look like a bathroom again!  And then I teased you in a major way….Then we finished the shower and took a summer vacation away from all of the finish work…but managed to throw in this one last teaser photo just for the helluva it!  And if you’re not into reading ALL of that stuff above, just click here to get a good overview of the mayhem that occurred during 6 months of renovation our master bathroom!

Bathroom? What bathroom?!

We’ve been busting @$$ on our bathroom now for 3 months and I’ve been so busy with bathroom-ing, working and hosting out-of-towners (7 out of the previous 10 weeks – and people wonder why we have a dedicated guest room??) that I honestly have completely forgotten to update you on some of the other things we’ve been working on.  See, when I got frustrated or overwhelmed with the bathroom (which still isn’t completely finished – yet), I’d focus on other things like, say, the dining room, the Room of Requirement or our Living Room.  In most cases, they weren’t massive changes, but I thought now would be a good time to update the Nickel Tour page with more up-to-date pics.  Since I actually don’t have paint, caulk, grout or thinset stuck in my hair now is a good time to actually clean up the house a bit and take some pics!

Living Room

One of our big changes in this room actually happened last fall and was F-R-E-E.  But we’ve made one other major change in here which really brought it all together.  Basically we a) changed around the furniture layout (FREE) and b) bought a rug from Pottery Barn for a super duper clearance!  I bought the rug back in March sometime and told you all about it here, but then that pesky bathroom kept getting in the way of my reporting and blogging!  It has a nice big pattern and is loop pile (almost feels like berber), which means stains, footprints, etc all kind of vanish – meaning, when you spill red wine….which never happens around here….it’s not such a big deal to clean it up!  Not that I’m inviting your lush-ass to my house to spill red wine.  Don’t get your hopes up.  We don’t live in THAT kind of house.  Actually, I don’t let red wine drinkers in the family room.  White wine?  Hit it up!  Beer!  Belly up!  Red wine and spaghetti sauce?  Get your ass in the dining room where you belong.

Our new rug!

We’re still playing around with furniture layout in this room.  But this is what we’ve settled on for now.

The room is such an odd shape and then I have this ridiculously long wall here that just confuses me with what to do with it.  I’ve never been happy with this wall of mirrors – it was just a cheap solution until we could afford something grander/larger:

Oh, how I can't stand super long walls!! The possibilities are endless!

I’ve thought about doing something similar to our upstairs landing like so…

Check out the photo collage on the right

….but I can’t really decide.  Oh, and then there’s that pesky bathroom that keeps getting in the way (link to pesky bathroom).  Sooner or later I’ll get around to switching it up.  Or I might not….that’s how we roll around here people.  But back to the family room – do you notice how light and pretty the family room is?  And then the kitchen in the background just kind of sucks the life out of the rest of the room?

Urg….how I would love to have a white kitchen.  No, really….a white kitchen!  Cream…don’t care…anything but what we have…

The Front Door

Ok, don’t get me started on our front door.  Before we moved in, the previous owners kicked in the door, so the outside (and inside) is just in crap shape.  Add to it the fact that we still haven’t changed out the brassy sherriff’s locks and our whole door is really ready for a makeover, which we’d love to tackle sometime this summer if we have time.  But in order for us to do that, we need to take the door down, sand it down, do some repair work and then put it back up.  But as lovely as it sounds to have no front door for a few days while we’re working on the door, we thought a better alternative would be to get a storm door and call it a day:

I took this picture forEVER ago - look at how cloudy it is...

…of course it also serves a functional purpose once the door is refinished and pretty, which is to say that it will protect the door from water damage and warping down the line.  Oh, and it gives Maggie something fun to look out of :-).  It’s like her personal TV set.

Room of Requirement

You’ve seen the pics from awhile ago, but we still didn’t have an end table, we hadn’t hung artwork and we still had our old ginormous TV.  So here are the FINAL pics to our makeover.

…and I must say, I LOVE this room!  It’s so much fun to hang out in.  We play the husband plays a lot of video games up here (especially lately since Portal 2 came out – yum!).  And even though we don’t have Cable up here, we do have access to our XBox live account, which is attached to our TV downstairs, so if we want to watch recorded cable shows, we can easily do that up here.  We’ve even had a few four person sessions of Rock Band and I’m so glad we got the two green ottoman stools because we can just move those around the room for the drummer and the singer.  It’s awesome!  And although we haven’t yet needed to use it as a sleeper, we likely will at some point in time, so it’s so great that we have an extra sleeping space when we need it, a reading room AND a fun media room.

So there ya have it!  A couple of updates on some rooms (and not rooms).  These are the projects we’ve been tackling behind-the-scenes since the bathroom has essentially taken over our lives!  But it finally feels like the end is near when it comes to the bathroom (oh, it’s still not completely done, m’friends!), but now that it’s completely functional, we feel like the “urgency” aspect has kind of been removed thank goodness!

Guess what I just did…??

I finally…FINALLY took a shower in our almost completely remodeled bathroom!  You can drop all of the jokes about how I haven’t showered in months ’cause I’ve heard ’em all!  Besides, we’ve been sharing tub time with all of our (frequent) house guests since March 5th in our guest bath!!!  So if you’re doing the math, then that means we haven’t used our own shower for 98 whole freaking days!!!  Ninety-eight days, my friends!!!  If you have the luxury of having your own bathroom adjacent to your bedroom, then you can totally understand where I’m coming from!!!  I HAVE MY SHOWER BACK!!!!!!!!  But it’s not really *my* shower, per se.  It’s some fancy schmancy person’s shower.  Like, “I can’t believe this is our shower,” shower!  Like I can’t believe it’s almost done shower!  Like I can’t believe it’s not butter!  Or margarine!  Or covered in black mold.  You HAVE to see the pics.  And we got ourselves a new camera a couple of weeks ago that takes wider angle pictures, so take a gander, m’friends!  But wait, don’t you want to see what it looked like before?  And all apologies to the picture quality, but a good camera really couldn’t make this bathroom any prettier before:

Ugh….that stupid light blocking arch.  That dark closet space of a shower that didn’t allow me to wash my hair without hitting my elbows against the walls.  The mismatched hardware and that beautiful line of black mold on the back wall.  Need I mention that we also didn’t have ANY storage in the shower?  There was no soap dish, no hooks, no shelves – nada, zip, zero.  Where in the ding dong am I supposed to put my collection of eleventy billion shampoos??  So nearly two years after we bought the house and 98 days after we demolished this sucker and put our OWN style into it here’s where we’re at…

Pretty cool, eh?!  The shower door is all installed, the floors, tiles and grout are sealed impeccably.  We have storage in the corners, a soap dish (A SOAP DISH!!), two shower heads (TWO!!!!!!!!  Yes, I’m excited, can you tell?!?!), a Carrera marble floor, gleaming white subway tiles and OMG….it all works, it doesn’t leak, it’s beautiful, glorious and oh-so-amazing!!!!!!!!  Here are some more pics, kids….OMG, I think it’s just gorgeous!

I had to throw in that last picture because I needed to show you the light that we added above the shower.  Remember, how I mentioned that shower area was SO DARK before?  We only had one dim boob light in that space and that arch just closed it off even more.  When we extended the walls (which you can visualize by clicking here and scrolling to the bottom two pictures), we closed off the shower from our only window in the room even more and desperately needed more light.  This brightens up the space like the Fourth of July, which is soooo important in a bathroom!

But seriously…what do you think??  Would you shower here?  HANDS OFF!!!  SHE’S ALL MINE!!!!!!!!  And I have the blood, sweat, tears and bruises to prove it!

We’re remodeling our master bathroom and it’s a doozy!  You can click on the following links below to see what it’s all about: The Bathroom begins…Demolition Day 1 and Day 2 and how we got rid of all that trash!  Our budget and a tile previewand a little look-see into what MY view is when my hubby is installing electrical and avideo view of what all of the demolition looked like before we started installing things. Check out our desperate attempt to keep the house clean while we renovate and another video update with a sneak peek at our gorgeous marble floors!  Then you can also see moments of despair as we struggle to maintain sanity after over a month of bathroom renovating!  And then there was paint…  And then the cabinets and toilet were installed…  And then we began tiling…….and then it started to look like a bathroom again!  And then I teased you in a major way….Stay tuned for more updates!