Saturday, January 30, 2016

Stripe Tease

Sometime last week I got it into my head that I needed to snazz up our small bathroom. It could have been the full moon, or the fact that Mr. W uses that bathroom daily, so it looks like a locker room most of the time, or it might have been the influence of one of my latest reads—Styled by Emily Henderson. Whatever it was, I got a wild hair that I couldn't shake.

I had to do something to improve the aesthetics in there.

Every time I walked down the hallway, all I saw was a toilet and a big white wall and I just couldn't take it any longer. So I started messing around in Photoshop to see how I might be able to break up the space.

First, I tried a wire magazine rack (Mr. W does seem to do an awful lot of reading in there...)

Next, I tacked in a vintage Guinness picture to match the one we have hanging over the toilet.

Then, I tried on an accent wall treatment. 

Searching for inspiration, I Googled "black and white bathrooms" and found a large number of them with striped walls, so I decided to give that a try.

A lighter variation seemed better—and was clearly the winner among the Photoshop mocks.

A quick search through our paint closet and I found a shade I thought could work perfectly in the room. While Mr. W went to Santa Barbara for a golf lesson, I set to work taping up the wall to create my stripes. I measured out my stripe widths and then used Mr. W's laser level as a guide to set up my tape lines.

I cannot tell you how many times I drop the f-bomb when I'm doing projects like this. Let's just say, I'm very glad we don't have children in our house. They'd be getting detention a lot at school if they existed.

If you're not a crazy DIY blog reader like me, you may not know that the trick to getting crisp paint lines for these kinds of projects is to paint over your tape with the base paint color first. So after I got all my stripes laid out, I went over each area I planned to paint grey with the existing white color of the bathroom.

Once that was dry, I went to work rolling on the grey and tried to busy myself with lunch-eating and cat-petting in between coats. Of course, I forgot to take progress pictures, but when it was all done, I nearly died of joy overload. I think it turned out so cute!

The entire time I was working on the bathroom, Mr. W was outside building the vanity for our master bath. He only came inside bleeding one time. Which I suppose is pretty good when you're operating a table saw... Very excited to get this guy in place and finish that bathroom too!

Once the master is done, we may finally finish the laundry list of stuff we have to still do in the small bathroom (read: demo and re-tile the shower, build a concrete countertop for the vanity, install the new sink and faucet, make a new frame for the mirror, caulk the floor trim, and repaint the door casing). Until then, I will distract myself by enjoying it's charming and adorable stripes.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fun with Photoshop...and Non-Fun with Stencils

In my last post, I gave you a peek at the inside of the master bathroom. In this one, I'm telling you the torrid tale of its outside—i.e. the bathroom door.

I should start by telling you that Mr. W and I are wicked mad wimps when it comes to morning sunlight streaming into our bedroom. We have dark curtains to block the light from the French doors and windows, but the pocket door we bought for the bathroom has a frosted glass panel in the middle of it and, in spite of the blinds we installed inside the bathroom, the sun was shining right in through that door every morning. Our sleepy work-from-home-all-day-in-our-pjs eyes just couldn't handle it.

We discussed possible light-blocking options: some sort of wood or veneer, straight paint, tin tiles or a sheet of cool metal. Paint was the obvious easy choice but I felt like it needed texture beyond a straight color, particularly because of the big block of color on the gallery wall. Gotta have variety. Except when it comes to bedfellows. And morning soda-coffee. #DrPepper

Anyway, I found a few different stencils I liked online but didn't want to buy anything without having an idea of how it would look on the actual door. And thus began the Photoshop fun...

Which one did you like best?

I preferred the L-shaped hooky, linky option, so I ordered it online, bought a couple variations of the grey paint we have on the walls, and grabbed a flat sponge brush aaaallll excited to take on my first stenciling project.

Anyone out there ever done a large-scale vertical stenciling project? Let me tell you, it ain't no picnic.

Per the instructions, I had to spray the stencil with adhesive to get it to stay in place on the glass. And every time I moved it, I had to spray it again, which was particularly superfun at the very end when I had one tiny piece that I had to keep repositioning to get the edge right. Punch me in the face until I'm unconscious. 

The other difficult thing was that when the paint would bleed out beyond the parameters of the stencil, it was really hard to get off the frosted glass. If it had been regular glass I could have just scraped it off with a razor blade. But in order to not scratch the frosting, I had to use q-tips and nail polish remover. Not nearly as exact a science as I would have liked.

The good news was, I had a great audio book to listen to while I worked on it all, and when I painted the secondary color, all my fuzzy inexact edges became much less noticeable. I'm actually really pleased with how it all turned out (minus the reflection in the picture below...I was too impatient to wait and take a better pic with different lighting).

The best part is that not an ounce of morning sunlight sneaks in past this paint job (Mr. W and I can continue our life of slovenly living and nice, dark mornings). It also blocks the tools, tile, and various other renovation heaps still hiding inside the bathroom...

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Renovation + Relationship the Bathroom

Several weeks ago I was recounting the harrowing story of our master bath tub installation to a friend (it's very heavy and had to be cemented to the bathroom floor, which required many, many rounds of lifting it out of its wooden frame and putting it back in...anyway...) when she remarked that Mr. W and I must work really well together on this sort of stuff.

Yes. And No.

I cannot tell you how many times he has banned me from his workspace. (I ask too many questions and point out too many issues that aren't important in the moment.) And I can't tell you how many times I've nearly beaten him in the head with whatever object I just painted that he scuffed.

Typically, he is all about process and precision and I am all about speed and good-enough aesthetics.

Oftentimes, his by-the-book way of doing things leads to me whining in a pool of salted caramel ice cream, lamenting the fact that we're STILL Under Construction—while my corner-cutting drives him to lecture like Al Gore and curse like Amy Schumer. And then he usually bans me from the room.

But sometimes when the stars are aligned just right, our dueling approaches come together in marital renovation perfection.

For example, during the bathtub installation.

Although Mr. W had a bizarre Rainman-esque talent for applying wood veneer in our other bathroom, when it came time to install the veneer around the tub deck, we hit a wrinkle.

Literally, the veneer wrinkled. And so did Mr. W. He crumpled into the bathtub in total and utter defeat.

Cue my good-enough pep talk. I assured him that we could just cut out a bit of the extra veneer with a razor and flatten it into place and it would look like any other line of wood grain—no one would ever know we had popped a big bubble right there. He begrudgingly complied and you know what? It looks great. And no one will ever notice the line when they look.

The next snafu came when we were trying to get the tub lined up to perfectly sit in the deck hole and nestle just right between the floor joists so that we (haha who am I kidding with this "we" stuff—I meant HE) could connect the plumbing. The only problem was that there was a huge 4" x 4" beam just east of where the drain needed connect through the floor.

Mr. W had to cut the tub deck hole bigger so we could shimmy everything around and Doh—we accidentally ended up with a gap between the deck and the lip of the tub.

He put his head in his hands. I thought he might cry. After all the hard work with the veneer, now there was a stupid gap that couldn't be repaired.

But ah—wait a minute—this corner-cutter is also an expert problem solver.

So saddened by my poor husband's broken renovation spirit, I sprung into action and grabbed an extra piece of quarter-round floor molding. This is where we balance each other out perfectly, my friends. When the perfectionist is near tears, I use my ingenuity to bring him out of it.

"We'll just cut a piece of molding, paint it, spray it with high gloss and it'll look like it's part of the bathtub. Plus, it's on the backside so NO ONE WILL EVER SEE IT." (We say this a lot in our house.)

The clouds parted in his eyes and a little sunshiny ray of hope broke through.

So that is the secret to our renovation success. Picking the other person up after they've fallen (either on their own or because we've knocked each other down). It seems to work pretty darn well.

That said, do me a favor, would you? Don't scrutinize the bathroom when you come visit us.

An in-progress shot of the shower. Mr. W finished tiling, we just have to grout and find a shelf solution for inside the shampoo nook.
I'm in love with the hex tile in the shower floor. We're still installing the final little halvsie pieces (I think Mr. W cut about 85 of them today) but it's going to look great once it's grouted.
Still working out some kinks in the veneer. Need to grout the floor. Oh and then there's the whole building of the vanity and installing the sinks shtick to deal with...