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A Little Goes a Long Way

November 1, 2009

A recent trip to HomeGoods has turned this bathroom from nice, but slightly cold, to bright and inviting. For those of you who are not aware of HomeGoods, it is the home decor sibling of T.J.Maxx. I’ve consistently found cool stuff there at good prices. Four strategically chosen pieces have turned our new bathroom into this:


The four items include:

1. Flower arrangement: $14.99. I like flowers in every room. But, real flower arrangements can get pricey and the genetic black thumb prevents live flowers. So I stick with the fake ones (but, of course, refrain from planting them in the ground).

2. Wall Art (Set of 2): $19.99. I like that I can mix up the colors of the bathroom and keep the art the same.

3. Oil Diffuser: I chose one that matched the color I wanted in the room. I feel like a scented oil diffuser makes sense in the bathroom. No elaboration needed.

4. Green Glass Cotton Ball Holder: I don’t really use cotton balls, but I thought I could keep bobby pins and rubber bands in there. It’s always good to have designated storage spaces. Particularly pretty storage spaces.

Here’s a close up on some of the smaller items.


It’s definitely starting to feel more like home. Don’t underestimate the small items!

Also, a number of people have asked about our closet. Keep checking back to see where our clothes are living now!


Before and After: Master Bath

October 30, 2009

You asked, I answered. Most of you know that Sean and I have had a contractor over to our house to redo our oh-so-small bathroom. Let’s remember the asethetically unpleasing before’s:


Or how about this oldie-but-goodie:


They say that a hefty use of masking tape really does up the resale value of your home.


You can tell how small the bathroom really was, as it was only the door on the left.


Here’ is a picture of the middle stage. Needless to say we used the guest bathroom while the master bath was gettingmade over.


All in all we did the following (and by we, I mean our contracor):

  • Knocked the wall down between the bathroom and closet
  • Re-plumbed (is that a word??) everything
  • New tile, vanity, mirrors, lighting, molding, EVERYTHING

But hey, Sean and I took on the really difficult things like painting and hanging the towel rod.

Finally, after 1.5 months, we have our dream bathroom. I still want to hang some artwork and put some flowers in there, but here is our GORGEOUS bathroom, if I do say so myself.

Here’s the view as you open the new french doors into the bathroom:



Check out the half-wall that gives the toilet some privacy without making the room appear smaller.


Don’t you like how the shower head needs no masking tape? Now the other direction!



And finally, a comparative picture of the bathroom from our bedroom.


The French doors help keep the bathroom feeling very open.

So what do you think? Was it worth the month and a half hiatus from the blog?? We certainly think so.

Bargain Find: Wall Sconces

September 9, 2009

Even though Pottery Barn is pretty much ALWAYS out of my price range, I can’t help but wander in. Fairly often. But let me tell you, my friends, to think twice before totally crossing stores off your list.

When I walked through earlier this week, I stumbled upon this table that had some extreme discounts. According to the sales lady, they had “found these boxes in the back and realized they were discontinued so they decided to put them out.” Apparently their negligence was my gain because I got these gorgeous sconces for $6.97 each (marked down from $79.99!!).

Picture 2

courtesy of

The glass globes were not included but I am told that they are a standard size so the Home Depot ones should fit. We shall see! I used to be skeptical about chrome before I redid our guest bathroom. In stores, chrome is a little overwhelming because it is in a sea of over-sparkly chome faucets or whatnot. But in a bathroom, chrome looks timeless and clean. As someone who does not incessantly clean everyday, I have found brushed nickel to be a little dirty looking. Let’s face it, when making decorative choices, it is imperative to consider your lifestyle. Choosing a pedestal sink, for example, when you know you are the type to hoard extra bottles of shampoo (and therefore need the storage space), is unwise.

But to continue with the amazing Pottery Barn finds, they happened to be selling the glass shelves that matched the sconces. I had found some glass shelves at Target for the guest bathroom at Target that I had wanted, but for about $30 for a very thin piece of glass, I ended up passing. So I was really excited to buy these for only $16.97 (marked down from $69.99!):

Picture 3courtesy of

I want to hang them between the mirror and bathroom vanity. You can never have too much bathroom vanity real estate, and I figure these would be perfect for pesky items like razors or toothpaste.

More to come!

Before: Master Bath

September 8, 2009

Ok, it’s been a while again. But it has been for good reason. Remember a few months ago when I wrote this post about how I would like our home to eventually look? One part of that plan has been on the top of our list ever since we moved into this house in Spring 2007. Our bathroom is 5′ x 7′. And I don’t want to knock that because I know that millions and millions of people live with that size bathroom or smaller. But it was poorly designed (including a door that somehow manages to open INTO the bathroom). Sean and I couldn’t stand in it at the same time, which is a problem when we are in a rush to get our the door. And, hey, let’s face it, with the real estate economy being the way it is, there is really no better time to put money into your home.

Seriously, take a look at this eye-sore.

Before Bathroom




I will admit that I am partly to blame for this bathroom. This color is certainly not attractive, and it is much too dark for such a small bathroom. If dark colors are slimming to wear, the same concept applies to walls. Not what you want going on for a small room. But I had tried to match the green, plastic vanity top that was here when we moved in. Clearly the masking tape that is holding the showerhead together is uncalled for as well. Spending 50 bucks on a new showerhead before remodeling the bathroom seemed pointless, though. Don’t you also love how the plastic, fake-tile shower insert stops a few inches before the showerhead?

So we started looking at contractors in June. (As a side note, don’t sign up for Service Magic unless you are cool with about 10 contractors calling you at all times of the day. ) But anyways, after seeing my aunt’s A-MAZ-ING bathroom remodel, I was totally sold. In fact, this contactor has been my grandma’s go-to guy for years. After getting a really good quote, we decided to bite the bullet and get going with the new bathroom.

Because I had been thinking about this bathroom remodel for a couple years now, I had had plenty of time to think about what my future bathroom might look like. I had found my ideal bathroom on a blog called Brooklyn Limestone. Their budget seems to be limitless (since the writer has mentioned that nearly all of her fixtures have come from Resoration Hardware…yikes!), but the look is gorgeous and actually fits the size/shape of our bathroom:

Bathroom with Basketweave

I love a vintage bathroom. And the frameless glass shower door and dark-wood vanity cabinet keeps it feeling up-to-date.

Keep checking back to see how things are going and check out all the good deals. Our contractor is really into us picking out our own things, which could be a blessing or a curse depending on how involved you want to be (or how much time you have and how much you like shopping). Fortunately, for a bargain hunter like myself, it’s a perfect match. I’ve already found some amazing deals, but you will have to check back soon to get the scoop!!!!

My Favorite African Photos

September 1, 2009

I thought I would show some of my favorite photos that I shot while in South Africa. Not necessarily house related, but I want to get some of them framed soon! So without further ado:

An ocean shot while on Robben Island. Note Table Mountain in the upper left:

Splashing water watermark

The most gorgeous sunset I’ve ever seen (taken in Cape Town). Don’t you think it would look gorgeous framed and hung on a wall as if it was a watercolor?:

African Sunset Watermark

Or how about these regal Tawny Eagle photos that I took in Kruger National Park:

Tawny Eagle Watermark

Eagle Close Up Watermark

These Lilac-Breasted Rollers had me at hello. I actually called out to the driver to stop because they were so gorgeous. Yep, it’s the same type of bird, but one is taking flight (can you say AMAZING timing?):

Lilac Breasted Roller Watermark 2

Lilac Breasted Roller Watermark

Or how about these adorable penguins off the coast of Cape Town:

Penguins Watermark

This next picture is of a Kudu. I particularly loved how the angle of his spiraled horns mirrored the angle of the tree.

Kudu Watermark

And finally, we got up close and personal with a leopard. These animals are typically nocturnal, and our safari guide told us it was the closest she had ever been to a leopard.

Leopard Watermark

What do you think? I’ve always loved taking pictures of animals, and Africa has only increased that interest.

Update: Bargain Gardens

August 29, 2009

Remember back in June when I wrote about some clearance flowers I bought from Lowe’s? Well, I had bought some more in July, and I am here to report that I have my first bloom! I was not aware that any of these flowers were still in season. I thought that they were clearanced because they had finished blooming, but these canna lillies have given me a run for my money!

Check out these blooms:



I thought that you might be interested in knowing that even a black thumb like myself, who literally planted and prayed for rain because our hose wasn’t long enough, can get these $1.00 flowers growing. As Eliza Doolittle might say, loverly!

By the way, the other plants appear as if they are going to make it as well. Some plants took a turn for the worse, but have come around. I can only see one flower (ironically, this canna lily’s twin on the other side of the mailbox) that might not make it.

Before and After: Guest Bedroom

August 28, 2009

There are likely some changes to follow, and I still haven’t finished the mirror, but I figured it was time to show some before and afters of the guest room!

Before the makeover, the room was affectionately refered to as “Donald’s Room.” Donald is, of course, our dog. So you can only imagine the state of the room. When we first moved into this house, my brother lived with us. He lived in a larger room towards the front of the house. So, I had made the current guest room into my craft room. I thought it would be fun to paint stripes….except I was too lazy to repaint the back color after repainting the rest of the house. So it remained yellow and I proceeded to paint bright pink stripes. Yep. I wish I could say that the before picture is mostly a result of the former owner, but, alas, it is not.



I will note that anything that was in the room at the time of remodel is in these pictures. Not much going for this room.

I wasn’t planning on totally remodeling this room. I had that 5 gallon bucket of paint (as seen in the pictures) out from repainting the bathroom. So I figured I would just go ahead and repaint that embarrassment of a room. It was not the easiest repaint in the world. Lots of spackling, sanding down the edge of the stripes, and realizing after 2 coats of paint that I needed to use primer. So 5 coats later, I thought I might as well keep working on the room.

And for the MUCH improved afters:




So what do you think??? At one point, the room was looking overly rectangular, so I was super excited when my mom picked up those magnetic butterflies from none other than Target. They are perfectly light for this small room and make the walls look so much taller.

How about the bedding that I already owned! On that note, let’s talk about how much this room cost. This site is all about finding good deals and using what you already own, so it wouldn’t be a complete before and after without talking about the price.

  • Paint: $0 (bought it last year in the 5 gallon bucket)
  • Door Headboard: $35 for wood and other small supplies. Door was given to me used.
  • Bookcases: $0
  • Decoration: $40 for souvenir eggs, $8 for Goodwill frames, $25 for Target Butterflies, $20 for lamp bases at Lowe’s, $4 for lamp shades

Total: $132.

Everything else was pulled from other places in our house! Never overlook the rest of your house when redecorating because, chances are, it is a little overcrowded in the first place.

What are your thoughts? Was it worth the $132 and few months of sweat equity?