Tiny bathroom remodel, big gains

I’ve decided that heavy remodeling is like travel abroad. When you’re in it, it’s thrilling but exhausting and at times stressful, but six months later you’re all starry eyed and want to go back, or are at least only telling the good stories.

After being in our otherwise largely move-in-ready 1949 cape cod for five years with a typically pastel yellow (or other color) with black trimmed bathroom, it was time. Since we live small and this house is typical to its decade, a Jack-and-Jill bedrooms with a bath in between layout, this is our only full bathroom. That’s right suburbanites, we have only one full bath and a tiny one at that. (gasp!)

As an aside, this photo was from the prior owner, I was at least limping along a bit better than this reflects.

We planned, loosely, consulted my family who are notorious for thoughtful “a-ha” solutions and priced various materials. Then we just put a hammer through a wall, and so it began…

We spent two days demo’ing, two more hanging cement and green board for the new walls, solving problems along the way, and a day was spent on wiring, plumbing changes and so on. On the following morning we went out for breakfast… and hired someone to finish the tile.

Lots of fun design choices and functional changes have really improved the obviously tiny space.

  • replacing the yellow and black nonsense is ahhhhh-inducing white 2/3rd-scale subway tile with gray grout (hello no staining!)
  • beautifully veined marble for the floors replaced poorly installed
  • mini tiles and icky worn white grout
  • inset soap shelf, marble lined to match the floors (goodbye janky shower head rack!)
  • rounded shower curtain bar increased elbow room
  • old three handle shower converted to single handle
  • mod sink with single handle faucet, deep bowl for bathing tiny ones & pets, actual ledges for soap and such—even has hooks for holding blow dryer and flat irons and a super cute makeup tray that tucks into the medicine cabinet perfectly
  • storage cabinet instead of pedestal
  • ceramic bowls tuck into each cabinet opening hiding even more necessities
  • much larger, though not inset, medicine cabinet—mirrored on the sides, front, inside of the door AND the back of it—glam’o’rus
  • secret pass through (not shown, still needs trim and cabinet door) to adjacent hall closet gives access to towels and TP from inside this room
  • hooks for towels replace a dated black vinyl wrapped bar, making space for multiple towels to hang dry
  • nevermind the small things like a vent fan, quiet-close toilet seat (seriously how have I lived without this before!)

To Do Yet: Paint color for the walls, suggestions for shower curtains also welcome. White by default at this moment.

They say… “It’s the company you keep”

Rumor is, one of the best things about attending Alt Summit in Salt Lake City, UT is how open everyone is and how easily connections are formed.
As a first-timer I thought I’d know nobody when I registered. I was totally nervous but elated by the opportunity to force time into my schedule to do nothing but bliss out with other like-minded creatives.
As someone who registered a bit late, and with the Sundance Film Festival happening at the same time, I found myself in need of a bunkmate, or three as it turned out. Via Twitter, of all things, I’ve connected with three amazingly creative women who were generous enough to let me be their fourth.
Big thanks to Jess/IROCKSOWHAT, Robin/It’s Robin With an i and Chelsey/The Paper Mama for taking me in.
Hopeful that you’ll find their blogs as inspiring, comforting and energizing as I do. Looking forward to a great week!

Packing for Alt Summit

It’s my first time heading to Alt Summit so I’ve been devouring everyone’s packing list and first-timer tips, like Making It Lovely and Yuppie Love, and don’t forget Design Crush’s packing planner template.
My usual travel-light-or-bust concept is out the window for this style-focused trip. However, I must contain my excitement to two carry-on sized suitcases. One will be checked (thanks Delta medallion status) and the Orla will come with me.

These are just a few things I’ll be tucking into my bag – what am I forgetting? More importantly – what are YOU bringing and can we swap?

business cardsstatement jewelrysuitcaseiPad 2fun heelsday dress

Why are each of these so critical to conference success? I do travel a lot and have figured out through trial and error, mostly painful error, a few things.
1) Cards are still critical. Especially in a design focused sphere. Everyone loves paper, to see the personality expressed through stock, color, size, shape and embellishment choices.
2) Jewelry. It’s far easier to pack 5 necklaces and 2 basics than it is to pack 3 dresses, 2 shirts and so on. A statement necklace or earrings can change the most basic dress or sweater into something special.
3) Light luggage. Regardless of how much volume you think you need, remember you have to lug that damn (excuse) thing around. Not only is this roller from Orla Kiely cute enough to cheer up any flight delay, it’s light as a feather compared to my last roller. Makes a much faster “grunt and shove” into an overhead bin, pleasing everyone with your grace and efficiency.
4) Lighten your tech too. iPad, iPhone, camera, MacAir, plus all the cords… shall I go on? Packing a bluetooth keyboard that connects wirelessly to your smart phone makes long emails (or posts) a breeze and will make you question why you lug that brick of a laptop anywhere at all.
5) Small shoes. Comfy shoes are the key to a good trip – anywhere. I pack patent flats and then a cute pair of heels that compress easily into a big bag. Wedges and platforms are comfy but they add weight to your carry on, and to your day bag, when you’re out racking up experiences.
6) Neutral day dress. Getting dressed with one piece of clothing, rather than five (think: cami, button down, cardi, belt, skirt) lowers stress, no more forgotten pieces and less laundry when you get home. Just drop off all your dresses at the dry cleaner and throw the tights/leggings into a delicates bag. Poof you’re done!

Would welcome other light traveling tips – what have you vowed to never repeat?

Plan-Plan-Plan…wait! Celebrate!

I was really inspired (as many are) by Erin Loechner’s non-goals list for 2012. In my professional life I’m constantly setting goals – as a start up we’re revising and refocusing each quarter, rather than simply once a year. While I love the sense of accomplishment from driving my growth at such a high rate, it’s also really worth while to celebrate the small or big things that are going well, rather than always pushing for what’s next and blowing past the celebration.

So in the spirit of celebrating:

1) You’ve been an amazing support to your family through a wildly challenging time. Your courage and focus on what is important in life is inspiring. Keep it up, your father would be proud.

2) Making time for calm to hear the voices in your own mind, tap into the core of what you want is key, continue to protect that space in your life and it will lead you to what it next. Cycling, yoga, walking the dog – whatever gets you there (we both know it must be outdoors).

3) Whoa—you go on gut a lot woman! So exciting to live life that way – and to be proven more often that not that it’s the right choice. Never mind the critics and skip explaining how you came to the decision, you win some, you loose some.

4) Take those risks and keep chasing what drives you mad, in a good way. Don’t get sucked too far into anyone else’s version of what you should be doing. Stay true to what gets you out of bed in the morning.

5) Keep focusing on your marriage, it’s paying off in spades. He’s the best. And so are you.

6) I love what you’ve done with the place. Don’t beat yourself up for making fun decor purchases – and now that you’re blogging about them, indulge – it’s fodder for content!

7) Eat food, mostly plants as Michael says. Dropping meat has clarified your mind and skin, and it just happened, almost to you, rather than as a choice. Keep adding in fresh veggies, trying new flavors and techniques, play in the kitchen is good.

What needs celebrating in your life? Share one or two of your own non-goals by leaving a comment or posting a link to your own list.

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