Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Bathroom is COMPLETE! Before and after photos!

Well we have arrived and it has been totally worth it! The bathroom is done (minus the glass shower doors that had to be measured after the tile was finished) and it is absolutely beautiful and SO MUCH more functional than the space we had before. Just to recap, we have a divided two room bathroom. The layout before the remodel was the toilet, sink and tub/shower combo in the front room of the two rooms and a door connected that room to the laundry room which was in the back room of the two rooms. Here are some before and after photos:

BEFORE: one sink/vanity area and toilet, no storage, 2 kids = YIKES!

AFTER - double sink top with huge vanity cabinet full of drawers and individual space for teenagers

another view

I took a picture of the pendant lights before the mirror was installed - I love the look!

BEFORE: fiberglass tub/shower combo unit, very small space

AFTER: We gutted this entire bathroom right down to and including the subfloors and moved everything around for privacy, functionality and space. Washer and dryer are now where the tub/shower used to be in the front room directly across from the double sink vanity. Laundry counter installed on top of them with extra tall cabinets above them.

BEFORE: This is standing in the front bathroom looking into the back room that used to be just for laundry. The paint splotch on the wall is the color we ended up using for the back room.

Standing looking through the door which moved to the left

To the right of the washer/dryer was a utility sink that we rarely used. Our storage was limited to the white wire shelf you see above.

AFTER: toilet and floor to ceiling linen cabinet and cabinets above toilet. Uber storage now!

little cubby next to the toilet and shower for extra TP, shower gel, shampoo etc.

standing in the shower looking back at the opposite wall where we have towel hooks installed. Incidentally my daughter's towel that should be on the hook is on the floor in a wad in her room... Aaaack!!!!

My OCD nature couldn't stand it... that's better!

BEFORE: the dryer in the photo is now where the toilet is and the empty space to the right is where the shower is.

AFTER: after a lot of heartburn I got the beautiful tile shower that I wanted in the first place! It was our good luck that the fiberglass shower sat on a loading dock in NC for weeks with no signs of heading north! Problem solved - tile shower! :-)

beautiful marble shelves

gorgeous accent tile - this stupid bathroom is nicer than ours now! Ugh

Glass shower doors have been ordered and that completes the remodel. I figured the photos are better without the doors in anyway to see the entire shower unobstructed.

We are absolutely thrilled with this remodel! We couldn't be happier! Our neighbor who works for Raven Enterprises did this entire design for us and I honestly don't think we changed anything from his design at all (except for splurging on the tile shower...). Right down to little things that I don't have an eye for like the pendant lights and the laundry counter, really enhanced this bathroom/laundry room combo. We have utilized nearly every square foot of space between these two rooms and the kids have privacy for shower and toilet while someone else uses the laundry and sink area in the front room.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bathroom remodel...inching closer to completion

So here we are 5 weeks in. You know what they say about the best laid plans... nothing ever goes quite on schedule with a remodel but it's all worth it. It is really coming together, nearly done and absolutely beautiful! We are thrilled with the results!

Shower tile started going up yesterday and should be completed early next week. Put "should" in quotations because you just never know... The upside is the front room is absolutely 100% completed and beautiful!

the huge mirror is in and you can now see the layout, behind the sink area is the washer/dryer and cabinets. Pardon the mess, we have paint, tile and other stuff being stored there for the moment.

Tile started going up with a very cool accent tile that we picked out. Mario had to stop there because he didn't have the spacers he needed to continue up to the top yesterday but the tile will go to the ceiling when he comes back to finish.

almost there! The only things left on the list are to finish tiling the shower, grout, install shower doors and trim and finish painting that room and voila, we are done!

I will post before and after photos on the final blog post but I love how this has turned out and that we are maximizing every inch of space in these two rooms!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Bathroom remodel update 3 - the final stretch

So we are SO close to having this bathroom completed. It's really coming along beautifully and I have to say, aside from the small glitches here and there it's been relatively smooth. The biggest challenge for me has been sharing our bathroom with a 12 year old girl who is all about her hair at the moment and not having laundry facilities for a month. Yikes! Thanks to some great neighbors we have had laundry services down the street but it's really not the same as having it down the hallway. The washer and dryer are scheduled to be reinstalled finally! Yay!!!  I feel as though I have weeks of steaming laundry piling up so we are ready to have that convenience again. Cabinets, tile floor and double marble sink are all in and hopefully the final electric and plumbing will be for the most part completed this week with toilet, faucets, pendant lights and hookups. Towel bars, hooks etc tomorrow and then the shower...the one point of consternation in this whole process. The story being I ended up settling on a fiberglass shower insert from Sterling/Kohler instead of the tile shower that I REALLY wanted due to excess $$$$. I really had to talk myself into it but we also needed to get the bathroom remodel cost to a place that we could live with and the tile shower wasn't in the budget. Suffice it to say, the fiberglass shower walls are still sitting in North Carolina with no date on the schedule as to when they might be shipped north. Very frustrating. Been sitting there for weeks. So after tweaking some numbers again and using the tile that we got a GREAT deal on at Home Depot the tile shower is back ON! Yippee! Hopefully next week will see the final completion of the project and my final blog post on the bathroom. But for the latest update I'll post some pics.

Cabinets and sink top going in. One small problem, cabinets and vanity top are 50" wide with a space of only 49 1/2" to fit in! Yikes! Some creative finagling and Jeff got them in! Maybe a bit of paint touch up from us this weekend is in the plan however...

very tall linen cabinet and more cabinets for above the toilet go in the back shower/toilet room

The cabinets next to my added in little cubby shelf and shower that I hope will be installed sometime in 2013!!

Sinktop is just waiting to be hooked up with faucets and side splashes. Also drawer pulls but those will go on later this week I think. There will be a huge mirror for previously mentioned 12 year old daughter's hair and 3 very cool pendant lights installed next.

There's that lonely shower again...

VERY tall cabinets above where the washer/dryer will be in the front room along with an installed laundry counter above them.


I started this post earlier in the week and decided to wait until today to add in the last touches. We are really really close to being complete. Washer/Dryer and laundry counter are IN! Yay! One small glitch, electric outlets on the left side were installed too low and the side splash won't fit. Going to have to move the outlets up.

beautiful pendant lights are installed as well as sink and faucets. Giant wall to wall Mirror next week

washer and dryer with laundry counter installed above. See the missing side splash and too low outlets to the left?!

Toilet is in. This view is taken from the front room which has the washer/dryer and double sink looking into the back room which is toilet/shower room. Much more functional for teenage bathroom sharing!

There's that dang shower again waiting for TILE!!

It will be a nice large shower and an extra tall shower head for one 6'3" 15 yr old boy!

view of the toilet/shower room from the shower

So we are nearly there. Tommy will touch up paint this weekend, the guys will come back next week and put the mirror in and the pulls on the cabinets and the best part...

Mario will be here to tile the shower late next week! yay! Next post will be the finished product with before and after photos.

It is a beautiful and very functional space now and we are using every bit of the space now which is great!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Final days of a fabulous trip - off to Paris, the city of LOVE!

Well it's been an absolutely fantastic trip! And I couldn't think of a better way to top off Tommy's first European experience than in Paris - especially for an anniversary trip! He really didn't have much desire to go in the beginning, I had to twist his arm. He had a preconceived notion of the French, Parisians in particular. I am happy to say it was misplaced - the Parisians were absolutely lovely, warm and welcoming to us wherever we went.

This is one of the really cool things about the Renaissance St Pancras, this was taken looking out from the hotel to the Eurostar trains that depart from here every day.

You can see the hotel building along side the station which has two levels and lots and lots of great shops

trains up above and the tube down below

the train was super fast and we arrived in Paris before we knew it! About 2 hours time! CRAZY!

Hopped a cab to our hotel which was right on the Champs Elysees! Great location!

The hotel concierge recommended a cute little off the beaten path cafe called Le Sens Unique. It was wonderful! We have now made the transition from ales, lagers and ciders at lunch to a bottle of bordeaux or sancerre!

This place was tiny and charming

I'm in heaven with my baked mussels in pesto sauce!

so off we go apres dejeuner (after lunch) to see the sights! Fortunately my 6 years of French studies did not go to waste!

It was a gloomy day but who cares - we were in Paris!!

The Arc de Triomphe was just steps away from our hotel!

This flame was a replica of the flame on the statue of liberty's torch! We will be seeing that in person on our family trip to NYC in May!

I know, I know. You just can't have enough pics of the Eiffel Tower can you?

OK last one!

I mean it this time - last one! Haha!

After lunch we went in search of a Trip Advisor recommended fromagerie called Marie Cantin's for some of her famous cheese and sea salt butter

We found her shop on the Rue de Champ de Mars and bought some brie and butter to take back to the hotel with a baguette and some wine for a late afternoon snack.

Walking around the corner from her shop was a lovely market called Market Rue Cler. I highly recommend this cute area to shop for wine, produce, cheese, bread and pastries, the works!

The French take their cheese very seriously!

You could smell these shops a block away!

Yup - I found my nirvana, the wine shops!!

We ended up at a cute little Italian place for dinner that night where dogs are as welcome as any other guests!

Just down the street from our hotel... I had to throw this in! Haha!

So on our very last day of vacation, our last day in Paris, it was supposed to rain rain rain! It ended up being 60 degrees and sunny all day! We certainly didn't plan our visit to the Louvre very well or we would have done that the day before when it actually did rain all day! But who can complain, it was gorgeous and a fantastic way to end our trip!

Here we are heading into the Louvre. You could easily spend all day here.

Venus de Milo

And here she is... our Mona Lisa!

This painting, The wedding feast at Cana by Paulo Veronese was absolutely enormous taking up an entire wall and honestly far more spectacular and awe inspiring than dear Mona in our opinion.

This amazing Lion was carved in 350 BC!!!

and of course the winged victory

Off to walk around sunny Paris for our last day.

This is the Pont de l'Archeveche. I can tell you that as we walked up to this bridge and saw it glimmering in the sun I said to my husband, "Look at that pretty bridge". I had no idea it was the famed "love lock" bridge that has caused a great deal of consternation on Trip Advisor's forums. The idea is to take a padlock with you and your partner's name engraved on it, lock it to the bridge and keep it there for all eternity. Many people on TA are furious about it feeling that it pollutes the area and is ugly.

Having seen it from afar as well as up close we were of the opinion that it was actually pretty and much more interesting to look at than a plain old chain link fence along the bridge which is pretty much what the bridge would be without the locks. You be the judge...

We headed to Notre Dame cathedral and I won't post the pics of the monstrosity that was erected out in front of this beautiful cathedral for viewing. In my opinion that huge, ugly blue viewing area was a huge eyesore and ruined the integrity of the cathedral. Far worse in my opinion than the padlocks on the aforementioned bridge.

The cathedral from along the Seine. We took a riverboat along the Seine back to the Champs Elysees and it was a really nice way to see a lot of the area and give our poor tired feet a rest.

The beautiful Pont Alexandre III

We headed back over to my cute market on Rue Cler and grabbed a fantastic lunch (with wine of course!) at a great cafe called Cafe Roussillon. This was the menu brought to our table on a large chalkboard.

Tommy has really enjoyed Paris tremendously which surprised us both!

My prawns and risotto...Mmmmm

We ended our last evening in Paris at a tremendous wine bar cafe called L'Ecluse. It was absolutely fantastic and I finally got my foie gras that I had been dying for!

The wines were amazing and we brought our favorite, a very expensive Bordeaux, home with us to share on a special evening sometime soon.

I thought the wine menu was very cool!

So as we left the cafe after a great meal (note bag with wine in it!) we saw this car and had to take a pic!

Here you go Drew - if you get a car from us for your 16th birthday don't be surprised if it looks like this!

What a fantastic trip this was! Our time in Paris was way too short and has inspired us to return next year in the summer with the kids. 

Adieu Paris and we will be back very soon!