Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Black Powder Room: Details

I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath to see the reveal of the little toilet closet turned powder room but as you all know if you've been reading since the beginning, little Katherine just CANNOT decorate a room quickly.

Blame it on the thrift store reliance, blame it on the laziness, blame it on the rain, whatever.

Anyway you slice it, the room isn't decorated - or even close - and so I'm going to take my time before I show the whole room off.

Also, as you'll soon witness, I can't take/edit a picture well to save my life and having an all-black bathroom, while neat, is VERY difficult to take a good photo in. Which means a big reveal will have to wait until Conan has time to take some nice pictures.

Until then, here are a few pics of some of the little details around the new, very black powder room.

You might remember me mentioning that we were using an old door we found in the basement. Well, it's been sized up, hung, and given a nice coat of our favorite, trusty Howard Feed & Wax. We didn't stop there, though. The old doorknob was just metal, not glass, so we took this beautiful, black, glass knob off of one of the basement doors. Can you believe something this pretty was in the basement? These people 100 years ago really had their decorating game on point. I mean, a black, glass knob in the BASEMENT?!

If you've been reading for several years now, you may remember this towel rack from the upstairs bathroom. It came with the house so it was our favorite price - ZERO doll hairs. That left me a little wiggle room to buy a nice, coral hand towel from Tar-jay. Ooh la la!

You can really see the glossiness of the paint in this photo. I'm doing a gallery wall kind of thing and I'm still looking for the perfect mirror. Right now I'm thinking something frameless and simple but who knows, with a shine like that, I may just do without a mirror all together ; ) Truth be told, I've kind of hit a mental block with mirror inspiration and I'm just waiting for something to jump out at me. I'd love to hear any suggestions!

We also re-used the toilet paper holder from the upstairs bathroom as well as the toilet.
Go team recycle! Go team budget remodel! 

Speaking of budget, as soon as I get a mirror and a couple more frames, I'll do a final tally of the little powder room with the big reveal. I originally planned to re-use the old tile to save dough (we didn't have enough so we bought new), but I also planned to spend $90 on the sink (we spent $25) so it'll be interesting to see how we did in the end.

Thanks for reading! 

Keep Smiling! 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How to paint a cast iron sink

When I last mentioned the powder room, we were talkin' tile. Tiny, little 1" hex tile to be exact. Well, after the tile was grouted, we sealed it then waited 24 hours for it to dry and got started on putting in the fixtures. 

We have re-used the same toilet we had in the bathroom before but I'll spare you a picture until all of the finishing touches are put on le nook above le toilet. It's really looking great but it is incredibly difficult to take a good picture of a room that is only slightly larger than the inside of a shoebox so I'm going to wait until I have all (most) of my decorations and accessories up in there before doing a big "move that bus" type of reveal. 

In the meantime though, I thought I would show you guys how I painted the cast iron sink that we are putting in the tiniest bathroom that ever was. 

You may remember, we got this sink back in early December during a trip to the Barn at the Farm

We found it for a cool 25 bucks after some trepidation about a more expensive sink at an antiques store here in town. Lesson: Be patient, my children. The right thing at the right price is out there. And when you find it...oh boy...you will be glad you waited. 

Anywho, we scooped it up and brought it home and in the laundry room it sat until the other day when I decided it was time to get to work on the outside of it. 

As you can see, it wasn't in bad shape at all. Not nearly as bad as our upstairs tub was when I painted the outside of it. 

Still. Since our little powder bathroom is such a...high contrast area, I thought it best to go ahead and paint the underside just in case you were able to see any of it when it was hanging on the wall. 

So, steps 1-2 I took no pictures because you're smart and you can figure it out. 
Step 1) Wipe the whole sink down with a damp rag
Step 2) Vacuum any loose rust or dust or dirt or whatever off of the exterior

Step 3) Tape that sucker UP! Again, we're using a very dark color and I didn't want any leaking onto the pretty white porcelain. 

Step 4) Prime

Just like with the upstairs tub, I primed it using Rust-Oleum's rusty metal primer. The only difference? Last time I brushed it on and this time, we just happened to have some leftover from another project so I sprayed it on. It worked really well, getting down in the front dip of the sink. 

Let that dry...

Step 5) Paint!

*Don't worry, this is after it was dry and I had taken off some of the tape to take a picture. 
I used a brush to paint on the black, oil-based paint. 
Yes. We painted our powder room with oil-based paint. 
No, we're not crazy. It's actually exactly what I envisioned. Shiny, inky, black as night.
In a word: hawt. 

Now, we've gotten this question over on Houzz so I will address it here as well if anyone's curious.
At this point we've painted two cast-iron fixtures (a tub and a sink).
The tub was painted with latex paint and we used oil-based on the sink. 
Someone over there said that we shouldn't have used latex paint on the tub but honestly, it's been almost two years and there is not a mark on that thing. Granted, we don't have any ragers in our bathroom but it's seen it's fair share of use and it still looks just as good as the day it was painted. 

So there you have it. If you're painting a cast iron sink or tub or whatever, I firmly believe you can use whatever kind of paint you want (save maybe craft paint or something) and it will stand up to wear and tear fine as long as you prime it well. 
Now then, where were we? 

Oh yes! My hawt little bathroom with it's hawt lil' sink! 

Again with the "hard to take pictures" in this room thing. I promise we'll take some real pictures once I've got everything sort of the way I want it ; ) 

So yeah, we went with a black bathroom and I couldn't be happier. It was touch-n-go for a minute there when we were painting the window but now that the whole room is done I just LOVE it.

We used Rust-Oleum's black, high gloss enamel paint with a tinted latex primer. Another thing that the guy at the paint store said was a no no but it turned out completely fine. Now, latex on top of oil based? That's a no no. I accidentally got a little white latex paint on the black while I was painting the door frame and it bubbled up and looked weird.
So, to review: enamel on latex? Fine.
Latex on enamel? Not good, m'kay? 

Next up?
As you can see from that picture we still don't have outlet covers and we're replacing the switch that's in there now with a push-button switch. The sink faucet is also leaking in a weird spot and needs a new gasket. But, there's really not much left to do other than decorate. I'm going to try and do it quickly so we can get some pictures up but you know me and you know I like to decorate niiiiiice and sloooooow

Conan's got a lil' project, too that he might just blog about : D 

Until then, 
Keep Smiling!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

David Bazan Living Room Show (part deux)

Saturday post, what? 
Just thought I'd pop in real quick to say what a great time we had last night, hosting our second (what?) David Bazan Living Room Tour show and share a couple of pictures that Conan took. 

If you're reading this and you were sitting in our house last night, just want to say a big "thank you" for coming out and having a good time. If you're reading this and you're David Bazan or someone who knows him personally, thank YOU for stopping in little ol' Wichita again and for putting on such an amazing show. We will never forget it. 
Hopefully we're lucky enough to find ourselves in the position to play host again and hopefully we get to see some of you again! 

Until then, keep smiling!

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a toilet closet  powder room to work on! A valiant effort was made to finish it but alas, thanks to a SERIOUS bout with food poisoning on his birthday : ( and some...explosive plumbing issues we weren't able to offer people a luxurious downstairs bathroom option. Next time, folks. Next time. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Happy Birthday, Conan! Here's your grout float!

You know the saying "Rome wasn't built in a day". Well, they didn't have Conan. 
Last night, home skillet spent his last few hours of being 32 in the floor of the powder room, grouting the tile. 

That's right! Today Conan turned the big 33. Thirty-three years on this earth, and only five of those have been spent doing stuff like laying tile at 10 o'clock at night. So in a way, he's led a very blessed life ; ) 
So, before I go any further let me say


You're the smartest person I've ever met, you're soooo patient (seriously, Conan has never yelled once in the 7 years that I've known him), you're good at everything you try, and I loff you forever and ever. 

So, if you feel so inclined, wish a Happy Birthday to our #1 tile-guy, Conan! 

Now, about that tile. 

IT IS BEAUTIFUL. Beyond beautiful, actually. You'll remember upstairs we used dark grout and it looks wonderful and everything but this white grout it soooooo much easier/less messy to work with. 

The tile odyssey started two nights ago. I ordered us a pizza and my mom and Conan sat in the floor between the basement and the powder room, cross-legged for at least three hours, laying the tile.

Just like the upstairs bathroom, we used tape and seam patch to cover up the seams in the backer board. Not like the upstairs bathroom? We didn't have to use the tile saw ONCE! *Tears of joy*
They were able to carefully cut and snip the tiles that went around the edges of the room using a handheld tile cutter like this one:

It may have taken them a while to get the tiles all laid out but once they started mortaring it to the floor, all of that prep work paid off. They were a well-oiled machine. Conan laying the grout, my mom cutting the little pieces to go around the edge. Bam, boom, tile! 

One thing we did a little differently from last time was putting on the mortar a little thinner. Upstairs, the mortar squished in between the tile joints and we ended up spending an ungodly amount of time with toothpicks, cleaning out the joints so the grout would have a place to go. 

So, after drying for 24 hours, we mixed the grout with water, grabbed the grout float and started grouting. 

Conan smartly suggested we do the floor in sections because even though it's a small room, you wouldn't want to sit on the part you just grouted to reach the back wall when it's time to clean it up. 

We divided it into fourths, grouted each section, set a timer for 15 minutes and then wiped it off carefully with a damp sponge. 

All told, it took us about an hour to grout it and then another hour to wait until we could buff off the "grout haze".  Which if you're wondering is the name of our new band...

Here it is now, all finished up. It still needs to be sealed but it is stunning and I couldn't be happier with it. 

There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to installing 1" hex tile and we're getting better each time. Unfortunately, I can't imagine us ever tiling anything else in the house but, who knows...hex tile attic anyone? 

Next up, prime and paint the base shoe there, get it down, and start working on the sink and toilet! 

Wish us luck!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Powder Room Primed, Painted

Oh man, I'm gonna make this real quick because we are cutting it so so so so close - thisclose - on this powder room, guys. If I hadn't already mentioned, we have roughly 50 people descending on our house this Friday for a house show with David Bazan (our second) and we were trying to beat the clock so we would have two bathrooms.

It ain't lookin' great but it ain't lookin' awful either. But the longer I sit here and type, the less time I have to be downstairs, working on tile and paint and everything, ahhhhhhh!!!! 

Okay. So, this past weekend we got all of the trim put up and we primed the bathroom. Huzzah!

Now, I had mentioned the tinted primer before kind of casually when I talked about fixing the window but here it is in all of its matte gray glory. 

I don't have to tell you guys that tintable primer means a dark color is going on the walls. 
And the trim
And the little nook thing

...basically everything.
Everything except the ceiling and floor is getting the same, dark color. Well, at this point it's already gotten the same dark color as we put the first coat of paint on last night. 

I'm going to wait to take a full-room picture until the room is completely painted and has something on the walls but you can catch a little glimpse of it in this picture with our floor tile. 

It's black, it's shiny, and it's absolutely amazing. I mean, I had my doubts when we were doing the window but now, seeing it in the entire room. It's just...hot.
I'll talk a little more about it and the ridiculous process of finding it when I take a picture of the entire room. 

Now then, the floor tile. You might have noticed that it's similar to, but not the same as our upstairs bathroom tile

I know I had planned to do the downstairs powder room with the leftover tile from upstairs but we only had a few sheets of tile left and they were missing a lot of pieces that we had pulled out to do this pattern. 

So, we went with a similar tile but in a matte finish instead of glossy from Lowe's. I realize now that I probably should've done matte for the upstairs bathroom but that's the way the cookie crumbles. That said, I still LOVE the upstairs bathroom floor more than life itself. 

But this downstairs bathroom...woo boy, it's a looker! We're going to do a white grout down here instead of the dark grout like upstairs. I'm interested to see if it makes the process any easier since we spent SO much time upstairs trying to get all of the very high contrast grout lines even. 

Alright, so that's that! We've primed, we've painted, we're starting the tile today (hopefully).
Wish us luck! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Say it with a rug

Happy Monday! Happy President's Day! Happy belated Valentine's Day! 
Happy whatever! 

Sorry for all of the "happy"s but I'm still floating on cloud 9 after my Valentine's day. First, let me preface this by saying that I am NOT a Valentine's person. NOT. I explicitly asked for nothing from Conan and I was totally fine with getting that. I don't know why I can't get into Valentine's, maybe it's all of the pink and red, but I just can't.

So anyway, as I said, I requested that we do nothing for Valentine's day this year but Conan had other plans. On Friday morning, we left for work at the same time and as I pulled out of the driveway, I saw Conan walking down the street towards work. Well, that little sneak went around the block, came back home, got in the Jeep and went and bought me this at Target: 

Every time we go to Target and stroll around and talk (does anybody else do that for fun?) I see this rug and say, "Man, that's a hot rug." Well, somebody was listening. I was in shock when I came home to see this and a note wishing me Happy Valentine's Day. So, there's that. My Valentine's was just amazing. It also included Chinese food and homemade cookies but that's another story for another blog. 

Now, you might have noticed all of the National Geographic magazines lying around over there and that's kind of Conan's Valentine's Day. 

You guys probably remember our living room shelves that were pretty much built specifically for Conan's lifelong National Geographic collection. 

Well, since that picture was taken ^ we've gotten enough in the mail to push us past those three center sections. So, on Thursday when Conan saw that someone had donated their Natty G collection to the thrift store nearby, he made a list of all of the issues he was missing and we went and got enough to start filling in the left side. 

It was a tough call for him because at 45 or 65 cents each, they added up pretty quickly but he narrowed it down to about $15 worth and last night, he took out all of the Art Forum magazines...

And started replacing them with his new (and original collection) National Geographic magazines. 

I should mention that when we originally built the shelves we thought that Conan had enough Natty Gs to go across the entire top. Almost five years later, we are moving into the left section and hopefully by the time we have grand-kids, we will have them across the entire top section ; ) 

In other news, most of the trim is up in the powder room! Huzzah! 

It's looking better and better in there thanks to the ol' mom and dad and I need to hurry up and finish this post so I can get down there and start sanding/filling holes/priming. Will we make it in time for the David Bazan living room show (which, btw there are still tickets for HERE  if you want to get an in-person look at our glorious toilet closet)? Who knows! I'm hopeful but I'm not delusional. Which is a rare change of pace for me. 

All that said, we celebrated a very important milestone this weekend as our youngest fur baby turned the big THREE. 

So, happy birthday Shorty Waffles Chamomile Biscuit! We loff you a lot and yes, the rug was your birthday present ; ) 

Have a great Monday/week everybody! 

Keep Smiling!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Man oh man, it's been about a minute since I've blogged. Sorry for that.
I'm sure you can appreciate that with a house-show deadline growing ever closer and a good inch of Sheetrock dust on everything in our home things are a little...tense around here. 

So I'm going to just rip through most of the things that have happened around these parts in the last month or so really quick just to catch you up to speed on what we've been up to.

First off, and perhaps the oldest news, for Christmas Conan got me this Speedball screen-printing kit!

It's actually been pretty fun to learn how to use it and since we've been screening stuff, we've learned quite a bit about the process which is always a nice thing to do for your brain. Use it or lose it, folks! Anywho, we screened these little toto-ly (Toto puns FTW!) adorable totes last week and if you're from Kansas or you just love the shape of our beautiful state you can pick one up here:

Yay Kansas!

Next up, we got a plant. Not a big thing but boy does it make a difference in the way the room looks and feels. After our Christmas tree came down the room felt so empty that we went to Lowe's and got this palm.  It's green, it's leafy and I loff it.

I also really love the planter. It's really simple and the glossy black looks nice with the green. 
It also looks nice with the old ceramic pot I put it in. I was flipping out when I potted it because I suddenly realized I had nothing big enough to sit the pot in and catch the water when it drains but then I remembered this bad boy that's been sitting on our back porch, collecting dust since I bought it at a thrift store and couldn't find a use for it. 
Voila! A use has been found!

Did I mention that our house is covered in Sheetrock dust? That includes the floors as evidenced in this picture above ^

Another thing you can see in that picture is our new/old dining room chairs. One of the problems I've always had with our dining room was that it wasn't especially comfortable to hang out in. Our old Craigslist chairs were cool looking but they weren't very comfy and they always felt like they were about to break. So, I started looking for some upholstered chairs like these and dang, did you guys know that CHAIRS ARE EXPENSIVE!? Of course you did, you guys are super smart.
But the thrift gods heard my prayers and sent me these four green chairs for $20 TOTAL. Wowza!

Then, the thrift gods heard my mom's prayers and sent her these two captain's chairs for each end for $20 each! A little more expensive but they're nicer chairs and it's still a steal compared to $269 or even $200 for this World Market one. Noice! Here's one of the blue chairs being given the eye by one of Conan's paintings. 

I still need two more to make a full table but these are working out great and as soon as I have a free moment I'm thinking about making some slipcovers that go all the way to the floor a la these

Alright, what's next? 

We've added a little more to our upstairs bathroom gallery wall. When you last saw it, it looked like this

Now we've added two more photographs! The top one is from a company picnic in Kansas City in 1919 and even more impressive, it was only $5 at the thrift store!!

The bottom one was $11 at the same store and it's a lovely picture of the Chikaskia River near Drury, Kansas taken in '39. Neat!

Next up? Let's talk bathroom. Downstairs bathroom.

The old door was COATED in enamel paint that was chipping off like crazy and it just looked like a mess so I went shopping in our basement and found this perfectly unpainted door.

Basically every doorway in our house had a door at one point and a lot of them have been scattered throughout the house since they were taken off presumably a long time ago. This one was in the basement, there are some in the attic. We're a door emporium over here!

But look at how pretty it is under that layer of dust and grime!

You may remember that I re-finished the upstairs bathroom door and if I'm being honest with you that is not something I'm particularly excited to do again so I was pleased as punch to find this beautiful door that relatively the same size as the old door.*

*My dad had to shave off an inch or so on the side and bottom and do some really ~creative~ shim work to get it to fit but it works like a charm!*

The only bummer is the door knob and escutcheon plate is in rough shape. We sanded on it yesterday and it just doesn't look like there's anything worth saving underneath there. Another house-wide shopping spree is in order! I'm sure there's a nicer door knob on one of those attic doors I mentioned.

Up next, the bathroom window got a facelift. We scraped all of the old paint off, gave them a little sanding and then primed them. As you can see, I'm using a tinted primer. What color do you suppose will be going over these? Hmmmm...

We put the window back in and my mom replaced the old cords which pretty much disintegrated in our hands when we took the window apart. This window, along with most of them in the house, is non-operational but slowly but surely they're getting repaired. This will be the 6th window we've re-corded and spruced up since we've lived here.

You can allllmost see the window through the plastic there but I think I'll wait for a big unveiling once there's paint on the walls. My mom has been sanding Sheetrock like a madwoman and I think it's just about ready to prime! 

Speaking of madwomen, I scraped all of the old paint off of the old door frame since we're trying to recycle most of the original wood and trim. It only took me about an hour because of this awesome scraping tool. We bought two right after we bought the house and that thing has paid for itself! The replacement carbide blades are kind of expensive (around $8 each) but it will take paint off of a ship's hull, I kid you not. 
That is one of the few things I will fully endorse. The HYDE Maxxgrip Pro is the greatest tool ever made if you have an old house full of chippy, enamel paint. Oh, and wear a mask because said paint's probably choc-full-o-lead ; ) Safety first kiddos!

 So that pretty much covers it.
Greatest Scraper Ever

Hope you enjoyed this intensive course in what it's been like around our house! I'll try to post a little more regularly once the bathroom starts to take shape.

Keep Smiling! 
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