Time heals all “wounds..”

I remember talking to my mother on the phone shortly after our first child was born. I was in complete disbelief about how agonizing the birthing process had been. “I will NEVER, EVER do this again” I announced quite matter-of-factly. .and then of course went on to have three more kids.

It’s amazing how time can diminish the memory of pain..

…which is the only way to explain the fact that my husband and I chose to assemble another 5,498 piece, IKEA, 8 drawer dresser. 😖



Let there be light!

Have you ever been GRIPPED by an overwhelming desire to renovate a room..a feeling so strong that waiting an extra day, (to maybe talk to your husband about your plan) is simply out of the question?  Well, this was the situation my friend found herself in on her recent day off, and she called me from the parking lot at Home Depot buzzing with excitement, ideas and energy.

She was on a roll- as in ready to roll a new paint color onto her old cherry cabinets in the master bathroom.


First step was to apply the product below so that the new paint would adhere.


Picking the appropriate color wasn’t easy as she needed to harmonize with the existing floor tile and countertop.


The good news is, there really are no “rules” to follow with color these days and mixing shades of white is no different. Light, dark, warm, cool it all works when it comes together to create the over-all feel that we’re trying to achieve.

r4My friend was looking to create an inviting, fresh and updated space- a simple, but dramatic make-over…

and she most certainly did just that,



PS- And oh yeah, her husband loved it.


Life is “funny”..

..isn’t it?

Our master bathroom remodel was FINALLY nearing completion. The shower enclosure had just been installed, and as the glass-guy was leaving he told me we’d have to wait 24 hours for the glue to dry before using it.  I laughed and told him I had waited so long, waiting one more day was NO big deal…

Little did I know it would be three weeks before I stepped into that shower.

It was early the next morning (Tuesday) that Hurricane Matthew started looking a bit ominous and I decided to drive down to Florida to shutter our home which was a process  MUCH more flawed and involved than we ever imagined it would be..


My daughter and I wound up evacuating to the Tampa area (Thursday) where she had accepted a new job..no lie-THE NIGHT BEFORE..and we spent a hectic week-end searching for (and finding) an apartment for her to live in.

Back on the east coast the following Monday, she gave her two week’s notice.  I helped her pack up her belongings, cleaned up minor landscaping debris (we were SOOO blessed it wasn’t worse!)  and 14 days later, followed her back out west towing a U-Haul trailer full of her belongings. We spent the next 5 days cleaning up the apartment, organizing utility hook-ups, purchasing necessities, hanging pictures and figuring out important stuff like where’s the nearest grocery store, hardware store, Target and Paneras!

I finally got my first shower in our “new” bathroom when I dragged my sorry, exhausted, aching self back up Interstate 95 to Charlotte this past Friday.

My daughter starts her new job today. 😀

Yeah, Life is “funny”…

Master bathroom before:

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Master bathroom after:


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I am happiest with the faux wood, tile floor. I ordered this sandy colored version online and got a great price compared to our local tile shop. Each piece has a unique design with white and gray veins running through and creates interest on the floor without being overwhelming. I was originally going to go with a white marble counter, but felt I had to choose between having visual “movement” on the floor or the counter- not both. The gray counter also provides some “weight” to an otherwise very light room. (no window) The shower floor is tumbled marble which adds more soft color, texture and interest. New soaking tub is the absolute bomb- I have NEVER relaxed in anything that comfortable.

This was the last major project to be completed in this town home- finished just before our ONE year anniversary of moving in November, 2015!

So yes, that’s a celebratory martini ..🎉



Quick & easy guest bathroom update

This room was actually fun to refresh; nothing too involved, too expensive or too drawn out. We didn’t have to wait for contractors, place special orders or conquer unexpected problems. We simply wanted to update the space and create a neutral, clean, spa like atmosphere for guests to enjoy.

The tile  floor had to stay so the grout had to be cleaned.. about three times with various products.  White grout paint was applied in the shower to brighten it up as well. Walls and trim were repainted in lighter, more reflective tones. We replaced the UGLY speckled Corian counter top with a  wood (maple) counter option from Lumber Liquidators that was stained and protected with 5 coats of low gloss poly.  I was going for a somewhat beachy, laid back look.. We used a stain called ‘weathered oak’ by Minwax to enhance the grain and add a hint of color.


The above counter sink was ordered from Signature Hardware.  This was an important choice as the cabinets were strangely low (short.) Placing the sink on top of the counter brought everything up to a more normal height.   Chrome sink faucet and new bathtub fixtures are from Overstock.com;  a truly great online company to do business with.

Round mirror is from Amazon- light from LampsPlus, (only $99 which I thought was a great deal.) We exchanged the over head, ceiling lights with much brighter LEDs, but the LampsPlus light alone emits a much softer glow, perfect for early morning when you don’t want to be blinded by high wattage glare. All new chrome hardware on cabinet doors is from Blackhawk Hardware store in Charlotte.

Simple frame above is from Michaels with a photo to remind me of home.  Other knick-knacks were picked up at Home Goods, including a thick, towel-like shower curtain.  Actual towels were a gift from my mom (Bed, Bath & Beyond) and are as super soft and luxurious as the bathrobe hanging on the door..all of them just waiting to envelop my daughter– who is coming up to visit next week!

Lastly, my husband was able to remove the bathroom mirror without damaging it, so we decided to use it in the hall. We created a frame from Home Depot trim and stained it the same weathered oak color that we used on the bathroom counter.  Being able to use this mirror was a happy, unexpected and useful bonus as we have no other large mirror in the house. (Trust me, as you get older, it’s important to double check that you’ve got the same color shoes on before you walk out the door!) 👠👠 👍


Late to the IKEA “love-fest”


I have been searching for two simple nightstands for our guest room and this is what I’ve been finding around town..overpriced, poorly made, soft “wood- stuff” from countries far away that emit alarming, unidentifiable odors. (The furniture that is- not the countries..)

I finally, reluctantly, made the 20 minute drive to IKEA. Not quite sure why I didn’t consider it sooner.. but lo and behold, once there, I fell in love with a little shelving collection called the KALLAX..

..large, beautifully sturdy, well made, doesn’t stink, not a nightmare to put together and the smallest “cube” is

(wait for it)

only $35!

..And perfect for a nightstand!


So I am officially an IKEA fan…hey, better late than never.



The long awaited bathroom remodel is finished!! (No, not ours.)

There are some questions a mother just shouldn’t ask..like:

“What do you mean you brought that bath tub home all by yourself?”


 “Is it true that you and dad were cutting tile with a wet saw at 1 am?”

You especially don’t ask if you’re fingering your prayer beads in a house in North Carolina  and your ‘kid’ is working on his house all the way in St. Louis, Missouri.

At some point you gotta let go..

This bathtub remodel has been in the works for a long time. My son and his wife bought a lovely town home when they moved to St. Louis two years ago and, like is so often the case, it seems the previous residents ran out of cash right at the threshold of the master bathroom. The rest of their unit is beautifully appointed with dark hardwood floors, a gorgeous, white kitchen with stainless steel appliances and a large farmhouse sink that overlooks their private patio area.

(Did I mention there’s a fireplace..IN the kitchen?)

So yeah, it’s a beauty..which made it especially hard to understand the condition of the bathroom upstairs.. My son and his wife knew they’d need to eventually address this problem, especially their decrepit bathtub, which was starting to show signs of not only increasing general ugliness but serious wear and tear.

The pictures below tell the story. Notice how low the tiles on the wall were set.

Yeah, it was gross and rusty and very old.


My son did demolition on his own and also purchased and staged all of the needed tile and tools in anticipation of my husband flying out there for a long, post July 4th, week-end to help with the actual construction.


Choosing the right color tile was no small issue as they were trying to match the existing, but discontinued, tile on the floor. The final choice was a 4 X 16, very decently priced, almost taupe colored product from their local tile shop.  It was complimented with a light gray grout. My son also picked out a contrasting mosaic to blend in with the black counter top the previous owner installed that is located directly across from the shower. The chrome shower system is Hansgrohe, and I’m not sure.. but I think the half shower door is from Home Depot.  These doors are very popular right now.



Instead of installing bullnose tile pieces, my husband and son used a thin, tile edging  called a shluter. These are available at Home Depot and are a much cheaper and more modern alternative to bullnose tile.



You can see in the picture below that they also took the tile all the way up to the ceiling. They weren’t initially going to do that because the ceiling isn’t perfect against the wall, but it was clearly the right choice and made the shower feel even that much more spacious.


When I picked my exhausted husband up at the Charlotte airport after returning from Missouri he had bloodshot eyes, a beard starting to sprout and basically looked like the Gorton’s fisherman coming home from a sail straight through the Bermuda Triangle. I guess that’s what happens when you squeeze 6 days of work into 4, pull a final all nighter and slightly underestimate the number of unanticipated problems.

“What do you mean the tub won’t fit?!”

He had already texted me from the luggage pick up zone while he waited for his suitcase full of tools to arrive: “I will pay whatever I have to for someone else to do our bathroom tile.”


Yeah..we’ll see.

 If laying tile is like giving birth, he will eventually forget the pain. But these guys really  did do a great job, and I am very proud of them both. I’m proud of my son for having the temerity to take on a project so far out of his comfort zone with precious little free time available to plan and actually do it, and I’m proud of my husband for being willing to help with another bathroom project while he’s still knee-deep in our own. Honorable mention must also be bestowed upon my son’s wife who had to try and sleep through all the daytime construction noise as she was working the night shift. 😧

The final product did turn out well and I’m confident that the money my son and his wife spent on this remodel will allow them to sell their home at a higher price once it’s time to move on. You know what they say, the two most important rooms are the kitchen and the master bathroom.  They have those checked off now. 👍

(And yes, my husband and I are still waiting to have our  bathroom floor and shower tile installed…😐)


…… Stay tuned.