Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Update - 02/27/2015

Super short update.

Y'all.  Praise him, I am done tiling.  About 2, 948 lbs have been lifted off my shoulders.  If I wasn't such a freak about details and perfection, it would have gone much faster but I am type A all the way.  (I think that could be a shirt.)  At one point this week, there was a mountain of clean clothes laying in the hallway for days.  My floors were filthy (Those of you who know me personally know I can't stand dirty floors).  We ate out more in the past two weeks than we have in two months.  I was a bit of a mess BUT in the grand scheme, it is worth it and temporary.


I have a gorgeous bedroom set in the paint booth right now.  It is an off white going to white.


Tiling is done and now I am on to grout.  I tested two light gray grout colors on trash tile.  Never trust the store display.  NEVER.

I am going with Platinum by Polyblend from Home Depot.  Answer me this....why do they have certain grout colors and then not provide the same caulk color?!?!?!  The grout carried by Lowes and Home Depot both do this.  They only carry a few caulk colors so I had to find the matching caulk online and ordered it yesterday.

I haven't talked much about the budget so here is a quick update.  Money planning started back in September and I initially set the budget at $6,500 and things were looking to cost more like $8000.  I went back to the design stage and changed some things. I considered getting it down to $5,000 and it was possible but there were a few luxuries we were not willing to give up so I am staying with the original $6,500.  As long as we don't have any major problems come up, I will be able to stick to it.  That cost is not including fixing the AC intake that we did when the project started or the costs for reorganizing and building stuff for my closet which will happen after.

Here are the cost for the shower as of today.

The only big expense left on the shower project is the door.  I am still debating on us trying to install ourselves or call a professional.  Doors are heavy.  Being level is a must.  My pretty new tile will have to be drilled.  It all makes me nervous and have sweaty palms.  Having said that, hiring someone is probably out of the budget.  So we could buy the door and install ourselves or pay someone to do it and cut costs somewhere else.  Not sure where those cuts could come from so I am thinking we will DIY it.

I hope everyone has a great week.  I promise to post pictures of the tile next week.  I need a few days to rest, catch up on furniture work, and to clean my house.  :)

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Master Bath - Shower Prep

Hi, everyone!  Today I want to share how we prepped the shower for tile.  There are a gazillion tutorials out there on how to waterproof, hang backer board and prep so I am not going to do a step by step tutorial.  This is more of an overview of what worked for us and at the end of this post, I included a few of my favorite videos and blog posts about bathroom updates.

Planning is extremely important!  There is a lot to think about when you are prepping a shower space and when the space is stripped down, you have to be sure to do all needed changes BEFORE the backboard goes up get done.


  • Our enclave originally had a single fiberglass tub/shower unit.  The studs were not perfectly aligned and the subfloor was at a different level than the rest of the room.  We had to add another layer of subfloor to make everything level.

  • We are going to have a frameless shower door which is extremely heavy and needs plenty of support.  We added studs where the door will be using the Kreg Jig to make pocket holes, then screwed the new 2x4s into an existing stud.  

  • All the plumbing was done.  Since we have been married (almost 9 years), we have wanted a shower with multiple shower heads.  Just a big walk in shower that can be for one person with several shower heads on them or can easily accommodate two people.  In the new shower, each side has its own on/off, temperature control and its own shower head(s).  The plumber thought it was overkill for a 3' x 5' shower, and it might be, but it is what we always wanted.  There were a few more options we considered but felt this was best. 

  • The shower niche was framed out.  My only requirement for the shower niche was not to be on the back wall.  The back wall of the shower is the first things you see when you walk into the bathroom and I would rather have a pretty, solid tiled wall to look at than shampoos and soaps. I had to wait until all the new plumbing was put in to decided on where the niche would go.  There was only one spot a niche would fit so I framed out one tall niche that will have several shelves.  (I will be doing a niche tutorial once the entire shower is done.) My only dislike about the niche so far is that it is really close to the back wall so there will be some small cuts of tile.  


Once we got all that work done, the shower pan went in.  The original plan was to buy a tile ready shower pan and have a tiled shower floor.  When I changed the budget and decided to go with the white subway tile, I also decided to use a finished, pre-made shower pan.  This saved a lot of time and money.  A tile ready shower pan for a 36" x 60" shower is in the $500-$700 range plus you have to tile over it (more cost).  You can make/pour your own shower pan but it wasn't something I was willing to take on right now.  The finished, white shower pan I purchased cost around $300 and there was no tiling.  You install then you are done.

Installation was pretty easy.  The pan is large which makes it awkward to handle but with two people, it is easy to manage.  We tested it in the space to make sure it fit and we also marked the new drain location.

SIDE NOTE:  Since we live on the second floor and have access to all our plumbing in our garage, we did not have to install the new drain at the time of the shower pan installation.  Most of you will have to hook the drain up to the plumbing when installing.

We cut a new hole for the new drain, laid a mortar bed, then put in the shower pan.  Make sure the edges are level!  The bottom of the pan is sloped for water drainage so if the pan edges are level, your pan floor should be sloping towards the drain.


Next came some plastic waterproofing.  I have read and watched countless blogs, articles and videos about shower prep and tiling.  Some people did this plastic barrier step.  Some didn't.  We decided it was a small cost for more water protection.  Just in case something fails and water gets behind the backboard, this plastic barrier will carry the water down into the shower pan instead of water going into the wall.  We decided to only put it 4 feet high since that is where most of the water is when you take a shower.  The plastic is just stapled in a few spots to the studs then we used a crazy strong tape to adhere it to the shower pan lip.


I went with Hardi Plank cement board for the backer board material.  Wear a mask and eyewear for sure when cutting this stuff.  It makes a mess!  We used a jig saw with super strong blades to make cuts.

SIDE NOTE:  A drill driver makes things much easier when you are screwing them in place.  I started out using our regular drill and the screws were not going in the studs all the way and were pulling the board back.  In this video, he suggests a drill driver and he is right.  It made things MUCH easier.  Lucky for us, our sweet neighbor let us borrow his.

Hanging backer board is pretty self explanatory.  You cover the wall.  :)  We went all the way to the ceiling since my tile will go all the way up.  Also, we checked the level periodically to make sure our walls were straight (even after all that checking we have one that is off a little).  

The previously framed out niche is covered with backerboard as well.

After the boards were up, I filled and taped the seams.  I used Mapei white thinset and a fiberglass mesh tape.  Every single seam had to be done plus I put thin set over every screw.


One of the biggest frustrating factors about doing an update is old products (drywall, fittings, hardware) are not the same size as the new.  Seriously, people....why can't you improve a product without changing the size and keep it easy on us DIYers.  Way back when, during the kitchen renovation I had a BAD week because of issues like this.  Read about it here--> That one time I almost got violent.  

Our problem this time was the backer board is not the same thickness as our existing drywall so at the seam where they meet, there is a big difference.

One of the videos below addressed this problem.  I filled and feathered out with drywall composite.  It took a lot!

This stuff took 24 hours to dry.  I filled and feathered.  Let it dry over night.  Sanded smooth in the morning then went back and filled again where needed.  This process took a few days because of dry time.

Once it was all dry and sanded even, I used Ziissner oil based primer to seal it and make it a better surface for adhesion.  Nothing sticks to drywall composite very well except primer.  ALWAYS PRIME IT.

After that, I put 3 coats of the waterproofing product.


There are several waterproofing products out there.  These products create a plastic coating so if the thin set cracks at the seam, the plastic coating will hold together and keep any water from seeping through.   Red Guard and Mapei are popular because that is what is carried by Lowes and Home Depot. I honestly do not know if one brand is better than the other.  I went with Mapei because I was already at Lowes on the day I needed to buy it and it was on sale, which made it about $10 cheaper than the Red Guard.

This stuff is easy to work with.  It goes on just like paint.  I used the cheap bristle paint brushes and a roller.  I put 3 coats on every seam and screw except in the niche, I put 4.  :)  You do not have to cover every inch of the backer board with this stuff.  Some tutorials I read, did.  Some didn't.  Its a personal choice.  I didn't.  Although after all the seams, screw holes and the edge seams were covered, it looks like I tried to put it all over.  :)

It is now ready for tile which will be in another post.  Things didn't go exactly to plan on the tile but such is life in a reno.  We don't always get what we want...and I definitely didn't get what I wanted but it is still beautiful and I can't wait to see it all come together.


Great video about a shower enclave renovation.
See it here --->

This Lowes video and the series it belongs to is good as well.

One of my favorite bloggers recently updated her bathroom.  She has tons of tutorials and info on her blog.   Here is the link to her renovations page at her Key West home that includes bathroom tips and tutorials -->  The Space Between Blog

Tomorrow I am going to shower you the tiled shower and update you on the budget.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Update - 02/20/2015

And it is Friday again.  This week was extremely productive and I am looking forward to doing my tile work today!


The baby furniture is done and will go home tomorrow.  I really like the color the client chose for their baby boy nursery.  The big bedroom set has a few pieces prepped for paint and will be put in the paint booth when the nursery furniture is picked up.


The shower is ready for tile, y'all!  Last weekend was crazy busy with picking my mom up from the airport Friday night, then taking her to her house (about 2 hours away from where we live) on Saturday.  We stayed around on Saturday to visit my grandmother and my brother and his wife. Our only day to work was Sunday afternoon so we worked hard to get all the backer board installed.  It is definitely a two person job.  I tried to do some of it last Thursday by myself and I injured my hip a little.  Not fun.   I am glad we were able to get it done before Blittle went back to work.

During the week, I taped and filled all the backboard seams and I had to do some work where the backer board meets the drywall.  There was a height difference and a seam.  Then I waterproofed everything.  Monday I am going to post details about shower prep.  Its not really a tutorial (kind of is, kind of isn't) but it is the steps we took for our shower.  I'll also include links to the videos I watched and found really helpful.

I am hoping to get a lot of tiling done today.  I tried to get the first row done last night and I had some issues.   Today, I am going to try a method I saw on one of the videos to see if that is successful.  Cross you fingers and wish me luck!


I have a skin cancer PSA (Public Service Announcement).  Three weeks ago on Monday, I went to the dermatologist about a bump/beauty mark/thing on my nose.

See it on the right side?  It is flesh colored and looks very innocent.

It showed up late 2007/early 2008.  Yes, that long ago.  It had all characteristics of a pimple when it started growing but then it never went away.  Many, many, many times I have mentioned that I wanted to get it cut off and people kept saying that the doctor won't cut it off because it will leave a scar so I never went in.  Fast forward to January 2015 and the bump started to hurt a little and it got bigger.  I finally called the doctor.

An intern came in before the doctor to look at me.  She asked the generic questions, looked at it, and within a few minutes was done.  As she was leaving she said it looked like a basal cell and he would probably remove it.  I had no idea what that was so I didn't worry but I was excited about the removal part.  Then the doctor came in.  Same thing.  Asked questions, touched it, looked through his special magnifying glass, etc and within a few minutes of walking in the room he said it looked like a basal cell CARCINOMA.  I know that word.  Cancer.  He said it is rare to get a bump that young (I was 26 in 2008) but it can happen.  It had all the characteristics of basal cell carcinoma but I had never heard of it.  All these years I have been worried about my dark spots and knowing the ABCDEs looking for warning signs.  I live on the coast, I vacation at the beach and I love being outdoors.  Skin cancer is a risk for me.    Never did I think the flesh colored bump was dangerous.

Something that has bothered me over the past few weeks is not one person that I have come in contact with over the past 7 years ever mentioned that my bump looked like a basal cell or that I should go to the doctor about it.  Not one.  Not even doctors I have seen over that time.  Are there that many people out there that don't know about basal cell carcinoma either?  Or do people just not want to comment on a bump on someone's face?

I had something that looked exactly like cancer GROWING ON MY FACE and no one said anything and I was clueless.  That is scary y'all.  I felt so stupid and I hate that feeling.

So to make a long story longer, he took it off right then in the office.  After he removed it, he said it looked very fibrous, which is not a characteristic of basal cell (per his words), and that it might have just been a growth.  It was sent off for biopsy and at the end of the week he called to tell me it was negative for cancer and that it was a rare kind of tumor/growth.  RELEIF!

Basal cells are very common and do not usually spread but it was good to know I am not showing signs of skin cancer yet.  Hopefully, the growth is a one time thing and I won't have anymore pop up. If I do get a new one, I will be going to the doctor immediately.

Moral of this story: GO GET YOUR SPOTS CHECKED OUT.  Flesh colored and dark spots.  All of them.  Read about the ABCDEs and read about basal cell carcinoma.  If there is any question, go to the doctor. has tons of info.

I will be telling everyone I know.  If you have a flesh colored bump, I might tell you to go to the doctor.  Don't be offended.  I am worried about you.

My spot is almost completely healed and does not look like it is going to scar.  I have followed my doctors directions and have kept it covered and clean.  Yes, I have had a band aid on my face for 3 weeks.  I am looking forward to not wearing a band aid and not seeing a bump.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  If you want to see tile progress over the weekend, follow me on Instagram!

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Update - 02/13/2015

Happy Friday the 13th!  I almost forgot about this post.  Oopsy.  It is 5:38 am, Friday morning and I am just now typing.  :)


I finished up the dining room table and it went home this week.  It is so pretty!  When the owners get it in the house and set up (it was broken down so it was easier to transport and refinish) I'll have them take pictures for me to share with all of y'all.

The baby bed and dresser have been painted and are waiting to be distressed and get a final clear coat.

Yesterday, I picked up a bedroom set that will be in the paint booth next.


Y'all.  I almost got violent this week.  Seriously.  I have about 1,743,248 pet peeves and businesses not being professional and not showing for work is really high on the list. And it gets worse when you being late makes me late.  HATE. THAT.

Apparently, there was a ton of miscommunication between the master plumber (the one that checked out the bathroom and quoted me) and his worker (the one that showed up to work). The worker plumber called to say he was headed over to install the shower pan.  Umm, no your not.  That's already done.

Also, there was miscommunication between the master plumber and me.  I was not confused at all when we agreed for them to do the work Monday and to be here early afternoon but he thought it was Monday or Tuesday.  That's a problem.  I canceled appointments and changed my schedule to be home all day Monday and they didn't show.  AAAHH!

The master plumber quote was incorrect from the work that had to be done so I should have been charged more.  There is a common thread here, y'all.  I won't go into anymore details of the 3-day saga, but let's just say, I was not impressed and I had violent thoughts several times.  By Wednesday afternoon, the plumbing was done and I am ready to move on to backer board and tile.

Remember we are going for a set up similar to this.

Rain shower and hand held on the left.  Standard shower on the right.

I returned the American Olean tile because it is a shade off from the shower pan and they looked dingy next to the bright white shower pan.  I decided to go with the Allen+Roth white tiles because they are in stock now at my local Lowes and they match the shower pan.  They are more expensive than the others but still very affordable (even cheaper if I went with the 3"x6") and I prefer the 4"x8" shape of the American Olean over 4"x12" but it will all work out.

The other thing I accomplished this week for the bathroom is I found a sink.  I think.  It will be here in a few days and hopefully it will look as good in person as it does on the computer screen.  Next week, I'll tell y'all more about the plan for the vanity and why it has been a little complicated finding a sink that will work for us.

Here is what I ordered.


My mom will be here today!  If y'all don't know, my parents live in Germany and few weeks ago my grandmother was sick and didn't seem to be getting better.  My mom decided to come back to the states for a few weeks just in case my grandma didn't get better.  Thankfully she did and we plan on spending time with her this weekend and visiting family.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  My goal is to get the backer board up in the shower on Sunday so I can start tiling next week.  I'll keep y'all posted on Instagram and Facebook.  Today, I am picking up the shower fixtures!!!  Can't wait to see them and show y'all.

Also, today, I am headed to my best friend's house to spend some time with her and her family.  She lives by the airport so it only made since to take the afternoon off to beat Houston traffic, spend time with them and be close to the airport to get my mom.  :)

And I am ending this post with a picture of these two cuties.  They love to watch me work and lay in the sun.  :)

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