Archive for October, 2011

Reader Redesign: Bathroom Gone Gray

This latest before & after comes from one of our neighbors to the north, Kahley from Ontario, Canada. She and her husband Steve revamped their home’s only bathroom. And in the process proved that going dark and sophisticated can still be bright and airy. Here’s her letter:

We are a young family of four – me, my husband, and our kids Noah (4) and Lexie (2). The only bathroom in our house dated back the 1950’s, so it was HIGH TIME to reno! 

Since it was our only bathroom, we wanted it to be insanely multi-purpose. We needed a tub AND shower, some closet space, a dirty laundry area, lots of concealed storage, etc etc etc!

I had the color (BJ Moore “Gray”) picked from the beginning. These built-ins were created according to plans that I developed. Above you can see the shower curtain that I made myself from some discount fabric in the women’s “suiting” area at Fabricland. The fun striped roman blinds were made by Tonic Living in Toronto. The accent color that I chose in the end was a golden mustard yellow. The towels are from Sears!

Here’s the bttom view of our vanity. I fell in LOVE with an oh so unaffordable vanity at Pottery Barn (they used to have a larger double version that was amazing) – so I had it built for THOUSANDS less.

Here’s what I like to call sexy tile!! I believe it’s a Centura tile (it’s an enlarged subway tile – 4″x12″ – in a high gloss gray finish). It feels oh so chic. Now if only I could have done a walk in shower (oh the joys of only having one bathroom, and children to bathe!). Anyway, thanks for checking out our bathroom makeover. I hope you love it! – xo, Kahl

We’re not sure what we like more – all of the function they added (a set of built-ins on either side of the shower) or the brave color choices (dark gray tile and a gray ceiling). So we’ll just choose to love them both equally. How about you? What’s your favorite part? Oh and you can read more about the project over on Kahley’s blog.

Psst – Got your own awesome before & after project? Send your story, pics, and related links to to be considered for a possible Reader Redesign feature. You know we love a makeover.



Bush Fence, Begone!

We did it! Over the course of two nice long Clara naps (and with a little help from a friend) we managed to open up our front yard in what we like to call “Phase Two Of Ten Million” when it comes to slowly transforming our front yard. Why so many phases? Well it started out looking like this:

Much like our first house’s yard, we figure it’ll take a few years of tweaks to get it where we want it, so this phase was just about clearing things out for a you-can-actually-see-the-house-now effect (Phase One was limbing up the magnolia). In short: we dug up/transplanted/removed a ton of bushes (with the help of a friend of ours who took home some boxwoods in exchange for helping us get a bunch of them up). This post is full of photos, so I’ll let them do the talking. Without further ado, here are the before and afters (we tried to take photos from the same angle for comparison). First there’s the AFTER to the before above (don’t mind the black feather wreath out there on the door for Halloween):

Here’s another BEFORE for ya from the driveway:

And another AFTER from the same angle (a little further away):

Another BEFORE:

And the AFTER:

Here’s a side-angle BEFORE:

And an AFTER from the same POV:

Another BEFORE facing more towards the street:

And the accompanying AFTER:

Here’s a BEFORE from the other side (the bushes used to completely stop the eye so our yard felt way smaller):

And here’s the AFTER from the same angle:

Yet another BEFORE:

And another AFTER:

Here’s how it looked from the front porch BEFORE:


The only drawback? I got me a blister. So in that aspect it was exactly like Phase One (seen here). Totally worth it though. No pain, no gain.

As for where we put the bushes that we transplanted, we just dug them up…

… and planted them in the naturalized parts of our side and back yard (and our friend who helped us dig made off with the rest of the healthy ones). Sadly some of the bushes were dead…

… so those just got removed with a sawzall (aka this reciprocating saw by Skill). Which was probably more fun to use than it should have been (it was actually our first time sawzalling, so we took turns and grinned like fools the whole time). And you know we loved the fact that this big curb appeal makeover was f-r-e-e (well, I guess it cost us a few boxwoods in return for some helpful friend labor, but it was foliage well spent).

As for our future lawn plans, we’re definitely just getting started out there – so there are a lot more phases on the over-the-next-few-years agenda. We’ve got plans to:

So this step was just about clearing things out to make way for some less house-obscuring choices and opening things up to let the eye travel a bit further in certain places. Feels nice to let the house breathe a little. And the neighbors have all been saying such sweet things about the change. Whew! Has anyone else been up to a few exterior tweaks? Do you do them during baby naps with the monitor outside on full blast so you can run in at a moment’s notice? Do you hold your breath until the neighbors approve? We totally do.

Psst- We’re over on BabyCenter talking about a Halloween surprise that we discovered on Sunday night. Let’s just say Clara’s in love. Here’s the story.