Upstairs Bathroom: Before and After

As promised here’s some updated photos of our upstairs bathroom. But first, check out these before photos. The upstairs bathroom was interesting…. The previous owners had installed a “steam shower” which wasn’t installed properly so technically someone could have been electrocuted while having a shower. Not cool! Personally I’d probably die from having to look at the ugly tiles while showering.

The tiny shower area was divided by a wall which had the toilet and vanity on the other side. This space is tiny! I’m not sure why they thought it would be smart to make them into 2 separate rooms, but that shower felt insanely claustrophobic considering you couldn’t really turn around inside of it, it was a walk in forwards and back out slowly situation.

Naturally, we wanted to open up the space and take advantage of the skylight that was just to the right of the bathroom. The only problem was the pipes from the sprinkler system didn’t allow us the very open space we wanted because it went through one of the walls and we didn’t want to contact our building to shut off the water and move pipes (that’s expensive and time consuming). So we removed the main dividing wall and kept a half wall for a bit more privacy. We cut out a “window” in the wall to allow the natural light from the skylight to shine in and it’s the perfect spot for plants. We did have cactus on the shelf for a year, but they died from too much shower steam, so we’ll need to find some small plants that can handle humidity.

upstairs bathroom renovation before

Upstairs Bathroom - After
I had mentioned in a previous post that we had the apartment water shut off inside our shower!! It couldn’t be moved because we didn’t have time on our side to deal with it since we needed to move in ASAP and it’s a crazy process to contact our building to contact the city to shut off the sprinkler system, so our plumber created another shut off location near our hot water tank and this one is now pretty much useless, but it’s still there and still very ugly. We tiled around it and got a custom acrylic shelf made that disguises the eye-sore. The shelf is open underneath so it’s still accessible. Maybe someday down the road we’ll remove it, but for now it’s not harming anyone.

The reason the water shut off was in the shower was pretty obvious, the previous owners converted what was a closet, into a shower and second bathroom, yikes! Check out some photos of the shelf situation:

Acrylic Shower Shelf

Downstairs Bathroom Update

I thought it was time to take a few new photos of our bathrooms. This post will just be about the downstairs bathroom, look out for a post about the upstairs bathroom soon!

Even though our renovation was over a year ago, things are still not perfect, but the renovation is done and it’s generally pretty, I just keep fussing over accessories (although I’ll like fuss about that stuff my whole life haha). Also, the fact that I REALLY want to replace the light fixture. We put in a cheap Ikea fixture as soon as the reno was done, it was meant to be replaced eventually, but I just haven’t found the right fixture for the space. Check out the transformation below, it’s pretty awesome too look back on it, I can’t believe the walls used to be mustard yellow and the floors were blue! Also, the closet is the major change for us, sliding doors and shelves inside!

Oh and if you missed the previous posts about this bathroom check them out here and here.

small bathroom renovation

Tropicana Cabana Dresser Before and After

Another dresser makeover. It’s becoming a regular thing! I love giving an old dresser a new life with a bit of paint and new hardware. I’ve been using the same paint colours because I’m on a tight budget and there’s really no point in buying new paint until I’ve used up what I’ve already got. So I did the same colour combination as a recent makeover I did to this dresser. The paint colours are Tropicana Cabana and Snowfall White from Benjamin Moore.

Unfortunately I don’t have decent before photos, because I was too excited to start on the project that I didn’t think to snap a few photos. So all I’ve got is the original photo from the craigslist ad and a phone photo of the legs and drawer front. The dresser was badly stained, really uneven with many scratches and chips. The drawer pulls were handmade from wood and in need of replacing.

I filled all the chips and holes from the drawer pulls and sanded everything down. It took 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint to cover the dark stain, don’t you think it looks so much happier now?

dresser-tropical-cabana1

 

dresser before

dresser-tropical-cabana2
dresser makeover

Refrigerator Thoughts

refridgerator
Lets take a moment to talk about refrigeration. It’s been on my mind a lot lately. When we bought our place it came with a late 1970’s refrigerator that was in decent enough shape to keep, but we definitely weren’t in love with it, we just didn’t have the budget to buy a new one since we had to get a new stove and dishwasher among  other things.

fridgadaire

So we decided to do a mini makeover on the fridge and paint it a fun colour. You can read more about that process here. About a year later, the paint is still holding up, but the fridge handle is wearing pretty badly. Not only is the paint starting to wear, but the fridge is too.
kitchen-loft

Sometimes in the middle of the night i’ll be jolted awake by the loud motor turning on or off. Or i’ll be watching TV and i’ll have to turn up the volume to drown out the sound of the motor. Other times, we’ll have guests over and the motor will turn on and people will be like “what the heck is that noise?” and that’s when it hit me, I think the fridge is on it’s way out. I’m dreading the day of coming home from work, opening it up and discovering a fridge full of warm rotten food.

So, i’ve been loosely fridge shopping online the last few months, trying to find a brand I like, incase the inevitable day arrives where we have to rush out and buy something in a panic.

smeg

Andrew and I have always been into retro styled fridges, specifically the SMEG (isn’t everyone in love with it?). We lusted over it for years, dreaming of what colour we’d like in our kitchen, but we had never seen or touched one in real life. Then one day it happened, West Elm Market opened up a shop here in Vancouver and we finally got to put our hands on one. From a distance it was beautiful, shiny and fun, but then I reached out and touched it’s smooth shiny surface….. PLASTIC?!! I was so extremely disappointed to discover that the entire thing was made from plastic. It felt so cheap, it felt like a $400 Home Depot fridge in a cool modern/retro disguise. I was sad. I expected a solid fridge with an enamel painted body. I couldn’t believe it. How is it possible for a fridge to cost so much but have so little.

After a few weeks of mourning our loss, we had moved on. (kind of, I still dream about it in photos I see on Pinterest, but then I snap out of it and remember reality and the fact that we need a larger freezer.)

We’re still not really sure what brand we’ll be getting, as most are pretty ugly these days. I think my main issue is that it needs to be simple. No ice machines, no water machines, no digital stuff, no crazy compartments with many doors. It should also be energy efficient, but I  think most are these days.

My latest concern is that most new fridges are slick and stainless steel on the front, but the sides are black and ugly. Our fridge is free-standing and exposed in our kitchen, so it’s necessary to have a nice looking side.

Here’s a few models i’ve looked into, but realized that a quality fridge is pretty dang expensive.

fridges

1. GE  2. Maytag  3. Samsung  4. Viking

Got any refrigerator you’ve been lusting over lately? Share some links, i’d love to check them out.

Wood Railing Nightmare

When we moved into our place a year ago, we realized we had a lot of small projects ahead of us, sanding, paintings, patching etc…  and this was after the major renovation had been completed. We’ve finished almost all of them except one major thing that keeps staring us right in the face. The wood railings upstairs. You can see it from almost every angle in the apartment, it’s the same ugly red stain that the stairs were, but it can’t be removed to sand in a tent like we did for the stairs. Since our space is all open, the dust will basically go everywhere.

For the last year we’ve been avoiding them, contemplating how we’re going to approach them or convincing ourselves we don’t really need to do it. But today, we took the plunge and tried one section.

wood-railing-diy

Let me tell you, it’s hard work and makes a ginormous mess! Andrew was scraping while I tried my best to vacuum up all the bits. Scraping was only step 1, step 2 requires even more mess with sanding, but sadly at this point we gave up due to it being way too hot up in the loft.

railing-blog4

I guess this post is “to be continued” maybe you’ll see the results in a year…haha..but we’re hoping to at least try and tackle it again on a cooler day.

railing-blog3

Loft Stairs Before and After

So it’s August 2nd and it’s shocking to think that this time last year we got the keys to our place and began our renovations. We’re so happy with the apartment that i’ve totally forgotten to keep my blog updated with renovation photos. That and every time I think to take “after” photos, it’s too dark. The stuff i’m about to share with you is even a bit out dated, since then we’ve put up art on the walls and de-cluttered a ton.

Anyway, this may be a year late, but hey…better late than never I suppose.

The stairs in our apartment are solid wood and have so much potential that was hidden under a nasty red varnish. Why on earth they decided to hide the natural wood behind the ugly stain really boggles my mind, but there’s a lot about this place that made me wonder what the previous owners were thinking.

Check out the ugly red stain, which of course it much “redder” in person. Oh and don’t even get me started on the purple and burgundy paint. (which was later covered up with dark brown and white)

stairs-before

We removed all the stairs at the start of the renovation, we didn’t want to damage the wood during construction. It worked out fine, since there’s metal bars under them to step on. We numbered each stair and stored them in the closet until we were ready to refinish them.

When it came time to start, we bought a heavy paint and varnish remover that comes in a gel format. It’s extremely toxic and burns like crazy if you get it on your skin, but it works so well. You need a scraper, paper towel and a heavy duty drop cloth. Using this stripper was pretty much the only option, because we wanted to limit the amount of saw dust we created (at this point we had already moved in).  Andrew has tough hands, so he took on the stair project and scraped off as much varnish as possible.

Once that phase was done, we built a plastic tent over the window so Andrew could use an electric sander and avoid getting saw dust EVERYWHERE. We thought it was a genius idea, we strategically taped off a corner in the apartment including the window for ventilation. Andrew even used a sander that had a built in bag to collect the dust. But guess what? The sawdust was so freggin’ fine that it managed to escape the tent! For days after, actually more like weeks, it rained down sawdust on everything. No matter how much I wiped things, it was still there the next day! I guess it prevented it from being much much worse, but it wasn’t perfect and we really had no other option. Check out the process photos below.

stairs-process

After all the sanding was done and the nice light natural wood was revealed, we couldn’t wait to bolt them back onto the stair frame. Except there was one major problem, the numbers we wrote on the steps came off and we had lost track of what went where! So much for being really organized! So it began, our game of trial and error, lining up the existing screw holes because they were all screwed in differently by the previous owners. We were just glad there weren’t that many stairs. (Although i’m pretty sure Andrew wasn’t thinking that while he was sanding the never ending pile of wood). After some swearing and dropping many screws, they were on and they were beautiful. There’s nothing like natural wood sealed with a clear bees wax. The hallway feels so much brighter now.

stairs-after-diy

Front Door Makeover

In my building everyone has different door designs, colours, numbers, knobs etc. Our door was in bad shape and in need of some serious TLC. It was painted with a nasty silver acrylic, it had a brushy texture and it was very chipped and scuffed up. To top it off the previous owners were very obsessed with security. They had several locks and barriers around the door. While I do like security, I don’t like how ugly it can be. Unfortunately we couldn’t replace the door, because in an ideal world we’d just have one nice looking knob and lock. But it wasn’t in the budget to replace several knobs and locks, those things are expensive!

So we just decided to update the superficial parts of the door, using paint we already had sitting around from our interior. We spent all the money on the numbers, splurging on a custom modern style, we just couldn’t bring ourselves to buy generic ones from the big box store.

As you can see I was a bit too excited to start on the project, so I don’t have many before photos. We ripped off the old numbers as soon as the new ones arrived and then realized we should have snapped a photo. We washed the door and scraped off any loose paint. The new numbers came with a grid to align them just right, so all we had to do was drill holes where it was marked.

frontdoor

We purchased our modern numbers from Bradford Hardware in Vancouver. Although they were fairly expensive, we think it really adds style to the door. Personally I think the cost of the numbers should be based on weight, because I certainly don’t think the 1 should be the same cost as the 4. Anyway, i’ll stop my rant before it gets out of control.

My “after” photos really don’t do the door justice, the lighting in the hallway is very dark and it was taken with my cell phone, but you get the idea. I just really wanted to blog about it while I got the chance.

The paint colour is Benjamin Moore Night Horizon in a matte finish. If we had extra budget, we would have bought a semi-gloss paint for the door, just because we’ve noticed it gets very dirty very quick when you rub up against it.

frontdoor2

Here’s the 2 places i’d recommend buying numbers from if you feel like doing a mini makeover on your apartment door or house numbers.

frontdoor3