Back to our regularly scheduled program.

These little men aren’t so little any more.

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Today marked the end of summer with the 1st day of school.
I’ll miss these boys making the house loud and giving it life but it was time.  Oh yes, it was time!
They’ve kept me beyond busy this summer…as they should.  Now that they’re back in school I will be getting back to blogging more regularly.
In addition to the endless party going on around here I’ve also been busy with some other creative projects.

My latest project has been shooting some DIY videos that will be coming out very soon with my awesome peeps at Home Advisor.

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Remembering lines in front of a camera was exercise for my brain but I’m not gonna lie…having a crew of hair and makeup attend to me several times an hour felt more like pampering than work.

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Aside from the lights and camera I didn’t forget about my shed makeover.  Trim is up, new shutters are installed, now time to unify everything with a coat of paint.

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Goodbye ugly Tuff Shed blue, hello, “Fog Rolls In” gray by Clark and Kensington.  My ACE Hardware project is coming along nicely and I can’t wait to see the final result.

Stay tuned for the reveal coming soon!

Giving old toys new life.

Today I’m participating in a series called Die Ugly Toys Die, thought up by the amazing Stefanie from Brooklyn Limestone.

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The concept behind it is taking toys that you would normally throw out and transforming them in to something cool and usable.  If you’ve been following the series on her blog you’ve seen some really cool DIY transformations so far.

Today I’m showing off what I do with toys that have reached the end of their life at my house…or have they?

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Let me introduce you to Mr. G.I. Joe and his troop.
A toy staple in a boy’s toy collection.  I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with these plastic figurines.  They’ve entertained my boys for years but hot dang!  Have you ever stepped on one of these in the middle of the night? You would have thought you actually stepped on a grenade.  For being so small these things can do serious damage to the bottom of your foot.

I don’t have a hard time letting go of too many things but toys seem to be a challenge.  There are just so many sweet memories attached to them.  It’s not like getting rid of the toys will mean getting rid of the memories but it feels like that sometimes.

Instead, I like to turn retired toys in to art.

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I took a glue gun to  a handful of these guys and glued them to a frame.  My oldest son may not play with GI Joe’s anymore but they look cool framed and hung on his wall.

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And it doesn’t stop there…I’ve also hung and framed some old arrows.

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As well as darts…

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Then there was this vintage Printer’s Tray which I filled with tons of boyhood trinkets.

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Just because toys are old doesn’t mean they have to die…some of the time.
Sorry stuffed Elmo, you have to go.

Keep following the “Die Ugly Toys, Die” series on Stefanie’s blog Brooklyn Limestone.

Bathroom Review, 1 year later…

I recently visited a dear friend and toured her custom home that she her husband built and have been living in for about 3 years now.  On one hand she was house proud but then revealed that she wanted to move.  As she walked me around she recounted how intimidating the building process was and she picked a lot of finishes on the fly that she was really unhappy with now.  Counters that clashed with backsplashes that clashed with curtains that clashed with paint choices.  Been there done that.  You may remember the series I did last year on taking a look back on several of the choices we made with our own home.  It’s SO frustrating to regret design choices you’ve spent a money on and agonized over.

Today I’m taking a look back on this basement bathroom we did almost 1 1/2 years ago.
Rewind actually two years ago to when this bathroom was first started…

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After:

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This basement bathroom services a basement guest room and basement family room.  It’s the smallest bathroom in the house and also my favorite bathroom in the house.

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I tend to favor form over function and that often gets me in to trouble.
The Mr. and I have a running joke.  When I tell him about a new piece of furniture I’m interested in he’ll say, “Is it uncomfortable? Yes?…then bring it in.”
I’ve since learned my lesson and have been much more cogniscent of making sure things are beautiful AND comfortable.
Balancing form and function is a tricky tight rope but I think I got it right with this bathroom.

First up, the vanity (if you can call it that).  We actually used a countertop from Craft-Art and did a waterfall edge but left the vanity out.

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The carpenter who installed it for us had a hard time wrapping his head around my instructions.
He’d say,”I need the vanity first before installing the countertop.”
“There is not vanity…we’re just using the countertop.”
I like to think of it as the modern-minimalist take on the pedestal sink.
We gave up having under-sink closed storage but that’s just fine because it’s a basement bathroom that doesn’t get principal use.
If it really bugged me I could do some kind of curtain but then that would defeat the purpose of the modern-minimalist look.
Plus we have the built-in medicine cabinet (Restoration Hardware) that offers plenty of storage.

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As for the wood counter…I was most concerned about how it would hold up.  Wood and water don’t typically go together.  I’m quick to wipe up splashes on the wood after use.  However, the basement is my boy’s hangout.  When my boy’s friends leave I’ll go down and find water everywhere.  I first have a slight panic attack while frantically wiping up the water but then I notice that it didn’t affect the wood.
Like at all.
We used Waterlox to seal the wood and that stuff is marvelous.  It’s good stuff.  The counter looks as good as it did the first day we installed it.

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The faucet is one of my favorite things about the bathroom.  It’s called the Trinsic wall faucet by Delta.  It’s the perfect blend of form meets function.  I love the sleekness of it but the wall mount feature has become my favorite.   From this point on I don’t think I will ever go back to using a counter mount faucet again.  One of the things that drives me crazy is hard water deposits at the base of a counter mounter faucet.  If you don’t stay on top of wiping up water ever single time you can’t avoid the crusty grime.   There’s none of that with a wall mount.  I would use this faucet in every bathroom of my house.

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 I found the vessel sink on Overstock.com.  It was a good price, the perfect rectangular dimensions but it’s not very deep which means it allows more splashing to escape.  We could buy a deeper sink but then they counter would need to sit lower  and it’s already low as-is to accommodate the height of the sink. The other problem with the anatomy of a vessel sink is there usually isn’t an overflow hole that allows water to drain if the main drain is plugged up and the water keeps running.  That’s just what we need…a flooded basement because my boys and their friends were playing with the water and the sink.  To remedy this we drilled holes in the chrome stopper that goes in to the neck drain of the sink.  So even if the stopper is depressed, water will still drain through it.  Unfortunately we’ll never be able to fill up the sink but that’s just fine for assurance that the flood will never be in danger of flooding.  It’s not a huge deal and doesn’t bother me much because it’s a bathroom that gets occasional use.

Now for the loo.  The Corrente toilet is made by Delta and we received it to review a while ago.

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In comparison to our other toilets it feels a little big and clunky.  It has a quick release seat which makes it easier for cleaning but the mechanism is still a little cumbersome.  It’s not horrible to look at but I would say it’s the least eye-appealing of all our toilets.  The oval tank is sort of rounded and sits away from the wall so you can’t really set anything on the back-top of the toilet.  There’s no way to say this discreetly but in all honesty it’s the most comfortable sit.  I’m still in love with the form of our upstairs one-piece toilet but in terms of comfort, this is the Cadillac of toilets.

On a side note…I’m really interested in trying Delta’s new FlushIQ toilet.  Have you seen this thing?

Hands-free, overflow protection! Smart Delta, smart.

I love the shower too.  I really haven’t showered in it but maybe 3 or 4 times but when I did it was great.

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A few things I love about it…the tile.  We went with inexpensive subway tile from the TileShop because it’s affordable but also timeless and classic.  To give it a little visual interest I had the tile guy cut some subway tile up to create this Cheveron pattern.  The wall niche is perfect for soaps and shampoos which means no more balancing them on the ledge of the tub.  I’m also a huge fan of dark grout in a shower because discolored grout is inevitable no matter how much you clean it.

I love the shower/bath faucet the In2ition by Delta as well.  The wand is built in to the shower head so even when you need to pull the wand down for use the shower head still runs at the same time as the wand.  I don’t love the look of having a chrome tube always hanging down but at this point you can’t get around that.  The day a faucet company can make a retractable water hose will be a happy day in my bathroom book.

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We used a dark gray 13×20 matte porcelain floor tile from the Tile Shop laid in a brick pattern.  I love the dark tile and would do it again.  The only thing I would have to weigh would be doing a matte tile again.  I love the look the matte tile but it is a little trickier to clean.  Because it isn’t a glossy surface the rag gets caught on the finish of the matte tile which I don’t love.  If I’m using something like a Swiffer sweeper the tile actually snags some of the lint from the mop pad and leaves a little cotton residue on the floor.  Again that question, do you prefer form or function?
All in all I have loved this bathroom.

See original post here.

*All photos by Allison Bills Photography.*