Home Improvement: Master Bathroom Overhaul Part 2

This was my original plan for the bathroom.

But sometimes dreams die. Or don’t get funded for 2 years. :)
Master bath

So I regrouped and came up with a new plan on a tight budget since we are selling this house next year (we hope)!

To be honest I have been stressing about the vanity situation.

The vanities I liked/worked with my plan were $800-1000. And that price range was NOT in the budget.

There were other options in the $200 range but they were so cheaply made that I was not comfortable using them( and passing them on to the next homeowner).

But (drumroll please) guess what I found this week on Craigslist? The brand new vanity I needed for $290 with granite top and back splash!

So here is the plan we are going with since I now know what the vanity is going to look like.




Wall and Floor Tile

 Shower Floor Tile

It’s not exactly what I would have chosen, but that vanity is perfect for resale so that is what we are going with!

Read Part 1 of this project here.

Home Improvement: Master Bathroom Overhaul Part 1

Remember my plan for our master bathroom overhaul that I posted about 2 YEARS ago? Yeah. I didn’t expect you to.

Master bath

We are finally getting started on it. The tile guy comes next month. CANNOT WAIT!

This project is on a tight budget because we are just trying to get our house ready to be sold.

But I still think it’s going to be a dramatic change!!

These are the “before Rene’ moved-in pics” from two years ago.

It does not look too bad in the photos, but the vanity is literally falling apart and the vinyl flooring has really yellowed in the last two years.

Yellowed and sticky because the glossy finish has worn off.

Icky is the best way to describe the floor.


It takes a lot of courage to post pictures of a gross bathroom. Just sayin’.


Our Semi-DIY Landscaping and How We Saved $$$

How to Save Money On Landscaping Projects

First off, I am all about paying a professional when it makes sense for a project.

For this project we knew we could do a lot of the work. But we also didn’t want to pay a chiropractor to fix our backs for the next 6 months b/c we bit off more than we could chew dig.

So here is how we saved our backs and our wallets.

#1. Paid a grader to come remove all the old over-grown shrubs, fix any issues with water drainage and overall smooth out the yard. He literally popped the old shrubs out of the dirt in 3 seconds including the root system. That alone would have been a whole weekend project for the two of us. $150

#2. Shopped at a local nursery. I took two trips to the nursery. The first trip I looked at prices, variety, height and watering needs of the plants I liked then went home and figured out a game plan. On the second trip to the nursery, we bought all the plants.

In some cases shopping locally saved us $20 per plant compared to the big box stores. And when you are buying 25+ plants that adds up FAST. We used Lichtenfelt Nursery. Our local nursery also gives out a loyalty card that saved us another 5%.

#3. Paid a landscaper to dig the holes for each new 3 gallon-sized plant. This was another HUGE time and body saver. It takes literally seconds with the right equipment. Digging and aerating those huge holes would have taken us HOURS. It only cost us $155 for 20 holes to be dug.

#4. Laid our own ground cloth and staples to prep for the flower beds.

#5. Purchased mulch in bulk from a local supplier ($70) and spread it ourselves.

After grading and purchasing new plants.


Paid a landscaper to dig holes where we had marked.


Once the holes were ready we mixed in mushroom compost and top soil and then placed the plants in the ground.


Now we just have to wait for all the grass to grow.

But in the meantime it looks like we are feeding cattle in our front yard.




We will be watering ALL summer to keep our plants and grass alive.

Hope this inspires you to go dig in the dirt.

We are still in getting-our-house-ready-to-sell mode.

Lots of little projects still left to do…

Before and after exterior:


Read about the whole front porch project by clicking here.

Home Improvement: $67 Faux Plank Wainscot Hall Treatment

So a while back I did a mini makeover on our back hall.

I used frames from around my home, a clearance rug and a $3 Goodwill fixture.

See the full makeover process here.

Saturday 30

But my plan was to finish off this back hall with some sort of treatment to make it look more polished.

The hall leads to the master bedroom and the garage.

I liked beadboard but I felt like our house is too modern for that look. I also like the look of planking (aka shiplap) but didn’t want to spend the $$$ on it since we won’t be in this house that much longer (at least that’s the plan).

So this hall sat without a treatment for  1 1/2 years.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago I finally had an inspiration for what I could do.

I took the measurements to Home Depot, tracked down someone that could help me, and had them cut sheets of paneling in the sizes that I needed to finish the hall.

But because I wanted a planked look I had the panels cut with the vertical lines running horizontal.

While the panels were being cut I found simple 1.5 and 2.5 inch trim pieces that I liked.

While I was there I also purchased hooks because this space will be used for coats and the dog leash etc.


I came home and laid everything out to check to see that it fit.

THEN… I got to use the nail gun. If you need to boost your confidence, you need to learn to use a nail gun.

EMPOWERED is the best way to describe how it feels to use it!

Power tools are the greatest.

I did have my husband help me cut the hole for the outlet because I did not trust myself to not mess it up.


 Anyway, then I filled all the holes I made with the nail gun, and painted everything twice.






Real life: Unmade bed and laundry basket in the background.

I have not decided if I am going to put up the hooks yet.

I will see how I like it without them first.

Cost Breakdown:

$34 – 2 sheets of 8 ‘ paneling

$25 – 6 pieces of trim

$8 – 3 hooks

Paint, nails, caulk and wood puddy leftover from previous projects were not included in the total.

Home Improvement: Stenciling an Accent Wall at Rebecca Illsley’s Home

 I had the privilege of helping a friend (and my hair dresser) with an accent wall in her home a few weekends ago.

Rebecca chose the French Floral Damask wall stencil from Royal Designs for me to use.

French Floral Damask Stencil- large

The stenciling process was incredibly easy with the help of  instructional videos online, but there were three basic steps that really helped us complete this project successfully.

  • Type of design: Because we used an irregular design matching up the pattern was very easy (and didn’t have to be perfect).  If we had used a geometric pattern or similar I would have been pulling my hair out. Painting perfection is not one of my strong points.


  • Type of paint and roller: A semi-gloss paint was used as the stencil paint over a base coat of flat paint. The base coat of flat paint quickly absorbed the semi-gloss stencil paint making the process go very quickly. Using a sponge roller with very little paint makes the process go quickly with not a lot of excess paint on the stencil (because lots of paint on the stencil smears on the wall as you go).


  • Paint color selection: We chose to use two tone application. Because there was not a lot of contrast between the two colors, we were able to hide our “oops” very easily.

photo 1 (2)


Using a sponge roller and a 8 ft ladder, my sister Nancee Lee and I completed the whole wall in about 4 hrs start to finish.

photo 2

 I didn’t have to start in the middle of the wall but I wanted to make sure the pattern was centered.

photo 3


We used painter’s tape to hold the stencil in place while we rolled the paint on.

photo 4

 Stenciling near electrical outlets can be tricky but not impossible. Just go slow and paint around the outlet without painting over it.

photo 5


Roll slowly as you get close to the trim. Using a dry roller is especially important here because you don’t want any drips!

photo 2 (2)

 Nancee Lee touched up the edges near the trim with q-tip and extra paint.

photo 3 (2)


The semi-gloss paint really sets off the design against the flat paint. It’s a HUGE impression for very little money, especially in comparison with the price of wall paper.



I have loved working on so many rooms in Rebecca’s new home!


Stenciling a wall

Mitchell’s Project- Before and After

First of all, I feel very grateful that my husband and I were able to help with the finishing touches.

It was incredibly rewarding to both of us. We found such joy in our exhaustion.:)

If you want to know all the details about the how/why of this project go to the Mitchell’s Project part 1 post.

The challenging part of this project was that I had to focus on making sure there was lots of open space (in order to be wheel chair accessible) rather than filling every space with decor items.

Thanks to Pottery Barn at Haywood Mall Real Deals in Greenville, Pollard Brothers BestBarTopExoxy.com, and KEnzPhotography

for SO generously donating items for me to use in the decor on this project.

This is the basement before:


So many people help make this new space possible.




My contribution was the color selections, styling and overall look.



The kitchen area is fully handicap accessible (once the plumbing fixtures are installed:).

The wall color is SW Sea Salt. 

The cabinet color is SW Iron Ore and the laminate counter-top is Cafe di Pesco by Wilsonart.

All the cabinet hardware is from Ikea.

And the back splash is from Home Depot.

The “hardwood” flooring is actually tile by Florida Tile Berkshire collection.





This fully handicap accessible desk made from the original door to this basement area was ALL my husband’s doing.

I will write a full post on the how-tos of this project. I can’t get over how gorgeous it is.

The epoxy was donated by bestbartopepoxy.com.

Pollard Brothers donated the custom workbench legs, and the metal cart is from Ikea.

The gallery frames were donated by Pottery Barn, and the original signed photography was donated by KEnz etsy shop.



This simple grey and white bookcase is from Ikea, $69.


Although we weren’t able to put the full bedroom together while we were there on Saturday, I was able to hang all the fun posters from comic strips that Mitchell likes, plus a Star Wars poster for good measure.

I found the nightstand at Miracle Hill Thrift store for $20. Solid wood and made in the USA. Can’t beat that deal.

The bedding that will be used in the room are these sheets from Target,

and this duvet from Ikea. 

Although Mitchell is not able to use the sofa, he did need seating for guests.

This sofa was purchased before I started working on this project.

I just added a couple pillows, end table ($20 Target clearance), a floor lamp, and the large artwork donated by Real Deals.


The gorgeous linen curtains and hardware were donated by Pottery Barn at Haywood mall.

And my dad’s company donated those huge windows. They let in SO much natural light.


And thanks to these ladies (Nancee Lee and Becca) for all your help two weekends in a row. I could not have done it without you.



If you would like to know more about my decorating services go to my business website for details.

What is that Mitchell’s Project all about? Part 1

If you follow me on social media you may have noticed that I have been posting a lot about Mitchell’s Project. 

Back in early December a friend of mine asked if I would be willing to help with paint colors etc on a local construction project for a young man (her brother-in-law, but also my sister-in-law’s cousin- confused yet? :)) with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.


Mitchell has suffered from a disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) since he was born. This disease does not allow his muscles grow and therefore his condition similar to that of a quadriplegic – someone that is paralyzed from the neck, down.

The house he lives in with his parents is very small and it makes life difficult for Mitchell while trying to get around in his wheelchair. Mundane tasks like preparing a meal, going to the bathroom, showering, or brushing his teeth are overly complicated and take up much of his day.

Despite his limitations, Mitchell is an extremely generous person. He volunteers hours of his time every week to a local organization that helps those with drug addictions overcome their personal obstacles. 

So a group of people got together to help Mitchell overcome some of his own daily obstacles that are due to his debilitating physical condition.
They have converted the unfinished basement in his parent’s house to a fully handicap-friendly living environment for Mitchell.

The basement is complete with wheelchair-height counters, refrigerator, and remote control doors and windows.

And here is where I come in.

While they had lots of donations for labor and materials, not much had been done in the way of furnishings etc.

After helping with paint colors, counter-tops, tile – I got on the phone to local and online businesses asking for donations or discounts on furniture and accessories.


Thankfully I had great success. Almost everyone I contacted was so generous.

We are finalizing all the finishing touches on Saturday. Next week I will post the DIY desk project that my husband made and after photos.

They are still short on funds for finishing up some of the construction. If you would like to give click on the photo above for the gofundme site. 

*photos and description taken from the Mitchell’s Project facebook page.

Home Improvement: The Dungeon Bedroom

Our house is about 1200 sq ft on the main level and that’s basically where we live.

It’s looks pretty small from the street.

But then there is a surprising additional 1200 sq ft basement.

About half of it is storage space. When we finally are ready to sell it, I am going to make sure the realtor markets it to hoarders.

It would be perfect for a hoarder.

Anyway, the dungeon has a decent sized living area, a full bathroom, walk-in closet and an incredibly large bedroom.

Well if you have been following my blog for a while you might remember when I freshened up the living area and bathroom in this post from last year.

Basement Before 1

And while it definitely made the room less dingy, I didn’t love the wall color (ps I didn’t pick it).

basement 6

But I left it alone for a year…


One of my stepsons usually calls the basement bedroom his but since he is off at college now, I thought it would be a great time to really give the whole space an up-do.

Total cost for the project:

SW 7737 Meadow Trail



Here are the before photos: the room has a desk, futon, king size bed, and dresser.











Tada, the paint helped immensely.

Like my stepson said after seeing it, “Cozy.”

So the dungeon bedroom is no longer a dungeon.

Home Improvement: House Funk and Laundry Room Rejuvenation

Have you ever been in a house funk?

Like no matter what you do to your  home it does not seem “good enough,” especially when you compare it to others’ homes?

Ack, comparison is the thief  of joy.

Well no matter how many  books, blog posts, pinterest inspiration quotes I read  in regards to finding contentment and joy in the midst of imperfection, I still get in these funks.

Sometimes the funk lasts two hours and sometimes it lasts weeks.

Well I have been in said funk for several months now, and I am starting to see the light.

And I know the reason why.

When I share my home with others rather than spending time in comparison it gives my home life, dare I say  rejuvenation.

Rejuvenation that does not require a hammer and nails, or even a paint brush.

Rejuvenation that is simply spurred on as I view my home as something I can serve others with, rather than how I feel about the way it serves me.

Here is the before and after of my “far from ideal” laundry area.

For the full “before” post go here. 






Ahh so much better.

And to help get my funk on the move this weekend, I took this photo on Sunday afternoon to compare with the photos from 28 months ago.

PicMonkey Collage

Photo-bomb provided by Joe.