Category Archives: Home

Master bathroom after.

When we moved into our home on Bonnie Road I was so grateful for it, just as it was.  However, over the next few years, I would stand in our tiny 3 x 3 shower and dream of something larger.  And perhaps something with counter space other than the closed toilet lid.  Gratitude is fleeting.

Our bathroom looked like this when we moved in, and from that post, you can tell that the dreaming of what it could be was already in full gear.

When we began the Great Remodel Project, we turned our master closet into more master bathroom (our shower to be exact), and moved our master closet to the other side of our room to be the buffer between our bedroom and the kitchen.  We added the space where our master closet, pantry, and kitchen are now located.  It is hard to picture unless you are walking through the house, but just trust me.  The change is 100% better.

Note: taking pictures of a bathroom is hard!  I now respect professional photographers even more than I already did.

The carrera marble came from our friends’ house.  They removed it from their kitchen when they first moved in and stored in their garage with no plan to use it.  I hired marble movers (my title for them, not theirs) to move and store it until we needed it.  Best money ever spent.  (Thanks, Sonya and Russ!)  The marble was really the basis for the bathroom.

The upper cabinetry is set into the wall, so that it is deeper than it appears on the counter.

My handy electrician (Scott) wired a magnifying mirror for me that turns on with a switch.


I love a white bathroom but hate white flooring (my brown hair sheds like crazy).  While encaustic tile was my first choice, I decided $10,000 or whatever crazy amount it was going to cost was not worth it.  I am happy with the honeycomb tile with contrasting grout with money in my pocket.


In the cabinet above, Scott installed a plug especially for his hair clippers, which I thought was brilliant.  He is one smart guy.


He also made the towel rods from plumbing supplies.  I love the size of them.


The star of the bathroom is definitely our shower.  My plumber (Scott) is a rockstar for figuring all the plumbing out for the four shower heads.  I am in love (with my husband and my shower).  It may be that we overcompensated for our previously tiny shower, but I am not sorry.


Scott’s side, ever the minimalist.


And mine.

I would not change a thing.


A jewelry solution and 6th grade memories.

One of the hardest classes I ever took was Mrs. Browne’s english class in the 6th grade.  Mrs. Browne, with an “e” on the end, is legendary at Hill County Middle School for her high expectations, her command of the classroom, and the fear she instilled in her students.  I was equal parts terrified and captivated with her.  She taught me key lessons about how to use prepositions, that “a lot” is two words, “separate” had “a rat” in the middle of it, how to use “good” versus “well,” and how to write a good “how to.”  She also stressed the importance of deodorant, which in hindsight was likely for her own self preservation.  She remains my favorite teacher of all time.

Mrs. Browne was the first hard teacher I ever had.  I went on to encounter other hard classes: Dr. Charlie Marler’s Communication Law class and Randy Harris’ Christian ethics, both at ACU and my whole law school career at Pepperdine where I was a ball of stress so tight I lined my Tylenol PMs up on the counter to count down to the end of finals each semester.  But Mrs. Browne was the first.  And I am grateful for her kindness and diligence to teach us to take on the real challenge of learning.

In the far right corner of her room, she had a reading rug, which was a little unusual for middle school.  She reserved it for reading how-to assignments. How to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, how to tie your shoes, and a number of others.   She would test our instructions, which seemed to fail most of the time.

As I sat down to write my “how to” for my most recent project, I thought about how ashamed Mrs. Browne would probably be of my lack of detail and instruction.  So let’s not call this a “how to,” but instead a report on a simple project that YOU TOO can accomplish with a few tools and a trip to Home Depot.


The project: create a hanger for short necklaces.  I use the angel for long necklaces and the saint for bracelets, but I hated to crowd the space with additional deities for shorter necklaces.  For several months, they hung on the open doors of the cabinet below.

I had the frame tucked in my stash, so I tucked it under my arm and headed for Home Depot.  I dug through their scrap wood pile and found a piece of plywood, kindly asked a Home Depot man to cut it for me, asked the price and learned that it was “F-R-E-E.”  The salesman actually spelled it out to me.  Digging in the scrap pile was a success!  I also bought small cup hooks.


Back at the home front, I marked where I wanted my hooks–2 inches a part, bottom row staggered from the top.  I then pleaded for Scott’s help with a drill.  The pleading was necessary only because the Tour du France has started, meaning Scott’s productivity plummets downward.  I don’t mind.  He loves it.  He drilled tiny holes where the hooks would go.  I then covered the wood with fabric, using a staple gun.  I also used a little glue to keep the fabric in place.  Next, I used the sharp end of scissors to find the drilled holes again, and twisted the cup hooks into the covered wood.  I then slipped the covered wood into the frame.  It was snug enough that I did not even need to secure it.  Easy-peesy.  The hardest part was motivating myself to get it done.

A few hours on the 4th of July well spent!


I really love my kitchen.

We moved into our home over four years ago.  The best advice we received was to move in and get to know the house before making remodeling plans.  I am so grateful we took that advice.  For the first few years of living here, we sat on the front porch and made plans on post it notes.  What started as a “maybe we can update the kitchen a little and add a dining room” turned into adding about 500 square feet, changing the location of the kitchen, turning the kitchen into the dining room, gutting our master bathroom, refinishing all the floors, installing new windows, replacing the siding and buying a new roof.

In the terrible picture below, you can see what used to be our back patio. The door and window accessed our master bedroom, but have since been removed.  Just adjacent to our bedroom, we installed a master closet, and the rest of the “outside space” in this picture is now kitchen, pantry and a mud room.


Below is a very similar vantage point, post remodel.  The picture ledges you see on the far left are hanging on what used to be the exterior wall.


We bought a simple Kenmore full size freezer, full size fridge, and a trim kit to make it look like a sub zero.  And with all that space, I now shop at Costco.

You can see that we are still working on a few touch up things, like painting trim.  I did not notice that we still had blue tape  up until this picture!

I love my sink, with the farm style drains on the right.  They work okay, but mainly I like the look.  My countertop guy hates me for the trouble they caused.


We also have a few nooks in the kitchen between the studs, to shove appliances a little further back.  They were a pain to work out, but I love the detail.  You can see one in the above picture where my coffee pot is sitting.  Another is below, with the blender and mixer.




Here’s the view from the other side; the picture was taken with my back to the stove.  We will install barn doors to close off the mudroom on the right, and the extra nook on the left.


I am pleased with the final product (so far).  I still need pantry doors (painted citron, I think), and the barn doors, and some tweaking on the cabinets.  But I am officially in love.

Some of my sources and choices are below.

Counters: butcher block and soapstone.

Cabinetry: inset–some flat front and some shaker style, color is Sherwin Williams Rosemary, which I copied from Erika’s kitchen, of Urban Grace Interiors.

Over the sink light

Pendants over island: Barn Light Electric clearance (irregular but nobody seems to notice)

Bar Stools: Crate and Barrel (thanks Mom and Dad)

Drawer and Cabinet pulls: I admired these School House Electric ones but couldn’t justify the price for the quantity I needed.  I spent more hours than I care to admit to find these instead (in various sizes) from someplace called the Hardware Hut.  Throughout the whole house, we had close to 100 pulls to install.  Scott said these were the worst, because they required great precision.  But I love the final product.

My kitchen inspiration came from all sort of pictures but the one that stuck in my head the most was this one.






Are we done yet?

I have learned that in a remodel, there is no clear finish point.  It seems to just keep going and going and going.  We are in the house–moved in the Saturday before Christmas.  We did not have countertops or a kitchen sink, but we were in.  And it felt good–still does.

Countertops have now been installed.  And the kitchen is very functional. And I love it.  This island makes me endlessly happy.



But many people have asked if we are finished.  I don’t think we are.  We have a collection of projects that need to be completed.  Window treatments.  Touch up on the walls and lots of woodwork to paint.  Installing interior doors.  Completing some electrical work.  Putting screens on our windows.  Peeling all the stickers off our windows.  Yard work out the yin yang.  And all the final inspections.  We try to do a little bit each weekend. Hopefully by summer we can say, “we are finished.”

More than anything, I am just so grateful.  I love even emptying the dish washer in this kitchen.