Okay, I knew I said the next update on our basement bathroom renovation would be to share the completed project, but we’re waiting on a few extra materials, so I thought I’d post where we are now. And, y’all, I love it.

I am SO, SO happy with the pink tile, and it’s beautiful. It’s hard to capture it well in pictures, and I think it’ll definitely look even better in context of everything else. But I have absolutely no regrets going with something a little more…colorful. If you look closely, you can also see a little bit of the black and white floor tile, and they’re going to look so good together.

We’ve also decided to change up the floor in the basement. I’ve always hated the blue and purple tile. You can see a little bit of that here:

And here’s how it looks today:

So much better, right? I can’t wait to see the whole floor done. And, you know, the bathroom too.

And then, onward! But for now, let’s celebrate the small stuff. 😊

Progress! (Or, I Am So Tired of Tile.)

It’s looking like an actual room again!

We’re coming into the home stretch on the basement bathroom, and it’s just looking really good, if I do say so myself. We’ve spent countless hours at this point choosing tile – tile for the floor, tile for the shower – and if I never have to think about tile again, I’ll be a happy woman. (Note that this is not possible as we will also be renovating our kitchen and master bathroom…)

Now, we’re on to choosing a vanity countertop and mirrors, with fixtures to be installed shortly. I’m thinking maybe a marble look for the countertop? I think that would go nicely with the black and white floor and the (yes, we went for it) pink tiles in the shower. I really wanted gold fixtures for the sink and shower, but alas, they are SO MUCH MORE expensive than chrome or nickel. Choices, choices. No matter what we do, I know it will look and function better than it did before. And I also realized earlier this week that I have no “before” pictures of this bathroom. You’ll just have to trust me that it was…less than perfect. (Read: It felt an awful lot like a dark, damp, small hole in the wall with just the bare basics. I hated it. I was embarrassed when people had to use it.)

Anyway! See, progress.

This whole process has been by turns exciting and stressful, but I’m ultimately just really excited to see it done. And I feel really lucky and grateful that we’ve been able to do it at all. Next time I post, it’ll be of the completed project! And then, onward to the next!

Found Friday #45: The Mystery Pipe

Work on the house continues! After finishing up (mostly) on the exterior, we’ve moved inside, and started in the basement. Our workers have relocated our washer and dryer up to our main level, which clears space for us to expand our basement bathroom.

We’ve wanted to do this for a while, as it’s our main guest bathroom and it was just really shabby and dark. And, well, they do say things look worse before they look better.

I’m not worried about that. What I am mildly concerned about is the mystery pipe they uncovered when they took down one of the walls.

We have no idea why it’s there. And it definitely means some extra work. Figuring out what it’s doing, and then figuring out if it’s needed, and then, if it’s needed, finding a better place for it, if that’s even possible.

We knew the plumbing in this house was…let’s just say, confusing. I’ve written about it before. So, we’re not surprised, and we know our crew can handle this little wrinkle. These things happen, and I’m confident that when all is said and done, we’ll have a lovely guest bathroom that I’m no longer embarrassed for our guests to actually use. (And yes, of course I’ll post pictures. 😊)

So, onward!

Let’s call it…temporarily open concept.

Y’all. My house.

Okay, where to start. I’d posted a while ago that we’re getting some work done. And by some work, I mean a lot of work. The interesting thing about our house is that the 200-year-old section is solid as a rock. It’s not going anywhere. We understand how it was built. It makes total sense. And, hey, it’s festive season! So we’ve done a bit of decorating. 😊

The addition, which is basically the entire back portion of the house and includes all of our plumbing and our kitchen, well, that’s a different story. I’m not quite sure how it’s constructed, why it’s constructed that way, or even who did the work. Probably many hands over the course of many years. I’m making it sound very dire, and it’s not that bad, but we’ve got an opportunity now to make things a little better, and we’re taking it. Starting with a big section of windows on the lower part of the house. Their frames are in bad shape, their layout doesn’t look great. So, we’re replacing them. And changing things up. And they say that things usually get worse before they get better…

I’m calling it temporarily open concept. Real indoor/outdoor living.

Some cleanup required.

I can’t wait to see what it looks like once it’s done, and our work crew is doing a fantastic job making things as quiet and livable as possible. But, man, there’s nothing quite so jarring as seeing a BIG GAPING HOLE in the back of your house.

I’m grateful that we can do this, though. And once this project is done, I’m eager to move on to the next. (And then the one after that. We’re in this for the long haul, guys. Onward!)

Old House Problems

I figure, as long as I’m here, confessing some insecurities (Haven’t read Monday’s post? You should!), I’d talk a little bit about my house.

It’s old.

Like, really old.

If you’ve ever watched anything on HGTV, you’ve probably heard the phrase “old house problems.” It comes up over and over: On renovations shows, when homeowners encounter shoddy updates and outdated pipes and wiring. During house hunts, when starry-eyed first-time buyers see anything built before 1990 and worry about how much work it might need (LOL…).

“You buy an old house, you get old house problems.”

I’ve heard it myself, from my dad, when Graham and I first started searching for a house with a story.

My dad used to build houses, and I trust him, and I know that he knows what he’s talking about. But as children do, I considered his advice carefully, ignored it entirely, and did what I wanted.

I think it’s important to point out that any house will have problems. Our first home was built in 2007, and we poured thousands of dollars into fixing stuff that broke, big stuff and small stuff. We replaced a faulty sump pump that flooded our utility room and an HVAC that died not once but twice. We installed a radon mitigation system, we sanded down doors that stuck as the house settled, fixed nail pops, bought a new refrigerator…

My point is, any house, regardless of its age, is going to require some serious maintenance and upkeep. But I’m willing to admit that it takes a special sort of crazy person to commit to the maintenance and upkeep of a home of…advanced age.

I am that crazy person.

So is Graham. I didn’t pull him into the insanity with me. We met there. And here we are today, in our very old house, happy as can be despite our ever-growing list of “old house problems.”

Why am I sharing this now?

Well, a few reasons. The first is that I wrote a post earlier this week that just got me thinking about it. The second is that Graham replaced our kitchen faucet over the weekend, and it took about two hours longer than it should have because everything was crusty with lime buildup and rusted together. The third is that, as we think about fixing small issues like that faucet, we’re also starting to discuss what larger projects we might want to tackle over the course of the spring and summer.

And believe me, it’s super easy to “find” projects in an old home.

We’ve been sort of laisse faire about things so far. We’ve done some interior and exterior painting, but we have a lot more to do.

We’ve fixed issues as they’ve come up, but we haven’t really sat down and developed a strategy for making improvements, adjustments, and repairs. To be fair, we’ve only lived here since 2016, and it’s taken almost that long to really decide and settle on how we want to use spaces, how we want them to look and feel, and what “home” looks like for us here.

But now, it’s time.

Truly, it’s past time.

We bought this house to make it a home, and to be good stewards of a piece of history. I think it’s about time we made good on that commitment.

So, cheers to old house problems! (I’m holding up my coffee cup.) And may we learn to be patient and enjoy the process…  

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: All Fixed!

Well, mostly.

The wall’s patched, and the wet bar’s back in place, and the plumbing issue hasn’t resurfaced, so, yay! But we’ve got some painting to do, and this whole thing’s made us think about what other changes we’d like to make in the basement, and in the house generally. So, we’ll see where that goes. But for now, I’m relieved that this particular problem has been dealt with.

Old house life, y’all. It’s certainly never boring.

Sunday Supper #6: Podcasting, Plumbing, and a Very Hungry Gatsby Cat

Y’all. You guys. It’s been some kind of weekend. Where do I even start?


Let’s start here. After a hiatus of several months, the Better Friendships podcast is finally back and posting episodes! My co-host (and very dear friend) and I are so happy to be back at work on it, researching and writing episodes and planning for a very good second season. And of course a strong finish to our first season. You can find our latest episode – which features a fun interview with my mother-in-law, who was a flight attendant in the 1960s – here:

So, that’s the good.

The bad? Well, Friday night, we discovered that our upstairs shower was backing up into our basement sink, because that is totally a thing that can actually happen. We called in a plumber yesterday, and he couldn’t fix the issue. So, we called in a different plumber today. He discovered that, just like we anticipated, the pipes in our house are part of a serpentine labyrinth that makes no sense at all. But after moving our basement wet bar and cutting a hole in the wall behind it…

…he found the issue, and thankfully, it looks like it’s fixed. We just need to deal with a hole in the wall and a displaced wet bar. Luckily, this particular plumbing company has people on deck to handle all of that. So now, we wait until they can make it out here to do the work. Which, I mean, things could be so much worse, right?

To top it all off, Gatsby’s favorite food is out of stock. Everywhere. So he’s a very unhappy, grumpy, hangry little big cat right now. Don’t worry – he has food. It’s just not the food he wants, and so he won’t eat it. At least not until he’s good and hungry. Kind of like when your mom cooks you a healthy, nutritious, made-from-scratch dinner but you wanted pizza.

Speaking of dinner…er, supper…and of pizza, what’s on tonight? Leftover pizza. I don’t have the mental energy right now for anything else. And also, ice cream. Because it’s just been the kind of weekend that makes me want ice cream.

Cheers to a hopefully better week!