Budget bathroom redo: Coming up to the finish line



After inheriting a bathroom we didn’t quite love (You can see some of the before shots here and the during shots here). We wanted an update without immediately going through the time or expense of a whole bathroom gut job. So we made an agreement that we wouldn’t redo any of the major pieces in the bathroom (just yet) and we’d work with what we had. It’s a small area at approximately 8 ‘x 9’ but we didn’t want that to stop us from going bold. Since we were working with the existing tile we took our que from the gray-blue undertones that run through both the diamond border and the veining in the wall tiles. So, after removing our graffiti-esque wallpaper we got to work painting the bathroom a bold Newburyport Blue from Benjamin Moore.  We thought that such a small area could use some drama.  The color brought the room and tile to life from the very first moment the roller hit the wall.

When you walk-in you immediately notice the wall color which gives the bathroom a cozy nest feeling. Then your eye travels around the room to the bright colors in the artwork we DIY’d to match. The use of white and silver as accent colors bring some sparkle and light.

We didn’t change any of the major structural elements, instead we chose to work with what we had, like updating the plain construction grade mirror with some casement molding from Home Depot and painting it out in a white high-gloss paint to really make it pop of the dark blue. The once plain-Jane the mirror really has custom feel now for just a few dollars in molding.

Even our shower curtain got some much needed accessorizing and sparkle with the rhinestone encrusted shower we rings picked up at Target for around $14.00. Each element no matter how small brought some much needed detail and personality to the once bland bathroom.

Even the littlest Sadowski is enjoying our newly transformed bathroom space.

If you’d like to see how this all started check out these posts; Our InspirationTearing Down the wallpaper and Making progress,

Source list:

Paint; Newburyport Blue, Benjamin Moore

White insect plaques; $25 Entomology Plaques — Ballard Designs

Bath Hardware; Home Depot

Bath Towels; $7 a ppiece Cynthia Rowley at Home Goods

Shower Curtain; $14 Home Goods

Bath rug; approx $20 Ralph Lauren–Home Goods

DIY’d Artwork; Berry Blossom Inspired Print Tutorial

Art Frames; Michael’s craft stores

Shower Rings; Shabby Chic Shower Curtain rings — Target

If we missed an item and you’d like to know where we got it from please leave a comment ad we’ll respond back.

Spring has sprung in NJ



I’ve waited.

All winter, I’ve waited.

Through snow, and ice, and shoveling and wind-chill, and -7F nights, and winter jackets and hats and gloves.

Through storms, and frozen gutters.

Through endless dark days, SUN SETTING AT 4PM, and through frostbite, and frozen toes…

Spring, for me, has officially come to NJ.  For my boat goes in the water this week.

For the last 6 months, my boat, has been cooped up in at the Marina, just waiting…  We decided we were ready to buy our first real boat.  My Rowboat just wasn’t cutting it anymore.  So one day last October, we started negotiations to buy a 2010 Bayliner 160.  While we knew we’d have to put it in storage a week later, we wanted to be ready for the spring.  I didn’t get it in the water until the last week of October by the time we finalized the deal.  And so while getting a small taste of the boating world, before we knew it, the frost was here.  Had to drop it back off at the Marina.

But not this year.  This year we have it all summer.  And I have been waiting, did I mention that already?

Every time I went outside, a little piece of me that remembered warm sunshine, and early morning fishing trips died a little.  You forget what warmth feels like.  You forget that there even is a summer, and your days are dark and dreary.  You forget that sometimes wind in your face doesn’t make you cold and numb.  Sometimes it’s warm, and you get the spray off the water, riding a jet ski doing 70mph…  Lately, I’ve forgotten there was anything BUT winter…

This morning I woke up and got ready for my morning coffee.  I rolled out of bed and put on my fleece pants, and a sweater, and then my thick fleece hoodie, and my hat, coffee in hand and walked out onto the deck for my morning constitutional where I realized, holy crap, I’m not shivering.  It was 60F!  HOORAY…   “I’m calling the Marina today!”

And so, the time has finally come.  I called the marina, we had our friendly chit chat for a few minutes, and the gent asked when I’ll be ready for my boat.  I told him, “I’ll be ready when you are!”  He told me if it stops raining, at some point in the next few days he’ll get it out of storage and in the water, hopefully before the weekend.  Outstanding!

Here’s a few pics from last year’s break in rides…

Budget bathroom redo: Making progress



We’ve been making progress in our Budget Bathroom redo, hitting some snafu’s along the way including a couple of colds a fever and an ear infection, but alls good now and we’re set to go.  So far we’ve stripped the wallpaper, changed out the ugly old $9 lighting fixture that was only good if you’re putting on makeup for a Broadway play, moved the mirror and painted a bold blue color to work with the existing colors we’ve got going on in the tile.

But, let’s back up for a minute after removing the wallpaper, we decided we needed to move the mirror down a few inches . It was awkwardly placed at the old height. Call us strange but one of our criteria for mirror placement in a bathroom is to be able to see yourself while you’re trying to get dressed in the morning without standing on your tip toes.

We started by first removing the mirror, luckily this part was was super duper easy since there were only a few mirror clips holding it to the wall and no glue. A couple of turns  of the screwdriver and BAM the mirror came down in one nice lovely piece. No 7 years bad luck for this bathroom. No siree.

After that a few tiles needed to be removed to accommodate the mirror sliding down. We tried as carefully as possible to pry off a few of the tiles above the back-splash to allow room. We used the old tried and true method of sliding some putty knives between the tiles and the wall. Working them back and forth loosening each tile as we went.

It was quite a messy process removing the wall tiles. Unfortunately no matter how hard you try when removing tiles sometimes you get some damage to the drywall behind the tile. What happens is the tiles adhere to the paper backing on the drywall. When you try to pry them off the wall it sometime pulls the paper backing with it and some drywall bits. No too pretty is it?


Fortunately it’s nothing that a little patching and some future molding we’re planning on adding to the mirror won’t cure. We patched the wall with a putty knife and some drywall compound, speeding up the drying process by placing a fan on the counter top and aiming it at the wall. We’re a bit impatient some days.  Once it was dry we sanded it smooth, we knew it didn’t have to be perfect because it will be covered up again soon enough. I love patch jobs and molding. It can cure so many boo boos.

Next it was time to put our perfectly reusable mirror back on the wall.We decided to reuse it after a couple hours wasted looking at tons of medicine cabinets that neither one of us could agree on. They were either too small, too big, not pretty enough or too expensive for our bathroom project. So back on the wall our mirror went with a couple of dollops (that’s right i said dollops) of mirror mastic which is some sticky stuff. Allowing space for the molding below that we’ll use to dress it up.

Then it was on to the paint job. Yup, we’re going bold! We needed something that would go with the current tile which has gray blue undertones in the tile border. We couldn’t replace the tile now for now so we decided to embrace it.  Once the first stroke of wall color went on the wall we knew we decided right. It started to pull the whole room together.

Finally we added some casement trim to the mirror, bought at Home Depot, it’s the same stuff that would go around doors and windows. We mitered the corner at a 45 degree angle and put it up like a picture frame around the mirror.

And here’s how the mirror turned out once the molding is up…pretty impressive for a few dollars in molding and a few nails to hold it in place the mirror went from boring to interesting in no time.That’s a sneak peak of the shower curtain we found at Home Goods for around $14.00 can’t beat that.

We’ll post more as the bathroom takes shape and we add all the finishing touches for pretty pictures. For now, we’re pretty pleased with the way it’s coming along.

So for a few dollars in molding and a few nails to hold it in place the mirror went from boring to interesting in no time.

Pottery barn kids inspired; Easter yard stake tutorial



Flipping through the pottery barn kids catalog I saw these adorable little Happy Easter and Egg Hunt signs. There’s nothing like Easter decorating to say HELLO spring! I love the muted spring colors and the vintage hand painted quality. So we decided to make our own version of the inspiring Easter decoration below and sharing the step-by-step how-to for all you DIY’ers  out there that love copy catting Pottery Barn style on a craft store budget.

image via Pottery Barn

Shopping List

4 foot piece 1 x12 Pine Board

Spray Sealer

Folk Art Acrylic Craft Paint

Happy Easter Bunny sign

  • Fresh Cut Grass
  • Titanium White
  • Sunny Yellow
  • Hydrangea
  • Light Lavender
  • Baby Pink
  • Coffee Latte

Egg Hunt sign

  • Hydrangea
  • Fresh Cut Grass
  • Sunny Yellow
  • Titanium White
  • Light Lavender

We started by cutting down our piece of pine into 3 equal pieces 16 inches tall. This will leave you one extra piece left over to save for another project or to make a third sign.

Now paint the entire board Fresh Cut Grass for the Happy Easter sign and Hydrangea for the background. Once dry you’ll want to take some sand paper and rough up the fronts of the boards to expose some raw wood through the paint, giving your background that vintage feel, concentrate on the corners and outside edges where it would have naturally worn over time. Once you’re comfortable with the way it looks, wipe the whole piece down to remove any excess dust that resulted from sanding.

Then it’s time to transfer your drawing onto the boards. I used the sketch (attached at the bottom in pdf) and some carbon paper, laying the pattern onto the board then tracing over the pattern to transfer the design.

Then all that’s left is to fill in the sketch with your paint colors following the paintings as a guide, and finish with a spray coat of sealer. Here’s our finished version:


We hung ours on the wall so we added picture hardware to the back. But to use them as yard stakes you can affix stakes to the back of the board with a couple of screws.

So while Pottery Barn’s version cost $49 each for their signs we bought all our supplies for approximately $25 and still had enough wood leftover for 1 extra sign and tons of paint left over for other projects. So if you have a little time this weekend you can totally tackle this project and ring in Spring with a touch of fun!

Click link below for PDF of sketch

Easter Yard Signs sketch

Psst: If you like this project stroll on over to our tutorials page to see our other projects


We finally bought one!



After 3 1/2 years of marriage, an apartment, a house, a baby and a boat we’re finally ready to admit we’re grown-ups and buy a sofa. But not just any sofa, the mack-daddy of all sofas…a sectional. Yup we’re saying goodbye to the ultimate in college days leftover our Futon. el Futono, sir Fute. You’ve been an incredible friend old guy, not just a couch, not just a bed. Sir Fute was  incredibly useful serving as our guest bedroom quarters when our friends used to crash in the living room but it was still the ultimate hold out on our part. We just couldn’t commit to any one sofa without feeling like we might be missing out on all the others.

We’ve been casually looking for one since we first were married window shopping whenever the chance arrived but could never actually commit to one. I have been subtly (or maybe not)  drooling over this sectional for a long time. So finally we pulled the plug on the Buchanon small curved sectional from Pottery Barn.

We like the classic lines of the sectional. It’s not too modern and no skirt makes it a little less traditional than it would be otherwise. I also like that it has a curved back and is a bit smaller in scale than your average sectional. We didn’t want anything that would overpower our room. We were also keeping in mind our future plans for an addition and the relocation of the living room and think that this will go perfectly as well. All in all we think we made a great choice. We cant wait to see it!

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