Jun 24, 2014

Master Bedroom Remodel (Before and Progress)

Our master suite remodel is moving right along. Today, I thought I'd share our "before" bedroom and a bit of progress in this room.

As you can see, our master bedroom had deep red walls with hunter green carpet. 

We were going for the cozy cocoon look, and this was one of my favorite rooms for years. The door with the mirror on it leads to a very small walk-in closet.

 Hey, these colors really were "in" once upon a time! Really! Very popular!

Tucker is guarding the little hallway that leads to the master bathroom. 

My favorite things in this room are the wide moldings, the high ceiling, and the picture rail. 

My least favorite things are the small size, about twelve feet square, and the lack of natural light from the one small window. But it is very cozy.

We bolted this great old five panel door to the wall for a headboard years ago, well before the days of DIY blogs with terrific illustrated tutorials for making proper headboards. 

Out went the old headboard along with these inexpensive old brass bedside lamps that tilted off-kilter whenever we extended them for bedtime reading.

 And out, out, out went the old hunter green carpet!

Beneath the carpet was this very old linoleum pattern. At one time, linoleum was the "in" thing in floor coverings (just like hunter green carpet!) 

 Past owners of our house must have really fallen in love with the stuff because so far we've uncovered it in the kitchen, in the formal dining room, and now here in the master bedroom; three very different vibrant patterns in each room. Isn't this wild?

Everything came to a halt as a small piece of the linoleum was sent to a lab for asbestos testing. Had it contained asbestos, we would have just covered it up with new carpet rather than pay for expensive required containment and removal. Not only did we luck out when no asbestos was found, but the linoleum had never even been glued down to the floor. So there was no awful glue and felt backing to scrape off, just a few nails holding it down around the edges. It came off in minutes!

And luck stayed with us as the last of the linoleum was pulled up and we found the original fir floors in great shape for refinishing. I can tell you, we did a happy dance on these floors!

Only a few small spots needed repairs.  Here you can see the original subfloor under the nice thick Douglas fir boards. 

The floor refinishers put a few test patches of stain on the newly sanded floor for us today, and this Special Walnut is the one we chose. The men thought we'd be disappointed with the deep nicks and discolorations of 100 years gone by on our floor, and we said, "Oh no! That's our favorite part and what we like best!" I quickly snapped this blurry phone photo of the square they'd sanded and stained right before we cleared out so they can finish their work. The house will have to stay closed up tight for a couple of days while they work their magic, so we'll be staying in a nearby hotel. 

Tucker just loves hotels!

Thank you for stopping in to see what's going on with our master suite remodel today. I won't be showing anymore progress photos because it's so much more fun to see a big reveal at the end of a remodel, isn't it?  

I promise you'll be the first to know when it's all done!

 {Note: Click here to see our finished master bedroom.}

Come and share the fun with me at

Elizabeth & Co. 

Jun 12, 2014

DIY Garden Signs

I love signs of all kinds, and I have quite a collection of them on my Pinterest.

When I was taking photos of my garden the other day, I thought the side of our shed was looking a little bare. It must be time to try my hand at one of those sign tutorials I've been squirreling away!

I cut some plywood that was laying around in our wood pile on the side of the house into two 12" x 24" boards. I sanded them lightly and painted both of them with some plain old white latex paint we also had laying around. I wanted my signs to look old and weathered, so I painted them haphazardly, letting the wood show through the paint as though the paint had worn off naturally.

I used a ruler to figure out the spacing and letter size that would work best for the size of boards I had, then I found a couple of fonts I liked and used Photoshop to size the letters to my measurements. (Picmonkey is an online program you can use if you don't have a photo editor.) I printed out multiple pages for the large sized letters and taped them together. I used the scribbling pencil method of transfer to transfer the letters to the boards, where you cover the backs of the letters with pencil lead, turn the page over, tape it to your board and trace the letters.


I've never painted letters before, and I thought it would be a bit tricky, but it was easy peasy. I used a couple of artist brushes from my stash and good quality craft paint. It only took one coat, and the paint leveled out and covered beautifully. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was, and I enjoyed catching up on a bunch of House Hunters International while I worked at my desk. It was very relaxing!

When everything was dry I used sand paper for distressing and a spray sealer for outdoors.

The Fresh Flowers sign is hanging on the shed in a corner over the daisies and some other perennials.

 I should have waited until the daisies were blooming to share, but I'm not very good at waiting.

The other sign I made was inspired by one created by Kristen over at Jennifer Rizzo. She shared her design and fonts, so all I had to do was download them and blow them up in Photoshop. 

The Fresh Produce sign is hanging on the wall of the house over the raised beds where our tomatoes and herbs grow in our other little side yard.

I'm so glad I finally got around to trying my hand at making my own sign. It turned out to be a really fun and easy project, and I'm looking forward to making more for inside the house, too. 

Need some ideas to make your own sign? Check out my Signs Pinterest Board, and happy painting! 

Jun 10, 2014

Building a New Shower in the Master Bathroom

Today is the very best day of our master suite remodel so far!

The new shower has been built in our master bathroom, and today the tile is being installed. I thought I'd faint dead away from happiness when I took a sneak peek just now and saw that it's all looking exactly as I imagined it would.

I thought you might like to see a sneak peek, too, and also see what building a new shower in the master bathroom has involved. 

Here's a look back at the old claw foot tub that was getting to be a bit of a challenge to climb in and out of. We were sad to see it go, but not sad enough to break our necks over it.

The old wood double hung window went next.

A knee wall was built with support added under the floor to make it sturdy enough to hold the weight of a thick glass panel above and a glass shower door on the side. A large shampoo niche was framed out, too. 

New plumbing and a new waterproof fiberglass window (the only one approved by the very picky North End Historic District, by the way) were installed next, followed by new mold resistant drywall.

Taping the drywall joints and then many layers of mud applied to smooth out the walls took quite a few days to dry. Our contractor said this stage is the one that seems to drag by for homeowners, but we were thrilled by the progress.

When everything was good and dry, the cement shower pan was poured, the bench behind the knee wall was built, then everything was lined with a waterproof material. 

And here is your sneak peek of our tile installer hard at work today. During the next day or two he'll be installing the marble tiles on the shower floor, and then he'll grout everything. 

And that's how our shower was built in our master bathroom. It's quite an undertaking!

On the schedule after the tile is finished are:

1. repairing the wood floors
2. installing the vanity and cabinets
3. finish carpentry and wainscoting
4. painting
5. installing the quartz countertops
6. refinishing the wood floors
7. installing fixtures, hardware, and glass

You can see there's still a lot to be done, and we're hoping our entire master suite remodel will be completed by the 4th of July.  

Next time, I'll show you what's been happening in the bedroom.

Have a great day!

Jun 4, 2014

Spring Garden Tour 2014

Spring is just whizzing by here at The North End Loft. The weather has been wonderful, and I've been enjoying a lot of outdoor time the past few weeks. I'm touring our spring garden today in honor of the June Garden Party over at Elizabeth & Co. 

 Won't you please join me?

Can you spot the elephant in the room? (Garden room, that is.) I almost cut the port-a-potty behind our fence out of this photo, but I thought you might get a kick out of it. Our contractor had it tucked into our trash can space off the alley for the duration of our master suite remodel. It adds that special je ne sait quoi to the garden, don't you think?

My sun collection hangs on the fence in this peaceful corner of our yard.

Chubby Buddha was a gift from my sweet nephew and his wife.

I love getting garden art for Mother's Day because I can enjoy it outside right away after the long winter. This gazing ball supported by three frogs was a gift one year from my husband. 

Another unexpected visitor to the yard this spring is the clawfoot tub from our remodel. Hopefully, it will be finding a new owner via craigslist soon. If not, I just may plant flowers in it! The irises really put on a pretty show this year, and the day lilies are getting set to explode with yellow blossoms soon.

My husband's garden gnome keeps the jasmine company. I have two big pots of jasmine on the deck, and the scent perfumes the whole yard and family room when the windows are open.

When we lost our old pale pink rose that grew up the side of our shed to disease last year, we decided to replace it with a more vividly colored one called Joseph's Coat. I can't wait for it to fill the trellis again in a couple of years.

Last year I planted a little four-inch sage plant in the garden, and this spring I transplanted it to a thirteen-inch pot on the deck. It gave us a gorgeous two-foot tall mounded showing of purple blossoms for weeks and is just now starting to fade. 

The lavender I planted last year is doing great so far.

Summer fun is just around the corner! (You can learn how to make this cute 
summer fun plaque here.)

Around the side of our yard is our brand new cutting garden. We're still growing tomatoes here among the flowers, but we'll be buying the rest of our fresh produce at our wonderful downtown Capital City Farmer's Market. Hopefully, we'll be enjoying fresh cut flowers all summer.

There are two bird nests nearby, and the birds sit on our trellis and serenade us. To thank them I tucked a thrift store pie plate full of water between the flowers for their bathing pleasure. 

Our side yard was spectacular this spring with the clematis and honeysuckle climbing up the trellis and blooming together as the hostas unfolded their huge leaves.

Another Mother's Day gift from my husband this year was two beautiful fuchsias.

The honeysuckle is reaching for an old chippy window frame hanging on the trellis.

Dollar store sunbursts decorate the fence. The more weathered and gray our fence boards become over the years, the more we like them.

A bunny peeks out from the raspberries in a whiskey barrel. 

I'm not sharing our front garden yet because the front porch is piled high with lumber for the remodel and not quite as tour-worthy as port-a-potties and clawfoot tubs. I just had to share our new front porch trellis rose, though. We had a pale pink rose here also, but it grew and grew and grew with no end in sight! When I read that we could expect it to be twenty-five feet tall eventually, we gave up trying to keep it tidy on our little trellis and replaced it with this Iceberg Rose variety that should only grow about ten feet tall. In a few years we'll have a beautiful rose covered porch again. 

As our tour comes to an end, old Tucker gets a shout-out for being so patient and such good company while I've been taking photos in the garden today.

Gardening, like keeping house, is never ending. Especially in a little urban garden where every square foot is precious, we're always changing things around to make it just right. 

It's our labor of love.

I'm so glad you joined me for a tour of our little garden, and I hope you find some time to putter in your own special place today.

Let's party!