We have new bathroom lights for our purple master bathroom! They’re installed and looking all pretty and nice. But it was a long journey to this point. Aren’t home improvement decisions always like that, anyway? I should be used to this by now.
In February, I did a lot of online research on Lowe’s website and narrowed down their huge selection to around 15 lights that I liked. And then I shared them with Nick, got his feedback, stared at the mirrors while imagining the lights on the top, and narrowed it down even more to 6 finalists.
Then I called Lowe’s to make sure that they were in stock.
None of them were.
All that work… WHATEVER.
I went to the nearest store and was kind of amused to see that not a SINGLE light on my final 6 (or even final 15) list were available there. I decided to just choose several lights that looked similar to what we liked and test them out at home.
Later that day, I checked Joss and Main and found this really nice bathroom light that we liked very much.
photo from here
It was unique, modern but not too sleek, and had a reasonable price tag.
However, it’s always a risk to buy something on Joss & Main since they don’t accept returns. What if we didn’t like the bathroom light? I did a search for the light online and found that it was sold in other places, including Sears, at a higher price point. I figured that we could always sell it on Craig’s List for the same price we bought it if it didn’t work out.
The deadline to purchase the light was only a few hours away by the time I showed Nick the lights, so we hurriedly tested out the three lights from Lowe’s that very night to make our final decision before the sale ended.
Thus… these horrible taken-at-night-with-camera-flashes shots. But you get the idea.
This light was not bad but just a bit too big. Imagine two of them, side by side — it would just overtake that whole space and look crowded. We really liked how the white shades popped off the purple wall, though.
We hated the shades. They were just too transparent. We realized that opaque white shades would work better in our purple bathroom.
Three lights, but at a smaller scale than the first bathroom light. However, the shades were too transparent.
We decided to return all three lights and go for the light from Joss and Main.
The package arrived almost immediately. I was so excited about these lights that I assembled one of the lights while Janella, who broke the glass on our coffee table (I’ll tell that story someday), was awake and playing. I’m a daredevil, I know. But it all worked out.
At first, Janella was impressed…
But then something else caught her attention. It’s amazing how short her attention span is these days. BALL. CAT. IPHONE. HORSEY. NO TOUCH TV. LIGHT. CAT. BALL. BOOK. BALL!!
I stared at it for much longer.
I would have installed the lights RIGHT AWAY, but our bathroom only had one light “hole” (help me, what’s the right term for this?). I was planning on finding an electrician to add two new light “holes” above the two mirrors and cover up the middle hole, but my father-in-law was in town and he said he could do it. What??? Awesome.
So he did it and he did it so fast that he was done before I could take any pictures of the process. Wow.
(Never mind the Cyclops thing in the middle. That’s a patch job in progress. I’ll do a separate post on that soon.)
That’s Tony, my dad-in-law, in the mirror above. Thanks, Dad Vita!
Before we received these lights in the mail, I was afraid that the two-bulb lights would be too small for our mirrors. I thought that maybe three-bulb lights would fit the space better. The three-bulb light style wasn’t available on Joss and Main, but I found them on the Sears website. I decided to go ahead with the two-bulb lights and if they looked funny, we could buy the three-bulb lights instead.
But the lights looked perfect in person and so we were satisfied.
HOWEVER, now that I’m looking at these photos, the lights do look kinda small. Do they look small to you? But they look just awesome in person and since I’m living in my house, not just looking at photos of it, the lights will stay!
The funny thing is that the lights helped me like the vintagey finish on the mirrors better. Everything looks good together. So far, so good!
We’re now looking for tiles. We have a couple of samples we like, but I’ll go to another tile store today and hopefully we’ll make our final decision SOON.
From the beginning, we knew we wanted our master bathroom to be purple. That might sound crazy to a lot of you, but purple was our wedding color and it is special to us. It’s also one of the colors in our master bedroom, so it made sense.
A thousand years ago, I developed this little mood board for the bathroom:
Since this moodboard was made in 2009 (?!?), we’re not planning on following it but it gives you a general idea of where we want to go with the room.
And then we tested out a paint color from Martha Stewart’s line, I forget the name of the paint. You can see it in the next picture – the purple painted on the wall on the right, in the top pic.
I didn’t like the color that much. It made our cultured marble tub look kind of pink-ish. And I was afraid that it was too purple. I love purple, but there IS such a thing as too much purple.
Then we moved on to other things, until I watched an episode of Secrets of a Stylist and fell in love with the purple walls that Emily used.
via (the color in this pic is apparently edited to look more plum-ish than it really is)
I hightailed it to her blog and found the paint color: Benjamin Moore’s Vintage Charm. Doesn’t that sound just… charming? We got a sample and loved how it looked on our walls, so we immediately bought a gallon.
Of course, it took us nearly a year before we actually opened the paint can, but hey, it’s never too late. And I LOVE IT. This purple is soft, cozy, and looks great with white.
Our bathroom gets a LOT of light during the day, so the purple walls really work well with all that light and all the whiteness of the cultured marble in the room.
Just ignore all the mess – we gotta clean up in there and do a lot of touch-ups. But as of right now, the room makes me happy every time I walk in there. And since I’m preggo, I walk in there. a. lot.
We took down the huge builder, plain mirror over our vanity to paint the walls and it was amazing how much smaller the bathroom felt without the large reflective surface. Mirrors REALLY do make a room feel bigger.
I’ll say this about the mirror from Lowe’s – it was perfectly wrapped in its box and it comes with its own hanging hardware. Excellent. But we like the World Market mirror better.
The World Market mirror is bigger and its white frame contrasts nicely with the purple walls.
The Lowe’s mirror is really beautiful, though, and I would recommend it to anyone. It’s really of great quality even though it isn’t that expensive.
The only thing I’m not sure about the white mirror is its “aged” finish. It looks vintagey, which goes with our purple walls in theory, but that isn’t really the look we’re going for. I’m thinking about giving it a coat of white spray paint.
I haven’t made a decision yet, though. I’ll chase down a second mirror at another World Market (the one nearest us only had one in stock) and hang them up… and let them simmer a bit before we make our final decision.
We’ll also paint our vanity a light gray (see below) and I’m sure that will help us decide what to do with the mirror. Also, we need to find new lights (and get an electrician to put in two light areas instead of one, ugh) and the style of our new lights will factor into our decision.
I want to hop in the car RIGHT NOW to search for tiles and lights, but there’s the problem of the car being at Nick’s workplace (we have only one car) and the little baby girl sleeping upstairs. Why must my life be so difficult?
Did you know Janella is now one year old? Actually, since I’m really behind with sharing our happy news, she’s closer to 14 months. Craziness.
But look up at the art above her. I made that for her birthday party, which had a polka-dot theme. We’ve needed something on that wall for a while now and this was just a fun project to do… and it achieved two goals: 1. More polka-dot decor for the party and 2. Jazz up a weird extended wall in the living room. Mission accomplished.
First, a warning. I took these pictures at nighttime, since I only could work on this when Janella was down for the night. And I only took pictures of the first few steps, because the rest of it is pretty much the same thing and you don’t want to look at the same photos over and over again, right? Right.
I knew I wanted dots but I wasn’t sure at first how to create them. I went to Hobby Lobby to pick up a few stuff for the party and grabbed the chance to look for round stencils or round sponges… I found some, but they were too small for what I had in mind.
I decided to grab a sponge (clean one, of course, ew what are you thinking) and cut out a circle. It wasn’t that hard to do.
I only cut out one, but you might want to cut out a few so you don’t have to rinse them out after every paint color. I didn’t want to do that because I didn’t want different sized circles and I didn’t want to
kill waste any more sponges.
I gathered my acrylic paint stash, which is growing with every project, making me very happy. I knew that I wanted to include teal, pink, and gray, since they were the main colors of Janella’s birthday party. I also decided to add yellow to help it mesh better with the living room.
I started off bold, with dark teal.
It’s important to twist the sponge slowly to make the dots nicely circular and to pull back as you’re twisting, so the paint won’t stick up.
I only did a few teal dots because I knew they would make a strong visual impact. Then I moved on to adding pinks. Dark pink right out of the bottle, and then lighter shades by mixing pink with white.
And that’s where the photos end.
I kept on adding and adding dots in varying shades of gray, teal, and yellow. The little touches of pink were enough so I didn’t add any more after the first round. It took several nights of adding dots to fill up the whole canvas. I also decided to add a little more teal later on to make it even bolder but I’m glad I didn’t add any more pink.
Finally, the canvas was all filled and ready for the party! Just before the party began, we took a few photos of Janella playing with all the balloons on a table underneath the dots art. Here’s a photo that shows the whole canvas.
I had fun with this project and did it with no fear because I knew I could just paint it over easily (just like I did with this older canvas) if it didn’t look good. Right now, it looks great and we’ll leave it there until we find some real art that we fall in love with and shell out big bucks for.
I think I’m done with DIY art for now… I need NEED to make some real progress around the house!! There are a couple big projects that have been put on the backburner when I was sick, so it’s time to finally tackle them and check them off the list, FINALLY.
Nick, are you in? You have to be, you’re married to me. #sorrynotsorry
Yay! This is partly the reason why I’ve been MIA for so long. The first trimester is always an ugh experience. BUT I also got a nasty case of walking pneumonia which really knocked me off my feet and I was really sick for three long weeks. Last week I was slowly recovering, and I finally felt totally like myself again only yesterday. So glad that’s over!
Now, I’d like to discuss how we pulled off the family photo you see above. If you have a small kid or several kids, you know how hard family photos can be. For example, here’s one of our attempts at a family photo during Halloween:
We did manage to get a good photo after around 10 attempts, but I didn’t want to do that for our baby announcement since Janella would be seated on a chair with no supports. I wouldn’t be able to sit and smile while worrying whether (or when) my active little girl would jump/fall off the chair.
So, we took a series of photos and photoshopped (actually, photo-element-ed) them all together to make one perfect family photo!
It was pretty easy to do… with great results. All you need is a camera with a timer. Just don’t move the camera at all and the photoshopping will turn out great. I will definitely keep this trick in mind for future family photos!
Be back tomorrow with another DIY art project. Yes, I’m back… For real!! xo
And did you notice the new blog design? Love it – but as a result, there are some problems with photo sizes and weird links around here. I’m working on it!
I got this little canvas for free from a friend — it had a painting on it but I covered it up with three layers of gesso.
Since we’re working (very slowly) on the laundry room these days, I decided to do a simple art project that would go perfectly in the room. And what’s more perfect for a laundry room than WATER?
I did a few rough drafts and tried different painting techniques (I use the word “techniques” very loosely here).
After a serious art consultation with Nick, we decided that we would go with the ombre water drop. We also really liked the one with the colorful graphic shapes, but we didn’t want to hide it away in the laundry room. I’ll do a different version of that for some other room later.
I set up my painting station in the living room…
Yes, the laptop is part of my painting process. I like to watch shows on Hulu or Netflix when I paint.
First, I drew out a water drop shape using a blue-colored pencil and then painted the space around the drop with white paint. Then I mixed blue paint with lots of white paint to make this light blue color and began at the top.
(Sorry for the flash photography in the previous and next photos. It was getting dark in the day when I was finishing this project up.)
Then I just worked my way down the water drop by mixing in more blue paint to make it darker. To make the layers blend in together, I dipped the paint brush in water and then brushed the space between two different layers. It worked great.
Since I’m not a real artist, I didn’t have an artist palette tray, so I mixed paint on a zip lock bag. I tried using paper first, but paint soaked into the paper. I bet that my mom is groaning as she reads this. She’s the real artist in the family. Sorry, mom.
But now I’m not sure where to put it in the room. At first, we were planning to put it under the hanging bar, but we realized that the wet clothes might ruin the painting. So, now I’m thinking about putting it on this wall next to the shelf and the cabinets:
Another option is to put it on the shelf, like so:
I’m not sure. I’ll leave it there for a while and figure it out later. But the important thing is that I really love the painting and it was so easy to do!
A few days later, we introduced Janella to the wonderful world of paint!
Most of the paint went into her mouth instead of on the papers that we gave her, but no worries, the “paint” is actually one part water mixed in with one part flour and food coloring. Here’s her first masterpiece:
Maybe she’ll be the next… Kathi! (that’s my mom’s name)
When the cabinets were done and installed, we immediately knew that there needed to be a shelf underneath the cabinets. There was just too much empty space on the wall.
Luckily, I already had two LACK shelves on hand — we originally bought them for the office but ended up not needing them, so they’ve been hidden in the guest room’s closet for years and years.
(This is actually the other shelf, not the exact one I painted. But it’s the same thing. Ignore the cat.)
But the shelves are black and that wouldn’t look good. So I decided to paint it.
It was pretty easy, even though the shelf is not wood. I simply primed it with spray paint primer (around two coats) and sanded it lightly between coats. Then I rolled on the same paint I used on the cabinets. Easy peasy. It was so EASY because the shelf had no indentations or bumps to worry about, like the cabinets did.
I wanted to protect the surface of the shelf because I knew we would be putting things on it and I didn’t want the paint to scratch. Also, if we spilled laundry detergent or anything, I wanted it to be easy to wipe up with a wet cloth.
I thought of doing several coats of water-based polyurethane, but we had such bad luck with the nursery dresser that I was afraid of opening that can of worms. Instead, I reached for this:
Several blogs say that they use this stuff and it works great for them. And I love spraying things, so much easier than using a foam brush or something.
There were splotches and shiny areas and dull areas. I tried spraying it again and again and again and again… I think I did around five to six coats. It made no difference — the splotches simply changed their positions, taunting me.
I suspect that it was too hot to use the protective spray paint — it was around 90 outside when I did this in my garage. But I can’t control this hot Texas weather. I just can’t. Believe me, I tried. My mind is not powerful enough.
I decided to just go ahead and buy polyurethane in a spray paint can. I chose the satin version to hopefully reduce the splotchy problem. Why not try something new?
And if it still ended up splotchy, I would just break the shelf. Good plan.
I sanded down the now-ugly splotchy shelf, added a thin coat of gray paint to cover everything up, and then sprayed on the polyurethane in the same garage and in the same outdoor temperatures.
IT LOOKS PERFECT. No buts here.
I did three coats, waiting at least 30 minutes (up to an hour and a half, according to the directions) between coats.
I highly recommend the spray paint polyurethane. It is so gratifying and easy and the results are great. I might try the glossy version later, but right now I’m happy with the satin.
The LACK shelf is really easy to install, so I’m not even going to show you how. However, there’s a little trick that Nick did that I liked — he installed the middle screw (along with its anchor) first, put on the support frame, and then used a level to make it level, then marked all the other holes. That made it even easier to install.
Here’s what the laundry room looks like today.
The painted LACK shelf turned out so great that I’ll keep this in mind in the future if I want floating shelves in a very specific color. It’s very easy to do. You don’t have to be limited to the colors that IKEA has — you can paint it any color in the rainbow!
I also spray painted the mason jar lid (find it on the shelf) because it was an ugly mixture of red and gold. It was originally a bottled spaghetti sauce. At first, I sprayed it yellow and it looked awful. Like McDonald’s. So I sprayed it silver instead and I like it much better.
What the jar lid looked like before:
A stupid easy and simple upgrade. It was definitely worth the couple of minutes I spent on this!
Oh, the mason jar holds our laundry detergent. Because our laundry detergent comes in this ugly monster container. IT MUST BE HIDDEN.
The three candle holders I just put on the shelf randomly to fill the space but I think it looks great and it serves a function — as a place for me to toss in coins, receipts, and other random stuff I find in our (Nick’s) pockets.
Unfortunately, I think the shelf draws attention to the plugs and outlets below it.
I’ll add a folding counter on the top of the machines and hopefully that’ll help somewhat. Maybe we’ll add some art propped up on the folding counter? Pretty boxes or baskets? We’ll figure it out. And let you know, of course.
Lying stud finder be damned, we now have a clothes drying bar in our laundry room that’s made of piping material!
Here’s what the laundry room looks like today.
The room is looking better and better every day. Although, it would look even better once I finish washing all the sheets that are lumped on the floor and conveniently not shown in this photo, but let’s pretend I didn’t just tell you that.
A closer look:
I do wish that we could have gotten a slightly smaller pipe, but the next size down was way too small for this space. This will do!
It was stupid easy to make. First, I measured the space and then sat myself down on the floor (seriously) in the piping area of Home Depot and figured out the pieces I needed. I got two pipes in two different sizes, two flanges, and one elbow. It totaled to around $25 dollars, I think… maybe less.
Then I took them home and assembled it. But the pipes felt very dirty… they felt sticky and oily. I suppose they added something to them for piping purposes, I don’t know, but I wanted the stuff off. My clever Nick suggested that I use our bottle of Goo Gone… and it worked VERY WELL.
See how much dirt it removed in only a few swipes:
When I was done wiping it all off, I had a few handfuls of blackened towel paper and a shiny, clean hanging rod made of pipes.
Then it was time to install it. There is a stud at the perfect location of the back flange, so we just drilled in three screws to hold it against the back wall. Why only three screws? The fourth hole was hidden behind the cabinets and thus unreachable. Since we drilled into a stud, I’m sure it’ll hold.
On the other wall, we had to put in four strong anchors. I did the drilling… to prove to you that I do the drilling sometimes around here. When Nick lets me. *rolls eyes* Macho boys with their macho tools. (Nick, I’m kidding, I love you and I love how you put up with my house project ideas!)
And that’s it!
But not quite. Because I just need to obsess over every detail…
Do you think I should spray paint it???
Black? Dark, dark gray? Teal like the cabinet pulls? A prettier silver? Yellow? Gold? Or something unexpected, like coral?
I don’t know. What say you?
So sorry how things look like around here on this blog. Ugh, I know, it’s ugly. We’re currently under construction!
I’m going through a bitter divorce.
A divorce with this thing:
It’s a stud finder made by Stanley.
I think it has multiple personalities and its dominant personality is that of a rebellious toddler who can’t make up his mind.
It tells me different things every time I put it on the same spot. It will tell me that a stud goes on for 12 inches when it’s only 3 inches or so wide.
Worse of all, it had me thinking that I couldn’t do a little project I was excited about. Remember when I told you that I couldn’t put up my pipe configuration in the laundry room to act as a clothes hanger? Well, the stud finder actually lied to me. There’s no electrical wires up there, so I was able to install the pipe, finally! I will show you pictures of that tomorrow.
But today, I want to talk about always reading reviews before you buy any tool. I just went to the Amazon page on this exact stud finder and was not surprised by the reviews there. I only wish I read them before buying it!
Some of the reviews say my sentiments EXACTLY.
“I now wish I’d have spent the extra money and gotten a better product.” This. The stud finder was one of the cheapest we found at our hardware store and we thought it would be fine. But it’s given us a lot of aggravation that was not worth the price tag. We’ve got to stop our habit of buying the cheapest thing and thinking that it’ll work just as well as something more expensive. We’re 30, for Pete’s sake. We’re supposed to be grown-ups.
However, I don’t want to automatically assume that more expensive means better quality. What to do? I’ll make sure to read reviews before buying anything, especially tools!!
Another review said, “I can’t wait to get rid of this cursed, evil thing.” Yep.
Rant over. What about you? Have you had bad luck with any particular tool or product that made you wish you had checked their reviews beforehand? Or have you changed your mind on buying something after reading bad reviews?
Hello one, hello all!
Welcome to our new spot on the internets.
There’s a lot of updating to be done around here – link fixing, home tour updates, and so on, but they’ll all get done in good time. Just a FYI – many of the links go to the old site, at www.whatthevita.wordpress.com, but they’ll all be updated soon.
I just thought it was time to have our own URL! It feels good. Just like buying a new house, but slightly less expensive.
Please update your subscriptions and feeds to reach this site instead of the old one!
While you’re already here, I wanted to show you our new rug…
It was a total impulse buy (that doesn’t sound like us?!) but it was such a good deal and we’ve been looking for a good outdoor rug for some time.
I found it at Joss & Main (that link is an invite in case you’re not a member). I’ve been a member for some time but never bought anything until now. And we’re so happy with the rug, even though we thought it would be more teal than a blue color.
We can’t wait to have a patio to lay this pretty rug on! We might put it in our game room in the meantime, because it’s just too pretty to be kept rolled up and hidden away. Let’s hope it’ll fit, since the rug is HUGE! It doesn’t even fit in our guest room/play room.
We’ll be back right here next week! Lots to update you guys on. See ya then…
Well, I promised you that I would be back today with an awesome addition to our laundry room. Unfortunately, my plans have been thwarted by dumb electricity. I mean, who needs electricity in the laundry room? Don’t we all wash our clothes on a washboard?
Basically, the area where I planned to drill in some screws is apparently filled with electrical lines. Or so says my stud finder. I’m still hoping that it changes its mind, but no luck so far.
Let me just tell you about my plans because I still think it’s a cool idea and maybe someday America will lose all power and I will finally get my chance to achieve my dream. One can only hope…
A few months ago, I saw this very cool home at Brick House that had this clever solution for hanging up clothes sans closet.
Pipes! I loved how industrial this looked and I knew it would be a great solution for our laundry room (not).
Later, I stumbled into this adorable nursery at Apartment Therapy and gasped (in my mind only) when I saw this photo:
Pipes, painted coral and gold, holding up curtains? SO COOL.
I’m sad just thinking about it. I tried moving it in different configurations and using two different pipe sizes, but I just couldn’t find a way to make it work and have it look good. I’ll find another way to hang up wet clothes, but I’ll also have to find another use for my pipes and floor flanges.
(I also have a third pipe. Bigger than these two and just as useless.)
My cool clothes hanger was supposed to be installed below the small cabinet on the left:
Fortunately, a little elfin worked very hard to cheer me up today.