An Unexpected Bathroom Update

When doing a large renovation, such as our basement, there is often extra “add-on” work. Usually something fun like redoing some flooring or something functional like adding air conditioning. It’s the classic “Well while we have the walls open…”

We had planned things out pretty intensely and were not expecting any add-on work. But when it came time to move the plumbing drains for the upstairs bathroom we discovered the old lead drain for the sink was draining into the toilet drain arm. The drain to the sink would need to be redone to meet modern code and it could not be fully accessed from the basement below. Our options were to cut a hole in our upstairs bedroom wall to access the drain from behind, or cut into the tiled wall in the upstairs bathroom and access it from the front. I chose the later because I have always wanted to put a true vanity in the bathroom instead of the over sized pedestal sink. I figured the vanity would cover the smallish hole the plumber needed to drop the old pipe down and pass a new PVC pipe up.

So I bought my 23 5/8″ wide Lillangen vanity from Ikea put ‘er together and was well on my way to floating vanity bliss. When it came time to do the plumbing, my contractor grabbed his grinder to grind out the hole. Again I’m thinking a smallish hole. He asks the size of my new vanity I say 24″. And what did he do, he went and cut a 24″ wide, 30″ tall hole in my wall.

upstairs bath

Lots of holes in the walls and the old pedestal sink

Now that there was no wall to use some toggle bolts to secure my floating vanity I decided she needed some legs. Not being a fan of the metal base Ikea sells I decided to make my own. So I grabbed the necessary tools: Miter saw, Kreg Jig, semi-willing husband, and got to work. I designed up a simple base and we got to work.

In the end we used a single select pine 2x2x8, some scrap 2×4’s, and lots of screws. Final cost being around $15. After we assembled it, I sanded it, primed it, and painted it with some BM Advance paint in Super white I had left over from the kitchen cabinets.

custom lillangen base

Then we did some major MacGyver-ing with 2×4’s, 1×4’s and shims to have a couple attachment points for the vanity to the single wall stud.

Ikea lillangen sink

The Ikea plumbing actually worked out beautifully. The faucet connections were the same as our previous Kohler faucet. And the Ikea drain system (the topic of many online horror stories) actually went together really easily with a 1 1/2″ to 1 1/4″ reducer from Ace Hardware.

Ikea lillangen sink and dalskar faucet

The cabinet and sink are only 16″ deep which makes the bathroom feel much bigger. I really love the trough sink and single handle faucet. I think the base actually makes the modern vanity blend in with the rest of the house better than having the cabinet float 5″ off the floor. Sometimes everything just works out.

Ikea lillangen

I’m hoping to add some pretty chrome pulls or knobs to the cabinet doors, but in the mean time I couldn’t be happier with our unexpected update.


Cabinet: Ikea Lillangen 2 door cabinet

Sink: Ikea Lillangen

Faucet: Ikea Dalskar


Basement Bathroom Ideas

Our basement renovation is set to begin in February. That gives me almost 4 months to obsess over all the details and the room I am currently obsessing over the most: the bathroom.

First we needed a layout. We knew we wanted access to the bathroom from the front bedroom but also liked the access from the family room so we decided on a Jack and Jill type bathroom with two entrances. This made the layout a little more tricky but we came up with something we think will work great.

basementbathroom layout blog

The shower will be on the exterior wall with the window in it. Directly across from the shower will be the vanity. I think the vanity mirror being directly across from the window will reflect light nicely. The toilet will be on the same wall as the shower. There will be a full length wall in between the two; giving the toilet its own private space.

For the design of the basement we are thinking simple and modern with rustic touches: white walls and pale floors with dark metals and warm wood. I want the bathroom to blend nicely with that design but also be pretty timeless.

Basement Bathroom

rejuvenation thurman wall sconce / west elm modern towel rack / ikea gray linen curtain / schoolhouse electric cast iron wall hook / ikea godmorgon vanity with odensvik sink / ikea dalskar faucet / serena and lily stool / white subway tile / ikea stabekk mirror / schoolhouse electric restroom sign / lowes leonia silver glazed porcelian floor tile

The tiles we chose set a nice neutral base for the bathroom. The shower wall tile will be classic 3×6 white subway tile. Simple white ceramic subway tile fits with the 1920s house and our budget. For the floor we are going with large 12×24 porcelain tiles in a striated gray pattern from Lowes. They are also a great price and the pale gray should give a little contrast to the white wall tiles while still being light (this is a basement after all). I plan to use pale gray grout for both the floor and the walls.

We already bought the vanity thanks to an Ikea sale. It provides a ton of storage and the high gloss white finish should reflect light and blend with the rest of the bathroom. The Odensvik sink is nice white ceramic and the 48″ vanity gives of the option of one sink or two. Right now we think we will stick with one sink but that is not set in stone.

I like the simple and clean base we set for the bathroom with the tile and vanity but I want to add some wood and dark metal elements to keep the bathroom from looking too sterile. These are also things that we can easily switch out if our style changes.

This wood mirror from Ikea is a good size and the round shape is a nice change with all the squares in the bathroom.

I think we might splurge a little on the lights and get some from Rejuvenation or Schoolhouse Electric. Whatever we choose it will be a dark bronze with a nice light filtering opal shade.

I like using hooks for towels and these cast iron hooks from Schoolhouse Electric would give some nice contrast all the white.

The teak stool could be used in the shower and gives some warmth and character. The wood and white towel rack from West Elm would be a great place to put clothes or extra towels.

I like the idea of using a linen curtain for the shower curtain. The Aina curtains from Ikea come in a nice pale gray linen and might be a great option.

As far as fixtures go: we plan to use this enameled cast iron shower pan from Kohler. We love our cast iron sink in the kitchen, and this shower base is simple and solid. No grout to clean!

For the toilet I am very fond of skirted toilets. So much easier to clean and they look nicer to me. I really like this American Standard model at Lowes.

Clean High Efficiency Elongated 1.28 gpf Toilet Shown In 020

That’s the basic plan for the bathroom. I am so excited to see all these ideas come to life. Only four more months…

Art Above the Bed

Add this to the list of things that took way too long to be accomplished…

I have wanted to frame a large print of this beautiful cloud picture for almost a year. As of last week, that task is finally done.

picture above bed

The space above the bed was painfully blank: taupe walls and taupe headboard. I wanted something to contrast with the sea of taupe. I’m lucky to have an amazing pro photographer as a friend and when I saw this beautiful clouds at night shot, I knew it would be perfect for above the bed.

My favorite thing about this photo is you don’t realize it is taken at night until you look deeper and can see the stars dotted along the deep blue sky.

I bought a 20″ x 28″ Ikea Ribba frame and attached the frame to the wall with Command Velcro strips. They are a great tool for old plaster walls or people who like to change art around.

picture above bed

Once the picture was up it read a little small. I find things tend to read much smaller when they are actually up on the wall. This happens a lot to me, but I have yet to learn my lesson. If I did it again, I would get a 20×30 print to take up the entire frame.

A bigger print may be in the future, but for now I love looking up and seeing this beautiful photo above the bed.

Photo: “Friends” by Ryan Dearth. Check out his website for more gorgeous photos.
Frame: Ikea Ribba in white

The Kitchen: Reveal and Review

We “finished” the kitchen almost two years ago and I have yet to post a full reveal. Tsk tsk… bad blogger. But it was a hidden blessing because now I can do a reveal with lots of pictures and reviews at the same time. Two blog posts in one! You can thank me later.

First up: The Cabinets

We have quite the mix of cabinets in our tiny kitchen. First, we have the original built-in-place cabinets that we painted white. We are still happy with the decision to save the original cabinets. We love the look and the second paint job with Benjamin Moore Advance paint is holding up great.

Read more about the original cabinets here and here.

original cabinet

Then we have the new cabinets. They are shaker-style full overlay cabinets from Ultracraft. The uppers and nook cabinets are painted maple in arctic white and the lowers are cherry in chestnut stain. We still love these cabinets and they have held up nicely. The cabinets have great features like soft close hinges and drawer dampers and my favorite: full extension drawers. You can see the entire contents of the drawer – this way nothing gets lost far in the back. My second favorite feature is the pull out spice rack next to the stove.

Read more about the new cabinets here.

cherry lower cabinets

We went with 45″ tall uppers that go all the way to the ceiling. I would recommend anyone use the tallest upper cabinets they can. Not only does it look better, but it provides some much needed extra storage in a small kitchen.

shaker kitchen cabinets

shaker kitchen

The Countertops

Our counters are Silestone Quartz in Ivory Coast. Love love love the counters. They still look as nice as the day they were installed. They clean up easily and require no maintenance.

silestone ivory coast countertops

In the nook we have Ikea oak butcher block counters. They still get a thumbs up even though they are a little more upkeep. They need an oiling with mineral oil every couple of months. They don’t get hard use like the silestone (they have never seen a hot pan or a sticky spill). So I can’t comment on how well they would work for true kitchen counters, but for our nook they are great.

Read more about the countertops here.

Backsplash tile

lantern tile backsplash

We took a risk and went with something unique for our backsplash with the blue lantern tile. We still like it. It adds a nice punch of color and personality to the kitchen. It cleans up great as well. I just wipe it down with a damp cloth every night. The grout has held up great and never stained.

Read more about the backsplash here.

The Nook

The nook was just an empty little space off the kitchen when we moved in. We added cabinets, a pull-out kitchen cart, and open shelving.

kitchen nook

kitchen  nook

We are really happy we kept the nook. I love the open shelving for all the dishes I use daily.

The pull-out cart that we designed to slide under the cabinets is a great feature. It provides extra mobile counter space and the opening can be used as a workspace when the cart is pulled out.

kitchen nook stool and cart

bekvam kitchen cart

Kitchen nook workspace

Read more about the nook here and here.


The stove and refrigerator were here when we moved in. We bought a new dishwasher and have been very happy with it. The only downside is a cycle can take up to 3 hours but we usually run it at night after dinner so it’s not a big deal. Besides that, it’s relatively quiet and looks great.


We also added a range hood that we did not get properly vented until last year. So for a year it was just a decorative metal thing above the stove. Having a good range hood makes all the difference in a tiny kitchen. Not only does it remove cooking odors, but it takes away a lot of the heat – making the cooking experience far more pleasurable.

Kitchen hood

Sink and faucet

We love the Kohler enameled cast iron sink. It needs a good scrub down with baking soda about once a week to keep it looking white and shiny.

kohler sink

The faucet…this is the only bad review I have. We love the look of the faucet but that’s where it ends. The pressure is hard to regulate. The flow of water goes from a trickle to a geyser by moving the handle a millimeter. And temperature is the same thing: ice cold to boiling hot with a small touch. We are used to the faucet and in general don’t get burned or covered with water. But all guests splash and/or burn themselves. Not the greatest faucet, but she sure it purty.

kraus faucet

All in all, we are still very happy with the kitchen and the products we chose to fill it with. Hope the reviews are helpful. If you have any questions ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

Complete source list:
Wall paint: Glidden Antique Beige, satin finish
Trim and cabinet paint: Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Super White, satin finish
Cabinets: UltraCraft Cabinetry, Destiny Line, Shaker Style, in Arctic White Maple and Chestnut Cherry
Countertops: Silestone Quartz in Ivory Coast and Ikea Numerar in Oak (discontinued, Numerar in Beech or Akerby in oak are good substitutes)
Backsplash Tile: SomerTile Morocco Blue Porcelain Mosaic Tile
Sink: Kohler Mayfield 25″ x 22″ in white
Faucet: Kraus single lever pull-out sprayer in satin nickel
Range Hood: NuTone 30 in. Pro Style Range Hood in Stainless Steel NSP130SS
Dishwasher: Kenmore 24″ Built In Dishwasher in Stainless Steel Model#12093
Cabinet Hardware:
Pulls: Top Knobs, Cup Pull in Pewter Antique Finish m1211
Knobs: Home Depot Liberty 1-1/4 in. Top Ring Round Cabinet Hardware Knob in Antique Iron.
Shelf Brackets: Ikea Ekby Valter 11″ in birch, painted white
Kitchen Cart: Ikea Bekvam painted with Behr Spring Stream
Stool: Target Carlisle Metal Counter Stool in Grey

Office Update: Gallery Wall and end of the January Cure

My goal was to finish the office during the month of January, as I participated in the January Cure. It is now mid-February and I am calling the office done…for now.

The reason the office did not get finished by February 1 is not me (I am perfect), it was the polar vortex. Besides causing major havoc and misery all over the United States, the freezing temps also delayed my spray painting, which delayed finishing the office. Again, this had nothing to do with me starting 100 projects at once and watching too much tv.

As I mentioned in this post, one of my goals for the finished office was to add a bulletin board. I found this bulletin board at Target for $10. The faux wood finish was gorgeous but I wanted a different look. I painted the frame with Rustoleum Metallics gold spray paint. Eventhough I sanded to frame to rough it up, the spray paint pooled in some spots and didn’t want to stick. After it dried, I used some antique gold rub ‘n buff to cover any wood that was peeking through where the spray paint did not stick. I then painted the cork with a sample pot of paint, Mariner by Martha Stewart. I like the navy and gold combo, and if I tire of it I can always paint it a new color or use some fabric to cover it.

navy and gold bulletin board

The other frames are Ikea Nyttja frames. I used the same spray paint, rub ‘n buff method with them. Again, I had issues with the spray paint adhering. Not sure if it was user error (likely), or if I need a primer over these plastic surfaces.

I made a calendar with one of the large nyttja frames. On the back of the plexi glass I drew a calendar grid with navy sharpie. I then attached a piece of scrap white fabric. I put the frame back together and added the month and day numbers with the same sharpie. When I need to change the month a little rubbing alcohol takes the sharpie off of the plexi glass. (You could also use a dry erase marker and skip the rubbing alcohol step). Immediately after I finished this grand feat of engineering I noticed I do not have enough spaces in the grid for a month with more than 28 days. Looks like I have some fixing to do, or I can just forget the last few days of the month exist.


I used white fabric scraps to back all the frames. The thin fabric worked really well in the smaller frame, but tends to pull oddly in the larger frames. I will probably try a thicker fabric in them. I added a black and white picture to the smaller nyttja frame and I’m still thinking about what pictures to add to the other large frame. The small square brown frame is from Target long ago and houses a watercolor painting of mine.

gallery wall

As for the rest of the office…things are looking good.

Office full

The rug is from Target and used to be in the bedroom. The desk chair is also from Target. It’s from their Room Essentials line and I haven’t seen it listed online. The desk was a thrift store find.

The aqua cart is the raskog cart from Ikea. I had absolutely no use for it, but bought it anyway. That is how it came to live in the office. The jury is still out if it actually works in here, but functionally it is great. It holds all the internet stuff in the bottom, and stationary in the other shelves.

On the other side of the room I made a seating area. I bought these chairs at a thrift store last year with plans to reupholster them…that didn’t happen. I hope to reupholster them this summer, but in the meantime they make a nice place to sit in the office.


The large shelving unit behind the chairs is West Elm from a while ago. I actually found mine on Craigslist about 2 years ago.

That’s the new and improved office. Did the cure work? I think so, being that the ultimate goal was a cleaner more organized space. The office started as a big disorganized closet and now we actually enjoy the space. It not only looks better; it is 100x more functional and has become a room we actually use.

Well done January Cure. See you in 2015.