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Lessons Learned: Bathroom Reno

The New Bathroom Revealed

Here are some of the biggest lessons we learned when doing our bathroom renovation. Enjoy, Mari & Paul

Demo & Planning

Backerboard

  • Turn off the water to the bathroom and be careful not to nick the pipes when demolishing
  • Invest in a reciprocating saw (aka Sawzall), especially if you have a fiberglass tub/surround to cut up
  • Wear long sleeves, a mask, and eye protection during demo, again, especially if you are dealing with fiberglass and/or popcorn texture
  • Enlist the help of friends!

Installing Backerboard/Cementboard

Demo

  • You don’t need to use that much thin set/mortar under your backerboard/cementboard
  • Mix small batches of thin set/mortar at a time so you don’t waste it (that goes for grout, too) and use warm water to make it easier
  • You don’t necessarily need thick board – opt for a 1/4 inch if you can to make install easier
  • Predrill the holes in your board if you’re having trouble installing it
  • If you are not using a waterproof barrier underneath the board then you should paint a waterproof membrane on top of it (the green stuff)

Tiling the Surround

Tiling

  • Plan out your tile pattern before starting and determine the best placement for your shower niche if you are including one
  • If installing a niche – consider buying a plastic one instead of building it yourself and screw it directly into the studs
  • Invest in a GOOD tile saw (ours was not and it caused many headaches)
  • Keep your area clean and wipe down tiles as you install – don’t wait until later when the mortar hardens
  • Wear gloves! I didn’t and my hands suffered for it

Grouting the Surround

Grouting

  • Wear gloves for this part, too!
  • Sponge down the tiles as you are grouting, again, don’t wait until later when it will be much more difficult (we know from experience on this one)
  • Cure the grout by spraying it with water twice a day for a few days
  • Seal after curing – it might take a few passes with the sealer

Tiling the Floor

Floor

  • Plan our your design and start with the most important/visible area – in our case we wanted to control the look of the tiles abutting the tub
  • Clean as you go
  • You can reuse spacers as each area dries
  • Use knee pads – they really do help!
  • Cure and seal as you see fit

Installing the Vanity & Fixtures

Vanity

  • Enlist the help of a professional – in our case we hired a plumber to install the tub and fixtures
  • Make sure your vanity and toilet and tub are the correct distance from one another according to code in your area

Installing the Toilet

Toilet

  • Read the manual for installing your toilet ahead of time
  • If you opt for an apron type toilet (see above) know that it will be a more challenging install
  • Invest in a GOOD diamond bit to drill through your tile – we broke several economy diamond bits and would have been better served with buying the expensive one off the bat
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A New Year

It’s been a while since I’ve been blogging regularly but I still find myself pondering potential posts (say that 10 times fast). One of my resolutions for 2016 is to get back to blogging since having this record of my life and work since 2010 (!) is invaluable. When I talk to someone about something I covered on the blog I can easily reference it with a link or call up the post myself to fill in the details. When I want to reminisce or remember what I was doing at a certain point in time I have this digital record.

Being a diligent writer and recorder was certainly easier before I became a mother but I find that I miss it. Mostly, I miss the way that blogging helps me to digest my experiences to more deeply understand their impact. So, in 2016, I’m carving out the time and space to be the storyteller of my own life again. I hope you’ll continue to be along for the ride.

Happy New Year,

Mari

Commercials Leading the Way

Wells Fargo

I recently saw the above commercial for Wells Fargo and after I wiped away a tear, I thought to myself, I wonder how many ads there are that feature gay couples. I looked it up and found that there are quite a few commercials out there representing brands and companies who weren’t afraid to be inclusive, even before the recent landmark Supreme Court decision extending marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples. Here’s some more proof that #lovewins.

Enjoy, Mari

Honey Maid

Tylenol

Chobani

Coca Cola

AllState

Amazon

 

 

Love Wins!

A Few of My Favorite Free Web Apps

New Apps

INSPIRATION:

Medium

Medium

I learned about Medium at the Hopscotch Design Fest last year from Elle Luna, who gave the keynote at the conference. It’s a great online magazine with a clean design and interesting topics contributed by writers both known and obscure.

Spoken

Spoken

Described as “Instagram for audio” this brand new site has a lot of potential to catch on. I’ve listened to a few entries and it seems even more intimate than podcasting – like listening to meaningful voice mail messages from strangers. Each one is less than 4 minutes long and the topics are as diverse as the contributors.

CREATION:

Trello

Trello

I’ve used Trello for over a year now and I love it! From web development projects to marketing campaigns it is an excellent way to organize information, share the status of tasks, and collaborate with teams. There are paid versions available but the free one has worked well for me so far.

Morpholio Board

 

Morpholio Board

I’ve recently discovered this app for my iPad and iPhone. While Morpholio has many different productivity apps, the one I use is Morpholio Board that facilitates making inspiration and mood boards. I used it to make the boards for my last Favorite Things post below (and here). It allows you to clip images from the web and apps like Pinterest. It’s free with optional in-app purchases.

InVision

InVision

InVision is an amazing app that lets you prototype a website so easily and seamlessly I recently had a client who didn’t believe what I sent her was a mock-up. Sign up for free here.

Free Find: World of Wall Street

On a recent trip to our local recycling center Paul found the vintage game, World of Wall Street. Our recycling center has an area with free items for the taking that people drop off. It’s a great resource but I wish it was mission-based like the Free Store in Braddock, PA (check it out here).

Paul spoke with the woman dropping off her old board games. She said that she was cleaning out her attic and had a bunch of games that she had barely played before. This one had never been played – the cards and money were new in the package. Aside from a slight mildew smell and a bit of spotting on the board, the game is in perfect condition.

World of Wall Street was made in 1969 by NBC (yes, like the TV Network) and is a primer for understanding buying and selling stocks. We’ve played a few times and much of the game is luck-based but it does reinforce the concept of buying low and selling high.

My favorite part of the game, though, is the incredible graphic design. These days, designers work hard to achieve this mid-century aesthetic. This game is an actual example of what mainstream designers were doing in 1969 – complete with a slide rule!

See for yourself how simple and beautiful the game pieces are.

Enjoy, Mari

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Brook Looking Up

This time last year, almost to the minute, I was looking into the face of our daughter for the first time. Although I had been in labor for almost two days, I was surprised by how quickly it all happened in the end. They lay her on my chest and she was so soft and warm and clean and new. I think I cried. I think I smiled. More than anything, I remember how right it all felt. How I already knew this little person. She had been a part of me and was now a part of me out in the world.

I guess that’s how other mothers feel about their children and why it must be so painful when they grow up and leave. It’s like a part of you is missing – walking around out there in the world.

Until then, I’ll enjoy the time we have together. I feel so grateful to have this kind, curious, intelligent, funny, and strong little lady in my life.

Happy First Birthday, Brooklyn!

I love you.

Mama

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