...because home doesn't happen overnight.

unfinished bath 1

Someday this is going to be a really awesome bathroom. For the past two years, it’s been this unfinished eyesore that I shield my eyes from every time I pass by in the hallway. I pretend it’s not there. When we have guests over and they want a tour, I’m all “…and here’s where we hold our Amazon deliveries for inspection…” When I’m embarrassed, I try to be funny but I think it comes across as awkward instead and then everyone ends up feeling uncomfortable. And even though we don’t mind guests traipsing through our bedroom to use the only functioning bathroom in the house, I’m guessing they feel a little weird doing it. So for the sake of our houseguests comfort, we really want to tackle this bathroom. Getting the mound of bathroom finishes (tile, tub, toilet, vanity, wall sconce, plumbing fixtures, etc.) out of the garage would be nice, too.

Maybe 2014 will be the year we park a car in our garage?!

unfinished bath 2

Two weeks ago our plumber adjusted the water lines for the tub. We tried leveling the concrete floor in here over a year ago (life has totally gotten in the way of this project) but the water lines needed to be sunk a little deeper into the slab for us to tile over properly.

During renovation we had the plumber update the water lines for the tub. At the time, he was afraid they were too high and he told us to give him a call if we needed him to adjust them. So two years later that’s just what we did. He didn’t charge us for this most recent work since it was his error. I love our plumber. He’s a man of his word, returns our calls and shows up when he says he’s going to. (He’s Pete the Plumber in Lebanon, Ohio for any locals needing a good plumber.)

Some jackhammering was involved in sinking the lines so Steve patched the floor this weekend. We have to let it cure for a while before we can start any tile prep but the good news is the floor is level! Dirty, but level!

We also decided to create access to the water shutoff in the bathroom. (We’re overly paranoid about water leaking, pouring, seeping, dripping and flooding into our home.) Our hope is we’ll never have to use it but if we need it, it’s there.

access to water shut off

The bathroom shares a wall with my workspace in the kitchen. The water shutoff is located behind this base cabinet. We thought creating access to the shutoff within the cabinet would be discreet but effective. To prep for an access panel, Steve removed the cabinet doors (Ikea cabinets make that super easy, btw.) and emptied the cabinet.

access to water shutoff

Steve picked up an inexpensive access panel from Home Depot for about $12. He traced its dimensions onto the back of the kitchen drywall from the bathroom. (We had already cut out a panel of cement board for access to the water shutoff during renovation. It goes back in place with a few screws.) He drilled a small hole in one corner (seen above) to get started then used a small hacksaw to cut out a square. He did this from the bathroom side and was careful not to cut through any pipes.

access to water shutoff 2

He cut right through the drywall and the back of the cabinet.

access to water shutoff 3

As you can see, he had some helpers. Everett was so excited. He thought we were making a secret passageway. Sorry, buddy, just trying to give you somewhere else to pee.

access to water shutoff 5

Then Steve slipped the access panel into place.

access to water shutoff 4

The cabinet frame and new access panel are both white so the result is pretty inconspicuous.

access to water shutoff 6

Then we loaded everything back into the cabinet.

hidden access panel

It’s like it never even happened. Having access to the water shutoff gives us peace of mind. Man, I hope we never have to use it. Now we’re just waiting for the concrete to cure and then it’s on to tiling! We don’t have a set deadline for finishing the bathroom. We’re working on it when we can – in between the kids’ activities, Steve’s work and business trips, episodes of New Girl, birthday parties. But it’s something we’d really like to see to completion before nicer weather hits and all we’ll want to do is GO OUTSIDE.

The plumber asked to see the floor tile and tub fixture for measurements when he was here adjusting the water lines. I sorted through the beast that is our garage to find them and then I got excited all over again about this bathroom. After sharing one bathroom with four other people for the past two years, having two working bathrooms is going to be such a luxury!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

And they all live happily ever after. The end.


Okay, there’s more to it than that.


So, by now you know that I’ve partnered with Target to bring you the best of Threshold. {If not, you can catch up here and here.} This month I was asked to feature Threshold goodies in my bathroom. I’ve been wanting to add something to the wall above the toilet. {On a side note, do guys care what they look at when they pee?} I browsed the Threshold aisles and immediately zoned in on a trio of sea urchins.

I have a peculiar fascination with anything urchin-esque. I can remember going to my grandma’s house when I was maybe 5 and she had a children’s book {couldn’t tell you the title or story line} that included a picture of a child stepping on a sea urchin in the ocean. I read the book every time I was at my grandma’s and I was so infatuated with that bothersome urchin. That’s how it all started.


Now, thirty years later, there are three sea urchins hanging above my toilet. I am not normal. Off the shelf, the urchins were a little too dark for my liking so I spray painted them gold - the same spray paint I used on our garden stool. If I may, let me correct myself: Now, thirty years later, there are three gold sea urchins hanging above my toilet. Still, not normal.


I brought in a few gold accessories on the sink top so the urchins wouldn’t be all “Damn it! I knew the one time I made an effort to dress up for a dinner party everyone else would be wearing jeans and loafers. I’m overdressed and under-appreciated. Never again.” I bet you didn’t know sea urchins were so temperamental, did you?


The soap dispenser and tumbler have an antique brass finish. My bathroom is quite the melting pot for metal finishes.

threshold bathroom

Shop the look: brass soap pump / brass tumbler / rattan wastebasket / metal urchin


I apologize for the artificial light in these pictures. It’s just that HH and I spontaneously decided to landscape our front yard. By ourselves. With three kids. {That’s contradictory, isn’t it?} As in digging, trenching, planting, shoveling, watering, wheelbarrowing, sweating, raking and seeding our crack house into submission. In the midst of our spontaneity {which totally isn’t like us}, I forgot to take pictures of the bathroom before the sun went down.

I am tired. I love Target. Sea urchins are fascinating.

***UPDATE: Daytime urchin pictures because I felt guilty.***





This post brought to you by Threshold, a Target collection. The Threshold collection focuses on specialized design techniques including hand-painted accents and artisanal touches to make each piece unique yet affordable. What differentiates Target’s new Threshold collection is its unprecedented style coupled with its high quality and affordability. Thank you Tar-jay!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

Currently, we’re living with one functional bathroom – the master bathroom. The other bathroom {the kid/guest bathroom} is completely gutted awaiting renovation. Hang in there lil’ bathroom! We’re coming to the rescue in a few months.

How are we making one bathroom work for our family of five? Easy.

1. We’ve given up on modesty.

2. We’ve perfected the bathroom shuffle.

3. We keep the vanity organized.

Numbers 1 & 2 are difficult to discuss online without being mistaken for an X-rated website. So I’ll skip right to #3.

Our vanity is IKEA’s GODMORGON in high gloss gray. I had wanted a floating vanity and HH wanted something with closed storage. This floating cabinet was the perfect compromise. With a little editing and organizing, we’ve made it functional for the entire family. When we moved in, I condensed our toiletries down to only the absolute necessities. I snapped some pics of the opened drawers and their contents, took a few measurements and made a quick trip to Target to pick up plastic caddies to organize the vanity.

The top drawer is divided into two sections.

The left side is all HH’s. {He doesn’t really use two toothbrushes. One is for cleaning his hair trimmer. We don’t dare put that one in our mouths.}

The right side is what I like to call the community section. Items here are used by more than one person. {Okay, I’m the only one who uses the eye makeup remover in the pink bottle and the Clarasonic Mia.}

The bottom drawer is divided into two sections as well with the left side being a smidge bigger than the right. {The vertical drawer dividers came with the vanity and are adjustable.} This drawer is a few inches deeper than the top drawer so it can house taller items.

The left {i.e., bigger} side is mine. It takes a little work to make me pretty, okay? The caddy I bought for my section was too long to fit all the way down into the drawer but it turned out to be a happy accident. It sits snug in the top half of the drawer, freeing up the bottom of the drawer for a hair dryer that I rarely use. Layne uses it more than I do. I think I’ve used it once since we moved in. In the middle section of the caddy is my hospital bracelet and Mabrey’s anklet from her birth nearly eight months ago. After we were discharged from the hospital, I snipped them off, threw them in with my toiletries and have kept them there ever since. I like seeing them in the morning and remembering her birth. It was a really wonderful experience. FYI – I’ve kept all of my kids’ birth ID anklets. Is that weird?

The right side of the bottom drawer is a catchall. I have backup rolls of toilet paper, sanitizing wipes for quick cleanings {because with two young boys and a bigger boy there are always messes in the bathroom, ifyaknowwhatimean} and chargers for HH’s electric razor and toothbrush. Now that I’m thinking about it, I should probably move the chargers up to HH’s section. Ahhhhhhh! I’m so Type A about these things. Reminds me of elementary school, organizing and reorganizing my school box. Whatever happened to school boxes anyways?

That’s how I stay somewhat sane in the bathroom with one husband, two boys and one baby. Thank goodness Mabrey doesn’t require toiletries yet. Hopefully, we finish the other bathroom before she starts into makeup and hair accessories. Which might be sooner rather than later. That girl’s got a headful of crazy hair!

I’m off to move HH’s chargers! And the answer is yes. Yes, I will sleep better knowing our toiletries are arranged properly.

P.S. – A few readers have asked for pictures of the vanity’s plumbing bits. Here you go. Damn. We in a tight spot. Name that movie.

Plumbing porn. De nada.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

It’s been over two months since I revealed our master bathroom makeover. {And now that I’m revisiting the post, I realized it was posted just three days before Mabrey was born!} Many of you were wondering what type of shower door or curtain we were going to utilize. After weighing the pros and cons, we went the curtain route.

FYI – It seems the only time I can find to take pictures now is during the early morning hours which don’t provide the best lighting. That’s why things may look a little different from the original makeover pics as they were taken in the afternoon sun.

Mainly for function. There wasn’t a good place to put a door. The shower faucet is on the right and the toilet is on the left. If we put the door opening on the right side then water from the shower head would spray out {we like to run the water for a few seconds to let it warm up before hopping in}. If we put the door on the left side then we would have to climb around the toilet to get in. Of course, there’s always the option of switching the shower plumbing to the left wall {where the back of the shower is now} but that would require re-plumbing the bathroom and we weren’t willing to pay for that just for a shower door. So, a curtain it is.

This seersucker-esque shower curtain to be exact. It’s extra long and extra wide. Originally, I thought I’d go for a big patterned curtain to liven things up but when I was standing in the little bathroom, I couldn’t imagine a big pattern in there. It would have overwhelmed the space. And I like bright white bathrooms.

The seersucker texture mimics the texture of the shiny shower tile.

I hung it from a tension rod at ceiling height. The long curtain and the tub-to-ceiling tile in the shower make the little room feel bigger.

A floor-to-ceiling shower curtain isn’t an earth-shattering idea in the design world but I think these double shower curtain rings are. Where have they been all my life?! And if you already knew about them, why didn’t you tell me?! It’s hard to tell from the picture but the shower curtain hook on the left is a bit higher than the liner hook on the right. This trick hides the liner nicely behind the curtain.

Speaking of the liner, I bought this fabric one. I love it. Being constructed of a waterproof fabric, it doesn’t have that plastic-y feel or odor to it.

It’s also extra long {since it’s hung at ceiling height as well} but not as long as the curtain so there’s no risk of tripping on it while showering. I’d like to say that I take the curtain and liner down weekly to wash them but that would be a lie. These babies have been up for nearly three weeks with no washings other than the first one right out of the package and they look just as bright and clean as the day I hung them. Which is pretty amazing considering this is the only functioning shower/bathtub we have right now. And there are two adults, two kids and one baby using the shower/tub regularly so it sees a lot of use. I’m really happy with how they’re holding up!

I had to hang our squeegee on the tub behind the liner because the hook wouldn’t suction to our textured shower tile. Surprisingly, I like the disguised placement better than on the shower wall. This way I’m not staring at a squeegee while I’m showering. {It makes for better bathroom photos on the blog as well!} I like happy surprises like that. What I am staring at is this…

I open the shower window any chance I get…during and after my showers. We’re lucky enough to have pretty thick tree and shrub coverage in the backyard so I don’t feel weird opening the window. Even without that, our neighbors to the back sit closer to the road than we do so there’s a good amount of land separating us. An open window in the shower is as close as I’ll ever get to an outdoor shower. There’s something about the cool, fresh air mixed with the smell of soap in the morning that wakes me up. It’s a great way to start my day.

I’m loving our new bath towel hooks too. We’ve always had towel bars in our previous homes. Due to the lack of wall space in this bathroom, we went with hooks. I had HH hang them staggered just outside the shower for easy reaching. His is the higher one and mine’s the lower one.

I prefer the aesthetic of the hooks as opposed to towel bars. HH complains that the towels don’t dry as well as with a bar so I’ve started turning our towels around the hooks at different points during the day. It’s not much to move them around when I’m in there to brush my teeth or use the restroom.

Like I said, this bathroom is the only bathroom for now. The kid/guest bath is gutted, patiently awaiting a makeover but we’ve got more pressing projects to complete before we can start on it. That’s okay. This one is working great for us.

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking