...because home doesn't happen overnight.

A quick update on the bathroom…

bathroom tile progress

We have two walls of subway tile! Tiling the uneven window wall was difficult. Tiling the smoother wall on the left was like tying a shoe in comparison. Steve knocked it out in one evening.

bathroom tile progress 2

Look at those perfectly wrapped corner tiles. Reason #99 you should marry an engineer.

In case you’re just now tuning in (or maybe you didn’t even know we had a second bathroom because we’ve shunned it for the last two years), this is the main bathroom in the house. A freestanding shower / tub will eventually live right in front of the back wall. We’re taking the tile to the ceiling around the shower / tub and the rest of the room will have tiled wainscoting. After much debate (I wanted tile. Steve wanted baseboards.) we’re installing the same chunky baseboards in here as the rest of the house. That’s why you see a gap at the bottom of the walls between the wall tile and floor tile.

As the shell of the room started to take shape, I got to thinking about how we would trim out the wainscoting and shower walls.

tile molding

I don’t even remember doing it but I selected this curvy tile to act as molding atop the tiled wainscoting. I don’t know what I was thinking. Oh, wait, I was pregnant. I probably wasn’t thinking. Maybe I was thinking about lunch. Maybe I was thinking about a nap. Most likely, I was contemplating how I could eat lunch and nap at the same time.

But I digress.

There’s nothing wrong with the tile itself but when you butt it up against the skinny modern subway tiles it looks strange. The profile is all wrong. And Steve and I were confused about where exactly to install it. Just along the wainscoting? Up the side of the shower walls? It would look weird if we ran it along the top of the wainscoting and dead-ended it at the shower. And it would look just as weird to have a mitered inside corner at the shower wall and continue the molding up the edge of the shower only to dead-end at the ceiling. We were at a loss.

That’s when an image of black pencil liner popped into my head. It was similar to this. I tried explaining my vision to Steve but he wasn’t catching on. (This happens a lot.) It was decided that I would head to The Tile Shop the next morning to scope out some options to help Steve better grasp my idea.

I wasn’t there five minutes before I found exactly what I wanted. Which was a good thing because my kids were play fighting in slow motion and everyone was staring. I quickly snapped a picture of the simpler design I had in mind and sent it to Steve. “Gorgeous” was the reply back. We had a winner.

pencil liner + bullnose trim

I bought the imperial bianco bullnose to match the subway tile and the noir honed somerset to tie in to the floor tile. We’ll run both along the wainscoting and shower. The end result will be similar to the last photo seen in this bathroom renovation post. The pencil liner is a little thicker than the subway and bullnose tiles but I think the difference in profile will be a nice finishing touch. I love that the single black stripe will pick up on the hex floor. And you know how I feel about stripes in general! The liner is also a subtle nod to the bathroom’s midcentury roots. Many ’50′s bathrooms boasted contrasting pencil liner. This is my attempt to bring it back in a modern way. What do you think?

Can’t wait to share more progress as we make it!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

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