life with the lawrence’s: home renovations

How is it possible that the school year has started back up again already??!  This week was back-to-school week for our students, and I swear it feels like we never really left.  Although I guess when you work for a 12-month program, it’s easy to feel that way – staff were only off for 2 weeks, and the kids were gone for 3.  Not that that shortened break has made it any easier to get up in the morning now that we’re back…  Whether you’re off for 2 weeks or 2 months,  it’s way too easy to fall into a laid-back, relaxed routine at home, and my body absolutely has not adjusted yet :)  While it’s nice to have the extra summer employment, there are plenty of times when I would love to just take the summer off and enjoy myself!  For as much as we complain, I am looking forward to this school year though – I think I’m really going to enjoy my new students, and I’m looking forward to working with some great staff!

Anyway, since there IS more going on in my life than just cooking and baking (shocking, I know), I thought it might be fun to do the occasional off-topic post here on the blog.  One of the things we’ve been spending a lot of time on recently is some fun remodeling projects,  including lots (and lots and lots) of painting (with lots of hand cramps to go with it – that’s what happens when you’re the one in charge of all the cutting in), and finally finishing up our downstairs powder room renovation.  That project rapidly went from “let’s just paint and change the flooring for a quick update” to “I guess we’re gutting the whole room” when we discovered that the wall behind the sink consisted of spackle over… duct tape.  That’s right, DUCT TAPE.  Seriously?!

Yup, that is just a whole bunch of duct tape.

Combined with the fact that we got married in the middle of it, a weekend project quickly turned into a 4-month affair.  But now it’s finished, and it looks beautiful!! (And way to go Daren for doing an awesome job on his first attempt at tiling a floor!)  Here are some shots of the process, and the way we completed the renovation.

Here’s the room before we started, complete with spectacularly awful white flowered bathroom accessories (sorry for the cell phone pics, but that’s all I’ve got – I guess we were more interested in tearing stuff up than getting a good before shot):

Pretty boring and drab, to say the least.  The floor was kind of yucky, the few accessories the room had were outdated, and the medicine cabinet over the sink had clearly been plucked from some other room and just thrown down there without much thought as to its size or appropriateness for the space.

Daren’s first steps were to rip up the linoleum floor and take out the toilet and sink (both of which we would be reusing), which was when we discovered the duct tape wall:

Not lookin’ so hot, huh?  The room stagnated here for a short while, until we could get my dad to come down and teach Daren how to put up drywall.  Once he discovered the duct tape, he also noticed that there was some surface mold around the bottom of the room, so they went ahead and re-drywalled the entire bottom half of the room.  Dad helped him get the drywall up, then left Daren to spend the next few days applying joint compound, and sanding, and reapplying joint compound, and sanding, and reapplying… you get the picture.  Not the most fun part of home renovations, that’s for sure :)

After that, we painted the room and then Daren laid new porcelain tile – not too shabby for his first try!  The tiling went down while I was away for my bachelorette party… can’t say I was too broken up about missing it :)  The back wall is painted black because we originally thought we were going to use pallet wood back there, and some wall would have shown through the gaps.  Ended up being an unnecessary step since we didn’t go with the pallet wood.

After spending a while debating what to put on the back wall, and fruitlessly searching for pallets we could get for free, I suggested we look into laminate flooring instead.  This idea stemmed from my parents’ living room, where they installed hardwood flooring on their ceiling.  From there we picked out some laminate from Lowe’s, and got started cutting and installing!  We used liquid nails on the back of the boards, and then about 1/3 of the way up we started nailing in every other board as well, since they were starting to pull away from the wall.  Once they were all up, Daren used some caulk in a “cedar tan” color to fill in the edges where the boards met the side walls.  When that was finished, we painted and installed some new trim around the floor and the door frame.  After that, it was just a matter of reinstalling the toilet and sink (complete with a fun new faucet), and hanging up all the accessories that we had been stockpiling for months!

Now that it’s all finished, we absolutely love it, and it was totally worth the added work!  What do you guys think?

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