Monday, March 6, 2017

After Long Hiatus... Bathroom Flooring!

Well hello everyone! Clearly, it has been a LOOOOOONG time since I've posted. I'm so sorry to have neglected the blog! But hey... I think I had a decent excuse. Little did I know that on the date of my previous post (Dec. 29, 2015), I was a few days into pregnancy!!! Now I have a perfect, super healthy, almost 6-month-old little boy. He is the absolute best! I am beyond in love with that little man! I better move on because I could gush about that cutie all day.

So basically I spent 2016 pregnant and caring for a newborn. I did not do much to the house, but there were a few things... most recently, I redid the bathroom flooring! I am SO excited about it! Our house was previously flipped and sold - about 3 & 1/2 years ago. The flippers did a great job! They had a nice tile (or maybe vinyl tile?) flooring in the main bathroom. We'll never know what it was because the people we bought it from took it out and put in a wood laminate. It looked great, but you don't put wood laminate in an area of high moisture - unless maybe it's the moisture-resistant kind. This wasn't. Over the past 3 years, it began to bubble up in a few areas.

Here's a picture from the listing just after the flip (when the people we bought it from would have been house-shopping):

And here's a picture from the listing when we were house-shopping (note the wood laminate):

I had been researching and thinking about this for a few weeks. After getting home from a breakfast outing last weekend, I decided it was time. I immediately began tearing up the wood laminate - carefully removing the baseboard/trim first. It was fairly easy since all the pieces were small. You just have to be careful not to break any of the wood if you want to re-use it.

The reason I began removing the flooring BEFORE shopping for tile and supplies is that I needed to see what kind of material I'd be putting my tile over. If it was wood subfloor like it was the in the dining room (I'll write about that later...), then I'd need extra stuff to prep it. However, the wood laminate was placed over some very old, but still smooth, sheet vinyl. This was great because I did not need to fill any holes or grooves that I would in a wooden subfloor, etc. All I had to do was give the flooring a good deep cleaning. In removing the wood laminate, I also discovered that I needed to take the toilet off, as it was bolted over the flooring. While that's kind of a pain, it's the right way to do flooring in my opinion. Although caulking the edges would look ok if you can get the cuts perfect. I can't.

I forgot to take our own "before" picture, so here's a "in-the-midst" picture:

I bought one case of 12" x 24" peel and stick tiles, which had 20 sq. ft in it (10 tiles). Then I was able to purchase 2 extra tiles. It was the perfect amount. I used every tile. I also needed self-stick tile primer, and for the toilet: a new wax ring and set of nuts & bolts. I wanted to get the flooring done ASAP so I could put the toilet back on. It really didn't take long. It's a day or weekend job depending on the size of your room. Ours needed about 20-21 sq. ft. of flooring. The tile I bought can be grouted if you choose to. I didn't, and I'm very happy with the look. This is the tile I used (here). Full disclaimer: No, I am not officially promoting the tile nor do I receive any compensation for mentioning it. I'm just posting what I used.

I began to plan my layout/placement, starting with the middle of the room. I marked a line where the first tile would start and mapped out the rest, making quite a few cuts. I staggered the tiles so that their edges would line up with the center of the adjacent tile's long edge. The cutting is easy - you just use a sharp blade to cut through the top/facing of the tile then bend it back until it snaps. It's very resilient, so it bends back to normal with minimal pressure. I found it helpful to put blue painter's tape on the facing and mark where I would cut. That way my cuts would be more precise and straight.

After doing a "dry layout" (the mapping without actually applying tiles), I took everything out of the bathroom and scrubbed the old sheet vinyl. Once dry, I applied the primer using a low-nap paint roller. That took about 1.5 hr to dry, so I took a nice break. Once dry, I began applying the tiles. I saved SOME cuts for then, but most of it was done in advance. The actual application went very very quick! Once everything was in, I used white caulking on the edge near the tub. Then I put the baseboards back on and caulked the top edge where they meet the wall. The only thing I have left to do is to install some quarter-round on the edges where the flooring meets the cabinet. I could caulk those edges, but I think the quarter-round will have a more polished look.

So anyhow, here's the final look! *Note - we also painted the walls a greyish-teal color and installed the cabinet you see. That was done before and just after the move. Now seeing all the white, I may end up painting the cabinet a light grey. Not sure, but that's low on the priority list.

Has anyone else done bathroom flooring? Feel free to share tips and inspiration!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

DIY "Wainscoting"!!

Perhaps I should correct myself - I did not not the full wainscoting. It's more like picture frame moulding, but it was much easier and cut down on wood costs significantly! Before we moved into our house, I did the flooring in our dining room (I'll do a separate post on that later). Therefore, I felt very confident in tackling the decorative moulding in our dining room as well. Since I thrive under extreme pressure, I decided to begin the project 5 days before Christmas... and I hosted Christmas dinner... WHAT WAS I THINKING?! Anyhow, here's how it went:

For reference, here's how the previous owners had the dining room:

Here it is after we had it all set up. Don't mind my mess. I didn't think about taking pictures until I had already begun measuring and planning my picture frame moulding:

Clearly, I began decorating but then promptly stopped once I realized I wanted to tackle the project now!

The first thing I did was spackle anywhere there were dents, dings, and scratches in any walls. The previous owners had 2 large dogs and they did not take very great care of the house. Then, as seen above, I eyeballed the height I wanted the chair rail to be and marked that with painters tape with the help of my laser level. I measured the height from the top of the baseboard to the blue line and marked the adjacent wall with it. Then came the trickiest part - the measuring and calculating. The wall below the mirror was the easiest since there were no windows to work around. The rest of the walls have windows or doors to work around, so I couldn't just cut a bunch of same-sized frames and start to nailing - no no! The windows each have short rectangular frames with rectangles of various measurements filling up the rest of the walls. I had to do a lot of estimations followed by calculations and recalculations. I eventually decided on 3.5-inch gaps on all sides (above, below, and between each frame). I wanted the frames to be similar in size, so I calculated whether to do 3 or 4 frames on this wall or that and came to my average size of 18 inches wide (all about 18 inches in height as well). Then I marked my frames on the wall using painters tape:

*I should also mention that I laid down newspaper and used painters tape to protect the flooring before I began spackling, sanding, and wiping down the walls. However, I did not do this when I spackled our side entrance door, which is just left of the above photo. The result would be the white dust all over my dark floors! Woops! Thankfully a dust pan and a wet mop get that out!

Phew! Now that I had everything marked to make sure it looked as even as I imagined, I used my calculations to figure out how much chair rail and how much framing trim I would need. I added my 15% for excess and screw-ups (let's be honest - I knew I would cut something goofy somewhere!) and began a shopping list. Thankfully, a friend had let me borrow multiple of his power tools, including a compound mitre saw. Another friend had agreed to let me borrow his battery-powered nail gun with an in-tool air compressor and a safety! All I had to do was buy the nails I'd need (18 guage brad nails). I knew I wanted to have the whole bottom section white, so I bought some satin finish pure white paint, a few new brushes, etc. and then.... I began!

First, it's important to note that any time you are working with wood, it needs to sit in the room/house to acclimate (meaning it needs to get used to the temperature and humidity in your house). I let this stuff sit for 2 days, then got to cutting. I began with the chair rail. On longer walls, you'll want to separate the wood by cutting it at 45 degrees from the wall. This helps hide the cuts once it's finished. See here:

(Don't mind my finger partially in the picture^^, ha!)

Once I had that all set on all of the walls, I cut a piece of cardboard to 3.5-inches wide and used that as my guide to mark my boxes on every wall using pencil. After I marked everything, I went back and re-measured everything. "Measure twice; cut once!" I wrote all of my measurements down on a paper and set up shop in the basement, cutting all the trim then bringing the pieces upstairs. Thankfully this was super easy since all of the cuts were 45 degree angles. Then I used the nail gun to secure the boxes, piece by piece, onto the wall:

Silly outlet is not in the best place, but it works! It looks better than I thought it would. After all the pieces were secured to the wall, I used paintable caulking to fill in every nail hole and smooth out any gaps and corners, such as the following:

While I did go ahead and used paintable caulking, I would recommend something else. Maybe wood filler? The reasoning for that is that it's tough to get it smooth. If it's too wet, you'll wipe the caulking right back out of the hole. If you wait a little longer, it's too dry, and you can't wipe it at all. I suppose you could sand it to smooth it out. I don't know. I'll probably go back with wood filler one of these days here, but I needed to get this done before Christmas, and I just did not have the time to worry about it right now! (I know, shame on me for not taking the time to do it just right). Alas, I learned some new things. 

Finally, we painted the bottom portion white and the top portion taupe. It took 3 coats of white and 2 coats of taupe. Here is the final product, which was all ready for Christmas Day!

And here is my lovely Christmas dinner tablescape:

I'll have to do a Christmas home tour, even though it's already past Christmas. I still have everything up of course, so I better hop to it, huh?! 

I hope you found my tips helpful, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave 'em below! Happy Holidays to you and yours! :) 

Follow me on instagram: @house_of_meehan

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Introducing Katie!

Hi there! I'm Katie. I'm a newlywed who loves to bake, decorate, and all that other good stuff.  We (myself and my husband Michael) just bought our first house. I've always been super into home decor and interior design, but I always rented. Therefore I couldn't do exactly what I wanted. Now that we own, I'm going nuts with projects! I plan to update the  blog regularly as I do certain projects, update my decor, and various other things. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here are some other fun notes about me!

  • I'm from Pittsburgh, but I grew up in northern TX. 
  • We have a sweet lil' pup named Jasper. He's our pride and joy.
  • I am obsessed with Starbucks! (Who isn't?)
  • I used to be a florist, so naturally I did my own wedding flowers.
  • I DIY almost everything - keep checking in for step-by-step projects!