DIY Bathroom Updates and How to Build Your Own Bathroom Mirrors

Design Lively Bathroom Renovation

If we know how to do anything, it’s draw out a renovation.

We started our bathroom reno about 6 months ago, and are almost crossing the finish line! The bathroom has been 80% done since early summer, and since then we’ve slowly added the last finishing pieces.

We had originally planned to build out custom recessed medicine cabinets, and had the plasterers leave empty boxes that we could build them into. The whole plan ended up being a big fat fail – the boxes were too low for my tall husband to see his own forehead in the mirror and the the boxes were so low that the doors would end up being blocked by our tall sink faucets. It was a lose-lose situation and decided the best way forward was to scratch the recessed cabinets. Unfortunately this meant needed to add blue board, spackle over the entire wall, and re-sand, re-prime, and re-paint.

 

Design Lively Bathroom Renovation

We finally got around to sealing all the marble in the tile, counter top, and floor. First we patched up a few small air holes in the grout, and then cleaned the floor and grout thoroughly once last time before sealing all the marble surfaces three times (fully drying in between). After the last coat of seal had dried, the marble looked like there were small water marks everywhere. But don’t worry – it’s normal! You just need to buff up the marble with a chamois and it will shine up. Marble stains easily so it’s important to take the time to seal it thoroughly.

 

bath6(I can’t tell you why my beach tote was in the bathtub at this moment…)

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One of my favorite parts of the bathroom was our decision to tile the shower ceiling! I think it looks great and the tile will help further protect the shower ceiling from moisture damage.

Next came making decisions for a shower rod. The straight rod had nice clean lines which matched the pencil trim and looked sharp, but the bowed curtain won out in the end. They really do add so much space inside! This one in the picture was just a placeholder though. After we decided to go with a rounded curtain rod, we ordered one online that could be drilled directly into the marble and not have those big honky ovals on the end.

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Next we installed the hardware on the bathroom vanity. I love the hardware we got from Lowe’s. It’s a pewter color with small rope detailing – I love ‘em. (I’ll share a full source list when I do a final before/after post.) See this post to see how we installed hardware on the vanity.

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But the BEST part was making our new mirrors!! By making the mirrors ourselves we could choose the perfect size for the least amount of cash. After measuring out the best size mirror and measuring out the two inch mirror trim, we set out to find a custom mirror cutter.

Most glass companies also cut mirrors, but Lowe’s ended up being the cheapest. Most employees at Lowe’s will tell you that they don’t cut mirrors - but they do! We finally found the old guy at Lowe’s that remembers that, yes, they actually do cut mirrors. Just apparently not very often.

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Here is 2″ trim cut to size with a 1″ overhang for the mirror to tuck into.

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Heavy Duty Interior & Exterior Liquid Nails for sticking the mirrors to the wall. Draw pencil lines on the wall with where you want to hang the mirror so you know where to stick it. Have a level ready to make sure everything is straight.

Since this was a raw-cut mirror, we needed gloves to protect our hands. Lowe’s wrapped it up in brown paper for a painless store-to-home transfer, but it’s still a good idea to wear gloves.

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This is definitely a two-person job. As one person holds up the mirror (as Liquid Nails begins to work it’s magic), the other will need to start adding the pieces of trim and making sure they are level.

To make sure your nail gun doesn’t hit and possibly shatter your brand new mirror, use a ruler to make sure you are nailing outside of the mirror overhang.

 

 

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Voila! One more time and we’ve got ourselves his and hers mirrors.

Next up is spackling the nail holes and caulking the edges (which I actually did this weekend!). We’ve made even more progress this last week, so hopefully I’ll have more to share soon! YEAHHH useable bathroom! #finishline #almostthere

 

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

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How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

Due to my blogging break, I’m a bit back-logged in posts. I don’t mind looking at pictures of nice and sunny summer days with this cold weather we’re having this week. I hope you don’t mind either!

Nantucket in September is the ideal beach getaway. The crowds have dissipated, the ocean has grown warmer from a summer’s worth of sunshine, and it’s not so hot that you want to curl up next to an air conditioner. The days are pleasant and the nights are cool. Call me crazy, but September really is my favorite beach month!

I’m forever indebted to my island gal pal Jill for introducing me to Nantucket a few years ago – I’m hooked! I’ve written about Nantucket before, but I wanted to share my photos from this last trip. It was a stunner and a great way to wrap up summer.

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

There are many things to do on Nantucket (like the Whaling Museum, live theater, the farmer’s market, visiting Bartlett’s Farm, Cisco Breweries, Farm, and countless restaurants), but we logged most of our time enjoying the sand and sunshine, taking our rental Jeep on lots of the beaches, and playing cards.

Many of the things that make Nantucket so wonderful are the very things that make it difficult to do inexpensively. Travel and housing will be your biggest expenses are aren’t really negotiable. I’ve tried to include some extra tips below because it’s totally worth the trip!

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

Where to Stay on Nantucket:

Finding affordable lodgings on Nantucket is the hardest part of planning a trip on a budget. We’ve always stayed in a bed & breakfast because the prices tend to be better. Most establishments will have a 2 or 3 night minimum stay required. If you call the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce the week of your visit, they may be able to help place you for a 1 night stay where hotels may have some last minute availability.

I like to stay at the Scallop Inn. It’s nothing fancy, but breakfast is included, rooms are comfortable and it’s within walking distance of town which is convenient for carrying luggage from the ferry and being near many restaurants and shops in the evening. It’s one of the better prices I’ve seen offered in comparison to other Nantucket B&Bs. In general, you should expect to pay at least $150/night and know that out-of-season prices differ between B&Bs, but typically don’t start until October.

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

Where to Eat on Nantucket:

There are so many restaurant options on Nantucket! It’s amazing considering how far out into the ocean Nantucket is. Although our B&B included breakfast, we decided to try the famous Nantucket breakfast spot Black Eyed Susan’s. Notoriously known for their long lines and fiercely delicious fare, it held up to the hype. My sourdough french toast was fantastic and we got there early enough (7:30am) to skip the crowd.

I always like to frequent the wallet-friend 1840s whaling bar, The Brotherhood of Thieves. They serve excellent calamari and massive burgers. For dinner we tried Straight Wharf Restaurant and loved the seafood! The menu is constantly changing and locally sourced. We braved the weather and sat outside in the drizzle because it was a little loud inside.

Lastly, all seasoned Nantucket-ers tell me that no trip to the island is complete without a trip to the Juice Bar for homemade ice cream. If only I could figure out how to get them to bring back the Snickerdoodle flavor ice cream I had a few years ago.

How to Get to Nantucket:

To get to Nantucket you can either fly, take the high-speed ferry, or the traditional ferry. I prefer to take the Steamship Authority’s traditional ferry. It’s the most economical way to get there – $35 versus $70 to the fast ferry. Although the slow ferry (2 hours) takes longer than the fast ferry (1 hour), I think it goes by quickly. On a beautiful sunny morning I couldn’t think of doing anything better than sitting out of the roof deck with breakfast and coffee! You can save money on your tickets by buying a booklet of 10 ferry passes, or check out Groupon. I prefer taking the Steamship Authority to the Hyline, because I think the boat is nicer and has better seating options, but timing and prices are generally the same.

And maybe you will be treated to nature’s show on the way home:

How to Plan A Weekend in Nantucket

 

Have you been to Nantucket? Any recommendations for me?

I’m hoping to go again in the spring sometime when all the roses are in bloom!

 

Unplugged

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For a while I’ve been toying with the idea of “unplugging” for a time, and it just happened naturally the last two months. Sometimes I find myself reading about or looking at pictures of things I’m interested in more often than actually doing them. The internet is a fascinating and dangerous hole. We all need to take care that we’re not window shoppers of our own passions.

Having spent several of the fall weekends traveling, hosting company, or getting over being sick, fall is quickly passing me by. (November? Seriously?) My time of unplugging was spent with friends and family, finishing house projects I didn’t want to deal with, and starting projects that I really did want to (my first real quilt!).

It was easier than I thought it would be to step away from the computer, but I am ready to be back. I missed writing!

Happy November!

Finger Lakes Favorites

The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes

I love the rolling farms, beauty, and quietness of the Finger Lakes. It’s easy to spend an entire weekend and never leave the house – between kayaking, hammock-reading, waterskiing, third-cup-of-coffeeing, s’moreing and floating – it’s an active weekend if we manage to bring out the croquet set or Settlers of Catan. Heck, going for a morning run (past horse and buggies no less) is a victory in my book!

Here are a few of my favorite things to do (when I do manage to leave the water!):

 

I love poking around The Windmill  on a Saturday morning for some marketing shopping / junk hunting. With a mixture of everything from homemade Mennonite loaves of bread, to handmade jewelry, to festival food tents, to vintage dishes, to t-shirts with wolves on them, you’ll find a wide assortment of goods at the Windmill. Parking is free and it’s worth checking out for an hour or two.

 

The Finger Lakes  - The Windmill

 

The Finger Lakes - The Windmill

The Finger Lakes - The Windmill

The Finger Lakes - The Windmill

The Finger Lakes - The Windmill

The Finger Lakes - The Windmill

I’m totally biased when it comes to Belhurst Castle – I love it because we got married here! The Belhurst grounds are beautiful. The original castle was once a speak-easy, and is now home to two restaurants, gift shop, wine-tasting, hotel, and spa. They have a big brunch here on weekends, or you can grab dinner at Stonecutter’s restaurant in front of a fire pit. And, in case you’re in the market, it’s a great place for a wedding!

The Finger Lakes - Belhurst Castle

Fox Run Winery is a beautiful winery on Seneca Lake just south of Geneva. Wine tasting is popular all throughout the Finger Lakes, but I love Fox Run for it’s delicious cafe and front balcony with gorgeous views. We had our Rehearsal Dinner here in the barrel room and it was a blast! Fox Run is also home of the annual Garlic Festival (which I still have yet to make it to!).

The Finger Lakes - Fox Run

The Finger Lakes - Fox Run The Finger Lakes - Fox Run
The Finger Lakes

If you are in the Finger Lakes in July or August, you must go blueberry picking! Not only is it supremely relaxing, but you can get organic blueberries for $1.99/pound! My favorite place to go is Serendipity. I love blueberry picking not only for the delicious fruit, but also the lovely wildflowers!

The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes

Looking for other things to do in the Finger Lakes? Try hiking Grime’s Glen, eating at the Airport Diner, picking apricots, or hiking in Watkin’s Glen.

I can never decide if I love lakes or oceans more. Does one really need to choose?

An Afternoon in Stockbridge

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A few weeks ago we took a road trip pit-stop in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. I’ve been out in the Berkshires only twice, once for cross-country skiing in the middle of the winter, and for a James Taylor concert at Tanglewood. Both times driving through the surround area was a big lovely tease! After all these years of speeding through the Berkshires on our way to visit family, it was time to check it out.

The town of Stockbridge is a sleepy quasi-resort Americana town. Beyond the beautiful Berkshires, the area is best known for being the adult home of famous American Painter Norman Rockwell.
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We stopped at the Elm Street Market for lunch, as the Yelp-recommended Once Upon a Table restaurant had already closed for the afternoon. The sandwiches were nothing to write home about, but if you are going on a picnic (or have arrived to Tanglewood unprepared) the Market has lots of picnic-size fixings.
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There were a few small shops to pop into which, naturally, were filled with Norman Rockwell souvenirs. I’m hoping to return this winter for another ski trip and make sure I visit the Norman Rockwell Museum next time! (Information for admission and museum hours here.)

source: The Norman Rockwell Museum

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But my favorite reason to head out to western Mass is to visit Tanglewood! Tanglewood is an outdoor amphitheater with gorgeous Berkshire views from every angle! It’s widely known as the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. James Taylor also plays at Tanglewood every 4th of July – which is a blast if you can make it! There is a concert hall area with traditional seating, but why do that when you can picnic on the lawn!? Picnic-ers go all out – with small tables and champagne and candelabras.

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Stockbridge13

Does it get more classic America than James Taylor and Norman Rockwell? Everyone has a different favorite Norman Rockwell painting. He has so many amazing pieces – some powerful, some silly. I had this one hanging in my bedroom growing up.

What’s your favorite Norman Rockwell painting?