House Addition : Post #2 The upstairs

WOW!  2 posts in 2 weeks – that’s got to be the first time in 4 years!  I got so wordy in my last post, I felt like it made sense to separate the upstairs and down.  The upstairs doesn’t require as much explanation since it’s all new construction.  It’s pretty much your straight forward bedroom and bathrooms.  BUT bathrooms = design decisions!  The downstairs is all about blending into the original house.  The kitchen is almost untouched as is the downstairs bathroom.  The upstairs though has 2 new bathrooms!!  Marble, Tile, and Fixtures, Oh My!

This is the layout of our current upstairs living space.  I did some work on it last year after we moved upstairs and I’ve been meaning to post – but it’s never been clean enough! Ha!  It’s the dumping ground for whatever we don’t want downstairs.  Though I’m determined to get it cleaned and photographed before it’s ripped out.  I need something to show for the work I did up there :)


The whole upstairs will be torn out.  And replaced with this!


We are building a full upstairs.  At the top of the stairs there will be a laundry room to the left followed by a bathroom.

The kids bathroom will have a bit more drama.  I’m trying to give it a modern feel mixed with the warmth of some traditional elements and materials.  Here are some bathrooms that I am totally drawn to.

I’ve purchased a pair of the gold sconces, they were the first purchase!  The white tile is definitely a must, and for this bathroom dark grout.  I can’t decide though to go with the more traditional 3×6 or go with the trending square tile.  I really like the square, but almost feel like it’s too cool for me.  The other option which I am most leaning toward is the 12×4 white tile, though nervous it might be a bit too linear.  Hmm…I’ll put off that decision.  I’ll use a hit of marble, probably on the vanity, and then I really want to use Benjamin Moore’s Tarrytown Green on the lower 2/3-3/4 wall, and some pattern on the top.  That will have to be a whole post in itself.  I may have backed myself into a corner on that.

I’m still a bit stumped on the floor.  Trying to come up with something awesome!  It’s my excuse to do some tile patterning.

At the end of the hallway there will be a bedroom on either side.  The front one will be larger, so will definitely have to be the bunkbed room!  To the right of the stairs will be the master…wait for it…SUITE!  I know, right?! Crazy.  I honestly can’t even image what that’s going to be like.  Probably like living in a luxury hotel.  A bathroom – steps from the bed.  Total Luxury!  It’s been years of having to go up and down stairs in the middle of the night.

My master bath pins are really all over the place.  Usually with most boards I can see a general theme that leads me to a pretty good idea of direction.  I will say there is a definitely theme though of white subway tile and marble.  I’m not a fan of all marble.  And for that matter, neither is my pocket $$, so I’ll try to use it more as accents.


source unknown


source unknown

And then really – any bathroom by Studio McGee




I haven’t quite pulled a board together for the master bathroom.  It will though be a bit more traditional that the kids bathroom.  I still need a dose of moodiness, I just haven’t figured out how exactly.  Also a dose of warmth.  I want to add some wood, but can’t decide which should be floor, and which should be vanity.  If floor – I’m looking into the luxury vinyl plank flooring.  It’s water resistant now!

And there will be a closet!  I haven’t had a closet in years.  I tried to do a makeshift one in an old bookshelf, but I mainly throw all my clothes on an ottoman in the corner of the room.  Again – Total  Luxury.

Structurally on the backside of the house we had to build supports to carry the upper floor.  At the suggestion of our contractor we will use the supports for a deck off the master bedroom.  I kind of went back and forth on whether it made sense.  It doesn’t seem like something that will get a lot of use.  It’s usually dark by the time I get some to sit and relax.  But after thinking it over, I grabbed the ladder and climbed on the roof to check out the view.  It’s actually not bad at all!  I was pleasantly surprised by how much greenery there was.  And I think there will be a peek a boo mountain view!  Jesse says it’s not a “view,” but if you can see it – it’s a view!  The more and more I think about it though, I think I can find time to enjoy it ;)

The plans have a fireplace in the master bedroom, but that’s an optional..which is a bit $$.  The chimney will be there, so we can always do it down the road.  It too seems glorious, but same train of thought – “when am I really going to sit and relax in front of a bedroom fireplace.”  Maybe when the kids are in high school…ha!  We’ll see.

I’ll post more on bathrooms as I get decisions hammered out.  I think I’m pretty ahead of things, seeing as though we still have 4-5 months before anything starts.  Blah!  Why can’t it be tomorrow?!



House Addition : Post #1 The Beginning

Welcome!  I’m back.  We are going to be adding a pretty large size addition to our house this next spring, so what better place to document our progress.  We are currently in the permitting stage.  We will be starting construction in February or March.  I’m telling myself there is a good chance it’ll be April – we’ll see.  We definitely have a ways to go, which gives me time to drive myself in circles over all the design decisions.

I’ve become completely obsessed, so the blog is going to be my metal dump on all the options, decisions, and inspiration.  Hope you enjoy being along for the ride.

As a side note – I’m working on reviving this blog.  It’s going to take a while to re-familiarize myself with it and how to even use it, while probably going though some theme changes.  You know how you have to buy yourself a new outfit to start running?  That’s how I feel about blog page themes and posting.  :)  So bare with me.

As another side note – I’ve created a new instagram @betterremade, which you should definitely follow.

I suppose to start, I’ll explain what we are doing…from the beginning.  I apologize in advance.  This wordy, but I figured I had to just lay a base.  I’ve split the posts into the lower floor, and then I’ll post a shorter upstairs post later this week.



I found this most adorable drawing that I did earlier this year when we started down the path of exploring an addition.  Isn’t it cute?!  Still a bit modest, I thought a very cute house.  I especially loved that it wasn’t a full 2 stories, but still more like 1 1/2 stories – seemed very proportional.


But now…here we are.  Quite a bit different, and quite a bit larger. I blame it all on the foundation.  Long story short, our foundation wasn’t strong enough to just go up, so we have to build a few foundation.  The new foundation will be poured 6 feet in front of the existing house.  By doing that, we can build back on to the original house allowing the new foundation to take most of the weight load.

The windows and trim aren’t totally accurate.  Don’t worry – I am keeping myself up with that!  The placement is correct, but trim options and window options with different pane layouts are driving me in circles.

My biggest intention, besides the obvious needing more square footage, was to pull the house together to look like it was built just once, as one house, instead of the 3 part renovation that it truly will be.  Here are some photos of the house’s evolution.

original house 1

Original (1939)


How we bought the house (2009)


Where we are now

The living room was added on decades ago, in what I think was a pretty awkward manner.  My goal is to pull the house back together to look completely cohesive.

I digressed.  Back to the plan.

Because of the larger downstairs footprint, the upstairs will be larger as well.  Once things started, it was like, “well if we are going this, I guess we should do this…”  Originally we were just thinking of 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom upstairs.  But

Here is the current downstairs


Initially we were thinking of leaving this pretty much the same, but flipping the stairs so that you’d go up from the dinning room instead of through the kitchen.


But instead we are removing the staircase completely and pushing the kitchen wall to the back bedroom.  The kitchen will be about 10 feet wide so we will be able to fit a large island in the center.  The backdoor will open directly into the kitchen, which will be awesome for outdoor grilling.  The staircase will be rebuilt in the entry.

I’ve always dreamed of having a staircase in the entryway.  My main reason – I want to be able to drape garland over it at Christmas time.  Big deal!  I know.  Almost on par with a second bathroom.

Coming up with the plans definitely required us to think about how we live, and how we want the house to function – currently as well as the kids get older.  I’m hoping that the layout will be able to evolve.

We’ll be able to have a large island in the kitchen.  We won’t put it in right away.  We’ll continue the hardwoods into the kitchen, and I think in the beginning just have the table in the kitchen.  I’d like to live a bit in the kitchen before deciding on the dimensions and what kind of clearance well want around.  Oh – and then there is also the details of budget.  We are putting off whatever we can to finish at a later date.

As the kids are young, and into teen years, well honestly and beyond, I envision a lot of kitchen island eating.  I’d love to have the kitchen open to a family room style room.  The plan above shows a dining room table, but with the expanded space, I’m thinking we’ll be able to turn that into a family room with TV.

The living room is being expanded by 6 feet, but the new staircase will cut in a bit to the space, giving it somewhat of an awkward space.  Honestly, I’m completely terrified this won’t work, and I will have ruined the floorplan, but I’m hoping that we can fit the dining room table, along with with 2 small love seats to have a quiet conversation area away from the TV and toy filled family room.

The back bedroom will have a pocket door into the kitchen, as well as it’s original doorway.  That room will function as a playroom AKA dumping zone for all the bright plastic toys.

I really wanted to create separate living spaces – an intimate conversation area, a loungy TV/family room, and then a playroom, which I see changing as the kids get older, and more importantly as I am able to purge toys.  As much as I love this little house, it’ll be really nice to be able hang at the house, without all having to be in same room – which is pretty much how life is now.  It’s been great as toddlers, I always know where they are and what they are doing.  But soon, they aren’t going to want to be in the same room.

So I think that’s enough for this post.  I’ll get the upstairs post a bit later this week.

Have a great week!



{Kid Post} Photo Decal Toy Bags

Our house has completely exploded with toys.  Not only was there Christmas, but there was also a baby brother which meant Lucy completely cleaned up!  And now at 2.5 years old, she is entering into the stage of little toys and figurines with many pieces, which end up littered all over.

IMG_3938I was struggling to come up with a solution because each set of toys wasn’t really large enough for their own container, but when I came across small drawstring bags, they seemed to be the perfect size.  I ordered a pack of (10) 8×10″ drawstring muslin bags and then happened to have some photo transfer paper on hand.  With toy photos on the front, Lucy would be able to tell what was in each bag, and possibly clean them back up into the right bags.

IMG_3489Originally I was going to take photos of the toys, which you can do, but then realized how much easier it would be to use Amazon for the images.  Got to love Amazon!  I printed the images onto the transfer paper.IMG_7747Don’t forget to flip if you have numbers or letters.  I skipped it thinking I didn’t have any, until they printed and there’s a 123 on the spaceship…whoops!  Then just print, cut, iron, and peel!IMG_7751

They are seriously just about the easiest things to make.

Better Remade I Toy BagsShe actually enjoyed sorting the toys into the right bags.  Such a helper (sometimes)IMG_3497Now I am looking for more toys to bag up!  Anything lying around is getting a bag shortly…everything needs a home!  It’s kind of addicting, it’s easy clean up, plus with those drawstrings you can carry a bunch of bags at once.

Loving this!

Better Remade I Photo Decal Bags

{Better Remade} Lucy’s New Bed

We’ve been in the middle of this big bedroom shuffle.  Jesse and I are in the upstairs on our mattress on the floor.  Turns out the box spring doesn’t fit, so we will have to deal with that when we come to it.  Funny how what use to be a priority is anything but.  I haven’t given our room much thought.  Instead, it’s all been about getting Lucy into her new room (our old one), so that Zach could have the crib and get used to sleeping in his new room (Lucy’s old one), and not next to use in the bassinet on the floor.

My aunt found this old white toddler bed at a neighbors garage sale.  It’s a perfect size little bed for Lucy, but I really wanted to jazz it up a bit.  I thought something with color, and something different.  I kind of like the look of a tufted bed.  For a toddler it seems a little ridiculous, but I think that’s why I like it…out of the ordinary.  This is the before of the bed frame.


I cut some 1/4in plywood that I had in the garage to cover the bars.  I upholstered each piece.  The head board has 1 inch foam, and the foot board has 1/2 inch foam.  I covered with a heavy white cotton from an old ikea curtain panel.  IMG_3330

I glued a some wood to the back panel that would fit through the bed frame.  I screwed the front and back panels together along those rails.IMG_3333

Once the back panels was in place, I laid down the front panel.IMG_3334 Then using some wood screws, I screwed through the top panel, through the fabric, foam, and plywood into the frame and the rails connecting to the back panel.  IMG_3345I found the gold buttons at Joanns Fabric.  They are hollow buttons that I cut the back off of.  The bottom fits perfectly onto the screw.  Once all the screws were in place, I used a hot glue gun to fill the buttons and place them over the screws as little caps.  Better Remade I Toddler Bed Makeover Then we reassembled!  Lucy likes to help, of course she chipped the paint, but I just have to be ok with that.  Seeing as though it’s a toddler bed, I’m sure it will get much more abuse. IMG_3447

And Voila!IMG_7720 IMG_7722

Here is a side shot of how the panels fit against the bed frame.IMG_7713IMG_7709

The foot board is smaller so I gave it a more simplified tuft pattern.IMG_7725  IMG_7710 IMG_7706 I think Lucy likes it because she can ride it like a horse.  She kept calling out “giddy up!”IMG_3465

You didn’t really think that the bed looks that clean, did you?!  No, of course not.  We put the bed up against the wall with the rail while she is getting used it, then of course she has to have all her little stuffed animals with her in bed.  It’s like a little farm in there.IMG_7718No new update on the upstairs.   We had some contractors come and have gotten bids, but still trying to decide between them, and working on figuring out if we want to tackle the permitting process on our own.  Still excited about the possibilities, but trying to be realistic about the time frame.



A Room Undone

It’s amazing to me after putting so much time into creating a room how quickly it can be undone.  I spent hours and hours working on putting our bedroom together.  I hung a full wall of curtains to block the window in order to center the bed.  I definitely a center and balance kind of person.

IMG_1166 Better Remade I BedroomZach has been sleeping in a little bassinet between my side of the bed and the wall.  But he really needs his own room.  He sounds like a little animal, constantly grunting and moaning…it’s kind of cute though.

Our plan is to move our bedroom upstairs, move Lucy into our room, and Zach into hers.  Our bedroom is slightly larger, so we can hopefully stash more toys and books in there as well.  I’m working on finishing up her toddler bed and Zach will be passed down the crib.

Our hope is to get a bathroom put in upstairs.  We might only be able to do a half bath, but definitely better than no bath.  We’ll see.  Hopefully some contractors will be by this afternoon to take a look and I’ll have more information in the next week.

Until then we decided to get started on getting things in order.  This was how the room looked years ago.  It was 90% man den, 10% stash zone.


But over the past few years, we’ve used it less.  We stayed downstairs a lot more in order to hear Lucy. The room became 90% stash zone, 10% man den.

IMG_3236Yikes, right?!  The upstairs was my dirty secret.  I kept meaning to deal with it, but this summer it was so incredibly hot and stuffy.  Then by fall, I was so big, I could barely climb the stairs.

Not sure when construction could get started, we did what we could to hold ourselves over.  We moved the couch out to the garage, and the bed up stairs.  Unfortunately the box spring did not fit through the doorway and up the stairs due to the steep angle.  The mattress barely made it.  We’ll have to revisit the bed when things come together, but until then this is our temporary sleeping quarters.  The tape on the wall is where we are thinking of putting a wall up for the bathroom.

IMG_3321And then our room, waiting for Lucy.

IMG_3319The room feels so light and spacious without a huge queen bed in the center.  We are waiting to move her in until we can replace the windows.  They are painted shut, are not sealed making the room about 5-10 degrees cooler than the rest of the house.  I think that the curtain wall definitely helped insulate it a bit.

So, this is where we find ourselves this week.  I’ve had to come to terms with the chaos, and be okay have half my bedroom upstairs and half downstairs.  But it’s progress!  And I’ve purged about a car’s worth of stuff to Goodwill.  That definitely felt good!



{A New Year} Let’s try this again

It’s always a struggle to start blogging after a long delay.  I’ve started so many posts in my head, but never got to a computer or put them in writing.  I had an Fall Decor post, a Halloween costume post, and a few Christmas posts, but now that the holidays have come and gone, there is no point.  I might use them next season, so don’t be surprised if I am enormous…it was hard to find a maternity costume.

I especially thought that I’d get in at least one holiday post, but you can tell from this photo that not much got accomplished.  With the exception of the tree, this seriously was the extent of our holiday decorating.  I put the Christmas decoration box on the dining room side board.  I was intending to style the sideboard and do a whole post on building it, but it only got 3 little trees, a lamp displaced by the Christmas tree, and the decorations box.

IMG_2760Now I will have to style it up with normal things.  Christmas is much easier for styling since I have boxes full of “things.” Well, a post is due.

But until then, I suppose since it is the New Year, I should start by sharing our biggest change around here.

family photo(I should note – it was Movember, which is the only reason Jesse is rocking the sick stache)

We had a baby!  This is baby Zach, born November 18th.  So, now the 2 hours I get from Lucy’s nap is spent on the couch feeding, burping, and rocking this one.  By the time I get him down for a nap, Lucy is up from hers.    It’s pretty great though getting to just stare down at this little face!  Thank goodness for Bravo on Demand, I’ve been able to catch up on my Real Housewives.

FullSizeRenderI was such a horrible mother for not even having a matching stocking for him.  JoAnn’s blank felt stockings are a different shade this year, so now I have to figure things out for next year, but I have a whole 11 months to figure that out.

IMG_2761I’m going to attempt to get back on track.  To be a serious blogger (which I most likely will never be) I know they say to post regularly, and that has become difficult over the past 6 months…though I think about it regularly.  It was still a shock when i got my “blogging year in review” report and I only posted 6 times last year.  A reasonable goal I suppose might be 12, that’s monthly, and that’s regular, right?

I have a few projects that I still need to post, and then we have quite a bit coming up this next year, so I’d like to get back on track so that I can share with family and friends and family.  Our biggest project is going to be remodeling our upstairs.  We are hoping to add a bathroom upstairs and create a small master suite, and do a big bedroom swap.  Currently I am working on getting some bids, so hopefully in the next few weeks I will know more.  Until then I will get some before photos taken and get them posted!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas Season and Happy New Year!   I’ll be back with more soon!





{DIY} Rolling Kitchen Cart

Our house was listed as having an “in kitchen eating nook.”  It makes me laugh, it was basically a section of counter without cabinets.  It was an odd space.  This photo is obviously an after, but you get the idea of the space I was working with :)

I had come to the realization that what the space really needed was a kitchen cart that could do double duty as storage as well, but that could roll out if I needed additional prep space, and most importantly a bar cart for parties.  Though I’ve now realized that with a toddler, those have become much more rare!  But also makes storage that much more important :)

Better Remake I Kitchen CartMost kitchen carts though are counter height, which makes sense, but not what I needed.  I kept looking, but besides the configuration, I couldn’t find anything in the style I wanted.  I wanted something that had clean lines and would match the shaker style of our kitchen cabinets.  I wanted it clean, classic, somewhat contemporary, but with a little rustic edge.  I then figured just a clean cabinet with rustic legs would work.  I took a look around the house/yard, and realized that with all the scrap wood I have, I should be able to put something together.  I even had old 4×4 posts which would make for great legs!

Better RemadeI specifically wanted 2 large drawers.   One for my “junk” – bills, letters, all that stuff that should be filed and put away, but never have the energy for.  And the lower for kid dish ware.  We had been sharing our “Asian Food Drawer” which holds our sake set, bamboo mats, and seaweed paper.  Doesn’t everyone have one of those :)  Instead I wanted a big drawer that I could just throw all the dishware into straight from the dishwasher.

Better RemadeI had thought about looking for a lower cabinet section to build a cart around, but nothing could be found with that configuration, so from scratch it was.  I won’t mention how when I was just about complete I found one in IKEA as-is for $80.  I had to walk past pretending I didn’t see it.

First came building the drawer frame and the drawers.

better remadeFlat drawer fronts.better remadeFraming the drawer fronts to match our shaker cabinets.

better remadeUsing old 4×4 posts from the little shed carport demo I built legs to frame the cabinet, along with a set of 4″ caster wheels I found at Lowes. better remade better remadeThis was where things were left for a while.  I needed a counter top.  I envisioned a butcher block, but instead of buying at IKEA, I thought I would be patient and try the Restore.  I didn’t quite check in as often as I had hoped, and they never had a thing!  Sounds like the butcher block goes out as quickly as it comes in.

better remadeI was just reminded how long it’s really been when I found this in my instagram feed.

better remade I kitchen cart13 months!  It sat in the kitchen, incredibly useful, but not quite in bar cart shape.  I had the drawers in place, but no top.  The drawers are both incredibly full, and doing their job!  Kitchen before paint, concrete counters, and tile backsplash.

IMG_5369I finally came to the realization this last winter that I should just buy the IKEA butcher block counters.  I’m getting desperate to finished all my unfinished projects!  Problem is, they seem to be on continuous back order.  I checked back online a few times a week, and then finally I found that they were expecting a small shipment the following week.  Obviously I planned my week around getting down there and getting those counters!

It was so rewarding, just the smallest little addition to complete my cart.  Let’s not talk about the fact that when I put the top on the cart was 1/8″ too tall to fit under the counter!  I had to remove the wheels, and trim 1/4″ off the posts.  Then drilled the holes too large for the wheel posts so had to glue in a dowel and redrill.  I saw the finish line and just ran too fast toward it…I  just wanted to be done!

Better Remade I Kitchen Cart

Better Remade I Kitchen CartKid kitchenware drawer-Better Remade I Kitchen CartMy drawer – which incidentally, Jesse tried to suggest I put some extra pans that were floating around in my drawer.  I quickly said “no way!  This is MY drawer!”Better Remade I Kitchen CartSlides perfectly under the counter.Better Remade I Kitchen Cart

And rolls perfectly out to the deck!Better Remade I Kitchen Cart Better Remade I Kitchen CartIt fits just under the kitchen window which makes for a great pass through window for food, drinks, and grilling!!  Better Remade I Kitchen CartNext up…I’m actually finishing a second one for a friend!  I’m exited about that one because I was able to find an old beat up cabinet from the Restore to use.  I’ll definitely post it once finished!  SO Close!