Dale Project Bathroom

Dale Project Bathroom

Occasionally, a project will have vintage bathroom fixtures that we can incorporate into our remodel. If not, there is always the option of donating the items to a worthwhile organization like Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore. Unfortunately, the Dale Project bathroom’s blue porcelain vanity and bathtub were too damaged for either of those options.

Dale Bath Before

Sometimes a room just needs a fresh start…

Dale Bath

Monday Metamorphosis

Monday Metamorphosis

Monday Metamorphosis

These are Before and After pictures from the lower unit of a property that our kids have named, “The Madison Mansion.”

Madison Bath Before

Madison Bath Before

Madison Bath After

Madison Bath After

Nancy Drew is a Verb

Craig and I thoroughly enjoy remodeling homes for resale. The properties we choose are loaded with potential especially if they have been neglected. It is tempting to pull out all the stops and transform each home into a dream house. Budget? Pshaw!

HGTV Dream Home 2009

Thankfully, we have a system in place to keep from overdoing it. Before we purchase a property to remodel, we have already decided 1) what rooms to rehab and 2) the extent of the rehab.

Rooms to Rehab:

The process of deciding whether or not to remodel a specific room depends largely its current condition. We ask questions like:

Are there wood floors under that carpet?

Will paint alone be enough?

Are the kitchen cabinets salvageable?

Is that a load bearing wall?

Extent of Rehab

The extent to which we rehab a home depends largely on its neighborhood. We always plan to be the nicest house in our price range but not excessively so. The MLS has a wealth of information about real estate neighborhoods. So we put on our sleuthing hats and scope out River Heights.

We investigate similar homes that have sold recently as well as homes currently on the market in the neighborhood. Pictures on the MLS listings offer information such as:

What type of countertops are in the kitchens of this neighborhood?

Are the shower walls tile or a plastic surround?


Does it have a garage?

That's our daughter #2!

After we “Nancy Drew” the remodel project, we practice self-control. A kitchen can still be beautiful without granite counters. It allows us to keep the price of certain homes within reach of more families.

Sleuth and budget. Works every time.

Linked to:
Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage


Bath, Beadboard & Brian

Bath, Beadboard & Brian

A bathroom is one of my favorite rooms to rehab. The goal is to create a cheerful, relaxing space, often on a strict budget. Julia, at Hooked On Houses.com, has a post today correlating the “happiness” of a home to how light-filled it is. We did just that on our latest project.


The bathroom window brings in soft light, but the room still felt dim. Much of the light was sucked up by the dark linoleum on the floor. Also, the cabinets overhead were great for storage but made the small room a bit claustrophobic.

Mauve, textured tile

The tile is still in great shape but not as up-to-date as buyers prefer.

Beadboad trim is composed of three different pieces

Instead of re-tiling or re-coating the existing tile, our budget required us to put up a tub surround. It is a nice, clean look. Brian Toutge, our carpenter, created a beautiful beadboard wall for waaaay less money than buying new tile.

Brian Toutge Carpentry & Remodeling

Painted beadboard and trim


Add a few touches here and there, and we have a peaceful, light-filled retreat.

Transformation Thursday

Penguin Bath Remodel

In order to go from this:

To this:

Pardon the dirty floors. Snapped the picture before they were cleaned.

We had to totally gut the entire bathroom except the flooring, tub and antique radiator.

The floors had original tile from when the home was built in 1930’s.  I found similar mini-octagon tile at our tile shop on clearance (woo hoo!), so we repeated the floor theme in the new bath surround.  I love it when a plan comes together.

The style of the house had a craftsman/cottage feel.  With that in mind we chose classic bead board for the walls and a pedestal sink.  Normally, we like to put original medicine cabinets in cottage bathrooms, but we didn’t have access to one at the time.  After this project we started stockpiling antique medicine cabinets. We have two in storage right now.

Here is an example of an antique medicine cabinet…

This is an original 1920s medicine cabinet in a different rehab.

The former penguin bathroom could have been improved even more with additional changes like an updated shower head.  Instead, we decided to keep the costs down on the project.  Small savings, like a budget shower head, add up.  It helps to keep the price of a house more reasonable for its neighborhood.

Ode to Plastic Grass Carpet

Plastic green grass.  I always think of my Great Aunt Alberta when I think of fake grass carpet.  She had it in her four season porch.  Over time the plastic carpet had lost some of its shape and took on the look of rolling hills.

One of our pre-rehab houses had it in the bathroom.  Really.

It was on a wall behind the toilet…

It was on the wall above the shower…

But the piece de resistance:  it covered an entire wall inside the shower.  Behind the wall of porous green plastic?  Plywood.

They loved penguins, too.

It was the most creative use of plastic green grass I’ve seen yet.

For a palate cleanser, here is the bathroom After picture.