Townhouse Makeover

And just like that..it’s 2021! Wow, what a year 2020 was. To me, this past year flew by because many of my memories blend together (staying home each day, teaching online, Zoom meetings, lots of Netflix shows, more Zoom meetings, walks with my pup, mixed in with a couple of weekend trips with my close friends). And although it was definitely challenging, I still have many positive moments and experiences from 2020 to reflect back on. One significant event that stands out is we bought a house in November!

My husband Tommy and I have lived in our current neighborhood the past 5 years. We have loved the location so much that we decided to buy a little fixer upper right down the street (I literally walked to the open house). Throughout those 5 years, we made small changes to our townhouse to make it feel more like us. We began to realize just how much we love DIY projects and decided we wanted to take on more! But before we could begin any new project in our new home, we had to get our townhouse ready to be rented out. This made for a couple of insane weeks. Packing, moving, painting, cleaning, townhouse tours, tenant screening…all while having just one week to get our new home painted and livable. I blinked and somehow we did it.

But anyway, with this blog post I wanted to put together a list of everything we did in our townhouse to look back and reflect on. Many of the DIY projects were very simple but I think made a big difference. A little paint goes a long way! If you are thinking about tackling your first DIY home project, maybe this list will give you some inspiration.

  • Painted kitchen cabinets, extended to ceiling with crown molding and added hardware
  • Installed Faux Shiplap Wall
  • Painted all the orange trim white
  • Changed wall color (and added an accent wall)
  • Took out carpet and installed Luxury Vinyl Plank
  • Updated Fireplace with tile and new hearth
  • Remodeled Powder Room with tile and new vanity
  • Replaced interior builder grade doors with shaker style doors
  • Painted front door and railing
  • Replaced light fixtures in dining and living room
  • Installed dimmer switches on all outlets
  • Added weather tech floor to garage stairs

Here are some before photos from when we first bought our townhouse in 2015 (I only have a couple from the listing) and some after photos from when we rented it out in December 2020.

We had many amazing years in our townhouse but we are so excited to take on more advanced DIY projects in our new home this upcoming year! Stay tuned. 😀

DIY Half Bath Makeover

This whole bathroom makeover idea started when my husband tore out our old carpet and replaced it with Luxury Vinyl Plank. We replaced the floors in the upstairs hallway, the stairs and the entire downstairs, including our small guest bathroom.

To install the vinyl plank flooring in the guest bathroom, my husband had to remove the toilet and the old pedestal sink. Once the sink was out, he was adamant about replacing it with something else, and kept saying it didn’t feel right to put back after we had finished installing the floors. So…bring on the half bath remodel!

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The first step was tile. I had always loved the classic look of white subway tile and decided this would be an inexpensive way to elevate and upgrade the entire space. Plus, I thought it would be a fun project to do while we were in quarantine and I was excited to learn a new skill. I ordered everything needed, watched this Youtube Video and went for it! I am thrilled with the results and want to share a few important elements that really helped with this project.

1. Ledger Board. A ledger board is used to support the primary row of tile at the base. This makes it very easy to start tiling and to make sure everything is even and level. My husband measured how high our baseboard would be and nailed in the ledger board there.

2. Tile Template. There is probably a simple math equation I could have used to determine where to cut the end tiles and ensure even spacing but I am a visual person. Instead, I created a template of three rows since I wanted the tiles staggered. I measured out the length of the wall then taped that length on the floor. From there I arranged the tiles out to both ends of the tape so I would know where to make the end cuts.

3. Right Size Tile Spacers. I ordered the Horseshoe Spacers and couldn’t recommend them enough. I went with a smaller grout line (1/16 in.) since the subway tile already has grooves on the sides and felt like this helped hide some imperfections.

4. Paper towels. A little obvious but having lots of paper towels available and ready helped tremendously when I accidentally spilled mortar (on the tile, floor, all over my hands) and I was able to quickly clean it up each time before it dried.

I definitely recommend tiling yourself for anyone who is interested in doing some home improvements (it’s not as hard or daunting as people say, plus you will save a bunch of $$$)! After the tile was dry, grouted, cleaned and sealed, it was time to put everything back and add the finishing touches. Below is a price breakdown of what was spent for this makeover.

Tile: Some of these products we already had on hand when we retiled our fireplace (will share a blog post on that later!).

Total cost for all tile + materials: $242

Flooring: As stated earlier, we decided to continue the vinyl floors in the bathroom to make it easier to install and to have the entry way flow. This also helped us save some money. We used LifeProof Tupelo Oak vinyl flooring.

Bathroom Accessories: Paintings – My husband lived in New Orleans for a couple months when we first started long distance dating about 7 years ago. He found these colorful painting at a street market and I thought this would be the perfect place to hang them

Bathroom Vanity + Faucet: I found a beautiful brand new monarch blue bathroom vanity on Offer Up for $200. You can find it on Wayfair (original price is around $530). I purchased the Glacier Bay Bathroom Faucet in Matte Gold to match the vanity, $60.

I couldn’t be happier with the way this half bath turn out! Beautiful, affordable, updated and fun to complete. Now, on to the next project. 🙂