Master Bathroom: Mudding the Walls

We’re almost done with the drywall in the master bathroom. It’s taken a lot longer than I expected. I have so much more respect now for DIYers who participate in the One Room Challenge and completely finish entire room renovations in 6 weeks!

Last time I showed you the master bathroom, it looked something like this. We’d just finished patching all the holes in the drywall from taking out the wall and taped up all the seams.

New Drywall Taped | Welcome to Heardmont

After watching a few tutorials on how to install and patch drywall (this one and this one from Lowe’s were the most helpful), I got to work mudding. This was my very first time using joint compound or doing anything on a larger scale than a small patch, so it was a learning experience for sure. Here’s what I used.

Sheetrock Mudding Supplies | Welcome to Heardmont

  1. 6″ joint knife – for the first coat of mud
  2. pre-mixed joint compound – I used 2 of the 3.5 quart tubs of this stuff before getting smart and just buying a 5 gallon bucket!
  3. paper joint tape – for the inside corners
  4. 10″ taping knife – for the wider second and third coats

After the first coat, here’s how things were looking.

Bathroom Toilet View Coat 1 | Welcome to Heardmont

I learned that the vinyl outside corner bead I used on the new corners definitely did not work on inside corners or on certain outside corners where there was no wood behind the drywall. So I had to find another solution (paper tape) for those!

You can see below where I still needed to add tape to the inside corners at the top edge of the new entrance to the room.

New Wall Coat 1 | Welcome to Heardmont

The first coat was definitely rough and took awhile to apply, but it made such a difference in the feel of the room. The walls felt more and more permanent as I went.

Light Switches Coat 1 | Welcome to Heardmont

This patch on the ceiling (pictured below) gave me a lot of trouble. If you’ll recall from my drywall post, I added braces to one side of this long hole and secured the patch to them, but I neglected to screw the patch to anything on the other side of the hole. The first coat didn’t look bad in the daylight…

Skylight Patch Coat 1 Day | Welcome to Heardmont

… but it was very obviously drooping along one edge that evening.

Skylight Patch Coat 1 Night | Welcome to Heardmont

I thought I’d have to remove the patch and start over (huge hit to the moral right there!), but then Stephen suggested we add screws diagonally from the “loose” edge of the patch into the beam beside it. Four screws did the trick!

Skylight Patch Screws | Welcome to Heardmont

Above the sink, the first coat was looking pretty good. I wasn’t sure how to approach the inside corners without paper tape – problem solved when I picked some up the next day. The vinyl corner bead along the edge of the skylight was never very secure, so it got ditched in favor of new tape before the next coat.

Above Sink Coat 1 | Welcome to Heardmont

This area along the edge of the mirror was hard to tackle with the mirror in place, but the nice thing about the first coat of plaster is that it can be really rough. We tried to leave the mirror up for as long as possible so we could still have a fully functional bathroom.

Outlet Coat 1 | Welcome to Heardmont

Before the next coat, I used my taping knife to knock down all the rough ridges left in the mud from the first coat. I read that this helps the second coat go on more smoothly because there’s less chance of chunks of plaster breaking off and streaking through the next coat.

On the second coat, I mostly focused on taping the inside corners with paper tape and that troublesome drooping ceiling patch. Here’s a super close-up look at the top of the new entrance wall with the inside corner tape in place. In case you didn’t know how to apply paper tape to drywall seams (I didn’t!), you put joint compound on both sides of the drywall under the tape, place dampened tape over the joint compound, and use your joint knife to smooth the tape and squeeze the plaster out the edges. 

New Wall Corner Coat 2 | Welcome to Heardmont

Once the corners had dried a bit, it looked more like this.

New Wall Coat 2 | Welcome to Heardmont

After the second coat, the ceiling patch was looking much better. We weren’t going to have to replace it – whew!

Skylight Patch Coat 2 | Welcome to Heardmont

I added tape to the edge of the skylight and the inside corner of the walls then came back to add tape to the long wall above the sink later.

Above Sink Pre-Inside Corner Coat 2 | Welcome to Heardmont

It’s so hard to wait 24 hours to let everything dry before adding another coat! The left edge of the horizontal seam below gave me more trouble than I expected. The edges of the ceiling and wall patches meeting in the same corner made it really tricky to get a smooth seam.

Above Sink Inside Corner Coat 2 | Welcome to Heardmont

By that evening, the second coat was done. I went ahead and lightly coated the damaged areas above the toilet where our floating shelves had been.

Toilet Wall Coat 2 | Welcome to Heardmont

For the third coat, I used a 10″ knife instead of the 6″ knife to apply a wide, feathered coat over all the seams. After another 24 hours of dry time, here’s how the bathroom looks now!

Bedroom Side Coat 3 | Welcome to Heardmont

I am in love! It’s amazing how smooth the walls look and how hard it is to tell where the patches were added under all that mud.

Toilet View Coat 3 | Welcome to Heardmont

That troublesome ceiling patch is almost completely flat now.

Skylight Patch Coat 3 | Welcome to Heardmont

It’s hard to tell there was ever a dumb fluorescent light box above the sink. I’m super proud of these corners.

Skylight Corner Coat 3 | Welcome to Heardmont

And look! Now you can barely tell where those ceiling and wall patches meet (at the left side of this seam).

Above Sink Coat 3 | Welcome to Heardmont

I’m so excited to swap out the vanity and add our new lighting to this wall. Can you picture it?

Sink Area Coat 3 | Welcome to Heardmont

Here’s a view you haven’t even seen until now – you can actually see our whole shower! I love how open everything feels in here, but of course now we realize how much of an eyesore the shower really is. There’s no hiding this puppy, so stay tuned to see how we decide to tackle this area.

Shower View Coat 3 | Welcome to Heardmont

The ceiling feels about 5 feet higher now.

Bedroom Side 2 Coat 3 | Welcome to Heardmont

One of my favorite parts of renovating is being able to compare before and after photos. If you enjoy them too, here are a few to show our progress so far!

Bathroom Vanity B&A | Welcome to Heardmont

I love how the dried mud gives a great preview of how white walls will look in the space. So fresh and clean!

Bath Left View B&A | Welcome to Heardmont

Shower B&A | Welcome to Heardmont

This process took a lot longer than I expected! I’m really happy with how the walls are turning out, but I think I have a bit more to do. I’m considering doing a skim coat on all the walls because I just don’t think I’ll be able to match the current texture exactly on such a large area. That coat won’t happen until the vanity is removed though, so it looks like we have more demo in our near future!

Have you ever done drywall patching and plastering on a large scale before? How did it go?

Check out our previous master bathroom posts below!

Master Bathroom: The Before Pictures and The Plan

Master Bathroom: Taking Down the Wall

Master Bathroom: Electrical and Drywall

Master Bathroom: Choosing Finishes

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Master Bathroom: Choosing Finishes

Progress is slow but steady in our bathroom! I’ve started plastering the joints and realized this process will take awhile. More on that later, today pretty pictures!

Today I have some inspiration photos to share AND I’d love to get your opinions!

First, I wanted to talk about the finishes we’ve already chosen for our master bathroom. We’re planning an Ikea hack for our vanity, and it should look almost exactly like this when we’re done with it – floating, wood-faced with black pulls and a white countertop.

Vanity Inspiration | Erin Williamson Design

erin williamson design

The walls will be white, and I’ve already purchased this mirror from Target for above the sink. I love the shape and color (it’s a warmer gold in person) and the price can’t be beat for a mirror this size!

Threshold Mirror | Welcome to HeardmontHere are a few images I’ve saved from Pinterest that show the look we’re going for. The main decisions that need to be made are 1. light fixture color and style, 2. faucet color and style, and 3. floor color and style.

all black metals | light floor

Elizabeth Roberts | My Domaine

elizabeth roberts | my domaine

gold mirror | black lighting and faucet | dark floor

Veneer Designs

veneer designs

gold mirror and lighting | black faucet | dark floor

Sophie Carpenter | SF Girl by Bay

sophie carpenter | sf girl by bay

black mirror and lighting | gold faucet | dark floor

Annabode | AT Instagram

annabode

I love gold and black together and don’t think I want all one color fixtures in our bathroom, but I just can’t decide how to mix them. Here is a round-up of potential faucets and light fixtures. Help me choose!

 

Bathroom Faucets | Welcome to Heardmont

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Just a note on the light fixtures below, I would most likely spray paint one of the silver fixtures gold or black if it was the winner!

Vanity Light Options | Welcome to Heardmont

Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

What do you think? What would you choose?

Tell me which faucet and light fixture you think goes best with our vanity and mirror choices, and would you do a light or dark (or patterned) floor?

Choosing Bath Fixtures | Welcome to Heardmont

Thanks friends!

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Master Bathroom: Electrical and Drywall

Hi y’all! I hope you are having a great end of your week. We spent the 4th with family and then took some time to visit friends, but I’m so ready to jump back in and knock out this bathroom remodel of ours!

Time to share how this little room is progressing. Last you saw our master bathroom, it looked like this.

Beam Down | Welcome to Heardmont

The wall between the vanity and toilet was outta there, but it was time to address those dangling wires and all the holes in the drywall left by the wall and fluorescent light box.

We started with the wiring. This is the topmost room in our house, so the ceiling follows our roofline. Needless to say, there is no attic access above this bathroom to run electrical, so we had to do it all from inside the room. Stephen was able to fully replace the wiring to the light fixtures and add junction boxes for the other wires that wouldn’t reach their new homes.

The junction boxes were secured to the ceiling beams and safely covered.

Junction Box in Bath | Welcome to Heardmont

Once all the wiring was done (a task that took a lot longer to do than to write about – ha!), the ceiling looked pretty much like this.

Wiring Done in Bath | Welcome to Heardmont

I snapped these pics a little later in the process, but you can see we placed all three light switches on the wall across from the toilet (they operate the vanity light, ceiling light, and exhaust fan).

New Switch in Bath | Welcome to Heardmont

And we added the GFCI outlet on the wall beside the vanity for easy access.

New GFCI in Bath | Welcome to Heardmont

There’s just something about new light switches and outlets that makes me so happy! They’re so clean and fresh – no crusty paint or dust on anything!

After the electrical, I took over and started fixing what we destroyed during demo. We purchased one sheet of 1/2″ drywall (our walls and ceiling are the same thickness). Stephen actually had the associate at Home Depot cut the drywall into three sections at the store so it would fit in his SUV. I ended up using only 2/3 of the 4′ x 8′ sheet.

We were super careful not to damage or take down more drywall than we needed to during the wall removal, but this corner suffered when we pulled the beam out of the ceiling.

Drywall Damage Entrance | Welcome to Heardmont

And, of course, there were all the other holes in the drywall that we knew we’d need to repair.

Wall Removed Entrance | Welcome to Heardmont

I started by removing the metal corner trim that was damaged on the bedroom side of this wall and adding a small drywall patch at the top. Then I added a long patch on the other side of this corner. The strip of drywall missing from the ceiling in the photo below was a tough patch to figure out because there were no beams to secure it to. Instead I added four braces (three pictured below) to the back of the existing drywall which to secure the new patch.

Supports for Ceiling Drywall | Welcome to Heardmont

Voila! No more hole.

Drywall Installed Entrance | Welcome to Heardmont

After the large patches were in place, I nailed on the outside corner bead. Corner bead is amazing because it makes outside corners (where two pieces of drywall meet) look perfect, even if they are far from it. Instead of metal I chose vinyl corner bead. Although metal is the product of choice for large projects, I found it so hard to cut that I needed an easier option. This vinyl corner bead is recommended for damp locations and was so much easier to cut to size than the metal stuff! I used these cupped drywall nails to secure it.

Drywall Installed Bedroom Wall | Welcome to Heardmont

Next came the taping. I used this yellow tape which was super easy to apply! The pros recommend taping over every seam and piece of corner bead before applying joint compound. This mesh yellow stuff makes it easy to see the joints and to tell how evenly you’re applying the joint compound.

Drywall Taped Entrance | Welcome to Heardmont

Drywall Taped Bedroom Wall | Welcome to Heardmont

We tackled the area above the sink last because I had to measure and install the junction box for our new vanity light.

Drywall Installed Ceiling | Welcome to Heardmont

Our new vanity is wider than our old one, so the placement of this box might look off-center, but it should be perfectly centered over our new sink. I was able to conveniently install our junction box right beside a stud, but many home improvement stores also sell these 1/2″ deep pancake boxes specifically for installation over a stud. How cool is that? No more off-center lights!

Skylight Drywall Taped | Welcome to Heardmont

(I linked to those products on Amazon so you can see what we bought, but we found both types of junction boxes in person at our Home Depot for less than $2 each.)

New Vanity Light Box | Welcome to Heardmont

So that’s pretty much how our bathroom is looking with the drywall patches, outside corner bead, and tape in place.

New Drywall Taped | Welcome to Heardmont

I still need to pick up some inside corner tape for the area above the vanity and probably more joint compound. I have a feeling this little room is going to take a lot of mud to smooth it out!

Drywall Taped Above Vanity | Welcome to Heardmont

What do you think of our progress so far? I’m so happy I can’t see insulation anymore! It’s starting to look like a room again. 🙂

If you missed any of our previous bathroom posts, check them out below. Thanks for visiting!

Master Bathroom: The Before Pictures and The Plan

Master Bathroom: Taking Down the Wall

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Master Bathroom: Taking Down the Wall

Last time we chatted, I shared that we were about to start on our master bathroom renovation. At the time, we weren’t quite sure how much of a project we’d be taking on, but we knew this room needed some changes. Would they be simple cosmetic upgrades or something bigger?

Sink and Toilet Room Before | Welcome to Heardmont

We mentioned that we were considering removing the wall between the vanity and toilet, and most of you here on the blog, on Facebook, and on Instagram said to go for it! With nervous grins on our faces, we got to work taking down. that. wall.

Taking Down the Wall 1 | Welcome to Heardmont

This was no ordinary wall. It housed three light switches and one GFCI outlet, so we approached this more as a deconstruction project rather than a demolition derby. We started by turning off the breakers to the room and cutting out a chunk of drywall to determine where the electrical wires ran in the wall.

If you’re taking on a similar project, here’s a tip: Use your phone or camera with the flash on to take photos up into the wall to see wiring and other hazards. By doing this, we were able to see which portions of the drywall were safe to cut and which we should avoid.

Checking for Wiring | Welcome to Heardmont

I’m not going to lie, with this project, Stephen was definitely in charge of the demo and electric work (I’m a good assistant!). The next steps (drywall, finishing, and “making it look pretty”) will be my responsibility. Here’s a shot after we took out the medicine cabinet and the back of the wall to show that we made it through!

We're Through! | Welcome to Heardmont

(Complete with baby monitors. Naptime is the only time for projects at Heardmont!)

Here’s a look at the other side of the wall. We were definitely excited to see it coming down and starting to realize how much work rewiring all that electrical was going to be.

One Side Down | Welcome to Heardmont

Finally all the drywall was gone! At this point, the amount of light in the toilet/shower room was amazing! We knew we were making the right decision.

Drywall Down | Welcome to Heardmont

Once the drywall was down and before we could remove the studs, we had to move the wiring. Here’s another tip: Label your wires before you unhook them. You may think you’ll remember where every cable goes, but it’s easy to get confused once they’re all hanging from the ceiling. Just label them!

Electric Labeled | Welcome to Heardmont

With our wiring all labeled and out of the way, Stephen used a hand saw to cut the studs one at a time and pull them off the nails in the ceiling and floor.

Doorway Down | Welcome to Heardmont

Can you even believe it?! No more wall!

Studs Down | Welcome to Heardmont

Stephen also took down that light box (the whole reason we started this project in the first place!) and then we hit a snag. The beam in the ceiling at the top of the wall was not structural but had to be cut out because it was resting on the wall studs. Thanks to social media and generous friends (thanks Jenny and Jonathan!), we were able to borrow an oscillating saw (like this one) to cut through the beam and pull it off the ceiling.

Safety first!

No Light Box and Removing the Beam | Welcome to Heardmont

After all that, the demo was finally done!

We’re wall-free in the bathroom and haven’t missed it for a minute! I haven’t missed that fluorescent light box one bit either. 😉

Beam Down | Welcome to Heardmont

Even though the wall removal wasn’t the quickest project, it has made such a difference. We’re still using the bathroom because we left all the plumbing intact until we are ready to replace it, and we can actually both brush our teeth at the same time now! No more bumping elbows!

Bath Before & Progress | Welcome to HeardmontStay tuned for more progress. Next up, doing something with all those loose wires and fixing all those holes in our walls! What do you think of our progress so far?

Want quicker updates on this project? I’ve been posting a lot of progress shots to my Instagram stories (on my Instagram page, click on the rainbow circle around my profile photo). I’d love for you to follow along!

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Master Bathroom: The Before Pictures and The Plan

I’ve had a bathroom renovation on the brain for months now and I think we’re finally getting close to having a plan (and a few free weekends) to make it happen! When we found our house two years ago, the size of the master bathroom and closet area were definitely a compromise we had to make in exchange for lots of other items on our checklist (nice yard, mountain views, good location, etc).

While I am grateful to have an attached master bathroom at all, ours is the size of a postage stamp and terribly designed. Here’s a look at what we’re working with and what we plan to change.

Sink Area Before | Welcome to Heardmont

Welcome to our teensy master bathroom. The vanity area is open to the rest of the room, with the shower and toilet in the room to the left and the closet to the right. The two things that finally annoyed me enough to make this renovation a priority were that vanity (the countertop! the oak! the lack of useful storage space!)…

Vanity Before | Welcome to Heardmont

… and the fluorescent light box above. As you know, we are not fans of fluorescent lighting in this house (see how we took out the light box in our kitchen HERE), so this one will have to go.

Before Vanity with Skylight | Welcome to Heardmont

Another thing that makes this bathroom less than functional is the lack of elbow room. The vanity is barely 36″ wide, which basically means only one adult can use the sink area at a time. When we do try to get ready in the mornings or evenings at the same time, one of us always ends up halfway into the shower room while the other uses the sink and mirror.

Sink and Toilet Room Before | Welcome to Heardmont

Continuing to look to the left into the shower room, you can see our little shower with chrome and frosted glass doors. Those things are a bear to keep clean.

Two Bathroom Rooms Before | Welcome to Heardmont

Because we had so little storage space in this bathroom, we added these stained wood shelves above the toilet about a year ago. These work really well for us and may stay in the room, depending on the rest of the design plan.

New Bathroom Shelving | Welcome to Heardmont

The doorway to the toilet room is super narrow and made narrower by the towel hook on the back of the door. The room used to be white with a wide yellow stripe, but I painted it the same gray as our bedroom last year (Silver Drop by Behr) just to banish the yellow. When I painted, I removed a towel bar from behind the door. I always thought the towel bar would make more sense there if the door didn’t open into the room.

Shower Before | Welcome to Heardmont

The tile in the shower is a pinkish cream color. It’s not in terrible shape, but it could use an update. We did replace the shower head, but as you can see, the knobs are original. 😛

Shower Tile and Fixtures Before | Welcome to Heardmont

Check out that flooring! The tile and carpet combo is gross and has to go. When I was getting this photo ready to post, I thought to myself, “Sure, go ahead and watermark that one. Somebody is definitely going to want to steal that picture!” NOT.

Bathroom Flooring Before | Welcome to Heardmont

Backing up into our master bedroom, you can see the bathroom has a skylight. One of the possibilities we’ve discussed for this space is removing the wall between the vanity and shower rooms. If we move forward with that plan, the new door would go across this entrance, closing the vanity off from the bedroom.

Bathroom Opening | Welcome to Heardmont

One item we’ll have to consider is that the skylight actually goes past that entrance wall into our bedroom ceiling by about 6-8″. This means that we won’t be able to do a traditional wall here with a pocket or regular door. We’re already brainstorming creative solutions for this doorway.

Bathroom Skylight | Welcome to Heardmont

When I think about our house as a whole, this single room suffers most from poor design and lack of storage. What kills me is that about 1 in 5 homes in our neighborhood have this exact floor plan! Can you believe that?

Now that you’ve gotten the tour and heard our issues with the space, here are our options.

Option 1: (lowest cost) Paint the vanity, add new hardware and mirror, update the countertop, add new light fixture, possibly add backsplash and new floors

Master Bath Option 1 | Welcome to Heardmont

(inspiration images: shelves | vanity | lighting | rug)

Pros: Easy cosmetic changes –  quick and low cost

Cons: Does not address the lack of elbow room or poor vanity storage

Option 2: (lots more work, slightly higher cost) Remove the wall between the shower room and vanity nook, replace vanity with a wider one with drawers, add new mirror and light fixture, repair drywall and/or add backsplash, remove old tile and carpet for new tile floor, add door to new bathroom for privacy

Master Bath Option 2 | Welcome to Heardmont

(inspiration images: shower | vanity | countertop | lighting | tile)

We would consider a DIY modern vanity like the one above or repurposing a dresser like the one below. I’m still trying to determine if our shower doors could be removed and replaced with a shower curtain. I love this green one!

Master Bath Option 2b | Welcome to Heardmont

(inspiration images: shower | vanity | countertop | lighting | tile)

Pros: Fixes elbow room and storage issues, updates most of the worn/dated finishes

Cons: Does not address shower tile or fixtures, decreases privacy for multiple bathroom users

Option 3: (most work, much higher cost) Same as option 2, plus we’d replace the shower pan, tile, doors, and faucet

Master Bath Option 3 | Welcome to Heardmont

(inspiration images: shower | vanity | countertop | lighting | tile)

Pros: Same benefits as option 2, plus we’d be able to select shower finishes to complement the rest of the room

Cons: Most likely requires subcontractors for shower work, dramatic increase in cost

I actually wrote most of this post before this past weekend, and if you caught my instagram stories on Saturday, you know that we started work on the bathroom already! It took some convincing, but we are going with either Option 2 or Option 3. We’re taking out the wall! Stay tuned for more progress – here and on facebook and instagram.

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Kitchen Update: New Lighting, Paint, and Accessories

Hey guys! Today I wanted to share a bit more progress in our kitchen after our recent lighting project. Like I mentioned in that post, I decided to take the update a step further and paint over the two-tone green and tan walls from the previous owners. As a reminder, here’s what the kitchen and breakfast nook looked like when we moved in.

Kitchen Before

Once we replaced the fluorescent light box and painted the ceiling, it was time to tackle the walls.

Kitchen Ceiling Painted

I never thought I’d want to use the same paint color in every room of my house, but this house is super open. You can see basically every room except the master bedroom from the center of the house. With so many rooms visible from so many vantage points, I wanted the wall color to fade into the background instead of chopping up the flow.

That being said, it was time to paint (Silver Drop by Behr). After a couple of coats and putting the room back together, here’s how the kitchen looks today!

Kitchen Sink and Dish Wall | Welcome to Heardmont

Here’s a closer look at the finished ceiling with the new wall color. The ceiling isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn hard to tell those can lights aren’t original. I still can’t believe we waited so long to make this update!

Kitchen Ceiling After | Welcome to Heardmont

This shows one of the new lights and the previously existing can light in the corner above the sink. We replaced a yellow-trimmed CFL bulb in that corner with a CREE LED recessed downlight to match the other four we installed ourselves.

Kitchen Lights Above Sink | Welcome to Heardmont

Now for a quick tour of the kitchen, along with some changes we’d like to make!

You enter the kitchen from the sitting room and see the pantry and fridge wall on your left. One project I’ve been brewing on for awhile is adding a more effective bulletin board/ chalk board/ magnet area to this side of the pantry. I’ll probably update this area soon, but for now the small corkboard is a great place to tack up a few photos and recipes, along with our Whole30 Shopping List (call us crazy but we’re back on Whole30, y’all!).

Kitchen Pantry | Welcome to Heardmont

We brought the stainless fridge with us from Arkansas (see it in our old kitchen HERE) and still love it as much as we did then, even though it’s huge. We got lucky that it barely fit into the existing space when we moved in!

The Instant Pot has seen almost daily use since we bought it, so it easily won a coveted countertop storage spot pretty much immediately. Ha! I’m imagining all my other small appliances shaking their fists at the Instant Pot. “Someday, we’ll knock you off your high horse, Instant Pot! Someday…”

Kitchen Fridge Wall | Welcome to Heardmont

We keep veggies and cutting boards on this side of the kitchen for easy peeling, chopping, and Instant Pot-ing. We must have been light on groceries the day I took these photos because that white bowl is usually overflowing with potatoes and sweet potatoes with a few types of squash on the counter beside. Our grocery-purchasing style has definitely changed since we started Whole30 and have had to cook at home more often.

Kitchen Veggie Area | Welcome to Heardmont

It may go without saying, since we painted the cabinetry in our Arkansas kitchen, but I’d love to update these oak babies with a fresh coat of white (or white uppers with contrasting lowers). I’d also really love to remove the soffit above the cabinets and extend the cabinetry to the ceiling or figure out a way to disguise the soffit like we did in our old kitchen. Whether that will happen will depend on budget and how labor-intensive it will be, since we’d do it all ourselves.

When we tackle the next phase of the kitchen renovation, I hope to replace the vented microwave with a real range hood and possibly add glass doors on a few of the upper cabinets. I’ve considered open shelving, but those cabinets hold so much and the constant dusting that goes along with open shelving doesn’t really sound like my idea of a good time. 😛

Kitchen Range Wall | Welcome to Heardmont

On this side of the kitchen, we store the everyday-use items: plates, bowls, cups, kids dishes, and baking dishes. We also have a little drink station next to the coffee pot, and you can barely make out our little brass “beer bear” bottle opener on the side of the upper cabinetry.

Kitchen Sink and Dish Wall | Welcome to Heardmont

I always wanted a sink under a window that looked out into the backyard, and I found that in this house! It’s almost perfect, except the sink is set pretty far back into the countertop. I’m only 5’2″, so it’s quite difficult to reach the back of the sink, not to mention the countertop behind it. Don’t even get me started on washing dishes at this sink when I was 9 months pregnant! Impossible!

Kitchen Sink | Welcome to Heardmont

Eventually, I’d like to remove the square tile border on the wall and replace it with a full tile backsplash. We want to wait to tackle the backsplash until we decide if the current countertops will stay or get the boot during our next reno phase.

We keep fruit close to the sink to make washing and snacking easy. Stephen found this cookbook years ago, and I finally picked it up the other day and started using it. It’s got great tips on how to “throw together” meals using what you have on hand, for each season of the year.

Kitchen Fruit Area | Welcome to Heardmont

Our breakfast nook is an open area at the end of the kitchen with a sliding door to the back deck. I had patterned curtains hanging over the sliding door before we painted but haven’t hung them back up yet. I love the light, bright look without the busy pattern, so I might end up replacing them with white or light-colored linen ones instead.

Kitchen Flowers | Welcome to Heardmont

Our round table works so well here, but we’ve realized lately that it’s getting hard to host with a table this size. Having friends to dinner a year ago might have consisted of us and another couple, plus a highchair for Libby. Now, a typical dinner with friends requires at least six chairs for the adults and big kids, plus two or more boosters for the littles. Since we got rid of our dining room in favor of our new sitting area, we’re on the lookout for a rectangular table for this breakfast nook that can seat at least eight.

Kitchen Breakfast Nook | Welcome to Heardmont

This shot really highlights how open our floorplan is. To the left is the den with a hallway to the laundry area and basement and to the right is the sitting room, playroom, and front door. You can even see our upstairs landing, linen closet, and the kids’ bathroom door through that railing up above. Now that the kitchen has been painted, I’m so motivated to banish the beige for good and paint the tall walls in the front of the house.

Kitchen Table and Art | Welcome to Heardmont

The art is That Bowtie I Like by Michelle Armas and I luuurve it. It was a Christmas gift years ago, and it’s slowly made its way through the several rooms in our house; you can see it in our master bedroom in Arkansas, Libby’s old nursery, and Libby’s nursery in our new house. Looking back on those posts, I realized I’ve designed more than a couple rooms off of this painting!

I’m guessing it’s hung in so many rooms because as soon as I start working on a new space I think, “you know what painting would look great in here…”

Kitchen Table and Light | Welcome to Heardmont

So that’s a look at our kitchen post-lighting and paint and pre-whatever updates come next. I mentioned on Instagram the other day that I’ve had sooo many house ideas buzzing around in my head lately, it’s hard to pick a direction and GO! We also have lots of weekends booked this summer, but I’m going to do my best to eek out some house projects between trips.

Kitchen Sink and Dish Wall | Welcome to Heardmont

How about you? Are you using summer to get projects done or taking much needed time off?

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Tutorial: How to Install Recessed Lighting

Slowly but surely, we’re checking projects off our to-do list here at Heardmont. With most projects around here, we tend think and stew on them for a while and then tackle them full-force over one weekend until they’re done. Our latest lighting project was no different. We decided to replace the huge fluorescent light fixture in our kitchen with recessed lighting.

Call them what you want – can lights, pot lights, or recessed lighting – but I’ll take any of them over the light box that lived in our kitchen until recently.

Kitchen Before

We actually tackled a very similar project in our first house (a one-story ranch), but we were hesitant to attempt this one because our current home is two stories. This meant that we couldn’t wire the fixtures in the open attic above the room like we did back in Arkansas. Read on to see how we made it work this time around.

Here’s a closer look at the offending fixture. You might notice that one of the plexiglass panels was actually cracked; I honestly can’t remember if it was like that when we moved in or if we cracked it trying to determine how easy it would be to remove. Either way, it wasn’t too upsetting, knowing that we’d be ripping out the fixture as soon as we found the time to do it.

Kitchen Light Before

Disclaimer: we are not professional electricians. Please follow this tutorial at your own risk and consult or hire a professional if necessary!

Here is how we took down the fluorescent box, replaced it with recessed lighting, and made our kitchen ceiling feel about two feet taller.

To take down the fixture, we first removed the plexiglass panels (they were just floating in the frames). Then, WITH THE POWER OFF, we unscrewed and disconnected the three fluorescent fixtures. There were wires running between the fixtures, but all that was left after we took them down was one power cord coming out of a rough hole in the ceiling.

The wood frame was really heavy, so as we unscrewed it from the ceiling, Stephen built this brace with a 2×4 and clamps to make sure it wouldn’t fall on us as we pulled it down.

Removing Light Box

Once the frame was down, we got a closer look at the condition of the ceiling and determined which way the ceiling joists ran. Ours ran parallel to the stove/microwave wall, which helped us decide where we should place the can lights.

Before we get into the “how to” of installing recessed lighting, here are the supplies we used.

Supply list:

Drywall saw
Recessed lighting housings
Dimmable LED downlights (Stephen works in lighting and only uses CREE LED bulbs)
Electrical wire
Wire strippers
Wire nuts
Junction box
Junction box cover
Wire clamp connectors

Each light housing includes a template you can use to determine the placement of your can lights on the ceiling. We originally purchased six housings and six LED lights but chose to install only four based on the spacing on our ceiling. We did use the fifth LED to replace the CFL bulb in the light above the sink so that all the bulbs would match.

Light Templates

After the photo above was taken, we decided to move the template in the far corner further out so that the layout of the four lights would form a rectangle. Once we were happy with the placement of our lights, we traced the templates and used the drywall saw to cut the circles for each of the housings. Then we attached the junction box to the joist inside the rectangular hole in the ceiling, with the power cord you see here going into one end of the box.

Cutting Light Holes

Running the wire to each hole was probably the trickiest part. Here’s a diagram I drew showing how we did it. Wiring is in red with the wood ceiling joists in blue. The junction box (where the power comes to the room) is located at the rectangular hole with power going out in two directions. The two lights on the left then connect to the two lights on the right. We ran the power this way so that we’d only have to thread the wire through a hole in one joist for each pair of lights. See how the red lines from the junction box only cross one blue line each?

Romex Wiring Diagram B

Here’s how the same view looked after we’d run power to the two lights on the left. Getting the wire to each of these two holes required drilling a 1″ hole in each ceiling joist and threading the wire through.

Running Romex

You can find easy wiring diagrams online to show you how to connect the wires at the junction box. Once all the wiring was in place, Stephen connected a recessed light housing at each hole using wire strippers and wire nuts. The housings came with a wiring diagram to show how the wires should be connected.

Wiring Can Light

Last Can Light Wiring

Finally, after the housings were installed, we attached the LED lights. The bulb and white trim come as one piece, so installation was pretty simple – flipping out some tabs and screwing the bulb in. We chose soft white CREE LED fixtures to conserve energy.

Can Lights Fitted

At this point, we turned the breaker back on to test the lights. It’s always a feeling of accomplishment (and relief!) when you flip that switch and they actually work!

Can Lights Fitted On

Once we knew our wiring worked, we addressed the junction box and drywall repair. We used the cable clamp connectors in the junction box and closed it up with the 4″ blank cover linked above.

Junction Box

Because this hole was large enough to require a full drywall patch, we attached two braces across the hole. Our braces are actually just the long paint stirrer sticks from Home Depot, which was a tip we picked up from one of the associates there!

Patching Drywall Hole

We cut the drywall patch, dry-fitted it, and attached it to the braces using drywall screws. I wrote a really extensive tutorial on creating drywall patches like this one HERE.

Drywall Patch

After the patch was spackled (this is my absolute favorite spackling), I applied orange peel texture to it and around the border where the previous light box met the ceiling. This stuff on the medium setting did the trick!

Prepped for Paint

You’ll notice we also removed the lights prior to applying the texture and … drumroll … painting! Here’s a glimpse at our newly painted ceiling, free of all fluorescent lighting!

Kitchen Ceiling Painted

And yes, the lights still worked when we turned them back on. 🙂

Can Lights On

I honestly can’t believe how long we waited before we made this relatively quick and inexpensive update (under $200) or how much better and brighter our kitchen looks now!

How to Install Recessed Lighting

Of course, painting a ceiling is like giving a mouse a cookie, it leads to other painting projects. Stay tuned for a peek at the rest of the kitchen!

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Posted in kitchen, tutorial | 1 Comment

5 Tips for Furnishing and Decorating a Playroom

If you have young children, do they have a designated play area or playroom?

Do you struggle to keep the primary-colored plastic toys from overtaking the room (or even the rest of your house)?

Today I wanted to share a few things I learned over the past couple years as we furnished and decorated our girls’ playroom. This space is completely open to the rest of our house, and the before and after photos got me to thinking about how many changes we made to get the playroom to where it is today. We learned a lot and gave our new solution lots of thought, so here are my top five tips for furnishing and decorating a playroom that flows with the rest of your house.

1. Choose closed storage for small toys

I don’t know how we end up with so many small toys, but they seem to multiply at our house. The playroom really came together when we added two bookshelves with doors to the middle of the long wall in this room. The small toys that used to be visible on our previous shelves are now hidden in this storage unit, and the large toys can stay out without looking too busy. There are various bins and baskets behind these doors to corral the small toys, but since they’re concealed they don’t have to match or be perfectly neat all the time.

Cabinets in Playroom

The play kitchen is another form of closed storage in our space. It easily holds all our play food, dishes, and kitchen accessories and can hide other toys in a pinch.

Kitchen Wall in Playroom

2. Use baskets to group like items

Another excellent way to keep toys looking neat is by storing them in baskets. We like to use baskets for everything from blocks to trains to stuffed animals. The white and natural basket on top of our toy cabinets holds our wooden train set from Ikea and adds nice texture to this surface.

Playroom Closeup

Beside the toy cabinet is a huge basket for our stuffed animals. I actually found this one at Goodwill, and it’s super versatile and makes cleaning up so easy. Find a stuffed animal? Toss it in the basket!

Cabinets and Dressup

In the little nook beside the play kitchen, I like to keep a basket for the girls’ mega blocks. These blocks originally came in a pink plastic wagon, which was fun for a little while but took up a lot of room and was pretty gaudy. The basket tucks nicely into this little corner and is unoffensive as far as mega block storage goes.

Kitchen Wall in Playroom

3. Divide the room into designated play stations

Once the toys are concealed or easily stored, divide those storage pieces into designated play stations. This helps kids know where to find different types of toys, and it gives your eye a place to rest as you look around the room (so you don’t just see one big mass/mess of toys!).

Playroom After

In our playroom, we have a kitchen area, a craft/snack table, a storage unit for smaller toys, dress up hooks to each side of the storage unit, and an open area in the middle. While some might feel the urge to fill up the floor space with an ottoman or other large toys, we use the empty area for bringing out toys to play, doing large projects, and impromptu dance parties. 🙂

Left Side Playroom

Cabinets and Dressup

4. Choose furniture that will grow with your child or your room

Think outside the box and consider non-kid-specific furniture for your playroom. You should choose furniture you would buy for your home whether or not it would be in a kid space. This tip applies to children’s bedrooms and nurseries as well. I can see our white cabinets easily becoming a dining room buffet or craft supply storage as our kids get older.

Cabinets in Playroom

When in doubt, don’t buy the primary-colored furniture! While the girls will eventually grow out of this craft table, I made sure to choose a finish that was neutral (natural wood) and wouldn’t distract from the rest of the room. I could see myself buying an adult-sized version of this set for elsewhere in our home in a heartbeat!

Play Table

So what do you do if you’re trying to follow this advice but you already have primary-colored furniture? The same thing we did with our thrifted play kitchen – paint it!

Left Side Playroom

Would you believe the girls’ play kitchen started out looking almost just like this?! Complete with pink, blue, and yellow doors.

KidKraft KitchenI found this piece at a consignment sale, so I didn’t have much say in the color palette. Instead of turning our playroom into a pastel wonderland, Stephen and I built new doors (a couple were damaged or missing), painted them white and added a sweet little curtain below the sink. Now the kitchen is still colorful without overwhelming the room.

Kitchen Wall in Playroom

5. Style and decorate the room as you would any other adult space

As I was putting the finishing touches on the room, I pulled out the girls’ favorite (and best-looking) toys to style the various surfaces. I like to decorate the play kitchen as I would my own kitchen – with cute textiles (the oven mitt and curtain) and fresh fruits and veggies.

Play Kitchen Closeup

On the wall above the kitchen, I hung two paintings by Libby in simple white frames. I love that these look professional enough that they could hang anywhere in our home, not just in the playroom.

DIY Art Closeup

The girls play with this globe and peg block often, and they’re pretty enough to leave out all the time.

Play Table Closeup

I even borrowed bookends from our own bookshelf for the top of the toy cabinet. You know playroom decor will flow with the rest of your house when you decorate with items you love from other rooms.

Pig Bookends Closeup

Giraffe Closeup

So those are my tips for creating a playroom that flows with the rest of your house: choose closed storage, use baskets, create play stations, select neutral furniture, and decorate it like the rest of your house!

What do you think? Will you implement any of these tips to improve your space?

I’m adding our source list for this room below. Thanks for reading!

Sources

Wall color – Silver Drop by Behr
Roller shades – Home Depot
Cabinets and doors – Ikea/ Ikea
Cabinet top – Lowes
Pig bookends – CB2 (similarsimilar)
Natural and white basket – Hobby Lobby (similar, similar)
Wall hanging – DIY here
Frames for DIY art – Ikea Ribba
Play kitchen – consignment (similarsimilar, similar)
Play table – consignment (similar)
Dress up hooks – Ikea
Cloud pillow – Ikea

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Posted in Playroom | 2 Comments

36 Favorite Picture Books for Toddlers and Children

Are you looking for new books to read to your children or to give as baby shower or birthday gifts? You’ve come to the right place!

When I shared the photos of Libby’s bedroom update, I mentioned that we are big lovers of books in our house. I love to give (and receive) books as gifts, especially to first-time parents, so thought I’d share the books that have become favorites of our 1- and 3-year-olds here at Heardmont.

Bed and Bookshelf

These are the books we read to our girls nightly, take with us on vacation, and can recite by memory. They’re the tried-and-true favorites we come back to again and again. I’ve included a few notes about our favorites and books for older kids below. Enjoy!

Reading Nook

The Wonderful Things You Will Be (gorgeous illustrations – pictured above!)

The Rainbow Fish (great story about sharing)

What Do People Do All Day? 

Atlas of Adventures (gets the discussion going about other parts of the world)

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 

The Book With No Pictures (hilarious!)

Little Bear (a definite favorite)

Press Here 

On My Way to the Bath

Guess How Much I Love You 

Sleep Like a Tiger (read every night at bedtime for a solid month)

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt 

GALLOP! (really cool “moving” pictures)

In the Night Kitchen 

I Heart You (another with beautiful illustrations)

Little Critter Just a Storybook Collection

The World in a Second 

Madeline 

HOOT (great for learning colors and counting)

Blueberries for Sal

The Story About Ping 

Go, Dog. Go! (for babies)

Go, Dog. Go! (for toddlers – different from the board book)

Silly Suzy Goose 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar 

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Here are a few other stories we are excited to start reading to our girls as they get a little older. I’ve mentioned that we also love books with beautiful covers and illustrations, and these definitely hit that mark.

The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh

Beatrix Potter the Complete Tales 

The Adventure Collection (a beautiful heirloom set)

The Hobbit: Illustrated Edition 

Little Women 

Where the Sidewalk Ends (one of my childhood favorites that Libby is just starting to appreciate)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Anne of Green Gables (have you seen “Anne with an E” on Netflix? Soooo good!)

The Little House Series 

We are always looking for recommendations for other great children’s books, so I’d love to hear your favorites. Chime in below to add to our list, and thanks for reading!

Bookshelf

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Posted in Babies, Big Girl Room, For Fun | 3 Comments

Libby’s Big Girl Room | 3 Tips on Transitioning Out of the Crib

I’m back to share a tour of 3-year-old Libby’s updated bedroom! Earlier this week, I showed you the pennant banner I made to fill the big empty wall above her bed. Now you can see the full effect in the room. I used several different fabrics I’d saved from when we decorated her nursery two years ago, so the banner really coordinates with the rest of the room.

Big Girl Room V

Our girl’s been in her twin-sized bed since the beginning of the year and she loves it! The bed, sheets, and white quilt were a Christmas gift from her Papa Joe, so I’m sure that added to her excitement. Keep reading for a few things we did that really helped with the transition from crib to bed.

Big Girl Room

Another thing she loves? Her new reading nook!

We used this white canopy above her crib for a few months before she moved into her new bed. I was worried it would be too much of a distraction above the new bed, but it turns out it’s perfect for filling the space at the end of the bed and creating a cozy reading and snuggling area.

Reading Nook

The bed itself has a metal frame and is quite low to the ground. The height makes it really easy for her to get in and out of bed herself. The headboard has an adorable criss-cross detail you can check out here.

New Bed and Banner

We read books every night at bedtime, so instead of a nightstand, I opted for this small white bookshelf. Lucky for us it was a freebie from our neighbor and is just the right size to hold some of our very favorite reads. Not only are we huge fans of books in this house, we especially love beautiful books. Stephen has been known to browse Amazon for classics with gorgeous illustrations and covers like The Adventure Collection and the illustrated version of The Hobbit.

Bed and Bookshelf

Stuffed animals always seem to find their way onto these shelves, and on top of the bookshelf we keep a lamp, special clock, and sound machine. We searched and searched for a low wattage LED bulb with a regular base, and the winner was this 200 lumen bulb from Ikea. It gives off just the right amount of light to read by without being too bright to wake up tired toddlers.

Bookshelf

Are you ready for our top three tips on making the transition from crib to bed?

  1. Set expectations. We talked to Libby a lot (for weeks beforehand) about how things would go down once she had a “big girl bed.” We always acted really excited about the change and told her how special having a new bed would be. Most importantly, we set one rule: “You have to stay in bed until mommy or daddy comes to get you.” We still have her baby monitor (with wide-angle lens) in her room, so if she needs to go to the bathroom or wakes up in the middle of the night, all she has to do is call us.
  2. Get one of these clocks. I’m not even kidding. This is the number one thing that keeps our girl in bed every single night and until 7 am each morning. It’s called the Ok to Wake Clock and turns green at a pre-set time every morning. Libby is definitely a rule-follower and knows she has to stay in bed until that clock turns green. When it does, she says, “I’m ready to get up!” and we start our day. I think she’s gotten out of bed herself two times in the five months since she moved to her bed, and our success is 100% because of this clock. We also love that we can set the clock for a certain nap length and that it functions as a night light.
  3. Create a good sleep environment. For us, that meant adding a blackout roller shade to the window and a sound machine. We love this sound machine (baby sister sleeps with one in her room, too) because it creates true white noise without being distracting or moving air like a fan would. It’s actually our go-to baby shower gift because it’s just that good!

Bookshelf Essentials

Bed Banner Bookshelf

I’m loving that we were able to transition from nursery to little girl’s room without changing the major design elements in this space. I kept the curtains, dresser and chair (on the other side of the room), and that gorgeous chandelier and updated the bed and play areas to fit our little girl’s needs.

Big Girl Room V

Are any of you approaching the move from crib to bed soon with your little ones? If you’ve already made the change (or did years ago), do you have any other suggestions to help with the transition?

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our home. Check out the list of sources for the room below!

pennant banner / bed (similar) / similar white quilt / purple chair / reading canopy (similar – sooo cute!) / blackout shade / sound machine / clock / owl lamp / similar bookshelf / baby monitor / wide-angle lens / similar chandelier (similarsimilarsimilar – closest match but goes out of stock quickly!)

The bird pillow, mint green pillowcase, and colorful quilt were handmade.

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Posted in Before and After, Big Girl Room | 3 Comments