Archives for August 2013

Break it Down, Build it Up – Part 2

This is the second of a three part series on our bathroom renovation following the discovery of a leaking sewage pipe. If you missed the first part, you can read it here.

While Daryl was busy rebuilding the floor and walls in the bathroom, I was at work looking for a vanity. The vanity that was in there was too big for the space; when we opened the door we would have to open it quite far just to be able to walk into the bathroom. The problem was that the heating grate was on the floor under the vanity, and if we went with a smaller vanity it would end up sitting on the grate… I wasn’t sure how to tackle this dilemma, until I found an Ikea vanity that only had legs in the front and was mounted to the wall in the back. My hope was that I could find an antique looking dresser to convert into a vanity (with back legs removed), so I began my hunt! What I ended up with wasn’t a dresser, but with something even more unique – a record cabinet! And the best part is that I found it at the thrift store right around the corner from my house, and I got it for a great deal!!!

Here is the shot of how it looked when I bought it (I forgot to take this before I removed the existing knobs):

The vanity pre-makeover

This is what the inside looked like:

Inside of the vanity pre-makeover

I loved that this was a record cabinet, so when I gutted the inside I kept the music category labels in place!

I sanded this baby down to the raw wood, gutted it out on the inside, and went to work painting. After two coats of paint I distressed it with sandpaper, and finished it off by giving the top four coats of varethane to protect it from all of the water that would inevitably splash on it.

After installing this to the wall (with back legs removed), my handy husband installed the sink and the faucet, and voila! We love it, and it fits the space so much better than the previous one. With it’s smaller size, it’s not only easier to walk into the bathroom, but the whole bathroom feels spacious to be in.

Record cabinet turned vanity

New converted vanity

Since our house is so old, we really wanted to give this bathroom some vintage charm. We think that the glass knobs and vintage style faucet compliment this record cabinet turned vanity perfectly!

Another piece of furniture transformed.

Thanks for reading!


“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5

Break it Down, Build it Up – Part 1

It all started when I walked into the kitchen and saw my husband gazing intently at the kitchen ceiling. “This is strange”, I thought. But it was only when he continued gazing that I began to wonder what in the world he was looking at. “I think I see a shadow of a stain on the ceiling” he told me, which caused us both to get a closer look and realize that there was also a bit of paint peeling off of the ceiling in the center of this spot. I must add here that this ceiling is brand new. We had the entire ceiling down when redoing the electrical a couple of years ago. And where do you think this spot was? Right underneath of the toilet in our only full bathroom. Oh, crap. Literally. This was a couple of months ago, and now our bathroom problems are over, but I’ve decided to share this project that we did on our own in a 3 part series entitled “Break it Down, Build it Up”.

One week following the great stain on the ceiling discovery we taped up the cupboards in the kitchen, put up plastic to control the dust, and the kids and I evacuated the house to stay with my very hospitable in laws. Daryl got to work right away with the demo and this is what he found when he removed the toilet and cut the floor away:

Very broken sewage pipe

It’s a good thing we caught that one when we did! It’s pretty amazing that we only had a faint little stain on the ceiling when we look at that pipe! This was the original pipe in a house that is over 100 years old, so it was time to be replaced.

I’m going to backtrack here and say that I had been dreaming of redoing the bathroom for a couple of years already – it was quite desperately in need of a makeover, but it just wasn’t a priority until now. So although we hadn’t budgeted for this reno right away, I was really quite happy to be able to redecorate this little corner of the house. Here are some before pictures of the bathroom:

A before shot of the bathroom

Storage cupboards beside shower

Doesn’t look too bad from a distance right? But upon closer inspection you see otherwise…

The vanity looking pretty terrible

This vanity is in pretty sorry shape.

Cracked vinyl floor

And look at that cracked and brittle old vinyl floor.

Not only did the vanity and the floor look terrible, but the paint on the walls was peeling! One of our life lessons since being homeowners has been to spend the money and buy good paint. Paint from the liquidation store is there for a reason…

Hopefully those before pictures give you an idea of what we started with, and now a couple more demo pics:

Wall down to the studs

The green and brown is the what the plaster looked like under the tile panelling that was on the lower half of the walls – you can see the glue marks too. Right away we agreed that the pipes should be replaced from the basement right up to the roof, so this meant removing the old plaster from the main wall in the bathroom, as well as some lovely holes in the kitchen.

Holes in kitchen ceiling

Mess in the kitchen

These pictures already show the new black PVC pipes that my husband installed with some help from some skilled family members. The last picture is to highlight the mess that we had to clean up. Messy, but totally worth it.

This reno made me think of how when we go through trials in life that are sometimes messy and painful, that is often a time when we press in to God and when we experience growth as we make it out of that tough spot with the Lord’s help. First we need to break it down, then we can build it up.

Thanks for reading!


“Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are my God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25: 4 & 5