Thursday This & That

thursday this & that

- With a new baby just 6 weeks away (OMG!), we’re in the home stretch and I really need to get it in gear with the new nursery.  After approximately one zillion hours of trial and error and taping and painting, the striped feature wall in the nursery is complete!  Whew.  Next up is hanging curtains and figuring out whether to paint/stain the dressers, finding a rug, moving in the crib . . . I need to go lie down now.

striped nursery wall

- I’m pretty sure you can’t be a blogger without owning at least one succulent arrangement, so Nutty and I hit Home Depot last week and stocked up in the little suckers.  She took her job of critiquing each plant very seriously, and insisted that we buy one in particular – the least attractive one in my opinion – but I googled it when I got home and discovered that it’s common name is “Baby Toes” which suddenly make the less-than-adorable succulent a lot cuter.  :)


- We picked out the stain for the hardwoods at the flip – can you guess which one we went with?

- Did I ever tell you that we snuck away to California last month for my birthday weekend?  It was Nutty’s first time at the beach and she LOVED it.  Sand and water are the makings of an excellent time.  I almost included one of my favorite family pics of all time, but I decided to spare you the image of me in a bikini at 7 months pregnant – you’re welcome.  :)

California trip

- This mid-century dresser has found a new home in the nursery – it needs a little love (the veneer around the sides of the top piece is pretty chipped) so I’m debating painting just the top, and cleaning up/staining the rest.  Hmm.

- Our girl has been super into drawing lately - this is kind of a huge development since previously she would only eat the crayons and chalk and now she’ll eat them only occasionally.  Drawing keeps her entertained for awhile like nothing else does, and I love seeing her have such a good time being creative.  My girl is growing up!


So that’s what I’ve been up to – what’s going on with you guys?

Reader Question: Why Did We Go Custom?

After the last post about the master bathroom at the flip, one of you lovely IGTBH readers (hi, Collette!) asked a question that I haven’t tackled before:

Now tell us why you opted for a CUSTOM everything in here versus getting a high end vanity/sink/top combo from a big box store and calling it good? Those can look amazing, too. Is it truly worth the added labor, expense, etc to go custom? It looks great but so would something else? I understand you were working with CRAZY stuff here, had to work around returns, etc…but STILL. For a flip? Custom? SPILL THE DEETS!

Excellent question!!

We’ve actually opted for custom cabinetry more frequently than we’ve chosen off the shelf.  I know that sounds crazy – I mean, isn’t custom cabinetry supposed to be reserved for people with Scrooge McDuck money?

Not so, I say.

Here’s a little breakdown of the factors we take into consideration when we’re deciding to spring for custom cabinets or buy off-the shelf!

when to go custom

Think about going custom…

1.  … when you’re working around existing, quirky details. Our current flip has some of the quirkiest, and sometimes downright oddest, details that we’ve ever encountered.  For example, take a look at the guest bathroom – it looks like a pretty straightforward, cosmetic remodel, right? 


That’s what we thought, too.  But when we ripped out that innocent-looking vanity, this is what we found:


Huh?  What is that weird triangle-shaped obstacle on the right?  Turns out that a short flight of stairs on the first floor of the home causes this strange bump-out under the vanity.  Which means that any store bought vanity would have to be extensively modified to accommodate the bump-out, adding significantly to the cost of the store bought vanity and possibly compromising function.

You can see in the drawing below all of the factors that the cabinetmaker had to take into account when creating the vanity for the guest bath:

guest vanity

And the fun doesn’t end in the guest bathroom.  The master bathroom has odd ceiling angles thanks to the roof line, like this beauty below:


Since we planned to run the vanity along that back wall, the angled ceiling meant that the far right side of the vanity couldn’t be used for anything where the vanity-user would be standing…like pretty much everything, from brushing teeth to washing face to gazing in the mirror.  So, it seemed like a good use of space to add a sit-down vanity (for makeup, doing hair, ogling whomever’s using the shower) where head clearance wouldn’t be an issue.

The final draft of the cabinetmaker’s drawing takes full advantage of the space that we had, while minimizing the oddness of the slanted ceiling.

master vanity

If we had bought an off-the-shelf vanity, it wouldn’t have been long enough to fill up the wall space and it wouldn’t have been able to solve the issue of the slanted ceiling.  That fact alone made our decision to go custom pretty easy.

But wait, there’s more!  :)

2.  … when off the shelf isn’t THAT much cheaper. There’s no doubt that pre-made cabinetry is almost always cheaper than custom cabinetry.  But when you really compare custom to pre-made, the price difference isn’t always that staggering especially when you take into account that the custom pieces fill all of your needs perfect (while pre-made cabinetry often doesn’t).

For example, the unfinished, custom vanity that we bought for the master bathroom cost $1,109.61.  Not chump change, but also not mind-blowingly expensive when you consider that the cheapest double vanity from Home Depot costs $999 (in the 70-100″ category that we needed).

off the shelf vanities

When you take into account staining our custom vanity, adding a countertop and two sinks, we probably sunk in another $700 into our master vanity.  Again, not chump change, but also not mind-blowingly expensive when compared with cheapest the off-the-shelf option from Home Depot.

3.  … when it makes sense for your project. You can’t cut corners at every single turn and wind up with a finished product that you’re happy with.  Sometimes you need to add something really special to elevate everything else that you’ve done.  This formula has allowed us to create some pretty spectacular bathrooms (and kitchens, etc.) when the foundation of the room is really inexpensive (think subway tile, sinks from a store that sells “seconds and surplus” building items, etc.).

That doesn’t mean that you have to splurge on custom cabinetry, or custom anything, at every turn – sometimes that just doesn’t make sense for your budget, or for the potential resale value of the house.  But in our case, buyers in this neighborhood and price range are going to expect some pretty nice finishes.  Also, we are able to re-use the existing kitchen cabinetry at a huge cost savings.  So, in the case of the master bathroom, we justify the extra $800 we spent for a completely custom vanity for a few reasons: (1) we also got a makeup vanity out of the deal, (2) every detail of the vanity is exactly what we wanted (including the countertops), (3) the vanity works with our angled ceiling and takes advantage of the full wall we had available for cabinets, and (4) I think the master bath (and bathrooms/kitchens in general) is a place where it’s okay to splash a little money around, even in a house that’s being flipped.  An extra $800 in the grand scheme of a renovation isn’t the end of the world, and this snazzy vanity is likely worth an extra $800 to a potential buyer of this home.

Making Progress - Tile

So that’s my two cents on the great debate – what has been your experience with pre-made versus custom cabinets?

Making Progress in the Master Bathroom

The last time we chatted about the flip we debated the configuration of the vanity in the master bathroom.  I’m sure you’ve been on pins and needles ever since (wink) just dying to know which option we chose…

Well my friends, the wait is over.  And as an added bonus, you can see how the tile is shaping up.

As a reminder, here’s how the master bath looked before we started ripping everything apart:

original master bath

Here’s how it looked mid-makeover:

master bath demolition

And here’s how it looks today, with lots of finishing touches left to go (like staining the vanity, adding lighting, mirrors, shower glass, paint, hardware…tons of stuff):

Making Progress - Tile

(If you’re curious about the finishes we’re going with, check out the design plan for the master bathroom here.)

I’m absolutely in love with how the vanity turned out. The open toe kick area with the tapered legs might be my favorite thing ever.  And the inset drawers – oh, the drawers.

After all of your great suggestions, we decided to go with Option 1 (see it here) but we tweaked the design to create deeper (but fewer) drawers between the sink cabinets.  Here’s how the final rendering looked:

master vanity

In person it turned out even prettier than I had hoped!

Making Progress - Tile

We plan to stain the vanity – which apparently our painter “forgot.”  I literally almost burst into tears in front of the painter (I blame the pregnancy hormones) when I saw that he had caulked all the seams and prepped the vanity for painting instead of staining.  Luckily, we caught the mistake in time and we’ll still be able to go head and stain it.  Or else I might have flipped.  :)

Making Progress - Tile

You may have noticed the junction boxes for the sconces.  I’m not sure the placement was my best idea, but the wall has been tiled and I’m going to see it through.  You see, there is less room between the left side of the vanity and the shower pony wall than I anticipated, so that sconce is kind of squished next to where the shower glass will be.  And it’s a little closer to the wall-mount faucets than I’d expected so mirror placement might get a little interesting (which is what I was debating here).  Basically, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.  Would you mind crossing your fingers and hoping along with me?  Much appreciated.

Making Progress - Tile

Here’s a better shot of the herringbone floor tile.  I’m absolutely delighted with how it looks!

master bathroom floor - herringbone

Hopefully I’ll be better about posting flip updates for you guys – things got slow at the flip for awhile so I wasn’t particularly inspired to write about it.  But now things are trucking along!!  :)

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