Thrifty Finds

Bathroom Reno: Mood Board

Well, the time has come. The time to renovate our upstairs bathroom is here!

Usually in the spring, Ted and I will save up our pennies to travel to one of our favourite vacation spots — either Orlando or Hilton Head Island. After much thought, we decided to forego a spring vacation and to spend some of our saved up dough on renovating our bathroom. Sure, a vacation would be nice, but renovating the bathroom is the smarter, more responsible adult decision.

Since we live in a bungalow, we don’t have the luxury of having a “guest bathroom” or a “master bathroom.” Sound familiar? You might recall me lamenting about not having a master bath in this post. Alas, this bathroom has to work hard for its money — it has to be functional for both Ted and I (and any future kiddos that come into our life), but it also has to look….well, for a lack of a better word, pretty.

What do I mean by pretty? Well, for one, it needs storage. This is the bathroom where we do the majority of our primping, so I’d like to hide away our day-to-day “things” (for lack of another better word), such as our electric toothbrushes, Ted’s electric razor and all of my products. I don’t want our guests to use the bathroom and see all of our hygiene products and other personal items. Sure, they can snoop in drawers and cupboards to see all that junk (who doesn’t?!), but I don’t want it to be in their faces (or mine either). A girl has got to keep some secrets hidden, no?

For a few months, I have been trolling Pinterest for inspiration for the bathroom renovation. Everything I pinned followed the same sort of formula — light and bright! Here are some inspiration bathrooms that I pinned:




Do you spot a theme? Light blues, crisp whites, nickel finishes, Carrara tiles. So light and bright, calm, soothing and, well….pretty! It’s so unlike any design or decor in our house (which I hope to finally get around to blog about!), but I just love it.

During our discussions on whether to renovate or vegetate, we agreed that if we were going to reno the bathroom that we would hire our contractor Stevie Boy (who has done a lot of the work in our house for us). Of course, Ted and I are both ga-ga over DIYing projects, but we’re also realistic. Between two full-time jobs, commuting, a social life and other responsibilities, it’s just not possible for us to undertake this project. We know that we will be living at The 236 for many years to come, so spending some saved up cash on a quality bathroom that we will enjoy is a smart decision. Plus, we love working with Stevie Boy! Did I mention that he has his own key to our house on his key ring at all times? Yeah. Love the guy!

Before I show you the bathroom before photo, I thought I would share our bathroom mood board.

  1. Our current bathroom has electrical for two sconces over the vanity. We will replace the current fixtures with two Martha Stewart Living, Skylands Wall Sconces.
  2. Rather than just a standard, boring mirror, I’d like to add some sparkle to the bathroom with this mirror – Tangerine Mirror Company, The Beverly Mirror
  3. In the summer, I bought a vanity base on Kijiji for $75. Originally, it was a honey oak vanity that I have sprayed in Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace. I also found some cabinet hardware at the Habitat for Humanity Restore for a buck a piece.
  4. That same summer, I also bought a white cultured marble vanity top on Kijiji for $50. I like how the sink and countertop are one piece.
  5. To keep the straight lines of the sconces in mind, we have chosen Moen’s Boardwalk Faucet (that I scored for 20% off at Lowes!)
  6. Our Kohler toilet, which we already have installed in the bathroom, will remain (we installed the new toilet a year or so ago when our city was offering rebates on new toilets).
  7. Benjamin Moore Gray Mist paint will go on the walls — the paint was another Habitat for Humanity Restore find for $10 a gallon. The actual colour is slightly more blue than the paint chip above.
  8. Here’s the big winner, chicken dinner! Daltile Marcello 12″ x 12″ floor tiles that we scored….are you sitting down…..for 75 cents a piece PLUS 25% off at the Habitat for Humanity Restore! Sure, they are ceramic and not actual Carrara marble, but heck, I’m all for getting a look for less! This was a HUGE score, as the floor tile for the bathroom reno came to under $30 with no tax. Yup, awesome.
  9. Our current bathroom does not have an exhaust fan, which is annoying because we always have to crack open the bathroom window when showering and then remember to close it before we leave the house (and not when we are half way to work – yup, it’s happened). Having an exhaust fan in the bathroom will be a beautiful thing.
  10. While I purchased the sink faucet at Lowes, I also bought Moen’s Boardwalk Tub & Shower Kit for 20% off. Love the lines of this set!
  11. We will be replacing the current shower insert that is in our bathroom with a tub and tile surround. We have opted for the Sydney Acrylic Skirted Tub by Mirolin from Home Depot. Should be just right for a leisurely soak! And, we’ve opted to pass on jets and other bells and whistles. We have a hot tub in our backyard that we can use if we want bubbles. Oh, and it was quite the experience getting the tub home from the store. You can read and laugh about that over here.
  12. While we were at the Habitat for Humanity Restore, we also found some white 3″ x 6″ subway tiles that we will use for the tub surround. An economical, but also beautiful choice.
  13. To break up the subway tile, we will run a row or two of mosaic tile. We are eyeing Sassi’s Arctic Grey Linear Blend Glass Tile.
  14. To match the wall sconces, we will likely also install the Martha Stewart Living, Skyland Bath Kit.
  15. And, lastly, to make the inside of the shower feel a touch roomier, we will likely install a curved curtain rod like the one shown.

So, there you have it! Stevie Boy is going to call us this evening to let us know when he can start on the job. We’re hoping he can start next week to get the job rolling. In the meantime, Ted and I have some additional sourcing/shopping to do. We are heading down to Buffalo, New York, on the weekend to do some cross-border material shopping to help stretch our reno bucks further (the difference in price for a lot of these materials is staggering!)

Check back this week and I’ll share some “before” photos of the bathroom! UPDATE: The “before” photos have been posted — most likely to the chagrin of my mother-in-law! More on that over here.

Linking up with…
Serenity Now — Weekend Bloggy Reading Link Up

“It will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine.”

I have been lusting over ceramic garden stools

Everyone seems to have one, except me!

Cait, from Hernando House, has one on her front porch. Pamela, from PB&J Stories, has one in her front foyer. And, I’ve likely pinned a few hundred other ceramic stools on Pinterest as well.

I’ve been soooo obsessed with finding a cheap and cheerful ceramic garden stool all year that I even set-up a Kijiji alert to notify me whenever a ceramic garden stool was posted. Sure, I could have walked into a store and bought a new one, but I’m too thrifty. Plus, part of the fun (I know…I’m sick) is the chase.

Well, finally — FI.NAL.LYYYYYY! — today was my lucky day. When I logged onto my email this morning, there it was sitting in my inbox — a ceramic garden stool just posted on Kijiji.

But, it wasn’t just any old ugly ceramic stool. This one was perfect — it was blue and white, which is my colour scheme for my (one day) living room re-do (yes, the same living room that I re-did last Christmas and the Christmas before, but that is still too blah and bland for my liking. I digress…..)

Here she is in all her glory….

This is the photo from the Kijiji listing. I haven't even picked it up yet, but here I am writing about it!

When I saw the stool, my gut reaction was just like Wayne Campbell when he saw that Excaliber 1964 Stratocaster guitar at the music store…


I immediately emailed the seller and was able to get her asking price down from $80 to $70. I was hoping for more of a steal, but the seller just purchased the ceramic stool on the weekend, brought it home and hated it (her loss, my gain!) At $120 plus tax, I’m getting this baby for just about half price. Not bad.

Of course, originally my budget for this stool was closer to around $20, but since I was so unsuccessful with finding one at garage sales or thrift stores, I figure $70 isn’t bad, especially since I don’t plan to take a can of spray paint to this baby. Of course, some people might find her not so cute and in need of a spray job, but she’s perfect for my living room/dining room vision, which will hopefully translate to a comfortable room that is full of texture, complementary patterns and colours. Here’s to hoping that I can pull it off!

I’ll be picking up the ceramic garden stool tomorrow. Merry early Christmas to me!

UPDATE: When Ted got home late from work, I informed him of my purchase by passing him my laptop and making him read this post. The verdict: he approves.  I think the clip from Wayne’s World helped sway him! :)

Before & After: A Restoration Hardware Inspired Glass Cloche

For quite some time, I have been eyeing these 1920′s French Glass Cloches from Restoration Hardware. For $69-$99 a pop, these beautiful cloches were not in my budget.

During my weekly visit to my local thrift store (okay, fine….tri-weekly visit!), I spotted this beauty. For $2.99 for the base and glass cloche, I quickly snatched him up. Here’s what it looked like before:

The glossy wood base just wasn’t calling to me, plus it blended into the furniture. I wanted this little glass cloche to pop — time to break out my trusty can of Rustoleum black spray paint!

And, here’s the final product — all dressed up for fall:

I absolutely love it! It may not be as substantial or tall as the Restoration Hardware glass cloche, but it’s the perfect size for our foyer console table. The beauty of the cloche is that it can be changed to suit the season — pine cones in the winter, a nest with faux robin eggs in the spring and sand dollars and shells for the summer.

It’s amazing what a visit to the thrift store can turn up!

Linking up with…
I Heart Organizing 

Drab to Fab: Ribbon Board

Yesterday I showed you my fancy, new-to-me mail slot. It was a $2.99 find at my local VV Boutique. Sure, it needed some TLC to bring it into this century, but it was nothing that a can of chalk board spray paint couldn’t handle.

I also gave you a sneak peek of my DIY ribbon board. Pretty, huh? I think so. It didn’t start out that way though.

One day while leaving work, I passed by the Give & Take Table in our underground parking garage. Normally I don’t bat an eyelash at the table because it’s usually full of junky items that people really should have thrown out. On the table was a wooden frame with broken glass. Garbage, right? It definitely could have passed for it, but I ended up grabbing the frame anyway because it was really deep, almost like a shadow box. I knew I could turn it into an upholstered pin board.

I immediately brought the frame home, threw out the busted up glass and gave it a coat of white spray paint. As you can see, I was so intent on starting this project that I didn’t get a “before” shot. Bad blogger, I know. :)

Next, I headed off to my local Fabricland and went straight to their remnant box. For a few bucks, I got a yard of stripped grey and white outdoor fabric and some white ribbon.

The process of putting it together was simple. I layered some batting over a piece of cardboard to fit the frame, then layered on the fabric. To secure the fabric and batting, I used some duct tape. Easy, right? Then, I arranged the ribbon in a diagonal grid and secured that to the back of the fabric covered cardboard using, of course, more duct tape.

Here’s the final product…

The ribbon board is perfect next to the mail slot, as we can stick invitations, important notices and other reminders on the board so they don’t get lost or thrown out by accident. It also gives the foyer a pop of colour.

How do you handle clutter in your foyer? I’d love to hear about it!

Linking up with…
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
I Heart Organizing

Drab to Fab: Mail Slot Makeover

Clutter is a MAJOR problem in our foyer. Shoes, bags, papers and mail. Oy, the mail!

For months, I was looking for an effective mail solution – something that would neatly organize our mail while it sat for us to read. After re-doing our foyer, I needed a solution STAT – the mail pile was starting to turn into an accessory and it wasn’t my idea of beautiful decor.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you would have noticed a number of pins for mail organization. Lots of ideas, but nothing that I could easily and quickly execute. Then, one day while strolling through my local VV Boutique, I came across this beauty.

Gotta love that honey-coloured wood. Best of all, the price at a whopping $2.99. Yup, sold. This baby was coming home with me.

I had a few ideas of what to do with this mail slot, but opted to keep it simple. Black is the accent colour of our foyer, so I grabbed my can of Rust-Oleum Specialty Chalk Board Spray and went to town.

And, here’s the final product…

Plenty of space for our mail and it’s located right by the front door near the coat rack for easy access.

What’s the ribbon board next to it? More on that tomorrow!

Linking up with…
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating
I Heart Organizing 

Thrifty Finds: Paint, Pots & Putty

Today was a good day for thrifty finds — some that landed in my lap, some that I searched for.

Let’s start with the ones that fell in my lap.

I work as a Copywriter for a design and branding agency that focuses mainly on package design. Needless to say, we normally have a lot of product sitting around. Today, some co-workers were cleaning out some older product to make room for new product. I snagged some wood filler and wood glue because, really, you can never have too much of either!

At work, we also have a “Give & Take Table” in our underground parking garage. While on my way out this afternoon, I saw this small white plant pot that will look very cute on my closet vanity with a faux boxwood plant (more on the closet vanity later!)

Then, on my way home from work, I made my weekly visit to my local Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. I was looking to find some small knobs for another project (no luck) and some paint for our upcoming upstairs bathroom refresh. Well, I was pleased to find a gallon of Benjamin Moore paint in Gray Mist for, get this, $10.00!

The price alone was awesome and Benjamin Moore is my go-to paint for The 236. But, that’s not all — when I looked at the paint lid, I saw that the paint was mixed at my local Rona store less than a month ago. Fresh, brand new paint in a gorgeous, neutral colour? Sign me up! Here’s a paint chip of Gray Mist — a true classic:

Then, I made my way to my neighbourhood Goodwill to see what other treasures I could find. I was hoping to score some vintage Pyrex (no such luck), but I did come across two more white pots bringing my grand total to three white pots in one day! Not sure where these will go, but I’ll find a home for them. Both were 99 cents each and from Ikea.

So, not a bad day for some finds! I can’t wait to start our upstairs bathroom refresh so I can see the new paints on the walls.

Until then, thanks for stopping by The 236!

Sneak Peek: Our Garden Project

Well, the weather in Southern Ontario has been ridiculous lately with rain and grey skies every day. On Saturday, I decided that I had enough of the rain and made my way to the garden centre to pick-up some annuals for our garden. The garden centre was DEAD….it seemed like I was the only one there! I didn’t let that deter me — I managed to fill my cart up with beautiful annuals that will bring instant life and colour to our gardens.

I managed to get the front garden done, but by the end of the day, I was a soggy, wet mess. I opted to leave the backyard gardening for another weekend.

However, I’m too excited to wait to post some photos of our gardening projects! But, I will. I want you all to see the whole project, from start to finish, which started….ohhh, four years ago! :)

Here’s a sneak peek at our gardens with a few tips to help you get your own landscaping projects underway without spending a lot of dough. Remember, my goal for every project is getting that big bang, for little buck!

Find your focal point

Ted and I toyed around with the idea of creating a focal point using a water feature in our yard. The cost of water features can be quite pricey, plus they require electrical, so we decided that for our purposes a water feature would be nice, but not necessary.

We turned our attention to finding an urn to fill with overflowing flowers. I didn’t want to fork out a lot of money to buy an urn, so I put my thinking cap on and poked around our shed to find something else that would work — like, this decorative drink cooler.

Drink cooler turned garden urn

First, I drilled four small holes in the aluminum barrel to allow for drainage. Then, I filled the barrel with a few heavy rocks to ensure it wouldn’t tip over in a storm. I purchased a large hanging basket from the garden centre, placed it in the barrel and cut off the hangers. And, voila — instant colour and impact, creating a beautiful focal point that you see when walking into the yard.

Invest in perennials

Perennials provide lasting beauty and impact year after year. When we started to plan our landscaping projects, I made sure to include a variety of perennials in our gardens. Since most perennials only bloom for six to eight weeks, I made sure to plant a succession of blooms to ensure that our garden is full of colour throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons. There are thousands of perennials to choose from with all kinds of colours, shapes and sizes.

In our gardens, I planted a few varieties of Phlox for some springtime colour. This patch of Phlox just started to bloom this week.

Phlox in bloom

Think outside of the garden centre

When starting our gardens, the costs of plants and shrubs was adding up very quickly. I had to find other avenues to help keep the cost of our plants on budget. Since I knew I wanted to plant a variety of perennials, I decided to see what other gardeners had for sale on websites like Kijiji or Craigslist. The spring is a great time to find fellow gardeners looking to part with plants, as many perennials require dividing when they become too large.

I found a lady in my city that was dividing her hosta plants. She was selling individual hosta plants for a $1. Sure, they were on the small side, but look at how large they are one season later.

Hosta in bloom (and our dog Mason)

Depending on the variety of the plant, size and maturity, the cost of hosta plants can add up — anywhere from $4 – $5. I was able to buy 20 plants for $20. Not bad if I say so myself!

So, there you have it. A sneak peek at our gardens and a few tips for good measure. Here’s hoping that the weather for Victoria Day Weekend is dry and sunny so I can finish the back garden and show you the entire project, from start to finish!

Linking up with:
Centsational Girl
The Cottage Chick