Giving My Wife a Bath: Demo Day!

For the last month we’ve been negotiating the purchase of a short-sale in Shaker Heights and have largely suspended our marathon showing sessions as we do expect  our bid to be accepted at some point.  With the resulting free time, my father and I have been hard at work renovating our third floor bathroom so my wife can finally enjoy a nice bath! You can check out my inspiration here.  We’re actually almost done with the rehab, but I’ve been a bit lazy with the blog.  So, lets get caught up 🙂

The first step is always my favorite…demo!  To get the room prepped for new wainscoting and flooring, I first needed to remove the top-cap from the existing baseboards so that the vertical stiles would fit neatly into place.  Easy enough…nothing a crowbar can’t handle:


How to Remove Baseboards


Removing the existing flooring was just as easy, albeit slightly more messy.  Why the previous owners decided to lay such a cheap and ugly product over the original hardwood floors is beyond me; but, to each his own. Anyways, a little prying with the crowbar and some muscle was all that was needed.  If a floor covering comes off that easily, it should have never been installed! Oh, and it was a sticky job…lots of glue under there!  I felt like I was walking through a mousetrap!


The next step was to disconnect the massive cast iron tub, which probably weighs a little over 150 pounds and is effectively the centerpiece of the renovation.  Not knowing how such tubs are made, I was a little nervous as to how we’d get it out of the room, but my father quickly realized that the feet of the tub could easily be removed so that the unit can fit through the door.  Loosen the screw and they slide right off!

Clawfoot Tub Feel

Once we got the tub out of the bathroom, we inspected it for cracks and quickly noticed the manufacturer’s imprint on the bottom.  As it turns out, the tub was manufactured in 1931 by the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company based out of Pittsburgh, PA.  Pretty cool! Many times, I prefer old things to new. I appreciate the character, the history and the vintage aesthetic.  This made my decision to keep the tub (and buy a house build in 1932) much easier. That said, I am a little creeped out by the fact that we’ll be taking baths in a tub that has been used by countless other couples over the last  83 years!


Clawfoot Tub Restoration

Anyways…the wainscosting is the next step.  Until then, be sure to check us out on Pinterest and Instagram!




Why We Invest in Cleveland. #ThisIsCle


You may have read the stories, heard the jokes. But this isn’t the place for people who follow the herd. The city where rock was born knows a thing or two about passion. freedom. and doing it your way. No matter what. Because what they never understood, is that while they were talking about us, we weren’t listening. Under the right conditions, pressure can create diamonds. World-class experiences without the world-class ego. It’s what happens when you’re not trying to be something you’re not. We’ve never been flashy. trendy. perfect. And for that, you’re welcome. Never mainstream. Never meant to be. Always Cleveland

Affordable Frames for a Picture Wall

Our house looks like its straight out of a catalog.  Unfortunately, it’s for all of the wrong reasons!  Like some of our favorite catalogs, we have plenty of wall art, but none of it is personal.     That is, we barely have any photos of our family.  And by barely, I think the exact count is eight.  Yes, EIGHT photos of our family.  Our parents must be miffed when they come over.  I certainly would be.

The quickest way to go from a grand total of eight photos to twenty or more is through the use of a photo wall, like those pictured above.  While I love the gallery feel of more uniform layouts, the two spaces we’ve dedicated as our photo walls – the stairwell and den – are better suited for a more collaged look.

While the final product is beautiful and can do wonders to liven up a room, many people write off the idea of a photo wall because of the wide variety of frames and, in many instances, their prohibitive cost.  While you can certainly splurge for gallery-quality frames, you don’t have the break the bank for ones that are right for you. If you’re looking for a more random look and don’t care too much about uniformity in size or style, your local estate sale, flea market or re-purposed furniture store is the best place to start.  In that these may be worn, be sure to look for ones that are sturdily built and can be freshened up with a coat of paint.

Should you be more interested in a uniform look, we’ve put together a list of some quality frames at affordable prices.

  1. Multipack Templates for Hanging Frames – If you don’t feel like measuring, this is a perfect product at just $9.99.  It allows you to quickly lay out a template, which can be adjusted, before drilling any holes in your wall.  I bought two.
  2. FJÄLLSTA or RIBBA Frame, like the rest of Ikea’s offerings, are cheap and sturdy.   While we love that each comes in various sizes, they’re made of cheap-looking plastic rather than glass.
  3. Feeling a little lazy? Try the Pinnacle Create a Gallery Set from Walmart.  It comes with seven frames of varying sizes which, like the multipack templates above, can be hung in various formations.  The quality is surprisingly good – real wood and glass – and the frames are sturdy.
  4. Urban Outfitters isn’t just for graphic T’s and summer concert gear. They offer a set of 10 frames, which come in varying sizes, for just $39.  The primary downfall with these is the lack of sizes in the 10-pack, so these frames may be more suitable for a kids rooms or smaller wall.
  5. If you don’t mind spending $100 for three frames, the offering from CB2 is tremendous.  The frames are clean, well built and really do give off the professional gallery vibe.  Mix and match with some frames from Crate & Barrel to complete the look.

Of course, you can never go wrong with Michaels.  Just time your purchase with their regular 40% off sales.


Giving My Wife a Bath

I suppose I could have worded the title differently, but it works.

As if flipping a house isn’t enough, our home has been under constant renovation since we first purchased it.  We’ve got a long way to go and the next project on deck is  the full bath on the third floor.  It’s literally gone untouched since we first bought our home, other than being a storage area for random junk.  We don’t use it, even though it has a beautiful cast iron clawfoot tub that is original to the home.  And they’re not cheap…a tub similar to ours retails for $4500 at Restoration Hardware
Here is the third floor bath when we first bought the house…aside from removing the radiators (we had a central heat/air installed), the bathroom looks exactly the same.  Yes, even that ugly shower curtain and the A&F Moose hanging from the “towel rack.”  Our third floor is a perfect example of “out of sight, out of mind.”  It’s dark, ugly and uninviting.  Aside from the need for a good paint job, I have quite a bit of work ahead of me. 
House Flipping Couple
While I appreciate the value a fully renovated bathroom can add to a home, we’re on a budget. Ideally, I’d like to dedicate less than $500-750 to the renovation, the bulk of which will be spent on a new vanity and flooring.  Despite the tight budget, I do want to give the bathroom a warm and classical look, which really can’t be achieved by just painting the walls.  With that in mind, my wife suggested the use of wainscoting, using the pictures below as inspiration. It’s an aesthetically appealing, easy to install and period-appropriate for our home. 
Our tub’s hardware makes it a functional shower, but I will likely have that removed and install the “telephone” shower handle.  It’s more appropriate for a tub that will only be used for baths.  Also — love the wall color and use of black-and-white photography. It’s very much my style….BUT…


While I’m a fan of the more neutral tones in the first picture, my wife is far less bland  and prefers a more lively and bright environment.  Since this will be her space, we’ll likely opt for a more calming and bright paint.  The baby blue screams Southern Charm (in Cleveland?), which is exactly what this space needs.


To be clear – that’s not wainscoting. It’s beadboard.  And I hate it. Unless you own a beach house in Nantucket, this shouldn’t be in your home. What I do love about this bathroom, however, is the use of Hex tiles. They’re clean, traditional and typically very well priced at $4-5 per square foot.  I also love the contrast between the white tub and black feet, which I may recreate should we choose to install white tile.


So, there is my idea-book.  The first step is to tear out the floor, trash the shower curtain and put the A&F moose in a more appropriate location. All told, I would expect this project to take 2-3 weekends as I work in piecemeal.  One weekend for the wainscoting and paint, one weekend for the vanity and flooring and one weekend for paint.  So, hopefully my wife can take a nice bath by late April.  Maybe.  Hopefully.