The Patio: Before & After

When we bought our little old house back in 2015, the backyard was not one of its main selling points. (You'll see what I mean at the end of this post.) It was overgrown with weeds and odd-shaped. In the northwest corner was a brownish-red brick paver patio that I solemnly vowed to eventually demo and replace with the likes of wood decking or limestone. Of course, that was before we renovated both bathrooms from the ground up, updated the kitchen, installed new HVAC, replaced the galvanized plumbing, refinished the hardwood flooring, painted the interior and exterminated the rats living in the attic. So needless to say, there was not much in the budget left over for the patio of my dreams. Six months down the line, we eventually saved up enough to redo the landscaping, created a garden space and bought new patio furniture. These simple updates went a long way in transforming the backyard and we finally weren't embarrassed to have friends over for barbecues.

Still, the patio remained in all its red, bricky glory. I considered adding an outdoor rug, power washing and overlaying some deck tiles like these from Ikea, but none of these felt like the right solution. Then one day, someone suggested lime washing and I figured it was worth a shot. So I drove to Home Depot and bought two quarts of lime wash and a cheap wooden brush for $75. For the next couple days, I painstakingly painted each brick by hand with a little 3" brush. Despite the inclement weather and phases of self doubt and painter's remorse, I couldn't be happier with the results. Most importantly, the three of us love spending time out here now more than ever, which was always the goal at the end of the day!


The lime wash I used is Romabio in Bianco White. The label claims that the wash is reversible up to 5 days with a power washer, so that was reassuring enough. The whole process took a couple days because I kept stepping back to examine it from afar. If one area looked too flat and opaque, I'd spray it over with the hose and use an old bristle brush to scrub down certain bricks to achieve the effect of depth and texture. 


For more progress shots & behind the scenes, check out my Instagram Story highlights!

Chairs: Article  //  Patterned Pouf: World Market  //  White Cushion: World Market  //  Green Cushion: Ikea  //  Green Side Table: Ikea  //  White Side Table/Propane Tank Cover: YLiving  //  Propane Fire Pit: Amazon  // Fire Pit Cover: Amazon  //  White Plant Stand: Amazon  //  Outdoor String Lights: Amazon


If you're wondering what this space looked like before, feast your eyes on these gems I dug up from the archives of an old phone. Some photos are from the very first time our realtor took us to see this little fixer upper, right after she cheerily cautioned us to "keep an open mind." I don't know if it was the dog poop or the air conditioning unit propped up with a stick but somehow we saw all of this and thought, yep we want to live here

The Bathrooms: Before & After

When David and I started renovating our little 50's house last year, the bathrooms were not on our initial to-do list. They really weren't all that terrible and I had convinced myself that the built-in vanities were actually kind of cute in that "they-don't-make-things-the-way-they-used-to" way. But after a series of unfortunate events that began with the intention of simply updating the leaky galvanized plumbing, which then led to us having to tear down said vintage vanities, which then led to the discovery of rotten floorboards...we eventually found ourselves with two completely gutted bathrooms. (You may remember seeing progress snapshots from this post.) Although it sure didn't feel like it at the time when we were taking cold baths with a bucket, these pictures remind us that it was all so worth it. As usual, scroll down if you'd like to see the "befores" first!

Our shower bathroom was previously known as the "yellow bath" for it's pastel yellow sinks and shower tiles. The goal for the remodel was low maintenance and practical yet fresh and relaxing. The door leading out to the dog run and backyard made the space ideal for freshening up after an afternoon of gardening or playing with the pup, and also let in a ton of natural light. We finished the room with a coat of bright white paint and added brass and wooden accents as well as a bold cement tile pattern for the floors. 

Our second bathroom has a tub and shares a wet wall with the shower bathroom. This one was appropriately dubbed the "blue bath" for its baby blue tub, vanity and yep, even toilet. But the craziest part was the huge translucent pane of glass right above above the tub. We did some visibility/privacy tests to see if we should live with it or fill it in and sure enough, anyone walking around outside could clearly make out all sorts of bodily shapes, if you know what I mean. I could only imagine what someone would be able to see at night. (Hint: everything.) The one thing we did not tear out was the baby blue cast iron tub. It was still in great shape and just needed to be reglazed, which was much more cost effective than a brand new tub. 

Currently this is Hoku's bathroom for all intents and purposes, as us humans prefer using the shower. Here he is in the morning getting himself psyched for a full day of eating snacks, chasing critters in the yard, and taking long naps. It's a tough job being a dog, but someone's gotta do it. 

Clearly he is not a huge fan of the "bath" part of the word "bathroom."

This is a new dog  bath we're trying from Aesop, by the way. So far, I love it. It's very mild and smells wonderfully minty and citrusy. 

Shower Bath Sources:

Tile: Cement Tile Shop
Sconces: Cedar & Moss
Mirror: West Elm
Faucet: Delta
Vanity: Ikea
Vanity Hardware: CB2
Wall Hooks: Light & Ladder
Bench: Ikea
Bath Mat: Urban Outfitters
Turkish Towels: Amazon
Toilet Paper Storage Tower: CB2
Paint: "Oxford White" by Sherwin Williams

Tub Bath Sources:

Tile: Cement Tile Shop
Sconce: Cedar & Moss
Mirror: Ikea
Faucet: Delta
Vanity: Ikea
Vanity Hardware:
Wall Hook + Planter: Light & Ladder
Paint: "Oxford White" by Sherwin Williams
Dog Wash: Aesop

And finally, here are the Befores!

How To Survive A Remodel With A Dog

If you haven't been following us on Instagram lately, our big news this past summer is that we bought a house! A small, old cottage-y house with problems galore, but with great bones and a wonderful, walkable location. 

We focused first on high priority things like the faulty electrical, leaky plumbing and rat problem in the attic and then some nice-to-haves like refinishing the white oak floors and giving the place some new paint. For the sake of our budget, we'd suck it up and live with the ugly floor tile in the kitchen with its 1" monster grout lines and the Easter-themed pastel bathrooms. They say that renovations end up taking three times as long and twice the budget and that, ladies and gentlemen, is just the cold hard truth. The more layers of house we unveiled, the more problems we found and before we knew it, we had ripped out the offensive kitchen tile and gutted both bathrooms...among a number of other things we weren't originally planning on doing. 

As you can imagine, trying to adjust to a new place while dealing with loud noises and watching strangers walk in and out of your house on a daily basis can be stressful for a pup, but thankfully Hoku has been handling it well. Here are some things we've been doing to make the renovation just a little more comfortable for him.

1. Establish boundaries. Before any crew started their respective job, I made them well aware of the fact that there would be a dog in the house and asked them where they would need access. I made barriers out of things like boxes and suitcases so that my curious pup wouldn't be able to stick his nose near dangerous tools, toxic chemicals, sharp nails, etc. Also, with the front door being opened and closed constantly, I needed to make sure he couldn't run out while I wasn't watching. Despite my best efforts, he did manage to escape once but just ended up following one of the guys back in the house. (And scaring him pretty badly in the process since the dude probably thought that Hoku, collarless at the time, was some kind of wild fox or baby coyote.)

2. Create a safe retreat. That space ended up being my office, which was a huge relief because it needed the least amount of work and was located in the quietest corner of the house. It was the one room that was always clean and orderly and essentially a retreat for the both of us amidst the chaos. I kept the radio on to drown out the loud noises and Hoku had access to his water bowl, bed and favorite toys here.

3. Take breaks and stay on schedule. It was important for us to be able to get out of the house and escape from all the work going on inside, whether it was just going for a short walk or playing in the backyard. Making sure that walks and food times stayed consistent day to day was also key in creating some sense of normalcy. 

While we feel extremely blessed to have our own place to call home, living with a remodel is starting to take its toll on our sanity. We've been taking baths with a bucket, brushing our teeth in the kitchen sink, constantly rummaging through boxes to find things, and no matter how many times I swiffer, the house is always always covered in a layer of dust. (Yes, I am aware that the world's smallest violin is playing our sad song.) I am thrilled to announce however, that if all goes swimmingly, we will finally have a shower this week. A glorious, working shower. 

Here are some iPhone snapshots from these past few weeks. I'll be sharing more photos along the way as things start taking shape so stay tuned!