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The Update, Don't Renovate Challenge!

I’ve been doing consults for many years now. I’ve seen so many houses! About half of my consults are for renovations, while the other half are with clients simply bringing me in to get my opinion on anything from rugs to curtains to furniture placement. They sometimes wonder if they need a renovation or what they should do in X room to make it feel better. MOST of the time these homes do not NEED a renovation to feel, look and function better. Sometimes a homeowner has wanted to change up their home by doing a renovation and that is fine….great! I obviously understand that in my line of work and I love renovation. However, many and MOST houses DO NOT NEED a renovation unless they are trashed and literally falling apart whether from neglect or faulty construction. For most of us, our house is in decent condition, just maybe a tad ugly or not our taste.

Update Don't Renovate Challenge

For the entire month of January I’m hosting a challenge for that group of people that don’t want, don’t need or can’t afford a renovation. And guess what, that’s me, too! My house is in good shape, but I didn’t renovate it. We bought it the way it is and have been tweaking it here and there. It’s not my favorite, but it’s fine. It just needs a little more oomph. I’m not in love with the kitchen, but it’s not something I care to rip out, nor do I have the money to do so. Same goes for the bathroom and the rest of the home. Like any good flipper, I want to spruce it up doing as little as possible. I know that isn’t what we’re seeing much of these days on the flipping scene, but you see I’m an old school flipper from back when we just painted walls beige and called it new. I’m bringing that back. Wait no. Not the beige. Just the concept.

In the Update, Don’t Renovate Challenge we’ll work on our homes to make them feel updated….without renovating. That means there will be no demo. There will be no walls coming down or new cabinets going in. No tiling. No drywall dust. No, 10s of thousands of dollars spent. Once we’re done, our homes will feel as if we had, though!

How It Will Work

The challenge begins January 1st. Every day for 31 days will be a challenge to help you move toward a better home. Some challenges are big, some are small, some have 18 parts. Do some. Skip some. Do them all. Whatever. Up to you. Some will result in AHA moments, where as others will be exactly the thing you’ve been meaning to do, you just needed a little nudge.

For each challenge I’ll offer many options so everyone can get something out it. Sometimes I’ll recommend you buy something to spruce up the space or help things function properly. Sometimes I’ll recommend removing, pitching or donating things. Sometimes both in the same day! Do what works for you, in your space, with your pocketbook. As always, I will recommend thrifting to find something at a discount but new is also fine. I know thrifting isn’t as prevalent in some areas so I’ll give as many ideas as I can think of to pull something off. I don’t care if you ask someone to buy something for you or gift you that item for your Birthday (thanks Mom!). Maybe you buy something off of Craigslist, Offerup or Facebook Marketplace. I don’t even care if you buy anything at all. Can you tell I already know people will be whining about spending money? The point is that sometimes we’ll want to bring new things into our home to make it feel a little better (HELLO PILLOWS) but that doesn’t mean we have to spend a ton. Or do! I don’t care. Let’s just have fun tweaking our homes for the better!

Are you ready!? You don’t have to do anything to officially join in, although I recommend subscribing (see below) so you don’t miss a day.

But wait.

Everybody Is Doing It

I’ve done these challenges before (remember my School of Badassery?!) and nothing makes a challenge better than having friends join in. The people that had their friends and family do it with them had the most fun and were the most productive holding each other accountable. I can already envision moms and daughters tearing through closets together. Oh!!! Or friends on a Friday night with a bottle of wine rearranging a living room. It’s fun to have someone to bounce ideas off of as well or help move your couch to the other side of the room. What are friends for? Forward this email or blog post, however you got here, and get them involved!

Show & Tell

If you’ve made any progress, show us! The more people share, the more motivating it is to keep going! Post your progress by tagging your Insta posts with #updatedontrenovatechallenge!

I can’t wait to see what you guys do! I’ll be sharing the ones I tackle as well. The challenges begins January 1st! Don’t miss it.

Bathroom Redesign: Modern Gray and Teal with Sneaky Storage

The Before

Jen wrote to me about her bathroom which was outdated, lacked storage space and needed to handle teenager use. The bathroom seriously lacks storage, with the only space being under the sink. I checked out the photos and quickly realized it was a small bathroom, and unfortunately, not much could be done to change it. But, with a little finagling, some storage could be added in some tricky places. Jen's budget is $10-$15,000, so there was room to add some custom elements as well as nicer finishes. She's ready to start completely over. GUT JOB! My favorite. See before photos below. 

The Design

She wanted something modern, neutral with a pop of color and worthy of teenager use. Here is the design.

The Road Map

Keeping most of the room neutral is a good call. It will allow the design to hold up over the years without becoming quickly dated. Leaving the punch of color in the decorative items, such as towels, artwork and soaps and lotions, allows you to change the color scheme easily. Tile is not as easy to change but new towels can be swapped out every season if you wished. There isn’t a way to improve the layout as that would require diminishing the size of the shower which would then be too narrow or lessening the size of the vanity, meaning less storage and counter space. I do believe some creative storage could be added next to the shower and in wall niches. Let’s dive deeper…

  1. Storage: There are two areas storage could be introduced to the space.

    1. Cubbies: Floor to ceiling storage cubbies behind the shower will add lots of vertical space to store towels. Baskets could also be added to the cubbies to hold loose items. A contractor will have to frame this to size. Accounting for the framing and drywall and leaving space for the shower, it will be pretty narrow. However,  it will be ample when considering it is utilizing the vertical space.

    2. Niches: A recessed cabinet with a full length mirror as a door will add some shallow storage space to keep items like hair products and accessories. This can fit on the wall opposite the toilet where the towel bar is currently. When the room is gutted by the contractor, they’ll remove some of the drywall and reframe to the desired cabinet size provided the wall can handle this change. If not, or if cost is an issue, there could be a smaller, narrow nook or two the size of the space between the studs. This will be a custom project so anything goes here. The new “cabinet” will be a recessed nook whatever size you and your contractor decide on. Consider white wood or glass shelves.

  2. Tile: The shower floor will be tiled which requires a mosaic for the pitch toward the drain. I recommend these marble hexagons with a gray grout. The hexagons can be carried up the back wall of the shower in a wide 3 ft. stripe to the ceiling. Consider adding a shower niche in the center of the stripe, in the same tile, for soaps and shampoos. The rest of the shower walls, as well as the bathroom floor will be in a coordinating gray plank tile. Lay the tiles in a stacked pattern for a more modern look, as well as to draw more attention to the mosaic. A Schluter strip can be used to finish off the edges where the shower tiles end on the walls.

  3. Vanity: The vanity is 36” and will sit exactly where the old one did. There is no room for improvement in size or storage here, unfortunately. The marble countertop coordinates with the accent tiles in the shower. Use the bottom shelf to store more towels, or add baskets to hold small items.

  4. Decor and Accessories: The towels, artwork and soap are your ticket to color in this bathroom. I included teal, but any color will work with the gray. The artwork is inexpensive and can easily be printed and inserted in a white Ikea frame.

  5. Toilet Seat: I added a Toto toilet seat like you wanted so we could see it in the budget and with the design. I’m not sure which one you’ll choose, but I recommend that you choose a toilet with a rounded seat. This will allow more room in front of the shower and be less intrusive in the space.

  6. Fixtures and Hardware: The finishes in the room are nickel and modern. The rain shower head will be impressive looking through the glass shower doors, as well as probably feel amazing!  The  vanity light, fan, sink faucet and towel bars all work together, but aren’t from  the same line  in order to keep from looking too matchy. Glass knobs are included in the design to replace the ones on the new vanity which don’t really work with the scheme. Their geometric shape work with the hex tiles.

  7. Paint: The paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Wickham Gray. You can buy this color anywhere you want (i.e. Home Depot or Lowes). Every paint store has other paint store’s color formulas.

If you're thinking about getting your own design, we have a Cyber Monday (week) discount for 10% off any of our virtual design products. Just use the code CYBER10 at check out. You can gift it to a friend or family member for the Holidays or keep it for yourself. Discount good until December 8, 2014.

Change some ugly.