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DAY 19 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Vanity

Channel the DAY 7 Kitchen Cabinets and DAY 13 Clear Your Counters vibes from the kitchen and whip your vanities into shape!

STEP 1: CLEAR IT

Take all the shit out of it. Take all the shit off of it. Rearrange. Reorganize. Purge the shit. The end.

STEP 2: PAINT

Paint that thing. It will take less than half a day, hopefully.

STEP 3: HARDWARE

Add some. See some hardware I posted about on DAY 7 for kitchen cabinets. Here are the ones in the photo above.

STEP 4: COUNTER

Getting trickier here. Several options here:

  1. Add some stone like we did here with this marble look quartz. This cost something like $300 maybe. I can’t remember. Definitely wasn’t more.

  2. Replace it with butcher block (from Floor & Decor or the like). That is easy to cut if you have a circular saw or know someone who does. Seal it with butcher block oil or poly.

  3. Replace with a simple counter sink combo from Home Depot like this one or this one. Those are nice because they are simple AND include the sink.

STEP 5: SINK

Some people dislike vessels. I get it, it makes the vanity taller. If you have a lower vanity, like the one in the photo, it actually helped to make it taller without replacing the whole vanity. I also prefer the flat bottom vessels, like this one I have bought about 10 times, because the ones that look like a bowl end up spinning and leaking.

STEP 6: FAUCET

No need to replace it if it’s fine, but if you do, refer to DAY 14 for some good faucets to purchase.

STEP 7: STORE IT

Find a place for your toothbrush, your hair spray (do people still use that stuff?), your hair dryer, the hand towel…..all the shit that lays out on your vanity top. Put it away somewhere. Give it a home. Live free of crap in your face.

Check out the before and after of that bathroom with the updated vanity. Click on the photo to see more about that makeover

Below are the resources mentioned above in this post.

Go. Go forth and conquer your vanity and win your space back.

DAY 14 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Faucets

Wanna make life better? Fix a faucet. There are a ton of options on how to accomplish faucet new-ness and doesn’t always require a repairman or a plumber. Let’s dig into it….

ONE: Paint

If you read DAY 12’s post about painting, you’ll have seen the section where I recommended painting a faucet. In my MIL’s hall bath, shown above, we were going to leave the shower faucet ORB even though we were going matte black on the other fixtures. It was going to be hidden behind the shower curtain so we weren’t too concerned. Then, I got a wild hair and thought, hmmm, let’s paint that little mofo. I had painted the light fixture, why not that? I got her permission to experiment and if it ended up looking like crap after usage, we’d just replace it. The paint was a good inexpensive first step. We left the shower head, the tub faucet and the valve cover on. We papered and taped around the tub and shower to make sure no overspray would get onto the tile or ceiling. It worked! After about a year of usage, the paint is still holding up STRONG. Here is the paint we used.

See the post I did about this bathroom here.

TWO: Clean

Something else you can do to make your faucets like new is to clean them out. Calcium build up can really put a damper on water pressure. You can secure a bag of vinegar around it and let it soak for a few hours, then run some water to get the vinegar out. The water should flow more freely.

Another non-faucet related, but kind of related cleaning you can do came to me as a suggestion from Brenna Brooks of Brenlow Properties. She said she was having water pressure problems, so she had a plumber come by to see what was up. Turns out she had a ton of calcium build up in her old copper pipes. The plumber used some solution to rid it of all the build up and WA-LA, water pressure restored! So, it’s like a whole new faucet without getting a new faucet.

THREE: Repair or Replace

Call a plumber out to fix a leaky valve or replace the faucet all together. Who are we kidding, we really do just want a new faucet. Go for it. You can even replace a shower head all on your own. Just buy the shower head and some plumber’s tape. Wrap the tape around the direction of how the shower head will move around the threads. Easy.

If you want to replace a whole faucet altogether, here are some of my favorite faucets that range drastically in price depending on my project.

If you find one on Amazon, don’t forget to search in Amazon Warehouse Deals! If you don’t know what that is, just click on that link and search for the faucet or any other item! These are items that people returned for whatever reason. Some are damaged but most I find are like new or are new, open boxed items. They will tell you in the description.

Another way to get to it is to search on the Amazon home page and just choose Amazon Warehouse in the drop down box to the left. Practice by clicking on the photo.

OR….

When you have done a general search for something and the item has come up, scroll down below the price, add to cart button, etc and choose the “Used & new from…” link. That will take you to all of the used items and returns. You can choose to buy a used one from another vendor or from Amazon Warehouse. Click on the photo below to see where that circle link takes you.

Ok let’s get going on the faucet updates!

If you have any success with your faucets, whether paint, repair or a new purchase, show me! Use the #updatedon’trenovatechallenge tag!

DAY 7 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Kitchen Cabinets

My apologies on the rage that builds throughout this post. Kitchens fire me up.

The biggest complaint I get during consults is about the kitchen cabinets. No shock there. But, do we really need to go ripping them all out? Maybe sometimes. If you just want to and have the funds, great. But, if you don’t, today’s challenge is for you.

There are several ways we’ll tackle the kitchen cabinets today. The first one we will address is the biggest complaint about cabinets.

There Isn’t Enough Storage

To that I say BULL SHIT. I have yet to meet a kitchen that can’t be worked. Even the smallest kitchen I have ever seen I was able to figure out where to put everything. The trick is being realistic about your stuff. I’m not going to beat this to death because we have purged a bunch already and I will have a rage stroke if I go too deep on this. But a few tips here:

  • Small Appliances: Purge any small appliances that are redundant to your big ones. For instance a toaster oven is ridiculous to own if you have no room and you have a perfectly good ACTUAL OVEN that can….you know… toast things. And you can really go balls to the wall and just pitch the toaster while you’re at it because again…you have a giant full size toaster oven called an ACTUAL OVEN. Now move on to the others. The blender you never use. The panini press. The popcorn maker. If you MUST have these but don’t want them in the way, consider moving them to a place that is less in the way like a shelf in the garage, basement, pantry or laundry room.

  • Pots & Pans: What do you actually need and actually use to cook? Do you need 18 skillets? I think not. You can likely get by with a large soup pot or dutch oven, a larger skillet, a smaller skillet and a sauce pan. Maybe even less than that depending on how desperate you are for space.

  • Utensils: Look at your utensil. Purge the idiot ones. Replace any that are too far gone like that carrot peeler that the handle broke off of 2 years ago, yet you keep trying to get by like freaking a hero. Splurge today on a carrot peeler. You deserve it.

  • Dishes/Glassware/Mugs/ETC: How many sets of dishes do you have? How many sets of glassware? What about all those random plastic cups you got at baseball games or at Harkins Theaters 18 years ago. Tell those mofos to get a life and peace out. Try to keep a set if you can. It just feels better. Allow yourself to keep random mismatched if it feels like a collection to you. Like maybe your mugs. Otherwise, those random mismatched plates can take a hike.

  • Storage Containers: If you have an explosion of storage containers, then go through them and purge the ones that have no matching lid or container. If they suck, get new ones. Grab a little bin and throw all of the lids in there and stack the bottoms together.

  • Spices: That stuff goes bad. How old is yours? What is never getting used…EVER?

Be harsh. Your sanity depends on your ability to win out over the guilt of getting rid of that one mug and saucer your mom got you because it {insert fake high pitched mom voice here} “would be so cute for soup!” but doesn’t stack well and is taking up serious real estate only because it is “so cute”. Ok moving on to the actual cabinets.

Organize In A Way That Makes Sense

Now we put things back in a way that makes sense to how we use the kitchen. Put cups, plates, silverware and bowls near the dishwasher to put away more easily. Pots and pans can go near the oven or even in the oven drawer. I feel like this is obvious but I have been in homes where the cookware was nowhere near the cooktop. And actually, just last month I bought myself a little mug tree and put it by the blender, which may make no sense to you, but to me is genius because that is where I blend my bulletproof coffee (coffee + butter). Life has become so much better being able to pick up a mug right there and pour my coffee in.

If you have everything put back and you still don’t have the space you need, then you maybe weren’t as ruthless as you needed to be. Try again.

Remove A Cabinet

And everyone loses their shit. “Why would I want to remove a cabinet!? I need storage!” Well, upper cabinets feel like giant heavy boxes hanging over our heads because that is exactly what they ARE. You can feel it. It’s like bad feng shui or some shit like that. Find one random one that is poking out. Hanging there. All willy nilly. I double dog dare you. All you need is a screw driver. There will be consequences though. Holes to fill. Paint to paint. Maybe a shelf or two to hang. Or if you don’t need storage because you have purged half your kitchen belongings, hang some art! Your heart will love it. There should be more art in the world.

Replace These

i almost don’t even want to say this next one because the minute I do you’ll tune out. Every other design website and show has said this is the way to update your kitchen and I don’t like to be like “them”. But, changing your YOU KNOW WHATS can be good if you do it right. Be creative. Don’t go with the obvious. Sometimes what you think is a decent handle will look terrible strewn all over your kitchen. Imagine looking into your kitchen and seeing black (brushed nickel, brass, whatever) bars dotting the landscape. Does that look good or annoying to you? What about handles that “match” your cabinets? They disappear! Could you like that more? I have done that in this kitchen because I didn’t want the hardware to ruin the color scheme. Finding white handles was near impossible so I spray painted some nickel ones.

There are loads of options here and I’d say that one size doesn’t fit all. Look up some kitchens similar that to yours on Pinterest and see what you might like. A good place to find hardware is Amazon because you can often find packs of 10-20. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve used over and over.

Remove These

Take that stuff down from above your cabinets.. Just try it. See how it feels for a few days. In most cases it doesn’t “work” in my opinion. More things looming overhead. Not good for the soul.

Add Storage

LAST RESORT. Now we get to it, but not until way after the purge. Why add storage to fuel the hoarding fire? That makes no sense. If after all of that you still need a bit more storage, or maybe just a more suitable type of storage, consider these options:

  • Try using some of your cookware as the “art” of the room. Hang pans somewhere, alleviating the need to take up a cabinet

  • Add shelves for glassware, dishes, mugs, etc Let’s hope you chose to keep a good looking set or collection

  • If you have an empty wall, bring in a buffet. It can double as storage and extra counter space.

Try your best to keep most things hidden. More things to look at usually result in a cluttered head. At least for me.

That’s It

That’s a lot to take in and for some of you a lot of work ahead so we’ll stop right there. Show us your work in progress and your after photos over on Instagram or tell us about it below!

Missed a challenge? See the last week here.