DAY 6 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Rug It Out

If you haven’t guessed it, I’m putting some much needed emphasis on how we outfit our homes. Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on ripping out rooms and replacing them when usually what would really help is some good decor.

Today’s challenge:

Find a New Rug

Rugs are actually so important to a home. They are like giant art for your floor and have to meet so many requirements. Not only do they have to look good, but they need to feel good. I’m kind of a rug junky, much the same as pillows. I hoard them. But, I do have a hard time picking out the perfect rug. And so I stopped trying to pick out the perfect rug because it doesn’t exist. Now I have a sort of system I go by which isn’t a system at all but just random thoughts I noticed I have in my head I’ve organized for you to read. Keep these things in mind when buying…

Photos of Rugs Suck

Photos of rugs are just terrible. They never show the texture very well. There are a handful of times I bought a rug in person, then looked it up to send someone a link and thought, “EW, I would’ve never bought this had I seen that photo.” The rug I have in my bedroom (pictured) is case and point. In the show room it was shown with the textural side up as I have it. It feels fluffy and soft. The way West Elm shows it online is not that cute at all, IMHO.

Other examples of fabulous in person rugs, but just meh online are the three below. The texture gets lost in them.

Every time I take a photo of a rug to post it or send it to someone, it comes out brighter and bolder than it actually is in person. I have noticed this about photos of rugs online as well so keep that in mind. It always helps to read some of the reviews to see what people see when in person.

Jute Wins Most Times

If I can’t find a rug that is going to perfect, which is usually ALWAYS, I can usually win out with a jute rug. I dig the natural fiber situation of course, but I also like that it is a neutral backdrop, it can go in almost any decor and the price is almost ALWAYS right. You can grab a nice 8x10 jute rug for under $200 and call it a day. My two go to jute rugs are this one from Amazon and this one from Wayfair. I also have this one from Pottery Barn which is priced a smidge higher but has a little interest to it (and also does not photograph well). I like that it adds a little pattern to the room and goes well with many decor styles. I had this in my bedroom once, but it’s now in my new Airbnb bedroom. It could farmhouse, cottage, beach, lake house, whatever. Same with the other jutes.

Another perk to neutral rugs is that they can move from room to room when you’re ready for a change. Sometimes the size won’t work, but more on that below...

Rug Size Is Hard

So, yeah you want it to be the right size but you can work with a rug that is not the perfect size. This is a weird section of this post because on one hand I want to tell you yes size matters. {chuckle} In most situations people buy rugs that are too small because the price is right(er). It’s easy to buy smaller because they are cheaper. But, then you have a situation where it looks like the sofa, bed or dining table are overpowering the rug. Lopsided. Heavy. More on how to make a smaller rug work later.

Tape off your floor with painter’s tape to see what would feel the best. If you need a huge rug, then read on…

Bold Rugs

I’m all for the bold rug but I cringe a bit when a room is overpowered by a huge bold crazy rug. For me I think Oh shit going to be hard to come back from that. I like to change my stuff up too often to commit to something like a that. If I do, it better be something special. And let’s face it, the special ones are usually going to cost you an arm and a leg. I tend to pick up a bunch of small colorful rugs anyway. They are just always around. So, I layer them on top of the jute rugs or neutral rugs I have on hand. That way I can have the jute rug to cover the floor and the bold special rug to lay nicely on top. If I don’t have a jute rug for underneath then I do the angled rug. Don’t knock it until you try it. It helps cover an area that would look far too naked if you hadn’t.

To find these smaller bold and sometimes vintage rugs I look around at thrift stores, estate sales (the best) and sometimes online. Usually I’m too cheap for that but some day I’ll get my KayaKilim. Some day.

Angled Rugs

Angled rugs don’t bother me one bit because I know what a certain rug looked like straight on. Sometimes it looks awkward to be so small and not covering enough area. For instance a 5x8 rug under a queen bed looks really stupid. There literally will not be any rug to step on, it will all be under the bed. But, pull it out and angle it a bit and now you have a styled rug that you can actually step on. Try it. If you still don’t like it, then you can un-angle it. No eyes or rugs will be harmed in the participation of angling rugs.

Used Rugs

I know many of you will poo poo used rugs because eww gross but get over yourself. I too was once a poo poo-er of used rugs until I decided I was too cheap and needing of rugs to be poo-poo-ing them. So, I started scooping up rugs at estate sales (fabulous for vintage and once very expensive rugs on a dime), second hand/vintage stores, Craigslist/Offer Up/Facebook Marketplace and thrift stores. I’d say my success rate with good rugs goes in that order as well. Thrift stores tend to get the shittiest rugs although I’ve found some good ones there, too. The angled rug in the photo at the top is a Craigslist score.

Now, let’s say you find a good rug but it’s dirty. In comes the good ole rentable carpet cleaner from the grocery store. If you’re too lazy for that, then drop your rug off at a cleaner or have a carpet cleaner come in. I’d rather spend $100 on cleaning a good $25 rug than spend $400-1000 on a new one. And remember some spots, holes and damage could end up under the furniture. Also, consider any of those things character. Vintage rugs with some wear is actually still pretty cool.

This giant 10x12 rag rug was purchased at Goodwill for $25 and cleaned with a rented grocery store carpet cleaner for $40.

Sell Rugs

Got a rug you are just over? Sell it! If you can buy one on Craigslist or Offer Up, you can certainly sell one. Don’t forget to use words like modern, boho, contemporary, etc. so people can find it. As you can imagine I buy, hoard, sell and trade rugs all the time. I almost always have some at 3 Vintage Chicks and a couple listed for sale. I’m a revolving door of rugs. What I’m getting at is don’t get too nervous about committing to a rug. You can always sell it.

This is what is so special about not finding the most special rug. LOL. You feel fine about having them come and go. Maybe you don’t think of this as a hobby like I do, but don’t get too upset if a rug isn’t working out. Sell it. Move on. If you are finding rugs that are pretty inexpensive, you’ll feel less obligated to keep it for the long haul. If you lose a little money on one, you’ll probably make up for it on the next one. Don’t get hung up on the few dollars lost.

Ok, that’s all I have to say about rugs. Show me your rug finds by using #updatedon’trenovatechallenge!

Miss a challenge? You can get them all here.

eDesign Reveal: Retro Fun-ky Bathroom

You guys. That accent wall. That is all I can say.

My friend Autumn gave me a ring and told me she desperately needed some help with her hall/guest bath. I had given her some advice on her kitchen before so I knew her style - MCM/funkadelic. I know Autumn from college, but haven't seen her in years. I've never been to her home in Michigan, but was up to the  task since eDesign is something I offer regularly. She sent me the photos of  her bathroom and walked me through it. 

While not the most horrible bathroom I've ever seen, it definitely was not looking like Autumn's style. Autumn is a fun, mid-century modern, retro loving girl. We decided since this bathroom was the guest bath, we could go a little more funky in here than what she had done in her kitchen. She did give me some parameters to work with, though. 

1. She couldn't afford to gut and remove everything. This wasn't a total redo, just a makeover. So we were stuck with the flooring and retro-old school shower tile. To be honest, I would've removed the shower tile if I were renovating this house for a flip. It's just not the sort of thing most people would be down for. HOWEVER, I was totally digging that we "had" to work with this gold tile. That shower tile is one of those things that I (and she) thought was pretty cool, but know it's not for everyone. Doesn't matter. This bathroom isn't for everyone, it's for her and her family.

2. We could replace the counter and backsplash tile.

3. We had to keep the sink and vanity base. Luckily, Autumn had a carpenter dude that could help us out with fixing up the vanity. The rest had to go. 

Everything else was fair game. So, I went to work on designing. Often when I'm designing I hit this sort of wall where I'm like you know this is just not fun enough....might as well be builder grade. Maybe you call it "writer's block". Nothing inspiring or special is coming out of my brain. Then I poke through to outside the box and find something that makes me think, "Hmmm, I wonder if they'll go for this." At this point I have to stop. Everything comes to a halt. If I'm about to make this super awesome decision and base everything else around it, then there is no reason to move forward without the client's consent. I hate wasting time just to start all the way over.  That moment came when I found this super funky wallpaper from Coloray Decor. I shit you not, I did not choose it for its name: Autumn Flowers.

I dread that call where I have to say, "I have a crazy AF idea and I don't know if you'll go for it." Ok, dread is a strong word. It's more of a "this person is going to think either think this is brilliant or that I'm a crazy person. No in between" Last thing you want is for your client to think you're way off base so yeah these phone calls are a little nerve racking. 

Well, she went for it! The floral wallpaper was the perfect accent wall funkiness to add to this retro-esque bathroom.  With the wallpaper decided, the rest of the design came together. 

A few things ended up getting tweaked but most of the design remained. Every design I deliver has a design board with details to the side along with a spreadsheet for each item needed to pull of the design, links to buy, quantities and total material budget. Some have an accompanying room layout. Some have a sketch to describe further detail.

To see more about my design services, click here.

The rest of the elements worked around the wallpaper and existing features that had to remain. She had a door on the other side of the room that was a natural wood (seen below) she didn't really want to paint so I wanted to bring in another wood element somewhere.

The butcher block was an easy choice. Not only is butcher block inexpensive, it is easy to cut and install.

The next element I had to deal with was the mirror and lighting situation. The vanity was super long at 76". I didn't want to be all boring and have a super large, expensive AF mirror. Nothing fun in that. Since this is the hall bath, it is conceivable that there may be a couple of people getting ready in here at once, so one mirror wouldn't do not to mention such a large vanity with just one small mirror would look unbalanced. So, we went with 3 smaller mirrors with a single sconce above each.

Also in this area was the vanity base. The doors and hinges were not looking too good so Autumn's carpenter outfitted it with new flat front doors. Such an easy way to update a huge vanity like this. Replacing it completely would've cost mucho dollars.

What you can't see in those other photos was the toilet "nook". My original design included a green accent wall instead of the wallpaper. We didn't want to lose that green so we opted to put it behind the toilet. You can see it when you look in the mirrors which is a nice touch. The vintage telephone stand makes a great TP holder and complements the vintage - retro vibe. I have one of these stands in my own bathroom and it makes for an excellent TP stand. You can put one roll on the top and it will hold 3-5 rolls below. You could obviously put magazines and other things in there if you plan on camping out for a while. :)

And the moment we all love, the BEFORE AND AFTER Photos!!!

I love how everything looks fresher. The floral wall obviously is very vibrant, but the counter just feels more natural, one of the reasons I love using real materials like butcher block.

I'm now working on a closet design for Autumn and can't wait to see how it turns out. She's an awesome friend/client who is not only not afraid to be bold, but she also gets things done fast. Right up my alley for someone who loves to get her some photos! Stay tuned for the closet!


Sources

Butcher Block Counter - Lowes

Mirrors - West Elm

Sconce Lights - Etsy

Shelves - World Market

Sink + Faucet: IKEA

Toilet Paper/Telephone Stand  - Etsy

Wallpaper - Etsy

Before & After: Eclectic Spanish Modern Bathroom

Ok dudes. Today I'm talking Before and After of my Almeria project bathroom. I don't know if you remember....but this house was cute AF and straight up my alley. Like seriously the most perfect project. It was in the Coronado Historic District here in Phoenix. It had all the small closets, arches and REAL hardwood floors your heart desires. Swap out the Spanish style to traditional and this might as well have been one of my Cincinnati flips. To give you an idea of the style of the house, check out the exterior below.

The bathroom in question was very interesting when I got it. Very.

Clearly this was all coming out, but nothing much was going to change as far as the layout was concerned. It's a small bathroom and the only one in the house. The only thing to do here was to max it out design-wise. I also wanted to make sure it was light and bright. Here is the design I put together.

Almeria bathroom design board

Obviously that dresser was not going to fit in there. It was just a place holder. I had to go out and find the right vintage dresser that would fit which I found at Zinnias At Melrose almost immediately. Next up was deciding on the focal point of the room. I found the ogee pattern tile at Floor & Decor and decided to put that on the back wall of the room, the window wall in the shower. In order to keep the rest of the shower from competing with the accent wall, I chose a regular ole subway tile with white grout. With white walls in this bathroom, the subway should fade away. And it did. 

Ogee tile accent in bathroom

For the flooring I decided to do marble, also from Floor & Decor, in a herringbone pattern. The finishes I decided was going to be brass. I could have gone with my go to Delta Trinsic shower faucet, but found a different style I thought played a little better with the ogee tile. I liked the subtle details on the shower head. Something different!

Next, the lighting! Oh that light. I love it. I love how it is so dramatic. It really brought your eye line upward and filled out the higher ceilings.

And let's get to our favorite.... the Before and After!!!

Spanish style Phoenix home bathroom before and after

I think this bathroom turned out nice and bright, just how I wanted it. If you want to know where any of the items I used in this bathroom are from, just check the source list below!


GET THE LOOK

Tile Floor - Sahara Carrara - FLOOR & DECOR

Tile Shower - Subway Tile - FLOOR & DECOR

Tile Shower Accent - Villa Heirloom Arabesque - FLOOR & DECOR

Toilet - Glacier Bay - HOME DEPOT

Towel - HOME GOODS

Towel Hook - Liberty - HOME DEPOT 

Shower Curtain - Fieldcrest - TARGET

Vanity - Vintage - ZINNIAS AT MELROSE

Counter - Sparkling White Quartz - ARACRUZ

Door + Doorknob - Original

Faucet Shower - Delta Addison - AMAZON

Faucet Vanity - Delta Trinsic - AMAZON

Mirror - Project 62 - TARGET

Plant Pots - Thrift

Sconce - LightCookie Parato - ETSY

Sink - Decor Star - AMAZON


Camper Throwdown: Vintage Vs. Vanity

A Camper Throwdown of Epic Proportions

Vintage vs. Vanity. Mid-century modern vs. Glam. @FlippinWendy vs. @SonoranDesertLiving. It's on.

You may have seen us spouting off about our camper renovations over on Instagram and we've shared a bit in our stories. But, if you missed that here is a place where you can soak up all of the old before photos. 

Guys, I've been looking for a camper for YEARS. Seriously. I bought one a few years ago and thought oh it just needs some paint and it will be cool. Like an idiot instead of just patching and painting the water damaged areas I started pulling the interior skin off. Guess what. STUPID AF IDEA. The skin panels are installed behind the "furniture" in the camper so once you start taking one out, the furniture comes out and there really is no stopping point. So, I ended up gutting the whole thing and result was a box on wheels. I felt pretty defeated and decided to give up on that camper and sold it for a third of what I paid for it. I didn't have the energy for it anymore. Then we moved to Phoenix. So, camper purchasing was put on hold for a bit.

I started looking again on and off with nothing really striking my fancy. Too expensive, too beat up, not the right time to tackle a project like this, small beds, no toilet....reason after reason kept popping up to not commit. I wanted something that had a bed big enough to be comfortable and fit my husband and 4 year old daughter. I also wanted a kitchen and toilet. Getting up in the middle of the night to go outside to the toilet sounded pretty lame, especially with a kid. Anyway, sooner or later this camper showed up and it was like AHHHHHH! The skies parted and it revealed itself to me.

Funny thing was that Rachel of Sonoran Desert Living was looking for a camper as well. She also found the perfect one for her and on the same day even! The Camper Throwdown was on! Dual camper renovations commenced!

So, let me introduce you to my camper (which has no name as of yet)! I've got a 1971 Reddale Camper. It is 19' long and in decent condition. It definitely needs some cosmetic updating but all in all not bad. And I'm definitely not pulling out any skin panels this time! Big win. Here's the exterior. Not cute. But, it has potential.

The exterior has some peeling and worn paint but that'll all come off when I strip it down to the metal. I'll need to address the door knob and the front awning. It's all wonky and broken in one corner. 

Front of 1971 Red dale Camper

Ok enough of that, let's get to the good stuff. The inside! Here she is! So much wood.

To get your bearings, see the entry door to the left behind the dinette. Behind me is the front where that awning lives. This camper is quite spacious without being obnoxiously long to pull behind our truck. The ceiling is around 7' high so it's very comfortable for me to walk around in. The door with the mirror on it is a closet. A closet! How can that even fit? The door directly center in the photo is the bathroom, but we'll get that in a minute. To the right you can see the kitchen with a working gas fridge, the furnace below it and everything that kitchens have. IT ALL WORKS. I saw it with my own eyes.

Guys this shit is almost pristine. Seriously. It's too bad it's so ugly that I have to change it. 

The stove top and oven front panel, as well as the range hood, are already off to the powder coater's where they await total transformation. The rest of the kitchen will get a coat of white paint. Counters and backsplash are still being decided on. 

Let's look at the other side of the camper.

The benches are nice and long and have an expandable table in between them. They also convert into a LARGER than king bed! What what!? That was a major deciding factor for buying this camper. It seems all smaller vintage campers have beds no larger than full size, if even that. Also notice all of the storage. There are cabinets right above that table, as well as cabinets under each bench. There are even more under the dinette benches and some above it. So many. It has so much storage that it can be completely open above the benches where I get the opportunity to install some awesome lighting. It's like a small miracle has happened.

Camper kitchen and bench in vintage 1971 Red Dale

Let's head over to that bathroom now. See it here at the back of the camper.

Let's talk about this bathroom bc OMG. It's olive green. You guys it literally took me 100 attempts to get this shot. So appreciate!

I posted about this bathroom in my stories and to my surprise, when I declared I was keeping it, there was an outpouring of agreement. AGREEMENT ON OLIVE GREEN BATHROOM. What has this world come to? And way to let me down guys. I was really hoping to be a rebel here! But seriously though, I'm glad this won't be a big to-do if olive green is in fact now in. Maybe WE (those of you who agreed with me and I) are trend setters. That's probably what it is. 

I'm not sure that I'm IN LOVE with this olive green bathroom but I don't hate it enough to rip it out. Remember, bad memories of the last camper stripping it down and not building it back up so I'm trying to salvage what I can here. Since I decided to commit to this bathroom, I'm using it as THE source of inspiration for the design. I"m going green in this here camper. There will be several greens. 

Anyway, these campers are an entire house in one small footprint so it has been tricky making sure I remember all the things. Every time I walk into the camper I see something else to add to my list. Things like the furnace grate that need to be painted or oh yeah I broke one of the stove knobs so I have to find those. It's a long list that includes renovating but also outfitting it to make us happy. We need sheets and bedding that are easy to put away. We need cushions that are comfortable to sleep on bc if they aren't WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT? This whole camper idea is so we can travel and not stay in hotels. It has to be something we want to use or else it just becomes a showpiece. I'm not about showpieces. 

So back to the Throwdown bit. Rachel and I are pretty much opposites. She likes all the new fluffy glam style stuff while I like vintage and mid century modern. She's square legs. I'm round legs. Furniture. Not real legs. In the end we'll have a side by side reveal and it will be epic AF.  I'll also try to update you as we go! I love your suggestions over on IG, btw! Have any other ideas? Feel free to comment below. Keep watching my stories for updates or subscribe to get posts emailed directly to you!

Have something weird you need designed? I do weird. Click below to learn more about my design services.

 
 

Before & After: The Shiplap Shower Bathroom

This is one of my favorite bathrooms I've ever done. So, it's shocking I haven't written a Before & After post for it yet. It wasn't even a bathroom to start. It was a bedroom. This home desperately needed an upstairs bathroom, preferably a kick ass master bath. I've talked about this puzzle of a layout change before so if you want to dig into that, go here. But the gist of it is that this was a walk through bedroom to another bedroom which is lame AF. So, I chopped said lame bedroom up into a hallway, laundry closet, spiral stairway to the rooftop deck, master closet and master bath. Yes it all fit. 

So, as I was saying I turned this into a bathroom. There was a closet that sat directly over the stairway below so naturally I thought it was the perfect fit for a shower. Luckily it was a big closet. At least where 130 year old houses are concerned. Here is that seriously fancy closet. Looking at it there, can you believe that became a shower?

Shiplap Shower Master Bath Before

So since this was a bedroom turned hallway + other rooms, that meant that it was going to have to be long and narrow (to balance out the long narrow hallway on the other side. It's geometry, k? That worked for me. Making this bathroom all along one side of the room made it so these large windows would also be a part of it. Boom. Let there be light. Below is the floor plan. Before on the left, after on the right.

Next was filling in the finish materials. The very first piece to go into this room was the sink. In fact the room was pretty much built around it. Behold the sink I found in another bedroom in this house. Weird, yes. But how lucky could a girl get?

And here it is salvaged and reglazed for its new life.

Next was the shower. At this point I was super bored with everything out there in tile land. Subway tile was all the rage but I had already slated it for the first floor bathroom. Shiplap was also all the rage but nobody makes tiles that long. For some reason I really got stuck on this whole shiplap shower idea and finally just asked my contractor, Joe Wood of All Around Joe, what we could do to make it happen. We figured it out and boom, the world's first shiplap shower. I kid it wasn't but dang I think I was like #3 or 4 at least! But, actually any shiplap showers I had seen had overlapped the boards like siding. I didn't want that. Joe figured out the solution.

Read my interview with Joe Wood about how he made this happen!

Next was flooring and lighting. My intern at the time, Nick Fix was instrumental in these two areas. Despite being only 17 years old at the time, Nick had a great design eye. He walked into the newly framed space for the first time and suggested it should have pendant lights hanging down from the very tall ceilings. Since the room was long and narrow, when you stood at the door, you would see these pendant lights straight down the middle. He was right. It was a great call. I was obsessed with these wire and glass pendants from Pottery Barn so I was very excited to get to use them. They had a good mix of farmhouse and industrial style I was looking for.

Nick had actually gone through a bathroom renovation at his Mom's house and had a ton of extra tile leftover. I bought it off of him and his Mom. Win win!

I love the way everything came together. We used a farm style sconce over the sink, a shiny chrome wall mount faucet on the farm sink, 5 panel doors painted Behr Iron Mountain and included iron black door handles. I also remembered that I had these sweet little vintage glass towel bars I picked up from Village Salvage in Waynesville, OH. They only needed a little shining to be salvaged and ready to go. The final pieces was that great wood mirror from Crate & Barrel. The sink was an odd size so finding an appropriate mirror was tricky. This mirror fit above it perfectly.

More links to shop this room are at the bottom of this post.

And then the before and after photos because that's why we do this...

I'm very pleased with how this room turned out. Shocked even. I mean how does a bedroom become like 5 new rooms? Magic I suppose. 


Shop This Room