The bigger the bathroom...
Part two. We didn't do a lot of planning before we decided to do this. Evan should really say no to me more frequently. This was my brain child and while I'm so glad we did it and its done, it was so much work. Much of it falling to him. Thanks babe!
After we framed out the new bathroom, we hung moisture resistant drywall everywhere. We also learned that some of the floor was rotted from a previous leak (leaks?) and had to be replaced. FUN!
Evan built in enough space for a hall closet and a bathroom closet (neither of which we had before). He also put in a cute little pocket door. With the help of Paul, the plumbing was updated for the new tub and toilet. We got the tub installed thanks to help from my dad. Then Evan and Dad worked on putting in the subway tile surround and tiling the new floor. They also put in a special nook for shampoos and soaps with a custom backsplash that our girl, Amanda helped us procure.
While Evan made a custom navy vanity for our new *double* sink, I worked on the wall mural. I also found this the sweet mirror from Habitat Restore. Evan installed the vanity and ran the plumbing. He also installed the new chandelier (West Elm Outlet again, y'all!).
Recently, he has been working on trimming out the bathroom with white oak and putting trays and drawers in both closets. Closet doors to come.
Plaster and Lath
Ok, I am gonna do this blog post in two parts. The bedroom and the bathroom. But some of the photos will overlap - can't be helped.
We only have one bathroom on the second floor. It was tiny and gross. It butted up to a bedroom which was perfectly fine and actually quite large. We decided to gut the bathroom, take down the wall between the bedroom and bathroom and build the bathroom about three feet into the bedroom. Smaller bedroom, bigger bathroom. WORTH IT. We also shortened a wall in the hallway and built the bathroom about 2 feet into the hallway. Evan framed everything out. I worked on removing the wall paneling (yes, more! It was literally errrrrrywhere), trim, carpet, and the old closet.
We hung new drywall on the ceiling and the walls. Put insulation in the new wall between bedroom and bathroom, and put in a new closet. I also finally had a use for all that lath I had been squirreling away. A lath wall! I love texture in rooms and felt like this would add a nice visual balance to the space. I painted the floor white, the walls a pretty blue, the ceiling a dark grey (yup, the same grey I painted the living room for you keen readers). Evan installed new outlets and a sweet light fixture from West Elm Outlet. We decorated. This room is still a work in progress so I'll keep you posted as we get further into it.
You've probably noticed. Buckle and Kansas are a BIG part of our lives. #notevenembarrassedaboutit
We decided to take on a pretty big second floor renovation project and in the process, we exposed this sweet little space under the stairs. Like any Harry Potter fan worth their salt, my ONLY option was to turn it into a bedroom. Evan was hard at work with a larger renovation project so I busied myself making this little hole into a hound haven!
Yes, I did spend several days cooped up in here painting a dog mural. #dontjudge
I found a bunch of frames at Salvation Army and printed some photos of their favorite things. The dog park, bones, some of their favorite memories and mod podged them onto blocks of wood or framed them. Evan made a sweet little snack station for food and water. And believe it or not, I actually found that awesome light up arrow at Salv. Army for $3. What a steal! I found the metal door at Home Depot and we cut it down to fit. I think it's for outdoor gardens? And I finished the exterior off with more lath in the shape of a dog house. Our little guys enjoy having their own space.
Full disclosure - we haven't done a lot in here. But Evan did rip a giant hole in the wall to access the electric when he was putting in a new fixture in the hallway. Once we "do" this room, we're gonna have the literally gut the whole thing and we just didn't want to take that on yet. So in oder to make it livable and *safe*, he had an idea to cover the hole with a literal bandaid. Evan cut it out, I painted it up and then he installed it and put the lights and outlet in.
Alright, I'm gonna get into it but you are probably gonna think I'm crazy.
So when we bought the house, the master bedroom walls were painted in real country hues. I had seen this tree mural somewhere and thought it would make a nice headboard for our bed so this was actually one of the earlier projects that we did on the house. I also repainted the other walls a dusty blue. As I was painting, I realized that the walls were covered in wallpaper that had already been painted over. Dislike. I kept going but knew it was going to bother me.
Cut to, about a year later, I wanted to tackle to bedroom. I decided to scrape all the wall treatments off the walls (and ceiling - why?!?). Patch everything and expose another brick wall. What can I say, I just love the brick?!! All of this took a lot longer than I expected and made much more of a mess than I anticipated. I then painted another wall mural (which I hated and never even took a photo of). Ultimately, we chose a pale pink for the walls (no mural) and a deep navy for the ceiling. I am still waffling about the wall color so if you have another suggestion, HMU.
I wish I knew the artist, but I found this beautiful wedding invitation on pinterest that has the profile of this couple with a flower wreath and a banner with a wedding date on it. I decided to replicate their work on our bedroom door but out in E's and my profile and our wedding date - August 29th. ♥️
Most of our focus was on the first floor but as we got things moved along, we started to do a little more to the second floor. I painted this little gold and cobalt floor mural. It's just a random design using two colors that make me happy.
We also took out ANOTHER home made drop ceiling and out new drywall up. Evan put in a few more light fixtures, and we replaced the door with matching ones we found at the Habitat Restore.
Finally, a little bit of green
Have you ever hated a space in your house so much that you pretended like it didn't exist? For me, it was our backyard. It had a giant concrete pad, a ragged little deck that liked to give you splinters, no grass whatsoever, and one particular weed that grew everywhere to which I am VERY allergic. 😤 It had been almost two years since we moved here. Fall was coming and it was time to take it back. Not pictured: Trash Mountain.
We removed the deck, tilled the dirt, and put down sod so the dogs had a little grass to play on. We painted the fence white and put in a little garden box. We planted flowers and hung up outdoor decorations. We also hung up our DIY outdoor lights. (Ping pong balls fit over cheap outdoor Christmas lights. Lastly, we did some DIY cinder block furniture.
Up, up, and away
Our stairs were a problem child and they kind of still are. Evan wants to do custom treads and risers at some point but for now, I prettied them up. We had our buddy Ben (Deluca Creations) make a custom railing for the space that fit around the post and lintel Evan made to support the beams. Then I cleaned up the stairs, painted the treads (with a little grit) and got some old wallpaper samples to adhere to the risers.
This is where we live
Thing are really starting to come together. We are officially moved in. There are cabinets in the kitchen, rugs on the floor, couches and chairs strewn about. Once we get art on the wall, we officially live here.
We took a few pages from Fixer Upper. Evan created a false wall so all the cords can hang behind it and then covered it in shiplap that we could mount the TV to. He did a build out on the opposite wall to hide the plumbing and gave me a little decorative nook for keys and art.
I also changed my mind on the light blue walls and went with dark grey. #mood
We wanted to give the front steps a little zhoosh. They had this ratty outdoor carpet glued to them made even rattier by our construction. We ripped up the carpet, chiseled up the glue and pinterested it up with primer and paint. I did have to put my newly acquired (chimney removal, brick pointing, etc) masonry skills to work ad patch up some damage first. To be totally honest, I was blasting the Hamilton soundtrack the ENTIRE time. On repeat. Lucky passersby.
I painted this mural on the fresh drywall to add a little more #plantlife to our space. Peonies are my favorite flower and now we get to see them bloom all year round. The mural was actually inspired by a tattoo I found online.
Shine a little light on it
Evan and I are bargain hunters. As I mentioned before, we LOVE the Habitat ReStore. We are also fortunate to have some awesome outlets near our house. We were regulars at Pottery Barn and West Elm Outlets. They have the best lighting and hot dog - you can get some DEALS. #notanadjustafan
Evan and I found this eight fixture light from Pottery Barn. I think we may have even gotten this before we had started demo. We loved the globes but wanted more of them. PB said they sometimes get more in but we would need to check regularly. A few months later, we just happened upon another one. And it was on sale. Kismet.
Evan and his dad (shoutout Dennis!) made a new base out of some very special lumber that we've been saving. Story: my mom grew up on a farm in Nebraska. Several years ago, the barn we all used to play in was blown down in a tornado. Heartbreaking to say the least. Grandma and Grandpa had the presence of mind to save as much of the lumber as they could and were generous enough to share it with family. Evan rewired the PB pendants into the barn wood base, wired it to a plug (so that we can take it with us wherever we go) and then he and his dad installed it. House was starting to feel like home.
As we were doing demolition, we kept waffling about whether we should just demo the kitchen too. It would be so messy to do once we were living here BUT so expensive to do now. After much debate, Evan just climbed a ladder, stuck a sledgehammer into the ceiling with moxie and said, "we're doing the kitchen". And that was that.
We removed all the old cabinets and repurposed them for storage in the basement. We removed even more wall treatments and found this SWEET vintage wallpaper. We saved as much as we could - hopefully to frame one day and honor the history of the home. We found a weird, broken little chimney we had to remove and fill in (masonry skills engage!) Then we had to decide how we wanted to orient the space and design the layout. Working on this together really helped Evan and I communicate better. Since E was going to build the kitchen, we really could do whatever we wanted. I wanted some open shelving. Evan wanted to use walnut. We love a big island so that was priority #1. And I love when the stove is in the island. Our (licensed contractor) buddy moved the gas line so we could put the stove into the island.
We decided on a few specialty pieces. Evan put in a beautiful lidded bread drawer into the island. He built in a cookbook shelf as well. And we worked with another buddy (shoutout Seth!) to get a concrete countertop for the island. He even inlaid some beautiful stones we found on a trip to Colorado!
For the rest of the counters, we got Ikea butcher block that Evan cut down to fit. After a monthlong debacle with the sink we ordered, Home Depot hooked us up with a super sweet Franke farmhouse sink. Would definitely recommend. The sink grate is a gamechanger. Running water was also a game changer. I think I cried the first time Evan turned the working faucet on.
We got a nice dishwasher that didn't have a facade panel so Evan made one to match the cabinets. He also did a really cool cabinet that custom fits all of our spices. We installed a plant wall from Ikea to act as a curtain, an air freshener, AND TO breathe a little life into the space.
Two rooms and a boom
Unfortunately, we didn't photograph the laundry room before we destroyed it. Shame! But I can paint you a picture. There was a door leading off the kitchen into a small room that had a slop sink, a toilet and a washer dryer. There was a tiny, creepy pantry closet. The whole thing was gross.
Since it was the only toilet on the first floor, we wanted to enclose it to make a proper bathroom and put the washer dryer up on drawers. In order to do that, Evan and another buddy (shoutout Paul!) had to redo the plumbing. Unfortunately, in the process, we found out we had to level the sloping floor, put in a moisture barrier, sure up all the joists, insulate the walls and replace all the electrical. Plus when we used the washer that came with the house, it filled up with water and then stopped. Would not drain. And when I tried the dryer for the first time, there was a loud boom and then smoke started emanating from it. We bought a new pair but the whole thing was a hot mess.
We removed the door between the kitchen and the laundry room and framed out a cute little bathroom. We got a tiny corner sink on Amazon and Evan made an ingenious wooden device to attach the sink to the wall but not take up much of a footprint in the bathroom. He also made a little corner cabinet to match. Sorry ladies, he's taken.
We finally got the bathroom framed out, plus got drywall and paint on the walls. For some reason, when we removed the ceiling back there, wood underneath was this weird robin's egg color. I loved it so we just matched the color at the store and gave the ceiling a fresh coat. Then obvi. decided to do two tone walls and door in pale pink and eggplant. Evan also made a little fixture for the bathroom from one of the extra Pottery Barn pendant lights.
Full disclosure, this room was about 100x the work we thought it would be. So many things went wrong.
E crushed the wiring. CRUSHED it. Because we were leaving the ceiling exposed, it all had to run through conduit and I just really like the organized way he made the whole system look. I created these little outlet covers out of some of the lath we had saved from the walls.
We found these awesome tiles at our new favorite haunt, the Habitat ReStore! You can peep Ben and I in one of the photos using my dad's power plane (it was a little scary) to level the floor and then install the tile, Thanks for teaching me, little brother!
In order to have the open concept space that we wanted, we needed a beam that supported the structure of the house but Evan wanted it to also be a design element. He went to a buddy who ran a lumberyard (shoutout Jeff!) and he hooked us up with some beautiful reclaimed maple and yellow pine beams that E turned into this post and lintel support. It replaces a wall that used to close the stairs in and support the second floor joists. Ben made a reappearance and helped us get this monster of a support system in place. It fit! Then we had a demolition dance party.
At this point, we also hired some help. Evan had already framed the wall out but we asked someone to come in and hang/mud the drywall.
Setting the Foundation
Progress! With the ceiling open and the knob and tube exposed, we knew we would have to just completely remove and replace all the wiring. In some ways, that was nice because once it was removed, I was able to take a paint sprayer and just go to town on the beams. In other ways, it meant we only had shop lights to use in the space and many, MANY hours of work rewiring the whole house. The consolation was safety...I hear that’s kind of important.
We originally thought we would leave the ceilings the natural color but ultimately, wanted to ceilings to feel higher so we went with white. Not pictured, myself, covered in paint and the many spills I got on the floor before I figured out how to functionally use a spray gun upside down.
After we finished the ceiling, we were ready to put flooring in - YAY! And then we could (finallllllly) move into our house? (Yes, without lights, and a kitchen.) Mom and Dad came up for the weekend to help install the floor. An unfortunate snow event happened (parents arrived just in time!) and we were stuck in the house for about 3 days but we had a couple of mattresses, a pizza place nearby, a saw, all the flooring boxes, and gosh darnit if we didn't GET.IT.DONE.
What have we done?! DEMOLITION!
We knew going in that we wanted to gut the living room. We wanted that whole open concept first floor. #millenials
What we planned: remove the drop ceiling, expose a few brick walls, take out the carpet and *fingers crossed* refinish the hardwood floors we hoped to find underneath. We wanted to do the major construction before we moved in. We had also decided to hold off on doing anything to the kitchen for the first few years. Evan said that if we did anything to it, he would want to redo the whole thing and we just weren't sure if it was feasible financially to take that much on.
What we didn't plan for: how much debris we would actually have. We went through BOXES of construction trash bags. Literally hundreds of bags of trash. We had started filling bags and then taking them to the backyard for a dump trip to be named later. Unfortunately, the bags were full of plaster and when you leave those outside, they absorb moisture and get *real* heavy. We just kept piling trash bags out there and soon, we had to crown Buckle "Queen of Trash Mountain" because she liked to climb into the huge debris pile and then whine until we
, her loyal subjects, climbed in to rescue her.
As we got further into the demolition, we saved as much material as we could to be repurposed. We kept much of the lath that came from the walls and the ceilings. I didn't know what I wanted it for but it felt like a project would come forward for it. As we removed the drop ceiling, and then the plaster ceiling, we realized that the wiring was only updated where it met the outlets. The ole knob and tube wiring was alive and not well. We didn't plan on having to rewire the whole house. Thank goodness for my husband. He had some experience in house construction, a lot of experience with furniture and cabinetmaking, and a pretty good handle on wiring/plumbing. I had a lot of experience painting and dreaming big. Needless to say, Evan brought more practical knowledge to our renovation team.
We also discovered just how many different wall treatments you can apply in a hundred+ years. Five. FIVE. All to cover up the most beautiful brick. We had a handful of people helping out in the process. Shoutout to Mom and Dad and Ben for getting dirty and helping keep us sane.
In the beginning...
Evan and I love DIY, HGTV, renovation of all kinds, arts, crafts, basically all things handmade. We met in the art and design department in college. He was an aspiring woodworker and I, an aspiring painter. Fast forward 1 wedding, several homes, and 2 dogs later.
We had been looking for a fixer upper for awhile - a home with good BONES but needed lots of lovin. A gentle caress of creativity. An influx of artistry. Something we could assign some flair to but also a home updated enough that we wouldn't have to TOUCH THE WIRING. On my 30th birthday, we bought our little MaryJane Rehab. And I wish I could say it has been everything we had hoped for.
It hasn't. It has been less, and more, and all things in between. This PROJECT has built Evan and I up, and torn us down on several occasion. It has consumed much of our time, a lot of our money, and has rewarded us with a relationship in which we are better communicators, stronger support systems, and true creative collaborators.
We wanted to share some of the journey we've been on, and where we still hope to go. Thanks for coming along for the ride!
Hi! We're the Germanns.
Evan is a furniture maker and I'm an artist. We have been married for almost 10 years. We have two adorable dogs, Buckle and Kansas. Photos to come - don't you worry.
Art, DIY, Renovation, Home Renovation, HGTV, Lancaster, Lancaster PA, Lancaster City Living, MaryJane Rehab, Mary Jane Rehab, Remodeling, Who Needs Walls, Open Concept, Plan to change plans, This old house, Cabinetmaker, Woodworking, Furniture Maker, Furniture Design, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Outlet, Pottery Barn Hacks, Made in Lancaster City, Design, Housewares, Kitchen Remodel, Dog bedroom, Bedroom under the stairs, Pinterest