My first Mother’s Day

Baby Zano // brittanyMakes

What did you do for Mother’s Day? I know it was a week ago, but I had such a wonderful first Mother’s Day, I can’t stop thinking about it.

There are a lot of things I like to do – hobbies I take on, like DIYing everything and interests I have, like blogging and decorating – that some people just don’t quite understand. I rarely force my interests and hobbies on others, including my husband. Prime example – flea markets! I think I’ve only asked my husband to go with me to the flea market twice in our history together. Both times he declined. It’s cool, I’d probably be miserable if he joined me. He’d be giving me death stares all too frequently as I touch ALL THE THINGS. Our marriage is better for it. He stays home to relax while I take a couple hours and touch other people’s garbage. It’s great!

It was my first Mother’s Day, and I think Antonio (my husband) knew it would be a special day for me. He gave me a choice between a) breakfast in bed or b) a family trip to the flea market. Well, first off, I never eat in bed, and as classic and delicious as that sounded, the way to my heart is through the flea market! We went fleaing together as a family of three. I swear, I’ve never had a better flea market day! I scored 3 killer rugs, and got to introduce my little family to all my favorite flea market vendors. Then, we grabbed a quick breakfast and shopped at my favorite cactus shop in Berkeley.  As much as I love flowers, planting something in the back yard to commemorate this moment to me is much more meaningful. So, we bought two cacti to help us kick start our drought-tolerant backyard landscape.

I went to the flea market yesterday, and it just wasn’t the same without my family…

LoveB

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The juggle.

bathroom progress // brittanyMakes

We’ve been juggling multiple projects ’round the house these last few weeks (months?). I’m starting to loose track of time. Don’t be fooled, these aren’t small projects either! Our flooring is finished, I just need to find a spare hour or so to actually photograph everything! The battle of the dust is real, and I just can’t manage to keep a surface clean for longer than a couple hours. Soon! Soon I’ll share our floors, and hopefully a few other spaces too. Everything looks SO good, I’m so glad we didn’t wait any longer to start on these upgrades.

We started tackling the back yard last week. Our yard is a desert, no tree or bush to be seen, just a vast space covered in dirt. I was chatting with our neighbors over the weekend, I’m sure they were just curious about all the jack hammering going on, but come to find out the folks who rented the house from the previous owners tore their dirt bikes all around the back yard. Weird. I think our neighborhood is pleased that a young family moved in, although our other neighbor grumbles in our direction, she must still be a little bitter.

Our bathroom is being grouted today! It was a tough decision between black and white grout. There are strong opinions for, and against both options. You’ll just have to see what we went with once it’s all complete.

Hope you’re week is going well!

LoveB

 

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The Bathroom Design

Mid Century Bathroom | brittanyMakes

 

With everything else going on in our house, I wasn’t planning for our bathroom to be another huge overhaul.. but as I’m sure those of you who’ve also gone through house updates understand when I say – somehow one update always leads to ten more.. and before you know it you’ve stripped everything down to the studs!

I’ve been obsessing over our bathroom design for months.  It’s given me headaches, searching for the perfect finishes since I know I really only get to do this the one time. It’s given me stomach aches, seeing how expensive bathroom remodels can get. We intended to recycle anything we could, but it was time to retire our 60 year old finishes and fixtures. Not all things ‘vintage’ are good!

I’ve always loved the look of dresser-like vanities, they add a unique and custom quality to the space that you otherwise don’t find from off-the-shelf vanities. I thought I would search for the perfect vintage dresser to convert into a vanity. I searched and searched and searched. I almost bought one off Craigslist, but the dimensions weren’t quite right. We have a max of 40″ to work with, and most small dressers are in the 46″ range. As with a lot of the decisions we’ve made, my husband and I finally concluded if we’re going to spend the money, we might as well spend it on what we want, and do it right so that it fits the space and we won’t be cursing ourselves (or each other, ha!) later.

Who doesn’t love black, white and gold? No one! It’s classic, and surprisingly can be put together in so many different ways it can still look modern and unique. It took about 17 revisions, but I finally nailed down our bathroom design. The above is pretty much everything we’re doing in the bathroom. To say I’m excited is absolutely the biggest understatement of the year!  A classic, yet modern Mid Century vibe is exactly what I’m going for, touches of brass are obvious but it’s the matte black fixtures that are in the spotlight this go ’round.

SOURCES: // Matte back hex tile // Starburst brackets // Matte black wall mount faucet // brass wall sconces // Dresser (inspo for vanity) // brass knobs // white vessel sink // white subway tile // brass mirror

LoveB

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Our Bathroom Plans

I kind of mentioned, and sorta forgot to elaborate, on the state of our bathroom. There was a time I was bent on remodeling our bathroom and the mister was like NO. Literally, it wasn’t but a week later we started planning the flooring reno and our contractor made some quick comment to my husband about it being easier and cheaper if we did our bathroom at the same time. And what do you know! We’re now renovating the bathroom!

Our wood flooring was en route and we wanted to get our contractor going so we had him demo the bathroom first thing. Well… it’s been 4 weeks (or more?) and we’re just now moving forward with the bathroom! Luckily we have a full bath in the garage (weird right? I don’t get it either), but I’d love to not have to walk outside to our bathroom in order to get ready or pee or whatever.

Here is the before:

BATHROOM

 

Thankfully the previous owners knew white is right and painted the cabinets and walls white. I don’t know what paint they chose, but they chose poorly because soon after we moved in the paint started peeling off sections of the cabinet. Anyway, I felt FINE about this bathroom before, but once the possibility of remodel entered my (husband’s) brain it was impossible to look back.

SO! Here’s what we’ve done so far:

Bathroom Reno | brittanyMakes

 

Bathroom Reno | brittanyMakes

 

How about that vanity lighting? Sexyyyy.

We’ve demoed pretty much everything. Cabinet gone. Medicine cabinet gone (sorry babe!). Back and right walls removed and replaced. We had to move and/or replace a bunch of plumbing for the vanity faucets and the shower head and bath spout.

Bathroom Reno | brittanyMakes

Bathroom Reno | brittanyMakes

 

Our new tub has been installed, which was a feat all in of itself. See how snug that tub is in this room? There was zero wiggle room and our contractor had to work some real magic to get it in there.  The red paint is done for waterproofing I guess? It looks like a scene straight from Dexter.

I’ve been working on perfecting the design of this bathroom since the day our reno started, all elements are finally falling into place, I’m anxious for tiling to get started! I’ll share the design board with you next!

LoveB

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I Won!

Vintage pink & cream rug // brittanyMakes

Vintage pink & cream rug // brittanyMakes

Vintage pink & cream rug // brittanyMakes

A lot of folks tend to say this, but no one means it more than I: I never win anything. ANYTHING! Luck comes to me in other ways – I have incredible parking karma and more recently I’m known for my crazy rug luck.  I was pretty shocked when I found out I won the Rug Pad USA giveaway from my great blog bud Gwen.  What perfect timing! Our floors are finally done (thank goodness) and I finally got to lay the vintage rug I’ve been hoarding for the last couple months, and on top of the most amazing rug pad ever no less! Rug Pad USA sent me the rubber + felt pad. It’s pure luxury. The rubber is grooved and grips to our new tiled floors like no body’s business. I love it so much I had to give them a shout out! (as in, this is not a sponsored post).

I’m new to rug pads, I usually just wing it and lay my rugs down wherever. Do you guys do this too? I’ve always been hesitant to invest in a rug pad, but I’m a convert – they’re worth it! Nothing bothers me more than a slip and slide rug.

Anyone have any rug pad secrets they want to share?

LoveB

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Casual Fridays

Zano in Palm Springs

Happy Friday! We spent the beginning of the week on a much needed mini-vaca in Palm Springs. It was very difficult to get out of the pool, lounging was our no. 1 priority, so sadly I didn’t make it out to any of those famous spots. Maybe next time!

Progress has been made on the flooring front! All flooring has been installed, bedroom baseboards painted & door trim installed. This weekend I’ll be painting our living room baseboards and finally moving our living room furniture back in place. Oh to sit and watch a movie in our living room again! It’s the small things that seem like luxuries once they’re gone.

On more exciting news! We’re also making progress on our bathroom. I hope to share some of those ugly photos with you next week.

  • So excited to see Kelly & Jeff launch this class! Can someone say #powercouple
  • game changing info to boost your indoor photography! (I just bought these and can’t wait to take them on a test run)
  • Apparently the 80’s are back, I haven’t taken this vest off all week
  • Zano’s 1st birthday is in a month! I think some balloons are in order

Have a great weekend!

LoveB

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Why wood tile?

Hello! Apologies for the slow posts lately, I mentioned it earlier but this flooring stuff is a real bottleneck! Good news is, both bedroom floors have been sealed and the base boards & door trim are just about finished. Hopefully we can put our bedroom back together tonight! ALSO, last night I pulled the trigger and started re-painting Zano’s room in one of my favorite colors ever. It already looks a thousand times better.  My husband teased me in front of our contractor over the fact I was so concerned about North facing light. What? It’s a real thing!!!

As promised, I wanted to share with you everything we went through during this process, from making the decision to install wood tile over hardwood floors to actually selecting the look best fit for our house.

Before diving into this whole shebang, there were a few things we knew for certain that would influence our flooring decision:

  • We have dogs, 3 of them, that’s 12 little doggy feet! We needed a hard, durable floor that would withstand scratches, dropped bones, and other animal behavior
  • We have a baby who will grow into a toddler that will spill and drop things on our floors
  • We might rent our house out someday, we did not want to worry about future tenants scratching up the floors
  • We also wanted to consider potential resale and wanted to make the best investment possible; we eliminated laminate from the equation. Laminate just doesn’t hold it’s value here in CA.

I definitely spent substantial time researching hardwood flooring. Having animals with heavy feet limited our hardwood flooring options. During our hardwood flooring research, we learned about the Janka Hardness Scale: the higher the Janka score the harder/more durable the flooring. If we were to install a high Janka rated floor, we were looking at more “exotic” hardwoods like Brazilian cherry or Hickory, which comes with more $$$. Oak, being the most popular flooring choice, actually falls in the middle of the Janka scale – so, yes it’s affordable but it’s too soft for our needs.  I was also afraid if we spent a lot of money on a high Janka rated wood floor it would still scratch and dent (because it would). I needed something more durable than that, I mean, I would be very upset if I spent a ton of $ on some super special, high Janka rated wood floor and days or weeks later see it start to scratch and dent. THIS, friends, is why we turned to wood tile.

Tile comes in a few different mediums: cement, porcelain, and ceramic – porcelain being the most durable. I actually started looking at styles before I realized what medium the tile was made from. I didn’t realize it, at first I thought shopping for wood tile would make the selection process easier, but believe me, shopping for wood tile is just as overwhelming as shopping for hardwood. The options seem endless!

We looked at a lot of wood tiles, like A LOT a lot. We visited Lowes (3 different locations), Home Depot (3 different locations), The Floor Store, and browsed websites including BuildDirect and The Tile Shop. Each vendor offers extremely different options, so I can’t recommend one over the other.  One piece of advice I will tell you now is – don’t rely on your big box home improvement store to offer all, or the best, options. I learned first hand these retailers carry what happened to be my least favorite wood tile options. We were able to find better quality tiles from local mom & pop retailers that were even more affordable than the big box retailers! I would never have guessed! Not only did we find the perfect tile, we felt really good about purchasing from a smaller retailer (and good news! they have an online shop!). Supporting small business is extremely rewarding. You should do it any chance you get!

So anyway, we brought home a bunch of samples from various retailers. Hands down the hardest part was choosing a style. For a hot minute I got pulled towards the exotic look, I LOVED this acacia tile from Lowes. It looked incredible in this photo!

acacia wood tile

All my Instagram peeps loved it too! The problem with this is, yes, it looks amazing in this small scale, but picture this crazy grain across your entire house! Talk about busy, right? As much as I loved the look of this tile, I knew after bringing it home that I needed to find something more neutral – something that would just exist in the background and not bother anyone.   This acacia-look tile would be too busy of a pattern, fighting to be the center of attention, and I could foresee it giving me headaches and I probably wouldn’t ever know why!  I had to remind myself that my kitchen is the star and I couldn’t have the floors fighting for the spotlight.  After this realization I was happy to finally focus on finding the perfect neutral looking tile.

Below is a chart of 9 of my favorite samples that we considered for our floors. I split them into 3 categories: grainy (lots of wood grain!), exotic (like that acacia!), and neutral. We ordered #8 for our house.

My favorite wood tile options // brittanyMakes

1. Casetta Oak | 2. Emser Alpine | 3. Briarwood | 4. Brazilian Pecan | 5. Acacia | 6. Botannica Cashew | 7. Napa  | 8. Allways | 9. Marazzi Montagna Saddle

 We were THIS close to ordering the Napa walnut tile. My husband’s favorite was the Allways (also in walnut, but not so dark). We brought both samples home – the Napa was 6″x24″ in size while the Allways was 8″x48″, and a bit more pricey than the Napa. This brings me to my next tidbit of advice – make sure you bring your samples home and lay them in your space. The size of the tiles make ALL the difference! My husband and I were utterly in love with the Allways tile, it’s scale was perfect – super wide & long planks. The other little test that sealed the deal was the dirt test. Our house was kinda dusty at the time since we were already tearing up flooring. We stepped in some dust with our shoes, then stepped on each plank to see how much dirt showed. You could see our full foot print on the dark walnut Napa tile, whereas the Allways tile hid almost all the dirt.  Winner!!!! As much as I wish I could, I just can’t clean my floors daily. We needed something that wouldn’t show every little speck of dirt.

There you have it! Some real life advice and insight on how we selected our new floors. I just can’t wait for them to be finished so I can share! If you’re curious about anything, ask away in the comments!

PS: my favorite post on wood vs tile

LoveB

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Casual Fridays

bedroom designIf you caught my IG feed yesterday, my bedroom looks nothing like this right now! Our bed and our dressers and all our belongings are neatly (yeah right) piled up in our living room while our bedroom gets the tile treatment. I’m so excited to see our floors finished! Today tile, tomorrow grout, Sunday is baseboards and door trim. I can’t wait to share the end result!

As usual, here are my favorite links this week:

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

LoveB

 

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Progress!

I’ve been feeling like a cluttered mess lately; disorganized, stressed out, cluttered, uninspired.. at first I thought something was wrong with me, maybe I’m experiencing some sort of burn-out.  But then it dawned on me today – duh! my house is under construction! I remember the time I was so envious of folks renovating their own homes – thought how much fun and exciting it must be to hand select your own finishes and fixtures, turning a house into your dream home.  The thought seemed so luxurious!  What people never tell you is the crazy mental state you’ll most likely endure when living through a construction zone. If you’re house is a mess, your mind is a mess.

Anyway, I really shouldn’t be complaining, I mean, I asked for this! I truthfully couldn’t be more excited to finally get rid of our Frankenstein flooring.  This here is the special corner I liked to call the bermuda triangle of floors:

frankenstein-floorsIt’s this darling corner where our vibrantly orange bedroom floors meet the vintage speckled poop brown trellis tile of the entryway, which then meets the lumpy brown (yet surprisingly soft) carpet that opens up into the white painted subfloor of our kitchen + dining room. It’s quite a sight. And if you thought I was joking that we never invite people over because of our floors, this is precisely the eyesore that I’ve been so embarrassed over.  Soon friends! Soon I will finally be able to invite you over!

Here’s a shot at the first stage of our flooring reno. I mentioned we’re laying faux wood tile (which I promise to dive into next!). Our house is on a raised foundation (we have a crawl space), versus a cement slab. Since our foundation is raised we have to strengthen the subfloor by laying a cement backer. We laid Hardiesbacker cement board first, which is what you see here

hardie-backerEven just the cement backer as flooring looks a million times better! I’m sure you also noticed the fireplace wall is a different color than the rest of the house.. it’s true, I haven’t yet painted that wall. You might also notice this wall is decked out in faux wood paneling. A part of me wishes I could have seen this focal wall in it’s original (unpainted) state. We’ve ripped out the paneling since this photo was taken, thank goodness!

Some other changes that are happening – we’ve removed all wall trim and door trim throughout the house. We’re planning to install a new door that leads out into the sun room, this sliding glass door is broken so it needs replacing anyway. We also decided last minute to rehaul the bathroom… Why not, right? And just for kicks, here is a peek into the tile we chose for our house!

faux wood tileI know, right??? It really IS tile! I’m drafting a lengthy post on our flooring selection process. We spent SO much time and research selecting our flooring, it only makes sense to share our process :)

Thank you so much for bearing with me as I figure out my life during these projects!

LoveB

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Decorating with Texture

woven wall hanging // brittanyMakes

woven wall hanging // brittanyMakes

 

woven wall hanging // brittanyMakes

I’ve been lusting over unique woven wall art for quite some time. I understand it’s not for everyone, especially folks who lived through the fad in the 70’s, where I was hardly a spec of a thought in my parent’s minds, ha! I have great appreciation of the art and understand it’s a special skill only mastered by few. I’ve been contemplating different ways to incorporate this look into my own home, so I started hunting around. Randomly I stumbled upon this gorgeous (and huge!) pink & gray toned wall hanging at a flea market, priced at $20. Total steal! Even the vendor said “my boss is going to kill me” after offering it to me at that price. It appears vintage, but you never really know at flea markets.. I’m obsessed with the colors in this piece.

See how I incorporated it in my home – full post is over at domino.com today!

LoveB

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