Metallic Gold and Soft Green Walls - a DIY paint alternative to pricey wallpaper

by Robin

We've never had a powder room before.  I've always wanted one - they just sound classy - a room just for POWDERING things!  How decadent!  I hardly know what to powder (my nose? my wig? donuts?), but I wanted to join the powder room club.

But beyond that silly thought - I've often admired the advice from decorating shows: the powder room is the smallest room in your house - treat it like a jewel box - you can splurge on an expensive wallpaper - even on a small budget!  Splurge on a budget!?!  That's right in my wheelhouse.

Last month when we turned a basement closet (with no rough-in!) into a powder room I was thrilled to follow that advice.  I went searching for the perfect wallpaper - price be damned!  I'm making a Jewel Box.  After careful searching, I found one I loved.  It was this Farrow and Ball Wallpaper.  It was going to look lovely: graceful, organic, classic but still modern.  I was sold.

And then I checked the price.  $350 per roll!  I'd need at least 2.  That's $700 just for wallpaper!!!  What?!?!  That's not going to happen.  I couldn't even afford enough of this wallpaper to decorate an actual jewel box.

So, it called for some creativity.  And after some searching, I came up with a much more affordable alternative - which I love even more!  Home Depot liked my idea too and gave us a gift card to cover our costs!

Our project turned out more beautiful than I even pictured.

Here are the details on our budget-friendly alternative to elegant designer wallpaper.  It's modern and graceful and soft green and shimmery gold...


Ideas to Exchange Thoughtful Christmas Gifts with Family - and Still Simplify and Save

by Ed

You CAN save money while still giving meaningful gifts.

No, really, you can.

No matter what holiday tradition you celebrate, you are likely feeling some sort of pressure right about now. The retail overload from email marketing alone is enough to make you wonder if you’re actually buying enough. And go to a mall? Enter without a battle plan and the wheels will fall off in a hurry. (We shared some shopping mall survival tips here.)

We’ve tried to make our holidays less crazy and more meaningful in a few different ways over the years. What follows are some ideas that have worked well for us: to save money on gifts, while still keeping them meaningful for our loved ones.


No Rough-in? No Problem! Our DIY Basement Bathroom (from a Closet!)

By Ed

You can put a bathroom just about anywhere.  See the cluttered closet in the picture above - we just made that into a beautiful powder room.  Maybe you've got a closet you wish could be an ensuite?  Or a floor of your home that begs for a bathroom?

And it's possible and you just might be able to do it yourself.

That's what we're talking about in this post: how we turned an unsightly basement storage closet and into a pretty and functional powder room.  It took several days - it's not a beginner project - but we did it with our own four hands!  This was our most ambitious project yet.  Sure, we've done budget bathroom makeovers and kitchen refreshing projects - but this was the first time we turned nothing into a brand new space with running water and waste pipes (sexy stuff, no?).

Over the next few months, we'll be sharing about how we're redoing our entire basement!  It is by far biggest DIY project we've ever done.  And we're kids-at-Christmas level excited.

The reasons for this basement overhaul are legion (always wanted to say 'legion' in a sentence): dated, bland, hand-me-down furniture from other rooms/people, general ageing and wear and tear.

Our original basement reno was a great "make-do".  It was a frantic project before our first child was born when we had just two bedrooms and frequent overnight guests.   But we're not in our 20's anymore and we're ready for our 'Forever Basement".

One of our basement's most glaring issues was the lack of a bathroom. Our guest room is down there and it's a bit of a trek to get to a restroom.  Guests don't need a Sherpa guide or anything - we have a 4-piece bathroom on the main floor - but it feels less than welcoming.  This is especially important when our ageing parents are visiting.  (Knees and bladders are among the first things to go.  We've all got that to look forward to.)

But, challenges - they abound. There isn't much space down there to begin with.  Tucking in this powder room was tricky.  We weren't willing to give up space in the main family room area - we've got big ideas for there - and the rest of the basement space was spoken for with hobby space, storage and utilities.

So, the space we chose: a closet.  In a mere 44" by 43" space, we fit a lovely little powder room.  Can you believe that!?!

Have you ever seen a smaller bathroom?

So, how did we put in a great looking bathroom with no rough-in, a small budget, no tolerance for major construction and almost no space?

And most importantly (to Robin) how does it look?