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Custom Home Building, Design

Why buy an over-priced concrete coffee table when you can make it yourself? 

High-end retailers make great stuff, but the prices are extremely high. Instead of paying hundreds of dollars for an item, follow these instructions and make it yourself. 

Kim from The Kim Six Fix fell in love with a coffee table from high-end retailer, but it had a price tag of $1250. She knew that she could never pay that amount for a table, so she decided to take matters into her own hands and make one herself. She purchased all of the materials that she knew that she would need and set herself to work. 

When she was finished, she was more than satisfied with her result. If you want to see the building plans that Kim used, check out The Kim Six Fix.

Source: Knock Off Decor


A bathroom makeover is an easy way to spruce up your home. But before you start taking measurements for a brand-new Jacuzzi, you should take the time to plan out your bathroom remodel step-by-step so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Curious about how to remodel your bathroom? Take a look at our step-by-step guide below to figure out the best way to tackle your bathroom remodel.

Step 1: Decide on a Bathroom Design From the Get-Go

Before you do any bathroom remodeling yourself, you should settle on a new design that fits your vision, as well as your skill set. There are so many different ways to approach a bathroom makeover, ranging from swapping out the vanity to gutting the space and starting over from scratch. Here are a few design elements you absolutely need to nail down before you start renovating your bathroom:
  • Color scheme: Are you a fan of blue hues? Or perhaps shades of gray fit the rest of your decor? Know ahead of time to make sure your new bathroom tiles don’t clash with your choice of paint.
  • New fixtures: Will you replace or remodel your shower/tub? Are you installing a new sink? Replacing one or both of these fixtures will add to your project time and budget.
  • Storage spaces: Where will you keep your towels and toiletries post-remodel? If you’re removing a closet to expand the space, make sure you have shelving or cabinets as a backup.
  • Location of utilities: Do you know where the electrical wiring and plumbing pipes are located? Make sure you have accurate measurements for each of these so you don’t end up needing expensive repairs.

Step 2: Gather Your Tools and Supplies

Of course, the materials and tools you’ll need will vary based on your renovation plans. But a few essential tools and supplies to have on hand for any bathroom remodel include:
  • Safety mask
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Caulking gun
  • Silicone sealant
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Spackle knife
  • Spackle
  • Stud finder
  • Power drill
  • Pry bar
  • Bucket
  • Chisel
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Hacksaw
  • Utility knife
  • Chalk line
  • Extension cord
A few optional tools we recommend:
  • Wet-dry Shop-Vac: Very handy in case any water spills while removing the toilet or other fixture.
  • Cordless drill: Makes it easier to move around and frees up your extension cord for other power tools.

Step 3: Remove or Demolish Bathroom Fixtures

Assuming you’re partially or totally renovating your bathroom, this is where you’ll start removing drywall and any fixtures you’re replacing. Demolishing a bathroom yourself isn’t all that hard, but there are a few steps you should follow to avoid any costly mistakes. How to Demolish a Bathroom Before a Total Renovation:
  1. Start by draining and removing the toilet to avoid any unpleasant spills.
  2. Next, cover up the bathtub and start removing the tile down to the studs. This is necessary in order to rework the plumbing to fit your new shower/tub design.
  3. Remove the insulation from your walls where necessary. Do not use a hammer on insulation, instead use a reciprocating saw to cut out the panels. A safety mask, gloves, and goggles are a necessity.
  4. Finally, remove cabinets, vanities, mirrors, floor tiles and any other features you plan to replace.

Step 5: Make Adjustments for New Fixtures & Features

With the shower out of the way, you can now install your new vanity and cabinets. If their dimensions are bigger or smaller than your current ones, you’ll need to renovate your bathroom a little further by adjusting the wiring. For the most part, that means moving the GFCIs (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) and other power outlets so that they line up with your new vanity and cabinets. After all, you don’t want to have to reach down next to the toilet in order to plug in your hair dryer. This is where we recommend calling an electrician, especially if you have never worked with home wiring before.

Step 6: Lay Down Your New Floor Tiles

A DIY bathroom makeover is not complete without new floor tiles. After you’ve adjusted your utility lines, it’s time to lay down some fresh tile. But before you start grinding away with the grouting, use a mason’s chalk line to mark reference lines perpendicular (90-degree angle) to the wall with the longest continuous line. This will allow you to keep your tiles in a straight line, avoiding the dreaded crooked tiling job.

Step 7: Hang New Drywall & Start Painting

Now your bathroom makeover is starting to take shape. The next step is to hang your new drywall. This can be a long process as you have to cut new drywall to fit around your vanity and any other features. But once you start nailing up the boards you should be able to move briskly. A few important do-it-yourself bathroom remodeling tips to keep in mind during this step:
  • Use drywall mud and tape to cover seams and fill in gaps.
  • Use cement board instead of drywall for the shower/tub wall.
  • Coat the cement board with Redgard or another waterproofing membrane to guard against water damage.
After you’ve put your walls back together you can start adding some color to your bathroom. It is best to use paint with a semi-gloss finish that is resistant to mold and mildew. And while you’re working on your walls, now is the time to start re-tiling your shower and tub area. Here’s a few handy tips to follow when tiling your bathroom shower.

Step 8: Install Your New Vanity and Cabinets

After you’ve taken care of the walls and finished installing any new lights, it’s time to install the vanity, cabinets and anything else that’s on your bathroom remodel punch list. The first thing you want to install is the vanity, including the sink and faucet. Once you have the drain hooked up to the faucet, you can move on to the other essentials such as the mirror, cabinets and the trim around the shower or tub.

Step 9: Hook Up the Toilet and Add the Finishing Touches

Now your bathroom actually resembles a bathroom, except for one thing: the toilet. You could install or re-install your toilet earlier in the process but leaving it for last helps avoid chipping it while working on other areas of the bathroom. If you aren’t quite sure how to install a toilet, Lowe’s has a great guide you can follow. The absolute last finishing touch is installing the trim around the room and mirrors. The trim is the capstone for every bathroom remodel as it provides the last bit of detail your bathroom needs to feel complete. But of course, the real last step in any bathroom makeover is to draw a nice hot bath for yourself after all your hard work. You deserve it. If you have more questions about upgrades or remodeling your home, feel free to contact us at Spectrum Building & Restoration, 541-385-0752. CCB#62366

Design, Space Savers

Tiny House Space Saving Tricks

Looking for a few space-saving, clutter-reducing, design enhancing, tips and tricks for your home? Many of the same clever hacks that can help a 200-square-foot micro apartment or shed-sized tiny house feel livable translate beautifully to more average-sized living spaces. Pack in an extra guest bed, create a movie theater in your living room, organize your kitchen and hide stuff you don’t use often like the tiny house pros! The Minim House by Minim Micro Homes puts a bunch of high-impact yet simple and affordable tricks to work. This results in a compact, portable home that doesn’t rely on a loft to save space.

Tuck Away your Sleeping Quarters

Lofts are a common feature in most small homes and apartments for a reason. They really do make a world of difference when the ceiling is high enough, taking full advantage of vertical space. A bed isn’t needed for most of the day, so there’s no reason to let it commandeer a huge swath of valuable floor space 24/7. However, lofts aren’t accessible to everyone. Even the slimmest of ladders and narrow, double-duty stairs can still get in the way. The Minim House was built to fit within the constraints of a road-legal trailer, so it has a relatively low ceiling. The solution? Tucking the bed beneath a platform that serves as the floor to a music studio. The low-profile bed is on casters, so it’s easy to pull out when you need it. This concept could easily be adapted so that home offices and studios can do double-duty as a guest room. In this case, the end of the mattress is left exposed, but you could modify it with the addition of an end panel, and even add a step that functions as a side table when the bed is pulled out.

Use Window Treatments as a Movie Screen

Think you don’t have room in your living room for a projection screen to create your own private movie theater? If you have windows, you have more space than you realize. Minim anchored this screen just above the four large windows that line one side of the tiny house. Not only is it unobtrusive when it’s not in use, it functions to block out daylight if you want to watch movies while the sun is shining. Mounted on a single pedestal, the portable table can be placed in front of the couch as a dining surface, lowered for use as a coffee table, moved to the window as a work surface or placed off to the side to free up floor space.

Mount a Shower Head from your Ceiling

The entire bathroom is clad in stainless steel. The reason for this? To fit a shower into the stall-sized space, with the shower head mounted on the ceiling. When the water is on, you just pull out the shower curtain to keep the toilet from getting wet. Able to go entirely off-grid, the Minim House has a 900-watt solar array on the roof. The home is also equipped with a battery storage system. This system primarily runs 12-volt appliances like LED lights and a marine refrigerator. It’s clad in cypress, gathers its own rainwater. The original is located at the Micro Showcase in Washington D.C., if you get a chance to check it out in person. See Pictures Here: Get Space-Saving Ideas From This Clever Tiny House  


Beyond DIY: Tips from ‘This Old House’ to save on a home remodel

We can’t emphasize enough how critical a budget is to a successful remodeling project. Too many remodeling regrets are related to the budget. Some come in the form of “we should have gone ahead and done X at that time” as well as “we’re halfway through the project, but we have used up the entire budget already.” Getting budget and project aligned is a step that must be addressed in the planning stage to avoid those regrets. With that said, we all want to save money anytime we can, and this article offers just that. While much of the information is directed at the do-it-yourself individual, there are tips that apply to any type of remodeler. Saving money with manual labor is a given. However, not everyone has the time or skill set to save money with manual labor. Instead, we would like to point out a few of their more general tips.

Increase Efficiency

• The first way the article suggests to save money on a remodel is to increase efficiency not size. That saying is practically a mantra around our office. Less square footage will always save money on the overall budget. We always tell our clients that the basic remodeling formula is Size x Finish = Cost. If you can reconfigure existing space without building an addition, you can save a lot of money. Plus, using space differently within your home can change your life. Moving walls within your home — even structural bearing walls — is more cost-effective than adding on. Just having more space is not the answer to a home that doesn’t have a functional floor plan. When clients come to us asking for a new room out back or over the garage, we step back and discuss how they use their current space and how they intend to use the new space. Often their goals can be reached within the confines of their existing walls or with an addition that is considerably smaller than they originally imagined.

Consult an Architect

• Another suggestion from “This Old House” is to consult an architect. We love it when an outside source sees value in what we do. We can endlessly preach that consulting an architect will save money in the long run, but it will always sound self-serving. Glave writes that not every remodeling project requires the full participation of an architect. However, a homeowner can certainly benefit by at least consulting with one at the beginning of the project. An architect can help them get on the right path, and he or she can consult with them throughout the project as needed.

Make Decisions Beforehand

• Another great “This Old House” tip: Make decisions early. How often have we heard, “But we don’t have to decide that (choose that) yet, do we? Can’t we wait until we get closer to that?” One of the benefits of working with an architect is that we are great nags; we will always urge a homeowner to plan everything possible as soon as possible. This not only helps keep the budget in line, it will make for a smoother, more successful end result. If a homeowner creates accurate and thorough specifications for the project, then he or she will be able to balance the budget and schedule the project successfully. This includes listing all finishes (such as flooring, countertops, etc.) and fixtures (such as appliances, plumbing fixtures, etc.), as well as selecting all building materials (windows, doors, siding, etc.) up front.  This is a great reality check that should not wait until the project is underway

Design, Renovations

Waterfall Edge – Your Kitchen Inspiration

Once considered an ultra-modern decor choice, waterfall counters are popping up in a variety of kitchen styles these days. They add a sleek, minimal look to any kitchen design while helping to hide appliances and protect wood cabinets. They’re often easier to clean. And’ if you really love your counter material, you can you can show it off more of it when you pick waterfall style. Read More About It Here: 6 Kitchens

Renovations, Uncategorized

Get Inspired with this Kitchen Transformation

When they bought their home, Kelly Goldman and her husband Jonathan knew that every single element within its kitchen needed updating. The Goldman’s wasted absolutely no time getting to work. In fact, they started the DIY demo the very day they closed escrow! Then they found that various portions of the project took considerable time — and they also paced everything in order to pay for it. So it wasn’t until a year and a half later that the family would be able to enjoy the fruits of their fully DIY labor. In the end, they created a spectacular transformation on a fraction of a traditional remodel budget that was so worth the wait. Read More Here: Kitchen DIY Transformation

A home isn’t just a place to live, it’s a canvas for personal expression, a showcase for your unique style. But as a renter, you simply don’t have the carte blanche that homeowners enjoy. Still, there are plenty of things you can do to spruce up your living space. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to make your rental feel like home sweet home, without getting into hot water with your landlord.

Check Your Rental Agreement

Before you start getting too excited about home improvement projects, it’s best to peruse your rental agreement to see what sort of alterations it allows. Some landlords are rather strict about what changes they will permit while others take a more laissez-faire approach.

Talk to Your Landlord

If your rental agreement allows you to do the projects you have in mind without consulting your landlord, then go right ahead and do them. If not, you may still be able to make improvements, so long as you discuss them with your landlord first. You never know – your property owner might be willing to make an exception if you sit down with them and present the changes you’d like to make, especially if you can convince them that your improvements will bolster their property value.  You might even be able to convince them to deduct labor and materials from your rent. Read More Here: What Renters Can and Cannot Change


Renovation Techniques to Help you Save

Homeowners and homebuyers alike have the struggle of deciding if they should renovate a home. A renovation can cost thousands of dollars and be very time consuming – making buyers cringe and sellers groan. How can you avoid these headaches?
When thinking of potential renovation projects it is important to consider if the costs are going to outweigh the benefits. If you’re hoping to sell your home soon – one to two years – you want to prioritize projects that are going to give you the most return on your investment. Ultimately you should make decisions based on your budget, time constraints, and the type of home you are renovating. A modern kitchen can look out of place in a historic home just as wood paneling looks dated in a newer, updated home. The projects below can be adapted to many different styles and budgets, making them a good starting point for those looking to both upgrade their home and spend wisely. 1. Entry Door Replacement/Remodel 2. Insulating the Attic 3. Adding an Attic Bedroom 4. Remodeling the Kitchen 5. Siding Replacement To Read More: Renovating your Home with the Best ROI