Deuce Cities Henhouse

Basement Bathroom : Week 6


Is it over yet? No? Shit. People keep telling me that it seems like this is all coming together really quickly, and I’m like “really?” To me this has been lingering on and on, and there is still so many things that have to get done! I’m trying not to be all pessimistic but I reached the point of a project where you just want to see it done already. The reality is that I have over the half of the bathroom done, which is great but I feel overwhelmed by all of the little things left to do.

It makes me relieved when I realize that the really scary stuff is behind me, like installing and mounting the sink and plumbing the shower valve. The subway tile installation is nearly complete and there are barely any spots that stick out like sore thumbs, for the most part it is all flush and level and I feel really good about that.

Now I have to look forward to finishing grouting, receiving the floor tile shipment, installing the floor tile, grouting, sealing ALL of the tile, painting, installing the toilet, installing baseboard trim, and then finally tricking it out (people still say that, right?) with the finishing touches that will make it look cool and put together.

It’s been eight weeks since I ordered the floor tile from clé tile and I am expecting it to be here by week 10. That gets me right around the 21st of this month, I think it’s safe to say that we all know there will be no floor time for tiling over the holiday break, that time is ear marked for family and champagne with coffee. For the next three weeks I will keep myself busy with the tedious little stuff, like grouting and painting. I wish I could install the baseboards too, but that will have to wait until after the flooring goes in. The first week of January will be dedicated to installing that floor. I seriously hope that I am writing my final reveal by mid-Jan, seriously, I better be!

For this week I finished up tiling the shower stall minus two rows at the very top. I ran out of the bullnose tile that I had ordered from wayfair. I successfully used my tile saw to cut out a perfect circle around the shower valve. Each tile took at least three attempts and the whole thing took me well over two hours. I basically would scribe out the shape I needed with a sharpie onto the tile and then make cuts every 1/8″ of an inch following the line I scribed. Once the sawing was complete I’d take the tile nippers and nip away at the tile until I achieve the desired contour. Make sense? No? Watch this vid.

I also had a few deliveries! The brackets for the shelf and this old piece of barnwood arrived! I was able to make this shelf right above the sink which we need for functionality. With no medicine cabinet and limited storage, the shelf will eventually be used as a place for the kids to set their toothbrushes, hand towels for guests, and maybe a pretty bar of soap or two. Above the shelf I hung an antique mirror. The mirror was a find from our attic, it’s old, maybe not original to the house, but from the looks of the tag on the back of it, I would imagine probably 1940’s-ish. It seems perfect for the space, it’s exactly 36″ wide and it shows it’s age. I think it looks so good with the reclaimed wood shelf and the new-vintage Kohler sink. I’m really trying to achieve a modern version of an antique basement bathroom, I hope I’m on the right track.

And I almost forgot to mention the lights. I also received a delivery from my fav lamp parts store, grandbrass.com. I had envisioned pendants in the space since the beginning, and had the electrician install two fixture boxes in the ceiling in just the right spots. Anyways, I was able to make these look-a-likes for less than half as much as they cost new, plus making light fixtures is my new favorite hobby.

+++ basement bathroom : week by week +++
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 5

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Decked the Halls & A Giveway!

BROUGHT TO YOU IN PARTNERSHIP WITH BURKE DECOR

We decided this year that we’d go all out on decorating our basement for the holidays instead of doing the main floor of the house as we normally do. I have to say I’m really excited about how the space all came together. I’ve put together a respectable collection of holiday decor over the years, and since a theme can change from year to year I have begun to get pretty neutral when purchasing seasonal decor. What do I mean by that? If it’s not white, metallic or natural greens, I tend to pass on making that purchase. By committing to a palette I’ll be investing in holiday decor that I can reuse and incorporate in our home during the winter months.

It seems to depend on the year what metallic I am into, a few years ago it was silver, the year before it was gold, and last year was copper. This year I was able to get a set of matte metallic circle garland that incorporated all three colors (brass, nickel and copper), which allowed me to incorporate my collection of different colored metallics throughout our basement family room.


Before decorating I gather up all of my collected holiday items from years past, and one or two new items for this year. I added the metallic garland (seen above) and some buffalo check stockings ($13 bucks!) to my holiday-decor-arsenal this year. I wanted a simple understated vibe for the basement. I especially love the green from the freeze dried boxwood that purchased a few years back, which I draped it on top of the built-in cabinets in our “dining-nook”, and nestled in some gold tipped christmas trees. After spying that very cool cinema light box on CLJ‘s site, I snagged up my own this summer. We’ve changed out the message quite a few times – I try to keep my quips on the funny side (not-so-much-inspirational). “Merry Christ-mas” was Gus’ choice, and I suppose it seemed like a fitting sentiment.

The new garland from Burke Decor is draped across the built-ins, transitioning from our little dining/game area into the larger living space. I think it will also make the perfect backdrop at our annual holiday party and new years day celebraishes. Behind the sofa, I hung some white garland, two trees (one in white and one in silver) a set of ceramic deer and the copper “Merry Christmas” garland that I picked up at Target last year (this years version is also v cute).

The actual Christmas tree has stayed the same throughout the years. Following in Jeff’s family tradition, we gift the boys one new ornament every year. The tree is covered in their personal ornaments, white vintage crocheted snowflakes, big glass bulb christmas lights, and a sheepskin tree skirt.


Last year I was able to get a bunch of these battery operated fairy lights (yep, that’s what they call ’em), they were a bit hard to find, but this season you can seem to find them everywhere! They can be set on 6 hour timers, and the light they add to the space in the evenings is really sweet and nostalgic.


Have you guys checked out Burke Decor before? Cause if you haven’t, I think you should! Their holiday look book is spot on – It’s well curated, simple, understated, modern christmas decor. You seriously can’t go wrong. Burke has provided you guys with a special coupon code for 20% off, just use the promo code HENHOUSE at checkout.

Burke Decor wants to send you some of this super beautiful garland too – it’s so good that it doesn’t need to be used during just the holidays — I can imagine having lots of reason to decorate with it throughout the year. To enter the giveaway, head over to Burke’s holiday look book, let me know what your favorite holiday decor item is in the comments below. The giveaway will end this Thursday the 8th at 10pm (CST) and the winner will be notified Friday morning.

Burke Decor has provided me with the metallic garland used within this post. All thoughts are my own. Thanks to supporting the businesses who help support me!

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in Around the House, Decor, Sponsored

Basement Bathroom : Week 5

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Although I am right on schedule with this project, it feels like its taking forever! It’s a semi-enjoyable, semi painful kind-of-forever, and I’m glad the payoffs make it seem worth it thus far. Let me get you guys up to speed. Since last week I tiled one side of the shower stall. It’s not just one side though, it’s one side with a soap niche. Who would have ever thought that one niche would take so much planning, but it did. After staring at hundreds of images on pinterest and considering all of the different ways to approach a niche, I decided the best way for this shower would be to use the bullnose tiles that I had used for the edges of the shower to create an edge, and then to continue the running bond pattern along the back of the niche. That all seems pretty straightforward, except for the fact that I didn’t want the tile to run into the niche at a weird intersection. With a lot of planning I decided it would be best to have a row of the running bond pattern to meet directly in the horizontal middle of the niche. Have I said before how I would be nowhere without my laser level! Listen up! Please put it at the top of your shopping list if you have a tiling project in your future. I used the level to find my niche’s horizontal middle, and then measured backwards down the wall towards the floor to find my beginning row. PS, I started my rows using ledger board to keep my first row nice and level.

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Did I say that I majorly over-thunk and planned out every last detail of this niche. I was all in, so I mitered the corners to give it a super pro look. In the photo on the right you can see the bullnose on the edge of the shower that I mentioned earlier. I am just using cheap-y dal-tiles from the Home Depot and I was able to find a bullnose tile on the short 3″ side of the tile, instead of the long 6″ tile on Wayfair. You often see edges finished with the vertical 6″ edge done in a border, but I preferred the look of the short bullnose for my edges. I added a bit of a pitch from the left side down to the right and from the front to the back, made easy again to my LAZER!

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
This is the opposite wall of the shower stall. I had to remove the cement board from the shower side and drywall from the utility room side to access the plumbing for the shower valve. The shower valve plumbing had been roughed in, I had a hot and cold line and copper coming down from the stem for the shower head, it all just needed a valve. I put on my plumber pants and started doing some research. After considering using pex and sweating copper I discovered a miracle plumbing tool for the DIY’er called “Shark Bite“. Shark Bite is a push-to-connect plumbing system that can link pex, copper and cpvc. They even have a plethora of fittings that are threaded male or threaded female parts so you connect things such as your shower valve! The downside is that if you were working on plumbing every day that the Shark Bite would cost you over time, one brass connection runs around $7.50, however I wasn’t in the market for buying a torch or a pex clamp so the Shark Bite did the job. Also super easy and nearly stress free.

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Next I’ll be re-installing the cement backer and getting ready to tile and add the dream Kohler shower head and trim v soon!

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Here is the sink from a different view (taken directly from the shower stall). I’m pretty sure the shower stall was too big of a mess the last few weeks to take a useful photo from this vantage point.

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
This new photo-taking-view has allowed me to show off this corner of the bathroom. It’s nestled right below the basement staircase, next to the sink and toilet. This is where the storage for this bathroom will be. I’ll add a suitable amount of shelving and even a hamper. This will allow enough room for towels and a basket for toiletries for each kid. I’m also going to be replacing the toilet with this vintage looking one, which will add the right amount of antique style and play nicely with the sink. I can’t wait for the floor tile to be delivered so that I can see it all come together! For those who are wondering, it seems that the sink has stopped dripping on it’s own, I mean it was barely dripping anyways so… I am just going to go with that answer for now, and possibly re-examine later.

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Trying to cut a 45º angle with your wet saw is kinda difficult, and the internet didn’t want to give me any useful suggestions about how to accomplish this — what is wrong with you internet! I took a second and though what would Tom Silva do and I came up with this little tile jig – cause that’s what he would do – make a jig. It’s a 3×6 tile notched out to hold a 3×6 tile the long way. I was able to use this little set up to slide the tile right through the saw without the risk of losing a finger.

Bathroom Tiling Progress | Deuce Cities Henhouse
Lastly, this is where I set up the indoor tile saw, right between the treadmill and the washing machine in our utility room. It’s cozy but it works and the mess is minimal. Hooray for not freezing my hands off trying to pull this off outside!

+++ basement bathroom : week by week +++
Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3
Thanks to Kohler for the generous support in making this project a reality! Thanks to you for supporting the businesses who support me!

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Basement Bathroom : Week 3-ish


Hey guys! Whazzup? Technically this is the start of week four, but I wanted to check in and let you know where I finished off after last week. I’ve completed all the subway tile around the sink area which consists of one large wall and two more narrow walls. The tiling went up pretty quickly after I got into a grove. I’ve said it like five times already, but that laser level has made tiling so easy! If only their was a laser level equivalent for grouting! Holy buckets! How easily I forgot how horrible grouting is, my friends! It’s such a mess with dark grout and it hurts your entire body. I think my time recovering on a heating pad was nearly half of week three, geez I am getting so old.

I started by grouting the biggest area behind the sink first. That was probably a mistake, and I should have taken it on in smaller more manageable batches. Lesson learned for the rest of the bathroom – I still have the other two shorter walls to do, and then eventually the shower and floors.

You probably noticed that I got that Brockway sink installed. I am completely thrilled with how it looks, I think it’s soooo beautiful. I’m really glad I did a dry run prior to installing to mark the perfect location for hanging the brackets. Installing it would have been a big unknown, and I imagine a lot of trial and error had I not done that. The Cannock faucets are on now, woohoo! That being said, there is still a leak somewhere in my plumbing work, the faucet drips from behind the sink about one drop every 24 hours. The good news is that it’s not leaking like a sieve, the bad news is that it is leaking. I have taken the whole thing apart countless times, I have solved the mystery of the drip countless times, only to have the drip show up somewhere else. There are sixteen connections made between the two faucets and the plumbing behind them, so many ways it could all go wrong. Anyways, I am trying to take a breather from this faucet situation over the next week and focus on my kids and family and stuff. I still somehow manage to troubleshoot that leak in my dreams every night, talk about torture. I’ve decided that I will take it all apart again with a pal next weekend, sometimes two heads are better than one. I had been using galvanized pipes to make my connection between the threaded elbow in the wall, and the brass faucet. After rethinking this, I have decided that my next step will be to try again with brass pipes as they are a softer metal and tend to thread together better, thus preventing leaks (or so the internet tells me). I’m also going to try and use a pipe sealant as opposed to the teflon tape I had been using. I’m hopeful that I can get this figured out soon, otherwise I will lose my mind.

I also installed that babe of a chrome trap, that is if things that protrude from under your sink can be classified as a babe. I used a heavy duty brass p-trap from Kohler, it had to look pretty since it was visible, and this trap did the trick. The distance between the connection in the wall and the trap was less than the length of the trap so I cut it down with a metal blade using my jigsaw, and then made sure to file down the rough end to prevent hair or other debris would get caught on it once the drain was in use.


As you can see from the pics I taped out where I wanted to hang a mirror and a narrow shelf. The mirror is one that I found in the attic a few years ago, and is most likely original to the house. It is exactly the width of the sink, (36″) and I think it will be the perfect compliment to the bathroom. For the shelf I have ordered some reclaimed lumber that I will cut down to be 5″ deep – just the right size to set out some hand towels, soap, or hold a cup for tooth brushes. I found some reproduction cast iron shelf brackets, and I’m hoping that they will look awesome paired with the dark wood of the lumber and the cast iron sink.


That’s the mirror hanging in my upstairs hallway.


This is a pic of the shower stall, decently sized at 4.5 x 4.5 feet. I added a soap niche last week, which involved cutting into the wall, adding framing, and finishing it with the tile backer. Oh yeah, and there’s this: I didn’t realize that there was fiberglass sandwiched between the DensShield tile backer, good thing I had decided to wear a tank top and shorts that day. I was v itchy, so please learn from me and don’t make that mistake, seriously just writing about it makes my skin hurt. I still need to install the shower valve, but I am hopeful that I will be sharing a success story next week. I guess we’ll see how well youtube can teach me things I don’t already know. Also, there will lots be lots of tiling which most likely will be difficult around the niche area – I’m looking forward to the challenge. Speaking of tiling, it’s too cold to set up my tile saw outside anymore, does anyone have good tips for using one inside. I’d like not to make too big a mess! Right now I’m considering using the laundry room as the wet saw area, oh, and lots of plastic tarps.

+++ basement bathroom : week by week +++
Week 1 | Week 2

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A Simple Thanksgiving Table

A Simple & Inexpensive Thanksgiving Table
Hey peoples, hope all is well and that you are all doing well. Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? We are, and I’m really excited for it this year. That probably has a lot to do with this Thanksgiving being very small and intimate, I’m talking like four adults two kids intimate. Doesn’t that sound kind of great?

I’m NO good at decorating tables. I can never pull it together in just the right way to make it seem effortless. That being said, I feel like my luck is changing this year because I think I’m about to pull off a real pretty tablescape. Instead of freaking out and feeling like I had to have everything perfectly, I took it down a notch and tried to set a more casual, simple table.

I picked up this really cute and neutral chambray table cloth at Target for fifteen bucks, it was new to me, but I am sure I will be able to use it for different table settings in the future. I always try and consider how many ways I can use table-top items before purchasing. For the table settings I bought pretty blue plates, they look like pottery but are melamine and only three bucks a piece! I layered the plates with black and white gingham napkins — I swear the napkins go with any occasion, and they wash up so easily. These are our daily go-to napkins and I’ve been buying new ones every year from Amazon so that we can build up a hefty stash. For the centerpiece, I purchased a grocery store bouquet of roses, and a few stems of branches with waxy leaves (I’m sure any leafy branch will do). I assembled the bouquet to my liking and centered it in the table in this birch bark lined vase that my mom gifted to me for our basement. Around the base of the birch vase I layered more of the leafy stems. The stems are followed up with squash to create a neutral base, and a few artichoke for texture. Candles are a must, and Target sells v inexpensive packs of unscented white candles. I placed each candle on a birch base to variate the height – the birch bases were an alley find before trash day. I quickly chopped up a long with my circular saw and blamo, instant candle holder.

So I think I nailed this table scape thing, at least this time around. In my opinion simple is better (and usually cheaper and prettier too). I’ll try and remember that for next time.


Rollover this pic for links to some of my finds.

A Simple & Inexpensive Thanksgiving Table

A Simple & Inexpensive Thanksgiving Table

A Simple & Inexpensive Thanksgiving Table

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