house updates | plumbing & drywall

Yep – we’re still remodeling! Let’s hope the next bathroom doesn’t take nearly this long – Life gets in the way and we’re just rolling with it.

Mick rerouted plumbing and electric, took creative license in a few areas to make space work, and got the drywall up! We still need to mud, paint, tile (we’re subbing this out) and finish the vanity – hopefully that’s it and we can move on to the next project!

Most of the documentation has been in my instagram stories (@misiesface) so below is a small gallery of the last month or so –

Mick snagged our faucet from the remodel he was doing (what a joy it must be to do this 9-5 only to come home to a wife staring you down and glancing over at the gutted bathroom). It took some finagling to install but he rocked it – very impressed! Our vanity light fixture is by Allen & Roth from Lowes – we think a double will work but they also make a triple version just in case – this was such a steal too, only $50! The linens are from CB2 – towels and matching shower curtain – not a steal but, they make my heart happy.

The pocket door is framed and set – just need to refinish our old door, change out hardware and we’re good to go! We never claimed to be “fixer uppers” and if this project has taught us anything – it’s quit your day job. Mick has been so stressed creating beautiful spaces for other folks that it’s a chore to make ours exactly what we want. We should probably revisit our priorities; it would be a lot easier to walk away if he weren’t so damn good at what he does.

Nothing too exciting but progress nonetheless!

house update – b!***$ be shoppin

We still have snow on the ground and the forecast is showing a chance for more – insert eye roll here… Mick braved the frozen tundra for a second attempt at locating the main water shut off. Instead of a six hour round of snow shoveling – it only took 20 minutes!!! Guess where it was….under the snow pile he created last time when shoveling. I, of course, find this amusing because I’m dead in side 😉

While he is sealing off the pipes and tearing out the existing tub today, I busted out the Southwest credit card and did some shoppin (heck yes, MILES!). I figure if a 125lb tub and 115 sq feet of tile arriving in less than a month isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is.

The first image is pocket door hardware, by Emtek. Mick plans to take our existing solid wood door and turn it into a pocket door – the below hardware is $$ but totally worth it; it has a secure locking system and is incredibly sturdy and comes in quite a few awesome finishes.

Mick is building the vanity, although I really wanted a mini farmhouse sink, this one is much more affordable and will look better on a piece of custom furniture. That is NOT the faucet we are getting – Mick was able to acquire a modern wall mount from a remodel he is doing in town. 

We already have a sample of the tile and love it’s matte colors and smooth finish. Each tile is 8×8 – Mick will love | hate the puzzle of laying it. [Mission Stone Tile]

We opted for a modern claw foot tub – both of us fell madly in love with this black and white tub – SWOON. I love their streamlined interpretation of the claw foot – so fancy. Tub is AKDY but we found it on Wayfair.

Next up – research bathroom lighting, pick out a mirror, shower hardware, and find the time to get this done!

house update – bathroom stall – as in waiting…

Welp – the bathroom – let’s share the good stuff first. Mick ended up having to gut the bathroom – down to the studs…why? Well – as noted before the previous homeowners drywalled TO the cabinets and fixtures, i.e. lights and mirrors and behind the drywall was 70’s wood paneling in a lovely shade of sage green. We also discovered – they applied additional wood paneling, BEHIND the green wood paneling to cushion it to the studs. Mick also discovered vintage sage green marbled formica counters hidden beneath the tiled counter tops. Fantastic. Once he removed the vanity, walls, and sink he tore the floor down to the original subfloor – this will give us a much more even base once we put the new floor in.

Now, for the reason we are stalled: our tub faucet has a constant drip that gets worse every week. After ripping everything out from around the plumbing, it seems to thankfully be a flaw within the faucet, not our plumbing. The quick fix is: shut off water to the house, remove the faucet and temporarily seal the pipes. Excellent – simple enough…IF…our house had a main water shut off…that wasn’t located on the street under 2 + feet of snow. Whomp whomp! SO – waiting for the snow to melt since Mick already spent six hours trying to dig looking for it…to no avail. So – that’s where we’re at guys – baby steps. If anyone wants to come stay with us – may want to wait till June! Kidding…maybe…

House update – adios tile

The bathroom is coming along…ever be it so slowly. Mick decided he needed a break from demo and chose to demo his finger instead. “Hi Sweets – Don’t want you to worry….but I’m at urgent care…” The skill saw and and his finger had a falling out. It’s been healing up OK – he swears it’s better since he decided to take out his own stitches. I guess when you ask for a strong, confident, self-sufficient man – you realize early on, they don’t ask for help – even that of a professional who can prevent appendage loss. Anyyyywayssss…it’s healing and we’re moving forward.

While I was out Christmas shopping, Micky spent the day busting up tile and trim. Only a couple surprises, and some likely red flags; Yippee! The first – our tub is below the subfloor; behind the drywall is sage green wood paneling; the original floor radiators – although replaced with a furnace years back, still work…and when they’re not attached to the wall and the breaker is shut off – their wires still pop and carry electric currents…….so…there’s that.

The vanity is on it’s way to being in many pieces and the tub soon to follow. Once the room is empty, it will likely stay that way through Christmas and then off to various showrooms to find the perfect free-standing tub/sink/fixtures/lighting, order the remaining tile, and build a vanity. OK, that rehashing got me overwhelmed…I should probably offer more help. [I dream of this tub, this faucet, and this vanity] I’m currently torn between a mini farmhouse style sink and one that rests on top of the vanity and would love the faucet to come out from the wall instead of the counter. I also bought a strange iron hand to hold our hand towels…it creeps mick out but I love it! I believe every room needs one “wtf” accent piece.

On a side note – if you’re the praying kind, please remember my Friend who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She is a fantastic person and making all the right moves – send her positive thoughts if you think of it. I know you guys are good for it.

house updates | bathroom

We are finally gutting one of our bathrooms!!! I don’t know that you can appreciate in letter form the amount of free form dance moves that occurred when Mick told me. I can never recreate it but trust me, it was epic. We have a nagging leak in the bathtub and it’s only worsening – fast tracking our remodel. Mick started by demolishing a built in cabinet – this was to check out the pipes because the previous owners did not create an access panel. They did almost all renovations DIY, however, lacked the knowledge and skill to produce quality and function. The built-in cabinet was made of seventeen year old plywood and painted what we thought was a horrible brown stain/paint mixture. When taking the remnants outside to Mick’s truck we realized the cabinets have been purple this whole time – Baltimore Ravens purple. Of course they were. Also, two words – drawer liners – blech. Without this cabinet we acquired an additional 10 square feet of usable space AND the tongue and groove ceiling was put in before that cabinet!

We picked out tile (see below) and are currently writing a pro/con list regarding free standing tub/shower combos. If the Pros outweigh the cons, that means even more usable space and taking out a wall which will make this bathroom feel twice as big (Pro). Cons so far: the shower curtain being it’s own animal since it will wrap 360 degrees – I hate when shower curtains touch me – ew. Another con: re-directing the plumbing to run through the floor instead of the wall (sounds expensive), and finally, the cost of a nice clawfoot/freestanding tub vs. a regular ole wall unit. Mick is going to build a vanity which I am super excited about – his furniture building skills are amazing. The design is traditional – an open concept, however, the fixtures will be modern.

I am so excited to be rid of tiled countertops, purple cabinets [who knew?!], poorly insulated windows, orange trim & doors [pocket door for the win!], and glued on mirrors. Other than the plumbing, we will be tackling everything else ourselves. And by we, I mean Mick. I may attempt to lay a tile or two and look forward to taking a sledgehammer to our current vanity, but mostly, I will work on all things design related. If anyone has experience with a free standing tub/shower combo – we are all ears – give us the good, the bad, and the ugly! This house has so much potential, we are excited to modernize it but keep its original character.

  1. the tile – we will likely extend this into our entry way as well – so in love.
  2. Before shots…and Maeby || that vanity is supposedly purple, I guess we’ll find out soon enough. Ignore our mess – 90% of our storage is gone with the built-in, another con.

All the feels

We went back east a couple weeks ago – we walked into all things familiar. My hair instantly frizzed upon exiting the airport, my ears were assaulted by car horns and sirens, and my nostrils filled with bus exhaust. It was oddly comforting. Every face looked and sounded the same and the hugs, although tighter and longer, felt the same. There were a few eerie moments – moments we were reminded that life has moved forward for everyone even if ours stopped back in 2015. It is entirely out of self preservation that we are here, this space of alienation. It has allowed us to function with little emotion and skirt by these last two years without crumbling. I recently read in an amazing [read: FREAKING AMAZING!] book that the first year of grief you walk along numb and unattached [check!]. The second year, all the shit you pushed down down down begins to surface. Not just a twinge here or there – more like bursting into hysterics because you can’t get the ice tray to crack, or screaming at inanimate objects for running into you when in fact they are in the same spot they’ve always been. My heart is colder than most so I’ve stretched it out an additional year. I rarely cry too which means my hysterics involve throwing things [like ice trays], cursing in patterns that make little sense, and kicking dressers that jump out of nowhere. To describe an ache for something, something you never really had is the most difficult thing. The yearning is powerful, it can be a monster dragging you down and around emotions you once thought hidden or absolved.

I once wrote how the dichotomy of death and life existing at once and altogether shared, is…surreal. It’s changing us – it’s changing our world and relationships. Relationships come and go – some run dormant for years only to be picked back up when needed most – it is all part of our story. The pain we experience, the ache of loss whether in relationship or in death – is an ache to explore. We chase moments and memories and seek familiar feelings but in a new reality. Every day is an opportunity to accept a new set of circumstances and be honest with ourselves, honest about the raw feelings, honest about the fear and the what ifs. There is always hope – there is always the idea that someday, even if we’re 80, loss and the reasons why, will finally make sense.

I think these last two years have made us homesick – not for a place but for the people that make a place, home. We realized we are parched – emotionally speaking. The amount of love that rained down on us in Maryland was incredible – we were watered and cared for and every last bit of us, dusted off. We left, our souls filled to the brim. Even the briefest of conversations left their mark and we are so thankful for our friends and family back east. You all know how to make two worn out people feel loved and missed in the most epic ways.

“it’s the tragedy of loving, you can’t love anything more than something you miss.” – Jonathan Safran Foer

Trials of an introvert – Freshman year

I had really high hopes for my freshman year in college. I attended a two week summer program prior to the first semester and knew a handful of incoming freshman. Initially, this was a good thing. I was also living out of state with one of my best friends in one of the oldest residential halls on campus and we had an awesome room [read: no A/C, this-end-up furniture, a mirror too tall for me to use, and a neighbor who did interpretive dance at night to Disney music – she clearly had a single…and was single]. Despite the recurring brown theme and plywood smell; we lofted our beds, had a mini fridge, microwave, tv/vcr combo…coolest kids on the third floor.

There are so many awkward meet and greets when a college freshman – aka organized torture created to crush the spirit of any introvert. There were nerds in collegiate sweatshirts overzealous about extracurriculars, selling used books, and telling you how much college was going to “rock!” no thanks. Keep your group activities to yourself, I’ve got friends already. Anyways – after getting all set up and going to a couple mandatory events, I set off to find the familiar faces I met over the summer. [Please note – I was 18 with an attitude problem]

The first few months went by great – my roommate and I made friends with the girls in our hall and heard all about the promiscuous soccer players. One day exiting class I ran right into one of the upper classmen who helped facilitate the summer program. We chatted and he told me where to get the best coffee on campus…and that he was a soccer player. At that night’s game I ran into two other summer program leaders and introduced them to my roommate and her boyfriend. All three really nice guys, all three happy to see me; I was clueless.

I would often receive a voicemail or two from one of these three guys…calls I never returned. I would randomly, or so I thought, run into them outside my residence hall, the cafeteria or hear them yell my name as I walked into class. One night while my roommate and I were studying, there was a knock on the door… “Yo…I was in the neighborhood, thought I would stop in and say hey…” Classic Misie response – “oh, hey. You don’t live in this neighborhood so that’s a weird thing to say.” We chatted briefly and I awkwardly let him know I was in the middle of an intense study sesh and needed to get back to it. The phone calls increased, as did the clandestine meetings at dinner and in common areas. One day a guy popped out of the woods while I was walking home from class, “I figured you’d be walking home around this time!” [How would you like a swift kick to the throat?!]  I began to freak out! How the hell did he know my class schedule/walking route? Since when is it OK to hide in the woods to see a girl? I began ducking behind columns and tall people, taking new routes to class and my dorm. One time I hid in a cabinet while my roommate’s boyfriend convinced them I was on a date. It was getting ridiculous and my flight or fight reflex was off the chart. I remember my roommate telling me, “Misie, just be nice!” Ha – yea, OK Liz…if I knew about human trafficking in 1999, I would have transferred out immediately. [I still love you and your kind heart Liz!]

One night there was a salsa dancing event and the girls on my hall really wanted to go. I begrudgingly attended, sitting in a corner scowling at anyone who dared make eye contact. As I attempted to leave, someone grabbed my waist and pulled me back onto the dance floor. I found myself mere inches away from one of my suitors/stalkers beady little eyes and almost mustache. Of course all three guys were in attendance and I spun back and forth between them. As my face grew hot and panic set it I scanned the room for someone, anyone, to save me. Suddenly I saw a hand reach into the crowd – I grasped tightly and was yanked out of said dance circle. It was a friend from high school – he didn’t know I was panicked – he just didn’t like that these jokers were all up in my biz. From that moment on I decided to never leave my dorm room except for class and the bathroom. I could easily live on saltines, pilfered bagels from the cafeteria and raisin bran. So, while most girls gained the freshman 15, joined every extracurricular, and created long lasting friendships…I lost ten pounds, hid out in dorm rooms, and became the invisible college student.

This sounds dramatic – and at the time – it was a bit over the top. Thankfully my stealth secret agent moves sent a clear message and eventually I was able to travel to class in peace. The phone calls and messages stopped and every once and awhile I would make a special trip to the cafeteria with my friends. By year end it became a running joke…and still is actually.

To Christian, Vern and Jelani*: if you ever read this – I know you guys weren’t total creeps – if it’s any consolation, I had a very cold heart and no intention of warming up to you. Today, I am mildly flattered. In 1999, I was sure you wanted to kidnap me and keep me in your basement.

*yup, these are real names…Philly represent