Main floor bathroom :: After

Early 2012, I think February, I looked at our house for the first time. I snapped only a few photos and this is the one I grabbed of the bathroom:

first showing

The end of April 2012 we moved in and quickly replaced the sink in the bathroom and soon after painted … and then it looked like this:

we have a home

(Look at those sea shells, love it.)

we have a home

this is my house

progress shots of house May 2012

Eventually I tore up the linoleum flooring, painted the subfloor and then had interim tile installed until we could afford to rip the house apart and start over with this bathroom.

And before the renovations started this was our official BEFORE …

Main floor bathroom

I’ll do a post on the layout of the house before and after and show you where we moved walls etc, but this is what the After ended up as:



We made it larger, by oh, triple the original size. I’m guessing. I’m not very good at square footage – but our must haves were a double vanity with the center cabinet counter to ceiling height. I was pretty specific about it – this was our exact inspiration.

Open shelving/linen closet and tile. Lots of tile.

tile bathroom floor and wall

pocket door, tile wall

I loved the idea of darker interior doors and we chose to do pocket doors to save even more space, not only in the bathroom but the hallway as well. The house before was a mess of little hallways and doorways colliding.

I also loved the idea of wrapping the tile from the shower surround around the toilet alcove and was way too excited about it when everything was finished.

toilet nook

Our counter tops and sinks are from Standard Kitchens in Holland (ask for Julia) and the surface is an engineered counter to mimic concrete. Our color choice was “Thunder”.

Custom cabinets for vanity

Marbelite countertops

The sinks are Kohler, under mount.

undermount sink

The vanity lighting is from Menards – they’re actually outdoor lights and we used them for our deck lighting as well.

details of remodel

There are two other fixtures in the bathroom as well (near the shower and in the toilet alcove) and we reused the original kitchen fixtures. The electricians said it was usually more lighting than the norm for a bathroom, but we’re so glad we did 4 fixtures. The light (along with the larger window) is amazing in this bathroom.

Tile and lights today. I love these: we reused our kitchen fixtures from before the remodel in the bathroom. A little bit of her soul lives on.

Our cabinets were custom made with soft close doors and drawers (a surprise to us! yay!) and there’s literally more storage than we know what to do with at this point. The glass knob pulls are from Hobby Lobby. (And break easily by the way, buy extra or choose something different)


cabinets and pulls

And our fun towel hooks are from Menards again – they’re garage storage hooks.

main bath details, towel hooks

details of remodel

Tile is from Lowe’s, grout color is stormy grey (I believe) and if you notice, we did a different tile/grout on the ceiling of the shower surround (white/white) to keep it visually unnoticeable but still protected.

Grout for the flooring tile is a lighter shade grey. Vanity sink faucets and the shower dressings are from Lowes as well. The sink faucets weren’t what we originally picked out and I can’t remember the brand name, probably Kohler.

Paint color in the bathroom is Titanium, a Behr color from their “Whites” booklet. (Same color as the Master Bedroom as well … but can’t find it online.)

Let me know if I missed something!

As time goes on and we have the budget to fill out the space – I would LOVE to have a Christina Baker original for the empty space in the alcove.

We saved our pennies and just ordered this shower curtain for the shower as well, I was hoping it would be here today but no dice. Soon!

From there we’ll figure out a system for the open shelving (still have to seal the shelves themselves) and maybe some baskets. A few more things for the walls as time goes on and very possibly larger mirrors, a rug, maybe a hamper … but for now: it’s done.

Rod Obbink of Obbink Builders was our builder/contractor. We used Celebrate Decorating 616-405-4502 (Jay and Doug Vander Vliet, a father/son duo) as our painters. Couldn’t be more happy with how things went and turned out.

Also, there wasn’t a shower in the main floor bathroom before we remodeled. Just the tub which we used for the kids’ baths. We had a shower in the basement and last November we renovated and finished the entire basement – we made the basement shower larger and that was our main-use bathroom until we remodeled the main floor. We also lived in our basement during the remodel of the main floor and that bathroom was a huge help.

Jessica’s bedroom from start to finish

When we first looked at our house as it was for sale – this is a photo I snapped of one of the upstairs bedrooms:

first showing

This bedroom would eventually become Jessica’s … and today it looks more like this (with piles of clean clothes and about 57 stuffed animals strewn about.)

When we bought the house (other side of room … )

first showing

Today …

Her bedroom went through some transition in the 2 years we lived here before we redid her room. Purple walls and a few different bed spreads and a lot of orange wood. She had pretty terrible sleep until we decided to read up on mattresses and sleep. We found the Novosbed review early in the year and decide to try what they suggested. Ever since, she’s been dreaming and remembering those dreams vividly, has great sleep and is in a good mood when she wakes.

Her closet now has chalkboard paint and there’s an adorable decal on the wall, too.

Final touch to her room. This kid got big on me. Make it stop.

Her bedspread is Apt. 9 from Kohl’s.

Both lamps were bought from the Hotel Furniture Outlet in Holland and my mom repainted the bases and doctored up the shades.

Her wall color is …

Jessica's paint color detail

A Seven’s Paint color – but I think we picked it out from a Behr paint book. (Although I can’t find the name of the paint for the life of me.)

This bedroom was done by my mom, by the way. She does this as part of her living. Email me if you’d like her info. And Thanks, mom!

Shaking loose

The best place to start is at the beginning. But I’m not really sure where that is. Or of what beginning I really need to traverse back to in order to tell this story.

Before I had a blog (!!!), before I was married or a mother … I worked with my dad as a Real Estate agent. I started working as his assistant when I was 17 and tried to enroll in the class to get my own license as soon as possible. At 18 I was a licensed agent and fell in-love with homes.

Working with my dad was and is one of the gifts I carry with me every day. He sold Aaron and I our first home. (Fun fact: Terry Brinks was the listing agent. His office was across the hall from my dad’s … )

perry house

We lived there as I continued to work as an agent, helping first time home buyers find their home, helping others sell their first home and move on to the next stage in life. Then my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

I couldn’t picture myself doing this without him, so I stopped. In the mean time I got married … soon after got pregnant and all of a sudden our first little house was caving in on us. Just under 2 years after moving in – we moved out.

One of the last deals my dad did was our second home:

For Sale

He died weeks later, the walkthrough of this home was the last he did.

We closed on the sale of this home the day we also had the visitation for his funeral. Because my dad was so well known and loved we had two visitations with a break in the middle: pregnant with Jessica in the throes of grief, I drove to this house between visitations and walked it’s halls.

Lost and lonely.

I grew up in this house, this house changed me. I brought both of my babies home to this house, my husband grew a business in this house. We changed, painted, carpeted, tiled and dreamt in this house. We hosted constant bonfires, play dates, friends and family members. We made memories in this house: we made life.

And then we sold this house.


Terry Brinks. The man I now work with – sits in the very same office my dad sat in 10 years ago. Terry was one of my dad’s best friends, a confidant. He did life with Terry. I grew up with Terry’s kids.

When we decided it was time to sell our second house we knew we had a mountain to climb, we were upside down in the house. Terry listened to us; what was important to us and what our goals were. He helped us understand how to get there – which was anything but a simple 2+2 or A to B.

In an effort to work our way out of the debt we would accumulate by selling our house – Terry worked a few deals with us.

We built a home but he sold it before we moved in. So we rented for a few years, and while renting we tried to buy two other homes with Terry … The Tin Post was the first (at a whopping $29,000) but we were denied a loan because the start up we were currently nursing along.

So we waited a few months, went with a different bank and tried to buy another house which we had full confidence in the ability to move in to. At $56,000 this house was still a steal. And on the day of our closing the bank called and denied us, again.

We were heart broken but Terry was confident that we would be able to buy another house. We had to wait for our current year taxes to file so the start up that closed would no longer reflect our income. I stopped looking entirely.

Then 2012 rolled around, our taxes filed and I looked, just to peek, to see if I could maybe possibly start to hope. And a house on east was sitting there. Great neighborhood. In our price range ($86,000). Good bones, livable until we could afford to remodel …

I called Terry and asked to see it. Aaron was on his way out of town so I went alone, just me and Oliver after dropping Jessica off at school … we looked around and I asked a few questions … called Aaron and then made an offer (less than asking price).

first showing

(This is what would end up being Jessica’s bedroom)

A few weeks later we actually signed papers and got keys. We had kept this house a secret because it was such a miscarriage of hope to keep telling people we were moving when we never did …

we have a home

Until April 27, 2012

this is my house

That’s how we got here.

Late last year I emailed Terry again about a few other homes, I’m interested in starting to purchase property to build a few other dreams. I kept running into Terry, we grabbed drinks, I was working a few things out in my personal life with where to go next, what to do with my time.

And then mid-remodel Terry stopped over to see the progress on our home. He started telling me how he might be looking for someone to help him do his next thing.

Little cubby will be wine storage, thinking this is going to be an accent wall. Primed

He wondered if maybe I was a possible part of that next thing?

Idea mapping and rapping. Sorta. #itsagoodday

Yes. Yes I am.

I work with Terry out of Five Star Real Estate in Holland. Walking through those doors, 12 years later, to come to work, again, was nothing short of divine in so many ways. I was scared to be back here, literally in the same office, possibly in the exact same spot … and I was ecstatic to be back to my first love.

I get to combine what I’m talented at with what I love doing. I have no idea how this qualifies as a job, I get to do what I love.

Thanks for being patient with me here, I can’t wait to show you what we’re doing.

In the mean time, you can follow along on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I’m not an agent, I just work for one šŸ˜‰ So if you need to sell your house or want to buy one: you can call Terry (616-355-3777) or email me and we can build your dream, too.

After my dad died I listened for years as friends and family members recounted last words from him, last wishes. Memories or how they felt he had “prearranged” some kind of sign for them … I listened and listened, waiting to hear mine. I listened in silence as the memory faded for so many people, I watched and heard how “step dad” disqualified him from their memory as the man who raised me. I mourned a great loss, all alone … but it turns out he was watching out for me after all.

He didn’t forget me.

And look at me, doing a brand new thing. I can do this, I already am.


my mom told me once that “there’s more than one good choice”

I stopped in a store today – that didn’t have lumber for sale.

Big day.

We’ve been waiting for obvious reasons to buy finishing touches (things like door handles or drawer pulls) because it was hard to see how everything would work together on paper. Yesterday was the first day in almost 8 weeks that this house felt like my home.

Here’s some of the progress shots:

This happened today. #plywoodfloors #industrialcottage #wemadethatup

Wine cabinet!


From inside the bathroom (see, we have one!) looking out to the door leading upstairs. Tile wall (shower to right, vanity to left) from the door the kitchen/family room is to your right and our bedroom/the library is to your let

Master bedroom ceiling. I squealed.

Tile wraps and surrounds toilet nook.

I decided against herringbone floors in the bathroom – if I had gone with a smaller tile for the floor it might have worked, but glad we’re doing something less busy on the floor with all the pattern on the wall.

The store I stopped in was TJMaxx (and I’ve had to stop myself from multiple trips to HomeGoods “just to look”) and it got me really excited about the finished product. I didn’t buy anything, I was looking for mirrors, but I think I started feeling like however it was when the last tool was packed and the last truck drove away would be how I’d have to leave it. Forever.

That after the colors were on the wall and whatever we weren’t able to finish: never would be. That this big thing we decided to do was like laying cement over every surface.

And guess what?

It’s not.

16 going on 17 …. days together.

You with all your excitement over another day at home with your school aged children: you’re adorable. I want to pet you, you’re so cute. Shiny and rosy cheeked. Your smile is blinding. Excuse me while I eat brownie batter locked in the bathroom and guzzle coffee creamer from the bottle. The indigestion is totally worth it.

While the outdoors looks like a frozen tundra and our main floor is being primed today I thought I’d share some of our inspiration and sources for the remodel. (You can loosely read this as “I’m stuck in the basement with my kids for the 16th day in a row, my coffee is cold, there’s a My Little Pony marathon happening and it’s too early to eat my feelings”.)

I’m keeping the Pinterest Inspiration board updated as well as I can.

(Quick side note: Once my youngest went to school full time I noticed very quickly how fast my interaction with social media directly correlated to time spent with my kids. The longer the duration of time together – the more active I become on social media. Twitter, facebook, instagram. I don’t know if I should be worried about this or not. It seems to be a coping method, in a way, to feel like I’m engaging in adult conversations when I’m negotiating trade deals and refereeing the olympic sport of bickering and reminding my athletic gymnasts of children that we do not, in fact, jump off the couch and land on top of my freshly folded laundry. I check-in (or rather, check-out) to keep from screaming into pillows. I’ll be the first to admit it – I actually have limits to how much child-rearing in the name of Pinterest I can handle. Hint: It’s less than 2 weeks of Christmas vacation and 3 snow days in a row. This is me not complaining – I’m inviting you to be real. Real excited (you’re adorable, see above) or real frantic. Or just tired. Or you might be made for this sort of thing: in which I hail you as queen, please teach me your ways. But first? Can someone please just tell us mom’s, working outside the home or not, that what we do is hard and you get it? Because I need someone to understand that today. That the other side of the brightest star is still the empty darkness.)

I have no idea what any of that has to do with a source list but, meh.

So the house:

Front the french doors into the kitchen

It was primed today – all the ceilings are painted and done. The list of things needed to be done yet are (loosely):

# Picking out paint colors for rest of walls
# Installing flooring
# Installing vanity
# Tile bathroom surround and floors
# Tile back door entry
# Decide on ceiling details
# Trim the windows and walls
# Install light fixtures
# Patch siding on exterior of house
# Trim exterior windows and doors
# Electrical finishings
# Design and decide on closet systems
# Install wine cabinet/shelving
# Hang track door for pantry
# Misc details (drawer pulls, etc)

Our bathroom vanity will look identical to this – without the black and white as the color scheme. And these are the lights we’ll be using above the mirrors in the bathroom, with the wire cages (we’ll be using these same lights for our exterior lights by the deck).


We can’t afford to do the island right now but the lights will be installed and the pantry doors will be chalkboard doors on a ceiling track system similar to this.

I really love this ceiling detail and am trying to decide if it’ll be in the living room/kitchen space as well as/or just in the master bedroom.

My current dilemma’s are with paint colors and closet systems.

Our flooring is going to be plywood planks stripped into 16 inch width. (!!!)

I don’t think it’s too surprising that we’ll be doing subway tiles in the bathroom for the shower surround. And I’m still debating the pattern of the bathroom floor tile. We’ll have this light above the kitchen sink and this light in the hall way – as a bit of a focal point for the house.

Little cubby will be wine storage, thinking this is going to be an accent wall. Primed

The little cubby to the left in the photo above will be wine storage and a book shelf, I haven’t seen the final plan but it’s being built and will be installed sooner or later. So excited for that little detail! No wasted space in this little house. The other side of this cubby is the linen closet in the bathroom and it was going to be so very deep, but we fixed that.

I think that’s all the house talk I can handle for one day. I’m off to keep pinning closet inspiration for our meeting later tonight (if it doesn’t get canceled).

Stay warm!!