Modern Peel and Stick Bathroom Floors

Our master bath renovation has been started and abandoned more than a few times. So it still looks like trash. It’s the stereotypical embarrassing nook that gets pushed to the very bottom of the to-do list every time an unexpected project, or just a more enjoyable one, comes up. We are hoping to do a full gut job in the near future but while we save up and debate if we change/expand the footprint of the room, we made one significant improvement last spring that is making the in-between way less gross: we removed the carpet and put down these vintage VCT-looking peel and stick tiles.

I wanted to wait awhile before I shared because this simple upgrade seemed too good to be true. But after living with these for almost a year, I’m here to tell you they are still going strong. And that is with the laziest prep/install job of all time. While I’d never use this product as my forever floor, it has wonderfully bridged the gap between carpet and a remodel. And it’s a good-looking bridge at that! Oh ya, and this cost me less than $30 and 1 hour.  I’ve never used peel and stick anywhere ever, nor have I had the desire. Because generally: yuck. The only reason I even gave these a shot was because they seemed kind of decent looking. They don’t shout cheap peel and stick tiles, having a more vintage linoleum feel. The surface is matte and very easy to clean. I thought they’d be black, but the actual color is chalkboard with flecks of white and dark gray. There is a white version too.OK, let me tell you about my lackluster, even flat-out wrong, prep work. Under the carpet was original GLITTER linoleum tiles. In My Little Pony colors. Unfortunately, most of the tiles were wrecked by a previous shower leak and subsequent subfloor repairs, leaving the original tile completely unsalvageable (unlike the other bathroom). When I removed the carpet I found that the area right next to the shower didn’t even have tiles, only a newer piece of plywood subfloor. Annoying. I primed that and thought about doing something to bring it up to the level of the existing tiles…but then, in a spirit of laziness and frustration, just totally ignored it. YES I PUT DOWN THE NEW TILES OVER UNEVEN FLOOR, THE THING YOU AREN’T EVER SUPPOSED TO DO, AND I LIVED. But first, I removed carpet strips and nails, and lightly cleaned the original tiles underneath kind of good. Weakest prep job ever.Then I continued to my sub par installation. You are supposed to start your grid in the middle of the room, but I started in a corner and laid them in a brick pattern, making perfectly tight seams near impossible. I don’t really recommend this approach. And you can see how unsound and uneven some of the original tiles were right around the shower and I irresponsibly just adhered the new tiles on top. If you couldn’t tell, I didn’t expect the peel and sticks to last more than a few months. The tiles are so much thinner than expected, making me 1. easily flex them over the different existing floor heights and 2. seriously doubt their durability. Another plus to their thinness is that they are easily cut with scissors. I made paper templates and it was very simple to get a snug fit everywhere, even around the toilet.
After the cheap price and my low-effort install, I honestly expected to have peeling corners within months, but The ONLY problem we’ve experienced is a few tiles along the wall sliding from the weight of walking, revealing gaps. And this only happens because our walls don’t go all the way down and I installed tiles before baseboards, leaving nothing for the tiles to butt up against and causing 3 of the heavily trafficked ones to routinely drift under the wall an inch. I can easily slide them back into place every few months. If I had baseboards in place that bordered the tiles, I would have zero problems! We’ve had NO PEELING or movement otherwise, and in this is in a location with lots of water! I’m shocked, especially compared to my low expectation after reading the reviews. I’d imagine a better prep and install would yield even greater results.

I wouldn’t ever opt for peel and stick tiles for any long-term install, but as a temporary solution while you save up for forever floors, yes!!! Happy to have found such a good, easy, and cheap option. Happy house project-ing all! xoxo Jenny

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Stuff

I’m gonna ramble right now about nothing. If you are up for that…

Throne. I bought this rattan chair. Ok, so I clearly don’t need any more chairs. But I’ve been hunting for a vintage chair like this for years and decided to give into this affordable and gigantic placeholder when it was 40% off over the holidays. I’m SO into it. The chair/throne brings so much character to every room I’ve tried it in, but I think I’ll keep it in this corner that has been begging for a substantial statement-type piece. While I wait for a vintage version to fall from the sky.

Blogs. Did you read this? Bummer but understandable. I was really, really inspired by this home tour a few months ago. Like can’t stop thinking about it. “Do the simple thing” sunk into my renovation psyche. Their master bathroom has me rethinking my master bath plans and just full on copying their layout. Sad to say goodbye to a platform that offers looks into such inspiring homes.

Lights. Thinking about trying this “light trick” out with a light fixture I want hung in our family room but am not committed enough to hardwire in place. Basically, you buy these remote-controlled, battery-powered LED puck lights and put them in your fixture in place of a bulb. No hardwiring (or permanent decisions) required! Genius!!

Disneyland. I got this book for Christmas and shared some peeks on IG and people were INTO IT! A lot of fellow vintage Disneyland fans out there. So many questions and I couldn’t link from there, so here you go everybody! If you are thinking about adding the book to your library: it’s huge, it’s gorgeous (and it’s orange under that dust jacket!).Rugs. Considering this Frank Stella-esque runner for a wall hanging over the long couch in the family room, or even in our hallway. The length is great, and the price/sq ft, during reoccurring deep sales, is pretty tempting. Really regretting not pulling the trigger in November when it was $20 something! My only hesitation is that the squares will be more red/pink than orange in person.

January. I loved this blog post. Probably my favorite “New Years” one I’ve read. It brought some clarity and peace to me by putting a lot of (wrong) ideas I’ve been tossing around my brain in check. I’ve been pondering, for the first time in a long time, a return to the workforce. Before having a kids I was a teacher/art teacher but know I don’t want to work with kids in any capacity again…my own have given me enough kid interaction to last a lifetime, ha! Which leaves me thinking about a phase 2 career. It’s easy to let my forward-think, accomplishment-driven mind put the pressure on to make huge and grand future goals. Which has left me feeling anxious that I’m not doing enough to work towards a future career. Even though I have no idea what I want that future career to even be. I needed help distilling priorities. And that post helped put things back into perspective (again, because these thoughts are something I cycle through over and over). Being a mom is actually what I want to be, first and foremost. And I’m already doing that. I’ve made it. There’s no phase 2 career, only jobs that support that first priority. So whoa settle down thoughts of needed to do or be more in terms of a job when everything I’ve ever worked for is right here already. Don’t give into pressure to build a life you don’t actually want. Noted!

Goodbye 2018

What a ride it’s been. You feel the same? I’ve read so many people’s year end posts and the phrase “highest highs and lowest lows” is being passed around a lot. For me, scratch the highest highs, make it a persistent low and it’s spot on, haha. Last year was plain hard. I felt like I had to shoulder adult responsibilities and decisions way more than I wanted to in our “personal” life. Kids, school, pets, mental and physical health, even politics all sucked up a lot of head space and resources. Everything was work. Everything was hard. Coupled with the unmet expectation that this year would be better than the last (Long December much?), I mostly hated 2018. I’m honestly so glad it’s behind me.

I don’t know how we got any house projects done at all with the metaphorical dumpster fires we were regularly putting out. But indeed we did! 2018 saw us crushing this house left and right. It was a big year for our humble little rancher and our humble little DIY projects. We wrapped up a lot of loose ends inside and tackled some massive projects outside. If last year was the year the house stopped feeling like a construction zone, this was the year it started to coalesce in the way I had always envisioned it. Things came together:

1. My favorite project of the year was getting a new front door and painting it orange. More complicated than it sounds and more rewarding than I imagined.2. We painted our house white. Or, more accurately and even better, paid someone else to paint it, ensuring it finally got crossed off the list!3. Black grasscloth wallpaper in our master bedroom is only bested by that orange front door. Pinch me I’m in love with a wall.4. At five years in, things were “done” enough to share a whole house tour. Very encouraging!5. We finally put hardwood floors in our daughter’s and son’s room (the wrong wood, but it worked out!).6. So embarrassing that it took this long, but baseboards were finally finished in the den and pulled it together. 7. And a new dishwasher forced some finishing trim work in the kitchen!8. I shared our front yard landscaping and am happy to report most everything is thriving!9. We finished our plywood counter, and more, in the laundry room.10. Our house was in Vintage Holiday Magazine! A fun way to end the year for sure!Looking back over my 2018 HOUSE GOALS, we hit 6/8 = great success! As I look to set 2019 goals, we start this year in a bit of unexpected limbo about our future in this house. We are working through some big decisions and have shifted our focus, at least for the time being, to wrapping up the projects that we’d need to in the unlikely event we decide to put our house on the market. An eyeroll of a story for another day. The most urgent projects include:

If I’ve learned any “house” (or broad creative) lessons this year it’s this: 1. Stick with it. Show up. Keep chipping away towards yours goals a little at a time and one day you’ll get where you are going. And 2. Embrace minimalism. In where you spend your time. In how to fill your life. Practically speaking, I worked hard this year to sell extra furniture/accessories and am proud to say that I am way edited baby and feeling light! Hope you are too haha!

Thank you so much for reading my posts this year, commenting, hanging on Instagram, and just generally being a supportive, encouraging, kind community. Wishing you and your home the very best in this new year! xoxo Jenny

Modern Mid Century Exterior Christmas Lights

A few Christmases ago, I had the wacky idea to light up the sides of our house with some red and green flood lights, in addition to the string of colored lights along our roofline…and it was better than I even anticipated. I was inspired by a mid century house I used to be infatuated with in Cheviot Hills. Year round, it had red and green lights illuminating it’s entry. That entry still haunts my dreams, haha. It was easy to translate the idea to full house Christmas exterior lighting. The only issue was the electric bill that year, as we were running c9’s and incandescent floods yikes! The following year we added a few more floods and ditched the roof lights all together. Electric bill still out of control.

Last Christmas we finally invested in a big ol’ set of red and green LED flood lights. They aren’t cheap, but they do have a 10 year warranty so I’m hoping I don’t have to think about exterior Christmas lights for the next decade. Guilt free, I’m now blasting this RGRGRGR from 4:30pm-who knows when each night. Did I mention this is the easiest set up ever???? And barely anything to store! Big impact, so simply! The fresh white paint job is only helping the colors shine!

Here are the red and green LED flood lights we are using, screwed into a mish-mash of outdoor flood fixtures like these.
We decided to string a few c9’s around the palm tree this year too, as high as my husband could semi-safely climb. The only problem the lights have presented is this: I want colored outdoor lighting year round. Not glowing on the sides of the house necessarily, but illuminating plants in a moody, dramatic rainbow. Like a tiki bar that is your house. Is that too much to ask???

Happiest holidays to all of you!!!! xoxo Jenny

Christmas Home Tour

I wasn’t going to do a full on holiday house tour this year because I kinda already did one. But I’ve been having great success lately designing our puzzling family room, so I thought maybe all dressed up for the holidays would be a fun way to share the changes! Plus, this year I haven’t put one decoration away prematurely! Meaning: I’ve reached the elusive magical balance of festive but not cluttered with the Christmas decorations. Now that is something to celebrate! So welcome to a casual, unstyled Christmas home tour that is heavy on the family room. (For Christmas maniacs, you can check out every Christmas post I’ve ever published right here!)

First things first, the tree! Though I’m missing the smell of a live tree, we decided to stick with just our aluminum tree again this year to make life easier and less, a definite reoccurring December theme in our life. It is very colorful and loud, taking up the emotional space of two trees, so we are good! It is leaning ever so slightly and adorably after kid ornament placement heavily favored the front bottom haha! Speaking of ornaments, I get asked about these a lot. Probably half are vintage (estate sales) and half are newer (Michaels sometimes has good, saturated glass ornaments that I scoop up when I see them).  This couch landed here after a swap with the den. I talked a bit about why the other one wasn’t working before, but it came down to color (too blue) and size (too small for this freakishly massive 60’s living room). This vintage couch solves both problems and generally feels better. I mean, it has a built-in table so… My only complaint is that it cuts off the fireplace a bit and a sectional without an arm/headrest along that side of the room would be better. But, honestly, I don’t see myself ever parting with this couch (it’s been with us since our first apartment). I’m always at a loss for where to hang our stockings. Floating on the rock fireplace is so visually busy. Taped on our Preway fireplace is adorable but not practical. And this TV corner alway looks bleak. This was a double solution that I am loving. When I shared a photo of this on IG, and got a lot of questions on the stocking hangers. They are these cheap weighted ones from Target. I don’t love the silver and thought about spray painting them black but mine are nearly 10 years old and are falling apart so why bother. When I went to look for a new set, these caught my eye but I couldn’t justify spending $40. Maybe I’ll catch some on sale? (Before you ask, the stockings are vintage found on eBay years ago. See my last post for some fun DIY stockings.) OK, now to share one of three areas of our house that I’m completely embarrassed by and rarely show. Conviniently, it is literally the first thing you see when you walk through the front door: this unfinished step down area. (Other two: refrigerator and master bath.) We have been planning on building a decorative wood screen in between the dining room instead of this mediocre railing. Five years in and we’re 0% done. The raised foundation framing used to be covered with carpet. We need to make decisions on what we’ll do there and if we’ll add an additional step. I thought for sure 2018 would be our year but no. In good news, I never have any idea what kind of furniture to tuck in this semi-corner but I’m liking this low-key combo. It would for sure look amazing with a crazy wood screen behind it! Here’s a few views so you can see how this nook sits awkwardly in the middle of everything. (And more on our advent calender here!) And here is the den! You’ll notice our mini vintage aluminum wall tree, our vintage rainbow ceramic tree, and the blue couch from the swap, looking pretty pretttty good with the pale blue walls. (And currently cradling clay magic: a black and white M Quan sculpture that I bought in Palm Springs a few weeks back. It moves me to tears I love it so much. More on it another time, after I find the perfect hardware and wall to hang it on…I want it in every room!)Entry…The exterior is very simple (well until sundown when my house turns into crazy town with our lights, which I’ll share soon). Two wreaths, one up front and one round back. That wonky yellow backyard gate is on deck for replacement over Christmas break…hanging on by emergency screws at this point!I’ve always loved homes with big picture windows that frame Christmas trees. We definitely don’t have one of those up front, but we have the next best thing…full tree views from the backyard whoop!We still have a full week of school so this week will be spent hustling (why???). Looking forward to Christmas vacation for a little gate repair and maybe but probably not (thinking HUGE) room divider build up! All I want for Christmas is a wood divider. Thanks for reading! xoxo Jenny