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Tiny Bathroom. Tiny Progress. UPDATE

It has been three weeks. THREE WEEKS! And, no, it’s not time for the big reveal.

I know, I know, Rome wasn’t built in a day.  But I’m quite sure that by WEEK THREE they had pretty much wrapped it up. Sure they were maybe waiting on a couple of statues and had an orgy or two to organize but, by and large, they were finished.

Not so much with the smallest bathroom in the world.

Oh, progress has been made.

Look MA! no pipes!no pipes

I mean, yes, a big hole in wall but….no pipes!

And a real floor! OK, not the “real” floor but a floor –  which is more floor than there was before.look ma' there's a floorAnd the pipes that are supposed to be there are now there! and the walls are patched.pipes are in place(and don’t worry that I’m being cheated by some conniving contractor. My man Dennis is the best! First off, he looks almost exactly like William H. Macy and he is totally a character William H. Macy would play.  But more importantly , you really couldn’t ask for someone who is more dedicated to doing a job right.  But “right” doesn’t mean “fast.”)

And the shower?!

The shower….well, the shower….not so much.shower still looks scaryBut the guys did the hot mopping yesterday and it seems to be holding the water. And the tile guy comes on Monday (Monday? don’t hold me to that – plans are a bit vague).

In the meanwhile I’ve found something that I want my sisters to make for me from an Etsy store called Threadlineo days without sarcasm


The Room is so Tiny! What Could Go Wrong? Bathroom Remodel Update

My small bathroom remodel is………progressing?

Yes, that was a question mark.

As I’ve mentioned I have a fixer upper house. Built in the 40s it boasts some cool details and beautiful floors.

…..and some seriously quirky construction issues.

Each time I tackle a project I can’t escape the feeling that, although the lipstick has been beautifully applied, I’m pretty sure I’m living in a pig.

And my pig eats money.

As I turned my attention to the smallest most depressing bathroom in the world I (foolishly) thought “this will be a snap! The room is so tiny! What could go wrong?”

On the Glass Half Full Side:

Demo cost less than estimated because all those shower tiles that were so haphazardly applied turned out to be REALLY haphazardly applied.Stunning Tile Job - Worlds Dumbest Bathroom Like they used mastic originally and once one was removed the rest, basically, fell off the wall! So…..yay?

Yeah. Yay! we’re going with Yay!

It looks so much better now, yes?Shower remodel in progress

On the Some Jerk Drank Half My Glass side:

The room lacks any form of storage and I decided to be super smart and put a big, recessed shelving unit between the studs in the wall over the toilet.Welcome



There is no wiring on that wall. All one needs to do is remove the plaster and pop it in there.  Just like they do on TV!

Except for the giant, random, pipe.

“Pipe?” I asked the contractor. “Why is there a giant pipe in the wall?”Useless PipeIt turns out the giant, random pipe is the vent for the toilet (I didn’t know toilets needed separate vents so….thanks for the information).

It also turns out that that pipe was attached to……nothing! Yes!  nothing.

So I have a giant vent pipe that is both in my way and has been completely useless. And I’m very lucky that there isn’t a large pool of ancient sewage underneath the house so……yay?

“There are also these other pipes”

I’m sorry, was there once an organ here? What’s with all the freakin’ pipes!?

Nope. These pipes are the former pipes for the former hot water heater.

So now pipes have to be removed, pipes have to be re-routed (and, you know, connected this time just as a kicky change of pace). Oh, and roof venting needs to be capped.

…..and the shower controls need to be moved because the previous ones were, mysteriously, not remotely centered on the wall.

Oh, and the room needs a vent in the ceiling.

And the new vanity is smaller so the light above the vanity needs to be moved.Tiny Bathroom remodel in progress…..except that’s right where a stud is so the box needs to be moved and the stud needs to be rejiggered and the previous sink piping needs to be moved and, and………


My glass now needs to filled, TO-THE-TOP with some kind of powerful alcoholic beverage AND NOBODY BETTER DRINK ANY!!!!

I shall keep you posted.





My House. What Were They Thinking? Bathroom Edition.

First off, welcome to the new folks who have traveled over from Thistlewood Farm!

KariAnne, mistress of Thistlewood, very kindly featured my rolling pin bookends last Friday.  If any of you are ever featured on Thistlewood Farm I have the following advice:

Beware the Power of the The Farm.
If you are on the West Coast and you are lucky enough to be featured in Thistlekeeping please follow this advice.
Do not go to bed and leave your ipad on your bedside table if it is set to “ding” when new emails and notifications arrive.
If you do not heed this advice you will be awakened at 5AM by incessant dinging noises.  In your groggy state you will try to turn off your alarm clock but will fail because it is not, in fact, your alarm clock.  It is your previously very, very quiet ipad merrily telling you that more people have visited and subscribed to your blog between the hours of 5AM and 6AM than have ever visited or subscribed to your blog in the history of your blog.
While this will provide a glorious start to your day you will need to schedule some serious nap-time later.

Also, thanks to all of you for your kind words (and patience) about my erratic blogging style.  I truly appreciated it!

OK, on to today’s topic.

The time has come to attack the last untouched room in my house.

To back up.

After watching waaaay too much HGTV I, years ago, bought a true fixer-upper.

To my dismay I have discovered that home transformations take more than a half an hour and the costs shown on TV seem to have nothing to do with the the real world.  While the people on TV transform entire landscapes for a few pennies and some really fun looking labor I can’t seem to get the smallest thing done without an opening bid of $3,000.

Bottom line: Progress has been a bit slow.

I’ve painted and shored up.  Major work has been done on the kitchen and main bathroom

Bathroom Before and After Cheltenham Road Kitchen Before and AfterAnd now only one room remains untouched.

The dreaded guest bathroom.

My house was remodeled at some point in its past and I can’t tell if this bathroom was original.  In any case, it was clearly designed exclusively for Keebler Elves.

Depressed Keebler Elves.

It’s tiny, drab and poorly done.

The Elf Bathroom is between the front bedroom (my office) and the recently redone Laundry Room of a Million Doors

Here is the view looking from my office to the EB. Welcome

Just open that door a little more and……..It's Another Door


That’s two (TWO!) doors in about four feet!

To your left we have a sink the style of which is seldom seen outside the worlds finest gas station restrooms.Worlds Dumbest BathroomTo your right (behind the door!) is a shower with the iffiest tile work I’ve ever seen!  It’s almost sculptural in its unevenness.  Almost.Stunning Tile Job - Worlds Dumbest BathroomAnd capping (or bottoming) it all off is this festive floor covering!Ugly Flooring in Worlds Dumbest BathroomIt looks like confetti from the world’s saddest ticker-tape parade.

I wish I could say I had adjusted these photos to make it look draber (more drab?  drabbier?) but I have not.

For reasons that I think don’t need explaining I’ve basically been using it as a closet.

But the time has come!  I’ve been saving money and my sisters have promised to visit in the fall.

Demo begins in just a few hours…and shortly after that  plan will form (yeah, that’s not the right way to do things I know but we have to see what’s behind the walls and under the floor before we can get specific).

Wish me luck!  I’ll keep you posted!





How To Make a Space Saving Sliding Utility Wall

Laundry Room Space Saver Cheltenham RoadAs you may have gathered from my last post I want everything to slide out.Pull Out Slide for ShoesChletenham Road Slide Out Shelves for Pantry Makeover Read the rest of this entry

It’s All About Storage – Pantry Makeover Update

It’s All About Storage – Pantry Makeover Update

The Great Pantry Makeover is done……almost.

Have you noticed that all my room makeover posts contain the words “almost” and “sorta?”

But really, is any room ever truly “done” in a house?  (I’m gonna say “no” because that makes me look less like a flake and more like a “it’s all about flow and change” kinda guy.) Read the rest of this entry

It Has Begun

Well, I think I’ve found my superpower.

All I did was audition for a role on Ben & Kate and it was promptly cancelled.  In the past I had to actually appear on the program (Terminator, Free Agents, Kath & Kim etc) to bring about its demise but now apparently my powers are growing.  I should probably start targeting shows I don’t like…….is Honey Boo-Boo auditioning?

In other potentially disastrous endeavors

As you know my house was a bit…iffy when I bought it.

 The chief offenders were the kitchenkitchen before

 and the main bathroom.Bathroom -- before

Both are now looking pretty good.Kitchen and Bathroom After Remodel

 Next on the list are the laundry room and its neighboring bathroom.  Both rooms have been pretty untouched since I moved in.Laundry Room BeforeOK, untouched except for paint.  Yes, I painted it that color.The other corner

See – the whole house was very dingy looking and I thought yellow would make the room brighter which it did.  It was like a very bright clown car.  A bright, cluttered clown car.

I’ve been kind of fantasizing what it might look like.  Maybe these!Fantasy Laundry Room 1organized-open-pantry-shelvingIt would definitely be organized like this!6051780719694723_Mkb7NBqi_cBut to accomplish those kind of makeovers I would really need to gut it all and try again (Seriously there are, no lie, 5 doors in about 12 feet of space.  Walking from the kitchen through to the front bedroom is like the opening credits of Get Smart).

Tragically, I have not sold enough coasters to pull that off.

So…. Plan B!

I’ll paint it, clean it, organize it and see if I can do some makeover magic on some cheap cabinets.  The goal is to make it look like an extension of the kitchen – a sort of a butler’s pantry for a house where no butler has ever set foot.

It’s gonna take a while…….

It’s all cleared out and the first coat of paint is up.

Have a great weekend everyone.  If you need me I’ll be in the laundry room butler’s pantry

Bathroom Makeover

I seem to be spending most of my time lately playing catch-up – restocking stores and such.  Translation? I’m still a bit in-between on new projects to share.

So I thought I’d continue the story of my fixer-upper house.

As some of you probably recall my house was built in 1940 and although it had a great floorplan it looked awful.  I have been slowly (really slowly…glacial) trying to fix it up.

I started with the kitchen which was grim but you hadn’t seen bad till you saw the bathroom.

I only have two before pictures (I think I was just too grossed out).

Here is how it looked originally (this is how the SHOWED it!  That’s not my stuff on the vanity.  Clearly HGTV was not on their “favorite channels” list)Bathroom -- before
Not pretty.

But you hadn’t seen not pretty until you looked at the shower:Shower Before

Who wouldn’t feel clean using that?

As it turned out the shower just needed some very VERY intense scrubbing to become….. sort of liveable.

But it was impossible to shake what it looked like out of my mind and, no matter what, it always appeared dingy with its beigey/dirty white tile and dark maroon trim.

So I saved, and planned and finally undertook the actual remodel.  I couldn’t change the layout much but I could upgrade all the parts.

So, once again, the before:Bathroom -- beforeAnd the after*Bathroom Remodel Vanity and Floor

I got the vanity on super sale from the Restoration Hardware Outlet (they were switching over to their current Furniture-for-Giants/Did-Somebody-Die-Why-Is-Everything-Grey? style) and a scrap piece of marble from a local yard.Bathroom Vanity up close and personalI was going for simple and kinda timeless so the shower got some nice, white subway tile with built in niches as well as some glass tile stripes for accent. Bathroom Shower Remodel(they look great except that the ONE glass tile that is crooked is EXACTLY in front of me when I’m showering ).Shower NicheI mounted the wall cabinet my dad made many years ago for my NYC kitchen: and filled it with my childhood toys.Toy Collection Because, of course, what bathroom is complete without Matchbox cars, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang  and a Russian Dictator Nesting Doll Set? (honest to god I have NO idea where that came from but it just cracks me up!  When you take them all apart you get to a teeny-tiny Stalin.  Awesome!)

I added beadboard up to the chair rail all the way around the room and a black and white hex tile for the floor.Bathroom Remodel Tube Wall I need some kind of art or something for the wall above the tub (perhaps a badly spelled Donut Sign?) but haven’t managed to figure out what yet.  It’s only been a few years – why rush?

All in all I’m really pleased with the room.

There is another super-tiny bathroom in the house that is up next for a makeover…and a pantry….and a front path….and a patio..and…and…and……

Have a great weekend everyone!

*I realize I probably should have done a little more “staging” for these photos but what was I gonna put?  Flowers?  Artfully displayed soaps?  I can only go so far in my pretend-home-presentation…….I’m lucky if there are even clean towels within reach half the time let alone folded neatly on the vanity.

** Also, just to be clear I did none of this work myself except the painting.  I designed and bought things but left it to the pros to install….(and fix the ENORMOUS hole that was found underneath the shower floor).DIYShowOffbuttonsmalltodays creativetutorialsandtipsDiamond in the Stuff

The Great Purge

You may recall that last week began The Great Purge.

The garage which looked like thisjust had to be cleaned out.  I was losing things, getting frustrated and it just plain old wasn’t a place I wanted to  spend time.  I had to get serious about preparing for the fall.

So, the dumpster arrived and I began.

I was ruthless…..It was kind of painful……and kind of freeing.

I had to admit that some projects just weren’t ever going to happen.  The thrust of my business has changed or grown or something and some things that looked like great ideas now just look like false starts.

I started a box for donations which quickly overflowed.

Furniture I was never going to get to was placed at the curb and a Craig’s List ad posted.And progress has been made!

The garage now looks like thisI even gained an island/work table!  Now, at last I have someplace to put things down (this is HUGE step up).

There is a place to put things down next to the painting area too!Well, there will be as soon as I find the shelf pegs….I had one kinda/sorta bad kinda sorta/good idea.

As I went through the garage I kept encountering “things that have no home.”  Finding a home for the homeless things was going to slow down my blitzkrieg approach to cleaning so I created the “Box of Things that Need to Find a Home.”

Which quickly filled up (and became blurry).

The shelf pegs are in there somewhere…….

Probably at the bottom.

BUT! I can lay all that stuff out on my work table!

So, I’m far from done and it’s never going to be pretty or magazine worthy but I can find things (they’re at the bottom of the Homeless box!) and I can move!

The Purge also got me motivated to call a local shop owner to ask if she would like to have my furniture in her store.  I’d been dragging my feet about (fear of rejection I suppose) it but she was enthusiastic and now I have a new outlet and a justification for working on furniture!

So new ideas are tumbling over themselves and I feel kind of renewed.


Hostile Work Environment

“Don’t put that there.”

I thought to myself as I put it there anyway.

“It” was a large wooden board that I had placed at an odd angle on the top of a shelf with the corner sticking out juuuust a little above eye level.

“I’ll remember it’s there” I said

I did not remember

Bet you didn’t see that coming

Apparently neither did I.

It wasn’t a bad collision but it was the third one of the day and the second involving my head.

I seem to have developed a knack for bonking my head into things*.

But, bottom line this has convinced me that it’s time to get the garage in order.

I’m pleased with the workroom but if OSHA came to the garage -where I do a lot of my work – I’m pretty sure they’d shut me down and say I was mistreating my employee.

Dangerous, tangled cords lying around on the ground? CHECK!

Old, kind of iffy equipment?CHECK!

Dangerous Predators? CHECK

Noxious Fumes? (I’d had chili for dinner) CHECK

Now, let’s be honest, Cheltenham Road’s goal has always been threefold:

  • Face Your Fears!
  • Man Up!
  • Create Delicate Flower-Covered Candle Holders

But, despite all that macho, testosterone laden thinking there is no reason the work environment needs to be so treacherous

Also, while I was in Ohio I took pictures of my dad’s workshop

Dad’s drill bit organization system:

My drill bit organization system:

Clearly I have my work cut out for me.

Stay tuned to this blog for further accident reports and occasional progress.



*I actually ran my head into the garage door a while back hard enough to give myself a concussion.  The garage door is huge and my head, according to my mother, is quite tiny, so I guess I get points for accuracy or something.

The Workroom is Finished!………….Sort of!!!!

OK, after much delay (like a year) and much hemming and hawing and procrastination my workroom is ready!

OK, well, it’s more kinda-sorta-ready-but-I’ve-been-drawing-this-out-so-long-I’m-starting-to-annoy-myself-so-here-it-is ready.

So here we go!

As Cheltenham Road grew I found myself running all over the house to accomplish even minor things.  The computer was in one room, I was working in the dining room, half my stuff was in the garage.  I got a lot of exercise but it took forever to get anything done.

My spare bedroom had been, for quite a while, occupied by a string of female friends who were going through various life transitions (one was out in LA for “pilot season” auditions; one broke up with her boyfriend and needed a place to stay for a while, one was moving back to New York but not quite yet etc etc.) and needed a place to stay.  I was happy to oblige and after a while everyone began referring to the room as “The David Cheaney Home for Wayward Girls.”

They had all been great houseguests but it was time to get down to business so, sadly TDCHWG was forced to close it’s doors.

And that’s when I got to work.

What I needed was a Command Central.  Someplace where I could do all my computer work but also a workroom where I could get production going and going smoothly.  I needed a clean open space with a good amount of storage.  I also needed it to be pleasant as I was going to be spending  A LOT of time here.

Here is the before:

The blue was nice – I really liked it – but I needed the space to be brighter so up went a coat of tan (it looks yellow in all the pictures for some reason).

I quick trip to Ikea produced two bookcases that I laid on their sides and topped with a Remainder Bin desktop.Along the sides of the desk are boxes for storage

And when I’m done with the coasters I can just swivil around and put them on the drying racks.When they are all dry I can pop them in their storage cases – which also makes keeping track of inventory a little easier.

(they are not alphabetized…don’t tell Phebe)

I carved out a mailing station with everything I need handy: envelopes, tape, there are boxes in the tall cabinet and customs forms and bubble wrap in the drawers.  There is even a holder for wrapping paper for the occasional gift-wrap request.I made the former closet (here is what it looked like before):Into  my computer station.

It’s like workroom heaven! (or perhaps just a very overexposed picture)

It’s even possible I may not screw up any more dates now that I have my wall calender made of Home Depot Paint Chips and an old poster frame from the Good Will!

(OK it’s highly unlikely that the calendar will save me from my date-challenged self but it’s worth a shot).

I must confess that I’m a little surprised that vintage/retro loving me managed to create workspace that is all clean lines and white surfaces.  But I knew there was going to be a lot of clutter and a lot of projects and I just wanted the space itself to be kind of neutral.

There is still lots to be done.

I need some more labels on drawers, the front of the Mailing Station needs to be finished and more holes need to be drilled in the desk as I continue to try to figure out why my “wireless” lifestyle requires so many wires!

But overall I’m pleased and it really has helped me get a little more on top of things.

Linking up!


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