Our Andover House Project // The Guest Bedroom

We've always called it "Luke's Room" because our good friend Luke lived with us for a few months back in 2016 buuut, the future guest bedroom is underway and already nearing it's finish. I thought after Oliver arrived most construction would stop for a few months. Well, my assumptions failed me (luckily) and Darin has been just as busy with updates now than he was beforehand. 

We've been itching to get outside and finish the deck, start working on the detached garage, build the front deck, put up a fence in the backyard... the list goes on, and we're EXCITED! But we aren't big on leaving things halfway done and starting another project. Soo GUEST BEDROOM! 

The previous owners were really into their bright color palette! RED. EVERYWHERE. And might I say, they weren't the best of painters. In almost every room there was roller marks that had hit the ceiling and in the guest bedroom they even smudged red into the totally trendy cedar shakes... eesh. Not our cup of tea.

Here's the bedroom before it evolved into "Luke's Room" 

Patched and painted over that red, and Luke moved in! Unfortunately I never snagged a shot of his bachelor pad all set up (I know, I know), but he kept things pretty tidy for a 30 year old. Not to mention he loved spending hot summer days chopping up logs free of charge. No complaints here! Except maybe that the back of the house was so unsightly.

Guest Bedroom_0004.jpg

Yeah, seriously. Most awesome roommate goes to that guy. Anyway, below is how it looked for about a year; a storage room and crash-pad for friends who stayed a little too late. 


Then we decided to get busy. What better day than January 7th, 2018 to start demolition!?


>>>    Eh-hem, my due date was the 7th    <<<


Darin has become quite the pro at replacing windows too, even in January.

Tore down the ceiling, and day by day he started making progress. 

And here it sits currently.

There are only a few more coats of white to go on the paneling and trim, I need to pick out a light, we have to install my corrugated metal (EEEEEE, can you guess where!?) annd then of course paint it pretty, lay the floor and FINALLY make it a bedroom with decor complete with a closet. YAY.

Hopefully we'll be finishing up within the next month or so depending on work schedules and time.

Thanks for checking things out! Stay tuned for more posts, I've got some beautiful sessions coming up that I know will be more than blog worthy. 



Our Andover House Project // Bathroom Before + After


I thought it was about time I finally released our "before", "in progress" and "after" photos of our bathroom. Before I begin let me just say that in order to keep this post from going on forever and EVER I'm not going to explain every little detail. For future posts I think I will break our room to room projects into multiple posts to go more in depth, but since we're already finished with the bathroom I'm just going to skim over what we did. 

That being said, the bathroom took us about 3 months to complete. We could have done it in a shorter time span but . . . Darin and I both work full time jobs, I was photographing weddings, editing and going to meetings at least 2 times per week and almost every Saturday, we had to keep up with the routine summer yard work, the dishes & cleaning, spending time together and with family, and just normal day to day life stuff. It felt like we would never finish . . . but really, we just started out with one of the most complicated and time consuming rooms in the house. 

It was tough, physically, mentally and was a huge learning curve for us in our marriage. But! Now Darin and I both enjoy being able to brush our teeth side by side, actually being able to see ourselves in the mirrors hanging on the wall instead of using a little 6 inch circle mirror for my hair, and for Darin put his contacts in... oooftah, and the best part is that we have learned how to work together in just about every circumstance. Woop woop! 

Here we go! 

So, this is what the bathroom looked like when we bought the place (minus the toilet, we replaced the old one right away because it was super gross!):

Totally adorable I know. Especially that black tile! I mean, who wouldn't want that? Anyways, there was a big ugly cabinet behind the shower that we ripped out prior to these pictures so imagine a huge dark wooden cabinet taking up all that space behind the shower. Deep enough that I could crawl inside and shut the door. Ehm, no. So, we started the demo and ripped just about everything out; the tub, toilet, tiles, cabinet . . .  

After getting the HEAVY porcelain tub out we saw that there was a lot of water damage and mold, so we ripped out chunks of sheetrock here and there and eventually replaced the insulation where it needed it. I gave the heavy box of black tiles to my momma after they ended up coming out in perfect condition. I know she'd come up with something cool to do with them maybe for the boutique. 

After removing all of the moldy sheetrock and replacing the gross  insulation, we started prepping for our first round of knockdown for the ceiling. We leveled out the ceiling removing the drop down section behind the shower which helped open the room up a bit more. Our original plan was to cut the front of the shower wall and have it come down a foot from the ceiling opening the room up even more, but we realized there was a PVC vent for the waterdrain pipe -- having to reroute that required another trip to Menards for supplies and more time. We were already short on time and anxious to get stuff going so we decided to keep the wall and move forward. We both took turns scraping the popcorn off the ceiling (my arms were SO weak when we started on the house!), then Darin patched the sheetrock on and around the ceiling (which he ROCKS at). We also relocated the vent from the middle of the room to above the shower. That took what seemed like FOREVER, but we finally got it. Darin replaced the big holes in the ceiling with sheetrock, then patched again and then finally we got to apply the knockdown! 

Darin did a really nice job for his first time applying knockdown! We love how it turned out. 

Then... we started prepping for the new tub which awaited patiently in it's box in the living room. There was some creaking noises when walking on some of the flooring near the tub so to prevent that in the future we opened up the floor, added some 2x6's to reinforce it, replaced the old subfloor with plywood and installed the tub.

Then came more patching and then the installation of the concrete board for the tiling around the shower. We decided we wanted to do inset box/shelves instead of porcelain shelving sticking out and in our way for our shower supplies. We ended up buying the red and yellow plastic box insets from the Tile Shop so we didn't have to make our own. They were a little spendy, but it saved us a LOT of time by being able to just screw them right in and not have to worry about water leakage later. After getting the boards and the boxes in place Darin patched everything in, and I decided we needed to see the tub in action by turning the water on! It was a proud moment for us!

Then . . . came the LONGEST JOB IN THE WORLD. The subway tile. We had to install EVERY single tile on it's own, placing spacers in between each and every one on every side. It was the most tedious thing in the world. Poor Darin did most of the tile install as I was in the midst of my busy photo season. If I remember correctly the tile from start to finish took us almost a month or a little over. It was probably the most frustrating and time consuming project so far. But now that it's finished we are completely in love with it and wouldn't change what we did. But . . . for the basement bathroom I'm pretty sure we're going to go with 12x24 inch tiles for the shower so it doesn't take as long!! Haha 

Then came the grout which had to be squished in between all of the tiles. That also took a great deal of time and precision!  

But boy, it turned out beautifully. 

Then we started prepping for the pocket door by knocking the whole front bathroom wall out and framing that up, Darin finished sheet rocking behind the cabinet so we could be ready when it arrived, and we cleaned the floor to get ready to install the beautiful white/grey tiles we picked out! 

We carefully laid out the concrete board for the floor, and the tile went in! This was SO exciting for us, we really felt like we were getting somewhere at this point. After realizing that cutting tiles inside was a HUGE mess, we put the tile cutter out on the deck on top of a garbage can. We really need some sawhorses lol. But, it worked super great. We are going to replace the deck boards anyways so it didn't matter how big of a mess we made out there.

Somewhere in there we painted the walls grey and Darin hooked up our shower light/vent too! I'm not going to lie, some evenings we'd stand in the bathroom together and stare at the pretty shower tile and imagined the day we'd be able to use the shower. Before this bathroom was finished, we both used the downstairs toilet and shower, and brushed our teeth in the kitchen sink every morning and night. Yes it was definitely an inconvenience at times, but we were prepared to live a little inconveniently when we bought the place. 

Grouting the floor tile was a breeze compared to the shower -- hello beautiful floor!! 

All sorts of progress started happening after the floor was finished. We put up the new vanity lights, installed all of the shower fixtures, installed the pocket door, and unwrapped our custom vanity cabinets and counter top we ordered from Lowes. 

We got busy securing the cabinets and vanity, hooked up the faucets, I bought a shower curtain and we finally started using the upstairs shower (what a DREAM!), Darin put his final touches on the countertop by caulking the back edge, we screwed the handles into place and then we were able to start using the vanity! 

Then came the trim. 

And our super cool toilet! 

The bathroom was 95% finished for a few weeks while I bought and returned multiple mirrors -- I couldn't find any that fit just right and looked right. I was so frustrated! We were both still using a little 6 inch mirror in the bathroom to get ready with. I finally made up my mind and decided to pull the trigger on an idea I had awhile back: to make them myself. I pulled some trim out of one of the basement bedrooms (conveniently already stained perfectly) and cut them so they would fit above the sinks. I white washed them with white paint and secured them together. Then I took the old bathroom mirror into Ace Hardware off Bunker & Round Lake Blvd and had a guy custom cut them for me. Long story short, they turned out pretty darn amazing.



Which brings me to the finished product! 


I decided my pro camera was in dire need of capturing all of our hard work. After all, I dooo shoot Real Estate 3 to 4 days per week. I don't edit the images I shoot however so it's been a bit of a learning curve for me. Hopefully the photos do justice for how amazing our bathroom is. Enjoy!

ps. don't you love my towel rack!? 

You made it to the end! 

Thank you so much for reading my post! It means the world to Darin and I. I hope you enjoyed it. Since I didn't have the chance to go in depth about everything, feel free to post any questions you have below. I would be more than happy to reply :) 


We started working on our master bedroom about 2 weeks ago and as of right now we are about 2/3 done already! The bathroom was definitely a long and difficult room to complete. But because of that, the bedroom feels like a breeze. More updates to come very soon, I promise! 


Until next time!