Back and Forth and Up and Down

Around the time the GoldNugget was born, I started struggling with the blog. Mostly, my feelings toward the blog. It started to feel a bit… self indulgent… a bit too “look at what I did, everyone!” And then all the self-promotion that went along with it just started to feel a little… smarmy. So I stepped back. But also, I had a kid. A very busy, very active kid. He started sleeping around 9 months (HOLY COW HOW DID I MAKE IT THAT LONG), which is around the time he started cruising. And then walking around 10 months… CHILD, PLEASE. He’s so much fun (when he doesn’t yell at me), and I’m so, so thankful I get to have a front-row seat in this kid’s life. His smile. The dimples. The happiness. GAH.

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I still am unsure if I will step back in to blogging or not. It’s kind of nice to not document each and every step of every single project… and it saves our camera from getting grout, caulk, paint, and other such items all over it. So in my uncertainty toward the blog, I’m going to show you our most recent project. Which, surprisingly, we paid someone to do 90% of the work. Okay, 85%. Okay, 92%.2016-04-28 09.03.06Why did we pay someone? My time is limited. I get about 1-2 hours a day to not run around and read 16 books in a row. And also? It’s really, really nice to have someone else do the work and only dabble in a couple things. And also? I probably wouldn’t have done as good of a job on the tile. Or the trim. Or the plumbing. Or you know, any of the actual construction stuff. And our contractor said this is the very last job he’s ever going to tile. I think he wasn’t a fan of the marble.

My role in this? I painted the newly plastered walls (primed, first!), grouted everything (WORST THING EVER), and did the final touch-ups and such. Guys, I’m not kidding. When you grout, do it in the tiniest tiniest areas (like a 12″x12″ square) and then wipe it up. Otherwise, it’ll dry onto the tile itself, and then you’ll be on your hands and knees with a razor blade, scraping it off each and every mosaic tile by hand. *Speaking from experience*2016-04-28 09.02.40Honestly, we did a good bit of price-checking (Home Depot, Amazon, Overstock, etc.), and found that Amazon is still a better place to order most of our finish items. Amazon is taking over the world. Mark my words. (These are affiliate links to Amazon.) We ordered the Showerhead (and Valve! Don’t forget the valve!), and drooled over it for about 3 weeks before it was installed. Also, just in case you are wondering, it’s a Moen Wynford. Basically a rainfall showerhead, but not massive and crazy and weird in the space.2016-04-28 09.05.18The Light Fixture is from Progress (Archie two-light in Oil Rubbed Bronze). In our design phase, we decided to go ahead and also have a recessed LED light installed above the shower, and put both of the lights on a single dimmer. It’s awesome to be able to dim your bathroom lighting. HIGHLY suggest that. (Thanks for the suggestions, internet-friends.)2016-04-28 09.01.58Since marble is a natural stone, it had to be sealed… twice (even before the grout!), and once after! The Sealer and the grout Caulk (this is amazing for touch-ups, as well as any place vertical surfaces meet horizontals) came from Amazon also.2016-04-28 09.05.29The floor tile is from Home Depot (greecian marble hexagon mosaic), as is the grout (platinum Unsanded), the medicine cabinet (I’d only kind of recommend this. It looks great, and is a great price, and they have excellent customer service… it’s just not the highest quality piece), and the wall paint (Evaporation, by Behr).

Above the toilet, we reused our old ikea shelves (Dad had to hang these… Mom brain wasn’t working at all that day. LITERALLY, could not hang anything to save my life. Tried to hang the Towel Hooks, — used a measuring tape and everything! and mounted one 1″ higher than the other.).

2016-04-28 09.06.14We are so, so excited to be showering in a non-cave. And it’s a wonderful, relaxing way to start your day. I mean, as long as you’re not trying to squeeze a 7 minute shower in before child wakes up and wants to play.


The Master Bathroom SINK

So when I imagined up this tiny (2-part) series on the Master Bathroom, I thought… GIRL POWER! I’m going to do these projects myself and show other women that they can do it, too! No boys needed! Fist bumps and (non-alcoholic, gluten free) beer! How to Install a Faucet_HouseofGoldAnd for the most part, I succeeded in my quest. I mean, Mom did the majority of the grunt work in the shower. All I had to do was clean it up and swipe some sealer on grout lines. Oh, and caulk. Oh, and replace a showerhead. (BTW, the showerhead has been in use for approximately one week and it is life-changing. You NEED THIS SHOWERHEAD. Waterpik’s SprayShaper. You’re welcome.)

Waterpik ShowerSprayer_HouseofGoldAnd then came the faucet. Normally, J handles all the plumbing work in our house. I mean, he daggum installed and re-installed the kitchen drain and disposal. He installed a cleanout. He plumbed under the master bathroom sink the first time. Oh, and he replaced about 16 toilets at our house in Augusta. But this time? THIS TIME WAS ALL MINE. Aided by #goldnugget. So here we go. You Go Girl

The incredibly generous people over at Moen sent us the Kingsley two-handle low arc bathroom faucet. In Oil Rubbed Bronze. Now. I have mentioned once or twice that I used to work at Ferguson, which is a plumbing/ lighting/ appliances distributor. Entonces, I was very familiar with Moen (as with most plumbing apparatus’– or is it apparatusses? or apparati?), so I knew what to expect. However. When this faucet arrived in the mail, I was… surprised. This faucet is hefty, strong, and made to last. Remember when J and I splurged on our Delta kitchen faucet? GUYS. THERE IS A REASON SOME OF THESE THINGS COST MORE. THEY’RE WORTH MORE. As a sometimes cheap-o, I rarely will spend more to buy quality products. I’m a work in progress, people. Behold: the Box of Wonders.

Box of Wonders_HouseofGoldSo let’s get to the installation. I got out all my tools and laid all my pieces and parts out. And also took a picture of my left foot. Just for funsies.

Faucet Supplies_HouseofGold And then I unscrewed the water lines from the faucet (AFTER I turned the water off, of course). But then! ROADBLOCK. You see, I have a growing belly, which prevents me from getting in some awkward spots like I was once able to do. I had to call in the muscles to unscrew the nut that secures the faucet to the counter/ sink. Once J loosened that up, I was smooooth sailing. Ish.

I removed the old faucet very easily, and started installing the new guy by following the instructions. Faucet goes into pre-drilled holes, nuts go on underside of faucet. See? Easy.Faucet Placed_HouseofGoldNext, pop-up drain gets a bead of plumber’s putty and then gets screwed into the tailpiece… ROADBLOCK #2.Drain Installation_HouseofGoldOkay, so the tailpiece is the metal part that feeds into your actual PVC drain. Mine needed to be about 1/2″ longer than what was provided.Tailpiece Installation_HouseofGoldI attempted to use the old plastic piece from the previous faucet, but the threads weren’t lining up. And when seals aren’t tight in plumbing, you have problems. So I had to go to Home Depot and get a 12″ extension piece (cut down to the proper length), and then I could continue. Once I had the proper length of tailpiece, the installation could continue, which required just a little bit of grunting before I finished. (Trust me, the directions included with the faucet are a bit more helpful. BUT YOU CAN DO IT!)   Moen Faucet_HouseofGoldI even sent a text to Mom and Dad and J, showcasing my DIY efforts. It was a glorious moment. But even better than that? Really, it’s using this guy every day. It’s SOLID and awesome. I want to gaze lovingly at it all day long.Faucet Complete_HouseofGoldMoen Faucet Installed_HouseofGoldLinking up with Upcycled Treasures & Thrifty Decor Chick!

The Master Bath… Revised Edition.

I know we kind of pretended like the Master Bathroom was done with our most recent update. But then, like any good 50-year old home, tiles started popping off in the shower one day. Just like that. So the shower was shut down for about… oh… two months until I got around to fixing these tiles. My first step? Finish removing any additional un-sticky tiles. Aka, if I could use my finger or gentle pressure to pop a tile away from the wall, it happened. So I did that. And then that’s where the project stalled out. (Sorry, no uglypictures of this step.)

Then Mom came in and saved the day. AGAIN. She found the motivation to get in there and grind out some of the grout from the surrounding tiles, using a grout removal attachment for her Dremel.Grout Removed_HouseofGold Once that happened, she re-used the old tiles that were carefully preserved and stuck them back onto the wall using some leftover mastic from the kitchen backsplash. Once that dried out for a few days, she grouted the area, making sure to smoosh the grout in there nice and tight. Then she (and Dad) left us to continue on their travels and the bathroom sat in its partially-finished state for another week.Shower Step Grouted_HouseofGold (This is after everything was re-grouted…)

Then I finally found some motivation and cleaned the shower out. Using a mixture of about 3/4 cup of baking soda and 1/3 cup of bleach, I scrubbed to my heart’s content. (GUYS. Captain safety here: keep the area super-ventilated, wear a mask, gloves, and clothes that are okay to get bleach on them. Oh. And I took lots of clean air breaks, too.) Bleach Mixture_HouseofGold

Here’s the before/ after. Still not 100% clean and perfect, but I’d say it’s about 1000% better. Oh, and this was mid-haze of the bleaching process. Not even complete there.Shower Clean_HouseofGold

AND THEN? I got to use the sealer. This will help keep the grout lines from staining/ molding/ getting nasty. Hopefully. (Mom picked it up for us at Home Depot.) I did two applications of it, and it went on pretty quickly and easily, thanks to the applicator tip.Sealer_HouseofGold

And then to round it all out, I installed a brand new showerhead that is super fancy that I got while I was at Haven. This is a new Waterpik showerhead that is kind of like a spaceship with a whole lot of awesome mixed in. Really. The side pieces adjust forwards, backwards, inside, outside, and it’s basically like a shower-Popple.Waterpik ShowerSprayer_HouseofGold Replacing a showerhead is the easiest thing to do ever in the history of ever. You unscrew the old one from the spout-y thing that sticks out of the wall, and screw on the new one. That’s basically all.  And then you hang out in your newly-transformed spa.Showerhead Before After_HouseofGold(Don’t worry… the cord will straighten out and relax in a few days.)

And next week? The sink faucet and I face off in an epic battle. Don’t worry. There will be finished pics of the spaces soon. Until then, you’ll just have to struggle along with these not-so-glam ones. Kthanksbye.

How to Re-Install a Toilet

**We spent last week in Georgia getting our rental house ready for new tenants– I’ll show you some pictures from our trip Thursday, but in the meantime, a post on toilets. (We had to replace three in GA, so this is timely.) You’re welcome.**

This post could get a bit tricky (read: gross), but it can save you up to around $250, so I’m going for it. Let’s just go ahead and agree that this can be filed under the “good to know, but I hope I never have to do it” category. But here’s a hint: you will. At one point or another, you’ll have to get up close and personal with your toilet.

How To Toilet_HouseofGold


I’m going to talk you through un- and re-installing a toilet. Take some deep breaths before reading… it’s merely a toilet. There are a few tips and tricks along the way so as to not get covered in toilet-water, so pay attention.

First: There’s a water supply line connected to your toilet tank. It has a screw-knob. Turn that off. As long as your toilet isn’t overflowing into oblivion, you’re going to want to get the rest of the remaining water down the drain, so flush until you can’t flush anymore. And then grab a bunch of rags, because there will inevitably be water coming out of this thing once you detach it.

Second: Unscrew the water supply line. There will most likely be some drippage with that, but no biggie. It shouldn’t spew water throughout your entire bathroom. You’re also going to want to pop off the bolt-covers that attach your toilet to the floor. Then slowly loosen those nuts. This will start to detach the toilet from the floor, so once the nuts are off, your toilet is officially free from its shackles.

Third: This is where a big strong man comes in handy. Otherwise, you’ll have to do this weird hunched-turtle-walk-thing that is [mostly] effective, but not pretty. Lift the toilet straight up (you may get some water runoff here as well), and place it wherever you want to keep it for the time being. Make sure you place it on top of either a rag or a newspaper or something- there’s wax on the bottom of that thing that you don’t want to get on your floor.

Fourth: This is the only truly gross part. But that’s because of the wax. You shouldn’t necessarily come in contact with any… “unsavory things”. You’ll want to take some kind of scraper (we used a large putty/ spackling knife for this step), and scrape up the excess wax on the flange. (The flange is the round connecty-thing that the toilet sits on.) Put that junk in a plastic bag and toss it. Then, stuff a rag down in to that hole… especially if other areas in the bathroom are getting fixed in the meantime. If you don’t do this step, everything will smell terrible. Trust me.

Fifth: You can do this step one of two ways. You can put your new wax ring (sold at any hardware store for $5 or less) directly on the flange, or directly on the toilet. We put it on the flange because gravity makes it tricky to put the ring on the toilet, flip it over, and maneuver it in place. So, literally, put the wax ring on the flange and give it a tiny smoosh. Not a large smoosh. Just enough to let it know who’s boss (you are).

Sixth: Get your toilet, and slowly, carefully, put it back in place. Carefully, because you’ll need to align the toilet with the flange and the two bolts sticking up out of the ground. Once you get everything aligned, apply a bit of pressure on top of the toilet to get the wax ring adhered to both the flange and the toilet.

Seventh: Gently screw the nuts back on to the bolts. Don’t over-screw—you could potentially end up cracking the toilet and/or creating a whole host of other messes.

Eighth: Screw the water supply line back on to the toilet, and turn it on. Flush the toilet and check for leaks!TOILETINSTALL_HouseofGold

Linking up with: House on the Way, Upcycled Treasures