The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Tag: Bath Page 1 of 8

New YouTube Channel to Follow + Organizing with Magnetic Tools

Christmas is near and I’ve been continuing my cleaning and organization effort mainly in the kitchen and bathrooms. While searching for good products to organize the kitchen, I discovered a Youtube channel called “Koan杏子妈妈“. This channel is hosted by a Chinese housemaker who lives in Japan, and she mainly publishes about recipes, cleaning tips, and home organization products. The videos I love the most on Koan’s channel is about organization. Specifically, the video introducing DIASO products really caught my eye. I was impressed how versatile the DIASO magnetic tools are. Although I cannot find their product locally, I was able to find similar products online.

Using magnetic hooks for fridge organization

These hooks from IKEA are similar to the ones showed in Koan’s videos. I got a pack of two and put them on the side of the fridge for rubber bands and bottle brush we use often.


The small pottery holding tiny bottle brushes is a hand-made souvenir from my past travel. It came with a magnet glued in the back and was perfect for these tiny bottle brushes.


I got these magnetic clips from work which are useful on the side of the fridge for gloves and kitchen towels.


This is what the side of the fridge look like now. I only keep things we use often here.


Slav loves watching birds from the kitchen window, so the “common feeder birds” poster is displayed on the side of the fridge. I also keep the measurement conversion table close. You know, metric vs imperial system difference…



Hanging organization for sponges and cleaning supplies

After tidying up the side of the fridge, I organized the cabinet beneath the sink. We mainly store cleaning supplies here. I glued some 3M hooks on the back of the cabinet doors, so gloves and sponges can dry better:



Magnetic soap holder for bathroom

I also got is a magnetic soap holder for our master bathroom. Slav uses soap bar often and we did not like any of the soap drainer we tried in the past. They all left residue on the tile. It just felt messy no matter how often we clean this area.



This magnetic soap holder looked identical to the one introduced on the Koan channel. It has a simple design that one end should be secured onto the wall surface with 3M adhesive, and the other end is magnetic.




A bottle cap-like metal cap can be pressed into any soap bar.


Now each time we use the soap bar, we could easily put it on the holder to dry:


Here is what this corner looked like with the magnetic soap holder. We have already used it for a couple weeks. Thus far, the soap bar dries pretty quickly and there is no residue on the floor tile.


I am impressed how strong the adhesive on hooks is nowadays. When we finished the master bath, I put these black towel hooks on the bathroom wall. Two years later they still attached very well despite us pulling down the towels multiple times per day. So when we finished the main floor bath, I bought the same kind of hooks (in chrome color) again.


I used some small transparent hooks for pothos in the bathroom. It has grown a lot in the last two years.


On one end it has stretched across the top of the medicine cabinet:



And on the other end, it grew out of the shower area and started wrapping around the wallI think in another year or so it will go around the whole bathroom.


Bamboo organizer for kitchen and offices

Maybe Slav was inspired by my organization effort too. When he was grocery shopping at Costco, he got me a set of bamboo organizating boxes:


There are total 10 of them in different sizes:


I used one in the tea/coffee drawer to hold coffee supplies including the milk frother we just got:


The second one went into the baking drawer for keeping small measuring spoons in one place:


I also put one in the tool drawer. We keep sharp tools including cheese shredder and peelers in this drawer. The bamboo container separates sharp tools, making it safer for us to reach in.


The smaller bamboo box is perfect for holding earphones at the charging station in the living room.


I used another one to hold various attachments for our small hand-held vacuum.


The rest of the bamboo boxes are kept in my office for now. I am sure that I will find good use for them in the coming days. 🙂


Now we are done with the organization and cleaning, we will be putting up the Christmas tree and decorations! Merry Christmas, everyone!


The New Guest Bath is Here!

After a 6-month-long renovation, finally, the main floor bath is complete!









Without looking at the before, the after would have easily been taken for granted:


Above picture was the old bathroom when we moved in. With bigger fish to fry we continued using this bathroom for 3.5 years. Finally, after renovating the nearby office/guest bedroom, we decided that it was time to refresh the guest bath.


The biggest change we made in this bathroom was to remove the bulky bathtub and install a walk-in shower.


We opted for a clear glass shower door similar to what we installed in the master bath,. It is a lot more expensive than using a shower curtain, but it really brought an elevated look to this small guest bath. it made the bathroom look more spacious, and it allowed the textured window to be the focal point of the room. We picked a winter-themed, frost-like pattern for the window way before we picked out the shower door, and now the patterned window looks very intentional through the shower glass!


The old window sill was slopped in the wrong direction, which led to rot and mold in the old shower. To keep the water at bay, we installed full-length marble sills around the fixed window panel. We also chose to install a shower pan instead of tiling the floor in the shower, so no water will ever get behind the walls.




Just like in the master bath, we chose to extend the tiles beyond the shower area for a grand look. We picked light-colored marble-like tiles for the walls, which bounce off the light around the room.



Instead of small subway tiles, which have dominated bathroom walls for decades, we chose rather large tiles for the walls. I think fewer grout lines make the room feel less enclosed, and the marble veins prevent the room from looking like a surgical unit.


To echo the grey vein we installed a light grey colored vanity, which serves as a soft transition from the near-white walls to the dark floor.


I always liked bathrooms with big color contrast (see bath inspiration here). In our master bathroom we used white subway tile in the shower and one wall, with big dark tiles on the floor and the other wall. In this bathroom, we used large tiles on the wall with small black tiles on the floor. The floor tile was laid in a geometric pattern, which draws attention to the floor and grounds the room.


Unlike the master bath where we utilized mostly masculine colors and shapes, the fixtures in this hall bath is more decorative and feminine. We did keep the brushed nickel finish throughout – brushed nickel is a really versatile finish in my opinion. When it was paired with dark cabinet and tiles, as in our master bath, it looks modern and stylish. When used against white tiles in the hall bath, I think it looks more classic and sophisticated.




The toilet also offers an elegant architectural look.


Both of the tiling and plumbing contractors did a good job and paid lots of attention to details. I feel really good about the quality of the finish in this bathroom.


You may notice that we do not have a mirror here yet. Honestly, the biggest struggle in the whole bathroom design process was the mirror. I originally wanted a round mirror, but it ended up looking too trendy for this bathroom. On the other hand, frameless mirrors with integrated LED lighting looked too modern, and rectangular mirror looked too plain…Slav suggested DIYing a mirror and we will give it a try at some point.


Since the demo last December, Slav has worked many weekends in this small space. Professionals were brought in for window installation, plumbing, tiling, and shower door instllation. Slav took care of everything else, including replacing the rotten framing and subfloor, upgrading electricaladding new ceiling lights, finishing the drywall, and installing the pocket door and door trims. It has been a lots of DIY projects. But it is so worth it!

1. Demolition – removing all the fixtures and wall/floor materials;
2. Assessing the water damage, replacing rotten framing, and mold control;
3. Installing new bath window and insulate the exterior wall;
4. Removing the ceiling drywall from the attic, wiring for new recessed lights from the attic;
5. Upgrading wall electrical, including adding outlets and wiring new switches;
6. Installing a new exhaust fan and recessed lights;
7. Drywall the bathroom ceiling and soundproofing the interior walls;
8. Purchasing a new toilet, a new bidet, a sink/vanity, and sink and shower fixtures;
9. New plumbing and waterlines for bathroom fixtures;
10. Upgrade master bath (basement) exhaust fan from above;
11. Replacing all the subflooring with added support;
12. Pocket door framing and installation;
13. Drywalling around the pocket door;
14. Installing and Waterproofing bathroom walls and floor;
15. Tiling the bathroom and installing a new window stool;
16. Finishing/priming/painting entry wall drywall and ceiling;
17. Installing/painting pocket door trims;
18. Installing vanity light fixture, ceiling can lights, and outlet wall plates/covers;
19. Installing new glass shower door;
20. Installing all plumbing fixtures including toilet/bidet, vanity/sink, and shower trims.

Finally, we can erase the planning board clean, and move onto the next chapter for the ranch house!



Main Floor Bath: Pocket Door Trims

Hi guys, long time no see! I hope y’all are having a great summer. We are consumed by work once again and our hope for a slow summer did not work out. Instead, someone else is enjoying the summer days for us, roaming around our garden:



They are actually two different cottontail rabbits. One of them lives under our raspberry bushes, and we are pretty sure that the other one lives behind the shed in the firewood pile. We often see one eating grass on the backyard lawn. But occasionally, we catch them side by side chilling, eating, or even playing together.


Despite us being very busy, we did manage to finish the main floor bathroom. After installing the tiles, we painted the ceiling and walls,  and Slav installed the lights and outlet in the bathroom. Then, the shower door was installed, and the plumber came and installed all the fixtures. The very last task to wrap up the bathroom renovation was trimming the pocket door.


Door jamb installation

Prior to installing the pocket door, the door jambs and trims were completely taken down, leaving exposed drywall on the hallway side.



Since this was our first attempt trimming a pocket door, we purchased a pocket door jamb kit to make the job easier:


The kit includes a door jamb, a pair of split jamb, and a pair of top trim.


As per instructions, the door jamb to which the pocket door would be closed against was installed first.


Then, the split jambs were cut to length and nailed to either side of the pocket door.


Lastly, the the top trim pieces were cut to length and nailed on to fill the gap between the two door jambs.


This was the look from the bathroom. We had painted the walls around the doorway prior to the installation.


Trimming the doorway

After the door jambs were installed, the trim pieces were cut and nailed around the doorway. For the bathroom side of the doorway, we picked a rather simple style of trim.


Then a piece of baseboard was cut to fill the gap between the tiled wall and the door trim. This baseboard is identical to the ones we installed throughout the basement.


For the hallway side, we used the same trim installed around the office opening, which is wider and more decorative.



Patching, Sanding, and painting

Having finished installing the jamb and trim, the pocket door was adjusted to ensure that it was centered between the split door jambs, traveled smoothly, and closed tightly to the door jamb.


Then, it was time to patch the nail holes with wood filler, caulk the gaps, and paint!




By the end of a long weekend, we finished trimming the pocket door, which completed the bathroom renovation – what a moment!



Upgrading the front door trim

However, the trim work did not stop there. Since we had the chop saw and nail gun out, we decided to replace the front door trim too.


The old door trim around the front door was there when we bought the house. The same trim was installed around all the doors. Since then, we have replaced most of the door trims in the house, and the old trim was now only around the front door, and two small closets.


Technically, the old door trim had nothing wrong with them, but it was fairly narrow considering the size of the door. Importantly, the front door is right next to the office doorway. The mismatching trims looked a bit odd.


The old trim was cut away from the wall. It turned out to be the biggest part of this trim work because it was held down by layers of paint and caulking.



Some caulking remained even after the old trim was peeled off the wall. It had to be scraped off with a razor.



Since this is an exterior door, all the gaps were filled with the Great stuff.


After the Great stuff was completely cured, we cut away the excess and touch-painted the wall around the doorway.


And now, our old front door was ready for its new trim!


And the new trim there came!




Next, the gaps were caulked and the nail holes were filled with the wood filler. two coats of Behr Ultra Pure White in semi-gloss, the same paint we used on all of trims and baseboards finished the front door trim work.



Finally, no more mismatching trims!


And this is the view from the house now:


Compared to the old trim (pictured below), the scale of the new trim is more appropriate for the size of the front door.


Now the main floor bathroom is complete, I cannot wait to show you the pictures. We are so proud of all the finishes we picked for the bathroom, and I think it was stunning! Stay tuned!

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