Kitchen Reno – Demo & Mood Board

Welp! Demo has officially started on our kitchen reno, perhaps a little preemptively but after meeting with our contractor to talk him through the plan – we quickly realized there were a handful of hidden outliers that had B and I itching to uncover. So last Saturday, we just tried to rip up a few of the lament floor tiles to see if the hardwoods were wrecked or not… a few hours later – we had half the room ripped up and the floor was looking in pretty tip-top shape. Since then we’ve (mostly B) taken down the ceiling, layers of plaster walls to continue to uncover what we’re working with. I mean… we live in a 100+ year old home. So far, we’ve uncovered a ceiling leak (thanks rain) and a few other janky workings.

I say we preemptively started demo, because once we start something – we can’t stop (especially B) and also because, we don’t actually have any contractor confirmed for when work is going to get started. We have gotten a few different cabinet quotes and think we have that nailed down at least the company and general direction we want to move forward with. But now that demo has started – there is no way this kitchen isn’t happening this year. We’re hoping to get a few follow-ups from our slow contractor and then go from there. So until then, I’m working to finalize some of the design and details as we work through the demo — it’s funny, now that we’ve disrupted our currently living room and are starting to get a blank canvas, the design and finishing inspiration is finally coming to life for me.

So now what? We’re going to continue to move forward and get our kitchen cabinets and counter tops finalized – the company we’re most likely going to move forward with the in home field measurement and design consultation to make sure we’re optimizing the most out of our space. Yes, this is getting us more kitchen, but it’s still going to be relatively cozy (that’s the nice way of saying small) — compared to what we’d really want in a dream kitchen — and sadly that still includes moving walls to extend our footprint.

Having a design consultation will be exciting and then we’ll be able to make sure we’re closer to exact as we’ve learned a few hard ways how important accurate measurements are. For example, our first cabinet quote was through Home Depot, super fast, great way to get an initial price for cabinets — but we ended up having more space in one area than we actually do (we had guestimates of our measurements when we went to this apt.) — the reality is those couple inches significantly impacted the potential sink size (like 33″ down to 27″) and the corner cabinet solution, i.e. lazy susan or something a bit unconventional. Luckily, with this new company – it sounds like they have some fun solutions to get us space to have a larger sink while being able to best utilize that corner spot.

Now, with the demo and our kitchen footprint pretty open, we have been able to put a few pieces to “mock up” the spacing to get a better idea of our kitchen nook area and what we can fit comfortably in the space while still letting it feel big and open. I even sat and browsed for products while we had the nook set-up and it was perfect – I can’t wait to hang out and blog while B cooks dinner. I was even finally able to decide on a few design pieces. I might even be as far as to having an idea of the backsplash that will go counter to ceiling on either side of the kitchen above the stove and sink area. Here is a look at a few of the potential final picks, a bit of mood board for our kitchen – I’m still trying to find an affordable faucet!

Since I want to incorporate brass/gold – it’s going to be crucial to make sure the shades of everything match up closely. That is why I was excited to find the light fixtures as that look pretty similar in the brass color that they are. Our appliances – as of right now – are white and gold, so as long as the back order doesn’t lead us to cancelling, we’ll be having pops of white and gold! Here’s to making some actual progress towards getting this kitchen done!

House Tour: Basement Makeover Reveal

Last August we were game planning and getting ready to give our drab basement a little makeover to be more functional from a storage perspective, while also creating additional living space with a unfinished-finished room.  Our game plan for our basement (and some gross before pictures) started relatively simple and functional – I also had some ulterior motives to have the extra space prepped for B’s surprise party.  So from that perspective, I was trying to keep it simple and low budget – but that didn’t stick!
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4 Things I Wish We Knew Before Tiling Our Shower

With our bathroom project coming to a close – I wanted to share a few of our trials and tribulations, specifically from tiling our entire shower from floor to ceiling.  Tiling the shower was never something we didn’t feel confident doing – we had successfully accomplished a smaller tiling project a few years prior, so how hard could this be? *smiles*
Tiling Lessons - the bee life (1)
To preface, we did extensive research and YouTube how-to video watching and there were definitely a few steps that these DIYers seemed to leave out of their tiling videos that sort of killed us, from a timing and extra work perspective. Also – a lot of DIYers were using individual tiles vs. the sheets, so I couldn’t gauge if we needed to do anything special or not!

What I Wish We Would’ve Known

(1) Over Estimating Tile Purchase by 10%  Soooo this was something I’d seen on the inter webs, but not something we accounted for – this involved us having to run out and buy a couple more boxes of tile, while we were mid-way in the tiling game. This meant extra money we weren’t planning on spending. Not to mention a few of the boxes we’d purchased included broken tile sheets – so we were able to exchange/return others we worked with. We also hadn’t accounted for ceiling tile – so this was something we also had to pick out and purchase while we were prepping for this project.

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Shiplap Wall Inspiration

Mini-spoiler, we’re working on our own shiplap/wooden plank wall for our Basement Makeover. Since it’s just for our basement and we’re going for the unfinished-finished look, we wanted to keep it simple and not spend too much money.  With that said, when I started looking into DIY’s on the different options of how we could accomplish our shiplap wall, I was overwhelmed at the options and price variations.
Shiplap Wall Inspiration - bee life blog
So if you’re like me and researching the many options of how to shiplap your space,  here are some things to consider while you plan your own DIY.  Take into consideration the overall look, how you’re finishing the rest of the space and how much effort you want to put into this project!

Straight vs. Alternating Boards. The way you decide to finish the space is something to think about! Whether you’re going for a straight across board look or mix and match sizes they’re two completely different looks, especially depending on how you finished them and how much you’re shiplapping.

Pre-finished Wood.  This seemed like the path of least resistance, although the price point and the amount of pre-finished wood we would need with this option added up quick. Although from a low maintenance perspective these options like this Home Depot’s Nantucket Gray Poplar Weathered boards or this kit from Lowe’s of White Barnwood Shiplap Plank Wall kit are great options.

Painted vs. Stained. Depending on how you’re placing your boards – straight or alternating, this may determine the way you want to finish the look!  Also thinking whether you want something painted or stained may affect the pattern you decide.  We decided to go the stain route, because it’s easier and we ended up painting way more than we expected with other projects.  Plus, I think the stain look with bring in a nice place with some of the other unfinished elements.

Type of Wood.  Determining the type of wood you want to use, can also affect your cost and overall look.  Whether it’s plywood, finished wood, actual barn wood, or the pre-finished wood mentioned above.  We ended up going the maple-wood plywood route loosely inspired by this DIY tutorial by Angela Marie Made.

I’m looking forward to sharing more details on our Shiplap Statement Wall DIY in the coming weeks – we are definitely excited to see how it turns out and think it’ll be the right amount of finish for our unfinished basement.  View more shiplap wall inspiration here!

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Image Sources: Half Stained Image | Straight plank with wreath | White plank bathroom 


Our Master Reveal

The time is finally here!! Our master bedroom reveal!

For those who didn’t follow along on my 8-months worth of updates throughout last year… It all started with our attic, even though it was a ‘finished’ space, it was poorly done.  It’s open feel, large bright windows, closet space and size made this an instant dream master retreat.  Since B is so tall, we ended up raising the ceiling 6-inches, but that basically became a complete gut job down to the studs. This wasn’t part of the original plan – but we ended up doing new electric, new insulation, new drywall, new blinds, closet doors, new everything – and B did 97.9% of it! This was definitely our biggest house project to date.

So without further ado here is our awesome master retreat including the seating area and my two closets, yes two, one for clothes, one for accessories. *grins* We’ve tried to DIY and make as much as possible, including the headboard, curtain rods, barn door, DIY night stands and reading table, painted and redid the dresser and shopped smart for other accessories but splurged on a few items like the fireplace, rugs and our chairs.

master-reveal-the-bee-life-10master-reveal-the-bee-life-6The black frames next to the bed hold the love letter B wrote and proposed to me with. It’s the perfect addition to the room and show casing that instead of hiding it in a box somewhere. We also tried to keep some of the original wood work, especially on the stair railing coming up, but opened it to give an open feel.

I had full intentions of sharing the closet space with B, but he insisted I use both of the closets upstairs (don’t worry he has two-closets on the second floor). So I kindly thanked him and told him he was creating a monster and then proceeded to work on creating my dream <organized> closets.

We would both be lying if we didn’t say we were proud of the way this turned out. It was everything we imagined and more and I love having our own little getaway from the rest of the house and world (Moz really loves it too!)

Go Us!

Attic Update – 8 months

Exciting updates with this post on our biggest home renovation to date! Our attic turned master suite-oasis, and ohh boy did we out do ourselves this time. Attic Update Month 8 - the bee lifeSo I’m probably getting you all excited for a big reveal, sorry folks, not yet. But I do promise a few sneak peaks! The perfectionist in me has a few things that still need to be purchased and a DIY that is going to make a big difference – so until then we will all have to wait for the big reveal!

We are up and living in our master suite, and it’s awesome! It came out exactly how I pictured and more! Not to mention our second floor is now fully open to family and friends for a weekend visit. Now for the sneak peaks…   Our DIY mini barn door, strictly decorative to cover an uglier door heading into a storage space. We used old gas pipe we had found in the demo and threw together the rest!  If you’re interested in the specifics, leave a comment below, but I saw inspiration for a full size door and we just figured out the measurements for our custom piece.

Textured wallpaper on the stair backers. We had started with deciding to paint the backs white and the tops grey, but the white backs just weren’t cutting it. Adding this pre-glued wallpaper was beyond easy and  an amazing upgrade. Totally worth the $20 and 40-minutes after work!

A little sneak of the gallery wall! I am loving the way it’s turning out, however it still needs a few extra final touches! I am a firm believer that you can’t rush these types of projects you have to look and do what speaks to you and the wall. (Nerdy, I know)

Our little seating area!! Obsessed with these chairs. Obsessed with these pillows. Still need a few final touches like a light for the side table, a foot ottoman and maybe a few other pictures.

So yes, we’ve been busy! A lot of this was wrapped up a few weekends ago, the day B proposed we had put a solid 10 hours in, since then we’ve been able to dial back, slow down and work on the smaller things as we can- oh and enjoy the finished product!

Stay tuned!

DIY – Night Stands

As our attic nears completion (spoiler) I wanted to share a few of the other projects along the way that although much smaller than the overall guts, walls and refinish, have been key for the final touches.

With such a big project like this, I really wanted to try and find a bargain or two especially with furnishings, and I would say we did a pretty good job of splitting that between bargain vs. brand new.

The Before

One surprise that took me awhile to come around too (and find) was our night stands. I found plenty that I loved, but not enough for the price tag that came with them. It had been my mission on garbage days to find some treasures people put out on the tree lawns – but no such luck (only found one).

Enter the “unfinished lamp table with two drawers” from Home Depot. Similar to what we wanted and a price tag that was palatable ($71.99), especially when purchasing two for the price of one finished  – not to mention these suckers are sturdy!

International Concepts Unfinished Lamp Table with 2-Drawer

The After

We ended up painting and staining the tops to mimic one of the pricier side tables we had seen from Target, upgraded the hardware and wah-la you have a high-end night stand for a fraction of the cost! We love the way they turned out.

Since we already had stain and poly from our dining room table project, we saved on materials cost there. We also already had white paint for other projects and the walls (another cost savings) and the knobs I found in a 4-pack at Marshalls for $4.99. Can’t beat it!

Although this was a little extra work on top of all the other finishing touches like paint, trim, caulking, more painting, cleaning, etc. it was totally worth it and we have a completely custom piece that finish the space!

Attic Update – 6 months

We’re just over the 6-months into this project, yes definitely longer than both B and I anticipated – but hey! What can you do? Attic Renovatoin Update - Month 6 - the bee life - emilyboylan.comAs fantastic as the holidays were, they definitely helped delay progress as two back-to-back weekends were filled with parties, family, and endless amounts of food and drinks. Two, back-to-back weekends where virtually zero work took place in the attic.

Since, B has been back at it and focusing the weekends on mudding! Damn, mudding. Oh and then there is the sanding… and then more mudding… oh and then you sand again! The endless messy… messy cycle.  All “joking” aside, progress is being made, there are complete sections that’re ready to go and they look so great!

The bi-fold doors for our closets have also been installed, since the last update, and it really makes the space feel like a room. Since we bought the house the closets have been wide open so that was an awesome piece to finish!

Another update is that we ordered furniture for our sitting area along with nightstands, it’s getting us really excited (and anxious) to get on to the next part of the project; painting and trim work – so that we can decorate and live up there! I am obsessed with the chairs, they’re absolutely perfect.

As many times as we’ve wanted to hire someone to get this done, mainly because it would be much faster than our time frame, it’s truly awesome that we (but really, mostly B) have done 95% of the work, building a room from the studs, to insulation, to drywall, to paint, to life.

Hopefully next month we have a fresh coat of paint on the walls!



Attic Update – 5 month check-in


A month ago we were just getting started with drywall but now the drywall is complete! Yes, all 40, 8-foot pieces were used up!  Although there were a decent amount of big pieces, there were also a lot of small random nooks and crannies and grooves.  I can’t say this enough, but B has been doing an amazing job, I know he is completely sick of working on the project – he has put in a lot of long days and nights! But it’s going to look incredible and is already looking awesome!

Since then the mudding has begun.  Which from what EVERYONE… yes, everyone says is the worst part.  So far, it hasn’t been too bad, but then again no sanding has taken place yet.  Which again, I’ve been told I’ll be finding dust in our kitchen 3-floors below, months from now! With the Christmas holiday fast approaching, I am not sure how many useful weekends we will have! But we do have a lot of PTO at the end of this month, so we hope to start painting before 2016!

The important part is that progress is being made! We can’t wait to get up there and start using that space!