Master Bath Plans

Hey there strangers! Ryan and I have been making some steady progress around the house here lately. I mentioned here that we thoroughly enjoyed a few snow days and knocked out most of our to-do list for the nursery. I have a few more things to hang on the wall and then I will share more pictures. Promise!

We have been focusing most of our time and energy (and money) lately on the master bathroom. The master bedroom is currently a holding room for all the fixtures for the bathroom, as well as tools and everything else that comes with a renovation. It is quite lovely!

Master bedroom

Not exactly a relaxing master bedroom yet :)

Here is a peak at what we are planning on using in the bathroom as far as finishes go.

master bath design borad copy

Lots of white subway tile with our vintage tub and new pedestal sinks. As far as flooring choices, my beloved marble hexagon tile or marble basket weave was not in the budget. At all. Nor would it realistically EVER be in our bathroom budget. Twelve to twenty dollars a square foot is a LARGE chunk of change when you are looking at 200+ square feet. Darn you large bathroom! *first world problems* When it comes to bathrooms, I tend to be drawn to three main flooring types: Marble, white hexagon tile, and wood flooring. You may remember that we used the white hexagon tile in the other upstairs bathroom – you can see that here. While I love the look in that bathroom, even the hexagon tile was stretching the budget. Laying a mosaic tile is also pretty time consuming, so we pretty much scratched that option. That leaves us with hardwood. You probably already know, but hardwood + lots of water = not friends.

After doing a little research, we decided that vinyl plank that looked like hardwood would actually be the best option as far as durability and water was concerned. I will be honest and say I was skeptical of the vinyl tile in regards to looks. I will openly admit that I am a design snob. No same here. We also ordered the flooring online, so I didn’t get to see it in person before taking the plunge. That always makes me nervous! So, when the flooring came in I was pleasantly surprised by the color and “grain” variation. It is a lot prettier than I thought it would be!

Ryan and I were able to get the flooring installed over the course of a week and weekend. You may have seen this photo on Instagram or Facebook a few weeks ago.

Starting master bath vinyl flooring

Feet are gone Why yes, I can help lay vinyl flooring at 30 weeks pregnant! We opted for glue down vinyl over the floating since we were using it in a wet area. The glue down was also cheaper, so that didn’t hurt either! Ryan did the actually gluing part of the process and his words are “Easy, but not fun.” By not fun, he means he at one point said, “I will never do this again,” and “This is stupid. I would rather lay tile.” I kindly reminded him that he has never actually laid tile :) We had a pretty good little system worked out. I would select and layout the flooring in the bedroom (kind of like dry fitting for tile) and then bring the pieces to Ryan. If anything needed to be cut or trimmed, I would do that while Ryan applied more glue to the subfloor. Yay teamwork!

Finished flooring in bathroom

Finished flooring

The flooring is complete and next up on the agenda….

Master bath shower

Shower!!! Tile!!! Toilet!!! Sinks!!!! Ya know, all that stuff that actually makes a bathroom a bathroom. No biggie :)

Since we came in under budget with the vinyl flooring, we were able to splurge a little on the tile for the shower floor. Meet my precious marble flooring!


Happy girl right here! Ryan will be installing all of the fixtures himself and I am taking care of most of the tile work. I am a self declared tile ninja remember? ;)

What have you guys been up to lately? Any experience with installed your own plumbing fixtures? Fingers crossed things go well this week! We could have a working toilet by the end of the week. Who knew that would be so exciting?!?!?! Have a good week!

Nursery Plans and Progress

Happy Snow Day my fellow Alabamians and other Southerners!


Snow doesn’t happen often in Alabama, so we get pretty darn excited… as in cancel school and work for three days in anticipation of 3 to 4 inches of snow. True Story. No complaints from me though! Ryan and I have taken full advantage of a few unexpected days off and knocked out a lot of our to do list upstairs – particularly in the nursery.

When we found out we were having a girl, I knew that I didn’t want to paint the room floor to ceiling in pink. It’s not that I hate pink. I just don’t like pastel pink, which as you well know seems to be color of choice for baby girls, at least for big box baby stores. I mentioned here that I was thinking about turquoise and coral for our color scheme.

Nursery paint colors

Here’s a peak at what I am wanting the end product to look like, all for under $500 I might add (so far so good!).


Let’s hope that little Saffell doesn’t hate color :) So far we have purchased bead board and chair rail, material for a built in bookcase, a vintage Jenny Lind crib, a thrift store changing table, some fabric (shown above) and my parents very kindly ordered a comfy new glider for us as a baby gift. We will be using an antique dresser that I used through college in the nursery as well. How does a 25 year old own 5 dressers?!?!

Ryan and my Dad wrapped three of the four walls in bead board a few weekends ago, so next up was paint. Sample time! Not to be confused with hammer time….

Nursery paint samples

I even posted a little Instagram/Facebook poll a few weeks ago. My favorite actually got the least amount of votes! I think part of it was the fact I took this photo at night and all three colors look much greener here than they do in person. The colors show much truer in the photo above!


I ended up choosing Valspar Pillow Mint 5005-5 (far right) for the perimeter of the room and coral (Valspar La Fonda Flamenco Pink 2004-3B) for an accent wall behind the crib. Here is a sneak peak I posted on Instagram & Facebook yesterday!


Over the past three days Ryan and I have been able to finish painting the walls, prime and paint the built in & trim work, SCRUB the nasty windows, finish an art project, move all the nursery furniture upstairs, finish a little changing table re-do, sew an easy crib skirt, and start working on prepping the master bathroom for flooring. You read that right. FLOORING IN THE MASTER BATHROOM! It is supposed to be delivered tomorrow – fingers crossed snow and ice is not an issue!

How have you spent your snow days? Did you stare out the window all day yesterday like I did? Kidding. Not Kidding. I am very happy to be well ahead of our pre-baby schedule now!



ANNOUNCEMENT: We are wallpaper free!

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCMENT: There is officially ZERO wallpaper left in the Saffell Residence. ZERO! NOTTA! DONE. FOREVER! I have to refrain from telling strangers in the street that we are done scraping wallpaper.

Do you remember ALL the wallpaper? 6 Rooms with walls and ceilings covered in 4 to 5 layers of dirty, coal dust filled wallpaper. Let’s freshen our memories just for fun.

Dining-room-wallpaper-2 Bradley House laundry Bradley House laundry 2 copy IMG_0594 IMG_0592 IMG_0724 IMG_0730 Before termites

The last and only room left with wallpaper when we moved in last Summer was the master bedroom. For over six months, the room served us well as a storage and workshop space. With the addition of little Saffell coming in May, we knew it was time to stop ignoring the wallpaper, along with piles of sawdust and 100 years of dirt and grime, and turn the room into an actual master bedroom. You can read about some of our other baby prep here.IMG_3668

IMG_3667After about a month of scraping wallpaper off and on, most of which was Ryan (I clean & cook dinner, he scrapes wallpaper), the wallpaper is GONE! He was able to finish it up Monday, and it was glorious! Well, the wallpaper being gone was glorious, but the bright blue walls, trim, and ceiling were not.

Master bedroom_wallpaper free master bedroom ceiling_wallpaper free

Lovely, right? The poor lighting and grainy photos actually help masks the horrible paint color! The color may not be so bad if it wasn’t EVERYWHERE. Oh, and you may notice my little collage, accent wall going on in the photo above. More on that soon!

While I was in Birmingham yesterday for a baby shower, my Dad came and helped Ryan knock out priming the master bedroom. Kilz Original Primer = not for pregnant lady.

master-bedroom-primed-for-paint master-bedroom-primed master-bedroom-bead-board-primed

Boom! Blue Gone! Now I have to get to work on nailing down paint colors for the master bedroom. Hopefully I can make some decisions and pick up some samples this week!

What were you guys up to this weekend? Priming party? Not scraping wallpaper? Enjoying the artic blast we are experiencing in Alabama? It was 40 degrees yesterday, and I left the house without a coat. It felt like spring compared to recent temperatures!



Goals for 2014

First off, thanks for all of the love about the article, whether that was in person, social media or here! We love getting to bring some positive publicity to Merrimack Mill Village! I actually had a friend in Huntsville who contacted me about being interested in Merrimack when they start house hunting. MERRIMACK FOR THE WIN!

Anyways, any big New Year resolution makers out there? I am not really one to make resolutions, but I do think it is important to have goals and to reassess those from time to time. The beginning of the New Year (2014?!?!?!?!) seems like a pretty good time to do that, so I thought I would share a couple things that Ryan and I have on the horizon (hopefully) for this year!

House Related Goals

1. Welcome a healthy baby into the world. Like, I am going to have to give birth to another human. I am still processing that whole giving birth thing. I understand that my body was built to do just that, but it still kind of blows my mind. And, I can no longer say that NEXT year we will have a baby. T-minus 4 months and counting (due date somewhere between May 6 – 13). In case you missed it, we announced the gender here.

2. Have a place for the baby to sleep. That was probably an obvious one. The nursery is officially under way!

Upstairs Nusery progress

3. Have a place for us to sleep upstairs. No one wants to walk up and down the stairs in the middle of the night. We are hoping to wrap up wallpaper scrapping this month! *Fingers crossed*

Saffell master bedroom progress

4. Create a system for organizing our tools and supplies. We have accumulated quite the collection over the past two years, and the tools need a home. We are looking at 4-5 years before we can build a workshop out back, so we need a long term solution we can both live with. We are currently considering using the downstairs unfinished bathroom as an indoor shed.

5. Purge our access stuff (SO. MUCH. STUFF).

6. Be better stewards with our gifts. We have been thinking a lot lately about what Jesus would live like if he lived in America right now. I am pretty sure he would live very differently than the typical middle class and upper middle class family. It is something we are wrestling with.

7. Consume less stuff. Obviously, we have to consume things like food, cleaning supplies, and hygiene items, but we can limit A LOT of other categories like clothes, house hold goods, and baby stuff. By consuming less, we can spend money on things that matter AND reduce our carbon foot print.

8. Buy used goods more. I do shop at thrift stores and craig’s list a good bit for stuff around the house, but we could definitely spend a little more time trying to buy other things second hand (clothes, tools, baby stuff).

9. Give more – Money, house stuff, and time.

10. Create a healthy and active lifestyle for our growing family. We already consider ourselves to be healthy eaters, but there is always room for improvement. We really want to do a better job of shopping local (as well as grow our own garden) and buy grass-fed beef and free range chickens. Thank you Food, Inc. for that.

What are you guys hoping to accomplish this year? Any goals for around the house or for your family? I would love to hear!



New Year, New Happenings

If you are here from the article, welcome! Hope you will stay a while! You can see what the house first looked like when we bought it on the Home Tour page at the top. Enjoy!

Happy New Year copy

Happy New Year y’all! In honor of the new year, I decided to give the blog a little freshen up. What do you think? I am hoping to make a few other changes in the coming weeks to make browsing around easier. *Fingers crossed*

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year. Ryan and I announced some pretty exciting news to our friends and family Christmas Day. Maybe you can guess based on what we are wearing?

Christmas 2013

In case the pink doesn’t give it away, we will be welcoming a little girl into our family this Spring! Bring on the dresses and hair bows! And sewing machine. It is time for this lady to master some sewing skills because cute dresses are EXPENSIVE!

Baby Prep_girl

We have made a few small purchases, even a few things for the nursery, but nothing too crazy yet. We have also had a few friends graciously give us a few things. Free maternity clothes = awesome. My friends rock! I did pick up some sample chips for the nursery this week, so that was pretty exciting! You could probably guess,  we won’t be doing the traditional pastel pink or blue nursery décor. Right now I thinking of a turquoise and coral color scheme, with black, white, and apple green accents. I am hoping to narrow the colors down this weekend and purchase a few samples!

Nursery paint colors

I will share more nursery plans soon!

Another new happening today – we were chosen by The Huntsville Times for their series Cool Spaces. It was also kind of a “where are they now?” article. You can find the first article here. Can you believe it has been 8  since the first article?!?! Crazy town. The article went live today and the photos are amazing! We even managed to not look completely stupid in our video interview! Yay! You can check out the article, photos, and video here.


So what is new with you guys this year? Anything exciting going on in your world? House projects? Baby News? Know any local news celebrities?? ;)



Baby Prepping

Hey there strangers! I am back from my pregnant-must-go-to-bed-at-8pm-blogging-break :) I can now successfully go to bed at 9:30 or 10 pm without wanting to kill anyone the following day. Victory! It is nice to feel normal again!

While the blogging break was much needed, I have missed getting to document and share our house progress. Blogging about our progress is a really easy way to stay motivated and see that we HAVE made progress. When working on a long term renovation, it is really easy to get a in rut and feel like you aren’t making progress. Being able to look back at just a few months ago and actually SEE what you accomplished is much needed, at least for us!

Anyways, Ryan and I have been working on getting ready for little Saffell as far as the house and our finances. Our first focus was actually on getting our finances in order for life on one income. I will be leaving the work force in April (woot woot!), and my new job will be Lead Domestic & Childcare Coordinator at the Saffell residence (aka stay at home wife and mom). We are very thankful that we have the option to do make one income work! It is something that we have planned for since before we even got married. It was a big reason we decided to buy a fixer-upper. We wanted a house big enough for a family of 5 or 6, still be able to afford it on Ryan’s income alone, AND pay it off in 20 years instead of 30.  Some might say we had lofty goals!!

Even though we have been planning for life on one income, we still had a few changes to make. One was ditching one of our car payments, so we sold Ryan’s beloved truck.


We were able to sell the truck, pay off the small remaining balance and purchase a new-to-us SUV with cash. Hurray!!! The SUV has the same amount of miles on it as the truck did, so we made a pretty equal trade as far as longevity is concerned (so we hope). We have a few more changes to make to the budget like cellphone plans and probably ditching cable, but getting rid of the truck was a big one!

Now, onto the house baby prep. Our two biggest goals are getting the nursery and the master bedroom done. Any progress we can make to the master bath is just a bonus!

Our nursery still pretty much looks like this, with the exception of a crib (yard-sale purchase) and small changing table (Goodwill).


The master bedroom is definitely the bigger task. Do you remember what it looked like? Let’s freshen your memory.


Yikes. Salvaged goods stashed in every corner. Wallpaper on the walls and ceiling. Massive amounts of saw dust. Tools everywhere. 27 paint cans. Dirt. Lots and lots of dirt.

Well, we have made some progress and the room now looks like this.

IMG_3668 IMG_3667 IMG_3666 IMG_3665 IMG_3664

EMPTY! This room has not been empty since we bought the house!! It’s like there is another half a house upstairs :)

We have even started tackling the wallpaper. By we I mean my brother. Isn’t he a trooper?


I believe removing wallpaper is mine and Ryan’s main agenda for today. Fun!! Hopefully I will have some progress to share in that department after the Holidays!

Another update we will be sharing next week is the GENDER OF LITTLE SAFFELL! We go to the doctor Monday, and will make the big announcement Christmas day! Merry Christmas to us :)



The Expansion (not house related)

Well folks, the Saffells are expanding, and I am not talking about the house.


We are PREGNANT! *Insert happy-anxious-shocked-is-this-really-happening-face-here* Yes, I took two, just in case the first lied. It didn’t. If you are friends and family who know us in real life (as apposed to blog land) you probably have already heard the news, from us, my mother, or Facebook. We went public with the news last week once successfully making it past the twelve week mark.

Our due date is currently May 13th! The first trimester hasn’t been too miserable. I had a few weeks of all day yuckiness, but I didn’t actually get sick all that often. I have gone to bed between 8 and 9 pm (hence the lack of blogging) the past eight weeks. No judging. I went to bed last week at 10:30 and the following the day I thought I was GOING. TO. DIE.

Dear Energy, you are welcome back now. now. NOW. PLEASE COME BACK ENERGY!

You may be thinking, “Oh, so did you guys finish the upstairs without telling us?” Um. No. It looks like this at the moment.


Two bedrooms upstairs are now empty with carpet. One is even painted! We still haven’t touched the master bedroom. I won’t even show you pictures but I kind of freak out when I think about everything we need to do.

I do have some things to share with you. Here is a sneak peek of Ryan’s handy work.


Hopefully I will have energy to share stuff with you soon!



Quick Festive Fun

When I saw Layla’s quick little Halloween craft (you can see it here) a few weeks ago, I got inspired to whip up this little mason jar craft!



Quick + Easy + Almost Free = CRAFT GOLD!

Here are the supplies you need: Mason jar (or a clean empty can would work, too), gauze, hot glue, googly eyes, and a candle of some sort.


So, all you do is wrap the gauze around the jar to your desire, tuck the ends of the gauze in and add a dab of hot glue if need be. Next, create a spot for eyes and attach with hot glue. TA-DA! You are done! One not-really-spooky-mummy-or-ghost-Halloween-decor.




There is another new addition to our porch as well. Meet Cat.




I think she just likes sleeping on a pretty porch. And my mom feeds her. It is probably the latter.

October 024

Has anyone else whipped up some quick Halloween crafts lately? You can see A TON over on The Lettered Cottage’s fall craft link up from a few weeks ago. Anyone working on a really sweet Halloween Costume? I would love to hear!







Salvage Score: Baseboards

Happy Tuesday, folks! I hope you had a nice weekend. We spent ours in Kentucky for Ryan’s 10 year high school reunion. *cough*cough*someone is gettting old*cough*cough* It was fun, but a little exhausting to be honest!

If you swung by our party a few weeks ago, you may have noticed a few things that haven’t popped up on the blog yet. One big thing is BASEBOARDS! There is no longer a gap around the edge of our living and dining room, woot woot!

We scored these from Southern Accents a while back. What is really cool is that we actually got the see the house the baseboards were going to be pulled from before we bought them. Ryan and I were rummaging through the back warehouse of Southern Accents when Garlan (the owner) remembered a salvage job they had coming up. He gave us instructions on where to find the house, a set keys, and off we went. SO COOL! A few minutes later we were pulling up to this beauty.


This is the Hays House in Cullman, Alabama. The house was built in 1901 by Dr. Luther Hays and his wife. A few years ago the house was acquired by the Cullman County Preservation Society with hopes that the house would become their new head quarters, but it suffered serious damage from the tornadoes in April 2011. The society attempted to sell the house, but there were no takers. You can read more about the home and salvage mission here on Southern Accents blog.

We took one look at the base boards and promptly said SOLD! Since they weren’t going to start salvaging the house for another week or so, we made a second trip back two weeks later to pick them up.


The base boards are HUGE! We ended up having to trim off 2″ so it wasn’t taller than the plinth blocks downstairs, bringing the height to 9 1/2″ tall. These things are BEEFY for sure.


Before installing the base board, we spent a lovely afternoon pulling nails. So. Much. Fun. Not.


Actually, I am pretty sure it was two or three afternoons, but it was well worth it. The base boards were a combination of painted and stained. We used the stained base board in the powder room and the rest (combo of painted and stained) through out living room and dining room.

Baseboard-in-powder baseboard_powder-bath

We plan on leaving them stained in the powder room and painting everything in the living and dining room. One day. If anyone has a hankering for priming and painted base board, come on over!

So, what do you think? Have you had any salvage scores lately? Who hasn’t been to Southern Accents? Anyone want to come prime and paint?!?!?!?!

Have a good week!


Quick thank you!

Hey strangers! Forgive me for not getting to my computer much this week. I was a little under the weather for the first part of the week (thank you stomach bug) and spent the second half catching up on life stuff. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who came by last Saturday to our Open House party! We had such a nice time seeing everyone.


We spent the weekend with my family and friends in Tuscaloosa cheering on the Crimson Tide. It was Homecoming, so that is always fun.


I will confess that I would have appreciated cooler weather. Eight-five degrees in October, really Alabama? REALLY? I am so ready to pullout my boots and sweaters, but the weather won’t let me! I have decided to break out the fall decorations this week even if the weather still feels like summer! At least the leaves are starting to fall in Merrimack, so it LOOKS like fall even if it doesn’t feel like it.


Have a good week! Peace. Brittney