My $1000 Bathroom Renovation on a Budget

By Katie

2 years ago we bought an old house.  Old and ramshackle.  Old and dirty.  Old and dilapidated.

You get the idea.

But the point of this post was not to disparage my house.  It was to tell you that we have 2 bathrooms.  Both were kinda unpleasant.

My story is about the the upstairs bathroom which is a full bath that had a glass partition sliding door for the shower.  No matter how I cleaned it, it was dirty.  Mildew and crud and nastiness were in all the crevices and I couldn’t get it out.

Will decided to take the partition down, completely out of the blue, after I complained about how gross it was for 14 months.

The change was incredible.  Unfortunately, you will have to take my word for it because I didn’t take before pictures because I was convinced that the bathroom could never been improved.  Just call me Mrs. Optimistic.

After it was removed, I decided we should do a bathroom makeover, just real quick-like.  My parameters were that a) it would be done by the end of August (2017) and b) we wouldn’t tackle any other home reno project until it was finished.

It is now April 2018, and we have refloored and repainted our entire upstairs and {almost} completed the twins room.   We are real good at setting down limits and following them.

(This is why I always have a million projects going on that never get completed by their deadline. )

Anyways.  I also wanted to do the whole project for $1000.   We weren’t going to change the tub surround or the vanity, but everything else got a makeover.

Here are the before pics:


Ok – so kinda before.  More middle-of-starting-the-update pictures.  (Our whole house was a variation of those 2 greens.   Sometime the walls would be the darker green and the trim the lighter green.  Sometime it would be vice-versa.  It has made painting wonderful because the improvement is immediate.)

The bathroom was a Jack-and-Jill to our bedroom which we closed off because there were doors every where and no wall space.  Wall space is useful in both bedrooms and bathrooms.  That’s your free tip for the day.



We bought new bathtub fixtures and toilet – both are water savers which is a money saver (and water conservation is just a good idea.)  We redid the floor for obvious reasons; the other floor was pretty beat up.   We got the floor from Action flooring, a local flooring company.  We choose a high quality floor that was on sale, because that’s how I shop: the best quality for the cheapest money 🙂


I painted the vanity with chalk paint in Valspar Indigo Ink from Lowes.   It took a bit of work, and I put a lot of layers of wax on it because kids, but I love the result. The handles are from The Home Depot.

20180314_125925 edit

The light fixture was found on   I quite like Wayfair, though there is a ton of choice, which can be daunting.

I almost blew the budget on Wayfair though because I couldn’t find brackets that I liked for my shelving, so I ordered these.  They are nice but at $27 a pop they added $108 to my bottom line.  But when Will and I were at Ikea buying crib because we have 2 babies (maybe you haven’t heard?), I found these for $2 a bracket!   Its definitely worth saving $100 to have wood  brackets instead of cast iron ones.   Will agreed.  (He doesn’t really care about design choices, but he cares about budget choices.)


The shelving is from a local timber yard called Cards.  I first got behemoth pieces of cedar and then, after I got home, realized I had a small bathroom .  I went back and got these pieces of ash for $5.  The cedar shelving was used the in the twins room, which is slightly larger then the bathroom.

I found the towel racks and toilet paper holder from Amazon.  The mirror was a Home Sense find.


And I got this little stool from Home Sense.   This was to save my handles from kids climbing on them.  And its cute.

So did I stay on budget?  You bet your buttons I did!

Floor – $200

Toilet – $120

Light – $140

Paint – $50

Water fixtures – $166

Towel Racks – $60

Mirror – $70

Cabinet Pulls – $42

Shelving – $5

Brackets $10

Extras – $100

Total: $962

The extras include the shower curtain, the cute stool and some decor.

The nice thing about projects taking 8 months is that you can really shop sales.  That helped me to stay in my budget.  Its also nice because things you thought you absolutely needed to do, (i.e. paint the counter top) you realize that, nah, you really don’t.

I am so happy with my nice and clean bathroom.  I make all my guests use it, because the downstairs one looks like something out of a horror film.  Or a really old house.



Zoe’s Room

by Kara


I’ve been meaning to do a post on Zoe’s room for a while now. Now that we are maybe almost possibly moving, I guess its a good idea to write about it before she’s in a new room.

Zoe’s room is by far my favourite room in my house. Its bright, neat, and girly, and it was so much fun to decorate!

Before it became “Zoe’s Room”, this room was an odd conglomeration of office, guest room, and storage area. It was – I forget what colour the walls were. Green? Yellow? Brown? I’m sure my husband would remember. All I remember is that it was dark, and it had a very faded carpet covering a beautiful wood floor. When I found out I was pregnant, it became my mission to empty the room of all its old furniture and turn it into a beautiful nursery. At 22 weeks, I found out I was having a girl, and the design ideas began.

After the room was emptied, my husband tore out the old carpet. Since there were some areas where the wood had been painted, we had to paint the floor, rather than stain it. We chose a very light grey, and I love the final effect. It makes the whole room bright and airy. We painted the walls a light purple. All the furniture is white, and there are dark grey curtains that match the dark grey and yellow rug. The walls are decorated simply: A canvas print above the book shelf, a shelf of frames above the change table, and some wood prints above the crib.

img_20170819_1649581.jpgMy favourite piece of furniture in Zoe’s room is this shelf. I’ve always wanted one of these Ikea shelves, and I love it in this room. Its so organized. The black boxes are filled with blankets, shoes, hats, bibs, dolls, and teddies. I plan on filling the top shelves with books as we build up our collection.

I also love the canvas print and picture frames above  the shelf. I got the canvas print from Winners after Zoe was born. It is a perfect match for our colour scheme. The picture frames were purchased soon after our first ultrasound as I was searching for the perfect frame for the ultrasound pictures. As you can see, they’re both still empty. I wound up getting a simple white frame for the ultrasound pictures, which is still sitting on the shelf above the change table.



I decided not to get an actual ‘change table’, but rather to use a small dresser. This way, when I no longer need a change table, Zoe can still use the little dresser.

The black shelf beside the change table is filled with disposable diapers and wipes. At home, I use cloth diapers which are stored in the top drawer of the dresser.




Decorating Zoe’s room was a big project for me when I was pregnant. A lot of people told me just to do it after she was born, since she would be sleeping in my room for a while at first and wouldn’t care where she was sleeping afterwards. But it was important for me that this room be ready to welcome our baby. Its true that I didn’t use the change table for the first 2 weeks of her life, and she did sleep in our room until she was 5 months old. But I loved knowing that she had a place in our home, a beautiful room where I could put her down for a nap or where we could sit on a rocking chair reading books.



The Story of a Stump

By Katie

20170825_081604 (1)

A while ago I found this great stump.  I can’t remember where it was, but when I found it, I thought, “That’s a great stump.  I like that stump.  I will make something with that stump.”

So I took the stump home.

The stump was rather rough, so I took a palm sander to it.  I started with a 40 grit sandpaper and slowly moved up to a 200 grit to get a nice, smooth finish.  All said and done, it took me about 3 hours of sanding to get it smooth.  I had enough for the day so I put the stump in Will’s shop.

Some time passed.

Fall came.

Atticus was born.

Christmas, spring, summer, fall, Atticus’ first birthday, Christmas, spring.

Vivien was born.

We finished our house renos. Christmas again.

We listed our house.  We sold our house.  We bought a new house.

Will asked, “are we taking this stump with us?”

Of course we are!!  Thats my current work-in-progress, dude!

We moved.  We settled in.

Will organized his shop.  And asked, “Are you ever going to do anything with this stump?”

I told him to stop pressuring me.

We took a family trip to Habitat for Humanity.  I found 3 castors  (they didn’t have 4, boo!)  for $2.  I bought them for my stool.  Will laughed at me.

We found out we were expecting twins.

Summer came again.

20170824_092550Then one day, I was returning a pair of pliers to the shop and saw my stump.  And I thought to myself.  This is the day.  This is the day that my stump turns into something more than a stump.  This is the day that my stump achieves its destiny.  The sun shone through the window on my stump and I heard a choir singing.  (I did actually think of my stump achieving its destiny.  I have a rather melodramatic mind. However, it was overcast so there was no sun, and there was no choir either.  Though, if I win the lottery that I never play, maybe I will hire one to follow me around to sing in concert with my melodramatic thoughts.)

So my stump came inside to my work table.    I knew I had a bit of dark brown stain from a previous project that I thought would look good.    I used a piece of an old sheet to wipe the stain on because I didn’t have cheese cloth, or stain cloth on hand.  And we always use an old sheet for these sorts of things.  It works.

20170823_162923 I did 3 coats of Saman Colonial stain.  It’s a very watery stain.  Will hates using it but I don’t mind it, but I probably won’t choose this brand again.  Miniwax is a much nicer stain to work with.

Since I was planning on using my stump as a stool/side table, it needed to be wipable and stain-proof, so I did 3 coats of laquer as well.  I had a bit left of this left over from a previous project as well.  It dries nice and hard so I knew it would be perfect for my stump.

The last step was the castors.  It would be easy to balance it if I had 4, but I only had 3, which made it less easy.  It was even less easy to achieve balance because the stump was oval shaped, not circular.

My well-placed castors

But I prevailed.  I marked out the centre point and drew a circle around it.  The theory is that in order to achieve balance, you have to have your castors on the 3 points of an equilateral triangle.  So I marked out those positions and screwed in my castors.  (I only did one screw in each, because I figured I would be moving them)  There was one side that was really tippy so I moved all the castors to try counter-balancing it.  There was still some serious tippage, but I didn’t think moving the castors equidistantly would help.  I moved one castor to try balance the tip and it worked!  So my castors do not form an equilateral triangle, but I have a tip-free stool, so a win for me and a lose for math!  (Just kidding,  I realize that if I did math equations that took into consideration the weight, height and shape of the stump, I would come up with the prime location for the castors.  But I didn’t want to, partially because I didn’t know how to, partially because it was getting late.)

I took my stool to our living room.  I set a cup of coffee on it.  I tried to take a picture, but they were fuzzy, so I waiting until daylight was coming in the windows.


That’s the story of my stool.  My project that took 4 years, 4 kids, 2 houses and numerous jabs from Will, but I got it done.



If you have any small, easy projects that you want done with absolutely no time-line at all, let me know.  I’ll get it done for you.  Maybe.


My First Furniture DIY

by Kara


Last week, I did my first ever furniture DIY: a dining room table. It turned out great!


Our old dining room table had come with our house, and it was old! Not only that, my ever-fidgeting fingers had picked at the table top until strips of the veneer had peeled off. It always had to be covered with a table cloth, which was a Giant Tiger deal that was too big and never stayed centered. It drove me crazy.

Our new table was given to me my by sister-in-law. She had used it when she was first married and had intended to give it a face lift, but had never gotten around to it. She said that if I wanted to redo it, I could have it. Not only that, she said I could work on it in her garage. And so, I went over to her house for two or three days, and I sanded the table down to the pine.

That was nearly 6 months ago. When I was 8+ months pregnant. But when my due date came and went, I decided to stay home and [patiently] await the birth of my daughter. And after my daughter was born, every time I went to visit my sister-in-law it turned into a cup of tea and a long afternoon of chatting, instead of the work dates that we had planned. And so my beloved table sat in her garage for days, weeks, and months.

Last Wednesday, my husband made the 20 minute trek to pick the table up. He brought it home late that evening, and Thursday morning I finally began to stain it. I chose a


The MinWax stain and polyurethane.


dark walnut stain. It was the premixed MinWax stain from Canadian tire, since it was cheap and easy to choose the colour I liked (they had samples of what it looked like on different woods). I love the end result! I did three coats of stain, with 4 hours in between each coat. The can said to use either cheesecloth or a brush; I used cheese cloth, since I felt that would be easier to apply smoothly. It worked quite well, but I was very glad for my rubber gloves! I had to buy cheesecloth anyways to ‘wipe off any excess’ stain after it was applied. Friday, I began to apply the polyurethane finish. Again, I used the MinWax brand from Canadian Tire. The application of polyurethane was slightly more difficult, since it required a light sanding in between each coat. I started with a sponge brush, as suggested on the can, but found that it did not apply smoothly. For the third coat I used the cheesecloth again, which worked much better for me!

In between the staining and the polyurethane-ing, I painted the legs of the table white. I had some of the Behr paint & primer mix in Ivory Palace from when I painted the trim in our house. This went on nicely. Again, I did three coats.

The table was stained, varnished, painted, and dry by 11:30 on Saturday morning. My husband had removed our old dining room table, and I dusted and vacuumed the dining room to make it ready for its newest piece of furniture. The table looks perfect, and I no longer have to deal with a slippery table cloth. All in all, I love the finished product! I’m now looking for two shelves that I can stain & paint to match the table. Hopefully, those will be my next project; but I’m picky, so we may be waiting a while.


Dax’s Nursery

by Vicki

Dax Isaiah was born on February 18th. So naturally that means we started renovating his nursery in July. Its not like you get 9 months notice about an upcoming baby, right?

Our “before” picture.

This little room started out as Peyton’s “Big Girl” bedroom. It was pink and grey, had a TON of things hanging on the wall, and boasted a bejeweled chandelier. It was cutesy and comfortable for my little “big” girl. When we found out we were having another baby my brain went into overdrive designing a combined girl/boy room for my two ‘bigs’ to share. I went monochrome and we love it! Its a fun room where Chase and Peyton spend many hours playing and a few hours sleeping. Peyton eventually will be moving back into the little room once Dax is out of his crib (so, like four years from now, because Dax is going to stay my baby for as long as possible!).

Once Chase and Peyton’s room was finished I turned my attention to the nursery. I turned to everybody’s favorite site, Pinterest, and starting pinning to my heart’s delight. I started out with way.too.many.ideas. And, if I’m being honest, I still have way.too.many.ideas. The problem with Pinterest is that everything looks so good! And, the problem with me is that I want to do all.the.things. You can check out my Nursery Pinterest board here to see just some of the ideas that I liked!

Currently I feel like my design style is a mix of Scandinavian, Farmhouse, and Minimalism (I’m failing at minimalism, but I love the concept!). With this nursery I think I started out with a Scandinavian dream – whites, wood tones, minimalistic, character pieces, a pop of deep colour, and greenery. I think I am ending up with a more of a Farmhouse Comfort vibe. Both are good vibes with similarities but they definitely have a different end result.

An “in progress” picture of the shiplap being put up.

I have wanted a shiplap wall in my home since the very first time I watched “Fixer Upper” on HGTV. A simple white wall but with texture and character? Yes, please! So shiplap was a must in our little nursery room.  Shiplap is definitely more of a Farmhouse look but I thought I could keep it Scandinavian through my other choices: paint colour, furniture, and wall decoration. I think where I veered from the Scandinavian approach was in my choice of white. Haha! My husband thinks I am crazy but I could talk about different whites for hours. In fact, I brought home about 25 different white paint chips and stared at them for days trying to pick the “perfect” white. Mark was pretty sure they were mostly the same and thought it was ridiculous that our renovation was paused just to choose the right white. Instead of following my gut and choosing straight up white (like I have in our bathroom and bedroom) I chose Bakery Box by Behr Paints. Its a beautiful soft white with a blue undertone. And I love it. But it is not a Scandinavian (look at me throwing that word around as if I really know what it means!) white. It is a Farmhouse white.

Wall painted (I’ll need to get a better picture of the paint colour), rug down, blind installed, and crib about to be put up.

So that is where I am today. We have the room shiplapped and painted. We purchased a rug from Ikea and laid it down today. We hung a wood blind in the window. We set up the white Ikea crib. We placed the green/blue/grey change table/dresser in the room. And then I stood and stared. I have a couple of other pieces that have been purchased for the room but I didn’t go ahead with hanging or placing them today. The room has taken on a new direction and I have to see where it takes me. I think that is probably the best way to describe my decorating style. I start out with an idea, get sidetracked along the way, adjust a couple of times, and ultimately let the room decide what its going to look like.

I am happy with our progress but I am excited to get this room finished. I’ll probably spend next week pinteresting, online window shopping, discussing with anyone who will listen, and ultimately deciding on a direction. So, an end is in sight!

Dax supervising the progress today.

Even though this room isn’t complete, Dax will be spending his first night in his new nursery tonight. I know that this will be good for both him and me. We currently co-sleep (which I LOVE and I believe it does amazing things in regards to bonding – maybe a post for another day!) but I know that we have come to a point where we need our own space so that we can sleep better. I would be lying though, if I said I wouldn’t tear up tonight after putting him down. Its just another indication that my baby is growing up. I’m pretty sure he’ll be in university tomorrow when I wake up…

I’ll be sharing pictures of the finished nursery (probably) in September, so keep following to see how it all comes together. If you have any ideas or inspiration for me please leave a comment!!!



VGrootheest Fam Group 2016 Sep 17_87

This is us.

Vicki, Katie, Kara, Danielle.

Most of these pictures were taken by Rita Zietsma Photography . Even though they were taken less than 1 year ago some of them are already out of date – our family is definitely in “baby stage”! I guess we’ll have to book another session sooner than later.

VGrootheest Fam Danielle 2016 Sep 17_21

Hi! I’m Danielle. The oldest daughter – the leader of the clan. Well, at least in theory.

I am married to a wonderful man and we have been blessed with four children. Our days are filled with baseball, soccer, crafts, reading, and fort building.

After staying home with my kids for the past 8 years I am beginning a new chapter in my life – that of a working mom. When our three oldest return to school this September I will be right there with them – as a part time teacher in the grade one classroom.

I hope you enjoy reading about our life,  thoughts, and antics.

VGrootheest Fam Katie 2016 Sep 17_2

Hi.  My name is Katie.

I am the coffee of Three Teas and a Coffee.

I love coffee, reading, gardening, plants and my family.   Not necessarily in that order, though it depends on the day  😀

We are a family of 6, though 2 of us are still in-utero.   I believe my 2 unborn children are no less my children then my born children, which is why they already count.

My husband, will is a carpenter; which is good, because we tend to buy old, run-down houses that need a lot of work.   We are currently renovating our second home.  I am currently thinking why on earth anyone would do this once, let alone twice.  Just kidding.  I enjoy it.  Most of the time.

Atticus (3.5) is my first born. He is a ball of energy, loves the outside, loves books almost as much as his mama and loves to eat.  He loves the animals we have accumulated so far, and is constantly asking for more. Vivien (2) is my second born.  She is fiercely independent, until she isn’t.  She loves ferociously, which means the animals try to avoid her.  She is a nonstop ball of energy, until she’s not.  When she is tired, she lays down. As I said the twins are still in-utero.   I will let you know their personalities once they make them known.

Thank you for reading this and I hope you find this blog interesting.

VGrootheest Fam Vicki 2016 Sep 17_54 - Copy

Hi! I’m Vicki.

I’m married to my highschool sweetheart, Mark. He’s a stone mason, a member of our church’s worship team, an avid sports fan, a truly amazing father to our children, and my best friend (I’m the sappy sister!). We have three children – Peyton (4), Chase (3), and Dax (6 months). Our kids are each unique and special, and we thank God daily for blessing us with them.

Dax joined the family after our photoshoot. He has been the best fifth addition to our little family!

I enjoy being a mom, visiting with friends, having a clean and tidy house, playing games, eating good food, watching HGTV, decorating (and redecorating) the rooms in my little home, Summer days, camping, snuggles on the couch with any of my three kiddos (and maybe my husband), listening (and dancing) to worship music withe my kids, and learning more about my Jesus.

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me and my sisters!

VGrootheest Fam Kara 2016 Sep 17_71

I’m Kara, the youngest of the four.

I am married to a farmer who plans to attend seminary and become a pastor. His name is Tsjibbe, pronounced ‘Chibba’, and we have a beautiful baby girl named Zoe.

Zoe joined the family after the photoshoot as well. She is such a joy to our little (and big) family.

I recently finished by Bachelor of Arts with a major in Psychology and a minor in Theatre Arts.  Although I hope to one day return to school to get my Masters, right now I am a happy SAHM.

I love to bake and cook. I also enjoy knitting, crocheting, and sewing, although each of these hobbies are often neglected for months at a time.

I love writing, and am looking forward to writing for this blog!