DIY Rustic Barstools

One of my favorite places to go is Fredericksburg. If you aren’t familiar, it’s a small German town in Texas that has amazing scenery, fun things to do, and great shopping. Most of the shops are pretty similar to our style- rustic, western, and classic. I like to think of our style as Texas Hill Country, with a touch of glam.
Each time I’m in a shop with furniture there, I’m soaking it all in. The pieces are beautifully made, usually with a wood stain and a lot of times with animal hide. The only thing not exciting is the prices!

We have a small bar in our house that we love to sit at. Jake and I wanted rustic barstools, but the ones we have seen usually run about $650 bare minimum a piece.  That’s $1,300 for two. One day, I was walking through a little antique shop on my lunch break, and I found these:
They had great lines and a rustic shape (I loved the Texas star) but they needed a lot of TLC. I called Jake because I knew I’d need help on this one, and he agreed, so I snapped them up, negotiated the price down and brought them home.
The chairs had multiple layers of paint (black, red, and blue) very thickly glopped on. We (mostly Jake) worked with a paint stripper and tons of sandpaper and finally got that bare wood. (I should note, this project was taken on pre-pregnancy, but I'm just now posting on the blog!) After a stain job, they were starting to have that classic rustic look.

They had nearly neon red vinyl seats, so I reupholstered the seats with an axis hide I sourced from Craigslist for a steal. The hide was just barely large enough to cover both seats, as they are pretty large, but I scrimped and made it work. It was my first go with upholstery with hide, and it went well! I must say, though, it’s much harder to upholster with hide than with fabric. All in all, after some hard work, we got our dream barstools for much less.
In the above photo the hide upholstery looks wrinkled, but I believe it's the angle of the photo showing the individual hairs. It's smooth in person.
And here's a side by side:
They're very comfortable, and we love the look. I also love having something special we made together for our home.


Full Bathroom Reno: Mirrors, Vanity, and Moving More Pipes

We left off with all new electrical in the bathroom, and a vent pipe moved. The vent pipe had to be moved for the electrical, so the new vanity light could go where it needed to go to be centered. You can see the newly moved black vent pipe and the new light locations below. The light on the left has a new fixture already installed, and the one on the right doesn't. It simply has the bracket and mounting hardware, since we knew we would have to remove the light again as soon as we put up sheetrock. The one on the left is installed temporarily so we had some sort of light while we worked.

Although we were thankful to have all of these problems solved, a new problem was discovered. Unless we seriously rerouted some pipes, we could not have the mirrored medicine cabinets I picked out. After much discussion, we opted to leave the pipes as they were, and purchase a new vanity that would be configured to double sinks for better storage, and use flat mirrors without medicine cabinets.

I was honestly not pleased at all about that at first. I thought our vanity was fine, and it was a shame to buy a new one. But, we forged on and shopped around and purchased a shiny new vanity online, and had it shipped to our local store. The vanity has drawers in the middle and cabinets on the outside, so it is better suited for double sinks.

When we got the vanity in, we placed it in the bathroom just to see, and it was stunning. I withdraw any negative thoughts or comments I had on purchasing a new vanity because it is a million times nicer than what was in there. The craftsmanship is stunning, it's professionally finished, the layout is better, and it even has soft close drawers. My favorite feature might be all of the trim and molding- it looks more like a furniture piece. I'll show that soon.

Unfortunately, it presented a new problem. I'm learning that in (major) DIY, things almost never go as you planned. The new problem was that now there were different pipes that needed to be moved. The drain pipe and water pipe both intersected with the drawers in the new vanity.

In the photos you can see that the two pipes on the left interfere with the drawer area. When we purchased the piece, we thought there would be enough room behind the drawers, but there just isn't.

Due to being in a rush to complete the bathroom, mostly due to our baby on the way, Jake suggested just hiring a plumber to move the pipes. I called over 14 plumbers and contractors, and no one could get it done. That is a story for another day, but I can simply say, I am incredibly disappointed so far with my personal experience with contractors/plumbers.

Even though these particular plumbing issues were things Jake had never dealt with before, he decided to attempt it after our negative experience with contractors/plumbers. As I mentioned in my 29 Thoughts on Thankfulness post, this is one of the things I love most about him. He can literally do anything that he puts his mind to. Anything. He will work hard and figure it out. And, the proof is in the pudding! It took him a couple of nights but he got the pipes moved. The time he spent was only an hour or so, but the pipes were so old that it took several soaking sessions with WD40.

You can see in the photos the pipe to the far left was routed to go straight out, and the middle pipe was rotated to also go straight out. With these changes, our vanity now works in place! Next up, drywall.


Full Bathroom Reno: Electrical, Vanity, and Moving a Vent Pipe

As I mentioned in the last bathroom post, I didn't get detailed photos of all of the steps due to baby on the way. A lot of these steps were taken when I still was not feeling well, so my thought process was not on taking photos and documenting!

Once we decided to remove the mirrors, Jake asked his brother-in-law to help. His brother in law works in glass and mirrors, so he would be able to remove it much safer than we could. He came over and removed them pretty quickly, and we were left with a very ugly wall. I wish I had pictures of the wall at this point, but imagine it with huge 5 inch diameter glue spots and chunks of drywall missing. We also discovered that there used to be two medicine cabinets, one in the middle and one on the left side wall, as there were holes for them in the drywall.

At this point, the only option was to completely remove the existing drywall and replace it. It was just too damaged. On the bright side, this meant it would be a lot easier to install new electrical. I asked my dad to help with the electrical, since Jake nor I had done it before, and he was very experienced.

He came over and installed two new outlet boxes, quadrupling our number of outlets in the bathroom. We had just one single outlet with two plugs, and he had the brilliant idea of making each outlet four plugs, in addition to adding the new outlet box. I was so excited I was jumping around with glee! He also replaced our vent fan, which has never worked since we moved in. It worked, I suppose, but it made this horrendous noise when you turned it on, so we just never used it. He also updated the light switch and vent fan switch to more modern rocker switches. I have a difficult time saying what I was most excited about- probably all of it. I switched the vent fan on and off for days just to listen to the quiet hum. Also, now all of our outlets were a new, crisp, clean white, as opposed to the older almond color.

The next step was to convert the single vanity light into a double vanity light, which had it's own set of problems. As with all DIY projects, you never know what's lurking behind the walls. In this case, we had a vent pipe in the way.

In the photo above, the black vent pipe had already been moved. The issue was the vent pipe came straight down where the arrow points, instead of curving to the left. Jake and my dad managed to move the pipe over one stud, to allow for the vanity light to be centered.
The processed described in this post took a few different days to complete, but boy is it all worth it!