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We arrived home from vacation to a busted pipe on the second floor. Before we could even unpack, we were forced to deal with water damage.   This was my office before the flood.

This is my office afterwards.

The first call I made was to the insurance company to file a claim.  The second call was to our tried and true plumber.  Our plumber diagnosed the problem as a failed water pressure valve that sent too much pressure through the plumbing system causing a bad pipe to fail.  PSA – the plumber told us:  you should replace your water pressure valve at the same interval you replace your water heater.  

Our plumber replaced the water pressure valve and repaired the leaky pipe.  Unfortunately, all of our pipes were ‘bad’, so to speak, because they were polybutylene.  A quick Google search will educate you on the nightmare that polybutylene pipes are.   A quick search also led me to Plumbing Express as polybutylene pipe removers in our area.  Plumbing Express can completely replace ALL the plumbing in your home in just a few days.

Jasmin, the plumber,  removed all of the nightmare plastic pipes and replaced them with copper in just 2 days.  Of course, you could also choose to have cPVC or PEX piping installed too.  [Here is a handy chart to help you with the decision.]  I don’t know a lot about plumbing but I could tell Jasmin is a professional with a keen attention to detail. I was mesmerized by the blow torch and welding.

copper pipes

As you can imagine, replacing pipes involves a lot of cuts in sheet rock.

That’s where Kenny came in. Kenny fixed the sheet rock so it looked as good as new!  You can’t even tell there were gaping holes in our walls or textured  ceiling. I took advantage of the open ceilings and had recessed LED lighting installed in the kitchen.  Absolutely love it! I’m a bit obsessed with lighting in general and want to install these everywhere!

recessed LED lighting
There were a few minor issues with Plumbing Express, such as a broken bathroom light and lack of clean up in some areas but overall, we are super pleased to have had all plumbing replaced and sheet rock damage repaired within one week!  Next up, flooring!  Goodbye to the upstairs carpet.


I always love seeing the difference paint can make! A fresh coat of paint and quick color change in the bathroom has made such an impact.

master bath sign
Our master bathroom has been a work in progress for several years because I just hadn’t quite wrapped it up.   Many years ago, soon after we first moved in, we made some big changes to the room.

  • We removed the carpeting and installed 20 x 20 travertine tile floors.
  • We removed the fiberglass shower and installed 4×4 tiles floor to ceiling for the shower instead
  • Removed builder’s vanity and mirror and replaced with a DIY dresser-turned-vanity
  • Faux finished the walls and painted

Here’s the before.

bathroom before
master bath shower
bathroom face lift
When we installed the new bidet toilet seat, I got inspired to spruce things up. The room was just too brown and I wanted to change the color but that turned into a bigger project than just repainting.  The faux finished walls were created with drywall mud compound and it was quite a task to remove it.  At first, I sprayed with water and scraped with a knife, but that was a very slow and tedious process.   So, I then used a high grit sandpaper  (40) with my electric sander and sanded all of the walls. I ended up sanding twice, once with 40 grit and then with 120 grit to smooth the surface.  What a mess!!!  There were layers and layers of debris everywhere.  Several wall areas had serious problems so I ended up calling a drywall finisher to re-mud those areas for a smooth finish.

bathroom walls before
After all of that wall preparation, I was finally able to paint!  The new color is the same one I used in the kitchen, Benjamin Moore Gray Wisp (at 50% tint).   It is a gray with blue undertones.

master bath vanity
Doorless shower
Most of the lighting in the room had issues too (broken, pieces missing) so I finally replaced the fixtures. In addition to can lights over the shower and bath tub, there are three other fixtures in the room:  over the toilet,  over the vanity, and there’s a ceiling fan in the center.   I ordered lights from Lowes, CB2, and Overstock and installed them myself. But while shopping, I found some really great lighting options at Shades of Light, School House Electric, and Rejuvination.

In the tub area,  I hung a photo from our trip to Ireland.  This is the North Irish coast.   I had the photo printed in a 40 x 30 size to match a canvas I found long ago at Goodwill.  I used Poster Brain and loved how fast it shipped.  I affixed the poster sized photo to the canvas using Mod Podge.  I first covered the canvas in Mod Podge, layered the photo on top, and then put another layer of Mod Podge on top of the photo. It dries clear with a textured, brush stroke effect so it resembles a painting.

bathroom art
The feel in the room is clean and much more up to date and I’m so happy to have it done!

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