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KIDS’ BATHROOM BEFORE & AFTER

New Kids' BathroomI’m about to show you a really horrible bathroom. Are you ready? I mean really ready? You’re going to wonder how we lived eight years with this bathroom and, let’s be honest, I’m wondering the same thing. But bathroom remodels are expensive and there was always a financial reason to put it off (wedding, baby, another baby, etc). Then the shower stall in the other bathroom broke (that bathroom got a facelift, which I’ll try to show you soon), our toddler started out-growing the ducky float she’d been bathing in and the baby got too big for the sink … I saw an opening and I took it.

Now brace yourself. This bathroom was the color of mucus. The kind you see when you have the flu. This bathroom was kind of like having the flu. It made you sick and achy all over just looking at it. Our contractor even got the flu while he was working on it.  It was bad, guys. Bad.

The medicine cabinet was so big I could’ve fit both kids in there (but it was gross and that’s weird so I didn’t), the leaky tub faucet turned that damn grout black almost instantly and no amount of harsh chemicals and elbow grease could get that hideous mucus tub looking clean. The ceiling/wall above the window was crumbling, the shower head was falling out of the wall, the floor and half of the walls (also mucus yellow) were chipped, ugly, old, worn and just gross. And there were these metal handlebars everywhere. Someone who lived here before the people before us (did you get that?) needed some handlebars in the shower. I totally get that, but all these years later they were still there, because how do you remove rusted metal bars that are drilled into a cast iron tub and 50-year-old tile? You don’t. You gut the damn thing. And gut it we did.

Did you already cheat and scroll ahead to see it? You did, didn’t you? Whatever. I don’t blame you because now you see I am not exaggerating. For those who didn’t cheat, go ahead, see for yourself …

Bathroom Remodel Before

Okay, now you’ve seen it. It was horrible and I apologize because you can’t unsee it.

Now feast your eyes on the after …Modern kids' bathroom Before and AfterBathroom Before and After Bathroom Before and After Bathroom Before and AfterBathroom Before and After

Now how about a quick side-by-side for good measure?

Modern bathroom before and afterDear New Bathroom: I think I love you. So much. So, so much.

I went with brass fixtures, charcoal floors, white subway tile with gray grout and white, white, white, white, white everywhere else. Everything is new except the loo. And I mean everything. This baby was gutted and rebuilt because nothing was worth saving. Except the old pedestal sink, which is probably getting sold on Craigslist because have you seen the stuff people sell on Craigslist?

Now let me be frank. Going gold is expensive, and we didn’t even go expensive. We went less expensive because even that was expensive. In hindsight, while I love that wall mounted sink so much I might just marry it, matching brass pipes to a brass faucet from a company that doesn’t make brass pipes to match its brass faucet was kind of the bane of my existence these last few months. Have any questions about p-traps? Want to know who makes them and in what shapes, sizes and colors? Go ahead. Ask me. Do you know how many shades of brass exist in the world? I do. One million. Do you know how many match my faucet? Zero. None. Zippo. Nada. Did you know I didn’t know that until we had already bought the sink and faucet and it was too late to go back? Oops.

Here’s the thing about gutting a bathroom and not knowing what you’re doing because you’ve never gutted anything before, let alone a bathroom. There’s a bit of a learning curve. Like a Sandy Koufax curve. Here, let me give you an example. When Pat, our friend/contractor, and Chris, my husband/financier, told me the wires and knobs and all the other plumber-like things would be exposed under the sink I gave them a horrified look and told them they were wrong. I assured them that I would buy a pretty p-trap, but that there would be no other ugly plumber-like things under that sink. Pat scratched his head and very gently asked me, “Well then where will they be?” I promptly told him, “Well on Pinterest there are no ugly plumber-like things.” And in that very moment I lost all credibility and those two, bless them, tried their hardest not to laugh at me. So listen. Unless you plan on living in a showroom you find on Pinterest, maybe do some research before you gut your bathroom.

Now that you know how clueless I am about bathrooms, you can appreciate that we picked out everything in this bathroom all by ourselves (and by “we” I mean mostly me because my husband did not want to hear the words “brass p-trap” one more godforsaken time) and it turned out pretty stinking nice, if I do say so myself. And, bonus, it cost less than we anticipated.

Now can we talk about the marble backsplash for a second? It was part of the original plan. I didn’t care how it was accomplished, but I was getting a marble backsplash for my wall-mounted sink. You see, our whole house has marble windowsills and we added marble for the built-in shower shelves to match so, naturally, we needed a marble backsplash. This makes total sense, no? Well, long story short, our faucet was too close to the wall so I needed a super thin chunk of marble in a very specific size and color and every single marble seller in all of Philadelphia and South Jersey told me “Yea, um, no. That’s not possible. The marble you want doesn’t exist in the world. You’re up a creek, paddle got eaten by a river monster.” Well don’t you know it, I found the exact piece of marble, in the exact color, size and width I needed (drumroll please) for $12 at Home Depot.

Bam. [insert inappropriate gesture]

I win.

Are you still with me? Just a few more things.

I wanted a fancy brass or black medicine cabinet, but for a house we probably won’t live in forever it didn’t seem worth the expense. I’m surprised how much I like the clean lines of the frameless one we settled on. (If you haven’t noticed, the theme here is “clean.”)

I wanted fancy brass sconces, too, and I got them. I fell in love with every single light fixture I saw at Cedar and Moss, but I went with simple, since it’s a small space, and chose a style that was a bit easier on the budget. I ordered a new brass ceiling fixture, too, but it hasn’t been installed yet.

I’d like a small rug for outside the tub but I just can’t decide. I’d love a beautiful Persian, but it seems to me like Persian rugs and kids splashing in the tub and moisture in general maybe aren’t so great together. I love the look, but Persian rugs are not cheap and I couldn’t stomach destroying one. So back to the drawing board.

We need a new door but pick your battles, you know?

The tub. It’s not cast iron (because they are 300 pounds) and not acrylic either. We went with Americast. It has mixed reviews but it was unbelievably affordable, much lighter than cast iron, sturdier than acrylic and did I mention affordable? We’ll see how it holds up but so far it’s been lovely. Or as Isla says every single time she’s in there, “It’s Won-er-ful!”

We don’t have any storage in this bathroom except that medicine cabinet so I bought that beautiful basket to hold toilet paper, my hair dryer, extra towels, the kids’ bath toys and some lady things hidden in a Baggu bag. Surprisingly, there’s room to spare.

Side note: I love the brass so much, but copper might just be my next obsession.

Alright. This is the longest blog post ever and most of you probably aren’t still reading anyway so I’ll just stop now. Here are the full details on where we got all the stuff:

{Delta Faucet tub/shower faucet + sink faucet + towel ring + toilet paper holder in “champagne bronze” | Cedar and Moss sconces | Industrial Light Electric ceiling mount light | American Standard “Princeton” tub | Kohler medicine cabinet | tile from M.T.O. Bath & Tile | sink | Serena & Lily basket | Target shower curtain | Signature Hardware shower curtain rod + rings in “polished brass” | Etsy Turkish towels | Rail 19 copper soap dispenser}

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LIVING ROOM UPDATES WITH MINTED

Minted Framed Abstract Art Print

When I chose this abstract art print from Minted this is not the wall I had in mind for it. Remember that spot in our house with the colorful kilim rug from Istanbul where Isla’s teepee, kiddie table and toy basket are located? Well I had big plans for this piece to hang on that monster wall and highlight the colors in the rug. I changed my mind for two reasons: 1. At 24″x18″, the print is too small for the wall so I might eventually make a gallery wall with this beauty as the center piece, and 2. Our Christmas tree currently resides in that very space, which means the print would’ve been hidden and we cannot have that. Instead I removed a black-framed mirror by the staircase and replaced it with this print by Artsy Canvas Girl Designs, which was gifted to me by Minted.

I’ve been updating the living room for a while — piece-by-piece. We replaced our set of oversized, lumpy couches with this leather sofa from West Elm and a set of vintage mid-century wooden armchairs I had re-upholstered in blue. The rug (also West Elm) was purchased about six months after Isla was born. I also replaced the big, black Ikea book shelf with a wicker toy chest (also from Ikea) and added a marble-based, brass floor lamp. (Lamps with marble bases can be ridiculously expensive but this one is only $99 and I purchased it during a 20 percent off sale, which is a steal considering it’s incredibly sturdy and cannot be knocked over no matter how hard my toddler tries.) Oh, and we got rid of those celery green walls that were making me nauseous and painted the room bright white. The result is a crisp, clean, much larger looking room. It’s night and day, really.

But after all that the room needed a little more color. It’s a little embarrassing that we’re in our 30s and don’t own any real art (except a small oil painting by my grandmother), so I was thrilled to team up with Minted. They have a large selection of gorgeous art, textiles, home accessories and stationary. (We recently ordered Theo’s birth announcements from there and love the way they turned out.) I scoured the art collection for the perfect piece for our house and I’m thrilled with our choice. It’s truly gorgeous in person and would look great in any room of our house. Plus, I love to support independent artists. Thank you Minted for adding a touch of beauty to our updated living room!

Here’s a look at the new space with a few Christmas-y touches. (all item details listed at bottom)

Minted Framed Abstract Art PrintChristmas TreeKids Christmas DecorChristmas DecorationsMinted Framed Abstract Art PrintFine Little Day Christmas Tree BlanketLiving Room UpdatesTurkish Kilim{Minted framed art | Ikea kids’ table + chairs | silver tree from Target | mercury glass tree from Marshalls | nutcracker from A.C. Moore | Pottery Barn Kids kitty ornament + stockings | West Elm sofa + rug | Target lamp + pillows | vintage Mexican blanket | vintage chairs (Etsy) | gifted Fine Little Day tree blanket | vintage Turkish kilim rug (Etsy) | Ikea wicker toy chest}

{disclaimer: The art print featured in this post was a gift from Minted. I selected the print myself, with no influence from Minted, and all opinions are my own. I promise.}

Kids

FROM CRIB TO TODDLER BED

Oeuf Perch Toddler BedThat there above is the nap time standoff. It’s a very pleasant, very regular occurrence in the Page house. But don’t let her fool you. Isla loves that bed. She just doesn’t always want to get in it at the same time I want her to get in it. From the second we set up her big girl bed it was as if her crib had disappeared into the abyss never to be heard from again. In reality, it’s still in that very room, right where it’s been since before she was born, awaiting the arrival of baby no. 2.

I’ve gotten some questions about how the transition from crib to toddler bed is going so I thought I’d share a little glimpse. Keep in mind, every day is different and there’s no telling how things will change in just a few short weeks when baby brother turns her world upside down, but here’s our story anyway. (Also, you can find the toddler bed here.)

It’s worth noting that Isla has been a stellar sleeper pretty much since the beginning. She was sleeping eight hours per night by three months, at which point we moved her from the bassinet in our room to her crib in her own room, and by five months she was sleeping 12 solid hours every night. So there’s that. (Cue her baby brother who is probably going to make me eat my shorts and be the worst sleeper ever.)

Before making the move to the toddler bed we talked to our pediatrician. She’s not just a doctor and a mom but also a friend so I seek her advice about much pretty everything. Then we came up with a plan: set up the bed at 19 months, tell her it’s hers because she’s a big girl and babies sleep in cribs and hope she starts to show some interest by the time the baby is ready to move in (hopefully around the New Year). About two minutes after we set up that bed Isla crawled right in and said “choo choo!” (our version of “night night”). That’s her in the picture below literally right after we removed all the boxes. So we just went with it. We went through the whole routine that night … books, milk, brushing teeth, etc., then turned out the light to sing our lullaby. At that point she pointed to the crib and asked, “choo choo?” so I replied, “this is your bed now,” and from that moment on it’s like the crib just poof, disappeared. She slept 12 hours that night. It was a Christmas miracle.

Oeuf Perch Toddler BedI’m relieved to say most nights are like this. We do our thing then put her in the bed, sing, exchange kisses and I Love Yous and then shut the door and walk out until morning. Sometimes she gets out of bed, but she almost always climbs back in once she’s found the toy she’s searching for. She’s fallen out about three times (don’t worry it’s a short fall so no injuries) but I just go in and give her some cuddles and then put her back in. In the morning she runs to the door yelling “MAMA!” and bangs on it very loudly (it actually sounds like she’s body-checking it) so there’s no mistaking that she’s awake. And that’s pretty much how nighttime in the new toddler bed is going.

Now let’s talk about naps. Oh naps. How I miss those quiet two-nap days when all I had to do was plop her in that crib and walk out only to return again to find a very happy, well-rested baby two hours later. It’s almost like those days never happened. Like it was all a dream. Sometimes I can put her in her toddler bed and walk out and she’ll fall right to sleep. When this happens though, I again feel like I’m dreaming. Typically nap time goes something like this:

change diaper
put on PJ pants
tuck very sleepy child into bed
sing to or read to or shush child
repeat after me: “Stay In Bed, Isla. It Is Nap Time.”
she smiles
no, it’s more like a smirk, a very mischievous one
close door behind me
immediately hear pitter-patter feet, crashing noises, guitar sounds and Elmo singing the alphabet
turn on monitor but can’t find child because she has piled her toys in the one and only monitor blind spot in the whole room
let child play for a little while
go in and try not to laugh as child runs as fast as she can and tries to throw herself onto the bed only to realize she can’t quite get up in time so she’s half on/half off pretending to snore and trying not to laugh
put child back in bed
“ISLA IT IS NAP TIME!”
close door behind me
repeat

Sometimes 15 minutes of playtime is all she needs and she’ll either put herself into her bed or stay there once I put her back in. Other times we go through this eight times. Sometimes eighth times the charm, sometimes I give up. If I give up twice in one day and this adorable child of mine does not sleep, dinner time is the loveliest time of day. On opposite day. And by 6 p.m. I’m ready to put her exhausted, miserable, whiney, defiant butt to bed for the night because I’m tired of cleaning up deliberately spilled (read: thrown) milk and bowls of whatever’s for dinner and scrubbing crayon off the walls. But then I remember it’s me she will be calling for when she wakes up at 5 a.m. so we suck it up for a little while longer and release a big sigh of relief when bedtime finally relieves us of the monster inside her.

And that, my friends, is how life with a child under two in a big girl bed is working out in our house. I might have forgotten to mention that we love her toddler bed. It’s adorably pint-sized and I can’t wait to buy cute sheets and a quilt. I love that she can get back in on her own (though it’d be nice if I could stop her from getting out) and that any kind of fall is more scary for her than painful. And I love that she loves it so much. She plays in it, tucks her baby to sleep in there and even brings “Tommy the Pain” (a.k.a. Thomas the Train) to bed with her.

Don’t forget to ask me how I’m feeling about that very same bed in approximately five weeks when baby no. 2 changes everything.

Now tell me your toddler bed horror stories … I mean success stories! When did you switch and how did it go? Oh, and bring on the tips for sharing rooms. These kids will hopefully be sharing in the New Year and I’m clueless about how that’s going to (not) work.

Oeuf Perch Toddler Bed{p.s. This is her toddler bed, rug, toy baskets, fox mask, polka dot crib sheets, blankie, kitty and bookshelf}

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Kids

FINDING THE RIGHT TODDLER BED

Modern toddler beds | really risa
one | two | three | four | five | six | seven

I mentioned briefly in our pregnancy announcement that babies one and two are going be roomies in the nursery and that Isla is getting evicted from her crib. Eviction was perhaps a harsh choice of words. I certainly hope the transition goes much more smoothly than that. We do have some time, since the new baby will sleep in a bassinet in our room for the first three months (or until he/she starts sleeping about eight hours per night) just like we did with Isla, but we would like to start planting the idea that she’s moving to a big girl bed. So begins the search for the perfect toddler bed.

We’ve considered a few options: 1. convert the crib to the toddler bed and buy a new crib (this is the most expensive option so I considered it for only as long as it took me to say it out loud), 2. buy a toddler bed, 3. skip the toddler bed and go straight to a twin or 4. put a mattress on the floor.

We’re most likely going with option two and buying a toddler bed. A twin bed (or mattress) is too big for a shared room — especially if we move to a place with smaller bedrooms — and I don’t love the idea of the mattress just on the floor anyway. I’d like Isla to have a more traditional bed and to encourage her not to crawl out and come in our room or, worse, poke the baby!

The one thing I wasn’t considering is that toddler beds are expensive! I mean seriously, what the … ?! Well, the ones I like at least. I’m looking for something modern, much like our Oeuf crib. I’d like to have a rail, preferably one that’s detachable, but that’s not a deal-breaker as long as the bed is low enough to the ground so that a tumble won’t break any important bones. I’m looking for white or birch or both, and love the idea of some color, though not yet knowing the gender of the newbie (or any of our future dozen kids) is pushing me toward something gender neutral.

The Kalon Studios Caravan Divan (no. 7) is by far my favorite. It does come in plain birch and also birch with white accents. I am in love with the coral, but again, I’m trying to go gender neutral. I absolutely love the shape and style and after searching Pinterest, I’m obsessed with how it looks set up. There’s no rail, which is a bummer, but it’s low enough to the ground that there shouldn’t be any major injuries. My second choice is the Oeuf Perch Toddler Bed (no. 3).

Any suggestions?

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mad for metallics | holiday decor on a budget

Target gold bead garland in a metallic Christmas tree mug | really risa

 Gold bead garland (Target) + Christmas tree mug (Marshalls)

Right around Thanksgiving I realized we owned not one piece of holiday decor other than a few ornaments. I’m not kidding. Not even one. Since we’re hosting Christmas at our house for the very first time this year we clearly needed to step up our decorating game. But with Chris’ birthday (yesterday), my mom’s birthday (tomorrow), Isla’s birthday (January) and all the gift-giving that comes with Christmas, our budget is kind of limited (read: SPENT!). Challenge accepted. I scoured Target, A.C. Moore, Marshalls, Etsy and everything in between to find inexpensive decor that will work both for Christmas and for Isla’s birthday party, as well as some things that will work year-round. I’m obsessed with everything gold and brass and already own a lot of silver mercury glass from our wedding so I did my best to find both shimmery pieces and muted elements to tame the metallic chaos, like feathers, ceramics, greenery and acorns. Gaudy is just not my thing. Here’s a look.

Using Christmas Tree Branches as holiday decor

We had to cut a few branches off of our Christmas tree so I chopped up some of the remains and used them around the house, like here on the marble ledge in our kitchen. Then I added candles I already owned and fake metallic and red berries (A.C. Moore). Tip: Every time I’ve been to A.C. Moore this season its entire holiday decor selection has been 50 percent off!

Metallic Christmas decor |really risa

 I found this pretty deer bell (Home Goods) a few weeks ago for only a few dollars. I’m thinking this guy is going to stick around even after the holidays.

Christmas tree branches in mini vases on desk in home office

More fresh snips from our tree on the desk in the office/guest room. I’m determined to make the entire house smell like Christmas.

Metallic Christmas decor | really risa

The nutcracker + the tall, sparkly strands were also only a few dollars (A.C. Moore).

Metallic and rustic holiday decor | really risa

I love the gold branches (A.C. Moore) in the rustic vase (from our minimoon in Cape May two years ago).

Dining Room Decor: Eucalyptus in white pitcher

Black furniture shows EVERYTHING. It also makes our dining room feel really dark. To brighten it up a bit I opted for a simple white pitcher (from our wedding registry at Pottery Barn) with stems of Eucalyptus (A.C. Moore). I’ll fancy our table up a bit for our Christmas Day buffet, but I like this simple, clean look for every day.

Succulents in Moscow Mule mugs | really risa

I’m planning to use succulents to decorate the dessert table at Isla’s birthday party but I love having them around the house. I bought seven for about $2 each (at a local garden shop in our neighborhood called Urban Jungle) and planted them in the many mercury glass votive holders (Pottery Barn) leftover from our wedding, mint julep cups (from Amazon a few years ago) and a Moscow Mule mug (Target).

Metallic Christmas trees and succulents in mint julep cups | really risa

My trio of trees. I wanted one of those bottle brush trees in gold but instead found this silver one (Target) + that gold mercury glass beauty (Marshalls).

Holiday Decor: Eucalyptus in a gilded vase | really risa

Eucalyptus in a gilded vase (from local shop Occasionette) on my bedside table.

Metallic Christmas ornaments | really risa

I love childhood ornaments, like this gold and white silver dollar, circa 1993. While I was decorating this year I broke the ceramic ballet slippers with my name on them from 1988. I nearly cried. I’m hoping they can be saved with some super glue. Shame on me.

Holiday decor: feathers and eucalyptus | really risa

Feathers are another element I picked up for Isla’s first birthday party (from Plumule Feathers on Etsy). In my opinion, feathers have the potential to be very cheesy so I went with neutral colors and simple containers, like this glass apothecary jar I’ve had for forever.

Metallic Christmas ornaments | really risa

This gorgeous bowl was a wedding gift and we already owned these gold and red ornaments. Though now our tree is looking a bit naked!

Metallic holiday decor plus feathers and acorns | really risa

Acorns (from Target) + more feathers in a gifted vase (from HOME Boutique) + a (crooked) look at the bookshelf.

Target gold tinsel garland and silver mercury glass candlesticks | really risa

Metallic tinsel garland (Target) + a mercury glass candlestick (I think I bought it at Home Goods a few years ago).

Metallic Christmas ornaments | really risa

Gold, platinum and bronze ornaments in a gold polka dot bowl (Marshalls). I plan to use this bowl year-round. I just love it! There were matching mugs, too, but I had to talk myself down.

White ceramic vase of feathers | really risa

Another look at these muted feathers in a ceramic vase (HOME Boutique).

Metallic Holiday Decor | really risa

I bought the gold and white trophy cup (HOME Boutique) a few months ago. And now let’s talk about these gorgeous brass candlesticks …

Vintage brass candlesticks and Metallic Christmas Decor | really risa

I bought this set of seven vintage solid brass candlesticks for less than $2 each on Etsy. EACH! I felt like I was stealing! It was the best price I found for such a gorgeous set all across the internet. They were a bit tarnished but cleaned right up with a little lemon juice and baking soda. I am obsessed! I’ll be using them to decorate our Christmas food table as well as for Isla’s birthday decor and beyond. One of my best purchases in a long time.

So that’s that! I’d love to see pictures of your holiday decor, especially if you love metallics as much as I do. Mention me (@reallyrisa) or tag #madformetallics on Instagram so I can see!

Happy Holidays!