The garden apartment has been full steam ahead since we last shared the flooring update! Our favorite general contractor has been working down there as part of a four person team, and they’ve been so very patient as we’ve added updates and changed our minds (more than once). As with any renovation project, there have been…
  • Kate - June 1, 2017 - 7:29 AM

    Hey! Love everything about this garden apartment plan! Would you ever think about a post regarding how to pick items/finishes for an apartment?? Knowing that they may get a lot of wear and tear because it’s a rental and tenants may not always treat things in the nicest way?

    Would love to hear your opinion! It would be really helpful!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 1, 2017 - 8:55 AM

      Thanks for the suggestion! We think that’s a great idea to share once everything’s in place. I’ve added it to the list.ReplyCancel

  • Dana - June 1, 2017 - 8:36 AM

    Hey, THANKS for posting the clearance pulls from Rejeuvanation! I went straight to the site and ordered all the hardware for our kitchen reno, which the hubs is working on downstairs as I type. You saved us hundreds! :-)ReplyCancel

    • Dana - June 1, 2017 - 8:39 AM

      OH, and your windowsill/window framing tutorial has also been a linchpin of our kitchen reno–so DOUBLE THANKS! Two newly framed, gorgeous kitchen windows, looking much more like their 1920’s selves!ReplyCancel

      • Kim - June 1, 2017 - 8:54 AM

        Haha, you’re welcome! Love this.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 1, 2017 - 8:53 AM

      So happy to hear! It’s a screaming deal! We couldn’t believe it ourselves when we saw it, and it made our decision super easy. Rejuvenation kills it with hardware.ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - June 1, 2017 - 1:07 PM

    As a Chicago renter, I’m really curious about the paint. Most landlords have allowed me to paint the space myself, as long as I’m willing to paint it back to white when I move out (in many cases, “Navajo White” was specifically requested, no joke). If you are choosing beautiful paint colors for the space, will there be a no-painting rule in your lease?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 1, 2017 - 1:15 PM

      Ahh, Navajo White! That was the color on every surface – walls, trim, doors – in our condo! If our tenant wants to paint, it would be the same rule to paint it back. When we were renting, that was the rule for us as well. Our hope as we make decisions is to find someone who will love this place as much as we see the potential in it. We’re always open to discussion though!ReplyCancel

      • Elizabeth - June 13, 2017 - 9:51 AM

        What is it with Navajo White???? ;)ReplyCancel

  • Kate - June 1, 2017 - 8:54 PM

    Just used Sea Salt on my bathroom walls and it is sooooo pretty. Might have to use it in the other two in my house. Agreeable Gray is also on my list of colors to use somewhere if possible!ReplyCancel

    • Cindy - June 1, 2017 - 10:28 PM

      I second the shout out to Sea Salt. It’s very subtle but a great greenish-blue. We have it in our office and I have yet to find something it doesn’t match. Highly recommend.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 2, 2017 - 8:30 AM

      Ohh good to know! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Molly - June 4, 2017 - 1:50 AM

    Hello! I’m sure you’re situation isn’t exactly the same as everyone’s in terms of renovations, but I had a general question. Are there any renovations that, in your opinion, are just too big or risky to do without a contractor? I always love to hear your input!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 4, 2017 - 5:30 PM

      For us, we never cut holes on the outside of our house (new windows, doors, etc), and we prefer to hire out electrical and larger plumbing jobs. While the pros are there, if drywall needs repaired, we love how fast and efficient they are! You’re right, it’ll differ for everyone, but we would rather gather quotes on larger jobs before we jump in and realize we’re in over our heads.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Wilson - June 4, 2017 - 9:14 AM

    I love the idea of sea salt in the laundry room- super safe, but still a little fun. Of course you can’t go totally neutral in a laundry room #ostrichwallpaper ;)ReplyCancel

  • Elaine - June 4, 2017 - 12:37 PM

    Love all the grays and whites, can’t wait to see it finished. Good Luck!ReplyCancel


This post is in collaboration with Lowe’s.  Our tenants moved out of the garden apartment around late April, and immediately, we dove in, gathering quotes and meeting with contractors. We needed to come up with a (somewhat loose) schedule in order to plan for what we hoped to be a 2-3 month renovation, and we quickly…
  • TIFFANY DIIORIO - May 26, 2017 - 7:04 AM

    you say “garden” so I am assuming basement ie slab. and I think the apt is in Chi?
    Are you concerned with physical warmth in the winter? did you consider under floor heating? thermosoft, nuheat, etc…
    I would love to hear your thoughts on this as I am starting a project similar to yours.

    love the tile by the way!


    • Kim - May 26, 2017 - 10:00 AM

      You’re right – we’re in Chicago on a slab. We did consider heating! We dove into all that in the first few paragraphs, but after speaking with the former tenants that lived with tile for the last 3.5 years, they weren’t fazed by the tile in the winter whatsoever. Instead, they said they actually appreciated how cool the floors stayed in the summer!ReplyCancel

  • Chantel - May 26, 2017 - 7:21 AM

    Looks beautiful!! question- will tile floors in the basement make the floors super cold in the winter??ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 26, 2017 - 10:02 AM

      It will definitely be cool, but we spoke with our former tenants, and it didn’t bother them one bit (they were always wearing slippers or had on socks in the winter anyway). Rather, they appreciated how cool it kept the apartment in the summer. We dive into that quite a bit more in those first few paragraphs! :)ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - May 26, 2017 - 8:53 AM

    Wow! That is some good-looking tile!! I can’t wait to see what comes next :)ReplyCancel

  • Ann - May 26, 2017 - 9:42 AM

    I cannot believe we didn’t make it down there last weekend!!!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 26, 2017 - 10:03 AM

      How did we forget?! I think someone was too excited to watch The Big Chill. ;)ReplyCancel

  • Sammy - May 26, 2017 - 10:53 AM

    so so excited to see the progress on this! that floor is amazing!!

    in the next renovation (ha!), I said I wanted the wood look tile flooring. I hope there’s a pocket door somewhere down there :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 26, 2017 - 10:57 AM

      So funny, how’d you know?! There will be one pocket door – details to come!ReplyCancel

  • Kyla @HouseOfHipsters - May 26, 2017 - 11:42 AM

    This looks absolutely amazing! I’m singing Outkast, So Fresh and So Clean =) You chose the perfect color. And thanks for the shoutout!!!ReplyCancel

  • Monica - May 26, 2017 - 5:10 PM

    Hi this looks so lovely! I was wondering if you had any issues with sound traveling or if you did anything to minimize the upstairs noises. We have a daylight basement that we rent out and it’s just perfect except the sound issue…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 26, 2017 - 6:23 PM

      Maybe we’re so used to apartment living in the city, but some noise is 100% to be expected. I can hear the dogs running around upstairs when we’re in the living room, and I’m sure the same could be said for living in our garden apartment. We do try to be as mindful as possible, though.ReplyCancel

  • Bobbie - May 26, 2017 - 7:32 PM

    The floors look great. Have you considered sanded caulk for the edges? I despise quarter round and either pull the baseboards and reinstall or use sanded caulk. So much cleaner IMO. Anyway still a great transformation, quarter round or no.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 26, 2017 - 8:44 PM

      We’d love to do that, but every so often, there’s a good 1/4″ gap. While we don’t prefer the look of quarter round, in this old house, it has hidden so many sins! Ultimately, it will create a nice finished edge for some of those larger gaps. Thank you for the suggestion!ReplyCancel

      • Laurel - May 30, 2017 - 1:31 PM

        I’m relatively new to DIY, and wondering if there is a reason you wouldn’t want to remove trim before tiling to get closer to the wall and avoid using quarter round? We have a kitchen reno coming up in the next couple years, and I had assumed we’d do that, but not if it isn’t the best move!ReplyCancel

        • Kim - May 31, 2017 - 8:43 AM

          Hi Laurel! More or less, it was a cost saving measure. Installing all new baseboards would have easily been an additional $1k (even choosing the least expensive option), and a LOT more work. Do I wish we just ripped it all up and installed new? Yes and no. Yes, because you’re right – we would have avoided quarter round. No, because we still have SO much work ahead of us, and that detail didn’t feel worth the effort. We’re doing our best to splurge and save where we can!ReplyCancel

          • Kim - May 31, 2017 - 8:44 AM

            I should update to add – if it was just ONE space, absolutely we would have removed and reinstalled the baseboards! For your kitchen, assuming it’s not 850 sq. ft. ;), I’d choose to remove and reinstall.

          • Laurel - May 31, 2017 - 9:37 PM

            Ha! I wish our kitchen was 850 sf! But alas, far from it… but that will mean it will be much more affordable to pull out the trim! Perhaps we can re-install the same trim? That would be a nice cost savings. Thanks!

          • Kim - June 1, 2017 - 8:55 AM

            If you remove the trim carefully, it’s possible! It’s worth a shot. Good luck!

  • Kaylan - May 26, 2017 - 9:59 PM

    Me thinks your tenants lie ;) we’ve live in a basement/garden suite with tile floors and it is downright cold in the winter. However, it’s nothing a nice area rug and good slippers can’t solve. I do appreciate the cool floor in the summer and I love that I don’t have to worry about damaging the flooring. I would make the same choice you did. It looks lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - May 28, 2017 - 8:28 AM

    Your new tile looks so nice! I would have never thought about how hard tenants could be on LVT- that was smart of you. We have laminate wood floors and love them! I’m so excited to see what you do next here!ReplyCancel

  • Dwyn - May 28, 2017 - 7:51 PM

    I’m currently looking into wood-look tiles for my ground floor. I don’t quite understand the distinction you make between porcelain and ceramic tiles??? Can you explain, or point to an article that does?

    I have big dogs (think 160-180 lbs) and the good old shuffle-feet routine have can wreck havoc on floors.

    Personally I think the flooring look great and as far as temperature… Cold in the winter I can live with, good slippers and socks, dog beds, a rug or two, it’s taken care of. Cool in the summer is heaven to feet and to overheated dogs alike!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 30, 2017 - 9:19 AM

      In a nutshell, porcelain is going to be much more durable than ceramic (and this usually comes with a slighter higher price point, too)! You can learn more about that here:

      • Dwyn - June 15, 2017 - 5:47 PM

        Thanks Kim! I’m going to look at it with a more critical eye now. Paramount for me is something that will last, I don’t want to be re-doing the fundamentals like flooring again in 10 years’ time!ReplyCancel

  • Meg - May 30, 2017 - 8:43 PM

    Can you talk a little about why you chose 6 x 24 tiles over 6 x 36? We are in the process of narrowing down our tile choices and have been leaning towards longer tiles in an effort to reduce how busy tiles look in comparison to actual wood. Is there an advantage to shorter tiles?

    Basement is really looking good!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 31, 2017 - 8:40 AM

      Hi Meg! I explained a little bit in the post, but basically, our contractor told us to choose tiles no longer than 30.” This is because our floors were REALLY unlevel, and although they did a miracle job leveling the subfloor as much as possible, the shorter the tile, the less chance for the tiles to crack, as opposed to a longer length. We also would have preferred the look of a longer tile, but now that it’s installed, we’re so happy with our choice!ReplyCancel

  • Mandolin - May 31, 2017 - 4:56 PM

    The wood tile looks amazing. I love the grout color you guys chose. It definitely doesn’t scream “TILE!” when you first see it because the grout blends in well.

    I also just wanted to add that I mostly rent places with wood floors (because I hate carpet due to my asthma and allergies). Almost every single place I have rented has a clause in the lease with stipulations about having felt pads on furniture and/or rugs covering 75% of the flooring. Usually the landlords will includes packs of the felt pads for us to use so it has never felt like an imposition. I just slap them on the legs as we move furniture in. I assume any decent tenant would understand why you would want that and I don’t think it would make you guys come across as super strict or anything!
    Good luck on the rest of your renovation!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 1, 2017 - 8:56 AM

      We’ve never heard of that, but we can’t thank you enough for the suggestion! We might have to try that. ‘Welcome home, here’s some felt pads!’ :DReplyCancel

  • Christina - June 5, 2017 - 8:51 AM

    I LOVE the tile you chose *insert heart-eyes emoji here*! Just one question – why did you opt to keep the baseboards IN when they started tiling? Wouldn’t you want to get as close to the wall as possible (and also to avoid the quarter-round)? Love to know your thoughts!! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 5, 2017 - 11:46 AM

      It was completely a cost saving measure. To have to re-do the basements throughout 850+ sq. ft. of space would have been at least $1k, so although IDEALLY we could have done it, we’re happy that we could salvage what we could and save a little bit of money here!ReplyCancel

  • Gretchen - June 16, 2017 - 1:36 PM

    This looks wonderful! Cool tile in the summer is going to be such a great thing under foot for your future renters.

    I am wondering how much variation there is in the wood pattern on the tiles/how frequently it repeats?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - June 16, 2017 - 1:46 PM

      That’s a good question, and one that we considered when choosing all of our options. I’m happy to report that there’s a WIDE variation, that it’s difficult to even find the repeats! I’d have to really search for them to find them. That’s not always the case (especially with cheaper ceramic tile), so it’s great to keep that in mind when shopping around.ReplyCancel


This post is in partnership with For the full tutorial, head this way! Three summers ago, we stained our bare wood deck, painted the railings and built a new (safer) staircase. It made all the difference in the world, although we always sort of wished that the opaque stain color we chose, Gray Birch, was…
  • Chel - May 24, 2017 - 3:18 PM

    The porch looks great! Quick question about the IKEA pillows, do you find them comfortable to lean against? I had considered then for my living room and was concerned they would be to scratchy.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 24, 2017 - 3:28 PM

      They’re super cute, but definitely scratchy. Since we use them as a back rest (rather than a pillow you’d lean on), it’s fine!ReplyCancel

  • Paige - May 24, 2017 - 8:52 PM

    Our deck is totally going to need to be repainted by next summer! I’m not looking forward to the project, but know it will be so pretty when it’s done!


    • Kim - May 25, 2017 - 7:40 AM

      It’s a huge project, but changes EVERYTHING! Good luck when your time comes!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - May 27, 2017 - 9:50 AM

    I love that you stained your deck floor. I so wish we had done that. We have outdoor carpet. It’s fine, but its already looking a little lumpy after a year. That is SO smart that you used the never wet spray. I used non outdoor fabric, so I’ll have to give it a try!ReplyCancel

  • Lara Herzer - June 9, 2017 - 12:57 PM

    Beware Sherwin Williams stain! We used this on our 1000 sq ft Chicago deck a couple of years ago, big mistake! It only lasted a season. Come to find out it was ranked last in Consumer Reports, but one of the most expensive.

    Last year we went with their top pick, which was an opaque Behr product. So far so good!ReplyCancel


This post is in collaboration with Schlage. Progress in the garden apartment has been moving full steam ahead, and it kicked off with the demolition of the old flooring and installation of new. We had high hopes that our contractor could pick up where our tile guys left off, but unfortunately, his current job is taking…
  • @worldsworstflipper - May 19, 2017 - 6:53 AM

    Love the Bowery knobs! I replaced 22 80’s brass levers in my house with bronze Bowery knobs when we moved in and it might be my favorite update! Huge impact for relatively minor work! Lovely choice!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 19, 2017 - 10:47 AM

      WOW, 22 levers?! You’re a champion. Nice work!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - May 19, 2017 - 10:29 AM

    I just replaced all of my doorknobs with the bowery knobs (in polished nickel!) as well! But I ran into a snag when replacing the last one – the backset on the door is not standard (it’s about 4″). Any ideas on how to make the new knobs work with the existing door?ReplyCancel

  • Paige Flamm - May 19, 2017 - 10:57 AM

    This looks so bright and fresh! I love the look!


  • Emily E Hoar - May 19, 2017 - 2:05 PM

    I love those knobs! I’ve been considering replacing the knobs in my house. Half of them are really neat 1950 originals, but I can’t find a similar replacement and am not looking to pay an arm and a leg. The other half are ALL different. The bathroom has a linen closet door, hall door, and bedroom door all clumped together, with three different knobs in different finishes. It drives me crazy! Might be time to just replace them all to match, even the cool 1950 ones.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 19, 2017 - 2:10 PM

      If the 1950s knobs are cohesive, I’d leave those be, and only replace the others! Having two types of knobs throughout still works, I think. Start with those bath, linen, hall and bedroom doors – the impact on that area alone will be well worth it!ReplyCancel

  • Alli - May 19, 2017 - 6:12 PM

    It makes me absolutely CRAZY when the knobs but not the hinges are updated on a door. I was feverishly reading your post hoping you’d get to the all-important hinges. Nice work :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 19, 2017 - 8:54 PM

      You can’t forget those hinges! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Aileen - May 22, 2017 - 9:04 AM

    Would you mind sharing where you found your doors? We have 1960s hollow fake wood doors and I’d like to replace them all, but I’m having a hard time finding bedroom and bath doors. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 22, 2017 - 9:29 AM

      We got ours at Home Depot, but also saw them at Lowe’s or Menard’s! They should be pretty easy to find in any big hardware store, but if not, take a photo and show someone in that service department. They should be able to special order anything.ReplyCancel

  • Weekly Kickoff – EricEstate - May 28, 2017 - 6:53 PM

    […] Black doorknobs on white doors. […]ReplyCancel


It’s been close to a year since we completed our master bedroom renovation, and a little more than a year that we’ve been sleeping soundly on our Leesa mattress. Not surprisingly, we’ve received lots of emails since then from those of you that have been curious about our Leesa – do you still love it?, you ask. The…
  • Tricia - May 16, 2017 - 7:45 AM

    I have the Leesa, too, and LOVE it. Do you guys use a mattress pad that you like? I bought one that I hated because I felt like it trapped in more heat. The Leesa is comfortable without it but with a dog and a kid that end up in my bed, I feel like I need the stain protection.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 16, 2017 - 8:43 AM

      Ooh, I meant to mention that! We use this mattress protector (the Leesa is too pretty to risk anything), and it works great! It’s large with deep pockets, but it’s thin enough that it tucks nicely under our fitted sheet without ANY additional bulk.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - May 16, 2017 - 9:23 AM

    I can’t believe this was a year ago! Which means I waited a year to ask my question, whoops. We have a similar problem with our ceiling being uneven, and so I loved your idea to bring the white down and have a perfect line. However- I have original crown molding in our room. A) Do you have crown in the room? B) if not, do you think that technique would work if I painted the ceiling, crown, and wall the same white? My husband says no but I think it could work! Otherwise dark paint would look weird as our ceilings are quite sloped in some areas. I think it would really stand out. Thanks! This is still one of my favorite rooms of yours!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 16, 2017 - 9:35 AM

      We don’t have crown, but I agree with you, I think it would still work to paint the upper portion of the wall, the crown and the ceiling the same bright white. It will look a THOUSAND times better than dark paint that slopes up and down along a crooked ceiling/crown line. We couldn’t be happier with our decision to only go 3/4 up the wall with dark paint!ReplyCancel

      • Danielle - May 17, 2017 - 8:19 AM

        It’s such a great solution and a wonderful way to make a statement without a typical statement wall or something. I think I’ll work on convincing my hubby! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Erica - May 16, 2017 - 10:06 AM

    Thank you for the update. I’m struggling with my current memory foam mattress and looking for an alternative. I’m looking for something that doesn’t sag. I feel like my current bed gets an impression that doesn’t recover so my back isn’t being supported as I sleep on my side. I want a bed with fast recovery.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 16, 2017 - 10:47 AM

      No sagging over here! It looks like the day we unwrapped it on our bed frame.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - May 16, 2017 - 11:58 AM

    We’ve had ours for a little over two years and are still totally in love with it! I used to be a hotel mattress lover, but now I seriously am excited to get back to my own bed even after really nice hotels :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 16, 2017 - 12:11 PM

      We are SO on the same page, haha!ReplyCancel

  • susan - May 18, 2017 - 2:13 PM

    You said you slept hot on your previous mattress. Is the Leesa cooler?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 18, 2017 - 2:40 PM

      YES! I sleep hot in general, but the Leesa has a cooling layer that helps out SO much.ReplyCancel

  • Marge Ryan - May 19, 2017 - 9:18 PM

    Had my Leesa for a few years now. Still no rolling to center. Firm but soft on all my body parts. I never feel any pressure points. Most important to note that it keeps a perfect temperature. I’m never hot from it. Such a positive purchase from day one.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - May 20, 2017 - 10:36 AM

    How did you get rid of your old mattress? Did Leesa help you with that? I’m interested in purchasing a Lessa mattress, but I’m a single female who lives on the 3rd floor of a walk-up. There is no way I could manage getting rid a mattress on my own. And, those stairs — oh, my! Traditional stores will take your mattress when they deliver your new one. This is one thing that is holding me back from ordering a Leesa.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 21, 2017 - 11:35 AM

      Hi Rebecca, we were able to donate ours, and I’m pretty sure that’s not a service Leesa provides (I’m also sure that’s what keeps costs low!). I know that in our area, there are donation stores that will pick up items for you, or it doesn’t hurt to call Leesa’s customer service and ask what they suggest!ReplyCancel

      • Rebecca - May 22, 2017 - 7:04 PM

        Thanks! It never even occurred to me to donate a used mattress. I will check out that option — although, I’m not sure how usable a nearly 20-year-old mattress.ReplyCancel