Welcome to Southern Comfort!

Hi, I'm Elizabeth and I invite you to grab a glass of sweet tea and join me as I (along with my husband, John) renovate our love nest. We're both born and raised in the south and love to share with you some of our favorite recipes, stories and our life. We hope you'll come back often!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Bathroom Files: How to Remove a Bathroom Vanity

As you are aware from our last post. We have decided to start a remodel of our upstairs bathroom. You can read THIS post to read all about why.

Today I want to teach y'all how to remove or replace an old vanity. It is easier than you think, and even disconnecting the water supply lines is nothing to be scared of. So let's get started.

Here is the {tiny} bathroom. More importantly, here is our vanity.

First, you'll need to grab a razor blade, box cutter or the like. You'll need this to cut the seal of silicone around the vanity top. Like this.

Once you cut the seal away from the wall, you can begin disconnecting your pipes.

See those two knobs below? The one on the right is your cold water supply and the one on the left is your hot water supply. Turn the knobs until the water is COMPLETELY off at the spigot. Consider this your warning. If you do not, you'll have a large flood after the next step.

After turning off your water (did your turn it off yet?.. ) you can begin separating the water supply lines from the source. We used a pair of vice grips for this step. You'll need to do it on both sides.

Sorry for the horrible pictures. We were using a flashlight to help get some light under there for John to see what he was doing. Flashlinghts and camera's don't mix very well. At least mine don't.
See? Pipes all disconnected.

Now we can dis-assemble.
Popping the top off. Literally, it's that easy.
Up it comes...
Out it goes.
Goodbye ugly vanity top (Well. Not really goodbye. It's still on our front porch. Because that's as far as John got with it. No, I'm not proud. No judging.)
Anyways. Now back to the project.
We are now left with the base.
In most vanities there is a big ole' hole in the back for all the plumbing to come through. Not in our case.

The stupid contractor who built our house roughed in all the plumbing and then added the vanity. Sounds good, looks good. Until you try and remove said vanity.
We had to cut ours out. Awesome.
After another trip to Lowes (only trip #2 for the day thankyouverymuch) for a jigsaw (because John secretly wanted a new toy and this was as good as an excuse he could have ever come up with) and $30 later we could cut out the dang thing.
The good old vanity didn't stand a chance to the Skil saw or the vice grips (which were really just for fun to see how many pieces John could get the vanity into).

And Voila. A vanity removed.

Have you ever removed a vanity? Had any plumbing woes? I'd love to hear!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two Sides to Every Door

Now that we have most of the downstairs complete, we're finally headed to the 2nd level of the Early Nest. I've never posted about the 2nd level of our home. Mostly because I'm sceeered. See, it's ugly. 80's ugly. I'm not at all exaggerating nor am I at all proud of it. At least, not yet.

I figured if I'm really going to give this blog-y thing a go, I'm going to have to air my dirty undies sometime. Well, ladies and gents, NOW is the time. I'm going to let loose and show you our ugly paint, horrible trim, even more awful carpet and wallpaper. Please, no judging.

Our next project is the upstairs bathroom. We came to this conclusion through a little conversation that went a little like this:

John: So, Honey. When do you want to work on our master bath?

Me: Hmm. I dunno. Maybe sometime this fall.  But remember when we do it we're going to have to use the upstairs bath for a while.

John: Yeah. Then we need to replace that toilet, since it leaks when you flush it.

Me: Oh yeah. Hmmm. What's the point of replacing a toilet on a floor that needs to come up anyway? Why not go ahead and get the upstairs bathroom done so when we need to use it, at least it's pretty?

John: Sounds like a good idea to me.

Me: OK, let's talk about this.

So here we are. About to face (yet) another renovation. The good news is, it's going to look amazing. The bad news is, it's going to take some elbow grease to get there.

Now, I'm finally to the point in the story to tell you about the door situation. Ajoining the bathroom is the 3rd bedroom. We use it now as the office/ Pickle's time-out room for when she's in trouble (which is more often than you'd think). This bedroom doesn't have a single wall that's a normal wall. Hmm, that sentence didn't tell you much did it? Let's try this,
This is our office:
(this is on move in day. We haven't updated any pictures since then) Anyways, this is walking in the room. Closet in front of you, window, wall. All with strange angles.
This is if you turn towards you left. Now you see the door I am speaking of. Placed along the 1 solid wall in the whole room.

This is looking back towards the hallway.
Ok, so now you know what we're working with. Again, no judging.

So I put on my thinkin' cap the other day and I thought, shoot, let's just take that door out! The bathroom has another door into the hallway (not 3 feet away) and the office really needs a full wall for a bed or shelves one day (when it's a playroom/ guestroom). PLUS the bathroom has no wall space for a towel bar. This will be the perfect solution for BOTH ROOMS! After talking with John about this, we both decided that was the first step to our renovation.

Again, here's what the room looks like with the door:

Oh look, John did manage to get updated pictures of all our crap stuff.

And here it is (thanks to hubby's awesome photoshop skills) without:

Plenty more space. Well, not plenty, but definately more.

Don't worry, as we go through this process (it's our first bathroom reno...eeek!) we'll keep you updated the whole way.

So what do you think? Should we give it a go? Should we be sceered? Any advice on bathroom reno's? We'd love to hear all!

PS. Spell check does NOT like the words: Blog-y, Reno, Sceeered, Eeek or Undies. Go Figure.

PPS. For the low down on all our previous renovations, click the following links. For our new floors, click HERE. For info about staining your deck, click HERE. For info about how we re-decorated our living room, click HERE. For information about our kitchen, click HERE. For a list of the paint colors used throughout the house, click HERE. If you have questions about any previous projects not listed, feel free to contact us!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It was time to move on...

I write this post with lots of excitement and a touch of sadness.
This past week John bought us a new car. It was time. We really had out grown both of our cars. Remember when we came home from Lumber Liquidators back in November (really? was it that long ago...)? We had both of our cars filled to the brim. We were quite a sight. In case you don't remember, let me refresh your memory.

There really wasn't a lot of room for much else. Thank God there weren't too many bumps on the way home. I would have bottomed out!

And renovations to the house:

(this picture was taken during our floor renovation. In case you missed it,  you can read all about it here and here).
And with Maggie's adventures:

We had just outgrown the Camry. We've been talking about getting a larger vehicle for a looooong time, but just hadn't done anything about it. Until recently.

Last weekend, I happened to be looking online at some vehicles and I came across one that fit us to a T. It had everything we needed. A tow-package (for hauling a trailer, and hopefully, one day a boat), a roof rack, and good safety ratings (since we will keep this vehicle through having kiddos) and most importantly, much more room. I didn't need all kinds of fancy bells and whistles, just something to meet our needs. Luckily, I have the best hubby in the world and let me pick out whatever car I wanted (as long as it fit into our "must-have" list).

We ended up at the dealership on Tuesday after work, took it for a test-drive and walked out of there with our new car. Please meet our 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Laredo.

  We were able to trade in my car, the 2006 Camry, and use that money as a decent down payment. The point of buying a new car was 1. we'd out-grown the Camry a long time ago and needed something larger. 2. to lower our monthly payments.
We were able to do both.
So now, I'm driving a new(er) car for less. Perfect I'd say.

Now we have the ability to haul, pick-up, fill-up, and carry anything we need for the house, Maggie or for vacation.. and one day, kiddos.
We did have to leave behind a certain piece of my history behind. The beloved Camry. I cried. Sobbed, actually. But I knew I had to let her go. I did tell Bob (our super nice sales guy) to please find a good home for her. She was such a wonderful car to me. I will miss the cam-cam.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Little Things

I have a confession to make. I've been a bad blogger. A really bad blogger. See, right now I'm having a hard time staying focused on writing. I come up with all the fabulous ideas to write about and that's about as far as it gets. I could blame the oh-so-hot NC summer, I could blame having a ridiculously busy summer schedule, but mostly, I have to blame myself. So I apologize if my posts haven't been quite as regular as they usually are. I'm really really really looking forward to some fall-ish weather around here to lift me back up and get me motivated! And I know it will happen, because John and I have some MAJOR projects coming our way! Wooot! I can't wait to share them with you!

Here's a little chang-er-roo we did at the Early household recently. Our house came with the holder for a flag over our front porch. We were super excited about not having to buy the hardware and just picking up a flag and a pole for the 4th this year. we headed to the garden section at Lowes and the only post + flag combo we could find included the hardware. There was no getting around buying them seperately either. Dang. Ok, so we'll have a spare set should be need it. So off home we went with smiles on our faces with a project to do when we got there. It was like Christmas in July. It was a new decoration for the front of our house that everyone would see. Excited I tell you (we really don't live exciting lives do we?) After installing it we were really disappointed when we hung it and instead of our flag saluting us, it just kinda hung there. Flat. It looked like our house had grown an appendage. See? Not the flattering, attentive flag we were looking for. Double-Dang.

So it stayed like this for a few weeks (ok ok, about a month) before we decided to do something about it. One day John had had enough of it and luckily for us, we had kept the hardware kit from our purchase (and when I say kept, I mean it sat on our dryer for a month). Out comes the drill, oh happy drill, how I love you.

And after a little help from the iphone,

Because we wouldn't want a crooked flag.

Drum Roll Please...

Ta Da! We finally have our flag. Oh the joy of little the little things.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

a gift for baby

Let me start this post off by saying, no, we are not having a baby. At least not yet anyways. We're still practicing with our fuzzies. Sometimes they make us question if we could ever really handle the human kind. But just because we aren't the ones expecting, doesn't mean we don't have have friends who are.

Just in the past week I've had 6 wonderful friends tell me they are expecting. Some for the first time, others it's their second or third time with a bun in the oven. None-the-less, tiny little baby bundles will be arriving.. and no sooner than one of my best friends Gina who is due early next month.

Do you ever get a invitation in the mail for a baby shower or announcement and get those prickly, warm fuzzies all over your body from the mention of a baby? No? Must just be me then. But we all have them come our way, baby showers that is. But after viewing those adorable invitations and announcements come the dread of "oh my.. what can I get them!?!" 

It's a question and quite truthfully, a big enough event that Baby and Wedding Registries were created.  And yes, they help a ton. When we got married it was nice being able to choose things for guests to give us if they had no clue. But the most precious gifts we recieved were ones not on our registry. Items that have sentimental value and thought behind them. Those are my favorite gifts to give and to recieve.

But how do you know?... how do you pick?... how do you make sure the gifts you're about to give are going to be welcomed?

That's where this little post comes in. Consider it your helper of gift picking. Like a fairy God-Mother of sorts. So let's get started.

Baby Clothes.
Babies grow soooo fast. Clothes meant for newborns can really only be worn for about 2 maybe 3 weeks. Which doesn't give Mom (or baby) a lot of time to really enjoy an outfit. :( When I do give clothes as gifts, I like to give them several outfits for different ages. I'll find a cute newborn outfit (because really.. who can resist those tiny clothes?) and then one for 9 months and then for 18 months. A gift that keeps on giving. Mom now has a few outfits for now and for later. Who doesn't love being planned ahead and having someone else do all the work for you?!?

Photo courtesy of Etsy

how cute is this picture?

Mom's love things with their kids names on them. Always have. Always will. It keeps their kids stuff from getting lost, and used by others. It's handy and it looks cute. I like to choose items that I can either have monogrammed or their name added. But more than that, pick an item (like a beach towel, bath towel, overnight bag etc) that the baby can grow with. Not just for right now, but for later too. That helps mom with less clutter being able to re-use something, but it also gives the child something to look back on and say "Mom, can you get my beach towel to take to the pool?" when they're 6. Something like this:

Another idea?
My mom started doing this when we were small and our playmates would welcome another sibling. Instead of giving something completely personalized if you don't know the Mom or family very well, give children's books. Everyone has their favorite kids books and can pick them out in a store like pie. Easy-peasy-sure-to-pleasy. It doesn't get much easier than that. Books are also great for shipping too. In the case you have an out-of-town family member expecting. You don't have to worry about them getting banged up in transit. Put a little note inside the front cover with your name (or you're childs) and call it done.

How about this:
Right now baby girl headbands are all the rage. I see them in photo shoots, magazines, and all over blogland. But more than them being trendy, they're CUTE! Babies rarely have lots of hair for those big bows we all love. Enter headbands. Not only do they help disguise any lumpy-heads (for the first couple weeks) they're perfect for dressing up your little one for pictures.

photo source: Little Lily Belle Shop on Etsy

How can you not love that?

In the case that you do like to give something from the registry, why not add a little something unexpected along with it? A toy train. A boat for the tub. A sippee cup with their name on it. Anything to get your gift to stand out and be remembered.

What sort of gifts do you give? Any other suggestions?
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