Spring 2020 ORC Week 6: Tile and Lights and Drywall, Oh My!

Whether you’re new around here or a long-time reader, welcome! My husband Josh and I have been renovating our 1952 home for the past 4 years, almost entirely on our own. We’re tackling the entire basement for this spring’s One Room Challenge (ORC), and it’s the final project we need to complete to call our home renovation completely finished! Over the next 8 weeks, I’ll be sharing the progress of our basement remodel on my Instagram and here on the blog as part of the ORC, a nation-wide event involving hundreds of other designers and home renovators. Be sure to check in on the ORC’s blog page to follow along with all of the other projects going on!

Get caught up:

 Week 1:  Basement Renovation Design Plans

Week 2: Living Room Design Plans

Week 3: DRYWALL, and Tips for Hiring Trades

Week 4: How We Created an Electrical Plan for Our Basement Remodel

Disclaimer: this post is written in partnership with The Tile Shop. All tile choices, designs, and words are my own.

It’s already the end of Week 6 of the One Room Challenge! We have just two weeks until reveal day. Honestly, I’m a little nervous that we’re gonna cut it! We’ve been working our booties off to make it happen, but there have been a couple things that have taken a little longer than we’d predicted. Josh is gone this weekend on an extended camping trip, so I won’t have his help on any projects. Here’s hoping I can tackle a few things on my own!

What happened to Week 5?

A message from the ORC team:

“We stand in solidarity over the racial injustice and murders of George Floyd and the many other victims of police brutality and racism. To both honor and respect these victims there will not be a Week 5 of the ORC and posting will return next week. The ORC team will use this time to better educate ourselves to be the best possible allies.

In the meantime, please consider donating to organizations supporting racial justice like the @aclu_nationwide and the @naacp. This platform is being used to share sources and links (in bio) to articles and organizations educating and combatting racism. Acknowledging #blacklivesmatter is essential.”

To say it was a powerful week is an understatement. I took a week and a half off from posting on Instagram or writing blog posts, and spent time discovering (and re-discovering) Black designers and remodelers (here’s a great list to get you started), researching and donating to charities and causes, listening to podcasts, reflecting on my past and challenging myself to be and do better, reading a LOT of articles, attending a protest, and having eye-opening conversations with coworkers/friends of color and white friends/family. There is a lot of work and learning to be done, but I think it was a monumental week for so many people and I hope the momentum continues.

In addition to the work above, we also worked hard on the basement. We had a pretty lofty list of goals for week 5, and I’m happy to say we accomplished just about everything!

Goals for Week 5 & 6:

  • install all outlets, switches, and lights- DONE
  • tile the fireplace surround- DONE
  • tile the bathtub surround- PARTIALLY DONE
  • tile the bathroom floor- DONE
  • finish framing and hanging drywall in the laundry room (we had to wait for plumbers to come out and fix our drains- which is done) – PARTIALLY DONE (needs to be sanded and painted)
  • pick up the cabinets, doors, and trim- DONE (minus trim)

Josh and his dad installed all of the outlets, switches, and lights, with the exception of a couple in our utility closets. It’s so nice to not have to lug around the big tower construction lights anymore! The living room feels so bright now, and I’m happy with our decision to put all of the lights on a dimmer. It will feel so cozy down there at night when the lights are dim and the fireplace is on. I can’t believe how far this space has come in the last month!

Sima Spaces One Room Challenge Spring 2020: The basement officially has lights, outlets, and switches!

In the bedrooms, the single light fixture provides plenty of light to brighten each space up. I liked the minimalist style of the light and the fact that it’s not a “boob light” (look it up!). The light is only 3.75″ high, so it doesn’t take away much from the already low (6’8″!) ceiling height.

Sima Spaces One Room Challenge Spring 2020: The basement officially has lights, outlets, and switches!
Sima Spaces One Room Challenge Spring 2020: The basement officially has lights, outlets, and switches!

We tiled the fireplace surround in under 3 hours total, I think. It goes so much quicker when someone is cutting (Josh) and someone is installing (me!). I used this polished marble mosaic tile from The Tile Shop, and it went up quickly once I figured out where to start (that’s always the hardest part, in my opinion). I used a white grout and I love how elevated it feels now. I can’t wait for the mantel surround to be built to finish it off! (I still have to clean off the grout haze and seal it all, too).

I’ll be writing a “how to” post on tiling due to popular request. I’m hoping to have that out sometime next week, so stay tuned!

Sima Spaces Spring 2020 ORC: tiling the fireplace surround

We started on the bathtub surround mid-Sunday afternoon and didn’t quite get it all finished. We still have one wall, the niche, and some narrow trim pieces to finish, but we’re close! We’re using this 12×24 faux marble porcelain tile from The Tile Shop and I love the large scale. The veining is beautiful and varies nicely. From the three boxes we’ve used so far, we haven’t run into any tiles with the same pattern, which can be an issue when you’re using faux marble.

12x24 faux marble tile in bathtub surround: Sima Spaces Spring 2020 ORC

I tiled the bathroom floor one afternoon and I am so glad I decided to go with this penny tile. It has lots of color variety and pairs beautifully with the marble tub surround. It also creates a nice contrast against the white walls, and will look great with the navy blue vanity. (If you missed our bathroom design plans, here’s a link to see them!)

Sima Spaces Spring 2020 ORC: tiling the bathroom floor

Over the weekend, we also finished framing the laundry room and hung drywall, then taped and mudded. It needs another coat of mud before I can sand and paint, but I will get it all done this week.

Sima Spaces Spring 2020 ORC: finishing the laundry room

Finally, Josh picked up our cabinetry and doors. They were all special order so I’m glad that they came in time! They will all get painted next weekend (hopefully!).

Goals for Week 7:

  • finish mudding and sanding, and paint the laundry room
  • hook up the washer and dryer again
  • finish installing, grout, and seal the bathtub surround
  • seal the bathroom floor tile/grout
  • clean up and seal the fireplace tile
  • buy trim and closet doors
  • schedule carpet install (week of June 22)

Here’s a list of the rest of the things to finish up before the reveal, in addition to the list above:

  • paint and install all doors and trim
  • install all bathroom fixtures (toilet, vanity, mirror, hardware)
  • install carpet
  • paint and install builtins/countertops/shelves and mantel
  • install stair handrail
  • flooring, new sink, countertop/shelves in laundry room
  • install all vents
  • install bathroom ceiling

Seeing this list, I am honestly pretty doubtful that we will finish everything for the official reveal date of June 25. Josh will be out of town this weekend, and I work at the hospital next weekend. However, technically “Week 8” runs through July 5, and in that case I am confident we will finish it before then! Here’s to another productive week!

Author: Laura Sima

Hey there, I'm Laura- creator of Sima Spaces. I'm a home renovator, designer, and blogger based in St. Paul, MN. When I'm not designing or renovating homes, you can find me working as a pediatric ICU RN, snuggling my dog or cat, skiing in CO, or enjoying a glass of wine on our patio.

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