retro-ceramic-lampDuring my last trip to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, this ceramic lamp caught my eye. For a mere $5 it was all mine. The ceramic lamp base itself is in perfect shape, though I will need to rewire it and locate a shade.

retro-glazed-lampThe all-over square indents give this lamp a nice texture — as does the speckled glaze that was used. Kinda reminds me of a waffle cone. Yum.

mid-century-lamp mid-century-tiki-lampWhen I saw the lamp, I thought it would be perfect for when we finish our basement to create a tiki lounge — a project that is still years away. It is never too early to start the hunt for vintage goodies though, right? While I’m in no hurry to find one, I’m a little stuck on what shape the lampshade should be. The lamp would look great with a colorful shade, burlap shade or even an off white plain shade, but the shape? I’m just not sure. I tried looking for a similar lamp on Ebay, but had no luck. I’d love to hear your shade suggestions!


regrouting-a-showerFinally! After 18+ hours of work, the hall bathroom tiled shower walls are re-grouted and re-caulked! Now that my hands and my sanity have had time to recover from that project, lets take a look at some great before, during and after shots.

moldy-groutAs you may recall, my minty green hall bathroom has a history of moisture issues. When the second owners of our house replaced the original vent fan, they installed it incorrectly which basically made the fan make a lot of noise but not really suck any moisture out of the space. After about 15 years of this, the bathroom had suffered some icky side effects, the worst of which was the deteriorating grout and caulk in the shower.

missing-moldy-groutSince we’ve already replaced the fan with a quieter model that actually works correctly, the next step was to fix all of the missing and perma-moldy grout in order to avoid further water related issues from moisture getting behind the wall tiles.

shower-before-regroutIf I was going to do this tedious job, I only wanted to do it once, so I decided to remove all the grout from the entire shower surround area and re-grout using the same anti-microbial, waterproof SpectraLOCK Epoxy grout that I installed in my pink bathroom remodel to make sure I wouldn’t have to worry about the condition of the grout in the shower for a very very very long time.

missing-shower-groutBefore I removed any grout, I made sure to give the shower walls a good scrubbing to clean off any gunk or scuz on them. This way I could be sure that nothing icky would be hanging around for when it was time to re-grout the tiles. The next step was to remove the grout. The SpectraLOCK website suggests removing half of the depth of the old grout before re-grouting for maximum adhesion. I started working with a hand grout saw like this one from Menards, which worked fine but after a while the blade started to dull and my hand started to ache. Surely there had to be a better tool for removing a lot of grout at once. Enter this grout removal attachment for my Dremel tool. Using a high speed mechanical tool on my thin grout lines made me nervous. Some grout lines were too thin for the Dremel bit, but it did blast the old grout out of the normal to wider sized grout lines much more quickly and easily than using the hand saw. It also makes a lot bigger mess (make sure to wear proper safety equipment during the grout removal process!) For the super thin grout lines I used a utility knife with a sharp blade to scratch out the grout. Removing all of the grout from every square inch of a shower surround is not a job that you’ll want to do all in one sitting. I broke it up over three weekends and worked for about 5 or 6 hours at a time until the job was done. Midway through the grout removal task I was wondering why I chose to torture myself with mind numbing, torturous, hand killing boredom like this, but then I reminded myself that I also hated the look of moldy and missing grout and so I soldiered on.

missing-groutIn addition to removing all of the grout, I also scraped off all of the old caulk and some yellowy stain splashes that ran the entire length of the trim around the door. Apparently someone was careless with the stain when they replaced the likely rotten original trim for the new trim that we have now. Yellowy stains are not a good look for a white tile bathroom. These three skinny pieces of tile at the bottom corner of the tub must have suffered some water damage because they were all unglued from the wall and held in place with a massive amount of caulk. I pried each tile out one at a time and then scraped all of the caulk off each one before breaking out some leftover mortar from my pink bathroom project to re-adhere them to the wall. In my haste to clean up this part of the tile, I didn’t take a before picture, though you all would have gagged at the sight of it, so in hindsight it is probably a good thing that I didn’t.

prepping-for-epoxy-groutWith all of the grout, stain and globby caulk removed and dusty mess cleaned up, I gave the tile a good wipe down with a wet rag and then got to work taping off the tub to prepare for the epoxy grout. Since epoxy grout will bond with whatever it touches, it is very important not to allow any to dry on the tub or anywhere else except in the grout lines or it may not ever come off.

epoxy-groutThe epoxy grouting took about half a day of work for prep, grouting and clean-up. I only used two kits for my entire shower surround since most grout lines only needed to be filled half way.

regrouted-showerWere the results of all that hard work worth it in the end? I sure think so!

regrouted-shower-tubThe shower looks as good as it probably did when the house was built in 1962. Now the shower feels clean, for the first time since we owned the house. No longer will I be ashamed at the state of our hall bathroom shower or have to explain to our guests that yes, I really did clean it before they arrived.

new-caulk-in-showerTo finish off the job, I re-caulked all of the seams between the tub and tile and in the corners of the walls.

grout-repairedI was careful not to use too much caulk on this skinny strip of tile between the trim and tub. It is amazing how much cleaner this part of the tile looks now! The whole project cost me less than $100 — though it took quite a bit of time to get the job done. In the end, I’m happy I did it this way, but for anyone that only has a small amount of missing or moldy grout and doesn’t want to take on a project of this magnitude, using a hand grout saw or utility knife to scrape out the problem areas, re-grout them and then seal the grout is a very doable solution.

retro-tile-floorOf course the excitement of my clean, newly re-grouted shower didn’t last too long before I realized how bad it made the floor look.

loose-floor-tileSeveral of the floor tiles are missing grout as well or are broken or loose. While I’m not ready to start Phase 2 of the hall bathroom remodel yet, I do need to start thinking about what I’ll use to replace the floor tile in here. Until then, I think I’ll tackle a few outdoor projects, and enjoy some of the warmer months outside this year instead of stuck inside in a bathroom.





josh-agle-shag-artLately, I’ve been going in about ten different directions with projects around the house, and none of them are quite ready to share. I’ve managed to finish removing the grout in the green bathroom shower, but I have not had time to regrout and recaulk it yet. It’s on the list! I’m making progress on a few other projects that had seemingly stalled out, so more on that later too. Meanwhile, lets take a look at this awesome Shag print, entitled “Elephant” that I bought myself for Christmas as a “congrats for finally finishing the pink bathroom project” gift.

shag-printWith my Shag print collection growing, I made the decision to limit myself to one Shag print per zone in the house – you know, so they don’t compete with each other – and so I know when to stop buying them. This one fit really well in the space at the end of the hallway, which is great because since I work from home and my office is also at the end of the hall, which means I see it every time I return from a kitchen coffee/water break.

Shag-artI just had to have this print for a few reasons. It is predominately pink and you know how I love pink. It has my favorite tiki themed decor accessory in it — the puffer fish light — which is even cooler now that I’m getting all excited to go to Hukilau in June! Lastly, it depicts a pink elephant wearing a suit and having cocktails. What’s not to love?

shag-print-josh-agleHanging up some new art reminds me how much I want to paint the hallway and actual color. It is currently some sort of greige. Yuck. Alas, there are far more pressing projects going on — like that whole shower without grout thing — so it will probably be quite a while before the hall sees any more decorating action. At least it will have a hip, pink elephant to keep it company until then, right?


vintage-sparkle-laminateHappy St. Patrick’s day all! I’m still hard at work removing grout from my mint green hall bath shower — but this weekend I took a break to swing by my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore and try my luck at finding something cool. Turns out, the luck of the Irish was with me.

vintage-GE-textolite-sparkle-laminateWhat did I find? A vintage laminate countertop in GE Textolite Fern Sparkle Camelot!

mid-century-kohler-hudee-rim-sinkThough this particular laminate countertop would go well in my minty green hall bathroom, the laminate itself is cracked and stained in several spots, making it too damaged for me to use in the bathroom. However, the white Kohler hudee-rimmed vintage sink is in excellent condition and will be perfect for the hall bathroom.

Vintage-GE-Textolite-laminateThe kicker; the whole shebang cost me $2. Yes, you read that correctly. It was marked $4 but was 50% off last week. I felt kinda bad getting such a good deal, so I donated a few bucks to the ReStore on my way out — you know as I skipped joyfully to the car.

vintage-GE-Textolite-fern-camelotBe sure that this awesome vintage sparkle laminate will not go to waste though — I’ll come up with some creative way to use it! Anyone else have any lucky vintage finds over the weekend? Green or otherwise?


mid-century-modest-ranch-houseMy entire family seems to have a love affair with ranch style homes. I grew up in one, both sets of grandparents owned them and even my Mom and Dad’s first home was a ranch house. They bought the house in 1977, shortly after they were married. In fact — Mom and Dad’s ranch house was built in 1962 and was in the greater Milwaukee area just like ours (though it is on a different side of town). 

mid-century-ranchWhen Mom and Dad bought the house, it had white painted siding with blue shutters that Mom said might have originally been painted pink.

mom-on-porchThere’s Mom — the proud homeowner — on the front steps.

rough-floor-planIt is likely that you never forget your first home — and Mom remembered this one vividly. She even drew a quick sketch of the floor plan to enclose with the photos. Thanks Mom!

retro-living-roomHere’s the living room. The sofa was a wedding present from Dad’s parents. Mom and Dad kept it until I was in college before getting a new sofa. It was a sofa sleeper and very heavy to move. 

70s-living-room-plantsHere’s the other side of the living room. Mom said the chair was a second wedding anniversary present to one another. This chair was in our living room growing up too. When I bought my first home in Milwaukee, Mom and Dad brought it out for me to use. As my vintage furniture hoard grew and space became limited, I sent the chair out to live at my little brother’s house in Michigan where it still is today.

retro-fireplace-70sMom said that Grandpa (Dad’s dad, who was a mason by trade) replaced the fireplace bricks on this fireplace. They used to be the yellow brick that is on the front of the house, but apparently Mom and Dad were not too keen on that style of brick.

dad-removing-wallpaperHere’s Dad in his Engineer hat and jeans taking down the wallpaper in the kitchen and painting the ceiling white. Don’t you just love that light fixture?

retro-kitchenThis photo is captioned “After refinishing oak cabinets — notice the knobs — painting ceiling, walls, new floor, brick fireplace, paneling, removing wallpaper.” Looks like after all of that remodeling work, Mom and Dad had some friends over for a well-deserved party.

70s-dining-roomThis is the dining room. If you look carefully, you might see something familiar that is now hanging in my bedroom.

70s-dining-room-with-friendsHere’s the dining room again, this time filled with more light and people. The chandelier is awesome. Mom and Dad liked this fixture so much that when they moved to Pennsylvania to build the ranch house that I grew up in, they found a similar light for the dining room in that house, which now hangs over my dining room table at the retro ranch.

70s-bedroomretro-bedroomHere’s the guest room with the characteristic ranch corner bedroom windows…

70s-bedroom-decorAnd here’s Mom and Dad’s 1970s bedroom with groovy flowered bedspread.

retro-yellow-bathroomThose who read might have seen this photo of Mom’s bathroom in the story about where to find machine washable, cut-to-fit bathroom carpet. Whether or not you like the idea of carpet in a bathroom, you’ll have to agree that Mom’s yellow bathroom was a sunny, happy space.

retro-wood-panelingHere’s Dad relaxing in his chair in the groovy wood paneled family room. Note: Mom and Dad put in the paneling themselves.

dad-with-christmas-treeMom even included a shot of Dad posing with the Christmas tree. Those French doors behind the tree lead out to the back patio.

back-patioHere’s the other side of the French doors.

retro-fenced-yardLooks like Mom and Dad’s ranch had quite a large, fenced-in back yard. The swing set must have been left over from the first owners of the house. I wonder what that A-frame structure next to the fence was used for — a shed?

retro-ranch-exteriorThe following year, Mom and Dad decided that having one garage in a snowy climate like Milwaukee, Wisconsin was not a good idea, so Dad put a garage addition on to the house. They also painted the house “sand” to help minimize the yellow Marion brick that they were not fond of and added a dark chocolate color to the shutters. Very 1970s color palette, don’t you think?

retro-ranch-houseHere’s the back patio after the garage addition. I’m betting this made the patio more protected from the winter winds, since Dad has been known to BBQ even on the coldest days of the year.

So there you have it — a tour of Mom and Dad’s first retro ranch. Mega thanks to Mom for taking so many photos back in 1977 (in the days before blogging) and for sharing them with us.