Monday, March 31, 2014

Our Upstairs Bathroom Remodel

Hello again! If you have been missing our home improvement posts as of late then you're in luck! Did you know that we remodeled our upstairs bathroom earlier this year. Sorry this is another old blog post that I am just finishing. Because our Airbnb "business" has been going well, we decided that the best thing to do was reinvest that money back into our home by remodeling our upstairs bathroom.

Before the remodel, we had a clunky pedestal sink and a clawfoot tub without a shower head, making our bathroom a very non-functional full bath. We figured that we should make that bathroom more useful, and as a result we turned it into the guest bathroom and charged more money for our Airbnb room. 

Our contractor wasted no time in getting started. After some debate, we figured the most cost effective thing for our renovation was to keep the clawfoot tub instead of squeezing a brand new shower enclosure in the small space. Anyways, if you know my tastes, I kind of liked the charm of the clawfoot tub ;) We also decided to regrout the existing tile. I decided that we should go with gray grout because I thought it wouldn't look so dirty compared to the existing white grout...

They also had to replace some of the loose tiles as well...

We ordered our shower conversion kit though Amazon and luckily it came in once piece!

Although we had originally wanted to keep our floor tile, it turned out to be in poorer condition than was expected.  At the recommendation or our contractor, we decided to have it replaced. Our contractor said that the floor tiles ripped off so easily that it seemed like it "wanted" to get removed, LOL.  In other words, the previous owners didn't install the old tile properly.

Before and after.

In order to replace the floor tile, they had to remove the tub...

So they put it in my closet room! And when they moved the clawfoot tub that's when we realized it was missing a foot! We worried that we wouldn't be able to use it, but since it was on the side that was propped up against the wall our contractor assured us that it would still be stable (with a make-shift wooden foot that wouldn't be seen ;) ).

We replaced the marble threshold since the original one had some chips in it.

Then it came time install the showerhead!

As you can see, it's comprised of multiple pieces that all connect. Here are some photos that show the showerhead, from the tub spout all the way to the curtain rods that connect to the wall. 

Lastly, we got a teeny apartment-size corner sink. We got a corner sink a long time ago at Community Forklift; however, we couldn't use it when it came time for the renovation.  It turned out that the corner sink we initially bought was too big for the space. Luckily, we found an awesome substitute with this sink pictured below.  This corner sink, although small, does the job! 

Now it was time for the finishing touches! Our contractor refreshed the yellow paint that was on the walls. I liked yellow for this small bathroom because I thought that it made it look bright and happy.  I didn't want to pick any colors that would make that room look any smaller. With the yellow paint, I figured that gray would be a great compliment. 

As for wall art, I didn't want to put any thing valuable on the walls because it's a space that is bound to get damp. Since moisture ruins art, I figured that I would put up something cost effective (i.e. "free"). I had snagged this poster from a local bar (the Brixton) a couple years ago. It was advertising its Triple Crown viewing party specials, and because this is "My Old Kentucky Home in DC" I pulled it off the wall of the Brixton's bathroom and rolled it up for safe keeping. I knew it would come in handy in the future! 

I also grabbed this African mask from our guest room and put it in the bathroom. Nothing is better than accessorizing with what you already have :)

Since there is nowhere to store shampoos and whatnot not in the tub, I bought a shower caddy that fits in the corner. I had to get some shower liners of course, but I still need to cut them down a little bit because they are a little long! I also got a pretty gray and white shower curtain to match the motif.


Wow, I can't believe it took us almost four years for us to remodel the upstairs bathroom, but I am glad we finally did it. Next on our list is the downstairs bathroom. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 24, 2014

You Down With AirBnB?

Yeah you know me!

*sung to the tune of "O.P.P." by Naughty by Nature*

As the title indicates, Justin and I are "down" with AirBnB as we are hosts on this home/room sharing website. AirBnB stands for Air(mattress) Bed and Breakfast. Created as an alternative to expensive hotels, hosts on this website can rent out sofas, rooms and entire homes. Basically, as hosts on this website we open our home to travelers by renting a room out in our house (Yes complete strangers! Dun-dun-dun!). DC real estate blog, Urban Turf, provides a great primer on AirBnB here.

As discussed in the Urban Turf article, we had to get some licenses in order to rent out a room legally in the District (it varies by state). I also made sure we got the proper inspections done because that was the only way that Justin would let us participate--we had to be fully compliant with the DC laws of course. ;)

Click to see our listing

With our prime location in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, DC, we get a ton of inquires! We received so many inquiries that we have to decline some of them for various reasons (e.g.: Justin's exam week in school, family visiting, etc.) After all, we do want some time for ourselves every now and then. ;) We even get inquires about intern housing for the summer, but we aren't quite ready to host a young 20-something in our home for three months quite yet. ;)

Yes, there are some cons to this process, but to me they are minor. You have to sacrifice some of your privacy and obviously share your space. The language barrier between some of our guests got to Justin more than it did to me. Of course on the pro side we have gotten to meet some interesting people from all over the world, and everyone for the most part has been really nice! Additionally, I can't leave out the monetary benefit. For the few months that we have been doing AirBnB, we have earned enough money to remodel our upstairs bathroom. So if you ask me, I think the trade-off is worth it.

"But, Joanne! What about if they wreck your place or steal something?"

First off, we don't host guests without us being home ourselves. Thankfully, Airbnb has a really good insurance policy in those types of instances, and guests have to be verified though the website. As hosts, we are in no way obligated to accept every inquiry to stay in our home. As a general rule, if it doesn't feel right (listen to your gut feeling!) then don't do it!

It's pretty cool that this is a worldwide thing. Although hosting might not be an option for less metropolitan areas, I did see listings in Louisville, KY for Kentucky Derby weekend, with prices around $500/room (!!).

So what do you think? Is this something that you would do?  Of course, if you are our friend or family you get to stay with us for free! ;)