Category Archives: Home Improvement

Hardwood Floors are Installed

Where does the time go? The busier we get with renovations and bed and breakfast preparations, the harder it is to keep up with the blog. We have a lot to share, though, so stay with us! We’re on the home stretch and will be open before you know it.


Another big transformation is complete: we’ve had hardwood floors installed throughout the bed and breakfast including the bedrooms. It’s made such a great change; the space looks more polished, inviting, and beautiful.

We hired a contractor to expertly install the hickory wood because this project was just too large for us to tackle over weekends. He did a wonderful job – we’re so happy with everything.


The hickory flooring we selected has a lot of character and variety in length of boards and in color. We love the rustic look and the complexity it adds to the space. We’re starting to add area rugs, tables, chairs, etc. to furnish the bedrooms and the great room, and it’s all coming together.


The Tulip Poplar Bathroom is Finished!

The Tulip Poplar bathroom construction is complete – actually it has been finished for a couple months. I can’t believe I hadn’t shared that exciting news with you all. I have neglected the blog these last few months, but as it’s a new year and a time for fresh starts, I plan to get the blog posts going again!


We are really happy with how this new bathroom turned out. The shower is spacious, and the main area of the bathroom with sink and toilette has such an efficient layout. We had a smaller space to work with, but the finished product doesn’t feel that way at all. It’s perfect.

IMG_6107Remember what this space used to look like? Take a look at the demo and construction, electrical, and plumbing, and the shower, beadboard, and tile posts. This space wasn’t a bathroom at all but began as two bedroom closets. After a lot of work, we now have a bright and cheery bathroom. We used large, white porcelain tiles for the shower walls and beige-white marble tiles for the floor. The shower head is a square waterfall design – so wonderful! It’s like showering under a little rain cloud.IMG_2315

For the main area of this bathroom, we installed bead board on the lower section of the walls and painted the upper section a buttery yellow – like the yellow in tulip poplar flowers. Josh built a small mantle that runs the length of one wall, above the sink. This ledge will be handy to place toiletries and also a lovely spot for a small bud vase.


It feels great to be making progress on renovations, and we can’t wait to share  spaces like this cheery bathroom with future Ridgeside guests.

Sewing New Curtains

Slowly but surely I have been sewing new curtains for all the bedroom windows, and they are finally complete. Each curtain is lined with blackout fabric so that if you want to sleep until noon or take an afternoon catnap, you may!

IMG_6970The Tulip Poplar Room inspiration comes from the colorful and whimsical flowers of the Tulip Poplar tree, so for these curtains I chose a green and white geometric printed fabric. It’s a fun and cheerful fabric.

IMG_6977The structure of these curtains couldn’t be more simple: just large rectangles. I used curtain rod clips so that I didn’t need to sew top- or back-tabs. So easy.

IMG_6320Next up, the Walnut Room curtains are a crisp white fabric. Nothing fancy here – just neat and clean, but they are still lined so they keep out the light really well. This room will have bold patterned fabrics elsewhere, in items like rugs and pillows, so the neutral curtain fabric will balance out the room. I love these curtain rods! The ends look just like black walnuts. For the curtain structure, I used a traditional back-tab pattern.

Lastly, and my personal favorite, are the Sycamore Room curtains. The color is so rich and warm, I want to wrap myself up in the fabric. I tried to find a color that matched the Sycamore tree’s seed bombs – the ones that are so fun to throw and watch explode in a puff of gold.

IMG_7084These, like the Walnut Room curtains, are also back-tab curtains.

IMG_7087Lucky for me, I had some leftover fabric from the Sycamore Room curtains and plan to sew myself a pretty infinity scarf for fall!

Tulip Poplar Bathroom Renovations: Shower, Beadboard, and Tile

IMG_6719During this phase of the Tulip Poplar Bathroom renovations, we installed Kerdi waterproof membrane on the shower walls and floor, sloped the shower floor, installed and painted beadboard, and laid tile. Whoa! A lot goes into building a bathroom, and we’re getting close to completing this one.

IMG_6583We painted the walls of the bathroom a creamy yellow, and we painted the beadboard white. Josh installed a shelf above the beadboard – it will be perfect for holding toiletries or a small bud vase. A big thank you to our friends who helped us paint!

IMG_6642Josh spent a lot of time carefully installing Kerdi membrane – this material covers the shower walls and floor to waterproof it. It uses the “fleece” of either side of the membrane to adhere to the drywall, or backer board, with the help of unmodified thin-set mortar. Advanced putty knife techniques are helpful, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. He also finished a shelf that’s built into the shower wall, and he carefully covered it with Kerdi membrane, too.

IMG_6622Next, Josh sloped the shower floor with “deck mud,” which is about a 1:6 mix of cement and sand. This base will ensure that the water will properly flow into the drain. He calculated, measured, and pounded the mortar into shape with a wood float.

IMG_6656For the floor, we chose a cream colored marble tile and for the shower walls, we selected large white ceramic tiles. The ceramic wall tiles are a neat shape – not your typical rectangular subway tile – these have a more obtuse shape.

IMG_6730Lastly for this phase of the project, Josh installed the cabinet, toilet, and sink. He connected these to the newly installed plumbing. These additions really bring the bathroom close to completion. We’re almost there and are really excited to share the finished product with you!


Tulip Poplar Bathroom Renovations: New Walls, Electrical, Plumbing and More!

An update for the Tulip Poplar Bathroom is long overdue. Renovations are going really well – Josh framed, insulated, and installed drywall on the new walls. He also added a new dedicated 20 amp electrical circuit, ran hot and cold water plumbing, and connected into the forced-air ventilation system. If you missed our first post about the Tulip Poplar Bathroom, this bathroom was previously two closets. We demoed the interior wall and are now creating a brand new bathroom – you can read about the details here. It’s amazing to see the bathroom take shape.

For the electrical work, Josh ran new interior sheathed electrical wire to the boxes for the light switches, outlets, and light fixtures.

IMG_6276He worked carefully and double checked all his work (always with the electricity turned off!), and we now have a Ground Fault Interruption (GFI) receptacle by the sink, two light switches, a ceiling light and wiring for a vanity light above the future sink.

IMG_6280 He also installed plumbing and pipes for the shower, sink, and toilette. Since there wasn’t any plumbing in this space previously, he had to run a 4” arm from the septic tank and install new branches to each future fixture location.IMG_6293He also used a mechanical vent in order to vent the drain system without drilling another pipe up and through the roof. Josh said that the vent lets in air that is displaced when the water flows down the drain like if you were holding your finger over the top of a straw and then you lifting it off. With the waste lines in, he connected the hot and cold water supplies to each fixture location. He tied into the existing CPVC pipes, so he spent a lot of time under the floor and in the attic. The time in the attic is worth it though – we’re going to have a waterfall showerhead in this bathroom!

IMG_6365A new floor vent was needed so that AC and heat could be sent into this room, so Josh linked up a new flexible vent pipe to an existing stubbed-out arm from the forced air unit and installed a new decorative vent in the floor.

IMG_6339He also installed a brand new window in the exterior wall. It will provide great natural light in addition to fresh air so that a ceiling ventilation fan is not needed.

IMG_6493Next up, Josh will waterproof the shower walls and floor with Kerdi membrane, install the sloped floor with “deck mud”, and tie in the Kerdi drain. For the main space, we will be using beadboard and molding for a nice decorative finish. Stay tuned!


Tulip Poplar Bathroom Renovations: Demo and Construction

We are currently converting two large closets into a bathroom for the Tulip Poplar Room so that each bedroom in the future B&B will have its own bathroom. We have chosen three trees that grow on the Ridgeside property to influence our design and decoration choices for the rooms and bathrooms. The Tulip Poplar Room and Bathroom will have cheerful yellow and green accents and offer a bit of whimsy to guests. It will be a warm, comfortable, and energetic space. I love the flowers and leaves of a tulip poplar!



For the first stage of the Tulip Poplar Bathroom renovation, we demoed the two adjoining closets. This is always an enjoyable part of a project – hammering through walls! – but it is also very messy.


After demoing the drywall, Josh carefully removed the insulation; we try to salvage materials when we can and plan to use them (including the insulation and beams) in other projects.


Then he removed all the studs from the inner wall (these beams were not structural):


Josh came up with a few different layout options for this bathroom. Here’s one of the earlier designs:


Ultimately Josh created a very thoughtful and efficient layout for this bathroom and began construction by building the inner shower wall. The shower will run the length of one side of the bathroom, and the sink and toilette will occupy the other side of the space.

He re-attached drywall to the back wall and mapped out plumbing locations for the sink, toilette, and shower. He also established locations for all the electrical work including light fixtures, outlets, and light switches. Josh spent a lot of time reading construction code to make sure everything conformed – this research is important, and his work will be inspected and certified by the county.


It’s really neat to see the transformation of this space – we’ve already picked out and purchased some of the fixtures and materials. The floor tile is a beautiful cream marble, and the sink and cabinet are crisp white. I can’t wait to see everything take shape. It’s construction magic! Please stay tuned for future updates on this renovation project – we’ll have a post about the plumbing and electrical work soon.

Basement Renovations: Walls


Over the past few weeks, we’ve been busy renovating the walk-out basement. This space was mostly unfinished when we purchased the home, and we are turning it into our innkeeper’s quarters. Once complete, it will be a finished suite with a kitchen and bathroom. To start the renovations, Josh gave the walls a new look by applying a stucco finish. Well – actually, before he could start updating the walls there was a bit of demoing to do.

For the demoing phase, Josh took out the existing cabinets, shelves, floating floor, and miscellaneous items in the basement and demoed the bathroom, which included removing the interior bathroom walls, toilette, sink, and tub. We then prepared the basement walls by scrapping off any old glue and paint. Next we applied a primer so that the stucco would adhere well to the walls.


The existing walls are cinder block and didn’t have too welcoming of a feel for a living space. To update the look and feel, Josh mixed the mortar (used for the stucco finish) and applied it to the walls in a sweeping motion with a metal pool trowel, creating a beautifully textured surface.


The finished look is classic and also kind of contemporary at the same time. It’s classic like old Italian and Spanish stucco and contemporary like modern urban and industrial spaces. We plan to leave it unpainted for now, but we have the option of painting it in the future if we feel inclined. To soften the space, I’m going to make curtains for the windows, use lots of area rugs, and populate the space with other textiles or wall hangings.



Updating the walls made a really big difference in renovating the basement into our living quarters. Next steps include re-plumbing the bathroom and pouring new concrete floors with an in-floor heating system! Check back soon for more posts about these renovations.