Lights out on the garage

The verdict is in, and out of the 7 lights in our nautical lighting roundup, we chose option #3!

Nautical inspired outdoor lighting

We bought 2 of the 12″ size to flank the tall shop door, and we bought 3 of the 8″ size to go over the wider parking side door. All together, it was $300 in lighting, but that wasn’t bad for 5 lights. What sold me was of course the cage and the fact that they came in two sizes.

Actually getting the lights turned into a bit more of a hassle than usual. On the day our lights showed they were delivered by UPS, we came home to find the front porch empty. We drove around the neighborhood to see if it was delivered to someone else’s porch instead, but we didn’t see it. We checked with our immediate neighbors, but they didn’t see it either. I called UPS, but they couldn’t help me and suggested I call Amazon. The lady at Amazon was really helpful and said she would have a new box shipped out right away at no charge. After a few days, the second box appeared on the porch, and all was right…. until the original box showed up, too! It turns out that our neighbor 3 houses down had received our original box, and he kept it for over a week before bringing it over. Now I had one very large box of lights to return, so I called Amazon again to get a shipping label. Finally, we were down to just one box of lights, and all was right again… until I got my Amazon credit card statement. Amazon had accidentally refunded me for the set of lights that were returned — meaning that the lights would have been free. I quickly called an re-payed, and finally all was right with the lights!

Now, we just had to install them. Do you see the white ring between the siding and the light? That little guy was all we needed! Since the siding isn’t flat, this mounting ring has a cutout to accommodate the overlap in the siding. You buy it in the right size for your light and your siding lap.


You mount it right over you siding, knock out and drill the hole you need to run the conduit through, and then mount your light to the ring. We still have to mount the three smaller ones, so I’ll try to grab a few pictures of the progress.




I know you’ve all been waiting anxiously for this post ever since I mentioned insulation here. When it came to building our garage, insulation was very important to Jerm and myself. Jerm cared about being able to easily heat and cool the garage.. and I just didn’t want to be cold. We put in the initial investment, and it sure has come in handy. Especially in the last couple days, as it has been well into the negative temperatures here.

Here is a run-down on what we did.

1// Foil faced OSB rather than regular OSB for sheathing the roof.

And no, it isn’t just to make your garage very shiny. I thought we would be blinded looking at it, but Jerm informed me that it is installed so that the foil faces inward. This step helps more with the cooling as the foil provides a radiant heat barrier and reflects up to 97% of the radiant heat. This was important because Jerm wanted to use a smaller room air conditioner unit to cool the whole garage, and we needed to give the little guy the best chance at success.
The prices on lumber can fluctuate so much. When we purchased, we were only looking at about a $5 per 4’x8′ sheet difference.

2// Foil faced foam for insulating on the outside walls.

This kills three birds with one (rather expensive) stone. The foil face provides another radiant heat barrier to keep cooling costs lower, an inch of foam provides R-6.5 insulating value, and when you seal it all up with a foil tape, it takes the place of a “house wrap.”

Foil faced foam is up :: Insulating the garage

3// Good garage doors with an R value

Thanks to Jerm’s dad being in the door business, we were able to get these garage doors for a very good deal. They have an R value of 16.55 and have a thermal break so that they don’t transfer heat out or cold in. As a bonus they had that bead-board panel look that matched the style we were going for. Pretty and functional!

4// Rolls of insulation, white polystyrene foam, Great Stuff

We used R-19 Kraft faced insulation in between the studs of the walls, and Jerm stapled it all in to seal it up. We lined in between the rafters with the R-8 white polystyrene foam, filled in the gaps with Great stuff, an then covered it with unfaced R-30 insulation. Nothing too exciting… Here is an idea of how it all went together before we drywalled.

And the drywall going up on top of it all. Please ignore our sweet cable railing for now. I will be back with more info on that soon. The details in this garage are the best part.

Drywalling the garage

We saved a bunch of money by buying it all when Mernards was running both a mail in rebate and their 11% rebate. You can combine the two, and we saved a couple hundred dollars. Our basement looked like this until we were ready to use it all.

So there you go! A guide to having the best insulated garage on the block. Unfortunately we can’t take advantage of any tax credits for this since it isn’t our residence, but we hope to update our house’s insulation when we redo the exterior this spring.

Our Bathroom: Before, During and After

Our house only has one bathroom, which sometimes is a problem. I think that is the only think that I would change about our house—but you never know—another bathroom may be in the works someday. When we bought our house (see part one of our house story), the bathroom was not very functional. It had a toilet (a major plus), a tiled shower, a funky little storage area, and about 7 layers of flooring. We decided to keep the tile in the shower for the time being and work around it in the rest of the room. If you recall from part two of our house story, the bathroom veered into a blueberry realm for a while, but was soon course corrected. I’m finally going to share the “after” photos. I’m using the term after rather loosely here since we do plan to completely update the bathroom in the future.

So here you have it: the before, during, and after.

Before Bathroom 1

During Bathroom 1
Bathroom After

I think the view from the living room is a big improvement.

Before Hallway and Bathroom
View From Hallway

We painted the walls Benjamin Moore Mount Saint Anne. I picked it on a whim because it looked like a nice grey, but in natural light, you see a lot of blue and green tones. Luckily it worked well in our bathroom, so we didn’t have to repaint a third time.

Bathroom after 3

The vanity is a 21 inch wide drawer base cabinet that we found in the loft at work. We have a really tight spot, so we couldn’t fit a wider, standard size vanity. We painted it white and converted the top drawer into a false front to work with the sink and plumbing. We recently updated the drawer fronts, but I will save those details for my next post.

We made the vanity top ourselves with tile we bought on clearance at Home Depot. We built the shape we wanted out of cement board, and then tiled over it to create our top, leaving a hole in the middle for the drop in sink. I’d say it turned out pretty well for our first attempt at tiling. We could have ordered a standard top, but we really wanted the extra counter space to the left of the sink.

Countertop closeup

Our soap dispenser was from target, and the glass shelf that we keep our toothbrushes and toothpaste on was from Homegoods. The most expensive purchase was our new glass shower doors. I like how much brighter the room is without a shower curtain blocking the light.

Faucet and Soap Dispenser

We still use the storage unit next to the tub, although it isn’t the most functional. The shelves are so tall that half of the space is wasted. We have a few dark gray metal bins for storing towels, cleaning supplies, and my hair products.  I also use some old metal freezer baskets that I found at my grandpa’s house for more towel storage and toilet paper storage.

Gray storage bins

Freezer Basket towel Holders

The bathroom art is a picture that I took of two of Jerm’s turbo housings. I think they look like snails inching along. I converted it to black and white, had it printed at Walgreen’s, and framed it with a white frame and a black mat from Michael’s. It fits us because we both like racing cars, even though it isn’t traditional bathroom art.

Medicine Cabinet and Art

Our bathroom was definitely done on a budget, and has evolved a bit since we first moved in. Eventually, if we add another bathroom, we would love to make this into more of a master bathroom instead of the bathroom everyone uses when they come over. A larger tub, more storage, and a new tile are all on the drawing board for a future renovation.

Do you have any small bathroom storage solutions? I would love to integrate more glass jars and create functional, yet pretty storage, and I think it would be fun to change the builder grade medicine cabinet out for some open shelving.