You’re probably thinking, what does that bathroom vanity have to do with anything?

Well, when it arrives from Home Depot, it will be the start of my next project, my neglected 1960s bathroom.

The faucet and lights I ordered arrived last night. 

I have been doing a lot of thinking, and I’m tired of sitting on the proverbial fence, wondering where my life is going next.
 

I’ve come to the conclusion that where I am at this very minute is where my life will be for some time, maybe forever.

I know this complex has no plans to update the one floor apartments from its sixties roots, so there’s no point waiting on them.

But I absolutely hate the bathroom. 

Most of all, I hate the stained bathroom sink and the sink hole where I have lost lots of little things since I moved in.

There is no getting that bathroom sink cleaned. Believe me I’ve tried for almost three years now. 

I can stretch my pretty red and white buffalo checked shower curtain over the old bathtub, though it isn’t as stained.

So I am doing something mentioned in the book “Done With The Crying” that I recently finished. I’m taking a leap of faith and living in the now.

I will be paying the maintenance man to put these things in when the vanity arrives, on a weekend when he can work me in. 

I picked out a vanity that also included the sink that would fit the space and plumbing. It was $299. The faucet ($59) and light ($59). I checked various other places, but Home Depot seemed to have the best prices.

I have been thinking about doing this for over a year. Israel and I went to Home Depot last spring and looked at vanities. 

But still I was on the fence.

I mean, would I find a place to live that I could afford that I liked better? Would I ever get an opportunity to have a tiny house?

I mulled it over…This place has the wonderful fenced-in patio going for it. And I have fixed it up a bit at a time on the inside. 

I came to the consensus that those things might happen in the future. But I choose to live in the now.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring.

And now, as a single woman, I want to tell you how I’ve managed to do the things I’ve done to my home in the nearly three years I’ve lived here.

My accountant, David (love this guy; if you live here and need a great accountant, let me know) gave me some advice. 

He told me after I moved here and had a really crappy credit rating, to open credit lines that had the best offers, and then use them and pay them off.

So that’s what I did.

For instance, this past year I purchased a mattress and box springs from Macy’s for $750. It was one of those buy now, no interest for a year offers. 

The mattress I had was ten years old. It was the one I brought from Texas that had been in our guest room. And it was killing my back. 

I paid it off long before I had to pay interest. 

This month is the month that all is paid off. Yay! And my credit score is no longer in the lower six hundreds. It’s now in the seven hundreds.

The whole time I was married, we were heavily in debt. And now, I think things through. I refuse to pay credit card interest.

So, I charged the items for the bathroom, and will do the same thing. It came to around $500 with taxes and delivery costs. 

Stay tuned. The bathroom will be my next project reveal.

And my motto is: Love it while you rent it.

And just as, if not more important: Be good to yourself. Because you are worth it.

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67 Comments

  1. Brenda, If you move in six months so what, you are the one that has to live in and look at your at your surroundings, we all need to have the additute that we are not promised tommorow, you go girl, can't wait to see, you make anything you do look amazing, Brenda give yourself a pat on the back, you are smart, vey talented, you love animals, flowers, decorating, you have been given many talents, I want you to realize how blessed you really are. You have so much to give, so many people learn from you. I want you to live the rest of your life not looking back but enjoying each day doing the things you love to do!

  2. Me again! I forgot to mention this…Amy, who blogs at 11 Magnolia Lane, recently removed one of those huge mirrors from a bathroom wall. You might check their blog and read about it.

    xo
    Pat

  3. Brenda, I'm so proud of you and so very happy for you! You've done some amazing things at this apt and I absolutely love the beautiful outside area. I think as we grow older we are more cognizant of "time" and how quickly it flies by. A friend and I were discussing this subject a few days ago and I can't believe I'm this age and how the years have passed so fast! I think we should live in the moment ~ good for you! Your bathroom is going to look beautiful. I love the choices you've made and can't wait to see the end result. It's sad that the owner in Dallas cares so little about his property and maintaining it. Wishing you all good things!

    xo
    Pat

  4. Everyone is different, and what makes sense for one person doesn't work for someone else. You spend a lot of time in your apartment, and maybe moving again is very impractical. Maybe this is the right decision for you. If the project costs $1,000 in parts and labor, and you live there for 10 more months, then that is like spending $100 per month on having a more comfortable bathroom. What else could you spend $100 on that would give you as much comfort?

    I like the sink with the extra countertop space to one side to sit things. Oh so handy.

    And, I really liked the posts you used to do on people who live in small places, such as small apartments. Ever since we moved into our very small house, it has been fun to read about living in small spaces.

  5. Love that attitude Brenda! Someone else may have already said this (I didn't read all the comments) but have you asked the landlord to give you a break on the rent for the amount that you are putting into updating HIS (or her) building!!?? Lots of landlords will do that so it can't hurt to ask.

    Tania

  6. You are so right, Brenda! You may be in your apartment for a long, long time and you may as well love the place you live! I really like the fixtures you've chosen and can't wait to see them installed.

  7. Brenda,a couple more things to consider before you start. Removing the mirror will definitely damaged the wall. Most of those mirrors are put up with Liquid Nails behind them and that will damage the sheetrock. You will most likely have to do some Sheetrock repair as well. Not a big deal, but be prepared for it. Some of it can be covered by the new mirror you get, and some could be covered by some wallpaper if you wanted to. Also, did you consider getting a base cabinet with drawers? I know that I couldn't live without upper drawers and I have one that is offset like yours that has quite a few drawers and I love it.

  8. Very wise words, Brenda! Grab it…live it. I think it's fantastic that you have been keeping your money situation running smoothly. Many of us woman need to establish our own credit and doing it the way you have is widely recommended.

    I can't wait to see the bathroom!

    Jane x

  9. I really like your apartment. Your so lucky to have the private back patio to go along with it. You don't find the outside space very often. You have done so many neat things with your home. Don't think of it as an apartment, it is your home. Maybe you could find an old framed mirror from an old dresser to hang above your new bathroom vanity. Keep up the good attitude & wonderful work.

  10. You are one ambitious lady Brenda! I for one, cannot wait to see your new bath! It's going to be gorgeous! I think you are doing the right thing for you…you go girl! 😉

  11. I completely agree – as Jim Eliot said, "wherever you are, be all there." Didn't you share that recently? I think so. Why not fix that bathroom up and enjoy it while you live there, however long that may be. It's going to look beautiful!
    Mary

  12. Love the color you'll be using! The best thing about having the maintenance guy doing the work is that he will do what you want. When I ask my husband to help me with a project he decides that the color is wrong or the widget should be six inches higher. Easier (in some ways) to do it myself!

  13. I think you have made some excellent decisions; you've taken your time and given it much thought. Sometimes you just have to jump off the edge–and hope it's only a curb and not a cliff.

  14. Life is so short! I am glad to see you do this for yourself. You have made this little apartment into a cozy, inviting and beautiful place to live. At age 75, I was one to wait to do things in the future, suddenly the future is here. Enjoy everything you have – you have worked hard for it. Your posts always cheers me up no matter the subject.

    1. Yeah, I used to tell myself: I'll do this for myself WHEN. We are not assured of being here tonight much less tomorrow. So WHEN has become NOW.

  15. Looking forward to your bathroom reveal! That tan you have in your kitchen will look so nice in your bathroom with the white vanity–very clean and neat. I like the placement of the sink on the vanity top–gives you lots of room for toiletries, etc. to the right. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on living in the now, something I need to focus on.

    1. That's what I thought about the color. I had to go with a 36 inch vanity because that is what is there, and have to take the flooring underneath into account, said the maintenance man. For much of the over five years since my divorce, I've thought: Oh no, what if something happens? And I spent money I could have used? Well, I've managed to build up some savings (not an incredible amount or anything), so I told myself to just relax and not be such a worry wart and live NOW. When I was married he made great money and spent like crazy and we NEVER had savings! I vowed never to be like that.

  16. It's all going to look great, Brenda. As to pulling off your large mirror, instead try this. Call a mirror shop and see if they can come out and add a beveled-mirror frame on top of your wall mirror. We did that in our hall bathroom, added a 3in. mirrored frame; they glued it on top of the mirror already there, all around the edge and at the top corners they added a 6 in. beveled corner insert. Really a classic look. Perhaps you could google it and see some choices. Not too expensive and no pulling off your old mirror but updating it instead.

  17. It would be nice if you could get credi. Save the receipts anyway. I watched a tiny hose show the other night. One was $100,00 for 750 square feet. I think that is defeating the purpose. You have a great indoor and outdoor space. Maybe you could be the model for the complex and get some off your rent.

  18. Wonderful Brenda. I think the same as you. Make wherever you live,your home. I know my landlord let's me do whatever I want to make my little condo look nice. He actually let's me deduct whatever I pay from my rent. Landlords like renters who take care of the properity. You are so wise and talented. I am amazed at what you can accomplish. Good luck. It is all going to work out.

  19. I'm totally on with this philosophy. I work with what I have and what I think I'll be able to install/make/repair myself. It feels great when I have pulled a project together, at little cost and some effort.

    1. This project (plumbing, electrical) is beyond me. I recall when I took off my front door knobs so I could paint it. Couldn't get them back on and had to stay inside all weekend. Then when the maintenance man got to his shed after the weekend, which is thankfully in front of me, I had to yell at him through the window. I raised my white flag on that one!

    1. I guess he just doesn't care. There are I think four units the manager said she can't even rent because they have major problems and no one seems to want to fix it. Ridiculous. I thought you were supposed to take care of your investment. It's about 75% seniors here. Some have lived here over 20 years. You'd think they'd treat them better.

  20. Brenda, I love how you have invested in your apt. It has made me realize that I too am here for a good while and so I'm making the best of it. I finally got new kitchen faucets for my Mom and I and the maintenance man put them in for us for free (since ours were leaking). They do minimal updates but are good about fixing most things. Mom and I just really wanted certain faucets so we bought them on a great Black Friday sale!! I wish my place had the patio like yours, it's the one thing I really feel like is missing from here. Love your live now attitude!!

    1. Well really, when you think about it, most people who own their homes REALLY don't own them outright. They pay a mortgage. They will probably move before it's ever paid off. So kind of the same thing in a way. Yes, I know they will probably build equity making changes. But this isn't a huge change or anything in comparison.

  21. I felt the same way when I was renting. I took care of the apartment/house as though it were my own. Yes, it was money I would lose but it made me feel happy. And I was complemented when I moved out. It didn't take much either. I even took some diy classes and a new homeowners class. Boosted my confidence even when I messed up. Your outdoor room is wonderful.

    1. I'm glad to know I'm not alone. Some people probably think I'm nuts doing this. But it's my life and my home. Thanks for sharing your outlook with me!

  22. Good for you, Brenda. Just a thought for you. Have you approached the landlord (or the representative) to see if they would give you credit for upgrades you do to your place on your own? As long as they will benefit the landlord in the end they are often willing to give you a discount, or credit, on at least part of the cost of the work you do. It might be worth checking in to that.
    It is going to look great! Hope you have a good weekend- xo Diana

  23. Great idea installing your own vanity, sink and lights. Life is what we make it and you are on your way to the best life you can have. I am working on gratitude this new year. Thank you for blogging and sharing your life's experiences.
    Joyously,
    Betty

    1. There are many of us "older" women, divorced or single or widowed, who don't want to wait around. If we were with a man, we'd probably feel better about making changes. Because of more income and the fact that he might be able to help us with the changes. But I don't see that happening with me, so I'm plunging ahead!

    2. You're an example to us older ones–hopefully also getting wiser, like you. Happy 2017, and enjoy the "new" bathroom. Looking forward to seeing the results.

  24. You are so freaking amazing, and so smart. You're a fantastic decorator, too and would be the BEST interior designer, I swear. You do so much with so little and have a real talent for taking ordinary things and making them special.

    1. Well, thank you! I went to my advisor in college and said I was interested in interior design and they talked me out of it. But I love journalism too, and I decorate anyway.

  25. Brenda, I love how you have made your place a home. You are so creative! I especially envy your outdoor space, although I myself do have a nice long balcony. (I am up about 8 feet from the ground as my building is up against a sloping hill.) Good for you for deciding to live in the now. I am excited for you and can't wait to see your new vanity and mirror and lights once they are installed.

    1. Don't have a mirror yet. I want to see what the space looks like and how long and wide would be appropriate. I have one on the wall above my bed, but I kind of like it there. So I'm still pondering and looking online. I'm hoping the huge mirror won't be horrid for him to take off and ruin the wall.

  26. You go Brenda. Hey this is your home whether you rent or own. So it should be a place you feel secure and happy in. So if you have to add somethings to make if feel and function better for you then that is what you have to do. I applaud you for living in the now and wanting your place to reflect you and make you feel like you are home and comfortable. I love what you picked out and I know after a fresh coat of paint and the installation of the new pieces it is going to look great. Good luck. I am excited for you.
    xoxo
    Kris

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