Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Blogging the Remodel: The Nicest Bathroom I've Ever Had

I've had a few friends hassling asking me nicely for photos of our completed home addition/remodel project. There are many reasons I haven't posted them yet, except for a few quick ones on Instagram.  I feel like the rooms need to be unpacked, or at least reasonably uncluttered, before I photograph them to post.  We're still bringing stuff up from the garage, going through bins and making weekly runs to Goodwill. Losing both dogs within two months also made it hard to focus on non-essential tasks.  We've unpacked enough to go through our daily lives, so there's less of a *need* to get the rest done quickly.

Also - we added 1000 square feet, but haven't bought a ton of furniture or decor to fill it up, by design. (Well, partly because we gave all our money to the remodeling firm.)  We want to live with the space and see what we need, and figure out what we can repurpose from the rest of the house first.  So many of the new spaces look empty.  We just got the energy to hang pictures in our living room, which was only barely affected by the project.

I'll start in the top rightmost corner of the house - the master bathroom.   In typical (horrible) 70s style, our sink and vanity were right *in* the bedroom. There was a separate TINY room with the toilet and small fiberglass shower stall.  The toilet/shower area was so small you had to be very careful about where you stood so that you could open the door.  When TJ got up for work super-early, he had to turn on the lights over the sink, which woke both me and whichever baby happened to be sleeping in our room at the time. 

Our house has a lot of recycled rustic barnboard, but in the master bedroom it was overkill - all over the vanity wall, plus the wall behind the bed.  There was also no bathtub, though we did have a (rarely used) hot tub outside on our deck, which we sacrificed for this project.

Here's a drawing of what it looked like:

Here are a couple of photos of the "before" space.  We forgot to take photos of the bathroom before demolition.

One of the listing photos when we bought the house

Our wedding day, 2005

The design for the remodel had our new master bedroom and bath being built from scratch, in the "addition" part of the house.  So we were able to design it exactly how we wanted it:
  • Fully enclosed bathroom - vanity area no longer part of the bedroom
  • Solid surface countertop - no more tile!!
  • Tile floors and shower stall
  • Larger shower area, with a bench for "stuff"
  • On-demand hot water heater (woot!)
  • TWO sinks instead of one
  • Large soaking bathtub 
  • Room to turn around and close the door
  • No barnboard or 70s stained glass

We didn't need a HUGE, luxurious spa bathroom with a seating area - we just wanted it bigger than before and to use the space wisely.  Here's the new design:

We love this one because the bathroom door can be closed, and even when it's not, the vanity lights aren't shining into the sleeping area thanks to that little "hallway" by the door.  The closet door opens to a wall in that same hallway and that also doesn't disrupt the person sleeping.

I'm not a huge fan of the "toilet closet" with a door, since we're almost never in the bathroom at the same time, but apparently that's what people do these days.  

Choosing the tile, cabinet finish, counter and paint was a painful process, and by the time we got to the bathroom, I just wanted to check it off the list.  I found this bathroom online and used it as my inspiration:

Houzz bathroom

Here are the actual photos (you're welcome, A) - click for larger versions:

I chose the wood stain color early on, and had a challenge trying to find a light colored countertop that I liked that wasn't boring.  We ended up with Cambria engineered quartz in Laneshaw, which looks sort of like Reese's peanut butter cup ice cream.  I'm usually not a fan of the "fake marble" look, but it's got enough gold and silver sparkles so that it doesn't look like it's trying too hard to be real.

Most of the choices were cost-driven.  The nice thing is that anything new was an improvement over what we were living with. We chose the same sinks for both the girls' bathroom and ours - a flat modern looking oval with a sharp inside edge by Kohler.  We splurged on the HUGE soaking tub by Mirabelle, but didn't get the version with the jets.  The showerhead and faucets were Grohe in chrome - nothing fancy but much nicer than what we had.  I decided NOT to frame the mirror like the inspiration bathroom - it was just too expensive for the size we needed.

It was easiest to paint the bathroom in the same color as the master bedroom - Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, which is a warm grey.  I'm surprised at how much we both love the color, considering I'm not usually a fan of neutrals.  The "toilet closet" and ceiling are Benjamin Moore Morning Light - a warm cream color that we used throughout the house for ceilings and hallways.

Tile was the last thing we chose, and at that point, I was SO TIRED of all the choices.  I asked our coordinator at the design/build firm we were using to narrow down the choices to matte cream colored tile with some kind of natural texture and a very subtle pattern.  Bonus points for sparkle.  One of the choices came in a variety of sizes, so I just decided to use that for EVERYTHING.  12x24 rectangles for the shower walls and tub deck, which I love, 12x12 square tiles for the floor, and the 2x2s on the shower floor.  I love the simple, unified look.  She also found a GORGEOUS rectangular mosaic tile by Statements that we used as an accent - it brings together the different colors in the woodwork, tile and paint.  And it's got lots of sparkly bits.

Another choice I'm really happy with was the decision to use frosted glass windows.  They're really opaque and "glow" during the day to let plenty of light in.  At night you can't see *anything* from outside.  This way I don't have to mess with window treatments near the tub and it gives the whole thing a cleaner look.  I'm sure that many interior designers will disagree, but for us, simple and low maintenance is better.

It is pure luxury to take a shower in this lovely space now.  The clear glass takes some getting used to, especially right across from the (frosted) window. But I love having my own sink and my own bank of drawers. And the tub, ahhhh. This is by far the nicest bathroom I've ever had in my own place.


  1. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! This was SO worth the wait!! (And yet, I'm still so glad I harassed you.) My favorite part? Your giant gorgeous tub. No, wait, it's the warm and modern 12x24 tile. Actually, I love the dark vanity too and the frosted glass and the pooping room!! Yay!

    I can't wait to see the rest of the house! Your explanation for waiting actually makes a lot of sense so I *might* be a little more patient for the rest. Or maybe not. :) At any rate, thank you for indulging me. I LOVE, love, love it.

    (Btw, your nod to me in the middle of this post freaking cracked me up and made my night.)

    1. :) thank you! You'll have to come visit sometime!!

  2. Wow, it really turned out well! We saw a house the other day with sinks in the middle of the bedrooms. I was totally confused by them too. Your post is making me glad we didn't bid on that one.

  3. Your new bathroom is amazing and I am sure you will enjoy it everytime you step in it for many years to come.

  4. It looks amazing, nothing makes me happier than a new GORGEOUS bathroom!

  5. Its just beautiful. I love the accent tile and really think it brings it out. Short story about unfrosted bathroom windows. Good friend of mine spent a small fortune building a house on Lake Sammamish. He wanted his shower to be at the corner of the house - facing the lake. Well, with a "corner" you have two sides. One side does in fact face the lake. The other side faces his very close neighbor's house/child's bedroom window. He had to deal with some type of window treatment and it totally ruined the look of the bathroom.

  6. aaaaah, what a beautiful bathroom. We literally have the smallest bathroom in the world (google it = you'll see :))

    your double basins make me jealous :) as do all the storage space...


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