We are approaching the end of our pre-demo materials shopping and have few major decisions left. The bathroom, of course, is where most of those materials decisions had to be made. The goals were simple: find things we liked at a price we could stomach. Mixing cheaper and/or recycled stuff with nicer stuff is the approach we have taken. Once we started narrowing down choices, the color palette that emerged is grey/blue and off-white/white.
As noted last time, our current main floor bathroom connects the master bedroom and kitchen. It was largely redone when we moved in, but with fairly low end, mundane materials. It has a combo tub/shower with a boring, mass market, stark white tile surround. The white pedestal sink and retro looking chrome faucet aren’t bad, so we will keep those in the new bath. Ditto with the toilet.
The new bathroom will be split, Jack and Jill style. Not sure which side is Jack and which is Jill. The portion accessed from the center hallway (Jack?) will be essentially a powder room, with just a toilet and sink. It will be separated from the other side of the bathroom by a frosted glass pocket door. The other side (Jill?) will also be accessible from the master bedroom. It will house the main sink and vanity and the shower. The shower will be along the back wall of the house. Currently, there are windows all across that wall. We will remove the windows that would otherwise be in the shower and install a skylight above the shower instead.
The Powder Room
The powder room is easy. We’re reusing the pedestal sink, faucet, toilet, and over the mirror lights. We will get a new mirror for over the sink. I rather like one from Rejuvenation that is oval with a silver beaded frame, pictured at right. We’ll see if I get to buy that in the end, but that is my inspiration mirror. I also picked up a simple overhead fixture in chrome from the Rejuvenation seconds room. The flooring and wall color will be the same as what we do in the other part of the bathroom. We’re still debating whether to put beadboard in the powder room, but that is a decision we can make a little later on. There will be some miscellaneous shelving or racks, but we won’t determine that until the room is more or less done.
The Main Bath
Here’s where it gets fun. Everything will be new and done as we want it. This is a tiny room, just enough space for a 3′ x 2′ vanity with a 5′ long shower running perpendicular to it. Because it’s small, we don’t really need that much of anything. On the other end, it can be easily overwhelmed by flashy materials.
The Vanity Area
The vanity itself will be custom built as part of our project. It will be done in a paint grade, and we’ll probably paint it the same soft white color of all the trim in the house. We still need to decide on the configuration of drawers and/or cupboards and the style of the doors and drawer fronts, but that shouldn’t be hard. We already measured all of our regularly used toiletries, etc., so we have a good idea of the space we’ll need.
The countertop will be Alaskan marble, which we’re really excited about. It’s not the sophisticated, even marble that Carrara or Calacatta is, but is instead streaky with lots of grey and tan, a white that is not a bright white, and chunks and crystals where water seeped through the stone. The guy at the remnant yard told us that he and his son cut this out of a quarry in southern Alaska some 20+ years ago. That makes it even more interesting. We originally wanted a vessel-type sink, one that sits on top of the counter. Now that we got a cool piece of stone, we’re leaning towards an undermount sink, which will leave the counter uncovered. Hopefully, we’ll do a 4″ backsplash in marble around the counter, but we’ll need to cobble together more remnants. We know there is more of this marble at the stone yard, so it’s just an issue of finding the right piece. If we can’t do the marble, we’ll do a tile backsplash. The faucet is still TBD, but will be in a polished chrome finish.
The medicine cabinet above the vanity will tie in with the era of the house: the Mendenhall cabinet from Rejuvenation. Its crown lintel trim is exactly the same as above all of our doors and windows. I’ve been cruising the seconds area for weeks looking for one, to no avail. Then Mom stepped in and gave it to me for my big birthday with a 0 in it. Thanks, Mom and Dad! (You know you’re middle aged when getting home improvement supplies for your birthday is exciting.) We got an inset mount cabinet so it will sit flush along the wall, rather than stick out. Here’s where designing our own bathroom is really great: M and I are both tall, so this will be mounted nice and high for us because who cares if no one else can see in the mirror. The picture shows sconce lighting, and we’ll decide later what to do about that. It depends on wall space and ceiling height (the ceiling is lower on the Jill (?) side).
The shower is going to be freakin’ awesome. It’s about 5′ long and just under 3′ wide. There was some concern that the space would be too narrow for a shower since it is narrower than standard width (36″). However, we realized that, since we are used to showering in a tub, 33″ of space will be luxurious. We’ll also mount the shower head along the long side, so you will naturally turn to face the long wall in the shower. We’ll also put some sort of ledge or stool in the corner or along the short side of the shower for, you know, leg shaving.
The shower will have glass all along its door wall (other than a tile half wall where the glass and vanity connect up). The floor will be pebble tile. We’re still debating the color of pebble tile, but have narrowed it to 2 or 3 color combos, depending on how it goes with the rest of the flooring. Besides looking cool, pebble tiles will provide a daily foot massage.
The shower will have a full tile surround. The field tile will be a basic, mass produced off-white 4×4 tile. We got some for free and can easily get more of it at Home Depot. It’s super cheap. The off-white has a greyish cast to it, which works with everything else going on, but is not such a stark white to bother M who works in the medical field and did not want hospital white tile in his home bath. (Understood.)
As mentioned before, we found some accent tile at the Pratt & Larson outlet. We have 4 colors in the grey/blue color palette and enough to do 3 rows of trim around the shower. We have twice as much of 1 color as the other 3, so I carry around 5 tiles for comparison. I also picked up whatever other tile sizes in the same color palette they had to use for the shower cubbies (of which there will be 2 or 3). It’s really nice looking tile and has that variegated depth of color of a hand glazed tile (vs. the even color of a mass produced tile). It looks like some of these colors may still be produced by P&L, so we may be able to get more, if needed, but they won’t be $1/lb.
We picked out a shower head, courtesy of a great blog post on designing the perfect bathroom. Basically, the author said, I’ve tried them all, save your money and choose this one: the Kohler Flipside. It’s gotten great reviews, looks good, and seems to have all the features you’d want in a shower head. We’ll get a handheld shower head and mount it on an adjustable post. The rest of the plumbing/fixture decisions will be for another day.
Tying It All Together
While the materials we’ve chosen generally work together, there is a lot going on so the floor needs to help tie everything together. We brought home a bunch of samples, set them up in the little hallway that is where the bathroom will be, and checked on them at different times of day. As always, getting samples together in the light where they’ll be makes it much easier to narrow choices. Things that look good in the store don’t necessarily look good at home. We kept returning to one sample: Artistic Tile Xilo in Grey. It’s a porcelain tile in 12″x24″ pieces, which gives a slightly more modern look. The base color is a grey/blue that really brings out the accent tile, but there are some whitish brushstrokes in it, which help tie other elements together. I do wish we fell for something cheaper, but at least we’re consistent in choosing to direct more of our budget towards flooring.
While there will be more decisions in the bathroom, the ones that dictate the look and feel have been made, even if we haven’t actually purchased the products yet. Things like lighting, racks and shelves will be easier to sort out when we see the space, and the sink and fixtures should be fairly straightforward, now that the other elements have fallen into place. There is no point in picking out a paint color now, but it will probably be a shade of grey. I can’t wait to use this bathroom!
In other news, M has started digging the hole for the new stairs, and we’ve packed up a lot and ripped out some of the carpet upstairs. The rest will take all of 10 minutes once the remaining stuff is moved out. We’ll start demo’ing the upstairs this week. Pics on that next time.