Tag Archives: tile

Our Bath Renovation: Pulling Together the Pieces

I am very excited for our upstairs bathroom to be out-of-order! After much deliberation, we decided to hire-out for some key parts of the bathroom renovation. In the end it came down to two main reasons:

1. We both work full-time, and DIYing would mean we would be out of a shower (and weekends) for a long, long time.

2. We are moving a wall and reconfiguring two closets, and our walls are plaster, not drywall. Best to bring in the experts. (Plaster is seriously an art form. I watched them work in our family room and it’s amazing!)

We will DIY the shower and floor tile (which I am very excited to learn),  install board and batten, as well as the normal painting and finishing trim work.

You saw my inspiration board here, and now here is a Photoshopped rendering (can you tell I am a visual learner?) of what look we are going for.


In the mean time, we have been doing a lot of research (mostly Moose), shopping, and a LOT of time talking to sales associates. Here’s what we’ve gotten off the list so far:

Bathroom Materials

Faucets and showerheads are always going on clearance at Home Depot and Lowe’s. We check constantly until we find one that we like! We got our sink faucets for more than 50% the original price!

There is a Kohler showroom in Natick, MA where you can see their whole line of bath equipment. Because we ordered our sinks and tub through them, they shipped it to our house for free! (Don’t even get me started about helping carry that 400 lb. cast iron bathtub up the stairs though.)

The people at The Tile Shop are AMAZINGLY helpful. We waited for a sale and managed to get all of our tile for 20% off. They also have free classes every Saturday morning for those looking to DIY tile. My parents also recently DIYed their bathroom, and we split the cost of a tile-saw with them.

We still have to pick out our sconces, the mirrors, wall color, and, most importantly, our vanity/granite slab.

This past week we have been vanity hunting – if you are in the Boston area there are several great places: Frank Webb’s, Ferguson’s and Splash, and the custom cabinetry department at Lowe’s. We also went to New England Supply, but it was the least helpful. We saw a lot of great options are very close to finally getting that checked off the list as well!

In more exciting news…. who is ready to see the new Muppet’s movie that comes out next week!?!? Only me?? (Probably!)

Inspiration Board for a Cottage Bathroom

I posted last week about the small modifications we’ve made to our bathroom over the last several years to help us get by until we were ready to totally renovate this room – and I couldn’t be happier that the time is finally here!

Here’s what I am hoping this room ends up looking like:


As you can see, I am feeling drawn to whites, grays, and blues – light, airy spaces! It feels nice and clean, which is always a good feeling in a bathroom.

While we always make a big effort to do things as inexpensively as possible, we also have a strong interest in investing in pieces that last. Items in spaces like the kitchen or bathroom get a lot of traffic – and we have no desire to redo something in a several years because it couldn’t hold up!

For flooring: I have been drooling over this Carrara Hex Tile for a long while. I tried to convince my husband to put it in the powder room but couldn’t get him on board. He’s finally come around! I love the muted mix of grays and slightly vintage feel.

via For the Love of a House

For shower tile: While he came around on the floor tile, I’ve come around on the shower tile. I always pictured just a traditional white subway tile (like everyone else on the planet), but he’s convinced me to go with oversized matte-finish rectangular tiles. Bonus: less grout to get mildewy! (Still contemplating a penny tile accent wall.)

via Molly Frey Design

For lighting: We will add some recessed can lights, but over the vanity we both like the nautical touch of a galvanized steel vanity light.

via The Handmade Home

For the vanity: Since I would love to DIY either white beadboard or board and batten in this room, and the tile is all lighter shades of gray, we are both drawn to these dark gray vanities. We have a black vanity downstairs with white beadboard, and I like the contrast.

via Southern Living

For Storage: We have a few ideas when it comes to adding storage. We’ll add recessed tile shelves in the shower, and a cabinet above the toilet. I’d also love to recess the medicine cabinets to tie into the molding – similar to this photo.

via This Old House

For the sinks: While I’m not sure about the fixture (something stainless), we know we like rectangular undermount sinks like this one. I love my undermount kitchen sink. It makes the countertop feel more spacious and it’s easy to wipe down.

via Wayfair

For Personality: I’ve had this picture “pinned’ for ages and I’d love to make a sign just like it for our bathroom!

via Inspired Design

For a Whale of a Good time: We have the big old towel bars tiled into the wall. I can’t wait to get rid of them! I would love to have a long row of hooks for towels. I’m in love with these whale’s tail hooks!!

via Houzz

For artwork: If I see if every day while I’m brushing my teeth I want to adore it. Maybe something fresh and fun like an Alex Katz print or one of my local Rockport, MA favorites George Anderson. (OR maybe I’ll get some guts and paint my own!)

via George Anderson Gallery

As I mentioned, this is currently our only bathroom upstairs. It’s also pretty small. This isn’t uncommon with older homes, but we’d like to expand the size for our own use, as well as resale value. We plan to reconfigure two closets and move a wall between the bathroom and one of our guestrooms. This will give us a lot more space to work with.

Our “must” list when it comes to this renovation:

  • Get more square footage (thankfully we’ve figured out a way to make this happen)
  • Need to keep a tub (resale purposes)
  • More storage / countertop (we’d like to fit a double vanity)

Have you ever renovated a bathroom? Any recommendations?
What part of the bathroom would you spend the most time working on?

Before-the-Big-Update Mini Bathroom Update

There are two kinds of DIY updates. The major ones and the stretch-out-the-life-of-what’s-already-there ones. This update is the latter.

I don’t believe I have shared this room yet: the upstairs bathroom.

Beautiful, isn’t she?

Older homes often come with scary tile. Upon our searching last spring, we were pleasantly surprised when we learned this bathroom tile was plain old white. Not rose, or pistachio, or robin’s egg blue like so many other “vintage” bathrooms. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s not really our style.

We were also happy to learn those decorative tiles were just decals. Gotta love the person who invented those. Fortunately they peeled off right away.

Eventually, we do plan on re-tiling this entire bathroom, as well as getting a new shower. It’s beyond it’s time and there is a huge crack across the whole floor and you can’t plug the tub. But, for now we have our project-hands full, so it stays!

Those glass door beauties were taken down immediately and replaced with a shower curtain we already owned.

I’m happy to say I did it all myself. : D I can do more than just paint stuff people!

We changed out the old showerhead/ tub faucet/hardware for some new pieces.

I also turbo-cleaned the tile and grout. Mix equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and water and scrubs the grout with a toothbrush. It made a world of difference. Or at least enough of a difference to make this bathroom tile last another six months!

By the way, who puts windows in a shower? Ours is made of the 1970s-style cubes of privacy glass. We’ve discussed frosting it or taking it out altogether when we put a new shower in. What are your thoughts?

The ceilings, like the hallway, was peeling, so we spackled to the high heavens, sanded it down and painted.

Then, like a lot of our projects, our bathroom sat in this state for several months while we were prioritizing other projects.

Then, recently, we decided we would delay our big plans for this bathroom until the fall. We wanted to do a mini-update to get this room to a happy medium.

It all started when we installed our recessed lighting in the kitchen and upstairs hallway. We also put one in our shower (a waterproof one) and we also installed a ceiling vent and heating unit. (Yes! Beat that New England winters.)

The walls started out as a basic tan. Then they became Valspar Astal Blue (leftover kitchen paint) and then Valspar Lucy Blue (a sample can of teal paint).

Then, on a whim, I was checking out the “Oops Section” of paint returns/rejects at Lowe’s and found a quart of Valspar Polished Silver for $5.

The price was right and, fortunately, so was the color! It ties in with the dark gray grout.

As for the other side of the room:

The side of the vanity is completely broken.

And the medicine cabinet mirror doors are peeling on all the edges. Do you see all the black marks along the bottom edge of the mirror? I didn’t realize mirrors could flake off. Apparently so!

Besides that, when you are standing in front of the sink, the doors meet right in the middle of your face. To do your make-up you have to awkwardly hover between the sink and the toliet. It makes zero sense.

By the way, why are medicine cabinets so expensive!? Due to the fact that this bathroom is itty-bitty, we certainly need the storage.

This side of the room is a work in progress. We bought a new light, vanity and faucet… and they are in the basement with a lot of things that are waiting to be installed. : )

I did paint a white border on the medicine cabinet mirrors because the peeling edges were driving me crazy! Can you see it?

Ultimately, we will need to rip out the vanity, medicine cabinet and tile and will re-drywall this entire wall.

Then we will install a narrower medicine cabinet and storage shelves. Similar to this bathroom from 320 Sycamore.


Besides the recessed light and vent, this mini-update only took about 6 hours and cost around $30 (for the paint and new shower hardware – all on clearance at Lowes).

Oh yes, and about the huge crack in the floor. We’ve come up with a highly creative $10 solution for that… 😀

What’s your favorite/least favorite part of your bathroom?

I’m looking forward to our new sink! And a new mirror!


Linking up to:

TDC Before and After