One Room Challenge: Week Three

If you’re new around here, two years ago my husband and I purchased our first house: a 1940’s Colonial located in a very cute coastal Connecticut town. We’ve been tackling remodeling the house room by room, where we’re always looking for ways to add equal parts function and character into our house. Make sure to catch up on our One Room Challenge™ progress from past weeks (week one, week two).

I can’t believe we’re already at Week Three! And yes, the panic is starting to set in. We’re going to be dialing up the volume in the next few weeks in order to hit the reveal date. So let’s recap this past week, which consisted primarily of finishing the IKEA Pax build-out, building most of a window bench in the closet, our new windows arriving and finalizing the design plan and placing (most) of the orders. At the bottom of the post is the long-awaited design board for the walk in closet, too!

We finished building out the base closet units

There were some pieces that had been out of stock last week for the IKEA Pax units that we were able to install this week. Beyond that, we’ll be picking up adding the trim to all these units in another week or so. I can’t wait to see the transformation (Ikea hack) that I’ve been planning come to life.

We built (most of) a window bench

We constructed the majority of the window bench that will be located in our walk in closet. We used a similar technique as in our sun-room and it came together without too much trial and error.

This is the window bench in our sunroom that we’re mirroring:

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This was before:

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And this is during:

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The shape of the bench is unusual because we didn’t want to lose any storage space in the wardrobe units. By angling the right side, we have both enough depth to sit on the bench and also full access to the pants hanging beside the bench. We’re hoping that once everything is complete in here, this bench will feel totally seamless and intentional.

We will be adding trim, priming, painting and installing perforated metal screens for the heat to escape. Oh, there will definitely be a wood top and bench cushion on top of this bench. Stay tuned!

Finalized the design plan in the closet

I’m so excited about what we have in the works for the closet. We’re going to be starting by trimming out an IKEA Pax closet with Metrie crown moulding, baseboards, and flat poplar boards, and then painting the entire room an inky blue.

The striped wallpaper will be going on the ceiling, which will then be topped with two of those gorgeous Hudson Valley Lighting flushmounts. When you live in a house with standard ceilings, as ours is, you have a constant need for stylish and interesting flushmount lights, and Hudson Valley Lighting has SO many great ones to choose from. I’ve bookmarked so many for future projects.

The antique mirror is from Hayneedle and is going to be a nod to the Venetian mirror in our guest bathroom, but with simpler, more pared down lines. I just love the curves of the frame and think it’s going to be the perfect spot to check yourself before leaving the closet and heading out into the world every day.

As I mentioned earlier in this recap, we’re building a window bench that will serve as both a radiator cover and a spot to put on shoes in the morning. On the bench, SWD Studios is working on a sophisticated black and white chinoiserie pillow to elevate the spot.

The cabinetry pulls are coming from Emtek in my all-time favourite: Unlacquered Brass. I just love how this finish patinas over time. Living finishes are my love language. We went with the larger size, so we can get away with a single pull per drawer to avoid visual overload (we have 16 drawers…).

For art, I’m going with a calming abstract from Minted artist Carmen Guedez that will ground the space that will already have a lot going on visually. I love that abstract prints can be both energizing and calming and I think that this one does both masterfully. I’m opting for a natural wood frame to bring in some more warmth.

For the floors, my go-to is always to add a vintage rug – I haven’t exactly nailed down the rug yet, our measurements are a bit tricky, but I’m certain it will be a beaut. When in doubt, ‘add a vintage runner’ is pretty much my life’s motto. The great thing about vintage rugs is that then come in completely unstandard sizing, so I’m hoping to find one that is both narrow and long enough for the walkway.

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What’s next?

It’s going to be a huge week. Now that our windows have arrived, we’re kicking our pace into over-drive since once we install the windows we can tackle the trimwork in the bedroom, and the closet (no, we’ve never installed windows before, so that is definitely anxiety-inducing). And just maybe we’ll get to a point where we can start painting. To follow along in real time, there will be lots of stories on my Instagram Stories.

Check out progress from my fellow One Room Challenge™ featured designers below!

Media PartnerBetter Homes & Gardens| TM byORC 

ORC fall 2018 Small

One Room Challenge: Week Two

If you’re new around here, two years ago my husband and I purchased our first house: a 1940’s Colonial located in a very cute coastal Connecticut town. We’ve been tackling remodeling the house room by room, where we’re always looking for ways to add equal parts function and character into our house. Make sure to catch up on our One Room Challenge™ progress from past weeks (week one).

The first week is down in the books and we’ve made a decent amount of progress. This past week focused on the closet and getting the base IKEA Pax system in place. Make sure to read all the way through the post for the design plans at the bottom.

Installing the IKEA Pax

After a lot of research, we opted for the IKEA Pax system since it’s relatively budget friendly and includes a lot of options for drawers and accessories. If you’ve ever lived in a smaller home before, then you know how critical thoughtful and intentional storage can be, hence my obsession with making the most of every inch. While our home isn’t super small (2,100 sq. ft.), we still need to max out our storage potential. Before purchasing any units, we spent a lot of time in the planning phase. The overall dimensions of the walk in closet are 14″6 feet wide x 6″5 feet deep. Below was our initial plan, where we intended to each take one wall of the closet and then share the dressing area by the window. I mocked all the dimensions up on the IKEA site using the Pax planning tool and then again in renderings. Looking at the plan, it looks a tiny bit tight but workable, and we were assured by the staff at IKEA that the 32″ walkway was doable.

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However, once we got the first two Pax units in place, we immediately felt claustrophobic and knew it was going to feel like a tunnel and not like the grown-up closet we imagined.

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You can see how narrow the walkway looks when Cory was standing in it (for reference, he’s not a small guy, but it still felt a bit claustrophobic for me).

So, we went back to the drawing board and to IKEA for two shallower depth units (13″ instead of 23″), resulting in the below plan.

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Once we got the new, shallower units in we couldn’t believe how much more spacious the closet felt. There was no longer a concern over our ability to open drawers and even whether we could see into the back of the closet, since light floods into the space from the window. Even though we gave up some hanging space, I can already tell that the revised layout is going to function so much better for the space.

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We live in an old house so our floor are… quirky and not super level, so getting the units totally level to one another required a lot of shimming. We’re still waiting on a few missing pieces that are due back in-stock at our IKEA this week, as well as needing to finish up some electrical work.

Once we have the missing pieces, we’ll be moving forward on installing trimwork all over the closet system, followed by paint and hardware, so hopefully you’ll never even know there’s an IKEA system underneath. Given that our home is from the 1940’s, we’re always conscientious about ensuring any features we build in blend in seamlessly and the lines on the Pax read very modern without any modifications. Stay tuned from a massive IKEA hack!

In addition to installing the wardrobe units, we also mostly finalized the design plan. There are a few pieces that I haven’t quite nailed down, but I’m hoping to do so within the week.

The Bedroom Design

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As with the other rooms we’ve completely remodeled in our house, were leaning hard into the New Traditionalist aesthetic for a sophisticated but modern and fun retreat. Starting with the walls, we’re adding lots of Metrie trim: baseboards, crown moulding, casing around the windows and doors, a chair rail and panel moulding on the lowers of the wall. All that trim is going to be painted a medium blue. Yes, blue.

Then, I’m going even further outside my comfort zone with a patterned blue and white wallpaper from Fabricut’s Trend collection, a brand new design from the Vern Vip collection (aka one of my fave TV designers of all time and possibly one of the reasons I’m obsessed with design in the first place).

The Ace light fixture from Troy Lighting is bringing all the modern edge to the room, where it’s mix of brass, black and white globes is everything I look for in a light fixture. Plus, with our standard height (read: not tall) ceilings I wanted a dramatic light fixture that was adjustable in height.

For the bed, we want an upholstered bed that slides right under the window, meaning we’re likely going to DIY another bed frame, since the dimensions are pretty atypical and low. I picked up vintage Ming nightstands for free off Facebook Marketplaces that I’m planning on refinishing, where I haven’t quite decided on the color. At the foot of the bed will be this great leather Article bench that has a super slender, modern base that I absolutely adore.

For a rug, we’re adding a jute herringbone rug, with a zebra printed cowhide from Hayneedle. I love adding a graphic cowhide layered over a natural rug for that extra visual interest.

Since we no longer need a dresser in the bedroom, we’re going to be adding a seating area in the corner, with the aspiration of curling up in the corner with a good book (a girl can dream). The Article Matrix chair is going to be the perfect chair for the job and the luxe velvet adds some more texture to the space.

Bedding is still TBD, but I knew this room needed some more edge, so I’m working with SWD Studios on a long lumbar for the bed in one of my favourite fabrics, Kelly Wearstler’s Graffito.

I also worked with Emtek to source door hardware that matches the aesthetic of the vintage knobs we have throughout the house. We’ve slowly been replacing the builder grade brass knobs with character-rich door hardware, and I’m excited for the same look, but with the modern features like a privacy button… it’s the little things, my friends!

I’m still finalizing the art selection with Minted and haven’t yet decided on window shades, but I love the natural bamboo shades (with blackout lining!) that Select Blinds offers, I just need to narrow it down.

Since this was already such a novel of a post, I’m going to leave you in suspense for one more week until I share the design plan for the closet.

What’s Next?

Come back next week for the closet design plan, and (hopefully) lots of progress. To follow along in real time, there will be lots of stories on my Instagram Stories. The plan for this week is to start tackling building out the window bench.

Check out progress from my fellow One Room Challenge™ featured designers below!

Media Partner Better Homes & Gardens| TM by ORC 

ORC fall 2018 Small

One Room Challenge: Week One

If you’re new around here, two years ago my husband and I purchased our first house: a 1940’s Colonial located in a very cute coastal Connecticut town. We’ve been tackling remodeling the house room by room, where we’re always looking for ways to add equal parts function and character into our house.

I’m so excited to be participating as a featured guest in this season’s One Room Challenge™. This is our third One Room Challenge (Guest Bathroom, Master Bathroom), but the first one on the big stage as a featured designer. After the last season, my ORC master bathroom project was chosen by Sophie Dow Donelson of House Beautiful to become a featured designer (mind. blown.), so here we are! As a quick refresher, 20 designers will be tackling transforming a space over the next six weeks and will be sharing their progress every week.

This time around, we’re putting away the tile saw and focusing on our Master Bedroom and Walk In Closet (but really walk-through closet!). These two rooms have been part of a long-term project for us. At the start of the year, we moved out of our bedroom into our guest bedroom (don’t worry, no complaints there, it’s one of my fave rooms in the house), in order to completely reconfigure our master suite.

BEFORE PHOTOS

When we started the room looked like this (these are the original listing photos):

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It was awkwardly shaped and highly inefficient. Like what is going on with that corner by the window? In the corner on the left is the closet and straight ahead is the original bathroom. Continue reading

Crushing on Lacquered Walls

When I spotted the below image in Paloma Contreras’s new book, I knew I had a brand new obsession: lacquered walls. I can’t get these luxe, glossy walls out of my head. The light blue has the perfect amount of grey to keep this room feeling elevated and sophisticated. The lacquer adds this incredible luminosity to the space.

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Now, I’m imagining all the rooms I could lacquer in my house to get this chic look in my own home. Which sent me down a design rabbit hole in search of fabulously lacquered rooms. Continue reading

How to refinish your hardwood floors with natural hardwax oil

After years of dreaming about having beautiful hardwood floors, we’ve finally made it happen and I’m so thrilled with how they turned out. But seriously, ever since the floors have been refinished in our Master Bedroom, I’ve made a habit of walking past the room just to ogle them every morning (and evening, if I’m being honest). Let’s dive into the details.

We opted to use Rubio Monocoat, a natural penetrating hardwax oil for a lot of reasons, which I laid out in detail here. But in a nutshell: it’s VOC-free, all-natural, and is applied in a single coat. Oh, and the finish is absolutely gorgeous.

Depending on your square footage, this is at least a two day process. I’m going to break what you need by day one (prep and sanding) and day two (stain application), but recognize that you may need more days to complete your own space.

Here’s what you’re going to need:

Day One

Day Two

Continue reading

Refinishing Our Hardwood Floors with Natural Hardwax Oil: Part One

Like many of you, when looking to buy a house, hardwood floors were at the top of our list, knowing that refinishing them eventually would lead to a big boost in both the aesthetics and the value of the house. Well, now that we’ve been in our home for nearly two years (but really, how did that happen?!), “eventually” is finally here and I couldn’t be more excited.

Here’s the lowdown: we have pretty basic 3” wide Red Oak hardwood floors. Red Oak is among the most common domestic hardwoods, so they aren’t exactly the most special. One distinguishing feature of Red Oak is that it has very strong red undertones that will often lead to them looking very pink or orange if left a light or natural tone. One upside to Red Oak is that, unlike some softer woods like Pine, it takes a stain very uniformly, and can hold up to a good deal of abuse.

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While our house was built in 1940, there was an addition to the home in the early 1980s, which is I believe, in part, when the hardwood floors were installed. We wish the species of our floors had more character or at least were more unique, but alas, you make the most of what you’ve got, and these floors are going to be gorgeous once we’re done with them.

As you may know by now, we’re obsessed with researching projects for months in advance of starting them, so we’re as educated as possible when executing on a project. I have been researching refinishing hardwood floors for at least a year now, so I feel very confident in the direction we’ve decided upon. Let’s dig in. Continue reading

20 lessons from renovating two bathrooms in six months

Over the course of six months, we managed to tackle two complete bathroom remodels from the studs up, and I wanted to share some of our biggest learnings, since these were our first two bathroom renos ever and we learned a lot. These lessons apply if you’re tackling the work yourself, or if you’re hiring it out.

You can check out our Master Bathroom and Guest Bathroom reveals.

Planning Stage

1. Take your time to rethink the layout. You may be able to unlock space and make your room more functional. It might be expensive, but it’s worth exploring the cost in case it fits in the budget.

2. Determine your must-haves for the space. Prioritize the things that matter to you: tubs, rain shower heads, steam showers, a double vanity, heated floors, etc. if you’re limited on space and/or budget (like us!) you’re going to have to identify what matters to you and what is less necessary. Everyone has an opinion on whether they think a master bathroom needs a tub, but space constraints are real and it may not be critical for you. Continue reading

How to Install Wainscoting

As we’ve gone through the process of remodeling our house one room at a time, we’ve become huge believers in the impact trimwork can have on elevating a space. We added panel moulding in our guest bedroom, highlighted the beadboard moulding in our main floor bathroom with a high contrast black and white palette, added crown moulding and baseboard moulding to our sunroom and even added crown moulding in our guest bathroom. It’s the finishing touch that takes a room to the next level.

For our recent remodel for the One Room Challenge, we paired with Metrie to bring trimwork to a space that is often forgotten: the bathroom. Our bathroom layout is long and narrow, with all the fixtures on one length of the room, meaning there’s a lot of exposed walls. This expanse of unused walls was begging for a special treatment to make them shine. I knew immediately that trimwork would be the way we could bring some detail to the walls.

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Recessed wainscoting was the solution for this space for a handful of reasons:

  1. It’s so elegant and classic. There’s no fear of becoming tired of it, since it’s such a historical treatment that has withstood the passage of time.
  2. Raising the trimwork on the walls to match the depth of the tile in the shower allowed for a flat surface to run crown moulding across, tying the two areas together
  3. The trimwork would mirror the pencil tile we were planning on adding in the shower.
  4. The moulding could frame out a giant mirror over the vanity, making the space feel even more custom,

So, once we had decided wainscoting was the way to go, here are the steps we took:

1. Select your style of moulding.

Metrie offers five gorgeous collections that suit different aesthetics and styles of homes. We gravitated toward the Fashion Forward collection since it mirrored the classic lines throughout the rest of our home, but is also so chic and sophisticated.

2. Determine the types of moulding your space will require.

For wainscoting you need (and links to the ones we used):

  • Baseboards – they should be flat on the top edge so the stiles slide right over them
  • Stiles – the flat boards that are raised off the wall
  • Casing for windows and doors – it needs to have a greater depth on the outside edges than your stiles so the casing stands out
  • Fingerjoint Applied Moulding – this is the trimwork on the inside of the stiles that make up the decorative boxes
  • Crown Moulding

The best aspect of the Metrie collections is that all the pieces work together and you don’t have to worry about the depths of the pieces not working perfectly in unison.

I’ve indicated below each of the pieces:

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3. Make a detailed plan.

Of all the types of trim we’ve installed to date, this wainscoting required the most planning in advance. Since the stiles create a fixed border on everything, you have to put a lot of thought into placement. There are different widths of stiles, baseboards, crown moulding, etc. so planning can help you to understand what will work within your space.

We ended up creating a to-scale mock-up in Photoshop and played around with the different sized pieces until we got to a plan that worked for us. We were also cognizant of scale, since our ceilings are standard height and the room isn’t huge, it made sense for us to go with mostly the smallest sized trimwork (though it was still very chunky and substantial – perfectly proportioned to our space).

Below, you can see how we mapped out the trim.

We used the window as the anchor for the trim layout. First, we planned the casing around the window, then we used the bottom edge to set the horizontal middle stile. From there, we ran a stile along the top, added baseboards and the stile above. We added the vertical stiles on each side of the window and framed out the right-hand opening. We then mirrored the dimensions for the boxes in the shower. Since the space above the window wasn’t large enough for an opening, we filled it in with a stile.

Master Bathroom Trim Plan - Window

This is the window wall, where we used the stiles to fill in the space above the doorway, since it wasn’t large enough for an opening. When we installed, we actually didn’t add the fingerjoint behind the vanity so it would sit flush against the wall.

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The short wall was the simplest, with just a frame along the outside edges and one middle stile.

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4. Install the trimwork

Once you’re armed with a plan, actually installing is fairly straightforward. The tools we used at this point were:

  • Levels in an assortment of sizes – we used a 6-foot level on the longest sections, a 4-foot level where necessary, and a 2-foot level on the shortest runs. The goal is to use the level that’s closest in size where possible to keep your trim as straight as possible. We also used this laser level to set a guide for the entire width of the wall.
  • A nail gun with finish nails, we use a compressor with ours, but I’ve heard excellent things about this electric nail gun
  • A nail punch, to use with a hammer when nails don’t go as deep as you intended.
  • A compound miter saw – we started out with this one and recently upgraded to this larger one (both are great, we just needed a larger blade for a few recent projects)
  • Caulk plus this little tool that I loved using to smooth the caulk along the long seams
  • Wood putty (though we later switched over the drywall spackle, which we discovered works better on MDF).

Since we had a lot of moving pieces happening at once, we didn’t install the trimwork in the order I’d recommend, which would be:

  1. Casings on windows and doors
  2. Baseboards around the room
  3. Horizontal stiles that run above the baseboards
  4. Horizontal stile that runs the middle length of the room
  5. Measure the distance down from the crown moulding and install the stile at the bottom edge of where the crown moulding will land
  6. Install the vertical stiles throughout
  7. Install crown moulding

This was our progression:

Drywall primed and ready to go.

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Then we installed the casing, you can see how big a difference it makes.

Then first round of stiles up, set off the bottom edge of the window.

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Then baseboards and bottom stiles.

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5. Caulk the seams, edges and nailholes. Use wood putty and spackle to even out planes.

This is where you underestimate how much caulking needs to happen.

Here you can see we caulked and filled in between adding the applied fingerjoint moulding (as seen on the bottom box).

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Then all the fingerjoint moulding  went up.

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6. Sand

Make sure everything is perfectly flat. Run your hand over all the seams and ensure you don’t feel any variance in the surface. You will see any imperfections after you paint.

7. Paint prep and paint!

Then we prepped for paint, by priming over the areas we had sanded. This was our first time painting a room with a spray gun and we learned a few things:

  • It’s all about the prep. This part takes the longest by far, but once it’s done painting with a spray gun is so quick and easy.
  • You use a LOT less paint. We bought two gallons of paint for this room and only ending up using about a half a gallon. Wow.
  • Maintain the same distance from the wall across your entire stroke, even if it means flexing your wrist at the ends.

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8. Hang your crown moulding*

Ideally you do this before you paint, but since we were hanging it over tile, we painted it in the garage and installed it painted. Then we caulked and touched up with a high density foam roller.

9. Admire your finished space

And that’s it! We’re obsessed with the final result and couldn’t be happier with our experience of working with the Metrie trimwork (and team!).

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Thank you to Metrie for sponsoring this project – while the product was provided, all opinions are my own.

One Room Challenge, Master Bathroom, The Reveal!

If you’re new around here, a year and a half ago my husband and I purchased our first house: a 1940’s Colonial located in a very cute coastal Connecticut town. We’ve been tackling remodeling the house room by room, where we’re always looking for ways to add equal parts function and character into our house. Catch up on Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four. and Week Five.

I couldn’t be more excited to share the final reveal of our One Room Challenge™ Master Bathroom. Over the past five weeks, my husband, Cory, and I have been building our bathroom from the studs up. Just a few weeks ago, this room was without walls, a ceiling, or a subfloor, so we’ve come a very long way. We did all the work ourselves (except plumbing), so this was definitely a labour of love. Where we spent the past five weeks insulating walls, hanging drywall, installing tile and so much more. This was by far the most ambitious project we’ve ever taken on and we’re so proud of the final result, I hope you like it!

BEFORE

Previous to the One Room Challenge starting, we had gutted our former ‘master’ bathroom, it featured a cramped layout, single vanity and a complete lack of heating (we live in Connecticut, so winters were rough in this bathroom).

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And here’s where we started the One Room Challenge, where we stole square footage from our closet, pulled the walls inward by a few inches to accommodate a better future walk in closet layout, and had our plumbers reconfigure the placement of all the fixtures.

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THE REVEAL

The vision for this bathroom was a luxe, vintage European boutique hotel bathroom with some modern elements mixed in. I wanted this bathroom to feel like the older, worldly sibling to our last One Room Challenge project, the Guest Bathroom. We used similar materials like marble counters and floors, brass fixtures, hints of black and lots of white, but added some elements that were unique to this space, like that pop of blue. I couldn’t be more thrilled and proud of how this bathroom turned out. Let’s dig into the details.

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The Floors

Before we even closed on this house, a year and a half ago, I knew I wanted marble herringbone floors in my bathroom. Herringbone is one of my all-time favourite patterns – it’s classic, clean, but still fresh. Not only are these floors beautiful, but they feature radiant heating, so I’m looking forward to toasty feet this coming winter (but let’s be honest, we’ll probably use it year-round). I’m even more proud that I taught myself how to use a tile saw in order to cut all the edge pieces.

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The Trimwork

We paired with Metrie on the trimwork in this room and it really elevates the space. We installed Metrie casings on the window and door first, which helped both openings stand out, instead of recede into the room. We then installed chunky baseboards that bring a lot of presence to the room. We opted not to add quarter round to keep the aesthetic clean in this narrow space. We then installed the recessed panel moulding on the walls which truly made the room. If you’ve been following my progress of upgrading my home, you probably know that my love of wall moulding runs deep and I’ve been adding it to many of my spaces. Especially in a long room like this one that has a lot of open wall space, I wanted to bring some extra attention to the walls. One of the other reasons we opted for recessed moulding was to bring the walls flush with the shower tile so we could install crown moulding throughout the room, tying together the shower to  the rest of the bathroom.

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We painted the walls Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White with a spray gun, for a very clean finish. The sheen is satin, which brings both durability to the walls and some extra shine and dimension to the trimwork.

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The Shower

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One of the things I was most excited about in this space was continuing the wall moulding detail into the shower with marble pencil tile. To contrast the medium scale of the herringbone tile, I opted for large format 12×24 marble tile on the walls. We then inlaid the marble pencil tile within the tile. This was an insane amount of work. In retrospect, choosing a pattern that took us 40+ hours to complete when you’re working on a tight timeline probably wasn’t the smartest idea, but OMG that tile. I love it so much. It’s these custom details that make DIY worth it to us, knowing that we put our own spin on the space with details I’ve scarcely seen in the wild.

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Cory wrapped the tile around the shower curb using a beveled edge, so it gives the appearance of being a single piece of marble. We love thinking through these sorts of details.

In addition to the tile detail, another component of the shower that I was really excited about was the floating shower bench. We didn’t find a lot of information on the interwebs for installing a floating marble bench, so I’ll be doing a how-to post at a later date. We had our marble shop fabricate this bench and it’s gorgeous.

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For shower fixtures, we used the same Restoration Hardware series in Aged Brass as in our Guest Bathroom, where we opted for both a rain shower head (at my husband’s request) and an adjustable wall-mounted shower head (because 1. I don’t always want to get my hair wet and 2. The hose will help us with cleaning the shower). We installed the controls on the right wall so we can reach in to turn on the shower and let it warm up without needing to get wet.

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Finally, we splurged on the shower door and couldn’t be more thrilled. We debated going with a ready-made option (or just a single panel) but at the end of the day, we knew this was a detail than can easily bring down the luxe feel in the space if it wasn’t quite right.

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The Vanity

After a lot of vanity drama (that I detailed in last week’s post), we ended up buying a custom vanity used off Craigslist and refinishing it. I filled in the holes from the original hardware, filled in the indentations with wood putty and used a spray gun to paint the piece for a very professional looking finish. I’m actually not a huge lover of color, but my husband requested it and so, I sourced a blue for the vanity. I wanted to keep the color light, so the room could feel airy, but not too light that the vanity faded. I tested four different blues from Farrow and Ball, but Stone Blue was the clear winner. It actually reads a bit darker and warmer in person. It’s an absolutely stunning colour that we can’t get enough of.

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I upgraded to gorgeous hardware from Rejuvenation. I love the vintage charm of the knobs and the slim proportions of the pulls. The unlacquered brass looks so great against the Stone Blue. You can’t even tell that it’s the same vanity.

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The vanity came with this marble countertop, but was only drilled for a single hole faucet, so Cory created a template in a long piece of wood and we used a diamond bit to cut the holes for the widespread faucets. We were totally intimidated by this project and had planned to contract it out to our marble guy, but upon him telling us this wasn’t something he does, we resigned to do it ourselves. It was way simpler and less scary than we had expected.

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Now, onto the faucets. These were actually one of the first things we purchased for the space. Upon coming across them at the Restoration Hardware Outlet, Cory fell hard for the chunky proportions, so we went for it. I love that they have their own personality and bring some bling to the room.

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Art

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Given the layout of this space, I was so excited to include a dedicated art moment framed by the wall trim and a gallery lamp. One of my absolute favourite pieces in this room is this insane painting by Thomas Hammer. Using just the vanity color, Thomas knocked it out of the park. When he sent me the photo of the finished painting last week, my jaw dropped in awe. I’m obsessed with the texture and movement in this piece and the unexpected strokes of lemon-lime green. It’s dynamic, fresh and inspiring. If you want further inspiration, I’d recommend checking out his other work, the palettes are so unexpected and have already inspired my next room.

Lighting and Mirror

Sourcing a mirror for this vanity was a massive challenge. For weeks I looked at measurements on mirrors and couldn’t find a single one that was both tall and narrow enough to sit over each sink without hitting the moulding. I finally arrived at the perfect solution: a custom-cut mirror, and frankly, it was the best solution I could have come up with for this space. Mounting the sconce directly on the mirror allows for the best of all worlds: a massive mirror that highlights the trimwork and allows for a very cool sconce. Oh, and it was shockingly inexpensive to have made. We’re in love.

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This sconce was the result of our original sconce being backordered, and I’m not upset at all about it. This sconce is large enough to not be engulfed by the massive mirror, brings a lot of light to the space, unifies our mix of brass and black finishes. We also really love that it’s up and out of the way.

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The flushmounts on the ceiling were a happy accident. I intended to pick up the larger size but accidentally ordered these smaller ones. We debated for days whether they were too small, but once we had them up, they’re actually pretty proportional and don’t compete with the rain shower head.

The Toilet

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This toilet caused more drama than I ever would have expected. After ordering the same toilet as in our guest bathroom, we discovered that there was a joist running through the exact spot where the toilet flange needed to go. So, we returned that one and set off on finding a toilet with a less standard 14” rough-in. This also gave me the opportunity to source a skirted toilet. Since the side is so visible to the room, a skirted style helps to keep it looking elevated (or as elevated as a toilet can get). We ended up with this Kohler option and love its elegant lines.

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Rug

This rug is a vintage Persian Lilihan and is absolutely stunning. The colors are so vivid and beautiful, and I love that it picks up the blue in the vanity without being overly matching. Joanna at Upstate Rugs provided it for the room and she was awesome to work with – it was so hard to choose from her great collection.

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Accessories

We added a glass towel bar and while I tried three different towels, I inevitably landed on our trusty monogrammed ones that have made it into pretty much every one of our bathrooms. Don’t worry, I’ve already ordered some more with different embroidery because they are clearly my favourite.

On the vanity, I accessorized with a vintage silver tray from Goodwill, some gorgeous lilacs, an Anthropologie candle and some divine smelling hand soap. I love keeping it simple with accessories and varying the heights and sizes as much as possible. A tray is always the way to go for creating a contained vignette.

One the toilet, I used my favourite print from Angela Chrusciaki Blehm . The candle and ranunculus rounded out the vignette.

In the shower niche, I brought in our shampoo, conditioner and body wash which I’d decanted into these bottles and labeled with this label maker. It’s a simple and inexpensive solution for mismatched toiletry bottles.

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Sources

Wall Paint: Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White

Vanity Paint: Farrow and Ball Stone Blue

Marble Floor Tile | Marble Wall Tile | Marble Pencil Tile

Toilet | Faucets | Adjustable Shower Head | Rain Shower Head | Shower Valve| Shower Diverter

Vanity Pulls | Vanity Knobs

Sconce | Flushmounts

Baseboards | Crown Moulding | Stiles | Casing | Fingerjoint Applied Trim

Candle | Hand Towels |Towel Bar

You can check out all the other participants on the official One Room Challenge™ site here.

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One Room Challenge: Master Bathroom, Week Five

If you’re new around here, a year and a half ago my husband and I purchased our first house: a 1940’s Colonial located in a very cute coastal Connecticut town. We’ve been tackling remodeling the house room by room, where we’re always looking for ways to add equal parts function and character into our house. Catch up on Week One, Week Two, Week Three, and Week Four.

If you thought last week was a huge leap forward, this most recent week was even more massive.

Grouted the floors

We started off by grouting our herringbone marble floors. We used Platinum by Polyblend, the color is the perfect soft grey. I wanted a grout color that would be light enough to keep contrast low and keep visual busy-ness to a minimum, and this grey does the job perfectly.

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Tiling the shower

Next up was tiling the shower walls. One of the details I was most excited about in our master bathroom was mirroring the moulding on the walls in the shower with marble pencil tile. It’s a fresh take on a classic style that I already love in our home. For this pattern, I knew that precision would be key, but I way underestimated the sheer amount of time it would take to cut all the tiles to accommodate this pattern. Given that this was our second wall tiling project ever (our first was floor to ceiling subway tile in our guest bathroom for the last round of the One Room Challenge here), this was a pretty complex project. Here’s how we approached the pattern:

  1. Mocked it up in Photoshop to get the rough placement of the tiles
  2. Cut a sample piece of baseboard, stile (flat stock) and detailed trimwork (finger joint) and determined where they would land on the walls. Used that placement to locate the boxes for the pencil tile on the shower walls. We wanted to maintain the same distance from the trim to the walls as in the rest of the bathroom.
  3. Used a laser level to highlight where the trim lines landed throughout the room.

Here’s where we were at after the first day:

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And then the third day:

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One more row:

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We also realized on the night we intended to start tiling that our tile saw was way too small to be able to cut the large format tiles for the shower. We calculated the cost to rent a tile saw for a week and it was equivalent to buying a new one, so that’s exactly what we did. We ended up with this one and it’s a huge upgrade: our cuts are cleaner, we can be more precise and the process is quicker.

And speed was something we needed on our side. We way underestimated the amount of time it would take to tile each row. The first row took six hours. The second row also took six hours. And the next few rows started to go quicker with fewer cuts at 2-3 hours each. We’re at 25 hours of tiling and still have two more rows left. This pattern is not exactly ideal for a tight timeline, but we’re obsessed with the final result, so there are no regrets.

We made a run for more tiles tonight (some of the ones we’d picked up were too grey to flow with those we currently have up on the wall), and will resume tiling those last two rows over the next few days.

For reference, this is our 12×24 marble wall tiles, this is the pencil tile and this is the leveling system we used (where it’s a two part system).

Installed the trimwork

We partnered with Metrie on this project – they have the most gorgeous trimwork and their collections are so classic, but also modern. Which is exactly how I like things in my house. We opted for the Fashion Forward collection, which so perfectly complements our house. I’m going to be putting together a detailed how-to post on how to achieve this look in your own home, so stay tuned. We are installing five different types of trim in this room:

  1. Baseboards
  2. Stiles
  3. Crown Moulding
  4. Finger Joint
  5. Casing

So far, we’ve installed about half of the trimwork. The crown moulding will be last since that’s going to be going over the tile in the shower too, we have to wait to grout the shower in order to hang the moulding.

In order to set the trimwork in the bathroom, I picked an anchor point: the window. First we attached the window casing, and then we used the lower edge to set the height of the middle stile. This middle stile also hit the vanity height perfectly, so that the counter intersects the stile perfectly, allowing for the mirror to be above the vanity in the upper section.

Here’s our window before we added the casing, where we had pulled off the previous casing when we took this wall down to the studs:

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And now, it’s so much more substantial:

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It still needs to be caulked and painted, but it’s already a massive improvement.

We then tackled the doorway casing, which made an even bigger difference, making the room actually feel like a room and not just a construction site.

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Then we installed the baseboards, followed by the stiles. I mapped out all the dimensions to scale in advance in Photoshop, so installation has been simple, so far. Once we add in the decorative pieces, this space is going to feel so elevated.

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Prepared Bathroom Vanity

I was all set to have a custom vanity designed for this space, because the vanity we’d originally ordered from Home Depot arrived completely cracked and was generally not as high quality as I liked, but then decided to save some pennies and buy a used vanity off Craigslist.

We picked up a fairly standard custom built vanity that fit our required dimensions, but it had a few things I didn’t love and desperately needed a fresh coat of paint. One of my biggest pet peeves are recessed lines in the door fronts. Immediately, it reads as low-quality to me, so it was the first thing I filled in with wood filler. I also removed all the hardware and filled in the holes with wood putty, since I was swapping the cabinet front handles for knobs and the handles on the drawer fronts are being replaced with wider ones.

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Right after going to town with wood putty, the vanity looked like it had suffered from a rough bout of chicken pox (which I hear is no longer a thing, how bizarre?!), but once it dried and I hit it with an orbital sander the holes were nicely filled in. I started with a very fine grit sandpaper and then moved on to an ultra fine grit to really smooth it out.

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Next up is priming the vanity, to allow for maximum paint adhesion. We’ve picked out the most beautiful shade of blue from Farrow and Ball to really glam this vanity up.

Tiling the shower floor

This actually was a surprising setback. We went to tile the shower floor in the herringbone tile that we’ve used throughout the rest of the bathroom and we just couldn’t get the tile to slope properly towards the drain. An hour of playing with it and having no success besides a mess of thinset, we made the tough decision to remove the tiles, wash them off and prep the surface for a better installation on a later date. This has been one of our best decisions to date. Sometimes you have to make the hard call to throw your timeline out of whack in order to keep your quality from suffering. DIY is hard. But the actual work shouldn’t be so impossible that it doesn’t feel like it’s working… else something isn’t quite right.

We took a breather, added some extra mortar to the surface and came back the next day for a much easier and higher-quality installation of the tiles.

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So that was a lot. And trust me, when I say that every night this week has consisted of us burning the midnight oil. But we still have a ton to do before next week’s reveal, and before our plumbers come to install on Monday and our glass shower door and custom mirror are installed on Tuesday…

Some of those things include:

  • Completing the shower tile
  • Grouting the shower floors and wall
  • Hanging the rest of the Metrie trimwork
  • Caulking, filling and sanding the trimwork
  • Painting the walls
  • Painting the vanity
  • Installing the vanity hardware
  • Installing the light fixtures, fan, towel bar, hooks, etc.
  • Building an integrated radiator cover
  • Install the floating shower bench

Wish us luck!

You can check out all the other participants on the official One Room Challenge™ site here.

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