One Room Challenge: Master Bathroom, Week Three

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.

Welcome to Week Three of the One Room Challenge. Again, we made lots of progress on our master bathroom this past week, and it’s my favourite kind of progress: the visual kind. Here’s the post on Week One and Week Two.

Priming the walls and painting the ceiling

We started this last week, but we gave the walls another coat of primer and got the paint on the ceiling. We’re using Benjamin Moore Aura paint, which is specially designed for bathrooms or areas that are prone to moisture, in Decorator’s White.

Installing cement board on the floors

We spent a night installing the cement board over the subfloor. I always forget how slow it is to screw these boards in super securely, but each of us had a drill, which sped up the process. Before installing the cement boards, we added a layer of insulation sill plate gasket to protect our drywall from the self leveling compound we’re going to be pouring over the cement board and radiant in-floor heating.

Installing the brackets for our floating marble shower bench

One of the features we’re adding in the shower is a floating marble shower bench. In order to get the strongest possible support for the bench, we installed four brackets directly into the studs. This required a lot of super precise measurements and constantly checking levels in all directions. Don’t worry, I tested standing on the brackets and they didn’t move at all. Nor for my 6”2 husband. We’re going to be sharing a full tutorial after we’ve finished this room, since I’ve already gotten questions from several of you on how to accomplish the same floating bench situation.

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Installing the cement board on the walls

Once we got the brackets in, we were able to install the cement board on the walls of the shower, which really made this space look so much closer to the finish line. One consideration that we’ve been belaboring for weeks is making certain that the depth of the cement board + thinset + tile is equal to the depth of the drywall + wainscoting trimwork so that the crown moulding will sit flush against both and the whole room will feel that much more custom. I think we accomplished that goal, but we won’t know for certain until the tile and trimwork are both up on the walls.

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Priming the floors for self-leveling compound

In order to make sure we get the best possible surface for pouring self-leveling compound, we brushed on this neon blue primer using our garage push broom. There were conflicting opinions on whether we needed it in the research we did, but for $7 and ten minutes of our time it seemed like it was a relatively low effort, low cost thing to not skip over.

Some other assorted things that happened this week, including picking up a brass picture light up off Craigslist, scoping vanity hardware options and learning that the sconce we were about to order for the vanity is on backorder until late May, aka after the reveal date. So I’m frantically trying to find a replacement I like just as much.

Next week, we’re tackling installing the radiant in-floor heating, pouring self leveling compound, tiling the floors and applying Redgard to the shower. I also need to finalize some details, like lighting, mirrors and vanity hardware. As well as prep a used custom vanity we picked up off Craigslist to be painted. Thank you to all 900+ of you who voted on a vanity color from my Farrow and Ball swatches… you’ve definitely given me something to think about!

Let’s just remember how far this space has come in the past two-ish weeks:

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 Two

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.

To catch up on last week, here’s the Week One post.

This week has been a busy and exciting one. The amazing part of this phase in construction is how different the room looks daily. We went from no walls and no insulation (aka so cold), to insulation to walls to a defined shower. The pride you feel in building a room in your house from scratch is nothing short of incredible.

Insulation and Soundproofing

First off, we installed insulation throughout the walls and ceiling. One of the biggest pain points initially in this bathroom is that it was always cold. So, one of our priorities was upgrading the insulation and getting this room as warm as possible (which will also be aided by a new radiator and in-floor heating). I went down the internet rabbit hole and finally landed on Roxul Rockwool. This isn’t sponsored, but after reading through a fraction of the thousands of 5-star reviews, I really wanted to try it out. Also, as a Canadian expat, I love supporting Canadian brands. I asked my parents if they’d ever used the product and apparently, it’s the standard for construction in Canada, so if it’s warm enough for Canadians, it’s warm enough for our Connecticut house. The R-value is higher than the standard pink insulation, so that sealed the deal for me. Oh, and did I mention it isn’t fiberglass. Because, honestly, does anyone actually like dealing with fiberglass insulation?!

Installation was easy, the insulation slotted between our studs without issue and formed to the space. Any abnormally shaped spots required use of a bread knife to cut down, which was also quite easy. We had the insulating installed throughout the walls in under 90 minutes. We then used the ceiling grade Roxul insulation for the ceiling and it also installed quickly. Finally, we installed Roxul soundproofing between the shower and the guest room, with the goal of cutting down on the noise of running water if someone’s sleeping in the guest room. I’m eager to see if it holds up to our expectations once the shower is fully installed.

In these photos you can see the Roxul in the walls, where we’d already installed the ceiling drywall.

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Drywall

Next up, we installed the drywall on the ceiling. We, of course, used mold-resistant greenboard. Once my husband had taped the seams and sanded, up went the drywall on the walls. It finally looks like a real space and I can’t help myself from standing on each end and visualizing how huge an upgrade this bathroom will be from our former, claustrophobic master bathroom. Don’t worry, we went back and sealed up all those edges with joint compound.

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Shower Pan

The shower will be the piece de resistance in the bathroom, and it’s also, no doubt, the piece of this project that is most intimidating to us. After watching dozens of Youtube videos and hours of internet research, we finally felt comfortable enough to get started. I had originally dreamed about having a curbless shower, but reality hit hard when I realized we’d be losing several inches of height throughout the entire bathroom to accommodate it, plus it would add a step-up into the room from the closet. So, I conceded to adding a curb to the shower. I also really wanted a linear drain, which feels super elevated and sleek to me, which added an extra element of complexity, since most of the online tutorials are for round drains. One of the best parts of using a linear drain is that you can use large format tile, so we’re continuing the herringbone tile from the bathroom into the shower.

After watching hours of Youtube videos (a shoutout to my man Sal the Plumber… I kid you not), we went for it. After building up the curb and laying the shower liner, we were ready to go. My job was mixing the sand – concrete mix with water and then shoveling it into the shower basin. Cory then used a trowel to create an even slope from the high side to the low side. You have to work quickly because the compound starts to set up.

Cory did an awesome job at getting the slope just about right and this tool was our saving grace when it came to evening out the surface. I did a lot of research on this and there was SO little out there on rubbing blocks. So, in case you find yourself tackling a shower pan one day, buy one of these. Seriously.

The shower slope was one of the only things we hadn’t tackled in our last bathroom remodel, so it was our most intimidating. Now that we’ve gotten it out of the way, it feels like we have a better expectation of what’s to come.

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Priming

And then I got a first coat of primer up on the ceiling and walls. Excuse the iPhone photo.

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I have to say, that was a lot of progress! Given that we were at framing not too long ago, the walls are a very nice sight.

Next up, we’ve got:

  • A second coat of primer on the ceiling and walls
  • Installing cement board on the floors
  • Hanging the brackets for our floating shower bench
  • Installing cement board on the shower walls
  • Laying radiant flooring coils
  • Pouring self leveling compound
  • Painting the ceiling

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

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One Room Challenge: Spring 2018

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.

Meet our newest One Room Challenge™ project: the Master Bathroom. For those of you who have been following along, this is a project we started at the beginning of the year. Coming off of our last One Room Challenge, our Guest Bathroom, my husband asked if we could take our Master Bathroom slow, since cramming a bathroom remodel into six weeks when you’re doing all the work yourselves in your after-work hours is a lot. So, I obliged. And here we are again.

To remind you, here was our last One Room Challenge bathroom:

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We hadn’t intended to tackle the Master Bathroom for the One Room Challenge, but the timing lines up nicely and some unexpected setbacks (like my husband taking himself out of commission for a few weeks thanks to overdoing it at a hockey tournament) have made the One Room Challenge the perfect reason to rev up the speed and get this bathroom done.

The vibe we’re going for in this bathroom is a luxe bathroom in a chic European boutique hotel. The room should feel fresh and cool but timeless thanks to classic finishes like Carrera marble and detailed trimwork. Visually, the room should look like the grown up older sibling to our fun but still elevated Guest Bathroom.

As of this current moment, we’ve already stripped the bathroom down to the studs, reconfigured the space, built the new wall separating the bathroom from the closet and bedroom, run electrical, had the plumbers do the rough-ins, framed out the shower niche and laid subfloor. So, that means we’ve essentially got a framed-out room with no walls. So, trust me, we aren’t exactly short-changing ourselves or you guys on how much work we still have left to do on this room, especially when we’re doing all the work in addition to our normal life and 9-5 jobs.

Here’s the master bathroom before we began demo. I’m not going to lie, I’m embarrassed to share these photos with the internet. Yes, this was our bathroom for over a year. And no, we didn’t do anything to try to make it more attractive, since we knew it was all coming out:

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And this is where we’re at now that we’ve reconfigured the space and borrowed about 25 square feet from the closet for a shower:

This is the view towards the double vanity that will be on the right (this is where the toilet and short wall of the shower/tub was previously).

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And this is the view towards the new space (anything beyond the end of the window), where the shower will be at the end and the toilet will be in front of it on the left wall.

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In the coming weeks, we’re going to be tackling:

  • Installing insulation (halfway done) and soundproofing
  • Hanging drywall on the ceiling and walls
  • Creating the shower pan
  • Laying cement board on the floors and shower wall
  • Installing radiant flooring
  • Tiling the floor and shower walls
  • Installing wainscoting throughout
  • Priming and painting the space
  • Refinishing a vanity
  • Installing a floating marble shower bench
  • Installing fixtures
  • Installing lighting

And I’m sure a ton of other things I’m forgetting.

Whew, that’s a lot. But at least we have learned from our enthusiasm and won’t be tiling an entire bathroom, like in the last One Room Challenge™!

We still have decisions to make on all our lighting, mirrors, hardware, towel bars, paint colors, and lots more.  And here’s the mood board, though quite a few things are subject to change.

Master Bathroom Design Plan

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

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Bedroom throw blanket styling hack

I’ve always loved the idea of a throw blanket at the foot of a bed for an added layer of texture. Not to mention that they are also totally functional when you get a middle of the night chill.

But, every time I added them to my own bed, they always looked flat and underwhelming, both in photos and also in real life. So, my mind was blown when I saw a story on Instagram by Brittany at @brittanymakes in which she layered a duvet underneath the blanket to give it some much needed volume. Instantly, my love of blankets was rekindled.

Here’s an example of the same blanket (in different rooms) without and with the duvet:

It’s infinitely more visually high impact. Plus, it also totally works functionallyI love sleeping in a layered bed, so at night we just tug the duvet and blanket up and we’re good to go.

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You can experiment with different sized duvetsours is a queen here, but for a smaller blanket, a twin definitely works horizontally. Brittany showcases all her gorgeous blankets with this trick and they all look magical:

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My throw blanket is John Robshaw, and is sadly no longer sold, however, this one, this one and this one would all be great styled at the foot of a bed.

A master bathroom update: the shower

It’s been a little while since I checked in on the master bathroom (past posts are here). While it looks like we haven’t made a lot of progress, we’ve actually made quite a few decisions these last few weeks.

We reworked the shower layout several times and finally landed on the final placement of every fixture. If you recall, our shower is at the end of the bathroom and has walls on three sides. Let’s get into it:

Here’s a rendering with totally different finishes, etc., but can help to envision the space (PS I used this free app)

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1. A floating marble bench

We decided on a floating marble shower bench on the left wall underneath an adjustable hand held shower head (that black bench in the rendering is a stand-in). We picked out a remnant slab at a local marble company and it’s been fabricated to our specs. This wasn’t cheap by any means, but it also wasn’t as expensive as it could have been and I genuinely believe it will bring something special to our shower. This was nearly impossible to find a how to DIY online, so expect a blog post with instructions once we’ve made it to the other side.

This is the bench inspiration:

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2. A rain shower head

The rain shower head is going dead center in the shower. It arrived last week and Cory called me down by saying “check out how pretty this is!”. Suffice to say I’ve rubbed off on him and we both are obsessed with good looking shower fixtures. The rain shower was his special request, and I’m not complaining. Don’t worry, there’s a standard shower head on the left wall so I don’t have to get my hair wet when I shower… priorities.

3. Shower niche

The niche will now be dead center on the wall directly in the middle shower. It’s going to be wide at 24”x16”, and I’m much happier with the symmetry of it being on this wall. It will be very visible in the bathroom, but that just means I get to splurge on good looking toiletries amirite? I know this might be controversial, but I don’t love the look of a contrasting niche, so this is just going to be a continuation of the same oversized marble tile.

4. Shower control

The shower control and diverter (which controls the flow to the rain shower) will be on the right wall. I wanted this to be accessible from outside the shower so you can adjust the temperature before jumping in. This control is on an outside wall, so there’s going to be a lot of insulation happening behind here.

5. Glass door

We haven’t quite decided on whether we’re going to do a glass door (that opens both ways) or just a glass panel to keep it light and airy. We’ll probably hold off on making the decision until we see the shower in action.

6. The great curb debate

We’re adding a curb to the shower. This is what I’m most disappointed about because a curbless shower feels so much more open to me, but I’ve admitted defeat. With a 5’ wide shower, we need a slope of 2” or so from right to left, which means we’d need to bump up the floors in the entire bathroom by that much, which would create an awkward transition from the closet and a lot of lost height in the room. Thus, I’ve agreed to adding a curb.

And we decided on a vanity that’s presently hanging out in our garage. We went with a ‘save’ option that got great reviews and looks surprisingly chic for the price and should look even better with new hardware. But if it isn’t quite up to my standards, I figured I could return it and source a higher end one.

Our plumbers are hopefully going to be starting later this week, so fingers crossed that our next update has some great progress photos!

In the meantime, this bathroom in the most recent issue of House Beautiful has me considering a wood vanity instead…

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Decorating with gallery ledges

One of the most commented on feature in our home is our wall of gallery ledges. I’m personally, not a huge fan of most gallery walls, where they’re so hard to get right, but ledges are a lot more approachable to me. I love swapping out art with ease without needing to make more holes in the wall and treating the ledges as an ever-changing home for my most favourite pieces of art.

These gallery ledges previously lived in our apartment, where they helped to draw attention away from our TV.

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Now they live stacked in the living room of our house. To get the spacing right between the ledges, I measured the frame of the tallest piece I wanted to showcase, added 4-5” extra and divided up the evenly, allowing for a row along the bottom to lean against the wall (and hide a wall outlet).

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And I’m constantly changing them up:

One of the best things about the ledges is that I can display art pretty much as soon as it arrives in the mail, by popping one piece out and popping the new one in within a matter of minutes. They’re practically foolproof. When it comes to arranging the frames, I just try to balance colour and medium throughout the shelves and make sure not to have frames of the same size next to one another. Adding in DIY black and white abstract stuff help to add interest without adding colour too.

I also love adding tea lights on the shallow ledges to help fill up some space visually on the more sparse ledges. Bonus: they look great at night with the candles lit.

I get asked all the time about the source of our ledges, and unfortunately they’re a style West Elm no longer carries. But, I did some digging and found some very similar ones here and here.

And because I’m so often asked about the sources of the art displayed in our gallery ledges, from top to bottom and left to right in the below image. A few are originals, so links drive to the artists’ available work.

One, Angela Chrusciaki Blehm | Two, Artfully Walls | Three, Katherine Freeman | Four, Katy Garry | Five, Danielle Kroll | Six, Artfully Walls | Seven, DIY

Since I know you’re going to ask, the metal black gallery frames that I use are these -where, I’d just note that the glass is a bit fragile. This is the oversized frame, that was a great find and looks awesome in person.

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For sourcing art, I love finding new artists on Instagram and hunting down pieces on Etsy and Minted, as well as printing off photos from our travels that remind me of  my favourite vacations.

 

The hunt for the perfect shower curtain

Back in November when we revealed our guest bathroom for the One Room Challenge, I didn’t actually believe we’d finish the room within the challenge time frame, and all my brain cells were taken up by the hard finishes in the space that I improvised and borrowed the shower curtain from our downstairs bathroom for the shoot.

Since then, I spent months trying to find the perfect shower curtain for our drop-in tub. Which, let me tell you is no easy feat. The options on the market for extra-wide shower curtains are few and far between. I actually ordered two before I finally landed on the Goldilocks of shower curtains… which ended up needing to be custom ordered (this one—it was a bit of splurge, but I couldn’t find anything else that was wide enough and long enough).

Here’s the new curtain:

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Compared to the placeholder I previously had in here, it’s so much better.

Let’s back up for a second and answer the question of why we opted for a shower curtain over a glass enclosure:

  1. This is a small bathroom, so the ability to keep the curtain open actually gives us a lot more space when we’re standing at the vanity
  2. We installed a soaking tub in here, so being able to take a long bath without feeling glassed in is more relaxing to me
  3. Glass is expensive! We wanted to give a curtain a go in here first, to see if glass is actually necessary.
  4. We kept a tub in this bathroom for resale purposes, so we could in the future appeal to families, and a non-glass enclosure seems the most family-friendly for bathing kids.

And now for the attributes of what makes a great shower curtain (in my books, at least):

Luxe feeling fabric.

The reason why several of the previous curtains didn’t work out is that they felt plasticky to me. It’s easy for a shower curtain to go wrong, and so many of the options on the market don’t feel high-end to the touch. This is actually a fabric you touch ever single time you shower, so make it feel nice and luxe. Look for fabrics with 50% or lower percentages of polyester. The one we ended up with is Matouk’s Birdseye Pique that feels amazing when you grab it, despite having  some polyester in it, which is what makes it more easy-care and durable.

The right length.

Previous photos of the tub in here drive me crazy because the curtain is so obviously way too short. We were running low on ball chain to hang the curtain from so we did as best as we could, but I always knew it wasn’t quite right. You want your shower curtain to almost graze the floor, where possible. The taller the curtain, the taller your ceiling’s going to look, so make sure to nail the height. You don’t want it pooling on the floor because that’s a tripping hazard and you could end up with the fabric sitting in water or getting quite dirty, so make sure to hem it if it’s too long.

Hang your rod nice and high. Just like window curtains, you want to elongate your space. In our bathroom, we forgoed a rod in favour of a wall-mounted track that added some unexpected detail to the room, but kept our curtain high. If you hang your rod nice and high, your standard 72″ tall shower curtain will be too short. Depending on your ceiling height, you should be looking for 84″+ curtains.

Simple look.

Think about how you can use a shower curtain to elevate your space – just as beautiful fabric elevates any other space, it can help make a bathroom feel high-end. White is always a good idea, as is a rich, grey linen. I also love the addition of an embroidered border detail to amp up the glam. I do find that patterned or kitschy curtains become tired fast, so stick to the classics.

Here’s a round-up of the extra long shower curtains I came across in my searches that weren’t extra-wide, but I desperately wished came in the right size:

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  1. Diamond Matelasse Curtain 2. Pebble Matelasse Curtain 3. Embroidered Border Curtain 4. Italian Hotel Stitch Curtain 5. Jacquard Shower Curtain 6. Vintage Washed Belgian Linen Curtain

Trending: Burl

For years, I’ve been obsessing over the organic visual texture that burlwood brings to a space. I can’t get enough of the natural pattern and love that while it’s become trendy (so, it’s more easily sourced), it still hasn’t reached Homegoods levels of full-blown trendiness.

And if you have ever wondered ‘what is burlwood‘? It’s actually made from the burls (the large lumps) that grow on the trunks of trees when they’re under a lot of stress. The burls are cut off the tree, but the tree doesn’t need to be cut down to use the burlwood. Typically burlwood is applied as a veneer to the outside planes of a piece of furniture.

I love that burlwood adds an edge to any space, but is also quiet enough that it’s easy to mix in. For instance, in this vignette, it adds a heavy dose of organic warmth, but the rounded shape of the burl stool contrasts nicely with the very graphic painting.

 

 

This console table is everything in Noe Dewitt’s NYC apartment.

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In this entryway, the burlwood console table brings depth to a high-contrast neutral space. The vintage rugs also add to the layered look.

Make an entrance ✨#burlwood #antiquerugs #frontdoor

A post shared by jenkins Interiors (@jenkinsinteriors) on

I’ve been obsessed with this dining room by Pencil and Paper Co. for months – while there’s a lot of pattern going on in this room, the lines of all the furniture are actually very simple.

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Pencil and Paper Co.

On a more traditional piece of furniture, the burlwood complements the rounded curves of this vanity without adding other ornate carvings to the wood.

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Daryl Carter in Elle Decor

In my house, I have a mix of vintage and new burlwood pieces, and I love that each one feels unique because the pattern of the burlwood is never the same. Below are some of my favourites that are available in stores right now (several of which I own, namely the trays in both sizes and the boxes).

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  1.  Trays 2. Nightstand 3. Dining Table 4. Boxes 5. Coffee Table 6. Side Table 7. Mirror

Tips and tricks for shopping Craigslist like a pro

Recently, I was asked about my favourite source for furniture and the only response that came to mind was “does Craigslist count?”. Over the past few years of my Craigslist obsession, we’ve amassed a lot of great finds and now, the majority of our furniture, lighting, rugs and more have been discovered through trusty Craig.
Before I get into how to find great pieces on Craigslist, I first want to touch on why it’s my go-to:

1. Unique finds

The key to a layered and collected home is vintage pieces that create depth. Even more, there’s nothing more special than knowing you have a piece that can’t be purchased by everyone. I don’t tire of vintage pieces at the same speed as new items purchased in a retail shop, because the only place I see them is in my own home.

2. Budget friendly

You could go to Ikea and buy a dresser, or for the same amount (or often less!) you can buy a vintage dresser with character that is probably better made and more likely to stand the test of time. We moved from a 700 square foot apartment to a 2,100 square foot house and spent a few hundred dollars on Craigslist initially furnishing the extra space. We could have easily spent tens of thousands buying the same amount of furniture from retail stores. Also, factor in that you aren’t paying tax or shipping and Craigslist almost always comes out as a very good deal.

3. Instant gratification

Guys, I like things fast. And nothing fills my love of immediacy like Craigslist, within a day you can have a new (to you) piece in your home.

4. Freedom to try something new

The often low cost means you can try something out and take a risk on something that you otherwise might not try out if the cost was higher. Plus, if you’re smart about how much you pay initially for the piece, you can often resell it for the same amount (or more!) making Craigslist finds essentially free… or so I tell myself.

5. Durability

If it’s a vintage piece that’s been around for 40 or more years, chances are it will stand up to my abuse. The worst feeling is when you get that first scratch or ding on something brand new. But with vintage pieces, those marks just add to the character and patina of the piece.

6. Story

Every vintage piece in our home has a story (my husband is reallllly good at becoming besties with Craigslist sellers) of how it came into your home and that’s great a conversation topic, especially when you have guests over.

7. Environmentally friendly

As a Canadian, I’ve been raised to think a lot about consumption and my impact on the environment. Reusing furniture is a great way to minimize your carbon footprint and keep pieces from ending up in a landfill.

Hopefully I’ve now convinced you to join my love of all things Craigslist, so now it’s time to talk strategy:

1. The most important tip I can give you is to check daily. I can’t even tell you how many times people have told me they searched once and didn’t find anything good. It doesn’t work like that. Most of the stuff up for sale is garbage, honestly. If you want to find great pieces, you have to commit to searching at least once a day. As one of my friends says “Craigslist is a lifestyle”.

2. Use an app to save searches. I use this one (CPlus for Craigslist) and it’s SO much easier to use than the actual Craigslist site. Save searches and set alerts on things you’re actively looking for so you never miss out. You can save items that you might still be thinking about and watch if they don’t sell.

3. When you find something you want, contact the seller immediately and be prepared to be flexible about when you can go see the item. If something is good and priced right, it will sell fast. You need to be the first one to see it, which can sometimes mean moving around your schedule to be the first in line.

4. If something is priced higher than you want to spend (and higher than you know it will sell for), lowball them and if the seller says no, tell them to contact you if it doesn’t sell for what they’re asking. I’ve gotten several pieces this way, because at some point the seller just wants to get the piece off their hands.

5. Don’t forget to browse everything that’s available. A lot of people do a poor job at describing the product they’re selling, so it may not appear in your searches. Think about alternate ways to describe an item and use those keywords in your searches.

6. Don’t limit yourself to only vintage finds. Often, I’ll search for products I’m about to purchase online to see if they’re up for sale, including lighting or bathroom fixtures. People sometimes miss return windows and resort to selling on Craigslist even when things are new in box.

7. Don’t be put off by poor quality photos, some of my best finds have been ones that were so poorly shot but with some searching on google I could find shots of how the item really looks. Bad quality photos are often to your advantage as a buyer since most people won’t stop to look at them.

8. The wider you cast a net geographically, the more you’re going to find. But, of course, you also have to travel that distance to pick it up. Most of our finds are fairly local (within 40 minutes of our house or my husband’s office), but sometimes if there’s something reallllly special, we’ll make a daytrip out of picking it up.

8. Having lived in New York, I know that the bedbug fear is real. Be smart when buying upholstered pieces and inspect carefully. Check the seams for dark marks, which often gives away the presence of bugs. Also think about where the seller lives and their attitude when you’re looking at the piece (e.g. if you’re headed out into the suburbs for the pickup, bedbugs are scarcely a problem).

9. Sometimes what you actually want on Craigslist comes as a set with some other furniture, so consider if you can resell the rest of the pieces to reduce the cost of the piece you really want. For instance, twice we’ve purchased dressers with matching mirrors and have cleaned up the mirrors (either literally by cleaning them or by painting them) and resold the mirror for a significant portion of the original price of both pieces together. In one case we sold the mirror for the same as what we paid for the set. Occasionally you have to accept that one piece may need to be given away for free, which we did with the desk that came with a chair we wanted.

Some of my favourite items to search for on Craigslist include:

  • Dressers
  • Rugs
  • Light fixtures
  • Desks
  • Chairs
  • Bathroom fixtures: faucets, vanities
  • Dining tables
  • Art

And some of my favourite Craigslist finds:

Those sconces and the Serge Mouille reproduction ceiling light are both Craigslist finds.

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Both sets of dining chairs, the IKEA rug and the Milo Baughman glass dining table are all c/o Craigslist.

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That painting (that everyone obsesses over, as do we!) and the campaign dresser, which we refinished in white are both Craigslist.

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That vintage rug is a Craigslist score.

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This Henredon olive burl dresser is from Facebook Marketplaces (same principles apply), the ceiling light is Craigslist (or you can buy your own here).

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This Louis chair was a Craigslist find that we reupholstered in Deconstructed Stripe by Miles Redd for Schumacher.

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That vintage rug is Craigslist.

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Both the brass trunk and pink club chairs are Craigslist – the chairs we had reupholstered.

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The brass faucet was a Craigslist score.

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The faux bamboo dresser was also a Craigslist find.

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And that Milo Baughman brass etagere was also a Craigslist score.

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Happy hunting!

Design Process, Part Two: Master Bathroom

See the first half of this post over here.

Step Six: Pick your finishes and furniture.

Finally, we’ve arrived at the part you typically think of in designing a space. Here, you want to think about texture and how all the materials are going to interact, in addition to colour.

Knowing the color scheme I thought through a handful of different ways I could execute on marble, white, black and brass. Plus, incorporating the themes that spoke to me in my inspiration photos.

Just to insert a quick anecdote: I actually mapped out the design plan for this bathroom on a Chinese takeout menu that I found in my purse when my phone died a few minutes in on an hour-long train ride. Sometimes you just need to force yourself to sit down and think without the distraction of electronics!

Design Option One: Carrera marble herringbone floors with white subway tile walls and the addition of some more traditional elements like cove tile to finish at the floor. Maybe add in a black inlay tile detail.

Design Option Two: Black Nero marble floor with carrara marble subway tile in the shower.

Design Option Three: Carrara marble herringbone floors with same herringbone marble continuing up the walls of the shower

Design Option Four: Carrara marble herringbone floors with carrara subway tile in the shower

Design Option Five: Carrara marble herringbone floors with large format marble tile in the shower and a trim detail

And that last option, finally nailed it. It hit on all the high notes: not too expensive, interesting detail, classic aesthetic. I also wanted to avoid using subway tile in the master bathroom, to allow this space to feel more elevated than the guest bathroom. Plus, we added in some panel moulding on the walls to create interest throughout the space and landed with the below design board.

Master-Bathroom-Design-Plan.jpg

I’m still playing around with the vanity area by thinking through some different coloured vanities and types of sconces, but really happy with the direction. I love the idea of continuing the moulding theme throughout the room and creating an art moment on one end of the bathroom (opposite the shower). Here’s a few alternate vanity / sconce combinations I’ve been playing around with:

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What do you think?