One Room Challenge: The Reveal

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, week three, week four, week five).

I can’t believe reveal day is here! I’m so excited to share the photos with you.

Before I jump into the photos you’ve been waiting for, I wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone who made this massive project happen: Linda–the One Room Challenge founder and organizer who masterfully facilitated this entire challenge, the generous sponsors who helped to bring our vision to life–getting to work with such incredible brands have created an even more beautiful space than we could have done otherwise, my husband, Cory–who has been working around the clock with me to get this space done (we’re talking about things like painting shelves before leaving the house for work at 6A, and staying up until 2A building a custom radiator cover from scratch), my parents–who spent their vacation to NY keeping us fed while we worked and even lent a hand by sanding our vintage nightstands (my mom’s first time using an orbital sander!), and all of you–who kept me motivated to keep going, even after our tenth consecutive night working on the space until 1A.

My husband and I did all the work ourselves (minus the wallpaper install), despite also having full-time jobs, so this transformation happened during nights and weekends. It was a lot, but so completely worth it for the final result.

Now, let’s remember where we started. Originally the room was very awkwardly laid out, with an unnecessarily narrow (barely) walk-in closet, lots of dead space and overall was highly inefficient.

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Before starting the One Room Challenge, we tackled putting up new walls to define the new closet footprint, new electrical, had the radiator moved to the adjacent wall, and refinished our Red Oak floors with Rubio Monocoat in Black. So, this is where we started six weeks ago: a completely blank space.

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The Master Bedroom

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One Room Challenge: Week Five

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, week three, week four).

This past week was another massive week for progress.

In the bedroom, we painted the trim, hung a new door, installed new electrical outlets and replaced our recessed lights. We also sanded down the vintage nightstands and prepared them for paint.

In the closet, we hung new doors and finished the window bench. We also completed our hack of the IKEA Pax closet system, which included lots of stunning Metrie trim, adding wallpaper to the back of the units, and lots of woodworking to create custom drawer fronts and the illusion of a custom built in closet. We also primed and painted the entire room.

Not only that, lots of great items arrived for the space that are going to really help transform the rooms.

Let’s dive in.

The Bedroom

Painted the room

After nearly a dozen different sample pots, I finally narrowed down the colour to Benjamin Moore Smoke. What I love about this colour is that it has enough gray in it not to be overwhelming, but also enough depth and pigment to still feel interesting. We ended up going with the Pearl finish, which is similar to Satin, primarily because the Regal Select paint was on sale. Since it’s trimwork, I opted for some sheen to highlight the dimension inherent to applied trim on the walls, and with the paint going on the doors and windows, having some sheen leads to greater durability. I couldn’t be happier with the finish.

We painted the trimwork using a spray gun and it turned out awesome. When we had the wallpaper installers come by for quotes, they were shocked that we had sprayed the room ourselves because the finish looked so professional. Lots of you had questions on how and why we use a spray gun for painting, and we’ve learned a lot about spraying, so look out for a detailed post after next week’s reveal.

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One Room Challenge: Week Four

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, week three).

Well this was quite the big week! It really feels like we took a huge leap forward, which is starting to get me so excited that this will soon be my master bedroom! We accomplished so much, but because everything was so visually transformative, it was less painful to work until midnight each night because we were so excited to see the improved space again the next morning in natural light. That feeling of seeing the work you’ve accomplished make such a big impact is truly what keeps us motivated on this journey to remodel our home.

Let’s jump in.

Installed our new windows

During the inspection phase when buying our house, it came up that the window in the bedroom (now closet) was rotted out and needed to be replaced or repaired. We received some money towards it and put off tackling it for two years. During the winter we would put film over it to keep cool air out, so janky, I know. So, we knew going into this project that a window covered in plastic film would probably need to be addressed.

I reached out to some carpenters about fixing the window, but didn’t find the right person. So, we explored the new window options on the market that might match this window closely and offer some of the upgraded efficiency of modern windows.

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What I haven’t yet mentioned is that clearly the other window in the bedroom had at some point also rotted, and had been replaced with a vinyl window that was not the best fit for the house. Not only was the window too small for the opening, it didn’t match any of the other windows in the house visually and the grille pattern was all wrong.

This sealed the deal for me that it was an opportunity to replace both windows so that I wouldn’t wake up every morning glaring at the vinyl window. Plus, if we were going to ever replace the windows, this was the time when all the trimwork has been removed and the walls hadn’t yet been touched.

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After a few visits to our local home improvement store and to a windows-focused shop, we found the best match for the space. Sadly, they had to be custom made because our space between the two studs was about 1 inch too narrow for the stock option. So, we resolved to paying for expensive custom windows, knowing that it was the best choice for our house. We ended up going with Marvin Integrity with a wood interior. They only have a few minor differences from the windows we currently have in the rest of the house, so I’m very happy with the decision. Plus, they make the room so much quieter, which is a great win in the bedroom. In an effort to be transparent, because hopefully it’s helpful if you’re in the same situation, the two windows totaled $2.5K together.

So, once the windows arrived, we strategized how to install them. Since there’s a roof on the outside where the windows were being installed, we knew it was feasible for Cory and I to install them ourselves. We’d never done this before, but we did a ton of research, gathered supplies and didn’t set any expectations for how long the process would take. It’s when tackling a new project like this that I realize how much our skill set has grown with our experience – both removing each window and then replacing them went super smoothly with only a few moments that required some problem solving. If we had tackled this project a few years ago, I know this would have been a big, challenging project, but now, it took us a few hours and the only real anxiety was related to replacing a window while 20+ feet above the ground.

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Yes, that’s a giant hole in our house.

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So much better.

And then in the bedroom, we went from this:

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To this hole

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To this new window.

Knowing that we were going to be painting the windows, we saved some money by getting the interior of the windows unprimed and unpainted. I’m already breathing a sigh of relief with the improvement in the space visually and that we’ve brought back some of the original character. Almost every room we do includes a splurge or two that completely improve the visuals and function of the space, and these windows were definitely that splurge in this project.

Installed Metrie Trimwork

We’re so happy to be working with our friends at Metrie again on our trimwork for this project (as in our master bathroom). The baseboards and crown moulding are the same as in the bathroom and come from the Fashion Forward collection – the profiles on both are the perfect balance between a streamlined modern and a classic traditionalist aesthetic. In the bedroom we also installed a chair rail, which we selected to be a very close match to the chair rail in our hallway. Where possible, it’s best to keep the style of your trimwork consistent throughout your home.

Installed Metrie casing and baseboards

Once the window was in, we were guns blazing on installing the Metrie casing. We had a lot of openings to install the casing around: four doorways and three windows. We used the same Fashion Forward casing as in the Master Bathroom and the transformation was immediate. I will never get over the impact trimwork can have on finishing a space. It covers up all those not 100% perfect edges and completely makes a space look professional, when done right.

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Next up were the baseboards in the bedroom. Again, we used the same Fashion Forward style as in the bathroom. The key to good trimwork in a room is scale and proportion. We went with the 5.5” baseboard which is perfect with our 8’ ceilings. Any bigger and we would have overwhelmed the room.

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How much more complete does the space look already?

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Installed Metrie chair rail + panel moulding

I didn’t want the guest room to have a trim detail on the walls but the master bedroom to not, since it’s such a great way to add character, interest and elevate the room. But, I also knew I wanted a wallpaper moment and I’m personally not a huge fan of a single accent wall, in most scenarios. So, I landed on panel moulding below a chair rail, but to keep it from looking too traditional dining room, the trim will be painted blue.

For the panel moulding, we found Metrie’s new Option{M} collection to be SO helpful, especially because we could pick our style (New Traditionalist, of course) and then look at the options that were appropriately scaled for standard height ceilings. Proportion is everything when it comes to trimwork, and there are so many different directions you can take your trimwork in, so it’s incredible to have such a tight curated selection of gorgeous trim that all works well together.

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I have saved a video tutorial to my Instagram Story highlights, but a quick synopsis of the steps to install panel moulding:

  1. Plan out how many boxes you’re going to add to your walls – think about how they’re going to interact with outlets, switches, furniture, and the scale of the room.
  2. Decide on how much space you’re going to have surrounding the boxes of panel moulding. I like to keep the same distance consistent around the border (we went with 4” to mirror the trim in our bathroom and hallway)
  3. Decide on the right profile of trim for your space. We went with this one.
  4. Measure everything out and make your cuts. All cuts are going to be 45 degree angles using a miter saw.
  5. Locate your first top section and ensure it’s level and the correct distance from the top and sides. We used a laser level to help with this. Nail this piece into the wall using finish nails and a nail gun.
  6. Bank your second piece, a side piece up against the first piece, ensure it’s level and flush on the outside corner. Nail it in.
  7. Do the same for your remaining two sides of your box.
  8. Use scrap wood cut to the border size as spacers to locate your next side piece on the adjacent box and nail it in.
  9. Then resume steps 6 through 8 on that wall. Start from step 5 for the subsequent wall.
  10. Caulk all your edges and nail holes. We use this caulk and this handly little tool to smooth our caulk.
  11. Sand the caulk to be undetectable when you run your fingers over the trim
  12. And then paint!

One of the biggest game changers in getting the trim up quickly was our new-ish laser level. Seriously, if there’s one tool we wished we’d invested in years earlier, it’s this one. Not needing to balance various levels on every piece of trimwork easily cut down the time to install in half.

Installed Metrie crown moulding

Every time we install crown moulding the process becomes a little bit easier, but this will probably forever be the most difficult trim to install in an old house. We scarcely encounter perfectly square walls, so the cuts are a lot of trial and error, but the process and finished product went smoother than ever before. This time around, we made small sample cuts from scrap crown moulding to use as guides for the adjacent sides to make sure all our cuts were going to be correct. Before making any cuts we ensured we had the right angles for each corner of the room, so our cuts were pretty quick. We had to make some adjustments to ensure a correct fit.

We also installed the shoe moulding, which is something I debated a lot, but I’m so happy we added to the space. Since we have an old house and our floors aren’t perfectly level throughout, adding the shoe moulding caps off the space and really amps up the professional look. It hides the slight variance that’s visible from the bottom of the baseboard to the top of the hardwoods. Make sure to install the shoe moulding about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch off the floor so you can slide paper under it to paint the trimwork and protect your hardwoods. We used pieces of scrap cardboard to hold the shoe moulding up off the floor when we glued the shoe moulding on. Honestly, trim can work absolute wonders on completing a space.

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Caulked everything

This is the step that I always underestimate in terms of effort. We went through over 10 tubes of caulk and spent so, so many hours caulking, sanding, caulking and sanding. But, it absolutely makes a huge difference in the finished product. Make sure to sand down your caulk and then run your hands over the trimwork to ensure you can’t feel any rough edges.

Prepped the bedroom for paint

We used our compressor to blow all the dust off our walls, but if you don’t have a compressor, make sure to wipe down your walls before priming. We also laid down new builder paper to protect our gorgeous newly refinished floors. They’re dusty in these photos, but once we wipe them down, will return to their gorgeous state. Then we taped and papered off our window panes, electrical outlets and doorways.

Primed the bedroom

Last night, Cory tackled priming the bedroom using a spray gun. I didn’t have a chance to take pictures for this post, but suffice to say it’s starting to look so much more finished. Even though we got pre-primed Metrie trim, it’s still good practice to prime your caulked surfaces, and we hadn’t primed our walls before applying the trimwork, so we primed the whole room.

What’s next?

Tonight we’re going to start painting the trimwork in the room, where we’ve found that using a spray gun requires a lot more prep work, but results in a much easier painting process and a huge improvement in the quality of the paint job, especially when there’s a lot of trimwork involved.
We still have so much to do in order to get this project to the finish line, despite knocking out so much in the past week. And that includes:

  • Painting the bedroom
  • Trimming out the closet
  • Creating drawer fronts
  • Finishing up the window bench
  • Priming and painting the closet
  • Installing the wallpaper in both rooms – we’ve decided to hire this one out and have it scheduled for the last week
  • Sewing a window bench cushion
  • Installing lighting throughout both spaces
  • Painting and installing doors and Emtek hardware
  • Building a bedframe
  • Refinishing our vintage nightstands
  • Installing window treatments
  • Furnishing the space
  • Photographing the room

And, that’s a pretty overwhelming list..

 

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

At Home with Ashley | Brepurposed | Dabito | The English Room | Erin Kestenbaum

Harlow & Thistle | House of Brinson | J & J Design | Kelly Golightly | Linda Holt

Megan Bachmann | Michelle Gage | Mimosa Lane | Murphy Deesign | Vestige Home

Old Home Love | SG Style | Shay Geyer | Sita Montgomery | SMP Living

Media Partner Better Homes & Gardens | TM by ORC

ORC fall 2018 Small

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

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.

Master Bathroom Trim Plan - Door wall

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 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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