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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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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One Room Challenge: Guest Bathroom, The Reveal!

For those of you who are new here – I’ve been documenting the process of remodeling our 1940’s Colonial home in coastal Connecticut into a space that’s modern, fresh and layered but still maintains its traditional roots. You can check out past week updates here: week oneweek twoweek threeweek fourweek five and week six.

Welcome to the final week of the One Room Challenge™, where we’ve spent the past six weeks completely renovating our guest bathroom from 80’s basic to a modern take on the old-school European hotel bath. This bathroom pairs with our guest room, so keeping a consistent thread from room to room was critical. To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure we’d complete this project in time because we bit off A LOT with this one (thank goodness for that extra week!).

During the course of this challenge, my husband and I took our bathroom down to the studs, laid new level subfloor, installed radiant in-floor heating, framed out the new tub, ran all new electrical and lighting, hung our first ceiling, installed cement board walls, installed our first tiled floor, completely tiled all four walls in the room, painted the ceiling and trimwork, grouted everything, hung crown moulding, installed all new lighting, installed the shower curtain track, and more. It was insanely busy and a very ambitious project for the two of us to tackle (plumbers handled all the pipes, rough in and fixture installation).

So, without further ado, let’s get on to the photos:

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And a quick reminder of how far this bathroom has come:

The tile is the star of the room. I knew that I wanted to use classic materials for the tiles, since they’re permanent fixtures that we never intend to change (and hope that buyers feel the same way if we ever choose to sell the house too). Starting with the floors, after a lot of debate, we opted for marble since it’s a nice upgrade and truly makes me happy. We also installed radiant coils, so these floors are nice and toasty (another upgrade). For the walls, I’m a huge fan of going big, so we used the basic subway tile that’s historically relevant to our home and applied to over all the walls. It was no doubt a lot more work but it completely elevates the space.

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The tub that previously was in this bathroom was extremely shallow and was really non-functional for baths. After spending a lot of time at the Kohler showroom, we narrowed our choice to the Underscore soaking tub, since it’s great for baths but also comfortable to step into for showers and looks awesome. Since we took down the wall that closed in this shower, I was adamant about using a tub that didn’t require us to put walls back up to keep the space feeling nice and open.

The faucets were finds at the Restoration Hardware outlet that perfectly merge the clean, modern lines I love, with the vintage details like knobs labeled ‘Hot’ and ‘Cold’ that elevate the space and create a more custom feel. The brass hardware helps to bring some warmth into the room, which contrasts nicely with the all white subway tile.

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The vanity was a last-minute decision when our first choice became out of stock and also allowed us to be opportunistic when we discovered we’d gained an extra few square feet of floor space. We swapped out the hardware for nice, heavy brass hardware from Rejuvenation that make this vanity look much more expensive and custom. I wasn’t sure how the stock marble countertop would look, since it can be hit or miss with pre-cut marble, but this countertop is actually a pretty gorgeous piece of stone with great movement and veining.

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I’m a huge fan of having a lot of light sources in every room, and I make sure that as many of them as possible are on dimmers for instant ambiance. In here we added some extra lights including the pair of pendants flanking the mirror, the recessed light in the shower and relocated the overhead light so it was centered on the doorway. The pendants were super budget-friendly scores we found at Homesense but were in a shiny chrome. A few coats of matte black spray paint later and they totally fit in. The overhead light was a last minute swap (literally at 11P last night), where this CB2 light replaced a vintage find that we had sprayed black, but featured four more globes, which competed for your attention with the pendants. Using a simpler, lower key flushmount allows your focus to land on the pendants.

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We added the crown moulding to keep the room cohesive with the rest of our house. It’s a nice traditional element that keeps this room from floating too far into the modern end of the spectrum. We gave all the trimwork a fresh coat of paint, including the windows and door, which went Onyx by Benjamin Moore for an instant dose of chic. We spray painted all the window hardware a matte black to blend in. I’ve been debating this paint treatment on the windows for a while now, and seeing it in this bathroom has cemented that I need to do it on our main floor too. The ceiling and trim are painted in Benjamin Moore Decorators White, as in the other spaces we’ve completed in this house.

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The shower curtain track was a DIY inspired by Kristin Jackson at The Hunted Interior, where we didn’t want to rush ourselves into a glassed in tub (which I don’t love for baths and is pretty pricy), until we’d tried out this budget-friendly solution. Apologies that the shower curtain looks a bit droopy – we ran out of ball chain and of course weren’t able to secure more in time. The rug is a vintage find from eBay, as is the lion’s head towel ring (which also matches the one in our main floor bathroom).

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All in all we definitely pushed ourselves to create a bathroom that we’re completely smitten with and made sure not to sacrifice the design or any details for the sake of completing this room on time. Taking a step back and looking at how this bathroom works hand in hand with the guest bedroom it accompanies, I couldn’t be happier with the shared elements (crown moulding, ceiling medallion paired with black light fixtures, brass accents and vintage details), but they also both definitely have their own personalities and identities, mainly represented in the use of all-over immersive walls in totally different materials and colours. In short, we’re smitten.

Sources:

Marble Hex Tile | Subway Tile | Grout | Bathtub | Vanity | Vanity Pulls | Mirror | Toilet | Faucet | Shower Head | Tub Spout and Control | Shower Curtain Track | Hand Towel | Flushmount Light | Ceiling Medallion

And don’t forget to check out all the other awesome reveals by other One Room Challenge participants here.

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One Room Challenge: Guest Bathroom, Week Six

Week Six of the One Room Challenge™ has been all about tiling the walls. (You can check out past week updates here: week one, week two, week three, week four, week five). Because I’m an overachiever, or maybe just really confident in our skills to figure out how to accomplish the look I’m going for, I ambitiously opted to tile our entire bathroom. That includes the tub surround and all four walls. And did I mention we’d never tiled before?

Excuse the mess in all these photos – this isn’t glamorous work.

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The all-over tile really helps to elevate the subway tile. And, I’m very particular about my tile transitions and wasn’t entirely certain of a way to end the tile around our tub, given it’s location in the room in a way that felt elegant.

We have been tiling non-stop since Friday night and since taking these photos knocked out most of the final wall.  Serious props to my husband, Cory, who kept us going on tiling, despite me nearly throwing in the towel more than a few times.

In the original room, the window trim butted right up against the wall, which would make tiling around it really awkward. We ended up sourcing new trim that was 2 1/4” wide instead of 2 1/2” wide that allows for just enough space to slide the tiles behind the window trim for a much cleaner and more intentional look. They don’t, however, make rosettes that are 2 1/4” square, so we ended up using the table saw to slice 1/8” off each side of the rosettes to line everything up nicely. This whole issue gave me some anxiety, but I’m so happy with how we managed to make it work.

For the tile, these are some of the things we’ve learned:

  • Subway tile comes with built in spacers (called lugged tiles), but I really wanted the grout lines to be more visible, so we used 1/16th inch spacers on the built in spacers, achieving essentially a 1/8th inch grout line.
  • Start with a super level first row, otherwise you’re going to be fighting to keep your lines straight up the wall. We nailed straight ledges into the wall using whatever we had around (leftover drywall edges, old door trim, etc.) to support our first row. We also started with our second row and are going back to add the real first row after all the tile work is done.
  • We have an old house and our walls aren’t perfectly straight and that’s a bit visible in the corners. Given that, to start each new row of tile, we marked the center of a new tile with a China pencil and placed that dead even between two tiles below it and then worked out from the middle of the wall to the edges. This means our edge tiles aren’t all consistently sized from row to row, but our grout lines are running straight.
  • Don’t assume that if you use your spacers that all your corner tiles are going to match up. We did and were surprised when we got to the shower head wall and started tiling from the bottom up, staying in line with the tiles on the front of the tub when the row above the apron of the tub just didn’t line up with the tiles running across the tub. Hard to explain, but constantly be measuring that all your corners and edges are indeed lining up.
  • If you don’t want to chip your tiles on the tile saw, make an initial 1” cut on one side of the tile, then flip it over and make the full cut through the tile. We learned this fast when we were chipping tiles left and right.
  • We used both thinset and tile adhesive in this room. Make sure you’re using the right adhesive for the right surface. Thinset is messy and since we were mixing it ourselves (instead of buying premixed) you had some wait time to let it set, etc. On the drywall we used tile adhesive, which comes premixed and goes a long way. We found the tile adhesive to be a lot easier and tidier to work with. Just make sure you wipe down the tiles fast, because it’s hard to remove the adhesive off the tile edges and face.

All in all, while this was an insanely huge task, I’m so happy we stayed on the path to tile all the walls. Given how inexpensive subway tile is, the cost to do all the walls is still very low (I think we spent ~$350 on subway tile) but the impact is huge. I know it’s a tile that’s everywhere, but given it’s historical roots, I do believe it will stand the test of time. Especially applied in a way that is so immersive and detail oriented, it really takes the room to the next level.

What’s really going to finish off these walls is the grout (we’re going with a medium grey) and crown moulding. I know crown moulding is an unusual choice in the bathroom, but I believe it’s going to pull together all the rooms we’ve completed in the house as a cohesive story. Plus it really blends the traditional with the modern in this room.

In addition to tiling, we also painted the door, replaced the door trim, replaced the window trim and painted the crown moulding.

Lest we forget that we have to reveal this room NEXT WEEK. Which means we have a ton to accomplish before then:

  • Build the niches (which requires a last minute trip to Floor & Decor in NJ, ugh.)
  • Run the final row of tile along the bottom edge (we’re about halfway done)
  • Grout all the walls
  • Caulk all the edges
  • Install the crown moulding
  • Seal the grout
  • Install the light fixtures and fan
  • Hang the mirror
  • Install the shower curtain track
  • Install the vanity and hardware
  • Plumbers are coming Monday to install all the fixtures
  • Style the space

Well, this is going to be a sprint to the finish line!

Don’t forget to check out all the other participants here.

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One Room Challenge: Guest Bathroom, Week Five

Welcome back to our One Room Challenge™ status update (check out past weeks here), where we have taken our guest bathroom down to the studs (we’re overachievers, I know) and are working on building it back up. My husband, Cory, and I have done nearly all the work on our own, excluding the plumbing.

Week Five was without a doubt our most challenging week. It started out easy enough: we primed and painted the ceiling, primed the fresh drywall (apparently it helps with tile adhesion) and painted a waterproof membrane over the tub walls and any floor that might become wet.

Saturday, we dedicated to tiling the floor. We spent 5 hours dry-fitting the marble hex tile for the floor, making all the cuts in advance of laying the tile and making sure there weren’t any clusters of marble tones that would make the room feel imbalanced. We numbered every sheet that needed to be laid and relocated them to our bedroom floor for later. While Cory was prepping some of the final tiles, I went on an expedition to track down a marble threshold to replace the one we cracked while demo-ing the tile. Three stores later, and I found a lucky threshold that exactly fit my dimensions and had been cut custom for someone else who never picked it up from this local marble shop in Fairfield County. A 20% discount later since it was pre-cut for someone else and I took that baby home with me. We also had the vanity delivered and now have all the big pieces ready for install, waiting in the garage.

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A not-so-glamourous iPhone photo of us dry-fitting the marble hex tile.

We then spent the afternoon laying the radiant coils for the in-floor heating and got started on laying the tile. Ok guys, I had been so excited to tile and the actual tiling process was the closest to divorce we’ve experienced yet ha. It was really difficult for a perfectionist like myself. The combination of the in-floor heating plus the small mosaic tiles made it so difficult to get the tiles to lay flat and level. We ripped up the tiles multiple times before getting into a groove. 15 hours later on Saturday and we finally had our tiles laid.

We had planned to grout on Sunday but that morning we noticed a handful of tiles that just weren’t sitting quite right and we chiseled them out and replaced them. Again, we did the same thing on Monday night while cleaning out any remaining thinset from between the tiles.

Tuesday night we finally grouted the floors and it was a turning point – the tiles looked great and we got into a really good system for grouting and wiping down the tiles. We finished up by 10P, our earliest night yet working on the One Room Challenge bathroom and relished in having a little bit of time to relax.

Wednesday night we allowed the grout to dry. We chose Polyblend’s Custom Delorean Grey grout and it’s such a nice complement to tones in the carrera marble tiles. We’re planning on using the same grout on the subway tiled walls to tie both surfaces together. I’m going to dive into our decisions for how we’re laying the subway tile in the room next week, once we’ve got it all up on the walls.

This coming week is going to be a big push so we can get the room ready for the plumbers to return to install the vanity and tub. Where we’re planning on:

  • Sealing the marble floors
  • Laying subway tile on all four walls
  • Grouting the walls
  • Installing the recessed shower light
  • Painting and installing the ceiling medallion

And apologies, but pretty photos are pretty lacking this week, these are some shots of our new floors:

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And a tile decision that we’ve been debating for the walls is how to finish the tiles at the floor, since our cove finish moulding isn’t lining up with the outside corners of our tub.

Either finish the walls off in the standard, but totally modern way:

Or soldiering the tiles at the floor:

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To be completely honest, looking at these photos again, I’m pretty certain we’re going to be going with the former option. But totally let me know what you think! There’s still time to sway the vote before the tiles start to go up on Friday.

Check out the other participants here.
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One Room Challenge: Guest Bathroom, Week Four

Here we are at the week four recap of our One Room Challenge™ featuring our guest bathroom (check out Week OneWeek Two, and Week Three). I’m calling Week Four, the week we got sh*t done. After a few slow weeks of waiting on plumbing and other progress-halting stuff, we made a lot of visible progress. Here’s how the week went down:

On Thursday morning the plumbers showed up to make a few adjustments and add some nail plates… all before I finished my breakfast and morning coffee. Thursday night, we laid the plywood subfloor in anticipation of the plumbers coming Friday to set the drains.

On Friday, the plumbers pushed back their start time, until ultimately saying they’ll be postponing to 8A on Saturday morning. We spent Friday night hanging the drywall on the ceiling… wow, that’s an arm and shoulders workout.

Saturday morning we get up at 8A to let the plumbers in. After asking half a dozen times about whether we needed to frame out our tub before setting the drains and being told no… they check out our tub and tell us we need to frame it in first. Cue to me having a panic attack over the timing implications to them not setting the tub that day. We end up agreeing to build the frame within the subsequent hour and a half, so they could return that afternoon. Then we ran around like crazy people building a frame for the drop-in tub that was 100% level and took into consideration the number of tiles we wanted running up the tub enclosure + grout lines + floor tile height, etc in order to get the frame just the right size. It was pretty much like the SATs meets an overdramatized speed decorating HGTV series. We were nailing the last side of the frame in place as the plumbers showed up. They worked at the house all afternoon and I took a break from the chaos to source accessories at Anthropologie. That evening we laid the cement board on the floors with thinset and screws in preparation for tile.

Sunday morning we awoke early again, to tackle the walls. We clad two of the walls and the tub frame in cement backerboard and hung drywall on the other walls. The entire installation process was a giant game of Tetris. Again, lots of math.

Monday evening was dedicated to hanging the last of the drywall. Tuesday night we set about mudding and taping the seams. Wednesday we mudded the drywall and hooked up the radiant flooring electrical.

Whew, I’m exhausted just reading that recap.

Here are the not so sexy photos of the current state of our bathroom.

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I know it doesn’t look like much, but it’s a huge leap forward from where we were just a week ago.

And one pretty photo of our vanity hardware that arrived from Rejuvenation this week, swoon!

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This week, we’re priming the ceiling and walls in preparation for tile, as well as applying a waterproof membrane on the tub walls. And then it’s on to finally laying the radiant floors and marble hex tiles. We have the vanity arriving this weekend and we’re planning on spending the full weekend laying tile.

As a heads up, the One Room Challenge has been extended by a week, so I expect it might just be possible that we can pull this transformation off. Maybe.

Here’s to hoping next week’s photos include our pretty tiles…

Check out the other participants here.
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ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: GUEST BATHROOM, WEEK THREE

Welcome to the week three recap of our One Room Challenge™ featuring our guest bathroom (check out Week One and Week Two). A lot has happened in the last week and there were definitely a few curve-balls. We’ve made a lot of progress, but I’m not going to lie – I’m very much stressing about how we’re going to get everything done in time for Week Six. Please send good vibes! And if anyone wants to spend some time tiling with us, I wouldn’t turn you down…

First, we had the plumbers come in for two days last week (one day more than expected) and they fully reconfigured the bathroom. We’ve got all the fresh new pipes in place AND surprisingly, they were able to hide all the pipes in the wall, so we no longer have a weird bump out. Losing the bump-out and the built-in shelving we had planned to compensate for that weird corner means we have an extra 11″ of wall space where the vanity is going.

With the additional wall space, I started to realize that the vanity we had painstakingly ordered wasn’t going to be maximizing the available space…

And then, that afternoon Rejuvenation emailed me to say that the sink for the vanity was on back-order until mid-December. Cue to me freaking out over the vanity clearly not arriving in time and even if we weren’t in the midst of The One Room Challenge, we have plumbers mid-project that I really can’t halt. So I went back to the drawing board and started searching for larger vanities. The one we had originally ordered was 36″, so I set my sights on 42″ and 48″ vanities. My husband was concerned that while we just barely had the space, a 48″ vanity would overwhelm the room. 42″ vanities aren’t super common, but fortuitously, I was re-reading Jenny Komenda’s girls’ bathroom remodel and the vanity she used actually came in a 42″ width. We tracked it down on Wayfair, sourced some pretty Rejuvenation campaign hardware to make it feel more luxe and we were back in business.

For reference, this is Jenny’s fabulous bathroom project:

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And the revised layout for the bathroom:

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Where we’re adding some very cool (and crazy inexpensive) globe pendants on either side of the mirror for the below look. Imagine our pretty vintage meets modern brass faucet, some distinguished brass campaign-style drawer pulls, baskets on the lower shelf and that the globe pendants have black rods with some cool French bistro-style details.

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Also this week, we picked up all the tile at Floor & Decor, which we were just barely able to drive home in our car and we set up all the electrical.

We have the plumbers coming today and tomorrow to finish setting the drains, and the subfloor is going down this evening. Then we’re building the frame for the tub, installing drywall, putting cement board down, laying radiant flooring coils and installing the marble hex floors. We’re dedicating all of next week to subway tiling the walls.

Hopefully by next week we’ll have the tile mostly done (and lots of much prettier photos to accompany the post). If you have any tips on subway tiling a drop-in tub and getting clean edges on the bottom of the subway tiled walls, please send them my way!

Check out the other participants here.
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