When I first started this blog, I thought I would be putting a fair amount of posts up about my home projects and design interests. Not so much. Instead I’ve written lots more about pubic hair, dirty diapers, and early 1990’s rap.
This doesn’t mean I don’t love design. I do. I’m a devoted reader and prowler of home decorating books, architectural magazines, and HGTV’s Design Star.
We don’t live in a huge house, but I still think it’s a perfect size for my family. Our home is about 2400 square feet and we use practically every foot of it. Of course, there are rooms that I wish were a little bit bigger. Sloan practically sleeps in a closet – but we’ve made the most of it. Her room is so small that the elves of IKEA would have a heyday building floor to ceiling shelves and putting up suspended beds and such.
We’ve been in this house for about five years, and in this last year we’ve made a few significant changes. I’ve been waiting and we’ve been saving for a while to work on our upstairs bathroom. It was truly, truly a FUN project. No stress at all. I attribute this to our amazing contractor/granite and rock guru/friend Darren Hansen. He was extremely organized and his team was highly efficient. Darren was totally committed to helping me stay within my budget ($6000…to some people this is peanuts, to me a lot!), and I feel for such a low price we got some amazing results. I will give you more details below.
Our upstairs (main) floor has three bedrooms and just one bathroom. When we were looking at the house in 2007 and thinking of buying, I knew this one bathroom was special because it had valuable space. Many homes up in our area are mid-century modern or 1970’s ramblers. Most of the time this means cramped, tiny bathrooms. But ours was significantly roomy and I remember thinking to myself that one day we could do something with it.
Our bathroom was pretty much your standard deal. Peel and stick linoleum floor, formica countertop, cultured “marble” shower interior, old sliding glass door on the bathtub, huge sink to ceiling mirror on the wall, and 1980’s oak cabinets. Yuck.
When we moved in, I tried to make the best of it without spending more than a hundred bucks. I spent lots of hours priming and painting the cabinetry and installing new pulls/hardware. HUGE DIFFERENCE. We also tore down the horrible sliding glass doors on the shower and put up a shower curtain. I painted the walls and hung up some pictures and towel bars and called it a day.
Then I had five years to think about what I really wanted to do – again, without spending our life savings. I really believe a remodel or updating should FIT THE HOUSE as well as the people living in the house. Our house is comfortable. We are an eclectic family. And we have kids who share this bathroom with us.
Here we go:
Old view of sink and mirror.
This is the bathroom now.
Can I tell you how much I love my beautiful new toilet?
In this particular design scheme, I stayed within a limited color range – for a reason. However, I do have a lot of different patterns and textures going within this color palate, which in my opinion makes things interesting. Last year, Brad and I stayed down at Sundance for a weekend and we both fell in love with the feel and decor of the lodge. So I wanted to give Brad a bathroom that felt outdoorsy and a bit masculine, while giving myself a bathroom that felt clean and spa-like.
Old sink. (I promise it normally looked nicer than that. The thought of taking pictures occured to me as we were GUTTING the place.)
You will notice we plumbed for and added a second sink. HEAVEN. I saved a bit on the fixtures (still buying a great brand, just not anything too over the top) so I could spend what I saved on the rectangular sinks. I love them.
I had to show you the center console because of that little red ceramic dish. I was at my friend Kimmie’s house and spied the dish in her kitchen cabinet and freaked out. The reason why is because my mom had a dish just like that in our house, always on a coffee table somewhere. My whole childhood. Kimmie said she found it at a thrift store here in town and I just died. I held and looked at that bowl for like thirty minutes, wondering if it was possibly my mother’s…and as I was leaving, Kimmie insisted I take it with me. So sweet.
Darren is a contractor, but also owns a business here in town called Atlas Granite Company. Another way I saved money in the remodel was to find a remnant I liked within his granite yard that we could use for my countertop. Not hard. He had many, many beautiful remnants that would have made me happy. The granite style I chose was called Smoky Mountain.
New tub…and I have to tell you it is both wider AND deeper than my old tub! And the lovely slant in the back!! To die for. A tub for soaking and new grout and new caulking and shiny new fixtures make a girl named Piper very, very happy.
That new bench behind my bathtub used to be a wall. By the way the wall was built I could tell that it was just built up to accommodate the length of a standard tub. So Darren knocked it out and gave me a bench. So pretty! I like to pretend there is always an orchid and candles on it instead of drippy Barbie dolls and old washcloths.
I love my travertine. It is a Versailles pattern, which means there are six sizes of tiles that are laid in an interesting pattern. This is what is on my floor and surrounding my tub/shower, all the way up to the ceiling. It is a pretty bold color choice with lots of movement and golds, greys, and red-brown undertones. But color and movement doesn’t scare me. This tile scared Darren a little bit. He silently wondered if I would hate it with my granite countertop. Then when it was all over he told me how surprised and relieved he was that it WORKED.
Old view lengthwise.
New view lengthwise.
In this picture you can see the walls that I installed the wood-like ceramic tile. I saw it in a showroom and fell in love with it. You have to see it in person, it is just SO COOL. I asked the lady if she had ever heard of anyone putting it on the walls and she said no. So of course I had to do it. This tile, as well as the travertine, stayed right on budget at three dollars a square foot. Yes, that’s right! $3/sq. ft. And I think the wood tile adds such a fresh, original look and blends in so well with our Sundance vibe.
Not bad, huh?
One of my biggest money-savers on this project was to repurpose my cabinetry. They had to carefully tear them out and store them while they gutted everything else in the room. (Good job, guys!) I also had Darren’s guys take off six inches of the depth of my wall (floor to ceiling) cabinets. They were too deep to begin with and I wanted to change their orientation to a different wall. It worked out PERFECTLY. I also tried to spare myself the horror of priming and re-painting of the cabinets – plus, I still really liked the color of them. So this definitely stayed in my mind as a “maybe” when I began looking for a new counter surface and floor/shower tile.
Then I chose my countertop and it just seemed like it was going to work.
I painted the walls a warm tan/brown color and the ceilings are a golden hue. You don’t really notice the ceilings in these pictures, which is about right on. They are subtle. You just don’t notice them being WHITE, which is nice.
I finished off with some of my favorite IKEA shelves above the toilet as well as on the wall opposite of the sinks, where my newly shortened cabinets reside. I also found some great hooks for towels at Silver Star Hardware that I hung behind the door. Much easier than a towel rack for all involved in towel-hanging. I bought my new mirrors at TJ Maxx/HomeGoods (one of my favorite places in the whole world) and the frames are made from seashells. The last little thing still left to do – when I have the money – is to again change the hardware on the cabinetry. I found some really great chrome pulls that will fit much better with my new chrome fixtures and shower kit. They will have a slightly more modern feel and complete the whole look of the room.
This is the first bathroom I’ve ever had the opportunity to do some major work to, and I have to say there’s not much right now I would change!