...because home doesn't happen overnight.
08.12.14 / The Master Bathroom

When we bought our house three years ago, the plan was to scrub the original bathrooms really well and live with them for a few years before renovating them. But in the midst of demolition, we discovered black mold behind one of the bathroom walls when we demo’d a shared kitchen wall. Upon further inspection, there were cracked shower tiles in each of the bathrooms allowing water to seep into the walls. We ended up gutting both bathrooms to remedy the mold problem. We finished the master bathroom before moving in and it’s been our only functioning bathroom for the past 2+ years. Yep, all five of us use one bathroom. And I’m still alive to tell its story.

master bath before 1

master bath before 2

The original bathroom was pink and gray – complete with a matching vinyl shower curtain, window curtain and valance (!). The vanity was way too small. The fluorescent lighting had to go and the only ventilation was an open window. However, we didn’t mind the layout and the window in the shower provided a decent amount of natural light.

master bath after 1

To save time and money, we kept the original layout and toilet but all the other fixtures and finishes are new. The electric was upgraded to service a sconce above the vanity, a can light above the tub and a proper ventilation fan.

master bath after 2

The original aluminum window was replaced with a vinyl one featuring privacy glass. The glass is smooth to the touch (and easy to clean) but textured in between the double panes for privacy. I am so, so, SO happy to have a window in the shower! It’s as close as I’ll ever get to an outdoor shower in Ohio.

The original shower tile was only installed about two-thirds of the way up the wall. We chose to take the new wall tile to the ceiling to give the appearance of taller ceilings and a bigger space. We contemplated a glass door or partition on the tub / shower but the placement of the plumbing would have made entry / exit into the shower tricky. We opted for a simple floor-to-ceiling shower curtain instead and it works great.

master bath after 6

Bathrooms tend to feel very slick and sterile but I’m drawn to natural, nubby and woven textures. To achieve that tactile vibe I love, I chose tiles with interesting textures. The shower tile almost has a glittery appearance. It shimmers in the light from the window. Not to mention, the reflective surface is another way to trick the eye into seeing a brighter, larger space.

master bath after 3

The sink area of the bathroom is visible from our bed(room) so I wanted something super simple that would tie in to the bedroom and not look too utilitarian. I had my heart set on a floating vanity but Steve requested drawers for all of his beauty supplies. (He’s kinda high maintenance.) The compromise was a floating vanity boasting two deep drawers. It was the perfect solution! We have plenty of storage and I can slip the kids’ step stool underneath the vanity. The floating design makes for quick and easy floor cleaning, too.

master bath after 4

Eventually, we added a small wall cabinet to the left of the sink to house Steve’s electric razor, electric toothbrush and more of his manly toiletry surplus. (I told you he’s high maintenance.) I got tired of knocking over all the charging stations on the sink. We cut a hole in the side of the wall cabinet to gain access to an outlet so Steve can charge his grooming tools sight unseen and no one’s the wiser. THIS IS HOW YOU STAY MARRIED, PEOPLE. You won’t read about this in any of those self-help marriage books. Good communication? Showing appreciation? Healthy sex life? Yeah, those are all noteworthy and all but, I’m telling you, hidden charging stations are where it’s at! And they lived happily ever after…

For warmth, I hung a round teak mirror above the sink. I didn’t seal it or anything and it looks as good as new. Teak has a good reputation in wet conditions so it’s kinda perfect for a bathroom.

master bath after 5

The original floor tile tested positive for trace amounts of asbestos but there was no way we were keeping it. Now the proper way to remove asbestos tile (at least in the great state of Ohio) is to hire a certified abatement contractor for anything >50 square feet. (This one bathroom contained less than that but we were dealing with two bathrooms which put us over by ~20 square feet.) But that is expensive and Steve will try anything at least once. So he removed the asbestos tile himself using a wetting method along with full-body coverup gear and a respirator. I was pregnant at the time so the kids and I steered clear of the house during and for some time after removal. Steve did dispose of the tile in a landfill that accepts asbestos. In sharing this, I’m NOT saying you should attempt this yourself. I’m just being honest about what we did. You should probably follow your state’s regulations, m’kay? M’kay. Now that that’s settled…

The new floor features (asbestos-free!) penny rounds and they lend yet another texture to the bathroom. It reminds me of reptilian scales and, after we first installed it, I wanted to rub myself all over it. We chose a sandy, dirt-colored grout that has held up well over the past two years. A woven trash can disguises ugly water lines. The basket on top of the toilet tank holds toilet paper. We couldn’t decide on a good place to hang a toilet paper holder (I vetoed the side of the vanity because I didn’t want to see toilet paper from the bed) so we threw a few rolls in the basket temporarily and, well, now it’s permanent.

master bath after 7

master bath after 8

master bath after 10

master bath after 9

master bath after 12

master bath after 11

I don’t think either of us expected to live with only one bathroom for this long. (We’re slowly plugging away in the other bathroom as I type.) But if we must share a bathroom, I’m happy it’s this one. On any given night, you can find all five of us squeezed in here getting ready for the kids’ bedtime. It works but, man, I am totally looking forward to having a second bathroom. It’s going to be a game changer. No more difficult questions about what happened to my penis!

Resources of note:

wall & trim paint – Benjamin Moore white dove
floor tile – penny round moss from The Tile Shop
shower tile – capua blanco from The Tile Shop
tub, drain, shower fixtures – Kohler archer
shower curtain – 96″ seersucker curtain from Amazon, discontinued
double hook shower curtain rings – Amazon
shower curtain liner – Amazon
toilet – reused, Kohler
wall sconce – Barn Light Electric
mirror – Home Emporium
vanity – Ikea GODMORGON, high gloss gray
sink – Ikea ODENSVIK
faucet – Ikea DALSKÄR
soap dispenser – Target
wall cabinet – Ikea, painted white
towel holder & hooks – Lowe’s
trash can – Target
wall urchins – Target (I spray painted them gold because that’s what I do.)
hand towel – West Elm
peshtemal towels – etsy

Curious about the evolution of this bathroom? Here are a bunch of bathroom-related links:

RENOVATION

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2011/08/18/the-underdog-sans-scaffolding/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2011/08/30/a-few-new-things/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2011/09/13/behind-the-walls-i-mean-scenes/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2011/10/11/new-windows-doors/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2011/11/06/we-have-walls/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2011/11/01/in-case-youve-never-seen-foam-insulation/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/02/03/let-there-be-light-and-some-cabinets/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/02/29/master-bathroom-tiling-progress/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/03/02/windows-in-showers/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/03/06/master-bathroom-progress/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/05/20/fade-to-white/

FIXTURES & DECOR

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2011/09/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2011/10/05/the-master-bath-master-plan/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/01/13/a-bathroom-vanity-compromise/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/02/09/recent-purchases/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/02/23/gettin-teaky-with-it/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/03/27/master-bathroom-reveal/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/05/15/recent-purchases-2/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/11/29/bathroom-vanity-sanity/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/12/19/the-peshtemal-plunge/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/04/30/three-sea-urchins-a-trash-can-a-tumbler-a-soap-dispenser-walk-into-a-bathroom/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/06/18/easy-and-awesome-toilet-seat-upgrade/

You can now access this master bathroom tour (along with a general house tour and individual room tours) under the “See My House” tab in the side bar. I will be adding more rooms in the weeks to come. Thanks for reading!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

07.30.14 / The Master Bedroom

Once upon a time our bedroom was a very scary place.

master br before 2

From what we can discern, the previous owner used it as a painting studio. The room was home to dozens of canvases and numerous dressers holding art supplies when we first toured the house. The green shag carpet was horribly stained. One corner of the room showed signs of water damage. (We later learned from neighbors that a tree fell and damaged that corner of the house when Hurricane Ike barreled through in 2008.)

master br before 1

The room faces northeast and receives the least amount of natural light of all the rooms in the house. In the summer (shown here and in the “afters” below), the room takes on an eerie green glow.

master br before 3

An adjoining bathroom – albeit small – was the only thing this room had going for it. Please notice the dark trail from the hallway to the bathroom. (!) I don’t even want to know. Let’s hope it was paint.

master br 5

We added foam insulation to the exterior walls, ripped up the carpet, sprung for new windows, laid engineered hardwood flooring, installed chunky new baseboards and had the electrical upgraded to include a ceiling fixture. Among other things. Choosing a paint color for this room proved difficult. Before moving in, we painted it the same color as the main living space but the light hue looked very dingy in this room. I repainted the walls a warm gray with green-blue undertones that play nicely in the dim light. Sometimes it looks gray. Sometimes it looks green. Sometimes it looks blue. But it always feels calm and soothing – even under artificial lighting at night.

Placing the bed under the eastern window was our only viable option in this room. I initially bought a curved headboard but the lines were all wrong under the squarish window. I switched it out for the straight, upholstered one seen here.

master br 6

In each of the bedrooms, we ditched the closet doors in favor of curtain panels hung high and wide. For us, it’s easier to access the closet contents this way. The panels make it feel a little like a dressing experience, too, if that makes any sense. Most of the time, I stand inside the closet to dress. Hanging the curtains outside of the frame gave us a good 6″ of extra closet depth. All of Steve’s and my clothing is in this modest closet. Everything is organized with off-the-shelf wire racks and drawers. We were even able to incorporate two pull-out hampers (one for darks, one for lights) in the closet design. Shoes currently not in rotation are stored in the slim wall cabinet to the right of the closet.

We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how wonderful it is to have a pared down closet. Steve and I both enjoy expressing our styles via our wardrobes and, before living in this house, we were accustomed to large, walk-in closets. What we’ve found though is that we are much more focused on quality vs. quantity when it comes to buying clothing now. We’re spending less money on clothing by buying more long-haul pieces. Since space is limited (we have a set number of hangers and shelves) we subscribe to the “one thing in, one thing out” policy. And the closet is always tidy! Don’t let anyone fool you into believing you need a walk-in closet to be happy.

master br 7

Matching sconces and nightstands flank the bed. Framed prints bridge the gap between the sconces and the top of the nightstands. We don’t keep too much bedside but I love having greenery (I clip it from the backyard) and a stack of books nearby.

For cohesion, we hung the same woven shades found throughout the house. For privacy, we installed blackout roller shades within each window frame. They aren’t visible until we pull them down at night. A nubby jute rug picks up on the woven blinds.

master br 11

I tried to keep the bedding gender neutral with a striped duvet and embroidered hemp pillow. IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: I like stripes and natural textures.

master br 3

A vintage dresser sits opposite the bed. I think it’s my favorite craigslist find of all time. The black and white abstract art was painted by the previous owner. I leaned it against the wall to “try it out” nearly two years ago and liked the casual look so much I left it that way.

master br 4

We rigged the top dresser drawer so that it’s hinged and can be used as a keyboard pull-out. It’s lined with cork so no mouse pad is needed. The “dresker” is the perfect place for Steve to take evening conference calls or work from home when necessary. I keep a wool blanket in the second drawer for freezing winter nights but the bottom two drawers are empty!

master br 12

This is the view looking into the bedroom from the doorway. You can barely see the door frame to the bathroom on the left. The large canvas was a controversial DIY. (You can read more about it via a link near the end of this post. There’s an interesting discussion in the comments section.) I love it nonetheless.

master br 9

master br 10

master br 1

master br 8

It took us every bit of two years to get our bedroom just right. I can still remember the nights of insomnia staring at the ceiling contemplating this room. My goal was to create a peaceful place to retreat at the end of every busy day. I can’t say I won’t tweak things in here ever again but it does offer the calming respite I was hoping for. We sleep well.

Resources of note:

wall paint – Benjamin Moore half moon crest
trim paint – Benjamin Moore white dove
flooring – Jasper engineered hardwood handscraped birch in Texas brown via Build Direct
ceiling fixture – Robert Abbey axis aged brass ceiling light
woven shades – petite rustique from Overstock
blackout roller shades – Levolor from Lowe’s
curtain panels – Ikea
curtain rods – Target
closet organization – ClosetMaid
bed – West Elm (discontinued)
headboard – West Elm nailhead upholstered headboard in brushed heather cotton, gray haze
duvet – DwellStudio draper stripe
white blanket – Target
embroidered pillow – OrientalTribe11 on etsy
sconces – House of Troy addison swing arm lamp in antique brass
nightstands – Vilas one-drawer nightstand from Overstock (I spray painted the knobs gold.)
wood frames – Target
art prints – printwork on etsy
yarn-wrapped gazelle – Target
Barcelona bench – Rove Concepts in palermo caramel leather
sheepskin – Ikea
9′ x 12′ jute rug – Overstock
shoe cabinet – Ikea (I spray painted the knobs gold.)
mirror – RSI from Wayfair
desk chair – West Elm saddle office chair
kilim pillow – Sukan on etsy
chevron art – DIY
dresser – vintage Willett via craigslist
lamp – Robert Abbey delta table lamp
black and white abstract art – estate sale
faux antlers – One Kings Lane
driftwood sculpture – thrifted

If you’re interested in seeing how this room evolved, here are a slew of bedroom-related links:

FURNITURE

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/08/10/recent-purchases-3/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/06/11/i-like-to-move-it-move-it/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/06/17/wayfair-in-the-house-lets-talk-about-my-bed/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/09/06/a-desk-disguised-as-a-dresser-a-k-a-the-dresker/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/02/17/a-bench-in-the-bedroom/

DECOR

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/03/29/looking-for-a-bedroom-light/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/08/31/the-pursuit-of-a-casual-bedroom/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/02/27/wayfair-in-the-house-swing-arm-wall-lamp/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/06/05/i-dont-want-to-leave-my-bedroom/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/06/17/wayfair-in-the-house-lets-talk-about-my-bed/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/06/21/our-bedroom-window-treatments/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/07/11/his-hers-nightstands/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/08/01/wayfair-in-the-house-a-bedroom-mirror/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2014/02/12/the-fruits-of-my-antiquing-adventure/

ORGANIZATION

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/06/14/closetsmaid-right/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/10/25/making-the-most-of-small-closets-master-bedroom/

DIY

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/07/05/hold-the-door/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/09/04/diy-hinged-drawer/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/10/09/one-ticket-to-hell-please/

*http://www.housetweaking.com/2013/10/15/a-date-with-my-doors/

You can access this master bedroom tour (along with a general house tour and individual room tours) under the “See My House” tab in the side bar. I’ll be adding more rooms in the weeks to come. Thanks for reading!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

barcelona bench 1

The horse blanket isn’t the only new thing at the foot of our bed. But before we get to it, let’s back up for a minute.

barcelona bench 2

Our bedroom is rectangular in shape. We placed the bed on one of the smaller walls, opposite the bathroom, which is really the only feasible location for a bed in this room. I haven’t mentioned it before but the area between the foot of our bed and bathroom is a decent size. And it has always felt a little empty. I’m all for open space in a room but it felt like something should be there – either a bench or a pair of ottomans. Something. I hadn’t taken it any further than that though. I mean, a bench wasn’t completely necessary and we were getting along fine without one.

Then one of my friendly sponsors, Rove Concepts, sent me an email asking if I might be interested in a piece of their furniture. I politely decline the majority of these types of requests because they don’t jive with my purpose and / or aesthetic. And I turned this one down as well. But six months later I received another email from them so I quickly glanced at their inventory to see if anything caught my eye. When I came across the Barcelona bench inspired by Mies van der Rohe, I was smitten. It was the ideal scale and style. I ordered the 52″ length in natural ash with a palermo caramel cushion. It had a twelve week lead time but finally arrived two weeks ago and it’s practically perfect in every way.

barcelona bench 3

As I was assembling it, Steve and I had a moment. We didn’t feel worthy of this bench. It’s a true work of art. The craftsmanship and attention to detail are impeccable. The bench is one of those forever pieces that’s crazy versatile. It’s sturdy and has a presence to it without feeling heavy…if that makes any sense. I like that it sits up off the floor with open space between the seat and floor. That gives it a lighter feel than, say, a slipcovered bench with a skirt.

barcelona bench 4

The leather is beautiful. It’s the perfect shade of caramel with flawless tufting and piping. It’s so soft, smooth and supple. Like butt’ah. It will only get better with age and wear. I love the natural patina that worn leather takes on over time. The warm hue of the cushion picks up on the wood tones of the nearby dresser, chair legs and bathroom mirror.

barcelona bench 5

Our bedroom can be a flurry of activity with three kids who like to romp on the bed and only one functioning bathroom which also happens to be the adjoining master bath.

Fun fact #1: I make the bed every morning but it rarely stays that way.

Fun fact #2: Sometimes there is a line for the potty in our bedroom. 

Our bedroom definitely isn’t a kid-free zone. Often times, all five of us can be found hanging out in here. The bench sorta acts like a buffer for our bed and provides extra seating, too. It’s a welcome addition. (Mabrey loves climbing onto the bed via the bench.)

barcelona bench 6

I haven’t cheated on my mattress and taken the bench for a sleeping spin (yet!) but the thought has crossed my mind. And that awkward space between our bed and bathroom? It’s not awkward anymore. The bench shrunk the barren area but we still have plenty of room to move around without feeling cramped.

While I’m happily working for and claiming the Barcelona bench, I understand that it may overreach some budgets. If you can afford it, I would highly recommend it. However, if you’re in the market for a similar bench with a smaller price tag, may I suggest this, this or this?

I’m curious. Do you have anything at the foot of your bed? A bench, a pair of ottomans, a trunk? Maybe you prefer nothing?

Stay tuned for a Rove Concepts giveaway later today! I told you those peeps were friendly.

This post was sponsored in part by Rove Concepts. All images and opinions are my own.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

bedroom shoe cabinet 2

Remember when I relocated the shoe cabinet and octagon mirror to our bedroom? Well, after a while that mirror didn’t feel quite right. The shape was all wrong for the rectangular space between our curtained closet and bedroom door. The mirror itself was a tad small, too. And it was difficult to use the mirror for quick once-overs due to the straight dividers that broke the mirror up into four quadrants. So I replaced it…

br mirror 1

…with a larger rectangular mirror. {I’m going to apologize now for the inconsistent lighting in the upcoming shots. Our north-facing bedroom gets the weirdest green haze in the afternoon and the sun kept coming and going as I hurriedly snapped these pics while Mabrey was napping and the boys were reading. Still love me?} I also spray painted the knobs on the shoe cabinet the same gold as our nightstands‘ hardware. I wouldn’t be surprised if our local Home Depot is out of stock on gold spray paint. I can’t help myself.

br mirror 2

This wider shot better shows how the new mirror fills the wall between the closet and door.

br mirror 3

The mirror is very heavy. We ran into a little snafu when it came to hanging it just because we were expecting it to have ready-to-hang hardware on the back. But it didn’t. HH added two picture hangers on each side of the frame’s backside and then it was good to go. This particular wall is plaster so HH used wall anchors to hang the mirror securely.

br mirror 4

I love the solid wood frame of this mirror. It’s really simple – no mitered corners, no ornate details – and the finish is a warm, rich cognac. So, so handsome.

br mirror 5

It ties into the hardwood floors, nightstands and dresser really well. It just works.

br mirror 6

I added a few things to the top of the shoe cabinet last minute. Just stuff I already had on hand.

br mirror 7

The picture frame was {yet another!} HomeGoods clearance find – $7. I slipped a picture of HH and me inside. The votive was from Target. I clipped the flower from my backyard. The number tiles are the house’s original house numbers. {I switched up the order for privacy reasons.} I took them down last week when I started cleaning up the front entrance in preparation for a little makeover. They are soooo small! I’m not entirely sure you could even see them from the road. Our new house numbers will be much LARGER. I might end up gluing the old ones onto a piece of reclaimed wood or something but I like seeing them in our bedroom.

br mirror 8

The gold dipped bowl is a Nate Berkus piece. {You can see more of the votive and bowl here.} His stuff just keeps getting better and better if you ask me. HH empties his pockets into the bowl at night. I pulled the little plant from a container on our back patio and plopped it into a smaller IKEA pot.

br mirror 9

The best part about the new mirror is that it reflects way more light from the opposite window. Our bedroom needs as much light as it can get!

br mirror 10

You can’t see it yet but this view into the mirror will reflect large scale art one day. Isn’t that blank wall just begging to be artsified?

br mirror 11

Finally, I’ll leave you with this blurry teaser shot of a corner in our bedroom. There’s an empty dresser that we want to transform into a little workstation {HH works from home sometimes and needs a quiet spot to take conference calls} and we splurged on the super comfy saddle chair. It’s so comfy that I’m seriously contemplating the counter stool version as an upgrade to my $10 stopgap stool. Which begs the question…can one house have too much chevron?

Can’t wait to share more as we slowly make progress!

The new mirror is part of a monthly collaboration between House*Tweaking and Wayfair. All selections, images and opinions are my own. Thanks to Wayfair for supporting my habit.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking