...because home doesn't happen overnight.

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We’ve been living with TWO bathrooms for almost a year. It still feels like a luxury after sharing one bathroom for nearly three years. I get a lot of questions wanting to know how the main bathroom is or is not working for us. Now that we’ve lived with it a while, I thought it might be helpful to share my thoughts on the space: things I’m loving, things I would change if I had it to do over and how I’m keeping the room looking as good as new. (Hint: It has something to do with The Honest Company and their promise to deliver safe and effective products at an affordable price point. I’ve been using their products for years on my own, unsolicited, and am happy to share a discount from Honest at the end of this post. If you aren’t interested in the offer, feel free to skip it but I hope you still find this post helpful when/if you’re brainstorming a bathroom renovation.)

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First up, the tub and its DIY cradle base are solid. We LOVE them. I was really nervous about losing the claw feet and adding the wood base (which we kind of made up as we went) but the setup turned out beautifully. Steve did a superb job contouring the wood cradles to match the profile of the tub because the tub hasn’t budged, not even a wiggle. The cradles are protected with Waterlox so inevitable bath time splashes aren’t a problem. I’ve only managed to take one bath in the deep tub but it was glooooorious. It needs to happen again. And I’m even not a fan of baths. Scratch that. I made it happen last night.

Many people warned us about cumbersome showers in an old cast iron tub, claiming water would spray everywhere and the curtains would stick to wet bodies. Surprisingly, neither of those things have been an issue. As long as we remember to close the curtain (there are actually two separate liners that enclose the entire tub), water from the shower head stays in the tub. Using liners with weights along the bottom and running the ventilation fan during showers prevents the liners from billowing into the shower and doing that annoying curtain-to-skin-contact thing.

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If there is one thing I would go back and change, I’d add recessed wall niches near the tub, if possible, to hold toiletries. As is, we only have a small rack on the plumbing kit. It’s big enough to hold the kids’ shampoo + body wash and a bottle of bubble bath from The Honest Company but it would be nice to have a little more room for rinsing cups and guests’ toiletries.

By the way, we’ve been using the shampoo + body wash as a family for years and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Steve even uses it. Real men use body wash. Ha! Obviously, the combined function is ideal for small bathrooms. It’s one less bottle in the shower. It’s naturally tear-free (it contains no added numbing agents like other tear-free products) and super gentle which makes it perfect for kids AND color-treated hair. Plus, it smells delicious. My favorite part, though, is that since it is soap-free we don’t get the nasty pink build-up caused by bacteria feeding on residual soap scum. It’s a win-win-win situation.

One thing that was a little unexpected is the height of the shower head. It’s slightly lower than what we’re accustomed to. It’s because the floor of the tub is higher than a standard tub or shower pan, and the ceiling is 8′ so we didn’t have extra vertical space to work with. It’s not a deal breaker, just something we’ve noticed. Steve and I have taken showers in the bathroom with no problem. Oh! And we remedied the leaky shower head. The company sent us a replacement. Problem solved.

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Overall, I would do this whole tub / cradle base / shower setup again but I’d consider the addition of a wall niche or two.

I wouldn’t change a thing about the wall and floor tile. I’m so happy we took the subway tile to the ceiling in the tub area and then carried it around the rest of the room at a height of ~41″. It’s super easy to wipe down and, with kids, that’s definitely a pro. I’m also glad I threw in the pencil liner detail at the last minute but, in my opinion, the best part of the bathroom is the hex tile on the floor. It was an absolute pain to install but totally worth it in the end. The black travertine hex paired with a light gray grout has proven to be extremely kid-friendly. Our boys seem to be, um, distracted when using the bathroom. Still, their stray streams (if you catch my drift) haven’t discolored the tile or the grout.

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After trying various store-bought and homemade cleaning solutions on the travertine hex with subpar results (I was usually left with a hazy film on the matte tile), I turned to Honest‘s bathroom cleaner and couldn’t be happier. It cleans mean and smells nice.

As for the square toilet, it’s a good thing it’s cute. It’s comfortable to the tush (inquiring minds want to know) and I love the modern shape against the old tub, but I didn’t even consider how difficult it would be to clean the interior of a square toilet. (!) Without giving away too many repulsive details, the corners can get pretty gross. I avoid chemical-based toilet cleaners because I like this planet we live on, but my homemade concoctions were no match for this toilet. I needed something thicker that could be easily directed toward the offending corners. Enter Honest‘s toilet cleaner. The natural ingredients work like a charm and have the faintest, most pleasant eucalyptus scent. It’s the best. Ever. Hands down. Seriously. HAVE YOU ORDERED THIS TOILET CLEANER YET? Yes, I’m attempting to proselytize toilet cleaner. This is what happens when you own a square toilet. My only words for someone considering a toilet with a square bowl are “How bad do you want it?”

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I wasn’t sure how the double handle sink faucet would go over with the kids but it’s worked well. If anything, we’re using less hot water because it’s easier for them to just turn on the cold. I’m NOT a fan of the vanity. Save for a basket (which I added) and a small drawer too low to be of much use, the vanity provides no real storage. If I had to do it again, I would go with a white version of the same floating Ikea vanity in our master bathroom. Yes, it’s ubiquitous, but for good reason. For starters, it’s affordable. The deep drawers provide ample storage and the floating design is practical for small bathrooms. The recessed medicine cabinet is totally saving my a$$. We’d be lost without it.

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Not having to share a bathroom with the kids means the master bathroom stays cleaner longer. We like having a bathroom close to the main living area, too. And I think our guests appreciate not having to pass through our bedroom to use the bathroom anymore. That always felt awkward. I love you second bathroom.

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And, obviously, I love Honest products. This is a sponsored post which means I’m being compensated to share my thoughts about the company with you. But it’s easy when it’s a brand I’ve been subscribing to and paying for on my own for years after buying and reading The Honest Life. Without being preachy, the book raised my awareness of what’s really in the products we bring into our home. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about making informed decisions. The subscription service ensures that I have only what I need when I need it. I can easily edit my bundles and shipping dates to suit my family’s needs. Typically, I receive orders 4-6 times per year.

I regularly order the shampoo + body wash, conditioning detangler (necessary for combing through Mabrey’s mane!), toilet cleaner, bathroom cleaner, dryer cloths and stain remover. Honest let us try the bubble bath and foaming hand soap for this post :) When Mabrey was a baby, I also used the wipes and organic healing balm. Looking ahead to the winter flu season, I added the organic breathe easy rub to my last bundle. Fingers crossed I don’t have to use it.

Do you subscribe to The Honest Company? Which items are your favorites? If you’re interested in trying safe and effective household essentials in your home, Honest is offering an exclusive 25% discount to House*Tweaking readers on their first bundle. Use the code HT25OFF at checkout.

*Offer valid only for first-time bundle buyers at Honest.com now through November 30th, 2015, 11:59 p.m. PT. This offer can only be redeemed once per customer and cannot be applied to international surcharge, taxes, shipping, previous purchases, current bundles, the purchase of gift cards or gift bundles. Offer cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with any other coupons or promotions. Terms of offer are subject to change. This post has been sponsored by The Honest Company who provided products and payment. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



hmm I never would have thought the bowl inside would have been square like the outside. Somehow I always pictured the squareness as just an outside feature with the inside being molded like any other toilet. I was thinking of using this when I get around to my bathroom reno but I think I’ll skip it knowing the “issues”.

The bathroom still looks fantastic, I would say the flooring and tub are my favourite things about it.


What a great looking space! Love the tile, the tub, and that rug. I also so appreciate seeing a post about a smaller-sized bathroom. Every room in our house is TINY, so many of the large, luxurious bathroom renos I see aren’t a huge help. Thanks for sharing!


I had the same thoughts about the squareness of the toilet! Ya learn something new every day don’t ya? :)


Hello Dana, I am a long time reader and adore your blog! I wanted to mention something about The Honest Company. Please research their ingredients thoroughly. They are not, unfortunately, the most “honest” company out there when it comes to ingredients. As a good comparison, take a look at the Ava Anderson Non Toxic products and web site. The non toxic topic takes a bit of research to totally understand. Also look at The Honest Company Sunscreen reviews on Amazon.com. Accross the board, if you are to look at all of the products they offer, the ingredients they use, and where they are all made (some made in China), you will see they are not being completely consistent or true to their “Honest” claim. I just thought you would want to be aware of this. Education is a powerful thing. (Kris Carr is also an excellent unbiased resource. You can find her on Facebook and she also has a great web site.)


I’ve been using Honest products ever since baby #2 came along and I love them! I actually had no idea about the no-soap pink scum thing so it’s been boggling my mind for a long time; why we get pink scum in our shower and the girls bathroom doesn’t (which also has subway tile like this one). Also we’re just about to renovate our bathroom and I totally bought the IKEA cabinet based on your master bath. I had half a mind to tweak it by adding real wood to the fronts instead of the gray panels it comes with but we just decided to move after finishing this house so it’ll have to wait. We have the hemnes in the girls and I love that extra TP is a reach away tucked nicely into a drawer. Plus my makeup will be so happy organized where kids can’t pull it off the counter.


But on another note, are you still loving those towels? We just made the switch and I’m not loving the feeling of not being dry all the way… Is that something you get used to?


I have a question about the clawfoot/freestanding tub. We are considering putting one in when we renovate our hall bath (exactly the same layout at yours!), but I am worried about cleaning the floor under/around it, especially on the wall under the window. Does it get icky back there? Does your tub sit right agains the tile or is there enough room between the edge of the tub and the wall to get a mop and/or vacuum attachment? I LOVE the look of a claw foot tub, but I want it to be completely practical too.

Also, with adding wall niches, where exactly would you put them? (On the shower head side or the back end?) I am wondering which side gets less wet during showers so that the curtain could be “open” there and not make a big puddle on the floor/under the tub…?

Would love your thoughts–thanks so much!


Thanks for sharing an update – I cannot get enough of that bathroom! I also would love to hear more about how you’re liking those towels. I always love the look of them but we are spoiled with plushy towels right now and I worry we wouldn’t love them. Also, never would have thought of that problem with a square toilet!


And what about the Restoration Hardware shower curtain?? Do you sitll love it?


I want to know too! Also, what color did you pick?


I don’t mind a sponsored post when you can say you were already a fan of the products. I have favorites, too – we all do. :) I’ll have to check out Honest.

Your bathroom looks awesome!!!


Yes – how are the Turkish towels?!? I love the look but haven’t tried them yet.


I am glad the curtains are working for you for your old fashioned tub/shower. I still can’t get over the square toilet! Never have seen one in the stores around here. It could be difficult cleaning the corners so glad your product works well.


To accommodate more storage in the shower would you be able to add a second shelf?

Was also wondering about the towels, I remember you posting about them and would love an update!


A huge thank-you for the big discount at the Honest Co! I love Jessica Alba and I am so thankful for the pro-planet earth products she makes. I always put together s large array of new baby products for the infants born into our family with Honest Co products. Moms are so grateful for the friendly, “honest” products I send. I am going to use the promo code and start deliveries! Thanks for letting us know your true opinion of the cleaners and shampoo. I can’t wait to eliminate the chemicals from my current pantry. Love ya girl!!


Thanks for your insight, Amy. I haven’t used Honest’s sunscreen so I can’t vouch for it.


Just the top of the bowl (near the seat) is square and that’s where I have the most issues with keeping it clean. (There are actual corners at the top. grrrr.) The rest of the bowl is comparable to a standard round bowl.


I love Honest! I actually just canceled my diaper/wipes bundle with them. We used them for travel since we do cloth at home, but my daughter just potty trained (!). But we use the detangler spray EVERY DAY on my daughter’s curly hair, the healing balm on her butt, the laundry spray, the conditioner, and the soothing bottom wash. I’ll have to check out the breathe easy rub.


A counterpoint on Kris Carr: a bunch of people recommended her book to me when I was diagnosed with cancer, and it was just awful. I don’t want to go on a tangential rant here, but there’s a review I wrote here if you want to read it: https://www.amazon.com/review/R3NIZ9IU9KWY2Q/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Basically to get to the point, I would not recommend her in the arena of anything actually scientific.


Hey Dana, thanks for the recommendation and discount. I’m excited to check out their products.
Quick quesiton though: Do you also use the shampoo and body wash combo? I always fear the double duty shampoos cause I never feel like my hair is well enough cleaned and conditioned afterwards. Thanks!


I have the same shower! I found this shelf in chrome/nickel color at Target:

I turned it around so the ‘split’ parts at the front were against the upright pipe and attached each with a small hose clamp. It is very solid and holds a lot! Just thought I’d mention in case it is a helpful idea for you.


My point is really that the Honest company is using untested/harmful synthetic chemicals in some of their products. I would not consider that in line with their “Honest” mission. The reason they can do this is because most consumers don’t analyze the product labels and don’t know how to spot harmful chemicals (not being tested by the FDA). There is currently at least one law suit going on against The Honest Company due to inconsistencies with the effectiveness of their Sunscreen products (you will find information on this if you Google it). I really struggle when I see well intending bloggers endorse the Honest products because to me, mixing synthetic chemicals with natural ingredients and making some products in China (to save money) does not seem very Honest. In sharp contrast, Ava Anderson Non Toxic provides a detailed list of chemicals to avoid on their web site if you are interested in learning more about safe/organic products and more importantly how to evaluate a product based on ingredients and not flimsy marketing claims. I Love your blog Dana! I think the Honest company started out with good intentions, but if they are going to use synthetic chemicals in some of their products, I think they should have chosen a different name for their product. (Some synthetic chemicals are not entirely safe to use, especially on babies and children.)


I remember feeling the same way when we first got them. It was a bit like drying off with a bed sheet. But they get better with age. The more they’re laundered the more absorbent they become. So stick it out a bit longer and things should improve!


I’m already a bundler. I get a bubble bath and shampoo + body wash monthly. I would love to say I buy the stuff to save the planet but, honestly, it’s about the smell. Love it. I’m also switching out all of my dish towels to Honest brand because they’re amazing. Very absorbent and a good size. Then I usually thrown in a diaper rash ointment or healing balm depending on my/my baby’s needs. Not a bad deal for $7 per item. I spend twice that for lotion from Tubby Todd.

Oh, and you have a beautiful bathroom. I envy all that tile.


Oh, I love that lil’ bathroom shelf! What a great idea. Thanks for mentioning it. Hmmmm…


I use the shampoo + body wash combo as a body wash 100% of the time and as a shampoo maybe 30% of the time. I have “high maintenance” hair (tends to be frizzy + dry scalp) and I get the best results when I rotate Honest + Wella + Head & Shoulders. It’s not the most natural or exciting lineup but it really works for me and it’s an area in my life where I’m willing to use products mainly for their results. I love the Honest shampoo + body wash for trips (whether short ones to the tennis club or on longer vacations) because it packs so easily, is multipurpose and everyone in the family can use it. Makes packing toiletries so much easier!


Thank you for linking to your review. If I could give you a hug right now, I would. I don’t think any one person or company has all the answers. I hope you’re feeling well, friend.


I don’t know about the second shelf. It might be worth looking into when the kids are older and have more toiletry needs. For now, the one shelf is fine but when shaving hits (I don’t even want to think about that!) the added storage would be useful.

Still loving the peshtemals / Turkish towels! They do take several washes to soften up and become really absorbent. Don’t use fabric softener!! It takes a while to get used to the thinner fabric, too. That being said, I replaced our old beach towels with peshtemals this past summer. They’re awesome. They dry super quickly, don’t hold sand and the pool bag is so much lighter.


Still loving the towels! As long as you don’t use fabric softener, they only get softer and more absorbent over time. Since we use towel hooks vs. rods in our bathrooms due to limited wall space, the quick drying time is a HUGE plus.


The linen shower curtain is purely for looks. (It hides the basic liners.) I LOVE IT! The natural texture and drape is dreamy.


Still love the towels! They do take several washes to soften up and become really absorbent. Don’t use fabric softener! It took us a few months to get used to the thinner fabric but now we LOVE them. Since we don’t have the wall space for a bunch of towel rods, we use hooks and the quick-drying time of these towels is a HUGE plus for us. I love them so much that I replaced our old beach towels with Turkish towels over the summer. The pool bag is so much lighter and the towels don’t hold sand.


I honestly love their bubble bath!!!


There is not enough room to squeeze a mop head or rag between the tub and window wall. I access it with a vacuum attachment or extended duster from underneath the tub. It’s not the most appealing task but it works. Surprisingly, it stays pretty clean…probably because the room consists mostly of hard surfaces. (I find that the rooms in our home with the most soft goods – rugs, pillows, blankets, curtains – get the dirtiest.)

I don’t even know if niches would have been possible. I’d have to go back and look at pictures of the walls opened up. I don’t think we could have placed them on the window wall. It’s an exterior cinder block wall with only a small gap between the cement board for thin furring strips and foam insulation. Otherwise, we would have had to build out the wall and lose precious floor space. If it would have worked, adding the niches to the wall to the right of the tub (back of shower when showering) probably would make the most sense. You wouldn’t see them all the time but they could be easily accessed where the two liners meet. The setup we have now works fine and we’ll be okay using it as is but the niches would have offered more open storage for toiletries.


It does take several washes for them to soften up and become really absorbent. Just don’t use fabric softener!! For the first two months, my husband joked that he felt like he was drying off with a bed sheet. But now we LOVE them! They only get better with time. We love them so much, I recently switched out our old beach towels with Turkish towels.


Think of this as you do food. When people eat “clean”, they are focusing on whole foods with zero additives (ie. many people know it’s better to eat an organic apple vs. a bag of Sun Chips as a snack). It’s the same thing with skin care and home care products. The products that are “clean” are the ones without ANY untested synthetic chemicals. (What you put on your skin goes into your blood stream in 26 seconds. Europe bans close to 1,400 chemicals, the US bans just 11.). There are U.S. companies out there making “clean” products with ONLY plant and mineral based ingredients. Those products are better for you and your family in the long run. You just have to read the ingredient labels closely.


@Amy, I don’t think anyone doubts that fewer additives and chemicals are better for us, but my beef is with Carr’s claims that cross into the realm of pseudoscience for people who need chemo, not juice. She begins to take rational ideas into a place where I think serious harm can be done to people who are looking for hope and answers in the wrong places. Again, I’m not looking to go on a tangential rant here, but you can check out the review I linked above for some more details about why I wouldn’t recommend her as a good resource.


Amanda, I completely understand what you are saying about Kris Carr. I only mentioned her because she has made a lot of effort to educate consumers when it comes to staying away from harmful, untested, synthetic chemicals (that are linked to causing endocrine disruption and cancer, among other things.) I have not read everything Kris Carr has written. I follow her and was most recently impressed with an interview (video) she did with The Environmental Working Group about why it’s important to stay away from synthetic chemicals in general. I do appreciate you pointing out the link you did and I can understand where you’re coming from.


Thanks for the code! I’ve always been curious, but have never taken the plunge. I just bundled some baby formula and essentials. Looking forward to receiving them!


I love honest company cleaning products and have been using them for years now. However, for any new mamas like me who read your blog, the healing balm is the best diaper cream ever! Healed my little ones bottom amazingly after he came home from daycare after a day of diaharea. Even the ladies at daycare mentioned that his bottom had healed the fastest of all the affected kids in the class.


I love using Honest cleaning products too – smell is divine. I also take the Omega 3’s and the Immunity Booster pills. I’m a Kindergarten teacher and for the past 13 years of my career, I would get sick every November. In year 13, after having to miss two weeks of school due to bronchitis, and then another week in January due to a subsequent sinus infection, I was curious to try the Immunity Boosters. It may be a placebo, but I don’t really care since the past two Novembers I have not gotten sick. (Yes, I realize this could be due to many factors). If only I could convince my employer to pay for them:).


Hi! Would love to know where your bath hardware is from…. specifically those bath hooks! Thanks!


You can find a complete source list for the bathroom here…


The hooks are from Amazon!