Category Archives: Bathrooms

Bathroom Countertop Updates

Eventually, we would like to do full updates to our home’s full bathrooms, but in the meantime, we decided to replace the countertops in our main-floor bathroom and our master bathroom. I was forever frustrated with the original countertops – textured laminate!

BEFORE: textured laminate

I knew I wanted a marble or quartz, because I don’t care for granite. I also knew I wanted a light color for the bathrooms. We looked at a lot of slabs before deciding on Stephanie Carrera quartz. I thought it was a pretty good marble-look-alike, but with the low maintenance of quartz. Other than the stone choice I didn’t have strong opinions, so I let Bradley choose the finish, edge and sink shape. He chose a honed finish with 1/8 round edges and rectangular under-mount sinks. I am very pleased with how they turned out.

Master Bathroom Vanity

I had purchased faucets not long after we moved in anticipating changing them out some day. These polished nickel 8″ widespread faucets are from Martha Stewart’s Seal Harbor collection. I thought the widespread would allow for easier cleaning and the tall gooseneck would leave plenty of room in the sink basin. I’m very happy with how they look.

Main Floor Bathroom Vanity

Eventually, I would like to replace all of our vanities with slightly taller ones that have more of a furniture feel. In our two guest bathrooms this will necessitate replacing the floor tiles, and it would make sense to redo the shower wall tile at the same time. At that point we would also replace the original toilets. In the main floor bathroom, I would also like to eventually replace the drywall to get rid of the texture on the walls. It is a rabbit hole I was not prepared to tackle at this point, so for now – countertops it is!

A last minute add-on I made was encasing the foot prop in our shower. We remodeled and expanded our master shower a few years ago, and I’ve always hated how the tile had to be laid to give the corner “bench” a finished edge, so I had them completely cover it with the same quartz.

Guest Area Updates

I’ve made a few changes since my last posts about our guest bedroom and spare bedroom. I finally made some quick new shots of the rooms this weekend.

Guest Bedroom

I moved the crystal lamps from the den to the guest bedroom when we rearranged the den several years ago. I also replaced the undersized lamp shades with new white cotton ones from Pier 1.

Spare Bedroom

In the spare bedroom, I replaced the cheap square side table with nesting tables that no longer worked in the living room. Unpictured – we also moved the Oxford bookcase with glass doors into this room. It holds overflow books and toys for our friends’ kids that visit. Bradley’s grandfather also gave us an antique rocking chair that sits in the corner.

Guest Bathroom

I lightened up the guest bathroom with new paint (Requisite Grey by Sherwin Williams mixed at 50%) and a white shower curtain. For a little color, I painted the vanity Anchors Aweigh by Sherwin Williams mixed at 150%.

Guest Bathroom Update

Guest Bath 03.20

Surprisingly, two years into living here, this is my first post about our guest bathroom.  It is the exact same layout as the main floor bathroom – it is even aligned exactly above the other bathroom in the floorplan.  Soon after we moved in, we discovered that the drain in the tub leaked, so initially, I painted the walls and left everything else alone until we could have a plumber fix the drain.  We finally got around to that back in October, and since then, I have worked on pulling the room together.

I prefer not having a separate shower curtain and liner, but the choices were slim for an extra long fabric liner, so I went with this navy striped curtain to play off the spare bedroom colors.  The wall color is the same as a lot of the rest of the house – Gobi Desert by Behr color-matched at Sherwin Williams.  The print hanging above the commode was a Groopdealz by Project Type.  As in the master bathroom, I also used Dover White by Sherwin Williams on the vanity and added Martha Stewart finial pulls to the cabinet doors.

Guest Bath 03.20b

Renovating this bathroom is not a priority, so minor changes I would like to make in here include framing the existing mirror with moulding, adding a timer to the exhaust fan switch, and trying out a gray colored grout-shield on the large white hexagon floor tile.

Bathroom Remodel

DSC02656At the end of October, we noticed a  water spot on the kitchen ceiling.  I knew it was right under our master bathroom shower.  Bradley cut some of the drywall out and we could see the drain from the shower, covered in white residue with a single drip of water every so often.  We had a contractor in our neighborhood look at it for us, and not surprisingly, in our 40-year-old home, we had a leaky shower pan.

Bradley had four contractors look at the bathroom, but only two ever came back with an estimate.  I had always wanted to expand the shower into the dead space between the shower and the linen closet because it was so small you had only enough room to turn around inside.  So we had the contractors let us know what that would cost and what it would cost to also move the toilet and vanity around to make better use of the space.

Because the renovation was due to a leak, and not a result of saving for it, we decided just to expand the shower.  That option did include replacing the floor tile and the toilet, but no plumbing was moved.

Here was the bathroom when we toured the home two years ago:

P09 P10 P11

After we moved in, I did a few minor DIY projects – painting the vanity and the walls, adding new hardware, and a towel ring.  Here is the bathroom before renovation began:

DSC02600The room had white hexagon tile on the floor and white square tile in the shower.  Not bad, but had to go.

DSC02601DSC026042016-02-09 15.54.37-2

The entire renovation took three weeks.  The only problem they uncovered was some rotten subfloor evidently due to an old toilet leak.2016-02-09 15.55.24-2

The door to the linen closet was closed up, and an angled wall was put up to expand the shower size.  I had them make an arched opening for the shower.  A smaller opening was made for the linen closet on the wall behind the bathroom door.  The closet remained the same size but is now deeper and less wide with the opening moved.2016-02-09 15.55.52 2016-02-09 16.10.59-2I chose white octagon and dot tile for the floors and standard subway tile for the shower walls.  The grout is a warm grey.  I had them take the tile to the ceiling – I never understand stopping the tile a foot or two from the ceiling.  They also installed two niches for us – one 12×12 and one 6×12.  A small foot prop went in under the window for shaving my legs.DSC02621It turned out that we were able to keep our original window because it is not near the water from the shower.  Also, it is high enough that we didn’t even have to replace the glass with tempered.  The contractor used an oil-based enamel-like paint to protect the wood from any moisture.  The tiler did a great job around the window, and also lining up the rest of the tiles considering all of the funky angles and niches.
DSC02626The only area I wasn’t happy with was the threshold of the shower opening.  The tiles didn’t line up with the sides of the arch.  I understood why, but still didn’t like the way it looked.  Turns out the tiler probably thought we would be installing a glass door that would hide the tile in the center of the threshold.  I opted not to have a door on the shower.  I hate trying to keep glass in a shower clean.  The fix we decided on was a piece of marble with a slight overhang on the threshold.  DSC02628I decided to change the paint color from the same as our bedroom to Sherwin Williams Rainwashed.  Depending on the light in the room, it can appear more blue, green, or grey.  The vanity and trim are painted Sherwin Williams Dover White.DSC02633DSC02636 There was already a light in the shower, but we had them change it out to a light/exhaust fan combo.  They were able to put a timer on the fan for us and split the line to have the light on it’s own switch.

DSC02648DSC02654DSC02640DSC02643In the linen closet, they installed new shelves to my specs.  We added roll-out wood baskets on the shelves to make it easier to reach items in the back of the closet.


We plan to save up and have custom cabinetry doors added to the linen closet.  For now, I had them leave it as a simple drywall opening.  We will also change out the vanity in a couple of years.  I ordered extra floor and baseboard tile so that we can continue it under the vanity when the time comes.  If I can find a mirror I like that isn’t too expensive, I would also like to change that out.  We are on the lookout for a piece of art to go on the wall with the commode as well.


Master Bathroom DSC02658

The electrician added an outlet to the funky angled wall in the corner of the bathroom so that we could set up our towel warmer inside the bathroom.  It had previously been outside the door in the sitting area of our bedroom.

Finding a toilet was a little difficult because I prefer a standard height versus the popular ‘chair height’ or ‘comfort height.’  Also, I was set against having a button on top of the tank for flushing.  The plumber switched out the contemporary handle that came with the toilet for a polished nickel one from the same line as my towel ring – Moen’s Waterhill collection.

The drawer pulls are from the Martha Stewart collection at Home Depot.DSC02668We changed out the vanity light ourselves.  The original one had an antiqued brass finish, so I ordered this one from Feiss on Amazon.  I think it picks up on the details of the drawer pulls nicely.

DSC02646DSC026492016-03-06 10.23.28 (1)

Bathroom Remodel

Vanity Light: Feiss Concord Three Light Bath Vanity in Polished Nickel
Vanity Pulls: Martha Stewart Living 3 in. Polished Nickel Finial Pull
Vanity Paint Color: Dover White by Sherwin Williams
Floor Tile: Daltile Octagon & Dot Mosaic Tile
Shower Wall Tile: TBA
Grout: TBA
Shower Trim: Delta Cassidy Thermostatic Shower Trim Package
Toilet: American Standard
Toilet Handle: Moen Waterhill Tank Lever in Polished Nickel
Towel Ring: Moen Waterhill Towel Ring in Polished Nickel
Linen Closet Pull-out shelves: Style Selections from Lowe’s
Wall Color: Rainwashed by Sherwin Williams

Progress Report: Year 2 in Review

We started out year two in what we call our forever home by having four large pine trees and four large Sweet Gum trees cut down.  The pine trees were buckling the driveway and the sweet gum trees, in addition to their annoying gumballs all over the yard, were in decline and needed to go.  That project took two days and the cost came in at $2300.

Sweet Gum Trees

Pine Trees (1)

We also checked off a couple of boxes from our home inspection.  There were two vent boots on the roof that were cracked, so we had those replaced at a cost of $200.  Also, our electrical panel was an electrical hazard, so we had a new one installed.  At the same time, they added an outlet to our foyer and were able to get the stairwell light to work using the switch at the top of the stairs.  The electrical work came in at $1848.

Cracked Vent Boots(Cracked Vent Boots – No after pictures)

Electrical Panel

As our anniversary gift, we had sun tunnels installed in the den to allow more natural light into the room.  That upgrade came in at $1470.

Sun Tunnels

We had a few minor plumbing and HVAC repairs that came up – the repair costs came in around $550.  This included repairing a leaky drain in the guest bathroom tub, replacing a leaky faucet in the main floor bathroom, and replacing the contactor in the upstairs HVAC.


Smaller projects around the house included adding curtains to the master bedroom and Bradley’s office.  I added chairs and tables to our front porch to make it feel more inviting.  Bradley changed out the fluorescent light in the kitchen for a new polished nickel track light.

Master Bedroom2

Office 0715b

Porch Chairs1

Kitchen Light1

We also moved the full-size bed into the spare front bedroom and put a queen-size bed in the guest bedroom.

Third BR 0715a

Guest BR 0715a

We continue to make progress pulling out unwanted overgrowth in the yard.  I was able to add more Daphnes behind the Drift Roses to the right side of the front porch shrubbery bed.  In front of the garage, I added two Miss Scarlett Illiciums on either side of the Gardenias.  My mom planted daffodil and tulip bulbs along the driveway as well.  Before we know it, we will have flowers popping up throughout the year.


Looking forward into 2016, our big to-do list item is a master bathroom remodel.  We discovered a leak coming through the kitchen ceiling back in October.  It turned out to be our master shower pan leaking.  We have had several contractors out to get quotes on a small remodel, and we will begin moving forward shortly.  That renovation will probably exclude any other major projects around the house this year, barring any unexpected repairs.

I hope to finish pulling out the azaleas that are floating in the middle of the front yard without anything to anchor them.  And since I didn’t get to it last year, I hope to paint the shutters navy – December’s Eve by Sherwin Williams to be exact.