The Nest: Master Bathroom

Welcome to The Nest. Here it is – the first of many posts about the new house. I have been carefully (and slowly) organizing posts of various rooms/spaces in “the nest”. This has been a fruitful exercise in documenting and remembering all of the changes and decisions that were made to get from the “before” to the “after”. (I never realized how many steps go into these transformations until you actually sit down and take count.) I wanted to start small so this room seemed like the best fit.

[Before] Master Bathroom

Ou est la salle de bain? There is a funny story about this master bathroom. We actually put in an offer on our house within 12 hours of seeing it but despite a master bathroom appearing on the listing, we couldn’t find it when we saw the house. The house itself was an embarrassment of riches. There were so many rooms and doors we lost track of the details. Plus with 2 other bathrooms who cared about the master? When I finally saw it, I was overwhelmed by the amount of work that would need to go into it in order to make it usable.

[before] Master Bathroom2

A blue carpeted floor, rusted sink, extremely inefficient toilet and shower designed to induce claustrophobia were all beyond my tolerance.  My solution: lock the door and use the main bathroom instead. Somehow my husband managed to convince me that undertaking a bathroom reno while the second floor was being overhauled would make the most sense. Although at the time I felt it was a really low priority, I now appreciate the convenience of having a functional bathroom in our room and one that we only have to share with each another and no one else.

[after] Master Bathroom4

The little bathroom that could. We started fresh with a blank canvas and brought this little bathroom into the 21st century. The shower walls were demolished, the plumbing was relocated to the back wall and electrical was moved to a safer spot. We expanded the shower footprint and opted for a frame-less glass surround to make the space feel larger and brighter. It was possible to do this by replacing the 1974 baby blue extra-wide tank and toilet with a modern dual-flush. (Apologies to our neighbours for having to bear the sight of that awful toilet as it sat on our front drive way – for weeks.)

[after] Master Bathroom3

Fashion passes, style remains (Coco Chanel). I find modern tile and pattern really intriguing but if there is anything my 1970s bathroom taught me, it is that trends fade quickly. We decided on marble (various sized tiles) because we felt it would be seamless, classic and stand the test of time. We mixed the tile with silver grey grout instead of white. (By the way, there is more to grout than what they sell at Home Depot.)  Because the tile is cool in colour, we installed a dark wood vanity and mirror to add warmth. We opted for a transitional sink top instead of the usual oval shape or uber-modern rectangular sinks. Finally, after an exhaustive search, we found the perfect shower system which included a ceiling-mounted rainfall shower head with the handheld and adjustable bar.

[after] Master Bathroom2

A low maintenance bathroom for a high maintenance gal. I have always been the one who cleans the bathroom. Even as a kid, that was my job (along with dusting all of the furniture). In recent years, I absolutely loathed the task. Dirty doesn’t even begin to describe what I was dealing with. The worst of it was cleaning the bathtub and keeping the grout around the tile surround mildew-free and white. But our new bathroom has no bathtub and best of all, no white grout!

I have never had such an easy time cleaning a bathroom. The one thing that requires a bit of effort and time is keeping the glass shower surround spotless. Once a week, I get out my Lainnir Shower Glass Cleaner, a damp sponge and a squeegee to clean both sides of the glass of water marks and soap scum. Every second day or so, I spritz a little Method Bathroom Cleaner on the actual shower tile/grout and done! And once a year, we will need to treat the marble tile to keep it sparkling.

[after] Master Bathroom5

A few final touches. With such a small space, I opted not to mess around with too much colour so we went white on the walls and then new baseboards (and vent covers) were added. I decided on a midnight blue for the linens and mat. (It seemed suitable for our lake district digs and even though it is blue again, we steered clear of that lovely powder blue from the 1970s.) The space above the towel rod is begging for a couple of floating shelves like these (sometime in the future) and the door trim needs another coat of white (to be done sooner than later). The bench was intended as an addition for the shower itself. And I did add a bit of personal artwork to the blank walls. (I will share that in another post!)

One room down. Only eleven more to go. 😉

Source List: allen + roth  palencia vanity with matching mirror from Lowes; luxo mabre vanity top from Rona; aquabrass shower system from Taps; hammam stripe hand towels and fez bath mat from West Elm; aspen toilet paper holder from Moen; tile and grout from Olympia Tile.

A note about The Nest: In August 2012, we bought a house….with lots of rooms and lots of potential. Read: fixer upper. The Nest is a series of posts detailing the “before” and “after” of our work as we transform this house into a home.


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