#SabrinasBathroom Reno Diary: The Whats and Whys of My Design Plan
It feels like forever since I started planning my bathroom renovation (which I’ve coined #SabrinasBathroom).
I’ve consciously gotten better at it, but I’m still not the most decisive person in the world. However, if I’m being fully honest about why it’s taken so long to make the final call, it’s partly because I’m going to miss my current bathroom.
While the tub is shallow and uncomfortable, a handful of tiles are cracked where it counts (at the shower fixtures), there is virtually zero storage, paint is peeling on the walls and ceiling and mold adorns the window frame, it’s sad to gut something so cute and original. When Nicole Curtis—who would arguably keep it how it is—comes to mind, so does guilt. But doing (or not doing) something because of someone else and ignoring your needs when it comes to your own house is a sin in its own right—and mama needs some function.
The brass tax is this: When I’m not filming with HGTV, I’m home—writing, working, relaxing. And with just one other bathroom in the basement (which also needs a facelift, but that’s a whole other season’s project), this is it. The main bathroom. And I don’t know about you, but a cute pedestal sink and zero cabinets doesn’t cut it when access to your towels, TP and toiletries has you essentially walking into the living room/entryway. I have to use two hands to count how many times I’ve had to cross my fingers that no one’s walking by or someone isn’t on the couch as I sneak out to grab a towel. That’s two hands too many, IMO.
So after admitting to myself that this needed to happen, I began the process of dreaming up what my dream bathroom could look like. So began my Bathroom Board on Pinterest which looks a little something like this: whites, soft greys and light, blonde wood.
For anyone who follows me on Instagram and watched my stories a few weeks back, you know that I was struggling to make a tile choice. While all of my inspiration has the same flavor, the tile stories fall into a few categories: clean, modern slate or marble; retro-inspired hexagon or penny rounds; and cement encaustic. The good news is I’m working with the wonderful Enrique of Creekside Tile who’s supplying tiles for both my floors and walls, so I paid a visit to the showroom to narrow down my choices—only to leave with more choices!
I started off my journey with these porcelain rectangular slabs (that resembled poured concrete), paired with imperfect, hand-made subway tile or smaller marble sheet tiles (above). After falling for them all, I brought these and a bunch of similar tiles home for a more informed look. Turns out the slab (which was uniquely oversized at 18 x 36 as opposed to the typical 12 x 24) was too large for my small space. With that size tile, my bathroom entry would only be two tiles wide (meaning one grout line) which I thought would look weird. And while I loved the handmade subway tiles, in the space they looked a bit too wavy and distorted. So I was back to the drawing board—and back to Creekside. After browsing for an hour, I stumbled upon a section of clay tiles which I had assumed were intended for outdoor use only, but boy was I wrong!
Turns out, this series of Arto cement tiles—think California-cool patios that were typically terra cotta—are indoor-friendly and less cumbersome to install than encaustic cement tiles (still need sealing, but no soaking). I fell for their natural grey in the herringbone pattern and hexagon pattern. Once again, I brought everything home with me (thanks for bearing with me, Enrique) to have a look in the space. While I wanted to love the herringbone, it somehow looked out of place in my home and in the bathroom itself. I think it’d be better suited in an entryway, on a patio or even in a kitchen, so after much thought, the hexagons won!
With flooring nailed down, wall tile came easy. Which was initially a toss up between penny rounds or elongated subway tile turned into an easy call for the latter. While I adore penny rounds, they require more grout (which in a bathroom especially means more opportunity for long-term wear), plus something about an angular hexagon against a perfect circle didn’t feel right (although I plan to use them in my basement, if and when I tackled that bathroom).
So with tile shopping checked off the list, I still had to source my vanity, fixtures and decor. But thankfully, I had a clearer vision of what I wanted in those areas.
Delta was first to mind as far as faucets and shower fixtures were concerned. I was after a classic polished chrome look to contrast the matte floors and I wanted something modern and minimal. I had seen their Vero collection on Instagram a month or so earlier, so it was a match made in heaven. After years of two-levering it (one knob for hot, one for cold) I craved simplicity, so I opted for this single handle faucet. And with just one dinky $12 shower head before, I spoiled myself with their Vero shower kit with both a handheld and rainhead fixture. While I was at it, I decided to maintain consistency and get the matching towel bar, tissue holder, vanity tray and robe hook, all of which are sitting in their boxes anxiously awaiting install.
Furniture-wise, I’m after that light, blonde wood look. I also want minimal, clean lines. And with so many other luxe items, I want simplicity. So with IKEA’s bathroom event on, the GODMORGON vanity and matching cabinet was an easy decision. Just need to go pick them up!
With fixtures, furniture and tile down-pat, next on the docket were some easier choices (IMO): selecting the bathtub, toilet, door, light and accessories which meant some Sunday shopping at Lowe’s. My current tub has decorative scallops, is shallow and has no back support, so this clean-lined, simple white acrylic tub fit the bill. And toilet-wise, I wanted straight sides (with no grooves) for easy cleaning, so when I saw this America Standard beauty (which had amazing ratings), I said “yes!” Another bathroom sticking point has been our door which is hollow and doesn’t block any noise transfer whatsoever. So even though re-framing the door is a pain, it’s a pain that’s totally worth it. So usher in this shaker-style solid wood door and satin chrome lock.
Vanity lighting wise, I had a bit of a harder time making a final call. After considering this retro Kichler light, I pulled the trigger on this school-house inspired light which felt more timeless and which offered more wattage lightbulb-wise (meaning a brighter room). I also couldn’t help myself with browsing some accessories and when I found this beautiful, frameless leaning mirror (which I noticed matched the same shape as the light), I just had to have it along with this shower caddy.
So with all of my pieces selected, I’m anxious to demo this sucker! On the next installment of #SabrinasBathroom, I’m going to take your through the construction plan with plenty of whys, how-tos and, undoubtedly, hiccups.