Five weeks seems to last forever and go by in a flash. Five weeks ago, this was our bathroom:
Every single thing came out.
The seedlings of the bathroom renovation took root pretty much immediately after finishing the kitchen. The kitchen was so clean, bright, and open, and I wanted the rest of the house to feel the same. We used a Pinterest board to collect ideas and refine what we wanted in the space. In the beginning, it was all soap stone sinks, but as time passed, I can see the evolution towards the elements that more readily fit our home and budget.
Overall, the bathroom was a much bigger undertaking than the kitchen. Since we went with IKEA cabinets for that project, we were able to use their 3D home planner tool to play with multiple configurations, generate a supply list and hand our contractor exact blueprints of the project and most of the finishing materials. The non-IKEA supplies — flooring, backsplash tile, light fixture — were much more limited. It took two weeks and three days, from demolition to completion.
In the bathroom, on the other hand, we designed and sourced every element from scratch, and it was much more work intensive, both to find the best option and convey that to the contractor. I learned a lot about the roles of the contractor and a designer in the process. There were a lot of meetings that took place in the hallway before my coffee even finished brewing (why are contractors all ready to start their day so damn early?). In the end, though, we got both exactly what we wanted and more than we had hoped for.
We didn’t avoid IKEA entirely. I really love our soft-close kitchen cabinets and the deep drawers. So we looked at the Godmorgon series early on, but none of the finishes were quite right. There was nothing well built or modern at the box stores, and we had such a frustrating experience at a local bathroom supply showroom when the salesman stopped speaking to us in mid-conversation about the price and availability of a vanlty we liked and turned his attention entirely to the (male) customer that had just walked in. After ten minutes, we walked out.
During one late night of research, I came across a company that was instantly the perfect solution. Semihandmade Doors makes just replacement doors for IKEA cabinets. We went with Flatsawn Teak Classic doors on the high-gloss white Godmorgon with Odensvik sink.
I love these hooks. We originally bought two to use as drawer pulls, but the contractors installed the white pulls that came with the vanity, and they’ve grown on me. These became hooks like they were intended to be, and the sleek lines make me so happy.
The only real change to the layout was that the water was rerouted to the other side of the shower and pushed back into the corner, which gained us about 8″ in either direction, allowing us to fully open the door and open up the toilet alcove.
This cramped space:
One of the most challenging and pleasing parts was matching the finishes of the fixtures. I mentioned in a past post the quest to find the perfect fixtures. I was dead set on using a brass tone, and Delta’s Trinsic line in champagne bronze was exactly the right line at the right price point. They had so many components available, so I was able to order the sink faucet, tub faucet, towel bar, toilet paper holder and even the flush handle in the same finish.
And the lights, these damn lights, match perfectly. For some reason, the lights were one of the most difficult things about this renovation. I placed the order weeks before the renovation, and in the last couple days, they still hadn’t arrived. I rush ordered these lights at the last minute, but when they arrived, their shades were all wrong, and the sockets were an ugly white, so they couldn’t be left bare as they were. I convinced the electricians to wire in new sockets, which were perfect, but on the first night post-renovation, I blew out once of the sconces while trying to adjust it. I want to tell this full story another day, but in short, I wound up rewiring one of the sconces myself, which was not a difficult as I thought it was going to be, and these lights, as difficult as they were, are one of my favorite parts of the whole bathroom.
Another beautiful match was the tub faucet and the tub drain. After reading a million descriptions and pros and cons of choosing different materials. I ordered this acrylic tub, sight unseen, from the internet. Weirdly, the tub came from Lowe’s, and is not available through Home Depot, but requires a special drain assembly, which is only available at Home Depot, not Lowe’s. I have no idea why it’s that difficult, but I’m glad that the internet gave me the information I needed to source everything and that Vibrant Brushed Bronze perfectly matches Champagne Bronze (who knew?).
I searched high and low for an L shaped shower curtain rod in black and have concluded that it does not exist. I got it in my head that nothing else would do, though, so I started researching what it would take to get a chrome bar powder coated. The quote I got seemed pretty reasonable (or maybe I was under the delusion of design myopia, it’s been known to happen), and I actually wound up having the bar shipped there and then directly to me, which was a lifesaver when the transmission of our car started to fail in the middle of the ordeal (non-stop fun!). I actually don’t think you would even have to be local if your item was fairly easily shippable. I worked with New Age Powder Coating, and they were so awesome. At the last second, I didn’t order black at all, but went with flat mint, which looks like more of a jade green to me. It’s gorgeous.
We had always planned to have a knee wall ledge, but the wrap-around ledge was necessitated by the plumbing, and the shower shelf was a design improvisation along the way. And now we have a shower plant! #showerplant
It feels like home.