After, Bathrooms, Before

Upstairs part 3 – Master Suite

It has been several weeks since I posted.  I have had several house guests throughout September and October, and haven’t spent much time here on the blog.   So, as a refresher, here are photos of the weird bathroom remodel that was in our house when we bought it.

sink  showerbathroomconnector

Ever since my kids were little, I dreamed of a laundry room on the bedroom level.  That is where ninety-five percent of the dirty laundry is generated.  With a laundry room on the bedroom level, traipsing up and down two flights of stairs with baskets of laundry is a thing of the past.  So our first design for the Master Suite included a walk-in closet, and a laundry room, built over the existing laundry room, which is adjacent to he kitchen.   I really liked this design, but the more I thought about it,  I decided that the sound of the washer and dryer while trying to sleep, isn’t super appealing (especially the spin cycle!).  Also, house guests would have to schlep their laundry through our bedroom, not good.   And, it would cost a lot more to build out over the balcony, including walls insulation, and roof, plumbing, electric, etc.  So we went with plan B, and decided to keep the laundry room where it is, on the main floor, next to the kitchen.

Plan B looks like this.  It also includes, not shown, putting a new roof on, and adding deck flooring and railing over the old, slanting roof , that was pretending to be a balcony.  Thus making it a usable balcony, accessible through the existing door.

upstairsbath    revised floor plan

This plan takes a minimally usable extension to the main bath, and makes a very nice master bath, with two sinks, a toilet, a tub and a shower.  A complete separate room from the hall bath.

The existing shower and sink (the only fixtures that were in this room) were removed, and the closet (the original one from when the room was a bedroom) was cut down to half its  size.   In moving the shower to the opposite corner of the room, we uncovered a window, which we replaced with glass block.  This allows light to come into the bathroom, but the bathtub next to the window has privacy.

The tub is a Kohler bubble tub, not a whirlpool.  There are tiny holes in the sides, near the bottom, where warm air is shot into the water, creating the massage effect.   There are no jets to clean, no worries about mildew or sediment build up.   It also has chromatherapy,  led lights that change color.  It is a lovely wide rectangle, very modern looking. The space available was wide but not long, but the tub is very spacious, and I use it almost every day.

This vanity light bar unfortunately doesn’t photograph well when lit.  Maybe I’ll try to photograph it in the daytime with the door open to allow outside light inside.

This room allowed me to put to use all of the design ideas and wishes I have had for the past 20 years or so, but haven’t had the funds to realize until now.  I wanted cork flooring, and so we have that.  I love glass block, and we not only put it in the existing window opening, but also put the little partition wall between the toilet and vanity cabinet.  The cabinet, by the way, is not from Ikea, because they didn’t have a size that would work in this space.  We had this custom-made, and I absolutely love it.   I wanted this bathroom to be a very quiet restful room.  The cork flooring is amazing.  It is quiet, and warm, the polar opposite of a ceramic tile floor.   Simplicity and clean lines are the main design features.  And since this room is accessable only through the master bedroom (via pocket door) it doesn’t need to look historically accurate.   That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.  Living in a historic home should not be museum like, it should be usable for the 21st century, and pay respect to the original build.  Plus I have my historical bathroom in the hall bath.

We found some nice porcelain ceramic tiles in neutral greys with black and white.  Dennis from Culligan Construction in Arvada, Colorado helped me with the design surrounding the bathtub, shower and vanity backsplash.  The large tiles are 12×12 inch, mostly white.  The tiles in the shower and surrounding the tub are the same color, but appear different in the photos because of the lighting.  If I were a better photographer, I would know how to and have more motivation to fix this, but . . .   Another interesting tidbit about this bathroom that I finished 10 months ago —  Last weekend I went to an open house with Roxanne.  This was a very modern new house built on a city lot in an older neighborhood.   The very modern, brand new house had the exact same tiles in the bathroom.  Different configurations, but the same product, nonetheless.  And my vanity light was also in the powder room in that house.   This just proves how cool I really am.

tub .shower mastersinks  IMG_3046 IMG_3047  IMG_3043  IMG_2280 IMG_2287


Upstairs – Part 1

I decided that this project deserves more than one post, because there were so many things wrong that needed fixing.

Here is my free hand, not really to scale, drawing of the upstairs when we bought the house.  I’m including this drawing, because we made changes in every room except bedroom #3 in the front of the house.


And here is a detail of the bathroom, which was really more like two partial bathrooms.  One room had a tub and a toilet.  The other had a shower and a single sink.  The sink and shower room had been a fourth bedroom and the original closet was left untouched.


There was a doorway sized opening between the two areas.  Which I suppose was an attempt to make it look like one large bathroom, which it didn’t.  There were far too many doorways breaking up the space, and lots of wasted space.   Both rooms, we discovered after moving in, had windows, which had been walled over.  The tub & toilet room had a, dim, flicker-y flourescent light.  There was some natural light from the door that goes out to the balcony from the sink & shower room.

 Here is the toilet & tub half of the bathroom, as we found it.

Tub       toilet

And here is the sink & shower half of the room.

door&trim        shower

sink       bathroomconnector

With such minimal fixtures, it is amazing how many things are wrong with this. We decided that the previous remodeler, didn’t know how to mitre a corner.  As illustrated by the corner plinths on the crown, and wainscot, the medallions in the corners of the door trim (and in the middle, just for good measure!)    No attempt was made to match the trim to the existing trim around the door to the outside, or around the door to the hall.   The bead board panelling goes up to the ceiling in places, but there is still a chair rail hight wood trim attached to it.  WTH???  Two little glass shelves were glued to the mirror, above the lone sink, and after a couple of months of using them, they came unglued.  The lights in the sink & shower area were bright, glaring CFLs, impossible for makeup application.  The bathtub was shallow and had been painted white, which I didn’t realize, untill I tried to use it.  The arched ceiling above the tub was a usless waste of a beautiful high ceiling.  There was a 15 inch wide wall added to fill in the space between the end of the crappy, cramped, painted tub and the wall.    The shower was huge, and very nice, but everything else was awful.  These rooms made me want to scream.

Because this depressing mess of a remodel felt like two separate rooms, we decided that we would create two separate and beautiful bathrooms.