So yeah… I started thinking about our master bathroom design. It just happened organically. I was laying in bed one night, not able to fall asleep, and started looking through my Pinterest board of bathroom inspiration images. That spun into me looking up vanities. As I was hunting around I discovered that the style of wood vanity I was originally thinking I wanted was either way too expensive for what we want to do (remember, we are probably already maxed out on ROI for this house), or the layout of the drawers and/or doors wasn’t to my liking.
That’s when I decided to switch to a gray vanity. They are much more plentiful! Not to mention, are easier to find on a lower price spectrum. I hit up Pinterest again for some new inspiration images and found this spectacular gem by Amber Interiors:
I mean…. hubba hubba!
Before I go into more of why this spoke to me, I should probably give you a refresher on what our bathroom currently looks like. It doesn’t show it’s face around here very often. It’s shy…
There you have it! I know it’s a whole lotta brown… even the ceiling is brown. It’s a master bathroom that most people would consider a “powder room” size with it’s modest 20.5 square feet of flooring. That shower curtain in the listing photos is actually hiding a glass shower door, which we love because it makes the space feel a bit larger. But it’s also hiding a mess of a slide in shower fitting that was sealed using the wrong kind of caulk that is now black. There are also eight total bars in this entire space between towel bars and safety handle bars for it’s previous elderly inhabitants… and almost every bar looks different. Some are shiny chrome with a square style, some are a round brushed nickel and much wider in diameter, while the handle bars are white and wide. It’s so obvious they were all added at different times since not a single one matches.
After almost two years in the house, I can still say the amount of space isn’t what I dislike about this bathroom. I can be satisfied with a lot less than most people I’ve found, and Jordan and I are never in a situation where we want to be in the bathroom at the same time. The placement of the items isn’t even that bad. It’s the lack of continuity, too many different visual textures happening, and lack of thoughtful storage… and lack of any outlet, that make this bathroom feel dated and frustrating.
I’ve had two years to really mull this over and think about what is needed and what would help in here. I’d like to keep things nice and bright so the light coming in from the one window can get bounced around and feel really airy. I’m also considering the fact this is right off our bedroom which is painted dark with lots of dark wood. I want these two rooms to play nice together, and not go from one dark room to another, or feel totally out of sync with each other.With the couple of criteria I knew I wanted, like a gray vanity and the light color palette, this inspo image really sparked the rest of the look. I love how Amber blended transitional, clean style with more traditional touches. Even though the white walls, white floor and light gray vanity are devoid of color and could seem cold on their own, she brought in touches of brass, subtle texture and traditional styling to warm things up. I guarantee you, if the faucets, hardware and floor didn’t have a vintage touch, this room would look like any other.
With all that in mind… here’s what I came up with that evening I couldn’t sleep! I guess it really is when we have our best ideas some times.
I first decided, unlike the inspo photo, I do not want brass fixtures. As beautiful as they are, I don’t feel they would be as good for resale in our neighborhood. Also, keeping with my inexpensive theme here, chrome fixtures tend to be more plentiful and cost effective. The other finish I chose is matte black for a little contrast with all the light colors. I’m sticking with only those two for this small space to give it some continuity it’s currently lacking. The rule I follow for mixing metals is to use each a few times in a room so it looks intentional. So all our fixtures will be chrome, while all the hardware will be black.
For the shower, I want to take the bright white, inexpensive subway tile all the way up to the ceiling to give the illusion of more height. For shower storage, we’ll add a nice big niche for all our shampoo and body wash bottles, and finish off the flooring with classic white penny tile. For a new glass shower door, I’m eyeing up something with small vertical handles instead of wide towel bars like the ones that go across our current doors. This will help cut down on visual breaks to the depth of the room making it feel a little bit bigger.
The vanity, was the hardest thing for me to nail down. I had this idea in my head of a two drawer vanity with a skinny open shelf on the bottom. Much like the inspiration photo. But with our bathroom, we are looking for a 24 inch vanity. All the vanities I found at that width with the set up I described, have a faux top drawer, and the bottom drawer is really just two skinny drawers flanking the plumbing, with a super tall open shelf on the bottom which seems like bad planning. I kept holding onto this dream for awhile, but once I finally gave up my open shelf and remembered what was more important – STORAGE – I was able to go to an old favorite and find exactly what I wanted: IKEA. Duh…
This IKEA vanity is the HEMNES cabinet with a SKOTTVIKEN sink. Not only does it come in at a nice price, but it has TWO FULL drawers with affordable organizers to fit right in, plus soft close drawers comes standard. All the things that make my heart flutter! I have a more modern, chrome faucet picked out to go with this whole ensemble to juxtapose the more traditional hardware I have chosen from Rejuvenation. This is where I go big. When I get a simple piece or something from IKEA that is mass produced, I like to dress it up with really nice hardware tricking everyone into thinking it’s more than it is. The cost of the hardware is much more than other hardware you could pick up at any general hardware store, but it’s a much smaller line item and only costs maybe $200 or so, which isn’t much in the grand scheme of things for this project. We did this same thing with the hardware in our kitchen, and everyone has commented “there’s no way this is IKEA!”
I’m going to round out the hardware with a few classic black hooks for towels. Two on the wall opposite the toilet for our bath towels, and one smaller one next to the vanity for a hand towel. Up the wall from the vanity, I’m going start to add warmth with a simple wood framed round mirror, and a traditional looking sconce above that from Schoolhouse Electric. I would have loved to have two lights flanking the mirror for better makeup application lighting, but there just isn’t enough wall space to either side. So that’s a place I had to make a concession…
For some additional storage, I’m thinking of adding some white floating shelves above the toilet like this. This will be a DIY project we can tackle, and I’ll paint them the same as the walls. I will bring in more natural elements with baskets and a little plant here or there probably just like this image, adding more warmth to the space.
Now… all of this seems pretty plain jane up to this point, and that’s why I’m gonna have some fun with a patterned tile floor! Since it’s such a small space, I gotta have fun somewhere. The pattern will have more visual weight and act as the foundation for the room. This tile also has a warmer tone to it, along with grays which will tie together the cool gray vanity and warmer natural elements I’ll have going on. See! Even with colors I’m going to have continuity. I fell in love HARD with terra cotta tiles because of the color bringing another level of warmth to the space. I love how the color peeks through the distressed looking paint on these tiles. They have an almost hand made quality to them which will also juxtapose the clean, manufactured IKEA vanity, sleek, modern fixtures and typical white subway tile shower.
I have even gone so far into this bathroom planning to think of adding a shut off valve under the sink, a recessed light/vent combo, a nicer soft close toilet seat and several other mundane things we certainly do not need to discuss right this moment. But I thought of them and have them budgeted into my estimate already. Yeah, you heard me! I even went ahead and made a full spreadsheet with every cost I can think of for this bathroom. When you got the mojo, you just keep crankin!
I list everything out along with the source, the link, any notes I need, my estimate and then our actual cost when we purchase it. I measured everything in the room for square footage and have each item planned for the actual size we will be getting. Hell, I put the link to the exact item we are going to get! But see, we still don’t plan on starting anything here until at least the fall… or maybe even winter. So why the hell do I go into this much detail and drive myself nuts this far in advance?
From this exercise, I know we are looking at spending….. drum roll please…….. around $3,000 give or take. That’s pretty damn good if I do say so myself 😀 Now we know what to budget for our overall finances. But the more fun reason – SALES! Now I go into sale hunting mode to get the best price possible for each item on my list. As you can see from my spreadsheet above, I actually already bought two items. The vanity hardware and toilet paper holder. Rejuvenation was having one of their “Premier Day” sales and the toilet paper holder was $23 off plus free shipping. The vanity hardware was not on sale, but since these two items are the same style I just got them together just in case something got discontinued. Now I’ll keep my eye on Rejuvenation to see if the hooks ever go on sale. If not, I’ll just wait for another free shipping deal.
For the faucets and other general stuff, I stalk a few places including Amazon. We purchased our kitchen faucet through Amazon and it saved us big time! I have the Honey app on my internet browser and can add items on Amazon to my “Drop List” to automatically notify me when the price goes down. It’s saved me a little bit of dough on things I didn’t need to buy right away.
Planning this far out definitely has it’s perks since you’re sure to hit some semi-annual sale before you start your project. By keeping your eyes peeled for sales, it naturally helps spread out the cost over time, giving you little renovation bites your wallet can handle. Best of all though, I also find planning far out keeps me honest. I don’t go spending a ton of money on things I don’t need because I already know what I want.
The one downfall to planning so far out: I just want to do it now and enjoy my new bathroom! But I need to exercise my patients and know that it will be well worth the wait. Now, if you’ll excuse me… I’m gonna go stalk a few websites to see if they are having sales on any of my stuff!
Last modified: May 22, 2018