As much as we loved the pukey peachy pink tub that came with the master bathroom, we decided to give it up in favor of a shower (and don't worry, there's still a tub in the bathroom just down the hall).
We tiled the shower walls with the same tile we used for the floor, and again decided on a diagonal set. You can see it here with the spaces we left for some accent tile.
We still need to tile the shelf:
Our original plan for the floor of the shower was to incorporate rocks that we had stolen from found on the beach where we were married. On our anniversary trip to Maine, we loaded up our carry-ons with enough of these to cover our 3'x4' shower floor (and no, airport security didn't seem to care).
Unfortunately, after trying them out a few different ways, we realized that the rocks were too thick and laying them was going to be too difficult for a couple of tiling beginners. We chose this river rock from Natural Stone Outlet instead, and have plans for our beach stone to go in our garden once the snow melts.
The river rock tile came on mesh sheets of 12"x12" and was really easy to install. But grouting the river rock tile was much trickier than grouting the larger floor tiles. At first we tried a grout bag:
But eventually we found it was faster to just smoosh it in the cracks with our fingers.
And once again I got the glamorous job of grout-wiping.
For the accent tile on the walls, we used the same river rock, only we cut it out from its mesh sheets.
We placed these on the wall a few at a time.
Man, I am looking good here. Ten points to anyone who recognizes this sorority t-shirt: circa 2001? After grouting and adding trim, it looked like this:
2. The annual Valentine's Day Mix Tape CD is finished!
3. My CD burner and I got into a little disagreement this week. I wanted it to work and it wanted to not recognize any CD placed in its disk drive. I have almost thrown it out the window into a snowbank multiple times.
4. If you're willing to celebrate a week late (or as soon as my new burner arrives), I'll be sending out the extra Valentine CDs to anyone who wants one! Just like last year, leave your email address in the comments and I'll contact you for your address.
5. Hubs and I realized yesterday that this is our TENTH Valentine's Day together. Time flies.
Celebrating heart day fraternity style.
I hope you have a fabulous day filled with L-O-V-E!
Sorry. Sorry about that title. The only reason I'm getting this post written is because I'm stuck in my house due to the 100 feet of snow outside. Being housebound can really get to you. If you can get past my terrible title, I'd like to tell you the story of the vanity.
The vanity that almost kept us from getting a mortgage, because it pushed the condition of our house over from the pretty awful category into the downright sad category.
Banks don't like downright sad houses.
We thought it was kind of ridiculous that a falling-off-the-wall sink was such a big deal. Maybe the bank knew what was behind that sink though, which we soon found out was definitely a big deal:
It might be hard to tell from this picture, but what you see there is what we were faced with when we took the mirrored cabinet off of the wall. Those are cinderblocks, and in order to install the cabinet into the wall, someone decided to bust through the cinderblocks, leaving about two inches of cinderblock on the outer portion of the wall. Let me be more clear: THAT IS THE OUTSIDE WALL. Someone busted almost all the way through the OUTSIDE WALL of our house to put in their mirrored cabinet. Even I know that's not a good idea.
We were not impressed.
There was no way we wanted to attempt fixing this on our own, so we hired a mason experienced in historic repair to fix it for us.
Now that we were assured that no wall would be falling in on us as we admired our reflections (although that would be a fun twist on Narcissus, no?), we were on the hunt for a vanity to fit in that tiny corner.
Fast-forward through hours of searching for tiny vanities, corner vanities, ANY kind of vanity that would fit in this space and cost less than, oh, I don't know, ONE MILLION DOLLARS? It wasn't happening. So we did what any self-respecting DIY-home owner would do and built one ourselves.
Our cardboard mock-up left a little to be desired.
But it did the trick:
Sidenote: a huge thank you to my friend Becky for helping me pick that paint color there that I am absolutely obsessed with. I think we changed our minds 17 times, but it was worth it for this one. Dark color in small spaces? Do not be afraid! (Vermont Slate by Benjamin Moore if you're interested.)
We topped the vanity with a piece of the same soapstone we used in our kitchen, and finished it off with a clear glass vessel sink. I'm still searching for the perfect mirror.
I think a little side-by-side before and after action is in order here. (Click to enlarge.)
I can't believe that the last time I posted pictures of the master bathroom, it looked like this:
Unlike the kitchen (we had professionals do the framing and sheetrock), we did almost all of the master bathroom ourselves. One of the most daunting parts of it was learning how to tile. Tiling? It can't be that hard, right? We'll figure it out as we go, right? And that is how, in the weeks before Christmas, we spent almost every night after work in the space you see above, with the little bible guidebook you see below.
Of course we couldn't make things easy on ourselves, and so we chose fairly large tile for the floor (12"x12") and decided on a diagonal set in this teeny tiny room for our first tiling project.
Our first step was to lay out the floor. Now, I'm pretty sure that expert tilers skip this step and instead just cut tiles as they go, but there is no way that would have worked for us. We started this project on a Sunday, and figured that we could probably cut, lay, and set all of the tile in one day, leaving only the grouting for later. HA! It took us all of Sunday, and the next two evenings after work, to just cut and lay the tile. The reason for this is that a diagonal set in a tiny room means that you cut almost every single stinkin' tile. At final tally, we ended up laying only 16 full tiles, and cutting 33.
Our system worked something like this: I would measure and mark the tiles to be cut, and run them upstairs to the hubs and the wet saw. The only place we could find to use the wet saw, which turns out to be rather- uh, wet- was the roof.
Hubs had never used one of these before, but he quickly became a tile-cutting fool.
Then I would run them back downstairs and snap them perfectly into place. Either that or I would scream when they didn't fit and try to blame it on the cutting and not my fabulously accurate and straightforward measuring and marking skills:
Laying the tile around the doors (one to the closet and one to the master bedroom) required an extra pain-in-the-butt step of cutting the trim to allow for the extra thickness. I may or may not have thrown a tantrum during this process.
Once the tiles were all ready to be set, I created this precise and perfectly to-scale map of their locations, which I'm now considering framing and hanging on the bathroom wall.
Then I labeled the tiles and floor as I picked them all up.
Finally we were ready to start laying the tile!
This step was actually pretty straight forward after the crazy measuring and cutting process. We just followed the map.
I got in on the action too:
And soon we had a fully tiled bathroom floor!
The next day we used a little of this:
And did a little of this:
Hubs was the grout-layer, and I was the grout-wiper. Don't be distracted by that non-glamorous title- I had a very important job. (I also played the role of the videographer with the whiny voice.)
Yummy tile all ready for the warm floor switch to be turned on in time for Christmas :)
Have you ever attempted a project like this where you had NO idea what you were doing?