Looks like I am moving forward with the half-bathroom remodel! I hit my savings goal thanks to our tax refund, annual bonus, and squirreling away of money. Now I get to dive into a capital project.
For reference, this is what our bathroom looks like currently:
It’s tucked under the stairs, in the center of our home’s first floor.
Virtually everything you see will be changed, so I have a lot of decisions to make. It’s equal parts fun and stressful. I’m nowhere near a congealed plan, but I wanted to round up the major choices. Many of you commented in my reader survey that you’d like to see more in-progress details, so here goes.
Floor Tile: Decided!
Marble tile doesn’t feel right to me for a bungalow bathroom, so I zeroed in quickly on porcelain mosaic tile. Here are a few options I considered:
Jarrod saw the penny tile and said “They don’t fit together!” and now I think he’s right: it’s weird each tile is an island in a sea of grout, instead of being more like a puzzle piece.
I was on the fence on basketweave vs. hexagonal until I stopped to appreciate the tile of the wine shop in the Merchandise Mart, where I work (the Merchandise Mart, that is; I don’t work in the wine shop. I would be terrible at that job, because I am an undiscriminating lush).
Simple matte white hex tile with black grout. Worn and imperfect, it still looked beautiful. And, this tile is very common in original bungalow floors. I’ll order it from Wayfair. Decided!
Wall Beadboard: Decided, ugh, Menards
Did you know Menards charges a 25% restocking fee for anything you order from their website? I’m not talking custom orders: just off-the-shelf online orders. I ordered something recently and was vexed – vexed! – to learn this. Don’t worry: I channeled my grandma, pushed back, and was issued a full refund.
Anyway, I want a v-groove beadboard with wide planks, because it looks more modern, and I want it a few inches taller than the standard 32”. The closest thing I could find to what I have in mind is at Menards, unless any of you lovely readers have a hot tip.
Faucet: Decided, with fingers crossed
I want a matte black fixture, which is a limited pool of options. I plan to reuse our existing sink (to save money and reduce waste, and because I like it), which requires a centerset three-hole faucet – further limiting my pool of options. This MOEN Kingsley Centerset 2-Handle Faucet is The One.
The cost was hard to swallow, but when it arrived it was clearly worth it. This thing is remarkably heavy. It’s beautiful. My only concern is that the arc of the faucet may make the water stream be too close to the front of our shallow sink. Fingers crossed.
Vanity: 78% chance of success
Our bathroom requires a very shallow sink and vanity. The 14″ x 24″ sink in there now is as big as the space can handle. Hours and hours of perusal of every online store plus lots of local shops did not turn up a wide variety of options.
I got quotes from a variety of places for a simple custom vanity, all of which came in around $1k (for the cabinet only – sink excluded). I am not opposed to spending that amount of money in general, but a tiny vanity isn’t really where I want to sink my budget.
Why not a pedestal sink? You see this sink from the side, which is the least attractive part of a pedestal sink due to the supply lines and wall drain (for example). I know there are some nice kits for exposed plumbing, but I’m just not feeling that look here. Also, a vanity is the only opportunity for storage in this bathroom.
So, I am going to use the $109 IKEA SILVERAN vanity as a starting point, and customize it with brass hardware, inky-black paint, and furniture legs.
I’ll buy the pine version because all of the parts are solid wood. The $89 white one is foil/plastic-coated particleboard, which feels and looks a lot cheaper.
Here are some inspiration photos for the general vibe I’ll be going for, though none of these are exactly the end goal:
Here’s the tricky party: I need to cut the vanity’s depth down to size to fit our 14″ sink. The 15″ SILVERAN is too deep, and the 9″ version is too shallow. So, that could end in total disaster. I’m willing to risk it, because I’m excited about this idea and I like the challenge.
Wall sconce: So many good options
Schoolhouse Electric – Davis Double Sconce ($199 fixture + $44/shade)
I would get the brass finish with the faceted shades.
Rejuvenation – Graydon Double Wall Sconce ($399)
Wade Logan – Rickford 2-Light Wall Sconce ($95); maybe too modern, but sharing because it’s such a good deal!
Rejuvenation – West Slope Sconce ($399)
This babe is my favorite by far, but I’m afraid the size options won’t work. 27″ is too wide, and 15″ seems too short.
But first, I have to choose wallpaper.
Wallpaper: All over the goddamn place!
Literally and figuratively all over the place. There are over a dozen wallpaper samples currently taped to our bathroom wall, in a wide range of styles. You know the Crazy Wall trope, where the detective’s obsession with the case is his downfall? That’s me in this bathroom.
If you’re also on the hunt for good wallpaper, the brands I’ve been looking at include:
- Hygge & West: beautiful paper and print quality
- Cole & Son: so, so gorgeous
- Milton & King: not impressed – the patterns are really pixelated
- Serena & Lilly: why are all of these brands Name & Name?!
- York: whew – thanks, York, for breaking the & trend
My Top 3 contenders are:
York – Stencil Overall (YC3414) (only $14/roll!)
The online photos are so flat and lifeless – ordering samples is necessary to see what they’re really like.
Don’t worry, that antique bird towel hook is definitely staying. (I used it in our last bathroom.)
York – Ashford House Flower Vine (AK7500) ($14/roll)
Speaking of channeling my grandma! In real life, it looks rich and hand-stenciled.
Cole & Son – Dialytra ($125/roll, unpasted, which will add a bit to the hanging cost)
Cole & Sons has the best product photos, which must be what $125 a roll gets you.
One point of consideration is that there are several awkward corners and angles in this room. A pattern with strict lines may make that more obvious. A botanical print would be more forgiving of the not-perfectly-square space, especially with the sloped wall (due to the overhead stairway).
Here’s a slap-dash, not-to-scale mock-up I put together back when I was thinking I’d do a white vanity, which – now that I’m looking at this – is maybe back on the table. Sigh.
I’m torn because I want something interesting, but it also needs to vibe with the rest of the first floor. You see it as soon as you come in the front door. I want the bathroom to be interesting when you’re in there, but I don’t want a bathroom to command your attention from our foyer (although I guess we could just keep the door partially shut).
Most importantly, I don’t want to go all wackadoodle just for the sake of punchy After photos.
What’s Left to Decide
Every time I feel like I’m close to having considered all of the decisions I need to make, I remember a ton of other things left to decide.
- Mirror: Preferably wood and antique, circular or with rounded corners
- Bathroom fan: I have not even looked at the options. Surely this is an easy one? I’ll just buy whatever is rated highest.
- Baseboard and trim
Okay, that’s all for now. I’ll do plenty of other posts detailing the exact budget, final design board, and contractor plans. If you feel strongly about any of these options, please weigh in with a comment!
Thanks so much for all of your feedback on the reader survey – I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your funny, thoughtful, and encouraging remarks. It’s made me really excited to keep on blogging, and it’s warmed my paint-it-black heart.
5 thoughts on “Bathroom Decision Making”
When my parents remodeled their craftsman bungalow in Seattle they put in the hexagon tiles in our 3/4 bath downstairs and it was BEAUTIFUL and so wonderful. Great choice!
I am kind of obsessed with that floral on the black background. I had hoped it was a contender! Also, I say stick with the black vanity!
LOVE everything, and that bird towel holder is adorable. I can’t wait to see this one through. It’s going to be beautiful.
Ditto what Stacy said.
But why replace the vanity? Could you add some bead board to the sides, make a box to cover the plumbing, and paint it? I’d opt for white paint so that the vanity/sink blends into the wall and lets the wallpaper stand out.
Man, that bird towel holder is awesome! I make jealous noises every time I see it.
love the textures and contrast in the items. Keep it up. inspired. Am a first time home owner