Home Reno- Part 1

I am cognizant of the fact that any “problems” in my home are very subjective, and first-world problems in the grande scheme of things. We have a roof over our heads, soft beds, a spacious refrigerator, plenty of closet space, and…drumroll…a walk-in pantry! Everyone knows that my favorite room of the house. I can buy food in bulk, less expensive, and store things semi-neatly. The big garbage can stays tucked away in there and we can stockpile waters and gatorades for sports seasons without taking up the entire kitchen.


Our recent foray into home improvement projects was brought about because I started to feel better. We have not been able to have overnight guests for a LONG time, for fun. I mean, my parents stayed, nannies, family members etc. have camped out and made do on a mattress in a room tucked away in the basement. I was ready to have a real guest room! Have you ever read or heard about that book, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie?” Well, my projects went a little something like that. If Amy tears up carpeting in here, she’s going to want to keep ripping it up in the next room. If Amy paints this trim, then she HAS to paint the wall next to it. You getting the picture?? It just spread, and spread. And I couldn’t be happier!!!

Part one- let’s start small.  We have a full bathroom in the basement. It is small, and has no windows. It was painted a darker teal color, with larger builder brown tile from the early 2000s. Nothing awful, but if felt dark, small and not particularly welcoming. I knew I loved LIGHT colors, because it was a small space. We needed to go with a light/pale color palette, and keep an eye on the budget. I wanted something that was up-to-date as far as style, but not something that would look dated in a few years because it’s “trendy” now. Classic, airy, clean. I gotta admit- it was fun! I found all of the raw materials and had them delivered (or went on a wild goose chase to track them down! long story for another day). Then, I found a wonderful contractor whose attention to detail was exceptional. He was the best home professional James and I have ever met. After several interviews, we decided to go with Royal Woodworks for the areas that we needed help.

I’ve liked pale gray since way before it was cool. It’s the color of my bedroom that I picked before we moved here- when the “dream house” was just a dream. I know Benjamin Moore colors the best, and they have been used throughout the rest of the house. I went with Gray Owl for the downstairs guest bath in the basement, because I knew it wouldn’t clash with the trim and molding- BM White Dove, and it was a beautiful neutral gray that wouldn’t pull blue, purple, or green. I really wanted Carrera marble floors, and I was able to find pretty, hexagonal sheets for a deal online! They came by the square foot, and I got the 3″ hexagons. We used white unsanded grout from Home Depot.  For the tile behind the tub, I wanted to get rid of the dark brown, large builder grade tiles and use something lighter. Subway tile is trendy, which I was a little hesitant to use, but I just love it! It’s been around for forever, and it is easy to clean, which is a huge plus. It was exactly the “look” I wanted, so hopefully it’ll stay classic for a while! I got Daltile from Home Depot, Rittenhouse Square tiles 3 x 6, in Arctic White. I went with DeLorean gray grout for the tub area- not super dark gray, and not white. It gives the larger area some definition and breaks up the solid white. Instead of bullnose tile on the ends, we went with Schluter. It’s hard to describe- like a piece of metal used as an edge of the tile. It gives it a clean, modern look. I chose brass as the finish for the hardware, as well as the schluter.

Naturally, whatever is in style is going to cost 10 times as much as it should. That’s the problem I ran into when looking for timeless, brass fixtures for the tub and shower. Yikes! The stores caught on that design magazines were touting brass, so they decided a little price gauging was in order. That’s nothing a little internet stalking can’t fix! I searched hi and low, and I think I was pretty successful in finding something very pretty, functional and stylish without being ridiculously expensive! The brass shower parts are very similar to this. The one at Home Depot isn’t the exact model that we got, but it’s close.

Finding a vanity proved to be the most difficult. Gosh, they are expensive! Spending money on a beautiful piece of furniture, maybe an heirloom, isn’t a bad way to invest money but not in a bathroom! At least, that’s not where I want to spend my money. Kitchen table that will seat us for every holiday dinner until I die? Yes. Bathroom washstand? Eh, not so much. I really wanted something quality, pretty and not a fortune. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I finally found one! It is solid wood, the color I REALLY wanted (navy!!!), soft close drawers, Carrera marble top, and perfect size sink. I found a brass faucet to fit in it- and I am thrilled with the result!  I didn’t want the bathroom to be all white, and pale gray. The navy was an early choice as the one piece of deep color in there. It doesn’t go out of style, it camouflages spills and is really durable.

I replaced the mirror in there with a flea market find that I stumbled on. It’s a circular mirror with a painted brass frame, that was leaning against a warehouse baking the in late summer GA heat. They practically gave it to me- score! Then, the light fixture was a triumph I found online– a little bit industrial, a little bit old school traditional, and the perfect look for the new bathroom.  To keep things simple, I ordered a set of towel bars from Pottery Barn, because they were a) on sale b) very pretty and c) all matched!  We picked up some new guest towels with monograms- I feel like such a grown up now- from Land’s End. They are sturdy, and got great reviews for lasting wear and tear.

All of the essentials are installed and working! Now, I’d like to keep looking for a couple of small pictures to go on the walls, maybe another small mirror. I got extra toiletries and washclothes for guests, and a new trashcan. We have company coming to stay every weekend until November. I can’t change the fact that they guests will have to dodge legos and nerf bullets. They might have to microwave their coffee 17 times like I do, and they will probably get bombarded early in the morning in bed, by little people! However, the bathroom is amazing, and we are ready to have guests enjoy it.


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