We’re just days away from having a completed bathroom.
And it’s shaping up to be even better than I anticipated. (Did I mention yet how happy I am that I contracted this job out and didn’t DIY it?! ‘Cause I am.) But however pretty, true to typical reno form, it’s taken longer than planed for. Between some upgrades I made last-minute, a few changes along the way, and the inevitable complications of a 70 year-old home, we’re only about a week over my goal—which isn’t all that bad.
I’ve also changed my mind on a few things (as I typically do during a build, for the better). So without further ado, I wanted to jump right in and share an update. [But if you haven’t checked out the first two posts on this space, click here for the intro and here for the first process post.]
The fix for uneven walls when you tile floor to ceiling.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some IG stories of my wall tiles with oodles of red clips on them. Those clips are actually a genius product called Perfect Level Master which is an amazing solution to leveling tile if you have uneven, old walls like I do. It essentially applies pressure to neighboring tiles which apply pressure to neighboring tiles etc., effectively making the whole wall of tile act as one large piece so it avoids any little lips or pop-out edges.
Elite used them in my bathroom and given I went floor to ceiling with the tiles, and given that my walls are not plumb (by inches, in many spots), I’m shocked at how perfect and even the subway tiles look. Unless you’re doing a new build where every wall is level and plumb, I highly recommend using them.
The dance of the towel bar and art.
Originally, I had a vision to install a 24″ towel bar on the left wall across from the vanity. It would be functional, sure, but I struggled to find a solution I liked in regards to what art or decor to hang above it.
Right off the top, fine art prints were crossed off the list. In a bathroom where the main function is the shower and bath, that much moisture would eventually tarnish any fine art paper, and I’m personally not a big fan of canvas or metal prints.
What I wanted was something more sculptural—something that would add some whimsy and depth to the space. I ended up finding these amazing cast sculptures of climbing men which jump-started an internet search that led me to these pretty wood bird hooks (US shoppers, click here). They’re both form and function, and I fell hard and ordered a bunch of them. I plan to install some upright to use as towel hooks, and some I want to place randomly for visual interest to act as art. Plus, it echoes the blonde wood I have elsewhere in the space. Love love love them.
In addition, I also have this gorgeous quilt from Louise Grey coming later this week which I’m finding a home for, so between these items, my bathroom will have decor down pat without the scare of ruining delicate paper prints.
Nixing the niche.
Another change I made was nixing the shower niche (which was originally on the left wall above the tub (see photo below). It ended up feeling forced and done because it’s excepted in a bathroom reno, not because it made sense for me.
My initial reasoning had a lot to do with the function of hiding ugly bottles, but because my walls are thin, the niche ended up quite shallow, so everything was still in eye-sight. And it not only flopped on offering privacy, but it interacted with the window strangely and started to make the bathroom look like a collection of one too many little built-in features rather than a cohesive space.
So with the thumbs-up from the build team at Elite, I pulled the cord.
I already have tons of storage space on my quartz window ledge where there’s no grout to be found, so I’m just going to commit to buying cuter shampoo and soap bottles, or even buying a set pair like these (US link) and filling them with my shampoo/soap. If it’s a chore once a month, that’s worth it to me. Plus, nixing the niche saves me some money on the build and gives that wall a cleaner look. Not to mention, now I won’t worry about water pooling in it (because although it’s waterproofed, it’s more susceptible over time to moisture issues).
Cement tile love.
Clay and cement tiles are big right now—as are natural stone surfaces in general, like marble. But if you find yourself liking Cletile photos on Instagram and you want to install some in your space, you’ll have to be okay with surrendering to imperfections. The specific cement tiles I chose already look different from the sample I chose at Creekside—and to me, that’s a thing of beauty.
If you’re after perfection and control, don’t go with a cement or clay tile. They naturally patina over time and, with regular sealing, become darker. And potentially after years of use, may even chip. I’m a-okay with this because I adore the smooth, natural stone surface and I’m not precious with my home.
My only suggestion would be to grab an extra box of tile from the same lot/make, so if you ever have to replace a tile or two, you have some on-hand. If you wait to get extra tiles years later, the colour, cut and nuances could be much different as they’re handmade. As for stains (say you drop a glass of wine or coffee), nab some Sulfamic Acid Cleaner. I tested red wine and coffee grinds on a spare tile and it came out pretty dang good. (Thanks for the heads up, Brian!)
The great grout colour debate.
There’s something about grout that solidifies the end of a build. The tiles are in and there’s no going back. So when it came to picking a colour, I took a while to think it over. As much as I love the look of white tiles with white grout, I did that in my kitchen and I regret not going a shade grayer. In a heavily-used space, white simply gets dingy and is hard to maintain because grout is porous. I clean mine everyday in the kitchen and it’s nearly impossible to keep spotless unless you’re scrubbing it with a bristle brush and baking soda on the regular. And I sure as shit am not doing that in my bathroom!
So grey was the obvious choice, not just for the walls but for the floors, too. And to that end, I figured why not find one grout colour that can be used in both spots. It was just about finding the right shade of grey that wasn’t too dark for the walls or too light for the floors. And it definitely had to match the same hue and temperature as the floor (verging on warm/putty tones versus cool blues). I ended up choosing Laticrete’s 89 Smoke Grey which offers some nice contrast to the wall tile and blends into the floors nicely.
UP next is all the final touches: installing the vanity, toilet, lights, shower fixtures, painting the ceiling and styling—my favorite. So the next time I post about this bathroom, it’ll be done. Holy smokessssss.
Big ups to Elite Signature Homes for pulling this space together, and huge thanks to my sponsors: Lowe’s, Delta Faucet, Creekside Tile and, a recent sponsor who will be outfitting my bathroom with some stylish pieces, Unison Home.