Mastering the Bath

All-  We feel like we owe a little explanation or two for the belated nature of this update.  Our loyal readers have been patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for the next blog update, and we’ve been a bit delinquent!  Well, let’s cut to the chase. Edge Hill is about to go from sheltering a family of two to sheltering a family of four!  That’s right, Rachel is pregnant, and not being ones to do anything the easy way, it just so happens to be twin girls!


This is a shot from our first ultrasound way back in March, and it’s the one we keep showing to anyone who will take a gander.  We are now over halfway through our term, and are looking forward to meeting the girls in late August! 




Due to the pregnancy, we were stopped in our tracks with the last of the major efforts left to wrap up the Little House:  painting.  With the fumes, it is recommended to steer clear of this chore for the first trimester at least, and to be honest, we were ready for a convenient excuse to take a break!  The break, however, is over. Time to get back to work. The next series of posts will hopefully walk you through the finished rooms of the Little House, detailing our choices.  We are starting with the Master Bath, the only full bath in the house.  In our past decade or so of life, living through college rooming situations and our first house with its TINY (but nevertheless en suite) master bath, we may have gone a bit overboard on square footage this time. After living with it, however, we can say we have absolutely no regrets!  If you recall from our Sketch-Up designs, the master bath takes up about 1/5 of the upstairs square footage, and is accessed via the closets that adjoin each bedroom (bottom, center):



This is a far cry from the “original” bath-and-kitchen combo that was part of the 1940s first-floor addition to the Little House:




Yes.  Just under the sink you can see a little patch of green grass.  That is where the water and septic leaked and the floor and wall had completely deteriorated.  There was no shower or bathtub.  Full. Demo. Required.

We moved the full bath to the new upstairs addition, and designed a spacious room with two independent vanities.  We also incorporated the restored clawfoot tub that we discussed in the last post, a large walk-in shower, linen closet, and water closet.  Everything in its place.

We started with five feet of bead board and then painted the upper walls and ceiling in Washington Blue from Benjamin Moore’s Williamsburg Collection.  The deep navy blends the walls into the ceiling and gives the room a great feel.


The floors are a ceramic tile we found at a surplus auction, and just so happen to be LEED certified.  We really liked the color so we bought a whole skid and used that tile in the downstairs mudroom, powder room, and utility closet, as well!  We went with a mushroom-grey grout, which provides a nice contrast and will also hopefully age well.

For the vanities, we used porcelain tops that we found dirt cheap at the contractor’s auction, and commissioned custom-designed bases after doing some serious Pinterest research.  The bases are constructed from old pine that was salvaged from the house when we did the demo.   We matched the vanity with a medicine cabinet we found TWO Black Fridays ago (that’s right folks, we’ve been sourcing since 2013), also dirt cheap, at the Restoration Hardware Outlet: $75.00 for the pair!



The vanities are nice and simple, and great for hiding all the crap that would usually live out on the sink deck:



Luckily we thought to measure the clearance of the vanity door in relation to the sconce, but we still cut it close!

As you saw before, the tub is a great shade of Tucker Orange from Benjamin Moore’s Williamsburg Collection, which we paired with some custom-painted oars and full length curtains and sheers that emphasize the high ceiling height of the bathroom:


For the tub, we are very excited to have incorporated a hand shower; it is as if fate knew we would need an extra-efficient baby washing station:


The interior wall of the bathroom starts on the left with our shower, the linen closet in the center, and the water closet on the right.  The access hatch to the attic HVAC is located above the linen closet and painted the same shade of blue to blend in with the walls and ceilings.



One priority for the shower was to incorporate a LARGE area to organize all of the bottles that seem to multiply in the shower as time goes on.  We were also contemplating adding a bench, but found a great garden stool online in our orange that fit the bill nicely, so we saved a bit of money and axed the bench.  Down the road we would really like to add a seamless glass door, but as a feature that was entirely discretionary, we decided to save our pennies and spend them elsewhere at the outset.



Because the shower stall is large and we like the subway-tile look, we used large-format subway tile, which was economical and “easy” to install (easy, that is, for our contractors – we have not yet tried our hand at tiling).  The floors and back of the niche are tiled in small stone, and we did spring for the anti-microbial grouting on the floor so hopefully we will be mold-free for years to come.

The linen closet might not be magazine-ready, but it is oh-so useful!  The key feature of this closet is the laundry shoot that you can see right in the middle of the back wall.  With our very small interior staircases, we have found no end to our happiness in having this simple solution for lugging our laundry down the stairs.  For the return trip, we got small cloth totes that are easier to manage on the stairs than a regular laundry basket. We lined the rest of the linen closet’s available wall space with shelves and incorporated automatic lighting so the lights are only on when the doors are open, a nice energy-saving feature.



Moving to the right, the water closet was the one bit of the bathroom where we were able to save the exposed brick walls:IMG_3195

We also used a motion sensing light/fan combo, as this means the lights stay on when the doors close.  The unit runs on a timer, so the lights and fan shut down automatically after the space is vented to save power.  IMG_3197

Finally, one of Chad’s favorite features is the magazine/TP combo rack he found on Amazon.  The water closet doesn’t have a lot of extra room, so this was the perfect solution for a back-up roll and some storage.

The bath is accented with a few nautical touches, including a whimsical octopus towel holder by the shower and cheap boat cleat towel hooks that Chad painted to match the tub:


The bathroom is now a relaxing sanctuary where we start and end our days, and though we still have some plans for finishing touches we couldn’t be happier with the finished product!