bathroom planning planny plan

Happy Saturday! I feel like every week, I am dodging/hitting curve balls that I am throwing at myself. And whether I get beaned in the face by said curve ball or hitting it out of the proverbial park, depends solely on how I feel about myself that day. The good things about having a brain that is constantly working over time is that I never have a shortage of ideas. However, the bad thing is that I'm constantly improving my designs and layering in my quirks. I feel like there is always a notch higher, a thing cooler, a color more color-ier and it is MADDENING.

So for now, I'm going to give myself a break from the main house and transitioning over to the BATHROOM. It's important to note that while the rest of the house is spectacular -- vaulted ceilings, tons of sunshine, great flow -- the bathrooms suck big time. They are tiny windowless rooms with absolutely zero sex appeal.

(although I don't mind the art poster in the background)

I haven't even THOUGHT about tiles for six months and I missed them terribly. Our contractor let us know he has time to do a bathroom at the end of June and at first I thought, "Great, I have enough time to design, ship tiles, AND have a cocktail." But then it's the the first of May and I realize there are shipping delays and -- more importantly -- I do not have a plan.

In the past I have done this:

I know. Beautiful. If you're doing your bathroom in hopes to sell your house, this is the bathroom I recommend duplicating. Everyone loved it. I did this bathroom for resale but still managed to include some interesting/quirky choices. I carried the penny tile up the side of the bathtub, for example, and did a few other things the typical flipper would ignore. However, I feel like this bathroom does not reflect my current home's style. Here's just a refresher:

Subtle, right?

But the most important room I will use as my springboard into the Master Bathroom design is (dunh dunh dunh) the MASTER BEDROOM.

My current** bedroom moodboard goes something like this:

I have a lot of things going on here... number 1) I wanted it to be calming and cocoon-like despite having 16 foot ceilings. I painted the ceiling a very classy Farrow & Ball Oval Room Blue, painted the walls Portola Stockholm Sky, and will keep the bedding a crisp white with mustard yellow accents. So everything is warm and bright and zen and happy. 2) I wanted some graphic elements. Enter the much discussed Madrid map and the yet-to-be-chosen rug over the bed. Long story, we are not able to hang the 135lb map over the bed. UGH. 3) I wanted some sparkle. In come the nightstands and Serena & Lily Pendant.

Yay, that is the Ms. Bedroom. Now what to do with Mr. Bathroom. And yes he is a Mr. because I wanted to bring in some of that punk attitude from the rest of the house but still make it dramatic and clean and sexy. That's the one secret ingredient in my house that I don't talk about but I strive for in every aspect. Nothing ruins the mood more quickly than a badly timed baby voice or trying too hard. I wanted to keep it balanced with grown-up cheeky vibes.

form before beauty and sometimes both!

My first order of business is to find some way to make this master bath really grow beyond it's meager beginning. If you have a small bathroom, like us, there are a few ways to make it feel uncramped. First, you can swap out the vanity for a floating one. That may get rid of some storage but if you're bathroom is that small, I'm sure you're already storing stuff other places.

The next thing you can do is make everything WHITE. This eliminates lines and while it can still feel cramped, but at least it does not feel cluttered.

The last option if you have the budget and room is to find space. Luckily, our bathroom is next to a very convenient but disposable linen closet:

While it's nice to put all my underwear in a sliding drawer, it is not necessary. Plus, in my 39 years on this planet, I have never understood why the vanity MUST absolutely be in the same room as the shower and the toilet. I don't know how many times my toothbrush has been held hostage by someone taking a giant shit.

The plan is that the vanity will go here. It's only 52" but I have also surmised in my 39 years that a double vanity has never been necessary. I can walk and brush my teeth at the same time, I do not need to be standing over the sink the entire experience. Plus -- BONUS -- I can make a little wallpaper moment and make it feel furniture-y vs. bathroom-y.

The current bathroom then turns into a "giant" wet room with a toilet and two shower areas. Now that's where "double" of something comes in handy. Both my husband and I can take a shower at the same time and neither of us will have to be out in the cold, shivering. YES.

In terms of creating the illusion of more space, windows are also a good option, but my bathroom is not an optimal candidate. These days, there are solutions, honey, and they come in the form of skylights. I am reluctant to install a skylight (note to self, never ask a contractor if you should do something risky because they will ALWAYS have a harrowing story of why should not), but the bathroom is not on the outside of the house. If I were to install a window, it would look down over the living room. I'm all for quirky and interesting, but not impractical. Skylight it is!

And if we're doing a skylight... we might as well vault the ceiling! It's a little game of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" when it comes to design. Vaulting the ceiling with a skylight makes a big dramatic moment. And big dramatic moments deserve some extra attention and tile to show them off.

moody or bright?

As far as I'm concerned there are only two tile finishes that will stand up to the giant vaulted ceiling with skylight challenge. Glass and Zelige.

Of course there are thousands of colors for both options, but it's important to start with plain white to really analyze the advantages of both. The glass is clean, sleak, precise, reflective, modern. Gorgeous. The zelig is old world, earthy, imperfect, tonal, and also reflective. I love both and I personally feel that a shower should look clean as well as feel tactile. Maybe white glass tiles will feel almost too clean. But I'm going to stop there before I start talking myself into one or the other. And I will only make a decision when I have it all moodboarded. Sometimes I think I know what I want but then I put it all together and I like something completely different. Stay tuned...

I have to say, too, but it is important that a bathroom feel clean. There is nothing worse than walking into a bathroom that feels moldy and dark. However, I also hate bathrooms that feel like hospital rooms and display cases. Standing in the middle of a cold white bathroom feels like a visit to the OBGYN, sitting on the edge of the bench, ass half out and feeling entirely exposed. Ick. Where is the warmth? Where is the mood lighting? Give me a fuzzy blanket and not some flimsy paper dress please!!

Cue the mood...

Notice how I chose 3D patterns this time? Me too. When I think of dark and moody showers, I automatically go to to this style. It creates texture and interesting patterns when the light does hit it. And it has that fuzzy blanket effect. Sometimes I do use my shower as a meditation zone. I have even been known to sit on the floor and let the water hit me as I zone out on what rug to buy for the living room or color to paint the guest bedroom.

Now remember how I said I wanted two shower areas? Well, funny thing is now I can do both moody and bright in my showerzzzzz! The plan is to put the bright reflective tile under the skylighted shower area and use the moody, dark tile in the alcove shower area. Brilliant!

Now I just need a floor to tie it all together. As with most rooms, black and white saves the day!

My number 1 suggestion with a big ass bullet? Do NOT use cement tiles in the bathroom. Cement tiles are porous, stain easily, are hard to install and do not do well in wet environments. Everything you don't want in a bathroom floor tile. And for that reason alone, I am going exclusively with Fireclay Tile Non-Slip Tiles. The best thing about it is that they have tons of custom options and have super nice customer service! Thanks Tiffannie!

first moodboard (out of a hundred)

You've been standing by and here it is! My very first moodboard for Mr. Bathroom!!

I decided the glass was simply too sleak and modern for the 3 dimensional blue tile so I went with dry stacked zelig. Then I threw in some art, jaunty green towel hangers (I will never go back to a towel bar) and a CB2 mirror. I still debating whether I want to go with the Banana wallpaper or this one:

This will largely depend on what light fixtures I pick for my bedroom sconces (I'm still debating on those too). By moving the vanity out of the bathroom, I get to use wallpaper instead of tile behind the mirror. That means I can change it more easily (well, easier than tile) and have more flexibility with design and color.

I am still toying with light fixtures, rugs, and accessories, but the key is to get some ideas on your virtual paper and make that the starting off point!

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