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I’m so excited to share our newly remodeled bathroom with you! This project was on our to-do list since purchasing our home in late 2018. We were going to do this first but decided that renovating the kitchen was more important to our lifestyle and work. So the bathroom sat in disrepair for nearly 2 years. It’s kind of funny what you become used to and can almost ignore after living with it day-to-day. I’m kind of embarrassed to share the “before” images, but I guess they lend a dramatic effect to this makeover.
Our Home’s Backstory
I’ve shared a little bit about our home before but just to recap: our house is small with a 640 square-foot footprint and 738 square feet of living space. It was built as a summer cottage with 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom plus a small loft. The main room where our kitchen is has an open ceiling. The design and build of the home is nothing to write home about but what really sold us was the private oversized lot that it sits on. It’s no secret that we love to garden and having a space to create a garden and orchard was a priority for us.
The real estate market on Nantucket is bonkers so we had a very narrow window of properties to pick from in our budget. To give you an idea the median home value for the island right now is $2,307,137, and so far there have been over 1.5 billion (yes, billion!) dollars of real estate sales for 2020. It’s actually been a record year for real estate sales here. As someone from a middle-class background, it is just insane to me, lol. But anyway, my point is that we didn’t have a lot of properties to choose from.
We weren’t scared of a project and were ready to roll up our sleeves and DIY our hearts out to make this house our home. Our zoning allows us to add on more square footage and that is something we would like to do in time. But for now, we are working with we have to make it a happy and welcoming home for our small family.
We couldn’t wait to take the bathroom down to the studs, but being that it is our only bathroom, we knew we’d have to plan carefully to get the project completed as fast as possible. Since we are very busy working as private chefs in the summer months there was just no way we could also renovate while the climate was at its warmest. We shower outside all summer anyway so it would have been convenient, but we didn’t have the time available for a project of this size. This is the main reason we had to wait 2 years to tackle this project.
I started planning the remodel in the spring of 2020, reaching out to companies who may want to partner with me and ordering everything we would need to renovate. I stockpiled tools, materials, and supplies over the summer so we would be ready to start come early fall. We demoed during the last week of September and got it to a usable but still unfinished state by the first week of November. There were a few days of showering outside in cold temps but we were very lucky to have mild weather in October. You may be wondering what we did without a toilet, and the answer is we rented a port-o-potty. Hence the urgency to get the toilet installed. It wasn’t fun, but definitely worth a little struggle to make the bathroom what it is now.
We hired out some of the construction, electrical, and plumbing, but demoed, installed the new shower system, laid the tile, and painted by ourselves.
Below are side-by-side before and after images. Originally there was a stacked washer and dryer to the left of the linen closet, which we removed when we moved in. We installed our washer and dryer in the basement, which freed up a lot of space in the bathroom. I thought the bathroom was designed poorly and didn’t utilize the space well at all. There was no tub, even though there was enough room for one. Instead, a wall split half of the room to make an oversized shower that was dark and dingy.
We had torn up the baseboard heating system in our home in 2019 and replaced it with 2 Rinnai heating units, which more than heat our small home efficiently. A baseboard unit had run along the outside of the shower wall next to the toilet. It was clear to me that that wall had to go and from there I rearranged the whole bathroom design.
We demoed the linen closet and hung the large farmhouse sink on the wall there. A cabinet will sit where the old sink was to house our towels and toiletries. We are still waiting on the cabinet to arrive.
The shower stayed in the same corner but now has a smaller footprint with glass walls and a door to let the light through. Both windows stayed in place and let in lots of natural light from the east and south.
The toilet was replaced and moved to sit under the other window, and a soaking tub now sits where the toilet was next to the new shower.
I’ve gotten so many compliments and questions about this beautiful wall hung farmhouse sink. I’m so happy with how it came out. I am grateful to have partnered with the makers, Nantucket Sinks, to feature their 36″ White Fireclay Wall Hung Sink from their Victorian Collection. I couldn’t happier with this sink. It’s large enough to hand-wash clothes in and I just love the vintage design of it.
All of the sinks in their Victorian Collection can be wall hung with included hardware or mounted to a console or legs. The high backsplash keeps splashes and splatters off the painted wall. They also make a 24″ model of this sink and both sizes come in 4 different colors.
The Sink Faucet
I am grateful to have partnered with Watermark Designs for all of our bathroom faucets and shower fixtures. Each piece is part of their Rainey 70 Range from their Heritage Collection of designs. The Rainey 70 range was originally designed for 70 Rainey in Austin, Texas, by Mark Zeff with Watermark Designs.
Watermark Designs hand make each piece in Brooklyn, NY, and have a large selection of finishes to choose from. I choose their Aged Brass finish because I love how it looks with the green walls and tile. Their aged brass is a living finish which will patina over time, another thing I love. I want this home to feel lived in and well-loved as it ages.
Within the Rainey 70 range, there are 2 design elements to choose from. I went with a smooth finish, but the other option features a cross-hatched texture for a more industrial look. Their site is really fun to explore and their Faucet Designer tool lets you play around and test out each finish and handle option on every faucet model.
The sink faucet model is their Wall Mounted 3 Hole Lavatory Set. I’m in love with the clean modern faucet design mixed with its aged finish and the vintage style sink.
The walls are painted with limewash paint, which contains limestone that “blooms” as it is brushed on and dries. Limewash paint gives walls a similar effect and mimics the texture of Venetian plaster walls. Limewash is used on the exteriors of many old buildings in Europe.
I was inspired by the walls of this bathroom and home design by designer Chelsea Hing. She did a two-toned white and green wall in limewash for this home and I knew I wanted something similar for our bathroom. I researched limewash paint and found a company specializing in limewash, Sydney Harbour Paints. I ordered one of their paint decks and some color samples then settled on their creamy Irish Linen color and vibrant Maidenhair green color.
To apply the paint I first rolled on a coat of their limewash undercoat primer, which is necessary to apply before applying their Interno limewash to drywall or over other types of paint. Limewash can be painted directly over previously painted limewash walls though. I painted 2 coats of limewash in each color following the product instructions then let it cure before applying a coat of their limewash sealer to protect the walls.
The paint is applied with a 5″ block brush with lots of large rough bristles. I watched a few youtube videos before applying the paint. There are different ways to apply the paint. I did random hatch marks with the brush, working from the top corner of each section and moving down and over keeping a wet edge as I went. It is important to keep a wet edge with limewash paint, and once you start a wall you need to finish it before the wet edge starts to dry.
I saved some timelapse videos of me painting the walls in my bathroom remodel Instagram story highlight.
Jake painted the trim with Benjamin Moore semi-gloss paint in their Cloud White color.
I’m very grateful to have teamed up with Fire Clay Tile again for the tiled floor and walls in our bathroom remodel. I worked with Fire Clay Tile for our tiled kitchen backsplash when we remodeled the kitchen in 2019.
I wanted something with an organic or botanical feel to go with the green walls and fell in love with Fire Clay’s handpainted Gingko tiles. After I had sent the order in I did worry that maybe it would be too much pattern but I think they are perfect for the room and compliment the walls beautifully. The natural ginkgo leaf pattern gives the bathroom a botanical feel.
Fire Clay’s tiles are made with care in California. Their designs and glazes are beautiful and the quality is amazing. The Ginkgo tiles are 8″x8″ squares in their green motif colorway. The green in the tile is their Clover glaze. You can also customize any of the tiles in their hand-painted collection with any of the glaze colors they offer.
We laid Schulter Ditra uncoupling membrane under the tiles to protect them from cracking and also to waterproof the floor. Schulter Systems have a ton of videos on their youtube channel and I also suggest watching the videos by the Home Repair Tutor channel if you are thinking about installing Schulter shower systems and membranes on your own.
Laying floor tile was back-breaking work. I’m not going to sugar coat it – I was in pain for days during that week. If you have a bad back you might consider hiring this part out. My eyes also deceived me a few times and I messed up the pattern more than once. We had to dig out one tile I set in the wrong direction and replace it because it was right in front of the shower door. Ugh. There’s one more place I messed up but we decided to leave it as is. Someone in my Instagram dm’s told me that in ancient times they would intentionally set one tile imperfectly because only God was perfect (I’m paraphrasing here). I like the idea of having one tile out of place. Can you spot the wonky one?
The Tub and Faucet
I really wanted a tub and found a new soaking tub that was installed but never used on a local consignment page a year before we started. I let it pass at the time but contacted the seller in the spring and it was still available, so I took that as a sign. After doing some research I believe the tub is the Allene tub from Signature Hardware. It’s not too big but it’s deep and comfortable to lay in.
The tub faucet is again from the Rainey 70 range by Watermark Designs. It is their Wall Mounted 3 Hole Bath Set in Aged Brass. I wanted a simple design to compliment the clean lines of the tub and rustic limewash wall finish. The handles turn with ease and the tub fills up quickly from the large spout.
I want this nook to be super cozy and relaxing. We added a tiled wall niche on the wall above the tub and iron wall sconce candlesticks for calming bath lighting. Who doesn’t love a candlelit bath? I’m awaiting a brass tub caddy that’s on backorder from Anthropologie.
Like I mentioned above, we kept the shower in the same corner but moved the shower trim to the opposite wall and minimized the shower’s footprint. We installed a Schulter shower system to waterproof the walls and base and added a wall niche and corner bench. Do you know how hard it is to shave your legs in a shower without a bench or something to lift your foot upon? It’s comical. The bench is really too small to sit on but I needed it for leg shaving and it doubles as a shelf to hold shampoo and soap if needed. We were going to tile the bench seat and niche walls with the wall tiles but it was much easier and nicer looking (as opposed to odd tile cuts) to use a custom cut piece of marble for the seat and marble tiles to border the niche. The shower drain trim kit is from Schulter to fit their drain.
The shower trim, head, and hand shower are, again, all pieces from Watermark Designs’ Rainey 70 range in Aged Brass. The trim model is their 7″ diameter Wall Mounted Pressure Balance Shower Trim with Diverter, in which with the pull or push of the diverter switches the water flow from the showerhead to the hand shower. The hand shower model is their Positioning Bar Shower kit with Slim Hand Shower and 69″ Hose, which feels substantial in hand and delivers a powerful flow of water in a slim and sleek design. The showerhead model is their Wall Mounted Showerhead, 7″dia, with 6″ Arm and Flange, which delivers a steady flow of rainfall style drops. Washing my hair is so lovely now. Everything rinses out quickly under the showerhead and it delivers the perfect amount of water to feel covered all over your body – no cold spots!
The shower glass was installed locally by Nantucket Glass with satin brass hardware to match the aged brass faucet trim as close a possible. You’ll notice in some of the wide-angle shots of the shower that some of the shower glass hardware at the top is is a different finish… this is because some pieces are still on backorder from the manufacturer so they will be replaced when they arrive.
We used Fire Clay tiles for the shower floor and walls. The shower base is bordered by 1×4 inch trim tile in Clover to match the green in the Gingko floor tiles. The trim tile breaks up the two patterns nicely. Fire Clay has every trim option you could ever want or need and since each order is made to order you know the trim color will match perfectly.
The floor pattern is made from Fire Clay’s 3-inch triangle tiles in the color Magnolia. We laid the floor pattern out and tiled each piece individually. Their site says the 3″ triangles come sheeted now so it would be easier to lay as sheets if that’s the case. Magnolia is one of their newer glazes and has a very slight hint of green in it, but has variation and can also look like a warm neutral depending on the lighting. It is a crackle glaze and can patina over time, so we applied tile and grout sealer to protect the glaze as per Fire Clay’s recommendations.
The wall tiles are Fire Clay’s 2×6″ field tile in Magnolia. We decided to lay the wall tiles in an offset vertical stack design which I saw on The Fresh Exchange blog via Fire Clay Tile’s inspiration pages. With offset vertical stacking you don’t have to be so tedious with lining up vertical grout lines and it saves time in the long run. I also love how it looks.
We went with a Permacolor grout in the color Silk for the floor and shower. It is a warm off-white that matches the off-white in the Gingko tiles well.
We rented a wet tile saw from a local equipment dealer to cut the tile and marble pieces. If you’re planning a tile project I would recommend using a wet tile saw to make smooth cuts.
Bits and Bobs
As I said above we are waiting on a cabinet to arrive, which will house our towels and such. Right now we are still using the rolling cart in the before photos.
I’m still hunting for a narrow shelf to put above the sink. If you have any suggestions, my ears are open!
The mirror is from Urban Outfitters, and I love it. I didn’t expect to find the mirror from them, but they have a surprisingly large selection of bamboo and rattan furnishings with a very 70’s/mid century feel. I tried out a couple of other mirrors first that were just so wrong for the space.
The vanity lights are Alford sconces from Illuminate Vintage. I’m still on the fence with them but they are growing on me. The finish is raw brass so it will age and patina over time.
Obviously, the space needed some potted plant friends to add to the botanical vibe. I headed to my favorite resource for handmade finds, Etsy, to find some hanging planters and macrame plant hangers. I also ordered custom linen curtains on Etsy and green macrame leaf curtain ties (which arrived after I shot these images).
The handmade brass towel rods and toilet paper holder, lidded wastebasket, and small brass mirror on the tub niche are all from Connected Goods.
The candlestick sconces and long taper candles are from Food52.
More to Come
Apart from the items we are still waiting on that I mentioned above, I want to hang some art on the walls. I purchased a black and white monoprint by my dear friend Amy Grantham that is currently at the framers. The plan is to hang it above the tub niche.
I think some old botanical prints would look nice framed above the towel rods. I’d like to add some more plants too after the cabinet arrives. Something that can sit on top of and hang down the side facing the tub.
I’ll do another post in the new year with an update of the finishing touches.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions about the process or products we used please reach out.
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