I have heard it said before that of our senses, smell is the most successful at triggering emotion and memories and believe it or not but this bathroom inspiration was formed from a ‘smell’ memory. Doesn’t sound so pleasant considering what happens in bathrooms. It gets worse too, the ‘smell’ memory is of a working farm! When the warmer whether comes and I pass by a farm or even a freshly fertilized crop the smell takes me to a really happy place. I love farm life and although I do not live on a farm and I did not grow up on a farm. During my early childhood my Grandma and Grandpa had a beef farm, as well as my Uncle Leonard and Aunt Gerry and their family lived on and ran a farm. When I first began planning this bathroom I wanted it to connect and relate with the memories I have visiting those farms and the pleasant emotions all tied up in that ‘smell’. My Aunt Gerry is probably thinking right now “this bathroom looks nothing like the one on the farm!” and I know that (except for maybe the birthday calendar) but for me this is how I would best express ‘visually’ the memory and emotion that ‘barnyard’ smell evokes.
I love my bathroom, we are so pleased with how it turned out. I knew right away I wanted a black and white floor. My husband was not convinced but I knew I had to persist. It said to me vintage and farmhouse, two things crucial in capturing the vision I wanted to express. On one of our ‘date nights’ in Home Depot I spotted this flooring on sale and when my husband saw the price, he was sold! I do love it but I have to admit if I were to do it all over again I would either choose a darker grout or go with all white hexagon tiles and use a black grout. I LOVE the black and white look, but we chose a light grout which was not the most practical for a family of six! So save yourself and stick to family friendly options choose a darker grout or every time you are on that toilet you will be thinking you should be scrubbing that grout clean!
I should show you a before picture of the space we had to work with. The tub stayed in the same spot (sorry not the big green jet tub! There is one behind the door in the before bathroom pic below) and the one door to get in to the bathroom from the hall stayed where it was but pretty much everything else changed.
We took some space from our Master Bedroom by taking out a jetted tub. It made for some great bubble baths, but did my kids really think I was going to keep that?! This allowed for us to add a much needed linen closet and we were even able to fit in a vanity that allowed for two faucets. I love the single ‘trough’ style sink and it acts as a double sink vanity, which is a definite ‘luxury’. It looks sooo amazing and I absolutely love it!
It took almost a year to complete, we have a busy house of four kids two in hockey, and we also know it is important to carve out quality time with family too, and my husband works full time. So, one Saturday a week has to accomplish a lot of varying activities. But we got it done…well almost. We still have a few finishing pieces. The knobs on the closet doors and a toilet paper holder. I am waiting to find just the right ones for this space so I am not in a big rush. In the picture below you can see that where the double set of windows is used to be part of the bedroom. We added a pocket door to give us a semi ensuite. We did not have enough space for a full ensuite and second upstairs bathroom, but this is functional and works wonderfully for us! The ceiling is unfinished cedar, I had wanted to be able to smell the cedar when the bathroom steamed up and I liked the look of it just the way it is. I think I will do something to treat it because it has been about a year now and above the shower a water mark is starting to show. I tiled and grouted the tub and the floors myself. I forgot from the last tile job I had done that you should only do small sections of grout at a time, and it takes longer than you think. I was up till 3 am scrubbing the grout off the shower tiles my finger tips had rubbed raw from all the scrubbing and being moist! Lesson learned. It turned out great, I won’t point out all the imperfections, which there are a few, but nothing that compromises the product and function. The shower curtain which is my favourite I picked up online from a Canadian store called Simons it was on sale for $9.99! I have it on my list of things to do to buy a few more so when this one gets old I have replacements.
The little red first aid box is a cute way to keep Tylenol and Band Aids altogether and easy to find for all those knee scrapes! It also makes a great wedding shower gift, and is another online Simons purchase. The hooks for hanging the towels are cast iron and I picked them up at Simply Cottage, a beautiful home decorating store in Muskoka. I enjoy walking through this store on occasion, although I mostly just pick up little things that my budget allows for.
Finding two mirrors to fit the space also proved to be a challenge. After scouring thrift stores, Walmart, and online I decided the best option was to purchase inexpensive black picture frames and I had a local glass cutter cut mirror to fit the frame. I think it was $30 for both mirrors to be cut and the glass was included. The frames I got at Michael’s and with one of their coupons the frames were about $13 a piece. So in the end I got myself 2 custom mirrors for $20 a piece, not bad.
A must have for this bathroom renovation was a linen closet. I do not know if this house was built with no linen closet or if past home owners removed it to make for larger rooms but a priority for this family was to have a bathroom closet. To make the most of our square footage we built a wall on an angle to keep the master bedroom entrance feeling open but this created a space in our bathroom where the closet was going that would not fit a box store closet unit. My husband is handy but we are still learning and we both knew that doing this ourselves would take a looong time and it may not even turn out. So we had a local cabinet maker create this built in piece for us. We got to design it and he made it work. It turned out great and we are glad we did it but the price tag was not cheap. This linen closet was the smallest of our ‘built in’ projects for the house and once we got the quote we new that the other projects we had, we would have to find a way to do ourselves. I am sure the price was fair, it was just more than we typically pay. The vanity however was a bit of a steel. The cabinet was a piece I fell in love with at the Restore. It was nice as it came, white, but for this space I wanted it to warm up our Benjamin Moore Simply White walls and tie in the ceiling. The sink I wanted was too small for the dresser but I just had to have both and the result was extra room for a plant and space for other toiletries being used. Sanding and putting a clear coat on the top warmed it up, I think the veneer top must be cedar which was an awesome discovery. I painted the base a navy colour. It still needs its final coat and the blue tone might actually change but for now I love it and I appreciate the pop of colour.
I can’t believe that this space is finally finished and to the point where I can add plants! An Aloe Vera plant is a perfect bathroom plant that adds texture, warmth, and life, to the space and also has medicinal benefits. A Eucalyptus stem hanging in the shower came from a Mother’s Day bouquet and it adds a subtle therapeutic aroma which lasts long after the plant has dried. Some things are worth waiting for and this bathroom was definitely one of them.
When we bought our house we had fallen in love with the property; acreage, proximity to town, and it is on the river! We could not pass it up. The house has good bones and is solid but it needs some updating, which works great for us because then we can make it our own. Each room will speak to what is important and necessary to our family. It will take time but that just makes the finished product that much more satisfying.
I hope this blog, and future ones, encourage and motivate you to tackle your own projects. Maybe it is painting a room, creating a garden, organizing closets, decluttering, or even just buying yourself a flower bouquet to add beauty to your home. (I love my husband and he is great, but over the last several years I have taken it upon myself to buy my own flowers and I kind of like it that way. I get exactly what I want but justify the little luxury by saying that it is a thoughtful gift from my husband! You’re thinking but where did the Mother’s day bouquet come from…my youngest sister.) I would love to hear from you and what you love about your home and creative ways of how you maybe did a custom renovation on a budget. Also, if you have any questions about this bathroom renovation, where things came from or prices, I would be glad to share.