Category Archives: Bathroom

…he’ll always have the toilets

I  just reread the last post here from March that was from a gal who said her husband had terrible style and taste in furniture. It still got a chuckle out of it…  But this time it’s for a different reason. 

As with most women, I like to think I have excellent taste in all things interior design as compared to my spouse. Actually, I do. It’s a fact. However, recently I stopped calling the shots. Why you ask? It’s not because I don’t care – believe me, I care. I think it has to do with being pregnant, interestingly enough. I’m more even keel in the need-to-do-everything department these months and it has worked out to my advantage. Well, not entirely. Back in May, my husband told me that during his vacation from work, he was going to re-do the downstairs powder room and laundry area which had been in a state of… half ass since 2006. I asked him how long I would be without a washer and dryer and I was told about two weeks. Fine by me. The next day the rooms were empty and gutted to the studs. ???!!??  Five weeks later (or was it six?…) we had the washer and dryer back in place, both rooms painted and fully functional. Did I complain? Yeah, a little. Did my husband do a good job? Actually, he did a great job – even chosing the paint colors – two colors that I would never in a million years consider.  Was I okay with it because it was just the downstairs powder room and laundry area? Yes. Yes I was. 

At the end of August, I was informed that he would be renovating our upstairs bathroom starting in two days.  Not because he was feeling confident or adventurous but because water was going behind the walls in the tub/ shower and because we’ve had a garbage bag over the shower window since he installed new ones… 5 years ago. I’m not kidding.  When I asked how long it would take, I was assured two weeks. MAX. Hmmmm, I had heard that before. 

powder room

  As I sit here a month (29 days to be exact) into this project that’s still is not done – and I’m living without a shower or tub or even an upstairs toilet for this pregnant woman – I’m very much okay with letting my husband call the shots in this renovation.  Actually, the only thing I told him I must have was the white subway tile.  He chose/ designed everything else and even though I don’t love love it all, I’m glad I let go and let him take complete control- he’s doing a great job, learning how to tile, installing plumbing and electric. Also, I’ve come to find that guys like doing home things that have a start and a finish.  And anything that includes using tools. And the possibility of buying new tools.  Choosing furniture… even going back to fix things like a rogue outlet from an old AC unit, is a never ending concept to them. They like to be done and move on.  And although this project feels like there’ll never be an end for me, his end will be when he flushes the toilet and the water goes down.   

Plus, when it’s time to do the kitchen renovation and it’s got to be done my way, he really can’t be all that pissed.  He’ll always have the toilets…

bathroom - in progress


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mirror mirror on the wall

Q:  Just wondering about how big certain things in the bathroom should be.

We are purchasing a 42” wide vanity. But I don’t’ know how big of a mirror should go above it? My options are 30”, 35”, 38”.  What will look good?  Also wondering how wide the lighting fixtures should be above?  If I have a 42” vanity- with a 30” mirror- do I put a 31” light?  My husband doesn’t want side sconces… so I am stuck with light fixure above.  Thanks!!!   -J.K.

A:  Not to worry!   I drew up a quick little study with three 42″ vanities and the three different width mirrors above. (Ignore the dashed boxes for a minute)  vanity 001

 The first mirror is 30″w – you’ll have 6″ difference on either side of the mirror to that of the vanity width. Make sense? With the 35″ w mirror, you’ll have a 3 1/2″ difference and the 38″ w mirror, you’ll have a 2″ difference.  Following?  Good.

Above the mirror outlines are those dashed boxes – each box represents a 31″w x 8″h  light fixture.  So. Just looking at the three… which one looks the most comfortable to you?  Comfortable in the relation of each item to the others: the vanity width to the mirror width to the sconce width…  

My immediate reaction to the first elevation is that the mirror is too narrow for that size vanity. It’s not terrible, but it doesn’t feel good to me.  In the second and third elevations the mirror widths feel much better in regard to the vanity.  It may sound like a whole lotta fluffy talk, but I bet you too, thought the same thing.  

Now, a light fixture. You can see how a 31″w fixture looks above a 35″w and a 38″w mirror – I would think about keeping the light fixture’s width smaller than the mirror as shown.    My point: get the widest light fixture – one with at least three or four arms between 32″w and 36″w depending on the mirror width you chose.



** Something to try if you are stuck – ‘mock up’ an idea with painters tape in your space. For example, you can stick the tape at 42″ away from each other to show the vainty outline as well as the mirror widths… then stand back and take a look. 

Let me know what you choose!!!



* I just received photos of the finished bathroom vanities, medicine cabinets and sconces…

Thanks for the photos – it looks great!

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Death by mauve

Q: We are ready to redo our hall bathroom- it’s the one bathroom we pink bath 4haven’t gotten to since we moved in, but we are now ready to say goodbye to mauve.  Everything is going (yes, the mauve toilet, tub and sink are going!) and we’re thinking about doing it in another color, but we’re not sure what yet.  As you can see by the photos, its a full size bathroom and is one of the main bathrooms used the family -but also by guests since its closest to the area we entertain in.  We don’t have a very big budget and were thinking about doing as much as we can ourselves.  Can you offer some ideas that would help keep our budget down but not make it look like…we had to keep our budget down?! Thanks!

A: OMG. That’s a color.

So, you have champagne dreams but a Budweiser budget, huh? Who doesn’t -not to worry!

There are a few things I see right away in your photo that could help.  First of all, it looks as though there’s a tile wainscot around the room along with the tub surround.  There is maybe one reason to have tile behind the toilet…and if your kids are boys you’ll know what I mean. Kidding aside, you may want to rethink tiling only the tub surround.  I’m guessing there will be about +/- 70sqft of wall tile there (hard to say for sure… can’t see if tile goes to ceiling, let’s say it does).  If I do some more eyeballing, it looks like you have a 42”high wainscot around the rest of the space?  Not knowing the exact dimensions of the room I’ll guess it could add up to at least 50-60sqft more of wall tile which you don’t really need.  You could consider using a tile base at the floor to stop the spills.

as1 as2 as3


You mentioned that you don’t know what colors to do in the new bath… PLEASE don’t go with different colored fixtures again!!!  I say this because that mauve is burned into my retinas. No, I say this because plumbing fixtures in colors other than white or off white are generally more expensive.  Looking at the Kohler website, I’ve checked out the ‘Memoirs® Comfort Height® Elongated Toilet with Classic Design’ – the list price for the toilet in white is $907.85 (list price people… you can get it for less!) and the colored ones are between $230 – $430 list higher…  and that’s just for the toilet!  On the American Standard website, the Traditional Champion® 4 EL Right Height™ Toilet  has a list price ranging from $710- $1028.

If it’s color you want – paint is what you need!! One idea is doing the wall tile in a neutral tone and using paint and your linen selections to kick it with color. If you want to change the color scheme, you won’t have to change the tile.

I see you have a shower rod and curtain rather than glass shower doors. That’s another suggestion I would have made in keeping the cost down. Two upsides to having a shower curtain is that it gives you a chance to show off something fun in your color choice  and it’s much easier when you have to give someone a bath.  Don’t worry, cleaning the liner is a snap:  throw it in the washing machine when needed.

Now that you have some ideas on how to stick within your budget, one of the places you should consider spending some money on is the flooring. Think about using a natural stone floor – not the ceramic or porcelain flooring the salesperson says looks like stone, but real limestone or marble, slate… or even river rocks! Yes, it is more expensive than the faux stuff but it’s a great place to make your bathroom look high end. However, if this bathroom is going to be used primarily by your kids but also will need to look great for your guests you may want to consider ceramic mosaics – a less expensive alternative which can definately hold up to kids and has a more funky look than what you remember from the bathroom in your parents house.

wz 1 cm1

(marble & granite dot mosaic)     (ceramic tile mosaic)

Look at websites like and for discounted prices on plumbing fixtures like faucets, toilets and tubs among other things like bathroom accessories – toilet paper holders, towel bars, shower rods…

Have fun!

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