Designing a modern cottage bath on a budget

This is the second in a series I’m writing about the renovation and makeover of my country log cottage. Here’s how I gutted and designed a new modern cottage bath on a pretty low budget.

Modern cottage bath with subway tile and repurposed library table as vanity

It is a little scary but it started out like this.

Before photo of bath with details on changes

If you look closely on the above picture, you can see right where the shower base meets the floor, there is a large crack.  That’s where the floor was totally rotten. Like I mean so rotten, I was scared whenever someone used the bathroom that they would fall through the floor. You could actually see the basement through the crack.  Yikes! Obviously we knew this before we bought. So, this bathroom was pretty much the first job we tackled once we had possession. We basically had to take everything out and start over. Even the side of the cabinet had significant water damage as well as the wall so everything came out.

Like the cottage living room post (click here to read it), I’m showing you on the before picture what the plan was and how it was executed. So, here’s a visual breakdown of what we did for our modern cottage bath.

After bath photo showing some of the changes that were made

First, we gutted everything. Next we put in a completely new subfloor, installed new water resistant drywall and used the Kerdi shower system to ensure that the shower would be completely waterproof. Hubby got to work on all this nastiness and I got to go shopping. Not quite fair, I know.

I wanted an interesting, inexpensive vanity that was open on the bottom to help make the tiny bath feel more spacious. I had previously used an antique dresser in my powder room at home so I thought potentially something like that but without the drawers, some kind of table. As luck would have it I found an antique library table when I went with some fellow designers to the Brimfield Antique Show (you can read that post here). I knew it would be perfect, once I figured out how to raise it a few inches since it was a little short.

Before of the antique library table used as a bathroom vanity

Once I found this piece, it all started to click together. I wanted to highlight the barley twist legs so I decided that I would paint the legs. I had recently heard about the Canadian paint company, Fat Paint, so I contacted Victoria the owner, and told her what I was looking for. She offered to customize a colour for me so I just needed to choose one.

I know, this is where everyone wonders how did I choose a colour? It is actually quite systematic. I went shopping for flooring tiles, as I would need them sooner rather than later. I was also curious to see what I could find. The tile I settled on looks like wood but it isn’t, it is ceramic. We also ran it into the hallway outside the bathroom and in the nearby laundry room. Well, this floor went with the nearby slate floor and it had the slightest touch of turquoise in it, so it became the jumping off point for the colour scheme. I decided on a darker turquoise for the vanity that would really highlight the carved legs.

From here, I chose the shower wall tiles and the river rock coloration, then lastly I chose the wall colour, Benjamin Moore’s Woodlawn Blue, a soft version of the vanity’s legs. This is exactly why you always choose paint last in your renovation. So much easier to choose a paint colour to work with your fixtures, as there are endless colours of paint in comparison to tile selections.

Modern cottage bath with painted open repurposed vanity and square sink

Once I had decided on the vanity colour, I got in touch with Victoria and she automatically offered to mix me up a custom colour and ship it to me free of charge so I could try it out. Talk about service!

I found some prefab wood legs at my local Home Depot that I figured would work as extensions on the bottom of the table. So my husband, attached them and I set about painting the base. You can barely tell that the bottom six inches or so of the table is not original and I’m sure if I hadn’t told you, you would never have noticed. If you are thinking of painting a wood piece and want to do minimum sanding and prepping, check out my post here about how Fat Paint works. It saves you so much time.

Last but not least, I refinished the top with quite a few coats of durable polyurethane so that it would stand up to some splashing.

I loved that the library table had a nice little lower shelf as I was planning to pick up some baskets for storage. And those baskets would also help to hide the necessary plumbing underneath the sink. Since this is the main floor bath and acts as a powder room most of the time, I knew I wouldn’t need closed storage.

Close up of repurposed library table with painted barley twist legs

Next I chose a rectangular sink because I wanted it to mirror the shape of the table itself. I love this one from Kohler, it’s timeless, works perfectly with the square base of the Delta Dryden faucet and gives me that modern cottage bath feel I was after. BTW – Another great cost saving for me was Delta offered me the shower and sink fixtures free of charge for an honest opinion of them.  You can read my original post here.  

The lilypad artwork in the above photo is actually a photograph from a local artist. I love picking up original pieces from the area. My husband loved it and it was the perfect colours and feel for our modern cottage bath.

Library table turned bathroom vanity

Photo credit Melissa Kew Photography

For the shower I had my heart set on river rock tile. How perfect are they for it a beach front cottage? To offset the cost of them, I used simple grey matte oversized subway tiles on the rest of the shower walls.

Grey matte subway tile subway with bronze fixtures and river rock floor

I added a border of marble and glass tiles 2/3 of the way up that ties in the bath colours. My husband, figured out that he could run the subway tiles vertically above the border, so we did just that. This is called a soldier’s course, in case you are interested. This also has the added bonus of making a low ceiling feel higher. In this low ceiling bathroom that was a huge plus.

Close up of subway tile and border tile with bronze shower fixtures

I love the square Dryden fixtures and they add the right amount of masculinity to my modern cottage bath. Below, you can see the little niche for shampoo and soaps, he did with the river rock tile.

Shower niche with river rock tile

We removed the second shower head and raised the remaining one up to a proper height, since it was low. A great cost savings on the shower was the fact that we reused the shower glass and door. We just ordered new bronze trim and a handle to match the shower and sink fixtures. And thankfully we didn’t break it removing it and reinstalling it. We did sweat that alot!

Round reclaimed wood mirror with bronze bath faucet and lighting

Photo credit Melissa Kew Photography

A new toilet was installed and I sourced an oval mirror, to balance all the squares and rectangles in the space. It’s made from repurposed wood and has a nice rustic feel for a country bath. I had two sconce lights placed on either side of the mirror to replace the one hollywood strip. Did you know that being lit from each side is eminently more flattering than overhead lighting aka Hag lighting? The sconces themselves are simple and slightly industrial with a dark finish to match the fixtures.

Bronze faucet with repurposed antique library table vanity and reclaimed wood mirror

We also installed a few of these cute little deer hooks so that hanging up towels is quick and easy.

Shower with subway tile, river rock floor and bronze fixtures

My husband, was a huge part of this renovation. He did all the demo, all the tile work, all the installations except where we needed professionals. So obviously if you can do some of the work yourself that will be a great savings. Just remember though, that you should know what you can or cannot tackle. Sometimes DIY leads to even more expense when you have to call in the experts to fix a wrong.

All in, this renovation cost us under $8,000. Which is actually very reasonable as an average bathroom renovation costs around $20,000 and quickly goes up. Keeping everything in the same footprint in this tiny bathroom helped to keep the cost low. The majority of the cost was definitely the Kerdi Shower system. We didn’t want to skimp on that as we didn’t want a repeat of the water damage that had happened.

So there you have it, our modern cottage bath.

Modern cottage bath with unique vanity and river rock shower floor

So when can we start working on your bathroom renovation?

White, clean and serene master bath

Do you need a bathroom renovation that will make your house more serene, more practically organized and more like you? Well, keep reading to find out how the process works and just what can be achieved in your home.

This bathroom transformation went from dark, cluttered and drab to white, clean and serene. Isn’t she pretty and practical now?

Calm and serene master bath

These clients had a wish list that included:

  • two sinks,
  • lots more storage,
  • larger shower,
  • removing the tub,
  • better lighting,
  • proper venting, and
  • white and serene bath.

This master bath had no personality and obviously was dismal at even providing proper storage. It had only one sink in a crowded vanity, a window and tub where my client had envisioned the shower going, an awkward semi-circular shower enclosure and virtually no ventilation or proper lighting. It is definitely not possible to get ready to take on the day here or for that matter relax at the end of the day?

Before – master bath

You can see the semi-circular shower in the mirror opposite the vanity and behind the door. And the built in tub that was never used.

Before – master bath

I did up three different plans and after consulting with me and their contractor, the clients decided on this plan.

burnsopt3layout

burnsopt3

 

Originally we were going to move the toilet and the door but moving a toilet is an expensive option, so in the end we left both the toilet and the door where it was.

Then I did up two mood boards which shows tile, lighting and fixture selections. They went with Option 1. burns-master-bath-001

Here’s a closer look at the tile selections.

 

Master bath tile selection

The large scale shower wall tile looks like glass but it is actually porcelain and it is a breeze to clean. As per the norm, some items were changed from the moldboard to creation. The vanity was a great find and you’ll see why as you keep reading. The lighting was also changed to discreet pot lights where needed. We felt there was enough going on in the vanity area so this kept the area cleaner.

Where there was cramped, dark and non functioning, there is now this clean, serene, spa like space.

Calm and serene master bath So, what did we do exactly? We moved the vanity from it’s existing place at the right of the door to where the built in tub was. That way we got enough room to put two sinks and that enabled us to place the shower where the vanity had been. Originally, the clients wanted to swap the tub for the shower, but then the window was going to be partially in the shower enclosure. It could have been done, but this was a more cost effective and worry free solution. Moving the shower where the vanity was allowed for a much larger area and since it is all glass it feels very open when you are entering into the bathroom.

My clients also wanted a large inset shower shelf but since the main, long wall was an exterior wall, we couldn’t put a shelf there. So, instead we placed two smaller inset shower shelves, one on each side of the shower tower and it worked perfectly.

Custom shower with two inset shelves

Inset shower shelf

The inset shelf tile is the same as the shower floor and it was also used as a vanity backsplash, for continuity.

Custom shower with two inset shelves

Closeup of vanity area

 

Clean and serene master bath

The cool thing about this vanity is that the bottom toe kick is actually a secret drawer. Therefore, it has even more storage than you expect.

Clean and serene master bath

And those upper mirrored cabinets, well they cantilever up for easy access to even more storage.

Clean and serene master bath

My client, picked up this adorable teak stool that she uses in the shower, when needed.

Clean and serene master bath

How much nicer is it to get ready in this dream of a bath? If you need the answer to that question, give me a call and we can start working on your dream bath.

Lisa

 

Bathroom storage secrets

If you are thinking of a bathroom renovation and space is at a premium, this is an attractive vanity and coordinating mirror with a couple of storage secrets!

Bathroom storage vanity & mirror

Not one but two hidden storage areas!

Bathroom storage vanity & mirror

How clever is this! A secret drawer in the vanity, that looks like it is just the cabinet’s baseboard with a toe kick. Instead it hides a large storage drawer, perfect for a small bathroom or for someone like me with lots of extra items to store.

The mirror door also cantilevers upwards to offer even more storage, this is especially perfect if you don’t have room for a medicine cabinet door swing.

I used the double sink version of this vanity in a recent client bathroom renovation and they are loving the extra storage room. I’m hoping to be able to take some proper photos soon but here’s a little sneak peek of the space. A total refresh from their previous master bath.

Client bath reno - sneak peek

Lisa

Catching up….

So how is everyone? I’m great. I’ve had a ridiculous crazy end of summer, early fall, but it’s all good. I thought it’d be a good time to catch up with everyone and share all my news.

So first up, my daughter got married a few weekends ago at our cottage. And for those of you that follow me, you may remember my son, also got married at the cottage, the same weekend, last year.  Crazy two home grown weddings in one year…and yes, I’m still recovering. So pretty much for the months of August and September, we were busy getting the place wedding ready, which entailed having the exterior window frames painted, the beach roto-tillered within an inch of it’s life, roof repairs and of course, the never ending job of keeping critters from ripping up our lawn, for the oh so tasty grubs (we kind of failed on this point, but I’ll get to that later). We also were having a new furnace and air exchanger (which also acts as an air conditioner) installed the week before the wedding. So needless to say, I was a little stressed out about it all, until it was finally installed and working the Tuesday before the wedding….phew!

My daughter and son-in-law had decided on late fall, so that it would be nice and cool for them….well, not exactly how it turned out. We had our heat wave in mid to late September this year, so our cool fall wedding turned into a blazing hot 40 celsius summer wedding. So obviously, we cancelled the propane tent heaters we had ordered.  But at least it wasn’t raining and the a/c was working!!!

Here’s a few candid shots from the day.

wedding ready beach

wedding flowers

Bride and groom

Wedding

It was a spectacularly great day and since one of my son-in-law’s groomsmen, is a master of fireworks, we had a spectacular show once it got dark. You can check my Instagram video to see them. And you can’t even see the totally ripped up grass, courtesy of the family of raccoons that were being well fed with grubs….sigh…. Oh well, nothing is perfect.

So obviously the wedding kept me busy and just a few days before the wedding, the cottage was photographed for a design magazine. This was sooooooo exciting for me, of course, but it’s an incredible amount of work to try and get everything ready and picture perfect. So all the things I had put off and hadn’t finished, now needed to be done yesterday.  So there was alot of measuring, sourcing, purchasing, picking up, transporting of items, and of course, cleaning, lots and lots of cleaning. Here’s a few shots I took of the cottage prior to the photographer arriving.

Beach chairs

Conversation area on the deck with propane fire pit and

cottage dining room

cottage floral arrangement

cottage front porch

I’ll be sure and let you know when the issue comes out, but don’t hold your breath, it’s going to be awhile, as that is just the way it is, in the design magazine industry.

In between these two things, I’ve been working on completing a cottage reno and starting two bathroom renos. One bath is in full mode now, hopefully done in a week or two, and the other should start in the next few weeks. Here’s a little sneak peek of where the first one is heading, design-wise.

Bathroom tile selection, white and bright

Just realized the adhesive is showing on the top tile…opps. And the little squares are paint options for the clients to view. Once I have proper photos, I’ll let you know which paint colour was chosen.

And just yesterday, I was absolutely stunned to find out that I was nominated as one of the top 100 influencers in Interior Design for 2018. So if you have a minute and feel that I’ve somehow influenced your design style, I’d love your vote. Just click here or on the picture below and you’ll go directly to my name on the list.  Voting is open until Oct 10 and you can vote daily.  And just for that, I’m sending you a big hug and thank you!

Design Hounds Top 100 Influencers Nominee

 

So that’s all my news, sorry for such a long post, but I had a lot to cover. Have a fabulous weekend and to all my fellow Canadians, Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your turkey day!

Lisa

Bright and fresh guest bath

Before and after bath

I’m sharing a before and after of a small guest bath that was completed recently.  As you can see, it is now bright and fresh and ready for some Christmas guests.

A few befores. removing the bulkhead made such a huge difference.

Before bath before bath Before

This was a budget makeover as it is a little used bathroom and my clients just wanted to bring it up to date and make it fresh and clean.  We shopped big box stores and used budget friendly pieces wherever we could.

shower curtain, vanity and toilet view

We did a solid rectangular grey tile on the floor and a simple grey vanity from a big box store.  The client had purchased the mirror a few years prior and was itching to use it in the space. It adds a nice dose of personality to the room.

shower tile, curtain

The large scale white horizontal tile with strie detail are absolutely stunning in real life.  It’s a little hard to see the detail in a picture but trust me they are spectacular! And the graphic black and white shower curtain, just adds the right amount of pop.

horizontal shower tile,

You can see them a little better in the above photo and we laid them in a grid pattern so that it the horizontal lines were unbroken, also 2 tiles fit the length of the tub and 1 worked for the depth…perfectly. Little to no cutting involved!  When does that ever happen???

Here’s a good look at the vanity and the mirror.  I pulled the blue out of the mirror for the towels but you could use any of the accent colours in the mirror to change it up.

vanity view

We painted the walls in white that matched the shower tiles, to make it feel bigger, as there’s no demarcation line between the tiles and the walls.

shower curtain, vanity and toilet view

My clients also picked up a new low-flow toilet that is a higher more comfortable height.

close up of vanity

graphic shower curtain, toilet, flooring

A better look at the floor tile that were done in a grid pattern.

After full view bath

And if you look really close in the far left corner, you’ll see that even Phoebe approves.

Sources: Wall and floor tile – Ceragres, paint – Benjamin Moore, vanity, shelf, toilet – Home Depot, Mirror, artwork – client’s own,  faucets – Delta, shower curtain – Bed, bath and beyond

Lisa