Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Master Bathroom DIY Remodel... The Final Touches!

Thank you for all your kind words and sweet compliments on our
master bathroom remodel! So many of you said you had never seen a
ladies shower foot niche so I'm happy I could share that with you!
The final piece to complete this project arrived last week, when
the glass partition/splash guard I ordered for the shower wall
was installed. You might remember that I choose the same to
finish off this bathroom remodel we did a few years ago...
Although my local fabricator always does an amazing
job, I can't help but think this was a total waste of $650...
Truthfully, I wish I had waited to use the shower before I
placed the order; because in almost ten days of using the
shower and not being careful at all, there wasn't ever any
splash that escaped beyond the shower wall. Nevertheless,
after sharing my feelings with my boss, she said she thinks
the glass panel helps makes the bathroom look finished...
So I'm going with that!
One of my favorite touches added to the bathroom...
Is this charming vintage French enamel Privé plaque!
If ever there was a perfect spot for it, it's here in my new bathroom!
It was such a treat to come home last Friday to find the
plaque and the robe hook I picked out were installed!
The final-final touch necessary to finish this bathroom was to
line the shelves and drawers in the vanity and storage cabinet...I prefer to use this open-weave, cushioned shelf liner in the kitchen and
bathroom because it has a little grip to it, which helps keep things in place!
Now, there's only one thing left for me to do...
Enjoy it!

To follow our progress during this project, check out these links:

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Master Bathroom Shower Niches

Following last week's wrap-up post for our Master Bathroom
Remodeling Project here, I heard from several readers asking about
the "small hole" near the floor of my shower and how it might be used...
While it's not meant to hold product, I can assure you this smaller
niche built into the shower wall does hold a very important purpose!
You see, it's a ladies shower foot niche!
It replaces the edge of the bathtub when there's no bathtub to support
your foot while you shave your legs - And, I love it! For my height, (5'8")
it was placed a perfect 18" up from the floor. It was something we didn't
consider during the last remodel of this bathroom but swore I'd do it,
every time I hoisted my legs three feet in the air to rest my foot against
the narrow ledge built in to hold my product bottles. I am loving my new
shower and I think every girl should have a foot niche of her very own!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

That's a Wrap! Master Bathroom Remodel is Complete...

After setting the last tile over the weekend, things to
complete our bathroom remodel moved along pretty quickly!
The Victorian Faucet I selected was installed... I say, Marry a man
that knows how to install a faucet and you will be happy always!
After the faucet went in, it was time to hang the mirror. I cannot lie,
it was a bit heartbreaking to watch him drill into this beautiful tile!
Nevertheless, sacrifices have to be made
and this one was well worth making!
I will always love this custom vanity and storage cabinet!
Silly me, I spent so much time searching for the right waste can to
match the aesthetic of my new bathroom when all I had to do was to
go grab it from the closet! It's the French enamelware compost pail
offered through Martha Stewart's Martha by Mail catalog... This was
the last MBM purchase I made before it closed and it's such a treasure!
While I piddled and decorated my vanity, someone was busy in the shower!
Busy grouting the tile around my shower niches...
And, installing the shower valve I selected! While he is not a plumber by
trade, it's more of a honey-please-do-this-for-me hobby for him, my sweet
husband was able to install this system by Hudson Reed in no time at all!
Of course, with all this polished chrome exposed, I didn't want to risk
it being scratched/dinged by tools... So I ran into the shower to cover it in
painter's tape! After a few minutes, it was up and running. And, ding-free!
I'm calling it the Eclipse or Halo shower because of the reflection on the
ceiling cast by the new light fixture. While it's not bothersome on the ceiling,
the shadow cast over the shower does make it a little darker than I'd like...
Nevertheless, this is one of those things you can't always anticipate
during the process. After all, you have to have a ceiling to install the
light fixture and the light fixture has to go in before you can tile and
you can't install this shower head until the shower is tiled. Perhaps I
should have realized this type of system would extend further over
the ceiling than shower heads mounted to the wall... But, I didn't!Someone asked me this morning if I would go through this process again...
And, I said that I would!
Because despite numerous unnecessary disappointments, everything I
planned for this project came out exactly and I imagine and hoped!
What I absolutely would not do again is hire contractors...  This of
course, does not include my amazing carpenter or marble fabricator!
While I understand that most people couldn't remodel a bathroom the way
my husband remodeled mine, I believe the frustration, time and money saved
by figuring it out yourself so that you can, is an investment worth making!Not that you asked for my input; however, if you're considering
a home improvement project of your own, I am happy to share...
A few lessons I learned along the way...

Use caution and do your research before ordering from Amazon
When making purchases from Amazon, it's important to know who you're buying from and their specific return policies. I purchased this mirror assuming that as a Prime member, Amazon would stand behind me but what I found was just the opposite. When the mirror arrived we immediately noticed a defect on the front and, that it wasn't able to be hard-wired into the electricity already on the wall where the previous light fixture was wired. Instead, the mirror had to be mounted near an outlet so it could be plugged in! Now, who wants a big white cord hanging off their mirror and lose an outlet near the sink?

Nevertheless, this is not at all how the mirror is described or appears in the seller's photos on the Amazon website. Nevertheless, when I attempted to return it, Amazon told me since it was not fulfilled by them, I had to work directly with the seller. Long, difficult, frustrating story short, the seller completely glossed over the photos I sent of the defect and instead focused on the problem with wiring, saying I "should have known better what I was buying." The fact that I was communicating with someone in China that didn't write English very well and was in another time zone didn't help. It wasn't until I insisted Amazon get involved that the seller agreed to allow me to return the mirror - And, under Amazon's return policy, it should have been a pre-paid return with pick-up due to the defect in the glass. However, since I had to deal with the seller, they had the option (per Amazon) NOT to pay for the return at all. I even appealed Amazon's decision to side with their seller twice and lost. In the end, I was responsible for shipping it back at my expense. Fortunately, and again, only with help from Amazon, I was able to get the seller to provide a US address for the return. Otherwise, it would have cost $310 to return this $200 mirror to China! However, with the US address I paid $20.00, which the seller agreed to refund - Which they never have. Bottom line, I feel lucky to have gotten out of this bad deal losing only $20

A similarly disappointing issue occurred with Houzz.com for the shower valve system we purchased. When it arrived, the box was open and upon comparing what remained inside the box to a parts list, we found that several of the components were missing. While Hudson Reed did send a replacement, it delayed us from install by roughly three weeks. By the time we got to installation, the same shower system went on sale at the Hudson Reed website; from the $599.00 we paid to just $419.00. Although I called Houzz.com to request the price adjustment, they told me Houzz.com is merely a "store front" for retailers who are responsible for selling/shipping their own products to people that visit Houzz.com. I was instructed by Houzz to call Hudson Reed directly, where a stern man with a British accent told me, "The price is the price on the day you buy it, period." And, since we are now outside the 30-day return policy set by Houzz (due to the delay in getting our system) we couldn't return it and buy it at the lower price from Hudson Reed directly. So again, it pays to know whom you're buying from and all return and pricing policies associated with your purchase. UPDATE: After sending an e-mail to Linda at Houzz.com asking that they inquire with Hudson Reed about this on my behalf, I am delighted to report that they have reversed their decision and are issuing the credit.
Shop, shop, shop for the Best price and don't be afraid to ask retailers to match a competitor's price
I was able to increase the quality and cut the cost of my custom vanity and bathroom storage cabinet unit from nearly $9,000.00, ($6,450.00 quoted just to build the vanity and cabinet, plus $400 for delivery/set up, $1,500 for painting/finishing and sales tax) to only $2,500.00 for both pieces of furniture by switching from a commercial "local" cabinet company to an independent carpenter I could trust. I paid $1,700.00 for the vanity and storage cabinet, (constructed of solid maple) and $800.00 to have them painted and finished. My carpenter delivered and installed the pieces FREE and tax was included in his quote to build. I know expert craftsmen are hard to come by (if you live in my area, I'm happy to share his name/contact information); however, by asking for recommendations from family, friends and coworkers, I bet you can come up with someone to work with!

Prices on the carrara marble for my vanity top and shower wall and niches varied just as much as the furniture... However, by shopping the first $2,000.00 quote I received around, I was able to find much better quality marble for less than half that price!

As for price-matching... I found the polished carrara marble mosaic flooring we used for this remodel at Floor and Décor for $13.99 per sheet; however, I also found it here for $9.99 per sheet. After verifying with this on-line marble source that it was the same material, I requested a price match at Floor and Décor, which they ultimately honored. I say ultimately because I was first told by two different associates that Floor and Décor does not price match; however, after running it by the flooring manager who took my order, I learned they DO price match.

You already know from this post never to hire any contractor without a signed contract that: 1) spells out the scope of work to be done 2) who will pay for materials 3) includes a timeline and completion date

The one aspect of this project I don't have to warn you about is buying from Pottery Barn! Everything they sell is high quality and in all my years of being their customer, I have never encountered an issue with returns or replacements. Even if you change your mind about an on-line purchase, Pottery Barn will pay to have your items picked up and cheerfully refund your money. Their customer service is truly second to none.

If you're just tuning in and wish to see this project as it progressed, you may visit these past posts:

#diy #bathroom #remodel #smallbathroomdesignideas #classicinteriors #interiordecorating #subwaytile #carrara #marble #customvanity #bathroomstorage #hudsonreed #houzz #potterybarn #overstock #pricematch

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Master Bathroom Remodel - The Last Tile is Set!

Well, hello!
Happy Friday, kittens... I hope you had an amazing week!
I bet you're wondering how the
master bathroom remodel is going. Well...
In my last post here, I shared with you the process of having the
Carrara marble installed for the shower wall and my custom vanity...
It was a big deal; because until the marble was set, we were at a stand-still
where the tile was concerned. I was very excited to come home from work
yesterday to see how well the tile was set around the vanity and shower wall!
Clearly, my sweetie brought his A-game! I mean, just look at how
beautifully he closed the tile around the marble on my vanity top
and the shower wall. No paid contractor could have done as well!
I am so eager to get back into my bathroom. Especially to have my toilet
set back into its little spot. Now that the wall is tiled, I'm one step closer!
I took the day off today to offer my input for tiling the front and
back of the shower wall and around the niches inside the shower...
But I really should have known better, because
he really does have this project well under control!
I'm really glad I didn't listen to that first contractor I hired that told me
no one is using cove base (baseboard) tiles anymore with tiled walls...
Although I know many take subway tile straight to the floor, I think the
cove tile really helps anchor the wall to the floor for a more finished look!
I also think the small transition (swoop) that's along the bottom
of cove base tiles will make it easier to keep the floor clean!
I was so excited to see this wall finished and how well my darling husband
cut the tile to fit around the marble, I was ready to jump into the shower!
But... There was (still is) plenty of work left to do before that can happen!
We both anticipated the niches being a challenge to tile because of the
crappy way the wall was built and the niches were framed by that first
contractor I hired to set the shower floor. Although my husband planned
to do it, the contractor said there wasn't enough cheese (money) in it to
make laying just the shower floor worth his time. So he offered to frame
the wall, including the niches I had sketched out and hang the tile board
needed throughout the shower. After he finished and admitted that the
wall didn't quite come out right is when he offered to do the whole job
for a few thousand dollars more. Feeling I had no choice, I agreed to his
terms; however, he must have come up with another (better paying) gig
because he dragged me around for three+ weeks saying he was too sick
to work and then, he quit altogether. Now, I don't want to think that he
intentionally messed up the wall to make it so that I had no choice but
to hire him to fix it during the process of tiling... But that sure is how it
seems. Nevertheless and despite the shoddy workmanship on this wall...
The amazing tile guy I just happen to be married to, got to work!
And, although not much about these niches was square, plumb
or straight, he made the cuts and adjustments necessary...
To get the job done!
I'm so happy I planned for this foot niche! And, while the contractor
that framed this wall and these niches totally made this one too tall...
It provided the perfect spot to leave this little bonus for my tile guy to find!
All the frustrations of this project aside...
We are both quite pleased by the way it turned out!
Everything I planned for this bathroom remodel turned out better than
I imagined! I am in love with the custom furniture, the monogram I put
into the Carrara marble mosaic on the floor and all the fixtures too!
However... Although the last piece of tile has been set, we're still not done!
The tile still needs to be grouted and then... There's all this stuff to install!
If I'm being perfectly honest, I really don't want him drilling into my
beautiful new subway tile to hang any of it! But, I also know that
without a showerhead, my new shower won't be much use to me!
Over at the vanity, there's still the faucet and drain to connect into
the plumbing under the sink. And then, there's the organizing!
When I designed this vanity, I added this shallow drawer to the top
of my drawer stack to hold all my dailies... I wanted everything I
need to get ready in the morning; my hairbrushes, facial cleaners,
lotions, make-up and perfume to be in one spot and easy to locate!
And, since my new vanity stands nearly 40" tall, I could do a 4th drawer!
My carpenter didn't quite understand it... But I did! On Monday
my sweetie will grout and I will begin clearing out drawers in our
bedroom and closet to relocate everything I didn't have space for in
the bathroom into my new custom vanity and storage cabinets. Since
I'm out of shelf liner and in need of more organizers, I'll get those too!

Next time we chat, I should be able to show you some of the chrome
pieces on the walls. I'm so excited to see the mirror go up and
to finally get into my new bathroom. I hope you'll stay tuned!