The Cool House: bathroom
Showing posts with label bathroom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bathroom. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bathroom inspiration

From the Albert Fry House II, Palm Springs

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Master Bath Inspiration

Meanwhile back at the house... things are definitely moving on the master bathroom front. Can you even recall when I first knew we had to go in and fix this 80/90s redo? I'm ashamed to say that after we made an offer on the house we walked through with the engineer and sought his advice about the crack in the terrazzo shower base; he thought we could probably get a replacement installed for $1000. Well, dear readers that was April 2004. Rather than start to repair what would eventually be ripped out we put it on the "to do" list and moved on to more urgent projects like the roof, the windows and the pesky termite damage.
We were going to rehab the room in 2006, we even started the demolition, then we had the water gushing through the ceiling scenario that made us switch focus and fix up the boys' bath. Remember? That was the "practice" bathroom. We practiced some more in the girls' bath and the downstairs bath and perfected our design skills in the powder room. Before long I realised I had perfected them so impeccably I'd run right out of inspiration.
For the last couple of years I've been seriously collecting images of spaces and products I love: wooden tubs, showers and over-the-top tiles. I loved them all - just not in that room with its design challenges: no natural light, raised floor and a small footprint. Nothing felt completely right, so we waited.
Then we went to Palm Springs. The hotel bath was the usual windowless space but it had a ton of light - sconces, lights on either side of the mirror and six energy-saving hi-hats - in a space that had the exact dimensions of our master. When I got home I pulled out my favorite photos (I'm not sure where they came from so if I've ripped one of your designs I apologise) and saw they all had something in common: dark vanities. The same dark vanities we'd used in all the other bathrooms. I'd been trying to avoid them here to increase the feeling of space but I realised going lighter wasn't going to help and I should just go with what's worked in the other baths. From there it all just fell into place.

So that's it - five years of procrastination, a blog full of inspiration and a few days in a hotel in the desert - we are finally ready to roll.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Wood Obsessed

I still haven't got over my obsession with wood as the major design element at The Cool House. The teak shower bases we put in the downstairs bath and the boys' bath have been very successful; they are warmer than tile, and much less slippery. I'd really like to get more wood into the master bath remodel and have been mulling over the idea of paneling the master bath walls in walnut. I love the concept but I don't want it to look like a 70s sauna, so I'm focusing on wooden sinks and baths that might give me more of the look I want without the feeling I should be beating myself with birch twigs.

Handmade oval bathtub in teak

Bath in Wood of Maine handcraft a double tub from inch thick mahogany planks.

Umbila wood bath from Adagio Sinks

Laguna Basic wood tub in walnut.
The Leguna Basic tub is probably my favorite, the one that fits best with overall style of the house and it's small enough to replace the existing tub without any major changes to the plumbing or layout of the room. What about you? Any particular tub strike you as swoon-worthy?

This post is part of the Hooked on Fridays fest

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gold Fever

I don't know about this Soffi Gold Fever Murano Glass waterfall faucet from Bongio. I can't decide if it reminds me more of an upside down retro table lamp or alibaba's turban. I am certain that if it were in our shower someone would hit with a shampoo bottle on day one and it would be raining Murano sprinkles and I don't think we'd be singing this song.
via trendir

Friday, October 10, 2008

Terminator Bath Tub

Am I the only person who when they see this

thinks of this?

The Teuco Swarovski Bathtub, made to order in Italy from Teuco.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Well, economic meltdown or no, we can't just sit around here doing nothing. But we have to be very, very frugal, so instead of buying $3000 worth of tiles, a $2500 shower system and four $500 faucets to finish the master bath, we bought a can of paint ($14) to finish the ceiling of the boys bath. The ceiling that we primed, oh when was it now? April 2007.
We didn't mean to be so lax but we figured we should leave the final coat to the ceiling until the master bathroom was done when, we planned, the painter could do a professional job on both bathrooms at once. Ha, in this house great plans have a habit of curling up in the corner for a long snooze and, apart from the occasional snore to remind us they are still alive, can be ignored until we are forced (by the imminent arrival of visitors, or the need to sell up and move to different continent) to dust off the cobwebs and ACTUALLY PUT THEM INTO ACTION. Anyway, we are no nearer getting the master fixed-up than we were eighteen months ago, so I called it diy time. Two trips to the paint store, one for a can of paint and one for a liner for the paint tray and we were ready to go. That was until we discovered that we couldn't get the stepladder into the shower to paint the ceiling without some serious trauma. One more trip, this time to Home Depot, and we scored a two foot step ladder for $13.95. An hour later we had a bright, clean ceiling, and we can finally, finally call that bathroom done.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Towel rail miscalculation resolved

On Saturday after everyone had calmed down we tried a new fix for the towel rail issue. Instead of centering the brackets on one tile and thereby exposing the "oopsies", we carefully placed a second stainless tile adjacent to the first to cover the holes and assorted nicks.

It's not exactly as I envisioned it but it works fine, especially when viewed through a mirror. Speaking of which, we still have to replace the ugly plastic mirror above the towel bar. This really shouldn't be much of a challenge.......

Friday, August 01, 2008

Renovation Frustration

Sometimes renovation projects are simple. Like when the design shows tell you to spruce up your bathroom by changing the towels and maybe the hardware. It's easy, they coo, it refreshes the whole room in no time at all and at very little cost.

Then there are the deeply frustrating projects. You start well, you decide to spruce up the bathroom by changing the towels and removing the hideous plastic towel rail.

Three of the screws come out easily but the third is screwed. You use a wrench, a pair of pliers and a lot of brute strength. It takes an hour but eventually the old, ugly towel rail is gone. You measure the distance and the height of the screw holes.

You purchase a new towel rail, and a toilet roll holder in brushed stainless steel to match the faucet and handles on the vanity. When you hold the towel rail against the wall you realise the holes you will need to make to secure it to the wall do not match the existing holes. This is not a big deal if you are screwing into wallboard - that's what spackle is for. However, if the area behind the towel rail is tile, YOU ARE IN BIG TROUBLE. You contemplate your options. Many months go by.
Suddenly, you have a "eureka" moment. You can center the towel rail on two 6" stainless steel tiles. You order a sample pack of stick on stainless steel tiles from an online retailer. They arrive. You try it out. It looks as if the tiles are part of the towel rail, it fits, it covers the holes. It is the perfect solution.
Then things start to go very, very wrong. You request the help of The Guy to afix said tile/towel rail combo to the wall. The Guy offers to take over. You ask if he requires help masking the spot. He does not. He asks only for a magic market to block the tile. You give him the pen and move on to other tasks. You leave the house.

When you return an hour and a half later you are surprised that only one bracket of the towel rail is on the wall. You make the unwise decision to voice this aloud. The Guy storms off, whereupon you take this opportunity to examine his work more closely. The holes are not covered by the tile. On the other side of the bracket he has knocked the glaze off an adjacent tile while hammering plastic anchors into the tile. Why?
You leave the project, go into your office and find the desk littered with paper on which is scribbled mathematical formulae for calculating the exact position of the towel rail on the tile. But nowhere is there a calculation for the correct placement of the tiles so that the existing holes would be covered. Which was, if you remember, the point of the tiles in the first place.
My conclusion from this project? The littlest things take the longest time, cost you money than you ever imagined and are emotionally frustrating.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hollywood's Calling

I think the only way to give this bathroom the proper attention it deserves is to dress like this when you are preparing to draw a bath. Or better still, have someone draw it for you. And bring you a Martini while you are soaking. And a cigarette in a long platinum holder.
The extremely glamorous Di Liddo & Perego Moda Wellness bathroom in silver gilt. Fur stole optional.
via Trendir.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Surreal bath filler

I'm still looking for that inspiration piece that will kick-start the master bath into action. I don't think this Mimi Bath Filler from Gessi is it, though. Perhaps it's just me but I find it too Daliesque, too Magritte, too surreal. Like the side section of a male anatomy model sculpted by Picasso......

Monday, April 07, 2008

Paint Your own Wallpaper

If you think moving flagstones is hard work, just imagine the hours that went into getting the masking tape straight so you could achieve this effect. I came across this idea for a painted striped wallpaper effect by Modern Self. Totally in awe right now.
via Master of Your Domain

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The power of democracy

red & black

After I mentioned I had asked the internet readership to help us choose a new vessel sink, the Guy announced he has a definite preference and that he is a Super Delegate and therefore gets two votes. I have a different choice of sink but as I threw it open I will of course abide by the majority's decision.

red crackle

He is concerned that I didn't give you a choice to state you think all four were horrible. So if you hate them all, have a better suggestion or have a reason why you favor one vessel sink over another send me a comment.

red marble

Each of the above has at least one vote.

red spiral

It seems no one is into the Red Spiral, are the swirls too distracting perhaps?

red Imprint with a #50 Paintbrush

To help us with the decision we visited Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today at the MoMA in Manhattan. It was a fabulous show, possibly the best I've seen there since they expanded MoMA, but we are no nearer reaching a concensus. More about the exhibition over here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Powder room: the fixtures

No gold tiles or bejeweled faucets but a splash of colour from the vessel sink amongst the sea of gray tones

Monday, March 17, 2008

Powder room tile choice

Saturday morning was spent running from one tile place to another to find the perfect floor for the powder room. First stop HD to look at the marble we could buff down and seal. It was Hopelessly Depressing. We did buy a $9 Carrara marble lintel but the only marble tiles they had left were Crema Beige, and these were chipped and horrible.
Then on to a "real" tile shop where 12"x12" honed Carrara was a staggering $12! Eeek. And the more I looked at it the more I thought it could turn into a bad 80s nightmare. So we chose six Porcelain tiles that would co-ordinate with the countertop to try at home. First contender was a light grey marble-like 13'x13" tile that unfortunately looked dirty in the powder room. Second a great stone-look cement-coloured tile but it was too modern for the space. Likewise two Urbatek tiles in grey-green and slate blue and a fifth that had sparkles in. Unfortunately that one did look like someone had missed the loo, so that left number six.

Kitten-approved final choice: grey porcelain tile with black and stone veins.

Oops. First casualty of the renovation - the brand new lintel. It didn't stand up to being trodden on.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Bathroom flooring: the tip

Finally I got the long anticipated email from Apartment therapy with the tip for doing your own cheap and chunky marble floor. Big disappointment. The tip? Buy cheap marble pieces from Home Depot and buff them down to kill the shine. I'd already thought of that. But I'm not sure that's going to make for easy cleaning and that's a high priority here. Everything cleans off polished marble, including the red wine ring I found three weeks after our last party. (Which of you put that red glass bowl over the stain?) I just Windexed it off. But buffed marble and possible pee sounds like it might lead to odd yellow stains on the floor, and that would annoy me.
Does anyone know whether buffing makes marble more pervious?
Otherwise I could go with Porcelanosa Urbatek Zone Nature, which would be maintenance free and cheaper at $5.95 sq'.

Getting started on the bathroom

I can't tell you how long I've waited to type those words. Unfortunately, I had hoped that I'd be writing about the long anticipated master bath remodel but that would be too easy. We're still at the "You haven't shown me a plan" "I showed you the plan" "That's not a plan. It's a sketch, a very vague sketch" stage.
But we do have one other bath we have to renovate. Or half-bath. Or powder-room as they call it here. The little WC under the stairs. The one I said would have to wait until we renovated the kitchen. (I should make two New Year's Resolution lists in future. One of things we plan to do that year, these will never get done, and a second list of things that won't even be considered because it seems that these will never be completed at any cost).
And it all started with a call to our great handyman to come help me fix the rotted siding under the sliding door. You see because he does fabulous work he's greatly in demand. So when you've got him you don't want to let him leave without tackling all the little chores you can't do yourself. Like tile the 52"x 56" space that is the downstairs loo.

Inspiration from great room credenza

I know exactly what I want in there: Ronbow Red and Black Vessel sink with a long neck vessel faucet on a Carrara marble countertop. See how easy this will be? The only thing I need to do now is pick the floor tiles. And yesterday I saw just the thing over at apartment therapy: Cheap and Chunky DIY marble tile floor. That's it exactly. Perfect. And they will tell me how to do it. Only yesterday's email with the details didn't come and I'm waiting impatiently, checking my inbox every two seconds. Because I need to go get the necessary materials so that we are ready when The Handyman comes and then we can cross this project off the list.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


From the "you can never have too much bling in your bathroom" department, the Italian firm Teknobili brings you the Oz collection. In collaboration with goldsmith Alberto Cotogno, designer Nilo Gioacchini has produced a solid gold faucet with 282 diamonds, total carats: 10.24.
A gold diamond-encrusted bidet faucet. I want to know how you keep that thing clean. I guess if you're asking that question, bling in the bath is not for you. Oh, and if you have to ask the price................
via Trendir

Friday, February 15, 2008

My newest guilty obsession

Just to tide me over the ebay boycott next week I have been wasting many hours researching the wonderful decorative items for sale on Etsy.
I found this really cute glass dish from deSignSSglaSS. I'm going to use as a soap-dish in the girls' bath. The size is just right and it has a nice modern feel, plus it's unique. The weird thing is that the stripes are more sage green than pewter in real life.
Funny how the camera lies isn't it?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mr Forbes and I agree

On shower heads, that is. On pretty much everything else we are polar opposites. But on shower heads we have common ground. The Grohe Freehander shower was one of the products we chose for the boys' bath renovation last year. It also made the Forbes Luxe-for-Less home improvement list.
I have loved this product since I first stepped into the shower after the renovation. We kept the same plumbing in this bath, changing only the valve, trim and shower head, which kept costs down and the Freehander was, much to the plumber's surprise, really easy to install. The actual price on the street (or the internets) is much cheaper than the one quoted on
Because you can adjust the arm it really works for my 6' 2" husband (no more twisting and bending to get the shampoo out), and I can pull the arm down to get an arc of water over my head. It looks good, it's powerful and if you set it to "massage" it kneads all the knots out of your achey shoulders. What more can a gal ask of a shower head?

The only change I'd make if I had to do the remodel again would be to spring for the Thermostatic Temperature Control Valve, just to ensure the water is at a constant temperature no matter who might decide to clean their teeth while I'm taking an invigorating but warm shower. That would really be luxe!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Back to work?

It's almost 2008 and this is the year we have designated to finally GET THE FREAKIN' MASTER BATH DONE. I had to use the blog to find out when was the last time we used the shower in there, and it was August 2006. We've got used to using the other showers, especially the one we renovated last year when we should have been doing ours, the "trial" version.
There have been lots of reasons we put it off: lack of funds; unwillingness to cope with the mess; no inspiration; but going into that bathroom with its cracked shower pan, cracked basin, bare lights and missing medicine cabinet door is so depressing that we are girding ourselves up for a total gut of the bathroom.
The challenges for this will be:
1) I want to spend less money than I had originally budgeted. My reasoning for this is that house prices are falling, and will probably come down some more and I don't want to over-invest in the house, but I still want a modern, sleek bathroom and these tend to be on the pricey side.
2) We still don't know if we can, or want to put a skylight in the room.
3) I have no resources too work with. I lost all my bookmarks, images, links, everything I had stored on my ibook over the past three years when the hard disk died, except for the image below that was on my flickr page.

master bath ideas
I'm now thinking that this is too cold for the master. The bathroom as it stands is all white and sterile. and so it feels cut off from the rest of the house, which is warm with lots of wood. I don't want to replace one cold design with another more modern version of the same. On the other hand the shower part of the space has no natural light so I don't want to use such dark tiles it ends up looking like a cave.
That brings me to the lighting problem. We went to look at a house that uses solar tubes but from the outside it looked like three alien spaceships had landed on the roof, so we won't be going down that route. Then we have the possibility of putting a skylight in, but the space above the bathroom is taken up with HVAC pipes and light fittings, and the pitch of the roof is so shallow I'm concerned about water backing up around the skylight when it rains and eventually finding its way through the ceiling. Even if there is enough space, is it worth the risk?
The only thing I'm completely sure of at this moment is that we need to upgrade the lighting a lot. We need better lights and we need more of them. Oh and a quieter fan. Apart from that there's still a lack of inspiration, and motivation, for the remodel. I feel I need a spark to awaken my enthusiasm and set the project in motion.