Hah!!! We began designing the new bathroom and 2nd floor renovation over a YEAR ago. This past weekend the WSJ had an article on 2023’s Best Bathroom Design Trends. We did nearly every one of them. 🙂 Who KNEW I was such a trend-setter???? Although I have a lot of photos here of the completed new bathroom, some of the photos from last year’s post show things such as the mirror and teak stool much better. That post also has a detailed description of the shower unit.
We couldn’t find bathroom tile that we liked that had the necessary attributes for the job. I spent a lot of time in the tile store trying to find something. One day I started mixing and matching colors. Jeanne – the “tile lady” – liked what I was doing. 🙂 As we talked we pulled out the very expensive little tiles that I loved. We started popping them in among the larger tiles as accents. Ultimately that was the decision: 3 different colored large tiles from the same product line and 5 different colored accent tiles from a common product line. My husband and I decided that WE would lay out the tiles – it would be our art project, our own creativity. As it evolved from design to completion I began to think of it as our forest glen retreat – a green oasis that allowed you to step out of the everyday world and into serenity.
It’s not so easy to build 3 walls of tile when you don’t have walls. We had someone build us 3 wooden panels the size of the 3 walls. We put the panels in the driveway and began laying tiles randomly. Random is the key word here. We agreed that we did NOT want a pattern. Obviously the same color would touch vertically but the rule was the same color could not touch horizontally. It took hours. It was fun but exhausting and many times I thought we were idiots for taking this approach. My husband went first, doing the first pass of color selection and layout. I went next, doing some minor tweaks. He reviewed my tweaks. We both called it quits after several hours and very sore backs and knees.
We completed the walls approximately 2 weeks before they’d be placed inside. We needed to cover them and protect them from the rain. Obviously the tiles could take the water, but we weren’t sure what would happen to the organization or the wood panels if it rained very hard.
Next came the effort to move what we had done in the driveway to the 2nd floor so the tiler could use them. We took numerous photos to help explain our vision. Then we flipped the tiles over in the wooden frames and labeled each one: Left wall, row 1, tile 1. All the way through the last wall, last tile. It was cold and damp and I ran through 5 Sharpie markers. I marked, my husband boxed and we got it all done. So very happy we have a hot tub for days like the tile project.
The boxes were upstairs, the tiler came. He looked at all our work and the tiles. He pointed out that the saddle for the shower was cracked – we could not use it. I had to call the tile store, ask if they had any in stock, and run over and buy another $400+ saddle and bring it home. He did the floor and the sink backsplash. The next day was Yom Kippur. I needed to be at services by 9:30. Mirek looked at our carefully arranged boxes and said that it was lovely but that is not how tile gets laid. You don’t start at the top and work down or start at the bottom and go up. You start about 5-6 rows from the bottom and ensure that the rows are even. That way if the walls are uneven, the tiles are all even because he trims the top and bottom rows as needed. So all the boxing was nice, but not exactly as it is done. By the way – ‘our’ tiler is an artist, a genius, and an all-around nice person. He could have looked at what we wanted and been obstructive and nasty. Instead Mirek embraced our concept, made suggestions, and help make it not only happen but happen beautifully. Anyway it’s 7:30 am and he pointed out that we were short 5 rows on every wall – we had not spaced them close enough together. I needed another 100 or so tiles to build 5 more rows on every wall. I did not have 100 tiles. On the other hand, he said, I’d put one too many on each row. Why? Because when we laid it out we used a whole tile to indicate where a part of a tile needed to be cut and fitted. This is where his generosity and genius shone brightly. I went through each of the boxes, pulled each row, removed the last tile from each row. Then I took all the extracted tiles and built 5 more rows for each floor. Yes, I was a little late for services. 🙂 But Mirek understood the concept of “no horizontal touching” and I left him to do what needed to be done. You can see that he did wonderfully.
The other 2 “Mirek” touches had to do with the broken saddle and tiling the recess. I’d never thought about the recess nor about the flat service of the window. He suggested using the leftover floor tile for the recess and the broken saddle for the flat areas of the window and the recess. Absolutely perfect and lovely. What does the WSJ article say about tile for 2023? “Demand is bubbling up for ceramics in rich, dramatic colors. Klarna, a buy-now-pay-later shopping app, reports that, year over year, online purchases of blue tiles rocketed by 5,195% and black tiles by 1,594%. Green tiles saw a more modest 40% increase the first quarter of this year. Particularly in favor: the rough and shiny texture, irregular shape and colors of zellige tile, original to Morocco.” Way ahead of you, folks. *grin* They also talked about natural woods and how “swaths of smooth tile” are out.
So that was the new bathroom, the forest glen oasis. The original bathroom was completely redone. I’m afraid that I “broke” some of the WSJ’s designers’ “rules”. Even so a lot of it complies. I thought of this bathroom as my “beach escape”. While the forest glen bathroom – which is my husband’s bathroom – has an incredibly expensive shower unit with 4 wall jets, as well as an overhead rain, and a hand-held spray, the beach bathroom was going to be more “mine”. I had everyone build everything to MY height. I’m 5′ and he’s 6′ and I was tired of standing on the rim of the tub to reach the shower head. 🙂 Many people look at the height of the shower head and think it’s too low. NO IT’S NOT. When I was designing this one Jeanne (the tile lady, remember?) described this bathroom as the “childrens’ bathroom”. *laughing* It’s for people who are NOT over 6′ tall. But because the hand-held spray is on a pole and can move up and down guess what – tall people can use it too. The feature that got most of my female friends excited was the mirror/cabinet. There are 2 embedded LED strips in the mirror – tap to turn on. There are 3 separate light settings that could mimic different lighting situations.
Both bathrooms have bidets. Those toilets can do everything but wash the floor. Heated seats, separate saved profile settings, night lights, soft-close lids (no slammed toilet seats). I love the bathrooms. While the truth is that we have probably both needed the bathroom/showers at the same moment fewer than 10 times since they’ve been done, those few times have been wonderful. And I LOVE not sharing a bathroom. You can think of that what you will. 🙂