When we originally purchased our lake house, the bathroom looked like this:
Remember the natural oak cabinetry, pink walls, vinyl flooring, laminate counters, and bisque shower portal with matching toilet and sink? An elderly couple had built this lake house to their needs, so the vanity was very low and there were grab bars all over. I had no issues with the layout, actually I loved the linen tower to the left of the vanity, but the finishes weren't our style and after thirteen years, the bathroom wasn't in the best shape.
But it was workable! With a little bit of money, and a lot of sweat-equity, I gave the space a budget-friendly spruce:
Basically I just painted the cabinets, tile, and walls, and added some accessories and art - really, it didn't take much to bring out the best in the space. I even worked with the mint counters! I'm so happy we took the time to give it that little update, even though we knew a reno was imminent, because we ended up postponing for a year. In a small house like ours, every room is really visible (this bathroom can be seen from the dining table, actually!), so having it look a little nicer made me happy - and it made waiting a little more bearable. If it had been in better condition, I could have lived with it a lot longer. Unfortunately, despite my best beautifying efforts, the space had started to show its age. The shower portal doors were busted and just not as functional as I would have liked (never mind that the whole thing was kind of smelly inside, despite a deep clean, because water got stuck in the lines of the jet function). The low counters were inconvenient and the poor mint laminate started to peel. The makeover was well worth the time though, because it helped us realize what we liked, and didn't like, and ultimately shaped the more expensive makeover we started last year.
Here's what the bathroom looks like today:
I have to explain, though, that this room looks way better in real life than in photos. I'm still learning how to use my new DSLR, but taking true to life photos is made more difficult by the time of year. This room faces the road and during the summer, when the trees are their leafiest, some of the sunlight is blocked by the mini forest on our property and the massive forest and mountain behind (you can see those trees in the exterior photos from my post about our DIY fire pit). We're SO lucky we don't have neighbors on that side, so I am definitely not complaining, but it does make it a smidge darker in the bathroom this time of year - you can see the difference from this other set of bathroom photos. It's bright in person - not as bright as the always sunny living room, but bright - but for taking photos there's not as much light as I'd like (and need). I struggled taking these photos and even with Hubby awkwardly holding my light kit, me diligently using my tripod and employing all of the tips I've picked up, this bathroom seems darker and duller in these photos. In the winter (shudder) when it gets better light, I'll retake the photos - and share an update on how things are holding up/how we like them - but I couldn't wait a second longer before sharing the bathroom reveal! Just imagine it....brighter, prettier, sparklier, walnutier, and just lovelier.
Enough imagining - let's talk details! There are links through out, but also a whole list of sources at the end of this post. Some of them are affiliate links, so if you make a purchase I might make a small commission. Just let me know if I forgot to link anything, or if you have any questions!
The Walnut Cabinetry:
I love the walnut cabinetry, even though the manufacturer kept sending us flawed drawer fronts. Even now, they don't line up perfectly but I just don't think they can get them better than this. I was really excited to get these exact same cabinets in the kitchen, but now I'm not so sure...
Quality control issues aside, I love that both the vanity and linen tower float! This was a nutty plan of mine and although others had some doubt, I trusted my gut (and a moment of inspiration) and am so thrilled with the outcome - practical AND gorgeous (with no stupid toe kick). All of the sides and the entire drawer fronts, front and back, are walnut, which is my preference and makes for a streamlined look.
If you recall, the counter shop also made a mistake and, as a result, the right hand overhang had to be given a substantial shave. At first it bothered me, but now I don't even notice it. No one else who has seen this bathroom has uttered a peep - everyone just runs their hands along the surface, whispering sweet nothings to it. There are these INCREDIBLE silvery blue veins in our quartzite slab:
All of those areas glint like crazy! Any time I move around the room - or even when I'm walking by - they catch my eye because they just gleam and are so luminescent. You can't see this as well in photos...hmmmm, maybe I need to take a video of them! (Is that what snapchat is for???).
I'm really, really pleased with our particular quartzite slab, which was our second choice after deciding not to work with the tile and granite company who tiled the tub surround and floor - and damaged our bathtub in the process (we have the worst luck!). The slab we had picked out there had a lot of veins as well, but not as many of these quartz areas, so I'm kind of glad we ended up going to another shop. Silver lining, right? The busy pattern of the stone also disguises water spots - which I appreciate!
I still see a frozen over lake when I look down at the counters...
The Aqua Sinks:
These sinks are what my dreams are made of - oh to have stumbled across a house with its original 1960s blue bath tub, toilet and sink! My Mummu still has her original pink tub and sink (with floating vanity) and I've loved it ever since I was a child. I wanted this bathroom to have a mid-century feel, but still play homage to its lakeside locale, and these aqua sinks are it for me - the turquoise is so retro, but really mimics the color and gleam of the lake on a bright day.
The sheen on these Kohler sinks is beautiful - they're just gleam. At first, though, our hard water left little dull white spots but I cleaned both sinks with Kohler's cast iron sink cleaner and, since then, they actually seem to repel the water and no water spots form - at all! That was a relief, because for a brief moment I envisioned my life in servitude to these aqua sinks, dutifully cleaning them every night.
The Kohler Purist Fixtures + Sconces:
I love the shape and simple lines of the Kohler Purist line - our tub spout, handheld shower, sink faucets, sconces, and even the toilet paper holder are all from the same line. It's timeless and I'm loving the brushed nickel finish - cool and clean, which is perfect for a lakeside bathroom. The best things is that water spots don't show up like they do on chrome. Boy, was I over chrome. I know this metal isn't trending, but I picked what I love because I have to live with this for a looooong time. I just prefer brushed nickel with my cool color palette.
The huge mirror we chose was a great decision because we clearly need a lot of light bounced around! Plus I think it makes the space feel more expansive. Mounting the sconces on the glass - although scary! - looks better than I imagined and allowed us to add three which gives us a lot of light in the evening - plus it looks more luxe than a pair. These Kohler Purist sconces have a nightlight in the bottom, which sealed the deal for me!
The Charcoal Grey Tile Floor:
I picked this floor based on my gut. I brought home tons of samples but this one stood out right away. I love the scale, rectangular shape, and its simplicity, but also the color was perfect. It has a slightly irregular, somewhat matte finish to it which disguises water spots (I'm evidently obsessed with not seeing water spots!) and fools people into thinking it's a natural stone, like slate. Even my Mom, who was with me when I picked this tile, keeps thinking it's slate. I briefly considered hex, but I think this bathroom - with its busy stone, walnut grain, and bright aqua sinks, needed something simple for the flooring!
Years later I can't get over the fact we have a bathroom big enough to put two clothes hampers in! These woven beauties are from Bed Bath & Beyond and they fit the spot perfectly. I love the natural look because it picks up on the other, subtle natural and textural elements in the room: like the walnut, the stone, the sparkly shower tile... My look has evolved to a mid-century meets natural/beachy vibe, and while I may not decorate with anchors and coral, I do have a lot of natural touches throughout the house that call to mind driftwood, beaches, and the changing moods of the lake. I like these subtle touches! The creamy finish on these hampers offers some repetition of the creamy. shimmering tile and also our DIY white stained maple kitchen counters, cream leather sectional sofa - even that whitewashed stool we use in the front entryway. That kind of repetition makes me smile, plus I think it's important in a small house when you can traverse from one end to the other in the blink of an eye.
The Tiled Shower:
Things were never sorted with the tile company because, if I'm being honest, I just didn't have the steam to take them to court after they broke off communication. Last year was very taxing and it's taken me a long time to recover and I have been diligent about cutting unnecessary stress out of my life. I am planning a post on 10 ways the tilers buggered up - and what you can learn from my mistakes - including the fact that I realize now I was given the wrong tile! I ordered white, not realizing there was also a cream, and when they showed me the tile and nervously asked if it was the right one, I said yes because it looked right. But once it was installed, it looked much more beige than I remembered. It was reflecting other surfaces so I didn't worry. Looking on the tile company's website later, I realized this is the beige - and that's, duh, why it looks more beige than the sample I brought home, which was likely the white.
But it worked out because I don't even mind the cream these days - I like it! It's warm and looks natural, like shell. Plus, the slab of quartzite we ended up with was much warmer than our first choice, so the warm beige and greige sections work with this tile! Since I am starting to pile on the cream accents around the house (which I rattled off above), it actually complements my whole home color palette perfectly. Or maybe I'm just blinded by the subtle glimmer, which I love. I'm definitely thrilled with the shape of the tile: huge rectangles (read: minimal grout lines) with the look of vintage, natural mosaic.
We finished off the shower with the same trim we used in the rest of the room. The tilers used a white Schluter edge, like I asked, but due to one of the mistakes it was butt-jointed and not mitered in the corners as I would have preferred - plus they squashed the drywall a bit. So we just trimmed out the whole portal - easy, peasy!
The Tiled Shower Cubby:
I have wanted one of these tiled shower cubbies for years - ever since we renovated the townhouse bathroom and were left with nowhere to place the soap! This was priority #1 for me and I'm really happy with the size and placement: low enough to reach from the tub, but still convenient when showering. It fits shampoo, conditioner, face washes and soap with room to spare. It's trimmed out nicely in white Schluter edging and the tile installer even lined up the tile pattern perfectly. Thank you!
Seriously, even though it adds to the final cost, I highly recommend a tiled shower cubby!
The Ceiling Mounted Shower Curtain
You might have already read the big long story about our shower curtain delays and how we ended up with this gorgeous floor to ceiling pale aqua tweed (drool).
The Artwork & Accessories
You know how I mentioned I love repetition? In the lakehouse, there's my mantle rock collection, my framed agate art (which now hangs just outside the bathroom), the stone counters and now my framed mineral and gemstone prints - it's subtle and probably only something I notice, but I love these little details that tie spaces together. This set of prints is part of a set of twelve from my calendar last year! IdleWild designs them to break down into 8 x 10 prints and these are my three favorites - you can also just buy the gem prints. I had originally planned on painting some art for here - I'd been sketching some simple drawings of lakers and sailboats - but I like these here for now.
I haven't really accessorized the bathroom a lot because I don't like clutter in a bathroom. I use a TON of hairspray, so I do like to keep it easy to clean! I did add a little McCoy planter with my spikey plant because I'm swimming in McCoy planters since rearranging the living room and losing my display cabinet - I even had to put some for sale in the shop, might even be parting with aqua. Gasp!
Another McCoy planter beside my sink makes a perfect place to quickly drop jewelry. Our soap dishes are from Bed Bath & Beyond - I love the simple enameled finish with a subtle sheen. They're neutral and complement the stone nicely. I have a separate lotion bottle for my face wash - that little touch makes my cheap-o Neutrogena face wash seem really fancy.
I made the gem soap! Isn't it the cutest? It's even organic! I want to make one last batch (I've made so many already) because I want to try one final trick for perfecting this technique, and then I'll share the tutorial - look for it in the fall.
I picked out two new sets of towels our turquoise set and this gorgeous grey set from Bed Bath & Beyond - which is actually on major sale right now (it comes in white and beige, too). I loved the cool grey hue and the ruched detail at the bottom has such an organic feel, I thought it would be the perfect touch. I still love our gorgeous towel warmer too.
It feels surreal that this bathroom is finally complete! Sure, we still have to add a clock and we were sent the wrong valence on our blinds so we have to make our own, but I don't think rooms are ever done-done - there's always a little tweaking here and there to do. Even though Hubby and I hang on to things for a long time and seem to move at a snail's pace, our spaces grow with us and are always evolving. I'm sure this room will too!
Here's one last before and after (and other after), to save you some scrolling...
Floating Walnut Vanity: Cabinetry is by AYA Kitchens
Brushed Nickel Pulls: Richelieu
Floor Tile: Alfalux Ecogres Docks in Nero
Shower Tile: Pamesa Ceramica Capua
Sinks: Kohler Serif Undermount Sink in "Vapor Green"
Faucets: Purist Tall Single-Control Lavatory Faucet With Straight Lever Handle in Vibrant Brushed Nickel
Soap Dishes: Mike & Ally Studio Venetian Soap Dish from Bed Bath & Beyond
Liquid Soap Dispenser: Mike & Ally Studio Venetian Lotion Dispenser from Bed Bath & Beyond
Faceted McCoy Planter: Vintage (these are nearly identical, but this has a similar vibe - and this faceted beauty has a can't-beat-it price tag)
Turquoise McCoy Planter: Vintage (I love these ring dishes - they come in aqua, but this dish is aqua too and has such a great beachy feel)
Sconces: Kohler Purist Single Wall Sconce in Vibrant Brushed Nickel
Toilet Roll Holder: Kohler Purist Brushed Nickel Pivoting Toilet Tissue Holder
Toilet: Kohler Persuade Skirted Toilet
Gem + Mineral Art: Framed IdleWild Calendar (frames from Michael's), but IdleWild sells prints too, like this turquoise mineral print and this gorgeous grouping
Handheld Shower: Kohler Purist Multifunction Handshower in Vibrant Brushed Nickel
Tub Spout: Kohler Purist Wall-Mount Bath Spout, 35-Degrees in Vibrant Brushed Nickel
Tub Faucet Lever: Kohler Purist Transfer Vibrant Brushed Nickel Valve Trim
Shower Curtain Rod: Budget Blinds
Shower Curtain: DIY
Shower Curtain Liner: Hotel Fabric Shower Curtain Liner from Bed Bath & Beyond
Towel Warmer: Amba Radiant Straight Hardwired Wall Mounted Towel Warmer from Only Towels Warmers
Towels: Kassatex St. Germain Bath Towels from Bed Bath & Beyond
Clothes Hampers: Lamont Home Makatea Water Hyacinth Round Hamper from Bed bath & Beyond
Make Up Organizer (Not Pictured): Lori Greiner Spinning Cosmetic Organizer in White
CATCH UP ON ALL OF THE LAKE HOUSE BATH RENO POSTS:
- Inspiration: The Easy Bathroom Design Decisions
- Inspiration II: The Less Easy Bathroom Design Decisions
- Inspiration: Mounting a Sconce on a Mirror
- Why Our Bathroom Reno Was Delayed So Long
- Progress: The Tiling is Done - But The Tilers Damaged Our Tub!
- Progress: Our Kohler Purist Shower Fixtures are Installed
- Progress: The Floating Walnut Cabinetry is Installed
- How to Drill a Hole in Ceramic Tile
- Progress: New Quartzite Counters + Aqua Sinks!
- Progress: Our Kohler Purist Faucets Are Installed
- Progress: Our Mid-Century Modern Inspired Cabinet Pulls are Installed
- Shopping for a Towel Warmer
- Progress: The Ceiling Mounted Shower Curtain Rod + DIY Pleated Shower Curtain is Done
A HUGE thanks to Kohler, Only Towel Warmers, and Bed Bath & Beyond for collaborating with me on this mid-century inspired bathroom renovation!