Master Ensuite- Sourcing Tile

When planning out the Master Bath, one of the most difficult parts was sourcing out items for the room that fit in our budget, looked nice and worked with the style of the space.

Tile was probably one of the most difficult aspects of the room, as it is an element that adds major impact and really can't be easily changed once its installed (so you really have to make sure you choose correctly).

We had decided that marble was an element we really wanted to incporate. Most of the bathrooms we found that we had liked and added to our scrapbook of ideas, were light, bright, white and contained marble! So that made it easy for us.

Some things to consider when choosing tile/stone.

1. Make sure you read about stone before buying it. Marble, is a very porous stone and honestly, its not a great element to have on counters or kitchens. It absorbs liquid and this can change the actual colour of the stone permanently. You need to seal it every couple of years and requires specific cleaning as well- really just soap and water should be used to clean it.  So even with that in mind, we decidede to go ahead and use it in our bathroom on the counter and floors (yes we're risky-lol). We just knew we wouldn't use it in a kitchen, but figured if it was in our bathroom we would take the time to care for it.

2. Tile can break the bank. Seriously its one of the most expensive elements to a room, but can add the most impact. You want to make sure you can find AFFORADABLE tile that will:

a.) Stand the test of time (unless you have a money tree in your backyard and can afford to re-do your bathroom in a few years...) p.s if you do have a money tree, call me.

b.) Tile that will be good for re-sale (if you ever sell your home). You all know those shows on TV where the people go into a bathroom and say "ewwww! pink tub, blue and purple tiles? what were they thinking?" Its best if you pick tile that you love AND that will generally appeal to future buyers.

c.) Mix and match a few nicer tiles with some less expensive tiles which will essentially give your bathroom a custom look as well.

To create our design on the shower walls we chose to use:
- Glass marble mosaic tile in the shower
- White tile chair rail
- 8x10 square white tile

*Note, you want to make sure that your white wall tile and white chair rail are very similar 'whites' otherwise one will tend to look dirty when placed next to the other if they aren't the same whites.

The glass marble mosaic came in at $12 a sheet, however we only needed 6 sheets and the chair rail was $3.95/tile. Those 2 accent pieces weren't cheap, but since we didn't need many of them, and they added a lot of interest we splurged I guess you could say. Where we saved was on the white square tiles, which were only $.69 each. Those we needed the most of, but cost the least.

On the shower floor we used a combination of:
- 2x2 white non-slip tile
- 1x1 square marble tiles as a border to add interest

Again, the white 2x2 tiles were not very expensive and we felt it was important to have a tile on the floor that had a non-slip surface. The marble square tiles around the border were a bit more expensive, but again, we only needed 8 sheets.

We also chose to use marble jambs all around the entire shower, rather than just on the floor on the shower. We felt it outlined the shower nicely, and overall liked the look of how it tied in with the floor jambs.

The marble floor tile deserves a post all on its own....

Let me tell you, we drove pretty far to get this tile. We saw a sale, and managed to get the tile on sale for $5 a sq/ft (1/2 price). We ordered the tile right away, and when it came in, we were a bit disappointed to say the least. We were very aware of the fact that there is a lot of variation in natural stone, but to us, it appeared that the boxes of tiles we got were from completely different dilots- some were even a dark, dark grey, while others were stark white. I was pretty horrified, and we couldn't return the tile.

So I spent days...yes days, laying out each piece of tile in a pattern that seemed to work. I actually measured our bathroom, taped off an area in our basement to the exact measurements and layed down each piece of tile in the exact spot I wanted it layed in the bathroom. I spent hours re-arranging until I finally felt OK with the tile. I wasn't completely convinced yet, but I was starting to adjust.

The day our contractor decided to start on the floors, I happily showed him my tile display in the basement with everything easily layed out in the exact shape of the bathroom. I ALMOST numbered each tile for them, but figured they could do that if they needed to. Big mistake...should have numbered them. Sigh.

I got home that day from work, and Ian met me at the front door. "How'd the tile go?!" I asked. "Ummmmm, ok" Ian says. Oh god...my heart sank. Seriously, how could my plan not have worked?! It was fool-proof. Days spent in our musty basement laying dusty tile with random spiders crawling around me....grrrrrr....not impressed this didn't work out.

I raced up to the bathroom to see all the tiles layed in a random pattern. The contractor claimed he followed my plan. Um NO. I literally knew each of those tiles so well, I could have named them. I knew right away it wasn't right. There were about 20-30 tiles layed in spots that didn't work. Now normally, this wouldn't be that big of a deal, but with the variation in the tile, it looked odd to have 2 stark white tiles beside each other and 2 dark tiles right next to them. We had no choice. We had to chip out some tiles in order to be happy with it. We finally decided we could live with most of it, but 5 tiles needed to be replaced. I MIGHT have had a minor breakdown that day. MIGHT.

Anyways, it turned out great in the end, and we are super happy with it now. The moral of the story? Never buy tile you can't return, and make sure you watch your contractors like a HAWK. Especially when something like tile is being layed that you cannot easily fix. Keep in mind that variation in natural stone is going to happen, so be prepared for that as well.

We love the look of the marble and even with all the challenges we faced, we think it turned out great and love the look.

Source list for tile:

Mosaic Glass Tile- Tile Master
Chair Rail Tile- Dante's Tile
White Square Tile on Shower Walls- Dante's Tile
2x2 White Tile- Dante's Tile
1x1 Marble Mosaic on Shower Floor- TileMaster
Marble Floor Tile- TileMaster

Our marble countertop was actually part of our vanity, and I'll be posting about the major elements to the room next :)

Happy Tiling!


Ribbit...Frog Tape

You must buy this tape.

If you are planning on painting and using painters tape, buy frog tape.

We are in the midst of painting (a LOT) in our house and the dollar store painters tape wasnt cutting it anymore.

In the past we've had it rip chunks of paint of the walls, bleeding, tape breaking up. Not fun when you have to go back and re-paint everything.

So I saw an ad for Frog tape and thought we'd try it.


So there you go, if you want a referral for it, Im your girl! Worked great, no bleeding, no paint ripping, nothing!!

Happy ribbit :)


What we've been up to....

Its still a work-in-progress, but here's a sneak peak....

more to come once we order some fabrics, add accessories, lighting, pillows, etc!


Master Ensuite- Design

Thus begins our series of posts about the Master Ensuite and how we achieved our newly renovated space over the past 5 months.

Ian and I will both be posting about the space, as there is much to share and many questions to be answered about the renovation!

To begin, we wanted to talk to you about how we invisioned the space and came up with our design plan. Now, I know there are a lot of great options out there for hiring a designer and getting someone's help to design the space. In our case, we felt we could do this on our own (so we did), however this is a big undertaking and if you dont have the time to literally discuss your bathroom every day, I might suggest looking into the idea of a designer. Not only will they have the experience and expertise to understand what you are trying to achieve, have great suggestions for how colours, spaces, and everything works together, but can also save you a LOT of time and headaches in the end.

I had done a lot of research on bathrooms and both of us felt that we could dedicate the time that we needed to designing and decorating the bathrooms, so we jumped in....big risk, and we are thanking our lucky stars that we didn't end up with a bathtub in the shower.... :)

So, if you've decided to hire a designer OR do this on your own, here's how to begin:

1. Decide on a budget. We had an idea in mind of what we could afford, and knew we had to hire a contractor to do the work we couldn't do ourselves (plumbing, electrical, etc), so that cost also had to factor into our budget (more on budgeting in another post to come!)

2. Watch, look, browse, and get AS MANY IDEAS as you can! My PVR has every Sarah's House episode ever aired with bathroom renovations on it, plus TONS of other design shows with bathrooms renovations on them as well. We also have subscriptions to about a million decor magazines which we drew tons of ideas from:

3. Keep a book or collection of your ideas. I started a scrapbook of all of my favorite ideas and we used that often when designing the bathrooms.

4.  Decide on your scheme. Ian likes rustic and classic/traditional looking rooms. I like vintage and classic/traditional. Phew, we agree on one major aspect. We both like spaces that have a classic, traditional feel and that helped us to agree on certain aspects of the room- natural elements like marble, clean fresh colours, clean classic lines and a few modern elements as well.

I would highly suggest that if you are on a budget and dont want to have to remodel for another 5-10 years at least, to try and choose elements that will stand the test of time. Try and pick neutral pieces, classic elements and add in your style through paint colours and pieces that can be easily changed (towels, other accessories).

5. Do your research into what buyers want. It helped us that my dad is a real-estate agent and could let us know what buyers were looking for, but we also went into every hardware store that had a bathroom showroom to see what styles are popular now. We didn't want to install a jetted tub, if people were interested in them anymore. As well, if you see open houses, model homes, dream homes that you can walk through...go to them! We got tons of ideas from these homes and it helped us to see what buyers were interested in. Of course people are all going to have different preferences and style choices, but you want to be informed before you install a major piece that no-one is interested in anymore.

Major things we discovered:
- Free standing tubs = highly desired (not only do they look beautiful, but become a major focal point in the room, give you more space to work with, can cost less (based on the idea of installing tile around a corner or drop in tub), and are something a lot of people look for now.

- Glass showers = again, highly desired. People love the look of the glass shower...HOWEVER, I must say they do take more time to clean, and if you like your privacy while showering, think again about the idea of a full glass shower!

- Toilets- if you can afford to buy the dual flush, water saving versions, consider it. We got ours on the early morning of the grand opening of the new Lowes store in our area, and got an awesome deal (we did have to be there by 6:00am however and literally ran into the store with about 20 other people who were all loading them in their carts, but thats beside the point). Wait for a good brand to go on sale and invest in them. In our city, you actually get a rebate for installing them, so we received $60 back on each toilet we bought.

All of these major things play a huge role into the design of your bathroom as well.

6. Figure out your layout. For us that was easy, we decided not to move anything major (moving plumbing will increase your costs dramatically) so if you can keep things where they are, you can save yourself some money. The things we changed- removing a wall separating the shower from the vanity, new tub and new shower layout. That was it. Everything else was replaced in the same spot it had been before.

7. Lighting Choices. Lighting plays a big role into how your bathroom functions and this is a key aspect when designing your bathroom. You probably dont want to be putting on makeup or showering in the dark so make sure to consider lighting when designing your bathroom.

8. Tile choices. Tile can elevate your space to look custom, so make sure you choose tiles that are affordable and within your budget, but that you can use to create an interesting space. Consider subway tiles. They look great, are timeless and cost effective :)

9. Fixtures. Sarah Richardson has said that fixtures are the jewels in the bathroom. They can totally change the look of the space, so consider them wisely, and invest in good quality pieces if you can.

10. Design elements to the space. Our house does not have a lot of great architectural details, so we decided to add in wall panneling to our bathroom, and we LOVE it. It didn't cost a lot, we were able to do it ourselves and it adds of a lot design interest to the space.

So there you have it. This is just the start of our bathroom series of posts, but hopefully this gives you some idea of how to begin renovating your space. Research, research, research- I can't say it enough! The better informed you are, the more likely you are to end up designing a space that you truly love :)


Lingerie Chest

Its not what you think. Seriously. Im talking about furniture. Ian might say otherwise though...
Anyho, I recently acquired this French Provincial "Lingerie Chest" from my favorite place, where else, Kijiji.

I can't help it. I have a soft spot for French Provincial furniture. I love the curvy lines, the classic vinatge feel and the feminine look to the pieces. When I saw this piece for sale (at an incredible price), I had 2 ideas of what I could do with it- Im still debating...

I found some inspiration on Pinterest:


but that only confused me more! Still not sure what Im going to do to it yet...what would you do to a piece of French Provincial furniture like this?!


Baby Love

A friend of mine is expecting a baby in January and had a baby shower last weekend. For those of you who remember, I actually posted a design board for her a while back that you can see here. I suggested a colour scheme and gave her a few suggestions on how should could work with the pieces she already had for the nursery.

Currently, I have a lot of friends entering into the "baby world", so Im constantly surrounded by adorable ideas and suggestions for nurseries and decor :) 

I wanted to create something for this friend that could be incorporated into her nursery, and that was meaningful at the same time. Ive seen ideas with the use of these materials in a variety of places, but wanted to put my own spin on it:

(I've blurred out the couples last name for privacy purposes, but once the baby is born-and given a first name, I'll be changing the tiles to say the first and last name of the baby, and changing the other titles to reflect the baby's info :)

Here's how I did it:
To start, collect your supplies:

- Picture Frames (I used 3)- Ikea or Walmart have good ones
- Scrabble Game (or Scrabble Tiles)
- Fabric pieces (9x9 size will usually work well)
- Tape/Glue Gun

Find a scrabble game- it can be old or new, but I didn't want to buy a brand new game just to take apart... so I scoured my local second hand stores for one and finally found one (they are hard to come by apparently!)

In looking for the scrabble game, I came across an old game (from the 60's) called "Numble". I had never heard of it, but apparently its exactly like scrabble...only with numbered tiles instead of letters. I bought that too, thinking I might use it for something.

Well, it came in very handy for this project, as I ended up needing number for my frames! If you dont happen to have this game sitting around (or a scrabble game for that matter!), you can easily purchase the tiles online through ebay (I actually bid on a package of scrabble tiles before finding the game at a second hand store), and they sell them for fairly cheap.

Once you have those, you'll need frames (I went with 1 larger one (which I used for the baby's name- and 2 smaller ones, but you could do 3 larger, 3 smaller, whatever works in your space). I went with white, as its neutral, and I figured they could always paint the frames out if they didn't like the colour.

You'll also need some pieces of fabric (scraps or remnants will do), I used pieces of fabric I had ordered for a room design, but it all depends on the colour scheme you are going for. 

1. Tape your fabric onto the back of the matting and make sure its secure and even.

2. Gather your tiles and decide what you want to say in the frames with them.

3. Use your glue gun to glue the tiles onto the fabric (I used masking tape so my friend could change them around if she wanted, plus I still have some changes to make once the baby is born!)

4. Voila! You are done!

Simple, vintage and looks adorable :)  I think it went along with the vintage feel she wanted for the room, and she's actually got a bit of an 'owl' theme going on, I believe so I figure this fabric worked perfectly...Its a Hoot (the name of the fabric that it is :)



Last summer I bought this chair for $10.00 off my favorite place (Kijiji of course):

(right now its in the process of getting sanded down with my "ugly duckling chair"!). Anyways, on our way home from picking up this chair in a small town just near our home, we came across an antique shop that had tons of amazing treasures!

Not only was this store an old house, but also a barn, a shed and a store unit-lol! Basically 4 stores in 1! Here are some of my favorite finds (you name it, they had it!):

an old spindle

hundreds of chairs

antique baby cradle

vintage couches

and my favorite piece, this gorgeous dresser.

I can't remember the name of this little store, but if you are ever just outside of Fergus, Ontario, go check it out!


Master Ensuite Reveal!

I know you've all been waiting forever for this...well its finally HERE! Reveal day!

We actually finished the construction of this bathroom back in early September, but the room wasn't finished just yet. We wanted to completely finish it before we blogged about it...however we could barely afford to buy a toilet paper holder to put in there. Reno's are expensive people! So we waited and waited until we could afford to buy a few things...its still not completely finished, but we figured you might completely forget we had even done this, if we didn't blog about it soon!

Lets start at the beginning. Here is what we had to work with:


Ok where to begin. Pink floors. Sigh. We really had no way of working with these- we knew they had to go.

Secondly the vanity was about as tall as my lower thighs. If I was 4 feet this would not have been a problem. However for someone 5ft8, I was barely able to wash my face without sitting on the floor.

I don't know about you, but "beachy" mixed with "roman sconces" does NOT mix. LOVE the beach. Not such a fan of the mideaval flare....

Colours. Where to begin. This bathroom had red, orange, blue, pink grey and gold...and probably other colours mixed in there too somewhere. I am not a 'fall' colour person. Our ENTIRE house was fall colours when we moved in. Slowly...slowly we are changing that, but this bathroom looked a bit like a rainbow exploded in it...we dont do rainbow guts.

In all reality there were no words. We just knew we wanted to change the ENTIRE thing. So now that Ive told you all the things we hated about this bathroom, lets focus on the positives shall we?! The size of the room was great, so we had a lot of space to work with. Great light comes into this room, so that was another positive and we had space to play with- nothing was stopping us from changing the layout around...except cost that is!
I had been saving up tons of ideas and we pretty much knew what we wanted. A 'Spa' feel, light, bright colours, and a clean look. I love when things look clean. You know, like when you walk into a store and eveything is all neat, organized and bright looking? It just LOOKS clean. I love that. So thats what we were going for and I think we achieved that :)

Sooooo...here it is friends - our pride and joy!


Here's the before and after of our tub:
The shower:
The vanity:

 and other details:

I will be doing a bunch of separate posts to talk about how we did some of the projects in this bathroom, including the shower tile pattern, paneling on the walls, how we designed the space, how we managed to do all of this on a tight budget, etc, so now that you've seen the reveal, expect a bunch more posts on this bathroom to come!

We think it turned out pretty darn good ;)

I'll be posting more pictures as we add in the finishing touches...photos in the picture frames (lol), drapes, accent table, etc, etc...but for now we're pretty happy with it!

Linking up to:


The Shabby Nest

Passionately Artistic 

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