Our Classic Modern Master Bathroom Reveal
Welcome to our master bathroom. I love this room very, very, very much. It feels bright and happy, and has a great mix of traditional (like the house) but modern (like we are). HOWEVER, this is the room in which I have the most regrets – permanent, unchangeable regrets (not necessarily mistakes) that aren’t worth the annoyance to change. Some regrets bug me every day, others just don’t – these don’t, but I have to recognize that they could have been better.
The benefits of renovating your entire house in 3 months is just that – you get to move into your brand new, freshly designed house in THREE MONTHS. But the flip side is that some decisions were made too quickly, some things overlooked or mistakes were made by others that weren’t worth sacrificing the time to change. The typical check-in that ends with a, ‘wait that should be like this, not that’ just had to be lived with because the inspector was coming the next day and changing it would potentially set us back 2 weeks.
Why the rush? Sponsor deadlines, which I was honestly happy to have. Having a hard date, and having the contractor be beholden to that date keeps you from going a year over your original deadline. But it means that you have to make some sacrifices to not hold up the project.
When we bought the house the bathroom was totally charming, but the layout wasn’t great and we had to steal from it to make the tiniest closet in our bedroom, a foot bigger.
I wanted it to feel classic but with a bit of fun (Head to this post to see the design plan, inspiration and the original product board). One of the challenges of having such a big audience who rely on you to create content is that you don’t want to do something too safe or boring. I try to create work that is more editorial (magazine worthy) yet timeless and man, that can be a challenge. Making a statement while being practical and having longevity is really hard, folks. Fashion bloggers have it so much easier with outfits they can throw on and off. And if you are in a modern home then you can take some more risks, but a 1920’s tudor is not something you do anything too trendy in. Luckily I think this bathroom really does it – it feels editorial but relatively timeless. The only thing that feels ‘trendy’ to me is the blue paint color which would be super easy to paint white or a neutral if I want to in 7 years (although it’s navy, which is kinda timeless – and FYI where it looks brighter is less accurate, it is darker and deep and not royal in the slightest).
Let’s chat vanity first. This piece is ready-made from Wayfair, but I switched out the silver hardware and the stone on top. I actually hadn’t planned on replacing the stone, but as our guys were moving it, it cracked. We had extra stone from the kitchen so we had our fabricator cut it to fit. We chose a vanity with a ton of storage, and kept it white to help the bathroom feel as big as possible. I love this piece and honestly wouldn’t have custom designed anything differently.
We used unlaquered brass for all the hardware. The faucets are from e-faucets via Newport brass and they are totally classic and fit the style of the house. Now you need to know that a live finish is harder to care for. We softened our water (using Culligan) and we clean them with Brass Pro tech and Wax – NOT BRASSO. Why would I burden myself with high maintenance faucets? Because they make my heart so happy because they age so beautifully. When I was debating over them I asked a super experienced salesperson at George’s Plumbing about unlacquered brass and he said ‘Oh I love it because it means you’ll be in here in 5 years replacing it’. Terrifying, I know. But a heart wants what a heart wants.
The only other finish that I would consider is live nickel (same problem) or matte black – a different direction altogether. Some oil rubbed bronze are great and look almost black and some are less great and look cheap.
That wallpaper is from Farrow and Ball and I couldn’t love it more. It might be my favorite of all of their patterns. What you can’t tell from photos is how it is a painted pattern so the white has a texture. It felt like ‘water’ to me and the tones (a taupe and a cream) are so warm with my navy.
The ceiling in the bathroom was curved so there wasn’t an obvious place to stop the wallpaper on one of the walls. So we added this tiny little moulding to give it a natural stopping point. It’s super simple and you would think it was always supposed to be there.
We had to replace the windows in the bathrooms but kept the frames. They are vinyl and while that’s typically not my favorite finish for an older home it made the most sense for a bathroom. Plus it was the right place to save some money.
We put in V-groove on the bottom half of the walls to add some architectural detail (V-groove is like beadboard without the bead and generally a bit more modern) and added a cute little molding on top to finish it off.
The tile on the floor is from Floor and Decor and is a simple white porcelain herringbone. We chose something classic and more affordable because the shower tile was more of a splurge.
Inside the shower we have that amazing cle tile (which I want to use in every house ever, in different shapes – big square, little square, subway … I just LOVE IT). It has so much texture, but it is so quiet and looks so handmade. It is really, really thick (like more like a brick than a tile.) We didn’t know this (the sample was thinner) so we designed the shower niche to be a certain depth. When the tile arrived we realized that the niche would be too shallow to hold shampoos if we tiled the inside of it, which was the plan. We could have demo’d out the niche and have it redone but the tiler had already started so we changed plans. We put solid white tile, which matched the bridge at the base of the shower door, instead. It matches the herringbone on the floor and it was leftover so we didn’t have to spend more dough.
This is one of the things I kinda wished were different but it’s not a big deal and definitely doesn’t bother me enough to consider changing it. In these photos it bothers me even less, strangely 🙂
Our tiler did a FANTASTIC job of mitering the edges of the tile so it returns so beautifully.
What I love is the scale and statement it makes, but with simple shapes and finishes. The unlacquered brass of the faucets and hardware will eventually match this ‘aged brass’ and the black is echoed in little accents in the shower hardware as well. The little screws and how it’s constructed feels timeless. Plus it gives out fantastic light and only required one junction box, which is great over the solid mirror.
It’s hard to see/shoot the shower door, but it deserves a conversation. We went with glass simply because there was not other option that wouldn’t make the bathroom feel tiny. Ideally I wanted the french black framed paned doors which was the original idea but as the bathroom was being framed we realized it was going to make it feel too small and busy.
So we went with glass. Now there are a few different thicknesses you can choose from and tints. We were recommended to get a 1″ because the arrangement of the glass only had two wall supports. It was designed that way to allow for more floor space in the bathroom, otherwise it would have been tiny.
We ended up going with the ‘crystal clear’ glass, which was about twice the price as the more heavily tinted green tempered glass. Ultimately I think the whole thing was around $3700 which was not what I was expecting to pay. I’m not totally convinced that the clear glass is even that clear, but I’m sure that the less clear glass would have bothered me a lot. It doesn’t have a tint anywhere except the seams/corners.
That tiny bit of green does annoy me, but I don’t think there was an option. Hell, I paid twice as much to not see that green but tempered glass will always have a tint (or so I’m told).
So what are my regrets? First off, not having a bench or a built-in seat for shaving. This was in the plan but was overlooked and I should have had them re-build it, but I’m pretty sure this wasn’t caught until the tile was already started. It’s not a big deal and that teak table works to put my leg up on, but since we didn’t have room for a tub, I wouldn’t have minded a place to sit if I just wanted to take one of those 20 minutes showers to, you know, have a break from parenting.
I keep meaning to look for a beautiful teak bench that I can sit on, but it’s not a priority in my life right now.
I also regret not getting a fancier ‘looking’ shower faucet. Now, this was intentional because I have found that the three-way (shower, wand, tub) is tricky to navigate. Often it’s hard to turn them completely off, or so I thought. We wanted it to be simple – on/cold/hot, and that’s it. But I think that I was just particularly bad at the types of showers that had temperate control and the two or three way converter, etc. It just felt so complicated when I really just wanted hot water on my face right now. I think that while this shower faucet is high end, it would look prettier if it had the wand. We aren’t fans of the rain shower (and I have a personal theory that it’s a thing that most men love, but women don’t.
Not a big deal, but visually I think I missed an opportunity. I could have found one that goose-necked out further and did something more architecturally interesting. Also someone did ask once in the comments “how do you clean the shower’ and it hadn’t really occurred to me. We have a professional clean the house once a week and we squeegie it as we get out, daily, but that is a fair question with a very unsatisfying answer.
But don’t get me wrong, I love the whole suite of faucets so much, I just wished I had made that master shower look a bit more masterful.
Additionally I wish that I had put some sort of steam function in there. Never in my life did I think I would want that (and surely it would have been bad for the paper which is otherwise holding up perfectly) but without a tub in here there is no sense of ‘spa’. Not a big deal, but basically I can only shower in here, and not really luxuriate too much. Poor me, I know.
I guess those regrets weren’t too bad in retrospect. Just remember, build-in a bench if you have the space for it and if it’s your master think about some additional luxuries that you might not in a normal guest bathroom.
I really love it. The light in here is also so beautiful and when it’s clean I want to instagram it all day long.
It has a lot of texture, without being too busy and it does feel traditional – but just my version of traditional, with a modern, younger edge.
If you are into it, we’ve linked up all the sources below. I HIGHLY recommend all the finishes and fixtures in this bathroom. I don’t regret my choices, just the slight oversight of some things that should have been in there. But honestly I wouldn’t switch out a thing. It feels big, it’s super functional with great storage, beautiful light and a lot of texture and style.
1. Farrow & Ball Wallpaper | 2. Hook | 3. Black & White Wall Sconce | 4. Tile | 5. Shower Hardware | 6. Mirror (similar) | 7. Towel Ring | 8. Beadboard (Paint Color: Farrow and Ball Stiffkey) | 9. Toilet Paper Holder | 10. Toilet | 11. Faucet | 12. Vanity | 13. Herringbone Floor Tile | 14. Towel Bar | 15. Drawer Pull | 16. Drawer Knob | 17. Hand Towel (similar) | 18. Glass Vase (similar) | 19. Short Vase (similar) | 20. Rug (similar) | 21. White Fringe Towel | 22. Oil Painting (similar) | 23. Ceramic Vase (similar) | 24. Seascape Painting (similar) | 25. Tray (similar) | 26. Wood Stool (similar) | 27. Bud Vase (similar) | 28. Pink Dish (similar) | 29. Soap Dish (similar) | 30. Dry Brush (similar) | 31. Kristin Ess Shampoo | 32. Kristin Ess Conditioner
***Photos by Tessa Neustadt