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The Mountain House: Master Bathroom Design Process

My design process is much longer than it used to be. The other day, my best friend commented (as she has before) that she tries to channel her “inner EHD to quickly pull triggers” when making design decisions when I reminded her that I’VE CHANGED. I’m still faster at styling and decorating than most, but the permanence and high expense of renovation have proved to be just as paralyzing as can be for many of you. Well, that coupled with the fact that millions will see and judge my work. I’m actually consciously trying to get back to my “perfection is boring, let’s get weird” version of myself that is less worried about making sure that I’m doing what is “right” and “by the book” and more just wanting it to feel good and like us (with function also being important – but not the sole focus).

For the mountain house’s master bathroom, the ultimate goal, as you know, is to create a “Modern Mountain Spa.” So, while the two options I presented last Monday aren’t that different, they can’t really be because the design end goal is the same. I think it’s fun to show different tiles and give you some new resources and even bathroom combinations that look good, despite being similar. This I Design, You Decide was never about two wildly different choices – it’s our house, so we obviously want it to feel a certain way. That means that while most things are different, the ‘feeling’ of the two options are consistent. OH and when we first started doing this, we had different tubs, sinks, faucets (as you can see below). Ultimately, though, we needed to order these things because waiting was holding up the framing and the plumbing, so as to not delay the house by months and months, we decided to only give options on all the other bathroom elements. In case you are new to renovations, you need the rough plumbing first (which are the specific plumbing elements like valves that go with your specific faucet, so while you don’t need the actual faucet for months, you can’t really get past framing without installing the ‘rough’).

It’s truly option overload in my brain, of which you’ll see below – an exercise I thought worthwhile for you to see. Option One really only had a few different versions, whereas Option Two evolved over 30 different schemes. Let me walk you down mood board memory lane, where I’ll show you my thought process and general mania.

Option One Design Evolution

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Option One V01

Okay, I was pretty happy with this out of the gate, but this was months ago and many things changed:

First off, we thought we had a normal ceiling in the bathroom. We later discovered that it’s not only really high but also not centered, thus pendants are out of the question.

I was going to use Kohler’s Composed collection which is super modern and BEAUTIFUL in the vibrant polished brass (not yet available) but ultimately, Brian thought it was too modern for the house (the rustic versus modern “battle” may never be over – but we are “working through it”). He was right that it was super modern but I thought the whole house was going to go more modern so I was down with it, initially. The more we paired it with elements like the pebbled tile, the more I got scared that it was just too contemporary and the combo could go ’90s really easily.

The same thing happened with the initial tub selection. I had picked out the Veil tub which is GORGEOUS, but we were faced with a similar concern – is it too contemporary, not classic enough to work with such risky elements as pebbled tile??? Keep watching…

But the blue Clé tile (not yet available), the white Ann Sacks tile, the marble counter and the warmth of the brass in the faucets were NEVER up for question.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Option One V02

We traded out the flooring in the toilet room and the shower floor for marble slab (mostly because I thought it would look better with the modern toilet). Once we decided to not make it its own room, it changed. In case you are wondering why we took the door off the water closet, it’s so that the toilet area could be smaller and match the shower room wall, thus flanking the vanity with symmetry. Brian also was super anti-toilet room all of a sudden, as were ALL THE MEN ON THE JOB SITE. The three female designers’ minds? BLOWN. To the fellas, they felt claustrophobic, as if they would be suffocated by their own *ahem* air. When you put it like that, it’s disgusting. I was more concerned that the bathroom was starting to feel kinda small, and taking that wall back made it feel so much bigger.

As a side note, I joked with Brian that we should give him a flip down table – like on an airplane, for his mug and newspaper and he was VERY excited. THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. MEN ARE DISGUSTING.

So that was Option One, which really didn’t give me too much of a headache. In fact, we just wanted this one to win. In case you are just landing on this post, here is the FINAL version of Option One (without lighting, mirror or hardware).

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Option One For Blog Final1

Blue Clé tile (not yet available) | Purist Wall Mount Faucet with Cross Handles | Caxton Sink | Jute Vanity | Real Rain | Purist Showerhead | Water Tiles | Purist Hand Shower | White Ann Sacks Tile | Purist Bath Filler | Sunstruck Freestanding Tub | White Pebble Tile | Purist Toilet Paper HolderVeil Toilet

For Option Two, I purposefully tried to make it feel different while still working in the Modern Mountain Spa style. This one started out airier and brighter and then, of course, changed a lot. Was I regretting having to do two options? Of course. But this exercise is making me SUCH a better designer. I’ve learned of so many new resources, and by being forced to experiment so much, I really homed in more on what I do like and what I veer away from.

So here we go – how I (eventually) locked in Option Two’s final mood board:

Option Two Design Evolution

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Option Two V01

I started with a different vanity mirror concept altogether, which I still like (and hilariously might still be an option). We played with different floor tile, and flatter pebble tile, and tried this amazing mosaic backsplash that we ultimately realized would be weird with a medicine cabinet (even though now we might not even do a medicine cabinet). Plus, I thought that the style might be too Moroccan with the rest of the house and I hadn’t seen a sample (just a picture) which felt too risky. But I did like the idea of the darker floor, so we started hunting for a dark stone flooring. At this point, I was still really playing with my overall materials board and besides, Brian’s need for rustic really threw me. He loved Option One, but man we both struggled with two.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Option Two V02

The stone tile flooring here is beautiful but I couldn’t find any in person that I loved – plus, I started thinking…was it fun enough? If anyone knows where to get beautiful (and fun) interior stone flooring, please advise. 🙂

I also had an intense medicine cabinet internal debate. Frankly, I’ve never had one (but want one). I aspire for this house to feel clean and minimal which means no stuff on the counters, so what do you need to accomplish that? A CABINET. But generally, I just prefer a dope mirror. More on that in its own upcoming post, but you’ll see here that I tried hard to make the medicine cabinet work.

You’ll notice that at first, we chose the matte black Purist line, which hasn’t fully launched yet so we had to mock it up here in Photoshop and it’s not reading as well (they currently sell the faucets but not the shower line). And then I worried that in this look, it seems a little cold without any color. In retrospect, though, I think black could have been GREAT in here and we are bringing it into the other bathrooms for sure.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Option Two V03

I added the blue version of the Clé Moroccan mosaic tile which I love and played with an alternative floor tile, which felt too competitive. And once I realized that we would have wood on the ceiling, I worried that maybe we should do something else on the walls. (Welcome to my personal mania.) But I loved the idea of a pretty wood-clad toilet room.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Option Two V04

I switched out the tile for a blue version of the tile in version #1. It’s SO BEAUTIFUL. I played with lighting. We played with a square vessel sink. I found a photo of this floor tile on Pinterest but I never found it in person, so I thought about custom making it. Brian didn’t love it though so we kept trying…

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Option Two V05

We added a shelf for toothbrush storage, but I’m unsure if the wall-to-wall mirror is the best thing. Besides, this version is very cute and I think it’s a good design, but it’s almost EXACTLY like Option One…I knew that if I didn’t at least make every element visually different, that you guys would call bullsh*t. I love that blue tile (handmade and actually the blue version of the white that ended up in the final Option Two). I love that cross tile. I love the leather marble shower tile.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Option Two V06

In version 6, the shelf is set back – something that we are likely doing. And I love that tile above, but I only saw it on Pinterest in a bathroom in Sweden so I’m not sure it actually exists.

So I scrapped the blue tile altogether, championing myself that I could do it – I could design a bathroom without the color BLUE.

But man, mood boards and renderings can be boring without color.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Option Two Final For Post

Here, I realized that almost everything is white. EVERYTHING, except the faucets. I didn’t really want to be in that bathroom even though I KNOW it would be beautiful IRL. And if you are thinking that the tones of the white aren’t working together, in person we had all the samples and they did. I promise. It’s just hard to take a photo online of something with a lot of subtle texture and put it on a product board.

So I had a total epiphany…DARK PEBBLE FLOOR, polished gold fixtures…and screw it, let’s go for the classic, beautiful, perfect freestanding tub.

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Option Two 08 01

I apologize for me repeating myself, but here was my tub conundrum. The Ceric (seen above) is the most beautiful shape. It’s modern and classic. IT JUST IS. If I were designing this for a client, I would BEG them to use the Ceric. It’s beautiful but has less loungability. The Veil (the contemporary one in the all the previous mood boards) was a more ergonomic freestanding tub and had a more supportive sloping back. And I kept thinking about the bubble massage. The Ceric and the Veil don’t have bubble massage capabilities. The Underscore does (and so much more) but that is a drop-in. So I toyed for HOURS with the idea of doing a drop in, in a rectangular freestanding marble slab ‘tub’. We knew it wouldn’t look as good in the space because of the bay window, but was the sacrifice worth the delicate bubbles???

We went up to the mountain house and once in the bathroom, we all agreed immediately, WE NEEDED A FREESTANDING TUB. The Ceric, it is.

Then that night, after putting the kids to bed, I was chilly and kept thinking…man I wish I could take a long bath right now. It wasn’t even cold outside. We were in LA (where I don’t have a tub in the master). So I channeled my future mountain self, living up there for weeks over the holidays, and told myself “you have the opportunity to have a heated spa tub with bubble massage. If you were up there right now, how much happier would you be to have the added features, rather than a beautiful albeit very vertical tub to sit in, like the Ceric’?” So I got on the Kohler website, like a bathtub sleuth looking for the last clue before closing the case – there has to be a freestanding tub with bubble abilities and more of a sloping back and BOOM, there she was – SUNSTRUCK.

Having tub confusion right now? Here you go:

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Kohler Product Four Bathtub Options1

There they are – the four tubs that I debated about for months. The Underscore (so comfortable with a ton of functions), Veil (beautiful but possibly too contemporary), Ceric (stylistically perfect) and Sunstruck  (freestanding with sweet, sweet bubble action).

The Sunstruck has the features I want and is freestanding. Do I visually like the Ceric more? Sure. It is more refined because it doesn’t have to house the mechanism for my bubble massage. If I weren’t a bath lover, I absolutely would have chosen that beautiful tub. But I am. I took a bath every night when I was pregnant with both kids in our old house. I set up a laptop on a stool next to hotel bathtubs when I travel so I can lay and watch “Younger.” A person that actually bathes, designer or not, should choose a tub that will make that bath the best experience possible. I am that person. I have found my freestanding bathtub in Sunstruck. It’s my firm belief that this tub was designed for exactly me and this bathroom – the need for a freestanding tub with spa features was clearly not lost on Kohler. They saw a need and filled it…with GLORIOUS BUBBLES.

Also, we strongly considered the smart Verdera Voice Mirror, which is Alexa enabled. I figured if I was going to have an intelligent bathroom, I need a highly intelligent mirror – and my Alexa is SMART. I could ask her for the weather that day before getting dressed. I could have her add my eye cream to my shopping list the second I realize that I’m out. Also, the two lights were perfect vanity lights, making it so we didn’t need sconces. But ultimately it felt too “hotel” for our cozy (yet modern) spa bathroom.

Here’s where we finally landed with Option Two, after all the design switcheroos:

Emily Henderson Mountain Fixer Upper I Design You Decide Master Bath Final Option Two For Blog Final 011

White Ann Sacks Tile | Purist Wall Mount Faucet with Cross Handles | Caxton Sink | Jute Vanity | Real Rain | Purist Showerhead | Water Tiles | Purist Hand Shower | Thin Herringbone Thassos by Artistic Tile | Purist Bath Filler | Sunstruck Freestanding Tub | Charcoal Pebble Tile | Purist Toilet Paper HolderVeil Toilet

Additionally, you’ll see that we found some dark pebble tile that we loved more than others, and with black grout, we knew it would be easier to keep clean. The bathroom wouldn’t be as airy, but I wondered if a dark pebble tile would be more modern, slightly edgier. It certainly grounds the bathroom and balances out the wood ceiling. Brian wanted dark pebble tile with the blue Clé tile wall and I didn’t disagree with him, but I couldn’t do a third version and I was actually starting to have a tiny mental breakdown just thinking about revisiting both options again. I couldn’t. We loved Option One. We loved Option Two. Putting the slatey blue Clé tile with the dark pebble felt dark to me (although maybe I’m totally wrong), but it also felt WAY too close to the first final option and not different enough from either!! At some point, you have to wonder if the decision making stress is proportionately reflected in the beauty of the final result. You could go on and on and on AND ON, playing with different tiles, and stones, but ultimately what my former boss taught me years ago remains true: “Pretty always looks good with pretty.” Sure, there are rules, but if everything is beautiful… and you consider the basic rules, you kinda can’t lose. Besides, what is being an artist if you follow every. single. rule? More on that later.

You might be wondering: why aren’t the lighting, hardware and mirror in this post? Well, honestly because that’s a puzzle to figure out that deserves its own post, but here’s the quick version – the vanity is blocked in on both sides (thus looking built-in) with the shower and toilet room walls, which means that we don’t have room for a mirror that would work above two sinks (to where you’d be able to see your face while brushing) AND fit sconces, and yet we can’t do pendants because the ceiling vault isn’t centered and a long cord would amplify that. It wasn’t a matter of choosing two sconces, a chandelier and a toilet light. It was more “how do we properly light this bathroom based on the current challenges?” We have myriad solutions, but none are ideal stylistically. Stay tuned for the lighting/mirror and hardware options that we are ALMOST confident about.

But who knows with me…

To refresh, here’s a fun video with Brian and me that shows how we got to the final two options:

As of Sunday night, Option Two is winning by about 10%. So for those of you who haven’t yet voted on an option, today is your last day to weigh in (PRETTY PLEASE VOTE):

[SBEH_POLLS poll_id=”144154″][SBEH_GIVEAWAY_ENTRY id=”144154″]

I’m SO HAPPY because I wanted Option Two but man I miss the shower tile from Option One and I’m still a little nervous about the pebble tile – even in gray. And man, it’s not something that you can tear out easily.

Don’t be mad. I’m not saying that we are changing; I’m just opening it up for discussion. And if you are wondering if the indecision has caused stress, duh, but this process is incredibly fun. It’s exhilarating. It’s exciting for all of us. Once the poll went live last week, we were all riveted watching it. The office was a-buzz. Thank you so much for all of you who voted and commented. This community is incredible and while this process is more complicated than usual, I hope that even through the options, you are learning of new resources, understanding the process, getting some great design plan options for yourself and, perhaps, relating to the insanity :).

Update: Check out all of The Mountain House REVEALS here: The Kids’ Bedroom | The Kitchen The Kitchen Organization | The Kitchen Appliances | The Powder Bath | The Living Room | The Downstairs Guest Suite | The Loft | The Hall Bath | The Upstairs Guest Bath | The Dining Room | The Family Room


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66 thoughts on “The Mountain House: Master Bathroom Design Process

  1. Tray table and coffee made me laugh HARD. I won’t tell you why. 😉

    This makes me feel a lot better about my mental processes. Making these choices for our current build has been exactly the same process as yours and ive often reprimanded myself for being abnormal and unable to make decisions. But when you have ONE CHANCE to get it right. And when you have to decide on layer 7 of the project before layer 2 is built, it’s incredibly …not stressful….not overwhelming? Challenging!

    This was a fun post. We have a full, old, garage sale find, wooden mirror in our bathroom. Vanity is flanked by two walls and I’m kicking myself for missing the opportunity for built in, recessed medicine cabinets on the side walls.

    I voted option 2, but I also love that dark wall tile.

    1. This is a great idea! We have a recessed medicine cabinet on the side wall of a bathroom with a large mirror and I love that not only does it provide storage, but also a more complete view (via its mirror) of hair and makeup. If that’s too much mirror, you could get a low profile panel door and paint it to match the wall. I’ve seen medicine cabinets that you have to know are there to find and even one that used framed art as the door instead of a mirror.

  2. This was so interesting to read, I keep going back and forth on all your options and I’m amazed you managed to finalize it to two.

    Voted for option 2 but I love the shower tile from option 1 and wouldn’t be upset if you changed it. I cannot wait to see how this comes together in real life!

    1. Agree with Amna. I like Option 2, but with the shower and wc tile walls from Option 1. Can’t wait to see what you do with this room!

    2. Yes!!! Exactly my thought!!! I think the scale would be fine! you could even do the subway tile in the toilet room to control cost if needed.

  3. Can we pretty please combine Option One and Two… grey pebbles floor from Option Two, with everything else from Option ON=ne??

      1. me too!!! everything about option #1 is sooooo darn good (special, interesting aaand timeless. blue vanity back splash -i’m especially looking at you!) but substitute the dark pebble floor tile (with a dark grout of course). all the ways that light pebble floor tile could go wrong make it too risky a choice -in my humble, what-do-i-know-.!? opinion. (plus, i’m feeling like the warmer marble from option #2 starts leaning 90’s with the brass fixtures whereas in option #!, those same brass fixtures really shine ; )

        1. I agree with the warmer marble thing too I think-was trying to figure out why I didn’t love it completely and that hits the nail on the head-like it can lean to look like a classy but 90″s hotel look, etc. I like bringing warmth in but maybe not that marble?

    1. I agree!! And nix the medicine cabinets, one large mirror, or two smaller mirrors would be much better. We just did this in our bathroom, and love how it looks!!! Storage is in the vanity drawers, and don’t miss the medicine cabinet at all!

  4. I love this post! It’s hard enough to make these decisions for my own life, I can’t imagine the added pressure of an audience judging my every move. The good news is, both of your options are winners.
    We are bath lovers in my house. I don’t need heat bubbles but I do need deep water because I’m tall. Knees and boobs must both be underwater or I get cold!

  5. I’m curious why you aren’t using a sliding glass shower door (there are lots of great options on the market) to avoid it crashing into the bedroom door?

  6. I think a combo of the two is just the ticket–that vanity backsplash from option one is too good NOT to use…but I enjoy the warmth in the marble of option two…so I think swap in that backsplash and shower tile from option one and CUT, PRINT, MOVING ON!

  7. I’ll be honest: I’m a visual learner. If you’re talking about politics or your family, I’ll probably read your entire post. But if you’re talking about design, I usually will not read all the copy–I’ll scrutinize your mood boards and skim the text instead. So that combined with the fact that my computer kept freezing up confused the heck out of me. Why so many options? Why a total change of direction? Why are you forsaking the triangle tile and the blue tile that you claimed to love so much?
    One comment you got after your first “pebble post” mentioned that the poster got “pink mold” on the white pebbles in her bathroom. That image just sticks in my head and creeps me out. My takeaway was “don’t put pebbles on the bathroom floor!” (For me, this issue was important bc I LOVE pebbles and WILL put them in my house one day.) And yet, here you are putting white pebbles in the shower….. (btw I do not like the shaved pebble look AT ALL.)
    Also, isn’t marble a high-maintenance material? Isn’t it highly absorbent? I recall you discussing this when you put it in your kitchen. You said that it weathers over time, changes color over time, absorbs stains, and so on. And you also said you were cool with that, it adds character, etc. So yeah, on the kitchen counter I would agree that it’s do-able, and yet now you are proposing to put it on the floor around the toilet? Whut?! The image in my head is that it’s extremely slippery and that it absorbs…um…I think you get the picture. Ugh.

    So I guess I’ll go back and reread…

  8. I already voted for 2 because of the dark floor. However, I would use the beautiful white tile from 1, and I’d definitely recommend a cut pebble tile, but as long as you’ve walked on this one and like it, it’ll be fine.

  9. We have green pebble tile in our shower (not something we chose, came with the house) and I love it way more than I thought I would. It’s a pretty dark grout, though, so that makes keeping it clean pretty easy.

  10. I voted for two because I am the only the person in the whole world who finds that Ann Sacks tile uncomfortably pointy.

  11. Great post Emily! I love love love your voice and humor and process. ? Thank you for brightening my morning.

  12. Per the tray table – we inset our toilet paper holder into a niche in the wall and had to make it big enough for my husband’s coffee cup – we literally measured all his cups to make sure they would fit. It was his one demand and has brought him much joy.

  13. LOVED this post and all of the hair-pulling, teeth gnashing indecision in it. We are creating a new master bath and updating our main, so we are going through this at the same time. Well…I’m going through it; my husband just wants it to be done. Cheaply. Sigh. Oddly, we are going a bit more mid-century since that is our house, but the finishes you have here are similar to what I have picked, sans the pebble tiles. I’m still not sure about those for a mountain house, but they are very organic, so might work. Love the Ann Sacks tile. LOVE. And all of the bathtubs are gorgeous but you should have your bubbles, dammit! You can look out the window at all the green or snow or night sky as you bubble your stress away!!

  14. The options make me dizzy (why I’m not a designer), but the video is ADORABLE. So cute. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

  15. My parents did the water closet option when they redid their bath about 20 years ago, when I was a teenager. Their theory was that one person could use the vanity/shower while the other was in the WC. In actuality, no one was willing to do their business with another person just on the other side of the door. Even with the fan on (which did prevent the odor/noise issue). It was still too personal.

  16. i am absolutely dying over the male/female divide on toilet room door! I often joke with my girlfriends that we should send our husbands to live together and move the ladies into one house…the men’s house could for sure have a fold down table in the bathroom!

    it’s my personal dream to have a toilet room with a door. for some reason I have a fantasy that this would make it easier to actually put a door between my littles and I, for a few brief moments.

    i love hearing about your process and knowing that these decisions make you kinda crazy too! Looking forward to seeing the reveal, I’m sure it will be amazing.

  17. Why wouldn’t you sub in the shower tile from Opt One? I voted for Two yet yearned deeply for the One’s tile. It’s graciously fun for you to fancy our choices but I am sure you and I are not the only ones that felt unsatisfied with Two without this element of one. P.S. You’re in charge. And doing awesome.

  18. Emily, I understand you want our opinion, but YOU GOT THIS on OPTION ONE!!! No need to go through all choices lol. But I get it, I always get lost when I do stuff for myself…On the other hand for other people, I am SO ASSERTIVE lol. I love what you show us, it is so inspirational and I love to see the sources, bc that’s where a lot of bloggers fail!

  19. Brass and white and navy and mirrors. Just tacky. It’s all expensive and pointless. Sorry.

    1. Her post is awesome. Your comment is tacky and pointless. Go troll elsewhere, meanie face.

  20. Hi Emily,

    I think those are the tiles you were looking for
    I am going through designing process myself for our new home and your blog is such a big help! I love your work. Greetings from Warsaw.

  21. I actually love every version of both of these options – it’s so fun to see your process! I voted for option one pretty much solely because of that shower/ WC tile. It’s so gorg. Obviously you’re leaning toward option 2… Is there any particular reason you can’t use that tile in it? Does it just not go with the backsplash tile in option 2? (My untrained, non-designer eye can’t tell!)

  22. I’m totally with you on the medicine cabinets! Wish I had put one or two in my bathroom. And I love the guys reaction to the WC door!!

    Love reading about your process! Thanks so much for sharing it.

  23. Let me talk about this, You are really good and I think you are a civil engineer … 😛
    Sory for that but I think you are not only a blogger you are also a civil engineer hehehe 😛 😛

  24. keep the wc Ann Sacks tile you love so much. dark tile on floor and vanity wall somehow where the two can be integrated.

  25. I wanted option 1 largely because of the blue cle and white triangle tiles but I bet you’ll use them elsewhere so I’m not too bothered by losing this poll!

    Most of my life I’ve had medicine cabinets in various degrees of beauty, all sticking out from the drywall and in small bathrooms – I hate counter clutter and wouldn’t do without them (plus with small vanities you can’t really leave much out besides hand soap). But I have always wanted a beautiful mirror. I have 2 bathrooms to redo in this house and will be putting in medicine cabinets for the practicality, but as always, mourning the downtick in beauty.

  26. So glad you’ve given up the closed off room for the toilet. In my experience, as long as a house has multiple bathrooms, there is no reason anyone HAS to do their business in the same bathroom that another person is taking a shower in – just find a different bathroom or wait until the showerer is done. Leaving the toilet open to the rest of the bathroom just makes the whole room feel so much larger and helps with humidity and other issues.

    I’m really fond of that dark pebble tile, and don’t think I would use the blue Cle tile with it. It should make the dark floor really pop with all white walls and the wood ceiling, wheras the blue Cle tile would just distract from it (slash make it look like the floor was creeping up just that one wall?), in my opinion.

    I know you got a lot of feedback on the first post that these two were too similar, but isn’t that the whole dilemma of designing? You can have a solid direction, a good start (tub, fixtures, ceiling), and still once you get into the details it’s overwhelming and sort of maddening. Will either option be just as great? Do you just like your first option because it was your first love, but if you tried harder and GOT MORE SAMPLES you could do better? Can anyone else tell the difference, or is it just you going nuts over something that no one will notice? Anyone who has had to make all these decisions before knows that the two options you provided are DIFFERENT and the differences feel HUGE when you’re picking, even if they don’t seem like that on a mood board.

    I know I definitely have a preference for Option 2, but would have also really liked Option 1.

  27. Wow — the two final options are both SO STUNNING!
    I had a question: The Moroccan mosaic-tile (that you decided against in Option 1 Version 2) would look absolutely perfect in the bathroom I’m re-doing in my home. Would it be possible to share where it’s from? (There’s no link for that one 😉 )
    Thank you for always sharing your fascinating process!

  28. I actually like the no hardware on the vanity doors SO MUCH BETTER than any of the options with pulls, etc. Isn’t there doors that have that little indent to pull on so no hardware needed? And I LOVE black hardware most of the time but I agreed it made the bathroom look too cold! Def love the shower bench and the wood ceiling. I really liked the cute pendant over the commode in one earlier version (the one with the cute wood ball thing in it)-can that work with the last design at all or since it isn’t a separated room or area it can’t? Wasn’t sure if you are having any kind of divider wall (but no door) to separate the commode or if it is all one open room now?
    And I am NOT a fan of pebble anything but the dark pebble floor DEF looks better!!! I am glad you aren’t putting pebble at all in the shower (That would have felt annoying after a bit showering standing on it I think). I liked the ledge over the vanity that you showed in earlier versions (is that def off the table with the chosen look? Also you said you really loved the white cool tile in the earlier wc version-could you use both the plain white tile over the vanity but mix it up and also use that cool tile in the wc area or would that look crazy? 🙂 Thanks for sharing your process-I understand your brain all too well! I think the final look is warmer and more timeless! 🙂

  29. I am re-thinking my choice now-I am now agreeing with many on here to combine the two (and ditch the warmer colored marble). 🙂

  30. Totally agree with you about the pebble tile. I’d nix it. P.S. I have no design training whatsoever so feel free to ignore my idiosyncratic tastes.

  31. I vote 1 with dark floor! I already voted for 1, but I think the darker stone will look better over time and will NOT look too dark. Thanks for including us! So so fun.

  32. Save the pebbles, wood and dark hardware for your cabin in Colorado. Keep it classy.

  33. Get a custom mirror cut and mount your sconces directly over. You could frame the top and bottom in wood to tie everything together. Your contractor will hate you and so will the guy who has to cut the holes for the junction boxes, but, that’s the breaks 😀

  34. Get a custom mirror cut and mount the sconces directly over top. Frame it in wood to tie it all together. Contractors hate it but whatcha gonna do?!?

  35. We have a black tile floor and it shows every spec that falls on it. I vacuum every day with my portable Dyson. With lint in a bath this could be a problem. We used grayish grout as we were advised that black grout would end up that color. That was good advise. I picked option 1 for the dark wall. I still like our black tile floors but they are anything but care free.

  36. Wow. I couldn’t vote because halfway through reading this I realized I’m up too late and this is making my head spin. I’ll revisit it….
    I did have one suggestion about lamenting no medicine cabinet-
    We don’t have one in our master bath.
    We have two sinks and two custom framed mirrors. Instead of a medicine cabinet, we have a linen closet in the wall directly across (in front of?) from the sinks. Just turn and reach into the closet – no steps involved. The closet is just shy of 12″ deep and bath towels folded in thirds fit perfectly. I has five shelves all the way across and is 8’x4′. We keep almost everything in there. (We have an apron on our vanity so we have three not-deep drawers in the vanity too) It is so much better than a medicine cabinet. The linen closet has sliding doors and that probably is the only downside but our vanity and its mirrors look so much nicer than any medicine cabinet we saw at the time. I would never trade it!

  37. Oh, and one other thing. Please make sure the edge on your shower bench is rounded. Ours is not and it is NOT a comfortable place to sit. I wish it had a bullnose or beveled edge. Alas.

  38. So to solve the mirror or medicine cabinet debate we did something completely different. We desperately needed hidden storage. Rather than two sinks we got a trough sink wide enough for two faucets and two people and therefore the one mirror over the sink didn’t take up as much wall space. That left enough room on each end of the vanity to put a tower, with wall sconces between the towers and mirror. We are rarely in the bathroom using the sink at the same time, but there is plenty of room if we are, plus we each have our own faucet. And since we each have our own tower we have plenty of storage, no fighting over shelf space. We put outlets inside the towers for dedicated hidden places to keep electric toothbrushes and razors, etc.

  39. The Cle “Swiss Cross” cement tile (white with black cross) is the ideal modern/mountain house floor tile. Everyone who sees it in my guest bathroom is smitten (in Stowe, VT). Seal twice before laying Cle cement tiles! We didn’t in the first bathroom and learned our lesson the hard way 🙁

  40. I worry about the undertones not matching in both options. The white vanity backsplash is cool, but the counter top warm in #2, and the tub is cool but the floor tile warm in #1. #2 also has cool wall tile in the shower, and a warm bench marble. … I’m sure if it’s repeated enough it will look on purpose, but It would probably drive me a little bonkers.

  41. This is so refreshing. I’ve been sitting in front of photoshop pasting and repasting layer after layer of rugs, chairs, flooring, pendant lamps, cabinet pulls, picture frames, and paint swatches for weeks if not months. It’s such a great tool to try everything. But it’s also such a great tool to try EVERYTHING 🙁 And there are so many things to try! What started as buying a new bed frame turned into a complete redesign on my rented apartment. It’s alot and I’m not even doing a complete remodel. I’m usually really fast with decisions but I’ve slowed to molasses during this process. What will be perfect? Does this represent me? What does this say about me? Will my partner like this? What is my color scheme?!?!?!?! Is this too matchy matchy. Thanks for sharing how argues this whole process is. It’s always nice to know that I’m not alone. Retaking Emily’s style quiz seriously helped saved me from complete indecision paralysis. And now I have new inspiration from this blog post, “Pretty always looks good with pretty.” Thanks Emily’s mentor! I could seriously keep pasting things into new layers FOREVER.

  42. I love those “two” small pendants. What is their source? Too bad they’re too small.

    Still not a fan of pebble floors (I have tenderfeet, and they hurt), but I like the look of the new dark option. It pushed me over from option one to two.

    P.S. In the thumbnail pic for the vessel vs. wall-mount sink discussion, I’m so psyched to see that dog painting with the turquoise background. I’ve loved it ever since I first saw it in your office on your HGTV show.

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  44. I have a semi-technical question – when you do these mood boards, in real life, do you actually cut things out, print things out and put them together — or is it only digital?
    I’m not in any way a designer, but I’m thinking that actually cutting things out would help me blend things better. This is literally the first time I’ve thought of this! Despite years of watching HGTV and reading design blogs. *mind blown*

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