15 June 2010

Inspiration, Part 1: Mastering the Bathroom

Now that everything is pretty much finished (although there are still a surprising number of small-to-medium things outstanding), it's time to show you some of the spaces and pictures that inspired us in our design and cosmetic choices.

Let's start with the master bathroom, which finally got its glass wall today. (By the way, after R put up that super-awesome shower curtain contraption to pass the final inspection, a different inspector came out, sort of laughed at it, and commented that he wouldn't have written up the lack of a curtain.) Anyway, the curtain was never part of the long-term plan, and bright and early this morning, the glass wall went in. I don't have a wide enough angle lens (or a large enough bathroom) to show a great angle on it, but you get the idea:

Surely you know us well enough by now to know that no finish selections came easily to us, but you may not know that this bathroom was the biggest layout challenge of the whole house. In fact, when we sent the plans out for preliminary bidding (which didn't accomplish much except temper our expectations for pretty horrifying final bids), this bathroom was a big question mark (literally). Our designer, Janet, was going on vacation and suggested sending our preliminary plans out for some general numbers while she was away, and we decided that we would all think on the bathroom layout and regroup when she got back to town. Shockingly, she didn't spend her whole vacation contemplating our bathroom, so she returned without any ideas, but fortunately we had gone on a hunt for inspiration and landed on this as a starting point for getting everything we wanted into a long, narrowish space:

Janet suggested flipping the tub and shower, and we decided to put in a glass partition only (no door or curb), leaving a wide open walkway into the shower. I assume this room's toilet is out in the open to the right, but a separate potty cabinet was always part of our plan, and we tucked it behind the bathroom door.

So...we got the layout figured out, but we still had no idea how we wanted to finish out the space. (We're not the kind of people who spend our free time thinking about what our dream home would be like, so when we were suddenly faced with the opportunity to build it, we were kind of at a loss for ideas.) One day toward the beginning of the process, we went to a plumbing supply shop to look at bathtubs. It was, in my opinion, a horrible experience (maybe I'll tell that story on a slow news day), but the salesman who was "helping" us gave us a bath fixture calendar as we were leaving, and we tore out a few of the pictures that we liked before recycling the rest. Eventually, as we were at the point of needing to look for tile and other materials, we found ourselves returning to this picture:

I loved the soft color of the stone and the brick pattern around the tub (and presumably extending into the shower), so we started looking for a similar natural stone. Even in "cost is not a factor" mode, we kept coming up empty -- everything had a lot more variation. Then one day I found a porcelain tile that looked just like this, and it came in 12x24" tiles...which eventually we realized could be cut into thirds to mimic the look of that wonderful, spa-like bathroom. We ran the tile all the way to the ceiling on the two shower walls.

We would have loved to use a big, thick slab of stone for the tub surround, but we didn't even want to look into the cost. We did want to find a slab for the countertop, but since the master bath sink area is such a hardworking surface, we thought a solid-surface product would be best. We were pleasantly surprised to find a remnant of one of the more natural-looking solid surface styles (by Zodiaq, I think), and it all came together with our lighting and plumbing fixture selections into this:

(Of course, the cupcake light is on hiatus.)

Thank goodness these images, and then these materials, came into our lives at the right time. I honestly have no idea what we would have done with this bathroom if we hadn't stumbled upon these ideas.

I'll wrap this up with some news from the home front (er, the other home front): (1) Dash went back to the vet today, got his infected ear thoroughly flushed out, and is on all new medicines (including banana-flavored Cipro, so he's good to go in case of an anthrax attack), and (2) Steve recently finished up a test chip (his own special project), which has been manufactured and tested and is apparently exceeding all expectations. Go Dash and Steve!

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