Category Archives: bathrooms

the sweetest digs - industrial chic bathroom design

reno planning: a french industrial bathroom design

10th July 2014

The IKEA kitchen and bathroom events are on right now (for us anyway, not sure if that’s coordinated across the country or North America?). But anyway, we have some serious shopping to do for our renovation. We are planning on going with IKEA for our kitchen cabinetry and bathroom vanities – we have heard such good reviews, like the look, and obviously the price is right. Custom or higher end stuff just ain’t in the cards for us right now. Anyway, I have been pouring over the options and planning out our kitchen and bathrooms. So exciting, but also a bit daunting to have to do it all at once! Today I’ll let you in on what I’m thinking for the kids bathroom – french industrial bathroom design.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you might have seen my kids bath board. I like to gather inspiration this way – create boards for the room, pin away without doing too much thinking, and then look it all over and see the themes that pop out at you. In this case, I have been really drawn to bathrooms that have a monochromatic and industrial vibe, with what feels to be as a French influence.

Here is what I’m thinking.

the sweetest digs - industrial chic bathroom design


>> Subway Tile. C’mon, subway tile has a lot going for it. Super budget friendly, and paired with a dark grey grout it has a cool vibe that I’m totally digging. I’m thinking of subway tile in the shower, and on the wall behind the vanity.

>> Dark grey floor tiles. I want something that is going to hold up well to the wear and tear that a kids bathroom takes. I think some dark grey ceramic floor tiles will be a good choice. I would die to have them laid in a herringbone pattern (the dream!). Again, paired with a grey grout to ensure that I’m not having to go at the grout with a toothbrush to clean them all the time. I have learned my lesson on going with white grout on floor tile (NOT GOOD!).

If you are a reader in Australia, you may have heard of ABL Tile & Bathroom Centre. They have a huge selection of tiles, many like the ones I am imagining for this bathroom, so you should pop over to check them out! 

>> White vanity. I want to keep the vanity simple, and the IKEA Hemnes double vanity in white is the winner. I like the classic look, double sinks, and the fact that it has drawers rather than cabinets. Plus, the price tag is right (with the sale right now it’s marked down to $381).

>> Black faucets. To keep with the french, industrial vibe I am keen to go with black faucets. I love the look, plus I figure they will be good at not showing finger and water prints as much. I’m all about the low maintenance.

>> Copper accents. I like the way this metal warms up the black and white scheme, so I’m keen to bring in a pendant and accessories in copper, and potentially DIY a towel bar out of copper piping.

What do you think? Are you with me on this one? Think it’ll hold up well to the little feet of kiddos and guests?  Do you have this vanity from IKEA, by any chance? It’ll be our main bathroom on the second floor, so needs to function well. You can follow me on Pinterest to see what else I’ve been lusting after as we plan the rooms for our renovated house.

Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by the ABL Tile & Bathroom Centre.

reduced depth vanity

elaine’s bathroom

20th February 2014

I received an email a few weeks ago from a reader, Elaine (also from Ontario|!), about a bathroom she recently made over. Elaine was inspired by the vanity that we built in our bathroom (you can see that here), and wanted to show me how hers turned out. I totally loved the bathroom, so I thought I would share it with you guys!

Here is the before – dated, and oh so beige.

bath 2 before

bath before

Unlike in our bathroom, the Godmorgon vanity base from IKEA fit in her space but had to be cut down to be slightly more narrow (it could only be 15″ deep). The drawers also had to be cut down a bit to accommodate the sink drain. Elaine used the same legs like we did, and then added some similar modern slim hardware (hers came from here).

reduced depth vanity


See the sink? Well it is an antique lab sink from Queen’s University that Elaine found at a local architectural salvage spot (here). Cool eh? I love details like that that give rooms so much character. The counter top is the ever popular Cambria Torquay quartz (a carrara marble lookalike).

drop in porceline sink

I love that floor, don’t you? I’m crazy for those vintage-inspired patterned tiles.

bath floor 2

Some clever storage solutions are important in tight bathrooms like this one. Elaine snuck some drawers and cabinets in this little nook.

Built in drawers hiding vent stack

The whole bathroom was about $6000 in materials and labour (most of the labour was done by Elaine herself!). Oh and the bathtub? Elaine got it for free on freecycle. Love that. Elaine is a kitchen and bathroom designer, and has her own facebook page here.

It’s pretty eh? I’m adore a vintage-meets-modern bathroom in a white and grey palette like this one. What do you think? Thanks for sharing, Elaine! If any of you have a room makeover or DIY you’d like to share, I’d love to see it! 


bathroom updates: seeing grey

28th November 2013

So you know how we put up this pretty paisley shower curtain back when we reno’d the bathroom in spring of 2012?



Well, I still love it, but with the cooler temperatures outside I was ready to make our bathroom a little less spring-y, and a little more moody. When I saw this grey and white greek-inspired fabric shower curtain at HomeSense for $20, I knew it would do the trick.


See how the shower curtain ties in really nicely with the grey flecks in the marble floor?


And paired with some new dark grey towels (from IKEA), it all feels a little more winter-appropriate in here.


It’s impossible to take a good photograph in this bathroom as it is so tiny, but you get the idea.



I’m sure the paisley curtain will make a return in here at some point, but sometimes all you need is a little switch up to make a room feel totally new and fresh.

You guys doing any small changes in your pad? Do you switch out shower curtains or pillow cases or other accessories from time to time to keep things fresh?

the DIY files: installing a floor transition

6th May 2013

So remember when we renovated our bathroom from this…

to this?

Well, I don’t know about you, but usually after big projects there are a few little niggling details to finish up and somehow they just get left on the back burner. Left in the dust for the new, more exciting projects.

What had we left for over a year without finishing? The floor transition between the bathroom and the hallway. Whoopsies. I figured it was high time to get my butt into gear and finish this bad boy off.

I forgot to take a true ‘before’ photo – sorry, bad blogger – but you can imagine that it just went from the tile to the hardwood flooring (which is slightly lower and so there was this weird edgy gap). It didn’t look pretty.

We purchased an oak strip transition from Home Depot (they only cost a few bucks), and hubby installed it. It was one that was specifically designed for transitioning floors that aren’t level. I puttied up the drill holes with some wood filler and let it dry for a few days.



Oh, and please disregard the lack of sweeping before these photos were taken. Just keepin’ it real with the dust, folks. After giving the whole thing a light sand and then wiping it down with a damp cloth, I taped off the edges with some ScotchBlue edgelock painters tape and pulled out my paint. It’s the same high gloss white trim + door paint that I have used throughout the house.DSC_0285

After two coats and removing the tape, here she was. SO much better. Just gives it that more polished look. Seriously, why did that take us so long?



Oh, and I wanted to wait a few weeks before posting about this just to make sure the paint stayed up to wear and tear (I was a bit worried about it chipping – I haven’t painted a floor transition before), but I’m happy to report that it still looks good as new.


So that’s it! Not the most thrilling post, I know, but one of those handy things to know how to do if you ever need to put one in yourself. In the rest of our place we have those old dingy brass ones which would be nice to replace at some point. Just something else to add to the list!

Have you guys ever installed a floor transition? Used a different material that you liked, or didn’t? Also, did you have a great weekend? It was sunny and hot here (we just skipped spring altogether this year – hello, summer!), so we spent the whole time outside. A bit of garage sale-ing, some reading in the backyard, walking around the neighbourhood — it was lovely.


the bathroom renovation: almost a year later

8th February 2013

Ever since our bathroom reno (which happened almost a year ago now!), I have had some reader questions about how we are liking some of the products we chose.

Here is a reminder of the before + after of this wee little room.


collage 11

The tiles. The white subway tiles and aqua glass tiles we chose from Home Depot for the shower and sink areas are still rocking my socks. They are classic and so easy to keep clean. I just wipe them down every now and again with a spray tile cleaner and they look good as new. The white grout we chose also hasn’t discoloured and still looks great.


The marble tiles on the floor make me weak in the knees. I love those guys. They appear shiny in the photos (more so than they are in real life), and aren’t slippery or cold. We do use a bath mat when we step out of the shower so we don’t get water everywhere, but there hasn’t been any slipping or sliding around. The grout does get dirty and needs to be vacuumed from time to time (the sweep + mop combo that happens on the regular isn’t good enough to get the little bits out of the grout). All in all though, still a lot of love going on here.


The fixtures. One thing I hadn’t thought too much about when we were buying our fixtures was brushed versus not. We wanted to go chrome, as we liked the look next to the marble and aqua tiles, but I sort of wish we had gone for brushed chrome. The regular chrome is lovely and shiny, but it does get marks on it really easily. Not a big deal to just wipe down, but I’m slightly obsessive about it, and so the brushed might have been better for my streak-free nature. Other than that though, we have loved the fixtures we chose (Moen in the shower, and IKEA for the sink).


The sink. The sink is a trough sink (the Lillangen from IKEA), and we love it. We had been worried initially about whether it would be deep enough not to splash back, but it is great (no splashing to report!). It also has this handy little ledge along the back of the sink that is perfect for putting our toothbrushes or soap dispenser on. The water doesn’t usually reach out to the sides of the sink unless you are filling it up, so you can get a bit of dirt on either edge. I just wipe it down every few days with a washcloth and it’s no biggie. On the whole, we are still loving it’s sleek and sexy look.


The vanity. If you remember this reno, you’ll recall that we built the vanity ourselves due to very limited space (needed to fit into our narrow nook, but be floating high enough to not cover the heat vent). The vanity itself has worked out really well. I love the floating aspect – it makes cleaning underneath so easy and gives the room more floorspace to help it seem larger than it is. I also like having the two deep drawers. You can store SO much in there, and it has meant that we were able to move a ton of stuff out of our linen closet and into the bathroom. Yay for storage.

There are so many great options for bathroom vanities out there now, so DIY’ing one definitely isn’t necessary. From antique bath vanities, to ones with a more modern design, there are tons of different options and styles to choose from.


The tub. We went with a fairly low-end tub from Home Depot (this one). It has been really comfortable (yay for being able to take baths again!), and I like the simple, sleek look of the tub. The one downside is that we have found that it tends to stain more than other tubs. In the summertime with our dirty feet, it would get dark marks on the bottom of the tub pretty easily. My usual non-toxic bath cleaner isn’t enough to get it out, and cream Vim has been the only thing that works. Ever since then, we have started to buy those plastic bubbly mats that go on the bottom of the tub floor, which has really helped. So not the end of the world, but a little bit frustrating.

All in all, we are happy to report that despite a few small things, we have been really pleased with all of our choices. It definitely has that spa feeling, and is still one of my favourite spaces in the house.

Have you used any of the same products? Got any bathroom renovation tips or things you learned along the way? Planning a bathroom reno yourself? 

*This post was sponsored by Modern Bathroom. All content and opinions are my own (no free product was received by Modern Bathroom). Head on over to their site to check out their huge selection of bathroom goodies! 

the DIY files: getting frosty

16th November 2012

I am pretty embarrassed to admit that this project has taken us 3 years to do (granted we didn’t live in the house for a year of that, but still!). You know our main floor bathroom that we renovated earlier this year? Well, you might have noticed that there is a window… and that that window has a great view out to our driveway and our neighbours house. Right into their kitchen window. Well, hello there!

As you can imagine, there was a lot of quickly-hopping-into-the-shower-so-that-the-neighbours-don’t-see-me behaviour. Doesn’t really make for a peaceful, relaxing space. Haha.

So out came some of the peel and stick frosting you can get from most hardware stores (ours came from Home Depot). We got the plain stuff – so nothing with any kind of pattern or special texture. It comes in a big roll, so you measure out your window and cut it down to size using an exacto knife. Just make sure to cut on some sort of hard surface underneath (I used that brown board you see in the photo).

Next step is to give the windows a really good cleaning. Luckily my lovely mum had just cleaned our windows for us with vinegar and water (I know, I have the most amazing mama!). Right before applying the frosting, you want to give the windows a good spritz of a water and soap mixture – I used a few drops of dishwashing liquid in my spray bottle.

Then peel the backing off the frosting and stick it on the window. Follow that up with a second, liberal spritz of the water + soap mixture on top. At this point you will see lots of bubbles… don’t panic!

Take a credit card out of your wallet (or air miles card in my case) and smooth out the bubbles. I found it was best to work from the middle out towards the edges. You’ll get quite a bit of water coming out from underneath, so I found it useful to have a small towel nearby to wipe it down as I went.

Once it’s all smooth, give it a last wipe down, and let it all dry. They say it’s good to leave a gap between the edge of the film and the window. Mine is probably slightly bigger than what I needed to leave, but I figured since the screen would be on top, it wouldn’t be too noticeable.

And here it is the next day. Look at all that privacy! I could even start to do some air drying in here… hahaha.

I was a little worried that the frosting would look ultra tacky, but actually it’s pretty inconspicuous and doesn’t really take away from the window or the light streaming through.

Have you guys used this peel ‘n stick frosting stuff before? Have a window directly into your neighbours pad? Feeling a little too ‘out in the open’ like we were?  Have a great weekend!! 

project bathroom: the reveal

1st May 2012

So after proclaiming that the time had come to do something about our dated and dull bathroom on March 26th, we have done a complete overhaul of this small-but-important room in our pad. One month, a lot of elbow grease, a few dolla dolla bills, and we can (almost) call this one officially done-zo. The *almost* refers to still having to install the overhead fan and put in the floor transition (both on handy hubby’s to do list!).

In case you’ve missed the progress, here is what we’ve done to the space:

-the “before”
-the demo
-tiling the shower
-installing marble floors
-building a floating vanity
-installing the vanity
-patching walls
-adding trim and paint
-painting the ceiling and installing a pendant light

And before we get to all of those after shots, let’s just take a little stroll down memory lane and remember what this space used to look like, shall we?! Pretty non-descript, totally storage-deprived and a danky old tub.


Goodbye boring beige bathroom. Hello classic, bright, and fresh. She’s a whole new woman.

Let’s throw in a little side-by-side comparison for good measure. She’s come a long way, huh? Showering in that new bathtub is like a total dream.

And as always, here is the budget breakdown. You know we’re all about affordable around here. We had originally saved up $5000. We knew we wanted to come in under 5K, but were a bit worried about coming across some really bad plumbing or other major issues that would require us to hire a contractor. Luckily, other than having a bit of help from a plumber-friend, we were able to do everything on our own.

Budget breakdown:

-tile (marble, subway tile, accent glass tile): $601.23 (originally $900, but we returned some unused tile)
-bathtub and fan: $364.45
-accessories (shower rod, towel bar, shower curtain, toilet paper holder, etc): $155.46
-drywall: $115.98
-mirror: $30
-vanity (wood, track system, legs, handles): $176.50
-vanity sink: $100
-paint: $64.85
-supplies (tiling supplies, plumbing, trim, tools, etc): $900.26
-gift card purchased for friend who helped out with plumbing: $100

Grand total: $2608.73

But the best part? We had saved up some Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, and IKEA gift cards from our wedding (thank you friends and family!), which totaled $1081.06 on gift cards. So actual moula out of our pockets was only $1527.67. Not bad for a complete bathroom renovation.

So there you have it. A top to bottom rehaul. I think the bathroom may now be my favourite room in the house!

What about you guys? Done any major renovations lately? Or fixed up a bathroom? Even just a coat of paint can do wonders! 

project bathroom: the last piece of the puzzle

30th April 2012

We’re coming up to the finish line, folks. Painting the ceiling and switching out the light were more or less the last things on our “to do” list for this bathroom renovation. There are still a few small maintenance things – like adding the floor transition, sealing the tile, etc, but those don’t really affect the big “after”.

After painting all of the walls white, I was left wanting a pop of colour somewhere in the room, and you know how I love a painted ceiling, right? (check out this one in my hallway). I didn’t want to introduce a completely new colour into the small space, so I ended up going with the exact same greeny-gray shade as our DIY vanity (called Sterling by Benjamin Moore). You can see that I taped out the wall and painted a few strokes to get an idea of what it would look like.

And here is how she looked after two coats. The colour actually came out looking a bit more dark and moody than it does on the vanity (you’ll notice that the walls look more buttery-cream than white here, which is just thanks to the lack of natural light when I was snapping these pics!).

I’m really happy with it. It seems to bring the eye up and make the room feel taller and more spacious (a major bonus is such a small space!).

In terms of light fixtures, since we don’t have sconces on either side or above the mirror in the bathroom (and didn’t want to bother running new electrical to put them in), we needed to make sure we got a light fixture that would allow a lot of light to beam around the whole room. I fell in love with a few industrial looking fixtures, but they had shades that cast all of the light straight down. Bummer. So when I saw this guy, from the Debbie Travis collection at Canadian Tire for $50, I was sold. It was budget-friendly, a chrome finish (which ties in with the rest of the chrome fixtures), and had a clear glass shade that would cast light all around.

It’s not my favourite light fixture of all time, but it’s pretty and totally works with the space.

I also really like the crackled glass effect, which adds a bit of extra interest.

So that’s it! I’ll be back tomorrow with the whole roundup of after photos and budget breakdown. Hooray!

Hope you all had a good weekend. Get up to anything fun? I spent most of the weekend getting caught up with friends and doing my fair share of thrifting. Found a couple of good finds, which I’ll share later this week. I can’t wait for all of the spring community yard sales to start popping up – I love the treasure hunting! 

project bathroom: the details, darling

27th April 2012

Okay, so after all that talk about caulking yesterday let’s get to something a little more pretty, shall we? Accessories. Whether they are for your outfits or a room in your home, who doesn’t love accessories? They totally make a room (or outfit) and add that little bit of sparkle and fun.

After doing a long list of labour-intensive projects (like demo, tiling, or laying a floor), adding the accessories felt like such a treat. First up were the bars – towel bar, TP holder, etc. We had a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond leftover from our wedding, so we headed there to see what they had. They carry a pretty good range of products in various finishes (brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, etc.), but since we had already chosen our chrome faucet and shower head (purchased at IKEA and Home Depot), we wanted to keep it all consistent. MOEN had a nice line in chrome with simple and clean lines, so we went for them. The series weren’t particularly cheap (all between $15-$50), but they are good quality and a middle of the road price, which we were okay with.

Here was our sad, old towel bar. A plastic white thing that had definitely seen better days. Since our bathroom is so small, the back of the door is the only spot for a towel holder. We contemplated just putting up hooks instead, but tested out hanging our towels on the hooks in our bedroom and found that they never quite dried properly. So, bar it was.

The BB&B bars came with these handy-dandy paper instructions that show exactly where to drill in. We marked the spots with the screws themselves, and then just drilled ‘er in.

Muuuch better.

And the toilet paper holder? Not much rhyme or reason in picking the perfect spot for this bad boy, we just put it on where it would be comfortable to grab… don’t need to get all descriptive here. You know what I’m talking about.

And voila.

Now for the mirror. I had two main criteria for this decision: 1) it needed to be high to fill the space as much as possible to make the room feel bigger, and 2) I wanted it to be wooden to bring some warmth and texture into the room. I went to my favourite mirror source (HomeSense) and came home with two possibilities. For those of you Canadians out there, HomeSense is really fabulous for mirrors – there is usually tons of selection and they are super reasonably priced.

Anyway, I came home with two different options. The first was this rustic and industrial beauty. I thought it might add a nice juxtoposition to the slick textures in the bathrooms (marble, subway tile, etc). Although I liked it, its chunkiness just felt a bit too heavy in the space. (*Note: you’ll notice that this decision making happened a while ago, before the backsplash tile had even gone up).

The second choice was this more sleek ebony wooden frame. It’s definitely the more slick version of the two and it’s slim, tall lines seemed to fit in the space better. Winna winna, chicken dinna.

And here she is installed and looking all pretty. I like having the pop of wood as a bit of contrast in the room. It looks more like shiny black in these photos, but up close you can see the wood grain and the deep chocolate colour.

Oh, and did you notice that pop of pattern and colour reflecting in the mirror? Yep, that’s the new shower curtain! This paisley beauty popped out at me on our BB&B shopping trip and I couldn’t help but pick it up (it was $50 – but I still had that gift card). It’s called the Sardinia. At first I thought it might be too much in the small space, so I carefully took it out of the packaging and draped it over the shower curtain rod.

But after a few hours of peeking my head in every so often and slowly walking by the room, I was smitten. It pulls a lot of the colours from around our little house (aqua, lime green, light gray), and the paisley is such a fun pattern. If I ever want the room to feel more “calm”, I can always get a white or gray waffle shower curtain (what I was originally going to buy) and just switch them out based on my mood.

But for now, I can’t get enough of these fun colours.

So that wraps up the accessories fun. The last few things on the to-do list are to paint the ceiling and install the new light, install the vent, seal the tile, and put in a floor transition. The final reveal will be next week. Stay tuned!

Happy weekend, everyone. Got any fun plans? Any travelling, spring cleaning, or DIY’ing? Whatever it is, I hope it’s fabulous!

project bathroom: caulking

26th April 2012

Before I get into telling you about caulking our bathroom, let me just say that I have been giggling for more than a few minutes about all of the not-very-appropriate titles I could have named this post. Apparently I’m still in junior high?

Back to the adult stuff… last we left off in the bathroom reno saga, we had just put up the trim and done a fresh coat of white paint on the walls. Next up was to get all of the caulking done. Not a very exciting project, but it’s definitely one of those things that adds that finishing touch. Even if you’re not renovating, it’s good to re-caulk your showers/tubs every so often. You just need to cut away all the old stuff and start with a blank slate.

Here’s how things were looking pre-caulking. See that gap between the back of the sink and the wall?

And this big gap between the tile and the tub? This particular gap is pretty high in some spots as our wall wasn’t level and we laid the tile so that the tile would be level all the way up (we didn’t want to get to that border of aqua glass and have it look crooked).

With pretty big gaps, they recommend that you use this backer rod before you put the caulk in. It’s basically just a long tube of gray foam.

You cut a piece to size and then squeeze it into the gap. It provides some insulation and also acts as a baking for the bead of caulk you’re about to put on.

Once I got the backer rod in, I prepped the caulking gun with a tube of white 100% silicone caulk. This stuff isn’t paintable, so it’s really meant for bathrooms and spots that will get wet (as opposed to around trim).

I couldn’t get a lot of action photos as I was doing this project solo, but here is a shot of the caulk once I had applied it. I stuck the tip of the caulking gun right into the crack and then dragged it all the way along. After this step, I would put the caulking gun down and use my index finger or thumb to smooth out the bead. You need to have some paper towel on hand, as you’re constantly needing to wipe off your fingers. Oh, and make sure you don’t wait long between applying and smoothing – the caulk dries really quickly and get tacky.

And here is the after! Much better, right? Clean and crisp.

I even put some caulk down at the bottom of the tub – there was some grout there but it hadn’t filled in everywhere, so this finished it off.

Caulking is one of those things you get better at with practice, so I think it’s good to start with a more inconspicuous spot and then work up to the really noticeable areas. Caulking around fixtures, like a shower head or faucet for example, can be a bit tricky. I waited until I got the hang of it before I tackled these area in our bathroom.

So that’s it! A really easy peasy DIY project. Now that we have that checked off the list, next up to finish ‘er off is to paint the ceiling and then add in the accessories (the best part!).

Any of you done any caulking recently? And really…did anybody else giggle just a little bit when they read caulk and caulking about twenty five times in that post? Please say I’m not the only one…