Tag Archives: subway tile


shower design with subway tile and marble tile niche

19th January 2015

Let’s get back to the progress in the kids/guest bathroom. It feels like the one room in the house that is somewhat close to being finished. Maybe because it’s the smallest? In any case, hallelujah. In the post last week you saw how we put down charcoal grey tiles in a herringbone pattern and installed the IKEA vanities. Well, let’s get to the shower design with subway tile and marble tile niche.

shower tile design using white subway tile and marble tile niche

Like the floor tile, there wasn’t any DIY’ing going on here (too little time – functional bathroom required!). We have a great tile guy who works quickly and does beautiful work. To start off, he painted the drywall with a waterproofing material.image (6)

As you can see, in keeping with the black + white direction of the room and my general French vibe, I figured that classic subway tiles would be perfect. Plus, they don’t do too much damage on the ol’ wallet. To up the ante a little though, I went with the extra long ones. You can still get them at your regular big box hardware store – I got these ones at Home Depot. The price per square foot didn’t end up being all that different from the usual 3×6 subway tile size.

That orange thing in the pic below is a niche – a little nook where you can put shampoos and stuff. It feels all kinds of fancy to me…. but in actual cost it was only an extra hundred bucks or so (for materials + a bit of extra time in labour). We placed it near the back of the shower as that way it would be easy to grab the bottles out of the main stream of water.

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I had a little fun with the niche and bought one sheet of marble hex tile. The hex tile wasn’t in our budget for the full shower, but buying just one sheet was do-able and totally adds a bit of glam (FYI, this tile was also from Home Depot). DSC_1327


We went with a medium grey grout. I like the way the subway tiles pop, and I also like the fact that the grout won’t show dirt. Three cheers for less cleaning?!DSC_1331 DSC_1333

I would have looooooved to get a black shower head/drain set, but the black ones I could find were all on the expensive side. This budget-friendly Moen one in chrome was just under $150 and the traditional shape felt like it would suit the bathroom (it is this fixture from Rona, but this one on Amazon is very very similar). We have been happy with the fixture and have bought several Moen items that are all budget-friendly but holding up well.DSC_1343Oh, and here is a more “keepin’ it real” pic of the niche. It holds 4-5 bottles, which means that we have just a few tucked in that one corner (I’m a bit of a product lover, and Dan and I don’t use the same stuff… so you know… there are always quite a few bottles on the go!). I also need to grab one of those bags that you can put bath toys in. Right now, our various boats and ducks sit on the vanity when not in use. Not ideal! 
DSC_1346So that’s how it’s shaping up. I need to paint in there and then I can get to the really fun part: accessorizing. Oooh how I’m dying to put up a piece of art somewhere in the house.

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: tiling

30th March 2012

So after demo’ing the bathroom and installing the tub, next up was tiling the tub surround.

Like all of the projects in our casa, we are doing this on a budget. We looked around a bunch at different tile options. I knew carrera marble somewhere in the room (a girl can have a bit of luxury, right?). So after humming and hawing at many different options and laying all kinds of tile out on the floor at Home Depot (we now know the tile guys on a first name basis), the hubs and I decided to do marble floors. The actual amount of floor space is so small that it made sense to splurge there.

Once that decision was made, it was a pretty clear choice for the bathtub surround: subway tile. White, classic, pretty. I wanted a little bit of embellishment, so we also grabbed some ultra pretty aqua blue glass tile as an accent band. I almost went with an accent tile in marble, but it was pricier and I thought the blue would add a nice pop of colour and contrast to the room. So we grabbed boxes and boxes of tiles and headed back to get to work.

Before we could tile anything though, DIY Dan needed to re-drywall part of the surround that had been demo’d.

Here was the space now prepped and ready to go. See that triangular box we have in the corner? Well, we had a space on the ceiling where the old drywall and new drywall met up. But they didn’t really meet properly and no matter how much we mudded/sanded, we knew you would be able to see some imperfections. So, we added this little triangular box to cover it up. Let’s call it a “design feature”…

Now came the fun part. Supplies needed: a trowel that is meant for tile adhesive (it has two spikey sides), the tile adhesive (also called mortar), a damp cloth to wipe away any stray adhesive, spacers, and the tile (duh).

I was pretty excited. I have never done tiling before, so I was chomping at the bit to get going.

In terms of the process, there are a few things to take note of. The first is that you can pretty much guarantee that your bathtub and walls aren’t going to be perfectly level. So what you want to do is rest your level on the edge of the bathtub, and then adjust it until it’s level. Draw the level line on your wall. That way you can lay your first row of tiles along that line so as you move upwards it’s all level. You may have a bit of a gap at the bottom, but you will be caulking around the tub and won’t really be able to notice any differences.

Then to apply the tile. You want to spread your adhesive on thickly, like DIY Dan is below…

…and then go over it with the spikey part of the trowel (called v-notch). You’re left with these ridges in the adhesive which is the golden ticket for getting your tiles to stick well. Then place your tiles on one-by-one, put in the spacers, and push the tiles down so that they are nice and stuck.

There are lots of videos on YouTube about how to apply tile, so if you’re a novice like I was, I would definitely watch a few of those before getting started.

I laid the tile in a brick pattern. We cut a bunch of the tiles into halves so that along the corner in the wall I would switch between a full and a half tile all the way up. Luckily we borrowed a tile cutter from a friend, so we were able to cut all the half pieces and the rest of the custom pieces we needed. As I worked my way up the wall I would just take a step back every so often to re-check with the level and make sure that everything was lining up well.

Oh, and the person actually cutting the tile? Yeah, they tend to get covered with water, tile shards, and dust. I like to leave the really messy jobs up to the hubs.

So here she was after about 4 hours of tiling. We had to shut ‘er down with the third wall still to do, as the sun going down (we were cutting the tile outside).

Finishing the tile, grouting and adding in our shower fixtures are next up on the to-do list, and this gal is getting exciiiiited! We’re not even close to being done the bathroom, but to have the tub part done will be a big sign of relief (and will mean we can shower here again!). Happy Friday, folks!

What about you? Tweaking your bathrooms lately? Or any big plans for the weekend? Do tell.