DIY diva

Exciting News on the Soaking Front

October 9, 2014 | 20 Comments | Uncategorized
DIY diva

A few weeks ago when I was thinking about upcoming projects on the house, I had an idea. (If you know me at all, you know that my “ideas” are usually followed in rapid succession by things getting, uh, demolished. This time was no exception.)

Here was the dilemma I was wrestling with… once things are buttoned up on the farm for winter, I’m planning to dive in to a big house project, and both the kitchen remodel and the master suite were on the list of potentials. The kitchen remodel gets me a wood stove, which means I’ll be able to put some of this wood my neighbors and I have been diligently cutting and splitting to good use…


Heating a big, old farmhouse with fuel oil isn’t exactly easy on the wallet.

But, since I don’t have the time or funds to do both the kitchen and master bath at the same time (or even in the same year, maybe) it seemed like I was giving up my dream of long soaks in a hot bath for yet another winter, at least.  For a girl who has spent the better part of a decade trying to build a dream house for herself–I’ve been without a tub for more years than I’ve been with one. It’s disheartening.

But then I remembered something…


This bathroom.

I have three full baths in this house. The downstairs bath with a shower (currently my main bathroom) that got a mini-makeover earlier this year, the master bathroom (currently demoed to the studs), and the upstairs full bath, which basically never gets used.

I painted it and made my Words on a Wall art a while ago, but never ended up using it much, because even with a good cleaning, the tub in there is pretty gross. It doesn’t drain, it’s got some major stains of questionable origin, the plumbing is bad, and once when I was desperately ill, I tried taking a bath in it only to find that it could only hold about 8″ of water before water started leaking out into the wall behind the drain switch. It’s… not a pretty situation.

With so many other projects going on, I mentally shuffled this room to the very bottom of the list and then forgot about it. Until a few weeks ago when that little lightbulb went off in my head…

This was my idea: I don’t have the time or resources to do the master bath right now, but I could just, like, replace this tub… right?

Yes, actually, I can do that. Now, I had envisioned at some point in the future tearing this bathroom down to the studs and that isn’t in the cards right now. I’m not signing up for a big project here. But, also… well I do kind of hate the floor tile. And the color of the cabinets. And it’s probably time to change up the color of the walls.

While there are some things I would love to do in this room if I was going to start from scratch, there’s really no reason I have to do those things. I think I can put a pretty awesome bathroom together in just a couple of weekends, and I had some time over my break last week to get started with the planning.

Here’s where we’re at:

The Bathtub


I know it doesn’t look bad in that picture, but the camera also isn’t angled in to the tub part. I’ve got guys coming to help me replace it towards the end of next week. The nice thing about having already put two awesome in to my last house is that I don’t have to shop around for the fixtures I like. I ordered the same Kohler Archer tub that I used in this bathroom, and the same Delta Addison faucets and trim.

It it is going to save me a significant amount of money to tile the surround, and been there, done that before, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

The Vanity


This vanity is the strangest thing ever. It’s a huge piece of granite–with double sinks–set on what I believe to be, ah, mismatched old wall cabinets? (If you have a sharp eye, you’ll notice the doors don’t even match.) I already replaced the sinks and faucets a while back, and I don’t want to toss out perfectly good granite just to remove the cabs, so I found a place that would sell me new, custom doors and drawer fronts.

I went with a beadboard inset door–similar to this picture–which honestly may not have been the best choice given the size of the doors, but it it was it is, and I’m not going to fuss about it.

My plan is to paint the vanity either white, or perhaps something bold like that gray.

The Walls


This wall art was a great project, and very meaningful to me. I love it for what it is, but it was never meant to be a part of the “final” room. I’m going to go much lighter on the walls. I’ll also be moving the oddly placed outlets so that I can put a couple of mirrors in here. Jury is still out on whether or not I’m going to convert those can-lights to pendants, but that’s an easy fix at any point in time.

The Tile


The floor is coming out… 50% because it has to to get the new tub in, 50% because I just plain don’t like it. I did some tile shopping last week, and I seem to be gravitating towards a much lighter floor. Here are some samples…


I have this desire to make everything a lot lighter, but I’ve also got the granite counter to contend with…


Or I could go a completely different direction with dark slate.

For the tub surround, I’m thinking basic white subway tile. No fancy trim or accent tiles. (And no giving myself five new gray hairs over the tile like I did when trying to find these hand-glazed tiles for the beachy bath at the Memorial house.)

The Closet


This closet is TBD. It’s an unusually large closet, but really awkward to get in to the way it’s currently laid out. I’ve had in my head since the beginning that it would be a great spot for a hutch of some kind. Still plenty of storage space with glass-fronted cabinets on top for linens, something like this…

Honestly, the painting and tiling may seem like a lot of work, but it’s work I’ve done plenty of times in the past, and something I can knock out in a few weekends. Tearing this closet out means a lot of extra work, but I’m also probably going to do it eventually and might as well do it now, except I might have to build a custom cabinet and that could take a while.

Either way, it will be good to get my hands dirty inside the actual house again, and I expect to be spending a lot of time afterwards soaking in this tub. And then, of course, tearing out my kitchen…

Let the fun begin.

DIY diva


  • nans

    LOVE the dark slate tiles with all the lightness that will be up top. Love that you found a great solution to your tubless house.

    Whenever I look at tile, all I can think of is cleaning the grout and masking the dirt. The tile with the little rectangles and tiny squares makes me itch when thinking about cleaning that grout.

  • Jessica@CapeofDreams

    I am excited to follow your progress.

    • Kit

      I am excited to have actual progress… it’s been awhile. 😉

  • Gary DeWitt

    Hi again, I say stick with the lighter tiles for the floor, any of your choices will work, but I like the herringbone pattern least, and you will too if you have to make all those angle cuts at the borders. Consider an alternate pattern for your tub surround, like 1/3 offset rather than 1/2, just to add easy interest at no cost. Personally, I don’t see the granite as a concern, you can always change it out later for sparkly white quartz.

  • GG

    So excited about this! I love the slate tile, if you are changing the walls to a lighter color I think it will look great (and be reminiscent of the current wall color)

    • Kit

      I also am loving the slate idea (is that weird, because it was my idea?) I swear it just came to me as I was writing this post though, and after a week of looking at white-ish sample tiles all the sudden I’m like, nope, black slate. Ha. I’m so consistent.

  • June

    Do the dimensions of the various floor tile patterns blend well with the subway tiles dimensions? And let’s just say… measure the height of the shower for tall people! Quick do-over for you with maximum impact. God thinking!

  • Virginia

    Envy all the knowledge and skill you possess!! My bathroom needs an overhaul and cant afford to remodel right now! We are thinking of. Surround tub also but would have to hire someone to do it and God knows whats behind there!!! The faucet has had a tiny leak and Im thinking MOLD!!! Yikes!! Hope this can be done in a w/e as this is the only bathroom we have!! Love the gray slate tile on the white, very rich looking!! And the beadboard cabinet, love it, love it!!

    • Kit

      If you hire someone to do the tub and surround, I think you could definitely have it done in a weekend!

  • Kristen

    Before demoing the closet, what about just removing the doors, adding a closet depth shelf midway down, and install a simple flour bin style door and hinge, and make the bottom a laundry drawer like this Then some open shelves for towels on top. It will give you the custom cabinet look without spending the next 6 months building it. Just a thought! (I am turning a bathroom closet into a linen closet, so I have spent a lot of time thinking about closet design, and will be making my own cabinets, but it will take me decades.)

    • Kit

      There’s an interesting idea! I’m also wondering if I could easily mod any ikea cabinets or the like (or maybe even find an antique piece of furniture that would fit there.) So many possibilities…

      Love the look of that Pin too!

      • Kristen

        ohhh Ikea cab frames is a good idea. Those things are cheaper than buying the plywood to make them!

    • Jenny K.

      With a kreg jig and help from the fab blog Ana White any wood working project proves to be a breeze so to speak

  • Stacy

    I take a hot bath every night, being without a tub would make be cranky. You deserve a tub. Love the tile btw!!! The white is classic, the grey is dramatic, if your going with lighter walls, the grey would be very striking!

    • Kit

      I try to keep it in check, like, if the worst thing I’ve got going on right now is that I might not have a tub this winter, I am a lucky, lucky girl. But, dammit, I also want a tub. 😉

  • El Katz

    Two suggestions:

    If you haven’t ordered the doors yet, try Scherer Cabinets in Minot, ND. They produce excellent products, have contractor discounts, and ship them very quickly. I’ve used them in total kitchen and bath remodels and never regretted it.

    If you paint the cabinets, I would suggest using Benjamin Moore Alkyd Enamel in satin. It’s a waterborne alkyd enamel – durable as oil without the stink and excessive dry time. I used it for the first time (I’ve always been an oil-on-trim kinda guy) on my garage cabinets and was very pleased with the workability and final finish. It’s hard, not sticky like latex (even when cured) and a gallon goes quite a way. You might be able to use a quart with a HVLP sprayer (more tools!) and knock it out in a matter of minutes.

    While dark floors are dramatic, they show EVERY fuzz, speck, and water stain. If your water is hard, you might be unhappy with it. I’ve had slate and you need to seal it. Otherwise it gets dull and unattractive. I prefer a lighter floor for that reason…

  • Nikki

    I love the slate tile!

  • Guerrina

    I REALLY love that slate to go with all the lightness you plan to bring in. Thinking it will ground the room. Great idea for the closet!

  • Julia at Home on 129 Acres

    Didn’t see this one coming, but it makes total sense. Although in my book this is a pretty major reno. I love the idea of a hutch. It’s something I’m planning when we finally get to redoing our main bathroom. It’s a nice way to incorporate different tones. You could do the hutch in wood while the vanity is painted.

  • Tim

    Keep in mind that firewood takes at least a year to dry and season AFTER it has been split and stacked. If it is oak or some other hardwood species it can take up to 2 years after it was cut and split to be dry and properly seasoned.

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