Before & After: The Shiplap Shower Bathroom

This is one of my favorite bathrooms I've ever done. So, it's shocking I haven't written a Before & After post for it yet. It wasn't even a bathroom to start. It was a bedroom. This home desperately needed an upstairs bathroom, preferably a kick ass master bath. I've talked about this puzzle of a layout change before so if you want to dig into that, go here. But the gist of it is that this was a walk through bedroom to another bedroom which is lame AF. So, I chopped said lame bedroom up into a hallway, laundry closet, spiral stairway to the rooftop deck, master closet and master bath. Yes it all fit. 

So, as I was saying I turned this into a bathroom. There was a closet that sat directly over the stairway below so naturally I thought it was the perfect fit for a shower. Luckily it was a big closet. At least where 130 year old houses are concerned. Here is that seriously fancy closet. Looking at it there, can you believe that became a shower?

Shiplap Shower Master Bath Before

So since this was a bedroom turned hallway + other rooms, that meant that it was going to have to be long and narrow (to balance out the long narrow hallway on the other side. It's geometry, k? That worked for me. Making this bathroom all along one side of the room made it so these large windows would also be a part of it. Boom. Let there be light. Below is the floor plan. Before on the left, after on the right.

Next was filling in the finish materials. The very first piece to go into this room was the sink. In fact the room was pretty much built around it. Behold the sink I found in another bedroom in this house. Weird, yes. But how lucky could a girl get?

And here it is salvaged and reglazed for its new life.

Next was the shower. At this point I was super bored with everything out there in tile land. Subway tile was all the rage but I had already slated it for the first floor bathroom. Shiplap was also all the rage but nobody makes tiles that long. For some reason I really got stuck on this whole shiplap shower idea and finally just asked my contractor, Joe Wood of All Around Joe, what we could do to make it happen. We figured it out and boom, the world's first shiplap shower. I kid it wasn't but dang I think I was like #3 or 4 at least! But, actually any shiplap showers I had seen had overlapped the boards like siding. I didn't want that. Joe figured out the solution.

Read my interview with Joe Wood about how he made this happen!

Next was flooring and lighting. My intern at the time, Nick Fix was instrumental in these two areas. Despite being only 17 years old at the time, Nick had a great design eye. He walked into the newly framed space for the first time and suggested it should have pendant lights hanging down from the very tall ceilings. Since the room was long and narrow, when you stood at the door, you would see these pendant lights straight down the middle. He was right. It was a great call. I was obsessed with these wire and glass pendants from Pottery Barn so I was very excited to get to use them. They had a good mix of farmhouse and industrial style I was looking for.

Nick had actually gone through a bathroom renovation at his Mom's house and had a ton of extra tile leftover. I bought it off of him and his Mom. Win win!

I love the way everything came together. We used a farm style sconce over the sink, a shiny chrome wall mount faucet on the farm sink, 5 panel doors painted Behr Iron Mountain and included iron black door handles. I also remembered that I had these sweet little vintage glass towel bars I picked up from Village Salvage in Waynesville, OH. They only needed a little shining to be salvaged and ready to go. The final pieces was that great wood mirror from Crate & Barrel. The sink was an odd size so finding an appropriate mirror was tricky. This mirror fit above it perfectly.

More links to shop this room are at the bottom of this post.

And then the before and after photos because that's why we do this...

I'm very pleased with how this room turned out. Shocked even. I mean how does a bedroom become like 5 new rooms? Magic I suppose. 


Shop This Room


Kitchen Before & After: How Take Advantage Of Your Contractor

When you have 2 months of waiting on a permit and demo that takes three quarters of a century, you have lots of time. Time to think. Time to rethink. Time to question your thinking. Time to stalk Pinterest and find all the coolest ideas that you now MUST implement or your brain will die a slow death. There was one inspiring kitchen that started it all, though. This one from House and Home Magazine's October 2015 issue. I took a photo of the page and sent it to my contractor, hence the photo quality sucki-ness. 

Then, I took advantage of my contractor. I lean on the talents of the people working on the project. If they have special skills, I use them. I use them for all they are worth. Wah-ah-ah-ah. It is helpful if you already know the contractor for hire. My contractor Joe Wood of All Around Joe is a sucker for carpentry projects. I told him my idea of chunky wood shelves and he was instantly hooked. He was especially excited because he would then be "forced" to buy a planer he had been eyeing. A win-win for all. 

NOTE: If you can, work with someone who is excited...to WORK! This should be an art project for the both of you. If they grumble and spout off reasons why it won't work (other than for safety or financial reasons), you probably aren't a good fit. For example, I had mosaic floors in a bathroom design once. The contractor complained that they wouldn't work. I looked at him like he had 3 heads. If they could lay mosaic floors 100 years ago, they can certainly do that now. This was simply a case of not wanting to do the work. Moving on....

So, off to Building Value I went to pick up some old wood. I found what was probably 100 year old floor joists. I know because I ripped the same things out of this very house and had them pitched. There just wasn't room to move! People wanted it out of the way. 

GET OFF MY BACK! 

You can't store everything. I'm not Nicole Curtis. I don't have a garage X3. I lived in a condo. You can't win everything. Anyway, found the wood. Brought it to Joe. He did his magic. 

A hood can be almost anything. All you have to do is build a box and throw an insert into it. So, in this project the box was just framed and drywalled. I didn't want a big shiny silver thing stealing the show. I wanted to mimic the chimney bump out in the living room but not draw much attention to the hood itself. From there, Joe attached our salvaged wood floating shelves on either side and trimmed out the "hood box" with some of the salvaged wood. 

In order to balance the room out, and get the coffee bar I was dreaming of (bc Pinterest and Joanna Gaines), he ripped a few more boards to span the fridge/pantry area on the neighboring wall. I didn't want to do another backsplash tile and introduce another pattern and material, so I opted for chalkboard paint. Only problem was I didn't want the chalkboard paint to just end at the top in an awkward line. So, Joe came up with the fab idea to trim out the entire coffee bar with more of the salvaged wood.

Teamwork.

BOOM. 

I personally drew the coffee bar sign. I'm no Picasso but I think it looks decent.

PRO TIP (from a pro not me): dip your chalk in water before you start writing. It makes the chalk line nice and bright.

What I love (but also hate) is designing on the fly. In some cases it's really frustrating and stressful to have some things up in the air. I'd love to say that every idea is perfectly thought out, scheduled and implemented, but it's not. I usually have a pretty good idea of what the design will be. But, inevitably I end up tweaking the idea until it is something new, original and even better than I envisioned. This is also something great about Joe and his team. They are flexible. They want it to look great. They are proud of their work. I like them. Hire people like Joe.

I think it turned out pretty well. 

A Disaster Turned Miracle: The House Nobody Wanted

Things have been a little spicy here in the 'Nati over the last year. No houses. NO HOUSES. Very little inventory means houses are selling for a premium, before list even! Desperation! I had to get my hands on one or some. Your patience wears thin. Until that is, you search one day on your pretty little MLS. You never do that. You leave that for the wholesalers. But, you're desperate. You search the street you've been stalking for far too long and there it is. The most beautiful and crappiest row house you've ever seen. Listed at the rock bottom price of $60-ish,000. 

WHAT IS WRONG WRONG WITH PEOPLE? 

Why was this not pending already? One of Cincinnati's finest Realtors, Aaron Binik-Thomas took me to see it. Isn't she so ugly she's pretty? (The house. Not Aaron)

The only reason I went to see this house was because it was on this street. The houses on the opposite side of the street all have three story views of the City of Cincinnati while the houses on this side are shunned. Forgotten. Kicked to the curb. The other side of the street sells for $200,000-$800,000 (for real tho, it's those views) while this side wishes it had a life. The only reason I continued to think about this house after I left was #rooftopdeck. I get weird when opportunities present themselves that can only mean awesomeness or complete disaster. The house was a hot mess. That's how I like 'em. However, it had somewhere between 3 and 13 floor plan issues. A crapshoot. Literally 3 minutes into the showing I told my agent we were out. 

That night I lay awake thinking about the house and how cool a rooftop deck would've been to build. While we wouldn't fetch $800,000, certainly a rooftop deck would bring the value up drastically. But, how could I make this work!? The kitchen was in the back of the house and separated by the staircase. I'm not moving stairs. I'm just not. (I don't know why.) To access the third bedroom you had to walk through the second. Lame. There was only one tiny bathroom in the house. Two would be better.

But how!?

This house sucked.

First Floor

First Floor

 And then...

my brain turned on.

The next day I texted Aaron and told him, "I've got it!" and let's go see the house again. I know he thought I was nuts. That's ok. I'm used to that sort of reaction to my whims. We had to see it again because I barely glanced at the place the first time around. I hated it that much. I needed to make sure my plan would work. 

Low and behold, the puzzle pieces went into place. The old kitchen would move to the dining room, something I had wanted to do in another house of mine. Glad I stored that idea away in the ole memory bank. The old kitchen would become a bedroom. The walk through bedroom would become a hallway to the master bedroom, the master bath, the master closet, a laundry closet and....

access to the rooftop deck. BOOM.

Subtract two and carry the five and we had ourselves a winner. 

First Floor: 

First Floor

Second Floor:

Second Floor

Second Floor

It was too good to be true. It all worked.

Then construction happened and good became awful, timelines became horrendous, people were fired, spiral stairs ended toward walls and so on. A year went by. Such is the rehabbing life. Fortunately, everything turned out wonderfully in the end and I didn't want to hand over the keys. I just wanted the rooftop all to myself. 

Some advice to anyone wanting to pursue disasters turned miracles like this: study this floor plan well. Walk through houses with broken floor plans and think it through. Draw it out. Practice with the app MagicPlan, which I use for my floor plans. Even if you have no intention of buying the house. Even if the house is your mom's sister's cousin's former roommate's. Practice! Then, bust out these ideas when you find that diamond in the rough that nobody can figure out but you. 

See more photos of this house here.