How to Install Shiplap In A Shower (and be the coolest people on the planet)

Let me tell you a tail of when I got sick to death of tile. I already had a white subway tile bathroom on the first floor of this renovation and I didn't want to repeat again in the master. After all, I was trying to get top dollar with this home. The sale price of this home would change the neighborhood. No pressure. 

So, I became obsessed with finding a way to pull off shiplap. Maybe it would work if I could find the longest tile known to man. Nope. Six foot tiles do not exist. So, I did what I do best, I Googled shiplap showers. Unfortunately, my best Googling found mostly examples of outdoor showers with the exterior shiplap siding. Eventually, I came across one indoor shower (which I cannot find now) with overlapping shiplap boards (I believe this is true shiplap). It wasn't flat stacked Joanna Gaines shiplap, but at least it was a start.

So, it could be done! The woman who posted the indoor shiplap shower had been painted it all a shade of purple and said that after 5 years, they repainted it. It was still going strong. This was acceptable. A bonus even. Can you imagine? In 5 years she could paint it blue and now you have a totally different bathroom. 

I pitched this idea to my contractor, Joe Wood of All Around Joe, to figure out the best way of getting this done. You know those contractors that get annoyed with challenges and are quick to say, "No that can't be done."? Joe is not one of those people. It didn't come to him immediately, but I could see the wheels turning. He didn't give up. This would be his creation, too.

So for all of you with questions on how this works, I decided to interview Joe for ya. 

What were your thoughts about the shiplap shower idea?

This wasn't going to be something you'd see or get to install everyday. I got excited about it and immediately started thinking about what we could do to make it happen. 

What were your concerns about having a shiplap shower?

My main concern was durability. My other concern was how to do shiplap and keep it water tight. So, my goal was to make sure the prep was 100% perfect before the shiplap was installed. 

Can you tell me about the material you decided to use?

I decided to use a material called AZEK. It's a material usually used on exteriors so I knew it could hold up. Just to make sure, I called AZEK to see what their thoughts were on using their trim boards in the shower. It was funny because the first person I spoke to said, "Hmmm. That's a good question. We've never had anyone use it in that manner. But, I don't see why it wouldn't work." He then asked someone else in the office. I could then hear a bunch of them discussing how nobody had ever asked that but they thought it was cool and didn't see why it wouldn't work. I was confident this was the right product to use.

How did you go about installing the boards?

I started by making a waterproof system before installing the boards. I used the Schluter-Kerdi board system to make it 100% waterproof. Next, to install the AZEK "shiplap" boards, I used OSI adhesive for PVC material to bond to the Kerdi board. Then, to install the next board above it, I siliconed the entire "grout" seam. I could only do about 5 rows at a time, then start again 24 hours later after it dried. 

How did you finish off the shiplap? 

I sprayed it using an airless HVLP sprayer. There are two types of this material. I chose the type that was more porous so it would accept paint once installed. I used a marine grade acrylic enamel which would normally be used on a ship. I knew it would be durable enough for a shower.

What kind of upkeep and maintenance do you expect for this shower?

I expect it to be able to be washed down with soap and water. Like a boat or a cast iron tub, it will likely have to be be painted again some day. That wouldn't be for many many years. 

So there you have it. A shiplap shower if you want one. 


Many of you have asked how the shiplap shower is holding up. We sold this house right away, before listing actually. So, the only way of finding out was to ask the new homeowners. They reported back that after more than a year in the home, the shower is holding up well. They take care to wipe it down after showering just to be sure. 

How To Install a Ship Lap Shower

Shop This bathroom: 

Have you been talking about flipping houses for 18 gazillion years?

Shut up and do it already. Check out our ebook and decide once and for all!

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 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. 


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.



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. 

More Is Stupid: How To Not Design A Kitchen Like An Idiot

I have a problem. Well, I think it's more that other peopIe have a problem, of course. It's not me it's you. I guess it depends on how you look at it. The thing is, I can't stand things. I walk into other people's houses and immediately want to begin purging the things they just don't need. People have too much. I feel like I have too much even though I do massive purges of things quarterly. Ask my friends. It's like a constant sale on my Facebook page. 

Enter the fact that I am a design consultant, as well as an interior and renovation designer for client's homes. This gets really tricky (aka fun). I get to go in and design new spaces for people, all the while trying to throw out some of their things that they just don't need (45 old ratty towels). Fine line. Not sure I'm good at doing it tactfully, but I try. My mother-in-law gets no tact from me, poor sweet lady. I go on autopilot removing the "unneeded" things from her house. I have a problem, which I choose to view as a solution, obviously. You should've seen me during my sister-in-law's recent move to Phoenix. Everything had to go. It was so much fun. For me. I think she almost had a heart attack. 

What's this got to do with designing shit, Wendy? Listen! I've talked about how to design a kitchen to make it functional and beautiful, but I forgot to really hit these words of wisdom that must be heard. 

Consider what you actually need instead of what people expect.

Have a couple of good things instead of many crappy things.

Stop adding things. 

Don't be normal. 

Stop doing what other people are doing.
Think outside the box.  

That means you won't be hearing me say more cabinets! More storage! More, more, more! How about less? How about approaching your new kitchen differently? WARNING: Some of what you find below may not be what you normally hear on the subject of kitchen design. I'm guessing you've already gathered that much. I'm not the follow the current trends and do what everyone expects type. My hope is that it helps you feel confident enough to break the mold in your mind. Shock and awe, that's how we'll do this. Do things differently. Be cool.

Let's design something different...

Kitchen Takeover

No doubt you (hopefully) spend some time in your kitchen making some meals. You'll definitely need to store tools, food and serving wear in this area as well. However, I'm seeing a trend in kitchens where they are actually becoming larger than the living space. Should we be devoting more space to preparing food than an area in which to enjoy it and other daily activities? Hell no. Soon we'll walk into a home and it will just be one giant kitchen with cabinets lining every wall. No wonder people are spending $70,000 on a kitchen remodel. Some kitchens have so many cabinets these days that people feel the need to collect more things to store. Stop this. When designing a new kitchen, keep the size balanced with the rest of the rooms. Leave room for a sofa to sit on and maybe a dining area. Balance, people. Balance.

Standard Is Crap

Let's stop it with the "standard" everything. Appliances are no doubt important, but if the kitchen is small to begin with, then putting in standard sized appliances will overwhelm the space. For example, a tiny kitchen should not have a side-by-side refrigerator. NO. These fill a large foot print and feel like a giant is taking over the room. How much food are you trying to store in there anyway? Look in your fridge. Do it. Is most of the stuff in there actually food? Real food? Mustard and mayo is not food. Don't fight me on this. How about throwing out some of those half empty ketchup bottles? Are you trying to live more healthfully, yet most of the space in your fridge is devoted to boxed items? Fix this. Throw it out. Stop buying those things. Get ahold of yourself. 

Buy appropriately sized appliances for your tiny kitchen. Consider a 24" range or fridge instead of a standard 30" version. 



Or, break the mold completely and go for refrigerator drawers. I have a college friend who texted me asking if I think refrigerator drawers were a good idea. I had no idea! I'd never even considered them before, but of course I was already poo-pooing the idea. Buyers won't like that I heard myself saying. Her dilemma was that she wanted to completely open up her kitchen, but having a standard vertical refrigerator would totally break the open, spacious vibe. I thought surely I'd find a place for it, so I looked at her floor plan. She was right. There was really nowhere to put one without it feeling like a total eyesore. Let's face it, fridges are ugly (unless it's a Smeg). So, fridge and freezer drawers is what she did. It turned out awesome. After a year of usage, she isn't missing the standard fridge one bit. See them below in the cabinet run on the right.

That's not to say that everyone in every house should have small or different fridges. If you have a family of 6, you're gonna need ample food storage! Go for 2 fridges. Maybe two sitting next to each other or a beverage fridge nearby. But be honest with yourself. Don't just throw in a beverage fridge to be fancy. Consider if you will use such a thing. The condo we are living in came with a beverage fridge. We don't drink soda. We drink water, coffee, beer and wine. Great, a place for the booze! Not so fast. We typically pick up a bottle of wine when we want one. No booze gets stored in our house. That beverage fridge sits empty. If we had a wine rack, it too would be sitting empty. Wastes of space for us. If you're trying to cut out soda or sugary drinks from your life, don't make a place to store them. You'll feel obligated to buy that crap. 


But, WAHHH I need more storage! Maybe you don't. First of all, sell some of that crap you aren't using. How long has it been since you used that stand mixer or panini press? Are you trying to cut sugar and bread from your diet, yet continue to have baking items at hand? I know it hurts, but get rid of that shit. Sell some things. Use the proceeds to buy better appliances. You've got a lot of crap. I know it. 

A well planned out kitchen will have ample storage to hold all of the tools a homeowner might use making the most of every inch of the room. However, let's not plan a kitchen that will hold every tool known to man. Do you really need 2 blenders, a food processor, 50 dishes and 18 skillets? I think not. Get rid of the crappy stuff. You know, the 15 melted and broken spatulas? Keep or buy ONE good one. JUST ONE. You'll be astonished at how often we think we need more of something, but then realize you just keep using your favorite decent spatula over and over. Do you need more drinking glasses because there aren't ever clean ones? WELL, CLEAN THEM. Use it, then clean it. Does it feel good to have a pile of dishes to do? Of course not. 

What are you keeping that someone else thinks you should have? Are you saving that one giant mug that doesn't stack on top of anything conveniently because your mom says it is great for soup? Whose kitchen is this anyway? Use a bowl. Don't be an idiot.

Open Up

Now let's say you've eliminated some things, let's keep going. How about those upper cabinets? Maybe you don't like open shelving. You're afraid you'll be looking at a bunch of chaos and you like being able to close it up and not look at it. But, hold up. You just threw a bunch of stuff out, right? Only the necessary and beautiful remains! If you have floating or open shelves, you'll be able to reach it all so easily! No more open cabinet door dents in your head. You know what I'm talking about don't you? I know you're worried about the dust. If you're using these things regularly, because you only kept the necessary, then you're golden. Not enough time to get dust on it anyway. 

What about just having an open space? Not every inch of this new kitchen has to be utilitarian. Allow some room for art, decor and plants. Now you're designing a room that blends in better with the rest of the house instead of the warehouse, workspace area next to the relaxing cozy area. This kitchen below is a screaming example of this concept. I love it. This kitchen may not be functional enough for you, but take the idea and morph it. Stop being so literal. (I'm sorry i don't know whose kitchen this is. I hate not giving credit so if you know, please inform!)

Now, Make It Last

A good kitchen is one you actually want to be in! If it is too dark or ugly, you simply won't want to spend be there. We can debate what colors to use all day long, but for me there is no substitution for a light and bright kitchen. Plus, they feel cleaner. 

You know that outfit you still wear or piece of furniture you still have because you liked it once and spent a lot of money on it, but that style has moved on without you. That's your kitchen. Those accent tiles are going to become old pretty quickly. Pretty easy to fix this, though. Stick to classic, simple design and natural materials. Natural materials don't go out of style, usually. They've been around forever and will continue to be. Trendy tiles or colors will quickly become tired and dated. Worse yet, you won't even know it because you've looked at it for so many days in a row. You'll be that person that says, "We just spent $20,000 on this kitchen! It's not outdated!" Um, lady that was 10 years ago and that style didn't travel very well. Marble is always in. Says me. 

Ok, end rant. Sorry to go all hardcore on you but I tire of trying to conform. Why do I even bother? Time to go throw some things out.





Idea Sex: A Capsule Wardrobe for The Home

I hate clothes. They are a waste of effort in my opinion.

I couldn't even sift through photos of clothes to choose one for the top of this post. 

They are too tight or too itchy or make you feel ugly and frankly I can't stand the energy it takes to even think about what to put on. Add on to that the fact that you buy something and the next day you get bacon grease on it, it shrinks, or has a hole in it. What a waste of time and money. Plus, shopping sucks.

I am typically at construction sites, so I usually look like a slob with sweats on and a ponytail. I've been lucky that it doesn't matter much up until this year. I have been fortunate enough to take on several design projects for clients and I love it! Problem is that now I now have to show my face. Can someone really take me seriously looking like I just showed up from PE class? So, I've been pondering a uniform of sorts. I don't want to think, I just want to get dressed and look like a girl who might know how to design something. I don't need a closet full of polyester (none please!), just a few things that each go together despite the minute by minute changing Ohio weather. 

In comes the capsule wardrobe. Sadly, I didn't invent this like I thought I had. A capsule wardrobe is a set of clothes for a season that you can mix and match freely, no thinking. See more about capsule wardrobes here. Despite these ramblings, this is not a post about clothes. I always wondered why I could design the crap out of a room in 5 minutes but couldn't design my own outfits. Then it hit me: 

I struggle with clothes the same way my clients struggle with interior design. 

Thus, the Renovation Design Capsule was born. Want to put together a renovation design and not have to think about it? A template might help! I gathered all of my go to paint colors, materials and finishes into one design deck. Each of these I use all over the house whether it's in the bathroom, kitchen or living room. No, you don't have to worry about if you have nickel finishes in the kitchen but want to use gold in the bathroom. They can be mixed and even in the same room. You don't have to think about what color goes with what because everything on this deck can sit side-by-side with the others. 

These are the basics I like to use and am using in my current flip house to create a peaceful, yet pulled together look. See it in action in the kitchen of my latest project. Forgive the wretched photo. This house is still under construction. 

 In the above photo you can see 10 of the 20 go-to finishes at work here:

  • Behr Ultra White white walls
  • Behr Iron Mountain painted doors
  • Matte black door hardware
  • Carrara marble counter
  • Stainless steel range 
  • Brass cabinet hardware
  • Black overhead lighting
  • Natural wood trim and shelving
  • Gray shaker cabinetry
  • Wood flooring laid in a subway style pattern

"But, Wendy, what about your cement tile? That's not in your capsule!"

You are so so observant! I don't believe the capsule is meant to be taken so literally that only gray tile should be used or navy blue paint or marble counters. Mix up the aspects of each of item to maintain a cohesive look. Idea sex if you will. The colors are all present in that cement tile. It works. Here are some other options, some of which are scattered throughout the rest of this home.

  • Porcelain hexagon bathroom floor tile
  • Navy blue painted kitchen cabinetry
  • Marble subway tiled shower
  • Reclaimed plank accent wall

Another of our home designs from this year followed the same templates. 

In this kitchen we have at least 8 of the 20 capsule pieces represented:

  • Reclaimed wood on the island
  • White ceramic subway tile backsplash
  • White shaker cabinetry
  • Stainless faucet, cabinet hardware and range hood
  • Oil rubbed bronze pendant lights
  • White painted walls
  • Marble and ceramic decor


Now, you can go ahead and be like one of the commenters in the capsule wardrobe post I linked to that says,

"This is BS! What about color!? I need color!"

Don't be an idiot. But seriously, guys, this is not set in stone. Add one color, or two even! Do whatever you want. It's your house. Or, follow the scheme set forth and punch it up a bit in your decor. You can see we broke up much of the bright white with the natural wood tones, and black and yellow decor. 

What's even more impressive with this Design Capsule is that it can work with any style of home. Traditional, modern, transitional, you name all works. The first kitchen shown at the top of the post is a transitional kitchen, the second is an industrial-modern kitchen, while the third is a rustic cottage style. You can't break this theory! It works!

Using a model like this Renovation Design Capsule keeps one from feeling complete overwhelm, venturing off into the design black hole. Sometimes it's best to work within a constraint. Not so much that you feel you won't get what you want, but enough to keep you from considering EVERYTHING on offer. 

And once again, DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE NEUTRAL ZONE. Everything looks cozier once you add back in the furnishings and decor.

As a side note: I'm not really sure why I dated it Winter 2016 since these tried and true "rules" work in any season. The colors are neutral; the patterns are classic. I don't see this changing much over the seasons or years even. As evidence I'd like to point out that these three kitchens were all designed in different seasons and different years. Perhaps navy blue will get the heave-ho at some point and herringbone will be so last year. Who knows. If that should happen, Renovation Design Capsule 2.0 will be created with a new date or name. 

Do you have an rooms that matches this template in your house?


Bathroom Design: Rustic Modern + Funky

Want your own design? Scroll down to the bottom and click that button.


Yet another bathroom in need of some serious help! The owner of this tired bathroom, Jen and her husband, are tired of the small outdated look of their bathroom. They have room in their master bedroom to extend the bathroom a bit. They also wanted to incorporate the current walk in closet into the renovation somehow. Their main focus was to expand the bathroom space with hopes of adding a garden tub. I was up to the challenge. Here's the current space. 

Master Bedroom wall with closet and bathroom entrance
Vanity wall in master bath


The current layout, as seen in the top drawing below, has a long and narrow bathroom and closet. The entrances to both rooms tie up the entire wall space of the master bedroom. The new layout, shown in the bottom drawing, bumps that bathroom and closet wall into the master bedroom space allowing the bathroom footprint to expand in both length and width. The master closet gains just 7 sf but is no longer visible from the bedroom. 

The new layout allows a ton to happen for the new rooms. 

  • The entrance to the master closet is now through the bathroom. This frees up that wall in the master for a dresser or seating area. It also allows one person to sleep in peace if the other person is getting ready earlier in the morning. No going back and forth from the closet to the bathroom. 
  • The bathroom was widened and lengthened in order to add a garden tub. It's placed at the end of the room in front of the window while a stand up shower sits next to it. They can be separated by glass in order to keep light flowing through from both directions. 
  • A sliding barn door is added to the bathroom instead of a swing door in order to keep the floor space in front of the vanities free from obstruction. This could be a pocket door if they prefer that style.
  • Because of the garden tub addition, the linen closet had to go. This is not a deal breaker in my opinion. That extra 7 square feet in the master closet could house linens and other bathroom items and could be placed directly in front of the doorway between his and her clothing areas. Another option is to add shelving above the garden tub and toilet. They may also decide to choose vanities with drawers for greater organization. 


An issue in any situation like a layout change is dealing with structural supports. I have not been in the space, nor am I qualified to make structural decisions, so Jen and her husband should rely on a contractor and structural engineer before deciding to move any walls. Usually walls can come and go, it's just a matter of counterbalancing the weight of the structure somewhere else. Plumbing, venting and electrical will also need to be rerouted. Moving and removing walls always seems so easy and fun but there is always a price tag involved.


Jen wanted something modern but with some funkiness to it. I'm always looking for renovations to last fore a long time so I go with funkiness in the decor, not the renovation. I rip out too many old bathrooms and kitchens to feel good about putting something back in that will be dated in the near future. So, I like to go with good ole trusty subway tile which will be in for quite a while. The easiest to swap out is the decor. Add some funky artwork and a funky rug to spruce it up and she can change it out when she bores of it or wants a different color.

As always, I love hearing from everyone about their likes and dislikes about designs. Call it research. What do you think? If you like something let me know. If you don't, constructive criticism is appreciated. :) 

Interested in your own design but have questions? Contact me on the contact page! See your options by clicking that box below.