Category Archives: Top floor

Back to the bath.

Oh, hi there. You may remember us from posts like Kent Dates, Surrounded, and Tile Quest, when we were beginning our ensuite bath reno as bright-eyed, energetic fools. Well, our last post on the matter was mid-April, as in…many, many months ago (do we have to say ‘years’?)

Between that time and now, we have been doing important framing, plumbing, and electrical work on the space, albeit at a very comfortable pace. A pretty sizable kitchen upheaval took place last summer, which stymied our steam. Then this year, we had the nicest summer on record. But no more excuses: we have the plumbing and electric installed, vanity purchased, and we’re pretty much in the home stretch of this make-over!

Here’s a photo montage of our progress to date:

March 2010

See Kent Dates for more details on how we gutted this room to prepare for the master bath.

March 2012: the frame is built, and tub laid in for visualizing tile and fixture placement. Also, new toilet placed, ready for plumbing!

The bulkhead and ancient cast iron sewer vent were removed.

Next, we waterproofed the plywood surround and backsplash with Mapelastic™ AquaDefense.

We laid down our favourite tiles to choose the parts of each that we wanted to feature.

Filing the edges of marble tiles after they’ve been cut. This process was only done for the corner edges that will be exposed.

Mortaring the cut tiles into place.

We chose brushed nickel tile edging to frame the tile.

The tiles were set in the polymer-modified mortar for 48 hours, with ‘tombstones’ placed to prepare for the grout lines.

After the grout came plumbing, and installing our fixtures. We chose the Aqueous Roman Tub J-Spout series in brushed nickel.

Cribbing to support the bathtub.

Mortar, covered with 6 mil vapour barrier, and then placing the tub!

Yep. I totally took a bath when it was first installed, before the corner bulkhead walls were restored.

November 2012: Progress to date! New vanity is placed, but not plumbed in yet. Crown moulding (not original) being removed.

November 2012: Walls have been plastered, and are ready for paint and new crown mouldings. Then we’ll tile the face of the surround. AFTER THAT, stain and finish the floors. We’ll need a new light fixture, vanity mirror, and a towel rack. Aaaand then?! We’ll be done 🙂



Filed under Bathrooms, Top floor

Suddenly Pink

A few months ago, I bought some spray paint at Canadian Tire for a bargain: cans for less than $2!? Sign me up. One of the colours was a pale pink, and while I didn’t have any immediate plans for the shade, I knew something would come along just begging for the colour. The time has arrived!

In a previous post, I discussed my affinity for taking relatively worthless furniture, and giving new life to the pieces through a couple coats of paint.

I took this side table I’ve been using in the office:

Gave it a quick sanding in the backyard, using a foam sanding block

A new look in just a few hours, for only $2

I absolutely love my rose bouquet from Mount Scio Farm! They’re grown locally, without the use of pesticides and herbicides. The Farm has been popular for wedding flowers this year, and it’s easy to see why.

When the roses were wilting, I picked the petals, and dried them on cookie sheets lined with paper towel. After a few days, my herbicide/pesticide free potpourri was ready.

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Filed under Arts+Crafts, Decor, Top floor

Tile Quest

The decision for the master bath tub surround has been made: all tile! We think that this is the look we’ll be most happy with in our space. Here are some photos of our inspiration for the platform:

Waugh Home Building

Vintage Tub + Bath

As previously mentioned, the old growth pine floors have been sanded, and we’ve chosen a dark walnut as the stain. This is what we hope to achieve:

Lawson's Timber

The whirlpool drop-in tub we purchased is white, and not really a consideration when it came to the task of choosing a tile. We checked out RONA, but who knew they closed at 5:30PM on Saturdays!? We were super bummed, since we had a coupon for *one day only* 15% off anything! It was salt in the wound when we saw the exterior sign advertising a plumbing sale!

Oh well, off to Home Depot and Kent, both of which stay open until 9PM. Of all the big box building stores, Home Depot has the largest selection of tile in Newfoundland, but most of the natural stone/marble are special order only (and super costly!). After considering our options at HD, we were immediately drawn toward a coral marble tile at Kent.

The 12×12 tiles are available in a box of 5. They range from ivory to gray, with very few rosy tones (which we chose), to tiles with bright burgundy and salmon streaks.


Not for us:

Bel Stone + Tile

We took 60 tiles, which factors wastage/loss. At home, I laid out all of the tiles on the living room floor, to ensure the overall tones and patterns were complimentary. We also carefully inspected each tile for serious imperfections, like major cracks or nicks.
Luckily, only 7 will have to be returned. Another reason we love Kent so much: they’ll accept individual tile returns! Woo!

About half the tiles laid out for inspection

Cracked tile, not going to make the cut!

There are some special considerations when it comes to using marble. It can stain easily, and has special maintenance needs. Since we’re using it for a very small area, in a non-flooring context, we feel the extra effort is worthwhile.

We chose a grout that almost exactly matched the tile:

I can hardly wait to rest a glass of (white) wine on the marble; I’ll be careful, I swear! We’ll spend most of the Easter weekend progressing toward that dream, fueled by chocolate and candy (thanks for the care package, mom!)

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Filed under Bathrooms, Top floor


It would probably be helpful if we provided a plan view of the future master bath, so here we are:

Made with Floorplanner

The plan is to install the tub first, followed by toilet and sink. The Kerdi shower will be installed later, in what is presently the closet.

When it comes to the tub surround, we have to choose a tile that works well with the pine floors, which will be stained dark walnut. One option is to finish the tub surround in all tile. Alternately, we could have a wainscoting surround, and only tile the top surface. Here are some images of our inspiration, with both options:

From ArphDecor

From Advanta

From Advanta

From reVISIONrenovations

From FixtureUniverse

From TroveInteriors

In our next post, we’ll show the various tiles in the running!

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Filed under Bathrooms, Top floor

Kent Dates

It’s Friday afternoon, and we’re making a game plan for this weekend’s bathroom blitz! Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself here. When we moved into our house, there was a newly renovated 3 piece bathroom on the middle floor. We weren’t wild about the mishmash of building materials (a grand total of 5 different wall surfaces), or the tight layout. Our vision was to remodel the space as a powder room, requiring the removal of the existing tub. Our new tub would be in the master bath, in the smallest room on the top floor.

Mid-floor bath at home inspection time

The middle floor bath has now been stripped for a whiiile (read: no bathtub, only the shower stall on our first floor), while we’ve worked out a general plan for both spaces.

This weekend we’re ready to make some progress on our master bath. Here are photos of the room when we moved in, and then again right before we began work, a few weeks ago. Note the DIY television stand the previous owners wall-mounted. Until the 30 lb tv was removed, I avoided its trajectory like it was a laser beam!

The looming television and the little guitar.

To date, the laminate wood flooring has been pulled up, revealing pine floorboards that look every day as old as 100!

Before laminate flooring was pulled

Revealing the pine boards..


It’s important to us to retain, restore and reuse the original attributes of the house, whenever possible. Instead of leveling the floor (a major pain during our midfloor reconstruction), and reflooring with a typical bathroom tile, we decided to sand the pine boards, and go with a dark chestnut stain. Crazy, right! Wood floors in a bathroom can be risky, but we’re making careful choices to make it work!

Here’s a shot of the sanding process

We thought about a clawfoot tub, reflecting the Victorian character of the home.

Freestanding tubs are also really cool.

wood floors!

Both clawfoot and freestanding tubs would have to be placed on a tiled platform, to avoid water splashing out and onto the floor. Aesthetically, a tub like this would keep the room looking as large as possible, but the space around it would be largely wasted.

“How about a drop-in tub, with a tiled platform surround?” J asked. I wasn’t sold at first, but after realizing the amount of useable shelf space we would have around the tub, I was intrigued. Then J pointed out how easily and safely I could get in on bad lupus days. We could look at whirlpool models. SOLD!

Our relative aim: a drop-in tub with tile surround!

Last weekend we picked out this model at Kent, after shopping around at Home Depot and Rona. Our final choice was not available at Home Depot, but cost ***significantly*** less than the exact tub at Rona. We chose the model with 10 microjets, for the most therapeutic massage! The tub, home and out of the box:

at last!

So here we are, with a whole weekend ahead! What tile to chose for the surround?! What wall colour?! Don’t even ask about a vanity.

Alright, time to go get ready for our Kent Date!

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Filed under Bathrooms, Top floor