Friday, October 16, 2009

Splish, splash, we need to re-do our bath...stat.

I've been badgering Allen for a year to agree that we need to start a "let's re-do the master bath" fund...and last night, that badgering hit an all new high.

Let me preface all of this by saying that I love our little house.  It's got a great floorplan, mid-century character, and in a sea of new construction in our neighborhood, I love that it's been around for awhile.

That said, the one thing we weren't nuts about when we moved in was the size of the master bathroom. It's teeny. So teeny that Allen actually uses the guest bathroom as his bathroom, which is perfectly fine with me. Sharing a bathroom with a boy is kind of gross, no matter how much you love him.

Back to the point, which was not the size of the room. It's the materials used in the bathroom, and the ease of cleaning it that are a total bugger.

Exhibit A:

First, I'd just like to mention that these are the pictures that we took when we were visiting the house before we bought it, so apologies, people who lived here before us, for posting pics of your stuff without asking.

Moving on...if you look closely, you'll notice that the tile is travertine. Lovely, spa-like, whatever.

It's not sealed.

Which means it's IMPOSSIBLE to keep clean.

I don't use that word lightly, by the way. I mean literally impossible to keep mildew and mold free...for a few reasons.

The biggest reason is that we have the original ventilation system from the early '50s, when the house was built. I *think* it's connected to the attic fan, which is still operational (and is a constant reminder of why I loooove air conditioning.) Obviously, we don't use the attic fan, but I'm skeptical that the bathroom ventilation works without it, because every time someone takes a shower, it takes 6 HOURS for the humidity/water in the bathroom to evaporate. Even with the fan on.

But the second reason is that because travertine is porous stone, it can't be treated with traditional mildew and mold-killing products, like this:

A product, by the way, that was my best friend when we lived in DC for its magical cleaning abilities.

I've tried everything. I spray the shower every time I use it with a shower cleaner, scrub the heck out of it 3X/week with vinegar and baking soda and have even used a heavy duty stone cleaner that I found at Home Depot that you have to use a mask while using because apparently it's deadly to humans as well as mildew spores.

But no dice. And I'm not really interested in trying any more noxious chemicals in my poorly ventilated bathroom, for obvious reasons.

Getting the tile sealed is an obvious solution, until I realized what you have to do to get there...and it's pricy. There is steam cleaning involved, embedded spores or something like that, and the risk that you'd seal it with stuff trapped under the sealant and have a bigger problem on your hands, or something.

So, I'd like to redo the bathroom. I think I could do it on a budget and also make a few improvements that would give us a little more storage, as well as make the room seem a little airier and larger.

The first step? Getting rid of the giant built in. It takes up an entire side of the bathroom, but isn't actually that much usable storage...and the sink is tiny. While the counter space is nice in theory, I'd prefer to have less clutter on the counter and more stored where you can't see it.

Which is why I love this:

The Gramercy washstand at Restoration Hardware.

How pretty would that be with a tall eterege or a simple shelving unit next to it?

Or splurge a little to have built in cabinets recessed into the walls?

As for the shower, I'd love to do something like this:

Image via Apartment Therapy
A frame-less glass shower, rather than the heavy metal frame we're rockin' these days.

And simple, simple, simple for the rest of it...

Image via Urban Grace Interiors
White subway tile in a herringbone pattern in the shower

With a little space built in to hold shampoo, conditioner and soap

White penny tile with grey grout on the floor

A medicine cabinet, recessed into the wall....

And pretty sconces on either side of the mirror.

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