Reviewing my own house – Ensuite bathroom (part 2).

First off, sorry if you subscribe to my blog through email and were surprised to find several inappropriate links.
Yes, yes, that little heist did take place on April Fool’s day but it wasn’t my doing (contrary to what many of you may think of me).
So to my hacker friend, if that was just an A.F. joke…good one!
Now fix it you jerk.

Ahhh, now that I’ve got that off my chest let’s move on to more interesting matters…part 2 of our en suite bathroom.
Monday I reviewed the cabinet, counters and faucet.
Today we’re talking the shower, closet and flooring.

During the construction phase we knocked down a wall and extended it 2-ish feet.
Seemed like a lot of effort for just 2 feet but it felt like we gained triple that and it really did make a world of difference.

As for our shower, we installed 8×12 honed carrara marble tiles from Home Depot.

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If you haven’t noticed by now I was going through a bit of marble obsessed phase at that time with our kitchen counters, bathroom counters and now shower. Not saying I’ve left that phase…if I had my druthers I would have thrown all good taste and sense out the window and put in a marble driveway, a marble kitchen floor, marbled toilets, marbled bed frames, marbled closet doors…there’s no end to my insanity when it comes to marble.
Sadly, I’ve learned 2+ years later that marble is a “to be seen but not used” material when it comes to my personality threshold.

Soon after we started using the shower I noticed many of the tiles would change colors. Almost as if the were wet.

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But how could that be?
Every single tile had been professionally sealed (I saw with my own eyes).
I had the tile installer come back and he didn’t have an explanation.
I asked if it could be a leak or crack in the grout and perhaps water was getting through?
We were both on our hands and knees with a flashlight inspecting every inch of that shower and both of us found no comprised tiles or grout.
Over the course of a year I had two more highly recommended professional tilers inspect it who both scratched their heads.
We threw water over there to see if the water beaded up meaning it still had the sealant coat on and it did.
Although all the tiles seem to change at one point or another the corner tiles stay looking darker.
They really couldn’t find anything wrong that might be causing it.
My next step is just to remove and replace those corner tiles…stay tuned for that little adventure.
The bottom line is that marble is just a sensitive stone that is prone to staining (even by water).
***Help me out here…who has marble in their showers? How does it perform and react for you guys?***

VERDICT:
I wouldn’t do marble in a shower again. I’ve seriously got to get over my marble obsession. Please, someone direct me back to these posts next time I start considering marble again.

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The shower head and wand are Moen’s.
They a-ight.
They weren’t my first, second or even third choice.
The plumber installed Moen component parts behind the wall without asking what brand we had chosen. Apparently many plumbers in this area seem to prefer Moen because they are the easiest to install.
Then I brought a non-Moen fixture home and he was all like, “um“…
Then I was thinking, “WHAT THE FRICK!?” But what I said was something much more sweet and Mini-Mouse-ish.
So we had to go with a Moen. Honestly, it’s not been bad at all.
The hand wand is one of those features that you never knew you had to have.
Figuring out the controls was a bit like trying to fly a plane at first. Seems straight forward but not so. The first week we thought it was broken and took cold showers.
The only buggy thing is that you have to be so careful adjusting the temp. One-quarter of a centimeter = a 400 degree temperature change.

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The other feature we hemmed and hawed about for long while was what kind of shower surround to install. Our choices were full framed, semi-framed or European (aka frameless). Full framed means there is chromed metal that goes all the way around the edges of the glass so no water escapes the shower.
Here’s an example of the fully framed shower that used to be in this room before we demo’d it…

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Keep in mind we had just installed all this lovely tile and I didn’t want to take the focus off of it by obscuring the view chromed metal everywhere.

The second choice was semi-framed which to me just meant “still a lot of chromed metal around the doors just a little less”.

The last choice was European style doors which we went with. This mean there was no chromed metal around the edges of the glass, only clips which hold the glass in place. There is a minimal gap between the glass and the actual shower edges. The benefit is you have a clean look without metal frames.

IMG_1740We do have minimal water spray that comes through the cracks but we just wipe it up with the towel floor mat when done showering, but again, it’s really minimal. When my kids shower in there once in a while, that’s another story. They think they’re Jedi’s when they shower so water is EVERYWHERE. It’s not proven to be a kid friendly feature.

While there really isn’t that much water leakage through the entire run of shower it isn’t completely fool proof. One edge more water leaks than the other, and still isn’t a whole lot, but enough to cause the paint on this baseboard to wrinkle. We’re planning on removing this baseboard and replacing it with a marble baseboard (see, there I go again with the marble. I’ll never learn).

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The trick to making a full European style work is that you have to have a enough clearance so the water isn’t spraying and running down the inside of the door which will run right out the bottom and on to the floor. You also want to make sure the curb isn’t completely level but has a slight run-off in to the shower.

***What kind of shower frames do you guys have? Like? Dislike?***

VERDICT:
Thumbs up on a European style door. I would just take extra precaution to make sure the circumstances were conducive to making a frameless shower work.

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The bathroom floor is a faux wood tile.

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2+ years ago, faux wood tile was still pretty new. The faux wood tile industry has made huge strides in making the ceramic tile look like real wood. If I compare this faux wood to the faux wood we recently put in our basement I get a twinge disappointed. It doesn’t look as authentic as the basement but oh well. On the flip side it is the EASIEST flooring to maintain EVER. It cleans up beautifully! My only regret is that I wish I would have matched the grout to be almost the same shade as the tile itself.

VERDICT:
100% yes to faux wood. Next time I would make sure to match the grout color to the tile itself. I would also recommend going as thin as possible on the grout lines.

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The closet came from none other than IKEA.
When it comes to IKEA I have my reservations.
In design we’re always going a custom look and Ikea feels…so…not custom.

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But, these Pax wardrobes are so customizable.

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You build them, shape them, organize them according to your vision and needs.

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They have been AWESOME! They are sturdy, take a beating, can be switched around if I need more room below for boots during the winter…I’ve LOVED THEM! AND, for a custom closet you just can’t beat the price.

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VERDICT:
Yeah baby!…to Pax wardrobes from Ikea.
Nuff said.

***Who else has a Pax wardrobe from Ikea? Yea? Nay?***

Read part one of our en suite bathroom review here. You can see more before and afters of the entire en-suite bathroom here.

Reviewing my own house – en suite bathroom.

Happy Monday Friends!
I’m continuing on with a personal review of my own house 2+ years later.
The last couple weeks I addressed and reviewed every aspect of my kitchen which sparked quite the conversation.
With the Pintererst craze we are all pinning our dream spaces. However, when it comes down to pulling the trigger on those decisions we all want to know if the things are as functional as they are pretty.

Today I’m addressing my en suite bathroom/closet which is right off my bedroom.
When we renovated this space over 2 years ago we did quite a bit to make it work for us.
Originally the sink and closet were in one space and the toilet and shower were closed off by a pocket, sliding door.
We knocked down the wall that separated the spaces and then moved a side wall approx two feet to gain just a little more space
(see more off the before’s here).
Keep in mind this is a rambler that was built in the 70′s. Big, spacious bathrooms weren’t all the rage back then.

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When I first posted this space I had quite a few concerned readers about putting my closet in the same space as my bathroom.
I get the concern.
Moisture issues, ruining our clothes, etc…
But it has worked out just fine.
Utah is considered a desert. A very DRY desert. If we were somewhere very humid I might reconsider the set up.
We always run a ventilation fan which sucks all the moisture out. I also have a bit of stale air phobia. I always crack a window, even in the winter. Not that I need it but I even run this little fan that points right in to the shower just to keep the air circulating. Yeah, it’s a bit overkill but it doesn’t hurt.

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For our bathroom counter tops we went with a honed cararra marble.

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In our kitchen we used honed calacatta marble…a decision I slightly regret due to it be so high maintenance.
On the other hand, this honed cararra marble in the bathroom has been wonderful!
Not one stain, scratch or blemish yet (please don’t tell me I just jinxed myself).
The cararra has a lot of movement and gray to it which probably does a really good job in disguising things. Also, having it honed vs. polished has helped tremendously with the whole etching issue.

The one “BUT” that has bugged me is the clear caulk that was used to caulk the seams.

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I’ve always noticed that where clear caulk was used it has sort of orange-d over time. No amount of cleaning will clean it. When we were doing our basement bath reno a reader marked to make sure and use white caulk instead of clear…then a bell went off in my head that this example is the reason why. Clear caulk discolors over time. What color caulk should I have used? Not white, that would stick out like a sore thumb. Do they make gray silicone caulk?

VERDICT:
Two thumbs up for the honed cararra marble! Would totally use it again in a bathroom.
(Let me rephrase, an “adult” bathroom…I wouldn’t trust it in a kids bathroom…and I wouldn’t use clear caulk).

Now let’s talk the faucet.

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I chose this Kohler faucet because I loved the design. It has a modern simplicity that really appealed to me.
In fact I loved it so much I put the same exact faucet in our main bathroom…

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I just so happened that I had two different plumbers working on these two bathrooms during the construction process and I wasn’t babysitting the job. Big mistake. As a result, one plumber put them in as “X’s” and the other put them in as “+’s”. The other thing that happened is one plumber installed them so you have to turn them IN to turn them on and the other plumber installed them the opposite way so you have to turn them OUT to turn them on.
Confused?
We are too. Like all the time confused.
Especially confusing if you can’t remember if you turned on both the hot and cold…as well as can’t remember if you turn it OUT or IN to turn it off…so you sit there spinning on handle one way, then the other handle the other way and nothing ever turns off…and when you finally get it turned off you’re cursing the da*% thing.
It’s not a manufacturer flaw it’s a “stupid me for not babysitting the plumbers” mistake.

I have noticed that the handles have gotten a little bit more sticky to turn in the past two years which I’m sure my husband will have to find a Youtube video on how to fix it. He just loves spending a Saturday morning on Youtube trying to figure out how to fix 2 year-old things in our house. NOT.

The thing that has bugged me the most is this…

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
Hard water mineral build-up drives me BANANAS.
It happens when your hands are wet and you go to turn off a faucet and water droplets drip down to the base of the faucet. Over time it creates a brownish crust. I’ve learned that you just have to wipe the counter and faucet every single time you use the sink, but try telling that to little kids. Go see the other nasty hard water buildup pics on my kitchen faucet.

VERDICT:
I wouldn’t buy a faucet that has three components again because that is just more places for hard water to buildup.
Next time I would opt for:
1. A wall faucet so there no hard water minerals to build up on the base of the faucet.
2. A Touch Faucet that turns on/off by simply touching it anywhere.
3. The new hands free faucet Delta has come out with (see video).

Last up for today…the vanity.

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The cabinet maker who made our kitchen cabinets also made our bathroom vanities (you can read my kitchen cabinet review here).
We have not had the same problems in the bathroom that we have had in the kitchen but I’m sure that’s for two reasons:
1. The bathroom doesn’t get as much wear and tear as the kitchen does.
2. My kids aren’t in here banging the heck outta things like they are in the kitchen.

The thing I can share with you is that we opted for a bathroom vanity that is the same height as our kitchen
cabinets.
I don’t hate it but I don’t love it either.
My husband is tall (6’4″), I’m 5’5″. He loves and it works for him but I feel like it makes the room feel visually smaller.
Nit-picky, I know.
My favorite bathroom in the whole house is our basement bathroom. I figured out that I like it because the vanity is low and that feels good to me.
Do what you will with that bit of info.
That’s my two cents on cabinet heights.

VERDICT:
Cabinet height…silliest thing ever to review and have an opinion about but… whatev’s.
Since I’m married to the Jolly Green Giant we will always have a tall cabinets and tall vanities and tall toilets (hate those too)…but I don’t have to like them.
Word.

More bathroom reviews coming this week!

What kind of counters and faucet do you have in your bathrooms? What do you like/not like about them? Would you use it again?

Reviewing my own house – wood floors.

Today I’m continuing on with our series of reviewing my own kitchen.
Last week I reviewed my counter tops and cabinets.
Today we’re talking wood floors in the kitchen and dining.

Our living room, dining and kitchen are all in one big great room. There’s no separation of any designated space. To keep things seamless we ran hardwood flooring throughout the entire great room. We went with oak and had it stained Jacobean (you can read more about the installation and staining process here).

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I knew that hardwood in the kitchen would be tricky. I considered tile for a brief second but I was afraid it would break up the flow of the spaces to have different flooring and I’m not a huge fan of tile in the kitchen because of grout lines! There really is no way to keep grout clean. Even if you seal the grout you still see discoloration in the high traffic areas or if you spill.

The thing that has been most difficult is how dirty the wood looks most of the time.

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Because they are stained dark they show EVERYTHING! I was hoping going with a matte finish would make them look not so glossy and not show mess as much…no such luck. Even after I mop, they look dirty and hazy-gray not one day later. They are incredibly difficult to keep clean. The other frustrating thing is that my boys are constantly dropping utensils, plates, etc on the floors which causes them to chip and dent easily. Even foot prints show up.

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I came across this formula called Rejuvenate at Home Depot a few years back which is supposed to restore your floors like new. You’re only supposed to use it every few months. I put the family to bed then apply it and go to bed. In the morning it’s dry and ready to walk on.

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While it doesn’t take every scratch out it does a darn good job breathing new life in to them. I would highly recommend it.

Our fridge leaked water once and water sat on the hardwood all night causing them to raise and buckle. I called a hardwood guy in a week later to give me a bid to have them repaired.
When he first walked in he said, “Your floors are…what…about 10 years old?”
Me: “Ahem…2 years old thank you very much.”

Considering his reaction we’ve apparently beat the heck out of our floors…even though we have a no shoe policy they still appear very much “lived in”… as I prefer to call it.
He recommended I leave the buckled floor for a month to see if they would self repair after they’ve been given a good long while to dry out…to my surprise, they did.

Verdict:
The hardwood has been very high maintenance in the kitchen but in order to keep the spaces consistent I would probably do it again. Grout lines still scare me in a kitchen but I might consider doing a faux wood tile similar to the one we used in our basement. I might also consider using a much lighter wood that doesn’t show every little speck of dust and probably go with something that has texture to hide our boo-boo’s. I recently spotted a wood floor that I can’t stop thinking about on Full House that might be a lighter, better option.

What kind of flooring do you have in your kitchen? What have you liked/not liked about it?