The Big Renovation – bathroom needs some trim, tile, and a toilet…

According to Tad’s schedule, this project should be wrapped up today, 9/26/16. As you can see, the wall tile should have been installed back on 9/7, the vanity set on 9/19, and the plumbing trimmed 9/26 (which is today) at the latest.


Spoiler alert! Our project is not complete. I suspect this is not a surprise to anyone.  We have never had a project wrap up on time. It seems to be our thing.

Anyway, this is where we are today. We still need wall tile and a toilet,


and a vanity,


and a sink and sconces.


Though before the sconces and after the sink, we need a countertop and vanity tile…


Then, there is wood trim…


As you can see, on Tad’s schedule, doors and trim should have gone in the week of 9/12 – the week after the wall tile was to be installed. There was a flaw in this schedule, we eventually realized. The window and door trim needs to go in before the wall tile – because – the wall tile will need to be carefully cut and installed around the window and door trim.


Sorry, tile guy – you are going to seriously hate this project. Though, it got a little easier when we changed our field tile choice. So, there is that.

We initially designed everything around this really cool field tile. We loved it.


The problem was that it had a 12 week (or longer) lead time.  That seemed like a really long lead time for white ceramic tile – back when we were actually on schedule. In reality, we could have ordered this and it would have already arrived and been sitting here waiting to be installed.  It is funny how things work out. Oh well. Because it was such a long lead time, I started thinking about other stuff. I was nervous about how the cuts in the corners and on the edges would be made if it happened to fall on the high points of the decorative pieces. Then, I wondered how it would work around the window. I concluded it would work only as an “accent” on the shower wall. I would, then, use the flat tiles everywhere else.  I was still good with that plan because I liked that there were 2 different sizes that could be installed in some sort of interesting pattern. Though, it felt like it needed a contrasting pattern or color on the floor or in the vanity area, and/or on the front of the tub. I started the search for some sort of interesting floor tile. I offered up several suggestions – mosaics, concrete patterned, decorative strip down the middle, a faux rug look.  Tad made a face at all those suggestions. He suggested alternate (non tile) options – some sort of synthetic woven covering they have at work, vinyl, epoxy, etc. I did not make a face at his suggestions, but I did turn them all down. Tad wanted something totally different than we had in other tiled areas of our house. I wanted something that was consistent with the other tiled areas. We were at an impasse.

I switched course. I started searching for accent tile. I couldn’t find anyone locally who makes tile. I was bummed. More on that later – because I also searched for other locally manufactured items without luck – how can we change that?

I found Mercury Mosaics in Minneapolis, Minnesota as you might recall from a previous post.


I was smitten. Tad was on board.  He liked that it was “Arts & Craftsy”. It was definitely our style. I decided it would go on the vanity wall and the front of the tub. The lead time was just a few weeks!!! What?!!! For beautifully crafted handmade tile in the United States?!!! I measured what I needed, opted for less blue/more green, chose four textures to incorporate, and ordered it up.

It has arrived. Oh my gosh!  It is amazing!


It is as amazing as described on their website…

Celadon (glossy, crackle) – Like a rare stone, each Celadon tile is different. Ranges are from light blue green to medium olive green with brown undertones.


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Old Copper (matte) – Just how old pieces of copper vary from piece to piece, this Old Copper glaze has a very high range of variation. So many beautiful hues in just one glaze.

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Light Blue (glossy) – A light blue closely related to periwinkle.


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Baby Blue (glossy, crackle) – Baby blue but definitely no limited to babies.


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Grey Spice (glossy, crackle) – A muted tan with speckles of spice.

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Fuji Brown (glossy) – Creamy color with great variation.

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Olive (matte) – Olive, brown to green, and every shade in between.

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Sun Yellow (glossy, crackle) – Yellow glaze on red clay body, creating a warm, dark yellow.

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The textures I chose..


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Once we decided on the handmade mosaic accent tile, I realized that the white field tile we had initially chosen was going to be too “Art Deco” in style. Also, the floor tile search was ongoing.  Sometime between deciding on the mosaic accent tile and realizing that the initial white tile wasn’t going to work, we discovered that the wood flooring company we hired also did tile.  We made an appointment with one of their designers to look at floor tile.  The designer suggested a few options. I liked one of the options. Tad didn’t like any of the options. He was still stuck on the “alternate” flooring option thing. No decisions were made. Though, we did find out that they also sell and install wall tile. A few days later, the mosaic tile samples arrived. In the meantime, Tad mentioned that he did like one of the wall tiles that he saw installed on the showroom wall.  I made a second appointment with the designer (by myself this time).  A quick decision was made. We scraped the initial white deco field tile. We decided on a larger format flat white field tile that is stock (and Tad likes). Tad deferred to my floor tile choice despite it being his least favorite choice.


The floor tile went in the day after the wood floor was finished.


I like it. It looks a bit like exposed aggregate concrete. I think it was the right choice. Tad seems ok with it. Though, he does keep mentioning vinyl flooring as if I am going to change my mind?  I am not going to change my mind. In case you were wondering.

Bathroom floor tile..

The switch plate covers came in. I did install one just to see how it looks.  It is texturey. It is antiqued/oil rubbed bronzey. It is good.


You may have noticed that the bathroom has also been painted.  It is a weird color depending on the time of day, which wall you are looking at, and from which room you are looking in from.  It was supposed to be a really light, neutral, almost white, but not too white. I didn’t want it to clash (or match) with the above mention white field tile.  I was going for a color that was complementary to the white field tile. I chose Benjamin Moore, HC-174 Lancaster Whitewash.  The paint sample was kind of boring, but that was what I was going for. Immediately, I knew that I got it wrong.

From the gray green guest room, it looks yellow.


From the yellow entryway, it looks green.


From inside the tiny room it is kind of beige grey.


What the heck?  Do any of the above pictures look like the paint sample?  I say “No”.


Tad convinced me to just leave it for now and see how it looks after everything goes in.  I was easily convinced. I was sick of painting and was not interested in one more day of painting at that point. Lancaster Whitewash it is for now.

Ok. Back to wood trim. Tad talked to a number of trim guys.  Some were really general contractors that would do trim as a side thing. They didn’t seem all that interested in just trim, especially since our trim is a more involved than the production stuff they are used to. A number of other guys – that do just trim – seemed interested but had a full schedule. One was booked out into 2017. Our contractor didn’t have any resources. Finally, the cabinet guys who are making the vanity gave us a reference. We got lucky. One of their jobs got delayed so they will be able to fit us in. They are scheduled to start this week! And, they seem to like our kind of trim – natural/non painted custom designed. Yay!


Oh so close, yet so far.

All dependent on trim…