Thursday, May 11, 2017

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Destination Dallas: Designing My Dream Home (Part 2)

My inspiration photo. (Credit:

Let me start by saying: I am SO excited to have a real master bath. At our first house, we technically had one, but it was tiny and far from luxurious, unless you consider a handicap-accessible shower fancy (the previous owner was in his 90s). (It also had magnificently ugly iridescent wallpaper that I ripped down when Frank was out of town.) Our next house wasn't much better: Since it was built in the early 1900s, the bathrooms were all small, which meant we had a massive master bedroom...and a tub barely big enough for a toddler.

The rooms featured in this post are highlighted in yellow!
So when I chose the plans for our new house, I was stoked to see two sinks..and a soaking tub...and walk-in closets! We are finally going to have a true master suite, which means I was willing to devote a sizable chunk of my budget to this space.

The hex tile at the bottom left is our flooring.
I started with the flooring and worked my way up. I knew right away what I wanted, thanks to years of fantasizing about a no-holds-barred master bathroom: gray marble hex tile. I was surprised to find that the marble flooring was only a few hundred dollars more than the similar ceramic hex tile, so I was able to spring for the more luxurious option. For our shower, which has a frameless glass surround, I picked a classic white subway tile with light gray grout. 

The cabinets will be painted dark gray, Sherwin Williams Pewter Cast, which will contrast nicely with the white quartz countertops I selected (see the photo above). I chose brushed gold light fixtures at the lighting center last weekend (and will eventually install gold hardware, something our builder's design center doesn't offer).

Speaking of lighting...I have two words: rude awakening.

I quickly discovered that the budget we were given for lighting would only cover the cost of a basic package (which includes underwhelming, under-sized light fixtures), and upgrading didn't come cheap. I spent the entire allotted amount on only a few spaces: the kitchen island, outdoor patio, all four bathrooms, and the foyer. To save money (and to buy me time to find fixtures I actually like), I'm having the builder install dangling light bulbs in the remaining rooms and will have Frank install fixtures as I find them elsewhere. (The lighting center featured a lot of traditional fixtures in silver and bronze, replete with rod iron curlicues, which is totally not my style.)

The whole point of this aside: The cost of building is never what you think it will be. We've literally been hit with upcharges every step of the way (just yesterday it was for sliding shelves for pots and pans in our kitchen), and I am so grateful this house wasn't at the very top of our budget. The unexpected expenses are crazy (and, I'm guessing, a normal part of the process). 

I loved the 100-year-old clawfoot tub (in Asa's bathroom) at my last house,
so I was hoping to install something like this. (Credit:
Speaking of which, let's talk about the tub. One of my bathroom pet peeves is jetted, Jacuzzi-style tubs, probably because they reek of the 90s (and, also, because they quite literally reek: I once had a hotel Jacuzzi blast me with smelly stuff. I choose not to think about what it was). I've always envisioned a freestanding soaking tub in my dream master bath, and figured it'd be no issue to install one. Wrong. I was told it'd be a $10,000 upgrade. 

Apparently, a freestanding tub has to align perfectly with the drain, whereas there's more wiggle room (and thus less installation cost) with a boxed-in tub, making it a more economical choice. (Note: I've since been told the $10,000 was probably high, more of an attempt to discourage us from making the change than anything.) Since this is probably not our forever home, I decided to stick with the standard tub, which thankfully, isn't jetted! I picked the marble-look tile (in the image with the marble tile flooring above) for the deck. 

My tub will have a paneled surround, like this one, with a marble-look deck.
The mirrors have a dark gray frame, which I may be spray painting to match my fixtures. (I'll wait to decide once I see it all together.)

Inspiration for Asa's bathroom. (Credit:

Asa's bath is a Jack-and-Jill design, with two sinks, opening to two separate bedrooms, one of which will be hers, and the other, her playroom. Since this bathroom is a child's space, I decided to have some fun with the design and picked a patterned tile for the flooring. The tiles are dark, so I chose white cabinets and a dark gray quartz countertop. The selection of gold bathroom lights was limited, compelling me to use the same one I chose for the master.

The tile flooring, plus the dark gray quartz countertop.
When Frank enlarged the floor plan so we could review the electrical components, I noticed that the doors between the sinks and the bedrooms were actually just cased openings. This wasn't going to work with a toddler (I could just envision nighttime sink splashing), and even though the walls had already been framed, my builder was kind enough to make the switch for free. Crisis averted! 

I had originally planned to use subway tile behind Asa's bathtub, assuming the ubiquitous white tile, with its 50 cent price tag at Home Depot, would be an inexpensive option. Yet again, I was wrong; it would have cost me almost $700. Because her bathtub is tucked away and not a focal point, I opted for the builder grade option, which is basic square white tiles.

The standard-issue mirrors are frameless and glued to the wall. I knew I didn't want these so I told the builder to leave the walls above the sink blank. I purchased a pair of round gold mirrors that I'll hang myself:

Next time: the other two baths!


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