Modern Vintage Clawfoot Bathroom Makeover

Wow. Well, about two months ago I set off on a quick renovation of my bathroom to control some humidity issues which were wreaking havoc on our walls and ceiling. Mould was growing on the ceiling and the paint was blistering on the walls. It was gross. Being an old house, we didn’t have any ventilation save for a window which isn’t really the best solution in a climate that has snow on the ground for 5 months out of the year. We decided it was time to install a ventilation fan and bring our bathroom into the 21st century. With the help of Broan, we decided on their new Sensonic Speaker fan which would not only clear the steam out of our bathroom but also provide us with the ability to stream music with it’s built-in bluetooth speakers. 

I should have know from prior experiences but renovating anything quickly in a century old house is nearly impossible. Our first task was getting the fan in which went fairly speedily. However when we opened up the ceiling it became apparent that we still had knob and tube wiring in that room — we’ve never done a full renovation of this home so surprises like this happen as we slowly make our way through the house room-by-room. In the process of remedying that situation we also replastered the ceiling to fix up any hairline cracks and fill in holes. 

Next, I decided that this was our opportunity to update all of our faucets something we have had never done in that room. I picked out brass ones in a style in keeping with the Victorian era of the bathroom. In fact, I quickly realized that when it comes to clawfoot shower enclosures (that’s the oval shower ring bar complete with tub faucet and shower head) that there aren’t many options on the market especially for shorter clawfoot tubs. Installing these faucets became a bit of a nightmare as the old faucets were corroded on and in the end involved getting a plumber involved and the purchase of a new sink. As a single bathroom household, we were without a bathroom for 3 days — thank our lucky stars for kind neighbours!

Leo who we are cat-sitting for the week couldn't hide his curiosity. 

Leo who we are cat-sitting for the week couldn't hide his curiosity. 

The last thing to contemplate was a new paint colour. We have been living with the moody blue-black walls for nine years and while I love them I felt it was time for a change. In those nine years, I have seen so many rooms go over to the dark side. What once felt fresh and daring was starting to feel a little more everyday and dare I say trendy. You might think that for someone who works in the business that picking out a paint colour would be easy but it’s not! I hummed and hawed, conducted polls, asked colleagues, scoured Pinterest and generally despaired over a new colour for weeks. In fact, I was 98% sure of my choice up until the night before I went out to choose paint when I changed my mind. In the end, the hue I picked is Benjamin Moore’s Backwoods (CC-630). I left the tub in Benjamin Moore Raccoon Fur( 2126-20) for a bit of contrast.

There’s still a few more things I need to do in the bathroom before it will be finished. I’m contemplating a brass medicine cabinet if I can find one and I’d like to install a new pendant light and some towel hooks. Finally, it needs some art. On the whole, the new bathroom feels more grown up than our previous one if that makes sense. It’s more colourful and a little more decorated which feels more in keeping with the direction I’d like to take the house in. I sometimes worry that my children will grow up saying that they lived in house with only black walls as we have a few of them so this should ease some of that guilt! Silly but true!

And as for the reason we started this makeover in the first place we now not only have a steam-free bathroom but we can also listen to the sweet sounds of music in the morning. Definitely worth the few hiccups along the way. 


Ed. note: This blog post was sponsored by brand partner Broan. As always, all thought sand opinions are my won. Thank you for supporting my partners!



Garage - one year later

We finished our garage at the very end of last summer. By the time, all the work was done our backyard had been decimated and only a mud pit remained where once there was a garden. Just before the snow started falling we planted some trees and bulbs and hoped for the best. 

We opted to seed our new lawn rather than roll out turf as we had lost that battle a few times in the past with the raccoons pulling up all the newly laid grass. Our wet spring and diligent seeding paid off and by June we had a pretty good lawn to stand on. Incredibly after almost ten years of living in this house I now have a garden to play in. I'm excited to see how things mature and what works and what doesn't. I'm trying my best to keep a few things in bloom all summer long. We'll see how that goes!

As for our garage, it still doesn't have a sauna (crossing my fingers for this fall before the snow hits again) but is otherwise close to completion. At first, I was a bit hesitant to spend money building a garage when a new kitchen or laundry room could have been had but in retrospect it has been well worth the money. We've gained storage space, a workout room, place for the kids to play and a better backyard. Taking the time to design a building we like looking at from both back and front made all the difference.

The Garaga garage door looks great from the alleyway while the shou sugi ban wood front with its seamless doors and custom window make it look like a little cabin in the woods.

Up next, is some much needed patio furniture so we can actually get out there and enjoy some al fresco dinners.


Bathroom Renovation

Looks can be deceiving. I love our old Victorian house but it is not without its challenges. Our bathroom has been harbouring a dirty secret for years -- it has no ventilation. As a result, the humidity builds up and wreaks havoc on our walls causing the paint to blister and traces of mould can be found along the ceiling.

We're finally going to do something about it with the help of Broan who have passed along one of their newest fans, the Sensonic Speaker Fan, that as the name suggests contains speakers and hooks up to any Bluetooth wireless system. So not only will I have a less steamy bathroom but I'll also get to listen to music in the shower. 

Because my house is old installing the fan will take a bit more work than usual. (It has to be vented out of the roof rather than the side of the house.) In the meantime, I thought it would be a good opportunity to make a few changes in the bathroom. High on my list is switching out all the chrome faucets and shower accessories for brass ones. If possible, we might also try and find a vintage sink. My biggest dilemma is whether or not to change the colour of the walls. I love the dark blue-black colour but I'm also ready for a change. I think a dark green (either army or forest) could look really beautiful with the brass hardware or maybe some wallpaper. The there's the light fixture, shower curtain, window covering and medicine cabinet! Here's what I'm looking at for inspiration.


Inspired by

Inspired by. That's the name of a new monthly series of interviews Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge fame is doing with successful women over on the Ann Taylor site. It stems in part from Grace's latest book, In the Company of Women, which features interviews with over 100 makers, entrepreneurs and artists. It was probably one of my favourite books of last year. The series kicks off with an interview of Grace, herself.

Herewith a few of my favourite moments from that interview.

On the best piece of business advice she's been given.

"Embrace whatever works -- until it doesn't. You will always know in your gut what is right before anyone else does.

If she was given three more hours in a day how she would spend them.

"I'd spend more time with my family exploring around the Hudson Valley. I'd love to start the day getting fresh air before I settle into laptop mode."

What does success mean to her.

"Being able to keep a company running (and profitable) that stays true to its moral and ethical compass and pays its employees fairly."


To read more of the interview with Grace check out her Inspired By series over here.