When we first bought our cabin, we thought the bathroom was good enough that a full renovation could wait a few years… Then we showered for the first time and after our very first time using the bathroom said IT HAS TO GO NOW. The floor was disgusting — so dirty it could never get cleaned. The shower was microscopic. I could barely turn around and I’m not a big person. We knew it would be expensive and complicated, because renos always are. We didn’t know we’d get dumped by our contractor, there would be a global pandemic mid-construction, it would take five months and it would all end up quite as perfect as it did!
We first started working with a contractor in July of 2019. They were a large local builder, known for building high-end custom homes, but since our project was so small they said they could squeeze it in between other jobs, even as early as September, just a month or so away. They gave us a deadline of a week to choose and purchase everything, from tile to plumbing fixtures to a vanity, giving us a specific list of vendors to use , while we were six hours away, and it was sooooo very stressful.
At this point we didn’t even have a finalized layout. We were really trying to figure out how to squeeze a bathtub into this small bathroom. We knew we could expand the room a bit, taking out half of the closet in the bedroom next door, but no matter what we tried, we had to ultimately decide it was just never going to be possible to add a tub. By this time, our early September goal was looong past. In fact, we’d been debating layouts for months. In January 2020 we got a call from our contractor. We’d been dumped!
Turns out they’d actually subcontracted the entire job from the get-go, and this whole time, they’d been acting as a middleman, passing our questions/emails on to this other guy who was going to be doing the work. They realized they were spending too much time and effort on what for them was a really small job not worth spending so much time and effort on, so this other guy was going to just take over. It ended up working out really well for us because 1) they purposefully never showed him the estimates they’d given us, so he charged a lot less and 2) he was great! He started work in February without us ever meeting him. It was terrifying.
You know what happens next: quarantine. In Michigan, that meant a complete shut down for construction jobs, except work that could be done by one person at a time, so for those several weeks, our bathroom that had been mid-job was progressing at a snail’s pace, and mostly not at all. Beyond that, supplies were delayed. We originally planned on doing a pale blue tile on the shower floor, but the tile manufacturer was shutdown, so we went with the only tile that was available: white, which ended up being just fine. Construction during Covid, like everything else in our lives right now, was just “do what you can.”
When the bathroom was finally done in July, five months after construction started, we drove there literally the day they were finished. They were still cleaning as we were driving! Our contractor came to visit the following day and we finally got to meet him for the very first time. It was terrifying to walk in that first time, having made all of the decisions from six hours away, having never had a chance to see anything during construction besides a few not-so-great phone photos he’d emailed us along the way, having never met the guy who did all this work. Were our decisions terrible? Was he any good at his job? Does peach even go with blue? Was this wallpaper insane? Was it all going to be awful? But… none of that. It was PERFECT. Mostly. Nothing is ever truly perfect, but we loved it. It was as good or better than we could have ever imagined. Peach actually does go with blue. Phew.
The shower is my absolute favorite part. When our first contractor gave us a fast deadline and said go to your local Daltile and pick out tile, we walked in having NO IDEA what we wanted other than “something blue.” Since we call the house the “Bayshore Boathouse” and it’s right on the lake, we want to have a bit of a nautical/blue element in every room. But the first thing we fell in love with was the fan tile, which didn’t come in blue but did come in this gorgeous shade of pinky peach, and we found ourselves very unexpectedly saying, “I guess we’re going to have a peach bathroom!” The fans remind me of fish — or mermaid! — scales, and the pink with the dark blue floor tile reminds me of the sky when the sun rises over the lake. To make the shower bigger we added a glass partition, which added an additional foot of shower floor space, and is so light and airy it doesn’t take visual space away from the rest of the small room.
I was already obsessed with the mermaid wallpaper (which also comes in blue and white), but I thought the peach and metallic gold version would be a really fun risk if it worked out. I love the idea of going more bold and taking bigger gambles in a vacation home, and our gambles totally paid off. Even finding the Target bookcase that just happened to be the exact same shade of blue as the floor was such a lucky chance.
After the most stressful year of our lives, it was such a huge relief to have this renovation go right, even if it took a while to get there. What’s your favorite part of our new bathroom?
Shower tile: Revalia in “Charming Peach,” Daltile
Floor tile: Natural Hues 12×12 in “starlight,” Daltile
Faucet: Align Faucet in Chrome, Moen via Home Depot
Showerhead: Tital 6″ Rainshower in Chrome, Moen
Other shower fixtures: a combination of Align and Tital, all from Moen
Vanity: Mason Single Sink Vanity in Rustic Mahogany, Pottery Barn
Mirror: McNary Accent Mirror, Birch Lane
Wallpaper: mermaids wallpaper in blush, Hygge & West
Paint color: “Bayview Coral” HGSW1107, HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams
Shelving unit: Windham 4-Shelf Bookcase in “Overcast,” Target
Shower curtain: Textured Stripe Shower Curtain, Target