Happiness Hour – An Invitiation

imageHi Portland Peeps – The bathroom is done, the laundry room is done (although the laundry isn’t). You are invited for a cocktail and to see the finished project  Friday, June 5th 6:30-9:30. The weather should be perfect for a G&T.


Mission Accomplished – Day 29

The bathroom is complete and it is the end of the 7th week. The contractor came around 10:20 am and left at 3:00pm with Mission Accomplished – however, he was not wearing a flight suit and I don’t have any photos of him standing on a flight deck.



The first thing the contractor said when he walked into the bathroom to start work this morning was  “that looks good!” The last time he saw the project the tile wasn’t finished and the lights and the plumbing fixtures hadn’t been set. I know he is particular about the details. So I was glad to see he approved.



Since I hire my own subs the contractor, the plumbers, the electricians, and the tile setter are not familiar with each other or the quality of their work. This can create a tricky situation since good general contractors are very particular about their subs and have a great deal of trust in the quality of work done by their subs.

However, everyone did an excellent job and was careful on the job site. So my project went smoothly and I didn’t incur additional costs or head aches. When a homeowner hires subcontractors separately and one of them damages the others work or finds that work of another contractor was installed in a manner that does not allow him to finish his job, the homeowner must negotiate between the subs and may incur additional costs to have the work repaired or done correctly. Fortunately, for us everything went smoothly.

So how long did this really take? Twenty-nine working days. We have had several down days in the few last weeks. I only blogged on days when contractors worked and on days when we had things to do. The project didn’t go particularly fast nor particularly slow. Work on the basement and extensive plumbing only added two or three days of work.

I am VERY pleased with the outcome. It is nice to have a bathroom that has more room and with a toilet hidden from view. But I am glad it is done and my family and I can move on to other things, like soaking in my tub!

I have had fun writing this blog, it served as a therapy outlet. Thank you for your comments and for being a patient ear as the project moved along. I hope you have had fun reading it. Stay tuned for the party with cocktails. There will be a FB invite.

If you are interested in what materials where used on the job it is a separate post. I will also put together an blog entry with more photos.

To celebrate the day I would like to share a toast and a cocktail adapted from Aviation Gin website.


The Barry Cocktail

  • 1 oz dry Gin
  • 1 oz Ransom Sweet Vermouth
  • 1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino Liquior
  • 1 tsp raki (Turkish Ouzo)
  • Dash of Orange Bitters

Shake with ice. Strain into a glass with ice cubes. Garnish with mint

i will love my bathroom – materials

The following is a list of materials used in the project.

Accessories – Day 27 1/2

  • Shower Controls and Diverter- Hansgrohe S/E
  • Tub Spout: Hansgrohe Metris
  • Shower Head – Hansgrohe Raindance
  • Handshower Head – Hansgrohe Croma
  • Towel Bar & Grab Bar – Delta Compel & Trinsic
  • Cabinet Hardware – Rejuvenation, Ball Cabinet Knob, 1 1/4″
  • Medicine Cabinet – Restoration Hardware, Hutton, Large Recessed
  • Shower Rod – 1 1/4″ Close Rod with brackets

Cabinet – Canyon Creek, Mellinnia, Inset, 12″ deep upper cabinets, with contractor constructed top cubbies and base.

Quartz – Pentalquartz, Venatino Polished, 2cm – Day 22

Tile – Day 17 and Day 26

Grout – Custom Fusion Pro, Pewter – Day 25

Fixtures & Lighting – Day 28

Floor – Marmoleum Real, Dove Gray – Day 18

Paint – Day 20

  • Wall Paint – Color Yolo Air #06, using Miller, Acro Pure, Satin
  • Trim Paint – Benjamin Moore, Advance Semi Glass, color match white

Fan – Panasonic Whisper Quiet/Low Profile – Day 23

Day 28 – Fire and Water

The contractors returned today. At 8:20 I looked out the window to see a guy who looked vaguely like one of the electricians getting out of a car. The door bell rang at 8:30 and the day began with two electricians installing what in the industry is known as trim. The rest of us call it switches, outlets and lights.


I had the outlets, switches, fan timer and plate covers ready to go. EXCEPT one outlet I had purchased wouldn’t meet code and the timer for the fan didn’t fit in the little tiny space allocated for it. Did you know most fan timers are on back order at the local hardware store? After five trips to three different hardware stores and buying four different timers, the timer for the fan in the remodeled bathroom was installed correctly and the timer for the fan upstairs had been replaced so that it didn’t sound like a time bomb ready to go off. In addition to the fan timer being installed, the outlets are “trimmed out”, the lights I spent days ordering are up, and the retro light bulb from Rejuvenation is lighting up the space.



At 11:30, as the electrician was finishing up, the door bell rang this time it was the plumber. He was ready to set his trim. I gave him a quick tour of the job, he donned a head lamp since the electrician had flipped the breaker, laid down a heavy cloth to protect the floor, took off his shoes, and set to work. At 11:45 I left for my yoga class – just like on Day 8?

When I got back the plumber asked “can you come look at this?” When your contractor, any contractor says “can you come look at this?”, it will usually A-cost you more money or B-you won’t like the way something looks. Or as in my case it can mean both. The sink faucet looked BAD. Do we live with it “NO”, in the day of instant gratification I too can find a sink faucet in an hour or less. Which I found  at the supply house recommended by the plumber. It was so sad for this decision  happen so quickly when I could have spent days researching all the faucets available to mankind Online.


By 5:05 all of the plumbing was finished. We had the Toto toilet and Toto sink reinstalled. I haven’t done a piece on toilets, but if you are planning on getting a new toilet I recommend you take a look what Toto has to offer, they are works of engineering. We used Hansgrohe for the shower trim and the faucet is from Delta.




But we aren’t done. There is paint to touch up, a new medicine cabinet and knobs to install, a vintage mirror to hang, but most importantly more drink recipes to share.

Speaking of drink recipes. How about one with a shrub or shubbery as in Monte Python. I have read shurbs are all the rage, although most people I have asked about shrubs think I am talking about gardening not drinking.

This drink has no name – sort of like that horse in the Eagles song but I find it very memorable so does a friend who happened to stop by and got to taste test it this evening.


My Favorite Drink

Mix equal parts-about 1 oz:

  • Gin, I like Aviation or New Deal 33
  • Lillet – aperitif wine
  • Mixed berry shrub*
  • Top with chilled seltzer


In a glass bowl mix

  • 6 cups mixed raspberries & blackberries
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups cane sugar
  • dash of salt
  • Set in refrigerator and stir once or twice a day.
  • After 3 days sieve to remove seeds.
  • Pour remaining liquid in a glass jar.
  • Mix in 1/4 cup champagne vinegar for each cup of liquid.
  • Store in glass jar for up to two months.

Day 27 1/2 – Accessorize

Like a nice outfit, a good remodel needs accessories. Lots of them, well the right amount of them. We are talking towel bars, grab bars, TP holders, shower rods, and knobs – accessories if you look under the Delta Website.


Rejuvenation for classic knobs

Picking out the accessories and hardware can take a lot of time Online and in stores. Getting it right is worth the time. Choices can overwhelming, but if the fixtures are already selected they provide a good direction for color and style. Finishes for fixtures generally come in Chrome, Brushed Nickel, Oil Rubbed Bronze and maybe Polished Nickel. Most recommend coordinating fixtures and accessories. In the past it was difficult to source matching grab bars, but the variety of finishes and styles available has increased significantly.


Delta Trinsic Grab Bar


Grab bars are an item that I frequently see ordered but not installed. They are for old people who need help walking, right. We had a grab bar installed thinking it would a good place to hang wash clothes. But something tells me the grab bar will get a lot of use. It was helpful the first time I tried out my tub – sans water.


Grab bars also come in two levels with a towel bar.

It took me a while to source was the shower curtain rod. It is possible we will add shower glass later, but for now we will use a clear shower curtain. I could not find an 80″ shower rod Online. After a tip from one of the contractors I work with at Devine Bath (yes, that is a name change – snazzy huh), I found a chrome closet rod at Winks that will work perfectly.


The hand towel bar presented the biggest challenge. It took me three times to get it right. This morning I decided we had to have a towel bar with a shelf. The tile setter was coming for a few last minute touch ups, I wanted to get the towel bar TODAY so he could install it. I was sure I had found just what I needed at Rejuvenation on closeout, but the traditional style looked out of place with the more modern look of the other accessories. So back to plan B and the 18″ Delta Trinsic Towel Bar. Plan A was a Delta Ring but it was, as my kids say, “awkward”.



So many choices.

My favorite places to look for accessories are:

Day 27 – Was Yesterday

Yesterday’s blog post did not happen. I was out at a VERY nice restaurant with my cousin. I had a very nice cocktail – The Last Word. It was an appropriate drink for the day the tiler finished working in my bath and shower.

The tiler arrived at 8:25 am and set to work grouting the walls. In Day 17, I listed the evolution of tile choices and said we would be using white grout. But after looking at the wonderful straight lines of the tile we opted for something that would provide more contrast. We switched to a medium gray Pewter grout. White grout may yellow over time or it may not. But it will collect dirt, however since we where using an new type of grout it should not mold and it should hold its color

Grout is another material where recent changes benefit the home owners. Several grout manufactures now offer an urethane or epoxy products. They do not stain, they hold their color, and best of all they do not need to be sealed. Custom has Fusion Grout and Laticrete offers Plasma. They come in a variety of colors.


We opted to use Fusion Grout since the color Pewter provided the best compliment to the design. It shows off the straight 1/8″ lines and coordinates well with the floor and Quartz counters.

Applying this type of grout requires patience and an eye for detail. My tiler has installed over 20 bathrooms with this product. He is familiar with the product and will take the time to neatly clean the joints. My tiler did not finish applying and cleaning 100 square feet of tile until almost 4:00 pm. Now it will take another three days before the grout is ready to withstand water. But we don’t have to worry about taking a bath since I haven’t called to schedule the plumber yet.

About that drink, I will be working on it and I will keep you posted.




Day 26 – Matte or Glossy – Flat or Shiny

The biggest challenge when selecting tile is the ability to visualize how one piece of tile and the little bit of accent will actually look over a large area. For anyone who has gone into a tile store, the selection can be dazzling. There is no right answer an any number of combinations can and would look good. If you ever find yourself in that position. I recommend you start by considering if you would like your tiles to be matte or glossy. You may also want to consider if you would like porcelain or ceramic tiles.


The current market boasts an abundance of porcelain tile, frequently in large format 12 x 24 tiles. Large tiles can only be made of porcelain. Porcelain can be finished to look like marble, granite, wood or tile. It can be Matte or Gloss. Porcelain has been used in bathrooms through out the last century. Floor tiles are generally porcelain. The material is non-porous and stands up to moisture. Although we may think of porcelain in relation to fragile china cups, it is also the material of choice for toilets worldwide. For those china lovers out there Villeroy & Boch is not only a maker of fine porcelain, it is a maker of toilets.

Although porcelain has become more popular in the last decade, most of us still think of ceramic tile when we think of bathroom tile. The classic look of a subway tile or brightly colored Mexican tiles can only come from ceramic tile. Unlike porcelain where the material itself provides some water resistance, the glaze on ceramic tile provides the water barrier. Since the glaze is baked on, if the tile is treated well, of good quality and properly installed it will last centuries.

For both porcelain and ceramic tile the glaze is paramount when selecting tile. Although, the degree in which the glaze reflects light can vary, it is generally broken into two categories Gloss or Matte. The reflective quality of any material makes a tremendous difference in appearance. In our kitchen we have glossy ceramic tile and in the upstairs bathroom there are matte porcelain tiles. One of the benefits of matte tile is that it doesn’t show water marks or soap residue. Matte tiles also provide a nice contrast to the glossy finish of the tub, sink, and toilet or the shine of chrome fixtures.


From Drab to Daylight – Master Bath tiles                              Kitchen tiles

When working on the design of our small bathroom, I selected a matte finish. I find the matte surface more restful. It would also provide a better compliment to the matte in such a small room. Since the marble and stone accents.

The tile has all been cut and installed. Tomorrow the tiler will fill in the voids with grout. We will not have to imagine if we made the right decision. We will see it for ourselves.