the beige blues

The Lion, the Witch and the Washroom - Part 7

It’s Week 7 of the One Room Challenge and, suffice to say, we’ll need a perfect storm of miracles to finish our dingbat over-the-top DIY bathroom before the link-up closes on July 5th.

But we shan’t fail for lack of trying.

More or less.

Since last week’s update, Mike started a very laborious and swear-y installation of 4 x 12 tiles which surround the Alphonse Mucha tile mural in the shower. We chose a ceramic product sold by Tile Bar called Diesel Camp Black Glaze, which has an unusual glossy variegated quality that shifts from soft black to a soft charcoal color (we bought this from Tile Bar). We like this tile, the appearance of which I’d call almost a silky grunge, because it’s an unexpected foil to the brightly colored and elegant art nouveau mural.

Mike – who is not a contractor but has mad DIY skills – has tiled a few showers in his day but he’s never before tiled a niche. Of course, a niche is imperative in our shower (two, to be exact) because yours truly stockpiles many economy-sized bottles of hair product, shower gels and whatever can be scavenged from the clearance section of TJ Maxx basically on a weekly basis. And I want it ALL on hand ALL the time AND Mike doesn’t like my hodge-podge collection of soapy things scattered around the tub deck.

So Mike spent many hours staring at the wall, measuring and generally ensuring the tiles lined up and ended in the most visually appealing and perfect layout possible.

I must say, it does approach perfection and perfection is IMPERATIVE because we shall be staring at this wall mostly on a daily basis.

(Mike used Black Absolute granite quarter rounds to trim out the niches. We were going to use brass trim for the niches and around the tile mural, but the product wasn't workable in the size we ordered PLUS Mike was concerned grouting would scratch the brass. We haven't decided whether we'll tile up to the ceiling. Definitely that's preferable, but like many wall-ceiling intersections in this house, this one is Limony Snicket crooked and the tile might accentuate that. If we don't tile up to the ceiling, I'll paint the wall and ceiling black.)

The tiling saga continued for days until Mike got to the side wall at the entry to the tub/shower, at which point he stopped and commenced building the Narnia cabinet in this location. Despite laying out most of the project on AutoCAD, he didn’t have a clear path to victory for tying the tile into the cabinet in a manner both visually appealing and designed to prevent water from splashing on the wood cabinet.

And thus, the tile had to take a temporary backseat while Mike built the cabinet.

If you’ve followed our DIY kitchen renovation from a couple years ago, you know Mike is a master at making relatively inexpensive ready-to-assemble cabinets look like something straight out of Versailles. We applied the same concept here, purchasing drawer and upper cabinet assemblies from which Mike has started cobbling together against the tub/shower wall.

(Here's the right-hand side of the "armoire." We scavenged sconces out of the basement which we bought for the kitchen and didn't use because they were too small and, to give the cabinet more dimension and the shape of furniture, we'll flip them upside-down at the juncture of the upper cabinet and the counter. Have no fear -- while the cabinet now looks like Frankenstein's creation, once it's painted, you won't be able to tell the materials are not uniform.)

The next step is cutting and routing the edge on the wood counters which will flank each side of the tub/shower opening. From that point, Mike will finish building out the cabinet (he’ll be adding reeded columns, plinths, crown molding, and sconces to give the piece the look and feel of an armoire) before moving back to the shower and completing the tile.

We also will nail onlays/appliques on the cabinet, including lion heads on each of the four upper cabinet doors, a center scroll on the tub/shower base, drops on the plinths, and right/left scrolls with a center element on the arch which sweeps over the tub/shower entry. Oh, and to really channel the look of an actual piece of furniture, we’ve ordered lion furniture feet which we’ll tuck beneath both sides of the cabinet.

(Here's an example of a detail piece we'll be adding to the cabinet doors. We buy most of our onlays and appliques from Architectural Depot which sells molding and ornamentation by many manufacturers. This particular onlay is by Pearlworks.)

(Another example of an architectural onlay we'll be using. This center also is made by Pearlworks.)

Last but not least, we’ve changed up the flooring plan. My original idea was to paint the floor similar to a gorgeous Wendy Morrison rug, but there’s just no way I’ll be graced with sufficient flower painting skills in the next couple of weeks. I therefore changed gears and now will do a monochrome pattern with butterfly stencils based on an Elizabeth Sutton tile design called Timeless Butterfly.

(This is the Timeless Butterfly tile sold by Tile Bar. It's made of black and white nano glass on porcelain with inlaid brass butterflies. Needless to say, it's very pricey and I'd rather stretch myself artistically and paint the floor than buy super expensive tile.)

After painting the black and white sections, however, I’ll deviate from this design in regard to the butterfly pattern, as I fell hard for another pattern on Sutton’s website.

(I'll stencil a spray of butterflies across the black and white pattern in the previous picture and probably will have a few stragglers painted up the window casing and shower area.)

That’s all for this week!

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