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Monday, March 2, 2009

my Achilles heel (and the master bath!)

I guess after making a thousand decisions about the house it was bound to happen, I just didn't see it coming. I've had a vision for the house for a long time, basically for the year and a half before we actually bought it and the four months since. Sure some ideas have changed or evolved along the way, but a clear vision nonetheless. Then came the master bath vanity.... a seemingly simple thing, but one that has thrown me for a loop for several months now. I couldn't "see it." I see the completed master bath (and it is lovely!!)- I just couldn't "see" the vanity. For a good month and a half my contractor and the plumbers would remind me daily that they really needed to know what I was using. Finally, even they stopped asking.

We have shopped five states looking for this piece. I even designed a vanity and had two different cabinet makers bid it, but in the end I really did not want a new cabinet piece in the room. For those of you who don't know, I was an antiques dealer in Dallas for ten years, so I find it difficult to buy "new" furniture. I am often "tempted" because of all the great design available now at all price points, but for me an antique, or at least an older, vintage piece that has lived another life is my heart, and wins in the end. But, I am not a purist. I have antiques worth thousands next to pieces I bought for pennies, or even found curb-side for that matter! For me pedigree is not as important as good design.

So, last week we were in a small shop in a village about 40 miles away and I found a piece that would maybe work. We didn't buy it then and there... I had some more towns to shop, and more muck to crawl through... Then yesterday we both woke up with the same decision- that we should go buy it! We called the shop and told the owner to please hold it. When we saw it for the second time we were undoubtedly sure it would be perfect... and after placing it in the master bath, it is. While it is vintage, and not an antique it just "feels" right in the room!
The top will be replaced with honed cararra marble and space permitting it will have a 3- 4" marble back splash. We will add two sinks with Rohl faucets. The drawers will be retrofitted for the new sinks. Chances are it will be painted. In the end, the scale is perfect for the wall, and the room. Finally...

My heel is healed!

The original ceiling in the master bath portion of the ell was only 7 feet 5inches. When the ell was redone the ceiling was raised to 9 feet 5 inches, and my vision to add some beams (which were originally part of the barn) is now a reality! I love, love, love these beams! There are four total; in this photo you see the two in the middle of the room and then one over the door to the closet; the other is over the door to the bedroom.

The shower as seen when walking into the master bath from the master bedroom. The floor tile for the shower will be 2" honed hexagon carrara, the walls will be 3x6" subways and the ceiling will be 4"squares set on the diagonal. There will be a marble bench in one corner and a hand-held sprayer for bathing puppy dogs! (please don't mention this part to Ella!)

The framing on the right of the tub is the linen closet.

The toilet is in it's own enclosed space around the corner, to the left of the window. I love a hidden toilet.

Behind the wall is the WC. The shower is on the left, and the hall leads to the master closet which is in upper level of the barn. Walls will have real beadboard to 53" off the floor which will be trim color, and walls will be painted a French blue- one of those great gray/green/blue colors seen so often in France. Floors will be wide plank Eastern white pine.

Shower is in the left of the photo. This is the closet door. The door was originally the exterior door that opened from the old master to the upstairs porch. I will frost the old glass so you aren't looking directly into the closet. On the right of the photo across from the shower (where you see a bit of blue tape towards the top) is a closet for a stacking LG washer and dryer.

The master closet. Framed doorway leads to the what will be storage space. The closet measures 14' x 17'. While we certainly don't need a closet that large, the space was there and you can never have enough closet space in an old house. Truth be told, Dan has twice the clothes that I do!! To borrow a phrase from Joni at Cote de Texas... I don't do clothes- I do houses!!

The taped off blue square on the left of the boarded off window in the upstairs of the barn shows the placement of the master closet and what will be one of the two closet windows. The other one will be to the right of the old window. They are two-over-two and are "awning" opening windows meaning they open out from the bottom. The old window is closed up in anticipation of the barn fireplace chimney chase. You can also see the framing of one of two sets of french doors with transoms that will be in the Barn room.


  1. love the new vanity - it is perfect! your bathroom looks huge and yes - we don't do clothes!!! oh no!!!! no way!

  2. I cannot wait to see it all finished, in the progress photos you can see the charm your home will have, just a big WOW!

  3. Your vanity is going to be beautiful! It is so exciting when the search is done and the perfect piece is found. I was thrilled when I found the antique Swedish buffet that we turned into our sink cabinet. Your vanity will add so much charm to your beautiful bathroom. I love Carerra and white tiles together. So classic. You will love it forever.
    Oh, and your bath tub is perfect!

  4. All Hail : The Comment Box is Open

    Been wanting to tell you how wonderful everything is - those beams are perfect!! I, too, will always look for an antique - or as the rug dealers would say "semi-antique". And I still am suffering "Tub envy"

  5. Eleventh picture down reminds me of Granddaddy's attic 'rooms' in Portland. How I LOVED that house!

    The vanity is wonderful! So very you.


  6. The vanity is beautiful and I like the beams, too. Your house is coming right along.

  7. Joni- I can't tell you how much mileage (and comfort!) I have gotten out of that saying! I believe it was your Mother who first said it??

    Martha- So good to see you! Hope your son is surviving all this snow in Vermont. We went to Chester several weeks ago, have you been there? Several fun antique shops.

    Brooke- When I first thought of painting the piece I immediately thought of your vanity! In fact, before we went to buy it I found the picture of yours to show to Dan so he could 'picture' it painted! He loved yours too.

    St. Mary- Thank you again for letting me know my comments were closed! I know, aren't the beams gorgeous! They even have "checking" which are big cracks in them (bet you have some checking too?!) but supposedly it makes the beams even stronger. And the sweet tub, I can't even imagine the first soak! Will it be a martini or wine???!!
    Semi-antique, I haven't heard that one before!

    Susan- Now that you mention it it does remind me of that room! I loved and then was scared to death of that room- especially when I had to walk by it at night to get to the bathroom and everyone else was downstairs!
    And speaking of S1- where is S2? I haven't seen her here at the house. Please tell her to come out and play! (I've misplaced her email

    Kathleen- Thank you! The house 'is' coming along, but never fast enough!!

  8. I can't wait to see the bathroom! The vanity is beautiful and the beams are great. What color are you using? I love that yummy blue/gray/green but can never seem to get the right shade!

  9. Hi Anon! Thank you for your sweet comment! For the master bath I plan on using Benjamin Moore "Horizon" OC-53. My last house was fairly dark by comparison to this house and all my old colors were much deeper and much more intense. In this house the light is so amazing that the lighter colors read deeper. I was also toying with HC-171 Wickham Gray. This one has a little more blue to it. I think depending on the light in different rooms these could read the same.
    Let me know if one of these colors is also your vision of the French grey/blue/green that we love! j.

  10. Ya know...I thought I commented on this. Then vaguely remember your comments were off.

    LOVE the vanity. Perfect lines, perfect size, PERFECT price!! And those beams...Heavens to Betsy, they are stunning!! The tub...oh the tub. I would give eyeteeth for that baby! Heck I would give you ALL of my teeth to have your place.Period.

  11. Thank you Linda! Your comment makes me beam! Hey, I have an antique claw foot tub that we took out and are not going to use...I would be happy to give it to you... seriously!! j.

  12. Yeah that room scared me too. It also have the coiled up plaster snake ashtray in there on the floor that scared me to death!

    I don't know why S2 hasn't sent a comment. I'll ask her.

  13. I love your vanity and think it well worth the wait. When I was choosing my bathroom fixtures and fittings it was the piece I struggled with as well. Looking forward to the finished shots, so exciting now. xv

  14. beautiful! i just adore the vanity and can't wait to see it finished out with the marble and faucets-- it'll be to die for. I laughed about the husband/closet/clothes. I was just unpacking into our closets this weekend and realized dear husband has Way more clothes than I do-- plus all those bulky suits take up a lot of room! His stuff actually overflowed into my closet ;) I love following your progress what a spectacular house it will be.

  15. Hi J

    Funny you asked me to play. I'm sorting out 2002-03 Victoria magazines and they make me think of you. I still love their classic frenchy style. Love your new house...


  16. Susan- I don't remember a plaster snake...thank goodness!

    Vicki- I'm glad to know I'm in such good company about struggling with the vanity!

    Julia- Thank you! And I think you are a very sweet wife to give up closet space to M!

    S2- So very happy to have you "in the house"!! Yes, I loved those old Victoria's- they were so Frenchy! I'm sure I need to go through my own old issues! Btw,what's the status of your kitchen?!

  17. I love your find. I realize I'm a year and half out of date here, but it is great. I didn't imagine you were going to say you were going to paint it though...All that matched flame mahogany will be gone from sight! It's a pretty nice piece for a vanity, very stylin! Love it! Liz

  18. Um, my master bedroom is 14x17 feet. Your house is gorgeous...just found this blog. You are living my dream! Your taste is perfect.

  19. Hi! I will be using a similar sideboard for my bath vanity. Yours is just beautiful! I also have open delicate legs on my table. I will be installing a granite top and a high decorative pediment backsplash. Did you do anything to stabilize the legs from the weight of your marble? Wondering if I'll need to use floating vanity brackets in the studs or if antiques can be stabilized in other ways? Does yours have any weight issues? Thank you for sharing your home and any good advice you may have. Angela Sutherland

    1. hi Angela, no we didn't do anything to stabilize the legs. Dan thinks the marble probably weighs around 150 lbs. We don't have any weight issues with it. But, if your legs are more delicate supporting it might be a good idea. Good luck with the project!


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