After waiting six years to tackle interior updates at Tett House, Trevor & I were both excited (and a little nervous) to get started! As our big washroom reno kicked into gear, we began sourcing fixtures, washroom accessories, and other pieces to fit out our new bathroom.
When the yucky old shower enclosure was in the hallway…
and this was on our lawn…
… I knew it was time to get serious and start designing! I drew on all my education, instinct and resources.
Our idea was to introduce a contemporary spa-style shower design into the space without compromising the integrity of the 130-year-old century home. We didn’t want an obscenely modern washroom, but neither did we want a cutesy “granny” bathroom. It had to be consistent with the spirit of the house.
We began with the basics: washroom accessories. Trevor & I fell hard for this shower suite by Delta in a “Champagne Bronze” finish. This how it looked in the showroom… It was warm without being too brassy and we felt it would lend itself well to Tett House’s age and aesthetic.
I love the look of penny tile in old washrooms from the early 1900s. But it’s a royal pain – and therefore expensive – to install. We were lucky to find this hexagon tile in convenient sheets that gave us the vintage look we wanted without a hefty price tag. For the shower walls, we went with a classic 3″ x 6″ warm white subway tile and chose “Raven” grout for all. Dark grout repels stains better and also delineates the tiles, creating visual interest.
Trevor & I didn’t see any vanities we liked for the space we envisioned… they all seemed too white or too glossy and Tett House is not glossy. In the end, we decided to repurpose an antique dresser we’d bought for our son’s room when he was born. He’d outgrown it, but we still loved the piece for its sentimental value. Our contractor is an up-cycling wizard, and he promised to make it work.
The dresser was slightly higher than a traditional vanity, so we found a very low, oblong sink to fit along the top. I loved the uniqueness of it, and it suited the dresser/vanity perfectly. Our contractor called it a “puddle” and he’s exactly right!
As we pieced together the materials and finishes, it was sometimes hard to imagine how all of these seemingly random elements would come together in the end. We had to revise our design several times in the middle of the project, based on space, cost, and various considerations arising in the moment. As the renovation waged on, life at Tett House became more and more chaotic… and dusty!
Essentially, the four stages of the project were: Excitement, Dismay, Resignation, and Cautious Optimism. You can match them to the image of your choosing below.
After a few hiccups (chipped tiles, damaged sconce shades, a wonky hand-held shower device, and toilet paper holder with no place to go) in July, we finally found ourselves waiting on the last piece of the puzzle: installation of the ShowerGuard® glass. It was a large piece – 48″W x 88″H – and would ultimately be the defining feature of the space. Would it split the room awkwardly in half, or give us that open, airy spa-like atmosphere?
I feel like we achieved our goal.
In the absence of a few decorative details to complete the look, we are very happy with the way everything turned out!
The repurposed dresser makes a beautiful vanity, especially when paired with our “puddle” sink and vintage-style accessories. And I really dig the black & white floor tile and subway tile finished with dark grout.
The Champagne Bronze finish of our faucets and knobs looks a bit like antique brass in certain lights, and almost coppery in others. I love that it changes depending on the mood of the day.
In a renovation like this, when you’re blending modern amenities with a century home aesthetic, it’s important to find the right balance. The details are everything. For example, the old baseboards in this room were in rough shape and sections had been cut and removed in its previous incarnation. We were hoping to reuse it, but there wasn’t enough to go around the perimeter of the new layout. Instead, our contractor recreated baseboards to match the rest of the main floor, using oak planks, custom ogee and quarter-round. Continuity in design goes a long way.
Another important detail: colour! The paint we chose is Benjamin Moore’s Boreal Forest, and its rich depth works with both the cinnamon tones of the woodwork and our lovely “Champagne Bronze” accessories. The original cabinetry is now a showstopper! Also, Tett House has large windows throughout, lending us beautiful views of the surrounding trees. Besides being my favourite (and most under-rated) neutral, green also brings in the leafy element of nature from the outdoors.
And… after 3+ months of bathing in a tub, of course the shower was immediately called into action.
It was glorious.
Click here to read Part 1 of this renovation, in case you missed it.
Throughout this project, Trevor and I got to meet and consult with many lovely and helpful people.
Special thanks to: Shelli at Bathworks Kingston, Desi from Westport Flooring, tile specialists Scott Weber and Ben Beasley, our McNichols Electrical & Plumbing family, Matt, Curtis, and Jason from Burchell Glass, Miranda at Mountain Mouldings, the staff at Design On Kingston, and most of all to our supremely gifted contractor S.M., who is a delight, but prefers not to be mentioned on the inter-webs. ❤️
A special blessing on the contractors who endured my chatter and witnessed my work-from-home pyjama couture, yet remained consequently unfazed.
Here’s one last quick little video showing 360° views, Before & After: