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Behind the design: a master bath dreams are made of

Built in 1946, I love our charming home.

It’s definitely one of those houses that has character, good bones, and has likely passed through a few owners over the past 72 years. What we discovered upon demoing our master bath is that the room saw several renovations as well…which in turn threw us a few curve balls.

Imagine trying to break up a bathroom floor that has tile, on top of tile, on top of tile. Or knocking through drywall, then a wall of iron mesh, then plaster. Or trying to make sense of the endless maze of knob and tube electrical wiring. Needless to say, getting to the bare bones of the bathroom took about as much time as we expected the entire renovation to take. There were many exhausting, dusty, sweaty nights (mainly spent by my husband, as being pregnant I had to sit this one out), where “what did we get ourselves into?” was a common thought, especially with our first baby on the way and our house a glorified construction site. But the 6 months of grueling work (by my husband and father-in-law, and to both of them I am forever grateful!) led to the creation of the most gorgeous room in our home.

I wanted to create a spa-like oasis, a calming retreat that would be a sanctuary to destress and a heavenly place to spend time each morning getting ready for the day. Whether watching the Lake Erie waves from Rocky River Beach or dolphins from the shores of Sullivan’s Island in Charleston, South Carolina, my soul is happiest when I am near the water, so that element definitely influenced the design. If I could describe the end result in five words, it would be “chic beachy farmhouse-inspired spa.” Here’s how we created our Fixer Upper meets Cape Cod meets Pottery Barn-style master bathroom:

Color palette: White, gray, light blue.

I first painted the walls what I thought would be a soft mint, a hint of pale aqua bluish green. After seeing how harsh and bright the color was, we quickly settled instead on Sherwin Williams’ Sea Salt as the perfect seaside-inspired hue. Depending on the natural light throughout the day, it gives anywhere from a soft gray, blue or green tint. We wanted to incorporate beadboard and molding, to offer that cottage, beachy vibe. The floors are a gorgeous gray-hued porcelain tile that looks like distressed wood for an authentic, lived-in look.

After hours of online research and debating our options (single vanity vs. double?), we decided on a marble-topped white vanity with open shelving (Virtu USA). It has the perfect amount of his and her storage, and the open shelving is the ideal spot for natural woven baskets to keep essentials hidden from view.

The fixtures are all polished chrome, and provide a sophisticated, hotel bathroom feel.

After spending hours one morning walking the aisles and checking out tile options for the shower at The Tile Shop, we went with a base tile and border piece that simply looked beautiful. The sea glass border accents the Sea Salt paint color perfectly, and extends the beachy, farmhouse ambiance throughout. Built-in tile shelving was a must, to keep bath products consolidated in one destination.

After endless searching for the perfect window treatment that fit my vision (and our unconventional-sized bathroom window), I came up short and instead ordered a DIY kit from Etsy to create my own. More to come on how that turns out!

Instead of adding decorative accents right away, I waited and spent time searching for the perfect pieces to complement our retreat.

For the flower arrangement, I selected a vintage white vase received from my husband’s grandmother, which paired elegantly with white and pale green hydrangeas. The canvas photo print of two horses as viewed through a window was a photo our photographer (Alevtina Photography) took on our wedding day – we were married in a restored white barn (Columbia Ballroom), and the owners let their horses graze on the property. As a former equestrian, I appreciate seeing this reminder and nostalgia of some of my fondest childhood memories every day. To add another touch of farmhouse accents, I added this hanging planter…for the colossal cost of $4! I found the potted succulent at Target for $1, and the wood hanging planter at Pat Catan’s for $3. I love mixing and matching finds to pair completely separate items in unexpected and unique ways.

At the end of it all - unexpected timeline and overwhelming obstacles aside - I could not be happier with the way our project turned out. Even just walking down the hallway and glancing into that room makes me smile and feel at peace. Everyone needs a place in their home where they can relax, recharge, and escape from the busy-ness of the day… where’s yours?

Shop the look:

Vanity & Mirror: Virtu USA from Home Depot

Flooring: Montagna from Home Depot

Sink fixtures: Delta from Home Depot

Light fixture: Progress Lighting from Home Depot

Baskets: Target

*This post contains affiliate links to favorite products in this post.