Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bathroom Schematic Design

Our bathroom renovation has begun—in my mind and on Dean’s budget spreadsheets. This stage is called schematic design.

It is a minor miracle that Dean and I agree on what we want for our bathroom: a classic, clean design with a mix of modern elements and nods to the home’s 19th century roots.
Restoration Hardware Gramercy Double Washstand, $2,475 without faucets (left); Pottery Barn Apothecary Double Washstand, $2,797 with faucets (right).
We have narrowed it down to two very similar sinks. One of these sinks is from Restoration Hardware and one is from Pottery Barn. I like the Restoration one slightly better because the legs are a little bigger. They are different sizes (one is longer and skinnier and one is shorter but wider) so we are going to re-measure the space before placing an order. I am trolling for coupons on the Internet, so send one along if you have it. If your cousin works at either retail establishment and has a discount, tell me that too. This sink is definitely the Snoop Deville of this bathroom.

A 'gaggle' of pastel bathroom fixtures.
Which brings me to the adventure portion of this blog… Dean and I have been spending our Saturday mornings at architectural salvage yards around the Bay Area! We are looking for the perfect built-in cabinet. Salvage yards are where remnants from destroyed buildings go to languish, until they are re-sold at bargain prices to renovation yahoos like us. Urban Ore and Ohmega Salvage in Berkeley and Building REsources in San Francisco have been our stops so far. You can find anything at these places—a zillion old doors, windows, appliances, tiles, architectural elements, and a whole lot of random junk like this gang (or gaggle?) of pastel bathroom fixtures.

Much like the Greek ideal of man, our perfect cabinet is unattainable to us. It exists and we can admire it—it is sitting in our basement laundry room, unused, in fact. But our landlord cannot sell it to us because it belongs to someone else. The Greek ideal cabinet is the perfect size—about 32 inches wide, 14 inches deep, and over 6’ tall. It has doors that can hide mismatched towels but also a counter space for display of the important stuff (like an obscene amount of Q-tips in an apothecary jar, a pitcher of cotton balls, a dried seahorse collection). Size is a critical factor in our cabinet because the bathroom is 10’ x’ 6’, which is big, but there is also a lot of stuff to fit into this room.

Our Greek Ideal of a cabinet (left) and the $300 cabinet at Urban Ore (right).
At Urban Ore we saw this cabinet, which is the closest we have come to our unattainable Greek ideal cabinet.  I love the glass doors and the hidden storage below, but at 46” wide it may be too big. We are going to have to re-measure to be sure.  This thing also costs $300 bucks! A little hoity-toity for the salvage yard, if you ask me.

Below are our inspirations for the existing tub. We are planning to hire an outfit called Mr. Bathtub to take it from its current condemned state to restored fabulousness. This is a two-day process involving many chemicals, so we have decided to outsource this to the pros. Mr. Bathtub is highly lauded on Yelp.

Bath tub precedents: Meryl Streep's cool tub from "It's Complicated" (left) and a random tub found somewhere on the internet (right).

Stay tuned for “before” photos and progress shots, coming in a few weeks.

Does anyone have any advice or want to express concern? Now is the time to do it!



  1. I like the one at urban ore better. Very traditional pantry style like what i grew up with in my parents triple decker in Boston. If you can't fit it in your bathroom, consider it for a hutch alternative for your dining area.
    congrats on the home buying! that is awesome.

  2. p.s
    Dean, Darren said he thought he saw you at Urban Ore a few weekes ago, but wasn't sure if it was you. He says "hello and congratulations" as well.

  3. his is awesome! I am right around the corner if you guys ever need a hand...but then you would have to help me with the Mission Cheese space. Haha...from the sound of it you may not have a spare moment until April 2011.

  4. Are you two taking reservations for bubble baths? I can't wait to see the finished tub!

  5. The fatter legs on the Restoration Hardware sinks are better, but I think the most important thing to consider is the marble in the counter and which is best--and you can't tell that from the photo. Also I like the one big mirror rather than 2 smaller ones--just less chopped up.

    Just my opinion......