The luxury bathroom

by Ivy

This seems like a fun article for the Totebag:

The Rise of the Luxurious Suburban Master Bathroom


245 thoughts on “The luxury bathroom

  1. I’ve heard here and there that wallpaper is coming back. Usually I don’t care for it, but I’ve always thought it can add a nice touch to a small powder room.

  2. @Rhett – It definitely IS making a comeback. I’m sure that gaudy Bronxville home had some wallpaper somewhere. Maybe an accent wall in the hot pink dining room.

  3. Maybe an accent wall in the hot pink dining room.

    I love it. It’s like they live in a Kimpton.

  4. As trends trickle down to the masses….
    I’m not sure which creeps me out more, the conversational grouping around a bathtub or the individual chair, from which one could watch a bather. I think I’ve already mentioned on here the house I walked through that had a small garden off the office, with brick walls and a picture window, directly to the large soaking tub. My mother joked that it was “for Melania”. (That is a comment on lifestyle, not politics)

  5. Wallpaper is definitely in for powder rooms and dining rooms. I went to a recently renovated home in my neighborhood and they had added the most beautiful wallpaper in their dining room – it was cream with small gold foil designs. It was absolutely stunning.

    Our master bath is large but is ten years old so it needs a refresh. It’s got the beige tile and black granite countertops look. When we bought our house the original master was downstairs and it is now our guest room. The original master bath is tiny (barely room for a shower, sink and toilet) but came with an original heat lamp before we renovated it.

  6. I’m sure that gaudy Bronxville home had some wallpaper somewhere. Maybe an accent wall in the hot pink dining room.

    What in your mind constitutes an acceptable range of home decor choices?

  7. The people we bought our house from had saved all of the renovation plans from the previous owners. It was fun to see the layout of the original 1950s ranch and the changes that had been made throughout the years. Our current kitchen was originally a bedroom and there used to be a wood burning fireplace in the front of the house that got taken out with the addition of the second floor. The original kitchen used to be a very small galley (maybe 8 x 10).

  8. No wallpaper in the bathroom(s). But we have a faux finish in our master that is much nicer than just plain old paint.

    We built our house, from builder’s existing in-house blue prints, so we had some say in how things are. Our master bathroom has a double vanity, Jacuzzi tub (money waster, we’ve used it maybe 4x/yr on average, even with 3 kids wanting to slosh around together; more on that later), skinny but certainly big enough linen closet, and a doored-off toilet / shower room. The shower is 30″x54″ and a shower head at each end. Not as big as some I’ve seen which are truly spacious, but big enough to shower with a friend and actually get showering done without constantly bumping into each other if that’s all you want to do. I’m not certain everyone at the builder thought a 2-person shower was a great idea at the time (1990), but now that’s clearly become a thing.

    Jacuzzi: the other way the space was designed was to have what’s now my normal sized closet be a walk-in, but that construct would have made the vanity/linen closet space too skinny/dark. What we really should have done was make the shower more like 6′ long and put a sauna where the Jacuzzi is.

  9. I tend to like wallpaper which I later discover is very expensive. I also like it on one wall as opposed to covering the entire room. I think I have gotten over my first house which had wallpaper in every room. It must have looked nice when they first put it in but after 20 years it was terribly dated.

  10. Rhett – It really was beautiful. My friend covertly took a picture of it while we were there. This couple has three little kids too so all I could imagine were the handprints that my children would have made all over that beautiful wallpaper. Their kitchen was very Fixer Upper – white shiplap walls (which is a definite trend all over the new houses in my area) with beautiful marble countertops. The couple basically took their very ’90s infill house and made it awesome but the outside is still 90s stucco (I guess no fixing that).

  11. Louise – my neighbor has grass cloth wallpaper in her dining room, which she mentioned was the first thing she bought when she went back to work (so I assume it was on the expensive side).

  12. “We are happy with our smaller bathrooms. The only thing I’d like are larger closets!”

    That’s my preference, too. When we added our master bedroom, we designed our bathroom with no tub only a largish shower. We’re the type to get in and out of the bathroom, so no jacuzzi tub. Just a clean 1920s style with white subway tile. Otoh, we have his and hers walk in closets. Now that’s a luxury for us! I have a vanity in my closet and plenty of storage. Too much, actually, since I have hoarding tendencies.

  13. Agree that wallpaper is making a comeback. I like it as an accent. The delft blue overload in that top pic makes what’s probably a largish space look cramped.

  14. “What in your mind constitutes an acceptable range of home decor choices?”

    I don’t know exactly, but it does not include hot pink dining chairs/chandeliers or zebra print stair runners in Westchester.

  15. His-and-hers bathrooms: my parents almost have one. The three fixtures in the Atlas Obscura article are in a tiny bathroom, less than 8×5. The vanity there is a little higher than usual, for my dad. Just outside it is a sink/vanity at normal height with a tall cabinet beside it. The house was built in the early 70s, long after the article says bathrooms began to expand past utilitarianism.

  16. Ivy, I’ve always thought that the walls of the “red” room on Downton Abby that the congress rep modeled his office after look more pink than red. You like?

  17. I think bathrooms have gotten too big recently. My parents’ master bath is as big as a bedroom. Waste of space, I think.

  18. I don’t know exactly, but it does not include hot pink dining chairs/chandeliers or zebra print stair runners in Westchester.

    Isn’t it boring when everyone does the same UMC style?

  19. A chair in the bathroom often becomes a must for the less mobile or with balance issues. Or some place to put clothing/towel that isn’t either too far to reach or on top of the toilet lid.

    We have some wall paper. I like it in our breakfast and powder rooms. Ready to chunk it in our master bath.

  20. COC – do you have another bathrooms with a tub?

    When we renovate our bathroom in the next 1-2 years, I would like to get rid of the tub as we don’t use it at all but worry about resale. Is a fabulous shower an equal replacement in the master bath? The hall bathroom does have a standard tub/shower combo so the house would have one tub if we go that route.

  21. Is a fabulous shower an equal replacement in the master bath?

    Depends on how fabulous. I’d say in most cases you won’t lose a buyer because you have a tub but you might lose one if you don’t.

  22. Do you have chairs in the bathroom?

    No, but it would make a good iPad stand if you want to watch Netflix while taking a bath.

  23. I love a good tub and have passed on buying a house that didn’t have a tub.

    However, we did buy a house once that had a double shower in the master, and a tub in the hall. That’s enough for me – a tub somewhere in the house. I think for families with small kids, they really want a tub somewhere.

  24. We saw a lot of these when we were doing our renovation. I kind of wanted a tub that had the whirlpool feature, but ultimately we decided to just go with two simple small bathrooms. The upstairs one, though, I insisted should be bright and happy. I really disliked all the beige bathrooms I was seeing in the home magazines. So we did a bright yellow tile floor, and a tile border in bright cheery geometrics.

  25. I love the Sears catalog house in the middle of the article. We have a Sears house too, but ours is quite different stylistically

  26. I would never buy a house without a tub in the master bath (not because I actually use mine but for resale reasons). Also, it seems like the stand alone soaking tub is the thing with master baths now (DH wants to do this in ours).

  27. ^That wall color is what I have in my bathrooms. One of my favorite colors and I think it has a spa vibe.

    We decided not to include a tub in our master bath even though we knew it could affect resale value. We do have a tub in the kids bathroom. Also, it would be reasonably easy to add a tub to our master bath by cutting into the second walk-in closet.

  28. This beige rustic tile look was very popular when we did our addition about 15 years ago. I don’t know if it’s still popular.

  29. “Isn’t it boring when everyone does the same UMC style?”

    To me? Yes and no. I kind of hate that everything now is just grey grey and more grey, but then there is animal print and hot pink in large quantities. There is a lot of room in the middle. There are plenty of home décor trends that aren’t for me, but that I appreciate. The picture you posted isn’t modern enough to be my own personal favorite style with the rolled arms/old school coffee table. But I find it completely inoffensive and tasteful. Other things that fit this category: oversized light fixtures, chandeliers in closets and bathrooms, etc.

    I didn’t care for the style of Schock’s Downton office either. Another proud product of Illinois politics.

  30. CoC–that beige rustic look was exactly what DH wanted when we redid our master bath 15 years ago! Fortunately I prevailed with subway tile, on the ground that “beige rustic” wasn’t consistent with the historical character of our 1920s home.
    We don’t have a tub in our master bath but do have one in the kids’ bath. No one has used the tub since DS was five.

  31. When we were doing the renovation, there were a lot of show bathrooms around that looked like this, and yes, this is about as far from my style as you can get

  32. MM – that is the look of our master bath (which was done circa 2007) but with black granite instead of the beigey granite so maybe slightly better. Not my taste either but not on the list of renovation priorities because it’s fine.

  33. This is more my taste. Prefer it over boring beige, though the paint here still has beige undertones? The style is transitional. I would add bright pop of colors here and there, and would totally try out pink curtains if DH would let me.

    We just painted our home the perfect shade of gray WITHOUT any beige undertones. The gray with beige undertones is everywhere right now.

  34. Prefer it over boring beige

    Ah yes, what is that taupe and eggshell with a very sexy hint of grey?

  35. I like a large master bath so we can both be getting ready at the same time without crowding each other. We have a separate soaking tub that I agree is rarely used, but when my kids were little our tub was used almost daily for 10 years. Our shower is smaller than the 2-headed one at the old house, but has a bench which I like. We have a separate water closet, but no linen closet. I cannot understand a bathroom with no built in towel storage. Our master closet is smaller than my prior house, but that keeps me motivated to keep purging clothes.

    I like wallpaper for contrast on a single wall, but in a humid environment like Houston I like the most mold-proof option I can get.

  36. “Ah yes, what is that taupe and eggshell with a very sexy hint of grey?”

    Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter was the It color last year when we were having the interiors repainted.

  37. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but our home is brilliant purple. We painted last year. It brings me joy every day (and is an easy landmark – “we live in the big purple box”).

  38. Revere Pewter has been hot for a long time – it really is a very perfect balance between beige and gray but can lean more towards one or the other depending on the light. I have it in my bathroom because that type of greige color was the only thing that worked with the awful beige tile and the black granite. I have Edgecomb Gray in my dining room/living room which is a lighter shade of Revere. I have grays throughout but none of them are true cold grays (which my realtor told me are on their way out but I don’t see any signs of this). We picked BM Moonshine for our family room/kitchen (it’s a gray green) and ended up painting the foyer and hallway the same color and it looks totally different in each area which I love.

  39. Ada – I’ll need your purple paint recs.:) My 3 year old is campaigning for me to paint her room purple. She says she just can’t sleep because she’s scared while her walls are blue (and she has been waking up in the 6ish range to prove her point).

  40. It’s been a little over a year since we finished the renovation of the three bathrooms in our home. Powder room on main floor, master bath, and hall bath near bedrooms. These were original to the house and still had some of the touches from the builder such as a plastic mirror in the powder room.

    I love having new bathrooms, but there are already things that I would change such as getting all Totos or different faucets.

    I happen to really like grey so I was very happy to do my master in grey. We took out a huge jacuzzi tub that we never used. We were going to put a stand alone tub there, but decided on a larger shower instead. We decided that since we hope to live here at least ten years, that we want the bathroom to be what we want vs. for resale. The hall bathroom still has a tub. I doubt that everyone will like the light purple color that DD has on her bathroom wall, but that can easily be changed. I still love the blue grey color that we used for our powder room, but I really like blues, greys and whites vs. beige earthy tones.

    I like wallpaper in other people’s homes, but I don’t want to deal with it in my home.

    I have to do some minor renovations this summer that are mainly cosmetic and involve painting on the main floor.

  41. My MIL calls any large house with white interiors The White House. This has led to some confusion with my kids imagining “The Real White House” has somehow moved from Washington.

  42. I prefer smaller bathrooms, which is good, because I live in an old house with small bathrooms. We renovated our basement bathroom with a walk in shower. I love not having a shower door or curtain.

    This post reminded me how DH would get super annoyed every time we watched House Hunters because EVERY couple said they NEEDED two sinks in the master bathroom. He gets annoyed when people say they NEED something like that (like needing granite counters…you need a counter but you don’t need granite). We don’t share bathroom space when getting ready in the morning, so DH doesn’t understand having two sinks.

  43. Tcmama, I can say I need Granite counters- really! Because it can take a lot of abuse I dish out.

  44. We’re slipping. The house is a nice size and very functional, but the kitchen and bathrooms are 11 years old and were never anything fancy. Daw and I did repaint the kitchen last year.

    Renovation for cosmetic updates is just not something that’s ever on our radar. Her family growing up didn’t do it, and they moved periodically, turning each house into a rental, and they’ve only done Home Depot-style updates when it was necessary from a business standpoint.

    It’s not something I ever really think about, and I have a number in mind that I want our investments to exceed before I start replacing the builder’s tile with fancy tile. I don’t see changing the layout at all. I like a big soaking tub (when we’re both in it), I like the separate toilet room, and I think the shower is the ideal size.

  45. I have never understood the two sinks thing. Who wants to be doing makeup or blowdrying while someone else is gargling? Ick. The house where DH grew up has two sinks in the bathroom – the one on the left always has shampoo bottles stored in it, and DH says that is what it was always used for.

  46. Milo,

    I think you mentioned an eventual move to a lake house. Would you just dump 50k into it and sell of for top dollar or save the hassle and sell if for (if flip or flop is to be believed) $100k less than if it was done over?

  47. Who wants to be doing makeup or blowdrying while someone else is gargling?

    It beats twiddling your thumbs waiting for them to finish.

  48. I went back to the Bronoxville house in the last post. It does mention that the lady was a decorator so she probably brought clients to show her own house as a showcase for her work. That’s probably why it has the pink chairs and zebra rug. Something different.

  49. No one has mentioned green.. It is Pantone’s color of the year. I think they chose it partially because of the eco connections it makes–see the “green” house that was in the news a couple days ago. The shade is at If you scroll down to past years, you can see my favorite color, which was their choice a few years ago. They call it Iris something.

    CoC, after 15 years, that look probably isn’t fashionable any more, but wouldn’t the world be dreary if everything moved in lockstep! It is a recognizable style, one that I like as long as it isn’t in my home/my job to keep that glass door squeegeed. I also particularly like the hand-held shower head.

  50. When I hear “soaking tub”, I think of those big round ones with the verrrrrrry gradually sloping sides that were popular a few years back. I much prefer this, both astheticcally and because I bet it would take less water to fill them. You can get one with air or water jets too.

  51. MM –
    we frequently each use our own sink at the same time, particularly when getting ready for evening things. Since we’ve had dual sinks for the past ~30 years clearly neither of us is bothered by what the other is doing at their own sink. Sometimes it bothers me to feel the hot air of DW’s blow dryer when I’ve just gotten out of the shower and I’m at my sink, but that’s about it.

  52. Mooshi, I grew up in a house with double sinks in the kids’ bathroom. Wasn’t a question of “who wants” to do anything. There were three of us, and when we all had to get ready to go somewhere at the same time, the extra space was necessary.

  53. I remember when they rolled out this color of the year a couple of years ago:

    and the internet looked at it and said, “Wait, you mean dried blood? That’s the color of the year?”

  54. “Why don’t my links ever show the thing, like the room Dell posted?”

    I’ve learned through trial and error that the link needs to end with “.jpg” for it to display.

    I don’t know, Rhett. I’d have to talk to some agents. It’s the same question Rocky asked about the car. Keeping it as a rental is another possibility.

    And I don’t know if we’d go to a lake. The advantage there is water sports, but it might be a little too confining long term. Something on the Bay, however… Or everyone seems to be talking about Topsail Island lately.

  55. We have small bathrooms and I”m happy – less to clean. 2 years ago we did a full reno on the downstairs bathroom (well, the 2nd floor burst pipe helped… :) ). I’m so happy with that bathroom – it’s a mix of inexpensive and fairly expensive things. I’m so happy how it turned out. Our other bathroom needs help, we started the reno wtih the pipe burst, but it still needs work. It has a stall shower I want to remove, and eat into the ginormous (27.5 in deep x 45.5 in wide) closet to make a larger walk in shower with tile and maybe a frameless glass door. We also need a new toilet up there.

    We just painted the house in 2016 and every room looks nice. We have no “neutral” colors except for the downstairs bath which is gray. The rest of the rooms have color – caribbean blues, deep purples, light blues, greens, yellows, and salmon pink/orange. I love color.

    I think I may be the only person who doesn’t look at what’s trendy. I look at what works in our house. My house just isn’t large enough to handle a lot of the modern trends.

  56. Interesting. In DH’s family, it was 4 kids sharing that bathroom, but he said they always went one at a time.
    Most of the places I lived as a kid had one bathroom, with one sink and 5 people sharing. We just learned to be quick!

  57. “Most of the places I lived as a kid had one bathroom, with one sink and 5 people sharing. We just learned to be quick!”

    Me too, but this is why my ideal is bathrooms >= the number of people living in the house.

    We don’t use the double sink all that much except before bed brushing our teeth, but I like having a bathroom that is big enough for two people to move around without getting in each other’s way. Our master bathroom is not that big, but it is bigger than the one I shared with a family of 5 as a kid.

  58. We added a 5’6″ by 9′ master bath in our addition, and I’m a bit sorry now it isn’t bigger. But that would be more to clean!

    We put in a cast iron tub/shower, white subway tile on all the walls with Carrara marble as an accent under the chair rail and in the shower niche, a white marble topped vanity and a bidet seat. The floors are a dark gray marble tile, and the walls above the tile are sky blue. All linens and the rug and shower curtain are white cotton. I love it.

    The kids’ bath was done by the prior owners with tumbled travertine tile on the shower walls and floor, and I want to take a sledgehammer to it as I’m not convinced it is really clean. There must be tiny bacteria living in those porous tiles, and I want them dead.

    I think most master bathrooms I see on tv – you’re lucky to get one at all in a house under $800k here, and most people don’t offer tours :) – are too big to be comfortable. And rugs and upholstery in there…eeeewwww.

  59. “‘Is a fabulous shower an equal replacement in the master bath?’

    Depends on how fabulous. I’d say in most cases you won’t lose a buyer because you have a tub but you might lose one if you don’t.”

    Well, I hope a fabulous shower is equivalent, given that that was our choice. :-) We had an enclosed back porch off the back bedroom upstairs that we realized could be converted to make that room a master suite (it was the original master bedroom, because it had a direct door to the hall bath, but had been converted to a guest room). The back porch was, IIRC, something like 21′ x 6.5′ and needed to include both bathroom and my closet; the entrance was also constrained by where the chimney comes up from the first floor. So I just could not fit both a walk-in closet and a tub.

    So we did: walk-in closet immediately to L of entry (around 6′ deep, with pocket door); then about a 5′ long double vanity on the interior wall (exterior wall has two windows that fill the entire space); then another pocket door to the toilet/shower room. The shower is where we just went all-out — it is maybe 4.5′ wide, the full 6.5′ deep, with a glass door, steam shower, a dual adjustable showerhead, and jets. The only thing I’d change is the jets — the guy who did the install didn’t know where to locate them or how to pressure balance them, so they are too far apart and only one actually works.

    But we do have tubs in the kids’ bath and guest bath, so it’s functional for people with kids. The guest bath (the former master) desperately needs to be redone — think c.1981 oak trim with brass pulls, stained lacey grandma curtains, and a lovely wallpaper border at the ceiling. I am debating putting a jacuzzi tub in there, because I just really really really like jetted tubs and miss having one.

    I hope my colors aren’t too dated — tiles range from closer-to-sand to closer-to-taupe, with variations-of-cobaltey-blue glass insets and a blue-ish grey-ish granite top, with natural cherry cabinets. But, you know, I don’t really care, because I built it for me. :-)

  60. “My house just isn’t large enough to handle a lot of the modern trends.”

    A lot of places are coming out with “small spaces” collections. World Market has had one for a long time, which makes sense given their market niche, but it’s not just them any more. Pottery Barn is the one I noticed most recently.

    I can’t see setting up a house according to what’s in fashion or what I think a future buyer in x years might prefer. That iris color that I pointed out was “color of the year” a few years back is one I used in my apartment in Berlin in the mid-90s (obviously for a small area, given how bold purple it is). I can easily see using it again. As Rhett pointed out, if people want a certain style crown molding or color of paint, they can do it themselves and get exactly what they want, or maybe you could do it if the house isn’t moving, but live with that maybe one day buyer the whole time? No thanks!

  61. “I think I may be the only person who doesn’t look at what’s trendy. I look at what works in our house.”

    I don’t think it is so much wanting to be trendy, but what is most popular is what is most readily available in some cases. And if you are a person who does not have great vision for decorating like me, when I go to look at blogs/catalogs/showrooms for inspiration/ideas – what is popular/trendy is what comes up the most.

  62. As for decorating according to what’s trendy, I don’t do it intentionally, but I expect we all are somewhat influenced by trends.

  63. We *need* a large mirrored medicine cabinet and plenty of counter space around the sink in the bathroom to hold all the daily stuff, especially the tall ones that don’t fit in the medicine cabinet. One sink would be okay, I guess, now that we are not both working. But two medicine cabinets – one at each of the double sinks – plus personal counter space (just like kids in the back seat with the actual divider or the imaginary line down the middle) work much better. We also have a lot of storage under the vanity. Separate tub (with air jets – rarely used) and one person spacious shower with room for a teak seat. No closet or shelves in the bathroom. Linen closet is on the landing outside. In the kid days were 6 people and one undersized bathroom (small pedestal sink, undersized short tub with shower curtain, toilet that the door banged into). Some things are just never again items, like powdered milk.

  64. “Me too, but this is why my ideal is bathrooms >= the number of people living in the house.”

    +1. My house growing up had a small hall bath (1 pedestal sink, toilet, shower) and a larger master bath. Shortly after buying the house, though, my mom and stepdad ripped out their shower and replaced it with a GIANT tub (like almost “indoor hot tub” level). This left one shower for all the people trying to get ready in the morning — not to mention like a 20-gallon water heater. So we had the strict shower schedule, which was bad enough in itself. But since the shower was in the only bathroom I had access to, it also meant I couldn’t use the rest of the bathroom to get ready when anyone else was in there.

    As far as I am concerned, extra bathrooms and multiple sinks are luxuries I am more than happy to blow some discretionary income on. A few extra bathroom fixtures are cheap compared to the (relative) family harmony it buys. (Now, if I lived in a more expensive market, we’d have to talk. But, boy, a separate bathroom for the kids would be almost non-negotiable anywhere.)

  65. “In the kid days were 6 people and one undersized bathroom (small pedestal sink, undersized short tub with shower curtain, toilet that the door banged into). Some things are just never again items, like powdered milk.”

    Meme, I didn’t know I grew up in your house. :-)

  66. Pedestal sinks don’t work for us at all! The original bathroom had one, and everything fell off of it all the time.

  67. “is bathrooms >= the number of people living in the house”

    I think a lot of new houses have a bathroom for every bedroom, plus a general/guest one. That strikes me as overkill. Who wants to keep all those fixtures clean? But more than one is always good.

  68. MM, isn’t the point of a pedestal sink that stuff shouldn’t be cluttering up the edge of it/should all be put away?

  69. Our girls’ bathroom has 2 sinks. I often walk past to see they’ve put the minpin in one while they’re using the other. Not sure that was the intended use.

    The 2 sinks in our master are not beside each other. I find that to be super handy. (The minpin has never been in either).

    We’re about to have a realtor come and advise what we should renovate for resale. I’m tempted to list it as is for a lower price just to avoid the hassle; DH is not so tempted.

  70. @S&M – some places definitely cater more to smaller spaces than others. Room & Board offers lots of different size pieces in almost all of their collections, some of which are too small even for our space. Plus you can custom order different sizes in a lot of their items. I really like them for urban spaces.

    @LFB – YES – having to work around not just showers but everyone using the same single bathroom for getting ready and their private business got so old. I’ll never drink powdered milk again. :)

  71. Risley, Google tells me a minpin is a miniature pinscher, but that doesn’t seem right for the context . . . are they in fact toting around a small dog while doing their daily ablutions?

  72. “Risley, Google tells me a minpin is a miniature pinscher, but that doesn’t seem right for the context . . . are they in fact toting around a small dog while doing their daily ablutions?”

    Funny, that is exactly how I interpreted it. Then again, DD totes around her old-lady cat mornings and evenings, so I may have a somewhat skewed perspective.

  73. HM – oh yes. She gazes up at them as they change their earrings or whatever.

    DH and the yellow lab find the whole thing blasphemous.

  74. LfB – yeah, that’s what happens here. The minpin can often be found riding in laundry bags/baskets to/from the laundry room, or in book bags or backpacks. DS used to wear a hoodie backwards and keep her in the hood — until he figured out he could fashion a sling out of an old car blanket and keep her in that. He’d have her in there while he shaved, or cleaned the kitchen, or did pull-ups, or …

  75. DS used to wear a hoodie backwards and keep her in the hood

    Mine sometimes go around with a bird in the shirt, but I don’t think they’ve ever thought of keeping, say, a rabbit stowed in a hood. The Prince of a Thousand Enemies would not appreciate it, but the shyer and cuddlier one might like it ok.

  76. I’ll repeat this here in addition to the post where SM was testing:

    If you post a link to an image file that is on a publicly accessible website, and put the link in a line by itself like

    web address of linked image

    it will show the image. An image file would be something with a .jpg or .gif file extension, for example. If you are linking to a webpage, with a .htm or .html extension, that is not an image — even though it may have an image on the page! — and it will not show in the post. You should copy the address of the image itself, not the whole webpage, and post just the link for the image file

  77. HM, yep, that was what I was testing. Now to see if Risley’s will work with the magic prefix

  78. It’s on my Twitter page (and likely Insta-G) so that might be an easier way to find it for whoever is so inclined. Countless other photos and inane posts about the minpin in both places.

  79. I guess we’re outliers on this board — we have only one full bathroom in our house (for two adults and two children). It’s plain vanilla — a tub/shower, combo, one sink, a toilet, and a small linen closet. It seems to suit us just fine, though. None of us spends a whole lot of time in there.

    I grew up with a wallpapered house, and I hated it. I like painted walls so much more. DH and I have a lot of artwork, photos, and textiles on our walls. That stuff looks great against our painted walls, but against wallpaper it would all look too busy.

    I could never live in a house with gray walls. To me, it would feel like living in the middle of a rainy day, every day. Our family room/kitchen is a color I adore that’s about halfway between cream and pale yellow. That flows into the dining room, which is a slightly richer creamy yellow with peach undertones. And that, in turn, flows into the front sitting room, which is a light peach. I much prefer warm colors in a home than cool colors.

    I have learned through trial and error that “historical” colors work best for us. (All of the paint colors in our house are from the Benjamin Moore “historical” collection.) They’re mellower and softer than the “modern” colors, and I find them much easier to live with. My brain is easily overstimulated, and I would have trouble living with bright colors, busy patterns, etc.

  80. My girls would love a purple house. Every Sunday we pass a purple house and my girls always scream “hello purple house”. It makes them very happy.

    We painted our basement family room green – Sherwin Williams Celery. I love it. It makes me happy.

  81. and HM, if you can figure out how to get just the pic when it’s in a setup like that, awesome!
    That’s the tub I’d get if I were to win the dream bathtub/luxury bathroom sweepstakes. With center drain and jets, of course.

  82. I don’t understand the hatred for wallpaper. Doesn’t it depend on what’s on the wallpaper, whether the wall is stenciled or has other painted pattern, the colors of the wallpaper and paint, and what the space is?

    NoB, those sound like colors I like too. I just went through that process when I painted our entryway. Onionskin tan looks lovely in the picture of a room, but ugly on this wall. Various kinds of gold were also bad. I finally went with a very straightforward orange–Behr’s Exotic Blossom. It looks very bright in the can, but most of the entryway is doorways with just a smidge of wall, and the biggest stretch of wall is now the backdrop to a coatrack. But the only “historic” era it could be from is the 60s-70s Flower children, letting the sun shine in and all that.

  83. HM, if you can figure out how to get just the pic when it’s in a setup like that, awesome!

    I’m not sure what picture or setup you’re referring to.

  84. HM,

    I think I may know. If you see a pic you want to post hover over it and right click. One of the options should be “Copy Image Address” in Chrome or “Copy” in Explorer. Once you do that then paste the link into the totebag dialog box. If it ends with a .jpg or .gif it should work.

  85. HM,

    For SM.


    Also, if you see characters after the .jpg or .gif in the URL these should be deleted. If you include them it wont work.

  86. I miss our old bathrooms. We redid all of them in the old house (except the tiny bathroom which was probably 3″ by 8″) and they were so nice! We had white subway tile in both, a Toto tub in the kids’ bathroom and a big glass shower in ours, with river rock tile floor. Cream-colored walls, just off-white enough to feel like color.

    Now our bathroom is kind of French blue *everywhere* with blue tile on floors, walls, and the shower, and then a furniture piece that is too big and a one-sink vanity with long legs and very little storage. And no heated floors! Blech. We will have to wait a while for enough $$$ to fix it though. The kids’ bathroom has wallpaper with strawberry plants on it, but other than that it’s okay. The laundry room/bathroom is very dark blue tile and black wallpaper, but it’s not really used as a bathroom any more since we took the door off. :) And the guest bath is builder-grade early 90s with formica. :-P

  87. S&M, it is partially the patterns, but also, I like clean simple walls. Patterns on walls give me headaches. Even jarring colors – when we rented an apartment during the house addition, the dining room was painted a deep crimson, with white wainscotting below. I didn’t like eating in that room

  88. Patterns on walls give me headaches. Even jarring colors

    Meme may love them but I don’t think Kimptons are for you.

  89. “YES – having to work around not just showers but everyone using the same single bathroom for getting ready and their private business got so old. I’ll never drink powdered milk again. :)”

    Our kids have never known the joys of having ten minute slots in the bathroom. I don’t know what childhood deprivation they will be able to insert into “I’ll never _____ again.”

  90. “Who wants to keep all those fixtures clean?”

    The cleaning people.
    But if they’re not subjected to daily, heavy use, they stay much cleaner.

  91. L, I imagine your house to be like the one from “Series of unfortunate events”. Of course slightly updated and clean!

  92. @NoB – I love yellow walls! Our master bedroom/bathroom are yellow. It makes me happy too. I think our yellow was from that same collection, but I can’t remember.

    @Rhett – Kimptons are way too much for me, although the window seats with all the pillows are fun. We stayed here in Denver, and I loved the room décor.

  93. I didn’t realize Kimptons were so groovy. The blue room would be fun to stay in for a short vacation.

    Thanks for the photo-posting tips. I noticed this bathtub a few months ago. It’s the first time I’ve lusted after, or had any thoughts at all about, this kind of fixture (although when a friend pointed out how cool the giant claw foot bathtub I had in Berlin was, I didn’t disagree). This tub, with a center drain, air jets, and who knows, maybe someone to lean up against the backrest at the other end, sounds pretty nice. And a pedestal sink, so there isn’t a surface available for junk to gather on, a Toto toilet, and cabinets built into the walls. While I’m at it, a sauna too. It is very strange for me to be thinking about these kind of things.

  94. Funny, my walls are about the color in that bathtub pic just posted. In some rooms we’ve upped the vibrancy just a bit.

  95. The thing that doesn’t come through in the pictures is the increadible attention to detail.

  96. Scarlett, as I wrote that, I was aware that most people here hire cleaners. But there is a difference, isn’t there, between having the convenience that hiring out those kinds of chores can bring and making purchases with the intention of being dependent on outside help. Theoretically, we could have used our fourth bathroom, in the basement, when we all had to get ready at once, but instead my older sister and I became absolutely immune to each others presence in the bathroom, no matter what we were doing, and the younger one was five years behind, so hit that intensive bathroom use age much later. To this day my older sister will walk in on me without skipping a beat, and I roll my eyes at how sensitive the younger is to, for example, me darting in to grab a toothbrush while she is behind the shower curtain. Anyway, I get what you mean about one bathroom rarely needing cleaning,, because of infrequent use.

  97. NoB,

    i’m with you. single bathroom my whole life. in our now house (30 years) ours served 3 children and 2 adults at its busiest. now down to the 2 adults. our house was built in 1780 so it was hard to find a place to put another bathroom without a major hassle. and there was plenty of other things to spend house money on.

  98. Rhett, that’s the same vibe my son likes. This is his favorite hotel. He describes it as “empty” but, as you say, there is a lot more detail than he recognizes.

  99. “But there is a difference, isn’t there, between having the convenience that hiring out those kinds of chores can bring and making purchases with the intention of being dependent on outside help.”

    Both circumstances and the passage of time have made me more dependent on outside help, and I’m grateful to have the resources to outsource landscape and yardwork chores. At this point, the benefits of having extra space, both inside and out, outweigh the costs of maintaining it. When we bought this house some 8 years ago, it seemed almost too big for us, but with DS1 and his growing family, plus my dad every weekend, it’s almost too small when everyone is visiting at the same time.

  100. When we moved into our 1925 house we only had one full bathroom upstairs and a grungy powder room in the unfinished basement. We lived with that for several years as we grew to a family of four plus a live-in nanny. It was a nice step up when we remodeled/added to include a first floor powder room and a master bathroom. Now I’ve been tempted to add a bathroom to the third floor guest room, but I think the upshot might be more overnight guests staying longer. Not sure if I want that!

  101. Rhett, for me the drawback of that minimalist aesthetic is that it works best without people (and their stuff!) in the picture. I feel like once my family enters the picture and there are overgrown kids sprawled everywhere with their devices and other detritus, all of a sudden the sleek minimalist room looks like it’s been infested.

  102. ” the upshot might be more overnight guests staying longer. Not sure if I want that!”

    I think our parents had been thinking in terms of all of us visiting them/ vacationing together, until we tried it, back when there were just 2 grandkids and #3 on the way.

  103. He would love that! He went through a Hong Kong phase a few years ago. The second one approaches the Art Nouveau /Jugendstil that I’m partial to.

  104. HM,

    I can only imagine the developer yelling to the decorator, “More! I want more!” “More of what, sir?” “Just more!”

  105. Rhett, I do see where you’d make that connection, but I guess whatever it is I find weirdly appealing about Design Toscano, it’s not the generous use of marble and gilt.

  106. I too love the minimalist look but like HM says your loved ones and stuff have to be hidden away. If I was staying in that room alone, it would be perfect.
    The scale of my house means with effort and keeping up with cleaning I can keep it clean. But it is definitely nice to have a cleaning person. If I had a house that was larger in scale I would have to hire cleaners.

  107. OK, THAT I could totally go for, at least for a visit.

    I think I want to put my globe drinks cabinet and life-size sarcophagus in a room like this (animator’s room from Ghibli Museum, the Miyazaki aesthetic is sort of a mix of Country French, Japanese, and crazy inventor):

    And that medieval throne chair would fit in fine in a corner.

  108. HM, I thought that was a good fit for your gang because of their love of the theatrical. But maybe they are all past that stage, or they’d prefer coming up with their own fantasy over being surrounded by someone else’s drama.

  109. I want to live in 4:56.

    “But there is a difference, isn’t there, between having the convenience that hiring out those kinds of chores can bring and making purchases with the intention of being dependent on outside help.”

    Why would there be, if you can afford the help? Aren’t we all dependent on outside help to some degree? I’m not going to replace my own roof or fix the broken sewer line by myself. We used to clean, mow, garden, fix, and even paint on our own; now even my mother hires all that out (except the gardening). Or, one specific example: this house came with over 3/4 acre of lawn. DH hates lawn care, and I am allergic. He agreed to buy this house only upon my express agreement that all mowing would be hired out. Is that different than just deciding that we really don’t like mowing much and calling a service? What’s the threshold for what is ok to outsource?

    Plus, you know, if we retire and run out of money for cleaners, I can clean three toilets without much more of an investment than two — especially when that third is used only a few times a year. The lawn would push us into assisted living long before the extra bathroom would.

    Then again, I have gotten massively lazy in my old age, so I may have just gone over to the dark side.

  110. HM, did you and your family go to the Ghibli museum? If so, how was it?

    That’s someplace the kids and I want to go if/when we’re in that area. I don’t think DW thinks it’s a big deal.

  111. “I’ve been “testing” on another date.”

    SM, are you dating now?

    No need to answer, it was a bit surprising to read it initially and took a moment to realize it was probably a typo.

  112. Scarlett, your 4:19 post describes why my parents–my mother, especially–like their Florida home so much. The lawnmowing crew blasts through the whole neighborhood, and there are armies of pool guys, house cleaning services and the like available. Very different from my home town. That, and it’s all on one floor–no dragging laundry up the steps. I think the decor in most people’s homes there is a variation on beige, in that there is a very limited range, and they probably mostly shop at the same stores, and use the same decorators. To them, that’s one more chore off their list.

    Louise, the thing about modern design is that even though it’s all about clean lines, there are places for everything. That hotel my kid like feels very restful to me, not austere, because there are so many hiding spots for stuff, and what you need is often discretely stashed right there. The coffee station on the tray in the photo I posted is as well-supplied as any, and the big wooden bowl at the other end of the room is where stuff that would ordinarily clutter up the counter gets stashed. We found it through a Priceline “name your price” search. I would not have chosen it, but am surprised at how comfortable I am there. For my home, I’d like more decorative details, but not much more.

    The room at 4:48 would drive me nuts. We can do mess; it’s hard to find your coffee/keys, so you always have to remember too much.

  113. Finn, lol, no! I’m not going to date anyone in Florida, and you found a typo-free snippet from me. I meant I had gone to an old Totebag post (on a different date) to try out how to post pix, because so many attempts when people were talking could get annoying. Later on, other people refer to the same thing.

  114. From the OP link:

    “The typical bathroom is a five-foot-by-eight-foot square room”

    What kind of square has sides of different lengths?

  115. LfB, you’re convincing, but I see a clear line even in your examples. Roof and sewer line repair come up very rarely (one hopes!); the other tasks are routine.

  116. MooshiMooshi on January 27, 2017 at 11:33 am said:
    This bathroom is to my taste

    I like the colors and abundance of light.

    I don’t like the TP holding solution (I don’t want to have to hold the roll), the two-piece toilet (one-piece toilets are so much easier to keep clean), and the overlay sink (so much easier to push any water on the counter into the sink).

  117. “That hotel my kid like feels very restful to me, not austere, because there are so many hiding spots for stuff, and what you need is often discretely stashed right there.”

    Eeesh! I am literally getting the heebie-jeebies reading this, if one can literally get anything that is in fact entirely figurative. I am the person who leaves things in hotel rooms; I mean, that trial I just got back from, I left so quickly (to miss a storm) that I left behind my entire shirt drawer and had to have my associate go over and fetch it and bring it back with her. The entire concept of a space filled with awesome little hidey-holes where I can forget more stuff just creeps me the hell out.

    My idea of a perfect hotel room is one in which there is a dresser for clean clothes, a desk with like 8 plugs so all of the devices can live in the same spot and I don’t forget any, and a big closet in which I can dump my suitcase with everything else in it and CLOSE THE DOOR.

  118. “He agreed to buy this house only upon my express agreement that all mowing would be hired out.”

    Don’t you have kids?

    In fairness, my kids do zero yardwork. We have a guy who comes once a month, and I do the rest. I have a Finn-powered mower that provides me with periodic workouts.

  119. “My idea of a perfect hotel room”

    Mine would have a horizontal space where I can open my suitcase and leave it there, open, for the duration of my stay.

    For travel with my family, and multiple suitcases, I’d like pullout shelves where we can have multiple suitcases, open, in a stacked arrangement.

  120. @S&M on January 27, 2017 at 5:49 pm — OK, but I still don’t get the distinction. What is the difference between our buying this house knowing we plan to spend $X/year on a lawn service, as compared to doing it ourselves for a week or two, deciding this sucks royally, and spending $X/year on a lawn service from there on out? I would argue that the former is actually more responsible, as I planned my purchase budget around that expense.

    I’m not trying to be a smart-ass (for once). I think there are some unstated moral beliefs here that color the analysis, and I think I have them too, so I am just trying to tease apart the thinking, where the line is, what makes X ok and Y not ok.

  121. We are currently waiting for Home Depot’s Corian contractor to fabricate our new master bathroom counter and schedule an installation date (DuPont does not allow Corian to be sold directly to DIYers like me, only to contractors who meet their qualifications). I installed the cabinets during the MLK weekend.

    As you might guess from my 5:51, I installed a one-piece toilet, and the new counter will include integral undermount Corian sinks.

    And DW bought one of these TP holders:

    I think our wall color is off-eggshell.

  122. Finn, we did go there and it was great. It takes a little advance planning to get the tickets, so if you’re planning to go on some future trip google it a few months ahead of time to see what the current process is.

    Rhett, the 4:56 is this place, which I think I posted here a year or two ago:

  123. We have this tp holder

    except with a replacement spool because my youngest somehow managed to flush the original one far enough down the toilet that it became irretrievable and thus converted a full-flow toilet into a low-flow one.

  124. “Our master bath is large but is ten years old so it needs a refresh.”

    How often does a bathroom need a refresh?

    We’re redoing part of ours, just the toilet, cabinets, and sinks, because the cast iron sinks were rusting, the formica-covered particle board doors were swelling and delaminating, and the toilet never did flush all that well, and it used a lot of water.

    The tub, shower, and tile floor are fine, so we didn’t touch those.

    We’ll hit 20 years in the house this year, and it was about 8yo when we bought it, with its original bathrooms.

    I don’t anticipate redoing the bathooms unless something needs to be replaced, or we need to make it more ADA-compliant or accommodate deteriorating physical capabilities.

    My nephew recently renovated the bathrooms in my parents’ house. They were mostly original, about 50 years old.

  125. We basically have something like this, but in brushed nickel:

    Freaking revelation.

  126. Honolulu, I’m trying to picture the bathroom that could surround that, and failing miserably.

    Has it got spears or swords in it somewhere, or a stag’s head?

  127. IMO refreshes need to happen around every 10-15 years, depending on which end of the trend you’re on. So if you put in granite with cherry cabinets in 2007 or so when it was on its way out, that kitchen looks quite dated now. OTOH we put in white cabinets on the bleeding edge of that trend, so they still looked current when we sold.

    *I predict the same thing will happen in 10 years with the grey cabinets that are hot now, and also with the white uppers, navy lowers.

    LOL, Dell! Not quite that scary. ;)

  128. Sky, we needed to replace the tp holder 5 or 10 years ago and I accepted kid input regarding Amazon’s selection of tp holders. I believe we got a dragon decal for the toilet lid at the same time, which is no longer part of our bathroom decor.

  129. HM – I love everything about your 6:11 post from the holder to the story about your kid. And now I want that toilet paper holder.

  130. Interesting discussion. We are planning for a master bath remodel in our 24 year old house. We think we’ve decided to remove the seldom-used jet tub and likely make a closet for the adjacent office-now-bedroom and have just a shower.

    It’s interesting to me how many people use tubs for their kids. I’ve always taken my kids in the shower with me when they’re little. Bathtubs are for play at my house.

  131. I like almost all styles, but not necessarily for my own home to live in day in and day out.

    I’m not sure if this article was linked before.

    The Lush New Décor Look That’s Vanquishing Minimalism
    After decades of stark, formulaic interiors, design is giving way to maximalism—a luxurious riot of color and pattern. Here, guidelines on pulling off this seemingly lawless style

  132. SSK – that is darling and I love Emily Henderson. I agree with L on the timeline of the bathroom/kitchen refreshes.

  133. Now *that* is a room I’d lose my stuff in. Lots of details, not a ton of light, plenty of pillows & knock-knacks.

  134. I just poked my phone half a dozen times before realizing that that’s a pendant lamp, not a “play” icon.

  135. I love everything about your 6:11 post from the holder to the story about your kid.

    Tcmama, I’m glad at least someone got some enjoyment out of the incident!

  136. Totebaggers, I know its early but summer camp sign ups are already starting to trickle into my email box.

  137. @SM — love it!!

    @Louise: I have already signed up DS! :-)

    @HM — count me in on the chorus about that story and the TP holder. That is awesome.

  138. “IMO refreshes need to happen around every 10-15 years”

    Even if everything is still in excellent working order?

    I don’t think we would deal well with the interruption of not having a working bathroom that often. DW is really hating not having a working master bath, even though the toilet and shower are working. We wouldn’t be remodeling if our sinks and cabinets weren’t in need of replacement.

  139. “We are planning for a master bath remodel in our 24 year old house.”

    My suggestions, based on my experience:

    Don’t use cast iron sinks.
    Don’t use particle board.
    Use under mount sinks.
    Consider 1-piece Toto toilets.

  140. Finn, why undermount sinks? I definitely agree about no particle board, especially in our humid climate. (I’m not a fan of the 24 year old Home Depot carpet on the floor either.)

  141. The house my parents had built in Florida was less than ten years old when they sold it four or five years ago. Everything was in good working order. The buyers (friends from my hometown) replaced all of the creamy-white cabinetry with cherry red cabinets and dark countertops. The big reveal was awkward for my mom. You all are confirming her/our thoughts. She still gets mad when she thinks about it.

  142. I spent an hour today cleaning the outside of my kitchen cabinets. I made it through half of the kitchen befor the fumes started to bug me. I think of myself as a relatively clean and tidy person, but the dirt and drips and gunk on my cabinets was disheartening. I ended up using goo gone in the areas around the knob/handles. Since we have wood cabinets I was able to “not see” the grove for much too long. I wish I could magically have new cabinets, maybe white?

  143. ssk, I want wood cabinets, because I would like to not see every drip and bit of gunk, every minute of every day. To each his own!

  144. I’m in the “you only refresh/refurbish when it’s no longer working” camp. Interior designer would probably be the job I would be least suited for.

  145. WCE, I like the under mount sinks because they make it easy to push any water on the counter into the sinks.

    ssk, you could paint your cabinets. If you paint, I recommend a gloss or semi-gloss paint to facilitate wiping it clean periodically.

  146. “IMO refreshes need to happen around every 10-15 years”

    Just penciling this out. What is a bathroom renovation to TB standards, like $25,000? We have four bathrooms, so $100,000 every 10 years is $10,000 per year toward bathrooms.

    A kitchen is $60,000, so $6,000 per year.

    To keep up with this you need to budget $16,000 annually just for kitchens and baths.

    Damn. I really do not belong in this UMC world.

  147. We have lived in our house for eight years and other than a few handyman type touch ups, it is as is. Everything is functional and clean but far below decorator standards.
    The one thing I would not do is get any surface with a lot of grooves like small tiles. The dirt and soap scum tends to collect in between the tiles. I prefer larger tiles or just one solid sheet. Also, no marble for us – certain spices tend to stain the marble.

  148. I’m in the “you only refresh/refurbish when it’s no longer working” camp. Interior designer would probably be the job I would be least suited for.

    Yeah, me too. We’re up to 13 years in our house, and the bathrooms remain unrefreshed. I am just pleased that they’re clean.

  149. When we moved to our purple house of many tiny bedrooms, we had to go down a bathroom. No more master for us.

    The bathroom that everyone uses most of the time is fairly small. I sacrificed the double sink for a wide single sink and wide tub. So far, I’m happy with that choice. I put pebbles down on the floor (those mesh squares with similar round rocks scattered through them), and heat beneath that.

    Like this:

    I love it. However, it did not occur to me what a pain it would be to clean toothpaste and other spills.

  150. I’m also in the “fix what’s broken” camp for the most part. We’ve been in our house 17 years. The bathrooms were carpeted when we moved in so we did minor refreshes to the baths and kitchen shortly after we moved in, about $10k total for three baths and the kitchen. They certainly aren’t to totebag standards but they work.

  151. Refreshes every 10 years? Yeah. No. But I do agree 10-15 years is the cycle in which trends change significantly enough for bathrooms/kitchens to look dated, especially if they were very trendy to begin with.

    Our kitchen looks dated (early 00’s) but I don’t much care about that. I do care about the less functional aspects, so we changed our lighting and a few other things this year. We are planning on addressing some other things this year – like countertops and a large under mount sink. (I agree with you on that one Finn.)

  152. I am sorry to have missed this post, because we are in the midst of several years of updating all our bathrooms.

    Our beach house bathrooms are original, so almost 40 years old. They are so simple, and have good quality wood and tile, that style-wise they’ve held up great. However, it is now time for them to be redone. Even good quality wood cabinets and fixtures can only take so much abuse. I am taking a lesson from the original builder and going high-quality materials, but simple simple simple design. I think once redone they could last another 25 years.

    Our primary house bathrooms are 14 years old. Stylistically they were also very simple, and therefore still perfectly fine, but builder-grade (cheap) materials. Cabinets are splitting, floor tile cracked, faucet fixtures not quite flush with tile, etc. We redid the guest room bath last year, this year is the master, and next year the kids bathroom. Again we are going in with very simple design but higher quality materials, and these bathrooms should now last well beyond 10-15 years.

  153. Any specific recommendations on faucet brands? The designer at yesterday’s seminar recommends Grohe/Hansgrohe. He said the connections are simple for plumbers and so leaks are rare. (Our house has seasonal fluctuation due to water/no water in the soil so many of our choices are centered around accommodating that fluctuation.)

  154. SSK, I thought I’d start on some splashes that have been there far too long using vinegar. Other than occasionally needing a tiny bit of abrasive (baking soda), I was amazed at ho well it did. I had thought I’d go back with something nasty, but see it isn’t needed.

  155. WCE — I’ve heard the same thing about Grohe and also about Delta or any of the more popular brands. I made the mistake of installing fancy schmancy designer faucets against my contractor’s advice during our major remodel. Later on when I was dealing with the second leaky fixture in our kitchen our plumber showed me how the fancy expensive faucet was actually of inferior quality (something about the threads) and he recommended our Delta faucet, which has never given us problems.

  156. WCE – we had a Grohe kitchen faucet that lasted only about 10 years. We replaced it with a Moen. That one I had to replace (covered under lifetime parts warranty) and the 2nd one works fine. We have Delta faucets in the master bath and powder room that we replaced ~10 years ago and no issues. The original Moen stuff that remains in family bath, master shower all works well.

    Our plumber said Delta and Moen are the best in every day stuff. Grohe good also is you’re spending the $$.

  157. Thanks. We’ve never remodeled before and I may have a post in a few weeks/months asking for opinions about our tentative choices. Our specific challenges (primarily soil that is wet in the winter and dry in the summer) are different from the challenges my family is familiar with, like snow dams.

  158. “Any specific recommendations on faucet brands? The designer at yesterday’s seminar recommends Grohe/Hansgrohe. ”

    We bought Hansgrohe for our current bathroom remodel, so I hope they’re good. We put in Delta when we did our kitchen remodel and they’ve been problem-free so far.

    Another recommendation for bathroom remodels is to check out Costco, and also check their coupons. We got our Hansgrohe faucets there on coupon for a pretty good price on coupon, and also got our light fixtures there with instant rebates. They usually have one Hansgrohe bathroom faucet and one Hansgrohe bathroom faucet at our local store. They have an extremely limited selection, but if you find what you want there, the prices are usually very good. They usually have one Hansgrohe bathroom faucet and one Hansgrohe bathroom faucet at our local store.

    Costco also sometimes has some stuff with brands I’m not familiar with. We bought a unknown brand kitchen faucet from them once when the one that came with the house started leaking, and that one worked very well for us for around 10 years until we remodeled.

    We also considered the no-name toilets they had, about $169 for a one-piece, but decided against it when I looked under the lid and didn’t see standard components. However, in subsequent trips to Home Depot, I’ve seen some replacements that look sort of like what I saw in the Costco toilet, so it might be worth considering. I’d definitely consider the Costco toilet if I were remodeling a rental.

  159. Finn, if the Costco toilet is a type that is standard in some other part of the world, replacement parts might not be that hard to get.

    The Costco just around the corner from me will be opening soon. I need advice on what things there are good deals and any buying strategies people might have. I can get a large pack of tp, but not of perishable food. Maybe I should send in a topic.

  160. SM, IMO the pizza at Costco is a good deal, ~$10 for a pizza that’s bigger than the large just about anywhere else, and I find it quite tasty. $1.99/slice (6 slices/pizza) is also a good deal.

    The rotisserie chicken for $4.99 is also a good deal, and the beef brisket sandwich has gotten a lot of good reviews.

    Living right around the corner could make it easer to practice restraint, since it’s easy to make a trip whenever you need something, and you don’t have to feel like you need to load up because it’s not convenient.

  161. “IMO refreshes need to happen around every 10-15 years”
    “To keep up with this you need to budget $16,000 annually just for kitchens and baths.”

    I guess it depends on what one means by a refresh, as well as what sort of bathroom and kitchen one has, and what sort of material choices you make.

    A refresh could be as simple as some combination of painting walls, painting or refacing cabinets, replacing fixtures, and replacing the appliances.

    If the refresh is centered around the appliance replacement, with some paint and a few updates, then every 10-15 years doesn’t sound excessive, especially for the refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave.

    OTOH, for major renovation including things like removing walls, relocating appliances and sinks, and replacing all cabinets and counters, every 10-15 years seems like a lot to me.

  162. Another recommendation for WCE and anyone else remodeling their bathrooms or kitchens:

    Be careful about overspending on cabinets.

    I can sympathize with the desire to be good cabinets. However, if you’re going to replace them in 10 to 15 years, then you only need to get them good enough to last that long, and particle board might be appropriate for that case, as it could be for rental property.

    Even if you want to make them last a lot longer than that, you don’t need to get expensive upgrades to 3/4″ plywood sides and bottoms. When I demo’d our master bath, the cabinets I removed were mid-level cabinets, made with 3/8″ plywood sices, 1/2″ plywood bottoms and shelves, and 1/8″ backs, panels, and toekicks. Even after nearly 30 years, they were still quite solid, and I would’ve had no hesitation re-using them if I had a rental unit that needed renovation. A garage is another place such cabinets could be re-used, with a sheet of plywood for the top.

    Our new bathroom cabinets have 1/2″ plywood sides and 3/8″ plywood backs, and IMO they are overbuilt and should be able to outlast the house. I’m glad we didn’t spend the extra money to upgrade to 3/4″ plywood sides and 1/2″ plywood backs.

  163. “I can sympathize with the desire to be good cabinets. ”

    Oh, I have been a bad cabinet this year so far! My New Years resolution was a to be a good cabinet, all hardwood, all painted white (but stay squeaky clean), with soft close doors etc. But I am still dated- stuck in 2016! I need a refresh for sure.

  164. Finn, in our house, I expect to replace the microwave every ~5 years and the dishwasher every ~10 years, unless the appliances are far more durable than I expect. Being an appliance at my house is hard labor. :) I’ve heard new refrigerators are only expected to last 7 years, in part because motors have to run hotter/harder to achieve federal energy efficiency goals.

    I expect major renovations often happen for family/use reasons. The particleboard failures, slight seasonal floor shifting and tentative decision that it’s better/cheaper to optimize our current house for our current family than to move all play in to the remodeling decision.

  165. I expect to replace the microwave every ~5 years

    I’ve still got my parents’ 30-year-old microwave. I don’t know why it has lasted so long.

  166. Did I already mention on here how our last microwave died at far less than ten years old? A recipe for microwaving popcorn in an ordinary paper bag appears on the internet so often it must be true. At least I thought so, until the bag burst into flames. There were some impressive sparks in there too. We shut it down and let the fire suffocate before opening the door. Those last seconds of fire must’ve done it in the rest of the way, because it hasn’t restarted since. Maybe I’ll get a new one at Costco.

  167. WCE, it would be good news for my mom if fridges only last seven years. She doesn’t like the one in the house they moved into a few years ago, is waiting for it to die so she can get a new one.

    I could say something about bad cabinets, but that’s a discussion for the other page.

  168. “I’m in the “you only refresh/refurbish when it’s no longer working” camp.”

    Oh, heck yeah. Just because styles change doesn’t mean my style does. Our kitchen dates to c.2006, and it was the style I loved probably a decade before that. So it is clearly dated (I am sure the 20-something House Hunters would walk in and say, “wow, it’s just sort of . . . old.”). But I still love it just as much as the day it was finished. Therefore, the only changes that happen while I am still living there are for things that break.

    OTOH, powder room is more like “timeless old house” — white tiles with navy blue inserts for the floor in a pattern anyone who has been in an old house will recognize, tiled halfway up the walls with white subway tiles, simple white vanity, etc. It will never need to be redone unless something breaks (not counting the approximately 800 toilet handles we have gone through).

    Re: quality of materials: my caveat to Finn’s advice is to target the quality of the materials to the length of time/amount of use/abuse they are going to get. For someone like me, who plans to redo her kitchen on the 12th of never, cheap cabinets would have been a huge mistake, because they’d already be falling apart — I am totally with Lark on that. OTOH, I am fine with the generic $129 vanities in the kids’ bathrooms, because I need them to last only about 10 years. And I probably could’ve gone with an upgraded toilet in the powder to save a few dozen handles and flapper valves. . . .

    Also, kitchen cabinets get much, much harder (ab)use than most bathrooms. For bathrooms, I would avoid particleboard unless you really plan on a 10-year replacement cycle, but I would not bother with 3/4″ plywood, because the cabinets just don’t deal with that much weight. Even in the kitchen, my “light duty” cabinets (e.g., normal drawer banks) are all 1/2″ plywood. OTOH, all of my major storage cabinets in my kitchen have 3/4″ ply and full-extension, heavy-duty hinges — I have several drawers and cabinets between 3-5′ wide that hold massive amounts of heavy stuff (e.g., one has my Instant pot, blender, coffee maker, deep fryer, and popcorn maker; and let’s not even talk about the 12″ cast iron skillet I can hardly lift). Plus, frankly, I assumed I’d have small children jumping and climbing on things, the countertops are Silestone (a/k/a heavy), and the island has a big cantilevered eating area. So 3/4″ ply seemed like cheap insurance for those areas — and good-quality drawer construction was mandatory everywhere (again, kids).

    @WCE: We have Grohe showerhead and kitchen faucets. Love love love.

    @Dell: Nicely played. :-)

  169. “I’ve still got my parents’ 30-year-old microwave. I don’t know why it has lasted so long.”

    My mother still has the microwave she got I-can’t-even-remember-when. It takes like 5 minutes to heat something mine can do in 90 seconds. We sometimes have to wait 15 minutes for dinner because she has to reheat things in series. We tell her she can get a lovely new model for $169. She flat-out refuses to replace it.

    One of these days she is going to find a microwave under the Christmas tree.

  170. I have 35-year old dated good quality kitchen cabinets that just won’t die. I didn’t have the heart (and budget) to replace them when we did a major remodel, but I should at least paint them to fit with a style more to my taste. I’m such a lazy procrastinator. Also that old red brick fireplace. I’ve been thinking of painting that since forever.

  171. Our microwaves die frequently inspite of TLC lavished on them. Our neighbor has taken our previous microwave, seems to have repaired it and is now using it. He just took our most recent dead microwave. He also took our giant heavy 1st gen flat screen TV. We don’t call the city anymore just call him for all our electrical junk.

  172. WCE, it would be good news for my mom if fridges only last seven years. She doesn’t like the one in the house they moved into a few years ago, is waiting for it to die so she can get a new one.

    Tell her to buy a new one and sell the old one. I don’t get the mentality that you have to wait until something dies to replace it. If it’s working you can sell it, which is better than waiting ubtil it dies and then you can’t.

    We give away our dead electronics and appliances on Craigslist. It’s amazing how many people want them.

  173. We have thirty year old builder grade cabinets in our kitchen. The ones you see on HGTV pre remodel with the flat beige front, the dark wood trim at the bottom and no hardware. When we did the kitchen refresh we just had them refaced with new doors and drawers, because they are 3/4 in plywood. We were able to add a quartz countertop with no issues. A neighbor did her kitchen with IKEA cabinets because she wanted deep drawers rather than shelves for her pots and pans. They will disintegrate in 10 years. 8 years ago we got new 3/4 in cabinets in the bathroom, of course, and they probably could have been 1/2 in.

    Even though I knew in my head that blue is idiosyncratic in a kitchen, and dark red cabinets in the master bath might not be to everyone’s taste, it never occurred to me that I would make resale based bland choices in a place I plan to live in for thirty years. When I redo the powder room I won’t break the bank on the new vanity.

    The most important improvement you can make is a whole house surge protector. It is not just something the electrician or appliance guy is trying to sell you. Modern electronics, including 35 dollar coffee pots, are vulnerable, sometimes even after the third time the town shuts off the power for a few hours for road work and turns it back on.

    Old microwaves take forever and have a lot of leakage. For $100 you can get a new one that works much better and is manufactured to modern safety standards. Our fridge is a basic discontinued model that fits the archaic 30 in opening. When it dies I will have to go to a very expensive counter depth fridge with more limited storage. So I am hoping for 20 years on this one. 9 and counting so far, and it works like a charm. Dishwashers, as we have discussed before, die after 8 years because of the electronics, but maybe the surge protector will help. I’ll report back in 10 years. We have old style washer and dryer that may last 30 years with our light use. Here’s hoping.

  174. “The Costco just around the corner from me will be opening soon. I need advice on what things there are good deals and any buying strategies people might have”

    Good basic food buys:
    Olive oil (both basic stuff for cooking & nicer single-origin stuff for salad dressings/dipping)
    Other oils
    Quinoa (best price anywhere and the bag is only 4# or so – not 20# like the rice!)
    Peanut Butter (we go through a ton at the Ivy house)
    Prime meats (love their prime strip steak, although not cheap, it is a good value if you love steak)
    Frozen shellfish – this is mostly now without preservatives & a great value
    Eggs if you go through a lot (24 pack is the standard for organic)
    Chicken Stock
    Bell peppers (this is perishable, but they last awhile and are under $6 for 6)

    Non food:
    Kirkland brand OTC medications
    Contact Lenses
    Kirkland Paper Towels
    TP is fine, but I hate the Kirkland brand – one of the only misses in their private label, IMHO
    Ziploc Bags
    Laundry Detergent
    Kirkland Environmentally friendly all purpose cleaner (can dilute and put in spray bottle as well)

    I have also used their HVAC partner service, flooring partner service, rental car discounts, bought tires, etc. I’m sure when I die, we will buy the casket there. :)

    Costco is very close to my house, so we go weekly. That makes it easier to curb any impulse buys because I can always go back.

  175. +1 for the surge protector recommendation. Con Ed has blips all of the time for a second and it isn’t just annoying. It can destroy appliances and equipment.

    Pay attention to drawer handles and pulls. Splurge on quality. I got cheap ones for DD bathroom and it’s a disaster. The higher quality pulls in our master bath are worth every penny.

  176. Ivy, thanks!!

    Louise, I need your neighbor to take a Southern swing.

    I agree on better cabinets if they need to take abuse. Rental cabinets probably fall into that category. I don’t think I’ve ever lived in a place with MDF that was intact, but I’ve lived in quite a few with real wood cabinets that are just fine (even if I can see where various towel holders, etc. have been installed under the sink & removed). The place I’m in now has good quality cabinets in a light-colored wood “Shaker” style that were probably fashionable when they were installed. Other places have had plain flat fronts painted white, but actual wood doors and boxes that had clearly been there for 30 years or more, long enough for a couple rounds of MDF, depending on use.

    Meme, love the colors.

  177. Adding to Ivy’s list, I don’t buy much at Costco but I like the 51 oz cans of clams (for chowder), the jars of pesto (my kids eat it on brown rice), the lower salt Better than Bouillon, the real vanilla and the kitchen trash bags. I concur on the 4 lb bags of quinoa. I buy 10 lb bags of Pacific Northwest boneless/skinless chicken breasts (Costco carries Mr WCE’s preferred brand) but that is almost certainly a regional product.

  178. “the jars of pesto ”

    Costco pesto is significantly less expensive than any other we’ve seen, but we like it. It’s great as a sandwich spread.

  179. More Costco questions (Costcions?)
    What kind of incentive do new members get for joining?
    Assuming that there would be some percent off on my first purchase, I went to Costco’s website to see if there were throw pillows I’d want to get in that purchase (along with a microwave, shellfish & other groceries). It rerouted me to Cafe Press, which does have some I want. Can I include Cafe Press items in a Costco purchase, and are CP items returnable at the store?

  180. Costco warehouse stores and Costco online are different animals. I am not even sure you can return online items to the store. I never got a get to know you coupon for joining, but that was years ago. There are regional differences in stock, so you have to get to know your local merchandise. We have some Vermont made spaghetti sauce that is great and low sodium. I too endorse the pesto and the shreddded parmigiana in the big square jar and the Kirkland select olive oil. Since you are vegetarian, some of the fave food items are not of interest to you.

  181. Gift cards are often a good deal (usually $80 for $100) – ours carries a large local selection.
    Sports fan wear (a perennial gift for our Au Pairs) – licensed local college and pro teams.

  182. You can return Costco online purchases at the local store (but I don’t know anything about Cafe Press). Costco has free shipping for many items. They frequently have a coupon for $25 off 2 packages of printer ink,and free delivery, which makes it cheaper than anywhere else. They also extend the manufacturer’s warranty on electronics – I have bought some TVs and things there.

    The most popular item in my house is the “sherpa blanket” – the softest blanket ever and great for the living room when I refuse to turn the heat on. The first one disappeared into a kid’s room, so I bought another, which disappeared into the other kid’s room. I then bought a 2-pack, and DH put one on his side of the bed, so there is only one left in the living room.Everyone is banned from touching it but me.

    Glasses that cost me about $600 at my regular eye doctor cost me about $175 at Costco, and with a coupon I saved another something off a pair of prescription sunglasses. I have not bought contacts there, but have heard that their prices are good. And – I have not gotten a single bottle of wine there that I have not really enjoyed.

  183. Also – they have frequent coupons for $70 off a set of tires, and their installation includes some other things (maybe road hazard?). Anyway – it was the best price I could find for tires.

  184. Glasses that cost me about $600 at my regular eye doctor cost me about $175 at Costco, and with a coupon I saved another something off a pair of prescription sunglasses.

    I bought glasses at Costco a couple of years ago to save money, and even with the scratch protection they still picked up a nasty scratch within a month. I’ve never had a scratch on any lenses I’ve gotten from the optometrist’s place.

  185. when you buy tires at Costco, it includes flat fixing and rotation for the lives of the tires.

  186. We don’t buy tires at Costco because it has very limited hours and if you have an issue, service is far slower than at dedicated tire places. It also has very few locations, compared to the Pacific Northwest’s popular Les Schwab tire chain. Consider how many tire repairs you’ve needed in the past few years in order to evaluate whether Costco is a good choice for you. Perhaps due to log truck debris, tire repairs are a pretty common occurrence for us.

  187. when you buy tires at Costco, it includes flat fixing and rotation for the lives of the tires.

    Discount Tire does free flat repairs and rotation even if you didn’t buy the tires there. I don’t know how much of the country they are in.

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