Second Floor Bathroom Update


May 22, 2016 by Sarah

The bathroom renovation on the second floor is on our list of projects we are hoping to get done this year.

We have been getting by fine with using the 1st floor bath, but it is small and has problems of its own.

While this bath does function, somewhat, it has been a pain for Adrian and I to get ready for work at the same time in a very small bathroom (I know wahhh wahh wahh #firstworldproblems).

My hours at work recently changed to normal people work hours which has led to a steep desire to have another finished bathroom in the house as soon as possible.

The progress on the bathroom upstairs was put on hold last fall while our “bathroom fund” was sucked dry while we made time-sensitive repairs to the roof. boo.

We did get the new custom window in and repaired the siding before winter.

custom window install


We went with a Marvin product that was custom made to match the other windows in the house and it has obscured glass which of course is handy for a bathroom.

custom craftsman marvin window

Meanwhile, the room then sat barren while the rest of the 2nd floor progressed.

new marvin window

insulation floor heat

We picked up where we left off and finished the drywall a few weeks ago. Our buddy Mose (the same Mose who has done lots of work for us in the past) got in on the taping again for this room.

bathroom drywall

Even in a small room, the taping was a bit of a time consuming process for him. The slanted ceilings and addition of the fireplace made for a lot of corners. When he was done, the place looked like this:

bathroom drywall

bathroom drywall fireplace

Oooooo, ahhhhhhhh….

bathroom drywall

bathroom drywall

The contractors were back last week to prep the floor. They will be putting down a fair amount of self-leveling compound and mud to bring the floor into level this week. This all means we will be ready for tile soon.

shower subfloor

bathroom subfloor

The plumber was also over to get the shower valves in.


I finally made a concrete decision on the tile for the room.

bathroom tile

  1. white gloss ceramic subway tile 3×6, Menards $0.21 each
  2. white gloss ceramic chairrail tile 2×6, Menards $1.59 each
  3. matte black mosaic hexagon tile, The Tile Shop $8.99/sheet
  4. Black pencil tile, Lowes $0.97 each 
  5. Faux marble ceramic tile 4×8, Menards $1.19 each

While the plan has always been to use white subway tile for the shower, we recently decided to add the matching chairrail and the black pencil tile accent.

I am thinking of using the faux marble tile in the shower niche, but that isn’t set in stone–Ha!

The fixtures (lights, faucet, shower trim, etc) are still the brushed gold color.

We are sticking with the matte black hexagon tile for the shower floor, but we are going to go ahead and run it throughout the entire bath floor. This means we wont be using the glorious, glorious, patterned tile I had originally picked out.

merola twenties tile

Beautiful tile, but alas, we will not be using in this renovation. 🙁

bathroom tile samples

Original tile plan.

In the end, I didn’t think it was the best tile for the house or the room.  I have 12-ish samples that I think I will hold on to for the time being–I hope I can find someplace to use them.

Laying out the tile led to an impromptu kitty photo shoot…


Cat tile

LC cat


Tortie cat

That is my curious little LC. She always makes an effort to get in on the action.

I did a shit ton of research on tile, and these are the best options for us as far as price and style.  If I had unlimited amounts of money I would have gone with a flat handmade reproduction white matte subway tile with matching hexagon patterned floor which of course is just as spendy as it sounds.

Now for some inspirational eye candy for an idea of what we are going for:

Subway Tile Shower traditional-bathroom
Traditional bathroom design by minneapolis artist and artisan Clay Squared to Infinity
Edina Colonial Revival traditional-bathroom
Traditional bathroom design by minneapolis design-build w.b. builders
Wilmette Vintage Bath traditional-bathroom
Traditional bathroom design by chicago kitchen and bath JK Design
Wainscoting traditional-bathroom
Traditional bathroom design by seattle architect Katherine Pelz Architecture
Guest Suite Bathroom traditional-bathroom
Traditional bathroom design by detroit architect Architectural Resource LLC

Subway Tile Shower Niche

White subway tile walk in shower, no glass, circular window, tiled ceiling, rain showerhead, handheld showerhead....:

via here

Tile Layout | The Inn at Little Pond Farm – part two » Talk of the House:

via here 


We have what seems like 100 other projects going at once going on right now and I want to write about all of that soon. The hallway, laundry area, stairwell, and the kitchen are all being worked on right now.

And just for fun…

creeping phlox

The gardens are really starting to come alive again. One day I hope to spend a lot more time out there.


Please don’t tell me you are crushed that I am no longer using the patterned tile. K, bye.




3 thoughts on “Second Floor Bathroom Update

  1. Stacey @ says:

    Ok, how about this? That patterned tile is gorgeous, but in 10 years, everyone will be saying, “Oh, that busy patterned tile — it was soooo mid-10s.” And you’ll be all “HA, I DIDN’T USE IT!!!”

    It could happen!

  2. emma says:

    I just found your blog via restore & style. This is amazing, I have been looking for some good diy-blogs, hope you will continue to share your projects soon 🙂

    Also, I really like the new tile selection much better, hope you stuck with it.

Comment or I'll hate you forever.

Sarah&Adrian @ StPaulHaus

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