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anncgavin

New master bath - need help with metals/wood in black & white bath

Ann
December 28, 2019

My very small 3/4 master bath will be gutted in 2 weeks. I've purchased off-white subway tile for the back wall and shower, off-black large tiles for the floor and have selected, but not purchased, dark granite for the cabinet top. The only items I plan to re-use are the custom cabinet (it'll remain off-white) and the chrome faucet. I've ordered chrome hardware for the shower (but could exchange). Below are photos of current state, granite and tile selections and other elements in the bedroom I'd like to pull in. I need help with choosing hardware, mirror and sconce metals/colors. Can I mix ORB, black & chrome with a wood-framed mirror? How else could I mix wood in to warm up the room? The electrician is coming to install new light boxes for sconces on Jan 13, so I need the dimensions of the mirror and sconces Thanks for your help!


I plan to re-use this custom cabinet (repaint similar color, change hardware). The wall behind the cabinet and toilet will be tiled with off-white subway tiles to the ceiling.

The wall next to the shower door will be replaced with glass on top 2/3. Shower door will be frameless glass.

Shower tiles circa 1967 will be replaced with off-white subway tiles (off-white grout), shower floor tiles will be same material as floor only very small. Dropped ceiling in the shower will be removed.

Existing window (new) and toilet. Toilet will be replaced and tile below window removed.

I like these sconces


Kichler 45637OZ Wall Sconce 1-Light, Olde Bronze · More Info

I like the ladder in this small bath. It would bring in another wood element and serve as a towel rack. Mine would be wood but not as rustic.


Modern Farmhouse Bathroom · More Info



Comments (244)

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - The knobs do go in the middle of the drawers as the pics below indicate. This is the usual placement of the knobs.



  • Design Girl

    @Ann - The TP holder can go on the wall, or on the side of the cabinet. Which will give you more room. Sometimes it's best to see when all the fixtures are in. You can also recess one into the wall like this - https://www.homedepot.com/p/Newton-Recessed-Toilet-Paper-Holder-21-Holder-in-White-Wall-Hugger-Frame-TP-21-WHITE/303696023 - There are many styles like this that save space as part of the roll is inside the wall. This one could be cheap looking (I haven't seen it), but there are many others out there as well. It could be another option if space is a concern.


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  • Design Girl

    @Ann - In terms of the towel situation, is there any wall space just outside the shower for a small hook (pics below) to hang the towel while in the shower? If not, I don't think I'd like a permanent knob on the glass. What about doing a horizontal handle for the shower door that he could put his towel on while showering. In terms of a hand towel, you could also use that bar or could you put a shelf over the toilet with a towel bar on it. Something like this. - https://www.potterybarn.com/products/vintage-wall-shelf/?pkey=s%7Cshelf%7C69



  • Design Girl

    @Ann - oh and chrome is fine for all this. Hope I answered all your questions.

  • Ann

    Design Girl - all great ideas. I'll ask about the horizontal door handle. There's a small space next to the door for a hook, but the door opens on the opposite side. However it open inward, so that may work. I like your other ideas and will explore once I return from Mexico on Feb 2. I love your glass knobs. My first house was a 1932 Tudor and had all glass door knobs and many other beautiful features. When I moved to a 60's rambler, it was an adjustment. Installation of the crown molding started today. Painting, vanity installation and toilet will be complete upon my return. So I'll be waiting on the counter, curb, knee wall installation. I would think I could schedule the electrician to hang the light fixture before the counter is installed? I couldn't be happier with the progress so far! I think I can make the Feb 10 deadline You're a godsend! Someone recently asked me, "Why would she do this for you?" and I replied, "I'm not sure (maybe because she's so good at it), but I'm very lucky!"

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - I love my glass knobs as well. You certainly can do them in your next bath assuming you have a white cabinet. I live in a 1974 center hall colonial so I've added some old world charm that I miss. I grew up in a home built in the 20's. My finishes are very eclectic and range from brass, nickel, glass etc. My curtain rods are wood, white, iron, etc. We all need to find creative ways to address difficult issues and I guess I've had a few issues (haha) that needed to be resolved - they are in my back pocket. Which side does the shower door open on - the side with the knee wall or the other side? Sometimes in a small shower you can't open the door inward (wet body taking up room), but since you have the knee wall, I'm assuming you just step into that area. If you can, I might wait until the counter is installed to put up the light fixture unless you're very sure of the height. You need to consider the cabinet height, counter thickness, 4 inch backsplash (I assume), mirror height and then see where you want the glass globes to end. IMO, it would be best to have the glass globes NOT intrude on your mirror but be inches above. I"m not sure of overall cabinet height so it's hard for me to calculate. I think I mentioned before that the lights are usually between 75 and 80 inches off the floor. I am so glad that you are happy with the progress. You certainly have been working hard and running around a lot and are worthy of your Mexican vacation. As to why I am doing this I really do enjoy it. I love helping to design classic baths. However, you are very easy to work with, have a realistic budget and seem to take advice readily which makes it fun. Sometimes people are stuck in a rut that they can't get out of, even though they know they want something different. Let's hope you love it in the end.

  • Ann

    Design Girl - Thank you for your kind comments. You have a knack for giving advice in a very palatable way. It’s like a gift. One that I’m happy to receive! I’m excited to start my next bathroom, but I’m not scheduling the work until all materials are selected. On the subject of my shower door - it’s 24” wide and the shower is 4 ft long. I’ll wait to schedule the light installation until I know the delivery date of the counter. BTW, I workout with a lady who lived in Wilton for years. Do you live near there?

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - You are lucky. My daughter would kill if her shower was 4 ft long. She's got 3 x 3 so it's tight. You are wise not start on the next bath until you have all your materials selected and know they are available and not on back order. Sometimes one unavailable item changes something else. Looking back at the photos it certainly seems like you will be able to swing the shower door in so your husband can reach his towel on a hook. Even though we have a hook, we actually throw the towel over the glass so we can grab it without opening the door and getting cold. My glass is 82 inches from the floor, so it gives me 14 inches of space to throw the towel over. (I ended my glass at the top of a subway tile for a clean look). I don't know if that would work for you as you'd need to throw it over the door, but if it doesn't get wet, it's an option. I'm going to go to Mr. Shower Door for my daughter to photograph handle options for her, so I'll post pics for you if I see anything. If you are concerned about a hand towel, etc., it seems you would either need to hang it on a shelf somewhere, or on a horizontal shower door pull. Think of which would be closer for you. I have a towel bar to the left of my vanity but usually take the towel off and place it on the vanity while washing my face, only to hang it back up when I'm done. Something to think about while lying in sunny Mexico with a drink in hand. I live in Darien, about 15 minutes from Wilton. Wilton is a lovely town a bit inland, and I'm on the coast. It's a small world. FYI, I'd be happy to help with your next bathroom if you would like. My husband takes off for Florida tomorrow and my 31 year old daughter who was going to join him for the weekend to see her grandfather just came down with shingles. It's always something.

  • Design Girl

    Forgot to post top of shower glass


    Ann thanked Design Girl
  • Ann

    Design Girl - Good idea to stop the glass at the top of a tile. My shower guy is on vacation and promised to provide an estimate this Monday. I texted him this morning with no response. My husband needs that shower after his February 10 surgery so I'm hoping he doesn't ignore me! I guess I should be thankful my shower is as "big" as it is. My vanity arrived today and looks nice. Okay, since my packing is coming along nicely, I'll post my 2nd bathroom project with dimensions and photos so you can start pondering while I'm on vacation. Looking forward to getting your advice this time BEFORE I go off in the wrong direction. Of course, I'll have internet while in Mexico!

  • Ann

    Design Girl - I hope your husbands packing is almost done! When he’s gone, can you look at my new post? Small Main Bath Remodel 1967 rambler. Enjoy your cooking-free time alone! Cabinet installed tomorrow and glass door measured. Counter measured next week!

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - The Uber picked my husband up at 4:30 AM this morning so it's just me and the dog. I'm glad everything is moving along so quickly. You are one of the only people I know who have had a timely reno while acting as GC. Kudos for you. I visited my local shower showroom and am posting pick below. I saw some horizontal handles that would work as a towel bar and it could be an option for you. You can have a horizontal bar inside and out, or you can just have a small knob on the inside which looks nice and clean and saves space. They seem to have many styles to choose from.



  • Ann

    Design Girl - Your husband got an early start! Your timing is perfect. The glass guy is coming over to measure tomorrow. Most of his clients use a standard handle. I’ll ask him to bring samples. I think the horizontal bar would be very useful. Right now my husband hangs his towel on the back of the door that is mostly open to our bedroom. More good timing: the paint samples came. I’m leaning towards the bluish grey for the bath walls and will know once I see it with the vanity installed tomorrow. Cove molding is complete. I credit some of my project timeliness to the time of year. Finding good people and “reminding” them of schedules dates may help. My handyman was a pilot and is very motivated. I’m paying him $50/hr and he’s worth every penny.

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - I think the horizontal handle will be very useful for you as well. I liked that you could just get a knob on the inside if wanting to be mindful of space. Can't wait to see what paint you end up with. You will have to make sure you take some for R & R in the sun. Once you return you'll have to be a nurse for you husband. You are correct that this time of year people need work so that has worked out well for you. If you get a handyman who's good and will listen, they are worth every penny. Mine is $75/hr but he just had rotator cuff surgery. Good thing I don't need him right now. Buen Viage

    Ann thanked Design Girl
  • Ann

    Design Girl - I’m sorry I can no longer reference your photo of your crown next to you tile. Going forward I’ll save your photos. I’m not sure this looks right?

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - It actually doesn't to me. This is what I have. The bottom of the crown should touch the tile and then the other is scribed around it.


  • Ann

    I’ll show him. My heart sank when I saw it.

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - I've been there many times. Lawn Chair HAHA

    Ann thanked Design Girl
  • mariagrazia

    I'm following along too as I'm updating my bathroom and yours is turning out beautifully. I'm sure you are aware - you can get robe hooks for frameless shower doors. They can be installed through the glass or sit on top (I think it's called a rhino hook).

  • Ann

    Thank you mariagrazia. Good to know. I’ve decided to use a towel bar handle across the 24” door so unfortunately there won’t be room for both.

  • Ann

    Design Girl - I was thrilled this morning when I was told the countertop would be installed on Feb 6. Now that the vanity is out of the box, I’m sure that’s not going to happen. Take a look:

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - Oh dear, what happened. I thought you got this from your friend with the design store.

  • Ann

    From my neighbor who’s a remodeler.

  • Ann

    Here’s a photo of my neighbor’s alder kitchen

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - Well the stain on your cabinet is certainly not at all like the door you posted. It looks blotchy and lighter than the sample door (at least that's what it looks like from the photos). The pics you posted on this thread on Jan 3rd show a darker door with not a whole lot of red/orange. I hope they will make it right for you. They may have to reapply the stain to darken it. I wonder if they do it themselves or purchase from someone.

  • Ann

    Design Girl - the wood is hickory, not alder. The sample may have been a different wood. I chose it because it’s not supposed to be red. This is a cabinet manufactured and finished by Shiloh - a mid-quality brand. Here’s how she responded. “It's because it is Hickory, not Alder. Hickory is more porous and doesn't have a consistent stain appearance.l

  • HU-712445603

    agree - it looks very blotchy & not as pretty as the samples. Your neighbor’s cabinets look like they have a cherry stain. I just googled alder wood & it seems that it has a tendency for the stain to be blotchy

  • Ann

    Well, Tammy, the owner of the remodeling business that I ordered the vanity from stopped by. She thinks the cabinet looks better in person and told me she would have advised me to use a different wood. This wood is considered "rustic". There's noting rustic in my home. Tammy was on vacation and I ordered them from her assistant who used to work for a cabinet maker. Tammy's going to ask the Shiloh Rep for two new doors and a new drawer (middle blotchy one). She said that's the most they will do. Ironically, the inside of the doors look really nice and so does the side veneer.

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - How could they have given you a sample that was a different wood. That just doesn't seem right. The installed vanity is way more red than the sample door you were shown so that explanation doesn't sit well with me. You selected a stain color and if it was not going to look the same on a different wood, a reputable vendor should have advised you about that, and that it had a tendency to look rustic. I would think a neighbor would go out of their way to take care of you. That would never fly around here. I guess you'll be going elsewhere for your other cabinet. I wonder what they would say if you contacted Shiloh yourself? Apparently there is a special way to stain Hickory and I wonder if Shiloh just used the regular way they would stain any wood. That would be Shiloh's problem. Either way, something was lost in translation, and in conversing with you, it seems to me that it was on them, not you. You seem very careful so I would bet they never explained this. Let's hope they can make it right. Fingers crossed, and try to chill on vacation.

  • Ann

    DG - the person who helped me told Tammy that this wood is used in cabins a lot. No way did she tell me that. She’s covering her tracks. You’re right. I won’t be using them again. Tammy told me that she would have steered me away from it but she was on vacation. She uses Shiloh for most of her Projects but they are always painted. I’m disappointed that she asked for full payment upon delivery and didn’t inspect the cabinet when it arrived. She knows the rep and says she’s fight to have the 2 doors and one drawer replaced but couldn’t guarantee anything. Sorry if I’m repeating myself. I could ask the painter what he would charge to paint it?

  • Ann

    Tammy suggested I go ahead and have the cabinet installed since she knows they won’t replace it.

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - I know this is very upsetting. Yes, they are covering their tracks. I certainly know from our conversations that you would not have gone ahead had you had this information. Did you pay by cash or credit card? I've on occasion had to call the credit card company and tell them what happened, and have them reverse the charges. I realize this would be difficult with a neighbor, but I also think that a neighbor with a business would make it right, even if she had to "eat it". From what I can see, most of it looks blotchy and is much redder than the door you ordered from. That's interesting in itself as you didn't want red. My husband would tell me not to get too upset, and it was only money. No one was hurt or sick or dead. That being said, it's not right when we feel taken advantage of. I wonder how your neighbor would feel about a bad google or yelp review. Then again, you have to live around her. Your saving grace is that it indeed can be painted and it would look great that way as well. Just more money on your end.

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - Tammy knows they won't replace it? Really, has she really tried, or is she saying this because she knows it's her companies fault so they have no recourse. I'd certainly let her know that none of this information was communicated to you and that her employee is covering her tracks. Even without the blotchiness the cabinet is red which was what you were trying to avoid. If she knows that Shiloh won't make things right she should not rep them anymore. Does this come up often with Shiloh (again, why rep them if they do not stand behind their work). My gut is that she knows it's her employees fault and is trying to save face and money. That being said, a cabinet company should never release a cabinet with that kind of uneven finish. I also know she wants it installed, as that means the likelihood of them taking it back decreases.

  • Ann

    I let her know that Annie didn’t tell me this is used in cabins (as she claimed she told me) or anything about being different than the sample.

    My husband says it looks “cheap”.

    She has my money so I’m not sure what recourse I have.

  • Ann

    I’m debating whether or not to install. If I don’t install I won’t get the cabinet measured on Tuesday and installed the following week. But not installing might put more pressure on her

  • Ann

    Tammy told me that she would have steered me away from it but she was on vacation. She uses Shiloh for most of her Projects but they are always painted. I’m disappointed that she asked for full payment upon delivery and didn’t inspect the cabinet when it arrived. She knows the rep and says she’s fight to have the 2 doors and one drawer replaced but couldn’t guarantee anything. Sorry if I’m repeating myself. I could ask the painter what he would charge to paint it? Sorry if I'm repeating myself.

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - My suggestion would be NOT to install it. I know it will set timing back, but you are correct that NOT installing would put more pressure on her. I wonder if she could get Shiiloh to paint it out for you, or get you a new cabinet. It is beyond my comprehension that Shiloh would have let a cabinet go out with that kind of finish on it. If it were my remodeling company, I would threaten to stop using Shiloh if they are allowing stained cabinets to go out with that kind of finish. Do you mind me asking what you paid for the cabinet? You need not share, but it would be of interest. I know you said they were mid range.

  • Ann

    DG - I was planning to share my costs at the end of the project and would be happy to share. I paid 1050 for the 42” vanity - no top of course.

  • Ann

    DG - Tammy also said if she could get new doors and a new middle drawer she couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t be worse. She’s blaming it in the wood.

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - I am so sorry to hear this. If she's blaming it on the wood, what excuse can she give you as to why her employee didn't point this out to you. I mean who in their right mind would order a cabinet when they were told the stain would be blotchy and uneven? If she says that the employee did, I'd ask her "Do you really think I'd select this wood if I was told that it was rustic looking and didn't take stain well. I chose this based on the cabinet door you supplied me." I mean who in their right mind would order a cabinet when they were told the stain would be blotchy and uneven? If I were selling something of this nature, I'd ask a buyer to sign something to say they were informed of this. Tammy doesn't seem like she cares if her neighbor has been misled which is unfortunate to me. I had an issue when we took down my fireplace where the next year when we used it (it was finished after the winter season) it needed to be resealed to as smoke was coming thru the whole house to the tune of $4500. Now my builder didn't do the work, his sub the mason did it. Obviously all the jack hammering, etc. loosened the inside. They of course told me it was because it was built in 1974 and was old. I told him that it was working perfectly before they started and when we agreed to take on the project, no one told me this could happen. My husband by nature is easy going, me not so much. I approached the builder by asking to split the cost as I had more remodeling to do, and would like to have a good working relationship going forward. They agreed. I am wondering if she could accept half the responsibility for this error and get you a different cabinet, or give you a credit if you wanted to go elsewhere. Believe me, she did not pay the retail price that you did for this. I'm not sure what her markup is, but they usually make anywhere from 25 to 50% of the sale. I'm not sure I would want her to get new doors and one drawer. All the drawers look bad to me. I'd tell her I don't want the cabinet and you want something else. I have steam coming out of my ears over this - it is so unfair and I hate to see you get this kind of treatment. If your husband says it looks cheap, then I have to think it must be bad. You did the wood for him, which makes it even harder to swallow. If I have any other thoughts, I will update. I am like a dog with a bone with this kind of thing, and rarely back down if I know I'm right. Try to breathe and have a nice trip.

  • Ann

    DG - thank you for your support. I won’t install it and can’t accept that at most they’d replace two doors and one drawer (and they may be worse). The painter says he would charge $800 to paint it. As you suggested, I’ll tell her I want a new cabinet in a wood that stains better or? I was thinking I’d wait until Monday morning to correspond with her again. This wood is obviously not meant for drawers with different pieces. The photo Tammy showed me was of a flat panel door. In order to set expectations she told me she wanted a navy stained island from Shiloh and when she went to order, they told her it was only available in paint. That comparison didn’t sit well with me. I’m steaming mad. Two years ago a painter ruined the glass on my new expensive front door. I had told the owner they couldn’t use a razor on it. The owner gave me the run around for a year. I finally took him to small claims court and won and he still didn’t compensate me until I took it to the next level. Shall I wait until Monday? She’ll need to cancel the counter measurement on Tuesday. Aaaargh...

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - This has got to be maddening for you as you prepare to leave for your RELAXING vacation. If she's going to try and get new doors and drawers I would want to stop that as soon as I could. If you wait until Monday, I'd hate to have her say it's too late, she's already got them working on the drawers. Then again, if Shiloh isn't open until then, I suppose it doesn't matter. However, I would not lead her to believe that you feel that this is in anyway acceptable. It simply isn't an option if the replacement doors/drawers could be worse. I can't think of anyone who would think that the staining job on that cabinet was acceptable. No one. I would let her know (whenever you feel is the best time) that this cabinet is not acceptable. I would also want a guarantee that if you did select a new cabinet that the staining would be uniform and well done. If not, I'd move on. If she will not get you a new cabinet, when I returned, I'd take it to her shop and leave it there. Perhaps she will give a bit since you ordered the top from her. Did you pay for that? Depending on her response to this problem, may have an impact on how you move forward. I know your husband is having his knee replaced and this will hold things up, but you want things right. At least he will be able to use the shower. Even if the glass isn't ready, you can put up a tension rod and shower curtain for him. I wish I was in Minnesota. That woman would NOT want to deal with me.

  • Ann

    Design Girl - It's been unsettling. I had the painter come at 5 and I'm still finishing packing. I think I'll text Tammy from the airport tomorrow morning if I have time. My grandkids will be with us so it I don't do it then, I'll do it sometime over the weekend from Mexico. At this point, I've given up on moving back into our bedroom before February 10. She asked me for all but $380 of the entire bill for the vanity and counter and like a dummy, I paid her. The total was about $2200. She's under a lot of pressure getting a neighborhood rental home she bought ready for the Spring Remodeler's Showcase in April. She was on vacation when I ordered the cabinet. Her assistant has a background in sales at The Tile Shop, a cabinet maker, etc. and Tammy told me that Annie talks like she knows more than she really does. I think Tammy's neighborhood reputation may be her greatest motivating factor (although I heard she's hoping to move to Florida). She remodeled my neighbor friend's bathroom last year and they were pretty happy with her...but nothing went wrong like this - they bought a white painted Shiloh vanity. So how does this sound? "Tammy, I've given the appearance of the vanity more thought and showed it to Michael. The uneven appearance of the stain on the vanity is not acceptable. I can see using that kind of wood on flat panel doors for a cabin, but never on inset ones like mine in a traditional home. Since you are reluctant that new doors and drawers would solve the issue, I have decided not to install it. The sample I returned to you with the stain and wood I returned is one of the ones that Annie suggested. She did not tell me that hickory was mostly used in cabins or that that the stain would take very unevenly. Since she is the "designer" she never should have suggested that as a choice........" What else? I really appreciate your help. I am sick about this..... Leaving the house at 6:45..not as early as your husband did.

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - That is a VERY nice way of putting things. The fact that she admitted that her assistant thinks she knows more than she does is an indication to me that Tammy realizes that you were misled. I would use that to my advantage. I certainly would use the fact that she wants her reputation to remain intact to force her get you a new cabinet, or refund your money for this one so you can go elsewhere. I think I would add something that says that you are not installing the cabinet and will not accept something that looks like it does. This is a VERY POOR staining job and imo Shiloh should have never released it. I think somehow you need to put her on notice that she will be taking the cabinet back. I'd take lots of pictures of it and I'm sure you have all the original ones. I also think I might add that whatever wood you end up choosing should look like the sample. If you have any hesitation get a painted one instead. Good luck and try not to worry. Focus on the fun time you will have with the kids/grandkids and chalk this up to an unpleasant experience. It WILL get resolved. - And we were worried about the toilet - haha

    Ann thanked Design Girl
  • Ann

    @Design Girl - Thank you! I'll let you know what I say, but I'll use a lot of your words. I'm sure I'll be "working" on this while I'm gone! Glad I have you to brainstorm...... Enjoy your quiet weekend with the dog!

  • katinparadise

    Ann, I've been following along and I'm so sorry to hear this happened to you. Hickory is, by nature, a wood that has many variegated tones in it and does not always take stain evenly. It's a hard wood like walnut. Usually you would use a wood conditioner before staining it in order to achieve more even results. This, coupled with the fact that your rails and stiles are probably solid wood and the drawer and door panels are probably veneered plywood, only increases the chances of the stain being uneven. Here's a picture of stained hickory that's a pretty good stain job. You can see that even though the stain itself is quite even, there are lots of variations in the way different pieces take the color.

    I hope you're still able to enjoy your vacation in Mexico but that you're able to resolve this unfortunate issue.

  • Ann

    Thank you @katinparadise

  • Ann

    This is what I thought I was getting - it’s the Shiloh sample of Hickory in the “brown sugar” color.

  • Design Girl

    @Ann - The above picture is SO much darker and the stain is even - Don't worry, have a drink and sit in the sun and relax. Hopefully Tammy will come through for you.

  • Ann

    @Design Girl - I will after I send a note to Tammy letting her know I’m not accepting that vanity!

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