Monthly Archives: October 2011

Bathroom Inspiration from Four Seasons Hotel in Denver, CO

modern bathroom with cubby next to sinkI had the pleasure staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in Denver on a recent business trip. Their staff provided the best customer service I’ve experienced in a long time. They were friendly, helpful and called me by name whenever they had a chance. Upon check-in, they upgraded me to a corner room (was it me or my Klout?), with a fabulous bathroom set up.

I put my husband on alert and sent him cell phone shot after cell phone shot of the room. Then I got smart and used my Motorola Xoom, which I have through the Midwest Moms program with Verizon Wireless.

I was excited to know that some of the bathroom’s luxe features were going to be in my new en suite bathroom.

Modern faucet and handles? Check!

Recessed cubby to the side of the sink to house a mirror and a few key toiletries or perfume? Check! (Though this was not in the original plan, but rather a request I made after my return home.)

Heated tile floor? Check!

control unit for heated floor

And below are a few modern conveniences which, alas, neither budget nor space allow for.

A vanity with an embedded TV! Expect to see more of these in the coming years. Watching Sanford and Son isn’t exactly a great way to enhance a relaxing bath, but it could be mighty handy to receive traffic and weather updates as you are prepping for work each morning.

TV in your bathroom mirror

Okay, not the most conducive image for a relatxing soak.

And last, but not least, a huge soaking tub, with a view!

soaking tub at the 4 Seasons Hotel in Denver, CO

We’ve chosen the fixtures, the vanity, the toilet, the lights and the tile. In theory, we chose the paint color a while back, but we’ll have to take another look once the walls are in place. The plumbing has been roughed in and now it’s just a matter of everything passing inspection. (Fingers crossed.)

Have you found decorating inspiration in an unexpected place?

Disclosure: I received the Xoom and six months of data plan services through my participation in the Midwest Moms program. I love my Xoom, especially because I’m still not using a smart phone (though I received a Droid Bionic to test out with this program as well). Though the Xoom does not replace a laptop, IMO, it has become my computer of choice for short trips out of town.

Bathroom Design Tips

I showed you the basic framing of our master bathroom earlier this week. Today, I’m going to share a few tips for designing the bathroom of your (our) dreams. I mentioned that we met with senior designer, William Collins at the Kohler Store in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. Talk about inspiration! There’s plenty to be had in the store and at the Mart’s Luxe Home.



We incorporated many of William’s tips (they didn’t all make it into the video) and appreciated his aesthetic advice. We’re a week or three away from having the fixtures installed, but I’m excited to show you when it’s ready. Heck, I’m excited to see it myself. We’re still in the process of purchasing tile, lighting and other elements that will make this a fab room.

Disclosure: We purchased several Kohler fixtures and a dual-flush toilet at a discount, but note that if you are working with a contractor or designer, you should (almost) never pay list price for items you buy at a specialty retailer. Your pro should be passing along a bit of his discount to you. Kohler’s design services are available to the public.

It will be months before the house is finished. If you’d like to follow along on our journey, “Like” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook, subscribe to this blog or Progress Notes, our monthly newsletter that serves up links to our most popular posts as well as a chance to enter product giveaways. Click to subscribe.

The Master Bathroom is Framed

soon to be our master bath

The part on the left with the sink will be a laundry room.

A large proportion of our renovation budget (time, energy and dollars) has been devoted to the kitchen and the master bath. They’re both rooms we’ll spend a lot of time in, right? Our en suite bath was heavily influenced by our Housemoon to Kohler, Wisconsin, home to Kohler. I not only learned about bathroom trends, I got to experience luxurious showers in our hotel room and the spa.

DH wanted to replicate that experience back home.

I must admit I got a few more luxe bath ideas on a recent business trip to Denver that included a stay at the Four Seasons Hotel. (I hope to do a post on that soon; it was amazing and I have pictures to prove it.)

But really, most of the credit for what I think will be a fabulous master bathroom (our first!) goes to William Collins, Senior Design at the Kohler store in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. You can go to a Big Box store and get design assistance, but William provided Design assistance. He got us thinking about the room’s look and feel, he challenged us to be bold, to pretend like we’re sophisticated adults.

And he once so eloquently described my design philosophy as “evolving,” as opposed to the way I describe myself, which is clueless.

You’ll get to see William sharing a few tips on video soon enough.

Today is about the infrastructure, with just a hint of vision. You can see the bathroom in its original state above.

The second floor of our house was built as a mother-in-law’s apartment and this room used to be her kitchen. The dark square on the floor was where her refrigerator sat up until the time we closed on the house. (Alas, I believe the mother-in-law passed prior to 1970.)

before the demolition

We thought maybe we could turn the existing closet into a water closet.

DH in bathroom

Our vanity will be placed in this spot.

But as DH demonstrated on inspection day, it’s a bit too narrow.

So we came up with a new plan, taking into consideration a large window and a door that leads to an outside 2nd story deck. Moving doors and windows is a pricey and potentially messy operation, so they’re staying.

Two weeks ago, the room was down to the studs.

master bathroom gutted during renovation

Same room, but without walls or a floor.

Last week, it was framed out and this week the waste water pipes were placed. The wall between the laundry room and the bathroom will jog a bit to accommodate the washer and dryer on one side and the bathroom window on the other. This means that we have something of a commode nook that is also a throne room with a view.

The window on the far right that you see through the framed wall is the one with the sink in front of it in the first picture above, which will be in the laundry room.

The Throne Room. The bit of framed out wall on the left backs up to the shower.

It seems like there is a mile of PVC waste water piping. I sure hope it all passes inspection!

The plumbers brought in the copper pipe yesterday, so we’re making progress.

In my next post about this bathroom I’ll share more of our design vision.

It will be months before the house is finished. If you’d like to follow along on our journey, “Like” Reluctant Renovator on Facebook, subscribe to this blog or Progress Notes, our monthly newsletter that serves up links to our most popular posts as well as a chance to enter product giveaways. Click to subscribe.

Mirror Me

a wordle for reluctant renovatorDo you ever use Google to track down your old posts? With years of blogging on a dozen or so sites under my belt, sometimes Google is like a little flash drive that enhances my memory. I recently tried to locate one of my dusty old posts and noticed a site “” amongst the results. I wasn’t sure if I’d find my doppleganger or someone scraping my content or what. Instead, I found this cool Wordle-type topic cloud image that you see above. takes a person’s Twitter stream to show what that person cares (or at least Tweets) about. Not only is it artsy, but on the Mirror Me site, it also links to others who express the same sentiments, so you can meet like minded Tweeps.

I was pretty impressed with @RenovatorKim‘s results, but I could have signed into the site to tweak my results had not been pleased.

I tried it with my older, less renovation-oriented Twitter account.

Mirror Me for Kim Moldofsky

I’d been thinking about creating something like this for my “About” page, but I might have just stumbled upon some new art for my office wall as well.

Cool? Creepy? What do you think?

Sunday Shout-out: The Perpetual Renovator

Have you met my friend Amy? She’s been renovating her Brooklyn brownstone since the beginning of time. Or so it seems.

Lately she’s been working on her bathroom…naked?! I know from the photos that she donned a head covering and safety glasses, if nothing else. But let’s hope there was something else.

At least she lived to tell about it. Twice.

If you’ve completed any home repairs recently, drop me a note so that you can get featured on a Sunday shout-out.

Home Improvement, Self Improvement

While I’m working on our house, I figured it’s also a good time to work on myself and since the reno budget doesn’t have a “liposuction” line item, I’m trying to exercise at least 3-4 times a week and I joined Weight Watchers. It turns out one of my builders is on it, too. I signed on for a 20-week session with a local group. If nothing else, this will keep some of my stress eating and my holiday eating in check. In theory, the Plan A reno will be over before my session is

Earlier this year  WW came out with a new point system that’s much friendlier to short people (me) who only have a little bit of weight to lose (also me). I once flirted with the old system after seeing a colleague do well on it, but she was at least 10 inches taller than me and was trying to drop 80 or so pounds. She had a decent amount of points each day, but when we calculated my allowance, it seemed I would only be able to enjoy bread, water and air.

I have some research to do to acclimate to the Points Plus system and integrate it into my thinking and my diet. But I know this, vegetables and fruits are free. So when I wanted a snack yesterday and didn’t care to write it in my little food journal, I figured I’d snack on cauliflower. Without dip. Because surely the dip wouldn’t be free and then I’d have to do those point calculations.

So I nibbled on a few florettes (I’m a big veggie fan. Also a big cookie and chocolate fan, which is my downfall). That got boring quickly. Then I steamed the head of cauliflower and nibbled on a few more. Then I grabbed a chunk of a giant cookie my son and I baked the day before.

This might not bode well for my success* with the program.

Here are a few foodie finds from a recent garage sale shopping haul:


*The program allows for bonus points each week that can be used for little snacks like the bit of cookie. I lost more than 2 pounds my first week.

Disclosure: I have no official relationship with Weight Watchers beyond the fat (ha!) check I wrote them for the 20 week session.

Are you on Weight Watchers or some fitness plan? Any tips? My goal is to lose a total of 10-12 pounds.