Category Archives: Before/After

Our Most Revealing Bathroom Post Yet: The Shower Video

I showed you bits of the master bathroom and took you on a photo tour of our fabulous shower, but you demanded more. And today, I’m bringing it.


Disclosure: Kohler provided their products at a discount. Our plumber did not.

Flush with Excitement about our Master Bathroom

dual-flush toilet by KohlerYou’ve seen the shower in photos and soon enough you’ll see it in action. With me inside. Remember when I said of the translucent light shining through the bathroom door, “that is one light that you’d want to go into?” Well here’s a peek behind it.

I mentioned that the lighting in the master bathroom is tricky, so I’m starting with the easiest spot, the commode enclave, resting spot of our Kohler Persuade Dual-Flush Compact Elongated Bowl Toilet with its Brevia seat.

The Persuade is a sleek toilet that fits with our bathroom’s modern vibe. Not only does it look nice, it cleans up well. The smooth surface means fewer nooks and crannies to clean out (moms of boys, you know what I’m talking about).

It’s cool inside and out. Take a peek:

Dual-flush means it’s got a low water flush and a super low water flush (1.6 and 0.8 gallons respectively). Unlike other dual-flush toilets I’ve experienced where you have to flush twice or always use the big flush, the Persuade does a good job with the 0.8 gallon flush, even if you think the situation might require the 1.6 gallon flush, if you know what I mean.

Depress the small button for the smaller flush and so on.

Kohler persuade toilet flus buttons

The Kohler Persuade has earned the EPA’s certification as a “WaterSense” product. The EPA has a cool tool to calculate how much money and water you can save by going green in your bathroom.

Speaking of green, which rhymes with clean, perhaps it’s because of the low amount of water that sits in the bowl, but the Persuade is very easy to get clean and keep clean. This is super handy because apparently I’m the only person in the whole damn house who knows A) what a toilet brush is and B) how to use it.

The one down side of the toilet is that if it gets clogged, it might require a plumber as opposed to an old skool plunger to clear the pipes. I’ll share how I learned that little lesson in a future post.
Disclosure: Kohler provided a product discount. All toilet cleaning services are provided by my husband and me. Per our color coordinator’s recommendation, Benjamin Moore provided Smoked Oyster  Aura Bath and Spa paint for our bathroom; more about that later.

You Want a Sneak Peek at My Kitchen?

Of course you want to see my new kitchen! Check it out in my monthly post on Angie’s List: Planning a new kitchen, Chicago style. It’s full of resources, tips, a bit of my anxiety and it’s even got a fancy before/after slideshow.

What are you waiting for? Click, already!


Master Bath: The Spamazing Shower

tile bench in showerBlame it on Kohler. The course of my husband’s life was altered after our stay at the Inn on Woodlake during our Kohler housemoon getaway. He was so taken by what he terms the Inn’s “car wash” shower with jets here, nozzles there and water tiles all over, that when it came time to design the shower in our master bath, he insisted we replicate the set-up.

And so we did. William Collins, the senior designer at The Kohler Store, Chicago, helped us create a shower so fantastic, so spine-tingly wonderful that I refer to my routine showering experience spa-mazing.

After discussing our preferred master bathroom look and feel, William pointed us toward fixtures that would create the desired mood as well as provide a fabulous showering experience. And, voila!

I smile and a wave of relaxation washes over me each time I walk into my bathroom.


Starting in the rear (no, that is not supposed to be some weird shower pun), we have a bench, perfect for elegantly resting one’s leg during shaving. A built-in cubby holds soap, shampoo and the like. The hand shower, like all of the other fixtures is part of  Kohler’s sleek, modern Loure line.

With all the fancy water tiles, I didn’t think we’d need a handshower, but William recommended we include one. From a practical standpoint, a handshower makes it soooo much easier to clean the shower stall, something our maid surely appreciates.

(I am the maid and I do appreciate it.)

A handshower along with a bench will also make it easier to maintain personal hygiene next time my back goes out or my arthritis flares or one of my boys breaks an arm. No, scratch that last item. This shower is too nice for my boys.

The handshower is like the cherry on top (or side) of the delicious sundae that is our shower. The slide bar allows us to aim the spray just where we need it. Considering that Hubs is nearly a foot taller than I am, we need it in different places.

Back to that car wash shower. Here’s what I’m talkin’ about. This is the shower ceiling. We have two Kohler WaterTiles up top. The 22-nozzle tile pivots enabling the water to be directed with the touch of a finger so that the water hits just the right spot(s). The light was a last minute addition, which I’m glad we decided to include.


Kohler watertiles on shower ceiling


And then, the pièce de résistance, our own little water wall of fame.


Admittedly, for the unwashed masses (i.e. not Hubs or me), it might be hard to understand what’s going on, so let me break it down.

Have I mentioned that my husband is a technical writer? And I’m just a mess, so I’m not sure that second picture clears things up.

Let me break it down a bit more. The thing that says, “regulates water temperature” is the thermostatic valve, it sets the water temperature for all the fixtures. Although we can change it as needed, we generally leave it in one place.

The handle on the bottom right operates the two body tiles. The two tiles operate as an all or nothing deal. The intensity of the spray depends upon the position of the handle, pictured here in the “off” state. Like the ceiling tiles, these have 22 nozzles and each tile pivots to direct the spray.

The next handle up on the right operates the shower head. William suggested that our shower would be both luxurious and practical without the shower head. I nervously agreed until our plumber told me at the last possible minute that we’d regret not having one. I caved to the plumber, fearing we’d be disappointed with our big, fancy and not inexpensive shower. (I received a discount from Kohler, but the more shower heads, the more/pricier the plumbing work, hey….)

At any rate, I love the shower and hate the plumber. William was right, at least from my perspective. I typically use the two lower wall tiles for my shower, adding in other fixtures as time and stress level dictate.

The control for the ceiling tiles is at the top right.

The shower is finished off with a custom glass enclosure provided by Tim’s, our GC’s subcontractors. Tim’s also provided the glass shelves in the shower and our large vanity mirror. I haven’t figured out how to snap a decent photo of the glass + mirror + chrome + light, but I will post when I do.

The Loure faucet is really sharp. Photography skills withstanding, I can’t wait to show it off.

I’ll be back soon with more snippets of our new home soon.


Disclosure: Kohler provided a discount, great design advice and excellent customer service to us.

Even the Kitchen Sink

Silgranit by BlancoEven the kitchen sink was something of an ordeal when it came to bringing our reno plans to life. Thanks to your feedback, we knew to avoid a corner sink, but we were still puzzled about what material our sink should be made of.

We ruled out stainless steel as too industrial.

Solid surface was out because it doesn’t wear well over time

Cast iron enamel looks lovely at first, but tends to chip and scratch. With my fondness for cast iron pans and metal baking sheets, I knew this wouldn’t be a good long-term fit.

What was left? Silgranit.

Silgranit is a lightweight, durable granite composite that promises to stand up to what my family and I could dish out. Not that we routinely let crusty dinner dishes pile up in the sink, but, well, sometimes it happens.

Silgranit was suggested to us by our appliance saleswoman; that was the first I’d heard of it. As I was searching online for more information on this wonder-sink, I crossed paths with a PR peep who works with the brand and she arranged for me to receive a Blanco SilgranitII sink and a Blanco faucet.

Not only is Silgranit tough, it’s pretty, too. It comes in a wide choice of styles and colors. We (yes, DH had an opinion about this) selected a Blanco Diamond 1 3/4 bowl undermount sink in biscotti, which goes perfectly with our counter tops and our wall paint.

We got off to a rocky start with our sink because, durable as they are, they can get cracked during the shipping process. We did not notice any cracks in our sink upon arrival or before it was installed, but one appeared after the counter top guys installed it. Maybe they screwed it in a bit too tight or something? After a near-heart attack, near tears, foot stomping and a finger pointing drama our guy provided a replacement sink of the exact color and style we ordered and installed it that very same day. (If a Silgranit II sink is damaged during shipping, Blanco will replace it.)

Since then the sink has been in for good. And it’s been great. Nearly two months into living here, it still looks like new.

(When it’s not full of dishes.)

So far, Silgranit is living up to its scratch-resistant and easy-to-clean promises. Hooray!

We also received a Blanco faucet. One of the challenges here is that we selected our model from online photos, which made me nervous. I like to see and touch products before bringing them into my home, but even the high-end kitchen shops in my area had limited displays of Blanco faucets. We went with our gut and selected the Rados with pull down spray because it had the functionality we wanted, namely a pull down vs. pull out spray.

We’re happy with our selection. The faucet’s brass body (with satin nickle finish) gives the unit a substantial feel. It feels more solid than the plastic chrome-plated faucet from the Big Box store that we had in our previous house.

See those rubbery bumps on the back of the pull down unit?


Blanco faucet

The small one unleashes a steady stream of water that can be adjusted for temperature and water pressure.


Blanco faucet


And the larger one releases the spray. The spray makes it easy to wash dishes and the sink. It also leaves me fantasizing about playing “beauty shop” in my kitchen.


Blanco faucet

Washing dishes by hand* is never fun, but I’m so glad to be in my own fabulous kitchen, that it’s almost a pleasure to do them.


*We do have a dishwasher, but it always seems like there are a handful of items that demand a hand job.

Revealing More in the Master Bedroom

Here’s the rest of the “master suite.” For the first video I had to move all my piles off to one side so they did not detract from the room’s natural beauty. Once that was over, I had to shift them to the other side of the room, so I could make this video.


(Sort of.)

Anyway, here’s yet another sneak peek into my bedroom.


Closet systems are wonderful! We had several in our previous house. They make the closet space so much more efficient; I highly recommend then. Our closet system was designed and installed by Roger from Fix My Closets. (No relationship to disclose; just a nice small biz worthy of a shout-out.)