Last week in Maui was amazing. Before I left I planned to meet Alex, our countertop guy on the morning of our first day back. He needed to measure and make templates of the area. He’s going to start with the shower pieces first then bring the counters for the sinks and bath. I’ve been working with Alex for about 5 years and he never disappoints. I gave him 3 months notice to start sourcing quartz countertops with a marble look. We went that route in the kitchen and I’d love it for our bathroom. When he showed up he had a couple of samples, ironically I didn’t chose the same counter as the kitchen but I did choose something similar. And I have to say it’s gorgeous. It’s Vadara in Amara.

It’s even more beautiful in person

The great thing with Alex is he always uses remnants for me. I never pay what I would pay if I were buying from a dealer. That’s why I give him plenty of time. He knows what I like and he starts calling his network and gets enough pieces to make everything I need. The tub piece alone was almost an entire slab. The wonderful thing about quartz is it’s made the same every time so it’s rare to have slabs that don’t match. The veining may be unique by the colors are consistent. So, using remnants isn’t an issue with quartz. If I were using a natural stone I would buy complete slabs.

Last week we weren’t able to get the tub set. We only demoed the old tub and put the new tub where we thought it would go. This gave Alex an idea of what he needed to source – he planned to do his tub template when he brought the shower pieces. This week Mike moved the tub drain, installed the new one and set the bath tub. The bath tub had to be set in a mortar bed. It’s made by Kohler. We bought it through Amazon and if you click that link and buy something we make a small commission. I bought most of the products through Wayfair (because I have a trade account) or Amazon (because Prime). Mike also finished plumbing the bath tub faucet. It’s made by Kingston Brass – which is local to me in Chino, CA.

This week I built the linen cabinet frame and Mike helped me carry it in to the house. We have 9′ ceilings. I wanted the cabinet to go floor to ceiling so I built the bottom drawer as it’s own box and the taller part as another box. This allowed us to bring the cabinet in and set it in to place without worrying about ceiling clearances. It also allowed me to use 4×8 sheets of plywood for the frame. The bottom box is slightly raised off the ground on small feet so that the wood isn’t in direct contact with the slab. This helps avoid any moisture from rotting my cabinet over time. I’ll finish it in place after the trim is attached with Rubio Monocoat in Cotton white. This is a new finish for me but I’m excited to try it. It’s a two part system, oil based with an activator. Once you mix the two together it has a 5 hour open time. Once it cures it is sealed. It only requires one coat, in fact a second coat won’t even adhere. This helps avoid any lap marks. The oil and activator works with the wood fibers and tannins causing a reaction that creates the finish. No other finish or sealer is needed. One coat. Done.

Linen cabinet I built and put in place
Mike used a little body weight to help set the tub in the mortar bed.

Then we had to move the short wall (it’s called a pony wall in case you’re curious) in front of the bath tub. We moved it from flush with the front of the side wall opening to flush with the back of the opening. I’m going to be completely honest here: Mike was not happy to move the wall but he loves me, so he did it, but he made it very clear he was not happy about moving it back 6″. If it were up to Mike we wouldn’t have touched that wall. Here’s the reason it had to move back: ergonomics. A lot of my designs are based on ergonomics and how something will be used. The faucet was swapped from the left corner to centered on the back wall. In order to reach the faucet we would have either needed to build a step in front of the bathtub so you could lean over the tub or you’d need to put one leg in to turn it on. I don’t like how steps into a bath tub look. So the wall had to move because I wasn’t climbing in to the bath in order to turn it on. Now, Mike didn’t want to move it because the floor-plate was continuous. Meaning, the 2×6 that connected all of the studs in that pony wall was the same, continuous, 2×6 for the adjacent walls. He did not enjoy cutting it flush, cutting the red heads, moving the wall and attaching it to a new place. But like I said, he loves me, so he did it. Home remodeling is like that, living in a construction zone gets old really quickly and sometimes you’re willing to make sacrifices just to wrap stuff up quickly. However, you can be inconvenienced for a short time or be annoyed by something forever. Your choice. Never sacrifice on ergonomics. Ever. I never choose to be inconvenienced by a forever type choice. I always choose the shorter inconvenience. I’ll get off my soap box.

Didn’t even need to build a new wall, just moved it back 🙂 So much better.
Mike finished installing the shower and steam heads and we took out first showers sans bench tops, shelf top and glass
This is looking through the side light we framed in to the shower

Our shower bars/heads are Kohler Awaken, we chose the 48″ long brushed nickel finish. The shower elbows that attach to the shower wands to the water supply come with a standard length brass pipe that is proprietary to Kohler. If you need a different length it will need to be special ordered from them. We bought these early and made sure to set the plumbing in the framing at the right depth to fit the standard length they provided. Just a tip if you’re planning something similar. If we had set them where they would be normally we would have had to special order another piece from Kohler because the elbow would have stuck out off of the wall. The rain heads are from Amazon made by Modona. They are 10″ rain heads and are attached via a 12″ straight shower arm.

Jack and Kate working on their techniqu

We also got my vanity in place and ready for counters. I primed all of the cabinet door/drawer fronts with my new favorite primer: Zinser BIN Shellac primer. I apply it with a microfiber weenie roller. I don’t use foam rollers. Ever. Lately I’ve been using these microfiber rollers and I kinda love them. I’ll spray the paint but I read that shellac primer will chew up your sprayer so I chose to roll it on. It sands soooo easily. Sticks soooo good.

Towards the end of the week Jack, Kate and I went to Ganahl Lumber and bought the shiplap paint – Simply White by Benjamin Moore. There is tons of natural light in this space and it’s my favorite white paint for areas with plenty of natural light. It’s just the right mix of modern and traditional and if I could give it a label I’d call it my transitional crisp white. I’ve talked about it before when I painted our kitchen cabinets in our old house. We also bought the oak I needed to trim the linen cabinet and build the drawer/door fronts.

Caulked on the left boards and none on the far right

I also finished as much of the shiplap as I could, filled and caulked the boards then painted them. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my tutorial on how to correctly caulk shiplap and a trick to make it quick, easy and perfect. If you missed it, I saved it in my highlights, check it out 🙂 That was enough work for the week. We’re hoping to get some shower pieces in soon so we can get the final measurements and install of the shower glass and really begin wrapping this project up.

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  1. Love how your shower looks. That is the exact shower head I was looking at for our remodel. I’ll have to order it from your link.

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