But, Where Do You Keep All of Your Things?

Bathroom storage is a biggie. In all of the infomercials of people in dramatic black and white reenactments spilling their toiletries all over the bathroom floor or in House Hunters when a couple is tripping over each other trying to both get ready in the morning, they all exasperatedly exclaim how they need more storage in their bathroom. We've all been there, amiright?

I try my hardest to live minimally and own as few makeup products as possible, but we all have stuff to store. Without a vanity to hide all of our things in, we carved out a nice spot in the corner of the room to store all of our goodies.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage

To revisit, here's the layout we played with during the design stage (the finished dimensions changed a bit).

Bathroom plan view

See that chunk of space at the end of the tub in the upper right corner? That pocket is the answer to all of our storage woes. The 6.5" deep space became what I call "wet storage" and is accessed from the shower/tub. The 12" wide section is our "dry storage" that opens into the main part of the bathroom. The goal was to create as much hidden storage as possible so things didn't sit on the sink or the edge of the tub. Also, I'm one of those people that decants my shampoo into an unbranded bottle aiming to see as few product labels as possible - sorry toiletry brand graphic designers.

With these terrible photos, you can see how the whole thing came together.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage Progress

Before the storage unit construction began, the window was sized, the subfloor was rebuilt and prepped for tile, electrical was put in, rough plumbing was installed, walls got cement board, and the floor was tiled.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage Progress

When we were interviewing contractors for this project, 85% of them said that adding this storage unit was a bad idea. They said that the weight of the tile would pull on the cabinet and the only way to prevent it was to make the unit super strong by building a wall between the tub and the shelves, which would only leave 5” of usable storage space. I refused to accept that, and the contractor we ultimately hired agreed that my cabinet dreams could indeed come true.

Well, the bathroom remodel wrapped up two years ago and the storage unit is in perfect condition! 

Kim and Scott of Yellow Brick Home did a similar cabinet at the foot of their tub awhile after we installed ours. They used the wall and pre-made cabinet method - but did so much better a job than any of those doubtful contractors could have done. Either route works!

The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage Progress

A big part of what made this cabinet strong is we opted to permanently install the shelves, rather than adjustable boards that we can move up and down along pegs. The permanently affixed shelves hold the whole piece together from top to bottom. I don't have the luxury of resizing the cubbies, but that's perfectly fine for our needs.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage Progress

We also took the cabinet all the way to the ceiling. Which is storage heaven, and gives it extra rigidity being tied into the floor, ceiling, and wall.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage Progress
The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage Progress

The wet storage earned marble shelves to create three cubbies to rest shampoo bottles. The marble sits on top of the row of tile and gets wedged in on all three sides by the second row atop the slab.

Here she is - two years later and still going strong.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage
The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage

The original plan was for the shower niches to be 6.5" deep, but I found a remnant slab at a local stone yard that was 8" deep, so why not! Each shelf varies in height from 8" to 14" tall to allow for different sized bottles. The whole recessed niche is 19" above the edge of the tub so its low enough that the bottom shelf can be reached while soaking in the tub, yet not so low that we're bending down to grab things while showering.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage

I talked about the tile in this post, but I just have to point out this detail at the bottom of the cabinet with the base tile wrapping underneath the door. Love.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage
The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage

The bottom shelf is 23" tall to allow for the toilet brush, plunger, and cleaning supplies. The rest of the shelves are 13" tall. It's the perfect size for these baskets and this modular acrylic storage. With 17" of depth, I can fit 24 rolls of toilet paper easily within reach. Any deeper and it would be hard to reach anything in the back of the shelves.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage

The concealed storage and the tucked away shower niches give all of our toiletries some privacy. Yet, whenever guests ask "Where are all of your things?!" I proudly open up the cabinet and pull back the shower curtain to reveal the shampoo bottles. Which kinda defeats the purpose of designing a hidden niche and a concealed cabinet. oops!

The Gold Hive Bathroom Storage

You can read about all the rest of the bathroom elements by clicking the button below. Then, subscribe so you can follow along when we add another bathroom to the house in 2019!

Putting a Custom Wood Window in the Bathroom

It's been awhile since I talked about the bathroom remodel. Sorry 'bout that!

The Gold Hive - Installing a Wood Window in a Bathroom

After gutting the whole room, rebuilding the walls and window was next on the list. The previous window was a little aluminum sliding thing with opaque textured glass. It wasn't great at letting in light or providing ventilation.

The Gold Hive - Before Window

Since the walls were opened up, we had the opportunity to make the new window frame as big as possible. During the initial design phase, I was digging gigantic windows that took up nearly the whole wall above the tub - like this, this or this. I was genuinely considering making the window fill a major part of the wall and trying to come up with creative ways to provide privacy, but we ultimately downsized. I'm so glad we did. The final dimensions are 45"x26" and it lets in so so much light - without sharing too much with our neighbors. For reference, the room is 9 feet tall.

The Gold Hive - Installing a Wood Window in a Bathroom

Now, most everyone would say that wood windows don't belong in showers. Water plus wood equals rot and termites and mushy windows. However, I don't care too much for aluminum or vinyl windows in old houses. Plus, I wanted a window that hinged (more on that in a bit) which isn't a common off the shelf vinyl window option. So, we went with a custom wood window. To make sure it was water resistant, we took some precautionary measures.
1. The window is surrounded by tile that's installed on top of a waterproof membrane on top of cement board.
2. The wood itself is coated in marine-grade primer.
3. The window is situated at a height that doesn't get hit with water from the shower head.
4. When water does get on it, the marble sill tilts down so water doesn't pool next to the wood.
5. It's a window, and we open it. It gets all sots of breezy ventilation.

The Gold Hive - Installing a Wood Window in a Bathroom

Was that a convincing argument? Will you still follow my blog even though I put a wood window in a shower? Please do!

Once I ruled out the plan to have a gigantic window, the idea of having any kind of mullions or details in the glass was also nixed. One big piece of glass was the only way to go. Thus, the window had to open with a hinge, (since you need multiple pieces of glass to have any kind of sliding mechanism). Enter, transom hinges. I got these beefy brass transom hinges in 24" and they work like a dream. While they are pretty, they also hide behind the frame when the window is open, so there isn't a bunch of hardware to get in the way of the view.

The Gold Hive - transom window hinge

I love that the window opens like an ol' fashion hinged transom, plus with the opening at the top, the steam floats out of the room swiftly.

If you're reading this post in an RSS reader, this spiffy animation of the window opening may not show up - click through to the main post.

Those hinges get a ton of range and tilt the frame 90 degrees. On a daily basis, we only open the window a few inches to release the shower steam. Yet it's super convenient to open it all the way to clean both the interior and exterior glass. My preferred cleaning method is a squeegee - i'll never clean windows with towels again.

Note that we used tempered glass in this window. It's what building code calls for, and it's the safe thing to do. If it shatters, small pieces of glass would fall into the tub rather than big shards. Be safe, folks.

The Gold Hive - transom latch

That cute lil' latch at the top of the window? It's this gal. On my to-do list is to get flathead screws to look more authentic to an old house. Maybe one day.

The window frame was custom made by our trusty contractor. After the cost of his labor, the materials, and the hardware, the window cost the same, if not less, than a vinyl one from a big box store.

The Gold Hive - Bathroom window view

Have I mentioned we live under the flight path? I get to enjoy views of landing planes while I bathe.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Window

The exterior wall got an update, too, with new the siding to surround the resized window. Previously, a piece of plywood was used to surroung the aluminum window. Nice, eh?

The Gold Hive - Bathroom window view

The view looks into the side of our neighbor's house, but it kind of resembles a painting, no?

I jumped way ahead in the bathroom renovation to show you "after" photos, but you can see all of the renovation process with the button below. Then you can subscribe to follow along the journey when we add another bathroom in 2019.

Taking The Bathroom Down To The Studs

I've been distracted with working on week 1 and week 2 of the One Room Challenge (this week's update coming Thursday!) so I've left you hanging since first introducing you to the bathroom remodel. Sorry! But, we're back and headed into demo.

As a refresher, here's what the bathroom looked like.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Before
The Gold Hive Bathroom Before

Since most everything was leaking, rusting, failing, sinking, or otherwise not super pretty, nearly all had to go. But as an old home lover, original features don't get ripped out that easily. Only a few elements had been there for a century. The original medicine cabinet would need patching and cleaning, but it could get freshened up to be a real stunner. The hardwoods were original but were rotten beyond repair rotten and couldn't be salvaged. The bathroom door and trim were original and would definitely stay. So, those keepers would get saved, but  the rest of the bathroom would go.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Before
The Gold Hive Bathroom Before
The Gold Hive Bathroom Before
The Gold Hive Bathroom Before

That tubular thing in the crawlspace is our HVAC, but it reminds me of the dragon in The NeverEnding Story.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Remodel

Isn't a wall of exposed lath so pretty? It's like my very own Agnes Martin installation.

It isn't uncommon during remodels to demo only select parts of the room. You don't always need to pull all the drywall down and demo into the attic and crawlspace like we did. Yet, demo only happens once, so it's the only chance to expose everything and repair anything. With evidence of bigger problems, and knowing the plumbing has been there for a century, we didn't hesitate to take everything out to start from scratch.

A contractor that I interviewed to do the project proposed putting the new floor tile directly on top of the existing hardwood. Let me count the ways that it was not a good option. 1. Adding tile on top of existing flooring would leave a perfect place to stub my toe walking into the bathroom with the floor an inch higher than the hallway. 2. The hardwoods and the subfloor were visibly rotting, so adding a new floor atop certainly wouldn't resolve that issue. 3. The plumbing would have never been revealed to see how corroded it was.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Before
The Gold Hive Bathroom Before


Thank goodness we didn't heed the advice of that contractor because those 100-year-old pipes were at the end of their life. We also found that the vent pipe had a big crack down the back of it.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Before

Also, inside of the exterior wall, we found a beehive. A hive! 

The Gold Hive Bathroom Find

I suspect that the bees found a hole in the exterior wall and started to build their home, only to get locked out when someone noticed the buzzing and sealed their entrance. I saved the honeycomb but have yet to find a use for it. Any ideas?

Even though we spent a bit more time gutting the whole room, we've gained so much peace of mind having fresh materials. I realize most renovators know that the advice to layer new material on top of failing material isn't the smartest move, but if you ever had any doubt, let this be a lesson. You just might find a beehive!

For more bathroom progress, click the link below, and then subscribe for more - I’ll be adding a new bathroom in 2019!

Bathroom Plans

Last week I shared some of the inspiration for our bathroom. The collection of images made a few must-have elements pretty clear: subway tile with dark grout, moody walls, hex tiles, marble, and period-appropriate finishes.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Mood Board

SOURCES: paint / medicine cabinet (ours is original) / faucet / hex tile / sconce (ours is vintage) / cabinet latch / pendant (ours is vintage) / register (ours is vintage) / subway tile / grout / console sink

We had a pretty good idea of the plans for the bathroom, but small tweaks were made over the course of the renovation. The below designs were drafted early on, so don't take these measurements as an exact blueprint of the finished product. Rather, a starting point for where we were headed.

The Gold Hive Bathroom Plan View

The layout of the existing bathroom had no reason to be changed. I like having the toilet tucked in the corner, the sink has ample room around it, and the tub configuration allows for storage at the foot of it. Many bathrooms like this are only 60" wide which gives the tub just enough room to fit wall to wall. Since we had another foot of space, we could have gotten a longer tub to stretch the length of the room, but we opted to make two spots for storage, seen in the upper right corner of the above image. The little square that measures 6.5" deep is accessible from the shower. A perfect place to nestle bottles of shampoo without having them on display.

The Gold Hive Bathroom South View

The 13" space on the right is a cabinet for toiletries, refill bath products, cleaning supplies, and more. I think it's my favorite feature in the whole bathroom.

The window shown here is a sizable improvement from the existing one, but we ended up going even bigger!

The Gold Hive Bathroom East View

Because the sink is floating in between the toilet and the tub, I didn't want a traditional vanity. I think vanities are really pretty when they look like built-in cabinetry as an extension of a wall. But on their own, vanities can look like boxes floating in the middle of a room. Thus, we opted for a console sink that visually opens the space. Sure, we gave up storage, but I'm a-okay with that. Neither Ross nor I own a lot of products for primping, so the storage at the end of the tub is perfectly adequate for us.

Other than a few tweaks, those are the plans for the bathroom! If you want to jump two years into the future, you can see the finished bathroom here and here and here.

For more bathroom progress, click the link below then subscribe so you don’t miss out when I add a bathroom in 2019!