RENOVATION REVEAL: Content Master Bathroom

Taking a look back, and realize I never gave you a full look at the before and after of our Master Bathroom. So, here is the entire run down including all the before and after shots, which I know you all enjoy so much!

And, UPDATE: You can now see this before + after featured on Apartment Therapy!

For basic necessity, the master bathroom was the first space that needed to be tackled FAST in order for us to move into Content. 


Our main priorities in the master bath were to:

  • open the room up

  • bring back some historic, architectural interest

  • and add interest and a modern touch with a bold accent.

First, we removed the existing Jacuzzi tub that was taking up nearly half the floor space.

With a ton more square footage to work with, we created a full walk-in shower:

With such a large space, we decided to construct a wall to separate and enclose the toilet. Not only did this add privacy, but allowed us to add necessary storage as a built-in.

Privacy wall for toilet & added storage

Privacy wall for toilet

To bring back the historic, and architectural detail that this old home deserves, we added an cast iron, claw foot tub that I found on Craigslist and refinished in a matte black. I kept the feet original because I loved the nostalgia the old paint colors invoke. 

John wanted to create interest and detail in the master bath, and did so by joining the double windows with a decorative trim which acts as a picture frame for the claw foot as well.

Then, we chose a deep, dramatic blue paint color for the walls to highlight the freshly painted trim, exposed ceiling beams and original, oak hardwood floors.

Ready for the glamour, after shots? Enjoy!


Now you can get this look through our Shop Our Home page here.


WALL PAINT: Van Deusen by Benjamin Moore

TRIM PAINT: Advanced White by Benjamin Moore

CLAW FOOT TUB: Vintage from Craigslist

VANITY: John's custom design made from walnut. Content Woodworking


SCONES: French, vintage, Ebay

RUG: World Market which is currently unavailable but a similar is here.



WALL SHELF: John's custom design made from walnut. Content Woodworking


CHAIR: Vintage

TOWELS: Crate and Barrel (teal)

Kitchen Renovation (Phase 3)

All right everyone, I know, I know, you're way overdue on a kitchen update. So, go get yourself a drink, sit back and get comfy.

If you remember, when last we chatted about the kitchen in my Phase 2 post, we had just completed all the dry wall. That seriously feels like a lifetime ago, but in reality was only 3 months or so. Since then, a considerable amount of work has been done on the kitchen.

Most notably, the new pine floors, the cabinets, the kitchen island and trim. All respectively works of art and achievement that my wonderful husband should be very proud of!

Let's start with the floors. If you recall, the existing oak hardwood in the kitchen was worse for wear. It was not original to the house, but was also installed around more recent constructed (1980s) cabinets, so when we removed these cabinets, huge gauges and holes remained.

See the gauges and holes in the old flooring?

It really was a shame to pull up that much oak, but we resolved to save the wood for future projects and moved on. Once several more layers of linoleum were removed, John had a fresh surface to work with.

In an effort to match the existing dining room hardwood, John first sourced wide plank, white pine boards and cut them to width.

Then, over the course of a weekend, John and I cut the tongue or groove into each side of the pine boards. It was a tedious, precise process but in the end saved us a lot of money!

All of the completed boards, now with tongue and groove.

Then, the tongue and grooved wood was left to properly acclimate to its new home indoors, and then installed the following weekend. In fact, it was Easter weekend. Holidays don't have that same relaxing quality much these days...

Working together, we glued and nailed each board, creating a similar pattern in board-length to the dining room floor. John couldn't wait to try out his new toy, sorry, tool.

Like a kid on Christmas morning. "I've always wanted a flooring nailer!"

Originally, John was opposed to using glue, hoping to use a more traditional method, but a good contractor friend stressed otherwise and reassured John using glue was the right move. Not only would the glue secure the boards over time, but would also alleviate floor creaking which, as we all know, is notorious in old construction.

High-fives celebrated each successfully installed run, and we pushed on with only one minor snafu. Probably celebrating a little too early (more high fives and a dance break) our pattern accidentally got out of wack causing us to scramble to pull up the glued and nailed board without damaging it. Aside from that 30 minutes of panic, all went extremely well!

After the boards were laid, we started on the decorative flat head, steel nail detail, again mirroring the dining room pattern. John sources these from the Tremont Nail Company who are known for their authentic restoration products.

To install the decorative nails, first I drilled pilot holes using a simple cardboard template. I'll admit, this was nerve wracking. Drilling "not so random" holes into a JUST perfectly laid floor seemed insane.

But once John nailed and set each one by hand, the extra effort was clearly worth while.

Then, John used a tung oil finish diluted in mineral spirits to seal the floor. We long debated trying to match the 100 year old dining room color with a new stain in the kitchen, but in the end, have opted to let the wood age naturally.

Honestly, the tung oil and mineral spirits smell like stinky feet, and has permanently ruined a few articles of clothing, but the smell dissipates a bit everyday and now I burn even more incense.

Long story short, the floor is gorgeous! I love my kitchen floor!
Protective paper is down

Once the floor was in and the oil had several days to cure, we placed a protective cover on the edges and John and our brother-in-law Joe installed the cabinets. Woot woot, thanks Joe!

Thanks for the digital level Dad, it was a life saver!

You remember, right? We purchased all the kitchen cabinets back in November, and I have since been staring at them since, dreaming of this magical day...

All of the cabinets were designed by John and I, and Dawn, our awesome cabinet consultant at Home Depot.

At the time, Home Depot was pushing American Woodmark with extra discounts if you attended information sessions so we signed up, ate complimentary doughnut holes, and got free upgrades.

All in all, the standard cabinets through American Woodmark are good quality, durable, and spot on with production time. We were very happy with the process and purchase, now, I'll just be over here paying them off till 2035 ;)

From there, John was focused on the kitchen island. From the start of designing the kitchen, we envisioned a very large island. Remember the kitchen itself is pretty big, and we wanted the island to fill the space and adequately host lots of family and friends. I don't think we anticipated as many Beer Pong/Flip Cup requests right away, but hey, we love it that everyone is excited to hang around in our kitchen.

The cabinets are IN!

We designed the island to be double sided. One side would be for food prep, with drawers and a microwave cubby below (thanks for the idea Kyle & PJ!). The opposite side would hang over 12" or so, creating a counter height seating area, with large bulk storage below.

John sources these large, rough, locally cut oak slabs from a guy named Dave. I'm not entirely sure how the bromance began, but I'm pretty sure John is looking for any excuse to pay Dave another visit, so let us know....

Once we had all the pieces laid out, we determined which natural features in the boards (curving, cupping, mill patterns, etc) worked best side by side.

The wood was then scrubbed, treated, dried and prepped.

Looking dark brown from being wet, washed and treated.

Choosing the best 4-board arrangement, John cut six of the center edges straight, and left two rough at the outside edges.

This is me "supervising"

He then joined the center edges together with dowels and glue as not to show any finishing (nails) on the surface.

Then, he applied a dark, oil based stain which will repel water, stains and will be easy to clean.

Applying the oil, stain.

This island is a beast! It took 4 guys (thanks for your help Ryan, Shawn & Vin) to move it into place.

Truth be told, its not 100% installed. Overtime the wood will dry and react to heat and humidity. So far, the over hang has started to curl a bit. We have added some temporary bracing to help the wood dry flat.

The island is a work in progress. We absolutely love the rustic look and feel, and because of that, will work with the natural reaction of the wood to see how best to make it happy in Content.

Most recently, the ceiling, floor and chair rail trim had all been installed. Similar to the master bathroom, John recreated trim to match the existing trim in the dining room.

Our friend PJ was back at it, priming, and prepping for paint. Thanks PJ! The old kitchen had faux wood "wainscoting" as a chair rail. Instead of recreating something new, we matched the existing faux paneling, and will paint it white to match the other trim. 

New trim!

I haven't shared any of the decor decisions made for the kitchen, which will follow in a separate post. Also, I haven't picked a wall color, so you're suggestions are ALWAYS welcomed!!

What do you think so far? Let me know by commenting below!

Master Bedroom Renovation (Phase 1)

In an effort to sustain our home renovating energy and enthusiasm, (and not go instantly insane) we have been focusing on projects within Content that will immediately benefit John and I. For instance, completing the master bedroom and en suite bathroom. Like every floor plan we've encountered within this house, thus far, the layout of the master bedroom is challenging.

It's weird though, sometimes I forget just how absurd of a property Content. really is. So often, John and I are busy micro managing projects, making sure we're making forward progress, that the big picture of the house gets lost. It's only when a new visitor or contractor stops by that we're reminded just how different Content. actually is. Our favorite question, "What is this place?"

The real BIG picture!

During a recent visit with our friends Veronica & Shawn, we pointed out that one of the two fireplaces (yes, two in the same room) located on opposing ends of the master bedroom would soon be concealed in the new walk-in closet and only used as an architectural detail. Veronica's reaction was priceless, "Two fireplaces in the same room? Now you're just showing off." Not on purpose of course, but yes, this house has charming quirks and a zillion stories to tell and we're having a blast figuring them all out.

Likely, Content's rooms were once half the size, and each of the bedroom fireplaces were originally in separate rooms. These small rooms are rumored to once have been used by ladies-of-the-night and gentleman callers (more to come on that in later posts). The house is also rumored to have been a horse stable, but either way, I guess a fireplace and a small private room work for both enterprises.

But now, as the newest owners, we are left puzzled and dumbfounded by how to layout the simplest of room elements, like our bed. And because the house was vacant for over 2 years, we can't even copy the prior owners attempts.

Take a look at the original layout of the master bedroom and some of the odd elements we have to quickly address:
  • Two fireplaces
  • Railroad style layout connecting kitchen, master and bathroom
  • One full wall of windows
  • Two exterior (courtyard) access doors
  • Window in closet

Before: Master Bedroom
This is the MLS listing photo of the bedroom before we even owned the house.

See, I'm not exaggerating! The layout is perplexing to say the least, and not in a fun "oh lets stretch our design creativity" kinda way....

Architect, what's that? We just hand draw our plans.
You should see what we submitted to the town for our permits. Ha!

The result of all this master planning (i.e. doodles on a cocktail napkin) was the construction of a mid-room partition that will serve as our headboard and the main wall of our closet. This new addition will nicely position our bed within the room, facing the fireplace. Ohh, how romantical!? 

Before: Master Bedroom
Old closet is out exposing two exterior courtyard doors. The door on the left will be covered up.

Partition wall (view facing bathroom)

Partition wall (view facing kitchen)

As I've said before, we are extremely fortunate to be surrounded by talented tradesman that willingly volunteer their time and energy to help us with Content. And in the case of the master bedroom and bathroom, John's father Dave was our saving grace.

Dave traveled from John's home town in Bristol, Connecticut for the weekend to help run all the rough electrical and install recess lighting. Thanks Dave, we couldn't have done it without you!

John, and his father Dave.

That's Phase 1 of the Master. More to come soon!