This blog will the first of a huge series on this project that we did. There are countless things to share about it. The sheer number of issues we faced, the things I learned about myself as a person and as a business owner and the amazing friendship I gained along the way. Let me introduce you to the project and the family a little more.

Meet the client & the project:

This couple responded to an ad we put up last summer where we were looking to expand what we do and were looking to work with some clients to fulfill our “bucket list” of dream projects. We scheduled a call and within about 90 seconds, I knew I wanted to be friends with this woman. Who knows if she ever wanted to be my friend – that’s besides the point! This was a busy family with two full time jobs, two young kiddos and a thriving business. They were capable of doing most of the work themselves but the time involved just meant that the list kept growing. So they enlisted our help!

One of the main areas that they had been unhappy with for some time was the master bath. It has these beautiful, grand double sliding glass doors from the bedroom and a huge window over the tub. We knew the footprint would stay the same but the finishes really needed an update. This is the inspo pic we used to get started.

Check out these before photos! I wish we had taken more and ones actually before but its the afters that are most important anyway!

The renovation plan:

There were a few stipulations on this one: we wanted to keep the granite top and we wanted things to feel bright, clean and spa-like but with some rustic elements. Immediately, our mind thought of one person: DUSTY from The Dusty Lumber Co. We knew that we wanted to use some locally sourced wood elements so the natural places for that were in floating shelves over the toilet and in the frames around the mirrors. We were going to pull down the half wall between the shower and tub, add more glass, do a new waterproofing system, new tile, new vanity doors and make the water closet (did you know that’s what W/C meant? Because I seriously learned this less than a year ago and have been designing for over 5…) a little more attractive! We went through about 40 different tiles before finally settling on the perfect tile for both the floor and the shower walls. The best part of this whole thing: CEILING HEIGHT SUBWAY TILE BACKSPLASH!! Here’s some BTS pics of how this all went down!

The process:

Unfortunately, this project did not go as smooth as I would’ve hoped. In the spirit of trying to keep things real and give you a sense of what the day to day life of a designer actually looks like, I will tell you a little about it. To be honest, this project should’ve taken 6-8 weeks absolute max from start to finish. Alas, it was one hell of a lot longer than that. I’ll get to that in a second though. The client is a framer so they did their own demo (pro tip: if you want to save money, do this part yourself. It’s a messy pain in the backside but could save you hundreds, if not thousands over the course of a full project) and reframed their own shower. We had requested they add two niches to fit with the inspiration picture they loved as well. This is where the shit the fan. First of all, one of the biggest things I learned from this project was something I had heard time and time again but never actually listened to until now: DO NOT START A PROJECT UNTIL ALL OF THE MATERIALS ARE READY. This can be the difference of people having to use the basement shower for 10 days and having to use it for 3 months. So that was issue number one, I got too excited about it, got things scheduled and then really nothing was ready to go. We then had an installer start and unfortunately didn’t want to finish it. This is something that is so tough to deal with as a business owner. How do you balance keeping the client happy in terms of timeline but also making sure they get the quality product. This is where I made mistake number 2. I put an installer on the project that was not equipped to perform the work at a calibre high enough for this home. Instead of just being honest and saying “I need more time to find you the RIGHT installer”, I tried to appease the schedule. Guess what happened?? ALL OF THE TILE HAD TO COME OUT. We had to do a new Wedi Shower System (thank you Tile & Stone Source Calgary for providing this awesome product) and do all new tile everywhere.

The finished product:

After this, things went a little smoother… Who am I kidding, no they freaking didn’t. There were delays in tile, then we left the grout on too long before cleaning, causing 5 hours of scrubbing dried up grout (thank you to our helper Jack for performing this task like a champ and to Timmies for getting him through it!). We had some broken glass, some discoloured tile, and god knows what else. HOWEVER, in the end, we finally got a product that looks, in my opinion, amazing. It is the perfect blend of clean, feminine, spa like finishes and rustic, masculine elements. What did i learn from this project? Well first I learned that in order to get through a job like this, you will be paying for counselling for both yourself and your client.Bbut more importantly, I learned that it truly does #TakeaVillage. From trades and suppliers busting their asses, to our in house staff doing everything they can until 9pm, to the most important part: some kick ass clients who were so understanding and wonderful through out the whole ordeal. And I can say that we came out the other side with some pretty stellar photos and a friendship intact (well maybe not, you’ll have to ask her that!). The final photos are below along with all of the suppliers used.

Floor tile: Centura Western 12X24 Cemento Light Grey
Shower wall tile: Euro Tile 8X20 Hall Series White
Subway Tile: Olympia Tile 2X9 Bright Arctic White
Cabinets: Cabinet Expressions, Lethbridge
Granite: Kept from original plan
Plumbing supplies: The Ensuite Lethbridge (Emco Corp.)
Lighting: Design Lighting
Mirrors and shelving: The Dusty Lumber Co
Styling, Design: PF Design Studio
Designer: Abigail & Alex
Photography: Jess Slingerland