Master Bathroom Style Guide – Elegant Farmhouse

October 28th, 2013

It’s taken me a long time to finalize my design plans for the master bathroom. I’ve waffled between a rustic style (lots of wood), a warm look (gold tones in hardware), and an elegant style (crystals, marble, and lots of white). I realized that all of the images I kept coming back to were really elegant white bathrooms. So I just decided to go for it and have a really elegant space. The nice thing about this white bathroom is that it is directly adjacent to the master bedroom which is going to be a very dark navy-toned gray color (French Beret by Benjamin Moore). So it will be a striking contrast from the dark master to the light master bath.

Okay so some quick inspiration first… This bathroom is from the UV Parade of homes this year. The home was built by Millhaven Homes, and designed by the amazing Caitlin Creer. Some components are the same – white walls, elegant sconces, marble floors/shower. I wanted the cabinetry to contrast a little so I chose a pale gray, and went with solid white quartz countertops instead of marble.


(more images of this home)

Here is the layout of our master bathroom/closet:


Right as you walk in (lower left), there is a make-up vanity with a chandelier over it. Here is my elevation:



I’m going to go with a desaturated navy for the vanity color. I’m trying to decide between BM’s Hale Navy and Baby Seal Black… This placement was inspired by the Life In Grace Master bathroom. I love the concept of seeing a pretty area instead of seeing all the utility spaces of the bathroom. Also allows for a bit more privacy when no one in your house ever closes doors!


As you turn the corner you’ll see a double vanity. I designed a furniture-style vanity that will be the pale gray:


Then across from that is the bathtub etc. You get the idea. So imagine those images with lots of white, shiny silver and sparkling crystals.

Here’s my style guide (source links at bottom of the post).


Some of these items we found as local and online close-out type places and the Restoration Hardware outlet in Vacaville, CA. We got some really great deals, and have already saved several thousands by doing some bargain shopping. I’ve been also shopping online sales for knobs/pulls and lighting to save even more. The marble flooring/shower surround and mosaic shower floor is from BuildDirect. They are my go-to for bargain-priced flooring. I haven’t found anywhere else with 12×24 marble tiles that comes close to their pricing.

So what do you think? Do you like the bright white bling bathroom? Or would you prefer something more subtle, warm, or rustic?

Oh I just remembered this image – I’ve been loving the paneling in this bathroom:

I’m trying to decide if I should give Mr. Project even more stress and tell him I’d like our master bathroom to be paneled out like this. I think it would be a nice way to frame out the mirror without doing a “frame” and give the sconces some framing etc. There really isn’t a lot of open wall space to do… It could look amazing and bring in a more farmhouse feel. What do you think?


Obrien Wall Sconce – Visual Comfort

Marble 12×24 tile – BuildDirect

Marble 1″ hexagon tile – BuildDirect

Single Hole Faucet – Hansgrohe

White Quartz Countertop – Hanstone

Square Undermount Sink – Kohler

Canley Crystal Pendant – Horchow

Antique Tub Faucet – Kohler

Hydro Systems Lacey Soaker Tub – Mountainland Design Closeout Section

Tresham Toilet – Kohler

Grafton Hardware – Restoration Hardware

Manor Court Chandelier – Restoration Hardware Kids

Glass Knob – Restoration Hardware



6 simple ways to increase your productivity

October 21st, 2013


1. Turn of Push Notifications


The best thing I’ve ever done for my productivity was to turn off push notifications on my phone (and my laptop). If you’re an internet/social media junkie like me, being connected can quickly become top priority. However, if your phone tells you every single time someone comments on a facebook thread that you also commented on, pretty soon you’ll spend your whole day on facebook. It can be a pretty vicious cycle. One easy click to facebook or instagram, and next thing you know, 30 minutes has passed by. Do yourself a favor and just check a few times a day. Trust me, you’ll get much more done. To make this change on your phone go into Settings>Notification Center and you’ll be able to customize which apps on your phone can send you push notifications.

2. Make a list and stay on task

(download my daily planner)

When you’re busy (and aren’t we all busy?) there are a million to dos swimming around your head. It’s pretty easy to forget what you need to get done and even easier to be distracted by something that seems more pressing at the moment (like checking facebook, or grabbing a snack). The best way to keep yourself on track is to make a list of all the tasks you need to complete and then prioritize those. When you are finished with one task move quickly onto the next by checking your list instead of trying to recall what you should do next. If you can manage to stay on task and not lose precious minutes/hours in between tasks trying to remember what else needs to be done than your productivity will increase significantly.

3. Have a Weekly Schedule 

(download my blank weekly chore schedule)

If every minute is precious to you, then you don’t have time to waste on duplicating tasks needlessly. Schedule one day a week for Errands – mail, bank, grocery store etc. If anyone in your family asks you to run an errand for them, let them know that you can, but you won’t be able to until your errand day. Same thing with cleaning, filing, scanning, laundry etc. If you can assign certain tasks to certain days and really stick to your schedule, then you’ll be much less likely to waste time running to the post office 3 times a week, dropping off dry cleaning more often than necessary, and going to target daily (even though you’d probably like that one).

4. Plan your meals & grocery lists

(download my meal/menu planner)

People say cooking their own meals takes too long. But really what they mean is that planning and executing meals is a big task that is really easy to ignore and going out to eat is easier. It is easier to eat out, but it’s not really saving you any time. If you can sit down for 15 minutes once a week, plan out all your meals and corresponding groceries (keep it simple), and then go to the grocery store and procure all the items, you will save time (and calories, and money). Quick and simple meals can be made in 15-30 minutes if you have a plan and have all the supplies you need. This is much faster than picking a place to eat, driving there, waiting for someone else to spend 15-30 minutes to cook it, eating it, and then driving home.

5. Treat email like a task and utilize rules/folders

Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 11.14.00 AM

Just like push notifications, I try to not let my email dictate my life. I do not check email while I’m working on a task or group of tasks. If I checked each of my emails every single time I got one, I’d get no work done. So instead I check them as part of their own task, and then I do my best to respond to each of them as needed – not leaving things to be done later as much as I can help it – and then I move onto my next task.  This way I only spend 15 minutes checking and responding to emails several times a day, instead of spending 5 minutes every 20 minutes. You do the math. I schedule my email task several times during the day, and then only once in the evening.

Another great way to limit your email from sucking away your productivity is to take any sort of “junk” email – promotions from your favorite stores, blog update notifications, news and entertainment site updates etc. and filter those all into a separate folder or folders. Then check those once a day for any can’t-miss items and sales.

Merlin Mann has a great project – Inbox Zero and he talks specifically about “processing” vs. “checking” email – his video is worth listening to/watching if you get tons of emails and want to be more efficient with your email processes.

6. If all else fails, turn off the internet 


I’m addicted to the internet as much as the next guy, but when deadlines get serious, I just have to turn the internet off and get down and dirty with photoshop and illustrator. Try it sometime, you’ll be amazed at just how many times you mindlessly open up your browser or email in an attempt to procrastinate what you’re supposed to be doing. Now if I could only turn off the kitchen, I’d get even more done!


The Project House Construction – Week 8

October 20th, 2013

My week 6 update ended with the basement and main floor being framed, but no trusses/roof on yet. The house sat for just a few days, and then on Thursday the 10th, the trusses were delivered:


We rejoiced because we weren’t expecting them until the 15th. So awesome to save a few days in the whole process instead of lose them.

So on Friday the 11th the framers showed up first thing in the morning and started preping, and by noon they began to put them in place.


It was awesome seeing the house start to really look like a house.


And on Monday they started sheeting it all up (which is great because winter is on its way!)


The roof has this farmhouse break angle across the whole main roof and along the single car garage roof. That part of the roof is all going to be standing-seam metal. The gables, shed roofs, and awnings are also standing seam metal.


We try to not take Ollie to the construction site too often because he likes to run around and explore (can’t wait until we actually live there so he can spend his days exploring). But when we do take him, he’s just so cute, he wants to collect rocks, and go up and down the stairs. We have a giant gravel pile, and he’ll bring his digger and just play and have tons of fun in the rocks and dirt.


He was so adorable on this little ladder, but he wouldn’t look at the camera but just kept laughing because he wouldn’t look. So of course I began laughing with him. I love his little personality, and he just gets sweeter and cuter every single day.

They made quick work of the roof sheeting, and got on the shed roofs as well.


Love the detail on the side of the house – these windows are the library/reading room.

Along the back – you can’t really see this from this angle, but there is a shed roof over the dining room.


And here the front side view with the shed-roof over the transom – and you can see the roof angle change here.


Once the trusses were put on, the inside of the house looked like this:

theprojectgirl_truss_insideWe had all (well all except a few where the furnace will be) of our trusses scissored or vaulted, so that we could play around with the ceiling heights in most of the rooms. The framers were amazed that we wanted to drop ceilings and have flat ceilings because around these parts people just love vaulting ceilings and having “plant shelves” above rooms and closets. We have a few vaulted spaces, but mostly just elevated flat ceilings. After the framers finished sheeting the roof, they started in on the ceilings and the small framing details.

Here’s the hallway ceiling now framed flat:


We vaulted the kid bedrooms, and we plan on having a wood beam at the center of the vault:


The master ceiling is crazy. We weren’t expecting a huge girder truss in the middle of the room, so we had to improvise and keep it open in the front (transom) and then straight across in the back.


The ceiling in the reading room was 16 feet high, so at the last minute, we decided to take advantage of the vaulted ceiling and create a loft space above the hallway and open from the library. The space is actually really big – about 8×10 and about 5′ high. While the kids are little, we’ll probably just use it as storage, but once they are old enough to enjoy it, we can have some sort of access (spiral staircase??)and it can be a reading loft – an awesome place to just get away. Who am I kidding, I’ll probably use it as a place to get away with my kindle as soon as we move in.


Today, we walked through after a weekend of being out of town, and saw our double-sided fireplace all framed out. It looks amazing in the space. So gorgeous and the perfect size/presence in the room. I love how it goes up into the vault. I also love how it separates the family room and the kitchen, but they are still open to each other, just not all the way open.


The fireplace guys also installed the basement fireplace. I’m still working on the design of this fireplace wall. But I’m excited to see how it turns out! The whole basement is really going to be just perfect.


So after 8 weeks, thats where we’re at! The rough plumbing is all done. The HVAC in the basement is complete, and they should finish up the main floor this week. We’re meeting with the electrician on Tuesday for our walk-through… Which means that I have one day to finalize all my fixtures and placement. So stressful! I swear lighting has been the hardest part of designing the house. Every light fixture has it’s own personality and finding the ones that fit just perfectly and blend with adjacent fixtures is incredibly difficult. Oh and did I mention doing so under budget (not happening)? I’ve got most of them chosen and purchased, but there are a few spots that I’m still trying to figure out.

I imagine the electric and HVAC will be done and we’ll be ready for the 4 way inspection by the end of October. And November will bring drywall! Which also will bring trim work and built-ins (Mr. Project get ready!). And while all that is happening, hopefully roofing, and siding!

Now that the ceilings and roof are in, it’s really starting to feel real. Now that I can see and feel all of the rooms, I can imagine living there and really see in my mind how the spaces come together. Everyday I’m so excited by the progress, but also stressed about what we need to get done and all the decisions leading up to being done. And pretty much no matter what we do, this home build is just FLYING by.