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Casa Covet Living: World War III of the Master Bath

Gus Casa Covet Living

Happy Sunday, Campers!  In case any of you are new to this blog, Casa Covet Living is what we call my co-blogette, Karrie & her husband Tim’s new house that we’ve taken down to the studs and are currently doing a major overhaul on.  This little lifestyle blog started 6 years ago as an outlet for our mutual love of interiors (and life in general), and while Karrie still works as a rock star reality TV producer, I finally pulled up my big girl pants a few years ago and flipped interior design from a hobby to a career, so when my bestie bought a fixer upper, I was lucky enough to be handed the reigns.

We’re currently in dry wall (see Gus up there being the best new member of the construction team??), but we have GOBS to catch you up on… including but not limited to: Countertops, Hardware, Paint Colors, the Built-In Banquette… but today we’ll fill you in on the bloodiest battle of all: the Master Bath.   Karrie and I cycle together and giggle in unison about most things when it comes to this project working along home extensions dublin, but for some reason when it comes to her bathroom, we’ve been like a coupla toddlers taking turns having tantrums and pulling each others’ pigtails over what to do with just about everything (besides the shower) in here.

Long story long, we did that GORRRRRGEOUS lagoon glass subway tile in the shower…  which looks like this (and no joke, looks 10x more beautiful in person), and which we’re all in agreement is about the happiest slice of Jamaican heaven, ever.  Even our trusty contractor – whom we affectionately refer to as Boston Joe – told us this shower is his wife’s favorite thing he’s ever done:




The Blue Lagoon was *one* thing K&T knew they’d always wanted from the get-go, so unlike most projects where you (ideally) conceptualize the entire space together first before you pull the trigger on anything, in this one, we needed to build the rest of the room around that crown jewel (the tile), which is a pretty specific look.  We didn’t wanna go too cliché beachy (e.g. with conch shell knobs and a sign on the wall that says ‘beach –> this way’…barf), but it IS more of a coastal look we kind of needed to roll with.  And we also needed a good supporting cast in this bathroom vs. doing too many other looks or things that competed with that glorious shower.

Most of the cabinetry in the house is already white, and while a white vanity in here would’ve been so clean & pretty, we figured we could get a smidge more creative than that… however, their vanity is 102″ long (AKA HUGE), so I didn’t wanna go too dark if we stained it, because it would be a mass of dark wood and weigh the room down. Karrie didn’t love my suggestion of doing a raw / distressed / driftwood-y finish, either, reasoning that it was too passé – à la “Homegoods circa 2009.”  So I was like, let’s do something like this:


{unfinished alder}


{raw walnut on bottom}


And Karrie was like:

toddler tantrum

“…yeah I think that’s o-kaaaaaay (yawn).  But it’s KIND of expected… why can’t we do THIS instead”…

cherry vanity

And I was all:

toddler tantrum 2

“…becaaaaaaaauuuuuuse-zuh!  While it’s lovely in that all-white, hipster trendy, midcentury modern space that’s been pinned and copied 4,587,665x over the last 3 years, it’s gonna be too heavy / too dark / doesn’t jam with your vibe in there.  Why won’t you just trust me on this????!!!&#^#^%^!”

And she was all…


But Amber Interiors & Emily Henderson did it, and I don’t want everything in there to be too traditional and boring – I’m EDGY – so why can’t we do THIS?”


…I was like, I can’t deal.  Mercy.


It reminded me of kids asking their parents the same question like, 800x trying to get a different answer… or of a T-Rex throwing stuff up against the fence to find a weak spot.  The only reasoning I had left to give her – as I was about to give in – was via our girl Whitney Houston: ‘It’s not right, but it’s okay.’

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 10.59.19 AM

Still at an impasse and about to let my beloved co-blogette have her way (it IS her bathroom, after all… but I would’ve felt responsible if it ended up looking jacked, so it’s a fine balance).  We were about to be at a happy middle ground and do the dang thing in a lighter walnut finish, which actually would’ve been stunning, but walnut is ALSO like market price lobster on the menu at a seafood restaurant, and we needed to trim the budget somewhere.  So, I had 4 custom stains made for her to choose from out of oak, which is much more cost effective:


Loved the 2nd from the left best (personally), but we ended up going with this one, which was also gorgeous:


She also wanted to float the entire vanity (meaning it’s attached to the wall but like ‘look ma no hands feet‘ and about 10-12″ off the floor), which is a pretty modern look that we both liked, but in the end it was going to negate too much cabinet space, so we opted to maximize that.  To open things up for them a bit, I designed the center portion of the vanity to be open X storage for towels, since there’s no linen closet in there.

master vanity

Lighting was another bloody battle – Karrie wanted brass, but all the plumbing fixtures in there are polished nickel/chrome, so while I’m all about mixing finishes, I think it works on a case-by-case basis.  For instance, this bathroom by Studio McGee that mixes a brass & crystal sconce with chrome plumbing fixtures looks great:


But there is far less going on in that scenario up there, and I didn’t think brass was quite right with all the other balls we had in the air in the Blue Lagoon Bath.  I wasn’t sure we needed to matchy-match with nickel sconces, either, and wanted to use something that introduced a different texture – like the Rachel sconces from Ro Sham Beaux, which are hemp, linen & quartz, and are BASICALLY the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

rachel rachel sconce

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 10.59.43 AM

Karrie vetoed – which was fine b/c they were way more me than her (and to be fair, I already got to do the Hall Bath **EXACTLY** like I wanted)…

Powder Bath | Casa Covet Living | Stephanie Ballard Interiors

In the end, we both ended up loving the Polaris Sconces from Arteriors in Brown Nickel – a finish that is SUPER bad a$$ that I’ve never seen used:


Even Boston Joe was like, “Man.  These are cool.”  And I delight in any level of approval from this guy:

Boston Joe Polaris

Mirrors were the next debacle.  We needed a round, 32″ max diameter mirror – not in metal (sconces are a metal/metallic, chrome faucets are right there too) or wood (vanity is stained, so more wood would’ve been too much wood… go ahead now that it’s all nice & teed up and “that’s-what-she-said” me, fellas), and we also couldn’t do anything too busy (so as not to compete with the sconces)… Same as the sconce deal – I was hoping to introduce another texture – maybe a bit softer – so everything is nicely layered, but still airy & light.  The one thing Tim & I have probably ever agreed on is our mutual love for these Mother of Pearl mirrors (hi-5 buddy) – they’re just the right amount of beachy (hello – this is the Blue Lagoon), but still have clean lines and are a nice contrast / transitional juxtaposition to the mod sconces.  And praise sweet baby Jesus – they’re bringin’ another texture to the table.


Currently, we’re still in a sudden death overtime standstill with Karrie over them (she thinks they’re too traditional).  This is her pick:


We may have to arm (or mud) wrestle for it, cuz I don’t know what else to do at this point.  OR just do a frameless beveled bad boy.  Please stand by.


As for cabinet hardware, this is where we seem to be landing in there, and I think we’re all happy about it.  The glass knobs and polished nickel pulls are from Home Depot… NORMALLY I would do knobs on cabinet doors / pulls on drawers, but in this case, I’m voting for all glass knobs – even on the drawers.  I think it’s really clean and I want something that “goes away” next to the stained vanity.  I also think all knobs is kind of unexpected and sleek.  Karrie prefers knobs on doors / pulls on drawers, so it’ll be a game time decision once the vanity goes in.  Remind me to rap with you about hardware next Casa CL post, cuz that’s a whole other pickle I think a lot of people have a tough time with.

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 11.19.02 AM

Countertops: we wanted to do a calacatta gold (sample in the above pic / slab in the below pic), which is STUNNING.  We looked at this 120″ long slab… but to the tune of about $144/sf or $7k for the whole slab, we had to walk away… in tears:


We also entertained this Calacatta Gold lookalike from Caesarstone (but with next to no veining or character, sadly), which I now forget the name of:



We fell in LOVE with this Calacatta Viola slab from Stoneland, but I mean, for who knows where.  How amazing would it be to make a dining table or huge work table out of this though?  This was also closer to $60/sf.


In the end, we needed just over 2 slabs of Caesarstone for the kitchen (Misty Carrara #4141), so to be responsible and economical, we’re grabbing 3 of those and using the leftover material for the Blue Lagoon’s vanity and shower dam.  OMG we’re so thrifty.


So here’s basically where we’re landing… see how I threw my favorite mirror in there???  Whoops.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 7.48.47 AM

More on the rest of the renovation later this week!!


Steph's Scanned Signature


Casa Covet Living: People, we have liftoff.

Casa Covet Living Demo

Oh y’all.  It’s goin’ down.  That there picture above was sent to me last Monday. Boston Joe doesn’t mess around! PS: Boston Joe is our contractor who is a BOSS. Here are s’more of the current state of the interior:

(Master Bedroom)


(Current Family Room looking into Formal Living / Front Door)


Wanna see the plan we decided on??  Grab your magnifying glass…

Casa Covet Living | Floorplan Before & After | Stephanie Ballard Interiors

Here’s a bigger version… we’ll dig deeper into each space in a few:

Casa Covet Living | Floorplan by Stephanie Ballard

Howsabout a play-by-play of how each space / element is shaping up???  Since the layout is set and we’re now in demo mode, we’re also in hurry-up-and-choose-lighting-and-tile-and-flooring-mode.  Here’s how selections are coming:


Karrie & Tim wanted a darker floor with some texture… and something that’s relatively indestructible since a) they have a lab named Kilroy, b) Kilroy has a friend named #GusGusforPresident who visits often, and c) Karrie is a self-professed Pig Pen of sorts.  This was one of our faves:


Inspo Floors

I sourced these two options for them:

(Option A)

Walnut, Variable plank, Hand-Scraped Finish


(Option B)

European Oak… has a bit more of a weathered but still sophisticated beachy look to me.


(Winner: Option A!)

The hand-scraped walnut won out!  It was the closest to what Karrie had envisioned.  Both choices were SUPER reasonably priced for the quality.  The color of this one is also perfect.



*These* beauts in all their glass tile glory have long-since been what Karrie & Tim both wanted for their master shower:

Master Shower | Casa Covet Living

Here are the tile options I pulled for ’em that are the closest match to their inspo…



Also pulled a slightly lighter color which was my personal favorite… this picture doesn’t even START to do it justice.  It’s a STUNNER and that hue of blue is completely unique.


This is pretty close to what it would look like installed, which is about as close to perfection as you can get:

blue tile perfection | covet living

But alas… my pick was also completely pricey because it’s Glasshaus + has a completely long lead time, which rendered it completely out of the running.  (Sad face).  We also entertained the two at left:


Both gorgeous, in a sea glass / coke bottled hue sort of way, but in the end we chose to stick to their original vision and go with the more unique, deeper Caribbean blue.  PS if you like the second from the left above (seafoam greenish), it’s available at Home Depot:



For the master bath floor, we have a few options…  wanna weigh in?

(TOP LEFT):  Linen-like textured porcelain floor, which I love, and which is also relatively inexpensive.  Porcelain is a great choice for bathroom floors because of its price point but also its durability – you can literally throw bleach on it and it won’t jack it up.  Not sure what sizes we’d cut it into or how I want it laid – gotta work that one through still.  Probably will do a larger format (maybe 6×12 cuts) and maybe in a herringbone pattern – to keep it from being to matchy-matchy and dizzying against the 3×6 glass subway in the shower.

(TOP RIGHT): Classic basketweave (Carrara).

(BOTTOM LEFT): 3/4″ white porcelain hexagon.

(BOTTOM RIGHT): Carrara-like 3/4″ penny tile (shown) -or- a white porcelain penny tile which – anything you do on a floor, especially a bathroom – you want to do in a honed or matte finish to prevent slipping.  Cuz aint nobody need to bust they hip or break a neck falling down & going boom in the bathroom.  You put something in a polished finish down and you might as well layer the floor with nanner peels.

Master Bath Flooring Choices | Casa Covet Living

Also thinking we’re gonna do these vessel sinks in the master bath… it gives it kind of a spa-like feel, which I love.  Haven’t added the sinks into their cabinetry drawings yet but you get the idea:

Casa Covet Living | Master Bath

(Plan View)

They’ve got some decent counter space (about 54″) in here to spread out stuff like Karrie’s rusted Con-Air curling iron from high school, my travel toiletry bag (just kidding Teem!  I’ll stay on my side of the house), and spray bottles of Poo-Pourri. Hey – don’t knock that stuff till you try it.  Someday it’ll put matches outta biz.

Casa Covet Living | San Diego Custom Cabinets


Get ready to soil your drawers, cuz that’s what I do every time I think about what we picked for the Hall Bath… aka Guest Bath.  AKA my bathroom – bfjkdlsajfkdshjahfhdhsahaha.

Casa Covet Living | Hall Bath | Stephanie Ballard Interiors

We almost lost the battle for Hygge & West’s Pineapple in Mint wallcovering when I posted it on Insta, but I think we’ve since won him over.  (HOORAAAAAAY!)

Tim on Pineapple Wallpaper

As for the hall bath vanity, here’s what we’re dealing with: a) no linen closet in or outside of the bath, b) a small space, and c) a 41″ wide recessed area for the sink/vanity.  We entertained a pedestal sink BUT since we need little bit of storage, we decided on a freestanding vanity that’s open underneath so we can fill baskets with bath towels/linens for guests.  Like-a-zeese!

baskets under

I also suggested to Karrie that we have the countertop fabricated: a) with a little detail on the side, like this… just to keep from doing a run-of-the-mill 4″ cut-straight-across backsplash… but also to keep thangs from falling off the side, since we made the vanity freestanding and there are about 2″ of open space on either side:

Marble Vanity Corner Detail | Casa Covet Living

And b) with a wee ledge up top, like our good buddy Betsy Bracken (owner/shopkeeper of our favorite store, Bixby & Ball – aka the Mothership) has in her gorgeous bathroom (which Karrie and I may or may not have posted up in for an hour at Betsy’s Christmas party last year, with our jaws on the floor, like a coupla goons.  (PS: pics of Betsy’s home featured in Better Homes & Gardens is here.)

Betsy Bracken Bathroom | Better Homes & Gardens


Vegas Peacock it is (!)  Thanks so much for weighing in!!

Casa Covet Living | Stephanie Ballard Interiors

PS we almost peed ourselves when this happened:

Joanna Gaines weighing in on Casa Covet Living

Here are the countertop & backsplash finishes…

  • Inset above range: Tabarka Signature, Oxford on Lavan
  • Countertop: Silestone (Lagoon) or Caesarstone (Carrara-like)
  • Backsplash / Field Tile: White, handmade ceramic 3×6 subway – we chose this vs. a regular flat subway because it has a little bit of undulation and movement… hard to see from the pic, but since we’re doing tiling the whole way up the wall behind the range and behind the sink, ye know – that’s a lotta ONE tile in one color, so it’s nice to add a little texture / interest.


Lighting for the kitchen:

Casa Covet Living | San Diego Custom Cabinets Casa Covet Living | San Diego Custom Cabinets

That’s about it for now!  Such a long post (sahhhreee) and so many moving parts! Thoughts on the master bath floor??

PS… she kills me.  BAhahdhdjksahda:



Steph's Scanned Signature