Master Bathroom Wainscoting Progress

I’m still waiting for the wood veneer to arrive so that I can finish the storage cabinet in the master bathroom (it was supposed to be here yesterday, but delivery was delayed until today), so yesterday, I got to work on the wainscoting that will cover the walls below the blue-green Venetian plaster finish. I’m going to do the very same judge’s paneling in here that I did in the hallway bathroom.

I still need to add add the base cap trim inside the rectangles. Right now, it just looks like a simple board and batten design, and that’s not quite the look I’m going for.

So there’s quite a bit still left to do, and the areas around the vanities, I can only go so far, and then the countertops will need to be installed before I can finish the rest. But the two lengths of wall that do not surround the vanity (the wall just outside the water closet, and the wall just outside the shower) can be completely finished without having to wait for countertops.

I’m really trying to not let myself get bogged down with perfectionism on this, but that’s a very difficult thing for me to do sometimes. In this case, my perfectionism is being challenged because of the plumbing under the vanity. Can you see how the cold water valve (on the right) is spaced further from the center drain pipe, and it’s also dropped down a bit? That bothers me.

I want them to be perfectly spaced and perfectly level. I came this close to calling my contractor and seeing if his guys could fix it. But that would be a significant delay, and I don’t want a delay, and I’m not even sure if it would be worth it.

I looked back at pictures from when the walls were open and they were working on the plumbing, and the reason there’s more space between the drainage pipe and the cold water valve is because there’s a stud right there between them. So there’s nothing that can be done about the spacing, which means that they’d only be able to raise it up a bit so that it’s level.

I really want it to be level, but is it worth it? Is that an instance of perfectionism being the enemy of progress? After all, the cold and hot water valves aren’t really very noticeable from most perspectives in the room. From the doorway into the bathroom, you can’t even see them.

So I’m trying to make myself let it go and keep moving forward. I’m going to run into a similar problem on the other side. While the ones on the other side are more level, they’re off center. Again, it’s because there’s a stud in the way. Also, when all of the plumbing was being installed in this room, I was still planning on using standard vanities with a full front (with a modification for Matt’s so that it would be wheelchair accessible), so there was no plan for the plumbing to show.

This is just one of those issues you run into when you change plans mid-project. I should just press on, right? Is that what you would do? Or would you go to the trouble of having that cold water valve raised up just a little bit so that it’s level, even though it would cause a delay?

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52 Comments

  1. I’d box in the pipes after doing the installation. Paint and trim to blend into the wall behind it. Just a simple U shaped box that can be easily removed if needed, but hides the plumbing from view. Also, it will eliminate the possibility of whacking your (or Matt’s) knees on the drain pipe or shut off valves.

      1. I’m intrigued by Diane’s idea as well – especially since it could help prevent the valves from jamming into Matt’s legs (ouch!).

    1. That is exactly my thought. Just box that’s top-side-side-front that sits on two angle irons. Painted to match the wall and lifts off easily.

    1. I wonder about hiding them w a routered piece wood that could be elevated & mounted over the openings. But since it does not show from the door, I might have that be the last thing I do in the room & only if it still bothers me.
      I also wondered about white ” hole covers” of variable size so the bottoms align. Thinking about very small ceiling medallions or round wood carvings (Lowe’s has them to glue on furniture) that could be used around the pipe holes so they are trimmed out.

  2. You’re probably more aware of it now because you’re working at that level and it’s “in your face.” Once the room is done it won’t be as noticeable. You can always add a decorative basket of towels or something similar under the vanity to help disguise the unevenness. If it were my bathroom, I don’t think it would be worth the expense and the delay.

  3. I totally understand that this bugs you. When faced with these kinds of dilemmas, I ask myself how often anyone (including me!) would actually see that it’s off. In this case, only when facing directly on and when at eye level. So how often is that? Almost never.
    The idea to box it in is viable also.

  4. Will you even be able to see both valves at the same time once the P trap is installed? This is definitely not worth it.
    Being called out solely to move a water valve up an inch might be the kind of job a contractor would punish you for down the road… (ie jacking up price estimates in the future for the extra time spent) At least, contractors around here do things like that.

  5. Let it go, Kristi!!! Its just not worth the fuss and delaying it would create. I hadn’t even noticed it until you brought attention to it.. This room is so stunningly gorgeous, I could look at it all day long! You’ve done a beautiful job!

  6. Leave it be. With much respect to you, if not reigned in, your perfectionism can lead to obsessiveness, and you don’t want that in your life.

  7. It bothers you now, it will bother you later and probably cause more use of time and expense when you finally crack. I’d bump it up level and not worry about the spacing you can’t do anything about.

    1. Oh YES – Lynne…great find. Kristi you could make something perfect so easily or purchase them. PROBLEM SOLVED – 🤔

  8. Once you get the drain pipe in there and the hoses for the faucets, you won’t notice it. You should press on and not let this minor detail (that only you will notice) stop your progress.

  9. I’m pretty sure that once the pipes are attached it will look completely different and not be noticeable. but if it still bothers you then, covering it with any kind of box is a fabulous idea, as that not only hides the off centre/not level valves, but all the other bits which are not really beautiful to look at.
    aaaaand you can always decide on building those boxes later if and when you find that looking at the exposed pipes is getting on your nerves. I understand the need for symmetry, but agree with one comment that you need to consider not becoming obsessed – for your own peace of mind.
    finding a solution other than “leave it” or “get the contractors back in” is a very Kristi way to deal with an issue like that btw 🙂

  10. But what’s it going to look like when the peatrap and all the pipes are in?? I’d not spend the money now, but build something to cover it all, AFTER everything is installed IF it still bugs you that much. I think you’re becoming obsessed beyond perfectionism but that’s just my opinion. Not meant in a mean way but a constructive one.

    1. I’m another Linda…and if it were me, I would leave it for now and reevaluate once everything was finished, as Linda suggested. My sense is that changing the alignment in the future would not be much more difficult than changing it now. It’s like going ahead and finishing the chapter–you can go back and tweak the punctuation later.

  11. I actually hate looking at the plumbing under a sink. I think there are ways to cover it, so the spacing and level won’t matter at all. I know I have seen covers in some commercial buildings, but don’t know where to find them, but I bet they are out there! Looking wonderful on the walls. PS) Do something even though it won’t be seen much…YOU will see it while you are lounging in the tub and it will drive you nuts! Cover it somehow! 😉

  12. It is hard for me to explain …but could you make a panel in the judges panel style and mount it , at an angle, under the sink once all the plumbing is done?

  13. It is hard for me to explain …but could you make a panel in the judges panel style and mount it , at an angle, under the sink once all the plumbing is done?

  14. I agree, Kristi. That would definitely bother me, too. Being the perfectionist that you are, if you think it will bother you, I know you can come up with some way to hide it so none of it shows. You are the one that has to live with it one way or the other, so you should do what makes you happy. 🙂

  15. Don’t call in the big guns. Who knew (i.e. I didn’t) you could buy covers to care for the ‘problem’? I vote to either buy them or make something that does the job.

    Boy, you have a wealth of commenters here! I keep learning from all of you along with Kristi.

    Thanks!

  16. Live with it for a year. If it is still making you crazy, make a box to cover the panel with the plumbing, paint it white. All that plumbing will just disappear. Hopefully it won’t interfere with Matt’s wheelchair.

  17. I wouldn’t let them bother me. We had the same issue in our basement bath when we finished it, and now I don’t even see it or think about it.

  18. Each of those pipe ends will have a tap on them I am assuming. Would it bother you if one tap was straight up and down and the other was slightly turned? Then you would never notice the difference. I follow an artist who believes that what she makes is “Made with love, not perfection” believing that helps to reduce perfection anxiety. Or my dad would say “You would never notice if you were running for your life.” Or you could build a little hardboard box to surround them and you would never see any of them.

  19. When you are sitting in the bathtub, are those pipes noticeably unlevel? Is that going to bother you? Can you live with the pipes the way they are and possibly change them later? You know yourself better than anyone else, so only you can answer those questions. But I would venture to say that if you are asking the question, it’s going to trouble you later. Just some food for thought. Otherwise, the bathroom is looking great!

  20. I would cover them anyway, exposed pipes in restricted spaces are something I would try to avoid. Saying this after years of cleaning such pipes.

  21. Kristi I would not mess with the valves. I did t even notice anything off and when you pointed it out I really had to look for it. I think it would only bother someone who is OCD and you don’t seem that type. No one except you will notice this very small “defect”

  22. I understand people advocating a cover to hide the spacing issue. But you bought the beautiful brass fittings (which I’m sure cost more) in order to tie in with the rest of the room. Think about how your supply lines will look. Sometimes they bend, and the visual of the bend would detract from the spacing. Ultimately it’s your home, and only you can know what will bug you. However, I do think the suggestion to wait a year is a good one.

    Perspective: Which would bother you more: The issues under the sink, or the exercise room not completed? Which would make your eye twitch in the night more, a niggling thought creeping into your sleep? Focus your time and energy on the thing that interrupts your rest.

  23. I am a little OCD about these things but I can tell you that once that area is done it will not be noticeable. You will see it but no one else will, so try to let it go. I absolutely know how you feel.

  24. No way would I go to the extra expense or head ache of having it changes for what 2 inches? You said it will not even show from most prospectives. But I have been known to settle for things many times in my life and y decorating does not go anywhere near your decorating…so no one would be surprised for me to leave it.Would Matt care? If not then you are only one who would have to “settle”. Because this is not the visitor bath anyway. Minor problem from my eyes. This may sound insensitive but is not meant to be 🙂 Everything is turning out lovely.

  25. i would 100% attach all the plumbing and pipes etc – then see if it’s still noticeable and if it still bothers you. I’m sure once that is done you won’t notice at all as it’s not a huge difference.
    it it was several inches out it would bother me too – but this will be too small to notice and anyway as you rightly point out – mostly you won’t even be able to see them unless you get down there and purposefully look at them. Press on honey – you almost there!
    We all desperate to see this stunning bathroom done!
    Get a cover later if it still is an issue.

  26. I totally agree with you. My husband told me once it is hard living with a perfectionist.. I told him “it’s hard being a perfectionist”. Can you lower and possibly move out the hot water valve? If not, maybe box the whole thing in.. Good luck

  27. I would see it and it would bother me. I would probably dream about it. Since remediating involves plaster work and potentially annoyed contractors who can, in my experience, have a 2 in blindness, the u shaped covers are your best option. They have the added benefit of shielding the pipes from contact. I have seen them in high end developments. It is not really different than the ceiling edge fix in the shower that looks fine.

  28. I am also a perfectionist and understand how you feel. When encountered with a situation like this I have to tell myself don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. This is the kind of thing that once it’s done I realize I was worrying for nothing and it isn’t nearly as noticeable as I thought it would be! Looking great!!

  29. Right now the ONLY thing going on under the vanities are the pipes sticking out of the wall. Any unsymmetrical elements are going to be VERY highlighted. I think once you actually have the plumbing hooked up under there it’s really going to minimize the differences. which you can only see from certain angles anyhow.

    And I REALLY like Diane’s idea of hiding the plumbing with a floating box too. I’d rather have it all hidden. It’s never pretty, no matter how much you try.

  30. I understand and relate to your temptation to fix it, but I think it’s a very minor detail no one will notice. It’s essentially insignificant to the overall design, not worth the fuss and trouble. Do you plan on having undermount sinks, vessel sinks, or… ? The sink might disguise it even more if it’s not a vessel sink.