Why Our Master Bathroom Progress Has Stalled

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve shared progress on our master bathroom, and there’s a very good reason for that. There has been no progress. 😀 And the reason for that? Fear and indecision.

There are three items that are holding me back from a “full steam ahead” attitude with the bathroom — the bathroom and toilet area trim, the “dresser” and vanity design, and the toilet area cabinet design.

I have general ideas about two of those things, but when it comes to the fine details, I’m lost. And when it comes to the shower and toilet area trim, I’m at a complete loss. So let’s start with that one.

Shower and toilet area trim:

I had come up with a plan for these areas, and started working on it a couple of weeks ago. But I quickly realized that my idea wasn’t going to work because it would put the crown molding way too close to the top of the door trim.

I won’t rehash all of this. You can read about it here and here.

So now that I know my idea won’t work, all of those boards that I put up have to come down (yes, they’re still up there), and I have to come up with a new plan. And that’s where I’m stuck.

This area around the top of the shower needs to be finished.

I had planned on that being finished with crown molding. But there are all kinds of details that would need to be addressed for that to happen now. The most important issue is how that crown molding would tie in to the rest of the crown molding in the room considering that it has to work around that one 1″ x 4″ vertical board on the left wall at the entrance to the shower.

Part of me wants to just give up on the idea of crown molding in every area, and just tile all the way up to the ceiling in the shower and call it good. But then I’m right back to the problem of how to end the crown molding in the main part of the bathroom right at the entrance to the shower since I absolutely do NOT want to do what’s called a hanging return.

But again, I’ve already gone over these details in other posts. My point is that I still haven’t made a decision, and until I do, I can’t move forward. I’m just paralyzed with indecision right now. And while it’s incredibly frustrating at times, I also know that a solution will present itself eventually. They always do, but sometimes it takes longer than I had anticipated.

The toilet area storage cabinet

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my IG stories about a week ago when I shared my idea of using the French doors that I took off of the pantry as cabinet doors on the cabinet that I plan to build for the toilet area of the bathroom.

They would need to be cut down to remove the excess from the top and bottom rails (the horizontal pieces of wood at the top and bottom) of each door. Interior doors have wider horizontal rails and narrower vertical stiles. But cabinet doors usually have rails and stiles that are equal widths. So right now, it’s obvious that those are interior doors. But if I cut the excess off of the top and bottom, they’ll look more like cabinet doors.

Once that’s done, I could make something like this, although mine would not be stained wood…

But when discussing this possibility with my mom, she loved this design and the idea, but she also said that she wishes she had a place in her bathroom to store taller items, like a broom or other items like that. I agree that that would be handy, and I wouldn’t want things like that stored behind glass doors. I could still do a built-in, use up the entire width of that wall, use the French doors for the middle section, and have two skinnier sections on each outer section to store tall items if I want to.

So I haven’t decided what I want — a freestanding separate piece of furniture, or a built-in that uses the entire width of that wall. And really, I can’t even make that decision until I decide on the trim for the shower and the toilet area. It all ties together, and one thing depends on another.

And finally…

The “dresser” design details…

Since I’m building table-style vanities that will have little to no storage in them, I’m also going to build a middle storage piece under the window that looks essentially like a dresser.

And while I know the general style I want, I just can’t seem to nail down the particulars. I have so many dressers saved on Instagram and Houzz, which might be part of the problem. I have too many options.

But here are a couple of my favorites…

I love the detail on this one from Kara Nicole Clark on Instagram

But then there’s this one from Jenkins Interiors with the gold detail outlining the entire drawer section. It’s so pretty!

And then I keep coming back to this one from Jaclyn York, While I would not do exposed hinges, I do love that gold detail on each individual drawer.

It reminds me a whole lot of my green kitchen…

And while I opted for a teal kitchen over green in the end, I did love that gold detail on those doors. And this could be my chance to incorporate that much-loved detail on a smaller scale.

All of that to say that I’m still working out the details. I’m even unsure about some vanity details. Since we’ll have this big “dresser” storage in the middle, do the vanities even need storage at all? I had planned on doing two small drawers on either side of the sink on each vanity, but is that even needed? Should they just look like actual tables with no drawers at all?

These are all of the questions I’m still wrestling with, and until I can come up with some answers, I’ll be stuck in this “stalled” mode. On one hand, I don’t want to pressure myself into making decisions, because pressured decisions have a tendency not to turn out so great. But I also know I need to put some concerted effort into making these decisions soon, because obviously just passively waiting around for the answers to pop into my head isn’t working out for me. Hopefully by the end of this next weekend, I can have some ideas nailed down, and have a very clear direction for these projects. I’m anxious to get that room done, and I know y’all are anxious to see a finished bathroom!

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  1. You presented your problems in a logical sequence so I suggest just working on solving them in order, focusing on one at a time. Once you figure out trim you can figure out the cabinets and then the vanities.

  2. The little drawers on the vanity will be ideal for toothbrushes, tweezers, etc. The small daily essentials.

    1. I agree! I wouldn’t want to have to walk from the sink to another cabinet every time I want to brush my teeth, for example

  3. Hang in there Kristi….. your desire for Perfection and “Do it right the first time”…. Are doing battle inside your head. Whenever I get “stuck” I take a long lined sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle from top to bottom, then title the left side of the line “Pros” and the right side “Cons”. Begin to fill in the blank lines on each side in the appropriate column…. You will soon find your answer…. Try it…good luck….. You’ve got this, Girl!

  4. Regarding the ceiling. Why do crown at all? It is beautiful, but it that’s what’s causing the problems what about ditching it? Not every room needs crown. I like the flat board you have up on the ceiling now, with a decorative trim between it and the ceiling. It hides the wall/ceiling joint and I think it could look really finished. Tile in the shower up to that board.

  5. Ideas on how or just to throw away. Not a perfect fix, (takes some wall ht.) but an example of a tricky crown transition in a bathroom: https://www.uglyducklinghouse.com/how-to-seamlessly-transition-crown-molding-where-tile-meets-wall/

    Cabinet- Four doors! Two on the side are narrower cut-down narrow bifold doors like your pantry doors. Re-stores (… used thrift hardware store) sell old bifold doors and shutters quite often you might be able to get lucky and find something that’s a good fit. If the doors are too tall accommodate with a bottom drawer below the glass doors. Shape the cabinet with three boxes (two narrow and tall, one wide in center) and build a thick face frame to inset the doors and hide the seams.

    So I’m a fan of gaming Accessories and follow these Wyrmwood guys if you can ignore some lifestyle choices, you can see how they do different inlays. For a band they route the groove a little smaller than the material then hey tap it in. For the powder you route the shape drip, pour in powder, saturate with hardener (super glue?) then sand smooth. You might be able to mimic this with resin and alcohol inks. Play with scrap first because the veneer can make the finish sanding a little more of a delicate operation.

    1. I think that finish you showed at the top/against a shower tiled wall was very neat and eye pleasing…nothing too noticeable…just neat and clean.

    2. what a great idea. why didn’t i ever think of using baseboard for crown? Cuz of the name? Duh……this is wonderful

  6. Your problem is that you have waaay too much talent and so many good ideas. What you also have is the ability to change something at a later date should something not work out. Not that this would be a perfect solution, but very few of us have the talent to change something and make it work. You do.

  7. I agree that a hanging return on the crown molding is strange. Why not cut out a notch on the back of the crown molding to accommodate the 1 x 4 and have it run continuously?

  8. I have a suggestion for the bath storage cabinet. You could do it like the cabinet you show, but with some wider sides like the doors are a little more inset with some trim to create a design, but then the sides are hidden doors that can store tall items. I think for a broom/mop you don’t need a very wide space. You could use those push to open latches to open it. It could even be a pullout with hanging space for items.

  9. If you are going to need to build a cabinet in the toilet area I would go ahead and use the whole area. I’m for all of the storage you can have. Also on the vanities why not just build all the way across with a solid top and have a place in the center you can put pretty things. On the crown in the shower I would put a tile edging to finish it. Can you do a modified hanging return without so much space . Make the door top shorter.

  10. Love the idea of tall storage area for a broom and/or mop. I keep a small mop propped against the wall next to the toilet because, without it, by the time I go to the other end off the house to get a mop, I’m distracted by something else and never get back to the bathroom with the mop… Just sayin’…. So tall storage really appeals to me!

  11. Kristi, can you consider going ahead with the MDF ceiling cove with finish trim at the wall and ceiling intersections -and forget about the crown altogether? You would of course have to fill the tile at the top of the shower walls, but this finish would add good architectural interest while minimizing the issue of the uneven ceiling where there is door trim. Unfortunately, the superstructure sometimes dictates restraint where we would rather create the perfect vision. In this case, the crown is not that big a loss as the room will be spectacular at any rate.

  12. I have a suggestion for the vanity area. How about identifying all of the things that you want to store there, to see if the single-center storage will work? That will also help you decide whether or not you need full-wall storage in the toilet area. It seems like you may not have enough information to decide. Think of it as an organizing exercise.

  13. Fwiw, whenever you talked about the toilet area storage, I pictured it as a full wall built-in. That was just my assumption.

    For the vanities, I would personally prefer a small drawer for toothbrush, etc., as someone else mentioned.

    I’m no help on the crown. Trim and I aren’t friends.

  14. I know this might be anathema, but have you considered using a polyurethane exterior type of crown molding? You could take that around the entire room and into the shower…
    I think the idea of having a wall of storage is excellent. Why not build the pieces though so that the middle “armoire” has slightly different detailing than the side cabinets (on feet, maybe?) and then make the side cabinets look like older, painted cabinets – as if the armoire is sitting in a niche created by the other two.
    I like the gold detailing, too. I would probably go with small furniture pieces for the sinks. You could find some vintage nightstands or sonething and paint them in an accent color.

  15. Hi Kristie! Here’s what I would be doing in my house, in case it’s useful to you:

    First of all, no wood inside the shower itself, feels wrong to me, so tile up to the ceiling. I would treat the two smaller areas as separate rooms, even build a little “wall” above the opening perhaps, to make it feel like like a doorway. Crown molding around the main area would define it better (imagine looking at the main room’s ceiling, the shape of the molding around it; that’s what feels to be the shape of the room to me). For symmetry, you could treat the toilet opening the same way, then give it its’ own crown molding, like a small room. I think that’s similar to what is going on in your bathtub in your hallway bathroom? Don’t remember…

    I can’t think of anything that would be stored in a bathroom that I would want behind glass doors – though those can be treated of course. But what I originally thought you would do for some reason, was to cover an entire wall with cabinets. If it’s the wall at the back, I would be disguising the cabinets to look like a wall and use push mechanisms rather than handles (didn’t think much of them until I tried them, so if you are not used to them, give them a try); perhaps even go with rather glossy cabinets (to resemble your shower and create the symmetry you were discussing). There’s lots of different things you can do of course, but in my mind the toilet is either a separate room or it isn’t. If it’s part of the bathroom, the star of the main room is your wallpaper and cabinets, and I wouldn’t do something completely different in the small area (wouldn’t give it a “character” that is visible from the main room). If it’s a separate room (and the crown molding idea above could assist in that), then I would perhaps do something different, but it would probably be on the small wall separates the toilet from the main room, so that it’s not visible from the rest of the bathroom.

    Hope this makes sense!

    1. Oh, I like that suggestion! A short “false header” across both openings. I think that’s a wonderful solution.

  16. Kristi, I’m looking at the way you finished the ceiling in the music room, it seems similar to what you’re working on now. After applying the flat board to the ceiling, it looks like you used a small finish trim at the ceiling & a small-to-medium crown molding at the wall. Could you do that here? It appears the space between the crown and top of door molding would be much the same in both rooms…

  17. In thinking about your crown molding, have you considered just a header across the opening to the shower and the toilet area. You could end the crown there and not have it across your mural (I think I remember you saying your didn’t want it there) I think it would look good. It would also allow the tile to the ceiling look in the shower to look appropriate.

    As for the storage dresser look I would keep in mind the picture frame molding you are planning for your wainscoting. A similar size (like the gold around the entire drawer section) would mimic the wainscoting. I was also wondering about a flip-out drawer (like under the kitchen sink) would be a good place for toothpaste and toothbrush. Just a thought.

    For the toilet room cabinet I really love the example you showed. If the panels on the sides could have a false or hidden depth you could have it pull open to hand a broom and/or mop.

    You have so many good ideas and such good ideas I know you will come up with the exact right thing. Love your style.

  18. What about doing 2 separate recessed ceilings for each area (shower & toilet area) and have them tie into the rest of the bathroom area (not recessed)

  19. For the vanities, consider where you’ll store your toothbrush, hairbrush, etc. If you’re not making shelves behind the mirrors, I would think you’d want drawers in the vanities.

  20. For the trim, what about putting something like a bullseye or flower rosette corner block or a corbel (or a corner block stacked on top of another block, if more thickness is needed) at the top of your 1×4, so your main bathroom crown can dead end into it?
    Then you can do something different in the shower and it will look intentional.

  21. Do what you know must be done. Finish the tile in the shower. And anything else you know. I’m sure there is foam crown trim. Try it in the shower. Then move on with the storage cabinet. Decide later on the door. It keeps you moving. You’ve done a great job!

  22. Having followed you for years, I know that you will work out the solution to all of your issues. You just need to remember to relax, take a step back and the answers will come to you. In the mean time, start working on another small project so you can focus in another direction. Eventually, you will get the inspiration you need. Go Kristi!

  23. Since your “tables” will probably have an apron, what about skinny drawers behind it, for toothpaste and those little things? The whole apron front could pull out, or you could do a 3 panel look with the gold trim where it doesn’t look like drawers.

  24. Don’t get frustrated, it will come together. You are just letting things “cook” for a while until you decide the right direction.

  25. I would forget the crown, inside the shower/toilet areas I would run a border tile top and bottom, and a painted wood border in the vanity area, using the vertical board as your break point. Do the built ins if you want storage that won’t show, and use the doors in the middle. How would you feel about your sink areas just being made from the same material as the bowls, with an apron of the same? (Such as granite, quartz, etc.) It could be an all-in-one piece, mounted to the wall, with a space under the window for a dresser-type storage unit you make. You could have the apron cut out for the dresser, or have it included in the sink/counter part.

  26. We use electric toothbrushes (a great invention) and electric shavers – our vanity cabinets have power points inside them to enable the chargers to be plugged in at all times. This keeps the bench super tidy as everything lives in cupboards, out of sight. Admittedly our cabinets are mounted on the wall either side of the mirror, but it is something to consider if you use similar items and wish to store them away.