Our Forever French Remodel. . . in progress.



There comes a time in every home remodeling project that I ask myself why on earth I thought I was qualified to undertake this project (eerily similar to what I say at the starting line of every marathon). There’s been hours of middle-of-the-night worry over some odd decision, or quite literally inches here versus inches there.

In every house I’ve remodeled, the overall design practically appeared in a flash. Seems I could see the furniture, the style, colors, and how we’d live there the moment I set foot inside the doors. Maybe because I have promised my husband this will be our last remodel (at least in the foreseeable future), or maybe just because it is one of the most special homes I’ve come across in many years. . . this house scares me half out of my mind.

Nonetheless, at the risk of divulging some design faux pas that only I have yet to see, here’s the design strategy for our new home – now nearly halfway finished.

Provençal. . .

A personal struggle ensued from the onset between the idea of French Provincial and French Country design. Nothing about this home felt country. Then my Aunt decided to sell her remaining parquet tiles, and the whole-house design seemed to take off from there. Finally, I could see a very elegant interpretation of Provençal developing.

The 28×28 tiles are made from different wood species giving them a unique design when stained. There will be enough tiles to use in the kitchen, entry foyer and master bath. (The finished floor in the far right photo is the finished version of similar tiles used in our last renovation.)

Powder Room. . .

Not one inch will be sacrificed in the design of this home, and this was especially critical in the downstairs powder room. The first toilet ordered left little room between the seat and the wall. We moved onto another room while we waited on a replacement, smaller toilet.


The pedestal sink needed to be just 17″ deep to allow ample passage to the new toilet. The wall color was a safe choice but one that seems to fit well, although I do believe there may be another paint/glazing process in my future to give the color more depth/age. Add an impact piece of art and I think this little bath will turn into wow.

Taking the walls of your house down to its very studs is so much easier for creating the perfect lighting plan. We did not take this house down to the studs. 

I wanted a ‘statement’ light for this little room, but one 40-watt bulb wouldn’t shed enough light for the whole room, and the perfect fixture (top right) was too large. The crystal-laden sconce has been ordered, but will require the outlet be moved off center several inches. . . something I’m not sure is yet possible.

Guest Bath. . . 

My Guest Bath Inspiration room. . . and the real pink bathroom.

Saving the pink bathroom is proving the most challenging of all tasks. We found a fabulous vanity that fit the design I had in mind, Hollywood glamour, at only $400! (HomeDecoratorsCollection) The first delivery wasn’t even attempted because the vanity was damaged so badly, so we moved onto another room while we awaited the replacement vanity. It arrived a week or so ago –  in two boxes. . . in other words, assembly required.

We spent a day or two in shock. I spent another day or two re-thinking the entire design, specifically a simple 2-legged porcelain sink with the carrerra marble we’ve added to the floor taken all the way to the ceiling – although this would have been a budget buster, I was wondering why I hadn’t gone that route in the first place.

Our contractor called one evening and talked us off the ledge, and now we’ve finally made the move forward with our original design.

The vanity is exactly 61 inches wide, the space where the vanity will sit is 61 inches, although the space in the middle of the bath where it needs to be assembled is just 60-1/2 inches (thanks to that pretty, pink tile on the walls). To add to the drama, the original vanity supported one sink – our new vanity is a two-sink version, and now we worried about re-working the plumbing and lifting the vanity up and over to sit it flush against the wall in place. Ugh.

The plumbing has already been re-worked, and my husband immediately began stripping off another wall of the lovely pink tile to give us that precious 1/2 inch. This week we’ll assemble the vanity inplace.  The walls are destined for a lavish coat of Ralph Lauren metallic white (Lustre). Everyone’s holding their breath.

Master Bath. . . the room that will change the most.

Master Bath: ‘Before’


imageMaster Bath ‘In-Progress’

The vanity on the right (‘Before’ photo above) has been removed to provide a doorway into the adjacent bedroom, which will become the master closet/laundry.

Moving the toilet to the far wall (where the bathtub was) gives enough room for a 60″ vanity. We splurged on the vanity (having reduced our budget with the assembly-ready guest bath vanity!), and I found fabulous faucets at LightInTheBox.com for just $99 each.

James Martin Furniture ‘Mykonos’ vanity (bathroom vanity.com)

With the walls open, we can put the lighting anywhere we choose. You’d think it would become a simple decision.

I love the look of a pendant over the sink, but they do cast a shadow on the mirrors and I’ve sworn them off in this house. Sconces by the mirrors are quite beautiful, but I wasn’t sure whether we should use one large mirror or two narrow mirrors, and there’s hardly room for sconces, mirrors, and electrical outlets anyway.

The right choice seemed to be a sconce over the toilet that picks up the white of the vanity countertop, also providing much needed lighting throughout the room.

We discovered 18×18 black marble for the shower walls in a local tile warehouse, which will also be used as a border around the parquet tiles (similar to the picture above). White carrerra marble will be used on the shower floor, and, of course, the vanity top. I’m thinking of a pair of simple, wood-framed mirrors over the vanity, but the jury is still out.


The new closet door entry on the left, and the makings of a laundry closet on the right.

My inspiration laundry closet (courtesy sketch42blog.com).


Elsewhere around the house. . . 


The guys have so willingly worked around our ‘stuff’ to paint all the walls my favorite color of pale yellow (Sherwin Williams Buff). Since this photo was taken the beautiful crown molding has also become a shimmering, pure white. Hopefully by the time I write about this subject again, we’ll be looking at finished rooms.


Most photos are courtesy Wayfair where I have purchased many of the items, or from my own camera role. My inspiration room photos have come from Pinterest. Please send me a reply if there’s a specific photo you’d like to know more about. thanks for reading! 


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