Bathroom Vanity Decisions & Extension Progress

If you caught my last post, you may have read that a “custom” bathroom vanity was included in the extension build contract, so we assumed we could request pretty much whatever we liked (within reason of course). My initial plan was to go with solid timber, so we could then choose to stain or paint it as desired.

However, we’ve since come to learn that there are a few limitations, mainly due to the fact the builder uses a cabinet-making company which focuses on producing vinyl wrapped MDF. There goes my solid timber idea!

Of course, we always had the option of forgoing the contractual inclusion and buying or commissioning something ourselves, though my parents weren’t fussed about making the most of what the builder had offered. And the fact is, we were never looking for some kind of amazing showpiece. We just wanted the vanity to be quite simple and classic. Plus, sticking with the vinyl wrap option is likely to be much more economical!

Also, if I’m honest, I don’t have a huge problem with vinyl wrapped MDF. It’s super common, durable and low-maintenance. The only real issue is that it does somewhat limit our choice of finishes, which is a bit of a shame.

So, not knowing exactly what our options were, mum and I visited the cabinet-making company a few days ago to look at swatches of the available finishes, and also see the range of door profiles.

We knew from the start we wanted shaker style cabinetry, and are currently tossing-up between these doors…

Shaker Door Styles

Do you have a favourite?

As for the finish, we didn’t want anything glossy, and mum was keen on charcoal, duck egg, taupe, white or a nice wood-grain.

If you’ve been following along you may have seen that in my previous renderings I’ve included deep green (which I adore but my parents aren’t fans of) and rustic mid-toned timber (which everyone seems to like). However both of these finishes aren’t included in the vinyl selection offered by the cabinet-making company.

In fact, the choice was pretty limited. Aside from white, which came in about one million variations, there was only really one decent option in each of our chosen colours. So, here’s what we’re working with…

Cabinet Colours

And here they are in place in my rendering…


Duck Egg




Personally, I like them all and there is really no right or wrong. It just comes down to personal preference. Still, we needed to make a decision (’cause I reckon it would just look weird having one panel of each!). So, here’s how we narrowed things down…

CHARCOAL | I love the depth and pop of dark cabinetry, though here with the floor it just felt a little too much. Generally, I like dark cabinets when they’re a stand-alone feature. Plus, it’s not an overly bright room so the charcoal won’t help lighten things up.

DUCK EGG | This is really lovely. I’m just a bit concerned that the pastel tint will define the vibe of the room (it’s a little bit coastal/vintage/feminine), and limit the potential to change the general feel in the future. It will also somewhat dictate the wallpaper we can choose.

TAUPE | Nice, warm and neutral. It’s nothing amazing though it’s totally inoffensive, yet a tad more interesting than white, and I do really like it.

WHITE | You can’t really go wrong with white, but sometimes it can just feel a little ‘blah’. Don’t ya think? Still, a definite classic option which can be dressed-up if needed.

WOOD GRAIN | We’ve been leaning toward timber from the start, as a way of injecting some warmth and texture into the space, so this option did have a bit of an advantage. My main concern is that this is faux timber and whilst it looks and feels (it’s textured) great on the swatch, we haven’t actually seen it used over a large surface in real life – and faux finishes can be so risky! Considering this, I left the decision up to mum (that way I can’t be blamed if it looks crap!) and she was willing to take the gamble! Fingers majorly crossed!

So, it’s wood grain for the win!

The top will be Caesarstone (as specified by the builder) and we’ve already narrowed that down to 40mm/1.5″ Frosty Carrina, which has gentle ivory tones and subtle powdery veins.

Frosty Carrina

We’re still refining the overall design of the cabinet, but it will more or less be along the lines as previously shown – a faux upper drawer to conceal the basin and plumbing and a two door cabinet below with a recessed sunken make-up bench to the left.

Not sure if the bench can be floating at this stage. If not, we’ll need to add a panel to support it which is really no biggie.

Here are a few inspo images I found which incorporate similar-ish vanities…






Stepped Vanity

Stepped Vanity

Not sure on the hardware yet. I do love the idea of brass however we’ll wait and see as the room comes together.

In other extension news, we’re almost at lock-up!

The final coat of render went on the exterior a few days ago and after some (okay, lots of) self-doubt, I absolutely LOVE the colour (Dulux White Duck). Sorry, it’s a bit hard to see here through all the scaff and with the sun shining on it.


Likewise, I’m also loving the weatherboards and eaves (Dulux Snowy Mountains Half) which dad has finished. The earthy white of Snowy Mountains Half works beautifully with the greige tint of White Duck, and the roof and gutters (Colorbond Monument) provide the perfect bold contrast.


Inside, the plaster is up and the waterproofing is done!

Here’s the kitchenette (it’s a little dark because the windows are still sheeted up).


And here’s the bathroom.

Bathroom Progress

The glaziers will be installing the window glass tomorrow, and next week the tilers start!

Then onto the staircase and flooring – among other things!

Will be sure to share each stage as we go!




The Suite Extension | Bathroom Plans & Product Choices

Although I’ve worked on a heap of bathrooms in the past, they’ve always been simple refreshes, or DIY makeovers, so this is the very first time I’ve ever started from scratch!

And it’s sooooo exciting!

I mean, as much as I love my basic updates, there’s just something about the total freedom of a new build. I wouldn’t say I prefer one over the other, they’re just different.

Of course, the bathroom layout was determined a few months back when the official floor plan was drawn up, though we’re now at the stage where all of the design decisions need to be made. And pretty quickly…the tiler could be starting as early as next week! Yikes!

Just to help you get your head around things, here’s the general layout as per the original floor plan (dimensions in millimeters)…

Bathroom Plan

Remember, there will be an adjoining separate powder room so no need for a toilet in here, and there is already a tub in the main bathroom downstairs.

As mentioned in the past, although mum is open to being a bit adventurous with changeable elements, she is a stickler for timeless neutrals when it comes to most fittings. In many ways this is a blessing as it helps define the direction of the room and instantly eliminates a heap of the endless options out there!

I’ve already shared the tapware she chose…

Nostalgia Shower Set

Tap Set

Phoenix Nostalgia Exposed Shower Set ($730)
Phoenix Nostalgia Basin Set ($420)

And here is the basin…


Caroma Luna Inset Basin ($120)

Mum didn’t want to deck mount the basin set and it was tricky finding a good-looking, affordable basin which had the three hole option. This one is nothing special though it’s nice and simple and will do the job.

To round off the plumbing fixtures, all we needed was a floor waste for the shower drain. And man, I had no idea how many options there were out there!

My initial thought was to simply use a tile inset waste, though then I started finding all these pretty traditional ones and couldn’t look back!

Floor Wastes

I love the round options though know they can look a little messy (depending on how skilled and fastidious the tiler is) so decided to go with this classic square one…


Sunny Design Solid Brass Floor Waste ($12)

The next big decision was the tiles.

To be honest, I had barely given these a thought, assuming we had plenty of time, though just last week mum mentioned that the builder was pressing to have them arranged! Argh!

I knew mum wanted some kind of white subway for the walls, so it came down to selecting a timeless yet interesting floor tile to add some depth and interest.

My initial idea (given mum’s love of classics) was to go with black and white hex tiles.

Hex Tiles

I pretty much assumed this selection would be home and hosed though, rather surprisingly, my parents weren’t keen.

The next style which popped into my head was charcoal subways laid herringbone.


And they liked it!

I figured finding charcoal subways would be super straight forward, though it actually took two days and four different stores! Turns out, floor grade subways aren’t particularly common.

The first store we visited only had one option. It was nice though kinda expensive and not quite the right scale.


Forte Urban 40cm x 8cm ($170 square meter) 

The next store also had only one appropriate option. It was like a brick slip and we were smitten! Only they had none in stock in the colour we wanted and wouldn’t be getting any until January!


Bricklane Cemento 30cm x 7cm ($99 square meter)

The third store had a similar brick slip option (which I adored) though it was too rustic for mum.

Brick Slip

Tribeca Grey Brick Textured 25cm x 6cm ($120 square meter)

The fourth store also only had one option. It wasn’t completely as I had envisioned – perhaps a tad less earthy – though it was the right price and in stock. Plus in the overall scheme of things, I knew it would look fine. Sold!

Charcoal Tile

Conazzo Charcoal Brick Matt 30cm x 7cm ($49 square meter)

Not totally sure yet, though we’ll probably go with a mid-grey grout.

As already mentioned, I knew mum wanted white subways for the walls, though as anyone who’s shopped for tiles lately will know, there are about one zillion different white subway options out there…bevelled, rippled, long, short, smooth, textured, gloss, matt. I was pretty sure mum would go with the most traditional style, and I wasn’t wrong…


1:2 (20cm x 10cm) White Subway Gloss ($24 square meter)

To be honest, I actually really like their simplicity too. Am thinking we’ll team them with a light-grey grout to compliment the floor and add some definition.

So, with the wall tiles sorted, we just needed to figure out where we actually wanted to put them! A full room of floor to ceiling tiles can be really striking, and it was tempting, though we both felt it may look too clinical, plus mum wanted some wall space to play around with colour and/or pattern. After considering a few different options, we settled on floor to ceiling in the shower, and tall-ish wainscotting for the remainder of the room.

We still have lots of decisions (big and small) to make, though here’s the general plan at this stage…


Bathroom Overhead

Bathroom Rendering

Design Elements

1 | CORNICE I know it’s not the most trendy thing to do in a bathroom, though I really love the way a cornice (crown moulding) can finish a space. If we’d decided to tile floor to ceiling throughout the whole room, we may have forgone one, though we’ve chosen to include a cornice here to create a nice clean border for any wallpaper or paint we add to the walls – plus I just like the character it imparts.

2 | VANITY We’re still currently nutting this out. A custom vanity was included in the build contract, so we assumed we could request pretty much whatever we liked (within reason of course) however it turns out there are quite a few restrictions. I initially suggested a stepped vanity to mum because the plans showed the window as being too low for a continuous counter. And although we’ve since learned there is actually plenty of space, mum was already sold on the ‘floating make-up’ bench idea. Fair enough because it’s cute and different. The top will be a subtle white stone though we’re not yet sure about the base. If timber (or decent faux timber) is an option, we will likely go with that. Otherwise, as much as I love the idea of deep green, it will probably be something more neutral, like charcoal or soft grey.

3 | SHOWER NICHE Not totally sure what we’re doing here yet, though I like the idea of something tall rather than long. Am contemplating using pencil tiles as edging and adding stone shelves.

4 | WALLPAPER Because mum is totally paralysed by the thought of adding pattern or colour in any kind of fixed feature, I suggested wallpaper several months back as a less permanent alternative to inject a bit of bang. Here I’ve used a large scale black and white floral, though I have no idea what we’ll actually end up going with.

5 | TILE CAPPING We’re still trying to work out the best way to finish the exposed edge of the wainscotting. Pencil tile is an option though they aren’t cheap. An alternative we’ve been considering is basic timber trim painted a gloss white. Could also just go with regular white schluter edging.

6 | TOWEL HOOKS Not sure if we’re going to use hooks or a bar yet. Obviously, it’s not a pressing decision so we’ll wait until the room has come together.

7 | WINDOW DRESSING There isn’t a privacy issue, so we may not end up installing any window dressing, though sometimes it’s a nice way to add a bit of softness to a room with lots of hard surfaces. Here I’ve just used a basic roman shade however I have no idea what we could end up going with.

8 | LIGHT FITTINGS Much to my dismay, dad is insisting on a heat light so we’ll just get the most basic one we can and hope it blends in! Not sure what we’re doing with the sconce above the mirror yet. Am thinking something quite simple, like a clear dome or cone shade on a brass or black arm. We’ll see.

9 | MIRROR Obviously, this isn’t pressing. I do love a round mirror though lately have also been coveting oblong shaped ones. Will depend what we find. Not sure on the colour yet either. As much as I adore mixing my metals I don’t want to go too crazy!

So, that’s where we’re at!

The plaster is going up today so I’ll take some progress pics soon and share them when I’m back next!






Console Table Giveaway!


A little while ago I was lucky to attend the Brosa Studio+ launch where I was invited to select an item of furniture to take home for myself.

Instead, I decided to choose something and offer it as a gift to my followers as a way of saying THANK YOU for being so awesome!

If you’d like to win this stunning Shamal Console Table valued at almost $600, click the image above for further information and to enter. Good luck guys!






Giveaway is being run through Instagram. If you don’t have an Instagram account though would still like to enter, please feel free to contact me.

The Suite Extension | Progress & Design Decisions

As exciting as the construction phase of a new build can be, we all know that the truly exciting bit lies in pulling everything together! Choosing fixtures and fittings, selecting colours, looking at wallpapers, comparing tiles, deciding on flooring…I could go on.

At this stage we’re still far from having seriously considered most of these elements, though due to the fact my parents took off on vacation about a week after the build commenced (yep!) there were some early decisions which needed to be made in order for things to progress in their absence. These decisions mainly centered around the plumbing fittings, electrical plan and exterior colours.

If you’ve been following along from the start of this extension, you’ll probably know that my mum has quite classic taste and creating spaces which can stand the test of time is super important to her. So, bearing that in mind, which kind of finish and style do you think she went with for the bathroom fittings?

Yep, chrome and traditional all the way!

Nostalgia Shower Set

Tap Set

These were a bit of a splurge but aren’t they gorgeous?

They are part of the Nostalgia range from Phoenix Tapware.

There will be a simple white ceramic basin to compliment the mixer set.

Now I’m going to contradict myself because for the kitchenette mum chose this more modern brass (it’s actually called ‘rose gold’ though it definitely leans brass) fixture from Bunnings.

Jade Mixer

I can’t find this model in the same finish on their website anymore.

She isn’t opposed to mixing metals and felt that a single kitchen mixer is much less of a long-term commitment than a whole bathroom set.

It will be paired with a simple square stainless steel sink.

Although mum had to lay-out a basic electrical plan before going away on holiday, we haven’t actually chosen any light fittings yet.

There will be downlights throughout most of the space, along with a sconce above the mirror in the bathroom, a pendant over the dining area and two ceiling fans – one in the living zone and one in the bedroom nook. Being north-west facing, plus on an upper level, means this extension has the potential to get super hot during summer. There will also be a reverse cycle air conditioning unit near the kitchenette.

The interior colour scheme isn’t set in stone yet though I’m assuming my parents will want to continue the theme from the rest of their house by using Antique White USA on the walls and Vivid White (Builder’s White) on the ceilings and trim.

Interior Scheme

I’m also liking the idea of introducing wallpaper and maybe some feature paint somewhere. Not sure yet.

Unlike the interior paint colours which we can chop-and-change as desired, the exterior colours needed to be locked-in so the roofing could be ordered, the render could be arranged, and the gable weatherboards could be painted in advance.

As mentioned in my previous post, my parents wanted a light scheme with dark accents. We’ve chosen White Duck as the main colour, Snowy Mountains Half as the accent, and Monument for the roof and gutters.

Exterior Colours

Not entirely sure about the window frames, eaves and shutters yet. Still tossing up whether to do them light or dark.

Although White Duck appears tonally deep and somewhat beige here, when used in many exterior conditions it actually presents as quite white with an earthy grey-green undertone. Given how pale it looks outdoors I needed quite a crisp white for the accents to create enough contrast. I was tempted by Vivid White though know it can be overly stark, which is why I settled on Snowy Mountains Half.

Actually, funny story about the exterior colour selection…my parents had decided on White Duck and Monument before they went away on vacation, though shortly after they left the builder contacted me about choosing the gable weatherboard colour! And he needed to know ASAP! My local hardware store doesn’t carry many swatches, and not having time to test numerous sample pots against changing light conditions (and all that blah, blah, blah), I jumped on the Dulux webchat to talk things through with a colour consultant. At the end of the chat she said, “Just wondering, are you Kristine from The Painted Hive? I follow you on Insta and love your projects”. Ha, ha. I almost felt famous for a moment.

Of course, although not ideal, we can always easily change the accent colour if needed if we feel it’s not quite right once up on the house.

In regard to the actual build progress…the roof is on, the electrical has been run, the window frames are all in (that just happened yesterday so they aren’t shown in my pics which I took a few days back), the gable weatherboards are up (again, I don’t have pics yet), and an opening to the stairwell has been created.




It’s moving along quickly!


PS I’m launching a really awesome giveaway tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled!
I don’t do many giveaways because it sometimes seems like the web is saturated with them, though I do love that they provide the opportunity to say thanks to all my reader and followers (plus this one was just too good to pass up!).


The Suite Extension Plan

The frame is already up and as I type this the roof is going on (yep!) though before I get to sharing the build progress, I thought I should divulge the plan.

As mentioned in my last post, this will be a second story addition to my parent’s 1960’s house. They currently have a triple-split-level home (that makes it sound huge though it’s a regular family-sized home) and the addition will be going over the middle section.


In conjunction with the extension, they’ll also be making-over the exterior and doing some landscaping.

Of course, this means the size of the suite is dictated by the existing underlying level which is around 7 meters/22′ square.

We played around with a few different layout ideas though here’s the basic plan my parents settled on…

House Floor Plan Rendering

Rendering Overhead

House Rendering

Overhead Rendering


View Suite Extension in Chief Architect’s 3D Viewer.

If needed, refer to my instructions at the end of this post for viewing instructions.

Although these plans are to scale for the most part, they are just rough (we had official drawings created by a qualified draftsman), and the inclusion of most fixtures, furnishings and materials is merely suggestive at this stage. As much as I’d love for mum to go for an emerald green vanity, I’m not sure that’s on the cards (we’ll see!).

Along with the overall size being governed by the underlying level, for budget reasons as too is the position of the bathroom and powder room which sit directly above the main bathroom below. Fortunately, this works out well anyway as they are on the ‘blind’ side of the house, which leaves the living quarters open to the glorious view and little balcony.

There won’t be anything overly “designery” or extravagant about this build. Far from some additions where a charming old home is juxtaposed with a striking contemporary extension with all the bells and whistles, my parents want to keep things simple and consistent, which I think makes sense. They will retain the same basic architecture as already in place throughout their existing home, and in many ways this decision to remain homogeneous is actually a blessing, in that it eliminates the need to agonise over every…single…detail!

The stairs will go up at the far end of my parent’s entry hall, where there is currently an external door (which basically leads to nowhere), and a secondary passageway to the lower level (there is another access point to the lower level which you can’t see in this pic – hidden behind the open front door).

Entry Before

The staircase aesthetic hasn’t been locked-down yet, however it will just be relatively simple in-keeping with the existing style of the house.

As mentioned earlier, the build is already underway and this is the current state of things…

Obviously at this stage you need to use your imagination, so to help give my parents a visual idea, I created this rough rendering (not fully to scale)…

Exterior 3D Rendering

The completely different colour palette might surprise you, and whilst this is just a vague preliminary concept, my parents really want a light house with dark accents. I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to evolve yet, but the possibilities are exciting!





The 3D model viewer offers lots of different functions, so be sure to have a good play with all of the options. I highly recommend trying the mobile app for its rendering quality and dynamic interface. Please note that navigable 3D models don’t display in full detail which can result in some aspects of certain plans appearing a little flat and dull.

Simply click ‘Load Model’ and the plan should load and open (it may take a little while). To expand the size, click the ‘Full Screen’ icon in the lower right of the viewer. To enhance the texture quality, select ‘Standard’ from the ‘Rendering Techniques’ menu.

You can view the model in the Chief Architect 3D Viewer app. If you haven’t already, you can download the free 3D Viewer app to your mobile device here:

iTunes App Store
Google Play Store

If you have any issues, please let me know.