The Bathroom Subfloor Disaster + Another Design Change!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday weekend.

Well, I began working on this post on the 3rd, the day the bathroom hardwood floor was relinquished to the scrap heap; thus exposing the horrifying bathroom subfloor.


However, before we go on with the bathroom subfloor and the ensuing issue with the design, a gentle reminder…



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Back to the topic at hand.The bathroom subfloor


There has been so much activity in the house recently that I’m relieved to have a few days without workers. A little respite is important, too.


So far, we’re totally on track with the schedule.


The downstairs is clean and ready for the floor crew on Monday, except for the washer and dryer my GC implored me to get ASAP last April. I wanted to wait and now, the only place we can put them is in the hall. My neighbors said it’s okay. It will only be for about two weeks.

Wednesday morning, I woke up at about 8:00 AM to the sounds of intense sawing and the scent of burning wood, which I rather like. I was so grateful I could slither away up the stairs to my neighbor’s apartment. Ugh, I could still hear the noise from two floors below, but I managed to get a nap in.


bathroomshortly before surgery
The bathroom, on June 30th, the day I decided enough was enough. This floor has to go!!!


And now, the deed has been done.


They murdered that lopsided, undulating floor but good and took the remains out to the patio, a makeshift morgue for all items no longer needed.

And now, for the post-mortem.

The bathroom subfloor is even worse than I thought.

Wanna see?


Yes, of course, we want to see Laurel.


hideous bathroom subfloor

Let’s take a closer look at the shameful bathroom subfloor. First, they should’ve replaced ALL of the old subfloor, not done this weird patch job.


closeup of the hideous bathroom subfloor

The floor is hideously uneven, groady, and sloping. Some parts are more than a 1/4″ higher than the adjacent boards. It’s supposed to be flat, even, and clean.


awful bathroom subfloor

No wonder it felt like I was teetering on a seesaw.


ridiculously uneven bathroom subfloor


Are they barking mad?

Well, I am!

Okay, this is like when you break a bone, and then you go to the doctor, who has to rebreak it so that it heals properly.

This is exactly like that. The bone has been set and now the healing can begin.


So, you said you were doing tile in the bathroom. Have you decided what it is yet?


Yes, I have, and I can’t wait to show it to you.



You know, if you give a moose a muffin, you’ll have to… Remember those charming children’s books? Well, changing the bathroom from the more delicate version to this hunky retro-inspired beauty is throwing everything off.

However, this below, is the right bathroom. I am positive. It took such a long time for this room to come into focus for me.


Bathroom rendering deco-influenced rendering - with a level bathroom subfloor

No, this isn’t the floor, but my new bathroom floor design was inspired by this 1″ hexagon pattern.


New Entrance hall - embrasure doors - bedroom-Linen closet Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Door


It’s not that I can’t keep the white walls and Hague Blue doors for the entry. I still love that look. The problem is there’s too much white. As much as I adore Darryl Carter’s no-color look, that’s not this house. When I walk past the staircase, I really long to see some color against the black railing. And that’s upstairs, too. That bit of sage-green wall would be so lovely in the color scheme.

Please note, that there will be at least one piece of wood-stained furniture in the entry.

Farrow & Ball Chappell Green
Above is Chappell Green, an archived color by Farrow & Ball.

It’s really more of a jade green.


staircase railing guardrail - living room furniture-George Smith Jules Sofa


However, I found a Benjamin Moore color that is very close and has gotten a lot of great press in recent years.


Benjamin Moore Grenadier Pond 698


Grenadier Pond - Chappell Green new stair handrail design inspired by upstairs-downstairs (2010) my face


Yes, the original muted mid-tone greenish color. If I do that, then the doors MUST be black. Then, I could bring the green into the center section painting the double closet doors (please see below) in the embrasure hall, all green. I think the black doors might be too much. However, the green will both visually expand the entrance and bring some welcome color to that side of the primary bedroom suite.

embrasure doors flanking primary closet
This middle section above is what I’m talking about, in case that’s not clear.


This color also looks fabulous with the new retro-inspired bathroom design.


The Mural Source Solitude_White Gustavian vignette - Bedroom mural

But what about the bedroom? Can I still do the Mural Source fabulous Solitude Chinoiserie Mural?


Yes, I could; the colors are perfect. However, I will hold off until more of the downstairs is finished.


Okay, a few hours ago, I thought I had better do a rendering—or rather, re-do the Hague Blue door rendering.


Kermit the frog was right. Turning the white walls into a muted mid-green wasn’t easy, but I did it.


So, let’s take a look.

We went from this:


New Entrance hall - embrasure doors - bedroom-Linen closet Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Door

To this.

New-Entrance-hall-embrasure-doors-Linen-closet-Farrow-Ball-Chappell-Green-Benjamin-Moore-Grenadier Green

Benjamin Moore Grenadier Pond 698.

Haha, yes, that’s my bookcase in the bedroom!


This is how I do my renderings. I take pieces of images and put them together.

mockup fireplace insert

This one would’ve been a more accurate perspective. Oh well.

I added the railing from another image! (below)

great view up new staircase railing - embrasure doors

And yes, the stair treads will be black. When I went on the Beacon Hill Holiday House tour last December, I visited two homes with brown-stained floors and black stair treads. It’s a beautiful look. And I think it will be wonderful with the black railing.

Plus, the original Upstairs Downstairs staircase had black treads.

So, there it is…


Let’s look at last February’s “Upstairs/Downstairs” rendering.


Grenadier Pond - Chappell Green new stair handrail design inspired by upstairs-downstairs (2010) my face

Now, let’s look at the bathroom again.


Bathroom rendering deco-influenced rendering - with a level bathroom subfloor

I think I love it!

Wait, one more. Now you can see what a peak of the Mural Source Solitude looks like.


New Entrance hall - bedroom The Mural Source Solitude - Linen closet Farrow & Ball Chappell Green - Benjamin Moore Grenadier Pond

I think it looks fantastic here, very fresh, but I still want to wait. There’s no harm in waiting. However, I’m lovin’ that green. It’s perfect.


Laurel, that’s very nice. But what about the bathroom floor? What are you doing about that? Isn’t that more important than trying to figure out if you will do wallpaper or not?


Oh, no worries. Make no mistake, I’ve been working very hard on the new bathroom floor. I’ve come up with a design I love. Samples are on the way and should be arriving this week. Then, I can order and have the tile here the following week. (I hope)

As for the design, I just need to remeasure the bathroom, and then I will put it down on paper.

I should have that Monday night into Tuesday for you.

To my readers on the Texas coast, I wish you Godspeed in the coming hours as Beryl makes landfall.



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36 Responses

  1. I love the green paint and black doors…especially with the flooring. I have been subscribed and following for a long while, but I don’t usually comment. I am just thrilled for you and can’t wait to see it finished. Thanks for including us in your adventure 🤍

  2. Looks like I’m the first one to post on your bathroom floor. I love penny tile, but would you consider a 2” hexagon marble tile floor with a light gray grout? When I look at your rendering, the white with black flowers jumps out and grabs attention, where I’d rather focus on the vanity and sconces. It feels a little cute, rather than elegant. Just my opinion, and I know whatever you choose we will all love. So fun and informative to go on this journey with you!

  3. Hi Laurel! I’m team Hague Blue and White (can’t remember the paint color name). I feel like the black doors might be too much, but, I trust you!

  4. I adore that green! Your stair railing is gorgeous also. In your rendering, I think the black looks classy, but I, too, worry about black stair treads for safety reasons. The black door could end up looking like a black hole? It all looks fabulous in your rendering, so I might be totally wrong! I know whatever you choose will look amazing 😊

  5. I’m so glad the sub floor is being fixed! I would love to know if Robert is doing it and how you got him to – It’s crazy to me that homeowners have so little recourse to make sure work is being done correctly! Here’s to the light at the end of the tunnel.

  6. I like both the green and white version.But I think black doors makes to much off a statement.Enough black on railing and floor.Stairs I would keep the wood as a nice contrast and not painted black.
    But yes it’s so hard too decide.It takes time to find the colors that you want to live with.
    But you are getting there!

  7. When you get finished you should most definitely take a photo on the staircase posed like the rendering in the same gold sequined gown! It would be EPIC!!!

  8. SO happy you had that bathroom floor ripped out – you must be v relieved that the bad flooring job is gone but is the same team re-doing it for you? Will they be replacing the subfloor too? You are v smart to hold off on your paint decision, even after you have ‘decided’! lol. I love the sage green (very moody) although might you get tired of that color? The black accents feel cold to me and not such a fan of black treads or the green risers. Love the photo of your staircase w/ railing. Even unfinished, the wood tone is just beautiful and the lower level bright and airy. Maybe an off-white like Ben Moore’s Ballet White that adds a little warmth and not so stark? And when your wood floors are finished they will also add a degree of warmth. Plus art for color! Looking forward to your next post and so happy you are in the home stretch!

  9. On second thought, black stair treads are most aesthetically appealing and complementary to your other design elements. Good lighting and good corrective lenses should address safety concerns.

  10. That subfloor is shameful–if Robert thinks that was acceptable he’s crackers. I’m glad he’s losing money on the job if he thinks that’s good work.

  11. Great job, Laurel… you have the wonderful ability to adapt and see through to the solution’s next step…
    Love the green, the black not so much…
    Where are the floor joists in the bathroom? They’re foundational to an even floor (my experience).
    And please consider heated tile floors in your bathroom – you’ll appreciate it when winter is here…
    the heating elements are low cost and don’t use a lot of electricity…
    Good Luck – waiting for the next installment…

  12. So happy to see the floor being replaced. I sure agree with your decision to add colour downstairs. Over twenty years ago my family travelled to the Baltic. We were so enamoured with the gorgeous palaces in Sweden, Denmark, Ukraine and St. Petersburg that upon our return, I painted much of our home’s main floor in the greens and blues you have chosen and I put in crown moldings with dentils and made them metallic gold with an antique crackle finish. All very Neo-Classical and slightly over the top for our sixties bungalow but we loved it. We eventually tired of the green walls and painted them white but retained the green trim. If you adore certain colours, why not keep them? Finally, I kind of agree with those readers who caution about all black stair treads because of safety concerns and they show every speck of dirt and dust.

  13. Love all your posts! Here’s an idea for more blog posts…. Can you teach us how you construct these fabulous photos ? Inserting trims, floors, paint colors… furniture! Wowee!!!! it’s amazing, as are you!

  14. Hi,
    The green is lovely, although I’m sure you would make white lovely as well!
    You might know this…but I wasn’t sure because of the wording whether you were looking for a substitute for the F&B colour because it’s archived. You can actually order archived colours from F&B….you just can’t get the sample pots.

    If you know the F&B colour name you can order online. I got the exact colour I wanted from archives dealing with a shop owner with full knowledge of all the archived colours. (Bespoke Design, Victoria, B.C.)

  15. I just had my stairs painted black — originally wood stained — and it shows shoe prints very clearly. But then I’ve had buyers and technicians and construction workers in and out. I think if it’s just you and occasional parties, it would be ok, but I wouldn’t do it if again I had a lot of people going in and out the house. IMHO.

  16. Tsippi reminded me about heated floors. My daughter and SIL heated all their kitchen and bath floors (all tiled) because he really hates cold floors. More expense, but something to think about (although if you are doing wood floors in there, a moot point).

    1. Hi Liz,

      I had heated floors and after the first year, they never came on. My situation is a bit unusual. I have an autonomic nervous system condition with the acronym POTS.* Heat is my enemy. However, I adore hot showers. The hotter the better. That is… until I get out. It’s not every time, but what can happen is a tendency for blood pooling followed by a substantial drop in blood pressure, increased heart rate, dizziness and feeling faint.

      So, for me… it is helpful to step out onto a delightfully cool floor, and then lie horizontal for a few. Then, I’m fine.

      /////////////*For more information about POTS, please go here.

      Please know that 99% of the time, I’m symptom-free.

      BTW, POTS is one of the most common symptoms of “long covid.” In other words, long covid is nothing new. It just has a name now.

  17. Okay, someone has to do it, so I’ll volunteer a dissenting opinion.

    I’m not a fan of black doors except maybe for an outdoor entry door. A little black goes a long way and you already have plenty. I would stick with trim color for doors. Everywhere. Painting large closet doors black, as if they are architecturally special focal points you really, really want the eye to land and dwell on, seems off IMHO.

  18. I just love all that you have chosen! I also have black doors in my home & have loved them. (My GC & family thot I was nuts but I held my ground & when they were done, everyone was taking fotos of the result!). Also, I use a website “” that can pull up paint colors and give you formulas & comparisons with nearly all major paint companies. So just for kicks, I typed in Chappel green, and then compared to Benjamin Moore, and the first color that came up was Grenadier Pond! Bingo!

  19. Laurel, Its gorgeous, ALL of it. Just one thing…. in bathrooms, when people leave the plumbing showing under the vanity, that curved pipe under the sink looks somewhat unfinished to me (it also reminds me of male anatomy, but that’s just weird me. ) There is another version of pipe that looks more finished that I”ve seen that doesnt curve but is a straight vertical piece of pipe that looks more finished, but is still traditional. I hope you know the version I’m speaking about. I hope you’ll consider using it. Otherwise, it’s the most perfect of perfect homes, and enjoy it in good health!

  20. Your blog is such a delight and wealth of good advice. Its been fun watching your thinking process designing your home. I love all your choices! Just one word of caution with black stair treads. When you are walking down black stair treads you don’t see the edges of the steps, especially at night. It can be a bit of a tripping/falling hazard. What about black risers and the steps stained in the same color as the living room floor?

  21. So if you paint the downstairs in the green by the stairs would the upstairs wall by the stairs also be green, up to the ceiling? Would the walls upstairs be green too?

  22. Dear Laurel,

    I rarely write, but wanted you to know how much I enjoy your post — and admire you! When you are done, it might be fun to feature your renovated home on the YouTube program HOMEWORTHY. They do tours of design blogger’s and designer’s homes. What you have achieved will be incredible for people to see! Warmly, Deborah

  23. Hi Laurel,
    I’m glad to know the flooring is being resolved. I think you should deduct some payment from the original contractors since they are the reason you have to take on the additional expense of having the floor fixed.
    I’ve always been a fan of black doors. I’m going to wait until all the painting is done before I decide on the new color scheme. Knowing you, I’m sure I’ll love it.

  24. I was expecting to see your floor joists in the bathroom. Surely, the leveling will happen with joists that are sistered to the existing ones. Been there, done that.

    I love the green!

  25. Laurel, I like both color schemes, however am partial to the green. I agree that too much white makes you wish for a color splash. Also, the black doors are genius. I understand you are still in the rendering stage – so am looking forward to the final color scheme. And wow on the floor! They must have been tired of the reno when the contractors decided to cheap out. Am sure you will be very happy you decided to get the floor fixed before the reno went any further. Expensive – but will wind up being worth it in the end.

  26. Well, I guess the one bright spot is your decision to rip out the oak floor now saved you the heartache of having to do it in three years when it would have started cracking along the sub-floor seams. That would have been a true nightmare. I’m envious of the tile floors you’ve chosen. At some point in the last 100 years, someone ripped out the mosaic floors in my new apartment. It makes me sad — but not sad enough to want to rip out the heated floors that replaced them!

  27. I’m with Susie on this one; I much prefer the original color scheme to the darker green with black door.

  28. The green is a little on the dark side for me. When we lived in a 1890 house, everything sloped towards the lake.

  29. So glad you discovered the terrible job they did on subfloor! I cannot believe they thought it acceptable. I personally loved the greek key design for bathroom floor. Clean and classic. The lower level with the green paint makes it very cozy, cocoon-like. I like both the white and green options. Follow your instincts on your final decision. I hope you create a slow video of your entire home when completed. I can’t wait for the tour, it’s so beautiful and inspiring.

  30. didn’t your contractors supposedly fix the bathroom floor? And they left it uneven like that and thought it was ok or that you wouldn’t notice?

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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