Tile and Bench Planning

We laid the last tile in the pool house this weekend and it’s a relief to have this huge task out of the way.  Grouting will come next, fingers crossed this weekend.


Once grout is complete, that concludes the floor saga for the pool house.  We’ll move on to trimming out doors, installing base boards, and attaching the rest of the vertical batten strips.  Creating the built-in benches will also happen somewhere in that mix, so I’ve given too much thought on the design of those.

Initially, I thought we’d have white benches, for simplicity, with wooden tops for durability.  A pair will follow the angled walls of the kitchen area, meeting at the corner.  Another bench will fill the recessed nook at the far end of the pool, as seen above.


Recently, while picturing everything in my head, I realized wooden bench tops weren’t going to cut it.  In a room with a white ceiling and (what will be) white walls, tile floors, and few other accessories, I don’t want this space to lack warmth.  Sure, adjacent areas will have wood in small doses, like the floating kitchen shelves:


And the half bathroom vanity:


But it’s still a stark contrast to the house, with hardwood floors and wooden furniture/accessories in every room.  In addition to the structural beams, the benches will be the main source of wood tones.

After considering options, I’ve decided I like the look of four horizontal planks along the front, similar to this:


The tops will open to access items inside, and I like the look of continuing the same boards along the top.  I’d love to have a very slight overhang of the top, with a cut in handle detail, like this CB2 bench, for a sleek look.

CB2 Wooden Bench

Loaded with pillows, it should be a perfect perch to hang out before/after swimming.  Or a place to watch the kids from.


Pipe Base Bench

Our master bedroom is over-sized, measuring a normal 13 feet wide, but just under 19 feet long.  It’s sized to have a small seating area directly ahead of the entrance, along the shared bathroom wall.  Which is what we set up when we moved in using a left over bench.


It wasn’t ideal, but I patiently waited for the perfect vintage dresser to replace the bench.  Stalking Craigslist paid off when I brought home the dresser of my dreams.


After building our king bed, we had a slightly too large space between the bed and dresser.  Just enough room for a bench.


As usual, we took the DIY route and made a 60 inch long by 19 inch wide bench, with a base made from galvanized pipe.


Crunching numbers and a trip to Home Depot later, we returned home with:

1 54 inch long section of pipe (cut and threaded at the store)

4 7 1/2 inch long pieces of pipe (cut and threaded at the store)

4 4 inch long galvanized nipples

4 3 inch long galvanized nipples

6 3/4 inch diameter galvanized tees

4 3/4 inch galvanized floor flanges

4 1 inch to 3/4 inch galvanized reducing couplings

1 package of black rubber adhesive pads


Before assembling, I cleaned the pipes with mineral spirits to clean off the manufacturing oil that coats the surfaces.  Then, started screwing the pieces together.  All 4″ pieces into either side of two of the tees.  A tee and reducing coupling on each end of the 3″ sections.  A floor flange on one end of the 7 1/2″ pipes.


To complete the leg assembly, first screw the tees into the horizontal bars.  Follow up with the long section with the floor flange to create two H shaped leg sides.


Attach the center bar, tighten everything up, and spray paint to match your decor.


With the base dry, we were ready to make the top.  We added two inches on the depth and three inches past each end of the length.


For a really sturdy top, we screwed two pieces of plywood together before wrapping both in a thin foam.  I found a thick ticking stripe fabric to wrap the top with, careful to keep the lines straight.  Adding black pads to the base prevents unnecessary scratches, but the sticky rubber also keeps the bench from sliding around on our wood floors.



The bench is the perfect perch to put on socks, or to toss the extra pillows at night.


There’s still a fair amount of floor space between the bench and dresser, but each piece has a purpose.


What do you think of bedroom sitting arrangements?  Do you have a tricky room or floor plan to work with?

Pool House Progress: Accessories

Guess what we did this weekend.  I’ll give you a hint:


More tile in the pool house!!  We really know how to have fun.


When the pool was initially built, everything immediately surrounding the pool had tile.  As the new structure settled, some of the tile cracked, a ladder on the deep end was removed, and outdoor grade carpet covered everything.


Only the bathroom hadn’t been tiled and was a quarter of an inch lower than the rest of the floor.  Ben laid sheets of 1/4 inch Hardie backer to even it out, then carried the tile into the room.


From there, the tile continues into the home of the future kitchen, going under the cabinet locations.


Unfortunately, the white ’tile’ edge is molded into upper fiberglass portion forming the pool walls.  Without completely reforming the pool, it has to stay.  Womp, womp, woooomp.


From this angle, it looks like we’re finished with our tiling adventure, but we still have about half left.


All of the angled cuts took longer than the previous section, but it’s really taking shape.


With the end of the project drawing nearer each weekend, I’m slowly stockpiling accessories as I find something I like.  Due to the nature of the room, accessories will be limited, so I’d like for each one to be both fun and functional with maximum impact.



  1.  Snowbound Painted Walls
  2. Montauk Black Slate Tile
  3. Metal Peyton Barrel Planters
  4. Black and Gray Turkish Towels
  5. Svartsjon Hooks
  6. Vintage Ram Skull
  7. Brass and Marble Side Table (similar)
  8. Black and Ivory Geometric Key Pillow
  9. Green and Black Striped Lumbar Pillow
  10. Indigo Tie Dye Ripple Pillow
  11. Wooden Storage Bench Tops

Do you have any favorite outdoor accessories?  Or pool/beach essentials?

Pool House Progress: Slate Tile Floors

Last we shared of the pool house was the addition of the batten strips and framing out the vent hood.  Certainly progress, but there’s one big step to cross off the list before the walls can be completed.  Tiling the entire floor, or roughly 600 square feet.  Dun dun dunnnnn.  Though I have the easiest part of the process, carrying/opening boxes of tile, I was dreading this step.

We know from framing the walls that nothing is square in here, with the floors sloping up to two inches over the length of the space.  Luckily, not much phases Ben and on Saturday, he jumped right in.

For a continuous feel, we’re using the same slate tile and herringbone pattern as the kitchen.


One small difference is slightly wider grout lines.  Knowing the floors are a touch uneven, we decided on 3/8 inch grout lines (versus 1/16 inch in the kitchen) to help minimize discrepancies.

Pool-House-Slate-Tile-Setting-Near-Middle-DoorWorking around the pool proved trickiest, until Ben built himself a marking jig.  Scraps of plywood set to the depth of the pool lip with a screw slightly through the top piece.


The bottom strips slide along the inside edge of the pool, with the screw scoring the top of the tile, marking where to cut.


At the end of tile day one, Ben got roughly 1/4 or 1/3 of the space done.


The next morning, the tile had set so we pulled out the spacers.  I followed up by washing the tile, scrubbing off any extra mastic.


Obviously, grout is still to come.






Having this tile in various rooms throughout our house, we know this tile is durable and the texture is naturally slip-resistant.


Dark floors paired with (what will be) white walls will ground this bright space.


We still have at least several days of tile or tile related tasks in our future, but progress always feels good.

Over-Sized Lumbar Pillow DIY

Every week, I strip our bed and wash our white sheets and bath towels.  And every week, when making the bed, I searched for the small tag at the bottom (or top) of the fitted sheet.  Finally fed up with that, I ordered a set of Organic Harmony Sheets from West Elm and impatiently waited the delivery.



When the UPS delivery arrived, I quickly ripped open the package, washed the sheets, and made the bed.



In the few days wait, I ran some errands and popped in JoAnn fabric.  I came across an indigo inspired fabric and bought a yard to sew up a new pillow.  Fabric in hand, I stopped into Wal-Mart and bought a basic body pillow for $9 and a 32 inch long zipper for three bucks.


I love the simple look of one large lumbar pillow with a smaller one in front for contrast.  Fewer pillows to remove, but still high impact.  Even more so, a body pillow is super affordable.  Sometime in the near future, I’d like to sew a camel leather lumbar pillow, but the tan wool backing of another pillow works for now.


Though I do make our bed every morning, I usually don’t take the time to fold the top over, but the cute pattern makes it worth it.


But the real reason for the pattern is to have an obvious direction, taking the guess-work out of which side of the king sheet goes where.  If you’re in the market for new sheets and pillows, here are a few other options I considered.


  1.  Organic Hand Drawn Stripe Sheet Set + Shibori Tye Dye Body Pillow + Pieced Leather Pillow Cover
  2. Bedford Navy Stripe Sheet Set + Fawn Body Pillow Cover + Evergreen Velvet Lumbar Pillow
  3. Nate Berkus Dotted Triangle Sheet Set + Boho Body Pillow Cover + Mongolian Faux Fur Lumbar Pillow
  4. Threshold Performance Sheet Set in Natural + Mud Cloth Body Pillow Cover + Green Velvet Lumbar Pillow




Where do you fall on the bed pillow count?  Are you the less is more type or the more is more type?  Do you have any bed making tips or tricks?