Aft Cabin room makeover: A story for fans of HGTV


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Birds Egg Blend pebble tile

The recent aesthetic update of the Aft Cabin room is receiving positive reviews.

“Good shower,” is a compliment every innkeeper loves to hear. And that’s what we’ve been hearing about the Aft Cabin’s new custom tile shower, with its Euro-style bar on which the shower head can be raised and lowered.

I don’t know why every shower isn’t thus equipped. It’s ideal in any bathroom shared by people of differing heights. All four of our showers at Adventure Inn and Sandy Cottage have Euro-style hand showers.

But I mentioned this was an aesthetic update.

On a Tuesday morning in April, Nicholas took a reciprocating saw to the walls of the acrylic shower unit installed when his father owned the house. The unit was functional and still gleaming and we would like to have donated it to Habitat for Humanity, but walls would have had to give way. The unit’s major sin was that it was insufficiently luxurious.

For the shower walls, I knew I wanted 12-inch, white, non-shiny, porcelain tiles. Yeah, white could have been boring, but it always says “clean” to me (except in the case of our two white vehicles).

We paid extra for a coating on the inside of the pivot shower door and side panel. It cleans up like a dream.

We paid extra for a coating on the inside of the pivot shower door and side panel. It cleans up like a dream.

One night I discovered the fun of shopping on Pinterest.

I launched a board called “Aft Cabin Remodel” and commenced to search on Pinterest for every term having to do with a bathroom — bathroom tile, bathroom lighting — everything except “toilet” because this room already had a Toto toilet. (A Toto is what all toilets dream of being. All of our guest bathrooms have them.)

Confronted with thousands and thousands of tile choices that others had pinned, I quickly refined my search to “blue green bathroom tile” because of a particular piece of wall art I wanted to use.

The accent tile I chose for the walls and shower floor is above, Bird’s Egg Blend by Island Stone. It comes in 12-inch square sheets. Don’t get me started on the irony of pebbles imported from Indonesia when we have a beach full. But these were the perfect color, and they feel great under foot.

Apparently I picked an on-trend tile because within two months literally dozens of Pinterested parties had re-pinned it from my board to theirs.

For towel bars, shower components and other fixtures, I made a pilgrimage to Herald Wholesale in Troy. It’s a mecca for high-end kitchen and bathroom jewelry, from lighting to faucets to cabinet pulls. I’ve been going there for years, sometimes just to drool and not nearly often enough with a reason to buy. If your estate needs a hammered copper mailbox or a tub with gold claw feet or electronic light switches that are both sleek and brainy, Herald Wholesale is the place. But the rest of us find useful stuff there, too. To get waited on, take a number, but when your number is called, a sales consultant gives you undivided attention. My inner shopaholic thrills to be in the same room with people dropping thousands of dollars in a single session.

For the granite countertop and sills, which we love, the shopping experience was downscale by comparison. Granite and marble showrooms are full of shiny, breathtakingly beautiful slabs. But we didn’t need a whole slab. Not even close. So, one day I found myself in a run-down industrial park near I-696 picking through granite remnants in outdoor racks next to a granite and marble fabricating company. By golly, somebody’s leftovers were the perfect choice for our bathroom renovation.

The adjacent Aft Cabin bedroom got a new oak floor, new paint job, a closet makeover, and new or rearranged artwork.

The Aft Cabin’s private balcony overlooking Lake Huron hasn’t changed. It still offers some of our house’s best views of Lake Huron, and that’s saying something in a house whose every room, except one, has a lake view.

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