As we slowly start to tackle the less glamorous tasks in our master bathroom—like repairing cracked plaster or evicting Blanche Devereaux and the rest of the Golden Girls-inspired design choices—I find myself turning my attention to the eye candy that will some day reside in the space.

From sexy tub faucets and absurdly large rain shower heads to the perfectly glitzy vanity mirror, I've spent...ahem...years dreaming about, contemplating, researching, and in some cases purchasing the best option for our bathroom.

Sure, there have been many design hurdles along the way that have left me feeling stumped. But for the vast majority we've worked through our aesthetic angst and have pulled the trigger. After all, I've settled on the perfect claw foot faucet (not a drippy-looking nozzle in sight).

I've been hoarding a vintage claw foot tub as well as all of the faucets and hardware in our basement for years.

After serious debate, we settled on a style of wainscoting, and purchased an antique buffet to transform into a vanity.

I even scored the ginormous mirror on sale!

From everything I've just outlined, it would seem we've pretty much settled on just about every design decision there is except for the tile, and we have a good idea on that one too. 

But there's one design nut item I've yet to crack: fabric.

We have one lonely window in the back corner of the room. The original sash have seen better days, as in about 100 years ago, and a total restoration and reglazing is on our list of to dos. The window also is home to a pair of original shutters (similar to our bedroom). While a bit bleached from the sun and splattered with the paint of a bygone careless handyman, they'll look much better after we spend some time on them. 

The window, while a really cool and truly original feature of the room, is one of the few places we're looking to introduce pattern, color, and a lot of personality. The fixed elements such as the tile and vanity will lean more to the traditional and neutral side of the spectrum, as they'd be harder to replace as my tastes change in the future. Fabric, on the other hand, is relatively inexpensive and isn't difficult to change down the road. 

What I know for certain is that I want nothing like we inherited when we bought the house in 2003. Here's the one and only photo, taken during our home inspection, of the stunning Laura Ashley fabric, circa 1983, hemmed into a stylish balloon valance, reminiscent of an old lady's bunchy undergarments. Me-ow fellas.

In a true act of self loathing and desperation, this valance unseated itself and leapt to its death just a few months after we moved into the house. I know what you're thinking, but we didn't touch it. We took the window treatment's suicide as a sign, and welcomed the fact that this project crossed itself off the ole to-do list well before we ever had to tackle it on our own. We unceremoniously tossed it in the trash and didn't look back. But as much as I'm looking to find a suitable replacement, I'm not thrilled with anything I've seen thus far.

I'm looking for a fabric that can be a bit more fun and whimsical, since the rest of the room will be relatively straight laced. We're leaning toward carrara marble, know we'll paint the trim an antique white (to match the trim throughout the rest of our home), and I'd like the color scheme to complement the adjacent master bedroom.

So that means I'm looking for a fabric that will be gray and white or off white, with blue, turquoise, and/or sea glass green in it. 

In terms of style of window treatment, I'm leaning toward full length panels. I know, I know, it seems like a bit of bizarre choice given the proximity of the window to the location of the claw foot tub. But I like the look of full length drapes, want to be able to close them to keep out any winter drafts (that would seriously affect the bathing experience, after all), and am obsessed with the full length drapes/claw foot combo that Sarah Richardson used in her farmhouse bathroom. 

I also have an extra curtain rod that matches the ones in our bedroom, so I'm all set.

Some of the options I've looked at so far (from Calico Corners and include:

I like some of them, but can't say I've locked eyes with "the one." 

So I'm hoping you can help. Do you think any of these options are strong contenders? Do you have an online resource for modern and chic fabrics? If so, I'd love to hear where your go to stop is for your fabric needs.

Comments 59


9/4/2013 at 11:33 AM
you could try
I'll definitely give them a try. Thanks, Anne!
Maryann Young (and Gordon)
9/5/2013 at 11:37 AM
Wendy, the trip to Discount Fabrics in Thurmont, MD, not Frederick as someone mentioned in an earlier post is definitely worth the one hour drive. It's nothing but home decorating fabric, and you'll get dizzied by the selection. I wish I had told you about this place years ago.
Lovely to see you. Can't wait for our Volvo trip!
9/9/2013 at 5:05 PM
I wanted to chime in with a lesson I learned about Tonic Living.

I used to order from them but then I dsicovered that many of the fabrics they offer are available elsewhere, for better prices and without the Canadian shipping cost. Many of them are from as well as other places. So if you see something you love there, try and find it elsewhere to compare costs first.
April Gillespie Fehrman
9/4/2013 at 11:35 AM or, or you could see if there's a local quilt/sewing shop nearby. Most cotton fabrics are 44/45" wide, but sometimes you can find backing fabric that's 104" (or so) wide. is also good.
9/4/2013 at 11:38 AM
I've used with good results. It drives me a bit batty not being able to *touch* the fabrics though the samples are inexpensive.
I agree with you on the touch factor, but once I narrow it down I'm open to ordering samples. It's not like I'm on a strict timeline after all... :-)

Thanks, Enya!
9/4/2013 at 12:11 PM
I like the 4th option - maybe not the one but I like that it has the modern touch of being linear and graphic, yet it's curvy and traditional in shape and repetition. An orderly pattern looks traditional to me.
Thanks for your vote, Julie!
9/4/2013 at 12:14 PM
There are a few places online that will make your own design into fabirc, like That way you can come up with the exact design/color/fabric type you will love.

Have you thought about soapstone for your counters? I used it in my 1924 bathroom renovation. Period appropriate & can't be damaged by things that damage marble. It's been almost 2 years and I'm still thrilled with the decision to go with soapstone. Plus it's diy friendly! I have a drop-in sink so didn't have to fuss with a clean sink cut, but sanding the side cut was easy.
Thanks, Pat!

I love soapstone! We've talked a lot about it as an option for our future kitchen, but can't say we've given it much thought for the bathroom. Do you mind sharing the company you used for your purchase?
9/4/2013 at 12:47 PM
I think they would all go well with what you're describing, but the last 2 are my favorites given your master bedroom.

I buy almost all of my fabrics from Lewis and Sheron. They're local here in Atlanta, but I think most of their business is online sales. They have a lot of the same stuff as Calico, but it's always cheaper.
Thanks so much for your input and recommendation, Kate! I hadn't heard to Lewis and Sheron, but will definitely check them out. Thank you!
9/4/2013 at 12:54 PM
G Street Fabrics at Bailey's Crossroads is the best and biggest selection.
Thanks for the suggestion, Margo. The last time I was in there it seemed more craft fabric than decorator fabric to me, but that was years ago. I'll have to pay them another visit. Thanks!
Old Town Home
9/4/2013 at 1:05 PM
Thanks so much April Gillespie Fehrman! I'll definitely look into these options. :-)
9/4/2013 at 2:01 PM
I like the 3rd and 5th options, and I second the recommendation. I've heard Tonic Living is awesome, but it doesn't seem to be as helpful to those outside of Canada. Also they seem to change fabric style names, which is extremely annoying.
9/4/2013 at 2:42 PM
If you do find a fabric you like on the Tonic Living website the designer names will be listed along with the weave/weight&care info. Just plug that name into Google and you can usually find another retailer that carries—likely US based. You can also find a lot of the fabric carried on TL on Etsy as well (often for significantly less $$).

Also, if you have a design/er name you should be able to go to a local fabric store and inquire. I would also ask if they have swatch books if there isn't anything physically in the store that catches your fancy. HTH.
Thanks for your two cents, Cait! Tonic Living keeps coming up as a suggestion, and I look forward to spending some quality time on their site!
9/4/2013 at 2:28 PM
Honestly, every one is a great option. I'm excited to see what you choose, because we're considering doing something very similar. Claw foot tub in front of a window with full length curtain panels. Whatever you choose will look amazing, because that's how you are. :)
Wow, thank you, Amanda!! (The pressure is on!) :-)
Debra Gray Cripps
9/4/2013 at 2:39 PM is wonderful.
Thanks, Debra! I'll be sure to check out their site today!
9/4/2013 at 2:43 PM
Of your choices, the third one is my favorite. It's colorful, without being too much so, and happy and not too trendy.

With full length panels, the feel and drape of the fabric is So important. I love linen and linen blends for drapes.

Have you been to Haute Fabrics? I haven't yet (fabric addict here, and I think it would be unwise to just go to 'visit' without a mission in mind.) I used to love G Street, but I haven't been there in ages.
Haute Fabrics? No, I haven't been there nor had I heard of it. Thanks for the tip, Connie!
Charlotte Martin Smith
9/4/2013 at 2:45 PM and
Thanks so much for the recommendations, Charlotte!
9/4/2013 at 2:50 PM
I've found gobs and gobs of fabric that I love from Online Fabric Store, but I probably spent hours and hours browsing.

I like Tonic Living for their solid options, but haven't had much success with falling in love with any of their patterns. I also like that they're Canadian....but most of their options are too modern for my tastes.
Great, thanks Ashley! I appreciate your two cents (and am in love with your new DIY roman shades BTW)!
9/4/2013 at 3:28 PM
You need a road trip to the NYC garment district. I found the perfect brocade there last week for an Asian-style jacket. Some of the stores have fabrics online--Paron and Mood, I think. Also try and Denver Fabrics online. And don't rule out using sheets or tablecloths if you see the pattern you want! I just made my kitchen curtain from a tablecloth picked up on eBay ;-)
Great suggestions! Thanks so much, Jan.

(Sounds like I could get into a heap of trouble in the NYC garment district!) ;-)
9/4/2013 at 4:14 PM
Wendy - check out the discounted fabric store/warehouse in frederick MD. I found some beautiful fabrics there. Forget the name, but google frederick MD and fabric store, and you'll find it.
Will do. Thanks, Sabina!
9/4/2013 at 7:02 PM
I really like fabrics 3 and 5 in combination with one another. The print gives you some addional options for accessorizing. I love the idea of full length panels too!
Thanks, Deb! Although full length panels aren't the most practical, I agree and feel that the room really needs some softness given all the other hard/cold edges. Fingers crossed it turns out ok!
9/4/2013 at 7:19 PM
Try Haute Fabrics! They have two locations, one in Arlington (730 N. Glebe Road) and one in Marshall, VA out rt 66 (8393 W. Main Street)... They have bolts and bolts of everything you could possibly imagine - I found then by chance while looking for fabric to reupholster a couch and side chair! Last I checked their website wasn't working but it is definitey worth a road trip! Good luck!
Perfect! Thanks so much, Nicole.
9/4/2013 at 8:05 PM
I'm drawn to number 3 and think it gives you the most options for different colored accessories. A fun company to look at fabrics is
the way just a thought about full length drapes in the bathroom. Something that occurred to me the first time I saw Sarah's bathroom.
Fabric, water, hair, dust from toilet paper. Not a great combo. A beautiful roman shade will show off your fabric and remain a lot cleaner.
Thanks, Sydney! I hear you on the pitfalls of full length drapes. They definitely aren't the most sensible choice, but I'm hoping to find a washable fabric that will wear well against hair, dust, and the like. Roman shades would be really pretty, and are still something to consider!
9/4/2013 at 8:18 PM
I think I told you before but I LOVE that Sarah Richardson bathroom as well. It's been pinned on my bathroom pinboard forever. I'm about to take down my bathroom valances because it feels too cluttered in there for me now. I suggest moving forward and the fabric will find you at some point!!
I'm sort of obsessed with everything she does, and this bathroom is at the top of the list. Thanks for your advice, Melissa!
9/4/2013 at 8:25 PM
I love the first one. But I can't tell the scale. It reminds me of Lauren Liess's fabrics. She used to have the blog pure style home,, now it is She is a Washington designer. Her fabrics are quite pricey, but they are beautiful.
Thanks for your two cents and recommendation, Bea. I'll have to take a look at her site!
9/5/2013 at 8:42 AM
I thought this might be a nice large-patterned/modern curtain in the color scheme you're looking for. Excited to see how it turns out!
Gorgeous!! Thank you so much, Susie. It's a beautiful fabric choice, and I really appreciate you sending the link!
9/5/2013 at 10:01 AM
Don't know if you want to go bold or if it would even work in your in your bathroom,but I just have to show you this. Have you seen these new cushion covers in Janet from The Gardener's Cottage (link below) living room? I think that fabric looks gorgeous. It's the Cassandra in moss from Designer's Guild.
Beautiful! I love the colors, and I'm partial to hydrangeas. I'll also have to spend some serious time poking around on her blog. I love her style.

Thanks for sharing, Tanja!
9/8/2013 at 11:26 AM
You are welcome, Wendy! I was almost certain, you'd love her style. ;-)
9/5/2013 at 10:15 AM
Just an unsolicited word of advice re: your paint colors in the bathroom.
If you're using carerra white marble, use a blue-tinged white, instead of an antique white with it. Try Ben Moore Chantilly Lace. Do not use Cloud White, antique white, or anything else with a creamy warm tone to it. Even if that's what you have in the rest of your home. It just WON'T do the marble justice, and you will notice that something is off about it. The undertones don't go together.
And nobody will notice that you switched trim colors in your bathroom. They'll just see how fab you are. :)
Wow, thanks so much for the great advice, Lori. I wouldn't have thought of that, but it makes perfect sense!
9/5/2013 at 11:12 AM
One of our neighbors did something unique for a bathroom window treatment that we never would have thought of. They mounted a stained glass pane to the inside. I'm not sure if it was salvaged or something they had made up, but it looks neat, especially since the sun sets on the side of the house their bathroom is on.
Ooh, I bet that looks beautiful!
9/5/2013 at 4:53 PM
Walk up King Street to designer Victoria Sanchez's new shop, Victoria at Home. It's two up from Red Barn Mercantile, just near the corner with Fayette Street. She literally just opened two weeks ago and she sells tons of fabric and because she's a designer, can give you advice! It's a great Old Town resource. search "Victoria at Home" on Facebook.
Thanks, Jennifer. I'll have to take a stroll up there to check it out!
9/6/2013 at 1:09 PM
Have you considered Schumacher Hothouse flowers?

is a lovely large scale jacobean. You have to google image search it though to get a sense of its scale. Beware, it's very pricey. Designerfabricsforless carries it, and I've seen yardage available on ebay. I have the spark colorway in my home and I love it - a bit traditional and a bit modern.

I do also like their Betwixt fabric as well (
9/6/2013 at 1:12 PM
Wish I could edit... my link didnt work. I was referring to the mineral colorway for your bathroom.
9/9/2013 at 5:12 PM
For fabric resources I recommend:

-ufab - they're a Richmond and C-ville based fabric shop that tops anything I've found in the NoVA / DC region. They just launched an online store. as a starting ground
-the Robert Allen website for quilting weight fabrics
-the Waverly website - they are amazing fabrics
9/10/2013 at 10:47 AM
Re: your vanity

I just purchased a small dresser/sideboard to convert into a bathroom vanity for our 1906 victorian and I just looked at your picture and they are SO similar it's eriee. I bought ours with a marble top already on it. It's so soft now with all it's wear. Go carrera!!
Since you've not signed in yet, you will need to fill in your name and email below. If you have a Facebook account, save yourself a step and use Connect to login.

Denotes a required field.

Please enter full URL, including http://

You can use Markdown syntax in your comment. And you can also use lots of Emoji!
  • Search

  • Login
  • Follow
  • Advertising

If you're looking for information on advertising and sponsorships, head on over to our sponsorships page. You can purchase site sponsorships in a few easy clicks. 

Toolbox Tuesday
Open Housing
  • We're Featured!

Old Town Home has been featured in the following places and publications:

The Washington Post
Washingtonian Magazine
Old House Journal
Apartment Therapy House Tour
Washington Post Express Feature
Home & Garden Blogs
© 2024 - Privacy Policy

Unexpected Error

Your submission caused an unexpected error. You can try your request again, but if you continue to experience problems, please contact the administrator.