Come To My Window

TD here.

As our odyssey enters its 16th month, you’ve probably come to realize there were/are a number of original Via Corona design elements that just leave you scratching your head.  Today we review what was perhaps the head-scratchiest of all — the master bath.

As you can see from the photo below, the master bath had all the Via Corona design “features” you’ve come to love:

  • Old fashioned anteroom with make-up junction or whatever you call it. Check!
  • Undersized doorway that was both short and narrow.  You betcha!
  • 3-foot high bathroom vanity.  Bingo!

And technically, this was one of the updated features of the house.

Beyond the anteroom stood a phone booth-sized shower featuring water pressure best described as spittle-strength.  The photo below actually makes it look bigger than it was.   For reasons I can’t recall and you don’t care about, I did use the shower once.

Now I’m not the world’s most physical galoot, but every time I spun around something landed on my foot (Now you’re singing Lola in your head aren’t ya?  You’re welcome).   Shower head  . . . boom!  Shower caddy . . . boom!  Secondary hand shower nozzle thingy . . . boom!  Soap dish  . . . boom!  Suction cup activated shower assist railing . . . boom!  I fell to the floor.  I got down on my knees.  I could go on, but why?

True to form, the master bath also had the standard tile exoskeleton built to withstand a plutonium bomb detonation.  Look closely at the picture below.  There’s tile on the ceiling.

The real showstopper though was the strategically positioned window a mere inches away from the ol’ thunder box, giving new meaning to the terms street view and curb appeal. [SF actually, I think it’s the other way around.  I’m pretty sure the window has always been there and in remodeling, the former owners relocated the potty so that it had a view.].

As I recall, there were several discussions about the new-improved configuration of the room, most centering around what you could and couldn’t see from the window. In fact, there is a whole post on this: master bath plans. Beyond that there were precious few design imperatives.  I mean, we knew we wanted dual sinks in anticipation of some mythical time when we’ll brush our teeth standing side-by-side.  Presumably this occurs right before we head out to a magical unicorn rodeo or a soccer match. [SF: those double sinks are for resale only.  We’re never, ever, ever going to share a bathroom again. And another thing–there was plenty of design imperative–this is your bathroom, you were tasked with choosing the finishes.  So basically, the design imperative for this bathroom was all in your mouth.]

All I really wanted in the master was a cool shower, because a.) after years of showering in sarcophagus-like structures throughout the South Bay, I dreamt of spinning around like Mary Tyler Moore without knocking crap off the wall (in this scenario I’m MTM–go feminism.) and secondly, because it’s important to overthink a room you spend about 20 minutes in daily.  In the fullness of time, we (and by ‘we’ I mean Shannon) arrived at the design configuration below.

Now you’re probably looking at the size of the shower and thinking, really dude? Overcompensate much?  Yes, it’s gigantic.  Truly larger than it needs to be, but when the world gives you bathroom windows . . . well, you get to spin around like Mary Tyler Moore.  Just not in front of the window.  Don’t be gross. We leave that up to the one of the old guys who lives down the street.

Fun Fact:  There’s a bench in the shower for times when I spin around too quickly and get dizzy.

Behold!  A transformation! (Use the slider for extra enjoyment)

Fun Fact:  SF takes, edits and lays out the photos for the blog posts before I write stuff.  It’s kind of fun to guess what I’m supposed to say based on the particular photos she chooses.  Like everything else about our marriage, I wing it 100% of the time and assume I’m right 99.44% of the time.  So basically, the rest of this post is me Mad-Libbing the photos she put in here.

Oh, I guess there was one other thing I wanted, the basketweave tile on the floor. I have no idea why.  Speaking of, why are people on home improvement shows so enamored of the houses they grew up in?  “I grew up in a geodesic dome and so we’re looking for something just like it, so I can re-live my pre-teen years every day!”  I recall all the houses I grew up in very fondly, but I think it was because of the people inside of them and not the physical edifice itself.  I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Fun Fact:  If you want to get really good at remembering lists of things, visualize the items on the list being in various places in your home [SF: WTF?].

There’s also a sh*t ton of marble-like tile in the bathroom.  Shannon says it makes the room feel “cold” and “old ladyish” which is apparently just a misspelling of “badass”.

This is a photo of the orchid that has long since slipped this mortal coil.  Or maybe the shower knobs.  Unfortunately, you can’t turn on both the overhead shower and the handheld thingy at the same time.

Fun Fact: When trained professionals installed the hardiplank siding, two of the nails came through the tile on the insert where we now keep soap and shampoo and stuff.  They have since been removed, but it’s a shame stupidity isn’t also painful.

LOOK!  The aforementioned dual sinks.  The next owners will love these!

If you look down here you’ll see the tile outside of the shower is kind of a slate gray.  If you ever come to visit you won’t see this tile because it’s been replaced with an exact replica.  In the first go-’round the tile pictured here selectively lifted itself from the subfloor because it was installed by trained professionals using the industry-standard combination of chewing gum and Elmer’s Glue.

The mirror is a shape I like to call “modified round”.  The lights are kind of old school.  Something I’d guess you’d find in Niccolo Tesla’s lab.

Fun Fact:  The slope of the stairwell is covered up by the storage cabinet in the photo below which makes the countertop uncomfortably high.

The live edge shelves are a nice touch, too.  They say, “a woman with taste lives here and never uses this room.”   These shelves currently house baseball caps mostly because that’s where you keep headwear. In the john. On a live edge shelf.  (Shannon won’t let me display them on the dresser in the master bedroom where I think they belong).

Fun Fact:  I once had an Eric Dickerson poster on my bathroom wall  . . . when I was an adult.  I’m so fancy! [SF: I have to jump in here.  I kid you not, when we first started dating, he also had a 36″ framed poster of Tony Gwynn titled “Bat Man” directly across from the toilet.  It was situated so that when you (or more specifically, I) sat down, eye level was just about even with Tony’s personal bat and balls.]

So there you have it.  One master bath fit for a king.  And if you were a ghost like Patrick Swayze (past or present) this is the view you’d have if you were haunting the master bedroom.  Notice no one can see your reflection in the mirrors?  Balu the cat is not even paying attention to you and he loves everyone.  Some ghost you are. [SF–yes he is–he’s looking at you through the mirror.  Duh.]

Fun Fact:  The original design for the bathroom remodel had a pocket door which went overboard pretty quickly because it turns out you can buy a fully loaded Mercedes for what it costs to install just one pocket door.  Pocket doors are awesome though.  They make me feel like I’m the captain of a space ship. Which figures because they cost about the same. [SF:  because when I think of space travel, I definitely think of pocket doors.]

Master Bath Sources

Hand Shower: Grohe Power & Soul

Rain Shower: Grohe Euphoria Cosmopolitan

Shower Trim: Grohe Chrome Atrio

Vanity: Bosconi Contemporary Double Vanity

Faucets and TP holder: Delta Lahara

Mirror: Crate and Barrel Penarth Walnut Oval Wall Mirror

Live-edge Floating Shelves:NapaValleyHardwoods

Sconces: One Forty Three

Shower Bench: Like this: Teak Wood Oversized Shower Bench

Towels:Hotel Collection

I’ve got your summer dinner party dessert right here

I know I said we’d be all crazy-go-nuts cookie recipes for a while but I had to interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you this Ina Garten inspired frozen key lime pie.  It is the perfect summer dessert.  I would know.  I’ve served it at three different dinners this summer to unequivocal (if not redundant) success.

I’m guessing many of you subscribe to Ina Garten which means you also got her recipe for frozen key lime pie earlier this summer.  The recipe arrived in my in-box just days before a small dinner party we were throwing and I stopped the presses on whatever dessert I had planned to make this baby.

With some changes.  First, I swapped-in spicy gingersnaps for the graham crackers.  Everyone knows citrus (especially limes) and ginger are summer besties.  I also added a layer of raspberry jam.  I’m glad I did this because the citrus filling is deliciously zingy and the sweet of the raspberry is a nice note.

Ina’s original recipe calls for fresh lime juice.  BUT the recipe is called frozen key lime pie.  As written, the recipe has no key to the key lime.  And I get it–‘aint nobody got time to juice 100 key limes for 3/4 C of liquid.  Luckily, many moons ago I read, or heard or osmotically gained the knowledge of Nellie and Joes key lime juice.  You can find it in most grocery stores and I always try to have some on hand.  Trust me, it’s good stuff.

I’ve played with the whipped cream topping decorations quite a bit.  I was fairly restrained for the above pie.  However I did another (and got no photographic evidence) where I covered the entire surface in whipped cream roses.

If you need a refreshing but decadent dessert for the next few hot summer months, look no further.  Major bonus?  It can be made a few days in advance.

Next week we’re back at Via Corona where I will attempt to show you show you Tom’s eight foot shower and the master bath.  Temper your expectations.  I’ve tried to photograph the damn room three times now to middling results.  This latest effort is mostly so that I can put the room to bed.

Frozen Key Lime Pie.  With a Twist.

see what I did there?  Because Ina always says ‘blah blah blah, with a twist..

adapted from Ina Garten



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a bowl. Press into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

For the filling, beat the egg yolks and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 5 minutes, until thick. With the mixer on medium speed, add the condensed milk, lime zest, and lime juice. Pour into the baked pie shell and freeze.

For the decoration, beat the heavy cream on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until firm. Spoon or pipe decoratively onto the pie and decorate with lime. Freeze for several hours or overnight.

Putting on the peanut butter ritz

After we moved into Via Corona, it was nearly three months until we had a kitchen. All things being equal, it wasn’t a huge day-to-day issue (this coming from the person who plans, shops and cooks most of the food so, take the statement for what it is). Not wanting to completely bankrupt our reno budget with crazy take-out bills,  one of our first orders of business after moving in was to hit up the grocery for ready to-go-snacks.

That Friday night at the grocery may have been the first time TD and I ever shopped for snacks together.  I learned a lot.  Like the fact that dude loves those packets of crackers and peanut butter.  And even weirder, also loves those packets of peanut butter filled cheese crackers.

I’m not sure what he learned about me.

That was also the night we came home to a raccoon sitting in the middle of our driveway.  Just hanging out, as they do.  Little did we know that this was just the beginning of our adventures with Via Corona’s resident small mammal population (let’s just say we’re pretty sure the raccoons are running a discoteque under our deck).

But back to the peanut butter crackers (I bet the raccoons like those too).  When I saw Christina Tosi’s recipe for crunchy, salty and sweet ritz crunch, I knew I had to put it in a peanut butter cookie.

Warning: ritz cracker crunch is dangerous stuff.  I ended up just throwing the entire batch into this recipe for the sole purpose of keeping myself from eating the leftovers.

The result was an ultra-cripsy but ultra-tender and flaky peanut butter extravaganza.  Most likely due to the high fat-to-starch ratio, they were also very delicate.  While they probably wouldn’t survive a care-package trip across the country, this batch (unlike the corn cookies) did make it into work.  They were gone before 10:00 AM.

For the cookie, I just futzed with an old school Betty Crocker recipe for peanut butter cookies.  The original recipe calls for a shortening to butter recipe of 1:1.  I used all butter.  If you like a cakier peanut butter cookie, go the shortening and butter route.

Peanut Butter Ritz Cookies

For the ritz crunch (recipe from Christina Tosi)


  • 1/2 sleeve (50g) ritz crackers
  • 1/4 C (50g) sugar
  • 2 TBS (10g) milk powder
  • 1/4 tsp (1g) kosher salt
  • 4 TBS (50g) melted butter


  1. Heat oven to 275 degrees
  2. Pour the ritz into a medium bowl and crunch them to desired size (I went dime-sized pieces and smaller). Add the milk powder, sugar and salt.  Toss to mix.  Add-in the butter and toss to coat.
  3. Spread the clusters on a parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake for 20 minutes, giving the pan a good shake every 8 minutes or so.  Allow to cool completely.  Try not to each entire batch before they go into the cookies.

For the peanut butter cookies


  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 C peanut butter
  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 C all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking sode
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  1. Mix sugars, peanut butter, shortening, butter and egg in large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients
  2. Carefully fold-in the ritx crunch
  3. Cover and refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm
  4. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  5. Shape or scoop dough into 1 1/4″ balls. Place about 3 inches apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet
  6. Flatten slightly with the bottom of a cup or mug dipped in sugar
  7. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
  8. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheet and cool completely before storing