Master Bathroom Details & Reveal

Marian ParsonsBefore and Afters, Furniture Makeovers, Master Bedroom, My House, Popular88 Comments

Yesterday, someone asked me about my master bathroom in a comment and I realized I have never shared the details on that makeover!  I finished the bathroom and immediately went on three trips in a row and then hopped right back into the school year routine.  Also, we haven’t finished it totally.  We did a lot of projects over the summer for and we got just enough done for the photo shoots, but now it’s time to really finish everything.  So, I’m sharing photos I took this summer (before my new camera) and the bathroom isn’t 100% finish, but that’s just life, right?

Here are the before pictures of the space we were working with.  It’s a small master bathroom (about 6′ x 8′, not including the tub recess) and an interior room without windows or natural light.

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There was nothing wrong with the bathroom, but it just felt so ho-hum.  Linoleum floors, a small, shallow tub, and some 1990’s sconces didn’t make the space feel at all luxurious or mater bathroom-ish.  It hasn’t been a high priority for us, so we’ve just left it alone.  Then HGTV asked me to pitch some ideas for bathroom projects.  Now’s my chance!  I basically pitched every idea I wanted to use in my master bathroom…installing a skylight tube, turning an antique dresser into a vanity, and making a shower curtain with a cornice.  Those DIY tutorials were approved and our bathroom makeover was set in motion.  So, I started collecting the materials I wanted to use…

Since we couldn’t make the bathroom larger, I wanted to make it feel special with the materials I used.  Nothing says “special” in a bathroom quite like marble, so I selected a Greecian White marble subway tile for the shower (not the one shown above) and 12″ x 12″ marble tiles for the floor.  I found a vintage dresser at a local furniture shop that was the perfect size for the space.  Since the room was going to almost all white, I decided to leave the dresser natural wood.  I did strip and refinish the top with Waterlox, the same finish I used on my kitchen counters.  I knew it was durable, easy to clean and great for wet areas.  We were able to give away all of the old bathroom fixtures on Craig’s List and gave the cast iron tub to some friends who scrap metal.  It’s nice to be able to pass some freebies along when doing this sort of thing!

My husband figured out how to configure the drawers around the plumbing, while keeping them functional.

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Again, since the room is small and blah, I added board and batten trim at 3/4 height to give the room some architectural detail.

We had the tile work professionally done and I’m so glad.  Apparently, 3″ x 6″ subway tiles placed in a staggered pattern are not the easiest to install.

The vanity looks amazing.  (You can see the holes from the old sconces are still in the wall.)  I hung a vintage mirror from my stash over the vanity and had a handyman change the placement of the lighting outlets and install some vintage sconces I found on Etsy (above.)  They are in the same style as the master bedroom chandelier, so they were perfect.  The handyman also installed pot lights throughout the bathroom, including in the shower, so the room is very well lit.

I am a leg girl when it comes to furniture, so I had to leave these cute wheels on the piece!  I like how they make it look more like a freestanding piece of furniture.


The handyman also helped us with removing the old tub and installing the new one.  It was great working with him, because he let us be the laborers, so that saved us a lot of money.  I knocked out the old tile and hardy backer and then he worked with us to get the old tub out and the new one in.  (I know it looks like the guys did all of the work while I snapped pictures, but I removed all of that tile and then they jumped in and finished.  Just let the record show…)

We were limited on space, so we had to get a tub that fit in the existing alcove.  I found one that was a lot deeper and a couple of inches wider than the tub we had.  We also switched out the fixtures from almond to white.  White will never, ever go out of style.

My husband built the face frame for the tub out of 1″ x 2″s and beadboard.

He also built the cornice for the shower curtain and installed crown molding in the room.


The sink faucet is definitely a splurge, but the bathtub fixture was an eBay bargain at $65.00.  I actually liked the look of it better than a lot of the more expensive ones I found.

There’s a look at that marble tile.  Yummy.  The tile guy, who’s been doing this for years and years, said this was one of the hardest installs he’s done.  It took three days of meticulously putting each tile in place and they had to stop at a certain point to let everything dry before they could install more.  It looks so amazing, though, so I’m glad we chose something that looks luxurious and classic.

We also had them put in a few niches between the studs for shampoo, body wash, soaps, etc.  I hate soap dishes that stick out of the wall or having those wire racks hanging off of the showerhead.  This gives us storage without those annoying accessories.

Another problem area in the bathroom was this big, blank wall.  (There’s my old watermark.  Oh, the memories.)

There is a radiator running along the entire wall and it sticks out about 3″, so that means any piece of furniture on that wall sticks out about 3″.  It just looks strange and dust bunnies breed behind it and it’s always bugged me.  I envisioned a built-in shelf that could sit flush against the wall and a built-in radiator cover.  My husband delivered!

I bought a bunch of fluffy, white towels, so they would look nice folded on the shelf and would be handy when we need a fresh one.  I really hate towel bars, so we have hooks on the back of the door instead.  I also found pretty ways to store our soap, toilet paper and cotton swabs.

The new toilet paper holder is mounted on the wooden trim, so it’s not going anywhere.  Our last one rattled and threatened to fall off the wall anytime you pulled paper off.  A funny thing about this new holder is my husband thought you had to screw the bar off to change the roll.  One day, he saw me pull an old roll off and pop a new one back on and had a “duh” moment.

One of the last things we did was installed a skylight tube and bringing natural light into the space made a huge difference.

…as you can see in the pictures.

Where we splurged…  The biggest expenses were the tub, tile, and labor.  The sink faucet is also a high-ticket item, but that was given to me in exchange for hosting a giveaway.

Where we saved…  We hired out the electrical, the tile work and had some help installing the tub, but we did the rest of the work ourselves so that definitely saved us money.  Using vintage sconces and an old dresser helped with cutting costs as well.  Those were much cheaper (and more to my liking, anyway) than buying new.

Here’s a source list for the bathroom…


 We absolutely love the end result.  The bath is amazing to soak in and the new lighting (natural and installed) gives the room a whole new life.  Now, even though it doesn’t have the double-sinks, whirlpool tub, separate shower and walk-in closets, it has the feel of a luxurious master bath.

Master Bathroom Details & Reveal

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88 Comments on “Master Bathroom Details & Reveal”

  1. Dear MMS, You’ll never regret selecting such quality materials for your bathroom. What beautiful results! I love the fabric that you used here and in the master bedroom too. Thanks for the reveal … however it does make me want to remodel my own bathroom! Hugs, Anne Boykin

  2. I absolutely love the end result too! Thank you for responding to my comment – this a great link to send : )

  3. Marian,
    I love this bathroom! And I think it’s wonderful that you list theprices and where you bought everything, That bathrooom sink on that dresser is amazing! Love your tile too!! Everything looks perfect!

  4. Marian–I may just have to appropriate a few of these ideas! We are getting ready to do our hallway bath, and the 1940s layout just isn’t working for me. I am stealing 3′ from our unusually large guestroom to create an alcove for either bathtub or sink. Never thought about a cornice–I think it will be perfect!

  5. Beautiful! I have similar visions for our main bathroom. It is so nice to see it all put together. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation to get my own bathroom done. You do amazing work, as always.

  6. Wow! This is gorgeous and I have always wanted an antique dresser for a vanity. Props to Mr. Mustard Seed for all of his contributions, here I figured he was a supportive bystander, nice to see him dig right in, you guys are a great match 🙂

    Thanks as always for the inspiration.


  7. Stunning! Question…with the board and baton what type of trim did you use within the rectangles. We are doing another DIY and the inside trim piece softens the hard lines of the straight board and batten. It seems none are flush with the 1″x3″ used (or whatever size chosen). It appears yours are not flush and it still looks good. Is it quarter round in yours? I thought perhaps picture frame moulding (like for dining rooms when boxed out)…curious if yours is flush in depth and what piece is in there.

  8. I think this bathroom turned out beautifully!!! Absolutely stunning!!! How blessed you are! I have been reading your blog for a few years now and after years of repurposing and decorating for myself and a few close friends I have decided to start my own blog. I started on wordpress and I’m not too techy so I would appreciate any advice you might have in getting started. Take care!

  9. Beautiful! everything is just amazing. I can’t tell you how much I adore the vanity. The style of the cabinet, the casters, that gorgeous faucet oh my goodness it makes my heart skip a beat. Love the paneling too. I love it all Maran.

  10. What a beautiful bathroom!!! You don’t mind if I swipe the cornice board over the tub do you?? Lovely!!

  11. Gorgeous! I would love to see details of how the drawers on the dresser were fitted. I have an antique dresser with marble top that I bought for this same purpose. Would love to see how your husband tackled the drawers.

  12. You’ve shown that you can source a lovely, custom room from a big box source. Love it! Looks like a Sarah Richardson bathroom!

  13. Thanks for the rundown. I’m surprised you haven’t painted the dresser. Do you plan to do that any time in the future?

  14. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE! Bathrooms are so hard for me! I seem to have no vision when it comes to that particular room. You inspire me!

  15. Beautiful!!! Did you install a bathroom fan to control the moisture? If not, what are your thoughts on this? Thanks,

    1. A Bathroom fan is certainly needed and the question is a good one. I had my bathroom fans replaced and had them both vented to the exterior of the house. The question or point is also important for a microwave oven == where. and how is the exhaust vented!

  16. This is so beautiful! I love every single design & decor detail. If I were doing my own bath, I would enjoy every single choice you’ve made. Congratulations on such a fine job! Enjoy!

  17. it is lovely. However it is batten not in baton rouge but batten, as in down the hatches a storm is comin” Ha. My house is board and batten and I think the exterior color is too dark for the shadow play these structures create with a more mid tone hue. anyway. it is unfortunate soo many cookie cutter homes are a result of a builder cutting corners from a floor plan sensibly designed. the results are tragic but it is a roof over one’s head and …..

  18. Marian – LOVE the results. I also did a white and grey marble master bath last year and I love it. It is classic and warm and will never go out of style! Great job.

  19. Your bathroom turned out so luxurious. I love the wall paneling & the built in trim & all! (Esp. The stamped sheet metal that was painted) it is traditional & soothing & so light , that it makes it look spacious! You are lucky to have a hubby that is handy.

  20. I agree – the change is dramatic and beautiful as is everything MMS does. BUT, having recently remodeled my bathroom using a combination of granite (black) and marble (white) a word of warning (ruh roh…), if you’re considering marble or granite for your bathroom floors beware…it’s as slippery as it is gorgeous. I love it for a master bath, but it might not be the best choice for a shared bath that might be used by kids or company where you can’t keep control of whether there’s a bath mat or other non-slip surface in use when someone’s exiting the tub/shower…I’m just sayin’ “slippery when wet!” ;-)…

  21. Such a really beautiful and classic space with great details!

    I would love to know how you got these images so white and bright. I know it’s a space with no windows, but these look like you shot in natural light! Just gorgeous, Marian.

  22. Amazing! I am now living in my childhood home ( where I was born). The bathroom could use some help and you have inspired me. I love your style and look forward to your blog and wealth of wonderful ideas and inspiration!

  23. Bathroom looks beautiful! Great renovation. Funny thing is I have the same cabinet. It was from my grandparents. It is from a whole bedroom set.

  24. Hi Marian-
    I am in awe of your creativity…your master bathroom is just exquisite and timeless! Amazing that you did it all yourself…just incredible! Congratulations on a wonderful job…LOVE it!

  25. Can you please tell me how your Target soap dispenser has held up so far? I love the dispenser, but the reviews indicate that it corrodes at the tip where the soap comes out. Did this happen to yours? I can’t find another dispenser I like & really want to just buy them!

  26. OK, this will be my duh moment…I love the curtain (split on 2 sides) look of hanging shower curtains but how do you do the liner? Buy 2 and hang one on each side?

    1. Ah, good question! I actually used two “shower stall” liners. They are longer and not as wide as regular shower curtains, so I could hang the rod higher and they were pretty close to the perfect width.

  27. How do you like the Vera Wang towels? I’m in the market for new towels and wondered how these are. Love your bathroom. There is nothing like white to make it feel spa- like. And I love the ‘antique’ touches.

  28. The bathroom is gorgeous!! Any recommendations on how to achieve a similar look with an existing double sink? They are about 4′ apart and the counter top is approximately 8.25′ long. The wall is 14′ high.


  29. Beautiful! I love the holder for the bar soap that you hung on the wall in the fourth photo- where is that from? Looks like a vintage holy water font ?

  30. I love your bathroom. We did a bathroom over a few years ago and width I knew about those tiles you chose for the tub and wall. We considered the skylight tube but was a first floor bathroom and did not think it would give too much light.

    I too would love to know about the soap dish, it is so pretty.

  31. I love everything you’ve done in your beautiful bathroom. Congratulations on pulling it all together so nicely. May I ask about your skylight tube? Are you totally happy with it? We are building a new home and considering putting one in our entry way for more light. It is a long 5′ wide hallway that then opens up to our LR/kitchen. We’d like it to have natural light without having a solid glass front door. We have just never seen one in an actual house and would appreciate your input. Would you use one again? Thank you for sharing so much of your home and talents.

  32. Well Marian, I can say that you are wrong! Gasp! It DOES look like a luxurious bath! That marble really sets the stage. How elegant And I love the cornice over the tub…what a talented family you have! Hope Jeff’s new venture is moving along nicely…can’t wait! I absolutely love how he tied those radiator covers into the baseboard and base of the shelving. Genius!

    As always…thanks for sharing!

  33. I really like that built-in soap/shampoo holder as well as the bathroom in general. The molding above the tub/shower, covering up the shower curtain rod, is a very nice touch. I’m not fond of towel rods either but must admit I do like my heated, free standing towel rod heater. Nice! A free standing toilet paper holder is a must have at my house; over the years, those mounted ones always seem to become wobbly as the screws strip out.

    Can’t say I’m crazy about the raised toilet seat…-grin-…the photo always looks better when the seat is lowered.

    Y’all did a great job and the end results are fabulous; bet you’ll enjoy this bathroom for many years.

  34. It’s beautiful!! You may have already answered this and I missed it. How did you finish the top of the vanity to hold up to the splashing water?
    Thanks, Anita 🙂

  35. Love your bathroom and your creativity!! I have started to redo an old $25 dresser I found at a rummage sale. I have yet to find a sink and faucet that I like. Would you mind sharing where you found yours?? I am just going to sand the dresser and protect with something waterproof. Did you only use the Waterlox? Thanks for sharing!


    1. I should have read the entire blog!! I see that you mentioned where your purchased your sink and faucets at the end. Thanks again!


  36. Hi! I love your bathroom and am doing a bath remodel soon. Question – do you find your tea for two tub a pain to step in and out of? Is it too deep? I want a true soaking tub, but am worried about the deep for everday showers. Thanks!

  37. I wish I could see an all in one photo of the bathroom reveal. I can’t really tell what is going on from the detail shots alone. Thanks. I hope you read these comments.

  38. I wish you would elaborate on the skylight tube. No matter how lovely your bathroom turned out, this is the part that intrigues me the most. Please take some time, or perhaps do a post on it for us. Many thanks, and congratulations on your lovely space.

  39. Duh. I just saw the tutorial on the skylight. I still hope you will tell us how you are enjoying it once you’ve had it for awhile!

  40. I am amazed at how that vanity looks. I never thought of using an antique piece in that way. I now have lots of ideas for eclectic interiors where that could fit. Great pictures and post.

  41. Bathroom looks great! Can you please let me know how to make the cornice piece? Also, is there just a regular shower curtain rod hidden behind the cornice? Sorry for all the questions but I really want to make one of these in my main bathroom! It looks so good!

  42. I just love what you did to create a distinctively different bathroom, especially the cornice. My husband likes the look but is fearful of moisture ruling the MDF and wood on it. Have you had any issues like this with it?

  43. Pingback: 10 DIY Projects That Will Make Your Bathroom Look Amazing – DIY Home Sweet Home

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