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 HGTV.com 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.
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.
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…
- Floor tile: Greecian White 12 x 12 tile, Home Depot, $3.99/sq ft.
- Shower tile: Greecian White 3 x 6 subway tile, Home Depot, $5.99/sq ft.
- Shower curtain fabric: PKaufmann Artissimo in Navy
- Sink: American Standard Retrospect Self-rimming drop-in sink, Home Depot, $127.82
- Sink faucet: Moen Weymouth Faucet in brushed nickel, National Builder Supply, $536.81
- Bathtub faucet: eBay, $65
- Towels & bath mat: Simply Vera Wang, Kohl’s
- Soap dispenser: Threshold Olican Soap Dispenser, Target, $9.49
- Wood for builtins and trim, radiator screen and potlights: Home Depot
- Ceiling Paint: True Value Ceiling Paint in Benjamin Moore’s Simply White
- Wall Paint: Benjamin Moore’s Aura in Matte, Simply White
- Trim Paint: Benjamin Moore’s Satin Waterborne Impervo, Bright White
- Bathtub: Kohler Tea for Two Tub in White, Home Depot, $1873
- Toilet paper holder: Covington Paper Holder, Pottery Barn $39
- Toilet: Kohler Memoirs Stately Elongated Toilet in White, Home Depot, $340
- Skylight tube: ODL 14″ Tubular Skylight, Home Depot, $249
- Installing a skylight tube
- Easy-sew monogram bath towels
- Converting a dresser into a vanity
- Shower curtains and cornice
- Installing crown molding
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.