Master Bath Remodel Part 1

After over four years of living with our outdated, decaying, moldy master bathroom, we’ve decided to take the plunge and do a full remodel. I have done absolutely nothing to this space since we moved in because, in my mind, it was always a hopeless situation. There is bad tile on the walls, the fixtures are blue, the mirror is cracked, and the cabinets are falling apart. Not to mention, there is an ever expanding spot on the vinyl floor where we can see hidden water damage occurring. But, the moldiness is really what pushed us over the edge. In the past year, it seems like it’s been impossible keep any surface in the bathroom free from mold and mildew. It’s a losing battle.

This is what the bathroom currently looks like. Cringe worthy, I know.


Don’t you just love the wooden toilet seat on the blue toilet? I love retro design, and would be thrilled with a vintage style bathroom, but not this kind of vintage.


Wooden accessories too, and that mirrored cubby over the counter is a real gem.

This is the current layout of the space. You can see it’s quite long and narrow – almost 15′ by 5′.


So that’s the bad, but there’s also a lot of good in this space. For a mid-century ranch, it’s actually a large master bathroom. In fact, it was by far the largest master bath of all the houses we looked at in our neighborhood. Some of them were teeny-tiny with a coffin sized shower and wall-mounted sink. Plus, it’s got that great big window, which lets in lots of natural light…some times too much. Finally, for whatever reason, there’s enough space to the right of the toilet in order to expand the shower without moving the toilet. Depending on which way the joists run, moving the toilet can be involved (aka expensive), so this was a big bonus.

The plan is to demo the entire room, including the soffit over the sink, and start from scratch. After much research and debate, I decided to go with stock cabinets that I ordered online to create a long vanity with double sinks. I searched endlessly for a stock vanity that would fit the space, but most of them are only 6′ long, and we have close to 8′ of space. We have a tub in the guest bathroom, so we’re creating a larger walk-in shower with a glass enclosure.

master-bath-remodel-new-layoutThis is what the new vanity will look like:


My goal was to create a clean, fresh, classic space with a little bit of personality while sticking to a strict budget. To save money, we’re using stock, ready-to-assemble cabinets that I ordered online. The countertop is a well-priced quartz, and the tile floor is a budget ceramic. To add a little detail to the floor, I ordered some 1″ marble mosaics that we’ll use as an accent next to each ceramic tile. I initially wanted a patterned cement tile, but the cost of both materials and labor was over our budget. Maybe in my next house.

While the fixtures are all pretty basic and on the lower end of the spectrum price wise, I did order them all through our local plumbing supplier. I learned the hard way that you get what you pay for at the big box stores.

We’re replacing the door, baseboards, window and door casing. Our house has very basic 2 1/4″ moldings, and I decided to start switching it out for 3 1/2″ flat stock instead. I hope that we can eventually replace all of our cheap hollow core doors to solid flat paneled doors.

I’ve designed many bathroom remodels for clients, and I’m always surprised as how much these small spaces can cost. Our remodel is going to come in slightly above a mid-range master bathroom remodel as estimated by, which makes sense because their numbers are for a very basic 5’x7′ bathroom. The site has a great cost report if you want to see how much projects cost on average in your city.

Another look at the new floor plan…

3D Bathroom Floor Plan Chief Architect

Demo begins on Monday. I can’t even express how excited I am to have a brand new, clean, mold-free master bathroom. In my next post, I’ll share all of the selections that I made.

Before and After Bathroom on a Budget

Guest Bathroom Mini-Makeover: It’s Finished!

We successfully completed about 95% of our guest bathroom makeover last week before we had guests arrive to spend the week-end. The plan was  to give this room a cosmetic face lift and keep the budget under $2000. You can read more about the project in these posts:

Guest Bathroom Mini-Makeover Part 1
Guest Bathroom Mini-Makeover Part 2
Guest Bathroom Mini-Makeover Part 3
Guest Bathroom Mini-Makeover Part 4

This is what the bathroom looked like before we bought the house and then right before we started the project.

Before and After Bathroom on a Budget

We didn’t do much to it except add some color with towels and a shower curtain. We briefly considered a major renovation, but in the end, we decided we would rather spend that money on our master bathroom.

I had originally planned to paint the pinky-beige wall tile but decided against it, so the plan evolved from there. My original selections still worked, but I needed to find a paint color that would coordinate with the tile and make it, hopefully, disappear. The best choice for the walls ended up being Benjamin Moore Alphano Beige 989, and I selected a shade three shades darker for the vanity Ticonderoga Taupe 992.

Keegan and I demoed everything that wasn’t staying – countertop, medicine cabinet, toilet, hardware. And, we had a spirited debate about those horrible shower doors. I was dying to rip them right off, but he didn’t agree. The next morning, he told me I could go ahead if I wanted to, and so I disassembled them and got them out to the curb right just as the Bagster was being hauled away. It was so satisfying to see them gone even though we were left with a little damage to the shower liner that needs addressing.

This is a bad phone photo I took after they were removed and I cleaned up the tub.

You can see the paint swatches on the wall above the tile. After I painted the walls and trim the lighter shade in an eggshell finish and got a base coat on the vanity, it was time to install the floor. I chose a peel and stick vinyl from Home Depot that resembles Carrera marble. It was my first time installing this type of product, and I thought it was really easy. The whole thing took about 4 hours, and it made the biggest difference to the space by far. I do not miss the hideous stained peach vinyl at all!

If you look back through the vanity, you can see the hideous wallpaper/paneling that was originally used in this room. It was all over the house in various patterns and textures.

After the flooring, it was time to bring everything else back into the space. We ran into a little snag with the faucet and had to call a plumber who also set the toilet for us.  It was well worth the extra expense to have a professional handle the plumbing.

Here is what the bathroom looks like now. We have some minor items to address, but it’s fully functional and looks so much better than it did before. My favorite changes are the new floor and the new sink and faucet.

Anthropologie Style Bathroom Update on a Budget

I did make some changes to my original plan in order to stay on budget. I selected a cultured marble sink and countertop from Lowe’s because I liked it better than the quartz when I saw them together in person. The knobs on the linen closet are from World Market instead of Anthropologie, and the toilet is a one-piece model from American Standard that we got at Lowe’s. When I saw it on the shelf at the same price as the one I planned to order online, I couldn’t resist the idea of not having to clean around the traps anymore.

The towels, rug and soap dispenser are all from Target. I did struggle to decide on which accent color to bring in, but I really love the pops of orange and yellow.

I wish it were possible to get a photo without the light on so that you could see it better, but this room is pitch black without it. The photos are a little blurry from the lack of light, but they’re fairly accurate in terms of color.

Vanity with Mother of Pearl Knobs from Anthropologie

I was able to visit Anthropologie in person twice on my trip to the East Coast – in Montreal and Baltimore – and fell in love with these brass and mother of pearl knobs. I ordered two more for the linen cabinet, but I preferred the look of the dark bronze on the lighter paint color instead.

Glass Knobs from World Market

A final before and after comparison…

Anthropologie Style Bathroom Makeover on a Budget

Overall, this was a fun project and well worth the time and effort. Even with the $287 for the plumber, we came in right on budget at around $1750. The space is much more pleasant to use, and I no longer cringe when we have guests ask to use the restroom. I still have some little things to do like figure out how to reattach a portion of the shower liner and replace the shelves inside the medicine cabinet, but for now, I’m pretty happy with the results.

Anthropologie Shower curtain with color scheme

Guest Bathroom Mini-Makeover Part 4: Design & Budget

It took me a little bit longer than I thought it would, but I finally came up with a specific budget and plan for the Guest Bathroom Mini-Makeover. I decided to go with the Anthropologie shower curtain because its color scheme connects well with the adjacent hallway and dining room and because my mother weighed in and said she thought it was the better choice.

Anthropologie Shower curtain with color scheme

I went with warm metals for the finishes, but mixed it up by including oil rubbed bronze, antiqued brass and gold. At first, I selected a chrome faucet that I really liked but it just looked too bright and shiny next to everything else. One of the benefits of making a concept board like this is that you can instantly see if one of your choices doesn’t look exactly right.

Anthropologie Inspired Bathroom Concept

In order to stay under budget, all of my selections are a mix of medium to low. I almost cheaped out on the faucet. There were some really pretty options on Faucets Direct for under $100, but I took the advice I always give my clients and stuck with a reputable brand. I chose the Devonshire from Kohler, which is a solid standby. When something has moving parts and you’re touching it multiple times a day, you want it to hold up.

I did consider spending more on the light fixture because I recently fell in love with the Pittock Double Sconce from Rejuvenation and wanted to mount it horizontally, but I couldn’t justify the cost in this room. Maybe in our master someday. I like the warm gold tone of this one from Minka Lavery as well as the frosted shades that point upward instead of straight down, which creates shadows on the face. Plus, it takes three 100 W bulbs, which I can put on a dimmer.

I debated more of a vintage style medicine cabinet, but I wanted it to be streamlined and simple with as much reflective surface as possible. I’ve used this cabinet from Kohler in client’s homes, and it’s great because it’s mirrored on the inside with glass shelves. Plus, it’s very well priced in comparison to Nutone or Robern. The tissue holder and towel ring were budget finds at Ballard Designs. The wall hooks and cabinet hardware are from Anthropolgie, and the decorative towels are from World Market. The flooring is peel and stick vinyl tile from Lowes – cheap and easy to install.

I found the brass and glass shelf/towel rack at Bellacor. I was originally looking for a train rack style shelf and couldn’t find any I liked that weren’t chrome or had a towel bar as opposed to hooks. I like this shelf option because it’s 22″ wide, so two towels can hang folded side by side, and the glass shelves are nice for holding toiletries for guests. With twelve different finish options, this was a great find for future projects, and I’m interested to see what the quality is like in person.

Here’s how the budget breaks down…

Guest Bathroom Budget

You can see the sink faucet is the single most expensive item, and the toilet comes in a close second. Like I mentioned above, this makes total sense because they are mechanical and are used often. I included $100 for Accessories like bath mats and extra towels and another $150 for paint and supplies. With tax and shipping costs, I should end up right around $2000.

This project will be on hold for the next month as I’m traveling back to Pennsylvania, but when I get back in July, I plan for this bathroom to be my first big accomplishment of the summer.

Shower Curtain Roundup

Guest Bathroom Mini-Makeover Part 3: Defining the Concept

The next step in my guest bathroom’s mini-makeover is selecting a shower curtain to start as the jumping off point for the overall color scheme and concept. You can see in the before photos that the shower curtain takes up most of one wall. By choosing a colorful curtain with an interesting scheme, I’m incorporating what is basically a large piece of art…something to think about if you’re making over any small bathroom with an open tub. An all white curtain would seem like a missed opportunity, but I also don’t want it to be too loud and overbearing either. After all, it’s a small space with no natural light.

Here are five shower curtains that I thought had some potential.

Shower Curtain Roundup

1. Anthropologie Morning Blossom Shower Curtain | 2. World Market Mosaic Shower Curtain | 3. Bianca Green Shower Curtain via Urban Outfitters | 4. Viva Terra Sea Bloom Shower Curtain | 5. World Market Paisley Floral Shower Curtain

I was leaning towards the World Market Paisley Floral, and it might still be my top choice. I’m not a huge fan of paisley, but I really love the colors, particularly the teal, orange and pink. My second favorite is the floral from Anthropologie, even though the color scheme isn’t what I had originally envisioned. I love how it looks like a huge watercolor painting, and I’m really drawn to the combination of reds, purples and yellows.

Anthropologie Shower curtain with color scheme

This is the color concept I pulled from the World Market curtain….looks pretty similar to my website, just a little toned down plus the blue. I would use the light, canvas colored neutral of the print’s background for the wall color above the tile. The brighter hues would be brought in as accents, and I’m definitely considering painting the vanity a fun color like the blue or jade.

World Market Shower Curtain

If I use the Anthropologie curtain, I would paint the vanity cabinet the deeper gray color and the walls the lightest color in the curtain. Then I would bring in the other colors through the accessories. I’m really drawn to this scheme because it’s so soft and peaceful. I don’t think that I would get tired of it very quickly. The pinky reds also connect back nicely to the vintage kilim rug in our dining room which is the closest room. And, in case you were wondering, I am not considering the beige tub at all in my scheme, since it will be hidden 99% of the time.

So, what do you think? Which option should I choose?