Our Master Bath Remodel – 1 Year Later

Bathroom beforeWhen we purchased our home we knew that the master bathroom would require a full gut and remodel at some point. Our home was built in the late 1980s and was semi-updated in the 90s. The master bath clearly reflected the transitioning style with maroon blinds and maroon Chinese lace wallpaper. Doesn’t it make you dizzy to look at?

As first time home buyers we did not have deep pockets so it took us about a year to save up enough to pay to have this work done. This is our only remodel project that we did not do ourselves, and for good reasons. A full progression of the project is at the bottom of the post, but let’s start with the wallpaper…

We were sure that we would be able to remove the wallpaper on our own and then pay to have the texture matched to the rest of our home. Wrong! I was completely disgusted when I steamed the first layer away, only to find pink roses below. You can also see the fur down/soffit and the fact that the ceiling height is the pitch of our roof. The worst part was that the builder did not size the walls before installing the original wallpaper. What’s sizing you ask? Here’s the condensed explanation…

Sizing creates a slippery, slightly glossy surface on your wall that makes it easier for you to install your wallpaper. This painted on texture will make it easier for you to move the pieces of wallpaper around when installing them. Sizing can also help the wallpaper grip the wall better, and additionally make it easier to peel off wallpaper later should you decide to remove it. 

Because our walls were not sized it shredded the Sheetrock which is when I threw in the towel and called a professional. The end result looked 100% better, even with the original shower, tub, and tile.

After this we waited at least 4 months before replacing our cabinets. Because our vanity is extra long, we had no choice but to have it custom made. We were able to gain a huge amount of storage space with the center vanity column, which includes a couple of jewelry drawers. The counters are quartz that we found for less than $500 at Seconds & Surplus; an awesome deal! To fabricate the counters and to under mount the sinks actually cost more than the quartz slab itself…

If you haven’t figured it out yet, we did this renovation out of order (texture, paint, cabinets, tile vs. texture, tile, paint, cabinets) so for us the final step was the tile. This was a HUGE undertaking that required plumbing work for the shower and bathtub, work we had never done ourselves. The most troublesome part of the project was that our water manifold (where water comes out of the foundation slab) was not seated in the wall, but was hanging out underneath our original bathtub. Our tile crew somehow managed to push it into the wall enough to make way for the claw foot tub.

Some the decisions we had to make:

  • Sourcing all of the materials; we did not pay for any designer input.
  • Choosing a semi frameless versus frameless shower surround to save close to $500
  • Spending more for a cast iron tub; they maintain water temperature 100% better than acrylic!
  • Only extend the shower by an additional 13″ in length to allow for a bathtub
  • Installing two soap havens deep enough to handle large shampoo bottles
  • Raising the shower head about 18″
  • Choosing the direction of the herringbone floor tile. I chose to point it towards the vanity since foot traffic will normally head that direction.

Here’s how all of the work progressed:

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You can see the sliding door that Michael and my Dad built in the pictures! 

Overall we had very few issues and the final product far exceeded expectations. Remember that I said we did not DIY this bathroom, and the price tag reflects that. Our total renovation cost with materials and labor was right at $15,000… three quarters of the price of our entire kitchen! Some of the peripheral benefits are that we learned a lot from our tile crew manager; he had no issue with us poking around and asking questions. If it weren’t for him I can honestly say we would have never DIYed the guest bath. I’ve sourced all of our products below, but please comment if you have questions!

  1. Amazon; Sliding Door Hardware (door was DIY)
  2. Lowe’s; Style Selections Leonia Silver Floor Tile 
  3. Lowe’s; American Olean 3×6 Subway Tile
  4. The Tile Shop; Hex Gloss White 1×1 Tile 
  5. Signature Hardware; 53” Carine Cast Iron Swedish Slipper Tub
  6. Signature Hardware; Brunswick Wall-Mount Tub Faucet & Hand Shower
  7. Amazon; Premier Essen Single-Handle Shower Faucet
  8. Amazon; Moen High Arc Spot Resistant Bathroom Faucet
  9. Seconds & Surplus; Sparkling White Quartz
  10. Build.com; Kohler Archer Undermount Sink
  11. Home Depot; American Standard Cadet Concealed Trap
  12. Home Depot; Hampton Bay Transitional 3-Light Vanity Light
  13. Lowe’s; Kichler Vivian Globe Chandelier (We added our own crystals)
  14. Target; Threshold Transitional Beaded Wall Mirror
  15. Towel bars, hooks, etc. are all from the Moen Eva collection
  16. Restoration Hardware; Lugarno Pull
  17. Restoration Hardware; Lugarno Knob 
  18. Farrow & Ball; Pigeon Wall Paint 
  19. Etsy; Clare Elsaesser Art Print

4 thoughts on “Our Master Bath Remodel – 1 Year Later

  1. Wow. What a difference a year makes. You guys did an outstanding job! It is absolutely beautiful. All of your hard work has really payed off!


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