Six months ago to the day, Brian and I tore down our teeny stall shower, which slowly began to reveal a not-so-secret swarm of damp darkness. After smashing through poorly set tile and insufficient 1/4-inch cement board, there was no turning back. It was simply time to say goodbye.
There are still a few finishing touches we plan to add, but as of November, we have had complete use of our entire bathroom! It has been a journey to get here, but man…we are in awe of this project and cannot be more thrilled to have a new bathroom for the new year!
A Flashback to The Master of Disguise
Before I introduce our rebuild, I’d like to take a moment to revisit the “renovated” bathroom we inherited.
We knew this bathroom had to go before we even put our offer in to buy the house…Let’s just say:
Looks can be deceiving.
Sure, the bathroom was functional. Despite the limited footprint for toilet use (sized for a small child), the disproportionate vanity at 37ins high, and the crudely structured stall shower, Brian and I reluctantly used the bathroom until we eventually discovered the shower leak.
It was finally time to move on!
Welcome to our New Bathroom
Beneath the layers of tile, dust, and moisture, we pulled our can-do attitudes together to build a bathroom we love. Brian and I very much wanted to move on from the dingy, dank shower we had been using. We are incredibly happy with our new layout. Thank goodness we had a week to put together our plans before we actually took action! With that week, we outlined our goals and submerged ourselves in research.
New Bathroom Goals
- Relocate and expand shower footprint
- Ensure enough space to comfortably use toilet
- Create a dedicated in-bathroom linen closet
- Brighten the entire space
- Find a way to install a double vanity
- Figure out the source of the damp smell
- Avoid products made in China
Above all, we truly just wanted to prove to ourselves that we could face this DIY renovation challenge AND save money. It was an ever-evolving success.
The total approximate cost of the entire project, including tools and services, was $11,500.
To put cost in perspective, we discovered a local neighbor hired a company to complete a tub-to-acrylic shower conversion (similar to this). The original 1950’s bathroom remained untouched, with the exception of the shower. The total charge for this service was $10,000.
Granted, it took Brian and me (along with my dad’s help!) four months to reach the point of a functional bathroom. In all honesty, I would rather our project take as long as it did because it allowed for us to learn. Sure, I can put an actual number on the physical cost of product, tools, and services…However, this entire experience was invaluable. Brian and I have taken the time and effort to invest in ourselves.
Getting into the Details
Once we selected all of our tiles, Brian and I quickly picked out our grout colors. We originally chose Pewter for the floors, but it dried much lighter than we anticipated, so we picked up Polyblend Grout Renew Colorant to darken it.
We did not alter the Pewter Grout on the shower floor, as it was a nice transition to the Bright White we selected for the shower walls. As for the niche, however, we found that the blended Charcoal and Pewter color did not complement the wood look tile as well as the Charcoal did alone. We applied the Charcoal colorant to the niche grout, which gave it the pop of contrast we wanted. Once we were happy with the grout, we wrapped up our tile chapter with sealer and caulk.
The company we hired completed a final measurement before the countertop installation. To ensure a proper fit of the faucets and sinks, they determined it was best for us to cut a tad more of the front support frame. We polyurethaned the frame once more, had the counter installed, and then needed to figure out how to adjust the drawers to allow for plumbing.
The center slide-out drawers remained unchanged. It took us a little bit of research, but we ended up figuring out how to install and utilize the drawers as best as we could.
- Fixed the top drawers with False Front Cabinet Clips
- Removed the second drawer faces and polyurethaned AGAIN (for extra measure)
- Installed Tip-Out Trays with Soft Close Hinges to the back of the second drawers
- Notched out the rear bottom drawers to accommodate plumbing
Trim it Out
To round out the room, Brian installed the remaining trim while I refreshed the entire space and trim with paint. We re-used the original crown moulding, however the baseboards and the door and window trims were installed with new material.
Over the next couple of weeks, Brian and I will be adding the final touches to our master bathroom rebuild. We are in the midst of staining and sealing the original floating shelves that were located near the toilet. These will be installed later this week!
We also plan to finish building out the closet shelving so we can begin using our linen closet.
This bathroom has become a sort of oasis of ours. There is no more smell. It’s no longer a room of gray sadness. We can comfortably use the toilet as average-sized adults! In the end, our master bath rebuild is a result of us: It is a surprising and exhilirating combination of hard work, a lot of love, and our very own style.
Thank you, all, for sharing in our renovation journey! We appreciate you following along our Master Bath Rebuild Series. We will be back with a final post in this series to share our thoughts and lessons learned throughout this adventure.