Barefoot Monologues

A Journey of the Sole

Master Bath Revival


My husband and I have owned our house for three and a half years, and since the day we moved in we promised to renovate the master bathroom. The molding was wood-colored (ick), the walls were aqua, the floor was curling up at the corners, the tub was old and stained, and our first official shower in it revealed that the pipes underneath were leaking through the floor and onto the kitchen counters below. Needless to say, it was our least favorite room in the house. And since kitchens and bathrooms sell a home, we saved and finally hired a friend’s contractor to come make our bathroom beautiful.

First thing I did was go online to look for inspiration. Since my general style sense is clean, graphic, bold and minimalist, I knew I wanted a dark/black wood vanity and classic chrome fixtures. We had once toyed with the idea of doing warm autumnal tones, but in the end we decided that palette would look better in the half bath downstairs, because of all the tan, chocolate and red tones already down there. So I wanted something understated, handsome. I found myself gravitating to these cool grays paired with creamy white porcelain and shots of color like yellow and lavender.

My inspiration for the general look and feel.

The contractor came about a month and a half before work started. We picked out our nice deep bathtub, our fixtures by Grohe, and he gave us some measurements, quantities and parameters on what to buy for everything else.

We went to Lowes to check out what they had there. Knowing exactly what we wanted, we found our 36″ vanity right away, I think it was by Laura Ashley. Gorgeous super dark wood, oval-shaped chrome fixtures. The price was right with an all-white top which was very classy and square (I love things that are square). There was a matching mirror that I mostly like, and so we picked it up, knowing that it would work.

For the main lighting we knew we wanted something modern, with not a lot of flourish. We found this group of different fixtures on the walls of the lighting section, and you could pick which lamps you want to match with them. We chose one of the simplest fixtures, high-shine chrome to match everything, and square lamp covers. The ventilation fan was next, and we were lucky to snag the last non-ugly one that was in our price range. Also square. Seeing the pattern here?

Next was the tiles. We needed 130 of them. At this point we had already decided on a cool gray color scheme so we didn’t want the tiles to be too warm. Strangely enough, we found it extremely hard to locate 12″ tiles that weren’t ecru, tan, beige, brown, sepia, burnt umber or terra cotta in color. Warm colors abound, but we were finally able to settle on what was called “Blue Glacier.” They were gorgeous and had a nice little hint of silvery blue in them, a nice match for our color ideas. The contractor asked us to choose some smaller tiles for a highlight on the tub walls. The only point of contention between hubby and I on this whole bathroom renovation was these tiles. I picked out some sheets of charcoal gray/black tiles. He thought they would be too dark. We bought them anyway. Our contractor thought they would be too dark, too. But once they were up, everybody agreed that they looked super cool, and I was right (insert smug grin).

Once everything was bought (we came in $2 under budget…hey-o!) the contractor swung by the store and picked up everything for us. On his first day of work I stayed home. Probably the most exciting part of the whole thing was seeing this in my driveway:

Our old bathtub sits on the front lawn: good riddance to bad rubbish.

…and then this right next to it:

Ta-Da! The shiny new tub arrives.

I immediately stepped into the new tub, right there, right on the front lawn. I couldn’t believe it was actually all happening. And happen fast, it did. And it got weird for a couple of days. Like, for example, one night our toilet showed up here:

It's not such a nice scene when your toilet shows up in the computer room. :-/

Billy was nice enough, though, to finish installing the new pipes, tub and fixtures by the end of the first day and taped up plastic so we didn’t have to miss a shower. Thankfully, the leaking pipes never rotted or ruined anything under the tub area, which was so nice to hear.

After the first day: we took showers that night in what I called "the tent."

Day 1 mess: New base floor, old walls and ugly window frame.

On the second day I got home from work to some real changes. The tiles were all up and the tub fixtures were placed in their permanent homes. My shower that night already felt like new.

Day 2 - no grout yet, but the "tent" shower was starting to show signs of class.

On the third day he grouted the shower walls and put in the floor tiles, lighting and vanity. I never remembered to take “before” pictures, but here you can still see the old white bathroom cabinet and the ugly window and walls. Oh, and notice the toilet’s still missing.

Day 3: floors and vanity in.

The contractor complimented us on our choice of tile and grout color. He thought it would look weird with the vanity until he put it all in.

So by day 4 he was completely done with everything. Of course that still left cleaning, small odd jobs like towel bars, a new cabinet (which I scored at Home Depot on clearance for half price, while I was looking for paint supplies…yes!), window fixtures, decor and painting. We still have to find the right art for the walls, but that will come. Painting was a ton of fun (and by ton of fun I mean not fun at all). For example, who ever thought there would be so many grays in the world?

We decided to go with a really pretty cool gray by Sherwin Williams, called Samovar Silver. Then we accented the longest wall with a darker gray, called Steely Gray.

The paint colors we chose.

So after three years of waiting and waiting and putting it off and hating our bathroom, we finally have a place we like to wake up to in the morning. The following pictures I took today after everything (except wall art) was done. Oh, and please don’t ever ask me to install another towel bar for the rest of my life.




Drumroll please…


I love my new bathroom!

A better view of the vanity bottom.

Vanity top with super mod no-edge sink.

All new fixtures by Grohe.

Cool new lighting fixture with square lamps. It's nice and bright in there now.

New exhaust fan. We used to have to keep the door closed for an hour after each shower to keep the smoke alarm from detecting the steam and going off. It was a great mold-maker. Now our mirror doesn't even fog up!

Cool gray walls with a highlight wall of deep gray, new dark wood cabinet, white window molding, mocha blinds.

View of the toilet area (I had to stand in the tub to get this shot).

The floor is so pretty. Cream base with beige and glacial blue undertones. Smoke gray grouting.

Fabric shower curtain by Badgley Mischka. And the towel hook that took me an hour to hang.

You can see the contrast of the highlight wall here. Please feel free to make art suggestions, we are currently at a standstill between 24 different art styles.

Inside the shower. Same tiles as the floor, graphite-colored accent tiles (which are lighter in person), curved curtain rod.

Inside shower: all Grohe fixures. It's huge in there now, it's like taking a shower in a mansion.

Has anybody heard of these Grohe faucets and fixtures? Our contractor couldn’t stop talking about them. He was probably trying to make the $$$ pricetag seem worthwhile…

It's so nice to have temperatures between icebath and witch's cauldron.

So there it is! Thanks for viewing. We are very proud of our first real room overhaul. We learned a lot and are quite happy with the result. And if anyone would like the name of our contractor I’d be happy to recommend him.

2 thoughts on “Master Bath Revival

  1. Gorgeous, Trish! It’s so strange, I was just putting together an design inspiration folder on my computer for my future “real” house and it struck me that I really do love squares, and swirly damask/scrolls, not to mention dark wood. So basically, I love your bathroom. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Way Handshower

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