We have this tiny master bathroom. It’s not super functional. It’s currently my husband’s private bathroom because I think it’s too gross to use. =) It maybe looks okay at first glance but we bought this house three years ago and are definitely ready for a remodel. Hopefully when we are done, I’ll be willing to shower in here…


Here are the before pictures:

Look! I didn’t even clean up this bathroom for my “before” photos. I’m a busy lady and this level of messiness is a regular occurrence in this house. =)

See, not too terrible, but that shower is tiny and we have some space that is underutilized. However, since our bath fan isn’t super functional, we get a lot of moisture build up on the walls and they are starting to grow mold and peel and just be generally disgusting. This project will be a little cosmetic, but mostly remediating this moisture problem and creating a shower space that is up to todays standards.


Here are some close ups of the yuckiness:

Actual fuzzy mold spots growing on the walls!

Tiny AND yucky! We’ve tried all the toxic chemicals and lots of scrubbing and this isn’t getting much better.

You can see how damp the room gets when the bath fan doesn’t function properly, the paint is peeling off the walls!

Many tiles are loose on the floor and the grout is chipping out. I’m sure we’ll have some not-so-pleasant surprises when this comes up!

 So, here’s the thing. I don’t do any fancy computer renderings when I plan projects. Mostly because I feel like sitting down to learn the software is time I could have used for ripping down walls or otherwise working on the project. =)

Once I have a rough idea of what I’ll be doing (also called scope of work), I make a list of what I’ll need, big items and small and start to price things out online. Note that since this is a DIY, I’m not quoting labor for this one but on bigger projects when I use other contractors, I do get estimates for the materials and labor from at least 3 if not more contractors for the specific trade. You can learn a ton about what things cost, simply by having projects bid. You’ll also see a WIDE range in pricing.

Part of why I love to DIY before hiring it out, is that it gives me a good idea of how long things take and cost. For example, on the Fremont House, the tile estimates I got were ranging from $750 for just the kitchen backsplash to $25/hr. with no estimate on how many hours it would take, to $10k (and four weeks!) for the entire project.

I ended up doing all the tile in that house in about 40 hrs. with less than $1000 in materials for a tub surround, bathroom floor, a custom shower, a HUGE bathroom floor, a kitchen backsplash, and kitchen floor. Yes, my time is worth something, but in this situation 4 weeks would have been too long and cost the project a LOT more than my labor. =)

Here’s my rough sketch of the plan and my preliminary list of what will be needed. You’ll see I don’t have any of the little stuff you don’t see like plumbing fixtures and electrical supplies. This stuff adds up so I usually estimate a few hundred dollars at the end to account for it. With this info, I can estimate my budget for the whole project. 

For this project, I’m trying to keep it under $3k. This is for an almost total gut job, we will be down to studs in most of the bathroom and I think the only fixtures we can reuse is the toilet (although toilets are cheap so we might end up with a new one). I usually recuperate a bit of the expense by selling the stuff I pull out of the project on Craigslist.

Here’s the plan:

  • New shower, doubling the square footage from 30”x30” to about 34”x59”. (By taking out half wall and replacing it with frameless glass (and a sliding shower door to avoid swing) we are stealing almost a full stud width in floor space which is very noticeable in a shower. The difference in elbow room from 30-34” is HUGE! …plus it’s all we’ve got!) Tiled shower walls. Add plumbing for a second shower head. Inset shelf (or two!) in the stud space. Tiled floor. Sliding glass door.
  • New tile floor
  • New vanity
  • New bath fan (and duct!)
  • New lighting
  • Scrape the ceiling, smooth finish.
  • Fresh paint
  • New mirror.

Once I have my drawing, I know how many square feet of materials I’ll need and can start shopping. I love doing bathrooms, especially small bathrooms because the relatively small amount of square footage allows me to find great deals on overstock tile or returns/clearance at the tile store.

I found these AWESOME handmade Spanish tiles (white, elongated subway style) for the walls and some really nice Italian porcelain planks (charcoal) for the floor and picked up enough for the whole project (plus overages for mistakes) for $300! I am still looking for something smaller for the shower floor (mosaic style) because the planks might be difficult to work with on the slope.

I’m still on the search for a new vanity but since I know it can’t be more than 30” wide, it’s easy to shop. I’ve got a few options but this is lower on the priority list at the moment so I know I’ll find something when the time comes. 

The order of operations is pretty important. I’m getting better at this but my husband will tell you that I’m basically the queen of doing things in the wrong order. Here’s how we’ve decided things should go:

  1. Demo….duh
  2. Rough ins of plumbing, electrical and HVAC. (Rough-in means the pipes for the plumbing are all in place but. they don’t have their final fixutres or spigots attached, for electrical, the wires are run but the new fixtures aren’t put on, and so on.)
  3. Sheetrock/cementboard/walls and floor underlayment/waterproofing
  4. Paint (this one can arguably go elsewhere, but if you’re tiling, it’s nice to not have to worry about painting up to your tile edge or getting paint in your grout so I do it before tile hits the walls/floor. Then you don’t have to protect your floors either.
  5. Wall tile
  6. Floor tile
  7. Grout all
  8. Finish plumbing and electrical including vanity and toilet install and lighting
  9. Caulking, seal grout, and touch up paint.
  10. Cleanup and ENJOY!! There really is something about living in a really cool space that you create your OWN self!That’s all for this post! I was hoping we would have demo day on the calendar by now, but life happens. I’ll keep you posted on our progress here.What projects are you dreaming of doing in your own house? Do you have anything planned? We LOVE seeing your projects so post pics in the comments here.

XOXO Friends! Happy remodeling!

Amy Ranae

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