The Fabulous Tiny Master Bathroom Remodel. Step One.

The Fabulous Tiny Master Bathroom Remodel.  Step One.

‘Step one’ was always going to be the hardest.  I knew that from the get-go.  Trying to convince my husband that a home improvement was needed is a slow tedious process; Trying to have him agree that our bathroom needed updated was a 10 year endeavor.  The man exhausts me.  The bathroom would be a topic of conversation for awhile, and then we’d find that we needed a new roof.  But why do we need a new bathroom, it’s only for us? Then the topic would come back up, and then the house siding needing to be replaced.  It’s fine, no-one ever sees the bathroom.  I think it’s fine. Three kids in braces.  Why rip something out if it’s still working? Having a decent (I’d even settle for ‘half-decent’) bathroom became so far down the list that I just about gave up.  Whatever. I’m exhausted.

And then one day, he agreed.  Just like that. He asked  ‘Can you do it with $12,000?’

You betcha, mister!! (It turned out that I couldn’t.  But whatever).

It’s not as though it’s a big bathroom.  Seriously, it’s less than 50 sq ft.  To call it a ‘master’ bathroom is inflating it’s status in life.  It’s a little rectangle thing, next to our bedroom.  And windowless, might I add.

Seriously!!! Who designs a ‘master’ bathroom with no window??  Granted, it has a skylight, but c’mon – no natural ventilation.  Pitiful. Such bad designing (our home was PURPOSELY designed to not have windows in any of the bathrooms OR powder room).  Crazy. And it’s an ugly bathroom.  Orange peel textured walls (bane of my life), linoleum flooring, peach and green back splash, TILED countertop (hate hate hate that). 

Once we actually started talking about the remodel it became abundantly clear that our relationship could be in dire trouble.  I had visions of throwing the marriage out of the newly installed window, shouting ‘Good Riddance! to it.

At the beginning of the project, we had a molded fiberglass shower stall.  It had to be at least 15 years old; and no matter how much you scrubbed it, you could never get it clean.  Like really clean.  And you most certainly couldn’t clean between the sliding glass doors, without ripping them off in utter despair (done that).  So when it came to sitting down and talking about what we want/need/desire in the bathroom, it turned out that our views were not even close.  Not.One.Bit.

I started with the shower.  Of course it was being ripped out.  Of course. And it was going to be tiled, and it was going to have a frame-less shower door.  Of course. Duh. And then he told me his vision: we would just got a new fiberglass shower stall.  


That’s when I started to have little panic attacks.  My husband’s idea of doing a remodel is to simply replace everything with the exact duplicate – just newer.  


I can’t tell you how many conversations we had in Lowes, where I could hear the song ‘Let’s call the whole thing off’ playing. Now, to be completely honest with you, one of my husband’s (often annoying) strengths is that he is fiscally responsible. But sometimes, just sometimes he needs to just chill. You dig? Sometimes he just has to put trust in his wife and go along with the plan.  For she knows best.  I remember when we were dating (very early stages) he came to my house with two big shopping bags; he’d been clothes shopping (oh no).  And he proceeded to pull out 10 items of clothing that he had bought at Wal-Mart.  And he was SO please with himself that he’d only spent $50 on EVERYTHING.  I mean, C’mon, Score! It was at that very moment, when I realized that I must be in love with him.  Because his lack of fashion sense didn’t faze me, the fact that he had intentionally chosen Wal-Mart to buy clothes didn’t make me want to run for the hills.  And the fact that I didn’t even flinch, was proof enough that I saw this man for who he was, not for the ‘frilly’ stuff.  Well, Wow.  Thanks, Cupid.  Boy, I just fell in love.  And I remember thinking to myself, he’s going to wear that orange sleeveless polyester mesh top, with the skull and crossbones soon, and there’s not one thing I can say about it.  (O.M.G., he wore it so many times, I can’t even tell you! And it was reversible!!!).  

OK, back to present day.  Things have changed, thankfully his dress sense has improved (, not much actually, who’s kidding who.) – and he still doesn’t like spending money on ‘frilly’ stuff.  And to him, a tiled shower, a frame-less shower door and the likes are ‘frilly’ stuff i.e. you can get the same effect for less money. You don’t need frilly stuff to get clean.  You need a shower, a sink, faucets, and a toilet.  THAT.IS.ALL.YOU.NEED.

And as the saying goes… that’s how the fight started.

The budget was $12000, which I felt FOR SURE would be more than enough.  And I still stinking went over budget! I think the last count was in the region of $14,000.  My husband (who records all of my receipts on Quicken, every week) will say it was much closer to $15k, and who am I trying to kid?.  I think that, emotionally speaking, $14k sounds softer on the tongue.  So I’m sticking to that number.   And ‘Numbers Man’ can bite me.

I’m not the type of person who obsesses about paint color etc.  I just pick one that I like and go for it.  I don’t have the patience or inclination to paint color swatches on the wall.  That’s for people who care. Or have time. I knew that I would be using Pure & Original paint because it’s an awesome paint (plus they recently introduced a new  lacquer which I was DYING to try out).  I will admit to obsessing a little over flooring (and faucets).  And it’s an internal dialogue that I’m sure at lot of people have ‘Do I go trendy or do I go timeless?’.  I SO wanted to go with a WOW factor. Here are a couple of my options.

Black and White. Very classic and timeless.

I love the black and white concept. I think I first started seeing this cement tile on Fixer Upper a few seasons ago. It looked like a fun tile to use – except I see it EVERYWHERE now! And there – lies the problem with ‘trendy’ – it starts off as being ‘different’ and ‘unique’ but invariably ends up being ‘exactly the same’. 

LONDON APOTHECARY from Cle Tile (I’d be tempted to buy this purely based on the name).

This one is a little ‘same, but different’ – and honesty I love the name.  But do you buy a tile because you like the name? Rhetorical question.

I obsessed about this one.

This one I adore.  Just love love love it.  There are so many configurations you can make with this  you can make with the tile. And the color, oh that beautiful color!


I obsessed for days over these tiles, and I really did come close to ordering the Radar Hexagon.  But, ultimately a few things swayed me against them.  Trendy is good for now – but it dates really quickly; and I don’t want to get tired of it and then be stuck with a floor that I can’t afford to replace.  Would I still love it in 5 years, 10 years? Truth of the matter,  is probably not. And while I stinking love that sexy Radar Hexagon, I have to remember that my floor is only 5′ x 8′ (ish) and it would be so overwhelming.  Plus shipping (from California to Portland, Oregon) was going to be over $200! So, I bailed and went the timeless route with marble tile. I’ve used marble in our guest bathroom and love it.  Ulitmately, it was a perfect choice. The bathrooms are close together and after thinking about it, I wanted them to ‘gel’ together- to share a commonality. Marble flooring gave me what I was looking for.

This marble floor tile is great in so many ways: it’s from Lowes, so it was easy to order and it was only $8.32 a sq ft!!  Less money, more impact! And it looks so beautiful.  Because it’s a natural product there are so many different colors in the marble, and I love that about it.  It’s not uniform.  It’s a beautiful warm palette, which really helped me picked the paint colors for the rest of the vanity.  This purchase really made my husband less miserable.  We decided to use this tile on the floor, shower bench and shower niche.  The floor we grouted with grey grout, but in the shower we used white grout (same, but different).

I’ve decided to write about the bathroom remodel in a few blog posts, rather than squishing everything together (because there’s a lot to talk about!). Next post, I’ll show you the end result and focus on paint colors etc. It turned out pretty awesome! Catch you next time!

{insert catchy ending phase here}

Diane aka The Paint Factory



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