DIY Modern Master Bath Remodel: Part 6: The REVEAL!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 -
diy how to master bath bathroom remodel renovation update shower install modern black white tile

*This post is sponsored by The Home Depot, Schluter Systems, and The Builder Depot. I have been compensated for my time and provided with product or payment in exchange. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. 

Better late than never, right? I didn't realize until I looked back today, but I first told you guys about our DIY master bathroom remodel back in October 2017! I published the "Before and Inspiration" 15 months ago! 

If you haven't been following along this whole time, basically we remodeled most of our house when we moved in three years ago (my favorite room is the kitchen) but our master bathroom was the last space left untouched. Picture a sea of off-white cultured marble and honey oak. In order to get everything we wanted within a pretty modest budget, my husband and I committed to do almost all of the work ourselves. 

Check out the full series: 

* Keep scrolling for the FULL materials source list *

We started on the demolition all the way back in 2017, then quickly started to move a few of the walls. It's not a massive bathroom, but it's comfortably sized for the two of us. Here's a look at the floor plan before: 

The big layout changes included: 
  • turning the toilet 90 degrees to the left
  • replacing a garden bathtub and drop-in fiberglass shower with a large, custom tiled shower
  • removing a partition wall and relocating a linen closet

Now that the renovation is complete, let's take a walk around.

Water Closet

When we first walked through our house, even before we put in an offer, I knew the lack of water closet (little room for the toilet) needed to be tackled. You can't see the toilet from this angle, but it sat in that recessed space behind the closet. It looks kinda private, but in actuality the toilet was directly across from the vanity and a full-wall mirror. 

We removed the bathroom door when I replaced all the interior doors and added fancy trim, so essentially, there was no way to get full privacy when using the toilet. Plus, I love my husband but, I think some acts are best done behind a closed door. 

Like I showed in the diagram above, we turned the toilet 90 degrees to the left, removed the old linen closet, tore down the wall, and built a small water closet room where we could hang a real door. 

It's a pretty small space, but it does the job. Luckily, since we just turned the toilet, as opposed to moving it, we didn't have to do any plumbing work. The new toilet location uses the same drain and supply line. The only weird thing is, the toilet isn't perfectly centered in the room and the supply line is to the side of the tank, instead of behind it. Little quirks that I'm willing to live with to have a real door and not have to jack hammer out our concrete foundation.

Check out where my rolling mirror wall cabinet ended up!

The new wall dividing the water closet from the rest of the bathroom gave me the opportunity to try a design idea I'd been thinking of for a while, a MASSIVE barn door style medicine cabinet. I removed the original, off-the-shelf medicine cabinet adjacent to the vanity, and built the new storage space in the new wall. 

You can check out the medicine cabinet blog post for all the details, including how I built the mirrored barn doors using $6 mirrors from Wal-Mart.

It's really convient to have my make-up at eye level and right next to a pair of mirrors. The only change I wish I made was to include a power outlet inside the cabinet. Admittedly, the doors are almost always left opened, but I love having the option to close them if I ever remember to.

Vanity and Tiled Walls

If you visited the western United States anytime in the 90's, then you've probably seen my exact old vanity. The cabinets which came with the house were those standard particle board jobs with honey stained oak doors. The molded cultured marble sinks were not my style and the whole vanity was in really rough shape. It was poorly attached to the wall and the finish was worn in many places.

I've always liked bathroom vanities which look like free-standing furniture, so that's the look I had in mind when I built the new cabinet. I originally thought I would include drawers, but eventually sketched up building plans with clean and simple, flat panel doors. You can find the free building plans at

We found a partial slab of honed black granite on Craigslist for $100! There was juuuuust enough for the double-sink countertop, shower bench and threshold.

The white rectangular vessel sinks are still one of my favorite purchases. They're large and look and feel really high quality, even though they were relatively inexpensive. I had to search for days but I was finally able to find them on Amazon (here's the link to the exact sinks I bought).

Alright, I got ahead of myself and need to back up.

Before I could install the vanity, I installed over-sized white ceramic subway tile on the entire back wall as well as the wall to the right (where the closet door is). I'll talk a little bit more about tile in the shower section, but I'll just say it's fabulous! It was given to me from The Builder Depot and it was really easy to work with.

I've told you guys on multiple occasions how much I abhor setting tile. Installing close to 300 sqft of the stuff wasn't a walk in the park, but there were a couple things that made the process a little better. One of the highest recommendations I can make is to invest in a really good laser level.

I was sent two different laser levels from Bosch, and both came in handy. The 165' Cross-Line Laser professional model has a super powerful laser, which is easy to see, even through the bright light reflected off glossy white tiles. Hands down, the micro-adjust knob was my favorite feature! When you turn the knob, it very delicately pivots the base of the laser level, so you can align the cross-hairs exactly where you want them.

If you're only going to purchase one laser level, I recommend picking up the Bosch GLL2, 30' Cross-line Laser. It's reasonably priced and the 3-way articulating clamp base is incredible versatile. Since I brought the ceramic subway tile all the way up the walls, using a laser mounted to a tripod wasn't a functional option. I was able to clamp the Bosch GLL2 to one of the medicine cabinet barn doors and get the lines at the proper height.

You guys are my friends, so I'll be honest with you. The wall tile was the big thing which drew out the whole remodel and is the reason why the remodel dragged out for over a year. I was so crazy busy with other projects, I finished just enough of the wall tile to install the vanity, but didn't finish the rest of the installation until this January! But its finally done and it looks so good now both walls are covered.

Once the subway tile was FINALLY finished, I could wrap up the small details, like replacing the light switch and outlet covers. I know I should, but I'm impatient and I'm not about to use a manual screwdriver to attach the plates to the power boxes. The Dremel Go Rechargeable Screwdriver was designed for people just like me.

It has 7 adjustable power settings and just the right amount of torque. This may have been the first time I attached all 4 light switch covers without cracking a single one.  I normally reach for a power drill, but I think I'll be pulling out the Dremel Go more in the future.

Linen Closet

When we moved the toilet and built a water closet we came up with a problem. We needed a new place for a linen closet. We knew we were going to eliminate the old drop-in shower in the front corner, so we decided we could move the linen closet to that space.

We framed in a wall and lowered the ceiling to create a comfortably sized opening. I was able to re-use the original oak cabinet doors and face frame but gave them a face-lift by toning the stain darker and adding new hardware. 

We don't have tons of storage space in the rest of the house, so this cabinet sees a lot of use. It's packed full with pillows and other household stuff. Plus , it's really helpful to have clean towels within an arm's reach of the shower.

Custom Tiled Shower

The biggest change (and hardest work) is definitely the new shower. It's by far both mine and my husband's favorite upgrade.  I would love to have a free-standing tub, but out master bath was small enough that wasn't an option. I know separate tubs and showers are the big thing for resale, but I think in our case, they were overrated.

We decided one large and luxurious shower was better than a cheap, separate tub and fiberglass shower, both too small to use comfortably. So far, it's been the best decision we've made.

Installing the shower was definitely the most intimidating part of the whole remodel. There are so many things that can go wrong and you hear horror stories all the time. If you screw up trim or paint, it's ugly but not the end of the word. You screw up plumbing or water-proofing, you can literally ruin your house. However, I got a quote for just the tile work in the shower and it was more than the entire budget of the entire remodel. I knew I would have to figure it out myself. 

For the water-proofing and prep-work, I chose to work with Schluter Systems and it gave me enough confidence to move ahead without a contractor. 

Yes, they provided material in exchange for my review, but I think using their system would be worth every penny. Schluter Systems has thought every step out and make it really easy to tackle a huge job (like adding a new shower) doable for a DIYer. 

After installing the water-proofing system, I could set the tile on the floors and walls. I worked with my favorite tile supplier, The Builder Depot. The Builder Depot specializes in gorgeous marble (at the best prices I've ever seen) but also carries a healthy selection of ceramic, glass and porcelain.

For the walls, I choose over-sized 16" x 4" tiles in a glossy white finish. For the floor and niche recesses, I went with matte black penny tile.

We did hire local contractors to do a few things that we weren't equipped to do, or didn't have time for:

  • fabricating the granite slab
  • installing the glass shower doors
  • laying the floor tile (my least favorite task in the world - worth the money)

Out of pocket, we spent about $3,000 for materials. I feel pretty comfortable we've added many times more than that in equity to our house.

Here's the view from my bedroom. It's my favorite.

The final before and after reveal of a DIY down to the studs master bathroom remodel including a price total and materials source list

- Materials Sources -

Kwikset "Milan" Door handles:

Vanity Plywood:
Cabinet Pulls:
Countertops: Craigslist 
Vessel Sinks:
George Kovacs Saber Wall Lights:
Mirrors: Craiglist (really old Ikea style)

The Builder Depot Tile 
                  Subway Tile:
                  Penny Tile:

Schluter Shower System -
                  32” x 60” shower tray (off center drain) - kit
Curb – (2) 6” x 48” - kit
Point drain – 2” - kit
Valve  and shower stem seals - kit
Kerdi membrane - kit
Kerdi-Band - kit
Kerdi-Kereck corners - kit

Screws and washers - kit
Kerdi-Board – (5) ½” x 48” x 96” 
Niches - (2)  12” x 20” -
Bench - 11-1/2” x 32” -
Pfister Shower Valve Trim Kit:

Mohawk Aerosol Wood Toner:


Snake Plant:

Whew! What do you think? Was it worth the wait?I learned so much on this remodel. I think I will be a lot more confident (and hopefully faster) the next time we decide to rip our house apart.  Besides a couple very small things, I don't think I would change anything.

If you like that, you'll love these ideas:


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