Next to the kitchen, the master bath is one of the most important rooms to upgrade for the best return on investment. In this case, the master bath was not only dated - and I’m not sure it was even all that attractive in it’s heyday - it was also not functional as the shower tile had failed and was leaking.
Since we had to repair prior to sale anyway, we planned a budget update that would turn this ugly duckling into an elegant swan.
Leaking shower - this meant the tile in at least the shower had to be ripped out to repair walls and floor
Ugly, dated tile - blue textured mottled tile wrapped the room halfway up the walls, framed the shower opening and covered the interior, and paved the floor
The shower was unpleasantly cavelike and had no place to store soap or shampoo
Light fixtures, faucets, and shower door were in a cheap shiny lacquered brass that was the height of fashion in builder homes 40 years ago
The layout wasted precious space in this small bath with a lot of unusable floor space next to the toilet
There was only one sink
Vanity was the dreaded honey oak (hey, it went with the lacquered brass era?!)
Door and window trim was stained brown
We offered two options for the renovation. The first traded the locations of the vanity and the shower to allow for extra space for a 5’ vanity (the minimum size to have double sinks). The second maintained the locations of the shower and vanity, but expanded the width of the shower to take advantage of the wasted floor space, made the shower opening the full width and height to add a more spacious feeling, and reduced the shower depth slightly to allow more space in front of the vanity.
We decided to compromise on the double sinks (does anyone REALLY need to use two sinks at once?) to keep the plumbing costs down, and went with option 2. This allowed us to keep the shower drain location and only move the water lines over about a foot into a new wall.
The Salvageable Elements
Oval frameless beveled mirror/medicine cabinet
Solid wood vanity cabinet with classic raised panel doors - the oak would be painted black
Stripping all the tile and demo'ing the shower was essential to repairing and updating the space. We selected a classic white subway tile for the shower in a running bond pattern and ran this all the way to the ceiling and into the niche built into the wall for soap/shampoo. The floor would be covered in 12” porcelain light gray stone-look tile, and the shower floor would be in a 2” version of the same tile. Continuity of floor color helps the space look larger. If money was not a consideration, we would have moved the water wall to the opposite end of the shower and opted for a no threshold entry and glass surround on 2 sides for maximum light and the illusion of more space, but this would have added several thousand more to the already tight budget.
The vanity would be painted black and get new polished chrome hardware. Out went the barf-colored laminate and in came a new marble top in grey/white with an under-mounted sink. New classic chrome cabinet hardware, faucets, shower fittings, hooks, towel bar, toilet paper holder, and lights were selected. Walls would be painted a pale gray and trim and millwork would be white. The effect would be clean, fresh, light and airy.
Staging a bathroom for listing
Bathroom staging should include fluffy white towels, a white textured shower curtain, and a shot of color in neutral spaces. This neutral bath got an infusion of turquoise, green, gray, and white with striped accent towels and colorful washcloths. Natural, organic additions are also a must and here include a plant, a teak stool, a wooden handle brush, loofah and sea sponge. Glass and chrome jars of cotton balls and swabs and a set of pretty soap/lotion dispensers is all that is needed to finish the vanity counter.
A few curated bath accessories below (click on image for more information):
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