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Our master bathroom was the one room we didn’t remodel when we moved in. I knew I wanted to remodel the entire room so we wanted to wait for the right time so we could take our time and not feel rushed (like with the second bathroom remodel).

Fast forward to 2014, I decided to redo the caulk around the cultured marble panels in the master bathroom shower. While cleaning the bottom of one panel, I noticed black/dirty water coming out from under the panel. My first thought was that the drywall was crumbling. I figured they used regular drywall behind the panels like they did in the other bathroom.

We were in the middle of our garage remodel so Mike’s mind was probably elsewhere when he agreed to let me pull down the panels to check for water damage. I pulled down all the panels right away. The worst of the damage was behind the wall with the shower fixtures:

Thankfully, they used cement board behind the panels so the wood wasn’t that bad and the water damage wasn’t from leaking plumbing:

We found some surface mold that we were able to clean and treat ourselves. However, since we were busy with the garage remodel, we didn’t want to take on another big project. So the shower was left barren to the studs. We used the shower in the other bathroom instead. In retrospect, the wall probably would’ve held up for a few more years if I had just left the panels alone. Oh well.

We spent time saving money for the project and researching how we wanted to remodel it. It was 3 years later when we were finally ready to start the remodel. Lesson learned – never remove something unless you know 100% that you’re ready to repair/fix it.

Our first step was to figure out if we wanted to reconfigure the bathroom. It is a very small room. At first, we thought of incorporating the closet area that sits right outside the bathroom but the ceiling height is lower than the bathroom and also we had no other space to relocate our closet to (our master bedroom is small too). We didn’t have a huge budget so I wanted to avoid opening any cans of worms.

I thought an easier idea would be to expand a little into the other bathroom that sits next to this one. Mike created this floor plan to show the before and after idea:

However, we knew there might be plumbing in the wall between the toilets that would ruin this idea. We opened the wall to explore. Yep, the plumbing stack vent was located there:

It would’ve been too expensive to move the plumbing so we decided to stay within our existing floor plan. We applied for our permit using this new floor plan (basically the same layout):

We had our initial inspection where we found out that we also needed to upgrade our exhaust fan and lighting. We asked about doing a curbless shower but found out we would’ve had to lower the shower drain 3″ and then lower the shower floor (re-framing it) to compensate for it. That sounded like it could open a big can of worms so we scrapped that idea.

We also had the inspector look at our existing subfloor to make sure it was sufficient:

Apparently, the previous owner had some water issues (maybe a leaking toilet) and they replaced part of the subfloor:

The inspector said everything looked fine but we still needed to add cement board on top of the entire bathroom floor. We figured as much so that wasn’t a surprise. Our first job was switching out the exhaust fan – view that post here and our second job was adding a pocket door – view that post here.

You can also check out my detailed posts on wall & floor prep, tiling, and moulding, vanity & toilet. I took so many pictures on this project, I had to separate them into separate posts.

The inspection process overall on this project was much easier since we had a different inspector for each visit. They didn’t seem as nitpicky as past ones. It took us 14 months to finish the entire remodel.

Before & After pictures:

We decided to buy a towel warmer for the newly opened area next to the toilet. We already had an electrical outlet located there so it made perfect sense. We love it:




MARCH 2018







Freestanding Towel Warmer