Bathroom, Decorate

Master Bathroom Makeover | Week 1 Update

Just before Christmas I posted about my plans to makeover my master bathroom.  The goal is to make the room look fabulous for about $500.


Since moving in, we have only used our en suite as a resting place for dirty laundry. Once a week we pick up the laundry and clean the rest of the bathroom.  And then close the door only to come back a week a later.  I am hoping to make a few small changes to make the room more beautiful.  Here is a view of the room from before we started cutting tile and pulling out boards.

You can see from the images that this room is not very relaxing.


My original goal was to have the project completed in 8 weeks.  Unfortunately, the husband and I spent the better part of the first two weeks sick.  We would work for about 5 minutes and need to take 8 hours off.  I am restarting the clock and considering this week as the end of week 1.

I have made a few updates to the project timeline to account for how things are really going.

The project scope has changed a bit as well.

The original plan called for painting the counter top in week 5.  I did a little more research to find that everyone that has previously done this work in their bathroom had complaints.  First, the paint is very noxious.  Some bloggers complained that they had to leave their house for a couple of days because the fumes were so bad.  Second, the paint chipped.  I read many followup blog posts that detailed when small areas, especially around the drain, where missed this allowed for water to get under the paint.  The paint therefore would lift and chip.  Third, you cannot use the sink area for at least a week.  Bloggers reported issues with the paint being tacky even after 3 days.  Placing small items, even for a few moments, could cause dents.  This is a construction zone!  Painting the counter top was going to be much later in the project, but I would hate to go through all the pain of noxious fumes and have to sand to start over.

After much discussion with the husband, we are replacing the counter top.  We have a small cabinet, so this is not intended to be a large investment.  The faucet that I originally fell in love with (details can be found here) was $125.  (At the time I am writing this, I see that the price has dropped about $10.) After we found a cost effective, yet pretty counter top for the cabinet, I had to switch from a wide spread faucet to a 4 inch center set faucet.  The estimated cost of both the original faucet and the counter top paint are nearly equal to the cost of the new faucet and the new counter top.  Yay, no scope creep yet!

Week 1: Add board and begin repairing other visible wall space in the main bath area. Remove closet.

Week 2: Add board to the walls around the sink. Add baseboards and batten to all walls. Continue repairing visible walls in main bath area.

Week 3: Replace light fixtures. Begin sanding and painting cabinet. Begin painting board and batten and all trim work.

Week 4: Finish painting trim and install new counter top and faucet.

Week 5: Paint visible wall space in the main bath area.

Week 6: Sew curtains.

Week 7: Add new shower curtain rod and paint mirror trim.

Week 8: Add final decor elements and touch up paint.


One of the first things we did this week was to remove the 4 1/2 inch deep closet from across the sink. It had lovely closet doors, but was just useless.

It took a considerable amount of tugging to get all of the boards out.  I was shocked that the closet was well built.  It seems that nothing else in the house was, why not this?

For safety and the ease of consolidating trash, we piled all of the trim we pulled out from the wall into the tub.  We are going to cut down the unpainted boards and burn them in the fireplace.  The painted boards will go out with the trash.

After pulling out the closet, we found a number of tooth brushes still in their original boxes.  It seems that the previous owner had a thing for buying tooth brushes in bulk.  Also, we discovered small slivers of original carpet.  Was it this gray when it was installed 30 years ago?  Probably not.  Due to this little finding, we are going to have to do something about the carpet.  I was hoping to use the carpet we have, but that seems to be out the window. We could leave it as is but there are two colors of carpet and small patches missing altogether. What would you do?

The next thing I did was to remove the baseboards.  All of the pieces came off the wall rather easily despite the fact the contractor used 4 inch nails to install them.  Seriously, the nails were insane!  What size was their nail gun?

After pulling the base boards off the wall, I labeled them based on their original location.  We can use them as templates for measuring our new, taller baseboards.

The next big part of demo this week was removing the tile base boards in the main bath area.  Santa Claus gave the husband a new Dremel for Christmas.  We picked up a 570 bit (Dremel speak for those of you that collect tools) that is ideal for cutting grout.

Being careful to only cut the grout, I scored the top of the tile base board/trim.

I then moved to the bottom of the tile trim.  I scored the grout line, being very careful to not stay in one place for too long.  That bit will drill directly into the tile.

I then used a crow bar to pop the tiles off.  This took a little bit of work as the tiles had mastic holding them to the drywall.  Once I got the first tile off, the remaining tiles popped off in a matter of 20 minutes. 

And I remembered to wear my safety glasses.

I was thrilled to see the space without the ugly trim tile.  It is going to look so much nicer when it is done.

The last piece of our to do list for this week was to install board to the walls in the main bath. This took forever. It is a testament to how inept the husband and I are when it comes to using our fancy power tools.  I guess the knowledge from my one semester of shop class in middle school didn’t stay with me. We will be well on our way to being pros by the end of this project.  We spent a good two hours measuring, measuring again, cutting, and hanging the 5 pieces of board that go in the main bathroom.

The board makes the walls look really nice.  I can imagine the white paint and additional trim we are going to add.  In the interim, ironically, we have actually made the room more brown that it was to start with.