Skip to content

Master Bathroom Reveal!

January 6, 2014

finished.  complete.  done.  concluded.  over.  through.  Whatever word you choose, it’s finally time for a formal reveal of the master bathroom at casa da bauer.  It’s officially time to let her  to walk down the runway, hopefully without tripping.

We designed the vanity with with the help of our local cabinet store, Nitro Carpet and Tile.  The cabinets span 12 feet across the entire bathroom.  They are made of solid maple with a linen (white) stain.  The hutch was on my must have list since Ryan requested a television like we had in our first home.  The hutch is 36″ wide, 8″ deep, and 60″ tall.  Ryan added extra support for the TV mount and hardwired cable and electrical before we hung drywall.   The wall scones are from the Halina Collection at Home Depot and the towel bar is the London Terrace towel bar (I splurged for the 8″ towel bar because I have a bad history with towel rings…they constantly fall off the wall!!!!!  …at least for me).

master bath

master bath

Despite naysayers, we opted to go with a Carrara marble countertop.  It was quite a fiasco.  I put a deposit on a slap that perfectly matched our 12×12″ floor tile at a local store called Casto Tile.  They decided to sell our piece to someone else then refused to give us our money back because they didn’t have enough money in their account (go figure).  After a few calls to the credit card company, we got our refund and found a similar slab at Origins Granite.  It’s not an exact match (the veining is a bit darker) but in the end, really?!  ….I’ll be the only one who looks that closely.  And our double bonus?  We ended up saving $1,000 by going to the competitor!  (note to all: ALWAYS put your deposit on a credit card!)

master bath

We opted to go with the rectangle under-mount sinks.  Originally my plan was to go oval.  I thought the round shape might break-up all the straight lines in the room, but at the request of Ryan we went the rectangle route  (Gotta let him win one here and there).  They are the Decolav brand from Home Depot.  The faucet is the Victorian center-set chrome faucet from Overstock.  It’s a single handle design (at the request of Ryan – he has more say than he thinks he does (wink, wink)).  The faucet is actually the first thing I bought back in January/February 2013 when this whole remodel mess began.  The reviews about installation were awful, but since I knew a plumber was going to install them I figured it didn’t really matter…and I was right, he had no problem (leave it to the pros!).  We actually hired a plumber to do about $1,300 worth of work.  We needed to move  the plumbing for our sinks and add to the existing plumbing to accommodate the 3 separate shower heads in our massive 5×8 shower.

master bath

master bath

The glass doors are each 36″ wide and 80″ tall, spanning a 74″ opening.  They came from another local company called The Glass Guyz  (who were awesome, by the way!), out of Hurricane, WV.    We tried to shop local, avoiding the big box stores as much as possible.  The hinges and handles are also chrome.  We splurged on the upgraded towel bar handle for $50 more per door.

master bath

master bath

All three shower heads are Delta brand, also in chrome.  The center shower head is a handshower on a slide bar for easy cleaning or handicap accessibility if something tragic happens down the road….always thinking ahead!

We used 2×4″ Carrara marble in a subway pattern on the shower floor.  At first we were concerned the floor might be slick, but there’s enough grout between those tiles to act as a natural anti-slip mat.  We also carried those 2×4″ marble tiles to a chair rail on the shower walls.  In an attempted to add a little contemporary flair to this mostly traditional bathroom, we laid the 9×24″ grey wall tile vertically.   The tile itself is almost the exact opposite pattern of the Carrara marble.  It’s a dark grey with light grey veins.  Made by Crossville, it’s called General’s Grey.  We order both the floor and wall tile online, both shipped without any problems!

master bath

Lastly, the watercloset.  I won’t lie, it was my request.  Having the pleasure to stay at several Ritz Carlton hotels as a youth, I was always fascinated with that private watercloset hidden behind a  louver door.  (I guess interior design has always been in my blood…ha!)  Granted, I didn’t get a louvered door (another win for Ryan), but a fancy Kohler commode with crown molding from Ferguson’s is always a plus.  We still have to replace the window sill and add casing around the window when the weather is warmer but if that’s the only thing incomplete on this 9 month renovation, I’ll take it!!!

Now for the side by sides of the before and afters from the same angle.  (Find more on the befores here here and here)

bathroom before and after2

bathroom before and after1So did we hit it?  Did we create the timeless mater bath retreat/classic hotel feel that we were going for??!   It’s insane to look back at the past year and the transformation our (not so new anymore) house has made!  We plan to put the finishing touches on the bedroom and start the custom built closet system in the walk-in during the next few weeks….we’re moving at the pace of snails, I know.



September 5, 2013

Yep, they’re in!  Our twinkle toes are now touching new hardwoods and marble.  I can officially say I won the battle-of-the-flooring.  Ryan wanted carpet.  I wanted hardwood.  He likes a soft feeling under his toes, I like the easiest way to clean up dog vomit.  Not that dog vomit happens a lot, but it does happen and it’s much easier to clean wood floor (in the dark, at 3am) then carpet.  But anywhoo… This is what we were working with in the hall/bedroom.


Half of the master contained hardwood flooring that I believe was original to the house.  The other half was carpet with sub-floor beneath.  Why half and half?  Remember that brick wall we torn out?  That was an addition by the previous owners, hence no wood floor in that space.




I’d like to think I am a very gracious winner.  Since I won the battle-of-the-floors Ryan got to choose the hardwood.  We headed to Lumber Liquidators just to “look” at their inventory, but of course made a purchase that same day.  Ryan chose Acacia.  And here’s the reason:  It’s known for strikingly dynamic grain and knots (which he loved) and it’s one of the hardest woods in the world (which I loved), so it was good for dogs.  Win-win situation.  We loaded (and unloaded) 21, eighty six pound boxes of this stuff.  Lift with your legs, not your back.


The floor was required to rest for 2 weeks in the house.  The wood has to acclimate to the humidity, temperature, etc…in your home.  We really thought deeply about DIYing the floors and installing them ourselves but in the end we didn’t want our first hardwood installation to be a 450 square foot test-zone.  So….we hired out.   The contractors made our day when we were told they could install the new floors right over the old ones….hurray!  We had to make a few patches where old walls use to be (especially in the closet) and we were good to go.

closet floor

closet floor

The guys were super-fast.  They completed the job in a day and a half.  Ryan stayed home with them while I went to work.  Throughout the first day he teased me with these iphone photos….

acacia floor

acacia floor

acacia floor

acacia floor

When I came home from work on the second install day I was greeted by these beauties in our master bedroomacacia floor

acacia floor

Hello beautiful Acacia!  And here’s the walk-in closet:

acacia floor closet

acacia floor closet

We didn’t stand and stare too long.  Shortly after our gaze-fest was over we covered them back up.  I wanted to keep them protected during the bathroom marble install…which we did DIY.  So without a breather we went right back into it.  Ryan mixed the mortar and laid the 12×12 tiles while I ran the tile saw.

marble floor

We’ve never worked with Carrera Marble, but it really wasn’t any different than the ceramic tile we’ve laid previously….minus the weight and cost.  I began to get a little nervous when the marble started to turn dark grey.  Ok, not a little nervous…a lot nervous.  The reason I picked this certain “Bianca” marble was because of how white it was and how grey the veins were…eek!  After a little googling, I found out this porous stone soaks up all the moisture in the mortar when it’s laid but will eventually dry out.  So we turned on a few fans to help the process go a little faster.  Issue resolved.

marble floor

marble floor

Since I share the good and the bad, I’ll admit to one little snafu….

When we first started laying tiles we kept pulling from the same box…BIG MISTAKE.  We were supposed to randomly pull from all the boxes (which we knew) so the tiles are laid in a random pattern.  It just so happened that that first box contained pieces that were more “white” than “veiny”.  We noticed this issue fairly soon into the process and immediate started rotating tile.  We lived with the floor for a few days, but Ryan decided those first 7 tiles needed to go.  It was like staring at a bunch of misfits.

marble floor misfits

Ryan and Carpenter Al took hammers to those beautiful marble tiles.  They did a smash and grab kind of job.  The marble won’t pop out in whole pieces so crushing is the only option.  In 20 minutes, all 7 were out and ready to be replaced.  (For the record this was not at my request.  This was all Ryan.  He said something about me complaining five years down the road and to him this was the easier option… I have no idea what he is talking about).   Luckily, we had plenty of leftover tiles so it didn’t really cost us extra.  (notice how those 7 tiles are way darker from the rest of the floor?  that’s the moisture I was referring to)

marble floor misfits

Once everything was completely dry (about a week) it was time to grout and seal.   I used Mapei brand unsanded grout from Lowes in ‘warm grey’.


To be honest, I’m kind of disappointment in the grout.  It looks nothing like the color on the bag.  When it dried it was almost white, not the warm gray the bag advertised.  We are definitely going to use a different color on the shower walls.  It  was dark when wet which led me to believe it would dry a warm grey.

grout marble

\wet grout marble

After a few days of dry time, it was finally time to seal-her-up.  The online reviews said to use standard stone sealer, but I decided to invest in the more expensive “DuPont Premium Stone Sealer”.  More expensive = better, right?!  Not sure if that theory will apply to our marble, but we’ve put so much hard-earned dinero into this project, why skimp on $40?


I don’t have any pictures of the sealing process because I was by myself, but It. Took. Forever.  I think I started at 6pm and finished around 930pm.  I did two coats and applied it with a roller, per printed directions.  It wasn’t hard, just time consuming.  And I was trying my best not to ‘seal myself into a corner’.

marble floor sealed

It’s amazing  a). how long this project is taking  b). how much I love pretty floors  and c). how much toilets cost.  (Yep, commode was picked up from Ferguson’s today!)

Maybe one day in the near future I’ll break out the Nikon again and stop taking iPhone photos…sorry they are all so grainy!   oops.  #blogger_fail.

Getting Schluter’d.

August 28, 2013

There’s this whole new system in waterproofing bathrooms now-a-days…It’s called the Schluter System.  Our carpenter Al, schooled us on this nifty new process.  Back in the good old days (like 7 years ago) when we did our first master bath, it was all plastic sheeting, cement boards, etc…  Now it involves rolls of bright orange plastic called Ditra and it’s applied with mortar.  According to the website it’s a polyethylene membrane.


This fancy stuff is for sale at Lowes and Home Depot, but we ended up getting ours from the local flooring store, Nitro Carpet and Tile.  It’s supposedly the state-of-the art water proofing system.  It’s light and airy…reminds me of a breakfast waffle (but not near as tasty).

Before  the Ditra could be installed we had to remove the old (original hardwood floor).  We then screwed in two layers of plywood to get the floor back up to the height we needed.



We did all the plywood ourselves, but since we had never worked with Ditra, we let Carpenter Al show us the way…



It looked fairly easy and I have no doubt that we will do it ourselves if when we re-do another bathroom.  Here’s the gist of it:  Mix motar, plop mortar on plywood, spread evenly with flat trowel, lay Ditra on top of mortar.  Boom.   Oh yeah, he smoothed over the entire orange surface with a piece of 2×4 so it was level.   Boom.

Now for waterproofing the shower, we were supposed to use Kerdi panels on the walls, also a part of the Schluter system.  Of course the ceramic wall tile we bought was not recommended for use on Kerdi panels.  So we went all old school in the shower and used good ole Durock cement board and mortar.



To waterproof the Durock, we used a product recommended by my hair stylist Esta (who was doing a bath remodel at the same time….she’s finished though, go figure).  It was called RedGard.  It was only available at the Home Depot and it was a little pricey, but it was a fabulous and easy process.


Supplies needed:  Paint tray and liner, unused 3/4″ nap roller, and old paint brush….that’s it!  It was just like painting a wall, except it was really thick.  You apply the pink goop with a roller or spackle knife and that’s it.



The trick to the RedGard is to make sure you are getting it on the wall thick enough.  I can’t remember how thick it was supposed to be but it says on the bucket.   It took about 3 gallons to waterproof our 5×8 shower.  It says you can use this anywhere you want to keep water out…basement walls, etc…

Once the waterproofing was completely dry we could move on to the shower floor.  I’ve traveled an unusual amount this summer.  There were several weekends I left Ryan and Al to do the dirty work while I frolicked in far-away cities with sorority sisters.     One of their projects while I was away included the installation of the shower pan,  It was also part of this Schluter System….it was called the Kerdi Shower Kit.  


The pan itself was a styrofoam-like material.  It wasn’t large enough for our 5×8 shower so they ‘packed’ cement around the outside edges, making sure it sloped down towards the pan/drain.  I checked all my photos…nope, not a single picture of this.  Use your imagination….or google it.

In comparison, we really liked working with the Schluter System in the bathroom.  It seems like a fool-proof way to waterproof any bathroom.  We’ll let you know after we take our first shower…but we would need tile in the shower before that could happen!  One day at a time…..right now we are focusing on working the reno a few days a week and enjoying the boat and the golf course all the other days.  Summer will be over before we know it, we need to enjoy some of it………………………………………..

Master Renovation Update

June 26, 2013

For a renovation that was scheduled to last 3 months, we are now approaching the 6 month mark.  Yikes!  What can I say we have lives and jobs and sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned.  That being said.  I have an update to share!  We have been moving quite quickly during these last few steps and I can finally see light at the end of the renovation tunnel.

Back in April we finished up with the drywall and had started mudding.  As of now, we are completely sanded, primed, and dare I say it, PAINTED!!


I forgot to take pictures on the Nikon but luckily I take tons of shots on my iPhone that we periodically send to family.

master bedroom paint

The biggest decision in painting the master bedroom was h0w to paint around the load bearing beam we installed.  We decided to paint it white so that it could (hopefully) blend in with the ceiling.   I grey I chose (on a whim when I was at The Home Depot) is slightly darker than what I had hoped for so she’ll most likely get another paint job in a lighter shade.

master bedroom paint

master bedroom paint

photo 4

One of the biggest accomplishments (in my mind) was getting the foyer area mudded, sanded, primed, and painted….and plastic removed.    This area took a very long time because we kept forgetting about it.  We would work in the bedroom and bathroom and completely forget there was another area that needed attention.  So FINALLY, we fit the foyer into our plans and I painted it to match the existing color.

foyer paint

photo 7

It feels good to finally have a sense of accomplishment in this renovation, even if we still need to add a door to the foyer coat closet, some floor trim and crown (oops!).    Before the paint even dried, I immediately torn the plastic off the living room wall and moved the furniture back into the space.   The sideboard and decorations all sat covered in our living room for 5 months.  It felt like Christmas morning when I uncovered them!

foyer paint

So….one thing at a time.  …and now that the bedroom is nearing completion it’s time to jump start the master bathroom into gear..that space is still an open area waiting to be schluter’d (as in the Kerdi Schulter System- how we plan to lay the tile),  tiled, grouted, and everything else….

DIY Hidden Tab Curtains

April 22, 2013

The sunroom in our new home is directly off our kitchen and has an access door to our master bedroom. Since this area is so close to our master bedroom, it has become the ultimate dumping ground for everything master-bedroom-renovation-related. At any one time you will see probably 8 pairs of work gloves, three measuring tapes, carpenter pencils, and a pile of disposable masks on top of various power tools, extension cords, oh, and don’t forget the three inches of dust sprinkled on top. It’s quite the couture look, let me tell you.

So, as part of my “let’s clean up the clutter” rampage I started to clean up the clutter.  I found an empty bucket to dump all the work gloves, masks, and tape measures in. Power tools went back into the actual work area and extensions cords got wound back up. I mopped the floor and fluffed the cushions but didn’t bother to dust….at this point in the remodel process it’s really not worth the time.

sunroom before

sunroom before

The wicker furniture was left to us by Ryan’s parents. It was originally white.

2nd new sunroomI got on a painting kick when we first moved in and spray painted the entire wicker set brown (original house tour here).   When we were in Florida (mentioned here) we found a wicker trunk at a consignment store for $65.  It’s in really good condition and once it gets painted to match it will be a handy place to store my outdoor cushions.  Awhile back I picked up a blue and white ikat rug at Homegoods but besides that I haven’t really done anything with the space nor had I planned on doing anything anytime soon…..but then I discovered the perfect fabric….

On a random trip to Wally World I passed the “craft” section (by far the most pitiful excuse for a craft section) and a fabric caught my eye.  Hesitantly, I walked over to it, opened the bolt and was in love.  It was blue, grey, and white ikat, similar to my Homegoods rug… I never  expected to see such a contemporary pattern a Walmart (Walmart fabric seems to be reserved for camo, cartoon, and anything tacky). Then comes the typical Walmart experience:  I rang a bell, waited 5 minutes, rang the bell again, then went to another section, found an employee who called another employee and i finally got one yard of fabric cut with the hopes to make an awesome pillow for my sunroom.

sunroom i-kat fabric

When i got home with the fabric I discovered that is coordinated perfectly with my Homegoods ikat rug.  It’s almost the exact reverse of the rug which is a blue background and white pattern.   I went back the next day and bought an additional 6 yards because this fabric deserved to be more than just a pillow.  Hence, how I ended up DIY’ing some hidden tab curtains for the sunroom.  Oh, and as if there couldn’t be anything better…I forgot to mention the fabric was $1.50 a yard??! Crazy cheap. Like $9 for an entire pair of curtains cheap…Ikea can’t even compete with that.

Ryan golfs every Sunday morning so I had a few hours to myself to get get these babies made.  I surfed Pinterest and found Cathy from Fiscally Chic’s tutorial on hidden tab curtains and got to work.   (Oh yeah. Ryan shot a 72, I know you were wondering…).

fiscally chic

Cathy’s tutorial was great but I altered it slightly by not using a sewing machine.  My sewing machine/craft room is busy being buried by our old bathroom cabinets, bedroom furniture, and various other items we need to store during the master bedroom remodel, so I opted to use “heat and bond”hem tape where the only equipment required is a hot iron.

heat and bond

I went with the hidden tab because I like the clean look of the casual pleats.  Pinch pleats are really too formal for the room and I can’t stand a rod-pocket drape.  Here is a great guide to different types of window treatments from the blog As the Curtain Hangs.

Drapery Types

And one more tidbit on curtains and drapes…they are not the same.  Curtains are light and airy and often sheer, whereas draperies are lined and more formal…so in my case, I am making curtains.  Van Wilder would say “write that down.”

After a quick swiffer to the floor, I laid down my 6 yards of fabric and cut it in half.  In hindsight, I should have looked at the pattern first to make sure both panels lined up, but the fabric gods were looking after me and all was well.

sunroom curtains

Next I set up an ironing station on the floor by laying down some old towels and got to work.  My favorite assistant, Ninka, watched diligently as I ironed my fabric into curtains.

sunroom fabric Nink

The first panel took me around 2 hours to create but the second one breezed by in under an hour.  Its funny how it always goes faster the second time around.  If you are interested in an actual tutorial on how to make these hidden tab curtains, follow the link above to Cathy’s blog or you can always google search it on your own.  I’m sure there are thousands of them.

Before I could hang my freshly pressed curtains I had to hang my rod (this was the first time I ever hung one completely by myself= proud).  I picked one up at Homegoods for about $25 bucks.  Unfortunately this room has an awkward soffit on the left side of the window so I was forced to hang the brackets directly on the window casing.  It’s not my ideal place to hang a rod (a few inches from the ceiling is ideal), but desperate times called for desperate measures.


sunroom rod

When it’s all said and done I think it looks pretty darn good!  The curtains move focus from that weird soffit and off-centered windows and give a punch of color that this off-white room needed.  I added the ikat rug beneath the trunk and called it a day (for now).  Color me happy I love the new look of the room.


sunroom curtain

sunroom curtain


The casual pleat of the curtain adds enough interest but nothing over the top.  I can’t wait to accessorize the space with a lamp and some tchotchke’s once the master bedroom renovation is complete.  There’s no point in doing that now since the dust and tools are guaranteed to make their way back in before long.  Speaking of which we are moving along on the master, but it’s going slowly.  Hopefully I will have an update on that space soon.

Drywall and Mud and Electric, Oh My

April 9, 2013

It’s been a redonkulous-ly (that’s a word- it’s totally in urban dictionary)  long time since our last master bedroom update…42 days to be exact.   In 42 days we having finished framing:

master framing

…built a temporary wall and installed a load bearing beam (in three pieces):

master beam

photo 3

photo 4

…hung some drywall:

master drywall

master drywall

master drywall

master drywall

…went on a 10 day vacation to Florida:

vaca_florida 2013

vaca florida 2013_polo

…tapped and mudded:

master mud

…and added tons of can lights and wires:

master light

master light

That pretty much sums up the last 42 days.  This renovation is taking a wee bit longer than planned, but then again don’t they all?  Now that it’s warming up here in West Virginia we’ll be itching to get out on the boat any day…so needless to say we better start kicking it into gear!!

On a side note, this is our first spring at the new house.  I went out back today to play with the dogs and discovered this:

back yard

I always wanted a spring flowering tree at our first house, but never got around to planting one.  WELL I’LL BE! I have one two here and I didn’t even have to plant them!  Super psyched.  Oh, and while I was out back admiring my flowering trees I was able to capture both pups in one shot…a major rarity.

pups back yard

Big ol grumps….probably a side effect from all the deer poo they’ve been eating….or maybe they are just ready for all this renovation to be over too!

Surrounded by Studs

February 26, 2013

Not only am I referring to Ryan and all his friends that have helped in this remodel process, but I am also referring to the framing that’s been happening in Casa de Bauer!  We are (almost) completely framed in the master, walk-in closet, and bathroom.  But before we got there, we had to knock out the walls so we could build new ones….makes sense, right?  Ryan and I worked carefully around the electric to dismember what was left of the original six closets and hallways.

removing walls

I kept joking “it’s a good thing I’ve had a tetanus shot” because those 2×4’s were covered in countless rusty nails.  Miraculously( Michelle = clumsy) I haven’t been stuck…but never say never!  At first we tried to do the ‘green thing’ and remove the studs carefully so we could re-use the boards, but we decided we were spinning our wheels and wasting too much time just pulling out nails.  On the plus side, we did manage to save a good amount of studs before we started scraping them.


When it was all said and done, we were left with a large empty space.



While removing the carpet we uncovered old white (what looks to be asbestos) floor tile from 1960.  Because we plan to lay carpet in this area we are not concerned the tile may be asbestos.  It’s when you want to remove/break up the tile, that you have a problem.  We are just going to cover it up, so bada bing, bada boom!

Over the past few days we have been slowly chipping away at the brick load-bearing brick wall (mentioned here) in the existing master.  We were offered help by two of our friends, so we of course we accepted.

brick wall demo

David swung the hammer while Brian shoveled the heavy debris into the wheel barrow.

brick wall demo

brick demo

We are lucky enough to have a dumping area on our property so we didn’t have to pay for brick removal.  The wall couldn’t be demo’d (is that a word?) in one night so Michelle was nominated to finish the job while Ryan began framing.  I don’t think Ryan thought I had it in me, but I did pretty damn good if I do say myself!  I removed the rest of the brick and moisture barrier on the right side.  I was told to leave on the left side of the wall because that is technically the original exterior corner of the house and the brick was stacked differently.

brick wall demo

If I don’t get ‘guns’ (aka arm muscles) from swinging a 16 lbs sledge hammer into brick, I don’t know how I will.

But anywho, while I worked at growing my biceps, Ryan and Al (the carpenter we hired to help us post-demo) got into a groove framing out the space.  In less than a Saturday afternoon the whole room was almost completely framed out…woohoo!

master framing



*Excitedly* I announce, we now have a  framed hallway, walk-in closet, and bathroom..  I won’t lie, I may have let out a squeal or two in excitement.  This renovation is finally starting to take shape.  We can totally see a future in this space – laying in bed on a lazy Sunday morning, putting away laundry in our large walk-in closet, getting ready for a black tie event…and no, there isn’t a baby cradle.

Next on the list: installing the load bearing beam and finishing up some little electric!  You may have noticed our electrician (electric is something these DIYer’s don’t touch) has already had his hand in this space.  His name is Bob and he thinks Michelle is crazy.   I don’t think he has officially said the word, but I think “overkill” is what comes to mind every time he walks in our house.  In my defense, I just want to cover all bases…Hopefully wiring will be finished sooner than later….his hourly rate is starting to add up!