Faith & Mike's Master Bathroom:
The Glass Shower Panel & Other Details

Renovation Diary

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Name: Faith and Mike
Type of Project: Master Bathroom Creation
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Type of building: 1920s, multi-level, single family home

The Renovation Diaries are a new collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

I'm putting off the big reveal of our new bathroom for one more week but I wanted to talk about a few of the final details, especially the glass shower panel. So I'm going to play coy with the photos — don't worry, though; I'll give you the full scoop next week! 

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Renovation is a funny game of stop-and-start. Like I said earlier, our DIY demo process dragged out for months: it felt like the house just kept getting dirtier and more decrepit. And then, suddenly, it was time for framing and drywall, and BOOM so many good things happened all at once! In a matter of weeks we had an addition on the house, and our new master bathroom was framed, drywalled, and tiled. 

But then came the long slow drag on the other side of all that excitement. We had to wait to get our shower glass and mirror installed. We put on our cabinet hardware ourselves, and we took a week or so to get around to that. The electrician had to come in and finish off the outlets and the lights. 

Here's a look at some of those final details of the bathroom, the things that turn it into the space that feels like what you've been imagining all along. 

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Cabinet Hardware

The cabinets are kitchen cabinets from IKEA, with their ABSTRAKT high gloss white fronts. But I didn't particularly like IKEA's hardware in the bathroom, so we ordered these pulls: 

We also bought two different knobs for the doors under the sink: 

Painting

We had planned to paint the entire house ourselves (I know, I know) to save money. But after priming the new drywall in the kitchen, my husband and I looked at each other, counted up the hours we had until move-in, and realized there was literally not enough time, given everything else we had to do — even if we'd had the stamina to paint every room and ceiling. Which we most definitely did not. 

It was one of those classic end-of-project budget hits, but paying $3000 to have our entire house painted by professionals was one of the best decisions we made. (It did mean, though, that the outside of our house still hasn't been repainted, which it sorely needs...)

The painter and the contractor were falling over each other a little bit, working on last details. I learned that painters really, really don't like being in a house with other workers — they like to be able to move fast and not find a spot of drywall they painted resanded an hour later (oops). The logistical challenges were due to a hard deadline for our move-in, but it all worked out OK. 

I also learned that painting fresh drywall is a whole different proposition than repainting a room. It takes longer, especially since the ceilings also need to be primed and painted, and there many small finishing details, like fixing small construction imperfections in the drywall, that a good painter should take care of. In fact, I wish in hindsight that we would have allotted more time to painting; it would have been less stressful. 

It's also one of the biggest pieces of advice I give to people who are renovating — don't underestimate painting, and hire someone really good. It's the final finish, and it's so important to get it right. 

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Final Electric & Lighting

We had two can lights installed in the ceiling, and after the painters finished the electricians finished off the trim for the lights. One of the two can lights is actually a "can-fan" with a hidden fan above the light.

The electrician also finished installing the thermostat for the floor heat, and the electrical outlets. We put one outlet on one side of the sink, and I wish now we would have put one on the other, too. But we did put an outlet behind the cabinet on one side so I can leave my hair dryer plugged in and inside the drawer. 

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Shower and Faucet Trim

After our contractor finished installing the tile, the plumber came back and installed the trim for the shower and faucet. I wasn't aware, until we did all this, that showers and faucets are separated into the inner components (valves) and outer components (trim — which consists of the visible things like handles, spouts, showerheads, etc.). It's obvious when you think about it, but I didn't realize it until I started shopping and realized that I needed to buy two separate sets of parts. 

In the end, the plumber bought the valves for us, just to make sure everything worked right. This cost a little extra, but it came with an extra guarantee of replacement from the plumber as well as the manufacturer if anything went wrong. But I picked out and bought the trim myself. 

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Shower Glass & Vanity Mirror

Last but not least: the shower glass. We opted for an open shower with a sheet of glass instead of a door. I loved the clean, open look. The glass was installed a couple weeks after we moved in. We were using the shower without any glass for a little while, which was fine (we mopped up any excess water outside the shower). 

We went back and forth about how tall the glass should be. I had it in my head that it should go all the way to the ceiling; I worried that a break would make it look less clean. But our contractor argued that it's better for the bathroom overall to have space for steam to escape at the top, over the glass. Also, shorter glass is obviously cheaper. In the end that's what we went with, and it looks great. 

There was one thing, though, with the shower glass that dismayed me at first. When the glass was installed, it looked so green. Call me clueless, but I didn't realize how green glass of this thickness would be. My Pinterest board was full of showers with crystal-clear glass, and I was disappointed and surprised to see how green our sheet of glass was. Our tiles are gray, leaning towards blue, and I didn't like, at first, how the glass and tile looked together. 

I did some research, after the glass was installed, and found that to get perfectly clear glass, you need to buy low-iron glass, usually sold under the brand name Starphire. This glass is usually substantially more expensive than regular glass — up to 50% more. 

Today, I'm reconciled to our glass wall; it looks much less green than I initially thought, especially in good light. But if I could do it again, I would at least price out Starphire. 

For the mirror, we were going to reuse an old mirror in the house, but it was a little smaller and so we got a quote on a new mirror. It was surprisingly inexpensive — a new mirror, 6 feet wide by 4 feet tall, including installation, was about $120. I'm glad we opted for a custom mirror.

Next week — big reveal! I better go clean my bathroom... 

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for the big reveal of Faith and Mike's finished bathroom.

(Images: Faith Durand)