Before and After: A $5,000 DIY Master Bathroom That Looks 10 Times as Expensive

updated Feb 28, 2020
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Credit: Provided by Sarah Chastain

There’s nothing like a really bad smell to make a bathroom makeover a top priority. Before they had even moved into their new home a few years back, Sarah Chastain and her husband knew based on just the odor that the master bathroom would be one of their first projects. “When you walked in, the smell alone could turn you away,” explains Sarah. “My husband and I went back and forth on whether we should demo it completely or keep the drywall and just modify. We knew that there was probably more to the smell, so we decided we should start from scratch and rip it all out.”

Credit: Provided by Sarah Chastain

It’s a good thing they did. As it turns out, when they pulled out the tub, they found a giant hole underneath that led outside. Which begs lots of questions, the first of which is: why?? “We thought long and hard about what the reasoning was for it, and came up with nothing,” says Sarah. “The moisture from the air had caused a significant amount of mildew and mold to form between the cement and tile, and the floor was black!”

Credit: Sarah Chastain

Their house has another bathroom upstairs, so the couple was able to take their time DIY-ing the master over the course of about six months, and didn’t bring in any outside help.

Credit: Sarah Chastain

Among the many changes—which totaled about $5,000—they opened up the space by tearing down the enclosed toilet room, pulled out some very-’80s overhead lights, and installed a clawfoot tub they found on Craigslist with a chandelier above (and no hole underneath!).

Credit: Sarah Chastain

In an extra-personal touch, Sarah’s husband built vanities from scratch using reclaimed wood from Sarah’s father’s ranch. “They turned out better than I could have ever imagined!” she says.

Credit: Sarah Chastain

While the whole project was definitely exhausting, the couple thoroughly enjoyed doing it, and learned a ton, says Sarah. “We are looking forward to the next one!”