Before & After: Two Beautiful Bathroom Updates

published May 5, 2016
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(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Closet space is certainly useful and often a desired selling point when searching for a home, but with an opportunity to trade that for a luxurious master bathroom, Ryan and Joanna opted for the latter. Immediately after moving into their new home, Ryan and Joanna jumped into a major renovation project—turning two relatively small and generic bathrooms into two beautiful custom spaces, losing a closet and a back door in the process.

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(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

From Ryan:

We demolished both the ½ master bath and full bath in the first week of buying our house. We left one toilet and used plywood for walls—so having guests over for about three months was awkward, to say the least. We showered at a local Lifetime fitness, which actually was a luxury for a while—free towel service, free soap, etc. It wasn’t that bad! 🙂 We used materials and items in the bathrooms that we designed or fell in love with—and did it on a budget. Having the carpentry know-how from Joanna’s dad and our brothers helped make the project successful at the end of the day.

The master bath has a unique layout in that all of the elements are designed to fit perfectly. Joanna’s dream was to have a soaking tub and a walk-in shower, so I wanted to make that happen. The free-standing tub had to be custom ordered from Costco to timeout with the wall. The distance between the tub and the door threshold is at a code minimum, which is why we decided to use French doors to open up the walkway in front of the bath. The trench drain had to be placed strategically to miss the floor joists beneath, which shrunk down the space for the toilet and vanity. The dimensions from the front of the toilet to the wall are a bit bigger than the code minimum, and that allowed the walk-in shower to be its size.

(Image credit: Ryan Herm)

Our new bathroom layouts required completely new plumbing. I hired my brother-in-law Jesse to do what would have cost over $6,000. The water lines were changed from copper to PEX. When I brought the copper to the local recycling center, I made around $200, which paid for part of the tile. Plumbing is like putting together a Lego set and can be fun in a weird way – angles, measurements, gravity, all play into the final drainage layout. It’s an art form if you ask me. On a side note, Jesse charged $1,000, and then gave it all back at the end of the project – one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for us.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

The vanity in the master bath is made from rustic alder. We designed it so that the drawers are flush with the box frame. The legs are angled to pay homage to the mid-century modern era. The 3×3 pattern of the drawers is intended to be symmetrical – the top two drawers are only 4” deep, but the bottom two drawers are much deeper – even though it looks like all the drawers are the same from the front. The granite is a honed black that we fell in love with at the granite shop, and we like the fact that it’s unique for a bathroom vanity counter. The vanity pulls are from Anthropologie, and the gold melts in with the color of the rustic alder.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Thank you Ryan & Joanna!