Projects & Improvements

Cathy’s Dining Nook to Master Bath Transformation

updated Dec 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Submitted by Cathy)

Project by: Cathy
Location: Seattle, Washington

At 36 square feet, our master bathroom is pretty tiny, but it’s full of function and style and one of my favorite rooms in our 1905 Spanish-style house, which we call the Dexter House.

When we bought the Dexter House, which was what most people would call a giant fixer, our master bathroom was originally a dining nook attached to the kitchen. Though the dining nook had great character, it had awkward geometry which really limited the adjacent kitchen design. So the decision to annex the nook to a bathroom was an easy one. I came up with a layout for the bathroom (surprisingly easy when you only have 36 square feet to work with) and we included it in our permit to renovate all 1,100 square feet of the Dexter House.

(Image credit: Submitted by Cathy)

Early during the Dexter House renovation, we closed off the archway between the dining nook and the kitchen, removed the terra-cotta tile from the floors, and then added a doorway between the dining nook and our master bedroom. I searched the Seattle salvage shops for the perfect claw foot tub, which I found at Earthwise. I spent an afternoon stripping the old paint off of it and once I got down to the unique gray patina you see, I sealed it with a thin coat of tung oil and called it good. The sink was a cheap find from the same salvage shop and only required a good scrubbing.

(Image credit: Submitted by Cathy)

During the summer months, we roughed in the bathroom for electrical and plumbing, framed in the new doorway, painted the floors black, painted the walls and trim white, and then installed the claw foot tub, sink, and toilet. Thankfully we finished the room along with the rest of the Dexter House renovation right around my due date with our second child, a necessity since we had planned a homebirth!

(Image credit: Submitted by Cathy)

It cost us just under $3,000 to turn the Dexter House dining nook into a master bathroom. Of course, that doesn’t include house-wide renovation costs, like adding a new electrical panel or taking out permits, but you get the picture. We kept costs down a few ways. First of all, we know an electrician (thanks Papa!) and my husband is a plumber and a carpenter and a painter and an all around pretty handy guy (when he isn’t busy in the lab being a biochemist), so we didn’t have to pay for any labor. I also opted for vintage fixtures, which fit better and cost less than new ones. We were also able to paint the existing wood floors so avoided expensive tiles or new hardwood.

(Image credit: Submitted by Cathy)

Seven months after buying the Dexter House, our tiny master bathroom has become one of the hardest working rooms in the house. It has everything you need in a bathroom: a vintage claw foot tub with shower surround, wall-mount sink, toilet, natural daylight, and storage. You can read more about the Dexter House renovation at the Grit and Polish blog.

Thanks, Cathy!

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