Home Projects

Before and After: This 1995-Era Master Bathroom Redo Is Just Plain Dreamy

updated Nov 12, 2019
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Credit: Kelly Hartley

There’s a lot you can do to make small improvements and easy upgrades to your bathroom. But sometimes, a full gut reno is in order. Take Kelly Hartley’s master bath. “It was in pretty rough shape before we gutted it,” Kelly says. “Not only was it outdated, but we had some water damage in places as well. It had the same tile that was installed in 1995, rusted faucets, and that basic beige floor tile that was in every home built in that time.”

Credit: Kelly Hartley

Not to mention, it was much more cramped than it needed to be because the shower and toilet were separate from the rest of the space. “Our only window was in that part of the room, so when the door was closed, there was no natural light,” Kelly explains.

In summary: Ugh.

Credit: Kelly Hartley

So, over about two and half months, Kelly and her husband, Dan, got to work. “After Dan did all of the demo, plumbing, and even built a new shower floor himself, we decided to treat ourselves and hire out for the tile,” Kelly says. That didn’t go as planned: “The first guy we hired ended up tiling the wall crooked and we had to tear it all out, redo the cement board where it got damaged, and hire someone else. It was quite a disappointment since we hired out to save time, but in the end it was still a good decision because the second company was fast and skilled!”

Credit: Kelly Hartley

For the finishes, the pair opted for classic and light. The idea was to make the room feel spa-like and timeless. “I really love our full wall of subway tile behind the vanity and the herringbone floor tile,” Kelly says. “Those two decisions really elevated the design and made it seem more luxe. I’m also so happy that we took out the wall and door that separated the two spaces. The bathroom that once felt small and dark now feels large, open, and bright.”

Overall, Kelly estimates that they spent about $10,000 on the overhaul.

Credit: Kelly Hartley

Her biggest piece of advice for others embarking on a bathroom reno is to be smart about what you DIY and what you hire out. “A lot of the work involved in a bathroom renovation is tough!” she says. “My dad used to build custom homes for a living, and he was able to guide us through building the shower. Dan had never done a project like this before, so things like that would have been really hard without proper knowledge and guidance.”