The 80s Called and Wants My Master Bathroom Back, Reno Part 3

My 1980s master bath is now, finally, just a bad memory. And in its place is this…

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Big improvement, huh? Remember where we started, with the too-cute flower-heart tile centerpiece? If you need to jog your memory on the details, follow the links to review my posts on PART 1 and PART 2 of this reno.
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The new tile is definitely an improvement, though it took a while to get from one look to the other. I posted demolition photos after the first day, but from then on work progressed so slowly that I gave my camera a rest and worked on other projects.

Delays and frustrations

I’ve yet to meet a contractor who could get a job done in the timeframe quoted. They pretty much all take on more concurrent jobs than they can handle and waste a lot of time trekking back and forth to various job sites.

We were quoted four days to demolish the old shower and install a new one, and that estimate included building a recessed bench into one wall, which we ultimately couldn’t do. I didn’t expect that would speed things up much, but I wasn’t prepared to live without the use of said bathroom for two weeks. And they wouldn’t have had it done THEN if they hadn’t worked all day Saturday and Sunday that last weekend.

I also expected construction dust, but figured they’d be in and out in four days, right? But no, we had to live with a thick film of pulverized plaster on every surface and in every nook and cranny of our adjoining master bedroom for the whole two weeks. Even the cat was coughing.

This is not to mention the OTHER aggravation, which I’ll go ahead and name: that we became their last stop of the day. For the last five days they worked someone would pop in around 3, 4 or 5 and invariably pound away through the dinner hour. That’s if we could manage to get dinner on and over with by 8:30. And we couldn’t really go out—or anywhere, period—because someone had to be in the house while they worked, if they worked, in case they wanted to work.

Thankfully, I AM pleased with how the shower looks.

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I love the mitered cuts around the niches, as well as the accent strip, which we decided to raise so that it wouldn’t be broken up by the niches. We now have plenty of storage space for shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc.—one niche for Chris and one for me.

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We also have a terrific wall-mounted shower seat that folds up when not in use. It’s cushioned really well and operates easily. As you can see, “my” niche is down lower, handy to the seat.

Remember we wanted a recessed, built-in, tiled seat? And that when they demoed the wall the dead space we thought was there wasn’t? After I shut down a discussion in which the tile contractor and his son talked about making the coat closet smaller so we could enlarge the shower, Chris researched online and found me this terrific folding shower seat. (Actually he found it long ago and had it bookmarked!)

I was still hesitant about how it would look and function and whether it would take up too much room. But as it turns out it was a GREAT choice and feels much more secure than my free-standing shower stool.
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The grab bar placement is perfect too. I feel so secure and the shower is so beautiful that I hardly want to come out!! And that wand is to die for! The water flow is formidable but diffused and soft against my skin. The sleek design is easy to hold and direct.

This strip is my only remaining frustration.

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The tile contractor’s son discussed several options for finishing this spot where the bullnose tile meets a dry-walled corner. The edge of the shower backerboard showed in a concave ridge that ran floor to ceiling. What we agreed upon was that he would fill it in with spackle to make the surface blend with the drywall, then paint it to match. He came to do it during dinner time (of course), and I didn’t get a close look at it before he left. Later I saw he only painted and skipped the spackle step. He did the same on a chunk he knocked out of our wall.

I was so angry I could spit, and it almost kept me awake that night. Somewhere just before I nodded off I decided it would be simpler, quicker and probably done better if we fixed it ourselves. Next morning, before I had a chance to bring it up, Chris said those exact words to me.

The photo you’re seeing is how it looked after Chris worked on it. Better, but still not so great. He may try another application of spackle and sanding to see if it turns out better, but I’m not holding my breath.

I plan to call it to “dad’s” attention when he returns to enlarge the door into the bathroom. Oh yes, we still have that to look forward to, as well as a new layer of drywall dust. I wonder how much longer that will take than what he tells us?

DIYs still to come for Chris and I

When the dust clears, we plan to paint this pickled oak vanity black ourselves.

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We looked into replacing it and decided the vanity we had was built better than the ones in the home store. It’s also in good condition. Too bad the finish is so dated, but a coat of paint will work wonders. We’ll put a grain filler on first to get a smoother finish. We’ll also remove the hardware (a weird width!), fill the holes, and purchase new metal hardware to dress it up.

I’m stuck on trying to choose what shade of black to paint it. Did you know there were so many shades? I’ve collected no less than 10 paint chips, and there were even more shades of black in the store that I rejected out of hand.

That mirror is an eyesore, too.

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After researching the cost to buy two new framed mirrors—one for above each sink—we decided to buy a custom mirror framing kit. The cost will be about the same, but we won’t need to remove the existing mirror, which would be difficult and dangerous for us to do on our own.

We removed a much smaller, builder-installed mirror in the powder room at our other house and replaced it with a decorative framed mirror. It looked great in the end, but we discovered a big hole in the wall behind the mirror (no, not for electrical, as that was separate). It was just a hole for nothing, and Chris had to patch and paint it.

You never know what you might find. This time we’re not taking that chance.


We’ll probably go with “Broadway Brushed Chrome,” like what’s in this photo. It matches the light and other fixtures, and we need the three-inch frame depth to cover all the damage on the bottom of our mirror.

One last, parting ‘before’ shot…

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Ick!! Good riddance!

I also have new rugs, shower curtain, table, organizing bins, and art on order. I plan to replace the tropical bird print you can see in the reflection with a canvas reproduction of the fresco from Pompeii shown in the collage below. The architectural rosette will stay.

I’ll post another photo when (if!) we get all these changes made and IF I live through the doorway enlargement.

My only consolation is I’ll be able to use my new shower throughout that next phase.

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That is, as long as I rise early and am in, out and dressed each day before the pounding starts. Unless they don’t come until dinner time, in which case I can take as long as I want to wash my cares away.

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