Back in action: The Master Bathroom Plan

If you’ve been missing my home remodeling posts, today is your lucky day! As I mentioned last month, I’ll be putting my home on the market in the next few months. Although most of this house has been redone, there are some spaces that haven’t been touched and would certainly be a deterrent to potential buyers.

A team of realtors came by for an assessment and they all agreed that the unfinished spaces need to be addressed to in order get top dollar. If I spend too much however, I won’t recoup my costs so I have to spend as little as possible to get the maximum impact. Fortunately that’s my specialty 🙂

I’ve started a list of to-do’s which is getting larger by the day and becoming slightly overwhelming given the time constraints. I’m aiming to hit the market early-mid March so I’ve been trying to ease back into DIY/renovation schedule mentality which is admittedly tough after taking a break for so long, especially since I was convinced this chapter of my life was over. C’est la vie.

The single biggest project is the master bathroom. I don’t have an exact dollar amount budget for this space, but I figure somewhere around the $$4-5k range will at least double, if not triple my ROI if done right (fun fact: many of my room renovations have ended up in that range so it must be my sweet spot!) I plan to track my sources and expenses as always, so it will be interesting to see how everything unfolds.

Now for the fun part—the renovation plan!

When taking on my guest bathroom in the One Room Challenge, I came up with two different design plans and ultimately decided to go with the “natural romantic vintage boho” style. My other plan was a serene spa-type feel (I’ll refine this description as I go) and I figured it would be better suited for the master bathroom.

Here’s how it’s looking now, still straight from the 70’s:



The room is adjacent to the walk in master closet off the bedroom. Here’s a super old photo demonstrating the layout:


And another from today, so you can see the linen closet:


The original plan was to eliminate the linen closet, expand the back/shower wall into the old empty laundry room on the other side to gain a few linear feet, and remove the wall between the bathroom closet which would nearly double the space. However, this would also likely double the budget and extend the timeline which just doesn’t make sense in this situation. My spacious spa dreams will have to be put on hold until the next house, but I can still make an enormous improvement while (mostly) keeping the existing footprint.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you may have an idea of where this is going. Here’s my inspiration (click for sources)…

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.07.46 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.09.51 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.12.25 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.13.55 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.15.54 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.17.26 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 9.18.09 AM



Sense a recurring theme here? The star of the show will be pebble tile, which I have been waiting for a very long time to use. It will be the focal point of the room, covering the floor and the back shower wall in subtle shades of soft white/cream/gray.

The linen closet will be removed for a few extra feet of shower space, and a pocket door will be installed for the entrance which will also make the room feel more spacious.

The existing shower, toilet and vanity location will remain unchanged but of course, every surface will be updated. The entire room will be gutted and built back up with affordable materials. Beadboard wainscoting will cover the lower half of the walls and the color palette will be kept neutral and light, with oil rubbed bronze/black fixtures for contrast.

I’ve sourced a lot of my materials which of course I’ll link to at a later date, but here’s a rough mockup of what I’m envisioning so far. The coloring isn’t very accurate so ignore the details, this is just the general idea…


See the vanity? That’s the actual piece I plan to use in its current state. It’s also my DIY project for this weekend. Remember the repurposed vintage buffet for my guest bathroom? I’m now hooked on this approach, so I sourced a vintage dresser at a local thrift shop and will be modifying it to work in the space. It’ll be topped with a white rectangular vessel sink which I can’t get enough of. I’ll explain my design decisions and rationale as I go, but this is enough for now to give you an idea of what to expect.

Because of the two month timeline, the fact that I’m now doing this solo and various other life happenings, there won’t be a lot of DIY. All of the demo, reconfiguration, tiling and electrical will be handled by my fantastic team who I’ve used in the past and trust to work their magic.

I’m looking forward to posting weekly check-ins to keep everyone up to date on the latest progress both in the bathroom and the rest of the house. Buckle up, it’s going to be a hectic ride!


41 thoughts on “Back in action: The Master Bathroom Plan

  1. Do you think your travels have influenced your design style now that you’re starting projects again? I always find that exposure to new things triggers different ideas for me!

    1. I fell in love with a lot of the architecture and patterns in Thailand especially, and can see incorporating more of that into my designs in the future. I already knew the direction I wanted to go with this bathroom before my trip so I’m sticking with the original plan, but I’d love to try a different style at some point 🙂

  2. Hang in there, little Jenna. Maybe you will begin to feel more comfortable with the project as you delve into it–I sense a “let’s get this over with” sort of vibe which I totally understand. If it’s any consolation, I get a ton of inspiration from all of your exquisite renovations, so you are really doing so much more good than simply fixing up a bathroom. You’re giving people beautiful ideas. Thanks!

  3. I love it, can’t wait to see it come together! Have you given any thought to a sliding barn door instead of a pocket door? The would look really good with your MBR design. Just a thought! 🙂

  4. I’m very excited to follow you on this makeover. You mention in the post that you thought your DIY/renovation chapter was over and am curious if you think you will do renovations in the future or if this house is it? I love your style and have followed you for a long time and have loved seeing your style and designs evolve.

    1. I’m sure at some point I’ll buy another house, but for now it’s not even on my radar! Unless I win the lottery (which I don’t play) I can’t imagine buying a move-in ready home, and even so I’d always want to personalize it, so it’s a very high probability there will always be renovations in my future 🙂

  5. Jenna- I am a new(ish) reader and I can’t wait to see how everything comes together! I need to redo my bathroom, but am scared as I have never tiled and it is the only bathroom in our condo. P.s. I am actually jealous that you can hire a team for the messy work! I think most people would do that if they could 🙂

  6. Love your style glad your back doing this for a while. It happens to a lot of people. As usual you will go with what needs to get done so you can move on to your new life. Good luck I am excited to see it come together. The barn door idea is great. It solved my problem 15 years ago when I had a vision of turning a small closet into a half bath upstairs. The door was my biggest drawback.

  7. I’m excited the home DIY portion of the blog is back for the time being and I can’t wait to follow along on this part of the journey! I’ve been noticing your guest bath is very popular among the Fixer Upper/Joanna Gaines crowd on Pinterest…if I owned a home I totally would be asking you to help me design spaces! You have such an eye for recreating a space and I appreciate you walking us through the process.

  8. Hi Jenna!
    I’ve been missing you…and cheering you on…and am wishing you well.
    I followed your travels, and will continue to keep up with you as long as you allow us.
    Hugs from KS,

  9. Wow, I was totally thinking, “I thought she would maybe do a sliding barn door” before it was mentioned! Ha! Can’t remember what else you said you might re-do in this house, is there something else downstairs? Love the look!

  10. Whatever you do, I know it will be awesome because that is how you roll. Best of luck in getting top dollar for your gorgeous home!!

  11. Hi Jenna,

    Can’t wait to see the bathroom come together – it will be as beautiful as the rest of
    your house. I am sure you will meet your March deadline – you are ready to move one and it must be a great motivator.

    I can’t wait to see what you find for a shower bench. I need one badly, but can only find ones I can’t afford and they are so small!!

  12. Hooray! I didn’t discover your blog until you had hit the road (where in the world have I been all these years?) so I am happy to be able to follow along on a renovation project. Looking forward to this, and all your non-renovation adventures too.

  13. Long time blog follower. Glad to see this space come together. Repinned some of your guest bath over the holidays for an upcoming bathroom refresh. As I was going back over your blog, I noticed you have not added your laundry room and guest bath to your current home tour. Would love to see those added, as they are two of my favorite makeovers ever. I always send friends to your blog when they love my house. Good luck and best wishes. AB

  14. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!! Do you have plans to make your design services available again?

  15. Does your house have another linen closet? My first place didn’t really have one and it was super high on my list of must-haves when shopping for our current house.

    1. Yep, it’s right in the hallway. I’m also adding a ton of storage in the old laundry room right next to the bedroom. This house already has more storage space than I know what to do with!

  16. I absolutely love the idea of the pebble back wall for the shower and would love to use something similar when we re-model our bathroom. I’m wondering on the practicality of all that grout in the shower though! I try to pick large tiles to reduce the amount of grout anywhere there will be consistent water use, as no matter how hard I try the grout will always need good scrubbing to keep crisp and white!

  17. Jenna, question.. I was trying to search your blog, but couldn’t find it…you had mentioned somewhere, more than once, an alternative for hanging semi-heavy things other than those nasty plastic screw anchors that leave a huge hole in the wall. I can’t remember what projects you were hanging when you brought this up, and I think I was confused about what you were talking about at the time, so any help or clarification would be fantastic! My husband wants to use them again, but I am trying to learn from you and not repeat mistakes. Oh, how I hated to fill in those holes when I repainted a room last year! ? I have some heavier shelves to hang. Can you help me? Thanks, Natalie S. ?

    1. Hmm, are you talking about the french cleat? I used that to hang my headboard, and the chalkboard in my kitchen. If you search headboard and chalkboard you’ll find the posts, although I’m not sure how that would work for mounting shelves. You’d need to support them with brackets or cleats of some kind if not heavy duty anchors. Hope that helps at all 🙂

      1. Yes! I think that is what it was. Don’t know what they look like, but I will read over your posts again and try to find out at Lowe’s if it is possible to use this or not. (Is this where you get them?) I know about Bulldog hooks, and it says they can take different weights, but not sure if those are heavy duty enough. Thanks for the answer. You are so gracious to answer us less experienced fans of yours! ???

  18. Oh, P.S., would love a picture of the old laundry room, when you are done, if you feel like sharing!

  19. Sorry, one more post. When I try to click on some of your projects to search, like the one about framing your wall map from a while ago, many of them just take me to the link for May 2015 and not to the project. Don’t know how many do this, or if it just me, but most were doing this to me, so it was difficult to search certain projects and try to find something on my own. Thanks.

    1. I know, I saw that too on some links. There’s something weird going on with one of my wordpress redirect plugins and I’m hoping to get it fixed soon! You can always just search what you’re looking for and find the posts that way though 🙂

  20. Jenna, I’ve been pinning your designs for a long time, but only recently read through your blog. I really appreciate your raw honesty and sharing what you’re going through. I think going through my divorce really gave me a different outlook on life. I got to see people for who they really were and value myself more. I learned what I wanted from life and who I was deep in my core. I didn’t travel around the Phillipines like you – but your pictures and descriptions made me want to. I too – like the other followers feel a sense of, “just get through this,” vibe – I get that – it’s a drag to stay stagnant or live in the past when you’re ready to move forward. I’ve been checking everyday for a post from you – I’m sure the ones you are planning aren’t as inspiring to write. Maybe you could let us in on how you’ve been dealing with life – I’d sure like to see that you are still growing and moving forward and taking us with you. You are creating in yourself the most amazing renovation ever and I think you’re going to be beautiful.

    1. What a sweet, thoughtful comment Joannie. I really appreciate your kind words. I still feel the same sense of excitement/anticipation for the future I spoke about in my December posts, I’m just trying to stay focused on wrapping up this house now so I can start that next chapter. I’m sure there will be more reflective posts at that time, but for now I’m still a very good place and I think it’s getting even better with time 🙂

  21. Jenna,
    I just discovered your blog when you set out on your travels. I am so impressed by your courage to set out on a mission to reclaim your life. You are giving me the inspiration to do the same. After years of feeling stuck in a life of uninspired routine, I am finding the courage to set about my own journey of happiness. Thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings, I will be silently rooting for you. Celia

  22. Amazing re model. Just happened onto your design blog via Pinterest. Facing a similarly dismal master bath situation. Ugh.
    Any tally on the cost? what were your budgetary constraints/ If you were prioritizing, where would you concentrate your funds?
    Thanks in advance for the info.

Comments are closed.