No Bidets Allowed: An Ugly House Master Bath Reveal!

I can live without a bidet.  I will never understand why the bathrooms in Italy don’t have toilet seats, but they’ll have a bidet.  I will trade a butt sink for a toilet seat any day.  Besides, I could never figure out how to get the absurd little thing to work without it spraying water all over the bathroom and onto my clothes (of course I tried it!  When in *actual* Rome, right?)

So you won’t see any bidets in my new dream bathroom.  Even though my dream bathroom was inspired by our hotel bathroom in Venice, my one and only trip abroad for this gypsy girl.  I knew when I walked into that serene blue-green oasis that the “venetian glass tile in every shade of blue with little shimmers of bronze in it covering the entirety of the bathroom walls” was just what I wanted.

Unfortunately, “venetian glass tile in every shade of blue with little shimmers of bronze in it covering the entirety of the bathroom walls” is pretty expensive.  And we had to really watch our dimes since we were doing such major things to the bathroom, like tearing down closet walls, moving the sinks, installing a bathtub, inserting a window and rotating a shower.  Fortunately, we were planning to do a lot of the work ourselves to save on labor expenses, leaving room for that purdy tile.

Here’s sorta what it looked like before, except there was hardly any room to even take a decent picture.

This is the dressing area.

This is the vanity and the dungeon toilet area.

In case you’re getting claustrophobic, here’s the original floorplan:

The dressing area was extremely cramped and dungeony.  There was no tub (which was unacceptable), and the sinks had to be moved to get in some natural light via a new window.  Not to mention that the toilet area was needlessly claustrophobic.

Here’s the floorplan we came up with:

If it doesn’t seem like much according to the floorplan, tell that to these guys:

The guy on the right is our good friend, Charles, who is a demolition expert.  Together, he and Lukus ripped out all the cabinets, the closet walls and jackhammered the concrete floor to pieces until it looked like the Incredible Hulk’s dressing room.

Then the bathroom fairy came along and made it look like this:

Obviously, a fairy couldn’t carry a six-foot tub up the stairs.

Actually, it was an amazing tile-guy named Randy, our awesome contractor Brian (who’s coincidentally my husband’s cousin’s wife’s sister’s husband – so he gave us a cheap bid since we’re practically family), mine and Lukus’ dads, and our own two hands that put it all together.  And all the glass tile (which I found on the cheap at ProSource, and was able to use Brian’s 50% off contractor’s discount!) still reminds me of Venice.

And dontcha just love the plastic IKEA chandy rigged-up by our contractor?  It was originally a plug-in style cord that he cut and wired and hung to glorious perfection.  Ya can’t be $12 for a beautiful light fixture!

We loved how open the shower was instead of being all closed in, but we haven’t found a shower curtain long enough to go floor-to-ceiling.  Originally, we wanted to go with a glass wall, but then we found out a frameless glass wall costs about $2,000!  NO THANK YOU!  So for now, I rigged this baby up with a little twine, and now I think I prefer the curtain over a glass wall.  It makes the bathroom look a little more casual, and well, human, after all that gray tile.  We love modern, but it’s still gotta be soft and have some organic elements to add some warmth.

We were really excited to find these clean-lined vanities (also 50% off with our Brian’s discount), which actually have this awesome drawer/cabinet thingy where we keep our ablutionary items.

In case it’s hard to tell, we went with a slate-gray Martha Stewart paint on the walls (our third color attempt).  It went perfectly with the mid-tones of our shower tile.  There’s also some mauve and chocolate brown mixed in there.

But my favorite part of the bathroom?  It’s the window, and of course, the extra-long six-foot tub we found to go under it (big enough for my husband + 50% off = SOLD!).  Brian strongly advised against going with a window, he didn’t think it would be worth the cost.  But for $300, I say “YES!” to a light-welcoming window!  (We’ve still got a little trim-work to do, as well as some touch-up painting around the window).

And no more saloon-door to the toilet, praise be to God!  In the future, I plan to build a small half-wall shelf between the tub and the toilet, just enough to hold extra toilet paper and add a small element of privacy without having to make it dark over there.

The one closet we DID keep, but enclosed on an angle

So besides not having any wall-art up yet, I’m just thrilled with the results, especially considering that Lukus and I came up with the lay-out and all of the design entirely on our own.  I even got out my graph paper and ruler to draw the floorplans to scale, and our contractor filled me in on the architectural symbols to use in my lay-out.  As someone who’s always dreamed of being an architect, I felt like a kid being given my first bike.  We were pretty scared and didn’t know if we had it in us to completely redesign a bathroom, but after this, the rest of the house should be a piece of cake!  If you want to see more of what I’m talking about, you can view our Ugly House here.

So what do you all think?  Is my twine shower curtain hanger tacky?  Any ideas for what to put on the walls?  Do you like bidets?  Wait, nevermind, I don’t wanna know.

For other bathroom makeovers, check out Centsational Girl, where I’m linking this post to.

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15 Responses to No Bidets Allowed: An Ugly House Master Bath Reveal!

  1. Jeff says:

    AWESOME job! Your bathroom looks great. What about using extra shower hooks instead of the twine? You have a lot of gray/silver that it would match…what do I know though, we still have gold fleck in our bathroom counters…

  2. Woah, girl. Don’t even get me started on bidets — your butt sink comment made me laugh!

    As for the bathroom I think it’s awesome! I love your round mirrors, I actually do like the twine shower rings (but if you ever decide to get creative and look for a long shower curtain, I had to sew 2 drapery panels from TJ Maxx together for my bathroom) and I LOVE that you added a window!

    Found you from CG!

    • gypsymemoirs says:

      Thanks Anna! The round mirrors are from Target, but I wouldn’t recommend them because every time I have to clean them, since they hang an inch or so away from the wall, the mirror just slams into the wall as I’m wiping it down. They’re a pain. I’ve thought about sewing a longer curtain, but what do you do about a longer plastic liner?

  3. Sunshine says:

    You guys should be super proud! I think if the twine seems tacky for you then you could opt for a silver ball chain link which should be super el cheapo and come in various sizes or maybe a small snake type chain link. If you care, I personally think the ball chain would make it look fresh like the rest of your bathroom, although no offense to the earthy twine. You know me I’m an earthy mama! One more suggestion if I may, if the light doesn’t have a dimmer I would eventually add one so you can set the mood just right when relaxing in a nice hot bubble bath. That’s it from me!
    PS.. Pics came out nice!

  4. J&JHome says:

    Wow! This bathroom is amazing. Oh, but I do love bidets, nothing cleaner! (Too funny, to be posting this)

  5. Nicely done! Very impressive. As one who has renovated a house or two (one required every room be redone), I can appreciate the effort, and the excitement of the “after pics.” congrats!

  6. Rachel says:

    Wow Ellie! I love it! You guys are so awesome!!!! And VERY talented!

  7. Hannah says:

    Just came over from Centsational Girl and WOW! This turned out fantastic! I’m in the beginning stages of a slight bathroom remodel in a 150-year old rental and this is pretty much the exact look I want but couldn’t put my finger on. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • gypsymemoirs says:

      Thanks Hannah! And ooooh, I love old homes! In case you’re interested, the vanities, sinks and tub are all Kohler, and the faucets are all Delta. I highly recommend finding a shop near you that carries those brands and finding a contractor who will let you use his discount. Though on-line finds might be cheaper. Also, all the tile is from ProSource, which is nation-wide. They’re open to retail customers, but contractors get a 50% discount, and they have a surprising amount of modern tile. Good luck!

  8. Jen says:

    WOW! Beautiful, love the tile!

  9. Elle – wow…the bathroom is beautiful. You need to be proud of all the work you and your hubby (and by proxy family) put into making it such a showcase! I love the tile…and please send Brian to California so he can work on my master bathroom!

    On a side note, I know that everyone has been harping about the twine, but to add my two cents. You may want to consider putting in three plexi-glass sheets on a sliding closet rod set in the ceiling. While not a glass wall, it may provide you with the look you are looking for at a minimal cost (around $300 or less if your Fairy Construction Mother, Brian knows of an plexi dealers). Just a thought……

  10. steph says:

    Love it, Ell! You’ve done a great job… amazing transformation. P.S. Bidets rock! LOL!

  11. Angie says:

    Wow!! This is lovely!! I love the innovative angled closet, the sink bases, and that paint color is lovely (Restoration Hardware?). You guys did an excellent job and the plan is perfection! Nicely done!

    • gypsymemoirs says:

      The paint was Martha Stewart’s “Schoolhouse Slate”. I’m really diggin’ her paint because we’ve found it to mostly be a one-coat process, and though I’d prefer no smell, at least it smells more like clay than paint.

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