Master Bathroom Makeover: The Best Laid Plans

One Room Challenge, Week 1 - Master Bathroom Makeover
One Room Challenge, Week 1 – Master Bathroom Makeover

Well, it’s that time of the year again…time for the One Room Challenge put on by Linda at For those of you who don’t know, this is a bi-annual event where 20 Featured Designers and a whole lot of guest participants will be making over a room in 6 weeks, and posting about their progress every week.

This will be my second time joining the fun as a Guest Participant.

Last year's One Room Challenge room - my office
Last year’s One Room Challenge room – my office

Last year, I updated my office (which you can see HERE). It was my first time in the challenge and I decided at the very last minute to participate. Which meant I had a ton of work of to do and was very busy trying to get everything done in 6 weeks.

So this year, I decided I would be prepared and start planning in advance. I chose to make over my guest bedroom. The room design was all figured out, the colors picked and even the new area rug was ordered. I was all set to go!

But Wanda, you may be saying to yourself, the title doesn’t say “Guest Bedroom Makeover”.

Why The Change Of Heart?

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One tile down, many more to go!
One tile down, many more to go!

That’s because a couple of weeks ago I walked into my garage and saw it! The puddle of water on the floor that would ruin all of my well-laid-out plans. There was water seeping out under the wall between the garage and my master bathroom. After taking off the drywall, I could tell the above ground plumbing wasn’t the problem (none of the pipes were dripping or wet).

So I had to call the professionals. The guys from All Clear came in and determined that it was what they call a “slab leak”. Yes, my house is built on a concrete slab. And yes, the leak was in the water line coming into the house that was encased in that concrete slab…which just happened to be under the tub in my master bathroom.

To make a long story short, the concrete had to be jackhammered to fix the leak. In order to get at the concrete, the tub had to be removed.  Which meant some of the drywall around the tub, and a bunch of the tiles in front of the tub also were destroyed. It only took the plumbers a few hours to fix the problem, but I now have a new focus for the One Room Challenge…the master bathroom. So much for planning ahead!

As a side note, if you live in the Greenville, SC area and ever need a plumbing repair, I highly recommend All Clear…they were professional, reasonably priced, did a great job fixing the problem and even cleaned up after themselves. I couldn’t ask for anything more.

The Bathroom Backstory

Builder grade master bathroom - Before
Builder grade master bathroom – Before

So here’s the back story on the master bathroom. This is what it looked like when I moved in.  Definitely a builder grade bathroom! But it’s quite large and I actually like the layout of it.

Builder Grade Bathroom - After
Builder Grade Bathroom – After

So I completely re-decorated it (and my master bedroom) with blue and white toile. You can see the rest of that original bathroom makeover HERE.

Bathroom update #2
Bathroom update #2

Then I decided to tone it down a bit by going with a gray color scheme and some marble tiles on the walls (which I still love and you can find HERE*).

Bathroom chandelier is staying
Bathroom chandelier is staying

I also still love the light fixture I had installed (which you can find HERE*).

The blue tile around the shower
The blue tile around the shower

But I never really finished the look, to the point where I didn’t even write a post on it.  I still had the blue and white tiles on the floor and the blue tiles around the shower (you can probably see a little purple through the open door on the right…that’s the color in my master bedroom).

The builder grade vanity (which we had painted gray) and the wood countertop also need to be updated for the new look.

The bathroom after the leak was fixed
The bathroom after the leak was fixed

After my leak-fixing experience, the bathroom now looks like this.  It definitely requires some attention!

One lesson learned from this experience: Use neutral color tiles.  They save a lot of work in the long run, especially when you like to re-decorate rooms as often as I do.

The To-Do List

Since a lot of the demo has already been done, I decided to bite the bullet and finish the bathroom the way I really want it to be. Which means I’ll be doing the following:

  • Take out the old toilet and vanity
  • Scrape the rest of the tiles and thin set from the floor
  • Level the floor and put down new floor tiles
  • Re-drywall and tile the walls behind the tub and vanity
  • Install a new free-standing tub
  • Replace the original toilet
  • Update the shower door
  • Replace the builder-grade vanity, and get under mount sinks
  • Do something with the tiles around the shower
  • Recess the medicine cabinets
  • Find a replacement for the pull-down ironing board
  • New window treatments

Phew! It’s going to be a busy 6 weeks!! At least I know what my next One Room Challenge will be (the guest bedroom), and I’ll be ready for it!

Now it’s back to the drawing board to come up with a plan…be sure to check back next week to see what it looks like.

Also, don’t forget to check out the rest of the talented designers at

Click HERE to go to week 2 of my bathroom makeover – the design.

Have comments or questions on my upcoming master bathroom makeover? Tell us in the section below.

This post was originally published on April 5, 2017 but was updated with new content on June 3, 2023.

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  1. Your plumbing problem was just a blessing in disguise. I can not wait to see how this room turns out. I love the clean, gray and white look that you have going. It matches a plethora of home decor and makes the space feel bigger.

    1. Thanks, Charlotte! You are probably right about the blessing in disguise…I probably wouldn’t have got around to taking up those tiles if that leak didn’t happen 🙂

  2. Looking forward to seeing how this entire space turns out!! This is a big project, so you will def. get big results!! So excited to follow along!

    1. Thanks, Jessica! I’m looking forward to the “results” part of it 🙂

  3. Oh dear, talk about adjusting course. We’re doing our master bath too and found that our toilet had been leaking for at least a year…it has completely soaked through the subfloor, and it’s above the kitchen, so that’s NO GOOD. Good to catch these things before they become massive issues!

    1. Hi Brittany…sounds like we have similar problems 🙂 I am glad the leak was fixed before it got too bad. And I’ll be really happy when the bathroom is finished!

  4. Oh no 🙁 Sorry you didn’t get to do the bedroom like you planned – but at least the leak is fixed and now you have a clean slate to work with. We’re also doing a bathroom this round, but you have much more work ahead of you – good luck!

    1. Thanks, Nicole! It is going to be a lot of work, but I’m looking forward to the end result!

  5. Aunty Elaine says:

    Hi Wanda, what a job! Just a suggestion—if you have a space, can you build a box in a wall somewhere for the pull down ironing board like your recessed medicine cabinet. Looks like fun. Oh to be your age!

    1. Hi Aunt Elaine…that’s a great idea! I’ll have to see if I can find a spot for that.