Before, During, & After - Bathrooms

This split-level has 3 full bathrooms. We are lucky. One of the bathrooms downstairs is a combination laundry room and bathroom....but it's still a bathroom. Don't ask me why 2 people need 3 bathrooms, but somehow it works.

To start this post I want to share one of my favorite photos I took during the master bath demo. Explanation in the caption of the photo below.

Blades. All kinds of blades. Those of us who are old enough to remember when razor blades looked like this, can probably remember the smell of Old Spice or Aqua Velva. You'll notice that there is quite the collection of them. I posted another picture of these blades below in one of the grids. Guess why there was a pile of blades inside the bathroom walls of our 1967 house. Come on....guess. It is because inset medicine cabinets of that era had a little slot where you could safely dispose of your used razor blades. I bet most of Americans who deposited decades of blades in that slot never really thought about where they ended up. Inside your wall. Of course, the other long blade is that of a reciprocating saw that was used to open up the wall full of blades. This has been, "The More You Know". You're Welcome! Copyright 2015 Marla Baxter Sanderson -


This turquoise beauty was Bernard's (Ken's dad) bathroom. It was the master, but Dorothy normally used the upstairs hall bath (below) and Bernard used the master bathroom.

When we first thought about the downsize, we thought we could keep this master bathroom. In our minds, it was bigger. Being the retro/mid-century fan, I like turquoise tile. However, we were delusional. Our fat asses could NEVER fit into the shower. Ken remembers showering here while he was growing up and well into his teenage years. However, he stepped into it as a grown man and it was quite a sight! I know he remembers the exact dimensions, but just counting those 4" tiles, looks like the shower is 28" x 28". If we are generous and account for the grout lines we'll give it 30" x 30". Dorothy and Bernard were small people....but DAYUM!!! How Bernard used this shower is beyond me.

I remember both of us standing in the master bathroom while Ken tried out the shower for size and all I could do was shake my damn head. We decided that If he didn't have to move his arms to wash or God forbid, drop the soap, he could have managed. However, it is hard to bathe or shower without moving your arms. And to bend over meant your head and upper torso were out of the shower all together. It had to go.


We spent quite a bot of time trying to figure out what to do to make the two bathrooms usable.

The drawings we came up with were odd, to say the least. Most of our ideas involved combining the two bathrooms to make a decent sized master. Neither of us was excited about losing a bathroom. Resale value is higher with the extra bath. We all pondered this for weeks, until one day, I came over to check on the progress and our contractor, Sean Thornton, announced that his right hand guy, Jason Shepherd, came up with the perfect solution:

His and Hers ensuite bathrooms.

Since we combined two bedrooms to make a master with a decent closet, we could lose some of the space of the bedroom and bring the wall out enough to make 2 good sized bathrooms. We could put pocket doors leading into the master bedroom. We left the original tiny-ass door into the hall bathroom so that my bathroom has 2 doors, thereby allowing access to the bath from the hall or bedroom. It. Was. Perfect!

It has been said that the key to a happy marriage is separate bathrooms...Words to live by. Larry David and others may have said this, but let me tell you something THEY ARE VERY CORRECT. We are going on 5 years in the house and this His and Hers En-suite Master Bathrooms.....SUPERB.


1 & 2) Demo of the turquoise bathroom. 3) We got a surprise when they demo'd the master turquoise shower. The shower pan had been leaking and the sub-floor was destroyed. But the studs look good. 4) Collection of razor blades inside the wall. 5) Electrical for master bathroom near window 6) Framing of the new wall with 2 pocket door frames 7 & 8) Looking into the original master bathroom (with the window) from what is now my bathroom. We mirrored the bathroom layout so that we could share plumbing. 9) Drywall going up on the new wall. 10) Ken his co-worker Justin and Justin's son discussing the cable and computer wiring in the new wall, 11) Insulation and shower niche going into Ken's shower. 12) New shower taking shape.


I thought I had some good shots of the bathrooms brand new before we moved in. However, I can't find them. This is how the bathroom is now. I could have prettied up the pictures, but why? This is how we live. Welcome.

Our budget did not allow for top of the line anything. We got creative with Lowe's and Home Depot products and you know what? They are great. We are perfectly comfortable with our choices and enjoy our home just as much as we would have by having top of the line everything. Thought you should know.


This is the bathroom that Dorothy primarily used. I wish I had taken a picture of it back in the day. I miss her pretty little hand towels and her handwritten notes to herself about the perfect recipe for excellent make-up application. I miss her.

This bathroom was tiny. The tub was not even 5' long and you can see it went from wall to wall. The reason the toilet tissue holder is directly across from the toilet; it was an easy reach to that wall while you sat on the toilet and there was NO room for one beside the toilet. The color of the tile was avocado like over-ripe avocado green. These pictures do not do it justice.

This bathroom was enlarged by removing the original master closet (it was a TINY master closet) and moving that wall. I included the pictures of the medicine cabinet in the tub, because there's a story with that one I'll write later. You can see where it was removed in the wall above the vanity. The HVAC folks did that to gain access to that part of the attic space. I also included a picture of the master closet which backs up to this bathroom and was eliminated to make room for moving the wall into the master bedroom. You'll also notice that there are HVAC pipes running up through that closet. We incorporated those into a floor to ceiling shelved cabinet you can see in the during and after shots below. The old entry door into the master bedroom was taken out and sealed up so that the wall could move. Our master entry is actually the original door to the bedroom that was merged with the master to increase the size.


A note about picture #6 below. See that blue tape on the floor? There's a story. When Sean started the shower, he realized that we were going to have ingress and egress problems with the hall bathroom door. The new shower size would block the door. So, we put our heads together and figured out a cool angle (where the glass block is in the after pictures) that will create wide enough access for humans to enter from the hall, and also created a nice bench nook inside the shower (see in the after pictures). It also left room for yet another floor to ceiling shelved storage cabinet (also pictured in the after pictures)


As stated above, I could have made the bathroom look pristine and staged for a photo, but screw it. Everyone who might read this knows that people live in a space very differently than photos would lead us to believe. So, I'm keeping it real. And if we are all honest, aren't pictures more interesting when you see how folks live in a space?

A note about that barn door below. Remember the story of the blue tape on the floor in the "during" picture for my bathroom? Well, after the nice angle was created, we still had an issue with a door that swings in or out. The hallway is too narrow for a door to swing out, and there was no space for a door to swing in. So....voila! A barn door for the hall entrance to the bathroom.

One MAJOR note about using barn doors in bathroom applications. I asked Sean to add more trim to seal up at least some of the gaps. Barn doors are great, but they don't insulate sound very well. They hang away from the wall and door molding/trim so that they clear when they slide. They have gaps so they are able to function. Gaps are not great with bathroom doors due to privacy concerns. Unlike pocket doors, they also don't lock without doing some creative hardware placement. Pocket doors do lock and seal better. The result for me is, Birdie, the boxer, often opens the door to join me in my bathroom visitations. It is cozy. She gets my undivided attention. None of this is an issue for us, unless company comes. Now that trim is added to the door, it has helped a lot with the sound. Before the trim went on the doors, my exact words were: It is like peeing in the living room! Sound travels and especially when the majority of you home is hardwood floors. In addition, that awkward flow sneaks in with many situations. No, I wasn't referring to peeing. However, that double entendre works.


We had to remove the framing that created the the washer/dryer/water heater closet. Copyright 2015 Marla Baxter Sanderson - SockOnARooster

This is the toilet and sink area directly across from the washer & Dryer closet. The decent sized shower is tucked to the left of the closet area. Copyright 2015 Marla Baxter Sanderson -


PHOTOS - A Note or 3:

This is the original 1967 shower. We changed the sprayer but kept the grab bars in the shower. These were installed for my in-laws, but I believe if you have grab bars that are already installed in a bathroom, it is always best to keep them if you can and if they are not an eyesore. Even the able bodied use grab bars if they are there. Plus, they make a good towel rack. Additionally, as we age, we may have to move downstairs. This bathroom is already equipped if ever we hurt ourselves or just can't make it upstairs. I hope that is a long way away, just never know.

The medicine cabinet will have its own post. It is original to the house. It was in Dorothy's bathroom. It was just retro and kitschy enough that I liked it. I didn't like its original color of gold, but jazzed up, me likey.

Yes, that is an original painting in my laundry room. Because...why not? Yes, that is an original photograph on copper as well. Again, if you've got it, hang it.

We didn't want to gut this space. Money was tight and we didn't budget for it. However, although we didn't plan for it, we did have to remove the framing around what was the washer & dryer closet. Previously, Bernard and Dorothy had a short tank hot water heater (low boy). I knew that a low boy would NEVER be big enough for us. Our previous house had a 80 gallon water heater. We had a huge Jacuzzi tub in our old house, hence the size of the water heater. But, we like a lot of hot water. I hate to run out of hot water.....EVER. I take long-ass showers. There, I admitted it. I wash clothes almost every day. I wanted to be able to put the washer on and take a shower at the same time. I wanted enough water pressure to do that and I damn sure wanted enough hot water to do that too. The size tank we would need would not fit in the space and leave enough room for today's washers and dryers. We had to figure out something else.

We decided on a nice sized tankless gas hot water heater. It saves room and is supposed to be more efficient. However, I'll tell you the truth, we have to let the water run quite awhile to get hot water to any appliance or tap. So I'm not sure how energy efficient it is. Don't get me wrong, we like it. But.....well.....nothing is perfect. But I digress.

We left the shower as it was. We had to re-do the ceiling because of all the new plumbing for the upstairs bathrooms. Sean installed a semi drop ceiling. We didn't want to do a grid system with ceiling tiles, although we did look into it. So Sean came up with a good solution. The ceiling can be removed if needed to access the plumbing, but looks decent as it is.

We tiled the floor, replaced the toilet and added an inexpensive vanity from Home Depot or Lowe's...I can't remember. There was no way to enclose this area. Space was too tight and we would rather everyone see our infrastructure and let that beast of a wall mounted tankless water heater breathe.

And there you have it. 3 bathroom remodels. So much work, so little money. But we made it.

That is all.

Carry on.

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