We Bought a Farmhouse

stories of renovation, home decor inspiration & sprinkles of country life

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Master Bathroom: Almost Ready To Cross The Finish Line

Our master bathroom is so close to being done, even though I feel like I've been saying that for months (probably because I have). We had been making really good time on this room, and toward the end, we just ran into delay after delay. We originally thought we could be done by mid-July. Then it was the end of August, and then Labor Day (which has now officially come and gone), and now, let's say we're shooting for beginning of October? I'm honestly not sure. But we're so stinkin' close that I feel like it could be any day now that we finally move all our stuff in. 

We've been talking about this bathroom since, well, we knew we'd get married, before any vows were exchanged. We previously lived in pretty small apartments before buying this house, which subsequently always had pretty small bathrooms where we'd bump into each other constantly. This eventually led to us just not getting ready at the same time and having to work around each other's schedules. Every year we were together, we both would daydream about our ideal bathroom in our house someday. Wish lists would vary, but typically had double sinks, a free-standing tub, glass shower and space to feel relaxed while we could both get ready at the same time. To be able to say that we made it happen doesn't even seem real.

So let's rewind back to the start. Rather than proving long, lengthly explanations of everything, I'm going to do my best to nutshell-it since we pretty much do the same things in every room when we gut.

Demo work began on Jan. 2 because I made Josh sit still on New Year's Day with leftover Chinese food and a Bridget Jones' Diary movie marathon in our jammies (no regrets). Josh ripped everything down to the studs and joists, and the biggest challenge was the super thick concrete (or mortar? We're not sure which, honestly) that our floor tile was sitting on. That alone took a couple of weeks to get rid of. We also had to demo out a wall and the ceiling in our downstairs half bath to expose some pipes and have some things re-worked. In order to install a double sink console, we also had to fill in the other entrance to the bathroom from our bedroom hallway, which meant adding more privacy because this room would now only accessible from our bedroom. Now that we have our guest bathroom, which didn't exist when we first moved in, having one private entrance into this room was our goal. None of this probably makes a lot of sense because our master suite area is a little unique, so here's a diagram.

The first thing to go was the shower.

We're not sure if this was concrete or mortar, but it was insanely thick and took forever to get rid of.

We found original hardwoods under everything in the bathroom, but sadly, most were not
salvageable for floors. Maybe for a fun reclaimed wood project down the line.

We had to remove our ceiling in our downstairs half bath to allow work to be done upstairs.

Our contractor installed new plumbing lines for our tub since the bathroom only had a standing shower before. He also updated some of our old copper pipes once everything was ripped out, and got our electrical set up for new scones, light switches, radiant floor heating and a hardwired heated towel rack.

While all that was going on, Josh began to level our floors because, you know, 150-year-old house. He then put up the drywall and cement board, framed out the shower structure, laid down the radiant floor heating and topped it with self-leveling mortar. This all took a couple of months.

Josh had to level the floors before the subfloor could go in.

It always feels like you're actually doing something once the subfloor goes in.

Drywall going in!

Testing our foot ledge in the shower to make sure the size works.

Radiant floor heating installed.

Self-leveling mortar goes on top of the radiant floor heating to prep for tile.

Then, tiling began. We went a little (accent on little) more fancy in the shower, but kept the design of it pretty basic. We mainly used white subway tile, and did some carrara marble accents on the shower curb, foot ledge and niche. The backsplash of the niche is a hexagon tile just to add some visual interest, and we framed it out with some marble pieces. I never thought I'd be into mixing tile shapes because I like things to be really simple and cohesive, but I love that I went with my gut and mixed it up a bit. This was our first foray into marble, and the project was delayed a little at this point because we had to research places that would cut the marble pieces to the sizes we needed. One of the pieces we needed was an odd size that took us forever to find, and it definitely held us up for a bit until we finally got it. We also slowed down a little at this point because I got sick with shingles when we were supposed to start tiling. I actually really kind of enjoy laying down subway tile and planned to do the majority of the shower myself. But, shingles knocked me for a loop, and it was everything I had to just get to work and come home to rest on the couch for about a month. Plus, my vision was pretty blurry since the shingles got in my eye, so it probably wasn't a good idea for me to be doing detailed tile work anyway. There are usually always unexpected surprises during renovations, but we weren't quite planning on one of us being sick for a month.

The floor tile is the same we used in our guest bathroom because we both loved it so much, and it's rather affordable. We almost went with a more pricey marble-looking hexagon tile, but I honestly just didn't like it as much. It was one of the rare times I actually preferred the cheaper option. Josh was in a state of disbelief.

I started to prime and paint the room while Josh finished up tiling since I was starting to feel better at that point. For the paint, I used White Dove by Benjamin Moore. We were doing a more cool color story in here versus a lot of warmth, so I needed a paint that reflected that. White Dove is what we used on all our trim in our bedroom (since we painted it a gray), so it made sense to extend this to the bathroom as well. It's a white that still has a lot of depth to it, and it's a touch on the warm side, but I feel like it pairs really well with cooler colors, too. With the lighting in this space, it worked perfectly in tandem with all our fixtures and accents.

We also added faux shiplap on the walls, and brought it half-way up around most of the room, and all the way to the ceiling on the sink console wall as a backdrop for our mirrors. I originally only wanted it as a half wall all around, but we had to bring it all the way up the sink console wall because of the angles in the room. There was no one-size-fits-all height to stop the shiplap at all the way around, that worked with our sink height, mirrors and tub, so this was our solution. And I actually ended up preferring it this way anyway once it was finished.

Once all the tiling was done, shiplap was painted and installed and walls were also painted, we started to move everything in, and ordered the glass shower pieces. We had to wait until the tiling was 100% complete to order the shower glass because we were doing a custom-cut order, and we needed exact measurements. This is actually what's holding us up right now because we're pretty much done otherwise, with a few very minor exceptions (touch-up paint, finishing up a linen cabinet, etc). We had to work with Home Depot as a go-between us and the shower glass people, and everything is just taking for-ev-er. We probably could have had the room done four weeks sooner if this didn't hold us up. But you know, modern inconveniences are rarely the crisis situations we make them out to be, right?

While we waited/continue to wait for the glass to come in, we were able to get get everything else moved in and hooked up: The toilet, shower head and handle, sink faucets, mirrors, sconces, heated towel rack, tub (which was not fun carrying up a flight of narrow stairs from outside), tub faucet, outlets, etc.

Josh prepping the electrical for the sconces.

A few sneak peaks of where we're currently at:

I can't wait for all the tools to go away and be replaced by pretty accents.

As of now, we're working on building a linen cabinet with a planked door for some storage, and wrapping up all the little paint touch-ups and last-minute installations, including towel hooks, a shelf above our tub and a sliding door to some recessed shelving. Coming very soon, the final reveal with everything done and moved in, and it can't come soon enough. 


  1. Wow! Great work Sam and Josh! I always get so excited when I see nuggets of your life updates! CANNOT wait to see the finished product! Thank you so much for sharing 🛀!

    You make me want to move to the Northeast!

    Shirley (mml962)

  2. I can’t wait to see the reveal Sam! I remember your video tour of the house when you bought it and you and Josh have really done a great job at updating your farm house!

  3. Samantha, this is just beautiful! You both are an amazing team.

  4. Hi Sam, you are very inspirational! Thank you for sharing everything you do. Your Holiday Christmas Home Tour video on YouTube is my absolute favorite. It’s soothing, relaxing, inspirational, brings all the feels of Christmas. I have searched amazon, etsy, and lots other sites but can’t find them...where did you buy the bell ornaments for your tribute to Clarence Christmas tree in your bedroom? I would be grateful if you would share where you found/bought them? Thank you.

  5. Totally in awe over here. You are both just incredible!