...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I’ve been unplugged for a few days.  I surprised our kiddos with a trip to DC to visit my sister this past weekend.  I purposefully didn’t pack my laptop.  I really needed some one-on-one time with my boys and we had a great time!  Handy Hubby stayed behind to work…at work and on the Underdog.  Upon our return home, Everett came down with an awful stomach bug. {Probably from the germ-infested Metro!} So, not only have I been thinking nonstop about bathrooms…I’ve been spending a lot of time in them with Everett as well.  I’m about bathroom-ed out!  But not enough to keep me from coming up with a quick preliminary plan for our future master bath.

Take a look…


Master Bathroom

1 – To keep things cohesive, I’d like to use the same galvanized sconce that I mentioned in the kid/guest bathroom mood board {seen here if you missed it or forget}.  Plus, I just can’t get enough of the industrial feel it provides.

2 – In searching for tile options for the shower surround, I came across this uniquely textured ceramic wall tile.  The shiny textured surface reflects light like glitter.  With natural light pouring in from the window right inside our shower, this wall tile would really keep the small room light and airy while providing a little glitz too.  It’s light reflecting power is difficult to see from the online image, so I made sure to snap a picture of it in our local store.

Isn’t it purty?  I think I’d install it horizontally in a brick pattern.  At 10″ x 19.75″, this tile is large so there wouldn’t be a ton of grout lines.

3 – For the floor, HH and I both fell for these moss penny round tiles.  I like smaller tiles for the floor in petite bathrooms. They add texture and pattern not to mention an anti-slip safety feature.  Again, the online image isn’t exactly true to reality. Here’s my phone pic for better reference…

The round tiles have a subtle gray-blue-green color going on and I love it.  Notice how the dark brown edges provide definition and contrast.  Oh, and that wood floor sample next to the tile sample is what we think will be going in as flooring for most of the rest of the house…if that makes any sense.  {More on that later!} I brought the floor sample along with me to The Tile Shop to make sure whatever tile I chose would look okay alongside the wood floor since they’ll meet at the entrance to the master bathroom.

4 – Even though HH and I love the idea of a large walk-in shower with dual shower heads, we decided against it.  Subtracting a tub from the bathroom would technically make it a ¾ bathroom instead of a full bathroom.  While we intend to stay in the house for 10+ years, we’d really hate to lose the freedom to market our house as ‘2 full baths’ whenever/if ever we decide to sell.  Plus, HH wasn’t keen on a lower shower threshold thinking it might splatter water everywhere outside the shower. {I told him NO to glass shower doors.  I’m the one that would clean them and I detest cleaning glass shower doors.  So, our walk-in shower would have simply had a shower curtain.}

We’ve actually already purchased this Kohler bathtub.  We liked the simple lines, it had good reviews, it would fit in our teeny bathroom, the price wasn’t awful {$440} and it was in stock at our local Home Depot.  It’s joined the chaos of other ‘waiting to be installed’ stuff in the Underdog’s garage.

5 – I really like white textured shower curtains.  What else can I say?

6 – To tone down all the straight lines that are inevitable in a small rectangular bathroom, I’d love to incorporate a round mirror above the sink.  The bathroom sink/vanity will be visible from the master bedroom, so using a mirror that doesn’t scream ‘bathroom!’ would be nice.  The antique zebrano finish on this one makes it feel less utilitarian.

7 – If it can be done, I want {Handy Hubby} to DIY a chunky floating wood vanity/shelf to house this simple IKEA sink.  Of course, the wood would need to be sealed to avoid moisture penetration. Don’t worry!  We don’t plan on using plywood/OSB as a finishing material in the bathroom or anywhere else in the house.  The vanity I shared last week was simply an inspiration to me.  Before I decide on a major design element, I gather a bunch of inspiration images and then think about how I can tweak them to fit my style and aesthetic.  I do think that DIY OSB vanity was clever and could look great in the right setting. But it’s not going in our home.

8 – Since under sink storage {open or closed} will be minimal due to the floating vanity, we’ll need other storage options in the bathroom.  I found this stainless steel medicine cabinet just today and think 2 or 3 of them would work and look great. Must show to HH tonight!

9 – West Elm has the best hand towels.  This honeycomb one in slate is my pick for the master bath.

10 – If I can squeeze it in somewhere {under the sink?  next to the shower?}, this woven ottoman {or a cheaper, similar alternative} would provide a landing spot for {taking off or putting on} clothes, a book or magazine, or maybe even a glass of water or wine.  I like to add at least one natural, woven element to each room – even bathrooms.

So, there it is.  What may be our future master bathroom.  Do you like?  Not like?  By far, my favorite element is that glittery white shower wall tile.  I couldn’t stop running my hand across the sample at the store.  Thankfully, HH liked it too.  I can’t wait to see what it looks like installed.

Now, it’s back to the ugly apartment bathroom with Everett.  Poor guy.  I hope he feels better soon.

images:  1) Polyvore collage by Dana Miller linked within  2 & 3) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



I love the tile for the shower surround!

I love it, especially the shower tile and the industrial light fixture! I’m falling for more masculine color palettes myself, so this is right up my alley!


Love the penny tiles – I’ve seen them before on overstock.com… might be worth checking to see if you can get a deal!


I love it all. I can already imagine how nice it will look!

But where will the medicine cabinets go? Above the toilet?


Barb – I was thinking above the toilet or on the wall across from the toilet at about waist-height so the tops could be used as shelving too. Won’t know for sure until I do some measuring…plus I still need to confirm with HH that he likes them!


There is a lot I love about the things you picked out (especially the wall and floor tiles!), but I did want to offer one word of caution. I also love the look of your light, but beware of downward pointing lights with solid non-translucent shades in a bathroom! As someone with a similar scenario, it makes the room really dark and puts harsh shadows on your face as you look in the mirror…not terribly flattering and hard to put on make-up :P Still might be ok if it’s hung high enough or if the bulb comes down a little below the shade…just something to consider. Can’t wait to see the underdog’s rooms start to take shape!


Love it! What about a rug?


Laura – Thanks for the lighting tips! I did look into double sconces on either side of the mirror bc they give off better light but I just kept coming back to this single galvanized sconce. There is a window in the bathroom and we’ll also have a recessed light above the shower, so I don’t think it will be too dark. As for makeup…when I wear it {none today} I always prefer to put it on in natural light. Ideally, I like to use a mirror next to a window so I don’t always put it on in the bathroom anyways. Not a big deal to me if I need to apply makeup in the bedroom!


Elaine – Call me weird, but I like to feel tile with my bare feet {even if it’s cold} and I think those penny tiles will feel so great. I’ll probably use a thick bath mat over by the shower to put down for exiting the shower when wet, but other than that I hadn’t really considered a rug. They move all over the place on tile and I don’t want to use a slip guard underneath in the bathroom bc I’m constantly sweeping/steam-mopping our bathrooms. I guess we’ll see if a rug ends up in there or not!


Beautiful! We just redid our bathroom, so I know how hard it is to pick everything out. We have a very small bathroom as well, and we just installed that exact same Kohler Archer tub. We LOVE it. I’m sure you will too! :) (Btw, your pretty sparkly tile is making me wish I had seen it before we finished ours – ha!!)

Hope little E feels better soon!


I love EVERYTHING about it. Masculine but not cold. Love the tiles and west elm hand towel. I think I am going to pick one or two up!


OMG. I have that exact penny tile in my laundry “room” (glorified closet). I adore it. If you are wondering about paint at all, it goes smashingly with Benjy Moore “Moonshine” and it’s darker pal “Gray Horse.”


I’m dreaming of a similar update for my master bath – especially that tile for the shower surround that little bit of sparkle is amazing!! And love the mix of the industrial look with the barn light – I did the same light fixture for outside on either side of my front door and loove it – check it out here http://5thstreetavenue.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/come-and-knock-on-my-door/

I got my lighting fixtures at lowes for around $30! :)


We re-did our bathroom two years ago and I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve cleaned the glass shower doors with glass cleaner. The secret to keeping the glass clean is to clean it after every shower. If you let the water dry, then you will get water stains and soap scum. But if you squeegee and towel dry the doors, they look brand new all the time.

It’s true that you have to spend an extra 30 seconds every day drying the shower doors, but it saves a lot of effort in the long run. And glass doors look so much nicer than shower curtains if you have some nice tile in the shower area.


I am in LOVE with that tile! Both of them, but mostly the shimmery white! Love love it!

Looks great! I have white glossy penny tiles in my basement bath and they feel AWESOME under your feet.

However, they are a bi*ch to install. Just fyi. There is a method to do it right. Time, patience, the right pattern of laying the tile and a bottle of wine once it is done.



I love everything about it! Especially the penny tile and sconce. And woven ottoman. And hand towel. :)


LOVE the choices, especially the tile choices.

I have to say I’m really enjoying following along with you guys as you make the underdog your home!


It will look GREAT!


The textured wall tile is pretty, but are you worried about soap scum build up? Will it be hard to keep clean? I love reading about your home projects!


I love everything about it! In fact I am planning a very similar look for my tiny master bath!! I even picked out similar penny tiles. Great job and I can’t wait to see how it looks all put together (especialy since I am a good 6+ months on starting on my bath)! ;-)


May I ask where you sourced that tile? The website link shows a 10×19.75-inch tile and a 2×12-inch bullnose, not the 25×50 you mentioned, I would love the larger size for my double shower re-do (I hate cleaning grout lines so the less the better).
Thank you.


Kathryn – Not worried about soap scum. We wipe down our shower after each use with a squeegee and I clean the shower weekly. Even though the tile isn’t perfectly smooth, I don’t think it should pose a cleaning problem. At this point, I don’t think there’s anything that’s going to stop me from using that glittery tile!


lifebeginsatthirtyright – Thanks for the tip! We plan to ask a ton of questions about DIY installation beforehand and do even more research. I’ll be sure to grab our favorite beverages along with all our supplies – for celebrating!!


Alexis – WOW! Your front door makeover looks fab! We scouted out the Lowe’s lookalike but it appears it has a lower wattage {60W} than what we’re thinking we’ll need. Too bad. :(


Holiday – Good to know!


PAppel – Now that I’m thinking more clearly…and using my calculator…I believe that my 25″x50″ measurement is incorrect. It should be 25cm x 50cm. Thanks for catching the error! I’ll fix it within the post. Still, that’s a 10″ x 19.75″ tile and still a good large size to cut down on numerous grout lines. Thanks for your comment and sorry for the confusion!


It’s all lovely but once again I’m bemused by the American love of shower curtains (and dislike of glass shower doors). Down this end of the world a shower curtain is distinctly lowmarket, even a shower over a bath will have a glass screen. I do like the look of some of the prettier shower curtains, but having to deal with one on a daily basis would not be fun.


I love everything you picked out!! My husband and I put wood floors like that in our last home and I loved the dark wood color and we got so many compliments, but they are hard to keep clean. You can see every spec of dust. I kept a swiffer vac plugged in at all times and had to use it daily with a weekly or biweekly wet swiffer. Of course, we had it throughout the entire living/dining/kitchen and with my 2 little boys who spill a lot it made my job harder than it normally would have been. Can’t wait to see the finished pictures!


Was browsing the interwebs and came across these posts on Timber and Lace. Immediately thought of your bathroom remodel.

More inspiration for your floating vanity (maybe).

Nifty idea that may be handy in your sons’ bathroom (if there’s room).


Sacha – I love the rustic touches she added to her bathrooms with old timber! Thanks for sharing!


Did you see John & Sherry @ young house love are using the same penny tile as their backsplash? http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/10/lucky-penny/
Small world.


Barb – Yeah! Love YHL and was totally surprised to see them using the same penny tile for their kitchen backsplash. Should look fab!


I recently came across your blog and have loved reading about your decision to downsize and renovate your new home. I am redoing my very small master bath and love the penny tiles you chose for your bathroom. I am now thinking of doing the penny tiles for my bath tub surround and flooring. However, my color scheme is a white vanity with white/gray marble top, and the blue/green with the moss tile. Do you think the brown edge of the tiles would look okay with the marble top on the vanity? Tub and toilet will be white. I can’t wait to see your house finished!!!


Heidi – I think the moss penny tile would look fab with a marble-topped vanity! I wouldn’t worry about the brown edges not matching the veining in the marble exactly. They don’t have to match. Look at the bigger picture. The penny tile is going to look like a textured gray unless you’re staring at each individual tile. I say go for it!



I am also redoing my bathroom in a 50’s style home with the milk color penny rounds as well as a similar shape wall tile, different color. I wanted to know what you were doing with the wall tile and having it all throughout the bathroom, or just in the tub area? We are at a cross roads with our decisions and are wondering how we would get the wall tile (if we decided to do it throughout the bathroom) to meet up with the round floor tile. Our handyman said there would be a lot of grout and caulk involved. He suggested keeping the wall tile in the tub area only and just putting up drywall around the rest of the walls and adding in wood trim. I just wanted to get your opinion and also see what your plan was.

Thanks SO much!!



Katie – The master bathroom will only be tiled in the shower/tub area. Our other bathroom {kids/guests} will get tiled around the tub and then chair rail height around the rest of the room. I remember The Tile Shop rep we’re working with saying something about specifics related to where the wall tile meets the floor tile but I don’t remember them exactly. We plan on attending one of the free classes before DIYing the tile install, so I’ll keep you posted!


So I am late to this post but it was appropriate as we are working on our also tiny master bathroom. What is the size of your bathroom btw? Also, the C&B mirror, why arent they making it anymore!!!!??? Great for tiny holes like my bathroom. Love the reflective tiles on the shower walls and the sink too. Did you stick with the simple IKEA sink and find it spacious enough? wee!!!


Hi, I’m hoping you can help. I LOVE your glittery tile and just tried the link to buy some. The link won’t work but I am being redirected to the tile shop. Could you tell me the style name so I can search for the tile?
Much appreciated,


There’s a source list on the master bathroom tour page.


The tile is capua blanco.


Where did you find the ceramic wall tile in #2 above?