Master bathroom with a twist

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Project by NoLongerHere posted 11-20-2011 06:40 PM 4246 views 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Master bathroom with a twist
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This client came to me with a challenge – take a very rough drawing of his ideas and make it work.

At first, I immediately thought, no shower door in that small of a space? I don’t think so.

Make a circular shower soffit and threshold? – why? ....never done it before.

And, make a whirlpool base with a SOLID WOOD TOP that extends into the shower as a seat! – No way.

He also wanted to move the shower and relocate the toilet almost 5 feet to the left, across 4 – 16’ 2×10 floor joists above the living room, which is always a challenge.

So, we came up with a plan to completely gut everything down to the framing and reinforce the joists with 3/4” plywood glued and nailed on each side with staggered joints to support the new soaking tub and relocated toilet.
Then, we took his “drawing” and transfered it to the new subfloor to get a better visual on how the shower size effects the over spray and made the obvious adjustments, considering there is no door.

I struggled with the idea of a wood top for the tub that extends into the shower. How would it drain? How can I make it so it won’t expand and crack? What kind of wood and finish? And, how much is it going to cost?
He was dead set on this wood top at first, and I couldn’t talk him out of it.

I think he had a vision of a mahogany chris craft boat in his bathroom. Sometimes, timing is everything, so I put it aside and concentrated on the rest of the project. The top would be the last thing to install anyway.

The glass topped double sink vanity was perfect for this metropolitan look. It was made of dark stained cherry with natural maple, clear coated for the dovetailed drawers and inside the cabinet.

Even though the legs were only 6” tall, he didn’t want to have the copper supply lines show underneath. The problem was, that is an outside wall – no plumbing supply lines allowed. So, we padded the whole wall 1”, increased the insulation and created a drywall chase so they were protected. It was a lot of work but we had the wall open already to rework the plumbing so it made sense.

“ya might as well…….” How often do we say that? Ha!

The shower niche is always an issue. Where is the best place to put it based on pre-existing conditions (studs, plumbing) and make it work perfectly with the tile layout. The extra thick sill that extends beyond the opening was his idea. We continued that look behind the soaking tub which was a nice choice.

Well, the day finally came where we needed to make a decision about the tub top.
Considering what the teak seat in my own shower looks like, and, I was going to have to do any repairs to this massive, moving wooden maintenence nightmare, I gently pushed him in to making the top out of solid stone to match the tile floor.

Having an estimate for the solid wood top that was twice as expensive as stone and had no warrantee helped him decide too. The wood top would have looked very cool for a while but he says he is really happy with His choice. So am I.

If I had walked away from this project because of a crazy drawing, I would have missed out on a cool experience to do something different that came out nice enough to post here.

Even better, he also hired me to remodel his kitchen which is now close to being finished.

17 comments so far

View SeaWitch's profile


149 posts in 2900 days

#1 posted 11-20-2011 06:51 PM

Beautiful work. And a lot of work.

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

View brian88's profile


108 posts in 3275 days

#2 posted 11-20-2011 07:00 PM

Really cool..I have found that sometimes taking the most insignificant or odd jobs usually leads to more work and contacts…Nice tile work and cabinetry…two of my skill-sets.

-- "thats all I have to say about that..."

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3548 days

#3 posted 11-20-2011 08:30 PM

Wow – I’m Impressed !!!! Nice Job !!!!

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3467 days

#4 posted 11-20-2011 10:13 PM

Great job! A lot of work but I would think that there is some reward for the job well done. I complement you on the creativity needed for the bathroom.

View sras's profile (online now)


5192 posts in 3635 days

#5 posted 11-20-2011 10:29 PM

What an impressive result! Your skill with your client is as professional as your craftsmanship – well done on both counts!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Bruce's profile


201 posts in 4281 days

#6 posted 11-21-2011 04:19 AM

Pretty sweet bathroom…plan on doing something similar for myself someday…How did you treat the ceiling in the shower?

-- I think of Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman when he says "Where does he get those wonderful toys" and ask WHERE DO U GUYS GET ALL THAT WONDERFUL WOOD?

View Arlin Eastman's profile

Arlin Eastman

4262 posts in 3067 days

#7 posted 11-21-2011 04:32 AM

Good job and lots of work = lots of $
By the way they do make wooden bath tubs and sinks.

-- It is always the right time, to do the right thing.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4179 days

#8 posted 11-21-2011 04:35 AM

Beautiful bathroom!

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 3970 days

#9 posted 11-21-2011 06:05 AM

Wow, another masterpiece! Good way to persuade the client into the sensible choice.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 3955 days

#10 posted 11-21-2011 01:16 PM

great job!!! everything looks great…....

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View mafe's profile


12104 posts in 3595 days

#11 posted 11-21-2011 05:48 PM

Looking really good, I could really live with that bathtub…

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4267 posts in 3671 days

#12 posted 11-21-2011 06:39 PM

Beautiful work. Thanks for posting this…....your workmanship is great, and there is a good lesson in there. I don’t do any of the remodel work in our house, but after redoing 3 bath rooms in the house now at some time, it is interesting to see what other people do. The original 2 smallish main floor bathrooms were combined into one for me, with a large shower, and custom glass door and wall to the room. More traditional approach.

Many years ago I, (yes me), made a tile tub, gigantic, with a redwood top and redwood sides. The carpenter doing the finish work put on the redwood. Nearly asphixiated myself putting epoxy on the the wood plywood frame, but it never leaked. But I seem to recall some staining of the wood. It held up pretty good, but like you, I wouldn’t do it again. Moved out of that house, so I don’t know its long range history.

We have a doorless shower, built in 1991 (not by me) with decorator tile, but the entrance is at the side back, and there is another splash wall that overlaps the entryway, and the tile shower basin turns the corner eliminating any splash into the bathroom. Very conservative, and totally different than what you have there. You cannot see the person who is showering. Kermit my 21 year old mitered conure, loves to splash around on that shower floor, the part between the overlapping splash walls. We may keep that shower in the current remodel, since it looks like new, has hand painted tiles that create a flower motif, and seems to keep everyone happy.

The main objection I had to the kitchen remodel, the wife prevailed, has turned out to be a minor issue. (just the sink style). Function should come first in kitchens and bathrooms…your client has benefitted from your stubborness. I lost, probably because I am the spouse, but we may yet have to replace that sink. She now agrees I was correct. It was just a matter of water control in the sink to prevent damage to the cabinets below.

Here is a couple of shots of our cabinetry around the refrigerator….....I don’t do any of the work myself during remodels these days….....

The kitchen and dining area are one large room, you can see the entry into the pantry at the left. There

The woodwork is nearly all jatoba.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Bertha's profile


13567 posts in 3199 days

#13 posted 11-21-2011 06:42 PM

Great installs!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View mikethetermite's profile


600 posts in 3772 days

#14 posted 11-22-2011 05:51 AM

Beautiful just Beautiful thanks for sharing

-- Mike The Termite ~~~~~ Working safely may get old, but so do those who practice it.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 3182 days

#15 posted 11-23-2011 06:57 AM

Wow, great comments everyone! Thank you.

Brian88 – so true. I’ve had many small jobs turn in to 1 or 2 years worth of never ending projects. you never know.

Knothead62 – I have to give the client credit for this one. I only want a little for making his ideas work which was no easy task. We worked together well by listening to each other’s opinion…and then we did it my way. HA! jk.

Thank you Steve, appreciate that.

Bruce – The shower ceiling is made of greenboard and taped in durabond 90, then primed and painted with a satin bathroom white paint. It may be a maintenence issue down the line but that’s an easy repair job. We talked about tile but he didn’t like the options as to how to end it on the arched edge with a border. This was the cheaper option.

Arlin – I saw a full size wooden harley on Pawn Stars the other night. It looked cool but it wasn’t worth a damn either. Wood, harleys, water – don’t mix. he he does sound cool, gotta admit.

BTKS – Usually, I don’t argue….wait, did I just say that? Uh, well, what can I say – it ain’t easy being me. I’m just glad they like my friendly “persuasions”.

Todd, Mads – thanks, It’s a nice looking soaking tub but no whirlpool jets. Personally, I have a 3×5.5 whirlpool with jets that are really nice for sore muscles. I hope he doesn’t regret that one.

Jim – That redwood tile tub sounds very cool. But then there are the stains. looks great at first. Did you just say you have a 21 year old mitered conure named Kermit, that loves to splash around on the shower floor? That must be a sight! I had to take over raising a blue and gold Macaw for a year that was quite an experience. Never took a shower with it though. He liked to bite things.
Your kitchen cabinetry is awesome. Jatoba – Wow, nice choice. sounds expensive. Looks fantastic. I really like that fridge too… thing is HUGE. Got a warming tray, sink in the island, granite tops…man, you got a nice set up. Thanks for the pictures. My compliments to your cabinet guy and you.

BWW, Bertha, Mike – thank you, thank you.

See ya on the next one friends!

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