Bathtub Bliss

September 22, 2009

I almost didn’t post this article.  This almost never happened.

Not because I don’t want to talk to you all.  Believe me, I do. It’s just that I am dangerously close to disappearing from the earth into a new twilight zone known as my master bathtub.

Now I am a gal who finds no greater bliss than taking an evening bubble bath.  A hot bath + a glass of red wine + a bit of dark chocolate + my iPod + twenty minutes to myself = priceless.  No vacation spot could ever compare.

Since I am an attorney, I feel a warning label is appropriate at this time.

warning label 2

Now that I’ve finally put the finishing touches on my master bathtub space, you may never ever ever EVER hear from me again.

bath from side

It looks posh, but compared to most designer spaces, it really wasn’t that expensive.

Do you want to see the ‘Before’ ?

I only wish I had taken a picture of the space last year when it was just sheetrock, and nothing else.   Just imagine: sheetrock.  And nothing else.

But here’s what I started with last weekend.  No light fixture.  No window treatment.  Partially painted and patchy sheetrock.  But at least most of the tile was installed.

bathtub before

Over the weekend, I put the finishing touches on my new twilight zone a.k.a. the zone I disappear to at twilight a.k.a. I hope I never have to sell my house in this economic downturn because I love my bathtub a.k.a.  even if I am forced to sell, two burly strong men with serious tattoos and time in the joint will have to pry me loose from this spot.

That said, let me tell y’all a little story.

If you don’t know or don’t care about the difference between an ‘overmount’ and ‘undermount’ bathtub, skip on down about three paragraphs.

First, that bathtub you see did not fit the space when it arrived.  No Sirree.  Clever me, I thought I had ordered an undermount tub, but when I opened up the box a year later, the tub did not fit the specs.  Not only was it an overmount tub, it absolutely, totally, 100% did not fit my bathtub space.  It was short all around by 3 inches.  Oh, a picture is worth a thousand words, if only I had one.  Just one.  But I don’t.

So I devised a plan to turn a funky dysfunctional overmount tub into an undermount beauty.  It’s a bit hard to describe, but this photo may give you the idea.  I had my tile installer stabilize and solidify the tub in a layer of cement.  Then I asked him to cut and fit a piece of 5/8 inch plywood with an opening for the tub surround to fit the bathtub niche.  Then I requested that he tile the plywood with 1/4 inch thick white ceramic tile, and trim the sides with 1 inch mosaic to hide the plywood. 

As I described all of this, he looked at me as most construction dudes do, with a little confusion and a lot of disdain.

bathtub undermount

In the end, I prevailed.  I turned a badly fitting overmount tub into a cleverly disguised undermount tub with just a little ingenuity.

You can see how nice the trim looks here.

soaps and fern

Which brings me to my next point.  Over the course of these upgrades, it dawned on me that a luxurious bathroom has many of the same features as a lovely dining room.

Good smells.

dial and dove No fancy soaps for me.  I’m a Dove and Dial kind of girl.

Great linens.

great linens

Kohl’s. Clearance. $4 dollars each.

Good lighting

chandy My $50 dollar chandy that I scored when Home Depot’s EXPO stores closed last year.


candlesticksThat listello and brick pattern white ceramic tile you see is just Daltile from Home Depot, right off the shelf.  Notice even more of my ‘undermount’ trim mosaic tile – the same tile that trims the floor in the neighboring master shower.

Fresh flowers

flowers on shelf

Perhaps an interesting plant

soaps and fern Recognize my DIY cement planter?


Great window treatments

shade final (My DIY roman shade from yesterday’s post)

A decent mirror

thrift store mirror BTW, this pair of mirrors used to be a gold, but Rustoleum’s ‘Heirloom White’ saved them.  They each cost me $3 dollars at the local thrift store.  I repeat.  $3 dollars each.


thrift store mirrors before

In truth, these mirrors are temporary.  Someday when I have the money, I’m going to install tempered glass mirrors and glass shelves inside these niches from tile to ceiling.  But that costs major bucks, so I’ll have to wait.

And every good bath requires dark chocolate.

dark chocolate on silver

Why yes, I do keep my dark chocolate on a silver soap dish.

Don’t you ?

A moment of silence please.

For the chocolate.

(Kidding about the silver dish.  My chocolate is always hidden in a dark corner of my pantry.)


If all of this white and blue is too frou frou for you, I think you’ll appreciate the dark cabinets in the bathroom space.

dark cabinetry

As soon as the glass fronts for the upper cabinets arrive, I’ll reveal the whole bathroom.

And just a little flashback.  This bathtub spa shelf I created myself with just a few dollar tacky brass items from a thrift store.

spa shelf

Read all about the spa shelf transformation right here.

So here is my master bathtub space.  If this is the very last post on this blog, well, now you know why.

spa shelf from side

FYI:  The paint color is my own custom blend.  1/3 Behr ‘Mountain Creek’,  1/3 Restoration Hardware ‘Silver Sage’ and 1/3 ‘Swiss Coffee’ white.

I’m off to bubble bath land.  Talk soon.  Or maybe later.  Much later.


84 Responses to “Bathtub Bliss”

  1. deezie says:

    What a gorgeous master bath. We are redoing ours on Monday, can’t wait. I hope its as pretty as yours. Love everything, especially the chocolate:)

  2. Rosy says:

    Oh my… I’m green with jealousy right now!! We’re in a rental flat so my ‘spa bath’ (scoff!) has polished pine wood all over the ceiling. Yep, like a dodgy 80’s sauna! No where near as serene and beautiful as yours! Although I might use your chocolate in a dish idea – that will definitely improve things ten fold! Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful DIY inspiration. Rosy x

  3. Suzan says:

    Wow! I would cut off someone’s ear for your master bath…seriously! How clever of you to come up with a way to undermount your overmount tub. The mosaic tiling around it is fabulous.

  4. Beautiful, it’s just gorgeous. You and I have completely different styles of decorating but I am drawn to your blog. Your eye for a bargain and to see the potential in your finds are amazing. Great job all around.

  5. Emma says:

    So creative. Good for you! It looks beautiful. I love my bathroom too. Chocolate in the bathroom is inspired. My chocolate doesn’t last long enough to sit anywhere between the wrapper and my mouth, sadly.

  6. Erin says:

    It’s absolutely beautiful, and I love that you did it all so budget friendly! I will now have to go and scour my area for mirrors I can paint because I heart yours and since breaking into your home and stealing yours is illegal and I don’t even know where you live I have to find my own. Enjoy the Twilight Zone!

  7. susan says:

    This turned out to be a positive! I love the way the tile looks! You deserve great credit for perserverance and ingenuity! I would have thrown up my hands and cried! Enjoy and soak until you look like a prune!

  8. Auntie Colleen says:


  9. Katie says:

    ohmygosh this is absolutely gorgeous!!! It looks beautiful. You did a wonderful job at decorating… with some great cheap finds! The mirror is my fav :)

  10. Sue says:

    It looks perfect. I love what you have done and the way you have created such elegance using great “finds” and sale items. Of course it is the tile guy that comes with such a price, doesn’t he? We are trying to figure out how to make our “master bath” which is really small, look updated and elegant. Our house is about 12 years old and the bathrooms are very generic. You are giving me great ideas.

  11. So, so envious. I don’t think I can read your blog anymore. Okay, who am I kidding? I could never stop reading Centsational Girl. :)

    I love the way you made Dove and Dial look designer! (I’m a Dove girl too) I love everything: the tile, the wall color, the fresh flowers, everything!

    This definitely beats my 1970s (or 80s?) bathroom with the 1970s (or 80s) tub…hmmm…

  12. I love it!! Great job! I especially love what you did with the soap it’s art and functional at the same time!

  13. Niki R says:

    can I just say how impressed I am that you have a day job?! I really thought you were a SAHM. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a job in and of itself. But you do all of this stuff and work during the day. I think I just lost my right to complain about being tired ever again.

  14. Marty says:

    Oh how gorgeous. It is so pretty, and you have accessorized it just beautifully. Love it. Hugs, Marty

  15. Christa says:

    what is the paint color? love it!

  16. KBD says:

    Love it! Love it! Love it!! You are so awesome and your commentary is hilarious. I hope you enjoy every minute of this gorgeous space.

  17. Carol in Indian Springs Village says:

    Wow, just Wow! We are hoping to add on and create a huge master bath/closet but right now we are in a holding pattern. But, your post has given me some great ideas to fluff things up till then so it is a warm, welcoming spot at the end of the day. Great ideas and I can just picture the look on the tile man’s face as you are describing your solution.

  18. Tracychele says:

    I have certainly enjoyed your bathroom transformation! What a lovely retreat in your own home! I am a dark chocolate lover so I certainly honored the moment of silence! Thanks for always inspiring us!

  19. This is wonderful! I totally love it.

    I need to follow your lead. Our bath has great “bones” but we’ve done absolutely nothing to it since we moved in.

  20. suzanne says:

    oh, OH, OOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHH…………….that speaks to my SOUL!!! I absolutely LOVE it so much I want to come and take a bath right there, but not with you……could I rent it for just a half hour???? :)


  21. Toni says:

    Your master bathroom is so beautiful! My husband really liked the photos from the master shower. I am hoping that we can eventually remodel our master bath. We are planning on painting the room blue. Could you tell me what the paint color used in your master bath? It looks like it would is exactly the color we have been looking for.

  22. Another fantastic job. You are one crafty woman to come up with a solution to your bathtub dilemma.
    I think you’d have to pry my cold, dead body out that space!

  23. Rose says:

    Stunning. Please, what is the color name of that gorgeous blue paint?

  24. Maman Tattoo says:

    omg. I have the exact same mirror for my daughter’s room.
    It was brass and it’s now bright yellow :) I didn’t pay for it though.

    That bathroom is gorgeous. I really am jalous. Every details is great!

  25. Stephanie says:

    What can I say Kate? You have done it again. Another breathtaking transformation. I cannot even begin to explain how you inspire me. But I’ll try:

    You know that two-page spread in “O” magazine every month? The page titled “Breathing Space”? I nominate your bathtub space for next month’s issue.

  26. Maddy says:

    Absolutely Breathtaking!! Another job well done :)

  27. m says:

    I’ll have to come back later to take it all in…my eyes glazed over when I saw that dish of chocolates…and I am lost…

    m ^..^

  28. Holly says:

    Wow, Kate. It’s splendid. What’s the paint color? Thanks in advance for spilling–maybe if I paint my crapola bathroom in the same color, I can pretend…

  29. It’s really gorgeous, Kate! The towels look like they are so soft in that close-up shot. Great price, too, btw. I love the square colored tiles you used; really brings your colors into this area. Enjoy your soak!

  30. Brenda Kula says:

    Honey, you are SERIOUSLY good at this stuff!

  31. Once again you have taken lemons and made lempnade! Well done. I too love my tub. LOVE it! But chocolates on a silver dish? Come on. Really? Because if my husband didn’t eat them then the boy would, or the dog or they would just plain melt due to the Arizona heat.
    Perhaps you have a stash spot to hide them between dips?

  32. natalie says:

    please sell your house……to me. No seriously this is amazing. I don’t even really like soaking in the tub, but this might convince me that it’s something I need to try.

  33. Love, love it all Kate! I’m just amazed at all the changes you’ve made to personalize your bath space. It is totally gorgeous now. My tub is in dire need of some tile to jazz it up & I am SO gonna do it. I need to check out those white tile at HD too, since that is what I’m working with myself. Great job, girl!

  34. Melanie says:

    I take a bubble bath EVERY night. My husband says that it takes all my problems away. We built our house 2 years ago and I bought an oval tub. It is lovely. Sadly, we are one of the ones having to sell in this terrible market right now and our house appraised at 50k less than we built it for. We are being transferred 800 miles away from Florida and my tub up there is NOT as beautiful. I have some ideas for it and I just might start my own blog to document my decorating journey. Your bath is beautiful and I completely understand the chocolates, the music, etc.! Great job.

  35. Lisa says:

    OMG…will you come decorate for me! LOL I totally love it!

  36. Dianna says:

    Wow! What a big change. Did the bathtub used to be a shower-tub combination?

  37. sheri howard says:

    You are brilliant…most men could not have figured that out…..thank goodness for yourself! Looks so inviting!

  38. Nina says:

    WOW… that looks incredible. Love the soft colors. Very refreshing.

  39. Keisha says:


  40. Holy crap – I’ve died and gone to heaven, and it’s not even my tub!

    Our master bath has become my hubby’s bathroom. It’s got a whirlpool tub that I’ve never used because it’s got the Mr.’s shower scum in there. I’m going to go home, scrub the heck out of it, and kick him over to the other bathroom!

  41. stephanie says:

    gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!!!! I LOVE it!!!

  42. Eve says:

    Wow, it looks GREAT!

  43. Jenny says:

    This is the most gorgeous bathroom I’ve ever seen! You did an awesome job and I can’t wait to see the rest of it.

  44. It’s really not nice for you to flaunt it like that. Especially after I just did a triathlon, and had to soak in a builder-grade standard-sized basin of a tub.

  45. Struggler says:

    OK, love this space, but that almost goes without saying.

    I think today I love your sense of humor more… you nearly had us all scampering to find a clean soap dish for our dark chocs. :)

  46. anh says:

    i am jealous! can i come oveR!!!! the space is fab!

    i just did some decorating for my craftroom. its not done yet. but its a good start! come check my blog out!

  47. Leanne says:

    It’s absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think I would ever leave there.

  48. Jessica says:

    I, too, take a bath and read every night. If there are any major happenings and I am unable to, my kids point out the fact I NEED to take a bath. Apparently I release a lot of ‘grumpiness’ while soaking. I am so glad to hear that other people eat dark chocolate in the tub. I took my daughter to Italy for her Sr. trip and both hotels we stayed in were ‘tubless’. Soaking would have been such a relief after such a long flight. Next trip, I will specify a jacuzzi! And I do love your ingenuity/creativity for dealing with potential mishaps. I think our brains are just wired different than some people.

  49. Heather says:

    That is just BEAUTIFUL. I aspire to have a bathroom like that. I especially enjoy the colors you chose. So pretty!

  50. Kimberly says:

    oh my goodness. i am green with envy, that is SO lovely. well done on the overcoming the obstacle too. i’m a sucker for a good bath.

  51. I love it all. The soaps made me laugh. Dove and Dial for me, too. =)

    And, the chocolates… yum.

  52. Wendy says:

    It’s beautiful! I love blue & white. I think I might change out my pink & white Dove soaps for some blue & white. I love the mirrors.

  53. Lara says:

    I like your bathroom a lot! It is truly restful and calm. Good work!

  54. Tanya says:

    It is lovely! I love the color and the mirror ….. what a steal.

  55. This is beautiful – I’d never leave that room! I love that you used Dial and Dove (did I get that right?) I wouldn’t have known if you didn’t say that – it looks so great and I KNOW it smells amazing! WELL DONE!

  56. Blair@Craig, Blair and Turbo Skousen says:


  57. Meredith says:

    I think my favorite pieces are the mirror, the chandelier and the candelabra. So formal, yet they fit right in! Super job! I’m so glad I found your blog!

  58. Haute Decor Gal says:

    Hi! I am presenting you with an award. Check out my blog for more details and thanks on being so inspirational!

  59. Tina says:

    It is just so beautiful!!!!! LOVE every last bit of it! ;) Won’t blame you for not posting for awhile so you can stay in that gorgeous place!

  60. Wow! What a gorgeous bathroom!!

    I’ve just posted a design dilemma question on my blog. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you have time to swing by!

  61. Lena says:

    Lovely bathroom. Do you have to share it or is it yours alone? I have a gold mirror like the one you painted. I’m not sure about the best way to cover the mirror while you paint the frame? Any suggestions?

  62. Lauren says:

    i just LOVE it!!!!! and please please, when you get your new mirror send the old ones my way!!! what an awesome find!!!!!!!!!

  63. asterid says:

    Please don’t be surprised if one day you walk into your gorgeous bathroom and I’m lying on the floor in amazement/awe/envy. I’ll probably refuse to leave as well.

    The tub is beautiful. I’m truly in love with it.

  64. jan says:

    How gorgeous! And how funny & wonderful you are! Your blog is such a joy & inspiration to me…to us all! I have MS & can’t do most of the things you inspire me to do but I sure do love reading about everything I find on blogs! You make my life so MUCH better!!

  65. I love everything about that bathroom, but what’s really weird is that I was most affected by the imagined smell of Dove and Dial together. We have the same taste in soap, I LOOOOVE those two!

  66. Tamera says:

    HI Kate,
    I have been looking at your blog and love your style and thriftiness. I am attempting my own start to a blog…and hope to get the hang of it sooner rather than later:)
    Unfortunately, we have no master bathtub, only a sad, lonely shower…..So, of course, this posting only makes me more envious. Looks beautiful!

  67. Victoria says:

    Love the way it turned out…Gorgeous!! I am excited to see all of the bathroom when you finish! I am getting ready to move and so excited to start to do some of my own DIY in our home…my bathroom will be one of those and I too might never leave it when I am done!! lol. Beautiful!

    Hugs and love friend,

  68. Amber says:

    I love it! Your bath area is so fabulous! I think the tub drama was a happy mistake. The chandelier and mirrors add so much character to the space. I am also a bath lover, but I am stuck in a standard tub. I would adore a beautiful space like yours for my evening soak!

  69. G&D says:

    Oh my goodness, this is heaven!

    I’ll be over in 5 minutes.

  70. Sarah Kate says:

    Beautiful. I love the cool blue. Very relaxing!

  71. Wow, how great does that look, so elegant – love the roman too! (sits)

  72. Jamie Lee says:

    I am in love with your bathroom. The colors are so tranquil and everything you did is just amazing! Great post.

  73. Laura says:

    Love it, but I have 2 teenager daughters & they would have that destroyed (with all their stuff scattered around)…Maybe I need my own bathroom. That’s a thought.

    Happy SITS Day!

  74. Your bathroom looks elegant! What a transformation from what you started with–AMAZING! I like Dove soap best as well. Love that chocolate touch too.

    Happy SITS day!

  75. Wow, I bet that tub was a project! At least you’re staying healthy with the dark chocolate! ;)

  76. Cathy says:

    Bathroom indulgence at its best! It is definitely a “Calgon, take me away” moment type of bathroom. It’s beautiful and if I had that bathroom, it would take 20 years off my life and give me an instant facelift to boot :-) You did a beautiful, wonderful job!

  77. […] course, you’ve seen the bathtub zone […]

  78. wow!!! this is beautiful.


  79. DIY tile says:

    […] and I didn’t even realize they had this in stock until I saw it around the blogosphere.  Kate used it and so did Penny and both of their bathrooms are beautiful.   I love subway tile and this […]

  80. Sandra says:

    Wow, what a beautiful bathroom! I could spend all day long in there! It is stunning! I just signed up to follow along your blog and look forward to visiting more often.

  81. Sofi says:

    I’m totally bookmarking your website. You have done a GREAT JOB!
    Thanks so much for sharing this with the curious-do-it-yourself-design world from the wide web.

  82. […] to do this after seeing this subway tiling all over blogland. As I mentioned before, my friend, Centsational Girl Kate, did some subway tile in her master bathroom, as did Penny from Comforts of Home .  And the […]

  83. Zoe Feast says:

    What a great job, just love before and after pictures. Great idea for soap storage and the pop of color of the flowers.

    Just gave my bathroom a mini makeover with some garden blooms.

    Flowers in my bathroom

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