Home Improvement Challenge: Bath Winner and More Bath Favorites

Walk-In Closet
Convenient, functional baths come in all styles and sizes, and when the homeowners are do-it-yourselfers, the budget won't break the bank. See the winning bathroom and more of our favorites from the Home Improvement Challenge.

Winner: A Shared Bath

Borrowing space from an adjacent walk-in closet doubled the 5x7-1/2-foot bathroom and gave it the opportunity to gain natural light with a window. Installing two sinks and open shelving on facing walls allows two of the family's three children to use the room at the same time. Removing the old tub created an alcove for the toilet behind a half-wall (foreground).

A Shared Bath, Sink Area

Cherry cabinets with open shelving on each side of the sink encourage neatness because everything is on display. Baskets organize each kid's most-used toiletries. Additional bath supplies are stored in a closet just inside the room's entrance (not seen). The mirrored medicine cabinet has hidden touch-latch hardware, so no door pull is needed, creating a clean look for the room. Pedestal sinks promote an illusion of greater space because the eye can travel beyond the sink to the wall and floor.

A Shared Bath, Shower

Multicolor Chinese slate covers the walls and floor of the roomy walk-in shower as well as the floor and backsplash walls in the rest of the bathroom.

More Ideas: A Calming Spa

A light, neutral color scheme and clean-lined contemporary furnishings imbue this remodeled master bath with a sense of serene calm. Small rectangular tiles laid in a random horizontal pattern add depth to the walls with a range of tones, while the solid-color floor tiles anchor the space. Homeowner Sandra Pollard designed the vanity to hide her toiletries and provide attractive display space.

A Calming Spa, Tub

A large jetted tub and shower promote de-stressing at the end of the day. A heating system under the tile keeps the floor cozily warm.

A Calming Spa, Closet

To gain needed space, homeowner Sandra Pollard removed the wall separating the master bath from a large linen closet in an adjacent bathroom. Part of the linen closet became a new clothes closet in the master bath. Shelves keep shoes, hats, and accessories organized, and glass doors protect clothing from steam and dust.

More Ideas: An Exercise in Symmetry

This classically inspired master bath suite offers dozens of creative ideas for achieving elegance without spending a fortune. Designed and largely installed by homeowner James Hickey, the suite includes two bow-front vanities, a large walk-in shower for two, and a separate toilet compartment. Heavy-duty opaque glass separates the vanities from the toilet compartment (on the left) and the shower (on the right). Using glass instead of solid walls maintains the airy, open feeling of the room and reflects the robin's-egg blue of the walls for a soothing, spa-like feeling. Classical moldings and details such the arched window with keystone imbue the room with traditional architectural style.

An Exercise in Symmetry

To add drama to the remodeled bath suite, the homeowners borrowed attic space and built a barrel ceiling over the paneled hallway connecting the master bedroom to the bath. Homeowner James Hickey built the paneled walls himself using medium-density fiberboard (MDF).

An Exercise in Symmetry

Bow-front vanity cabinets proved to be too pricey ($3,500 or more each), so the homeowners bought two bow-front accent cabinets from a furniture chain for about $400 each, painted them light gray, and changed the hardware to chrome. Homeowner James Hickey discovered the large oval sinks at a discount store for $35 each and found a local marble installer who could fashion vanity tops from remnant pieces of carrara marble. The medicine cabinet was another discount-store find. Built to be flush mounted, it's recessed between the wall studs for a built-in appearance. Because the glass dividing wall precludes the usual vanity mirror, James installed a swing-arm mirror on the adjacent wall for grooming needs.

An Exercise in Symmetry

The walk-in shower accommodates two with a hand shower and a rainshower head (not seen here). Deep crown molding supports the barrel-vaulted ceiling.

An Exercise in Symmetry

Using inexpensive white ceramic subway tile for the walls and a white ceramic chair rail in the shower allowed the Hickeys to splurge on the carrara marble shower floor, laid in a basket-weave pattern. To accent the chair rail in the shower and toilet compartment, they cut down dark gray marble tiles and installed them in a slender line under the ceramic molding. The shower is roomy enough to accommodate a tall, slender table for bath supplies.

An Exercise in Symmetry, Floors

Honed carrara marble paves the floor throughout the bathroom, overlying a radiant-heat system that keeps the floors warm. To save money on marble baseboards, the Hickeys repurposed inexpensive 5-foot-long marble thresholds from a home improvement center and capped them with a moderately priced marble pencil molding. Because the thresholds were shiny, they contrasted too much with the honed floors, so the Hickeys sanded them down with a very fine-grit sandpaper to achieve a honed look.

More Ideas: Classic Cottage Style

First-time homeowners Lauren and Sammy Wilson of Knoxville, Tennessee, remodeled an odd master bath-half bath combination to create a spacious, functional master bath with a walk-in closet. New beaded-board wainscoting wraps the walls, and a claw-foot tub with ornate metal feet establishes vintage charm. Ceramic-tile floors overlay radiant heat mats for warmth.

Classic Cottage Style, Before

The original 1940s bathroom was covered in pink tiles and outfitted with two pink toilets (separated by a pocket door), a pink vanity, and a pink tub.

Classic Cottage Style, Shower

The new shower cubicle looks appropriately vintage with an arched door like those found elsewhere in the house. White subway-tile walls and a black-and-white patterned floor and trim enhance the look. A rainshower head and handheld shower in chrome offer luxurious shower options.

Classic Cottage Style, Vanity

Custom vanity cabinets with bin-style pulls, marble countertops, and bridge faucets furnish the room in timeless vintage style. The vanity mirrors tilt for better viewing. Electrical outlets in the tower cabinets allow for a hair dryer and curling iron to be plugged in where they're stored, freeing the countertops of clutter.

Classic Cottage Style, Walk-In Closet

To gain more functional closet space, the homeowners closed off a door that led to the hallway and turned this end of the room into a walk-in closet. An arched doorway to the closet echoes the shape of the shower door. The new walk-in closet accommodates all of the homeowners' clothes, with a space-efficient plastic-coated-metal closet system that offers customizable hanging rods and shoe racks.

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