McClurg's Home Remodeling Blog

Project of the Month: Master Bath with Walk-In Shower and Soaking Tub

Posted by Mark Waite on Tue, Jan 7, 2014

This older home in Manlius, built in the early 1950s, had a small master bath that did not meet the needs of its owners. The home originally did not have a master bathroom. About 15 years ago previous owners attempted to remedy the problem by using some of the space of the master bedroom to create a convenient master bath with a toilet and shower. They added a tight 7-by-8 foot bathroom to the home surrounded by a 3½-foot wide hall corridor that included a hall closet. The bathroom was so small that two people could not use it at the same time.

A spacious master bathroom was designed and incorporated the adjacent closet and hall area. The space is more than four times the size of the original bathroom. The new master bath provides more than enough space for a walk-in shower, soaking tub and other modern amenities. The bath was also designed to maintain the integrity of the home’s architecture and period. The classic black and white ceramic tile both updates the room while keeping with the original style of the home.

spacious master bath with walk-in shower and soaking tub

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Project Consultant: Mark Waite

Lead Carpenter: Jeff Loefstedt


The homeowners wanted to achieve the following:

1)    Transform the small master bathroom into a comfortable, functional, spacious room.

2)    Include both a soaking tub and a walk-in shower.

3)    Ensure that the bathroom remodel blend with the home’s architecture and include design elements reflective of the home’s 1950s-era style.


The existing master bathroom was a tight space with a low ceiling and not very functional. The narrow hall corridor surrounding it was wasted space. The storage closet in the hallway and a linen closet in the bathroom were not being used. There were two large windows in the hallway that faced the front of the house that would need to be incorporated into the design.


The layout of the bathroom was completely changed and all fixtures were relocated.

1)    Expand the existing bathroom space.

The original bathroom was completely gutted, including removing the wall framing and ceiling. A wall between the bathroom and storage closet was removed. Expanding the master bath into the closet spaces and hall increased the square footage from 56 square feet to 255 square feet (15-by-17 feet). The ceiling height was raised to eight feet.

master bath with walk in shower

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2)    Install a custom walk-in shower.

The walk-in shower has a glass enclosure with a hinged door. Classic black and white 1-inch octagon tile was used as a wall accent and as slip-resistant flooring for the custom walk-in shower. The homeowners chose larger field tile for the shower surround to ease maintenance. A wall-mount showerhead and a handheld shower were installed along with shelves and a bench.

custom walk-in shower with hinged glass door

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3)    Maintain the home’s architectural style.

The tile design is an important element in this renovated bathroom. Black and white floor tile makes a dynamic statement and blends the contemporary with the traditional. The homeowners chose classic black and white tile for the flooring and the shower. The 1-inch octagon shaped mosaic tiles on the floor of the shower and black and white 12-inch tile used on the floor are reminiscent of tile used in homes during the 1950s.

Black cabinets and black granite counters were used for the vanities with a white oval undermount sink. Chrome finish fixtures and towel bars were selected to augment the décor of the period. A vanity was placed in a niche near the toilet.

Space-saving sliding doors hide a linen closet. Period faucets accent the sink. A contemporary black frame was used on a beveled mirror to link ‘the new with the old’. Lighting in this master bathroom includes:

  • Natural light provided by two large windows
  • A ceiling mounted fan/light fixture with a white globe and chrome trim for ambient light and ventilation
  • Wall sconces above the vanity
  • A recessed light in the shower for task lighting

A footed free-standing soaking tub was placed near the two large windows. Natural light brightens the space. For privacy, the homeowners selected sheer white curtains for the windows.

master bath with soaking tub

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Walk-In Shower Guide

Topics: Bathrooms, Walk-In Showers, Projects of the Month