after shower

No Passports Will Be Required

Before After

Everyone has had to spend more time at home during the COVID-19 epidemic and, if you’re like me, you were looking around your home or garden to see what little projects need to be done to make the most of this time. I took this opportunity to get some ideas together and planned for the future.

The second bathroom in our home is essentially a guest bath. It had a tub/shower combo with a curtain. In fact, I made certain that this shower curtain was without-question-beautiful. Because I was embarrassed with the way the tub and shower looked. I wanted to hide, not only the cheap builder grade tub, but also the 20” x 20” floor tiles that were stuck on the shower WALLS.  Who does thing sort of thing? Apparently, there wasn’t any creativity when it came time to install shower tiles? Maybe the builder had heaps of leftover floor tiles. Meanwhile the tub just sat there, unused, and wasting precious space. Oh, believe me, there were times when I did use the tub as a once-in-a-while-getaway. But, unfortunately, the tub was pretty shallow, too shallow for a good soak. And the water leaked out. Plus, bathwater tends to get cold really fast. So, the rare times I did use the tub, I always had to add more hot water every few minutes.  As I added more water, it leaked out continually. It was a vicious circle that didn’t bear repeating.   

Since the pandemic I’ve been designing more and more bathrooms for our customers. Homeowners have been asking me to remove their dated bathtubs. There seems to be “tub-people” and “non-tub people.” One of the first questions that always come up in our conversations is the worry over resale. It’s a valid concern. Some real estate pros say there should be at least one tub in the house. Most of our customers are concerned that if they eliminate a home’s only bathtub it could turn off potential buyers. After all, many parents prefer to bathe children in a tub rather than a shower. And then there are buyers who like to soak in a tub. But statistically, most of our customers prefer to take showers over filling up the tub and tossing in a rubber ducky.

My husband and I had no emotional ties to our guest bathtub. It’s not like our kids bathed in it since they were little. Neither one of our sons ever splashed in it, pretended to snorkel, or had “hold-your-breath” challenges. So, it seemed like a no brainer to get rid of it.

Except? My hubby wasn’t as enthusiastic. Paul gave me his signature look that said he didn’t see anything wrong with the shallow tub or ugly floor tiles on the shower walls. Paul and I have had a lot, and I do mean a lot of discussions. Home renovations were not discussed before we got married. When we stood at the altar, we swore we’d stick by each other for better or for worse. In sickness and in health. And for richer or for poorer. But those sweet vows never said anything about home renovations.

In time my husband caved. “Fine,” he said. Though it’s a small consolation, I know I’m not alone. Plenty of couples clash over home renovation decisions.

Once we made up our minds to remove the tub and make it a walk-in shower, I was ready to demo the tub all by myself. I wanted to jump right in with a hammer a-swinging, even though I knew my skills were not up to par for that sort of task. However, I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I had a very strong temptation to swing a hammer at all those ugly floor tiles that were cemented on the walls. Let me tell you, the temptation was very hard to resist.

Since I didn’t know how to remove the old shower tile or tub properly efficiently, I decided to leave it up to the experts. So, I hired Gary Shaffer and Aaron Shaffer from Just Counters & Other Stuff. Within a few hours they removed the tub and tiles down to the studs. They cleaned up after themselves, leaving the guest bathroom whistle clean and free of that unsightly tub and tile.

So then, my husband and I went shopping. I know that one of the biggest things that will slow down a project is when goods aren’t on the job site when your contractors are ready to use them. So, to avoid ordering or delivery delays, I decided to shop locally.

I wanted tiles that would accent our “Grand Giallo Napoleone” granite countertop. I wanted something that reminded me of a gorgeous Tuscan countryside place outside of Italy in some town that I’ve never heard of or been to. And because people can’t travel across the globe right now, I thought, why don’t I just create that feeling in Port Charlotte? I wanted to create a perfect getaway for our guests… where no passports will be required!

I designed our new shower with travertine tumbled subway tiles, crema marfil lantern mosaic polished tiles on the back focal point wall, textured 1″ x 1″ square mosaic tile on the shower floor, and the same 1″ x 1″ square on the wall niche. 

Which one of us do you think felt like they were a kid in a candy store immediately after we entered Tile Outlets of America in Sarasota? That is correct. I was blissed out when I saw 28,000 square feet of tile products stacked from floor to ceiling in a warehouse-sized store. With a few thousand tiles to choose from, and with prices being lower than anyone else around, I felt assured that I came to the right place. This showroom hosts a little bit of everything. I mean everything. It was tile lover’s paradise.

After purchasing over 180 sq. ft. of tiles the warehouse guys loaded the cartons in the back of Paul’s SUV. Afterwards I decided to treat my hubby to brunch. “I’ll buy you anything you want to eat,” I said. “You can pick any place you’d like to go.”

Paul hadn’t driven very far, when all of a sudden he slammed on his brakes! Instantly we heard sounds of boxes crashing and tumbling in the back of his SUV. I asked Paul why he stopped so suddenly. He pointed over my shoulder. There was an Amish restaurant. That was the place he wanted to have brunch. But before we went any further, we checked to see if there was any damage to our new tile. To our relief there was not a single piece of broken tile. We both were surprised. After all it was still 2020.

I used Behr’s marquee one-coat “mushroom bisque” PPU4-07 to paint the guest bathroom. We hired Suncoast Glass & Mirror to install the shower doors. We purchased Delta Ashlyn shower fixtures from Charlotte Plumbing.

We survived our guest bathroom mini-renovation.  We have reached the finish line and I can definitely say all the hard work was worth it.

And this is how it looks now! With a frameless shower door like our new one, there’s no need to cover it up with a shower curtain. No matter how beautiful the shower curtain was. In case you don’t remember, take a look at the “before” picture of the plain and boring guest bathroom before we started. Boring. Beige. Blah! It certainly had no personality at all. It looks so completely different now and I can’t get over how pretty it is every time I walk in there. And the shower floor mosaic tile with subway tile border looks so pretty. I chose a bright white grout for all the grout.

Now, our guests can enjoy a feeling of Tuscan sunset, while enjoying our guest bathroom. And, I have the satisfaction that I no longer have to look at the boring contractor’s grade wall tile and not-so-comfortable bathtub.

Before After


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