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Project Recap – Master Bathroom Reinvention:

100 year old Stone Colonial Renovation- Philadelphia, PA

The task was to combine 4 spaces into one awesome master bath space: 1 half bath, one small closet, one long closet, and the original master bath into now one footprint. This also involved removing 4 doors and 3 walls.  The new foot print is around 12x14ft, and now all three lovely windows are in one space.

When I arrived back all of the framing work I completed over the summer payed off, all trades were now roughed in, subfloor complete, and the room was now drywalled and ready for me to do my thing.

Step for creating the shower were as follows:

  1. Construction waterproof under-layment
  2. Wire mesh
  3. Set up on pre-pitch sticks and screeding shower base with concrete
  4. Plastic membrane of shower floor
  5. Wall vapor barrier…Dexter’s Kill Room
  6. Durock concrete board on shower walls, half wall and bathroom floor
  7. Set up of shower bed pitch sticks, and screeding of concrete shower floor
  8. Tape and silicon all screw holes in Durock

Next step, I painted the bathroom ceiling with primer, and two coats of mildew resistant semi gloss white.


Once the Shower and floor were prepped the fun part started…TILE!!

The whole bathroom is finished with White Carrara Marble 12×12 and basketweave accent tiles.

I bonded massively with my tile saw, we were best friends for one Month!

First tile the walls, making the set row is always the most challenging as they need to be perfectly get off on this step and you will pay for it later. Once the set row is in…tile way, the weight of the tiles can only support 2-3 rows at a time, which was not a problem considering the large span, it did not hinder progress.

I decided on an accent square around where the shower fixtures would be attached, with a pencil ledge to delineate the transition, in the basketweave pattern…they are not all laid one at a time, I know you were thinking I am super dedicated, but they are sold pre-backed 12in x 12in. The basketweave come on a mesh sheet…I have been asked this, so I thought I would clarify, but I will take credit for each individual tile if you want to give it!

I then tiled the half wall. Inside the shower on the half wall I tiled in a marble shower bench, this is reclaimed marble from an old bank facade in Philadelphia from the salvage yard.

I then tiled the curbs, and placed solid ledge marble on the top of each curb. And Now on to the tile on the shower floor, 2×2 marble squares…….and then grout. Lots of grout, those basketweave tiles take so much grout is was unbelievable.  I used a platinum colored grout, as there is nothing worse than white grout that can become dirty and stained over time.

The last and most essential step for Marble, or any natural stone, is sealing it, buy a good product, do not skimp here, and seal it at least twice…and then once every couple years after that.

Once the shower was done I moved to the main bathroom floor.  I installed in-floor heating mats, and then tiled over them…very carefully….  The layout was very complex as the basketweave I wanted to accent the spaces and furniture of the bathroom, i.e. the tub and vanity.

Once the tile floor was finished, I tiled the baseboard in marble also.

The vanity was delivered a gorgeous reclaimed chestnut piece that I designed for the space.

Final touches included:

  1. Painted the walls
  2. The plumbers doing there thing to install all the fixtures and the massive 450lb cast iron clawfoot tub.
  3. Marble installer to put in marble Vanity top, Marble window ledges, and marble cap stone on the half wall.
  4. Glass installer to add the glass from the half wall to the ceiling
  5. Electrician to hook up the floor heating panel, and finished the recessed lighting in the shower
  6. …and trim (yet to be put on around the door and windows, it is on tap this month)

End result…A bathroom with modern amenities with the style befitting of this gorgeous old house.

Time Table: Obviously I still live life and this is not my full time job…plus I have a 2 years old at home.

Demolition- haul away (literally hundreds of lbs. of old thinset, plaster & lath, and warped wood, Prep, Framing, Plumbing and Electrical Rough ~3 weeks

Shower creation, prep, concrete board etc ~2 weeks

Tile~ 1 Month

Finishings~ 2 weeks (with order time and scheduling with Subs)

Cost: Not including my own labor..I am much too expensive…

~15K – including all trades and materials.

(cost breakdown on request if anyone wants it)

Chao on to the Next!

*House was purchased for 400K and sold for 600K after full house renovation.

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