White Subway Tile tub/shower remodel

cassidyhomeJuly 30, 2005

We had a leak so we reluctantly tapped into our emergency savings account and started to create something beautiful and functional. The first step was to remove an old tub and tile surround, including old aluminum windows that wouldn't slide any more. We replaced them with vinyl retrofit windows with "Industrex" privacy glass and chose a non-opening window for the shower.

The tub is a Kohler Synchrony K-1195-L with the integrated tiling flange. The fixtures are all from American Standard "The Standard Collection." The toilet was the only thing we saved - it is a Kohler Memoirs Classic elongated.

The wall tile is Daltile Rittenhouse Square in Arctic White with a Portobello White Line Bordura accent piece which measures 1.5" x 8" and is installed 69" from the floor. The window sill is a white-gray marble with a polished finish.

The floor is Cerim "The Wood Collection" porcelain wood-look tile in the color "Ellinton." We chose two of the 3 available sizes - which measure about 20" x 8" and 16" x 6".

The walls and ceiling are painted in Benjamin Moore's Bleeker Beige (really Behr paint purchased at Home Depot). The door is a Simpson Shaker-style 5-panel. The trim was crafted by my husband out of MDF-thanks so much to posters on this forum who inspired the design.

The exhaust fan is a Panasonic WhisperLite FV-07VQL3 and the switches that control it are Leviton 6260M and 5634. The curtain rod is a Myson in a chrome finish and the curtain is a nylon "The Traveler".

The photos are in my Photobucket account: http://photobucket.com/albums/v399/MadamX/Bathroom%20remodel/ and the password is Maggie


Here is a link that might be useful: Password: Maggie

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Absolutely gorgeous. Goes to show how even small bathrooms can be timelessly elegant.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 12:40PM
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It looks absolutly gorgeous! May I ask where you got the border tile (does it match the subway tile perfectly)? And where you got the floor tile (and how much it was, if you don't mind)? Cerim's website does not seem to be working, so I cannot look up US dealers. Thanks.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 2:14PM
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Thank you!

The Portobello Bordura White Line accent tile came from a local (Southern California) independent tile dealer called Stone and Ceramic Surfaces (http://www.scsurfaces.com/). They also carried the Cerim "The Wood Collection" porcelain tile and had some on the floor of their showroom. I was fortunate that neither item was something I found online and then had to locate locally because neither company is easy to find online!

If you call local tile shops, ask for Cerim (pronounced Sair-um) porcelain tile and see if anyone carries it. A local flooring (carpet/hardwood) store also carried Cerim but because I had already fallen for the Portobello at the tile shop, I decided to buy everything from them. To locate a Portobello dealer near you, call their U.S. office in Illinois: (630) 521-9430.

The Cerim wood-look tile is available in 3 sizes and cost $5.28 - $5.38/sf. The Portobello accent cost $3.49 each.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 3:54PM
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A little more poking around on the Internet yielded a longer list of Portobello phone numbers:

1205 North Miller, Anaheim - CA - 92806
Phone: (714) 234-2344
Fax: (714) 234-4344
1205 North Miller , Anaheim - CA - 92806
Phone: (714) 535-3311
Fax: (714) 535-3322

2122 Felver Court, Rahway - NJ - 07065
Phone: (732) 815-0368
Fax: (732) 382-7740

11620 Goodnight Lane, #200, Dallas - TX - 75229
Phone: (972) 243-0222
Fax: (972) 243-0808

2939 N. Powerline Rd., Pompano Beach - FL - 33069
Phone: (954) 969-1616
Fax: (954) 969-1612

255 Beinoris Dr., Wood Dale, IL 60191-1251
(630) 521-9430

Here is a link that might be useful: Portobello America info

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 4:10PM
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Sigh. I really need to stop poking around the Internet. Here is the Portobello TOLL-FREE number!

You asked if it matches the subway tile perfectly - the answer is yes, it's a perfect match to the Daltile color "Arctic White" (190) or would also do well with American Olean Ice White. These are the brightest whites.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 4:19PM
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Thanks for the response! I saw some "wood" tile over the weekend, but the colors were not great and it was VERY expensive. I am going to have to try to find a Cerim dealer.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 4:45PM
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cassidyhome. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I am planning on doing something similar... I didn't see a sink in your bathroom -- did you use a pedestal or a cabinet?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 8:13PM
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Thank you! The room we re-did was a 73" x 78" compartment which has the tub/shower and toilet, and it leads off the vanity area. The vanity is off the master bedroom and doesn't have a door. We didn't re-do the vanity for budget reasons so it remains the 1985 tract-house double vanity with the "gorgeous" beige cultured marble top. Luckily, the room received the benefit of the wood-look tile floor and we're currently working on painting, replacing the mirrored closet doors, and adding moulding to the doorways where there had been none previously.

If you check back over the remainder of the summer, you will see photos added that showcase my DH's beautiful woodworking but when you see the vanity it won't be anything worth writing home about.

Someday, my DH would like to build a new vanity, but he has a few other projects that I think should be higher priority. Pedestal sinks are wonderful but I am too much of a pack-rat to make anything that elegant work in my home. I need storage and lots of it!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 9:12PM
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Love your work! The window trim is beautiful ... so simple, classic, clean lines!!! Love it ... this is what I'd like to do in my entire house. are these 1x4's that were used for window trim?

Also, very cool towel rack with shelf. would you please let me know designer and where you found it?

Thanks & enjoy your lovely BR!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 8:43PM
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Thanks so much!
By window trim - do you mean the woodwork? We bought a sheet of MDF and cut all of the moulding from that (we have a large table saw). The width of the window casing is 3 inches on the sides. There is a little piece of lattice that sticks out to give the raised detail along the top of the window, rounded over with a router. It's a classic Craftsman design (even though this is an 80's tract house).

The glass shelf/towel bar is in the American Standard "Standard Collection" and I bought it new off of eBay!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 11:35PM
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cassidyhome- very nicely done. thanks for sharing. would you mind sharing 1 more thing w/ me? what colour grout you used (i'm guessing bright white)?? we need to pick out the grout for our subway tiles & i like the clean look you have.


    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 10:34AM
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It is, indeed, Bright White grout. It is a perfect match to both the artctic white tile and the bright white caulk we had to use along the bottom edge (due to cracking along the top of the tub).

    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 6:06PM
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For some reason, I can't access your photo album--I'd love to see the rest of the room, though.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2005 at 10:08PM
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I love your bathroom so much that I'm seriously considering "borrowing" most of your ideas!

One question, though: Are you finding it difficult to keep the grout in the shower looking clean and white? I am considering using Laticrete's SpectraLock grout, which promises to retain its color and not stain, but am curious as to what type of grout you used.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 2:13PM
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Hello! Feel free to borrow our ideas, it's a fairly consistent "bungalow" style that is gaining in popularity right now.

We've only been using the bathroom since July so dirt hasn't become an issue yet. I think the grout is Custom Building Products Polyblend unsanded bright white grout. It doesn't have any fancy ingredients, it's just basic grout that came in a bag and the installer mixed it with water.

I sealed it with Miracle brand penetrating sealer.

The tile we tore out was grouted with white and the biggest problem we had was the various growths (mold, mildew, algae, or serratia (pink stuff)) which I haven't seen in the new bathroom yet. The new exhaust fan is probably helping with that. But over in the years I have owned many tiled bathrooms and in my experience, white grout doesn't really change color over time.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2005 at 8:43PM
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May I ask about the faucets on the vanity, and the accessories (soap dish, dispenser, etc.) which are exactly what I want for my bath? I think I bought the same faucets, and I'm looking for the accessories.

Also, I love the marble windowsill!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 1:44AM
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The faucets are Glacier Bay brand and they were here when we bought the house. I think they're Home Depot's house brand. I really wanted to replace them with American Standard "Standard Collection" faucets but alas, I couldn't bring myself to spend more money. The accessories are from Restoration Hardware (Eaton) and they don't actually match! The accessories were a gift and they are polished nickel rather than chrome.

Here is a link that might be useful: Restoration Hardware

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 3:11PM
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Incredibly beautiful job! i'd love to see the other pictures but couldn't open your link. the user name was madameX and an error message came up.. any other way to see them?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 11:43PM
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Hi, Susan,
Thanks. The Photobucket link works for some and gives others problems. I guess it is to be expected with free online services. The link hasn't changed since I posted it in July. It's MadamX (no e) and the password is still Maggie. Try again. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Link

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 11:21AM
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I am considering using Laticrete's SpectraLock grout, which promises to retain its color and not stain, but am curious as to what type of grout you used.

I just finished salbwil's bathroom and steam shower this morning, and she asked me the same thing when we were planning it out, and I'll tell you the same thing I told her. Years ago, I had a home in Ct. where I'd done the main bathroom in ceramic top to bottm. It was a light tan with an almond colored grout on the walls, and DARK brown tiles with the sanded version of the almond grout on the floor. At the time, I had 4 kids age newborn to 12 years old, and this bathroom was where they all took their baths, etc.. Neither my wife nor I were compulsive cleaners, and I NEVER had a problem with the grout getting blotchy or discolored. that said, if you're really stressing out about it, you could do the bathroom floor and/ or shower floor with the Spectralock, as johnmari did, but it's really unnecessary to do the walls.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2005 at 9:35PM
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You bathroom is by far my favorite bath on this site. I love it. We are wanting to do our whole house with that kind of feel. Thanks for sharing!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2006 at 12:41PM
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One more qestion for you... How do you like your Simpson Shaker style doors? Were they expensive?

    Bookmark   January 12, 2006 at 1:01PM
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Thanks for the compliment! We're still very happy with our design decisions. Now if only we could get the caulk between the wall and tub to stay in place, we'd have a perfect bathroom.

The Shaker 5-panel door is wonderful, I wish we could put doors like that throughout our house. The tricky thing is that it arrived primed and we had a very difficult time getting the paint to be smooth. The paint retained the bumpy texture of the roller even though we bought the small roller from Home Depot that claimed to be the smoothest roller available. It was also very difficult to hang (it came pre-hung) but the end result is awesome.

Now...if you like the style of our bathroom you should read this blog: http://www.houseinprogress.net/ This family is renovating a Chicago bungalow and they chose white subway tile for both of their bathrooms. They fashioned a window sill out of scrap marble which we shamelessly copied. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. ;)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 1:29AM
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I would love to see more but the password isn't working. I sure like what I see so far!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 9:42PM
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Found your pictures via Google search and really like what you have done. I have about the same size bathroom as you and want to do pretty much the same thing (subway tile). I have a question. What did you use along the edge of the tile going up the wall on both sides of the bath? It looks like some kind of ceramic edge and it looks very thick. I'm trying to figure out how I should end the tile along the wall (between the tub and the ceiling) but do not want to use a vertical piece where the bull nose is on the long side of the tile. There are vendors who make the bull nose on the short side of the tile but they are expensive.

Also, can you explain how you attached the edge pieces? In the pictures it appears that the tile, including this edge, sticks out quite a bit from the wall.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 12:18AM
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Hi, Michael,
The tub was one inch shorter than the width of the room so the tile installer built up the mortar bed on the rear wall to make it work. The thick edge is finished with a bullnose tile cut to fit perfectly, Daltile Semi Gloss A-4200 2" x 6". You can easily mix Daltile Semi Gloss and Rittenhouse Square semigloss tiles. The front edge is finished with quarter round A-106. We did not affix tile directly to sheetrock which sounds like the method you are planning.

Here are a couple of links for you:
Daltile Semi-Gloss http://www.daltileproducts.com/series.cfm?series=236
Mud Wall technique: http://www.ontariotile.com/mudwall1.html

Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 3:51PM
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modern life interiors


    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 8:09PM
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Is the password still Maggie? I'd love to see the pics, but can't get onto the photobucket site!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2009 at 11:51AM
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susanuws, just got into Cassidyhome's pix. Click on the link on her original post, enter p/w using capital M. Should work.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 3:19PM
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Cory Moorhead

Excellent job on your renovations! How do you like the industrex glass? We're considering replacing our window in our bathroom with privacy glass and are contemplating between industrex and opaque. Do you still get lots of sunlight in your bathroom? Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 10:22AM
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I love the Industrex pattern glass! I wouldn't want anything different. I like that the pattern is uniform as opposed to random like the crinkle/pebbled/speckled glass patterns. There is plenty of light in that bathroom, the privacy glass doesn't keep the light out at all.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 11:55AM
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Cory Moorhead

I sooo much appreciate your quick reply. I've had many sleepless nights trying to decide and googling internet sights looking for real home pictures, instead of just company sites. Silly, I know, but these are decisions that can't be easily changed. Your place looks great and you've answered my questions. Thanks again!!!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 12:04PM
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Your bathroom is beautiful. I am planning to do something very similar, also using subway tiles in DalTile arctic white. I have a question for you. What color did you paint your door? I am planning to install wainscotting and am having trouble finding a white paint that matches the tile. Each one I try ends up looking too creamy next to the tile. Your door appears to be a perfect match. (I love the door too, by the way. I have an original 1927 single panel shaker style door that I will be refinishing with the same paint as the wainscot.)
Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 8:37PM
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Jennifer - We bought off-the-shelf Behr interior semigloss paint in Ultra Pure White. We didn't have it mixed at all. Best of luck!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 9:20PM
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Very tastefully done! Do you happen to know the consistency of the "mud" needed for a sturdy mud-wall? I explored the ontariotile link you provided hoping to find a suggested mix of portland, sand or mortar mix blend but they did not provide such detail.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 4:57PM
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Has the row of tiles (those laying flat) along the top surface of the tub been affixed directly to the fiberglass? In image #32 the scratch coat creates a nice apron front concealing the exposed underside of the tub but the mud work ends at the fiberglass rim just below the top. I am curious how the tiles have been wrapped up and over and what is used to affixed them to the top of the fiberglass to create such a finished look. I was planning to install a similar Kohler tub but with a fiberglass apron front however, I would much prefer to achieve the clean look you have created tiles!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2010 at 6:54PM
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Hi, subway6,
Thank you for the compliments. I don't know what kind of mud was used because I hired a professional tile installer with 30+ years of experience. He really knew what he was doing. The tub is acrylic, not fiberglass, and the mud bed for the horizontal tiles was placed right on top of that edge. Behind the apron is a sturdy knee wall made of 2" x 3" lumber, so it's strong enough to stand on it. The tiled apron adds a lot to the look of the room!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 12:48PM
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Cassidyhome, what are your door knobs? Thanks. Love your bath btw!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 11:41AM
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Knobs are Kwikset Hancock, available in a multitude of finishes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kwikset Hancock

    Bookmark   March 16, 2010 at 2:57PM
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Thanks Cassidy!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 10:20PM
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Can you tell me what size spacers you used for the tile? 1/8?

It looks lovely! Thank you!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 3:13PM
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very nice

    Bookmark   May 31, 2012 at 12:59PM
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Thank you for sharing the photos! My 3 favorite things are the window, the tile detail, the wood tile floor and the door. Ok, that's 4. I love the window and have been looking for an attractive idea for our bathroom. Thank you so much!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 8:38AM
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Your bathroom looks wonderful, and the window is amazing!!! I need to do a window in the shower and it is terrifying. Can you tell me as much as possible about the window -- did you have it made to size? Did you adjust your cut opening to it? Any details about install?

I am considering doing our main bath myself (yikes!) or maybe acting as GC, and a good looking, non leaking window is a must. thank you!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2014 at 9:19AM
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The big window in the shower is part of my 1985 tract house and appears to be a problem for most homeowners in my neighborhood. The original installation was prone to leaks, with water penetrating the inside of the wall. Many neighbors use a shower curtain along that wall, but I wanted to have an unadorned window.

We gutted the room, and hired a local "vinyl" window company to install the picture window. It's dual pane with patterned (Industrex) glass. The interior of the window was not rated to be used in a wet environment. The installer caulked areas he thought would be vulnerable. There is no way to know if water is going inside the window, but to my eye I think it's doing great.

My tile installer used "old school" techniques, putting wire lath up with layers of mortar which he leveled perfectly. The tile is perfectly square and sits flush against the window. Along the bottom edge, he used sheets of vichithane (sp?) which is a sticky rubber product. He over-did that area to make sure water never entered the wall. The marble sill sits on top of the waterproofing system.

A window in the shower is great and I love the design, however, I can't shower at night with the light on. I have no problems with a "peep show" as long as I shower in the morning with the light coming in from the outside.

Hope that helps!

P.S. The local window company convinced us they manufacture windows, but I suspect they are the same as big-box store retrofit vinyl windows. The rest of the house we used Renewal by Andersen and they're much better.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2014 at 11:47AM
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