Master Bath, what comes first?

tomlin123March 9, 2013


We are in the middle of a MB/MB and walk in closet nightmare (almost)! I need a place to start in the bathroom. We have the layout of shower, vanities, water closet etc. but wonder where I should start in order to build on choosing all the things that will now be put into the bathroom. What comes first, tile, vanities, lights?? Having a very difficult time making decisions. Any thoughts suggestions would be much appreciated.

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DD2 just finished a total MBath gut, and she had a nightmare ordering a vanity. Nothing local fit the bill. First one was delayed several times (waited 4 months), so she found a similar alternative (took 6 weeks). Backsplash piece was broken or wrong size x3, but didn't hold anything up. Tile was ordered from local showroom, but did not take long to get delivered. Lights were the easiest.

She had to wait a few weeks on the tile guy, since he wasn't called earlier. Tile installation took 5 days - he did the new shower pan and curb. Had to level the floor also. Shower glass enclosure took 10-14 days from measuring to installation. Tub was ordered online and sat in garage with vanity until time to install.

I would make sure as much as on site as possible before ripping out the old bathroom, so you're not without it very long.

As for your hard time making a decision, you should know the look/style you want already. I would find the vanity first, then the tile - unless you're going with plain tile.

Here is a link that might be useful: MBath Redo

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 6:21AM
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I'd work from the hardest to match to the easiest. Thus, start with the vanity counter (assuming you're doing granite or marble. Then pick the vanity and mirror, then tile, then fixtures, then paint.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 8:55AM
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I agree with Allison that having as much as possible on site, or at least chosen with lead-times firmly established, is important to help your project flow more smoothly.

After you have a vision of how you want the room to look ( is great for this), I think the order of choosing your materials depends on what is most important to you since many of your other choices will be based off of it. For us, it was most important to choose the granite first since we like dramatic granites with a lot of movement and that would definitely be the focal point in the room. Once we found our granite but before we committed to it, we found a tile that was the perfect complement. I didn't want it to be too plain and it had to be something that we loved since there would be so much of it. Once those decisions were made and materials ordered, we chose our faucets, lights, etc.

The vanities were the "easy" part of the planning. We designed them ourselves and had them custom made by an Amish cabinet maker. We did have a complication at the end when they came in much darker than we had intended. Our cabinet maker was very apologetic and would have taken them back to restain them but we realized that although they were "wrong", they were actually a much better color in the room. We love them.

If you have anything that is going to be particularly unique or challenging to find, that might be the place to start. If you get stuck along the way, posting pictures of your options here is a great way to get feedback.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our master bath reveal

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 9:26AM
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I also agree with Weedy, paint was the last thing that we decided on. We had it primed in the color that we thought we wanted and then had it darkened to 150% once we could see all of the elements in the room.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 9:31AM
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The others have posted very good ideas and they are always so helpful on this forum :)

Paint and fabric are pretty flexible if you make a poor color/design choice. The flooring, counters, and any tile you might choose, not so much. I'd start there. Or what ever limiting feature you have.

Since you are saying you already have a layout, other intermediate items I can think of are things like choosing stone or ceramic for tile. Maybe your floor isn't stiff enough to hold stone, but a nice stone look alike could be do-able. Deciding were the nooks in the shower go are important too. Are you planning to have pullouts/drawers in your cabinets? If so where are they best planned, in what cabinet. Where are you going to store items such as towels? Do you have enough towel hanging space planned? Are you going to wire a cabinet for outlets in a certain area for hairdryer, shaver recharge, etc? @Olychick has an "appliance garage" in the upper tower that sits on one side of her vanity. Have you planned for grab bar installation?

I may have gone overboard on your topic, please excuse me if I did, I can get carried away ;)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 10:34AM
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Figure out what you want the room to be in a one sentance description. You can browse pics on houzz for style inspiration and see what rooms you like have in common, or if you know what you want you can search pics for that.

Then I'd go for more permanent things first, though you may have to look at a few things at once to pick them together. Tub, vanity, and flooring/tile would be good places to start. Vanities have a little more character, you might try picking one to match your style/statement and use that as inspiration to find the rest that flow with it. Or you may see the perfect tile/floor first and build on that.

The rest can be done after. There are tons on lights, faucets, toilets, storage cabinets, towel racks/hooks, shower curtains, etc to pick from once you have he larger items.

Our remodel happened on a semi-urgent basis, and the contractor had a space in his schedule since it was the dead of winter. I spent 3 days straight visiting stores, and ended up picking everything out at Lowes since it had to be in stock. They must have thought I was nuts, running back and forth with tiles, taking pics on my phone and holding them up everywhere, sticking paint chips all over the place, it was crazy!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 1:34PM
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