FLORIDA DREAMING: Taking a Master Bath from Dull to Coastal Fabulous!

Light is everything in a welcoming home…. it sets the tone as the first impression when you walk through the door. For example, it either feels bright, cheery and open in a kitchen — or conversely, if you are going for a darker, more cozy environment for a library, study or media room, per se, then darker wood paneling, grass cloth or other accent wallpaper or paint would be appropriate for this space. 


Nine times out of ten, I will go for a bright, light environment. It makes the overall space larger visually, “cleaner”, and for a Master Bath specifically, it makes getting ready easier with a thoughtfully selected light fixture that brightens up the room.

For this master bath, I needed to lighten up the space, as without the absence of a window or skylight, it was DARK and DATED. The tub and surround were constructed of a burgundy and white streaked marbelite material popular in the 70s and 80s.  It was definitely durable, but showed it’s age and needed to go, along with everything else (don’t want to gross anyone here, but believe me, it was needed!) 

So we did a full gut down to the drywall and again, the only thing that I kept was the cute nautical light fixture that was common throughout the house.

You can see from the photos that the house wouldn’t have been complete without making a major change to the master bath. Originally on my “wish list” to do, I bit the financial bullet and decided to do a complete remodel. I did this for two reasons:

  • the house remodel would not have been complete and likely would garner less rental revenue 
  • the guys were already in the house working – so it was less expensive to add it on, then have them come back another time. 

And, most importantly, if you’ve ever done any major renovations yourself, the mess of a remodel from the dust and dirt alone, can drive anyone a bit nuts until it is over.


I believe that it’s important to have at least one bathtub in the house. This is totally my preference, but in renting to families with small children, I needed to make sure that when they came back from a long day at the beach, there would be a bathtub that would be functional, easy to bath children, and aesthetically pleasing. 

I also decided that I should go with a shower curtain with rod over a glass door. It wasn’t my first choice, but keeping kids in mind and having my own and remembering the struggle — a shower curtain is so much easier with small childrenrather than a sliding glass door or fixed panel you have to work around. 


Sourcing flooring for this master bath was really, really challenging. I had always wanted to work with concrete flooring and there is a tremendous selection at Florida Kitchen & Bath. It was exciting as I had a lot of excellent options in my Coastal-vibe aesthetic and I found myself going back and forth. Here are just a few of what I was considering:

My original pic (C) was not available, but in the end, my second choice was a better selection (D) as it contained both the blues and grays against the distressed white background. What was interesting is that the final product is not concrete as it appears, but rather porcelain and a better choice for a bathroom over concrete. And it was less expensiveper sq ft. JBONUS!

Once I settled on a floor tile, the decision led me down a path and everything was selected off of this inspirational floor tile.

In Northern climates, having a Coastal-designed aesthetic is likely not practical depending on the overall feel of the home. For me, and for what I designed for this master bath, was a complete departure from what I had designed in the past – and it really excited me. Hence the reason why I struggled with the floor tile – I wanted to make the right choice for the space.


From there, everything else fell quickly into place. The tub surround wall tile was hand cut and has a bright white iridescent look to it that went well with the bright white tub. My husband found these really cool blue round tiles for the niche in the shower, so this was a little accent piece that really made the bathroom go from great to fabulouswithout it being a huge expense. 

Note: I learned this the hard way when redoing my master bath in Michigan as I wrapped the entire bathroom in a marble accent tile. See previous blog entry under master bath and you will see what I mean.

In addition, I ran the tub surround tile to the ceiling in a standard brick pattern… to give the bathroom great visual height. I had originally wanted to go with a straight stack for a more modern look, but the tiles were all hand cut with slight imperfections which may have given the eye the impression it was “off” when you stepped back and looked at it. I decided to go more “Joanna Gaines farmhouse” in the end, and it still has a modern feel regardless.


Having the largest vanity possible adds more visual appeal and functionality to a bathroom. The original vanity was only 30 inches wide – and I was able to adjust up to a 42 inch vanity and that made all the difference. Even in a small space, the larger vanity provides more countertop space, as well as more storage space for guests. In addition, having a larger vanity that appropriately fills the space adds value and aperception of qualityversus a smaller one.

The vanity complimented the flooring as it is a medium gray paint with a white quartz top. Overall, the vanity design is modern and looks like a piece of furniture, so the floor tile runs underneath it and to the wall. I mention this as if you have a small space, having furniture with legs – especially a bathroom vanity – really opens up the space visually. 

And as a bonus, the vanity came with the mirror – so they matched well. I would have normally sourced a beveled glass mirror for the space, but I was on a budget and as it came with the vanity, it was the right decision to go ahead and use it.


Lastly fixtures… I went with modern chrome fixtures throughout the bathroom – including the new light that hangs over the mirror. It compliments the existing nautical light fixture and I love the air bubble imperfections in the glass that throw interesting effects onto the wall, while providing great light. 

I also added extra hooks on the wall behind the door and larger towel rods for multiple family members. It may only be a single or a couple that use this bathroom, but I wanted to make sure that I provided good options for guests… this included providing a toothbrush holder and soap dish in all of the bathrooms as these little touches make a stay more enjoyable for a guest.


Kitchen and bathrooms really make a house a home– even for a vacation rental home. I wanted people to come into this bathroom and say “wow” and make a visual statement in this small space. To me the floor just makes the space…. And along with everything else, I believe that I accomplished my vision for a bright and inviting Coastal retreat after a fun day at the beach!

Here’s a link to the finished vacation house:


Bathtub:Boots Aloha 60”x30” Porcelain-Finished Steel (Home Depot)

Toilet: Kohler Cimarron (Home Depot)

Flooring:Porcelain Hand Cut Square Decorative Floor Tile (Florida Kitchen and Bath

Vanity and Mirror: Kelly 42 in. in French Gray with Solid Surface Carrera White  (Studio Bath | Imported from Canada)

Wall Tile: Custom White 2×8 Hand Cut Subway Tile with Bullnose (Florida Kitchen and Bath)

Niche Tile:Blue Dot Niche Marble Tile (Florida Kitchen and Bath)

Fixtures:Kohler (various)

Paint:Sherwin Williams – Nebulous White (but it is really cool gray!)

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