The ripping out that ensued revealed additional problems—including wonky 1970s plumbing concealed under the step-up loo. But, more important, it provided the couple with a clean, open 12-by-12-foot space in which to design their dream bath. With improving its flow as a goal, they drafted the new layout on graph paper, using the necessary plumbing redo as an opportunity to relocate fixtures, and replaced the ill-designed closet with streamlined storage. The couple left construction work—it called for bumping in one of the walls by 6 inches to create space to run the new sink plumbing—to contractors, but they shopped online for most all of the tile, lighting, hardware, and fixtures. Doing that themselves paid off, Catherine says. "We saved a ton, and we love every last detail."
Shown: The toilet sat on a platform to accommodate its waste line and had a disconcerting window view. The walled-in shower hogged space and blocked natural light.