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So Fresh and So Clean

From converted closets under the stairs to large master suites, the bath entries for the fifth-annual Reader Remodel Contest showed as much diversity as they did hard work. You navigated through plumbing, discovered how to properly lay tile, and became extremely familiar with the gas station down the street—proving that renovating a bathroom is anything but boring. Here's a look at the top picks for bathroom revamps, chosen by the editors as This Old House.

After you've browsed these squeaky-clean bathroom remodels, you can you can enter your own in the 2013 Reader Remodel Contest.

Winner: Hand-Laid Tile: Before

Who: Vicki P.

Where: Pasadena, CA

This was the main bath in our 1912 Craftsman. We bought the ultimate fixer-upper!

Winner: Hand-Laid Tile: After

Who: Vicki P.

Where: Pasadena, CA

I love how all the pieces came together. We completely redesigned the space, so it seemed miraculous when the tub fit perfectly under the window and the built-in we found looked like it had always been there. During demo, we found an old entrance to the kitchen—just the right size for a pocket door. To find the right design for the floor tile, my husband stayed up all night cutting out little pieces of paper in the shape of black hexes, then made about a hundred different designs. He took a picture of each one to show me (when I woke up). What you see is the best one!

Who did the work: I did all the work myself

Cost: $5,000 to $10,000

Authentic Turquoise Tile: Before

Who: Tad B.

Where: Denver, CO

This bathroom was part of an addition to our 1910 bungalow. We removed plaster from an exterior wall to expose the old brick in the area that links the old part of the house to the new bathroom.

Authentic Turquoise Tile: After

Who: Tad B.

Where: Denver, CO

We went with glass and polished chrome for the modern. Custom cabinetry, wood trim, beveled mirrors and exposed brick transition add old house charm. Tile choices, local art, and abstract-fish towel hooks add personality. The shower is roomy enough for a small teak seat. Plus there's a barn door that's industrial and totally cool, and we think the color scheme is serene without being boring.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself, but a contractor did most of it

Cost: $10,000 to $25,000

Tiny Bath, Timeless Update: Before

Who: Josh B.

Where: Richboro, PA

My house was built in 1850, so I wanted to maintain a timeless look for this bathroom.

Tiny Bath, Timeless Update: After

Who: Josh B.

Where: Richboro, PA

I worked hard to use fixtures, hardware, tile and colors that aren't considered trendy and will still be relevant as other trends come and go. I designed the entire project and sourced all of the fixtures, tile, and hardware. I also did all of the painting myself.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself, but a contractor did most of it.

Cost: $10,000 to $25,000

New Bathroom Fits 1930s Home: Before

Who: John C.

Where: Orlando, FL

The shower was poorly built and leaked into the walls and floors, making it unusable. Our vanity/sink was cheap, and the floor was very worn and water-damaged.

New Bathroom Fits 1930s Home: After

Who: John C.

Where: Orlando, FL

I love the new feeling of openness, how well it fits in with my 1930 home, how well-balanced it looks from all angles, and the play of the glass with the black and wood. The old floor was the worst in the house, and it is now prettiest. The high rain-shower head is blissful to experience. It's a joy. Other than minor floor tile in a small space, I had never done any of this sort of work before. I learned all manner or sawing woodworking, engineering and tiling on my own, from the Internet, and from This Old House. My favorite comment from a friend: "If I didn't know better, I'd think this was built by someone who knew what they were doing."

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

Luxury Hotel-Inspired Remodel: Before

Who: Jeri C.

Where: Winchester, MA

We had a dated and dysfunctional bathroom before. It was not much of a master bath.

Luxury Hotel-Inspired Remodel: After

Who: Jeri C.

Where: Winchester, MA

I'm thrilled with how the room turned out, and I'm grateful for the things I learned along the way. I might have tweaked a thing here or there if I'd had more time, but I'll use the lessons learned in future projects. I borrowed lots of ideas from a designer friend's home and channeled my inner Eloise to drive a sense of hotel luxury.

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself

Cost: $25,000 to $50,000

Colorful Redo Complements the House: Before

Who: Janet and Dave C.

Where: Las Cruces, NM

The old bathroom was gleaming white everything and didn't go with our old house. The sink area had no counter or storage space.

Colorful Redo Complements the House: After

Who: Janet and Dave C.

Where: Las Cruces, NM

The best thing about the remodel is that the new bathroom looks old and complements the rest of our house. The arch is a traditional Mexican feature, as well as the colorful tiles. Our house is a 111-year-old adobe (unbaked mud brick) in southwestern New Mexico. It was built before New Mexico was a state. Everything we have done to it we have done with loving care and respect for its history.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself, but a contractor did most of it

Cost: $25,000 to $50,000

Clean and Classic: Before

Who: Jeffrey F.

Where: Washington, DC

My wife was heavily pregnant during the remodel. Although trekking to our downstairs bathroom during the remodel was a temporary aggravation, we were very glad to have a newly remodeled bathroom to bring our son home to during the summer.

Clean and Classic: After

Who: Jeffrey F.

Where: Washington, DC

The bathroom is basically a better version of itself. It's small, but we tried not to skimp too much. We saved money by using the bathroom's existing footprint (no relocated plumbing for us). We researched every element of the bathroom, which also saved time and money. And while the payback didn't come until after the remodel, we replaced the WWII-era newspaper in the bathroom walls with insulation. The radiant floor heating is a great touch. We also love our medicine cabinet, which has recessed lighting and a double plug in the interior of the cabinet.

Who did the work: A contractor did all of the work

Cost: $10,000 to $25,000

Maintaining Original Style: Before

Who: Katherine F.

Where: Wichita, KS

Our bathroom wasn't in a good state before. Note garbage bag in the shower and the damage to the ceiling in the mirror reflection.

Maintaining Original Style: After

Who: Katherine F.

Where: Wichita, KS

I just want to stress the fact that we tried our hardest to do justice to the age and style of the house without spending an arm and a leg. I like the fact that it looks closer to what it originally would have been now than before. We could see the outline of a skirted tub on the tile when we did demolition and now we have a claw-foot there! We got a vintage pedestal sink and used floor tile that was very close to the original.

Who did the work: I did all of the work myself

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

Warm and Modern: Before

Who: Christopher G.

Where: Saint Paul, MN

Our previous bath had lackluster walls and an aging tub. Also, the toilet area was crowded.

Warm and Modern: After

Who: Christopher G.

Where: Saint Paul, MN

We wanted to have the feel of what a bathroom in 1904 (the year our house was built) while still having modern amenities, such as heated floors and a towel warmer. Under the blue ceramic tiles and three inches of concrete, we actually found hex tiles as the base layer. We did the demolition and painting ourselves. The existing tub was refinished instead of buying a new claw-foot. The space seems so much bigger even though the actual bathroom part of the room got smaller. Having the washer and dryer on the second floor instead of the basement is wonderful.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself, but a contractor did most of it.

Cost: $25,000 to $50,000

Tiny Bath Doesn't Feel so Small: Before

Who: Brian H.

Where: Mechanicsburg, PA

This bathroom is tucked under the stairs, and before our remodel, the ceiling was only 6 feet, 4 inches. Finding fixtures small enough to fit the room and not appear crowded was a challenge.

Tiny Bath Doesn't Feel so Small: After

Who: Brian H.

Where: Mechanicsburg, PA

To create needed depth, I extended the room out 10 inches from the face of the stair and built a display shelf above by extending the adjacent tread over the door. Because the bathroom is under our stairs, I was able to open up and vault the ceiling to create headroom. In the remaining void space we hid a time capsule including a current newspaper and a letter about ourselves to future renovators. I did all of the work myself with the guidance of both an electrician and plumber. I milled all of the trim myself and salvaged the door from a dumpster, which I stripped, sanded, repainted, and polished the original hardware. I built the recessed cabinet into the stud depth and set the tile floor.

Who did the work: I did all the work myself

Cost: $500 to $1,000

Paying Homage to 1905 Home: Before

Who: Lee and Sarah H.

Where: Spokane, WA

Before the renovation, our master bath was so small that the tub couldn't even fit in this picture.

Paying Homage to 1905 Home: After

Who: Lee and Sarah H.

Where: Spokane, WA

We love it all, from the first sketch to the final piece of molding. Our home was built in 1905, so it was important to us to pepper the design with period fixtures to try to stay true to the era as much as we could. The room feels so luxurious. To us, it's picture perfect! It took us nearly 18 months to complete since we did most of it ourselves. We both work full-time jobs, so it was painfully slow. We are truly proud of our design, as it is entirely ours; we get to wake up every morning and walk into that beautiful space and feel like we live in a 5-star hotel.

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself

Cost: $25,000 to $50,000

Graceful and More Open: Before

Who: Katherine H.

Where: Somerville, NJ

Our bathroom before was from the 1970s. It did not fit with the rest of our 1930s home.

Graceful and More Open: After

Who: Katherine H.

Where: Somerville, NJ

I love the fact that most guest who have not seen the original bathroom think that this bathroom was the original one. Most do not realize that we have remodeled it, as the style fits into the era of our house. That being said, it is disappointing when people don't comment on the beautiful work! Our house had only one bathroom, so the hardest part of the remodel was dealing without a bathroom. It was interesting, to say the least. We waited six years before starting the project, but This Old House magazine was a great help with ideas, from tubs to tile!

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself

Cost: $5,000 to $10,000

Preserving a Historic Landmark: Before

Who: Peter K

Where: Pikesville, MD

It all started when we noticed wet craters on the dining room ceiling. The tub had rusted through!

Preserving a Historic Landmark: After

Who: Peter K

Where: Pikesville, MD

We had always wanted a shower, but then the historic district wouldn't let us move the window to fit it in. We ended up moving all the fixtures around instead. I took over a closet from an adjoining room and used the same white spiral floor tile in the frameless shower and on the floor, which made the whole room feel twice as big. I used the original floorboards to make the medicine cabinet and mirror frame. I love the rustic feel it gives the room. I did all the work myself, from gutting the place down to the floor joists to putting in a roof vent for the ceiling fan.

Who did the work: I did all of the work myself

Cost: $5,000 to $10,000

New Shower 20 Years in the Making: Before

Who: Paul L.

Where: Davenport, IA

Our bathroom before was somewhat dated. The shower was smaller than desirable.

New Shower 20 Years in the Making: After

Who: Paul L.

Where: Davenport, IA

We designed our bathroom to retain the timeless original basket-weave floor. We used the Schluter Kerdi shower system previously featured on This Old House. The tub was raised slightly to cover a void in the flooring left when the original tub was removed, as well as to add interest. I love the actual walk-in shower stall, as opposed to the shower inside the tub, which was one of our first projects when we moved into our 1920s foursquare home about 22 years ago. The new ceiling fixture also provides much better lighting.

Who did the work: I did all of the work myself

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000

From Small Closet to Full Bath: Before

Who: Erin M.

Where: Sacramento, CA

The space before was a small closet that had a toilet and a sink. We wanted another shower for our family of five.

From Small Closet to Full Bath: After

Who: Erin M.

Where: Sacramento, CA

I am very pleased that we were able to pack so much function into such a small space. This bath is now a real master bath (by old-house standards anyway). We tried to keep it somewhat simple because of the small space but also because of cost. For its size, 9 feet by 3 feet, it's amazingly functional. We put in a small "hand-rinsing" sink that is recessed into the wall a few inches to help with access since the room is only 3 feet wide. The old bath/closet was dark and unused, except as storage. We were able to maximize it's full potential.

Who did the work: A contractor did all the work

Cost: $10,000 to $25,000

Fresh and Light New Tile: Before

Who: Samantha M.

Where: Ashland, MA

A pipe in the sink burst, which flooded the bathroom. We didn't have a sink for two months.

Fresh and Light New Tile: After

Who: Samantha M.

Where: Ashland, MA

The glass tile is killer, and I love how fresh and light it now looks. We were originally going to go with porcelain tile for the floor, but after an ordering debacle left us with no tile, we decided to go with honed marble, and it makes a really nice statement. I ordered the glass tile online, as well as the cabinet and some fixtures, which saved a bunch. Our plumbing contractor also gave us his discount to use for the sink, tub and toilet. If I had to do all over again, I do more of the work myself, like the demo and tiling.

Who did the work: I did some of the work myself, but a contractor did most of it

Cost: $5,000 to $10,000

Kids Love the New 'Beachy' Bathroom: Before

Who: Hether P.

Where: Mandeville, LA

The kids' bathroom before had a young dinosaur theme.

Kids Love the New 'Beachy' Bathroom: After

Who: Hether P.

Where: Mandeville, LA

I'm absolutely thrilled with the way the bathroom turned out, and the pictures don't do it justice. We added a new chair rail to the walls, and a tongue-and-groove ceiling. The ceiling took a lot of time to do myself. The end result looks so amazing and so “beachy.” The kids love it!

Who did the work: I did all of the work myself

Cost: $500 to $1,000

Smart and Elegant Small Space: Before

Who: Stella W.

Where: Baton Rouge, LA

This is the guest bath in our 1920s Colonial revival. It began as a 22-square-foot mess!

Smart and Elegant Small Space: After

Who: Stella W.

Where: Baton Rouge, LA

I love that our new bath is humble in size, in keeping with the home's original layout, but hugely elegant. I love that we have modern solutions to old problems like the recessed lights with exhaust fans. Say goodbye to moisture issues in this interior bath! We used mirrors on the wall behind and next to the sink to add depth to the room. A hidden medicine cabinet sits behind a side mirror—function and beauty! We have never worked so hard in our lives. But the result shows it, and that is incredibly rewarding.

Who did the work: I did all of the work myself

Cost: $5,000 to $10,000

We Found Potential in an Empty Room: Before

Who: Brittanie W.

Where: Amarillo, TX

We had a basement that we wanted to turn into livable space, but it only had a trapdoor in the utility room and an outside stairwell as access.

We Found Potential in an Empty Room: After

Who: Brittanie W.

Where: Amarillo, TX

The house is a 1919 Craftsman bungalow. We are not restoration purists by any stretch (we didn't have the budget for it!) but we wanted to maintain the character and feel and give the house unexpected luxuries for older homes, such as a large closet space and a master suite. The vanity, a marble-topped dresser found at a local antique shop, was chosen for its Art Nouveau-like details. It has great storage and the matching nightstand is the perfect accent. The partial wall for the shower and closet makes the bath feel more open and provides visual interest.

Who did the work: I did most of the work myself

Cost: $1,000 to $5,000