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Bumped-Up Baths

We spend more time in the “library” than we’d care to admit, so it might as well be fully functional and a looker. The baths we eyed from this year’s Reader Remodel Contest fill that bill after lots of work. Your harrowing tales included a monthlong bath overhaul completed in time for a real-estate listing, the first room tackled in a ramschackle farmhouse, and a moved water-heater closet that led to replumbing the whole house. Read on for more details on these and other remodels.

From Cramped to Cavernous: Before

Who: Willow T.

Where: Tempe, AZ

“When I bought the home, this bathroom wasn't functional. If you ran the shower or flushed the toilet, the water would run through the floor and out of the ceiling into the kitchen below!”

From Cramped to Cavernous: After

Who: Willow T.

Where: Tempe, AZ

“I completed all of the interior work myself, save for some assistance with ceiling drywall and lifting the beadboard.”

Who did the work: “I did most of the work myself.”

Cost: “$1,000 to $5,000”

Set up a rustic, functional bath by refinishing a cast-iron tub and following our bath chandelier dos and don’ts.

Meet a Proud DIYer: Before

Who: Joseph B.

Where: Kettering, OH

“This bathroom used to be lime-green tile with a single vanity and a shower the size of a telephone booth. We found out that we had to move and get the house on the market in two months.”

Meet a Proud DIYer: After

Who: Joseph B.

Where: Kettering, OH

“I completed this bathroom in less than a month while also working full time, so it was stressful and I was very busy. Fortunately, all the lessons learned on all our other projects helped us keep this one on time and under budget. It is now a spacious master bathroom with plenty of room for two, all without having to do an addition!”

Who did the work: “I did all the work myself.”

Cost: “$1,000 to $5,000”

Make a master bath work harder by building a medicine cabinet and adding a second sink to a vanity.

Pushed Back the Powder Room: Before

Who: Lori B.

Where: Mars, PA

“We pushed the powder room back 8 feet out of our kitchen area. An addition was created to make space to move the powder room.”

Pushed Back the Powder Room: After

Who: Lori B.

Where: Mars, PA

“The best part of this remodel is the wood siding behind the sink. This was the original siding from the outside of the house, which we left in place when the addition was made. The only thing that was done to it was cleaning. The gray paint was original from 1915. The transom window above the door was also original. The door was purchased from a construction nonprofit store, stripped, and re-stained.”

Who did the work: “I did all the work myself.”

Cost: “$500 to $1,000”

Give a small bath serious style with our budget-friendly bath ideas and inspiration from half baths full of style.

Making a Bath More Inviting: Before

Who: Nicole H.

Where: Fishkill, NY

“My husband and I recently got married and bought this historic home in the Hudson Valley—built in 1771.”

Making a Bath More Inviting: After

Who: Nicole H.

Where: Fishkill, NY

“All of our renovations and decor are timeless and fit with the style of our home. We want to always accentuate the history and restore as many original details as possible.”

Who did the work: “I did most of the work myself.”

Cost: “$1,000 to $5,000”

Create your own period-perfect bath by tiling the floor and replacing a pedestal sink.

Dramatic Transformation by Changing the Tile: Before

Who: Stacia G.

Where: Duluth, MN

“This remodel was the first major finished project of a much, much larger full-home remodel. We purchased a 1920s farmhouse on 40 acres.”

Dramatic Transformation by Changing the Tile: After

Who: Stacia G.

Where: Duluth, MN

“We did almost all the work ourselves, except for installing the new window. We have family and friends who are plumbers and electricians, so that helped a ton. Plus this took us over a year to complete, so we were looking for deals and had time to find fixtures that didn't break the bank but had the style we liked. I love the finished product.

Who did the work: “I did most of the work myself.”

Cost: “$1,000 to $5,000”

Find washroom success by following our guides for remodeling a bath and designing bath lighting.

Top-Floor Beauty: Before

Who: Jill M.

Where: Jenkintown, PA

“Our home is a Craftsman style built in 1905 with a large third-floor master bathroom.”

Top-Floor Beauty: After

Who: Jill M.

Where: Jenkintown, PA

“The entire room was gutted, but we kept the original transom doors, window, sink, claw-foot tub, and copper hardware dating to 1899. Added vintage-look hardware, tile floor, toilet, vanity, and shower with bench. The carpenter built thick wainscoting to match the kitchen walls. Added another window to create light by the tub area.”

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

Cost: “$5,000 to $10,000”

Copy the Victorian look of this bath by installing beadboard wainscoting and installing floating marble shelves.

Chock-full of Character: Before

Who: Diane W.

Where: Medford, OR

“It's a 1927 house. I wanted a bathroom that reflected the era of the house.”

Chock-full of Character: After

Who: Diane W.

Where: Medford, OR

“Actually, the tub we tore out was original to the house, but I didn't want a tub/shower combo. I wanted a separate tub and shower. I also wanted a claw-foot tub—I only paid $200 for it, but it needed refinishing inside and out. It ended up costing about $1,000, but that’s still less than new. An existing stack kept me from recessing the medicine cabinets.”

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

Cost: “$5,000 to $10,000”

Bring character back to a period bath with inspiration from this vintage revival and an opened-up bath.

A Bungalow Retreat: Before

Who: Brad S.

Where: Austin, TX

“We wanted to tie in the feel of our 1954 home but bring in modern touches.”

A Bungalow Retreat: After

Who: Brad S.

Where: Austin, TX

“My fiancée and I completely gutted, redesigned, and rebuilt our 1954 bungalow's original bathroom. The remodel took us nine months total. Partway through demo, we decided to remove the water-heater closet from behind the old shower and towel closet for more space. We redid the entire house’s plumbing, reframed the bath floor, installed a new window, built in a new pocket door, and put in new LED can lights.”

Who did the work: “I did all the work myself.”

Cost: “$10,000 to $25,000”

Create a serene bathroom by installing a towel warmer and new toilet.

From Motel 6 to Master Bath: Before

Who: Bonnie S.

Where: Vienna, VA

“We had a tiny Motel 6–style bathroom: sink and toilet only inches from a stall shower.”

From Motel 6 to Master Bath: After

Who: Bonnie S.

Where: Vienna, VA

“The room we converted to the master bath was next to another bathroom, so plumbing was on both sides. We walled off the room for master-only access, amped up the electrical, and put in new lighting. And I was determined to use my mom's 1954 dresser as the double-sink vanity.”

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

Cost: “$10,000 to $25,000”

Design a drool-worthy master bath by turning a dresser into a vanity and exploring design ideas for tile rugs.

Novice DIYers Deliver: Before

Who: Brooke P.

Where: Des Moines, IA

“We gutted the bathroom down to the studs and replaced all the hardware, toilet, sink, bathroom door, flooring, tiling, and paint.”

Novice DIYers Deliver: After

Who: Brooke P.

Where: Des Moines, IA

“We are not professionals but had a great time learning how to do things right. There were moments when we were not sure what direction to go, and that was the hardest part since my husband and I have never done a remodel to this extent.”

Who did the work: “I did most of the work myself.”

Cost: “$5,000 to $10,000”

Carve out a charming bath by installing a shower door and tiling around a tub.