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The One Room Challenge Week 1: The Master Bath Design Plan

Ohhhh, friends. I’ve been wanting to participate in the One Room Challenge for YEARS but could never get the timing quite right, but this year we made it happen! If you’re new to the ORC, I and dozens (hundreds?) of other designers and bloggers makeover one room, top to bottom, in just 8 weeks. We have a master bath transformation planned for you, and it’s going to be a goooood one. But first...

Are you new around here?

If you’re new to our site from the ORC site, we’re so glad you’re here! I’m Tara, Interior designer and owner at Tara Lenney Design, where alongside of other amazing designers, my hubby, and a rock star assistant we transform homes and offices for some really amazing people. I have 3 little boys and an abiding love for tacos and whiskey. Glad to have you here!


This season we are tackling a large, and very dated, Master Bathroom. It has everything you want in a 1980's bathroom – worn finishes, brass trim (but not the good brass), and a big ol’ garden tub. It’s also sporting a pretty strange layout; it is VERY long and skinny. Think - bowling alley. We’re going to tweak the layout a bit to make it more functional, but more on that in a minute.

We had planned to start this transformation back in January, but due to our contractor’s availability, the project was pushed to February. Then the Great Texas Snowpocalypse happened and things got pushed back even further. This house here had 17 pipes burst. YOWZA. But that did create a perfect storm (pun very much intended) for having this bathroom happen during the ORC! It also puts the renovation smack on top of us completing, updating, and moving into our own new house. Fun! And not at all stressful.

Thankfully our friends at Tejas Remodeling & Custom Homes are doing the renovation work, so our job will be mostly in the field of color commentary, sharing design tips and a DIY project or two, and then styling it to pull it all together! It will still be tiiiiight to get it all done in time. Fingers crossed!


There’s a lot happening here that we need to unpack, so strap yourselves in.

Here’s the view when you first walk into the room. This might in fact be the world’s longest vanity (we thought it was this one that we created last year, but we were WRONG). Great news – we aren’t lacking for storage. Bad news – the cabinets are tired and not as functional as they could be. We need better storage so we can clear products off the countertop and freshen things up. Also, these black-rimmed can lights need to go. Why were black can lights in a white ceiling ever a thing?

At the end of the room, we have a quintessential 1980s feature, the giant garden tub. This thing is HUGE you guys. That back wall is 9’-5” long and the tub and deck are taking up every single inch of that. It’s a missed opportunity as the focal point of this bathroom. We can do better.

Ah yes, the brass framed shower. While brass is cool again, it’s unfortunately not this brass. The shower itself isn’t tiny, the owners would love a larger shower (wouldn’t we ALL). Also, the glass is cracked, the grout is missing or grody after 30+ years, and that accent tile isn't winning any design awards. Goal number 1 – make this shower larger and more luxurious. It is also right next to an exterior door that leads to the pool, so creating a bit of a privacy buffer from any stray children that might run through the bathroom would be ideal.

And here’s the view back to the entry of the bathroom where we started. Get a look at those seashell sinks people, because they’re going to be GONZO next week! And oh my word all I can see is black rimmed can lights.

And no 1980s bathroom renovation would be complete without removing a fur down. The water closet has some shorty upper cabinets (we in the biz call this a head-knocker cabinet). We’ll be taking that fur down out and putting in larger cabinets. Plus we have a few other tricks up our sleeves to make this room special.


By and large we are keeping the layout the same, but we are stealing some space from the Master Bedroom to get us that bigger shower we’re after! Small change, big impact. We’re also going to maximize that loooooong run of cabinets and do something about that garden tub.


Design plan – check. Now what is this baby going to LOOK LIKE!? Our clients are a young family who want this space to be as beautiful as it is functional. We’re going for that ahhhhhhh moment every morning when they open the door to their new bathroom. Their style is simple, classic, and a fresh mix of traditional and contemporary. Think whites, warm wheat/wood/brass, and blue gray colors. It’s about subtle details like pattern and texture rather than anything big or bold. Here are a few bathrooms we’re digging that have just that vibe.

Check back next week as we start throwing sledgehammers and share more of our design plan! And be sure to also check out the 20 Featured Designers and Guest Participants!


Jul 08, 2022

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Natasa Jones
Natasa Jones
May 06, 2021

How exciting! I am doing a bathroom too. :)

Natasa Jones
Natasa Jones
May 06, 2021
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