Whitaker Main Bath: The Reveal

 By Clay Imports


by Kathryn Whitaker 

Oh, man. Y’all have been so patient.

This main bathroom has been a long time coming. 21 years, actually. We lived in apartments for several years after marrying, moved states, then built a house and then moved back to Texas into *the* cutest one-story house on the planet. It was a former spec home that the two of us had an absolute blast making our own. We worked so hard on that house. It’s where we really tested out all our DIY skills.

When Scott and I moved into this house nine years ago, it was a blank slate. No really. White walls, white carpet (ewww), white tile, white everything. We’ve slowly made our way through the house. The kids’ bathrooms, the laundry room, the family room, the office, the garage, the closets (oh yes, those too) – always putting our main bath dreams on the back burner. That happens when you have six kids.

Let’s take a quick peek at what was. Behold, the brass. The white carpet. The jetted tub. The sliding brass mirrors. The rope lights. #bejealous If you’re looking for a peek at the full before, the design inspiration or the design plan, just check those out.


This is the view when you walk from our main bedroom into the bath.

Before Mater Bathroom Reno

A look to the right.

Before Mater Bathroom Reno

And a look to the left. The only part of the bathroom that didn’t have carpet was the water closet, just behind that closed door. Totally forgot to take a before photo, but there was a sweet linoleum that I’m sure you’re all dying for me to link to on Amazon. {sarcasm font}

Before Mater Bathroom Reno


After Mater Bathroom Reno
After Mater Bathroom Reno
After Mater Bathroom Reno

It all started with barbecue in East Texas. We were on the hunt for some good ‘cue, found it, and on the way out of town we spotted the prettiest claw foot tub. The rest, is history. The hardest part about that tub was finding a fixture to fit that nearly 100-year-old beauty. Thank the good Lord for Katy and this spectacular place.

After Mater Bathroom Reno Bathtub
After Mater Bathroom Reno fixture

The Tile

My IG followers will remember my dress dilemma for the Celebrando event, hosted by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It was there we were introduced to Clay Imports (the owner was named the Male Entrepreneur of the Year) and Scott and I were so impressed we went to check out his place. Y’all. I can’t even describe the awesomeness of it. Even though there were thousands of choices, Scott and I both landed on this tile in less than 20 minutes. And, I must give a hat tip to Zac at Clay Imports. It was his suggestion to take the tile up the wall to really show off the bathtub. Brilliant.

After Mater Bathroom Reno Tiling up the wall.

Was it bold? You bet it was. But we decided to go big or go home. For the shower, I knew I wanted something light – preferably white – but I didn’t want it too perfect. I was aiming for some texture and when I found those glazed clay brick tiles I knew I had my winner.

Shower room with white glazed tiles

With my new tile crush in hand, I headed to the granite yard to look for some overs, pieces that were leftover from someone else’s big job. In about ten minutes I spotted my winner. For what it’s worth, that’s the only time I saw the granite and I only viewed it with one tile, never seeing it again until installation. Yep, that means I totally guessed on how it would look with the cabinets. Leap of faith on that one! I wish the photos did it justice.

Antique cooper sink

We had a tub, tile, and granite but were stumped for cabinets. Originally, we thought we’d go for a dark wood with some character. We *almost* landed on one until we walked around, putting the tile next to these blue/gray cabinets. We both looked at each other and said “YES.” And then prayed like crazy that we didn’t make the worst decision of the reno. Truly, above all the decisions we made, we fretted about those cabinets more than any. While we kept the location and length the same, we bumped them up a little higher and shortened my side, adding a tall vanity for storage. That ended up being a brilliant decision. Scott installed, leveled and trimmed the cabinets (didn’t he do an amazing job?).

I must also brag on The Home Depot and Thomasville. Our cabinet designer, Lorraine, was beyond stunning. She’s the top one in the nation and not only did she give us great advice, but she was such an advocate on our behalf speeding up the fabrication and delivery time with Thomasville (give her a raise HD!). We had two doors arrive warped, and we were missing some shelf brackets, but one phone call to Thomasville, and they shipped them out lickety-split, and they arrived within four days. Their customer service was just fantastic. We had such a positive experience.

After Mater Bathroom Reno

The white paint color on the walls almost sent us to the crazy house. We had to retexture/paint the opening that led to the closet since we were taking out that huge sliding door and adding a single barn door mirror. The first blue looked purple. Hideous! We finally got our hineys to Sherwin Williams and landed on “pure white.” Who knew that would be the hardest color to finalize?

Choosing the light fixtures didn’t take me long. I knew I wanted a combination of wood and iron, preferably in a sphere. The vanity lights, even though there were made by a different company needed to have some element to tie them together. I decided a seeded glass for both, and they really do look even better together than I imagined. Scott was kind enough to install a dimmer on my chandelier, so I can take baths with ambiance.

Master Bath  Light Fixture

As for the plumbing fixtures, we picked dark tones and went with Delta on the recommendation of our plumber. He said Moen or Delta is the way to go. And, I figure a guy that spends his days looking at plumbing fixtures would know. We were fortunate enough to get all the fixtures and some light fixtures through a contact of ours at wholesale, and we were enormously grateful. Sorry I don’t have those direct links! We did get the bathtub fixtures through a local company here in Austin (linked below). They could not have been kinder. I only had 20 minutes to place the order, and we were able to do it in 15. YES!

Master Bath Shower plumbing fixtures

The barn door mirror ended up being a whole ordeal and I would not recommend the guy we chose (the door company was fine, the guy we worked with notsomuch). However, in the end it all worked out, and we got the door we wanted and loved. The hardware on the door and the vanities were the final piece, and we love them! {This is the view of the barn door from inside our main closet.}

the view of the barn door from inside Kathryn's master closet

After Mater Bathroom Reno

Because we ditched the old curtains, we opted to install plantation shutters instead. These were Texas made (Lubbock) and assembled and painted here in Austin. I had no idea how much I would love their presence in this space!

After Mater Bathroom Reno Plantation Shutter

The jars and decorative items were a combination of Michael’s, Pottery Barn, Aaron Brothers and Christmas gifts. And that cute blue table behind the bathtub? A fun sale score at HomeGoods!

As I sat in the bathtub that first night, I looked at that wall above and decided we needed something to balance all that white. Enter, our gems from Flytographer {affiliate link}. It was our trip to Portugal, Italy, and Spain that helped us fall deeper in love with the tile in the first place, so it’s only fitting those photos now grace our walls.

After Mater Bathroom Reno

The final touch is the hand cut and stained shelves from Scott. As I type, they are awaiting their final coat of sealer in the garage, so I’ll update the post tomorrow when they’re installed. Mr. Whitaker sure is good to me, isn’t he? Oh, and I would be 100% remiss if I didn’t mention it was his idea to roll that gorgeous tile on into the shower floor. Our tile guys made it happen even though our original plan was to use the shower inset 1×1s. We are thrilled we changed our minds.

After Mater Bathroom Reno The tile rolled on into the shower floor

After Mater Bathroom Reno

Scott did all the trim work, the painting, the installation of the cabinets and hardware, all the pulls, the barn door, some electrical, and he even helped me deep clean it all. He is a keeper.

After Mater Bathroom Reno

Scott in the before renewal bathroom photo

You know me. What’s a space without a little organization? Every single bit of this organization came from the old bathroom, I just updated the labels to match the colors of the new space. Also? I am crazy in love with all the new-found space I have. I can finally see all the things. It’s glorious.

Bathroom pantry detail

Bathroom closet detail
Bathroom closet detail

We learned so much through this renovation, namely, how grateful we are for one another. This is such a sanctuary for us and I still tear up when I walk in the space. I learned how incredibly important it is to hire good subcontractors (we hired out the plumbing, wall retexturing, electricity and the tile installation). They were absolute gold. I must brag, big time, on our painter, plumber, electrician, glass shower door and tile installer. Y’all. I couldn’t have chosen better subs than the five of them. If you live in Austin and need recs, holler! Scott says I was a pretty fierce project manager, too. Thanks, Dad, for teaching me well.

copper towel hangers

And that’s a wrap. If there’s anything I didn’t answer, post it in the comments! And, enjoy the view!

Vendors / Products

Clawfoot Tub: Hayley’s Antiques in Jefferson City, TX
Clawfoot Tub fixture: Moore Supply Company
Cement Tile: Clay Imports
Glazed Thin Brick Tile: Clay Imports
Cabinets: The Home Depot (Blakely in Baltic Bay)
Granite: Precision Granite in Austin
Paint: Pure White by Sherwin Williams
Vanity Light Fixtures and Mirrors: Wayfair
Vanity Hardware: Restoration Hardware (Ephram)
Barn Door Hardware: Rustica Hardware (Century)
Plantation Shutters: Austin Window Fashions
Glass Shower Door: Anchor-Ventana
Water Closet Iron Shelf Brackets: SolForge