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Indoor/ Outdoor Shower Renovation- How we turned an unused side yard into a spa bathroom

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Earlier this year, we finally finished renovating both of our bathrooms. I am really happy with the result, and we are enjoying them very much! I want to share a little more of the design process and some of our saves and splurges and a couple mistakes I made along the way!

Let's start with the before pics:

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We had to keep the footprint the same, but I really didn't want to keep the shower in this closet-like niche, I wanted a much larger shower, so we decided to switch the position of the toilet (behind that adorable privacy wall) and the shower. We only had one issue - the window. It was going to be at a bit of an awkward place if we were making that end of the bathroom one large shower, so I got this idea (I think actually pinterest got the idea and sold me on it) to put a large door there and make it an indoor outdoor shower. The outdoor shower would expand into an unused area of our side yard that was just dirt and rocks but is surrounded by bamboo so it is pretty private and set apart from the main yard.

The only problem was finding a door that would work for an indoor/outdoor shower, and could be locked for security because it would be accessible via our side-yard. I had to do a lot of calling around and pretty quickly figured out this was a custom job. So we ended up ordering a custom shower exterior door from Rhino Steel Doors- a local company to San Diego that does high end custom projects. This door was our major splurge in the bathroom, along with the shower tile (Skylight zellige from Zia Tile.) Everything else was more of a budget item. We justified the splurge by reasoning that the door allowed us to make a little courtyard of the side yard and basically expanded the feel of our bathroom without removing any exterior walls or changing the footprint of the bathroom itself, which would have been way more expensive than a door.

For the outdoor shower courtyard, we added a stucco wall with an opening (for access from the yard) a small composite deck, and below the deck a concrete basin and drain. All of this was a bit more extravagant than I usually go for, but since you shower every day (ok, most days!) this is a splurge that gets use. In San Diego we go to the beach and pool a lot, so an outdoor shower is great for coming home after the beach to rinse off, and for bathing our mini-golden doodle.

One of the best changes is that our bathroom and bedroom is much more bright and light with the large door and the light reflecting off of the white stucco wall, it is really amazing how much more natural light we have in this area of the house.

This is what this area looked like before when they were cutting the space for the door:

I did make one mistake when designing this space, and luckily it wasn't a big permanent mistake. I wasn't picturing clearly the spacing of the vanity sinks, mirror medicine cabinets, and lighting and so it is a bit off.

As you can see, the medicine cabinet mirrors are not lined up over the sink. Probably at some point I will replace these mirrors and do one long mirror. I do love these mirrors from Amazon that solve the ugly medicine cabinet storage problem. You can purchase the mirrors HERE. When we went with a console, not a true vanity, we lost drawer space for storage. The vanity is a burl wood console from Bed Bath and Beyond. We added a countertop and the vessel sinks from Wayfair. The backsplash is tile from Floor and Decor. All these items were more or less budget conscious, but I think the overall look is more custom and high end with the console and vessel sinks. The faucets are from Amazon and you can purchase them HERE. Since posting this blog we have replaced these medicine cabinets with one long mirror with gold edging, and I like how it looks much better. I love these lights that are simple and soft and you can purchase them HERE.

I am really happy with how this bathroom turned out, and now it feels much more spacious and open more like a spa like retreat. I am really glad we splurged on the door and the outdoor shower, even though it was a risk, I feel like it was worth it!

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