Main bathroom reveal

Our last major project on the house is done! Well, the last project on round 1 of home remodeling. We could really use some better kitchen cabinets and central heat, but we knew we probably wouldn’t be able to get to those things for a while. So we set aside enough money to do a few major projects, and now they are ALL DONE. Hallelujah!

The bathroom was a problem for a lot of reasons. First, it was butt ugly. After bringing the rest of the house out of the ’80s (see mom’s bathroom remodel), the dated bathroom just looked awful.

The linoleum was ugly and stained. It just had to go. It also seemed like the floor was uneven, because water from the faux marble sink was always dripping onto the floor.


Ughhh.

The previous owners had replaced the mirror cabinet and light fixture. However, they picked new ones that are the opposite of what we would have picked. The 3-mirror cabinet was always sticking out because the shelves were too tiny to hold much of anything. We had to keep way too many things on the sink because they just didn’t fit anywhere else. And really, when your bathroom is that ugly, you don’t fret too much about clutter.

The shower was not actually that bad. I sort of enjoyed that the faux marble walls didn’t have grout to get all moldy. But when we took off the shower doors (I can’t stand shower doors!), it left some marks and scrapes on the walls and tub. The fixtures were also pretty old and grimy, and the drain plug didn’t work correctly.


The tub edge.

The other super weird thing was the light switch situation. There were two switches at different heights for the light and fan. The fan switch was in the place that seemed more appropriate for the light switch. So we really wanted to get them re-wired so that they were on a double switch in a place that made sense. The fan was also super loud.

Then there was the toilet that used about 6 gallons per flush. The one we put in mom’s bathroom uses .8 gallons per flush. So yeah, we wanted something a leetle more efficient. (With the drought, something like that really does make a huge difference).

At first I thought we could get away with just tearing out the linoleum and the toilet, sink cabinet and mirror, and then maybe refinishing the tub. But eventually it made more sense to tear all of it out and start from scratch. There were a couple of imperfections in the drywall that made us concerned for what was underneath. So, better safe than sorry.

Side note: Do you watch “Renovation Realities”? We love that show. And what you learn from watching it is that something, or a few somethings, will always go wrong and cost you extra money and time. Sigh.

So, when Mike tore out the drywall, he did find some issues. The subfloor had some damage and there was a good-sized hole underneath. So, new subfloor.


Check out how the wood connects on the right. Face palm. 

Then there was a stud that had been cut and repaired in a completely unsafe way. When he went to replace it, Mike cut a hole in the water pipe nearby, so we had to pay a plumber to fix that. While she was there, we also had her make sure all the sink pipes would work when went to put that in.

Another issue: there was no insulation in any of the walls. So while we had the walls off we put some in the outside wall.

And then when he went to install the shower fixture, Mike realized that the pipes there were not going to match up. So, we had to call another plumber to bring that up to date.


New pipes!

After ALL that was taken care of, we were able to put the walls back up. Mike enlisted a friend for help since I am not in any kind of shape to do drywall. Another side note: why is it purple?


Without a light, the bathroom was dark and scary for a while.

Once the walls were up, we could tackle the tile. As Mike learned from the first bathroom, tile is not actually that hard as DIY projects go. The worst part is the prep — cutting all the tiles or tile sheets to fit around corners and such. We did have to buy a tile saw, but that wasn’t too expensive. Mike laid all the tiles for the floor and shower and then I came in and did the grout.


We decided to put subway tiles all the way to the top of the shower.  So much better!

It was a lot of work for a super pregnant lady, but I think it turned out great.

I also painted the walls, the same shade of blue/gray that we used in mom’s bathroom. We just wanted everything to look clean and simple. Mike had to tackle the very smelly job of refinishing the tub since it would not be good for me to inhale epoxy. He got a respirator and it was really only bad for one day.

Once everything was dry and the grout sealed, we could put the bathroom back together.

We used the Hemnes furniture from IKEA for the cabinet and mirror. The mirror cabinet is huge, but it actually holds everything with room to spare.

The shallow sink also allows for more storage underneath. And Harper’s little stool fits underneath the sink, which is nice because the bathroom is pretty small.

The fan we put in the ceiling is so cool. It’s about as silent as a Prius and it comes on automatically when it detects humidity. The light fixture has turned out to be a little small for the room, but that would be easy to replace if we wanted to. IKEA makes a 5-light version.

The toilet has worked great so far. On a rare occasion you might have to flush twice, but even if you do, you’re still only using 1.6 gallons. Oh, and Mike got a super fancy toilet seat that has a slow-close feature and a built-in child seat. So, no more Elmo potty ring taking up space. 

We decided to kind of hide the towel bars behind the door. With four of us using the bathroom, it can look pretty messy, but this tidies it up.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to walk past the bathroom and see it looking so good. It finally matches the rest of the house! And it was the one thing we really wanted to finish so that we could concentrate on what really matters — our new kiddo!

*I finally had a chance to go over all our receipts and figure out the cost for this project. It came out to about $3,850. The IKEA furniture and light fixture came to about $600. We had to pay the plumbers $765. The toilet and fancy seat were about $250. Each set of tile was around $400. So the rest was for drywall, mud, paint, grout, various supplies and some new tools we had to buy. At least with the tools we can use them again for future projects. The bathroom is fairly small, but I think for a complete remodel (down to the studs and subfloor), we did really well. And with the way houses have been selling in this neighborhood, I’m sure we’ll see a return on our investment.