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bathroom reno

September 1, 2010

In May 2009, we moved into our current home.  The first project that we tackled was our bathroom.  At roughly 5′ x 8′, our bathroom is not big.  Yet the previous owners had installed large cabinetry, opaque shower doors, and an oblong dusty pink toilet.  Furthermore, a plastic shower surround was installed over old tile, the upper portions of the wall were covered in faded and dated floral wallpaper, and a dusty pink carpet was glued to the walls.  YES.  CARPET on the WALLS.  Weird, right?  Not to mention, it’s a design choice that doesn’t necessarily scream hygienic or stylish.

So we gutted it.  In just a few hours, Jason and I had everything removed from the bathroom. We salvaged what we could and donated it to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Next, we called in back up.  We found a carpenter that would work for us on an hourly basis.  I knew the types of tile and bathroom fixtures that I wanted to install, and Jason and I wanted to be able to cut costs and satisfy our DIY urges by completing a lot of the work ourselves.  Yet, we had a tight timeline and no knowledge of how to install bathroom fixtures or tile.  In the end, I was able to watch and learn from the carpenter, and now I should be able to tackle other tiling projects in our house.

We chose a standard white cast-iron tub, and were surprised to find that we could buy it at the Home Depot and have it delivered the following day (the local plumbing store house told us it would be 3-4 weeks).  Our carpenter, assisted by a plumber and two high school football players carried the 300-lb tub up the stairs.  It was an event that I was happy to miss out on.

Our plumber also raised the height of the shower head (it originally came out of the wall at a height of 5’5″).  We also had to hire an electrician to raise the height of the electrical box that supported the vanity lights (it also was located only about 5’5″ height) and to install a new fan, a light switch for the vanity lights (they were previously turned on/off by a pull cord), and a few electrical outlets (am still trying to figure out how previous owners dried their hair without electrical outlets in the bathroom).

We chose to use black and white hexagonal tiles on the floor, and white subway tiles with black trim on the walls.  We absolutely love the classic look of hex + subway tiles, and using white on the floor and walls makes the bathroom feel much bigger.  We opted for dark grey grout to make the tiles really pop.

We chose a wall-mounted sink, standard toilet, light gray paint, and open shelves to finish out the room.  The room is more open now and feels much bigger!

An antique toolbox to hold/hide our toiletries.  Three hooks attach to the bottom shelf and our hand towels hang from them.  Our bath towels are rolled and stacked on the top shelf, as well as a plant and three glass laboratory jars holding cotton swabs, cotton pads, and bath salts.  Toilet paper is stacked inside an oversized glass vase.

We chose a rain shower head and it’s amazing.  Our shower fixtures came from the plumbing store house, but I was thrilled to find matching sink fixtures on ebay for 1/3 retail.  Thank you, ebay!

We’re so happy with the final product!  No more crazy carpet on the walls and the dusty pink has vanished!  Woohoo!

My only regrets about the project are:

1.  We did not seal the white unglazed ceramic hex tiles before using the dark grout.  This resulted in a slight discoloration of some of the tiles.  It doesn’t look bad – but the tiles are not as white as they originally were.  They have a slight gray haze to them, but at least it’s relatively uniform across all of the tiles.

2.  We should have purchased a silver/chrome pipes for under the sink.  I naively assumed that the plumber would install silver/chrome pipes, but when he was finished and I went to check it out, there was the not-so-attractive plastic piping seen in the pictures above.  I spray painted the white pvc silver, which, in the end, looks better than the white pvc.  But it could be prettier.

**Update: After these pictures were taken, we hung a white sheet-turned-shower-curtain from a rod hung high over the tub.  Check it out here.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2010 3:52 pm

    Fabulous. And the sheet shower curtain looks remarkably good, too!! Great job. Loving the use of laboratory jars as holders of things. For disquising your pipes, since you sew, you could make a trap cover like this: – or not….
    Question – I’m looking for a simple glass shelf like the one you have above your sink. Where did you find yours?


    • September 23, 2010 4:08 pm

      Thanks for the sweet comment, Jen! We picked up the shelf at ikea, but I might have also seen them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, too.

  2. September 25, 2010 6:12 pm

    Jen, I’m not exaggerating when I say that this is the most beautiful bathroom I’ve ever seen. Gorgeous. I’ve read and re-read this post again and again.

    I’ve been considering dark grey grout in the bathroom as well, and I think this put me over the edge. And, we now had to rip out the floors, so hexagon tiles will be the new choice. Thanks for the tip about the sealing BEFORE grouting.

    I hope you don’t mind that I’m using your bathroom as the complete inspiration. A few differences of course, but I’m just so inspired.

  3. Caroline permalink
    December 13, 2010 12:36 pm

    Love your blog! I also love the chrome shelves you have used in this bathroom and also in your kitchen. Where did you find them and how long are they?

    • December 13, 2010 7:25 pm

      Thanks Caroline!

      The chrome shelves are Ikea – I think they’re about 36″ long. (I kind of wish the ones in the bathroom were a tiny bit shorter!). Hope this is helpful!

  4. December 15, 2010 11:50 am

    LOVE IT!!! Beautiful bathroom. Enjoy.


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