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The BATHROOM REMODEL (lots of pics!)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ok! Finally I am making a blog post on the bathroom remodel I recently did for my sister, as usual.. working on it by myself. This project helped me to lose the last part of my 8 lb streak :)

My sister has a 5x8 guest bathroom. It is in a house built in the late 1960's and had never been re-done. She replaced an outdated light fixture in the past year, but that's about it. It was bland... including the almond countertop that was yellowing with age. The linoleum had chips and stains and the medicine cabinet was small and the inside was rusty. The vanity cabinet was very low-end apartment grade. Here's what it looked like "before":

Actually the worst thing were the outdated shower handles. Some of the tile around them was cracked, all three of them leaked, plus it was just very unattractive:

The bottom two handles were some sort of odd shut-off. But they didn't really work fully. They used to just keep the shower shut-off completely, because it backs to their office and my sister couldn't stand hearing the drip drip drip all the time, plus it wasted water. My sister's master bathroom needs remodeling as well, so she doesn't use it, instead she would bypass this one and go all the way to the downstairs bathroom to take a shower.

Here's one of the handles with the trim off. Technically, I could have gone in and fixed the handles, but it was so ugly it would have felt like a waste. You can see the damage from where the water leaked. Also the person who did it before didn't leave a hole in the tile big enough to screw out parts... *sigh*.

So... I opened the wall down to the studs and pulled out the old plumbing and put in a new single handle controller, with separate controls for temperature and volume. I also moved the arm for the showerhead up from six feet to seven feet. This gives a better spray pattern, allows taller people to take a shower without feeling sprayed in the face, and also allowed me to add a crown moulding shelf.

There was no access panel, so instead of only taking out the tile only where I needed to work, I took out pretty much the entire tile wall, re-framed it where needed and replaced it with glass mosaic tile. This way it would have a larger overall visual effect and not look like just a "patch." My sister wanted to keep some of it neutral, so I kept a border around the glass tiles using the original white tiles so that it would still tie in with what was there. I used an epoxy grout in "bright white" to tie in with the same grout color of what was there before.

Here's the finished product for that part:

For the crown moulding shelf, I used hardwood crown moulding mitered on one side only (easier cleaning if need be), backed by 1x5 hemlock and topped by a 1x4, painted in white semi-gloss and sealed with silicone caulk. I used my router to rout out the sides/edges so it would more match the shelf itself. I also added a couple of hooks to hang bath sponges, etc.

The candles are battery and remote control operated. Nice for taking a bath... Most of the time we use the shelf to hold shampoo, conditioner etc. It is much easier when showering to see what you actually have and reach up and get it, versus having everything crammed down low in a small corner of the bathtub.

I painted the walls "White Sage," in semi-gloss, by Behr.

Here's a close up of the new handle:

Looks a lot better than the old ones. LOL.

Now, it's time to rip up more of the bathroom. I ripped out the floor down to the subfloor. The squares on the wall are the test colors we were considering. You can see the small old medicine cabinet, but I've removed the toilet, vanity and plumbing at this point.

Now with the medicine cabinet, I sort of blame myself... We were all at IKEA and my sister wanted a smaller vanity cabinet so that if someone was standing at it, someone else could walk behind them and so the vanity door being open would not be such an issue with the room door opening. IKEA had a sink cabinet that sat just 16 inches out from the wall, but she didn't like how the medicine cabinet stuck out with the surface mount. It made things feel smaller and felt like you'd hit your head when you bent over to wash your face. We saw a large medicine cabinet we liked, but it was surface mount...

So, I blurted out, "I can inset that into the wall." My Mom and sister looked at me, "You can?"

"Of course."

And so goes the story of how I had to rip out the wall out down to the studs, re-frame it, re-route the venting, and do a lot more drywall work...

Here's an image of the medicine cabinet: from the IKEA Hemnes collection.

And here it is mid-project:

The existing wiring for the light had so many code violations, I removed it and ran new wiring from the attic to a new box for it as well. I also removed the old shut-off valves from the pipes and put in new ones as they also leaked. Her pipes are all galvanized and if you've not worked with galvanized plumbing before, it can be a big pain. And rusty and gross too!

And here's the final product. My sister wanted to use her light fixture she purchased last year. So I had to optimize the height of that, with spacing for the large cabinet, with adding in a waterfall faucet that would not get in the way of opening the medicine cabinet door. Well, I did it!

The "Lillangen" vanity cabinet now adds room to "breathe" and I added a matching tile backsplash using the same tile mosaic as the shower to tie it all in. I replaced the switches and gfi outlet so they would be colored white to replace the outdated almond colored ones. The overhead fan is on a switchable push-button timer so that it automatically shuts off when anyone is done using the shower. The toilet paper roll is now an open-ended one, so it's a lot easier to replace the roll in a small space.

The medicine cabinet is trimmed with the same casing I used around the doors. I had to re-texture the new drywall on the walls after finishing it to an orange-peel finish, which can be hard to do using a spray, but I was successful at it and it blends seamlessly with the old drywall.

The sink is a nice, large almost farmhouse style. The faucet is "Pfister Jaida".

In order to have the medicine cabinet sit correctly in the corner without looking crammed, and to allow for an existing vent in the wall, there is about a two inch gap between the sink and the wall. Rather than have an open space where things could just fall down, I built in a small extra side countertop and shelves, which can actually be handy storage space:

Now, about the flooring... went with a new hot trend... a wood floor... but it is actually TILE :) I laid it down in a "ladder" pattern, which fit symmetrically in the space, and gave the floor an inlaid wood look that also reminded me of a sauna. I used an epoxy grout in medium brown. It is fantastic to have a "wood" floor on which you don't have to worry about spilling water:

The new brushed nickle heating vent matches the grid pattern of the mosaic tile:

A note on the baseboards and casing. Normally you would want to pick casing to match the rest of the house. However their existing trim in their house is very plain and narrow. I wanted a modern look that stood out a bit more. So, I used the same shape of their trim, but wider. That way it still stands out, but visually it blends with the rest of the house:

I also installed a new shower curtain rod. This one is the hotel-style that curves out for extra space, however, you can flip it in to conserve space when you are not using it. Also with it flipped in, things like wet swimsuits, etc can actually hang in the tub. Here is it flipped out:

In the final photo, you can see it flipped in, and the functional usage of the shelf:

And that's it! Hope you enjoyed it! The nice thing is, this is the bathroom I am using while staying here for now :) When I move to the downstairs bedroom after my Mom leaves, that may get remodeled too... LOL!

I'll post photos soon of the 90 feet or so of fence I built for them with custom gates.

What projects are you working on??

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    These lots of pictures are presenting the renovation you made very well and i have shared some pictures which look like this here:
    1763 days ago
    The remodeling of bathroom made it more beautiful than before. I loved your work. I will share it at:
    1768 days ago
    Beautifully done! Glad I get to see the photos of this one! You're pretty good at this game, eh?
    1855 days ago
  • JLITT62
    Would you like to come do ours? Pretty please?
    1857 days ago
    @Saddyspot, Lecates, yeah the sink/sink cabinet is definitely a taste thing, but being her bathroom I designed it to what she wanted. My sister loves it, I liked it, I don't know if it were my bathroom if I'd make the same choice, I like something with more storage, but it does definitely open up the space, which is nice if you are changing to take a shower or afterwards.
    1858 days ago
  • SHEILA1505
    Looks great, A - would you like to come and do mine! It's about the same size :) We have brick walls not stud and dry wall, though. I can help - pass the drill or saw, hold the bucket of tile adhesive, etc.

    1858 days ago
    Great job! I love your panel of tile in the shower, and the tie in just above the sink. I think you did a great job making the medicine cabinet look like it was supposed to be in the wall and I'm sure they will appreciate the storage. The hardware is great--I actually have that faucett in my master. The vanity isn't to my taste, but it's an improvement and I can appreciate the extra space it adds. Love the floor too :)
    1858 days ago
    WOW!!! Amazing! Looks fabulous! I love those mosaic tiles. We used them in the bathroom and the windowsills of our old condo and it makes such a huge impact. When we moved out, the condo literally rented in ONE DAY and I'm positive it was because of the accent tile! :D
    1858 days ago
  • GETTO140
    Wow..Great job on the remodelling! I would have never thought to put a shelf with hooks above the shower head. What a good idea. Be careful with this candles, though.. (I'm married to a volunteer fireman).
    1858 days ago
    LOL Lecates, I would probably put something there but it's not my bathroom! It is soooo hard working on someone else's remodel, mostly because they can take soooooo long to decide and also don't always take your suggestions on x,y and z. And sometimes change their mind and want to add things mid-way when it's not plausible anymore... Everyone has their own opinions but as it is not my house ... LOL

    I actually wanted to put a smal shelf there... right now there is nowhere to put your clean clothes when you want to take a shower. I at least added some hooks I hung on the towel rod, but I'm sure even that decision will take a long time if it evens gets made, I've given up and am using the hooks for now.
    1858 days ago
    Beautiful! Looks like a lot of hard work!
    1858 days ago
    Wow - terrific job! Do you hire out?
    1858 days ago
    Love how you tied in that new tile with the old tile and made it a focal point---the shelf idea is great and my sons would appreciate the higher shower head. Good idea to inset the medicine cabinet---we brought the one we had bought for our old place here and one of my son's friend took the old one out and had to cut the hole larger for us---but not as much work as you had to do---thankfully. Neat sink but not one I would have chosen---but it fits in with that room. Love the floor tiles---have seen them in the store and thought that was a neat idea. My one comment---the spot above the toilet cries out for something a picture or something---LOL And those new handles in the bathroom---never heard of one that controls flow, too---that is cool---and also being able to adjust that curtain rod really makes sense.
    1858 days ago
    One of the least expensive, yet immediately saves you money, home improvements is a hand held bidet sprayer. Ideal for the smaller bathroom as it takes up no additional space and requires no additional plumbing or electrical. The Bidet Sprayer will pay for itself many times over in toilet paper savings which makes this a very smart and green thing to do. Available at .
    1858 days ago
    Wow, you did a stellar job! Amazing skill set.
    1858 days ago
    You put a lot of thought and hard work into this. You really care for your sister. She must be extremely grateful to you. Congrats on a project well finished!

    1858 days ago
    That looks fantastic. Come on over!
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    1858 days ago
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    1858 days ago
    Beautiful! Love it!
    1858 days ago
    This is wonderful! I'm seriously blown away by your talent and knowledge of this hard hard haaaard undertaking. Fantastic eye for design and function!
    1858 days ago
    OMG! that's gorgeous! Fabulous work. Bet your sis is happy!

    Hugs, and blessings.
    1858 days ago
    Oh your bathroom looks "amazing" ...I love it!!!! Great Job!
    1858 days ago
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