Tag Archives: shower

Our (Messy) Bathroom Renovation

A final “beauty shot” compliments of iPhone Panorama camera feature.

There’s nothing like a good old renovation to get you feeling frantic about your home. I posted earlier this spring about preparing for our bathroom renovation, and it’s well-well-well underway!

I mentioned before we decided not to DIY this product project because it was complicated and messy and would have taken us a significant amount of time in addition to the other projects we already have going on!

After we removed the toilet, lighting fixtures, medicine cabinet, and vanity we were ready for the team to come in. And come in they did.


We had a Home-Alone-2-style tube hanging out our guestroom window for all the debris. I can’t say I miss demo and the heavy mess you have to deal with.


In order to make this bathroom larger we reconfigured the hall closet, a guest bedroom closet, in addition to moving a wall between the bathroom and the guestroom.

bath7We clearly weren’t thinking ahead! Our bedroom was behind the sealed-off construction area!

Obviously there are 1 million elements going on in this process. As a quick overview, after they tore down the walls and ripped up the floorboard, we were left with our new open space. We moved the doorway to the bathroom over by a few inches to maximize the new square footage we were gaining. (Originally there was a radiator behind the door, which we removed.)


Recessed mirror frames and plumbing for new double sink.

Rough plumbing was put in, and a significant amount of work needed to be done to move the toilet, like cutting through the floor joists and reconfiguring plumbing. From an amateur’s perspective, you would think you can move things anywhere when you are gutting a room, but that simply just isn’t the case!  bath3 New plywood subfloor, toilet plumbing moved and framing for new window is added.

Next, the plywood floor was put down and they cut down the wood floor in the guestroom where the new wall will be. The new wall structure was put up. Then we had rough electrical added (outlets, light switches, canned lighting, and where we’d like to put the lights above our bathroom mirrors).

bath8 bath5New guest room closet and rough electrical is added.

Additionally, we moved the access panel to our attic from the main hallway into the new guest bedroom closet. This allowed us to reconfigure our cam lights in the hallway. It’s easy to see how renovations can quickly spread and grow – you’re doing one thing you might as well do them all at once!

bath6Building the new wall between the bathroom and guestroom.  bath9Yep. I showered in that. 

bath11The skylight will no longer be in the bathroom, but become a part of the attic. It’s old and once it starts leaking we don’t want to have to rip the new ceiling out. Plus it will no longer be centered in the bathroom and will provide natural light in the attic.

bath4Recessed shelves for the shower and you can see where the old window frame in the shower was.

Although it’s been messy and we’ve been without a shower (for far too long) I’m extremely excited for our new bathroom and it’s definitely been worth the wait.

Have you experienced a messy renovation? Does it scream “adventure!” or “disaster!” to you? I can’t decide which one it is for me!


Inspiration Board for a Cottage Bathroom

I posted last week about the small modifications we’ve made to our bathroom over the last several years to help us get by until we were ready to totally renovate this room – and I couldn’t be happier that the time is finally here!

Here’s what I am hoping this room ends up looking like:


As you can see, I am feeling drawn to whites, grays, and blues – light, airy spaces! It feels nice and clean, which is always a good feeling in a bathroom.

While we always make a big effort to do things as inexpensively as possible, we also have a strong interest in investing in pieces that last. Items in spaces like the kitchen or bathroom get a lot of traffic – and we have no desire to redo something in a several years because it couldn’t hold up!

For flooring: I have been drooling over this Carrara Hex Tile for a long while. I tried to convince my husband to put it in the powder room but couldn’t get him on board. He’s finally come around! I love the muted mix of grays and slightly vintage feel.

via For the Love of a House

For shower tile: While he came around on the floor tile, I’ve come around on the shower tile. I always pictured just a traditional white subway tile (like everyone else on the planet), but he’s convinced me to go with oversized matte-finish rectangular tiles. Bonus: less grout to get mildewy! (Still contemplating a penny tile accent wall.)

via Molly Frey Design

For lighting: We will add some recessed can lights, but over the vanity we both like the nautical touch of a galvanized steel vanity light.

via The Handmade Home

For the vanity: Since I would love to DIY either white beadboard or board and batten in this room, and the tile is all lighter shades of gray, we are both drawn to these dark gray vanities. We have a black vanity downstairs with white beadboard, and I like the contrast.

via Southern Living

For Storage: We have a few ideas when it comes to adding storage. We’ll add recessed tile shelves in the shower, and a cabinet above the toilet. I’d also love to recess the medicine cabinets to tie into the molding – similar to this photo.

via This Old House

For the sinks: While I’m not sure about the fixture (something stainless), we know we like rectangular undermount sinks like this one. I love my undermount kitchen sink. It makes the countertop feel more spacious and it’s easy to wipe down.

via Wayfair

For Personality: I’ve had this picture “pinned’ for ages and I’d love to make a sign just like it for our bathroom!

via Inspired Design

For a Whale of a Good time: We have the big old towel bars tiled into the wall. I can’t wait to get rid of them! I would love to have a long row of hooks for towels. I’m in love with these whale’s tail hooks!!

via Houzz

For artwork: If I see if every day while I’m brushing my teeth I want to adore it. Maybe something fresh and fun like an Alex Katz print or one of my local Rockport, MA favorites George Anderson. (OR maybe I’ll get some guts and paint my own!)

via George Anderson Gallery

As I mentioned, this is currently our only bathroom upstairs. It’s also pretty small. This isn’t uncommon with older homes, but we’d like to expand the size for our own use, as well as resale value. We plan to reconfigure two closets and move a wall between the bathroom and one of our guestrooms. This will give us a lot more space to work with.

Our “must” list when it comes to this renovation:

  • Get more square footage (thankfully we’ve figured out a way to make this happen)
  • Need to keep a tub (resale purposes)
  • More storage / countertop (we’d like to fit a double vanity)

Have you ever renovated a bathroom? Any recommendations?
What part of the bathroom would you spend the most time working on?

Updates on the Bathroom (Before it’s Gone for Good!)

I hear something ticking. And it’s the life of our upstairs bathroom.

Farewell old bathroom, won’t miss ya one bit.

Over the last almost-three years we’ve slowly made small and inexpensive modifications here and there, all the while not putting in too much effort, or cash-ola, because we knew this bathroom wouldn’t survive for long. You can see how we removed the glass shower doors and installed a vent system here (the venting will stay).

This is our only upstairs bathroom, and while we have grand plans harbored away in our brains for adding a second one, that could be a fleeting daydream so this one has to be done right!

We are currently shopping for and preparing to totally gut this room in the next week or two (and totally knock down a wall in our guestroom to change some things up – yikes!!), but before we get there, here’s where we’ve taken the space so far. (Spoiler: It’s’ not that exciting.)


We removed the original medicine cabinet because the mirror was literally peeling off. (Perhaps because there was ZERO VENTILATION in this bathroom for the past 70 years?) We replaced it with a small cabinet we found in the clearance section of Lowe’s for $30 and it’s served us well these past two years.

Surprisingly, a small mirror actually makes the room feel larger. Who knew?

shower3 shower2

We patched up the drywall from the mirror, but are having some cracking issues. The walls in our house are not a standard depth of drywall, so patching holes in the wall is always a complicated adventure- you can see where the wall has started to sink in to the left of the mirror.

We had planned to install floating wall shelves above the toilet for storage, and even bought some at IKEA about a year ago, but we just haven’t gotten around to it. Guess I will get to find a new use for those shelves!

The entire side panel of the original vanity was broken, so when we found a cheap vanity on sales at Lowe’s for $40 we knew it would be worth the money to use it for the next year. We will have to see if we can re-purpose the faucet somewhere else.

Window in the Shower? Not anymore!


When we were re-siding the house over the summer, we decided to knock out the window and side right over the hole. With good reason – the wood was rotted out around the window.

Who ever thought a window in a shower was a good idea?

Unfortunately this means our shower is looking even grimmer than usual. We bought a sheet of shower wall covering and glued/screwed it into the tile. This is obviously just a band-aid until it all goes buh-bye!shower1

The thing I am THE MOST EXCITED ABOUT is getting rid of is that bathtub – ack!!

It’s one of those old, honking jacuzzi tubs and the jets take up so much space in the tub. I’ve never turned them on (the idea gives me the creeps). I’m also not going to be sorry to see that tile go. No amount of bleach / Comet / Magic Eraser / elbow grease has helped us there.

I can’t wait to rip up this bathroom! What would you like to shop for the most – tile, light fixtures, or shower curtains?

Before-the-Big-Update Mini Bathroom Update

There are two kinds of DIY updates. The major ones and the stretch-out-the-life-of-what’s-already-there ones. This update is the latter.

I don’t believe I have shared this room yet: the upstairs bathroom.

Beautiful, isn’t she?

Older homes often come with scary tile. Upon our searching last spring, we were pleasantly surprised when we learned this bathroom tile was plain old white. Not rose, or pistachio, or robin’s egg blue like so many other “vintage” bathrooms. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it’s not really our style.

We were also happy to learn those decorative tiles were just decals. Gotta love the person who invented those. Fortunately they peeled off right away.

Eventually, we do plan on re-tiling this entire bathroom, as well as getting a new shower. It’s beyond it’s time and there is a huge crack across the whole floor and you can’t plug the tub. But, for now we have our project-hands full, so it stays!

Those glass door beauties were taken down immediately and replaced with a shower curtain we already owned.

I’m happy to say I did it all myself. : D I can do more than just paint stuff people!

We changed out the old showerhead/ tub faucet/hardware for some new pieces.

I also turbo-cleaned the tile and grout. Mix equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and water and scrubs the grout with a toothbrush. It made a world of difference. Or at least enough of a difference to make this bathroom tile last another six months!

By the way, who puts windows in a shower? Ours is made of the 1970s-style cubes of privacy glass. We’ve discussed frosting it or taking it out altogether when we put a new shower in. What are your thoughts?

The ceilings, like the hallway, was peeling, so we spackled to the high heavens, sanded it down and painted.

Then, like a lot of our projects, our bathroom sat in this state for several months while we were prioritizing other projects.

Then, recently, we decided we would delay our big plans for this bathroom until the fall. We wanted to do a mini-update to get this room to a happy medium.

It all started when we installed our recessed lighting in the kitchen and upstairs hallway. We also put one in our shower (a waterproof one) and we also installed a ceiling vent and heating unit. (Yes! Beat that New England winters.)

The walls started out as a basic tan. Then they became Valspar Astal Blue (leftover kitchen paint) and then Valspar Lucy Blue (a sample can of teal paint).

Then, on a whim, I was checking out the “Oops Section” of paint returns/rejects at Lowe’s and found a quart of Valspar Polished Silver for $5.

The price was right and, fortunately, so was the color! It ties in with the dark gray grout.

As for the other side of the room:

The side of the vanity is completely broken.

And the medicine cabinet mirror doors are peeling on all the edges. Do you see all the black marks along the bottom edge of the mirror? I didn’t realize mirrors could flake off. Apparently so!

Besides that, when you are standing in front of the sink, the doors meet right in the middle of your face. To do your make-up you have to awkwardly hover between the sink and the toliet. It makes zero sense.

By the way, why are medicine cabinets so expensive!? Due to the fact that this bathroom is itty-bitty, we certainly need the storage.

This side of the room is a work in progress. We bought a new light, vanity and faucet… and they are in the basement with a lot of things that are waiting to be installed. : )

I did paint a white border on the medicine cabinet mirrors because the peeling edges were driving me crazy! Can you see it?

Ultimately, we will need to rip out the vanity, medicine cabinet and tile and will re-drywall this entire wall.

Then we will install a narrower medicine cabinet and storage shelves. Similar to this bathroom from 320 Sycamore.


Besides the recessed light and vent, this mini-update only took about 6 hours and cost around $30 (for the paint and new shower hardware – all on clearance at Lowes).

Oh yes, and about the huge crack in the floor. We’ve come up with a highly creative $10 solution for that… 😀

What’s your favorite/least favorite part of your bathroom?

I’m looking forward to our new sink! And a new mirror!


Linking up to:

TDC Before and After