Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bathroom Renovation - Before & After ... Form & Function













I could stop there - the before and after photos tell quite a story! Looking back, I'm not sure why we lived with the old bathroom for as long as we did. It was disgusting, and I can't believe we actually thought we were getting clean in there!

Or I could entertain you with the stories and play-by-play of all of the events and drama that surrounded this project - its expanding scope, the dirty demolition, the sledge hammer that went through the wall, the hacked up floor joists that needed total reinforcement, the oddly sloping floors, ceiling, and plumbing, the fired tile guy, the suddenly-soured relationship with the contractor, the leaky ceiling, the long working weekends, the sleepness nights, the stress... Trust me - there are so many stories to tell that it would take as long as the renovation itself (two months)!

But instead I'll focus on the positive - it's DONE! Everything looks and works great, and we love our design and the functionality of every detail we chose! I'll highlight our favorite features, detail our decisions, and explain why this tiny little space works for us...

Slate Tile
This is an incredibly affordable option at Lowe's. Stock tile, right off the shelf at less than $2 a square foot. We love it's natural look and the dark color and uneven texture hide a lot. Plus, there's radiant heat under there - a programmable thermostat should make it an inviting place to wake up to this winter!

White Subway Tile
Again, another affordable option at Lowe's and Home Depot. We had to get a little creative with the bullnose pieces, and it required a special order, but all of that tile cost us less than $350! And we tiled every wall, floor to ceiling! We did this because we were tired of dealing with the peeling paint and mold, even though our new bathroom fan/light should solve that problem. But now cleaning is a breeze - all of the walls can simply be wiped down.

Cedar Planking Ceiling
The ceiling was covered with a tongue-and-groove planking that we stained with Minwax Golden Oak (two coats) and Sikkens (two coats), an outdoor, waterproofing stain. This should give it a durable finish that will resist and moisture issues. Plus we love the spa-like feel that it lends to the bathroom.

Deep Soaker Tub
Our old tub was the original cast iron tub. It was scratched and chipped, and while it is possible to recoat them, we were advised that it never lasts very long. Plus, we wanted to remove the plastic bath surround from the walls, and figured if we were going to go that far, we might as well take it down to the studs, ensure that there were no moisture issues, and start from scratch. And if we were going to start from scratch, than we were going to do things right - a 22" deep soaker tub! The drop-in style tub is framed in, and the front edge provides a great place to sit.

Price Pfister Ashfield Tub/Shower Kit
I fell in love with the country pump style and the rustic pewter color of this bath collection a long time ago. And then one day I stumbled upon it on clearance and it was gone. But it's always worth asking, and the Lowe's employee offered me the store model off the wall for $25 (originally about $200)! It was especially worth it when I found out that a few of the defective parts could be replaced under warranty for free!

IKEA Lillangen Vanity & Sink and Price Pfister Ashfield Faucet
Of course one of my favorite home stores would carry a vanity just perfect for our space! Our bathroom is small, and square footage is at a premium. So when we found a vanity just 16" in depth, we were thrilled - this thing doesn't protrude into the doorway like the old one did. Plus it's 36" tall and up on legs, which allows you to belly right up to it without stubbing your toes or having to hunch over. The clean lines, and clutter-discouraging trough design fit perfectly with the modern, yet natural and rustic country style that we were going for.

You would think that those wooden boxes were made to fit inside those nooks, but they were actually in the garden section at IKEA. We stained them so they would resist water and moisture, and they allow us to separate all of our bathroom necessities by function. Need to brush your teeth - everything you need is in a devoted box! Contact lenses - that's another box! And there are twelve of them!

Kohler Reve Toilet
Ok, so go ahead and make the square butt remark! While we thought this toilet was really cool-looking, we actually splurged on it for different reasons. Its design is called a concealed trap - you don't see all the drain piping on the side of the toilet, or those silly screws that stick up. Which means there's no place for dust and hair to gather, and wiping down the smooth sides is a breeze. We're all about making cleaning easier! It is also flush (pun intended) with the wall, eliminating those oh-so-fun behind-the-toilet cleaning adventures! Plus it's a dual flush - yup, number one and number two buttons! (In case you were wondering, the buttons aren't labeled, one is just politely larger than the other)! It uses just .9 gallons for a small flush and 1.6 gallons for a large flush, much less than your average 3 or more gallon flush on old standard toilets. So this thing is estimated to save us $100 a year! And it hasn't clogged yet (knock on wood)!
Storage and Harbor Breeze Bath Fan/Light
Much of our storage is open, which discourages clutter, and we make sure everything has its place. The towel bars and wall shelf are from IKEA, stained in Sikkens for waterproofness. The mirror is also from IKEA and has a small ledge to perch things on while getting ready in the morning.
We were fortunate enough to work with a contractor willing to make any of my crazy ideas work. So he built the open shelves in the corner out of red oak to my specifications. He also built us a bench under the shelves. It's tiled on the front for a continuous look with the tub, but it has a wood lid that lifts up to reveal a wood-lined box for toilet paper and paper towel storage, and plumbing access should we ever need to get under there.
Finally, instead of having shelves that protrude into the shower, I wanted nooks recessed into the shower wall. Pre-fab boxes were anchored into the new drywall and studs and then tiled around for a clean look.
Also shown in the final picture is a new bath fan/light. It adds a great amount of light behind the shower curtain, but also sucks out all the moisture too! It's nice and quiet, and the bathroom doesn't steam up at all - no more drippy walls and mildew, just nice dry, clean walls and mirror!
Once we started the project, we quickly realized that our old bathroom was a ticking time bomb. It's a wonder that our old cast iron tub didn't fall into our dining room - once we realized how bad the supporting floor joists were, we're glad they're fixed now! And the mildew on the walls was a health hazard for our growing family - we removed every last bit of moldy plaster walls. While asthetics was important too, every decision we made regarding this tiny little bathroom was well thought out. We think we've created a space with the perfect balance of form and function!


Seth said...

Just you wait till we steal your ideas for our place next summer. We've had our eye out for that sink in "as-is" for months! The wood is awesome.

Astros-toilet might be an acquitted taste...

amber said...

wow, what a transformation! I'm inspired to renovate something (when we own a house that is)! I agree the wood makes it very spa-like. The storage spaces in the vanity seem really helpful. Seems like bathrooms are never designed with storage as an important factor. Great idea for the toliet. Before I read your comments I did wonder about the interesting shape! But yeah definately more functional now. Thanks for sharing this and giving me ideas!

Fab Girl said...

Hi Erin, I knew that you guys were handy and doing great things with your home. These look great. Thank you for sharing.

Jamie said...

Looks beautiful. Glad to see pics after hearing so much about it!!

Wendy Martin said...

Wow!!! So totally impressed!!!!!

bathroom renovation Los Angeles said...

I have seen the deference of before and after bathroom renovation, great change.

acleve said...

Beautiful space. Hard to believe you could have had a sour experience with your carpenter. It looks like he did an amazing job in making your vision a reality! Great attention to detail!