Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A European Inspired Bathroom: Guest Post

I've mentioned my mom, Cathy, on the blog several times. She's an accomplished DIYer, expert, professional- you get the point, she's good. She helped us install overhead lights, tile our backsplash, install our kitchen counter, and answer many frantic phone calls. She recently renovated the bathroom in my childhood home. Her post has several people peppered throughout (Steve, Rex, Tim, and me), but she was the only constant throughout the project, meaning she did most of it herself.

Steve is an eager demolition guy, so you can always count on him to help you rip out a bathroom. As I've mentioned before, Rex is a capable handyman with skills in a variety of areas. My mom and I have both called upon him for electrical duty. Then there's Tim and I... as you know from reading this blog we're novice DIYers, but we get an A for effort because we sure do try! That's the motto in The White House. Now for the actual post:

As some of you may know or not know, I am Chanelle's Mom, Cathy. Steve is her stepdad and we have been together for over a lifetime now. We moved into our house in 1991 when Chanelle (aka "The General") was 3 years old. I have often over the years threatened to demolish the second bathroom.

Well, almost twenty years later... I did.

I took a week off for vacation and knew that if I didn't have a physical labor job to do I would just sit around, be lazy, and think about all the work that would be at my desk when I returned, so no time to waste.

We have well water where we live and the rust stains just seemed to appear faster than I could clean them. The bathroom was certainly outdated. Ewe!!! Steve thought there was nothing wrong with it... hum.

and did I say Ewe Gross!!! Sorry didn't take a photo before we ripped some of it out...

So day one of the renovation started with gutting, ripping, and tearing... with many complaints from Steve, but he also helped with the rip and tear. 

I never thought we were going to get the tub out, it was a one piece fiberglass mess... so I used my saw to cut the stupid thing in half and out you go!

Oh did I mention ewe... well water with horrible rust stains. Gross!
We ripped the entire bathroom down to the studs leaving only the ceiling drywall intact. The ceiling was in amazing shape so no need to rip it out. Steve had to return to work on Monday so he was more than happy to leave the rest to me.

Day three:  Then came the shopping.  I set out to install a jacuzzi tub and found an incredible deal at Lowe's for $399 plus delivery.  Between Lowe's and Menards I found all the material I needed at incredible prices.  With such an old house I was lucky to find a jacuzzi tub to fit the tight space I had and I thought I may have to settle for a smaller, non-jacuzzi tub. 

My brother stopped by to help install the tub and run the new electric line for the tub... oh I cant wait to use it... Once the tub was installed it seemed all downhill from there. All new plumbing was run and tested, cement board was installed on the walls and floors with some small exceptions, and one minor injury. A part of the cement board snapped the wrong way and I thought I might have broken my nose (not sure I didn't), but what good is it to do physical labor with no bumps to show how hard you worked? haha My brother and I built the frame for the tub and set it in place.

The idea was to renovate a small bathroom in one week; ok so it took a little longer.

Steve was asking everyday when I was getting the toilet installed. He felt like it was inconvenient to use the other bathroom I guess.


I finally set the toilet so Steve would stop complaining about no toilet in the bathroom yet. Please note no tile yet... I purchased a low profile one piece toilet. What a breeze to install after I fixed the rotting floor board. Oh did I mention the bathroom was ewe before....

Now back to tiling the walls...


Tim and Chanelle, the lucky victims, offered to come home and help and heck yeah I took them up on it.

Tim making a precision cut for me.

Chanelle hard at work on the floor tile and then the wall tile.

Once we were up half the wall I wanted to break up the floor to ceiling tile by installing a border in between.  Tim made a lot of cuts that day... poor guy must have felt abused by now.  After all of the cutting and drying overnight we began tiling again up the rest of the wall.

The toilet was removed... I thought Steve was going to faint... tile placed under it and grout was down.  

We did put up new drywall in a small area of the bathroom and I got Steve to paint... wow

Crown molding was installed, new shower head on, new door, heater, light fixtures and sink fixtures and the bathroom is finished... one small item yet to go the darn tub cap.  I will find one I like yet.

All this took about two weeks and $3,500. Not too shabby...

With that kind of price, you'd think she's a cheapskate like me! Sadly no, she does not venture into the land of coupon clipping and bargain hunting, but at least I get her Sunday coupons. The small injury that she mentioned wasn't really small at all. I don't have any pictures, but it was a nasty gash on her nose.

She's still in search of a tub cap. That's a piece of tile that's curved on the corner to lay over the side of the tub. Because this is a jacuzzi tub, the side of the tub is tiled too. She's waiting to install a piece of tub cap to wrap from the top of the tub to the side. She's still on the hunt for this elusive tub cap to match the color and style of the new tile. It's like hunting for truffles!

As you can see, she opted for a European style bathroom (no, not a bidet, but my coworker Kim says floor to ceiling tile is a common feature among European bathrooms). Perhaps their month-long adventure to Europe inspired this space... Floor to ceiling tile is great for creating a cohesive look, maintaining moisture control, and cleaning. I love the natural look of the tile, the smaller toilet and vanity, and high shower curtain. This hotel-like bathroom is gorgeous and tranquil. What a great room!

This shows that you shouldn't be afraid to tackle large DIY projects like a bathroom renovation. It certainly took skill, but novice tilers like Tim & I were able to help. Even hiring out the plumbing and electrical, but DIYing the rest is a great option for cost savings. The national average cost for an upscale bathroom remodel is roughly $26,052. Gulp. This total renovation was only $3500!? That's a cost savings of around $22K.

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