Monday, January 21, 2013

Are we there yet?

In our usual fashion, we kind of did things out of order. When we have family in town helping with projects, we try to maximize our time. While my mom, Rex, and Tim worked on the bathroom, Steve and I assembled the vanity.

We purchased this vanity from Ikea. Tim and I searched high and low for a vanity that had 2 sinks and could fit in our bathroom. We only had 42 inches of clearance from the wall to the edge of the toilet. This made for a tight fit considering the average double sink vanity is 60 inches. A small one comes in at 48 inches. Our Ikea vanity? Just 39 inches wide. Thank you efficient Swedish design! The vanity, medicine cabinet/mirrors, and two side shelving units (pictured below) cost less than $500. Less expensive than a custom vanity but more expensive than your builder basic single sink vanity.

In typical Ikea fashion, there were 9,347 pieces to assemble. Steve and I are pretty diligent rule followers, so this wasn't a difficult task for us. We meticulously followed the instructions and pieced it together.

When we assembled this, we knew we were ready for it so we kept it in our green room aka project room. This room is where all of the bathroom supplies lived. When we needed to hide the chaos, we shut the door to the green room and the bathroom. Out of sight, out of mind.

Little did we know, we wouldn't actually have time to install the vanity until late April. Tim and I were pushing to finish the bathroom reno before our annual Memorial Day party. A bathroom reno isn't one of those things you can work on for a few minutes. If you embark on a task, you need to be able to devote sufficient time to finish it. You can't stop in the middle of grouting or plumbing. It just doesn't work. We did work on these tasks piecemeal though.

Fast forward to April and we're setting the vanity in the bathroom. Just place it, level it, and screw it into the studs.

Then came the hard part. Tim and I sat on the floor for a few hours hooking up this complicated plumbing scenario. Here he is smiling with the complex plumbing handiwork!

We were putting in a double sink where only one previously existed. Additionally, the Ikea vanity packed a mighty punch in terms of storage space, so the plumbing was crammed into a mere 3 inches at the back of the cabinet. It had to fit there to make room for the drawers.

Next step: install the faucets.

We purchased these pour or drip style faucets from Menards. They were on sale for $100 each (hey, fixtures aren't cheap, but they sure do make a "wow" statement).  They had the sleek look that we were going for and they were brushed nickel which we have elsewhere in the house (doorknobs, kitchen pulls, etc.). We also needed a faucet that utilized a single hole for plumbing (vs. the kind that fit in three holes in the sink). When people visit our home or see our bathroom for the first time, they are always amazed by the drip function of the faucets. Fancy.

I mentioned before that we updated this light fixture once. We initially picked this light fixture (though it had all 3 covers in tact). These were pretty cheap (to the tune of $25 I think). After we started the bathroom renovation I had second thoughts. I just didn't think this light fixture fit the look of the bathroom. I searched the home improvement stores, but I didn't really see anything else I liked either.

Then, I had the idea to just replace the covers. Hmm... I purchased two options from Home Depot. The left cover is clear glass with little bubbles in it. It's hard to see in this dark photo taken late at night. I didn't like the exposed look of the hardware/portion where the bulb screws in. I thought the glass would match the modern look of our bathroom, but it did not.

We opted for the middle option. It had brown tones to match the rest of the bathroom but had a modern twist. It also covered the bulb completely which I preferred. It was modern and earth toned, exactly like our bathroom.

Here's the whole medicine cabinet assembled. You can see the mirrors which have storage behind. There's also two side shelving units for exposed storage.

It was about this time that Tim and I began to wonder if we were ever going to finish this bathroom renovation. Most of the major pieces were in so we felt so close, yet so far away. It left us with that stuck in the car feeling, "Are we there yet?"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A World of Difference

Tile and Grout. Best buds. They make a world of difference.

Here you can see the beginning tile work in the tub surround. We didn't want to go more than 3 high until the lower tiles had time to try. We were using tile spacers, but we worried the tiles might sag, plus it was getting late (check out the pitch black view in the window).

We started working on the floor tiles while we waited for the tub surround to dry. My mom and Tim had to carefully work their way out of the room, leaving sufficient walking and work spaces for the multiple people in the room since you can't walk on wet tiles. At this point, I think they called it a night.

Cue the magic of the internet and 24 hours later, the bulk of the tiling was done. They finished the remainder of the tub surround including framing the window with bullnose trim tile and finished tiling the floor (placing materials on the floor tiles that were dry).

Up to this point, I've done no work in this bathroom. Tim did the demo and cleaning, Rex installed the drywall and set the tub with my mom, Steve patched holes, and my mom and Tim tiled. Why? Let me tell you...

Our first bathroom renovation took place in January. At that time, I was 3 months pregnant so Tim did all of the work himself. It was a small bathroom, so there wasn't much room for a second person to help anyway. I of course worked hard to avoid all of the dust, debris, and fumes in the process. You feel like a pretty helpless DIYer when you can't be involved. I continually offered "suggestions" to Tim as he worked. I didn't mean to be rude or condescending. It was just so hard to be a bystander when you want to jump in and help!

Our upstairs bathroom renovation took place March through May. These projects take a while when you're working full time, scheduling family visits to help with projects, and doing it largely alone (Tim that is, not me). During this renovation, I was 5-7 months pregnant. Again, pretty limiting in terms of your ability to be involved in DIY projects. I figured I could successfully grout since there are no fumes or dust involved with pre-mixed grout (our preferred product).

Here I am grouting our bathroom while 6 months pregnant. Overall it was pretty easy since I didn't have much of a belly yet. It was still pretty easy to crawl around and bend over to grout (I maintained a pretty physically active pregnancy-- no I wasn't running marathons, but I refused to be a couch potato).

In this photo the floor has been grouted while the tub surround hasn't. What a huge difference that makes!

And now, all of it is done. Tim and I tackled the tub surround together. So much tile and grout!

Here's our beautiful new tub. We tried hard to keep the tub clean as we installed new sheet rock, spackled, tiled, and grouted. It was a challenge though, so we needed to give the tub a good scrub to clean up bits of dried grout and other gunk.

After all, I don't want my baby in a dirty tub!

Check out this beautiful masterpiece, new floor vent included (plastic so it doesn't rust with the bathroom moisture).

Tim painted the door already, but the trim is still brown in this photo. That will come a bit later. In this photo, we didn't have new carpet yet. That actually happened mid-renovation.

Here's the plumbing where the new vanity will sit.

The closet is small, but had several cuts. It wasn't too bad to tile this in though. I had to be careful grouting around the trim.

I stayed pretty far away from the painting process due to the fumes. We actually purchased this paint during a sale and intended to use it for our downstairs. We decided to wait on that project since the room is large with a lot of furniture and instead opted to use some of the paint for the bathroom.

When we first saw this color on the walls, we thought oh no... it's too dark. We decided to proceed with the color until we got the rest of the pieces in the room. If we didn't like it, repainting is pretty easy and cheap.

Tim is only painting half way down the wall because we decided to do wainscoting. My mom put some in her bedroom earlier in the year and a lightbulb went off in my noggin. I thought I would put some in this bathroom to give it a light, crisp look. We figured the wainscoting would help lighten the room too since we were going to paint it white.