Thursday, February 28, 2013

Shiny and New

These beautiful fixtures... are shiny and new. I want to rub them like a genie lamp.

The tub fixtures were actually pretty easy. Our tub came with a regular stopper, but we purchased a toe-touch stopper instead. It was cheap and makes life easy, so why not? The wall was already prepped for fixtures with the cuts in the tile and pipes sticking out. Tim just had to screw these new fixtures in place and caulk around it.

Much like our downstairs bathroom, we purchased a Delta replacement kit for the hot/cold knob (does that have a name? On/off valve? I forget; you get the point). This was pretty easy for me to install since I've done it once before!

Ultimately, we opted for the hanging shower caddy. It just corrals everything so that you don't have products sitting on your bathroom ledge. The corner tension rods are bad too because they attract mold. If this gets rusty, we just recycle it and buy a new one.

This new shower head is very nice. I love it. In hindsight, we should have put in a longer arm for the shower head. This is the pipe that extends from the wall and it comes in varying lengths. This would have extended the water further from the wall. It's not overly problematic since we fit under it just fine, but it would be nicer to be a little further from the wall than we currently are. It's very easy to change, we just keep forgetting when we're at the home improvement store. We'll replace it with a longer one eventually. 

Here's a close up shot of our finishes including toilet paper holder, wainscoting and chair rail, wall color, tile, and trim tile. A lot of details in one little snapshot! I love the way it turned out. The color choices are warm and earthy, yet bright and modern.

Sorry this picture is overexposed, but it does show you the toilet paper holder. We very seriously considered installing this on the side of the vanity so that it would be next to the toilet. I was thinking about the little arms that will be reaching for it in the future. It's a bit of a stretch for child-sized arms to reach across the bathroom for toilet paper. Ultimately, we opted for the wall for 3 reasons 1) those children will grow and have longer arms, so by the time they are 6-7 this won't be an issue anyway 2) it was a little too close to the toilet when it was on the side of the vanity 3) I was so worried that we would ruin our $500 vanity by drilling holes in the side.

We ended up drilling through the wainscoting to hang it. We felt like putting it above the wainscoting was just way too high. We put it snug against the tile because the towels (later in this post) would have obstructed the holder if we put it over further. Plus, it seems well placed now. We extended the shower tile by at least 6 inches when we retiled the bathroom, so there's never a worry that the toilet paper will get wet with the current placement (hasn't happened so far and we've been using this since May).

Of course we bought luxurious new hand towels. I didn't replace all of the shower towels because let's face it, I'm cheap! Do you know how much towels cost? We did replace the downstairs towels since they were exposed on our over the toilet organizer. I'm still recovering from that expense. haha!

Here's Tim hanging our towel hooks. It was really sad to drill into our pretty walls, but it was necessary and looked great when it was complete.

Initially, Tim purchased two of these. We thought that we might hand towels on one and my robe on the other. When we held both on the wall, it ate up too much space visually, so we opted for one. Instead, we just installed a removable 3M hook (like the one shown in the last photo) on the back of the bathroom door for my robe. These hooks do hold our shower towels though conveniently next to the shower, duh!

Sadly I don't have any pictures of Tim hanging the curved shower curtain. He had to drill into the tile to hang the curved rod. A straight rod could have been supported by tension, but when you go with the hotel style curved rod, you're faced with drilling into the wall or tile. I think we were both scared so we didn't take any pictures. He had to buy two diamond drill bits to finally make it through the tile. They were small holes but the ceramic tile is pretty mighty! Luckily it turned out great. The brackets for the rod cover the holes of course so you can't tell. We hung our shower curtain higher than normal too. The curved rod plus the extra height make for a very spacious shower. I don't think you realize it looking at the area until you're inside the shower. Then it feels pretty vast and open.

These are just 3M hooks that we hung in the shower. I couldn't stand the thought of drilling into the tile any more than we had to. We really needed a solution for bathing suits since we have a pool and always have wet suits lying around. We always hung them inside the shower before, but we had a towel bar there previously. Unfortunately, the steam caused the 3M hooks to fall. I did purchase suction hooks that worked okay though. If you have a better, non-drilling solution that doesn't involve suction hooks (I bought the power suction kind) or 3M hooks, please let me know.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Funcational Bathroom Round 2

My mom put wainscoting in her master bedroom. I really liked the look since it broke up some of the wall space, so I thought this would be a great option for our bathroom since we have one long wall with nothing on it. After we painted the top half of the bathroom, this seemed like an even better idea. The wall paint was darker than we expected, so the white wainscoting would help break things up.

Tim primed and painted all of the wainscoting and trim first.

Installation was pretty easy. We used an air compressor nail gun that Tim received as a Christmas present in 2011.

On the weekend that we began this project, we had a few helpers, Fergie (above) and Snoopy (below).

We had our usual helpers on hand to assist as well. Monkey and Fergie had to be in on the action.

Meanwhile, Sullivan was caught snoozing in bed.

They were all pretty paranoid of the loud noise made by the air compressor. They took to my side for protection.

I was actually able to help with this part of the project since it didn't involve any fumes or other hazardous activities.

But, I did leave the crawling around on the floor to Tim. At 6-7 months pregnant, lying on my belly to reach under the vanity wasn't really an option.

We had to install the vanity before we could install the wainscoting. This is because the top piece of trim extended behind the vanity. After much debate, we settled on this option since it would create a seamless look rather than abruptly stopping the top piece of trim.

You can also see our trim tile in this picture. We decided not to grout this because it would make a big huge mess. We thought we could use caulk instead. Tim headed to Home Depot to find something that would work. The Home Depot employee recommended this very thick caulk-like product. It was basically an all-purpose adhesive designed to be very strong (but it wasn't Gorilla Glue or anything like that). It worked perfectly! If I find the leftover, I'll let you know the name of the product.

After the vanity, came the wainscoting, then we were able to install the toilet. It's actually a pretty easy process. You place your wax seal then gently set the base of the toilet without jarring or moving the wax seal. This sounds easy, but it's pretty critical to a properly functioning toilet!

There are two bolts that hold the toilet in place. You set the bolts in the floor mount for the toilet. Then, you carefully place the toilet on the bolts while guiding the bolts into the holes on either side of the toilet. Sounds easy right? Not so. We tried several strategies with our first bathroom renovation. The bolts are pretty tall, but they wobbly when not secured by anything.

With our lower level bathroom, we tied strings to the bolts and strung them through the holes in the porcelain. I held the strings while Tim placed the toilet. That's a pretty tough challenge in a tight space. I read on another blog that you should use straws. Place the bolts in the floor mount, then put straws over the bolts, and guide the base of the toilet onto the straws. Lift the straws and voila your toilet is set.

The one additional piece of advice that I have-- you need to go grab yourself a couple of McDonald's straws for this task. Their straws are wide enough for the bolts to fit in. I had some skinny straws on hand that didn't work. Thankfully (?), Tim keeps a stash of miscellaneous items from drive thru meals such as straws, napkins, forks, etc. so he had a few to contribute to the cause.

After the base of the toilet is set, you can place the back, connect the plumbing, and you're done! Here's a good video on how to install a toilet in case you're curious.

So here's the one big wall of wainscoting. Ain't she pretty? Plus a crisp corner below. This picture captures a lot of the main items in the room.

We did some of the bathroom installation seemingly out of order. Thankfully, we were pretty logical and meticulous when we thought about what should come next so we didn't have to undo any of our work. Here's the rundown of events:

1) demo
2) tub
3) drywall
4) patch, spackle, sand everything
5) tile the tub surround and floor
6) paint the walls and trim
7) baseboard trim
8) vanity and sink, hook up the plumbing
9) trim tile (seems out of order, right?)
10) wainscoting and chair rail
11) toilet (again, out of order?)
12) medicine cabinet
13) tile some more (more tiling? why didn't we do it all at once?)
14) replace covers on the light fixture
15) replace door handles and hinges with brushed nickel

It was necessary to install the baseboard trim before the vanity because our vanity is raised on legs. You can see the space behind if you bend down. It was easier to put this in first. Tim then finished off the wainscoting by putting 6" tall pieces of wainscoting underneath. We're kind of perfectionists (or well, I am a perfectionist) and you could see from the side view (aka on the toilet or in the shower) that there wasn't wainscoting under the vanity if we skipped this step.

We tiled again (round 2) when we installed the trim tile. We wanted to paint the walls first, so that we didn't get paint on our new beautiful tile. Plus, it took us months to decide what to use for trim tile. We thought bullnose pieces might be best. Then, my mom and Tim suggested that we just stop with our regular tile since it had a sort of "finished" look to the edge; I didn't like this idea. Then, we finally find this rounded tile that was a great trim tile. We had planned to use it to finish off the edges of the backsplash, but realized it would be a perfect trim tile for the tub too. Unfortunately, it was expensive. :( All of our other tile purchases have been clearance tile from Home Depot. We love a bargain!

The wainscoting had to go in before the toilet since the wainscoting extended behind it. We also put the chair rail above the vanity for a seamless look. This meant everything on the vanity needed to be done, so that we were sure we weren't going to move it. Round 3 of tiling included a tile backsplash behind the vanity. More on that to come in a future post.

Now that the toilet is finally installed, this bathroom is sorta functional. My 7 months pregnant self didn't have to go downstairs in the middle of the night anymore. Wowza this bathroom was a big project! We've still got a few more posts to share.