Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bathroom Blues

I guess I will have to actually start posting if I really want to have a blog that will ever catch up with what is currently going on in our lives. I think I'm a better blog stalker than blogger but maybe there is some chance that I can change.

I wanted to post about all of the changes we did to our Alabama house before moving on to our current house (which is very much under renovation, though of a less serious degree). I guess I'll start where we started: the bathroom. Before we moved in we needed to make sure the bathroom was up and running since there was only one. The previous owner had covered the walls with bead board which wouldn't be a bad thing if we weren't afraid he might just be hiding problems like he had done several other places in the house. We were also suspicious of the floors. He had installed vinyl tiles but we thought there might be damage underneath. We were right. Not only was the subfloor damaged, instead of using any backer board or moisture barrier under the vinyl tile he had simply glued down a piece of bead board upside down.

We realized not long after moving in that there was an extra window on the outside of the house that we didn't see on the inside...because the previous owner had covered it up with a fiberglass shower surround which he installed above the cast iron tub. The tub wasn't in the greatest shape either.

The main problem was that one of your knees hit the vanity if you sat on the toilet. In addition, the toilet, sink, and tub were all different colors. So, after some deliberation as to how much we should redo, we took out everything: walls, floors, subfloor,....well, we kept the ceiling. Dave busted up the old tub with a sledge hammer, we used crow bars to pull down the old plaster walls after removing the bead board, and I pulled up the damaged pine flooring. Once Dave removed the subfloor planks we had a clean slate:

Dave moved the plumbing for the sink to the left side of the room so that we wouldn't have our toilet/vanity space issue anymore. We chose a pedestal sink to make the space feel larger and less cluttered and bought a new chair height toilet.

Dave installed a new tub and we had our tile guy install subway tile around the window. We ordered a frosted glass window and added a built in shelf in the shower (

We found that even with the frosted glass, we could still see a pretty detailed silhouette from the outside. Only the inside pane of the window was frosted so we remedied this by using a product from Lowe's that you spray onto glass to achieve a frosted effect and spraying it on the exterior pane.

The floors we chose are a faux slate ceramic tile from Lowe's. I liked the dark color since I'm big on contrast. The shower fixtures are Delta Victorian in oil rubbed bronze. The blue on the walls was a custom color I had matched to a pillow sham. It coordinated well with the shower curtain we got from Bed, Bath, and Beyond as a wedding gift (which I later lengthened). The mirror was one that a friend gave me. She paid $15 for it on a clearance aisle at a local home decor shop. We also added a new ceiling light/fan that went well with the fixtures we chose.

We had a friend custom build a cabinet for the wall opposite the sink. On the other side of that wall was an awkwardly deep closet. We took the back part of the closet and used the space for the recessed bathroom cabinet and turned the awkwardly deep hall closet into a more functional linen closet (which I sadly can't find a picture of).

We installed a Rinnai tankless water heater that we bought off ebay so we had endless hot water. Before, Dave and I had about ten minutes worth of hot water in the mornings for showers because we had a tiny under-counter water heater which was located in the kitchen. It was great for running shower after shower when we had guests stay with us and our gas bill (it was our only gas appliance) was about $12 a month.

Even though we only had one bathroom and it was small by most people's standards, we loved it. It never felt cramped and it suited all of our needs. Overall, I think it turned out pretty well.


  1. Love the built in cabinet..Thanks for the idea!

  2. Hi.
    The cabinet is lovely and I'm wondering about the dimensions. Could you provide some measurements?
    Now that you've had it installed for a while, would you change anything?
    Thank you

    1. I love the clever use of the inbuilt cupboard - saving space. However, the shower curtain I feel closes in the bathroom - maybe consider putting in a glass screen or 1/2 screen over the bath?

    2. Everyone is using glass but glass is a pain in the butt to keep looking nice. Me personally, this time I just don't want to spend the time cleaning a glass shower. Life's too short.

  3. Excellent and helpful post, and this is also helpful tips Bathroom renovations Buderim for how to renovate a bathroom. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work. modern bathrooms