This is a budget remodel. Our goal is to create a functional, comfortable, period and house-style appropriate bathroom for the least amount possible, ideally less than $2,500. This means that we could not completely gut the bathroom. We knew we needed to replace parts of the floor and completely redo the shower down to the studs. We wanted to replace the old, thirsty toilet with a sleeker, easy to clean, efficient toilet. We hoped we would not find rot extending under the heavy porcelain tub, that we could merely tear out the existing tile and rebuild the tub surround and replace the leaky shower valve. We also knew that we wanted to keep the built-in vanity and to box in the exposed vent stack (I’ve been wanting to do that for that for years).
The old tile floor was cold most of the year and colder in the winter. We wanted flooring that would be warmer and more forgiving underfoot, and in the case of this hardworking primary bathroom, that meant vinyl. We found a DIY friendly product on sale, Shaw’s vinyl plank, in a warm faux-wood.
We were dreading the drywall portion of the project. I hate drywall. It is heavy, awkward to hang, a pain to tape, worse to mud, and terrible to sand. And the dust! It gets everywhere, yuk. We had a flash of brilliance at some point and decided to box in the vent stack with, and add beadboard wainscot, which would also give us the option of sealing up some leaks and adding more insulation. Gotta love sealing the drafts, right?
Once we had those basic decisions down, we could move on the the fun stuff. We opted for inexpensive 4×4 inch white tiles from Lowes for the shower. The tiles are machine-made, but have a bit of texture to them, mimicking hand-made tile, and in the glossy white they reflect the light and have a bit of sparkle –and we need some sparkle in this old bathroom! Dan suggested a color scheme of gray walls, white for the beadboard, and we picked out a classic New England color, butter yellow, to repaint the vanity. With the wall color selected, we chose a 1″x1″ marble mosaic tile for an accent tile in the shower. We’ll use the mosaic on the shower fixture wall — which we hope will make it easier to tile around the shower plumbing. Instead of drilling holes in the tile, we’ll pick out the small mosaic tiles around the plumbing, and it’s marble! It adds a bit of elegance to the room, right?
It was a pleasure to cart our old toilet out to the truck and on to the recycling center. It still worked, but was a water hog at 3+ gallons per flush. We chose an American Standard Clean Cadet skirted toilet. It is a narrower toilet with a sleek design designed to be easy to clean. The skirt covers the molded drain and makes cleaning around it a snap. It was a bit more difficult to install, just because you can’t really see the bolts you are using to attach the tank or secure the toilet to the floor, but in the end, it was worth the hassle, and we haven’t even had to clean it yet!
We’ll keep the same lighting for now, but may at some point add a can light over the shower and replace the fan with a quieter model. The one we have works, so we’ll keep it for now. The vanity lights need something… and we have an idea. More on those later.
I began putting things up on Olioboard to get all the details in one place, and reading home repair/renovation blogs and forums such as GardenWeb and the John Bridge tile forums to get ideas and learn the how tos. The image above is a “moodboard” a visual representation of the materials selected for the room. As we finish with various elements of the project, it is coming together. It is hard work, and at one point we both were questioning our sanity, but as with all projects like this, it is very rewarding once you start seeing your progress. And so far, we are on target for budget, with shower plumbing and tile shower materials still to be purchased.