You have no idea how happy I am to be writing this post, as it marks the end to a very long project.
For the past year, our bathroom has bothered me, taunting me with its dreary walls and overall homeliness . The worst of it was the toilet being too close to the vanity. YUCK.
I also decided to move in a narrow cabinet for extra storage, but it was too big for the already cramped space. Since it was our second bathroom and received very little day-to-day use, I was able to live with it, but now my husband has been sort of banished to this bathroom and I think he deserves better than this sad little space to prepare for his work day every morning. ( I can only feel just a little sorry for him though, as I’m the one left sharing a bathroom with three teenagers.)
We were only going to replace the vanity with a pedestal sink, but that wouldn’t have solved our storage problem, nor would it have been an improvement on the ugliness of it all. You know how it is when you start making improvements – it snow balls. Since we also didn’t care for the flooring, we thought we may as well replace that too. And hey – why not replace that mismatched tub/shower installation as well?
As new home owners we are lagging in our DIY skills so a big bathroom project was a little scary for me. Not only was I unsure of our abilities to make it all look good, I was afraid of what surprises we might find behind the shower walls; water damage, wood rot, faulty plumbing – things that would quickly turn a “simple” renovation into an expensive, complicated fiasco. Surprisingly, we only ran into a little bit of mold which was easy to take care of and since it seemed to be completely dry in the walls I took that as a sign all else was well.
The problems we did run into were just small annoyances and proves our lack of experience and inability to plan:
1- first set of shower walls were delivered damaged, not our fault, but a set back
2- faucet pipes had to be moved just a few centimeters to fit the precut holes in the shower walls (which required us calling a professional – as we didn’t have the proper welding equipment) - time spent finding and waiting for a plumber…
3- a leg fell off the vanity as we were setting it in place calling for a return to the store,
4- first gallon of paint was a hideous piss yellow and had to be scrapped, another return to the store,
5- first layer of new paint revealed every ugly, deep flaws in existing walls so they had to be refinished and texturized (if the walls look bad before, there’s little hope a bright semi-gloss paint will camouflage anything)
6,7,8,9… – The realization of not having the proper tools for certain jobs – more trips to the store………
No serious issues, but certainly enough to put us off schedule by hours, days and eventually weeks. So our weekend project turned into about a month long project and you can imagine why I am so happy to now be sharing this with you here.
Here are a few shots of the process
Initially, I wanted to tile the shower, but I knew that would have been a job far beyond my abilities and time, so we opted for a prefabricated shower instead. I wasn’t crazy about that choice because I thought it might look cheap. As it happened, the existing space for the shower was an odd measurement and limited our choices of premade walls and shower pans. We would’ve either had to go for a super small shower stall and build a wall or knock down a wall and possibly reconfigure the entire laundry room/bathroom area just to make room for a shower that might only be a few inches bigger. Needless to say, we compromised by opting for the only choice in prefabricated walls we had to fit our measurements.
And now without further ado, I give you our new loo.
My husband did all the work himself and I am so proud of him. I’ve always known he’s pretty handy and quite resourceful, but I had no idea he had the knowledge and skill needed to pull this off. I mean, where did it come from? Are some people just born with this knowledge or what? The only thing I did was help with demolition, which I am pretty good at and painted (which I’m not so good at). But he did all the hard problematic stuff and I say he more than earned a nice space to call his own. See, he has bugged me for his own space for a while and he just isn’t satisfied with the garage anymore - but I thought that was an improvement from his own walk-in closet I let him have at our last place…
By the way, I’m really digging the new blinds, they are so easy to pull down and push up and there are no cables, cords or rods to get in the way.
The only thing left to do now is find or make some art work, but for now, I think I can live with this. I wonder if my husband would mind very much if I chose to banish myself to this bathroom and let him share with the kids? Hmmm, I’ll let him bring that up.
We learned a lot in this process, and there is a whole lot of frustrating moments I have omitted from this post, but overall I’m glad we decided to take it on and we have accumulated a pretty nice assortment of tools for future projects as well. Anyway, I guess all the waiting and frustration was worth it and I am glad at least one us was able to make the great escape from a shared bathroom.
What is the biggest most complicated DIY project you have attempted so far? What problems did you encounter? Did you get it finished or did you have to call in the professionals? Please share!