When we purchased our home 8 and half years ago, one of the things we had on our “to-do” list was to update the main upstairs family bathroom. With young kids and no main floor washroom, anyone who visits has to use it. Sadly, our bathroom in the basement is far worse. Impromptu guests make me sprint right to the bathroom to do a quick clean up and reckoning. It is a drag to have to always make sure toothbrushes and toothpaste are out of sight, toilet is flushed and presentable, sink is clear with all the hair styling products put away that my eldest leaves out daily in her morning ritual. And lastly, perhaps my biggest frustration is to remove hair off the floor! While we do not own any pets, I might as well be – I seem to shed whenever I set foot in that room.
My apologies for not capturing the most flattering “before” photos. Come to think of it, what “before” photos ever are? These were taken on my iPad and we forgot to take any more before the demo began. On the positive side, the bathroom had been renovated by the previous owners somewhere around 2003. That meant the plumbing was updated and taking on a project like this in a 1920s home would be relatively safe to update on our own.
I am not a fan of wallpaper, certainly not in a bathroom that receives plenty of humidity. As they were simple taupe stripes, we knew we could live with them for a while. I think what dated this bathroom instantly was the cultured countertop. It can never be compared to the real deal. Since most bathrooms currently use either marble, granite or quartz, it was at the top of our list to change. The wall tiles also needed some attention. Not only were they boring and old fashioned, there was a hairline crack in the shower along the wall under the window (from the time we moved in). This allowed moisture to get behind the tile. As a result, mildew started growing around the caulking of the tub. No amount of cleaning would get rid of it.
Next, I did what any obsessive compulsive person would logically do. I spent many nights and days perusing the likes of Houzz and Pinterest to get a sense and feel for not only the “look” we wanted but also what we felt we could “realistically” accomplish ourselves. DIY has its limitations. My expectations are pretty high though. Too much “house porn” can be a dangerous thing. Since we cannot increase the size of our family bathroom and it is also our resident guest washroom, I wanted it to be unique, simple and functional all at the same time.
We set a budget at under $2000 and decided we would keep:
- the floor tile – 8 x 8 light grey ceramic. Again not my favourite. If you look closely there is a “faux” marble grain etched into it that makes me sigh sometimes. When I sigh I remind myself that there are people in the world without inside plumbing and it usually helps me snap out of it. Then I tell myself they are really in excellent condition, laid well and also installed under the cast iron radiator. To remove them would mean a much bigger overhaul and budget allowance.
- the acrylic tub – a jacuzzi tub in very good condition even though we only use it once in a blue moon despite having to clean the lines out periodically. That in itself is quite the ordeal but will have to save that for another post.
- the base cabinet – basic white melamine 36 inch wide by 22 inches deep. Great condition. We could have replaced it but it was not tiled underneath and we were content with the amount of storage it provides. The drawers and doors would be replaced.
- the wall mirror – did not make sense to get rid of this since we need one to width of the room for when everyone is in it at the same time (yes it happens). It has some slight age marking on the edges so we plan to frame it.
- the lighting – simple mirrored 5 light fixture that for (a) budget reasons and (b) the fact that we thought it would work with the idea we had in mind.
- the built-in medicine cabinet – useful storage that just needs a new door or piece of art over it to update it.
We have been at it for almost 3 months now. That is partly due to the fact that we really only work on the weekends and we have taken our cool time deliberating each and every decision. My husband, Tony, did 95% of the work. I can only take credit for maybe 5% of the labour. I helped empty and reload a million buckets of tiling grout water, painted the wood panelled walls and helped lift the toilet in place. That’s about it. Having your handy husband take on a project is a bit like the classic story of “The Tortoise and the Hare”. Had we hired our project to the Hare, it would have been done in a fraction of the time. Instead, we opted for the Tortoise and have not only won the race but have created something that we are really proud of!
Here is a link to our House Tour: Our Family Bathroom (after)