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Bathroom Remodel

The hardest part of any reno job is starting it. It’s intimidating, and you know you’re going to be plunging yourself into some level of inconvenience for at least the next several weeks, and possibly the next several months. But four months ago this week, that’s exactly what we did with our bathrooms: start them. And four months later, I’m happy to report that we can once again take an actual shower inside our house.

It’s been quite a journey, and one that has taken us from this configuration of 1.5 bath house:

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To this configuration of a 2 bathroom house:

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Though in an effort of full disclosure, that bathroom to the left, which will be the master bathroom, is still missing some crucial elements such as a vanity, sinks, faucets, a tub, and a shower. And also some floor tile grout. So, still a ways to go, but the hall bath is happily (nearly) complete. We lost a weird little half hallway that provided an unnecessary entrance to the kitchen and a coat and linen closet, but I think that the added full bathroom will be completely worth it once all is said and done.

Those who followed along in our kitchen reno blog post know that this house was dated to its original 1955 style. And in no other rooms was that more apparent than in the bathrooms, which featured imported ceramic Spanish tile, but in a marbled banana yellow tile, paired with a forest green (again marbled) bullnose.

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Original hall bathroom
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Original hall bathroom

Of all of the 1950s bathroom tile color combos I’ve seen out there, I really think this one takes the cake. But truthfully, that old tile was installed well and that bathroom held up for over 60 years and served us well until we worked up the gumption to demo it all out. And four months ago, with my brother-in-law’s encouragement (and plenty of his help), that’s exactly what we did. Demoed that bathroom from top to bottom, inside and out, along with the hall and the tiny master 1/2 bath.

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Original master 1/2 bath

And no, you’re not imagining it, that is more marbled tile, this time in black. And while that marbled tile and those two bathrooms served us well, and while it would be quite a drag to be without them in any form for several weeks, demo day was still quite satisfying.

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Demo day

Though demo day is truly only satisfying for the first hour or two. And then it’s just exhausting.

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Fully demoed bathrooms. I’m standing in what was once previously the linen closet, looking down into what was previously the half hall, hall bath, and master 1/2 bath down there at the back.

If I’ve learned one thing about demo, it’s not to go by halves. If you’re going to do it, just roll up your sleeves and get it over with. Start with a clean slate. Don’t try to do one thing and then the other, thinking it’ll preserve some functionality of a space while you’re in the midst of a remodel. Just suck it up, do the whole thing at once, and it’ll save you time and money in the end. (Just my two cents here, which is worth about as much as you paid for it.) So that’s what we did, both bathrooms, all at once, plus the closet and the half hall.

The Monday after demo day weekend, I came home from work to these deep trenches dug through our foundation, ready for the new pipes (thankfully not done by us, but by a licensed, bonded, insured plumber with excellent Yelp reviews). And after the initial shock of trenches (and piles of rubble) wore off, it really was a little mindblowing to see how much work they had gotten done in one day.

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And by the end of Day 3, the bathroom was looking much less scary. And, I have to say, if we had been doing that foundation plumbing work ourselves, we would still be working on it.

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Day 3  Plumbing

This was a huge day at the project house:

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And once my brother-in-law set us up a temporary outside shower on the back patio, we were good to go to start putting everything back together again. Starting with this awesome tub frame:

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Tub frame

Then it was only a matter of time (~3.5 months) and quite a lot of sweat equity.

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Floor tile + sheetrock
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Plumbing time!
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Tiling time!
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So much tiling
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Pre-grout

So much tiling. A couple of long nights and long days and long weekends later… and we finally have a fully functioning bathroom:

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Bathroom after
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Bathroom after
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Bathroom after

We still need to tie up a few loose ends here and there and figure out a few other things. But it works. We can shower. There’s indoor plumbing. We no longer have to house the toothbrushes in the kitchen.

What do you think of our bathroom remodel? Have you done one yourself? What have been some of your challenges? Leave a comment below. 🙂

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Before and After Bathroom Remodel

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