One Room Challenge: Guest Bathroom, Week Four

Here we are at the week four recap of our One Room Challenge™ featuring our guest bathroom (check out Week OneWeek Two, and Week Three). I’m calling Week Four, the week we got sh*t done. After a few slow weeks of waiting on plumbing and other progress-halting stuff, we made a lot of visible progress. Here’s how the week went down:

On Thursday morning the plumbers showed up to make a few adjustments and add some nail plates… all before I finished my breakfast and morning coffee. Thursday night, we laid the plywood subfloor in anticipation of the plumbers coming Friday to set the drains.

On Friday, the plumbers pushed back their start time, until ultimately saying they’ll be postponing to 8A on Saturday morning. We spent Friday night hanging the drywall on the ceiling… wow, that’s an arm and shoulders workout.

Saturday morning we get up at 8A to let the plumbers in. After asking half a dozen times about whether we needed to frame out our tub before setting the drains and being told no… they check out our tub and tell us we need to frame it in first. Cue to me having a panic attack over the timing implications to them not setting the tub that day. We end up agreeing to build the frame within the subsequent hour and a half, so they could return that afternoon. Then we ran around like crazy people building a frame for the drop-in tub that was 100% level and took into consideration the number of tiles we wanted running up the tub enclosure + grout lines + floor tile height, etc in order to get the frame just the right size. It was pretty much like the SATs meets an overdramatized speed decorating HGTV series. We were nailing the last side of the frame in place as the plumbers showed up. They worked at the house all afternoon and I took a break from the chaos to source accessories at Anthropologie. That evening we laid the cement board on the floors with thinset and screws in preparation for tile.

Sunday morning we awoke early again, to tackle the walls. We clad two of the walls and the tub frame in cement backerboard and hung drywall on the other walls. The entire installation process was a giant game of Tetris. Again, lots of math.

Monday evening was dedicated to hanging the last of the drywall. Tuesday night we set about mudding and taping the seams. Wednesday we mudded the drywall and hooked up the radiant flooring electrical.

Whew, I’m exhausted just reading that recap.

Here are the not so sexy photos of the current state of our bathroom.

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I know it doesn’t look like much, but it’s a huge leap forward from where we were just a week ago.

And one pretty photo of our vanity hardware that arrived from Rejuvenation this week, swoon!

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This week, we’re priming the ceiling and walls in preparation for tile, as well as applying a waterproof membrane on the tub walls. And then it’s on to finally laying the radiant floors and marble hex tiles. We have the vanity arriving this weekend and we’re planning on spending the full weekend laying tile.

As a heads up, the One Room Challenge has been extended by a week, so I expect it might just be possible that we can pull this transformation off. Maybe.

Here’s to hoping next week’s photos include our pretty tiles…

Check out the other participants here.
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ONE ROOM CHALLENGE: GUEST BATHROOM, WEEK THREE

Welcome to the week three recap of our One Room Challenge™ featuring our guest bathroom (check out Week One and Week Two). A lot has happened in the last week and there were definitely a few curve-balls. We’ve made a lot of progress, but I’m not going to lie – I’m very much stressing about how we’re going to get everything done in time for Week Six. Please send good vibes! And if anyone wants to spend some time tiling with us, I wouldn’t turn you down…

First, we had the plumbers come in for two days last week (one day more than expected) and they fully reconfigured the bathroom. We’ve got all the fresh new pipes in place AND surprisingly, they were able to hide all the pipes in the wall, so we no longer have a weird bump out. Losing the bump-out and the built-in shelving we had planned to compensate for that weird corner means we have an extra 11″ of wall space where the vanity is going.

With the additional wall space, I started to realize that the vanity we had painstakingly ordered wasn’t going to be maximizing the available space…

And then, that afternoon Rejuvenation emailed me to say that the sink for the vanity was on back-order until mid-December. Cue to me freaking out over the vanity clearly not arriving in time and even if we weren’t in the midst of The One Room Challenge, we have plumbers mid-project that I really can’t halt. So I went back to the drawing board and started searching for larger vanities. The one we had originally ordered was 36″, so I set my sights on 42″ and 48″ vanities. My husband was concerned that while we just barely had the space, a 48″ vanity would overwhelm the room. 42″ vanities aren’t super common, but fortuitously, I was re-reading Jenny Komenda’s girls’ bathroom remodel and the vanity she used actually came in a 42″ width. We tracked it down on Wayfair, sourced some pretty Rejuvenation campaign hardware to make it feel more luxe and we were back in business.

For reference, this is Jenny’s fabulous bathroom project:

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And the revised layout for the bathroom:

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Where we’re adding some very cool (and crazy inexpensive) globe pendants on either side of the mirror for the below look. Imagine our pretty vintage meets modern brass faucet, some distinguished brass campaign-style drawer pulls, baskets on the lower shelf and that the globe pendants have black rods with some cool French bistro-style details.

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Also this week, we picked up all the tile at Floor & Decor, which we were just barely able to drive home in our car and we set up all the electrical.

We have the plumbers coming today and tomorrow to finish setting the drains, and the subfloor is going down this evening. Then we’re building the frame for the tub, installing drywall, putting cement board down, laying radiant flooring coils and installing the marble hex floors. We’re dedicating all of next week to subway tiling the walls.

Hopefully by next week we’ll have the tile mostly done (and lots of much prettier photos to accompany the post). If you have any tips on subway tiling a drop-in tub and getting clean edges on the bottom of the subway tiled walls, please send them my way!

Check out the other participants here.
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One Room Challenge: Guest Bathroom, Week Two

Welcome to week two of our One Room Challenge™, guest bathroom edition (week one post is here).

Over the weekend, we pulled out the rest of the drywall, pulled up the old subfloor and sistered new, leveled beams to the existing joists. We also pulled the trigger on a vanity and mirror. One of my friends graciously went on a Craigslist mission to retrieve a $10 vintage ceiling light (Thanks B!!). I haven’t quite found the right wall sconce, but that’s top priority. While, we haven’t made a lot of visible progress this week, things are going to start picking up this coming week. I’m just trying to take deep breaths as I think about how the room currently is lacking walls, floors and a ceiling…

The current state of affairs:

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Let’s break down the plan, since this remodel is equal parts improving the form and the function.

To lay the groundwork, this bathroom will be used by guests and is our second bathroom upstairs, of three total in the house. We anticipate that this will be viewed as a bathroom for kids when we eventually go to sell this home, so we need to keep a tub/shower combo in here for resale purposes. Since it’s a second bathroom, we want to have some fun in here, but also need to keep the budget in line. We’re happy to spend where it will make the bathroom special, but are also going to try to save where we can.

Starting with function, this room didn’t make much sense, so here are the problems we’re tying to solve:

  1. This is a decent sized bathroom, yet the countertop space is nonexistent. We want a larger vanity with more storage space.
  2. The wall between the vanity and the tub makes the shower very dark and closed off. It makes the sink area also dark and claustrophobic.
  3. The toilet is the first thing you spot in the room. Not only that, it’s awkwardly off-center in that niche. Ugh.

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And on to how we’re solving these problems:

Once we had the room taken down to the studs, it allowed us to know what’s feasible and what isn’t. We discovered our plumbing is very, very old. The plumbers we had come in for bids all laughed when they saw it. Since it’s all so decrepit and unsalvageable our plumbing costs are going to be a big chunk of the budget. But that also means adding some extra work to move fixtures isn’t that big a deal in the scheme of things. So:

  • We’re swapping the sink and the toilet, which allows us to hide the toilet out of sight AND get a larger vanity.
  • In addition to the bigger vanity, we’re also turning that niche where the toilet was into open shelving, so it feels intentional and not awkward. This will allow for towel storage, toilet paper storage and extra space for less frequently used toiletries. The main plumbing stack runs through that bump out in the floorplan next to the toilet, so we can’t get rid of it.
  • The tub is staying where it is, but we’ve removed the wall separating it from the new toilet location.

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Now that we’ve gotten the less pretty stuff out of the way, here’s the design plan:

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  1. Floors: We debated quite a bit as to whether we could get away with a basic ceramic tile, but at the end of the day, we live in a pretty upscale neighborhood, and buyers are looking for those high-end upgrades, so we want to make sure our house is as strong on resale as possible. The extra $400 here for Marble Hexagon Tile feels worthwhile.
  2. Walls: Subway tile, yes I know it’s everywhere, but I think it’s classic and will stand the test of time. We’re going to be covering all the walls in it for an industrial vintage look that reminds me of old hotels. I’m probably going to regret this decision when we’re eight hours into tiling.
  3. Tub: We’re going with a drop-in Kohler tub that’s simple and features clean lines. Since we have two sides of the tub exposed, I really wanted to make it feel a part of the room by unifying the exterior of the tub.
  4. Vanity: After much debate, we finally ordered a very chic vanity from Rejuvenation. Thank you to everyone who voted on the color on Instagram, it was remarkably tight: 52% in favour of grey to 48% black. At the end of the day, we went with grey because I didn’t want the side of the black vanity to be your first view as you climb the steps, where grey is more subtle. I also love that the vanity will feel airier with the visually heavy Venetian mirror.
  5. Faucets: We sourced some beautiful brass fixtures from the Restoration Hardware outlet that feel very modern European hotel, which is my fave aesthetic. The sink faucet has dramatic elongated height that makes my heart patter. This is an area in which we saved a bit in the budget – I’d had my eye on the Kohler Purist collection, where this set was about half the price, at the outlet prices.
  6. Mirror: I have been imagining an ornate Venetian mirror in here for a year, so my dreams are finally coming true. I’m obsessed with the over the top lines of the mirror juxtaposed against the clean lines of the subway tile.
  7. Lighting: This is where I’ve had the most trouble – in an ideal world, I’d do paired black bistro lights with white globes on either side of the mirror but we don’t really have the space for it. So now, I’m thinking about an option for a single sconce over the mirror that’s quick ship.
  8. Toilet: We’re keeping it simple here with the Kohler Memoirs collection. We actually picked it up months ago off one of Home Depot’s flash sales. I love the vintage, square lines that perfectly balance modern and traditional.

Today, we have the plumber coming to replace the pipes and reorganize the space. Next up, will be laying the new subfloor, building the frame for the new tub, running electrical for the new sconces, outlet and can lights over the tub and toilet, picking up the tile, laying the radiant floor and starting on the floor tiles. Whew, that sounds exhausting, wish us luck!

You can check out the other participants in the One Room Challenge here.

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One Room Challenge: Guest Bathroom, Week One

For those of you who are new here, a year ago my husband and I purchased our first house: a 1940s Colonial in a cute coastal town in Connecticut. We’ve been upgrading our house room by room and sharing the process on this blog and on Instagram.

If you follow me on Instagram, this may be a complete 180. Up until yesterday I had planned on tackling my office for the One Room Challenge (including the first blog post already scheduled). But, after receiving a call from our plumber saying he could start on our guest bathroom next week, it’s full steam ahead on the bathroom. I’ve posted on this space before, but since we demo-ed the room a month ago it has sat empty. During this time, we were figuring out what we could do with the layout of the space, given the plumbing set up, and getting bids from plumbers. Now, we’re ready to go on building it back up.

Let me introduce you to the space:

 

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The room is just boring… and kind of sad. It was remodeled in the 80s, but as we’ve since discovered, none of the plumbing had been updated. The bathroom is lacking in charm and the layout is just inefficient. For a bathroom with this square footage, we shouldn’t have to settle for a 30” vanity (in a very dark claustrophobic nook). This bathroom also contains one of my biggest pet peeves: a toilet in full view from the doorway.

So, this is our first full bathroom ever. The first time we’ve tiled anything, reconfigured a space, hooked up a toilet, etc. Given this, six weeks definitely feels like a challenge, but we’re all in. I’m going to be sharing each step along the way for any other rookies who are planning on remodeling their first bathroom too. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of learnings along the way.

The vibe in here is going to be a modern meets traditional mash-up, with some glam thrown in for good measure. I want this room to mesh well with our guest room and the rest of the vibe in our 1940s Colonial home, and be classic in materials.

This is the guest room that accompanies this bathroom, so aesthetically they need to work together (more photos here):

 

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What we need to accomplish over the next five-ish weeks:

  • Removing the remaining drywall
  • Re-do the subfloor
  • Re-do the plumbing
  • Re-run the electrical
  • Install additional can lighting
  • Lay a radiant floor
  • Install drywall
  • Build out a base for a drop-in tub
  • Install tile on the floors
  • Install tile on the walls
  • Add trimwork
  • Install fixtures
  • Paint ceiling, trim and door
  • Build a radiator cover
  • Install lighting
  • Install mirrors
  • Install built-in shelves
  • Style out the space (the fun part!)

And I’m sure about a dozen things I’m forgetting.

In terms of selections for the space, we have already got the toilet, faucet and shower head on-hand, the tub and drain en-route and have decided on the tiles for the walls and floor. I will get into the details in upcoming weeks on how we nailed those down. We still need to pull the trigger on:

  • A vanity
  • A mirror
  • Overhead lighting
  • Sconces
  • Vanity pulls
  • Window covering
  • Towel hooks and other bath accessories
  • A vintage rug

And, since my photos so far haven’t been so pretty on the eyes. This bathroom by Christine Dovey is a space from which I’m drawing a lot of inspiration.

You can check out the other participants in this season’s One Room Challenge here.

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The One Room Challenge: Week Two

I keep telling myself that things will look worse until they look better… and worse they currently look. Over the weekend, we demoed the built-in bookshelves that took up one full wall of the guest bedroom. I’m usually a big proponent of built-ins, but these were killing the layout and made the room feel unusually cramped. Also, it’s just plain awkward to reach behind you into a bookshelf to flip a switch. A switch that doesn’t actually control the light… because there isn’t an overhead light. As with most the rooms in this house, we’re discovering that overhead lighting was not a priority.

So, let’s get to the photos of the damage. If you can remember, these are the built-ins bookshelves in question:

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And our current state:

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We’ve since started to prep the walls to be patched, though we’re contemplating just replacing the damaged drywall panels for a smoother finish. While the wall looks pretty terrifying right now (not to mention that strip of wood floor that needs to be refinished), the room already feels so much bigger and the view from the hallway feels less claustrophobic.

We also picked up paint samples for the room and are debating between a medium grey and a dark pewter, both from Sherwin Williams. Some days we’ve been gravitating towards the safer Summit Gray and other days it’s been the bolder Roycroft Pewter (very similar to Farrow and Ball’s Down Pipe). Fortunately, our local Sherwin Williams tipped us off to a big sale happening this weekend, so we have a few days to contemplate the right colour.

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Also, we started painting a faux bamboo Henry Link dresser I found off Craigslist in a rich glossy black. It’s already looking pretty stunning, so photos are upcoming once we complete the drawers. This transformation is very good (total ugly duckling status).

This week, I’m sourcing a light fixture for the room, where we need to wire the room through the attic for an overhead light. I’m digging this one from Sazerac Stitches with an ornate ceiling medallion. The ceilings aren’t particularly tall, so an interesting flush-mount is the ideal solution.

Some variations that are currently in the mix:

 

Alternatively, I’m also considering this one from CB2:

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And the modern meets traditional of a Serge Mouille light fixture with an ornate cieling medallion, as in the case of this image from The Decorista.

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I know I haven’t talked too much about the plan for furniture, but this is the first time I’m decorating a room without a strict plan. My strategy for staying on budget has been to comb Craigslist for unique vintage finds that we can make our own in the space, with the goal of it feeling sophisticated, cozy and like a retreat. We’re debating whether we should build a headboard from scratch and cover it in a tribal neutral fabric, or if we can find a cool burled headboard or something else with character that we can lacquer. Hopefully by next week the plan will be in place. What I do know is that we’re keeping colour to a minimum with a gray, white and black palette with brass accents and a small pop of washed lilac linen, which we picked up for a long rectangular lumbar over the weekend at our favourite remnant designer fabric store in CT.

Check out the other One Room Challenge participants over here.