Getting ready to move on to a new house has really made me stop and think about all the stuff I love about our home and will miss about it. There have been so many projects over the 6 years that we’ve been here, it was really hard for me to pinpoint a favorite. Especially since I’ve done most of them myself and take great pride in my work and all the skills I’ve picked up along the way. I think my single most favorite project has to be the master bath remodel, even though we actually hired professionals for this one (obviously before I was bitten by the DIY bug). The bathroom itself had a great layout, but the finishes were just awful. Have a look for yourself. Nevermind my big ol’ pregnant belly in the background of some of these.
Let me point out some of the more hideous features, just in case you missed them.
- The entire bathroom is carpeted, even AROUND THE TOILET!!!! BARF! Or poop! Or pee! God only knows what was in that carpet, but it literally still makes my skin crawl to think about this. Ewwww. Seriously, who thought carpet around the toilet was a good idea? Ever? Horrifying.
- The walls perfectly matched the 4×4 tiles that surrounded the jetted tub…all a lovely shade of brownish purple? Whatever. The lovely laminate countertop also went along with this color scheme.
- The shower was your standard fiberglass situation, but with the added luxury of dual showerheads. This was fine but we were going for something a little more grownup.
- The cabinets were all the builder grade oak that you see in homes of the 90s. It was all in great shape, we just didn’t love the color. This same lovely oak was used as the backsplash for the vanity…not my cup of tea.
- The mirror was a huge wrap around that made the room feel gigantic. That was great but we wanted something that felt a little more sophisticated.
There you have it, a pretty comprehensive list of what we disliked about the bathroom. Luckily for us, there was nothing structural that we wanted to change. I’m sure you’re getting super anxious to see what it looks like after the remodel, so here you go:
Aaaahhhh, so much better! I had to include a picture of the toilet so you could share in my feelings of relief that there is no longer carpet there. Here is a quick summary of what we did, and by “we” I mean our contractors:
- Tore out all the carpet and put down 16×16 travertine tile
- Tore out the fiberglass shower and tiled the existing shower space, including oversized nooks between the studs and a tile shower seat in the corner. I can’t believe how much bigger the shower felt, even thought it was the exact same space.
- Tore out the nasty brownish-purple tile around the tub and replaced it with 12×12 travertine tiles. We used the same tile color on floor and the tub surround, contrary to the designer’s advice, but I have to say I’m really happy with how it looks. The designer that worked with our contractor felt that using the same color on the floor and tub surround would be boring and not broken up enough…I’m going to go ahead and say she was wrong on this one.
- Tore out the nasty brownish-purple laminate countertop and installed a solid granite slab and granite backsplash
- Installed new vessel sinks and new faucets
- Refinished the existing cabinets and added modern hardware
- Tore out the huge wrap-around mirror and replaced it with individual mirrors above each sink and the make-up area
- Replaced the light fixtures with a more modern look. It’s interesting to note that one of the light fixtures above one of the sinks was not centered and had to be moved a few inches to one side.
- New paint on the walls and ceiling. I have to say that years later I’m still not totally sold on this shade of yellow. I was just too lazy to go out and find a new color and paint over it. My husband liked it right from the beginning, saying it was cheerful. I like it, I just don’t think it’s quite the right shade.
A few things we took away from this project:
- If I were going to do it again, I think I would just hire each contractor myself rather than use a general contractor who just farmed out the work to a tile guy, electrician, plumber, painter, etc. These general contractors basically act as a project manager for you and coordinate everything, at about a 25% commission. Ouch. We could have done all the same work for much cheaper if we had managed the project ourselves. Since we didn’t do anything major structurally, I would have been totally comfortable working directly with the different specialists that came in. If you are moving walls and doing other major renovations then a general contractor may be worth it. You live and learn I guess.
- Keep your eye on everything! I’m a perfectionist and wanted to make sure everything was going to turn out just how we wanted it. It’s a good thing that I double checked EVERYTHING because we did catch a few things that needed more attention. For example, when our sinks arrived they were actually different sizes. And the plumber didn’t notice and installed them anyway. Seriously? One was about an inch taller that the other…manufacturer flaw. Needless to say, we had that sucker ripped out, returned, and replaced with a new one that matched the size of the other. There were some other small things here and there that required return visits from some of the contractors, but nothing major. Just make sure you’re happy with everything because you are the one who will live in the space. Don’t be afraid to be critical to get things done right.
We absolutely adore this bathroom, it is such a nice little oasis for us. The kids have pretty much taken over my jetted tub but I’m going to try and reclaim that space as my own once we move on to the next house! If you have plans for a bathroom renovation, be sure and spend time researching reputable contractors in your area (Angie’s list, home advisor, word of mouth, etc). Also, websites like Pinterest and Houzz have made it so easy to find ideas for your new space and inspirational photos for the planning phase. Happy remodeling!