I finished my bathroom remodel! Woohoo! I’m so excited to be done! There are now to whole finished rooms in my house. 😀 And they just happen to be the two most challenging — a total gut job down to the studs, floor joists, and ceiling joists, followed by a total rebuild of the kitchen and the hallway bathroom. The rest of the rooms should feel like a walk in the park after these!
I started this small bathroom remodel on January 22nd — almost exactly six months ago — and have been working on it off and on since then. I took a break during my father-in-law’s two-week visit in March, another break during my two-week blogging break, and yet another break while I finished up the condo. So if I had to guess, I’d say it took an actual three-and-a-half months of work. But I finished it!!
And here’s the finished bathroom remodel…
People regularly ask me, “Do you actually do all of the work yourself?” So I need to give credit where credit is due. 🙂
- I have a plumber who does all of my plumbing for me. I refuse to get under my house, so I leave the plumbing to others.
- My brother-in-law helped me wire the new lighting and outlets.
- My neighbor and his son and friend helped me remove the old cast iron bathtub, and I also payed them to haul away the 39 heavy bags full of old broken tile and mortar, as well as some other construction debris.
I did everything else myself, from breaking out the old tile and mortar and bagging it up, laying new subfloor and concrete board, installing the concrete board around the bathtub, installing new drywall (even on the ceiling!), installing all of the tile on the floor and bathtub surround, building and installing the new vanity, building the built-in storage area, and on, and on. So I would guesstimate that I did at least 95% of this remodel by myself
Let’s take a look at the before and after…
When we bought the house, the bathroom was not only very dated, but it was also incredibly inefficient, with a huge storage cabinet above the tub that was pretty much inaccessible to me, a tiny sink and vanity, and a vanity light with a pull chain. The only outlet in the room was the one on the vanity light, and I couldn’t even reach it, so I basically had a bathroom with no usable outlets.
The bathroom also had a pretty useless window. It was originally an exterior window, but now it looked into the enclosed sunroom. That sunroom will eventually be a hallway once we do our big remodel back there, and since I don’t want a window looking into a hallway, I removed it.
I gutted everything, right down to the floor joists, studs, and ceiling joists, and then rebuilt the bathroom. It looks absolutely nothing like it did before.
That’s a pretty drastic change, right?! 😀 Here’s a side-by-side view of the before and after…
As I mentioned, the old vanity was tiny, and the only outlet was on that vanity light. All of the cream and maroon tile made the bathroom feel a bit dreary and depressing to me, and that mirror was way too high to actually be usable to me. (I’m only five feet tall, and that thing was high!)
But now I have a much bigger vanity, with usable counterspace, lots of storage, actual usable outlets, and a mirror that I can actually use and see more than just my face from the chin up. 😀
FYI, the floor in the hallway is looking a bit rough now, where I installed the threshold, filled in the missing boards after moving the door, and after dragging 39 bags of debris through there.
I’ll repair all of that, including that one transition threshold board, when I work on the hallway. So just ignore that and only look at the tile. 😉
It’s hard for me to imagine now that the bathroom ever looked like that, but it’s even harder to imagine just how much worse it got during the remodel.
The Process (It Got Worse Before It Got Better)
As bad as the bathroom looked before I started the remodel, it got much, much worse as things progressed. I still can’t believe how many contractor bags I filled with tile and mortar that came off of the walls and floor. The mortar was so thick!
And once I got all of that out of there, I had to remove some rotted subfloor as well.
As I mentioned before, my neighbor and his son and friend helped me remove the cast iron tub, and underneath there, I found where some animal had made its nest.
I still find it hard to believe that I never shed any tears from being overwhelmed by the process or the condition of my bathroom at any point during this remodel. Now temper tantrums are another story. I definitely threw a few temper tantrums, like when I was installing the concrete board around the tub by myself and I dropped one of the boards on my head.
So while I threw my fair share of temper tantrums, I don’t remember ever just having a good ole sob party from being overwhelmed. Even when I removed most of the subfloor, and I could see straight through to the dirt below, I was fairly confident that I could get it done. Not completely confident, but fairly confident. 😀
About Those DIY Projects…
The entire room is one big DIY project, but it’s made up of lots of individual DIY projects. I documented those along the way, so you can go back and see how I made each things. For this bathroom, I…
- made the vanity out of three inexpensive unfinished oak cabinets that Home Depot carries in stock. I attached them together with wood glue and screws, and then added decorative feet;
- built the countertop out of pine 2″ x 3″ lumber;
- framed the mirror using the same trim that I use on all of my door sand windows;
- made a decorative wood bathtub skirt to cover the plain side of the inexpensive bathtub;
- covered the ceiilng in strips of thin plywood to look like shiplap;
- and turned bifold closet doors into double doors that open out into the hallway.
You can find all of these DIY projects linked at the end of this post.
The previous owners had covered the ceiling in 1 x 4’s and polystyrene tiles, just like the rest of the house.
Once I removed the tiles and 1 x 4’s, the old drywall began to crumble, so I had to re-drywall the ceiling. Then I decided to add a wood slat design to the ceiling using strips of stained 1/4-inch plywood.
I was afraid that the dark ceiling might make the room look dark, or make the ceiling feel low, but it doesn’t. In fact, it had the opposite effect. The ceiling in this room feels so much higher to me than the rooms with just white drywall.
A previous owner had built this storage cabinet above the bathtub just on top of the tile surround. It wasn’t functional at all because it was so deep that reaching the back of the cabinet was impossible.
Plus, it was like showering in a cave. Now the tub area feels so spacious.
The main shower curtain is purely decorative. In fact, this time I made the panels stationery and hung them with Velcro, so they can’t close. The actual usable shower curtain is tucked in behind the front shower curtain panel.
And since I use the breathable fabric hotel liners (not the thick plastic ones), it dries very fast. I’ve never had a problem with mildew on these liners, even though I always keep my shower curtains open. I don’t like closed shower curtains. I feel like they make a bathroom feel much smaller. Also, in my case, a closed shower curtain would hide the paneled bathtub skirt that I built.
The original storage closet was behind the bathroom door. It actually provided quite a bit of usable storage space.
But as I was rebuilding the bathroom, I decided I wanted something a little different. The original linen closet made the bathroom feel really small, so I opted for a cabinet on bottom with open shelving on top.
The double doors may be my favorite part of this bathroom remodel. The original door opened into the bathroom, which was another thing that made this bathroom feel so cramped.
Since it’s just a standard 32-inch wide doorway, and double doors for that size would have been a custom order. That would have been very expensive. So I ended up making my own double doors out of bi-fold closet doors. I also moved the whole doorway over about 10 inches to make room for a larger vanity.
The whole room just feels so much bigger to me now, even though it’s still just 8′ x 8′.
I actually really did like the style of the original floor, and was kind of sad to see it go. But I started this remodel because the 1/2-inch lip of tile from the hallway to the bathroom made access impossible for Matt. So the vintage tile had to go. (Plus, that flesh-colored tile really wasn’t my thing. Had it been white and black, that would have been hard to tear up.)
I love the new 6″ x 24″ tile that I used. It has a marble effect, and looks so light and bright. But best of all, it is now perfectly level with the hardwood floor in the hallway. Matt can now easily access this room.
I originally used Alabaster grout on the floor, and it ended up looking dirty and dingy. So I went back over it with Grout Renew in Bright White, and it made SUCH a huge difference! Now it looks bright and clean. It also made the grout lines kind of disappear, allowing the tile to be the focus. Before, with the Alabaster grout, the grout lines kind of jumped out at you, stealing attention from the tile.
And that’s pretty much it! Here are a few more pictures…
So now to the big question. How much did this remodel cost?
The whole thing cost $3,968. And that includes the $1000 that I paid my plumber and my neighbor. I did get some things free, though, like the sink, faucet, tub faucet, and drawer/door pulls. I think that’s it, so if you add the cost of those things, I’m looking at a $4400 remodel.
That’s not too bad, right? Especially considering that this was a down-to-the-studs (and ceiling joists, and floor joists) remodel. Everything in here is new, so I don’t think that cost is bad at all! A temporary, lipstick-on-a-pig makeover would have been considerably cheaper, but it would have been temporary. So I’m much happier that I went this route.
Products & Sources:
- Ceiling: plywood slats, DIY instructions here
- Floor tile: Marazzi VitaElegante Bianco from Home Depot
- Ceiling light: Hampton Bay Nove 2-light semi-flush mount from Home Depot
- Wall paint color: custom mixed by me, but looks very similar to Pale Ivy by Behr
- Vanity: made from Home Depot stock cabinets, DIY instructions here
- Vanity paint color: Mythic Forest by Behr
- Sink: Miseno undermount sink from Build.com
- Drawer and door pulls: Hickory Hardware Studio Collection in stainless steel from Build.com
- Faucet: Delta Windemere in Brilliance Stainless from Build.com
- Countertops: made from pine 1 x 3’s, DIY instructions here
- Wainscoting: DIY instructions here
- Trim paint color: Polar Bear by Behr
- Vanity mirror: DIY instructions here
- Sconces: Remington Collection Brushed Nickel from Home Depot
- Glass shades for sconces: White Snowflake glass shade from Lowe’s
- Mosaic accent tile: Elida Ceramica Crackled mosaic tile from Lowe’s
- Wall shelves: made from scraps
- Paneled bathtub skirt: DIY instructions here
- Tub faucet: Delta Windemere in Brilliance Stainless from Build.com
- Tile on tub surround: Daltile Rittenhouse Square subway tile in white from Home Depot
- Shower curtain: made with Signature Series Linen in cream, Signature Series Linen in turquoise, and HGTV Home Curl Up in Citrine, all from Joann Fabric
- Bathroom doors: double doors made from bi-fold closet doors, DIY instructions here
- Surface-mount bolt lock: 18″ traditional lock in antique brass from House Of Antique Hardware
DIY Projects For This Bathroom Remodel
Bathroom DIY Projects View All
This bathroom got a colorful makeover in January 2019. Here’s a peek of how it turned out…
You can see more pictures of the updated colorful bathroom here…