Friday, March 28, 2014

Bathroom Updates - Tile, Toilet, Mirror, Lights and Vanity!

     Thanks to a lovely mid-March snow-day induced 3-day weekend, the bathroom has come a long way since the March 1 update!  I mean, ITS PRACTICALLY ALMOST DONE!  It's not really done - there's no bathtub - but seriously, it's practically like a real bathroom now! And most importantly - it has a toilet!  Which means I don't have to run downstairs at 2, 3, 4 or 5 in the morning to pee. :) Yay! It was a lot of hard work, but totally worth it!

     After getting the wonderboard in and priming the walls for paint, it was time to start tiling the floor.  We weren't really looking forward to this because we chose admittedly difficult tile to work with - the tiles are a mosaic lantern pattern, and each tile is approx 2"x3".  We started by laying our initial straight line (which is hard when there isn't a straight line in your bathroom, period, haha), and then worked out from there.  Clint dedicatedly laid thinset, and I laid the tile behind him.  Though seemingly harmless, this was a little tiring at this stage of my pregnancy. And then I was (stupidly) laying tile while moving in a backwards direction and I managed to squarely step into the open vent hole on the bathroom floor.  My leg fell in and got scraped from my foot to my knee... and I tweaked my preggo back... and I'm lucky that there's a drop ceiling in the kitchen below the bathroom and I didn't poke my foot or the vent shaft through the kitchen ceiling!  :)  Other than that the process went pretty well.  


     The next step on the checklist was getting paint on those walls.  Unfortunately it's been tough to get a good picture that really captures the colors well between the never ending gray weather and the unnatural lighting - but I tried.  The lighter wall is called 'lavender heather' and the darker wall is dark purple with the faux brushed pearl effect.  I was afraid that the faux effect would be really difficult and time consuming, but it wasn't that bad!


     The following day we finally grouted the tile. And by we, I mean Clint and his brother Erin.  So I'm not really sure how tough the grouting process was, but I'm sure it was arduous.  It was also really messy since we decided to use a black grout to really accentuate the shape of the tile.  A bit after the initial grouting was done, Clint and I had to go up and buff the tiles and clean them up.  !!THAT WAS HELL!!  I think we waited a touch too long and the grout wasn't coming off very easily.  We had to hard-scrub every curvy grout-line, for hundreds of tiles.  We literally spent hours doing this.  So the moral of the story is - if you want to make your bathroom tiling experience way more time consuming and difficult than it can be, choose a curvy white mosaic tile and pair it with black grout.  :)  But at the end of the day, I love the way the tile looks, so again, totally worth it.

     After the paint and tile went in, we could actually begin to install some of the bathroom elements!  This was the part I was most excited for because I spent days and days looking at thousands of sinks, faucets, lights, dressers, tiles, mirrors, etc. trying to find elements that would match my vision for the bathroom.  (If you know me, you probably know that I'm very particular...)  So while I was excited, I was also nervous because it's hard to imagine what things will look like before they're actually installed.  Would I love it or would I hate it?!?!  Fortunately, I'm super excited and really pleased with the way things are shaping up so far! 

     With the help of Clint's Dad, the first elements to go in were the wall faucet and the light fixtures.  I absolutely love the antique look of the chrome elephant nose faucet - and the cross-bar handles are nearly a perfect match to the set on the tub.  I debated heavily about if we should use these Pottery Barn sconces because they weren't chrome (and pretty much all of our other fixtures are chrome), but I figured at least the bases are black, which should match our vanity top, and the shiny metallic mercury glass had a bit of a chrome feel to it as well.


     Next up was the toilet, mirror and vanity.  For as much as I tried to save money in this reno, there were certain elements I couldn't find "cheap" and didn't want to compromise on.  So, our toilet is a really pretty and slightly antique-y looking Kohler, and the mirror also came from Pottery Barn.  I actually had a hard time finding a large mirror that was wide enough, but narrow enough to fit between the vanity and our short ceiling.  

    I wasn't savvy enough to take any photos of the toilet with the seat down - but if you could see the tank, you'd see that it has a nice rectangular shape, and the front bows out - which matches the shape of the vanity and also draws in the curves of the tile.  (I'll make sure the seat is down for the completion post!)  So here's everything that we have currently installed!

     You may remember that the sink was a vessel sink, and I was contemplating dropping it into the vanity.  As you can see, we did just that.  We found that there wasn't a ton of space between the faucet and the sink, so the extra 1-2 inches gained made a big difference in the usability of the faucet.  :)  I also think that dropping the sink into the vanity gave it a more seamless look.  The size and shape of the sink ended up fitting the vanity perfectly!

     And here is one last picture of the space in 'natural' morning lighting.  I really love the way the light lavender draws out the brushed pearl element on the darker purple wall, and I'm really pleased with the way the purples coordinate with our 'black and white' elements.

     Hopefully the next bathroom post will actually be our completion post!  We still need to grout the tile in the over-tub toiletry bump-in, and then we need to frame that up to match the window/door trim and add the baseboard.  Then we just need to install the tub and the shower enclosure.  And then we'll actually be done!  I hope it turns out well.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bathroom Renovation Updates

     It feels like we started the bathroom renovation FOREVER ago - and to be honest it kind of was forever ago.  The Bathroom Demolition Day post was from November 11 and now it's almost St. Patty's Day!  Progress has been a little slow - but that's what happens when you don't feel like working on the bathroom at night after work and when 1 half of the working couple is preggo.  :)[FWIW, Clint claims that it's very difficult to work on the bathroom after work when it's dark outside because of the poor lighting in the bathroom...]

     Nonetheless, I'm excited about the progress that has been made, and I think that the stuff left to be done may be easier, or go faster, or at least make us feel like we're making more progress than the stuff we've accomplished so far.  Which begs the question, what have we done so far??

     Well the first thing we had to do was finish the demo - which included stripping the last part of the floor to reach the subfloor and tearing down the built in bump out for the old shower.  We also had to pull up some of the subfloor around the plumbing for the old shower and the toilet, since the plumbing needed to be moved. Here's a photo of what the bathroom looked like in this state.  We used a big paper template of the clawfoot tub to get an idea of where the plumbing would need to be moved.

     Once all the plumbing was moved appropriately - we had to address the subfloor.  Apparently our 1911 house has settled considerably since being built, and there was a good 3-4 inch slope from the back of the bathroom to the front.  There was also some sloping from the outside wall to the inside wall.  Normally with small issues in leveling you can just use self-leveling cement, but these differences were a little too big for cement, so we needed to build a new and level subfloor.  After some debate we decided to build on top of the old subfloor instead of ripping it out and building up or down from the joists.  We lose a bit of height that way (which is unfortunate since our ceilings are so low), but it was a much simpler way to do things.
     Building the subfloor was a little bit time consuming, but fortunately not too difficult.  We employed many of the same techniques that we used to build level garden boxes on the sloped ground outside.  We started by laying a small (4x7) board of the new subfloor down at the highest point of the subfloor (the back wall seen in the photo), and jacking up the other side with shims until the new subfloor was level from the back to the front. Then when it was level, we measured that against a 2x4 that would become one of the "new" joists.  Then we cut the joists to replace the shims as the new leveler.  We did that across the length of the bathroom, putting new joists down on top of where all of the old joists were, and a few going the opposite direction for extra support.  Once we had all of the new joists in, we just had to secure the new subfloor onto the joists.

     Then, just when we thought we were done, Clint and his dad realized that the back wall was a bit of a false wall, and decided to tear it down to gain us some more space in the bathroom.  There was also some drain vent pipe that went through the exterior wall (which we've moved to go up and out through the attic now), but it left a hole in the wall of our bathroom, hehe. So this was our new (old) wall, and the new and exciting view from the bathroom. 

     Once the floor work was done, we also had to move the plumbing and electrical around in the walls to account for the changes we were making. We did just about all of the plumbing work ourselves, but Clint's dad was a great source of help for the electrical work. 

     For the remaining plumbing, we needed to move the drain pipes for the new vanity and bring the water pipes up through the wall since we're using a wall-mount faucet instead of a vanity-mounted faucet over the sink.  For the electrical, we added wiring for an exhaust fan since our bathroom didn't have one before, and split the electrical for the old vanity lights since we're going to use a pair of sconces in the new bathroom.  We added a GFI outlet and moved the previously installed one to fit with the new vanity.  We mounted everything in place where we would need them, and added some studs so that we could mount the mirror on studs instead of drywall.  Then the men added insulation to all the walls, and we built a recessed area in the back wall (the one with the hole) where we will hopefully be able to put our shower toiletries. 

     Finally we got to the point where all of the behind the scenes work was done (I thought I took some pictures of the bathroom at this stage - but I couldn't find any on the camera so you'll just have to imagine how great the bathroom looked when all of the plumbing, electrical and stud work was complete).  Clint's brother Erin came over to clean up some of the work in the bathroom and prepare the walls for drywall installation. That was a huge help. We decided to hire the drywall job out because when we did even that small amount of drywall work in the nursery it took weeks and weeks to get the mudding right (and we had to have Clint's brother come over and fix it)... These guys can complete the job in 2 days.  :) I think it's worth it to speed up completion of this bathroom.  I really need this bathroom to be done so we can finish the nursery before Walden arrives!!

     It's crazy the difference that just adding drywall makes to a space!  Suddenly, it almost looks like a real room instead of a disaster zone.  :)

     The mudding still needs to be sanded - but once that's done we'll be ready to prime and paint!  This weekend we're going to start tackling the floor - putting down wonder-board in preparation for tile.  Then once the tile is in and the walls are painted, we can actually start installing the important stuff like the TOILET, tub and vanity/sink!  YAY!!  I'm so excited and can't wait to see how all of the elements will look together when the bathroom is complete.