Tag Archives: bathroom renovation

project bathroom: the reveal

1st May 2012

So after proclaiming that the time had come to do something about our dated and dull bathroom on March 26th, we have done a complete overhaul of this small-but-important room in our pad. One month, a lot of elbow grease, a few dolla dolla bills, and we can (almost) call this one officially done-zo. The *almost* refers to still having to install the overhead fan and put in the floor transition (both on handy hubby’s to do list!).

In case you’ve missed the progress, here is what we’ve done to the space:

the “before”
the demo
tiling the shower
installing marble floors
building a floating vanity
installing the vanity
patching walls
adding trim and paint
painting the ceiling and installing a pendant light

And before we get to all of those after shots, let’s just take a little stroll down memory lane and remember what this space used to look like, shall we?! Pretty non-descript, totally storage-deprived and a danky old tub.


Goodbye boring beige bathroom. Hello classic, bright, and fresh. She’s a whole new woman.

Let’s throw in a little side-by-side comparison for good measure. She’s come a long way, huh? Showering in that new bathtub is like a total dream.

And as always, here is the budget breakdown. You know we’re all about affordable around here. We had originally saved up $5000. We knew we wanted to come in under 5K, but were a bit worried about coming across some really bad plumbing or other major issues that would require us to hire a contractor. Luckily, other than having a bit of help from a plumber-friend, we were able to do everything on our own.

Budget breakdown:

-tile (marble, subway tile, accent glass tile): $601.23 (originally $900, but we returned some unused tile)
-bathtub and fan: $364.45
-accessories (shower rod, towel bar, shower curtain, toilet paper holder, etc): $155.46
-drywall: $115.98
-mirror: $30
-vanity (wood, track system, legs, handles): $176.50
-vanity sink: $100
-paint: $64.85
-supplies (tiling supplies, plumbing, trim, tools, etc): $900.26
-gift card purchased for friend who helped out with plumbing: $100

Grand total: $2608.73

But the best part? We had saved up some Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, and IKEA gift cards from our wedding (thank you friends and family!), which totaled $1081.06 on gift cards. So actual moula out of our pockets was only $1527.67. Not bad for a complete bathroom renovation.

So there you have it. A top to bottom rehaul. I think the bathroom may now be my favourite room in the house!

What about you guys? Done any major renovations lately? Or fixed up a bathroom? Even just a coat of paint can do wonders! 

project bathroom: the last piece of the puzzle

30th April 2012

We’re coming up to the finish line, folks. Painting the ceiling and switching out the light were more or less the last things on our “to do” list for this bathroom renovation. There are still a few small maintenance things – like adding the floor transition, sealing the tile, etc, but those don’t really affect the big “after”.

After painting all of the walls white, I was left wanting a pop of colour somewhere in the room, and you know how I love a painted ceiling, right? (check out this one in my hallway). I didn’t want to introduce a completely new colour into the small space, so I ended up going with the exact same greeny-gray shade as our DIY vanity (called Sterling by Benjamin Moore). You can see that I taped out the wall and painted a few strokes to get an idea of what it would look like.

And here is how she looked after two coats. The colour actually came out looking a bit more dark and moody than it does on the vanity (you’ll notice that the walls look more buttery-cream than white here, which is just thanks to the lack of natural light when I was snapping these pics!).

I’m really happy with it. It seems to bring the eye up and make the room feel taller and more spacious (a major bonus is such a small space!).

In terms of light fixtures, since we don’t have sconces on either side or above the mirror in the bathroom (and didn’t want to bother running new electrical to put them in), we needed to make sure we got a light fixture that would allow a lot of light to beam around the whole room. I fell in love with a few industrial looking fixtures, but they had shades that cast all of the light straight down. Bummer. So when I saw this guy, from the Debbie Travis collection at Canadian Tire for $50, I was sold. It was budget-friendly, a chrome finish (which ties in with the rest of the chrome fixtures), and had a clear glass shade that would cast light all around.

It’s not my favourite light fixture of all time, but it’s pretty and totally works with the space.

I also really like the crackled glass effect, which adds a bit of extra interest.

So that’s it! I’ll be back tomorrow with the whole roundup of after photos and budget breakdown. Hooray!

Hope you all had a good weekend. Get up to anything fun? I spent most of the weekend getting caught up with friends and doing my fair share of thrifting. Found a couple of good finds, which I’ll share later this week. I can’t wait for all of the spring community yard sales to start popping up – I love the treasure hunting! 

project bathroom: the details, darling

27th April 2012

Okay, so after all that talk about caulking yesterday let’s get to something a little more pretty, shall we? Accessories. Whether they are for your outfits or a room in your home, who doesn’t love accessories? They totally make a room (or outfit) and add that little bit of sparkle and fun.

After doing a long list of labour-intensive projects (like demo, tiling, or laying a floor), adding the accessories felt like such a treat. First up were the bars – towel bar, TP holder, etc. We had a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond leftover from our wedding, so we headed there to see what they had. They carry a pretty good range of products in various finishes (brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, etc.), but since we had already chosen our chrome faucet and shower head (purchased at IKEA and Home Depot), we wanted to keep it all consistent. MOEN had a nice line in chrome with simple and clean lines, so we went for them. The series weren’t particularly cheap (all between $15-$50), but they are good quality and a middle of the road price, which we were okay with.

Here was our sad, old towel bar. A plastic white thing that had definitely seen better days. Since our bathroom is so small, the back of the door is the only spot for a towel holder. We contemplated just putting up hooks instead, but tested out hanging our towels on the hooks in our bedroom and found that they never quite dried properly. So, bar it was.

The BB&B bars came with these handy-dandy paper instructions that show exactly where to drill in. We marked the spots with the screws themselves, and then just drilled ‘er in.

Muuuch better.

And the toilet paper holder? Not much rhyme or reason in picking the perfect spot for this bad boy, we just put it on where it would be comfortable to grab… don’t need to get all descriptive here. You know what I’m talking about.

And voila.

Now for the mirror. I had two main criteria for this decision: 1) it needed to be high to fill the space as much as possible to make the room feel bigger, and 2) I wanted it to be wooden to bring some warmth and texture into the room. I went to my favourite mirror source (HomeSense) and came home with two possibilities. For those of you Canadians out there, HomeSense is really fabulous for mirrors – there is usually tons of selection and they are super reasonably priced.

Anyway, I came home with two different options. The first was this rustic and industrial beauty. I thought it might add a nice juxtoposition to the slick textures in the bathrooms (marble, subway tile, etc). Although I liked it, its chunkiness just felt a bit too heavy in the space. (*Note: you’ll notice that this decision making happened a while ago, before the backsplash tile had even gone up).

The second choice was this more sleek ebony wooden frame. It’s definitely the more slick version of the two and it’s slim, tall lines seemed to fit in the space better. Winna winna, chicken dinna.

And here she is installed and looking all pretty. I like having the pop of wood as a bit of contrast in the room. It looks more like shiny black in these photos, but up close you can see the wood grain and the deep chocolate colour.

Oh, and did you notice that pop of pattern and colour reflecting in the mirror? Yep, that’s the new shower curtain! This paisley beauty popped out at me on our BB&B shopping trip and I couldn’t help but pick it up (it was $50 – but I still had that gift card). It’s called the Sardinia. At first I thought it might be too much in the small space, so I carefully took it out of the packaging and draped it over the shower curtain rod.

But after a few hours of peeking my head in every so often and slowly walking by the room, I was smitten. It pulls a lot of the colours from around our little house (aqua, lime green, light gray), and the paisley is such a fun pattern. If I ever want the room to feel more “calm”, I can always get a white or gray waffle shower curtain (what I was originally going to buy) and just switch them out based on my mood.

But for now, I can’t get enough of these fun colours.

So that wraps up the accessories fun. The last few things on the to-do list are to paint the ceiling and install the new light, install the vent, seal the tile, and put in a floor transition. The final reveal will be next week. Stay tuned!

Happy weekend, everyone. Got any fun plans? Any travelling, spring cleaning, or DIY’ing? Whatever it is, I hope it’s fabulous!

project bathroom: fixer uppers

16th April 2012

Doing corners and filling holes. Not one of the more exciting steps in the reno process, but I’m just keepin’ it real folks. This step always seems like it’s going to take all of 20 minutes and somehow becomes a multi-day project. We had a variety of patching to do in our wee little bathroom – fixing existing walls, working on the new areas of drywall, and filling some big gaping holes.

Let’s take a look at what we were working with.

One of the first things I tackled was the old walls. They had this weird subway tile pattern on the bottom half which at first glance looked like the real thing, but once you zoomed in you could tell it was just a painted vinyl. Not charming.

Since we didn’t want to rip down the walls and start over with new drywall, I figured I would try and patch them. I grabbed some handy dandy Polyfilla (the “prep” stuff is for smaller holes, and the “big” stuff is for the bigger holes.. duh!).

Basically you want to slap the stuff on and scrape it into the gaps, then go over it again to wipe away the excess. It’s kind of tricky to write into words, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. Here is how the wall was looking post-pollyfilla.

Then you want to sand it down before doing any painting. I tend to use the block sanders since they are easier to grab than loose sanding sheets.

So that was one fix taken care of.

Next up were the corners. We had thrown up some new drywall all around our shower surround (see that here), so had to do something about the seams where the new met the old.

We grabbed some of this sheetrock flex metal tape from our hardware store…

… and a tub of drywall compound (or “mud” as it’s known in the drywall world).

Basically the flexible metal tape folds in half and fits into corners. We cut the pieces to size first, then put some drywall compound onto the wall, stuck the piece of tape on, and then layered more compound on top. You want to scrape it down and try to feather it out as much as you can. The aim is to get it to blend in with the wall.

Here’s how it was looking while it was still wet.

Once dry, you sand it down for a smooth finish (again, this is easiest when using the block sanders).

Last up was this big hole above the sink. We’re planning on putting a piece of trim where the tile meets the wall in order to make it look seamless, but knew that the trim wouldn’t quite cover that gaping hole.

Plain old polyfilla wasn’t going to be enough since there wasn’t anything for it to hold on to, so we used some of this wall repair fiberglass tape that we had on hand.

We cut it to size and basically just stuck in on top of the hole.

Then we put the drywall compound right on top of it. It was little messy and we couldn’t scrape it for a totally smooth finish (it wasn’t strong enough for that), but we just wanted to get that hole covered.

Once it was dry, we were able to sand it down and get it relatively smooth. All set for that piece of trim.

Remember those sanding blocks I mentioned? Well, there was a lot of sanding. Five blocks worth and a whole whack of dust.

So there you have it. Tales of patching holes and making corners. Thrilling stuff, huh?

Next up – trim, caulking, and then some paint. All of this prep work is going to make slapping that paint on feel oh so good.

So what about you guys? Do anything fun this weekend? Any super exciting wall-patching? ;)

project bathroom: demo

28th March 2012

Step one in project bathroom reno? Demolition, baby. We need to still be able to use the bathroom during our re-model (we only have one, after all!), so we didn’t rip everything out all at once. We knew the bathtub had to be the first thing to tackle (messiest and biggest job), so that’s where we started.

Let me tell you, that grimy old tub of ours was cast-iron and reeeeally well installed. It took a whole lot of hammering, and help from one of Dan’s friends (my muscles just weren’t cutting it), but we got ‘er out.

Luckily this friend is a carpenter/plumber, so he also helped us install the new tub. Changing a toilet is one thing, but doing the plumbing for a new bathtub was one of those things that we didn’t want to just wing ourselves. A few hours of soldering and some heavy lifting, and the boys called me back in to see the new beauty. Success!

Ain’t she pretty? Just a basic pure white tub from Home Depot for a mere $269 (plus tax). The brand is Mirolin and the tub is called the Sydney Acrylic. It was exactly what we wanted – basic, white, no frilly stuff, and comfortable. I’m so looking forward to a few evenings in there with bubbles and a gossip magazine. Come to think of it, I haven’t actually ever taken a bath in this house!

So here’s how it’s looking. A bathtub, but not much else.

The other side of the room is still in tact so we can use the toilet and sink.

And here’s the new tub celebration we had going on. Just partying in the bathroom, no big deal.

The house is a crazy mess though. I forgot how major reno’s in one space totally take over the rest of the house. There is a layer of dust on everything, and piles of supplies everywhere. Oh, and there is no door on our bathroom.. so everything is pretty “out in the open”, if you know what I mean… !!

Drywall and tiling are up next. We’ve picked out a subway tile and gorgeous glass tile accent that I’m SO excited about. Wish me luck!

You folks done any demo recently? Don’t you feel like your whole house is a construction zone? I feel like I’m going to be dusting for months and months…

the time has come, bathroom

26th March 2012

The bathroom. A room in our pad that has been at the top of the “to do” list ever since we moved in. I have showed this shot below of the room in our house tour, but have tried to avoid any other pictures at all costs.

Want to see why? This grungy, old, doesn’t-get-clean-no-matter-how-much-you-scrub tub is why…

Ickity Ick Ick Ick. See why it has been at the top of our list? Not only is the tub grimy and gross, but the vinyl floors are “blah”, the sink that comes out of the wall has zero storage, the lighting is boring, and the room just doesn’t really have anything going for it.

So, it’s renovation time! We’ve been saving our pennies and talking endlessly about what we’d like to do with this room for months. Because this is the only bathroom in our house that we use (the second bathroom is downstairs and is part of our tenant’s apartment), we need to keep it as a 4-piece and try to pack in as much storage space as possible. This is a wee little bungalow after all.

Having said that, I still want to make sure the room stays bright, flows with the rest of the house, and feels as big and open as possible. Here are a few photos I’ve been pinning lately..

I’m leaning towards white subway tile, marble, and pretty classic finishes. Pops of colour, but mostly neutrals. Stay tuned to see how this room turns out, and all the steps in between!

What about you folks? Done bathroom renovations lately? Any “wish you knew beforehand” tips to share? 

basement reno update #8: bathroom presto-chango

20th October 2010

With all the major reno’s going on in the main part of the basement, the bathroom was pushed a bit to the wayside. It was super that there was an existing 4-piece bathroom, but the not-so-super part was that it was looking more than a little outdated. The combination of grotty old fixtures (lights, faucet, etc.), a beige-coloured toilet and sink, and a mottled blue/beige coloured bathtub surround was just looking a little too “dingy-basement-bathroom” for my liking. Since we were spending essentially our whole budget on the other, bigger parts of the basement, we just didn’t have the money to rip up the bathroom and start fresh. So, I put on my DIY and bargain-hunting cap and went to work. Here’s what I was working with:

There were a few things that had to stay:

1)      The flooring. Yes, I’d love to lay some nice tile in there, but it just wasn’t possible with our tight budget and timeline.

2)      The bathroom/shower surround. Again, it would be lovely and not all that expensive to replace the tub, but it just wasn’t in the cards this time around.

So with the floors and the tub staying, I got to work on the things that I could change:

First thing was the toilet. I really hated the beige colour – it just looked too 70’s for me. The City of Ottawa was having a water-efficiency rebate program, where if you bought one of the identified efficient toilets, you would get roughly 50% of the cost back. So with that, the new toilet was a mere $50. The small price tag plus a reduced water bill over time sold us on the new toilet pretty easily. We choose a bright white American Standard model. This little room was starting to look more fresh already!





Next up was the vanity. Although you can get really great deals on vanities (there seems to be one on for $99 every weekend at one of the local home stores), ours was actually a really solid, well-built piece. Plus, if we got a new one that wasn’t the exact same footprint, then we would need to worry about changing the flooring. So I got out the paint swatches and decided on a nice, earthy green colour. Off came the hardware, out came my paintbrush, and two coats later it was done! Such an easy spruce-up. Oh the wonders of a can of paint!

Since we had changed the toilet, I absolutely couldn’t leave the no-longer-matching beige sink. Dan, however, didn’t see the need to replace the vanity top right away. So, my well-honed persuasion skills were put to good use, and shortly thereafter he was on board! We chose a budget-friendly cultured marble top in a bright white to match the toilet.  I also grabbed a new faucet (ours was faulty and looking pretty grimy) – on sale, of course, for a mere $30.

Next up was a new mirror and light fixture. I considered looking around for a second-hand mirror that I could paint in the same colour as the vanity, but since things were so chaotic with the rest of the basement renovation, when I saw a smart-looking black mirror on sale for $19, I couldn’t resist. It was just too easy! The light fixture was also a sale isle find.

So here it is. The before-and-after. Even though I didn’t fully “dress” the bathroom with a new shower curtain, new towels, accessories etc. (this was for our soon-to-be tenant, after all!), it’s amazing what just a few little touches can make. The bathroom has gone from seen-better-days to fresh-and-light.



Here is the budget breakdown:

$50: toilet
$100: plumbing for toilet & new sink/faucet
$19: mirror
$30: faucet
$110: vanity top
$50: paint (for vanity and fresh coat of white for the walls)
$45: light fixture

$404 grand total.. not bad!