Half-bath renovation

>> Friday, February 19, 2010

This has been done for a few weeks, but I keep forgetting to share! The half-bath in our home is tiny and sits behind the stairs in our hallway leading to the laundry room and garage. This was the plan for this tiny space:

  1. Re-grout the existing tile (even though the tile is a tiny bit crooked)
  2. Smooth the ugly over-caulked walls (the previous owners had slathered the stuff on the wall for some unknown reason)
  3. Paint
  4. Replace all door trim, baseboards and add in crown moulding
  5. Replace sink fixture, toilet paper fixture, add in a new towel bar and replace lighting
  6. Remove the existing mirror and replace with an oval one
I'm going to go through this step-by-step. This is going to be a bit long, so grab a snack and take a potty break before continuing! Here's a picture before:

1. Re-grout existing tile.
This seemed like a fairly easy task. Jason & I took a trip to the hardware store and bought new grout in a darker color. The existing color matched the tile and it always looked dirty. The store employee showed us a little metal tool that we could use to scrape out the grout. After it was scraped, we then just had to mix the grout correctly, and apply it with a float. (I think that's what it was called.) Sounds easy, huh? Yeah, not so much. After removing the toilet and the sink, it took Jason 2 hours to scrape around one tile with that tool before the tool was deemed useless. We went back to Home Depot and bought this Dremel plus this grout removing attachment. Nope, we didn't pay that much. There was a promotion that day, plus we had some leftover gift cards. I think we paid $40 out of pocket. So the Dremel was a little better. The only problem was that it kicked up dust like a bunch of wild horses stampeding through the desert and made your hand shake for 30 minutes after using it. It drove Jason crazy. Literally. (And why wasn't I doing it? Because the half-bath wouldn't fit both of us!) It still took Jason several hours to get this done. Finally, he was able to put in the grout and we later sealed it with three coats of sealant. Here's the grout before:

And after:

2. Smooth the ugly over-caulked walls (the previous owners had slathered the stuff on the wall for some unknown reason)
Apparently, I forgot to take pictures of the ugly mess of a wall. There were two stripes (yes stripes!) of rough-looking caulk or plaster that ran down the sides of the wall next to the toilet. Jason sanded them down and after painting, you could hardly tell where they were. 

 3. Paint
We used Behr paint from Home Depot for the project. "Harbor" went on the walls to coordinate with some towels I had found at Marshall's a long time ago. We used "White Fur" for the trim. Painting trim was a PITA even though we used pre-primed wood. The white we used didn't saturate the wood as well as we would have liked, so it took more coats than expected. Oh, we also painted the ceiling since it was small. We figured the blue ceiling would make white crown moulding really pop!
Here's the towels with the painted wall:

 4. Replace all door trim, baseboards and add in crown moulding
 Neither Jason nor I was happy with our door trim or baseboards. We had talked about putting in taller, more decorative baseboards in the entire house since we have high ceilings. We selected the baseboards, door mouldings and crown moulding that we liked and painted them. Then the nightmare began. We bought these little corner pieces that we thought looked cute. They fit in the corner of each wall eliminating the need to make 45-degree angle cuts on the baseboards. I took out all the existing door moulding and baseboards myself (see...I did something!). Jason then began nailing in baseboards. This is where we figured out that the walls of our half-bath are not straight. At all. The wall behind the sink actually makes an S-curve. That was was bad enough. Then, we found out that rather than nice 2X4's behind the wall, there were some type of metal plates behind the plaster instead. It became a b*tch to nail the boards to the wall. I could hear Jason cursing down the road! Worse yet, the wall next to the toilet has no supporting beam in the corner. The walls are supporting walls, so it's not required, but it meant that one side of our sheetrock was kind of floating. Jason had to very carefully nail it in the wall. Because of this missing beam, we had to leave our dreams of crown moulding in the garage. There's nothing to nail it in that corner and I really didn't want anything crashing down on our guests' heads when they use our bathroom. We thought about Liquid Nails, but we would still need something to hold those pieces up there. It just wasn't happening. The baseboards and wall trim do look nice, though. However, after finding this out about our baseboards, we may abandon the idea of replacing all of them if it's going to be this rough. Here's the before with everything taken out:

Here's a picture of the corner pieces and new baseboards:

 5. Replace sink fixture, toilet paper fixture, add in a new towel bar and replace lighting
 This was one of the "easier" tasks. Jason made it a bit harder by replacing the water shut-off valves. He wanted better ones installed, so that was a small project added on. I couldn't find the exact fixture we used, but this is the closest to the lighting: Here. We also bought this sink fixture at Home Depot which I think was on sale at the time. The towel bar and toilet paper fixture we got from this collection at Bed, Bath and Beyond using 20% off coupons!
Here's Jason painting around the newly-replaced water shut-off valves:

And here's a couple pictures of the new fixtures and hardware:


6. Remove the existing mirror and replace with an oval one
This was way harder than it looked. The original rectangular mirror had been stuck to the wall with a gallon of Liquid Nails. Jason tried to pry it off the wall, but he ended up having to break it before he could take it off. This left three holes in the sheetrock, but the replacement mirror (that I found for $40 at Ross!) was large enough to cover them all up! Here's the finished (for now) view. Lights on!

Lights off!

I haven't put anything on the wall yet, but I'll get to that eventually. It took Jason so many hours to do this because of all the unexpected obstacles, but I am so proud of him! We are happy with how things turned out and aren't embarrassed to send people to the bathroom anymore! :)


The DIY Show Off February 19, 2010 at 2:20 PM  

It looks great! What a change! I love the new color and your baseboards are awesome! Super job! :)

Keaki@DomesticAddiction February 19, 2010 at 4:59 PM  

It looks gorgeous! I love the hardware and mirror!

Anonymous,  February 21, 2010 at 12:04 AM  

You guys did a great job! I love the color.

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