Have you ever blindly leaped into a project with no experience or expertise? Well, that’s what I did when I took on our first remodeling project. And a bathroom no less! Was I crazy or stupid? I know which one but I will never tell!
When we purchased our small house in the country almost a decade ago, I refused to even paint the walls in the bathroom. That’s how quickly I thought I would remodel them. I wasn’t a fan at all. A wedding, two kids, and 8 years later……they remained untouched. Epic fail!
This was the first project that I tackled after I quit my job to stay at home with my boys. I decided one day to make it happen – sat down and got to it. Ignorance is Bliss! Sometimes, I fearlessly pounce on projects like this. I had no woodworking or carpentry skills before launching into loft bed making either. But that turned out pretty well. Bathroom remodeling can’t be that complicated, right?
Bathroom remodeling is very complicated by the way, but it isn’t impossible for ordinary people (like us) to accomplish. It is most challenging because of the details you cannot see. Plumbing and electrical and level floors – oh my! All foreign to me but I picked up a few tips along the way.
The smartest thing I did was do some research before-hand and plan the entire production before ANYTHING was tore out of the bathroom. I talked to a designer friend and a carpenter friend and asked them the silliest questions. Then I made a detailed plan. I mean detailed (I had everything down to the faucet already picked out). I wrote a post about this process you can find here.
This being my first remodel, I was cautious about some of the design choices. I had never picked out tile for anything before, so I was intimidated. The designer (Hi Korie Bock at Scrugg’s Lumber in Jefferson City, MO) really helped me. She let me pick what I liked and made sure my choices weren’t bad ugly. We had the tile picked out, layout done, and paint selected in an hour.
I played it a little safe with this bathroom but was going for a light, spa-like atmosphere. The room is tiny and there are no windows. I think all the white really helped it. We put in new lighting and it was life-changing!
To call this remodel an improvement is such an understatement! It was quite the undertaking but we would do it all over again. Obviously, we did – on the bathroom downstairs! See that remodel here.
This bathroom is more universally appealing and we were super pleased with how it turned out. However, there are a few “if I could do it all overs.”
- The Neo-shaped shower. We selected the neo shape because they are great space savers for corner showers and are not as common. We were rewarded for wanting to be different by paying a lot more for the glass door for the shower. It is because one of the glass walls holds the weight of the door. The glass has to be thicker and secured well. It will most likely have to be repaired down the road. It is also more difficult to tile due to all the weird angles. That translates into higher tile installation cost for you. Redo: I would put in a rectangle shaped shower in the footprint of the tub that was there before. Bright side: That step in the corner is for leg shaving and the niche in the wall is a great space saver. Both are VITAL to shower happiness. Also, the linear drain looks great!
- This was my biggest lesson on tile design. The grout choices make all the difference. Everything looks totally different when it is grouted. A contrasting grout will make the shape of the tiles stand out. A complimentary grout will make it blend in. See how the white tiles on the walls look like one big piece of white? Complimentary. See how the accent tile’s long shapes stand out? Contrast. See how the pebble floor doesn’t stand out from across the room? Not enough contrast. That is my REDO. I would have selected a darker gray to contrast the pebble shower floor and the floor tile. I later used a stone enhancer to make it darker which made me happier. Bright side: The shower walls and accent tile turned out even better than I pictured.
- I still love the pebbles. They are unexpected and give the space a natural feel. That’s the bright side. Redo: They suck to clean. Seriously. I’m just being honest. I would put them in again but I would still be mad when I had to clean them.
- White grout. We ruled out white grout on the floor for obvious reasons and we thought that would be the end of that. It gets discolored at the bottom of the walls, in the niche, and on the step. A Clorox bleach gel pen is your best friend in this situation. Turns it white again. I have to jump on this every six months so it doesn’t become a big problem. Redo: I probably wouldn’t redo this. The white helps brighten the space, so I’ll just get over it. Bright side: The walls don’t discolor at all so I haven’t had to use bleach on them.
Those are all of my thoughts from my very first bathroom remodel. It has been about 15 months since completion and I wanted to share some of my take-aways and lessons learned. Hopefully my experience can help you prepare for yours!
Feel free to contact me with any questions at [email protected] or comment below. Join my list for my weekly newsletter so I can bring the latest at EthelRuth.com to you. See you next time and good luck with all of your projects!