Woo hoo!! The main floor bathroom is finally finished and I’m excited to share some of the lessons I learned renovating this tiny space. If you want to catch up, check out our first vlog post and the the more recent progress update post as well (where I go into detail about our choice for the flooring).
And if you want to just watch the reveal, check out the vlog I did …but you can still totally read the full post haha!
If you’re still here reading this post, let’s start at the beginning, when the bathroom essentially looked like this:
This space is tiny AF. Like it was tiled with black ceramic 12×12 tiles and it’s not even 4.5 tiles wide in any given direction. Not only that, but the vanity unit in the bathroom took up more than half the floor space. When the toilet (original to the house… don’t even get me started on the wooden toilet seat!) started to leak very very badly and wasn’t holding up to any of the expensive repairs we did – we knew we had to just start fresh in this space. Plus, we are facing the dreaded potty training soon and I know I’m gonna want a main floor bathroom for that!
I had high hopes y’all. With an infant and gumption, I was convinced we could do this no problemo. Then I caved and called a contractor. I mean 22.5 square feet – how hard could that be to demo, repair, prep, tile, set, replumb, install, paint, and finish? Answer? $5,000 plus materials hard.
Sooooooo not in our budget the year I was on mat leave and the year I decided to start my own business. As any financially conscious people would do, we just closed the door. We closed the door and let the powder room sit in shambles for a year while we figured out how to DIY it for a quarter of the cost. (We have three bathrooms in our house, so it wasn’t that big a deal).
Eventually, we decided we needed to spend money on the following:
- A professional plumber to move the pipes to accommodate a smaller vanity
- A low flow toilet with a seat that didn’t risk leaving you with butt splinters
- A nice faucet
- decent lighting
What we didn’t want to spend on?
- Expensive fancy flooring
- Wall treatments
The first step was to get the old toilet and vanity unit out the curb and call the plumber to move the pipes (you can see all this in my first vlog). Once that was done, we got to patching the walls, repainting them a bright white and the ceiling an accent in navy blue (SICO’s Singin’ the Blues, which is the same blue as in my foyer). We installed a new, two-bulb vanity light fixture that is miles better than the old fluted frosted glass one. Just having clear glass reflecting in such a small space is a bonus.
The flooring was an issue because, sadly, the black tiles did not continue beneath the old vanity. We had two choices – rip it all up, replace all the subfloor and retile (which would have taken us at least a week) or to patch the hole where the old vanity was and find a product to go right over top of it all. Edge option two. We used peel and stick tile (you can read more about it here) and it was much easier than literally retiling and it achieved the basic look we were going for.
As far as the vanity, it is the second smallest unit Ikea sells. It’s only 16 inches wide, which makes the bathroom feel much more spacious! The old unit was almost 24 inches wide…so the space savings is significant.
The final steps were to install a new baseboard heater and baseboards, fix up the light switches and hang the mirror and art work! That’s it!
A year of waiting and about three weeks of on again off again work and I’m beyond thrilled to have our main floor bathroom back in working order again. In the end, this entire renovation cost us about $1200 – a far cry from the $5,000 quote we got!
I’m going to add this to our ‘feather in the ol’ cap’ projects. It’s small and might seem unfancy to some – but this was a big win for us. And I love it.
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