There was once an upstairs bathroom with a crowded floor plan and a shower that had been needing to go to the dump for at least a year or five. But since it was neither the guest bath or the master bath, the project got delayed and delayed. But then this summer we finally decided to do something about it.
Here are a few shots of the old bathroom. As you can see, there’s almost no space in front of the bathroom sink. But still it functioned pretty well until the wall panels around the shower stall began to leak. Our plumber told us that this type of shower always fails eventually. It it worked well for us for almost 15 years. But we still felt disappointed over the lack of durability and knew we didn’t want that type of shower again.
We decided that along with replacing the shower, we’d also like to bump the sink wall out just a little to gain a better layout. We ended up adding a tiny sliver of space– 20 inches by 6 feet, which made the new space a total of 6×8 feet.
Still not palatial, but that was enough space to fit a full size tub instead of just a corner shower. It also allowed us to give the sink a quarter turn and set it against the back wall of the bathroom. Here’s the sketch of the old floor plan next to the new one. You should be able to click on all photos to enlarge them.
Once we had our plan together, finally one day in July of this year we began work. Since we had the goal of keeping the bathroom functional (with intact walls) as long as possible, the first step was to build the new wall to gain that precious 20 inches. Here’s John in the teeny new space, pounding away. Once that wall was up, it was time to demo the old wall. Though we’d imagined leaving all the fixtures in as long as possible, pretty quickly we realized we’d just have to go ahead and remove the old sink along with the old shower. We were able to leave the toilet in place for another week or so while we worked so at least that part of the bathroom would still be useable for a little longer.
Since both plumbing and electrical had to be moved, we ended up needing both a plumber (around $750) and an electrician (around $250). Both guys ended up being available the very same week, so by the end of July, we had a new light fixture and a new tub/shower going in.
For lighting, instead of a simple light bar above the sink, we ended up installing a ceiling fixture on the angled ceiling that had 4 directional pivoting lights, that allowed us to really direct the light nicely all over the room. The new bathroom feels much brighter than the old one.
As for the tub, at first we were planning to go with a one piece unit. But the plumber checked out our stairs and told us there was no way that would fit up our stairs. So we settled for a really nice Sterling tub and 3 piece surround that the plumber recommended highly. It is a nice big unit with a deep tub, and set onto a Quickcrete base feels very sturdy.
To save a little cash, we used our old sink, faucet and vanity cabinet, which I stained dark brown just as I did in the other bathrooms in our house. Cleaned up and with new knobs added, it hardly looks like the same fixture. I used a jigsaw to cut the holes in the cabinet to fit the plumbing, which needed to come up from the floor instead of through the wall as is more typical in a bathroom.
Here’s a shot of the cabinet installed, as well as the new flooring, which ended up being one of my favorite parts of the bathroom. About that flooring: I really wanted wood but John thought that would be a disaster in a bathroom. Maybe vinyl plank flooring? Again, John’s concern was water damage. So I started looking at the various sheet vinyl options that were made to look like wood. When I read all the good reviews about this flooring Lowe’s StainMaster Huntington Coffee Wood, I was pretty sure I’d found what I wanted.
When we got to Lowe’s, the lady who was going to cut it for us remembered she had a remnant already cut. The remnant was double the size we needed, but she marked it down to cost no more than a custom-cut piece would be, which means we got enough for two bathrooms for the grand price of $90. We cut off what we needed and rolled it up to be used when one of our other bathrooms needs a new floor. Love this stuff. Here’s another shot of it after we got the new tub installed.
Then it was time for sheetrock and more sheetrock. We tossed around a lot of interesting-looking finishes, but ended up doing one that my husband had experience with and felt confident doing. It is a knock-down finish, like is commonly seen on ceilings, so it has a more interesting texture than a typical wall. But it should still be fairly easy to keep clean and not too rough when bumped against.
Here you can see the wall after it was textured and painted, as well as the cool baseboards that John made from cheapo pine firring that he stained dark and then gouged out to look wavy like the walnut trim that he installed elsewhere in the room.
And then here are the rest of the bathroom photos after the work was done, showing the various details and angles of the room. I especially love the way the towel shelf turned out. Also I like the towel hooks on the wall so that the boys can easily hang their towels up after using them. All in all, I’m thrilled with the way it turned out. It is a huge upgrade, and such a pleasant place now. Yay to my amazing hubby for doing such a good job!