July 8, 2011 Nearing a Finish Line: The Bathroom
The last piece of subway tile was laid the night before last, and the next stage is grouting. We did a tile that’s called “snow white” (which you would THINK is actually white) but it’s more of an off-white color, and I did one line of black near the top for contrast. I went to Home Depot yesterday and returned all my leftover tile (I had oodles) and bought all the various acoutrements– the hanging toilet paper roll thing, the towel racks, the “hotel shower” shower rod, etc etc. Interestingly enough, my “original” design proves not at all original as I just googled “white subway tile” to show you a finished pic and found this one, which includes not only my subway tile, but also the floor tile I picked and the little black line I did. Wow, way to go me, on my “unique” bathroom:
Ours has a different orientation: it’s more like a rectangle, with the tub/shower on the right, toilet/vanity on the left, and a window at dead center. Because I can tell that you care, here’s our wall mount fixtures:
Our bath spout:
Interestingly enough, when we took out the old knobs for the new ones, the new are just updates of the old. We did everything Kohler: our bathtub is a 1920s Apron Front Kohler, and it seemed fitting to stick with the brand, since the knobs were still kicking after 70+ years, they were just old and past the point of cleaning.
Our bathroom has been a kind of intense project, to be perfectly honest. It started out as a tiny space with very little room. Here’s a “before” I made with our initial reno plans (I “colored” the wall aqua– it’s just a dingy white in real life):
To start out, we knocked out the wall on the side of the bathtub and extended out the bathroom 2 feet. It cost 2 feet in the next room, but we planned on using that as an office, so it shaved its 12X12 size to a 10X10 space, and gave us an 8X8 bathroom, which was loads more space. During demo, we discovered our bathtub was cast iron kohler apronfront (it’s like a claw foot on the rear, and just apron front in the front— and we had to keep it. It weighs a ton and has a lot of character. Ok, moving on. Kept the bathtub. Drywalled the new spaces, hardiboarded the tub surround (it’s a cement-like drywall you use so that it can get wet near it), installed the floor– I originally wanted tiny octagons in black and white, but that blew the budget— installed a new toilet (Kohler) and the vanity.
The inspiration pic shows the vanity I wanted, but when we got it it was just too small with no counterspace. We realized that we were losing a lot of storage in the bathroom (we removed the linen closet for space) so we needed something with a bit more spread. We had a pretty small vanity budget ($300-$400) and when you are looking at vanities, you realize pretty quickly the go from less than $300 to above $700, with very little variation. I wanted dark wood. So, we got this vanity:
I’ll be honest–it’s not the best vanity. In fact, we already really hate it. But it was $285, came with a mirror (we can’t do our medicine cabinet because it would ruin the master closet we made on the opposite side of the wall) but we decided we can keep it for a year and then we’re going to rob it from it’s countertop and build a new bottom that is more period and far more study and secure. A tip for those buying vanities: they are expensive for the good ones, and the good ones you have to buy a base and a countertop for. The all-in-ones are kind of craptastic.
Anyway, moving on. We tiled (a three day project that I often thought would never end) and yesterday after watching many tutorials I felt competent to grout solo pre-husband getting home. I thought “I will surprise him with my amazing grouting job.” and I got started. It ended up being the worst.decision.ever.
I tried to cover too much area (the entire back wall), and I don’t think my grout was mixed well enough (it seemed like peanut butter…but…) and it got all thick and then I didn’t start washing it off quick enough (the package said 20-30 minutes, apparently this is WRONG) so when my husband came home, he had a look of horror and we spent the next 2 hours scraping off excess grout, tearing it out of the grout lines where it was too heavy, and I held back my sad, pathetic tears for being a total renovation failure.
After washing the wall a bajillion times, we let it dry overnight. Some of my grouting wasn’t a failure (I’m gonna go 50% success, 50% failure, mostly to make me feel better about myself) and we’re resuming project grout tonight as a team. I then have to wet cure it for two days and seal finally (hopefully) on sunday night, wait another 24 hrs, and then hopefully I can use my shower and tub by next Tuesday…maybe. All I know is that my hands hurt today, and I’m not really looking forward to grouting again. It’s not so much that it’s hard, it’s just that I feel real dumb about it, and I hate that I wasted a day in the timeline.
In happier news, I did get what I think I want to use for the towel bar, toilet paper holder, etc:
My favorite component is the robe hook for some reason, I just find it adorable. We got a faucet with the white handles in chrome, so it seemed sensible for it all to match:
So, either way, looks like home improvement project 145,752 will be the first finished in a long line. I am excited to see it done (and don’t worry, I will show finished product pics, just holding off til it’s done because it looks a mess right now). I can’t wait to share. I also can’t wait to go buy towels at Macy’s this weekend with my 15% off + -$25 on purchases $100 or more coupon…ahh, the joys of home ownership.