Part 1 of 3 (all parts are in the post)
Last fall my Wonderful Hubby, a.k.a. the Sports Addict, and I along with our five rugrats bought and moved into a home with three bathrooms including a large master bathroom. For eight months the master bathroom was a wonderful place to “powder our noses”, brush our teeth, shave, and so forth. But every morning for eight months the Sports Addict and I would trot/streak down the upstairs hallway in varying states of attire to the kids bathroom to shower.
- I would have to do it myself if I wanted to get something half decent in our price range (about $1000)
- I have expensive taste so my version of half decent is probably more intense than other people’s version of half decent
- If you are going to do all the work for half decent you might as well go for AWESOME!!
Part 2 of 3
In my previous post on the master bathroom I left everyone (including my husband) hanging, with a dusty, dirty, demolished bathroom. There are probably a few other “d” words my grandpa might have used, but lets keep it clean.
After all the dust and destruction stopped, I was suddenly faced with the daunting task of putting it back together again. This is where I started to panic and called Cath several times for reassurance. (Sorry Cath for waking you up on several mornings. Your “of course you can do it” encouragement is always helpful.)
The first problem I ran into were some electrical surprises in the wall. Surprises are a natural part of any remodeling project and need to be considered in the overall plan. This particular surprise was a no-no in the electrical world. Wires had been spliced together, nutted, and wrapped in electrical tape, but they were free within the wall. They should have been in their own junction box for safety. This means my kid’s bathroom now has a new outlet, but that is the subject of another post.
Once the electrical was addressed we could move on to plumbing the shower head and valve. Since we weren’t taking out the tub we could just use the same drain. (Thank goodness because I don’t particularly like sewage lines. They’re kind of icky.) Using PEX, I teed off the hot and cold waterlines of the roman faucet and ran them up the wall to the new valve. We used PEX connections here as well. I really enjoy doing PEX. It’s quite fulfilling.
Once the plumbing was done I started the prep work for the surround by putting up DensShield. At first I went to that big box home improvement store and got cement board, but quickly realized it would be impossible for me to work with it on my own for the simple reason it is heavy as sin. It took two men at the story to lift even a single 3’x5’ sheet. Problem! Starting to freak out again, I quickly called the Bathroom Whisperer aka Dad (should have done this first) and he told me about DensShield, a gypsum product coated in fiberglass made for tile and stone. The “big stores” by me don’t sell it, but you can easily find it by calling a drywall store. It cuts and hangs almost like sheetrock except you get little fiberglass itchies sometimes. It is more water resistant than cement board, tons easier to work with, and very easy to tile on. (Note: Choir of angels singing in background here.)
I set up shop in the garage since it was still cold and randomly snowy here. A tarp behind the wet-saw kept the water from spraying everywhere. Thanks to grandpa’s old drill, which I received as a hand-me-down, (see note*) I had a drill with enough strength to mix my little batches of thin-set using my newly purchased 1/4″ mixing bit. I’m pretty sure my little battery powered drills would’ve pooped out with this task. (*Note: Tools are my favorite hand-me-downs.)
As a mother, doing little batches of thin-set was the only way to go. It would be a shame to be pulled away to watch Nickjr with The Missies and have a large batch go to waste.
Other Important Note: Anyone who knows my kitchen, the measuring cup that has “Not for food” written all over it is once again really NOT FOR FOOD!
Finally, super thanks goes to my wonderful husband for letting me take over his parking spot in the garage…again. He seemed more happy about it this time. Probably because he’s really excited to get his own shower.
The actual tiling. Nothing says AWESOME quite like real stone. There are lots of wonderful tiles out there, but once again I have expensive taste. This is one time when I could get what I want and stay within budget. I chose 12”x12” travertine stone tiles for the majority of the shower surround. The store I bought it from directly imports stone from all over the world and as a result their prices were a lot better than other places I went. In the end I got the travertine for $2.75 a square foot. To add interest I picked out 4”x4” tumbled travertine tiles to add as a decorative row for $3.15 a square foot and then I splurged on 5 little stone mosaic flower tiles that were $5.00 a piece. (For a full breakdown of all the cost see part three of this series.)
Cath and I tiled her tub surround a few years ago using white, porcelain subway tiles all the way to the ceiling. Compared to that, this actually went rather quickly and smoothly. Travertine isn’t as scary as it sounds. It may rhyme with Wolverine, but that’s where the similarity ends. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a ton of time and work and I had a serious case of “man hands” by the end to prove it, but overall, not too difficult.
Of course there is always a certain level of mess involved in these things. By the time it was done I just threw away the two pairs of pants and two tee-shirts I wore while tiling because I didn’t want to send them through the washing machine. Projects like these are why I don’t immediately get rid of those pants that make my backside look large or that fit well when I first put them on but look awful by the end of the day. It’s far more satisfying to completely destroy them first…then throw them away.
To see the results of all this torture watch for the next installment.
Part 3 of 3
My home has seen fifteen years, several families, but no master bathroom shower…until now. Granted, there has been a lovely jetted tub in the corner, which was fun the two times I used it since we moved in last August. But neither the Sports Addict nor myself are tub people. Obviously the people before us had to be tub people, but that sends us in an entirely different and disturbing direction I don’t want to pursue.
But after all the demolition, reconstruction, a little blood (projects like this can be rough on the knuckles), sweat (a lot more of this than is allowed in photos), and maybe a tear or two, we finally ended up with a beautiful shower that makes me smile every morning.
So the ultimate question that the Sports Addict always asks— “How much did it cost?” Remember I was working on a $1000 dollar budget. Usually a laughable amount in terms of bathroom remodels, not to mention that I also decided to redo the vanity since the countertop really needed to be replaced.
(Note: I can’t ever just do one project. It always stretches into something else.) Usually at this point the Sports Addict is sadly shaking his head because I’ve gone three times over budget…BUT NOT THIS TIME! I skimmed in under budget. Can you believe it? I still can’t.
Plumbing and Fixtures: $446
Prep for Surround: $118
Stone Tile: $384
Misc & Tools: $18
Shower curtain: $16
Rod: Free from Peaches though I think I better pay her for it
Within this same budget I tiled the vanity countertop and painted the vanity a chocolate brown. Luckily I already owned the paint. It was one of those rare finds in the “oops paint” section of the Home Depot near me. (For more on the vanity project see the post Vanity Fair and Beautiful.)
In conclusion, this bathroom is only done for now. There are still more things I would like to change. For example, as beautiful as it’s green, marbled, linoleum is, one day I hope not to tread my little tootsies over it anymore. I think I’d also like to do something with the toilet area, which resides in it’s own little closet on the other side of the vanity…and down the road I might even take out the jetted tub one day and just make that area a fully enclosed shower… and maybe a few other things, but don’t tell the Sports Addict any of this because he starts getting nervous and calculating in his head how much it will cost and then he gets really jittery.
So needless to say we are very happy with our current bathroom and intend to enjoy it for a long time to come. At least until the next budget cycle.