Our house has been a busy place lately with all the repairs and projects we’ve had going on around here. I wouldn’t have made the choice to completely remodel a bathroom right before the holidays, but we had a mold problem and other water damaged areas that just couldn’t wait anymore.
I was fighting a battle that I wasn’t winning, bleaching the edges of the ceiling over and over again to the point that the ceiling was softening and dust was falling. It might not look as bad as I make it sound by looking at the pictures but I knew something had to be done when I wore a respirator to clean the bathroom.
I especially didn’t want to take any chances since this is the main bathroom in our hallway and the one the kids use. The mold on the edges of the ceiling wasn’t the only problem. We had an old, insufficient exhaust fan that wasn’t even venting out of the house…just right up into the attic. This was causing more problems than just mold. The moisture in the bathroom was so bad that even the trim was pulling away from the beadboard panel walls and the side of our vanity was puffed out from absorbing water and the inside looked awful due to a few leaks over time.
When we moved into this house nine years ago, the bathroom had so much damage, we quickly replaced everything with materials we could afford- which wasn’t very much at all. I know a lot of magazine photos will show you beautiful bathrooms with beadboard panel walls, but I regret ever using that material in our bathroom. Although it was covered with primer and good paint, it was very hard to keep clean and where water would splash frequently, it showed quite a bit of damage. Now looking back, I’m sure this insufficient bathroom fan contributed to some of the damage we had before we moved in. The walls and ceiling were never replaced.
And that super cheap roll of vinyl floor? We got what we paid for. I’m sure all these dents in the floor were from the towel bar that kept falling off the wall. The floor was in awful shape! I could clean it all I wanted, but it would still look dirty.
Looking closer above the shower, you can clearly see the mold and that piece of tape which seemed to be causing a problem as well. I just couldn’t clean it anymore without doing further damage…
It all had to go. I was disappointed about that but everything in this bathroom had some kind of damage, whether it was mold, rust, or water stains.
The contractors got to work and this is where they started. Luckily, we didn’t have any mold behind the walls but nothing that came out of that bathroom was salvageable.
I was a little overwhelmed trying to make decisions for this blank canvas we had now. It’s always fun looking at Pinterest for ideas in your spare time, but browsing it to make major decisions for a current project was a different experience. Although the most of the work was handed over to the contractors, I was designing this space now and I’m super indecisive anyway…and this bathroom has to last forever, and ever (hopefully).
The bathroom project was completed by Elk Mountain Contracting, a local business who specializes in restoration projects and reclaimed materials. They do a beautiful job renovating bathrooms!
Our old exhaust fan was just blowing up into the attic, so the first job was to vent this new fan outside through the soffit. What an idea, huh? It makes me wonder why it wasn’t done in the first place. The electrician completed that part of the project along with updating the electrical work.
The 3 x 6 subway tile was coming along and the tile installer did an excellent job. I had them tile the shower area all the way to the ceiling so we wouldn’t have anymore drywall damage above the shower. Now that we didn’t have any walls, I realized I had the option to create some recessed storage in the shower surround so that I didn’t have to add shelves to the wall and lose any space.
While the contractors were working in the bathroom, I was busy planning for our open vanity. We built the top and bottom pieces and found the perfect vessel sink to sit on top. With all the water damage we had I couldn’t see spending a few hundred dollars on a vanity made of particle board again. I wanted a solid wood piece that would be off the floor and could stand up to everyday use…also protected from water damage to the surface.
I decided to go with a light gray grout because I wanted a slight contrast but nothing too dark. I do love the look of dark grey grout but I know I would get tired of it pretty quickly.
I am not wild about ceramic floors because we have one in our kitchen and when you drop anything that can break, it shatters. I had been eyeing the waterproof vinyl interlocking floors at Home Depot and thought that would be perfect in the new bathroom. Not only is it waterproof, but it looks like it can withstand a lot more wear and tear than the cheap sheet vinyl we had in there before. I went with the Allure Stratford Oak floor and I’m so happy with the way it looks! It’s perfect with the light gray grout!
I usually have a hard time deciding on the paint color but as soon as I held this paint swatch up to the wall, I knew it was the one! The paint color was perfect and everything else seemed to come together after it was on the wall. I used Benjamin Moore’s Aura Bath and Spa paint because it’s moisture resistant and the Aura line is my favorite because it’s a paint and primer in one and a little goes a long way. The color is called Stillwater and the trim was finished with Benjamin Moore’s Waterborne Satin Impervo, which I always use for my cabinets, doors, and trim. Painting everything myself cut out some of the contractor’s cost, along with building the vanity.
Here it is after the renovation…
I think I’m most happy with the semi-floating vanity because I was unsure of what it would look like since this was something we built ourselves. It does help to see it in pictures first though, and I did come across one open vanity on HGTV’s website that gave me inspiration for this project. I will do a follow-up post soon on how we built our vanity, step-by-step.
A complete renovation isn’t an inexpensive project, but I can say that we did set a budget and tried very hard to stay within that budget. We went over budget a couple hundred dollars, which isn’t bad considering that many can end up being twice the amount (or higher) than the original estimate.
Let’s try a photo with the lights out now. I found this room to be the most challenging to photograph since I’m not a photographer really and I depend on all the natural light I have coming into my house for taking photos. This bathroom does not have a window and was a good reminder that I really should take up a photography course someday.
Okay, lights back on now. This 3-light vanity light from Lowes made the bathroom so bright along with the white subway tile. That’s why I went so dark with the paint color and I feel it really set if off. I love dark, bold paint colors but I can’t always get away with it in some spaces, but this one was just right.
It took me a while to finally decide on a mirror but I knew I wanted a round mirror over the square look of the vanity. I looked at many, many round mirrors on the internet and finally came across this mirror at Target that was only around $40. That was a great price compared to the others I saw. I feel it really finished the look of this whole space.
I had to think a while about the vessel sink too. I have always wanted one because I think they are so pretty. I found it was best to go to the store and see them for myself because I found it was hard to decide by looking at pictures on the internet. This square vessel sink at Lowes was perfect and the Delta faucet happened to be on sale the night we went to pick out the sink.
The dual-head shower was the only piece I went above what I would usually spend. I wanted the rain shower but also wanted to make it easier to rinse all the tile after scrubbing. I’m glad I won’t have to fill a plastic cup with water anymore to rinse the shower walls after cleaning.
And here’s the recessed storage with plenty of room for the soap and shampoo bottles. No attached shelves needed!
I have been so happy with the Allure vinyl plank floors! They are nice durable floors and have been so easy to clean! The gray looks so good in here! I didn’t really want to have another wood shade since my house already has a blonde hardwood floor throughout and I feel the gray still gave me options for color choices in the bathroom. I certainly didn’t want to have a white floor since the lower walls are white…just would have been too much white.
Speaking of color, this shower curtain added a little more color to the room without feeling overwhelming or busy…and it was just $15! I bought this shower curtain rod and the gliding rings in the chrome finish to go with the chrome shower head and the exposed plumbing under the sink.
Some people expressed that the open vanity could be a mistake since everything we store would be out in the open now. So far, I feel it has been a great choice and I found that the two baskets have helped us keep it organized and now that the vanity has an additional level of storage, we really have even more storage space than before! I am really happy with the decision.
I’m very excited to follow-up with the step-by-step tutorial for our vanity, that I hope to have published soon.
Thanks so much to Elk Mountain Contracting for completing our bathroom and doing such a fantastic job! I love the way our bathroom looks and that it was designed to prevent water damage this time around. I hope that the next time this bathroom undergoes a complete renovation, it will be after we’re dead and gone. I imagine those homeowners in the future removing tons of subway tile, complaining about the bathroom that’s “so early 2000’s, like eww”. 🙂