"" Grandma Agnes' Attic: Small Bathroom Remodel Revealed

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Small Bathroom Remodel Revealed



Our tiny little 3/4 guest bath on the main level was in need of a remodel. When you just glance at it, it really looked fine, but if you took a closer look, you would see it. The gentleman we bought the house from thought he was a handyman. I seriously think he got a nail gun for Christmas one year and went crazy. The tongue and groove wood floor looked nice enough, but if you look, he nailed each and every piece down with three inch nails every 12 inches. He didn't know how to move baseboards, so he just added a fat quarter round to the front of them. He didn't measure correctly for under the vanity, so he just nailed in a piece of 2 by 4. The flooring levels were different, so he just nailed a flat piece of wood to make the transition, making it a trip hazard. And the floor was way too thick, so the heat register vent didn't fit right and you could never fully open the door. When we moved in it was painted an obnoxious color of bright red, and we might have gone a little too dark with the brown, but it matched the rest of the house at least. So a full demo of the bathroom was what we had planned.
Before of toilet area.

Before of vanity and sink top.


Removing the flooring.
 The first thing we did was clear the room of everything that needed to go, the flooring, the toilet, the mirror and the sink top. I was planning on staining the vanity base as a first attempt before we tackle the kitchen. I figured it was easier to replace a bathroom vanity than an entire kitchen of cabinets if we didn't like it.

I used a Minwax Interior Wood Gel Stain in Coffee color. I did a lot of research about gel staining your cabinets. I spent half a day sanding every area of the doors and base and cleaned them all up ready to start staining in the morning. I first followed the directions on the can and wiped the stain on the wood, let it sit for two minutes, then wiped it off. It looked wrong, not bad, but not the look I was going for. I then did some more research. I learned that if you want the nice deep rich tones, you don't wipe the stain off! So the next day I tried again. I was doing the back of the doors first incase I screwed it up. I put the stain on in a steady layer and let it dry overnight, next morning I put on a second coat. This is exactly what I was looking for. I felt reenergized to keep going. Staining and sealing all the doors, drawers and base of the cabinet took five days with a sixth day for the final drying. In my opinion, it looked amazing. It is a real dark brown almost black, but not black. With the final seal coat it has a slight shine to it without being glossy. I couldn't have been happier with how it turned out.

Dismantling vanity sink.
Second coat of gel stain.
Remove that popcorn!


After the vanity was done, it was on to that horrible popcorn ceiling. I watched a YouTube video (you can watch it here too) and it looked too easy to be true. Well, start to very finish, it took us an hour to get rid of the horrible ceiling. I took a short video of hubby scraping it off below. In his defence, this was at the very beginning of his efforts and he got better and faster as the hour went on. I helped him at the end following him around with the shopvac as he scraped the edges. I felt like a dental assistant with the sucky stick vacuuming up everything. After scraping it all off, he spackled up the few gouges and poor mud and tape job that was done by the builders and waited until the morning to sand it all down. The one thing done right in this bathroom was the crown moulding on the ceiling. A fresh coat of semi-gloss white and they were done. Now what to paint the ceiling? We ended up using the same color as we had chose for the walls. It is a light beige with a peach undertone to it. It lightened up the bathroom and made the white crown moulding pop. Attached a new quiet fan and the ceiling was done in three days, including painting.

Laying out the tiles.
With the walls, ceiling and vanity done, it was time to tackle the flooring. We had already ripped out the horrible wood floor, then had to rip out the laminate floor that he left underneath to see what kind of shape the sub floor was in. Luckily it was in great shape and with a little scraping all the old nails were removed and it was nice and smooth. Now hubby has never tiled before and to be honest (sorry honey) he was quite nervous about it. His brother had a tile cutter and all the tools we needed to borrow, so all we needed to do was pick a tile and jump in. I am very picky when it comes to matching and decorating rooms in the house, and with tile it would be permanent, so I had to get it right. We took trips to every home improvement store in the area and finally picked a 12X24 tile that would match everything we had going on in that little room. Hubbies thought was, bigger tile = less grouting. We probably did this step backwards, but because it was the first time we did it our way. He laid out and cut each tile before putting the mortar down. He wanted to make sure he got the cuts right before permanently putting them in place. Once they were all cut, we moved them into the family room like a giant puzzle. He then spread the mortar and I handed him the tiles he wanted. I can honestly say, this was the only time in the entire reno that we yelled at each other. We are not perfect, and he had no issues telling me when I was handing him the wrong piece. I know it was because he was nervous and wanted to get it done right, and had watched multiple YouTube videos on how to tile, so his nervousness appeared quite loudly. His mood passed as the last piece of tile was laid into place and he breathed a sigh of relief. Twenty-four hours later he was grouting for the first time and it turned out beautifully, better than either of us expected. The problem is now I know how good he is at tiling, I am going to want all the bathrooms tiled.


New sink top.
 We did have one hiccup in this project and that was the vanity top. We had been looking at solid surface tops at all the stores and picked a few we really liked. Our problem was the unusual size of the vanity. Our is 36 inches which is not a standard size at any of the stores we shop at, and there was no way I was going to pay for a special order. We came home a little down in the dumps after shopping. We both started looking online for an alternative and you will never believe where we found our Onyx sink top for the smashing price of only $150, Craigslist! There is this guy that goes around to all the home improvement stores and buys up the special orders that people no longer want and he marks them up and sells them on Craigslist. He was our new best friend because he had a top that was the right size and color. We didn't even mind making an hour trip to go get it, but we live across the street from a Lowes and he said he needed to check their inventory anyways, so we met two minutes from our house to pick it up. Way too good to be true. Bringing it home it even had the smooth, one surface sink that I loved. The only problem was that it came with a left side splash and we needed a right one. Hubby called the company and ordered one for only $18, and it was shipped to us within the week. We then needed to find an 8 inch faucet for the top, and they are not cheap. Ended up spending over $80 for the faucet, which is funny compared to how little we paid for the top. So, piece of advice, if you can't find exactly what you are looking for, try Craigslist, you just never know.

Removing mouldings.
Last job for hubby came next with new baseboards and moulding. We both wanted white, and will be changing out the entire main level as the renos go on, so choosing the bathroom baseboards was kind of a big deal. Whatever we picked for in this one little room was eventually going throughout the whole main level in our home, so we took our time to choose wisely. We went with a plain white around the doors with a little splash at the top to give it some character and nice thick white baseboards at the floor to cover up any wall imperfections. It has charm and looks so clean and new, I can't wait to do some other rooms and get rid of the ugly oak woods.

New light switches.
At this point hubby was pretty much done, all the hard surfaces were done except for installing the new light and mirror and it was then my turn with the decorating. I had a Pinterest board on Bathroom Decorating Inspiration and it was filling up. I knew for sure that I wanted Push Button Light Switches like my Grandma used to have in her house. My thought was to just put them in the guest bathroom and not the whole house, because eventually everybody makes it into the bathroom at some point of visiting us. I knew I also wanted the Wall Mount Wine/Towel Rack over the toilet filled with Bath Towels that I had seen in so many pins. The towels will probably never get used, but it also acts as a sound barrier to soften the noises that happen in a bathroom. I also wanted a small table of some sort next to the toilet to decorate and place the paper on. And, I wanted a new toilet! You know when you're picking out new things and you finally find the one item that checks off all your boxes, isn't that item normally the most expensive thing in the whole store? Well, remarkably, that didn't happen with the toilet I picked out. I wanted a taller seat, oblong with the dual flushes and a strong flush. I ended up finding the exact thing at Menards for only $99. That never happens. Side note, it is a great toilet and we will be replacing the other two in our house with these when the time comes. I found the Light Switch and Oil Rubbed Bronze Switchplate that I needed on Amazon and the little table was on clearance at At Home. I already had the little sign that says "Let's Roll" from Hobby Lobby and the little pot and plants came from At Home and Hobby Lobby too. The shower curtain I kept from the old bathroom, and it is one that I made with fabric I found at Ikea of all places. I like the different brown tones in it and love the wood disks. A soap pump from Menards and a candle from Marshalls and the bathroom was complete!

Below are some of the after pictures of our little guest bathroom. It took both of us 35 days to complete it, only being able to work on it after work and on the weekends. We finished it within hours of Easter guests arriving for dinner, and everybody had to go check it out. I am totally in love with the bathroom now, where before I would rather go upstairs.



Next up for our house remodeling projects is hubby's office which will be turning into an office/music room. I need to figure out the best storage solution for his growing vinyl collection. You can always see pictures of our progress before the blog posts come out by following us on Instagram.


You can see the ceiling and new fan.
All the pretty decorations.


Affiliate Link: If you do feel like you are in need of some remodeling help, Angie's List is always there to help you out along the way. If you need help you can click on the Angie's List affiliate link below to be directed to handymen & women in your area that can make your bathroom dreams come true too. Be sure to show them this article so they know what you are looking for!



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