“We don’t have a pool and if we want to take a sauna in Austin, TX we can just walk outside in the middle of summer!”
We had quite an Epic year last year… full of travels and a few surprises. If you follow us on IG you know that we had a new buddy join our crew. Yep, we had a baby boy! He has been incredible and, as you can imagine, consuming all our free time and hogging all the good photo ops! Thanks to him actually, before the year was over we decided to embark on yet another journey but instead of traveling abroad as we usually do in October, we undertook the adventure of rennovating our master bathroom! Something we have been wanting to do since we moved into our home 8 years ago.
I feel very lucky and thankful to have a husband who is so incredibly handy and innovative. After a lot of online research, Pinterest research (for me), talking with design friends and gathering tips and advice from clients on how to accomplish this huge task of Renovating the Bathroom on a budget. We were able to break ground around October 2nd. Because of the amount of work and the fact that I was 6/7 months pregnant with limited mobility, Tre finished up a solid two months after, on Decmeber 4th. A little longer than expected but honestly so well worth it. (Thankfully we have a second bathroom or the extension would have been rough).
Our house was built in the 70’s with limited updates to the bathroom. The bathroom area consisted of 3 rooms essentially; the vanity room, the toilet/shower room, and a very odd cedar lined sauna. Yes, the people who owned the house before us converted the original master bedroom closet into a sauna after adding on a separate master closet on the other side of the room. Now, you may be thinking, “WOW Cool, a sauna!” Because that’s exactly what we thought when we purchased the house 8 years ago. Ask me how many times we’ve used the sauna as a sauna? Umm like 3 times. It really didn’t make any sense to keep it. We don’t have a pool and if we want to take a sauna in Austin, TX we can just walk outside in the middle of summer! Eventually over time we just converted it into a pseudo linen closet anyway and it just took up space. It had to go.
The goal was to remove all non-load bearing walls and open up the whole room to an L-shape, convert the tub to a standing shower, move the toilet over about 6 inches, move the sink over, add a nice standing cabinet and a wardrobe where the sauna used to be, as a linen closet.
Shout out to all the friends and colleagues who helped Tre here and there with the heavy lifting, you know who you are!
The Old Bathroom:
This is a photo story of our project from the start to finish. Hopefully if you decide to take on a project like this we can provide you some tips for along the way.
Demo day: After clearing out everything from the bathroom, Tre started by removing all light fixtures, electrical plate covers and the mirror. Then removing the toilet, sink cabinet from the small room and double vanity from the big room. Next came the hard part of removing the wall that separated the vanity room and the actual bath room. Last but not least, pulled out the sledge hammer and smashed up the ugly old 1970’s enabled cast iron tub that weighted probably at least 200 lbs solid.
POST DEMO DAY NAP
The Bones: Once all the fixtures were out and walls were down, it was time for the dry wall and old tile to come down taking everything down to the studs, super studs. Even the ceiling which exposed the attic space. The hubby is a bonafide badass and knocked this all out in about a day. Be careful of the insulation, its itchy!
Plumbing: This was the one big task we paid someone to help with. The tub was being converted to a standing shower and to bring it to code as we needed the shower head moved up about 12 inches to 7ft. Also, we added a diverter value and a rain shower overhead. After a few small hiccups on the toilet position measurements we ended up having it moved over about 6 inches away from the side of the shower wall to make it 15″ from the center and bring to code. Last, we had the plumbing for the vanity sink moved over to be more centered along the new bathroom wall.
Electrical & Lighting: Have I said that Tre is a badass? Not only did he strip the entire bathroom down to the studs, but he also rewired all the electrical in the bathroom, moving lights over and up, outlets from wall to wall and even took our 2, 2-switch plates for lights/vents to a 4 panel with dimmers and vents. Seriously. This man can do anything when he puts his mind to it.
Dry Wall Reinstall: Once the plumbing and the electrical was completed and up to code, it was time to put the new dry wall backup. This is where you really need a buddy. Dry wall is HEAVY. Thankfully we had another badass dude and neighbor, Marshall, come help Tre take care of this. Those two dudes were incredible working a solid couple days to get the walls back up. The reinstall took about 2 day to complete along with outlet and electrical cutouts.
Tape & Float: Next comes the tape and float. Let’s just say, there is a reason you pay people to do things like this, haha, because you really need the right product to make this work. The wet dry wall tape Tre got at first was OK and worked but he really needed to go back over it with another self-adhesive mesh tape that was much better quality. Something like this from Home Depot.
More Plumbing and Demo! This was about the time we realized the toilet was too close to the shower door and needed to move it over about 6 inches. We had originally wanted a privacy wall between the vanity and the toilet, but with the toilet moving over 6 inches it really didn’t make sense to have this so the little wall was removed.
Texture & Paint: Once the tape and float was dry, the plumbing completed and everything was coming together on the build up, it was time for the wall texture and paint. We opted for the roll on texture from Home Depot but did not use a texture roller, just a regular paint roller to keep texture to a minimum. The walls were painted white to keep things fresh!
Schluter System Shower: Loved this set up. A client recommended this as an alternative to having a fiberglass pan poured and it really worked to our advantage. As the dry wall was going up Tre was able to add the wall boxes. The shower pan went in after the texture & paint was completed. The Schluter Shower System is an impermeable membrane that lines the walls, over the drywall, under the tile, to prevent any moisture leakage. The base of the shower floor that we chose is a thick pre made polyurethane foam shower pan. The system comes with everything you need, adhering it to the wall and the floor using a thin-set mortar.
Tile, Tile & Grout: Next came the back wall tile, shower floor tile, main room tiles, shower and side walls, and then last the bull nose around the edges. We did a lot of research on tile and decided to keep it simple for the walls. White subway tile on two sides of the shower and extending down the walls outward toward the door, about 4 feet from the ground on either side. The floor and back of the shower we decided to do wood textured black porcelain long tiles and then the shower floor ended up a 1″ white matt hex tile grid. Tre did an incredible job cutting and laying all this tile especially in the shower around the shelves and fixtures. As much as he did the heavy lifting, I did manage to help with a lot of the subway tile installation, even being 7 months pregnant. The grout we chose was dark gray grout and used it on all tile.
Shower Door: Read the instructions of installing the shower door BEFORE installing DRYWALL, or you’ll be opening the dry wall back up to install supports…eh hem! We love this Dreamline Enigma shower door from Home Depot, the barn door sliding glass was exactly what we wanted for the space. It only took 4 grown ass men to left this behemoth off the back of the truck and into the bathroom. Thanks again Marshall for helping on the install! – side note, we modified the smash guard at the base and moved it closer in to prevent splashing.
Fixtures: With everything coming together Tre installed the toilet and built out the Ikea Godmorgon double vanity with black top with only one small modification to the plumbing due to us having a custom Kohler vessel sink. We went with the larger Godmorgon mirror from Ikea, a Godmorgon high cabinet for storage and last, the light fixture was an awesome score from our cousin. We went through a few faucets before settling on a Glacier Bay from, you guessed it, Home Depot.
Barn Door: Last but not least, and if you think Tre had not done enough… he built a barn door from scratch as the finishing touch to our new bathroom. Using 1×6 tongue and groove boards for the base, 1x8s for the header and footer and 1x4s for the middle diagonal and sides, he framed it all up, sanded and painted. We used this sliding barn door hardware and this handle from Amazon. Tre says the hardest part of the door was carving out the bottom groove for the door track. Thanks to Patrick for his help on the door!
Lessons Learned: Read ALL the install instructions to everything before you start and make sure you know the process and where all your wires and pipes are in the walls.
Estimated costs: Plumber $2,500. Drywall and Materials $2,800. Tile, Mortar & Grout $1,050. Tre’s Labor… Priceless!
THE BATHROOM IS DONE!!