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Renovation Update: Half-Bath Makeover

This house update has been written by my wonderful wife and she has also taken plenty of photos (which I probably ruined because I edited them in Paint) for those of you that have been dying to see our house renovation updates. Here’s one of our completed projects. Enjoy!

It has been a while since our last house update; thank you for patiently waiting while we worked on a multitude of projects over the last few weeks. For those of you who don’t know, Derek and I purchased our first home at the beginning of August this year. It was a foreclosure, so the process was drawn out since May of this year for us to go to closing. The house was built in 1942, and has all the historic charm that we were looking for. Of the many projects we have tackled, they include: wallpaper removal, re-finished the hardwood floors that were hidden under the carpet, gutted both bathrooms, tiled the kitchen and bathroom floors, painted every wall and piece of trim, and gutted the dining room to have it insulated and dry walled. Some of these projects are still in progress, but we wanted to show you one of our first victories in our line of tasks.

The half-bath is located on the main floor and is one of two bathrooms in the entire house. The half bath is located off the kitchen and the entry to the front of the house. It is great for guests to use when we will be entertaining, but you could hardly turn around in it! There is an angled wall that made putting any standard size sink in there impossible for the previous owners, so they got creative and put an interesting shape sink (I am guessing to maximize the allowable counter/storage space).  However, in doing so they made the bathroom feel extremely small.

Half-Bath Floor Plan: Before

Not only was this the smallest bathroom known to man, it was covered in lovely floral printed wallpaper (which managed to make the space seem even smaller somehow). A wainscoting panel came about one third of the way up the wall, and the sink reminded me of the type that comes standard in a camping trailer. The floor was covered in sticky linoleum that did not match any part of the design scheme already taking place in there. Considering the size of the room, and my ambition, I thought this would be the easiest project to knock out right away. My estimation for completion: one weekend.

Derek and his brother did most of the demolition, including removing the original toilet for the house (I have secretly named him Bernie) and placing it in the middle of the backyard for our poor neighbors to see. I had assumed that we would get a new toilet for the bathroom, but Derek found a certain attachment to Bernie and his 71 year-old flusher and insisted that he stay. Needless to say, upon completion of the floor Bernie went back into the half bath.

We had hoped that there would be hardwood floors through the entire house, but to our dismay, when we peeled back the sticky floor, we found that both the kitchen and the bathroom hardwood had been ruined by the layer of linoleum. It was beyond salvage so we decided to tile both of these areas. We did this project entirely ourselves, and are pretty proud of the outcome. We saved a lot of money by not paying a professional, but we did pay more than what we would have for linoleum or sticky squares. Although I think anyone can pick up tiling, we did not go into this project blindly. We read a great book, which gave great step-by-step pictures and instructions, and also had my dad give us a few pointers based on his experience with a few tile projects.  We chose a white octagon mosaic tile that came in 12” square sheets. They were easy to install, but you had to be extremely meticulous with the placement so that all of the tiles were straight.  (Perfect job for Derek, while I waited impatiently tapping my foot to move onto the next row. :) )

The walls in the house are all plaster, so they are still in pretty good shape. I was anxious to rip off the pathetic excuse for wainscoting that covered the lower portion of the wall. Again, what I found was a wall destroyed by someone who used a nail gun like an AK 47 firing at random. There was no way to make the walls smooth again and match the existing texture of the top portion unless we ripped off all the plaster and dry walled. We opted for a taller white wainscoting and chair-rail to hide the existing holes and chose a light ‘Butter Not’ color for the walls. The light colored walls and paneling really helped open up the space and take advantage of the natural light coming in the window.

Also, to create more space we took out the counter and sink that made it almost impossible to shut the door. We replaced that with a small pedestal sink, a decorative fixture and a larger mirror over the sink. The look of the bathroom has stayed with the period of the house, with a modern style zested on top. Although I thought this project was only going to be in a weekend (crazy me), it actually took about a month with all the other projects going on in the house.

Here’s the old floor plan next to our new one:

Left: Old Floorplan; Right: New Spacious Floorplan

And, here’s the finished bathroom photos! I just noticed that we still need to get a register, but I’m sure you can look past that! :)

And, guess how much it cost to redo this bathroom? $2,000? $1,000? Nope. $525. All of our expenses are below.

What do you think? Do you like it?

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