The “pleasant” part about owning an older house is that things never happen as you expect them to. For example, how our guest bathroom toilet just decided to spring a leak while our only other bathroom in the house (our master) was totally gutted….This post is about the story of how we created this:
While we were renovating our master bathroom we had to use the guest bathroom in the hall. One morning I noticed that the grout around the toilet and under the vanity was darker and appeared wet. Then I walked on the floor and noticed that water was coming up through the tile grout as I walked on it…. grrrrreeeaaatt! Thankfully, we were finished with the floor in the master and were able to go ahead and reinstall the toilet, so we could stop using the guest bathroom. We knew that this bathroom was going to be our next project anyways, just because it too had busted grout and tile. We just did not expect to have two bathrooms being renovated nearly at the exact same time.
Since plumbing is not our forte by any means and we were quite intimidated by it to be honest, we called a plumber to assess the damage. We discovered that there was a valve in our toilet that had gone bad and every time the toilet ran it pushed water out of the rotten valve and under… yes, under the tile AND backer board on our floor. Thankfully we had both a home warranty since it was still less than a year since we moved in, and home owners insurance. Here’s the thing about home warranties; they are awesome, especially on older homes, even if they are only for a year. However, you have to read the fine print. Our home warranty only covered the repair of the thing that is broken if it is in the interior of the home; not the damage that is caused by the broken thing… just the repair. Turns out the pipes that are in the crawl space are technically not within the home. So with all the mess that this $7 valve failure caused, our home warranty covered… a whopping $7. I’m not saying its not worth it. Always always go for the warranty just because you never know how helpful it can be until something happens. It just didn’t work out in our favor for this particular disaster. We called our home owners insurance agent and what do you know, the cost of the labor and material to repair the damage was covered!!!
We were very proud of ourselves for the way the tile in our master bathroom turned out, especially since we were tiling rookies. However, as soon as we heard that the labor was covered under our insurance we gladly bowed out and let the professionals take this one over.
To save a little money we decided to do all of the demo ourselves. Same story different bathroom. Just like in our master bathroom remodel we:
- Removed the vanity (once water was off)
- Removed the toilet… carefully.
- Removed the molding
- Taped off the doorway to eliminate dust contamination
- Used a chisel and hammer to pry up the tile
- Sanded away the existing mortar using a angle grinder and a masonry bit.
After, the mortar was all sanded away we chipped off a piece of the backer board using a hammer near where the leak was to assess the water damage. It was looking pretty grim. I thought we were going to have to replace the subfloor and start over.
Here (above) are some horrifying photos of what we were dealing with. Sorry they aren’t high quality… buuut then again, that might be better at this point. That black stuff (above) is mold. The sub floor was wood; wet, spongy, moldy wood. Can’t you just smell it! I hate mold! We removed the backer board in the effected area using a hammer. Luckily enough the professional we hired went into our crawl space and confirmed that everything looked fine underneath. With the backer board and everything out of the space we let it air dry. Ultimately they mudded over the subfloor to reinforce any damage from the water and then put backer board on top.
OUT WITH THE OLD IN WITH THE NEW!
With the newly reinforced subfloor and blank slate, the guys started on the tile. We used the same tile and grout choice in this bathroom as we did in our Master Bath. It was a lot cheaper to buy supplies in bulk when we were refinishing our master bath so we happily kept the look consistent in our guest bath by using the same tile and same color grout. The tile and the grout were purchased at Home Depot. You can see my two tiny paint samples that I was deciding between. On the left is Sherwin-Williams Software and on the right is Sherwin-Williams Cityscape. They were very similar, Software was just a bit more blue. Although our floors had a blue hue in them I really wanted a neutral dark grey for the walls so I went with Cityscape.
After the tile had 24 hours to cure it was grout time! This was one of the parts that I was so happy that we had a professional do this time. I’m glad we did it ourselves in our master bath remodel but grout is messy!Newly finished grout all cleaned up! While we waited for the tile to set I worked on the vanity.
I am a huge fan of repurposing and saving money. The vanity in this bathroom was just a builder grade vanity made of particle board. It was not the most glorious thing but it was perfect for this circumstance. I used a soapy sponge and rag to clean the veneer and return it to it’s original color. It’s amazing what a little soap can do. I don’t have very many photos of the in-progress part of the vanity face lift so you get a sneak peak of it all finished in each step of the way. Lucky you! The only big change I made to the vanity was to add beadboard to the side opposite the toilet. Here’s how we did it.
What we used:
- Sheet of Primed Beadboard 3/16″ thick
- Circular Saw
- Wood glue
- Weights- I used a stack of books
We got pre-primed sheet beadboard from our local Home Depot. We decided to use the 48″x96″ sheet versus the individual planks because the sheet is only 3/16″ thick which means most of the time it will butt up perfectly with the pre-existing corner molding piece on the cabinet. This installation of a dash of character is practically seamless, due to that corner molding piece and the thinness of the beadboard sheet.
First, we made a guide for our cut lines on the reverse of the sheet of beadboard. Having the cabinet out of the bathroom really helped here. All I had to do was hold the beadboard flush with the side of the cabinet where I wanted it to be applied and use a pen or pencil to outline the cabinet. You can also measure the side of the cabinet to get a similar outline if your cabinet is not uninstalled. Although it is highly recommended that you remove the cabinet prior to starting this project.
Once we had our cut lines we broke out the circular saw. Because this material is so thin, such a large piece can be pretty floppy or malleable take extra care when using a saw. I clamped the sheet to our work bench and had a helper catch the cut pieces instead of just letting them fall to ensure straight, clean cuts. Most cabinets have a recessed kick plate under the face of the cabinet where the door is, so chances are that the side of your cabinet looks like a rectangle with a corner cut out. For that cut out portion I used a jig saw. I love using a circular saw but I don’t trust my cutting skills to do such small square cuts with a 8″ spinning blade… sooooo jig saw it is!
Since we weren’t going to repaint the vanity it worked out really well that the beadboard was already white. If white is the color you want your beadboard to be you could probably get away with not painting it. However, I love furniture paint and swear by Ben Moore Furniture Enamel, and given that this will go into a bathroom I wanted to ensure that it would stand the test of time…. and moisture. So the bad news was that I still had to paint and wait 24hrs between coats but the good news was that it was pre primed so I was able to save a little money and time.
Once the paint dried I flipped the vanity on it’s side, with the side that I was going to apply the beadboard to facing up. I grabbed the wood glue (you could also used liquid nails) and added a bead of glue around the edge of the side of the cabinet and then zigzagged through the middle portion. I applied the beadboard and used a stack of coffee table sized book as weights in the center and used ratchet spring clamps on each corner. Our clamps have been used for literally everything so to ensure that our clamps didn’t leave gross-ness on our beautiful freshly painted beadboard we put a white piece of paper in between the surface and the clamp. We let the glue dry over night.
Lastly, our a/c register for the room comes out of the kick plate on the cabinet. The existing vent register was old, brown and rusting due to the moisture and mold. You can see what I mean in the before photo at the top of this post. I took the register outside, used a steel brush and a tack cloth and did my best to clean off as much rust as I could. I primed it with Rustoleum self etching primer and once the primer dried I spray painted it white. Voila! Good as new.
Another one of my all-time favorite products is Killz primer, sealer and stain blocker. Any time the word “mold” is even thought I break out the Killz, regardless of weather or not the room needed to be primed. With the floor in and the cabinet removed and drying I had a bunch of space for my ladder and paint tray.
Going into this project I knew that I wanted to install a board and batten wall next to the toilet so I kept this in mind before I started painting. I taped off where the wall was going to be installed so that I didn’t have to paint over dark grey paint when it was time for installation. I also taped off the ceiling and the molding around the door and the shower, and got started. We chose Sherwin-Williams Cityscape for our wall color. There’s really nothing like a deep grey.
Since the molding was affected by our mold issue it was also covered by the insurance adjustment. This was super helpful because we were actually able to save more money by not having to rent a miter saw again. I wanted to go ahead and reinstall the vanity before the guys came back to install the new molding so that they could add quarter round around the base of the vanity to finish it off. For more details on installing a vanity check back to my master bath remodel here.
Once the baseboards were in, we reinstalled the toilet and we were back to having a fully functioning bathroom! You can see where we started the board and batten wall in the photo above. Later in the week we will have a post entirely devoted to how we installed the board and batten wall. Be sure to check back for that post for all the deets <–that means “details” for those of you who don’t know. 😉
I found these really awesome old cast iron hooks from Clines antiques that I love (they make an appearance in Amber’s Guest Bath too). They were perfect for our new wall. Since we didn’t have much room in the way of storage for drying towels the hooks were a great solution. Clines is a jack pot for all things old and antique. Its a ton of fun to just go see what you can find, like a treasure hunt where you always end up with some treasure.
We found some awesome towels from Target and the perfect rug from Home Goods to match. We added a natural touch with some dried seeded eucalyptus. My favorite part of this whole bathroom is the tiny little stool I found from Staples believe it or not. Its a children’s stool and is only 9″in diameter but it is perfect addition to the space. I found a small wire basket while perusing Black Lion one day and thought it would be a perfect fit on the stool to hold hand and wash towels. We reused the linen shower curtain from Amber’s guest bath, pre-make over (beautiful transformation if you haven’t seen it yet, go check it out!). We have plans to frame a print that I found in a small shop in Roanoke, VA to go above the toilet. It’s on the to do list.
We love how this bathroom turned out. I always wanted to go dark with paint but have never been brave enough to try it. Everyone tells you that dark walls makes the space feel smaller but I am here to tell you that if you do it right, you can actually make the space feel bigger! The white board and batten and the white vanity definitely help in this area, but it’s totally possible. One thing you should know about this transformation is that every step of the way I was second guessing my decision. The whole time I remember telling my husband, “I hope this works” or “I hope this looks good” but a dark bathroom is something that I have always wanted to try and I stuck with my decisions. I guess the moral of this whole story is trust your gut, stick to your guns, and let the pros step in where necessary.