Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bathroom Remodel-- Before and During

Welcome to another edition of My Old House: Bathroom Edition!  Join in the process of renovating a bathroom in our 86 year old home-- sans general contractor, sans a big budget.  Pretty much the only avec on this journey has been an unrelenting desire to begin drinking at 9 am....

Be forewarned-- these pictures are scaaaaaarrry.  Really scary.  But here goes.....

My tub-- yummy.  This is where my kids have been bathing since we bought the house 4 years ago.

When we decided the time had come to do this project, I was more than a little nervous. We have done a good bit of "light" renovation to our homes-- refinishing floors, painting, that kind of thing.  We have never done significant structural work to our home (not counting the "Man Hut," which was the affectionate name we gave to our garage apartment in our first house that we renovated for our families to stay in when they came to help care for newborn Grady. Total DIY hack job.  Sorry Families.) 

The tub and linen closet.  This space accounted for half the bathroom-- there was only 4 feet of space between this and the door!

This was a fairly big deal-- enlarging a space that was approximately 8x8 to a space that is now 16x12, taking out a closet and part of a hallway in the process. I looked at our budget, dreamed of what I wanted, and realized there was no way on the planet that a designer who would see what I wanted in my head was even remotely in our price range.
The other side of the room.  The toilet was only 3 inches away from the side of the tub-- TINY!

And so I forged ahead on my own. This project was done-- as these things go-- on a shoestring. I relied really heavily on alllllll the hours I've spent perusing design blogs for both inspiration and sourcing. I emailed folks whose renovations I had admired, scavenged on the blogs of big designers for little tidbits they threw out regarding sources and design choices, and searched the internet for the best deals I could come up with. We ordered everything we needed (HA! Or so we thought-- more on that later) beforehand, cutting costs whenever possible, and took lots of bids on the labor for the jobs. I hired a bath planner to draw up plans for where the fixtures would go-- and I have to say, I could have done it myself with graph paper and a lot of measuring, because we ended up discarding every measurement we paid for because they did not take into account the size of the fixtures we ordered.

My guest room the morning demo began.

Although we didn't use a contractor, we ended up using just two companies for all the work-- one for demo and construction, one for plumbing. The only DIY portion of the program was the tile job-- my husband has done a little tile work around our house, and is blessed with a very math-y brain, so we felt that this was a good place to save.
At the end of Day 1 of demo

The tub end of the room, Day 1 of demo

Just to be clear, there was NEVER any doubt as to why you hire professionals to plan and supervise these kinds of projects-- there was just no more money to pay for their expertise.  I have certainly paid for my mistakes in time, stress, dinners out when I was too overwhelmed to do anything else, and many, many withdrawls from the Bank of Husband's Good Graces.  But because I got to live through-- and remedy-- all these little hitches, I have learned a lot along the way. 

This is in my master bedroom-- downstairs-- directly under the bathroom we are working on.  In case your memories of high school French class are a little foggy, too, I was thinking about this.

I have learned--mostly-- that old houses are tempermental, full of surprises (and dollar signs.)  I have also learned that at the end of a lot of days, you really just have to stop and have a good laugh, because--really-- what else can you do?

I have a SUPER exciting (and totally non-bathroom-related) announcement coming up tomorrow.  And a few more installments of M.O.H: Bathroom Edition before the big reveal.  Did you know that if ONE bleeping screw is lost in the process of unpacking a bajillion boxes, it can hold up the entire project for TWO MORE WEEKS?  Yeah, me either. I told you I'm learning a lot.)


Joy said...

Wow. You are a brave mama! I think I would have had to move out (or at least ship out the kids) rather than watch the renovation, and here you're DOING it. Kudos! I can't wait to see the finished bathroom. (Although not as much YOU can't wait, I'm sure!)

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see the finished product! I bet it will be fab. Now I know why we're friends - I made a Magritte joke (& I still say it was fabulous) at SPC when we had to print "This is not a bill" on our subscription offers. I even tried to explain it. Crickets. Oh, well. Not everyone can be so cultured. ;)

Lacey said...

i can't wait for the amazing reveal. i LOVE the tile pic I already saw & knowing you, it will be Stunning (note capital 's'). and announcement?! waiting...

Rene said...

I want to see more! Hopefully soon, right? Maybe I will pick your brain for our hopefully in this lifetime bathroom renovation.