Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Bathroom Rehab: Lace and Jacquard Shower Curtains

My shower is now elegantly attired. :) It wears a black lace shower curtain...

topped by a black jacquard valance and curtain.

It took some searching to find the right curtains, but I am very pleased with the final result! :D

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Bathroom Rehab: Decals?

The new vanity in my bathroom is practical but looks rather bland.

I tried adding some decals.

What do you think?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Bathroom Rehab: Hemnes Vanity

Included in my bathroom rehab were a new vanity cabinet, sink and faucet: a Hemnes two-drawer cabinet and Rattviken sink from IKEA and a Giagni Andante faucet from Lowe's. A plain white vanity is not the look I'd hoped for... but in general, I love all three pieces. The cabinet's two drawers provide lots of storage. The sink, countertop, and backsplash are all integrated, which makes cleaning easy. There's plenty of space on the countertop to set a soap pump, toothbrush holder, etc.

I later added some decals to the vanity.

The faucet... well, the faucet just looks awesome. I love the way the water flows. :)

The Hemnes cabinet requires some unusual plumbing. Behind the drawers, there is a space of less than 6 inches for all the plumbing to fit into. IKEA has cleverly designed a system that will fit, and the Hemnes cabinet comes with all the required pieces (known as the Rinnen water trap assembly). Though the assembly is quite different than the standard P-trap setup, it looked DIY-friendly, and I thought I could handle it myself.

But when I checked my existing plumbing, I saw that the shut-off valves stuck out 8 inches from the wall. They would need to be replaced... which would require cutting and soldering copper pipe... which would require tools that I don't have. So I opted to hire a handyman to replace the shut-off valves.

He bravely agreed to tackle the unusual water trap assembly as well (and graciously tolerated me helping/watching the entire process). It turned out to be pretty easy. :) The only problem he encountered was that the existing waste pipe was 1.25 inches while the Rinnen pipe was 1.5 inches. An adapter (purchased for a couple dollars at Lowe's) solved that problem.

In researching installation of the Rinnen water trap (which is used with Hemnes and Godmorgon cabinets), I found that many people couldn't make it work and had resorted to cutting the back of the drawer. So I'm posting some photos of my setup in case they are helpful to others.

Not as exciting as the new vanity, but equally necessary, was the new toilet. It's just a basic off-the-shelf toilet, but it works better than the old one... and it's all white. No more two-tone toilet!

I also replaced the worn-out storage cabinet. Like the new vanity, the new cabinet is plain and white... not at all the dark gothic glamour style I'd hoped and planned for. But stuff happened, and I had to go with what was available.

When I bought the house, the bathroom did not have wood baseboards. It had cove base, which is a vinyl product generally used in public restrooms. The cove base was attached with a VERY strong adhesive, and removing it shredded the bottom 5 inches of the walls.

I had to buy the largest baseboards available in the store and add shoe molding to cover all the damage. The resulting trim is a bit grander than I might normally have used in such a tiny room, but I think it looks very nice.

All that remains are the accessories, and the rehab will be complete!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Bathroom Rehab: Flooring

After completing some relatively easy projects in my bathroom rehab, it was time for the much more complicated projects - replacing the flooring, toilet, and vanity. These projects would require careful planning and coordination to avoid any problems or delays because there is only one bathroom in my house. I could take my time removing and replacing most of the flooring, but the final set of tasks would have to be completed within a few hours at most: removing the toilet, removing the flooring underneath, installing the new flooring, and installing the new toilet. Additional coordination was needed after I decided to hire a handyman to install the new toilet and vanity.

Hard work would be required, but the wonky tile flooring, mismatched toilet, and cheap vanity had to go!

The projects began with replacing the flooring. The first step was to remove the tiles. I quickly determined that the tiles were quite firmly attached and could not be pried off intact. So I had the pleasure of smashing them into pieces with a hammer. Demolition is very therapeutic! :D

After breaking up and removing the tiles. I was left with the thinset mortar.

How to remove the thinset? After researching the options and trying some of them, I opted to use my cordless oscillating tool with a carbide-grit grout removal blade. I ran my Shop-Vac alongside, so there was very little dust.

This left me with smooth cement board to lay my new floor over.

I used TrafficMaster Allure, a vinyl plank flooring, in Iron Wood. It's a floating flooring, meaning it's not attached to the floor underneath, so no adhesive, mortar, or nails are required. It's super easy to install.

I installed as much of the flooring as I could with the toilet and vanity still in place. Then it was time for the careful coordination! I arranged to have the handyman come in on a Monday to install the new toilet and vanity.

Sunday evening, I removed the the vanity/sink. First, I used a utility knife to slice through the caulk between the sink and the wall. Then I shut off the water supply and disconnected the water lines and drain. Finally, I removed the screws holding the cabinet to the wall and pulled the cabinet out of the room. Easy!

I broke up the floor tiles that had been under the cabinet and ground off the thinset. Then I cleaned and painted the wall.

Monday morning, I spoke with the handyman to confirm that he'd be at my house in about three hours. Then it was toilet removal time!

The toilet was easy to remove. I shut off the water supply and flushed to remove the standing water from the tank, then sponged out the small amount of water remaining in the bowl. Next, I removed the two nuts/bolts connecting the tank to the bowl and lifted off the tank.

Then it was time to remove the toilet flange bolts (the bolts at the base of the toilet). Sometimes, these nuts/bolts become corroded and have to be sawed off. But luckily, I did not have that problem; the nuts came off easily. I lifted the toilet bowl off the floor and removed it from the room. I stuffed an old towel into the waste pipe.

I removed the floor tiles and thinset, and I cleaned and painted the wall.

With the room now emptied, I installed the rest of the flooring.

The handyman arrived, and it was time to bring in the new toilet, vanity, sink and faucet. :) Part 3 post coming soon!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Bathroom Rehab: Shower Controls and Lighting

When I bought my house, the bathroom was perfectly functional but not very attractive. It contained some of the original 1970s elements along with updates made by the previous homeowners. For example, the original chrome-rimmed mirror hung above a newer oak laminate vanity.

The original white toilet bowl was connected to a newer beige tank. Or the original beige tank was connected to a newer white bowl. Whichever... the toilet had a white bowl and a beige tank. Evidently there was a problem with the toilet at some point, and the previous homeowner replaced only half of it.

The floor consisted of mismatched beige tiles. I don't know if it was supposed to be a design feature, or if the previous homeowner just didn't bother to find 25 matching tiles. The grout was brown and thus looked perpetually dirty.

The tub/shower was the one bright spot. The tub, tiles, and grout were all white and all in good shape.

The walls were a peachy flesh-tone color which I found super creepy. Rehab began with painting them a pale grey.

Next, the mirror had to go. I hated it because the bottom cabinet portion got in my way when I tried to bend over the sink to wash my face.

I replaced it with a simple, rectangular mirror with black frame.

I replaced the outdated light fixture...

with a more stylish one.
I replaced the ugly fan...

with a nice fan/light combo fixture.

When the cold water in the shower began to spontaneously turn itself off, it was time to address the tub/shower controls. To fix them properly and to bring the plumbing up to code, I needed to have a new anti-scald valve installed along with new single-handle controls. I hired a plumber for this work because it required cutting a fairly large hole in the tile and then changing the plumbing within the wall.

The plumber installed the new valve and new handle, using a remodeling plate to cover the hole in the tile. It looks pretty nice; more importantly, the new handle works much better than the old ones.

After the new handle and faucet were installed, I painted the worn-looking showerhead pipe and escutcheon...

a coordinating satin nickel color.

With all of the relatively easy changes made, it was time for the hard work - replacing the flooring, toilet, and vanity, sink and faucet. Part 2 post coming soon!