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8 Hour Bathroom Remodel – Or – Why Didn’t We Do This Sooner?

February 5, 2013

We began the weekend finishing up some of those long-standing items that really needed doing, but then we got completely sidetracked by a project that didn’t need doing at all, but sure was a good idea!

First we did a bunch of gardening and lawn maintenance, and I put the grill table back together and it looks much better before.  Just ignore the mess to either side.


Then we had our handy electrician come out (at 8am on Saturday, which was painful) to wrap up a couple long-outstanding electrical issues.  For example: installing an electrical socket in the kitchen peninsula, wiring the fireplace switch, etc.   We’re now finally ready to have a city inspector do the final check-off for our electrical permit.


On Sunday morning a thought hit me –  I really, really hate our bathroom.  It is the one place inside our house that still really gets to me.   One of the worst aspects was the awful carpeting.  The carpet was better than the absolutely destroyed linoleum underneath, but only by a small margin. Of course, the pink and brown speckled tile covering 3/4 of the wall surface is also a major problem, but one that will have to wait until we get around to the “real” remodel.  The reason we haven’t yet remodeled the bathroom is that we have only one bathroom, and we expect the remodel to take about a month if we do it ourselves.

vanity before

But, back to Sunday.  It occurred to me that replacing the carpet with some cheap floating laminate flooring would be relatively cheap and easy.  This would be a temporary fix to tide us over until we rip out the bathroom entirely.  The only problem with laminate is that the substrate of laminate is made from basically cardboard.  So laminate and water do not get along well.  So, while wandering around Home Depot, I started looking at other options trying to come up with something quick and cheap.  That is when I saw a type of vinyl strip floating floor system with a wood finish very similar to laminate.  It seemed perfect!  Easy to install and remove, relatively cheap, decent looking, and most important – water proof!  So, at 1pm on Sunday afternoon, we bought laminate flooring, and then went home to prep the floor and start installing.  Installation around the toilet and door jamb was the tricky bit, and took quite a bit of time, but after that the rest went quickly.  In the mean time, Alexandra decided the vanity could be made slightly less hideous by applying a coat of paint.  She painted the base of the vanity a dark espresso-brown that somehow makes the brown-flecked, and pink tile seem less awful.  Some spare hardware from the kitchen cabinets was borrowed to finish off the look.

bathroom work

By Sunday evening, we had a new and improved (and completely unplanned) bathroom.  It’s still awful, but now it’s a “typical slumlord college rental” type of awful, rather than the “how can stand to take showers in here??!” kind.  As we installed the faux wood floors, we kept shaking our heads, muttering, “why the hell didn’t we do this three years ago??!!”

bathroom after


bathroom vanity

Of course, as soon as you fix one thing, the other problems stick out like a sore thumb.  Now we’re feeling motivated to make some additional fixes like painting the doors and trim, refinishing and painting the windows.   And unlike the new floor and painted vanity, the door and windows won’t be thrown out when we do the “real” remodel.

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