History of the Headquarters: Bathroom Remodel

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Disclaimer-Captain DIY and DIYtoFI.blog highly recommend exercising extreme caution when attempting DIY projects. Not everybody can do everything, and some things should only be done by professionals. Keep your digits attached, and keep the insurance company off of your back. Do it right or call the right people!

Some of you may have read all about the kitchen gut and remodel that we dove into upon purchasing the Headquarters. Today, we are going to stick our noses into another project that was done before we moved in: The Great Bathroom Renovation.

When we bought the house, it was in complete disarray. As it has been told in the story of the kitchen remodel, the house had not had any updates in many years, and we were determined to make it our own and move in as quickly as possible. What I may not have mentioned in the kitchen article was that we actually bought the Headquarters before we managed to sell the old house, so we were in a bit of a time crunch while we paid two mortgages.

So, on to the bathroom. The throne room. The thinking room. The water closet. As anyone who uses a bathroom knows, the bathroom is a highly important room, nearing the level of spiritual. Many of our personal rituals are performed in the bathroom, and some of us spend quite a bit of time in there each day. So, best to make it a beautiful, relaxing space.

Tom and the Captain cuttin’ some tile

The first thing we did was put on some high-quality Personal Protective Equipment and rip out the carpeting that had been rotting away on the floor for who knows how many years. Talk about gross. It was thin carpet, haphazardly thrown around in pieces until it covered the floor with a nice bacteria buffer. Good stuff.

Once we got that out, we pulled out all of the cabinetry that was filling up the space. The bathroom at the Headquarters is a bit of an odd shape, but it is enormous when you get down to it. The area inhabited by the toilet and sink is larger than the entire bathroom we had in our previous dwelling, but it was filled with unnecessary storage. There’s only so much toilet paper one can stock before it gets ridiculous.

We gleefully took a sledgehammer to the cabinets, and once they were out we disconnected the sink and ripped that out as well. We also pulled the toilet off, since we were going to be putting in new floors anyway.

I keep cutting and it’s still too short!

We now had a clear space to work with. Like we did with the kitchen, we started from scratch and redesigned to fit our needs. I should mention here that we did not pull out the shower. It was in decent shape, and we would have just ended up putting in a new one in the same place, so it didn’t make sense to replace it. The tiling was pretty gnarly, but it would take us a solid two years before that project was forced upon us, thanks to Junior DIY accidentally pulling off the soap shelf.

My stepfather’s old college roommate, with whom he is still close, owns a major plumbing supply store. He was incredibly generous, and supplied us with a beautiful 3” hexagonal marble tile for the floor. How to lay a tile floor will be a post coming up soon, but for the sake of smooth reading we’re not going to go into too much detail about that here.

Make sure you work toward the door. Just sayin’.

Guest Expert Tom (who astute readers will see popping up very often) and your pal the Captain spent a couple of days painstakingly laying out that beautiful tile, and before we knew it we had a fresh new start to our bathroom.

Once the floor was laid, grouted, and cured, we put the toilet back in and got to work on the sink. We found a vanity for a reasonable price at one of the dreaded Big Box Hardware Stores, and with a little help from a plumber friend we were able to get everything mounted up and looking good.

Excitement? Or delirium?

We decided, after kicking the wall repair can down the road for a while, that the atrocious state in which the lower section of wall resided was just too much for minor repairs. The choices were to remove it and start over, or find a suitable wall covering. We managed to find some nice wainscoting that was not too expensive (I wish I had numbers here for you, but I didn’t hang on to those receipts) and applied that to the walls with some construction adhesive and finish nails.

The baseboard and cap moulding finished off the look, and a coat or two of white paint gave it a very clean and bright appearance. The light sky-blue paint Mrs. DIY chose for the upper section of wall really complemented the whites and grays of the tile floor and wainscoting, and we had ourselves a bright and inviting bathroom. We also discovered that the replacement of the toilet should have waited until after the wainscoting and baseboard were installed. Lesson learned.

Look at that beautiful thumb! Also the bathroom.

The only thing I had to do with the electrical was replace the receptacles and switches so we could have bright white instead of dingy ivory. The light fixtures were in good shape and not hideous, so a quick cleaning was all they needed.

Bathrooms aren’t quite the ordeal as kitchens, so this has managed to fit into a single post. Hooray! The next project we will take a trip back in time to check out is the floor installation we did throughout the house. We covered up some crappy linoleum with beautiful yellow pine, but that is indeed another story.

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