I am the Queen, This is My Throne

When I first saw my powder room more than 2 years ago, I was disgusted. There was grime, old wallpaper, ugly laminate tile (not that all laminate tile is ugly, but this particular one was) and the most amazing and shocking faux marble sink I’ve ever seen.  Even in a house with 4 other people I seemed to be the only one motivated to rid our house of its arguably most ugly eyesore.  When my aunt offered to help me redo the bathroom as a gift, I was over the moon thrilled. She really knows what she is doing. She and her siblings completely rebuilt a house for my great aunt and uncle.  So she came over one day, handed me a hammer, and told me to get to smashing.

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After one of the most liberating smash sessions I’ve ever had, we went to a local chain called HOBO (aka Home Owners Bargain Outlet) to find some tile.  They sell short lots so everything is a good price, but what they have is what they have and other HOBOs don’t carry the exact same thing. She found the most glorious wall tile I’ve ever seen in real life. I love it so much I could hug it. Sometimes I go into the bathroom just to look at it. I chose the floor tile and I was a little worried that other people wouldn’t see how they went together like I did. We kept going full steam ahead while I inwardly doubted my choice.  Then my aunt showed up with two little cups of grout and finished up the floor tile. That was when I knew for certain I had made the right decision and everyone agreed. It just works together.  I was audibly relieved.

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Still riding the high of completing the floor, I decided that it was time to install the toilet that had been sitting in my garage for 2-3 months.  Removing a toilet is easy as pie and I’d been told installing one was just as easy.  So Alex and I hauled that porcelain beauty into the house and unboxed it. Never in my life have I been so happy to see a toilet. It came with instructions that, although poorly written (hose no include, anyone?), guided us through the rather easy process. The most complicated process was probably getting the bowl in place and making sure the wax ring was sealed properly. We slid the bolts along the groove in the blue ring in the floor.  These should guide the toilet into the right position.  We also placed the wax ring on the bottom of the bowl and pressed it firmly on so it would stick when we turned the toilet over.

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This is probably the most accurate depiction of the grout color.

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I was really apprehensive about this because there is no way to tell if you did the wax ring correctly before you have completely assembled the toilet.  Once the bowl was bolted to the floor, I did pour some water in to see if it leaked out anywhere, but it just stayed in the bowl. You are also supposed to do this so “sewer gasses” don’t leak up into your home. The rest was cake. We followed the directions and we were all ready to hook up the water and test it out when this happened.

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The original water hose was too short. For some reason I was unperturbed by this road block. It was a simple fix and we skipped over to Home Depot and picked up one of these:

Fluidmaster 12 in. Toilet Connector

It claimed that you needed “no tools” and promised “no leaks” and it made good on one promise. I did use a wrench to tighten the bottom nut, but so far there have been no leaks.  I am not sure why, but I have been shamelessly telling people that I installed a toilet when they innocently ask me what I did this weekend. I’m sure all they think they’ll hear is errands or family stuff. I can’t help myself. I almost whipped out my phone to show them pictures of my beautiful toilet. I didn’t show them, but I’m going to show you.  I’m in love.

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Our updated to do list:

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Moving Right Along

The demo aspect of the bathroom complete, my aunt and I began the exciting process of tiling. Honestly, it was mostly all her. But I supervised. Ok, I was watching and handing her tools and I got to put a few tiles in and measured things. This is the point in the project where things have taken a sharp turn from “Hideous Pit of Nothing” to “Starting to Look Like a Real Room Again.” Lemme show ya.

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I am so deeply in love with the wall tile that I wish I could put it everywhere.  We have a new toilet, and a new vanity picked out. Once it’s done, you are all welcome to do your business in there.

En El Baño

After the painting is complete (full pics up soon), we will be taking charge of the bathroom on the first floor.  When we first moved in, it was the only bathroom in the house that was completely functional despite it’s lack of visual appeal.  Once our other 2 bathrooms were serviceable, meaning both the showers and both the toilets worked, we finally took it upon ourselves to get down to business (pun intended) in the downstairs baño.  It’s the bathroom people use when we have guests over so I’d like it to be nice. I don’t want my friends and family wondering if they should get a tetanus booster after leaving my house. Right now it’s kind of rough in there.

Baño

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Delicious faux marbling!

In a fit of productivity, my sister went crazy on the wallpaper.  It was a 40 year old, grimy floral print that just needed to go. The reoccuring issue with this house is that no one thought to put primer under the wallpaper.  They just stuck it right on the drywall. The adhesive bonded the wallpaper to the paper front of the drywall so when the wallpaper came down so did the front of the drywall. MAJOR PROBLEM. We had a few choices:

  1. Replace the drywall
  2. Hire someone to skim coat the walls
  3. Attempt refinishing the walls ourselves

We went ahead and have been refinishing the walls ourselves.  Please note this is not something you should try without doing a lot of research before.  I am going to be completely honest and tell you that I was way too impatient not to do this my way.  We picked up some DAP spackle that specifically says not to use it for skim coating. Once again, I’m incredibly independent/foolhardy. My sister spackled and sanded, then covered the walls with bonding primer.  Then she repeated those steps. I’m going to repeat them tonight to finish it off. The walls are definitely improved.  She did a great job of fixing the difference in thickness between the areas where the wallpaper ripped the drywall and the rest of the wall.

The walls are nearly completely smooth.  I think they just need one more once over.

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A particularly rough area

In preparation of having a bathroom I can be proud of, I also painted the gold mirror frame to freshen it up. What color? You shall see.

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Our Bathroom Redo Checklist

  • Paint mirror frame
  • Paint cabinet
  • Buy new hardware
  • Install new faucet
  • Patch walls
  • Paint walls
  • Replace toilet seat
  • Tile floor
  • Create/buy bathroom art

After painting the mirror frame, I also painted the cabinet with some paint we had left over from the basement (Bone Folder by Martha Stewart) and sealed it for wipeability.  The cabinet was a dark brown and it wasn’t working for me. I like bathrooms to be light and fun.  I know you saw the sink. It’s hard to miss. I don’t think it’s in the budget to replace it right now and I’m not sure about using countertop paint on it so it’s staying – for now. I also bought some new hardware for the cabinets.  I could not take the weird distressed brass/gold thing going on in there so brushed nickel it is!  My aunt is going to show me the tiling ropes so hopefully we can pull this bathroom into modern times together.

Do you have any major projects on your agenda? Think I can tackle this?