Bathroom Remodel – Part 7 – The “Little” Things

I messed up on my scheduling of these posts! So somehow Part 8 posted before Part 7. Oops!

The countertop install was probably our biggest holdup for this part of the bathroom remodel. Once that was in, Josh was able to get to the plumbing, putting up mirrors, shelving, and finishing with the painting.

These posts were written a few days after the countertop install in February 2015.

I had the hardest time finding mirrors for the bathroom. Since this is an older home, a lot of the measurements are not standard. The medicine cabinet needed to be 14″ wide and 24″ high, which is nonstandard, which means not a lot of options. I also wanted a mirrored interior instead of the plastic (yes, I was being picky) The only place I was able to find a medicine cabinet exactly that size with the mirrored interior was Restoration Hardware. It was a little bit more expensive but it was on sale for $80 off plus it has the mirrored interior I was looking for. The medicine cabinet was delivered two days ago but it will be at least a week before Josh can install it. I did like the frameless medicine cabinet at Restoration Hardware more but the dimensions were just a half-inch off.
I also made the mistake of looking at their wall mirrors. And ended up buying two of those also. Ideally, we were looking for 15″ by 24″ wall mirrors for above the vanity, but those don’t really exist. Once Josh hung the white cabinet on the wall I was able to measure how much space we have between the white cabinet and the side walls. An 18″x 24″ would fit perfectly. I was originally going to go with two IKEA mirrors that were almost 20″ in width (and a lot cheaper at $10 each) but the Classic Wall mirror at Restoration Hardware was so pretty that I fell in love with it. I was also able to get it in Satin Nickel, which matches all the rest of the hardware in our bathroom. The mirrors were $60 off regular price.
I ended up paying about $630 including shipping and taxes for the wall mirrors and the medicine cabinet. When I told Josh how much they were, he said that they must be magic mirrors. That is what happens when you don’t use standard sizes though! It costs more.
Once we had the counter in, we were able to see what it looked like with the current lighting. It seemed off-white in the light. I didn’t like it that it was matching the floor in color. When Josh and his dad put up the ceiling above the vanity, they had to take down the pendant lights. So I got to see what the counter looked like in just the light from the LED ceiling light. It is funny how  light can change the color of a room. In the light from just the LED ceiling light, the counter looked whiter. So yesterday, when we were at Home Depot returning some things, we picked up some LED light bulbs for the pendant lights in “daylight.” Hopefully, this will give us the white color we want in the counter. The pendant lights had LED bulbs in “warm white.” The ceiling light is also “warm white,” but I think it is far enough away that it doesn’t affect the color of the counter. It is also diffused while the pendant lights are direct lighting.


This past Saturday was another all-day workday in the bathroom. I was hoping we’d be able to get the mirrors and medicine cabinet up on Saturday but by about 10 AM, I realized that wasn’t going to happen. Josh had a more realistic goal – getting the plumbing for the sinks and faucets done!

We had the kids out in the living room playing while Josh and I worked in the bathroom. He worked on the plumbing while I sanded down the walls and put primer on them. We had a bet going: I thought it would take him 5 trips to the hardware store to get the plumbing done. He said it would take him 2 or 3 trips.  He won! I think he fixed the minor leak in one of the pipes yesterday so I am not sure why the bin is there under the pipes. Maybe it is insurance in case one of them does start leaking. I definitely have to replace the cork liner I had there.

Josh also was able to put a skim coating on the a few of the bathroom walls. He will have to explain skim coating in a post but my understanding is that it is a thin coat of joint compound layered on the wall to smooth it out and cover imperfections. After some sanding, the walls will be ready to paint.

Josh’s plumbing setup in the cabinet. We are losing the equivalent of 3 drawers in the vanity but 2 sinks is more important!


A close-up of the sink and faucet. We got to use one of them for the first time yesterday! No more brushing our teeth in the kitchen!

The vanity is starting to look decent!
What’s left for the vanity: painting the walls above the vanity, installing the mirrors and medicine cabinet, putting up the tile backsplash and pendant lights, setting up the middle storage cabinet, and putting the drawers back into the vanity.




Bathroom Remodel – Part 8 – Finished Vanity (mostly)

Note: This post is from March 2015. I think this is when we had to stop work on the bathroom remodel. Since it was spring, Josh wanted to get outside to put his plants in.

The tile backsplash is completely different from the one that has been in all the previous pictures. We ended up going with a more expensive tile, but I love it so much that I think it was worth the extra cost.

We used the Moon Jewel mini-brick tile from

We had to take a break from the bathroom remodel because Josh was out of town for two weeks.  He was able to get a lot done before he left.  I was not able to update while he was gone though, so this post is to make up for that.

This is how the vanity looked before Josh left. The vanity area is missing a mirror because a piece of hardware to hang it was missing from the box! I am not sure what Josh is planning to use instead.

Before Josh was able to grout the tile backsplash.

I love our faucets!

The right side of the vanity closest to the door. Please ignore the ugly shower reflected in the mirror!

Our new medicine cabinet.  I love it! It is mirrored on the outside, on the inside of the door, and in the shelf area!

How the tile looks with our quartz countertop. I was a little afraid it wouldn’t match but it is perfect.

This kind of tile backsplash is very hard to lay flat, especially since our walls aren’t really straight. So we just had to make do with imperfections.

A closeup of the countertop.  I love how shiny it is.

The left side of the vanity and the other sink.  We no longer have fights in the bathroom between our kids.

The difference between the paint. We thought we were getting white!  But it is more of a lavender color and I love it.

Accent tile around the window.  Josh was not able to grout it before he left.

Our vanity in actual use. There are seven of us sharing this bathroom so I think countertop clutter with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and mouthwash is inevitable.

My attempt at spa-like decor

My  kids thought the stones in these cylinders look like mentos.

Final touch on top of the cabinet. Some blue hydrangeas. I am pleasantly surprised how much I like the teal in the bathroom.

So we still have a long way to go.  The bathtub is the next project, which should hopefully not be too complicated.  After that, comes smashing up the shower and replacing everything in it.


Bathroom Remodel – Part 6 – Countertop Install

This post is from February 2015.

Yesterday, we finally got our vanity top installed. It was very difficult for Josh to find someone to fabricate and install it for us. I believe this may be because it was such a small job (10 sq. ft.) Even when we did find someone, it was still a lot of trouble. Originally, it was supposed to be installed on Friday around 11:30 AM. So Josh took half the day off from work, and I made sure we were done with school by that time so I could get the kids out of the house. The guy never showed. In the end, Josh had to call HIM to find out if he was even coming. So Josh took half the day off for mostly nothing, though he was able to get the vanity and wall cabinet completely sanded and prepped for staining. The guy told Josh he would be here first thing Saturday morning.

Saturday morning came around. We were in limbo most of the day and had a birthday party at 4 PM to get to. Josh and Corran were able to sand most of the primed walls and Josh was able to stain the vanity and wall cabinet. The guy didn’t show up until 3 PM. I don’t think that is first thing Saturday morning. In the end, the vanity top was installed by 6:45 PM, but Josh ended up missing most of his nephew’s birthday party.

Cost of countertop install: $300, which was already pretty low so I didn’t push Josh to get a discount for all the delay.  I don’t think we’ll be using them again though.

Total cost of vanity: about $1300, includes vanity top, stain for the vanity, cabinet/drawer pulls, two vessel sinks, two faucets, and two pop-up drains.

The mosaic tile for the backsplash, the large white tile going around the bathtub, and the quartz counter. I am not sure yet about how the mosaic tile goes with the counter.

Overall, I am happy with how the counter turned out. It is a little bit more off-white that I thought it would be but it’s probably because of how white the sinks are. I like the way the quartz counter looks a little bit like a sparkly riverbed.

The vanity area probably won’t be totally done for another two weeks.

This week’s next step: Plumbing for the two sinks and the faucets. We will be losing either two or four drawers in the vanity to the plumbing but I am hoping Josh can rig it somehow so we don’t lose four.

Bathroom Remodel – Part 5 -The Whole Picture

Note: I wrote this in January 2015. I was thankful that I was able to get a good idea of what the bathroom was supposed to look like when it is done. In the last picture, you can see that the wall above the vanity area is up.


Lowe’s has a virtual room designer on their website that is easy to use.  I wish it had more options for design but I was able to make something close to what we want the bathroom to look like after we are done.  I was using it mostly to figure out what colors in flooring and tile we should do.

Here is a link to the website: Lowe’s Virtual Room Designer

Here is a picture of what I came up with:

With wood-look floor tile


With white floor tile

We are trying to decide if we should go with a dark wood-look tile, which in a way would pay homage to the wood planks that used to be on the walls, or a large white tile with some texture to it.  I do think the wood look warms up the space instead of having it look so sterile white.

An example of the wood-look tile we are considering: Black Walnut Porcelain Stone at Crossville

Black Walnut Porcelain Stone at Crossville

An example of the white tile: Emser Surface Linear White

Emser Surface Linear White

It’s a good thing we don’t have to decide this right now.  Josh still has to get the bathtub fixed up and rip out the shower.  The floor is the last thing that will go in.  For sure, we will have to change the floor tile though.  At first, we thought of leaving it the way it is, but our shower and bathtub tile came in yesterday and it is really white compared to the floor.  The floor now looks yellow!

We are going with a large format (12″ x 24″) white tile from Home Depot for the shower and bathtub: Emser Times Square White tile 

Josh won’t have a chance to work on the bathroom this weekend so he has been prepping the vanity area after work every day for the countertop installation next Friday.

We currently don’t have a bathroom sink so we are brushing our teeth in the kitchen.  It is a little odd to tell the boys to go brush their teeth in the kitchen!


Bathroom Remodel – Part 4 – Demolition


I was going to try and put all of demolition into one post but for some reason, the posting feature went on the fritz for me. Oh well. I will just put it here in a new post then. These pics are all from January 2015.

My FIL taking out all the old tile on the vanity. The tile was mortared to the plaster wall behind it.
The vanity area after the plaster wall and tile was removed.
The tile surround on the bathtub was also removed.
The hole in the bathroom ceiling. We’re still not quite sure why there was a soffitt here. My son Ian hated this hole. He was scared to use the bathroom because of it. To be honest, I didn’t like it much either! The ceiling was like this for about two weeks.
The new lighting! These helped our bathroom look so much brighter than it was. It kind of looked like a cave before!
The new ceiling light
The pendant lights were actually pretty tricky for my FIL to install. I think this was because he was starting from scratch with the housings and the wiring.


Bathroom Remodel – Part 3 – Demolition

Note: The first half of this post is Josh’s writing. I wanted to get demolition all into one post and it looks like we didn’t do that over on our old blog.

The first big remodel project that I have chosen to do is the bathroom.  It is incredibly ugly and needs to be updated and brought out of the 50s and 70s.  Just before Christmas I took the old wall coverings off.  Rather than paint this bathroom was done in wood slats.  It wasn’t exactly paneling, but was instead some unfinished wood nailed to the wall.

Before removing all the wood, I often wondered why somebody would put wood slats on a bathroom wall.  I was able to look under the wood a little bit and see dark gray paint with some shiny gold showing through the paint.  After taking down the wood, I found the walls had been covered in gold foil wall paper.

Unpainted gold foil wallpaper behind toilet

As I removed the wall paper, I was able to see yet further into the past.  Under the wall paper was yellow and pink paint.

It was fun to remove all the ugly parts of the past in my bathroom.  It was interesting to me to see what it looked like in the past.  Nothing had been taken out in the entire 60 years of the house’s history.  Everybody before me just covered up and moved on.  While that created more work for me, it did give me more insight into my house and the decorating ideas of the past.


Our Bathroom Remodel – Part 2 – Partial Materials list

Note: This is basically a reblog of a post over on our old blog at another site. Since I already wrote it, I might as well use it!


Our first major remodeling project is our one bathroom.   We are a family of seven so you can imagine the chaos in this one bathroom in the mornings and at bedtime.  The bathroom is a good size at about 70 square feet but it only has one sink, which makes for a few fights at teeth brushing time!

Josh and I make decisions on the materials for the bathroom together but I am the one who usually finds the options we have and brings those options to him.  We splurge on a few things (like the mosaic tile backsplash) and we go the less expensive route on others.  I thought I would post a few of the materials that we have found along the way.

Our first big purchase was our vanity countertop.  We wanted to expand from one sink to two sinks so that we could have more than two children brushing teeth at a time.  We also wanted vessel sinks, which are surprisingly hard to find at the store.  Even more difficult was finding a vanity or vanity top to fit those vessel sinks!

I think we went to four different places before we were able to figure out how to get the countertop we wanted.  Both Home Depot and Lowe’s were too expensive for the semi-custom vanity top we needed. It would have been over $1000 and probably wouldn’t have worked with the sinks we wanted. The custom order/install department at these places also would not do any jobs that were less than 25 square feet.  We didn’t want a completely new vanity, which probably would have been the easiest way to go.  This also would have cost over $1,000.  Our current vanity is real hardwood and we didn’t want to get rid of it. Josh was planning on refinishing it.

Cost of refinishing the vanity: $50 plus about 25 million hours of labor.  Okay, it’s not that much time but poor Josh has spent a lot of time refinishing the vanity, and he still isn’t totally done with it!

We were able to go to a place on Miramar Road called Stoneville USA that sells granite slabs and tile.  Slab yards are a fun place!  Josh and I kept getting distracted by the pretty granite slabs even though we knew they would be way too expensive and too much material for our little 5′ x 3′ countertop.  At first, we were there to look into using tile for the countertop instead of a slab.  I wasn’t too thrilled about tile for the counter but was willing to consider it. We were able to talk to a sales rep there and he suggested going with a prefabricated countertop and having a fabricator cut it down to the size we needed.  It was either that or calling around to fabricators to see if they had any slab remnants we could buy and use, which would have taken a lot of time.  So he took us to look at the prefabricated countertops and we found one that was probably the closest to what we wanted, a white engineered quartz.

Cost for prefabricated quartz countertop – $345

Cost estimate for fabrication (cut it down to size and drill holes for faucet and sink, also may include installation)- $300


We ended up finding our vessel sinks online at Home Depot.  Shipping was free which was a big plus!  We also were able to bundle our sinks, faucets, and pop-up drains together.  Once Josh told me he wanted vessel sinks, I was pretty adamant that they had to be square.  I guess this was nitpicky but there was something about the rounded squares and rectangles and sloped walls of the others that irked me.  We may end up going with grid drains though for the sinks because the pop-up drains that came with the sinks are monsters!  We would be left with only two usable drawers in the vanity because the pipes for the drains are so long.

Cost for two square 15″x15″ sinks, two single-handle faucets, and two pop-up drains – about $500


Finding the right backsplash took me a while.  Finally, I found this one at the Lowe’s website.  It looked pretty online and looked even prettier in person.  We started out buying 12 of these to start.  We may have to buy more as we find areas to use them.  For sure, we are using them as the entire backplash above the countertop.

Cost for twelve 12″x12″ pieces of mosaic tile – about $180

Note: We ended up not going with this mosaic tile because it didn’t match the paint color we put on the walls.


We also needed to change the lighting in the bathroom.  Before the remodel, there was a ceiling box that made no sense containing a light fixture that was falling apart.  Thanks to my FIL and Josh, the ceiling box and ugly old light fixture are gone and replaced with an open space to the attic and two pendant lights.  The open space will soon be covered by sheetrock.

Josh was also able to replace the very tired old ceiling light with this new one.  It supposedly won’t need to be replaced for 32 years since it uses an LED bulb.  We’ll see!

Cost for new lighting – about $180 

I actually bought a 10 pack of these at Dixieline.  I’m so glad I did and I love them!  I tried out all the ones they had on display to see how they would feel.  Why I picked this one:  Brushed nickel finish, not rounded (kind of sticking with the square shape except for in the lighting), easy to pull open, and easy to clean!

Cost for 10 pack of cabinet pulls – $28

Behr Marquee Semi-gloss paint in Etched Glass – We went with the whitest paint we could find for the walls.  This one might have some gray/blue in it.  We are only to the primer stage in painting the walls so we haven’t been able to see it in a large portion yet.  I always forget how expensive paint is!

Cost for 1 gallon of paint – $40

Note: This paint ended up being closer to lavender/gray, which I loved. Because of the paint color, I was able to get the color mosaic tile I really wanted!