Life with the P's

A young couple living life – remodeling, diy projects, and everything in between!

Category Archives: Bathroom

Guest Bath #2 Remodel

We are now officially finished [remodeling] the entire second floor of our house! This includes 3 bedrooms, the theater/media room, pool table room, and 2 guest bathrooms. FINALLY! Now if we could just stumble on a nice pile of money to start and finish our master, we would be set! The layout of this bathroom is as follows (not to scale AT ALL):

You can thank Homestyler for that! I now know what I will be using to design my sweet pool and backyard!!!! Anyway, enough of being excited about this AWESOME new design tool I googled-upon!

The bathroom is accessible from 2 of the 3 bedrooms upstairs. However, it only has one sink that is 55″ long. We debated changing it to a double bowl vanity, but it would be fairly difficult and not really worth the hassle.

Moving on to the before bathroom shots (I couldn’t even get a picture before Aaron already started demo and the mirror was gone.

guest bath before and after, guest bath linoleum

guest bath wallpaper

Yes, we had that wallpaper in the bathroom before. And the shower tile is UGLY but, we figured we would work with it since it looks like this bathtub was never ever used. So our plan was to do a marble/grey theme in this bathroom. In short – WE NAILED IT! This is my favorite bathroom. I can’t wait to re-do our master in hopes that it turns out as awesome as this one.

the vanity

First thing we did was demo everything. We carefully removed the counter top and donated to Habitat for Humanity Re-store. The linoleum was super easy to remove (still baffled by the fact that this house had linoleum but I guess we should be grateful since it is insanely easy to remove). Next up was painting the vanity. We chose the color Black Fox by Sherwin Williams. It blends perfectly with the tile. I was shooting for a black/grey with a nice brown tint. It didn’t really turn out the way I had planned. Instead, I think I like it more than if it had turned out how I originally intended. We also added some in-stock and inexpensive cabinet hardware from Lowe’s.

diy painted bathroom vanity

lighting changes

We decided to change the lighting in the room from a single bar light above the mirror to two sconce lights on each side of the mirror and also added a can light. Since this bathroom is on the second floor, it was easy (but very HOT) to access the ceiling through the attic. Adding the can light made it a lot brighter in the bathroom and was definitely a much needed improvement. For the sconce lights, we chose Hampton Bay’s Sadie Wall Sconce (on sale at our Home Depot for $19.99 when we bought them). In the shower and toilet part of the bathroom, we updated the light from a $5 acorn shaped light to a nice looking pendant light. The light has grey and white swirls and really looks great.

hampton bay sadie 1-light wall sconce

Here is what your wall looks like during this type of construction:

the mirror

The mirror that was in this bathroom before took up the entire wall above the vanity and can’t be reused in this space because of the lighting changes. We re-purposed the mirror from our other guest bath remodel since it is a lot smaller. We re-purposed the mirror from this bathroom and turned it into a main accent piece for our living room. I discussed that mirror transformation here. We used mirror mastic to hang the mirror and some mirror hanging clips to keep it in place until the mastic dried. Next, we decided to trim out the mirror and paint the trim the same color as the painted vanity. Here is a picture of the frame “dry fitting.”


First of all, real marble is EXPENSIVE so we cheated and used some ceramic tile that somewhat resembled marble. We bought some mosaic marble tile and marble tile borders for accents. Below is a progress picture of our accent sections when we installed them. We couldn’t tile the rest of the wall until the counter arrived, so it was a good idea to get this out of the way. We used finishing nails to hold the tile in place until it the mortar was set.

The tile in the rest of the bathroom (on the floor and surrounding the sink and marble accents) is a ceramic tile that was brick shaped. The dimensions of each tile are something like 14″ x 8″. We staggered the tile to give it that brick look. As mentioned earlier, the white tile in the shower stayed put (for now) and it really blend well with everything. Here is an after picture of the floor:

brick pattern tile

vanity top

There is an excellent granite place that I found that isn’t too far away from our house. I called and the guy said they had a piece of marble and that he would do a 55″ vanity with a vessel bowl cut out (read about our vessel bowl drama here) for $450 (and deliver it for that price!). This was a steal compared to everywhere else we looked/called. Most granite places required that we buy the ENTIRE slab of marble/granite and Lowe’s cheapest vanity top that was a comparable color was in the $900 range.

By this point, we were into this grey marble stuff waaaaay too deep to not get the vanity top that was just perfect. Aaron and I both had a vision of what we wanted and we lucked out with this counter top guy because he had a perfect piece! And he didn’t care that we wanted to install it ourselves to save some $$$. We will definitely be returning to him for the master bathroom remodel! Anyway, the vanity top took about 10 days and it was delivered. It is more than perfect. I am so in love with that large veined marble!!!!!!!!

finally… the finished bathroom!

There are a couple of additional items that were purchased/added that weren’t mentioned above. We bought a new toilet for this bathroom after failed attempts to clean the old one. The house sat for 12-18 months before we bought it and as a result, all of the toilets have had rings in them where the water sat (ew). Also, we purchased a curved shower curtain rod and an extra long (84″) shower curtain. Advice: if you are going to have an extra long shower curtain, buy the curtain and plan the bathroom around it. It is almost impossible to find the shower curtain you like in extra long. We almost sewed our own- that is how much trouble we had finding one. Instead, we bought a plain white waffle weave shower curtain from Bed Bath & Beyond that you can find here.

And that’s it for this bathroom… I LOVE IT! I already warned Aaron that if the master bathroom remodel doesn’t impress me more than this bathroom, I will be moving upstairs and taking over this bathroom. haha!


Half Bath Remodel and a big “Whoopsie”

A third bathroom in our house is now complete! I got a wild hair and wanted to re-do this bathroom a couple of weekends ago. I was pretty proud of myself for removing the toilet and vanity all by myself. I even had to take the door off the hinges in order to fit the vanity through it. But Aaron was busy on the car and I handled it all!

This is the primary bathroom that everyone uses when they visit and it is downright embarrassing. Or, at least it was. Lucky for us that the previous owners upgraded to this lovely granite vanity. I know that they upgraded because I could see the outline of where the old pedestal sink used to be after I had removed the current sink for painting. The “new” vanity is the only thing, and I mean only thing this bathroom had going for it.

My sincere apologies for the horrendous picture quality. That will soon change because I am getting a new camera for my birthday (YAY!). Anyway, the wallpaper border at the top of the room was added prior to the hunter green paint. I discovered this when removed the wallpaper using warm water and a scraper:

It took me 4-5 hours just to prep for painting. The wax ring on the toilet was bad, so the area around the toilet was nasty (thankfully we are on a slab foundation, so no harm done by the bad wax ring). I also scrubbed the trim, especially where it meets the walls so that paint could better adhere to it. Next, I removed the exhaust fan cover and the vent and scrubbed both of those (yuck). I also removed the light fixture and wired a temp light. Finally I was ready to paint the ceiling.

I have had a vision of what I wanted the bathroom to look like: I wanted chunky, horizontal stripes. Mission Accomplished yet again. I used this bathroom to write some helpful painting tips and tricks that I have learned along the way. Here’s the finished bathroom:

Not including the whoopsie moment, this bathroom cost around $250 to makeover. Here is the breakdown:

  • New chair height toilet $100
  • Paint $50 for the two colors
  • Ceiling and trim paint – already owned
  • Light fixture $5 from Lowe’s sale section – spray painted oil rubbed bronze
  • Mirror – free hand-me-down from Aaron’s parents (also spray painted oil rubbed bronze)
  • Glass light shades for light fixture $42 (3 at$14 each)
  • Towel bar and glass shelf – already owned
  • Faucet – to be replaced at a later date for under $50 (thanks EBAY!), or maybe spray painted for less… jury is still out on this one.
  • TOTAL COST = $250

NOT.TO.SHABBY. Here are the faucet options that we have picked out, but haven’t purchased yet:

  And now for the big WHOOPSIE moment that sounded more like “SH#()$)ale*&^(#!@” when it happened…

I had finished painting everything except for the trim, peeled all of the tape off from the stripes, admired my perfect paint lines, and got ready to install the bathroom accessories when something horrible happened. While trying to install a towel bar, we punctured a 3/4″ copper water line. GREAT. On Labor Day. EVEN BETTER! (On a side note, we have excellent water pressure)

After 4 hours, lots (I mean LOTS) of swearing, 2 Home Depot trips, and me on fire watch, Aaron was finally able to fix it and my wall looked like this:

The reason for the second hole higher up on the wall is that the solder didn’t take on the first attempt and the water had so much pressure that it looked like it could be leaking higher up in the wall. We didn’t want to take any chances because it was feasible that we had created a leak somewhere else after all the stress we put on the pipe trying to cut out the screwed (haha) section.

Needless to say, I was very depressed and disappointed. And I despise drywall, so that just made the sinking feeling even worse. Oh well, I sucked it up and patched and re-painted the wall. This project took about 6 days total from start to finish (although, 4 days were spent waiting for the coats of drywall compound to dry). And lets just say lesson learned… on the master bathroom, we will determine where the towel bars go before paint/tiling the walls.

Vessel Drama!

We have had one hell of a time finding a vessel bowl for the guest bath remodel. We wanted to go as cheap as possible while still achieving the overall look that we want. The marble vanity top was fairly expensive (as marble typically is) so we want to try to cut costs on other areas. Like our faucet, which was only $36.95 with free shipping on Ebay (SCORE!)

ebay vessel bowl bathroom faucet

Naturally, we looked in Lowes and Home Depot for a good starting point on vessel bowl prices. We found one that we liked on Ebay for $45 that was 18″. We planned the faucet and bowl sink holes out for this arrangement and the marble top had been drilled for this setup. Then the box arrived and the sink was in a million pieces. What a sad day.

We decided to buy the in-stock Lowes white vessel bowl. The box said 16″ so we thought it might work. Turns out by 16″, the company means 15.5″. The faucet wouldn’t quite reach. That bowl was returned.

The search continued. On Lowes’ website, there was an American Standard vessel bowl that SAYS it is 20″ in diameter. SEE??????

vessel sink

This was a special order item and we even verified when we ordered it that it was 20″. It took a couple of weeks to be shipped to the store. I went to pick up the sink after it finally arrived, got it home, and guess what… it’s a 17″ sink! So I googled the Model number and all other websites that sell this sink say that it is a 17″ sink! (And by 17″, they really mean 16 3/4″… again… what is with these measurements!?!?!).

Back to the store AGAIN to return this sink. By this point, Aaron and I are so disappointed and frustrated with this whole vessel sink process. The search for a vessel sink resumed and Ebay was our number one starting point. Finally, Aaron found this sink and for $69 buy it now with free shipping! As long as it comes in one piece (FINGERS CROSSED!) we will finally have a working sink.

ebay vessel sink

Lessons learned: Ebay is awesome (duh!) and things work out for the best. I like this last sink the best, and if all goes well, it will hopefully be the last vessel sink we have to buy for this bathroom!

Spare Bathroom – Reveal!

Check out our main guest bathroom before here. Well, we have some good news! That bathroom looks A-M-A-Z-I-N-G now! If you wanna talk budget, the total re-do cost about $1,500. Pretty steep price tag, I know. That is counting everything, though. The only thing that stayed in the bathroom was the tub (just the tub, not the surround) and the drywall. That total includes: all of the tile and tile supplies (including new Hardie backer board), vanity and vanity top, tub and sink faucets, shower curtain and rod, all towel holders, mirror, toilet, and light fixture. Phew, I think that is all. ANYWAY… time for some pictures!

Here is a pictures that provided some inspiration for us. We wanted to tile half way up the wall all the way around the bathroom and have a nice border on top of that. I am not sure where this picture came from, so I apologize for stealing it!

Here is the master plan, and yes, that picture was taken halfway through the project. The mosaic-type tile was from Lowe’s and came in a 12″x12″ sheet for just $2.50 FOR THE WHOLE SHEET! We cut each sheet into 3 pieces of 4 rows tall (not sure that makes sense). The bull nose piece was $5 for a 12″ piece from Floor & Decor Outlet here in Houston. The wall and floor tile came from Lowe’s also. Wall tile was $0.67/piece and floor tile was $2.13/piece. The floor is a rather small area, so we went with the 18″ tile that was a little more expensive.

Not that anyone cares, but this is how we cut/lay tile floors (and walls). We start by figuring out the center tile in the room, then lay all of the full size tiles that require no cutting. Using mortar, we put all of the no-cut-needed tiles in place and then wait about a day to do anything else. The next day (or a week later, whatever!) we mark all of the tiles that need to be cut and number them with their location on the floor. Sorry for the blurry picture, but hopefully you get the idea:

If you have a mixer you don’t like, here is what you can do with it: MIX YOUR GROUT WITH IT! That isn’t cake mix in that bowl! We have decided that we prefer unsanded grout and the smallest grout lines possible (typically 1/8″). And that mixer did a great job on the grout!

Here are some more in progress pictures:

We have had our share of issues with this bathroom:

  1. The plumbing was all copper and Aaron had a hell of a time getting it soldered with no leaks.
  2. The door that was on the bathroom didn’t close after we put the tile backer board and the tile on the floor. It was installed with the linoleum, so we had to cut about 1/4″ off the bottom of it in order for it to close properly at all.
  3. Our last major complication was that we are dumb didn’t think the vanity through all the way. We thought we would be genius and save some green by buying a kitchen sink base. Two kitchen re-models/construction later and we still didn’t think this one through. If you haven’t figured it out yet, the kitchen sink bases are deeper (about 2″ to be exact) than the normal bathroom vanity. After about 24 hours of consideration, we busted out the table saw and cut the vanity down ourselves, saving about $140. And if you ask me, you couldn’t even tell. I think we might use the in-stock kitchen cabinets for our master bathroom also, only we shouldn’t need to cut those down because we will be getting a custom counter anyway. Not sure about that one yet, though. Here’s proof of the door rigging, but I don’t have proof of the vanity re-sizing because it took both of us to unsafely maneuver a 36″ vanity on a table saw.

OHHH! And another lesson learned – if you are doing a border all the way around the room, put the border up first using nails or boards to hold it in place. We should have done this to ensure a perfectly level border and then tiled from the border down to the floor since we had to cut the tile along the floor anyway. Our border is a little off, but overall, we can’t complain. Just one of those things that you live and learn.

Here are some detail pictures of the “after” bathroom:

And here is what the bathroom looks like now:


I am always a sucker for “before and afters”, so here ya go!

Can I add… what a difference GE Reveal blue lights make! Look at those yellow tinted before shots! Luckily and with a lot of hard work, we finished before Aaron’s parents arrived for their visit in early May. All that we have left is to paint the door (bleck!).

Finally, I Have some tips for tiling. These are just some tidbits that we have learned along the way that you don’t always hear/read about when you look into the how-to’s.

Tips for Tiling:

  • Install any decorative border first using nails or boards to hold it level and in place.
  • Use small grout lines. You want to show off the tile, not the grout.
  • When tiling floors, find your center tile and stick (for lack of a better word) down all tiles that don’t require cutting from the center to the outer edges of the room. Let this part dry for 24 hours or so before coming back to finish the cut pieces.
  • When tiling vertical surfaces (walls), your mortar should be the consistency of peanut butter (Dave’s analogy!). This definitely makes a huge difference. Mud that is too thin will cause your tile to slide down the wall.
  • When tiling vertical surfaces, only tile a couple of feet up at a time. We wanted to ensure that the tile stayed in place, and putting up too much to quickly could have resulted in more shifting.
  • More mortar is always better. It may be messy, but 100% of the back of the tile should be sticking to the floor/wall with mortar to prevent any future cracking.
  • Use tape to hold bull nose pieces in place until the mortar dries
  • ALWAYS wipe excess mortar up before you finish for the day. It is such a pain if you wait.
  • Use patterns such as a staggered brick-like pattern or diagonal (diamond) pattern <–those are my terms, not real terms.
  • Clean out your mortar bucket or it will be junk. We have thrown away numerous buckets because of this. You would think we would learn!

Spare Bathroom Construction

Here is one of the spare bathrooms that is upstairs. Here are the before pictures:

Isn’t that linoleum floor NIIIIIICCEEEEE???? No way! And that carpet is just plain ugly.


The previous owners just loved wallpaper. They really loved it in bathrooms. And this is what happens when Aaron gets ahold of a hammer:


More pictures to come when we actually get around to reconstructing the bathroom.

%d bloggers like this: