MEP’s Guest Post – Partial Bath Remodel

Happy Monday!

While I work to get my shit together {sorry, Mom!}, I’ve asked my BFF to step in & share a project or 2 from her home. MEP lives several states away now but both love a good home improvement DIY project. So without further adieu, I bring you MEP’s bathroom makeover –

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Hi All,

This is MEP here (formerly MEA) who has been friends with Carrie (Angel to me) {yay corny grade school nicknames!!} since elementary school. Carrie and I have kept our friendship going due to our many, many shared interests.

This may shock some of you but renos is an equal love. While we ping each other consistently for feedback, our friendship grows from our differences.

What differences? Well, I feel our living room says it all:

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Yes, it’s green. Where Carrie does neutrals all on her walls and pops of color on her accessories, I like neutrals in my furniture/accessories and color on the wall (please excuse the mess, we are working on finishing installation of our floors). 

On to the topic at hand: Partial Bath remodel.

All we really have left in our house is our two baths and the kitchen. When we moved in, we knew all three would be destroyed, but they were totally livable (really, that is how you spell livable?!?!? moving on)  and I find them kind of cute.

Well, we don’t use our hall bath so that’s the bottom of our list even though I hate the tub in there the most (Dog puke yellow. Dog lovers, yes, that shade of yellow).

The kitchen is top, but we don’t have $15,000 to throw at that right now.

Which brings us to the master. It was kinda cute. unfortunately, the first weekend we replaced the toilet. When we lifted the toilet, the cute ‘this is why we chose the rest of the colors’ tile came with it. This will come up below.

We got cheap laminate because it was not a priority and did a really bad job caulking (in the sense of leaving clumps, not water leakage issues). So we are officially in the state of showering-thinking-I-HATE-THIS-BATHROOM.

So we’ll remodel! Our budget? $1,500. Totally doable when we are doing all the work ourselves.

Research begins.

We want to tile the whole floor including the shower. I’m not sure how many of you know this, but a pan that allows you to tile so the slope that fits in is 750 dollars!!! $750. WHAT WHAT WHAT?!?!

Which brings us to partial bath remodel. Do enough to make it livable but not the big stuff. Everyone caught up?

Here’s whats on deck and what, if you all don’t hate me, might bring me back for guest post in 6 months. So far, we:

– changed the light fixture
– updated the bathroom hardware
– removed the medicine cabinet
– got a new vanity

We’re not painting because we don’t know what color we want and because it will be easier when certain things like the toilet are out, as per the previous homeowners discovery:

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(And this makes us giggle)

Part 2? Floor, Shower, paint, molding ANNNNNNNNNNNND pocket door!!! (our Master bath is TINY)

Here’s what we got done so far –

First, replacing the light.

According to every how to site, this should take less than an hour regardless of your handiness level. I would like to add an asterisk: OR your light has an outlet attached. Yes, ours has an outlet, kind of convenient if I ever used a blow dryer but, I’m super lazy, so ‘No’. And the light itself is just too ugly.

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After a three hours on the phone with Gurp’s dad in Punjabi while I played sudoku, a few fireworks from too much current… our light works! We had to have the electricity going and then touch different black wires to a light bulb to it figure out – one was always live, one was dead, and two were controlled by the switch. That means instead of putting all the black wires together and all the white wires together (like all of the directions say) all the white wires DO stay together, but for the black wires, the one that was always live and the dead one got connected and capped. The other two controlled by the switch were connected and capped.

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You’ll have to wait for the picture below as I forgot to take one pre-demo but please notice the medicine cabinet that barely moves and we gladly removed.

We immediately bought the same light for our hall bath and installed it in 15 mins. It does take under an hour if you know what you are doing OR do not have an electrical outlet with no directions on how to remove! Also, the difference in the quality of light immediately made both bathrooms more tolerable.

Next, it was vanity time!!!

We built the vanity a few days earlier so we could just install. It’s an IKEA vanity. For those interested, we went to IKEA first to check out the quality. Much nicer and better quality than normal IKEA built-it-yourself.

We picked it because it’s:

  1. floating (so we don’t have to remove it when we redo the floor)
  2. 5 inches narrower & 4 inches shallower than the old one
  3. a dark base but white sink and white drawers. Mostly white, a splash of color. So we are getting a lil more than a square foot of contrast in, but keeping the over all look light.

First, demo:

We removed the recessed medicine cabinet, then wall boarded up the hole from the previous medicine cabinet, mudded, and waited.

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Then we removed and cut apart the sink and vanity.

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Which brings us to the old ‘this is why we chose the rest of the colors’ tile.

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There it is! While I would never pick it, it completed this bathroom. Without it, the charm is gone and we are left with a pink shower. Now seeing it gone again will be our motivation to do bathroom remodel part 2. Demo done and on to install.

OK. So first – when IKEA makes you get the smaller legs as back up, get the smaller legs. The bigger legs are TOO BIG. I am NOT smarter than IKEA. *CRIES* It hurt, yet so cathartic.

We wanted a higher sink, but didn’t research what was acceptable. Most sinks are 28-36″. The new ones being 36 but old ones being 30 ish. With the bigger legs, ours was 42. We tried to talk ourselves into it but no dice. More important than 42 inches being considered ridiculous compared to normal size vanities, our piping would not have reached that height AND peeped out below our cabinet. Obvious issues in retrospect but didn’t occur at the time. So we mounted at 33″. A 2 inch sink brings us to 35″ and the smaller IKEA legs will fit perfectly. *Cries again*

So we go to mount and come across one of those horrible discoveries we’ve all felt.

Our cabinet does not line up with studs.

There is no shifting this to make this work.

We’re tired, hungry and our brains have shut down.

We sit in silence and then it comes to me. The hot-damn-I-f’in-rock ‘Carrie’ moment as I called it where I sat for a second and took in my awesomeness. Pictures are worth 1000 words:

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YES! We drilled wood into several studs and mounted to those strips. This ended up solving ANOTHER issue below, but we mounted, added the sink and stuff for the sink to cure and called it a night to go celebrate/eat.

Not world peace awesome in retrospect, but it sure felt that way at the time. YESSSSSS!! (I have an award speech prepared if people are interested, but since the post is already wayyy to long I’ll save it.)

So the next day, we start on the piping. IKEA’s piping is super easy, minus their faucets. We bought an IKEA faucet. Their faucet meets some Europe standard which is not an American standard so the parts don’t play. Faucet goes in the pile to exchange with the big legs and a new one from Home Depot is purchased.

We connect the piping, attach the faucet, test for leaks. PERFECT, everything’s level. We revel in awesomeness. Time to finish the vanity.

First drawer BAM. WHY BAM??? Oh, our pipe sticks out about 1 inch to far. I MEASURED YOU. WE HAD TWO INCHES OF CLEARANCE. KNOW YOUR ROLL. sighs, fine. Our sink works. It’s late MLK Monday. We are NOT going to Home Depot. SO… lets mount the vanity!!! Super easy.

Found center of sink. Mounted medicine cabinet appropriately. The cabinet is symmetrical so you decide which way to mount the door, flip it around, four screws, load it up.

New hooks instead of tower bar. New toilet paper holder installed next to toilet instead of across. If anyone has ever bowed down to the porcelain god due to food poisoning or some liquid poisoning knows – ITS REALLY HARD TO REACH BEHIND YOU. Don’t judge. On that note, we called it a night.

1 week later, it’s time to finish the drawers. We stare in anger for 20 mins. Go back and forth explaining ideas. I win, cause I’m AWESOME. (Not really, Gurp {husband} kicks my butt in awesomeness as many can a test to, but my way required less time and was totally do able.) One more $0.75 piece from Home Depot. Cut the pvc a couple inches shorter. Drawer shuts. DONE. Drawers loaded.

We even though this vanity is smaller than the old one, there’s less wasted space and therefore more room to put stuff. HOW SWEET IS THAT?!?

Our finished project:

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All done! Until part 2.

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Thanks MEP!! Can’t wait to come check it out in person.

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One Response to MEP’s Guest Post – Partial Bath Remodel

  1. KML says:

    Looks fab…. and with a slightly larger rug, you may be able to postpone any future work – for a long time! 🙂

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