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Bathroom Reno

My husband, Todd, and I have decided to take on our 1939 Cape Cod main bathroom renovation ourselves. We thoroughly enjoy anything DIY and have made several improvements to "Peachtree Cottage." Luckily my father-in-law happens to be a contractor, so we do have supervision! Regardless, this has been pretty daunting. Not to mention the underestimated mess, specifically the 1/2" layer of dust that coats the rest of the house. Yes, we used plastic on the door but that seems to be a feable effort! Nonetheless, this bathroom needed a renovation in the worst way. Whoever thought mauve pink and sky bue were a pair like no other, they were correct.. It is AWFUL!

Given this is our only full bathroom, it is imperative that it be of highest quality and appeal to increase resale value. Bathrooms and kitchens can make or break the sale of a home. Having the courage, determination and passion to renovate ourselves, we will save thousands of dollars while increasing the value by thousands of dollars. If you have the time and patience, DIY is extremely rewarding both with the end result and the accomplishment you feel!

Having finally reached the finish line, I look back with bittersweet emotion. This project took significantly longer than anticipated but is extremely rewarding each time I walk in there. The expression double the time and double the budget as you plan any renovation is ABSOLUTELY correct! We easily doubled the time and budget. The biggest time consumer were the details. This included the caulking, moulding, paint touch-ups, radiator cover and decorative touches (shower curtain). Naturally I made things more difficult by choosing more complicated designs. Case in point: the shower curtain. Given the small room dimension, I capitalized on the high ceilings and carried both the subway tile and shower curtain to the ceiling. Of course, that very subway tile meant I could not use a regular wall bracket to mount the shower curtain. I had to go online to find ceiling suspended curtain hooks to hang the curtain. I also used a 2" wood curtain rod, which is much larger than your standard curtain rod, so I had to have the shower curtain specially made. Unfortunately, they did not make the rod pocket large enough so that delayed the curtain another 3 weeks.

Lessons Learned:

1) try to "go with the flow" in older homes. None of the walls are going to be even, straight or level. Accept this and you will be thankful, fight this and you will be bald.

2) Take your time. It's not a race to the finish. Although the tile work was tedious, if you rush it, it will show.

3) You will cry, laugh and scream. At the end of the day, you have to keep your eye on the bigger picture and the finish line.

4) DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND BE WEARY OF YOUTUBE VIDEOS/BLOGS! I realize the irony in that rule as this is a blog; however, I found so many incorrect recommendations and teachings that I made several errors. What do these include? Use SQUEEZE TUBE CAULK that is NOT 100% SILICONE! We had to recaulk our tub 3 times. It was almost my breaking point because it looked sloppy and was impossible to peel off, which we did, twice. Turns out, they made a matching grey tube caulk to match our grout.

5) Do not use too much grout. Given our old bathroom had cracked, nearly deteriorated grout, I seemed to have overcompensated when we grouted the new tile. Less is more is really better in this scenario.

6) Have a professional install the crown moulding. We used my father-in-law because he is a contractor. If we tried to do that on our own, it would look horrendous. We have ALL been in homes where you look at the crown moulding and see the gaps, the sloppy repairs and the over-use of wood filler and caulk to compensate for the incorrect measurements and installation.

7) Consider the details. Even just adding the beadboard made a world of difference in this quaint bathroom. Adds extra interest and really makes it feel more expensive while costing us minimum dollar to add.

8) DO NOT USE SELF-LEVELING CONCRETE. Ours did NOT work at it cost nearly TWICE as much as regular concrete. Huge waste of time with poor result. Had to redo.

9) Consider outlet placement. When you are down to the studs, that is an ideal time to move lights, outlets, etc. I wish I moved the one and only outlet we had in our bathroom to a more camoflauged location as to allow shelving or artwork where it currently resides.

10) If you and your friend, husband or partner are doing this together, try to remember you are a team. The amount of frustration we both experienced made us each horribly irritable, admittedly me moreso than him. Play good music and enjoy a cocktail or 2 while remodeling. It'll keep your blood pressure normal and reduce the number of arguments!

What Was Used:

Floor: Carerra Marble Octagonal Tile (be sure to buy at SAME time as the veining and shades of white/grey vary from each slab cut) (Amazon)

Shower: White Subway Tile with Platinum Grout (Home Depot)

Vanity: White Beadboard (Home Depot)

Bath Tub: Delta Classic (Home Depot)

Toilet: AquaSource (Lowes)

Faucet: Hardware House (Amazon)

Projected Cost: $2,000

Projected Time: 2 months

Final Cost: $4,000

Final Time: 3 months (on and off for 5)

Final Value Added: $7-10,000

Should you have any questions or seeking advice for your own renovation, contact me! I would love to asist you in any way that I can in addition to helping you evaluate the added value to your home.

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