Our First Bathroom Remodel in the "New" House, Part 1

When we moved into this house in 2013, we knew it would take us years to get it to a comfortable place. The house had been empty and somewhat neglected for at least a year before we moved in. Aside from a lot of scrubbing and painting, the bathrooms and kitchen were in need of face lifts. In some cases, they were functioning and just ugly. In others, they weren't functioning properly.

We started with the lower-level bathroom, which would get the most use by visitors. It would also be least involved project. The upstairs bathrooms are back-to-back and we are thinking of re-configuring the spaces to change the awkward spacing in them. I also thought the downstairs bathroom would be the fastest project - just switching out fixtures and adding tile. Easy peasy, right? Not really.

Okay, so let's start with a before in all of its 1974 glory.

What you can't see is that the shower and tub fixture were no longer secure against the tile, so bathing in this room wasn't a great idea because water could get behind the wall. We washed Baxter, our golden retriever, in here every now and then. He was terrified of bathtubs, so we said we'd put in a tiled shower just for him when the time came to redo the bathroom.

Here's how the bathroom looked while we lived here:

When it was time to start, there were some surprises that prompted this:

So that simple remodel, where we were just going to switch out some fixtures and add tile became a to-the-studs job. Surprise!

TIP: We got some great advice at this point. Our friend suggested taking pictures of where the pipes and electricity lines were for future reference. If drywall ever comes down, take pictures of what's in your walls!

We were prepared for something to go wrong, so we rolled with the detour. The walls started going up and things were looking good!

I've already written about picking out tile at Wainwright Tile and Stone, the vanity from Kitchen Bath Collection, our toilet, and light fixtures from Shades of Light's outlet. After staring at websites for days trying to figure out the right configuration of plumbing pieces for the shower, I saw a 20% off coupon code from Pottery Barn as a sign and ordered a complete shower system from them. It was made in Brooklyn by Watermark Designs.

Imagine my frustration when the plumber pointed out that the installation diagram and the pieces themselves wanted the center handle installed upside down, if you're using Pottery Barn's product images as a reference.

Pottery Barn's image:

I think this is a guidance piece from that center handle. See where the hole for the diverter button is?  It wants that button to be on top.

There is also a hole in the cover plate for drips to escape and it also wanted the whole thing installed with the button on top.

I was so used to the PB image that I asked the plumber to re-install the whole thing so the button would be under the water handle. So behind the wall, the supply lines were going in like this:

And my request resulted in it looking like this:

When the future owners of this house open up the walls to remodel someday, they are going to think we were nuts.

This is getting way too long, so part 2 is going to have to come tomorrow. The pictures will be prettier, I promise!


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