The Bathroom: A 12 Day Renovation [Part 1]

August 28, 2014

Here's the bathroom pre-renovation. A little tired, a lot of beige. And small. We think the room was renovated by the previous owners about 20 years ago, but just a guess.  I suspect that when the last renovation happened, and going from what most homes of this era had, they took out a bath in favour of a shower, or perhaps took out a bath and shower in favour of a shower and toilet. 

The bathroom was functional but I didn't really like the shower right at the entrance to the room, as it felt a bit boxy. We decide to to change the layout and while it wouldn't make the 2.3m x 1.8m space any physically bigger, it would hopefully make it feel that way.  To do that we would swap the positioning of the toilet and shower - shower to move to back right-hand corner, toilet to move to bottom right-hand corner - and also add in a bath. We could have removed the toilet to gain more space as we have a another toilet off the laundry room, but I like to maximise my facilities where possible.

After we did the song and dance that is obtaining quotes, we selected one and found that we had 2 weeks to get supplies before work started (we thought we'd have a month or so).  We decided from the start that we wanted to supply everything ourselves, so we wouldn't be limited in choices (with taps, tiles, etc.) and could have greater control of the budget. Here's a day by day rundown of the first 6 days of the renovation:

We decided to do the demo of the old bathroom ourselves as another way to save money and also time. I think the biggest benefit of getting the demo part out of the way before official work begins is that you don't lose a day waiting for someone else to demo the room for you, and if there are any problems hidden behind your bathroom walls, they will be visible straightaway and those problems addressed quickly. On Demo Day 1 (Saturday), Paul ripped everything out. This created such a mess and there was dust everywhere.

Demo Day 2 (Sunday) was about crawling around the floor ripping out old nails, which was my job. Once I got the nails in the floor out, there were then a ton of them in the walls (what was left of them) to get rid of, so yeah, not fun. This part took a few hours.

Day 1 of the official renovation rolled around on the Monday. Day 1 was plumbing day, which meant roughing in the plumbing for the new fittings. As we were swapping the positions of the toilet and shower, this required a little extra work as the waste pipe for the shower is slightly different to that for the toilet. This took from 8am - 2.30pm.

Day 2 (Tuesday) - carpentry day. This saw the hob built for the new bath and the frame for the new shaving/medicine cabinet (depending on where you shop, names change to make things confusing for everyone).  The bath was lowered into the hob and filled with water to set it in place. This was the day we could see the layout come to life. Another 8am - 2.30pm day.

Day 3 (Wednesday) - plastering day.  New walls went up, floors down and the joins plastered, as were some small cracks around the room.  Another 8am - 2.30pm day.

Day 4 (Friday, no work occurred on Thursday) - Waterproofing. This only took a couple of hours in the morning, and then had to be left for 24 hours. We played around with our floor and wall tiles in the room once the 24 hours were up to get an idea of how they were going to look once installed.

The first week of the renovation saw no problems and everything trucked along as it was meant to, which was a relief.  Up next: Week 2 recap.

The Bathroom: Time to Renovate

August 13, 2014

After the kitchen, the bathroom has been the one room in the house I've been really looking forward to renovating. Like the kitchen, modernising the bathroom would involve a bit more work than just a coat of paint to make the layout more functional.  I guess the title of the post gives it away, but we're renovating our bathroom...

You can see from the above picture that we are working with the confines of what seems to be the smallest bathroom a 3 bedroom house has ever seen - a teeny 2.4 metres x 1.8 metres (approx.) I will post proper before pictures in a separate progress post to show the room off in all it's peachy-beige '90's glory as we go along.

With those small room measurements we've had to really think about everything that goes in or comes out of the room. My bathroom board on Pinterest has been the board I've pinned to the most lately, and above are my 4 favourite bathroom pins and inspiration for the new bathroom.  Based on these images and our bathroom's size, my mood board is lots of white, a dash of black and plenty of subway tile for a 'modern traditional' kind of look. Plumbing fixtures will be chrome - although I did lobby for gold at one point, I think when it comes down to it, these sorts of renovations aren't cheap and you want to choose fixtures and fittings that will have some degree of longevity.

For the flooring we will be using  hexagon floor tiles in a slightly larger size than in the mood board. I was really keen on getting basket weave tile in the beginning, but we went tile shopping and found out it would be about $1000 for 3 square metres of lovely marble basket weave and re-thought that idea pretty quickly.  As this type of tile also tends to look better with a border tile around the edge and requires sealing and so on, it was getting more complicated than either of us wanted it to be and while we did consider the basket weave for a bit, we decided to go with the hexagon style instead and both of us are happy with that choice (I'm flipping from 'I' to 'We' in this post as I was allowed full design responsibility this time around but some decisions did require a bit of discussion).

Bespoke Tile and Stone
We're hiring the job out this time, so progress will be a lot faster and means the room will be finished in the time it would take us just to tile the floor.  Back with progress posts soon.

The Lighting: New Kitchen and Bedroom Pendants

August 5, 2014

When the electrician was in to install the new lighting to the 2 spare bedrooms over Easter (more on that below), we also had him install 2 new pendant lights over the kitchen island. I'd never been 100% happy with the previous lights I had selected (you can see those here) which I had bought on impulse.  I was OK with them for a bit, but as time went on I felt they were too small for the space and could have been so much better. One day I was in Beacon Lighting having a look around and came across the Southampton range...

I thought about the Southampton lights for a couple of months (this Polyhedron was in the running for a bit as well but I think it works better solo as opposed to a pair), but we were doing other house things and new kitchen pendants weren't a priority until a little while later when Beacon had a sale and I thought, yep, why not? Because if something is on sale, it's clearly meant to be.

They are definitely a more dramatic look and I think an improvement. I'm really happy with how they look and the height they seem to add to the already high kitchen ceilings (what I don't love is that ugly, yellow cooling vent which I've been meaning to fix for years now.  I'm also possibly going to re-paint the kitchen walls a different white for a little contrast, as the white I picked out and used here is too much the same as the cabinets).

In the bedrooms we installed the same fixture in each room, cheapies from Bunnings (the style is 'Renata' but I can't see them on the website).   I've already shown the finished guest room with the ceiling rose above, but below is the other bedroom - with ceiling repairs and paint still to come (more painting, it never ends!) and another yellowed cooling vent to contend with.

By the way, if you go with a light fixture like the Southampton you'll need to invest in Edison bulbs. If you use regular light bulbs you'll need to wear sunnies every time you enter the room :)