Bathroom – our claim to fame…

I had submitted our bathroom project to This Old House contest – we made it to the finals.  Sadly, we didn’t win – it would have been nice to win some cash rather than just the satisfaction of being second best.  Oh well – maybe another time – another place – another contest…?

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Anyway, this summary is what I submitted to This Old House for their contest – in part at least – I expanded it a bit for this post.  I thought their questions revealed a good overview of the project.

The Overview:

Our bathroom was part of a new addition to our 100 year old bungalow.  We wanted it to be modern but still have elements tying it back to the old house.  We went with lots of glass and polished chrome fixtures for the modern.  Custom cabinetry built-ins, detailed wood trim, beveled mirrors, and the exposed brick transition are reminiscent of the old house charm.  Tile choices, local art, and abstract fish towel hooks add personality.



The most difficult part of the remodel:

Removing the plaster from an exterior wall to expose the old brick that links the old part of the house to the new bathroom.  It took two days to get this done with a hammer and chisel – a bit tedious, but I think well worth the effort.

Bathroom 2

Getting the vanity installed – there was a standoff between the woodworker and the plumbers that lasted weeks.


and having to look at the studor vents under the sink – every day.  I am still not over the studor vent thing.


Figuring out where we would hang towels – sounds weird but it is true.


Getting the mirrors to stick to the wall – we still aren’t sure how to properly do this.  This picture is about a month after we stuck the mirror to the wall – it still required the supporting block.  Eventually, we installed some brackets to keep the mirror in place.

Bathroom 3

What we like the best:

The shower – it’s roomy, it’s lovely.  Tad says it feels spa like – though I don’t believe he has ever been to a spa.


The laundry room and closet are adjacent.  The far dark aqua colored room is the laundry room.  Between the doors is the bathroom.  The closet is right across from the brick wall.  It is all very convenient.


The turquoise backsplash tile – I am told that I am the only one in Colorado with this tile.  I feel a little special.


The barn door – industrial, totally cool!


The color scheme – serene but not boring.


The deep vanity drawers – the storage is way better than a cabinet with shelving.  If you are thinking about bathroom storage – go with deep drawers.


Where we saved money:

We nixed the steam shower idea that the architect kept insisting we needed.

Otherwise, we had accidental savings along the way…

The quartz countertop, shelves, and shower curb were fabricated from a remnant piece found in the yard of the stone fabricator.


We ended up with two pendants instead of 4 sconces in the vanity area – there wasn’t enough space for sconces.  Then, the custom pendants we ordered didn’t work out.


The tile we originally ordered for the walls never came in.  We ended up with similar tile (but I think better) for half the money.


What we would do differently:

I would do my own tile work.  I wanted to do it.  Tad was reluctant to tackle the odd angle of the floor tile.  The contractor wanted it done yesterday.  I think we would have done a better job.

Wall and Floor tile

I would use quartz on the inside of the shower/rain glass window and along the front edge of the shower where the shower door is installed.  I think it would look a lot neater – the tile work in these areas is kind of uneven and a bit messy.


Figure out how the professionals glue mirrors to walls without the use of brackets.


Tad would have quieter hardware on the barn door.  I would keep it the same.


I would monitor the contractor and plumber like a hawk so I don’t have to look at studor vents every day.


Still to do:

Rearrange the radiant floor heat so the hallway isn’t cold in the winter.  What you are seeing here is the view from the basement – this is underneath the bathroom hallway floor.  On the left is a huge structural beam.  In the middle is the flooring without heat.  On the right is a joist area where there is heat – the heating tubing is covered with this aluminum insulation that you see.  Anyway, we don’t have heat for about 24-30 inches between the unheated joist space and the structural beam – which happens to fall right where our tiled bathroom hallway is.  Now that the basement wall is removed, we can access this middle joist space to add heat. It is on the To Do List.


Redo some of the shower grout – the tile guys did not do the greatest grout job.  Some of the grout has chipped away so I am needing to do a little repair – probably next week.


Finally, I would like to be an actual winner in some sort of home improvement contest :)