One Last Pre-Nursery Project

We know there are lots of you out there who are eagerly waiting for our nursery makeover project to begin. And it will. Just not quite yet. After all, the third bedroom (aka: soon-to-be-nursery) which normally looks like this…

… currently looks like this:

We know, it’s embarrassingly messy (you’d be surprised how many readers take comfort in the fact that we actually live in chaos from time to time). The reason? It’s ground zero for our last big, pre-nursery project: a total bathroom remodel! We’re talking about a gut job down to the studs- which even involves the rental of a mini jackhammer. Yeah, we’re pretty excited about it.

And for any of you who have been following along with our weekend sneak peeks via Twitter and Facebook, you’ve actually heard how some of that demo has gone. But before we put the cart before the horse, we need to talk about the whys and the hows of our one-and-only full bathroom makeover. We think the classic look of the original black and white tile, the basketweave floor and even the cramped quarters are all quite charming (and befitting of our 1950’s ranch).

Yeah, it looks pretty darn good from afar, but upon closer inspection is also has its fair share of flaws that we just can’t get over – shattered wall tiles (from what we assume was the house settling at some point), uneven and stained flooring, and a chipped sink just to name a few.

Oh well. The original bathroom served our house well for over half a century (what more can you ask for right?) and although we’re all about saving what you can and working with whatcha got, in this case we’re sorry to say that after a pretty serious cleaning and recaulking effort a few years back- which certainly tided us over for a while- the time has come to bring the bathroom up to speed. And after living vicariously through my parents’ two DIY bathroom makeovers (one seen here) – Sherry and I have finally decided to bite the bullet and get ‘er done. Like, now. But of course we’ll still be bringing in some classic tile and materials that won’t look too futuristic and out of place in our 50 year old ranch. Fear not.

The approach: well, we’ve already begun tearing things down to the studs and plan to build it all back up again with our own four hands (ok, and with my dad’s generous assistance as well since Sherry’s doing a pretty important job on the side). So there will be new walls, a new tub/shower surround, new flooring, and a new DIY vanity project before we officially turn our attention to the bean’s room. Of course we plan to donate as much of our old stuff (vanity, faucet fixtures, etc) to the Habitat For Humanity ReStore to give them a second life. And if all goes as planned, the entire redo should be done before Christmas. Fingers crossed…

Oh and because we know it’s coming, to answer the “where will you shower?” question (since it’s our only full bathroom in the house), we’re nothing if not resourceful: I plan to use the shower at my gym every morning on the way to work and Sherry will swing over to my sister’s house (we’re super lucky that she lives extra close) and borrow her bathroom in the evenings (she’s a night showerer- weird huh?).

And speaking of my lovely/quirky wife, she’ll be posting very soon about all the design details including a working mood board of sorts (since I’m sure most of you are now saying “ok, but what will it look like!?!”). And since we know that you like all the pre-planning details (sometimes it’s hard to know where to start) we’ll be including a ton of those as well so stay tuned for that. We’ve actually already selected a lot of the new materials (floor tile, wall tile, a chunky nightstand that we’ll retrofit with a sink and faucet) as well as borrowed/purchased a bunch of tools that we’ll be using… hence the nursery currently looking completely unsafe for a newborn. Fun, fun, fun.

But while we’re on the subjects of bathrooms, does anyone else out there have a bathroom that could be termed a “Monet” like ours (also known as: pretty from afar, ugly up close)? Are there any impending bathroom remodels on the agenda? Or recently completed bathroom sprucing projects? Anyone crazy enough to tear their bathroom down to the studs in hopes of having things up and running again before Christmas? Do tell.


  1. Abby says

    You and Sherry are going to love your new bathroom! I can’t wait to see what it looks like! I know it will be beautiful!

  2. Elisa says

    I AM SO GLAD to see your room looking so messy! I was actually wondering the other day if you guys ever actually have messy times like this. What a relief to know you are human after all…

  3. says

    hmmm….I wouldn’t even go as far as to say our bathroom is pretty from afar…its just plain ugly. It has some lovely early nineties wallpaper decking out the no more than 75 sq ft bathroom, and I’m pretty sure that’s generous in the sq footage department. Lets just say when we looked at the house I almost turned around and left because I didn’t see the shower, I was like, nuh uh, no shower in the master? then I peeked around the door which was currently blocking the view and realized, that yes there was what some might call a shower (its a tiny little box) behind it, phew. Its the next “big” project on the list. The wall paper just isn’t working out with the poorly ventilated bathroom – so it’s coming down, and then we are adding a nice coat of paint, maybe tiling, and maybe adding a more custom vanity to add a little something extra. We’ll see – if I can snag some finds it might all come together sooner than thought – can’t wait to see your bathroom all done! :)

  4. says

    I can’t wait to see how this project progresses. I am dying to re-do our master bathroom, but there are so many other home improvement projects that need to come first I think that will be done around 2053.

  5. Lindsay says

    Hi Guys! Kudos on the bathroom makeover before Christmas! You’re more ambitious than us thats for sure! We have a bathroom gut (or two!) on the horizon. When we purchased, we discovered that there was moisture behind the tile in our main bath shower surround. The tile in the surround also has three different designs that do not actually coordinate, there is a teeny tiny bathtub, a vanity that has drawer fronts that have been nailed closed, a sink that is peach coloured and rust stained, and floor tile that a previous owned DIY’ed but had trouble with cutting round edges like around the toilet etc. We are planning on upgrading to a dual flush toilet, a soaker tub, and a new vanity/sink combo. But like you, we are going to be doing it with only a bit of help from family – but our gut job is tasked for early Spring 2010. Good luck! Can’t wait to here how it goes!

  6. Amy says

    Good luck!

    We just finished a bathroom re-do using big faux (but waterproof!) tile boards. We were going to just use the boards around the tub, but due to several wall issues, decided it would look better to do the whole thing.

    You two inspired me to start chronicling what we do around here in a blog, and my first real post was about this re-do. You can see it here if you’re interested:

    Have fun!

  7. says

    What a shame to lose that beautiful floor tile, but sometimes it’s just not salvageable. That’s the way we felt about our front door. we tried and tried to come up with a plan to save it, but ultimately it was just too far gone. I think the moral of the story is to take care of your home, so that things do not deteriorate beyond repair! I certainly wish the previous homeowners had done that!

  8. Jason says

    Thanks for the before photos!

    I commented last week on another post about the basket weave I have in 50s ranch I am renovating first and last home I hope and was so happy looking at your bathroom to see how good it can look. Except mine is yellow/black, so not as pretty but I think things hide better in the yellow tiles.

    But – when you get up close I have those same weird under the surface cracks you are showing in the first wall picture(mostly on outside wall cold air?) and the other big thing is a broken off tooth and tumbler(toothbrush holder) tile that I’ll have to try and find a replacement for, Sherry suggested Habitat Resail so I’m going to start there. I don’t have any big cracks or missing tiles – shew! (Even after jacking up the house to replace sills around the foundation! Yikes!)

    I think you guys have made it look awesome the last few years with your previous caulk and clean work and I hope to be able to do the same. The only thing I’m going to do is replace my oak vanity with cultured marble(ugh) to a black one to match the trim tile with a crisp white porcelin bowl to match the tub etc. and new mirror/medicine cabinet(was an oak framed hole in the wall with mirror in back) and light. Also add a vent fan. Christmas time would be nice, but I think reno may move into month 5.

    Best of luck on this – I know that you guys will just blow us away! Nothing like a 50s ranch:)

    Delaware -J

  9. says

    so glad you’re doing this. my husband and i have a 1.5 bath circa-1940’s house and while they don’t need gut jobs, they both need a few upgrades here and there.
    1. we’re hoping to install this great 1×1 white hexagon marble tile in our half bath. already have the tile, just need to work up the gumption to get the work done. (so i’ll be taking notes!)
    2. new low-flow toilets. they make ’em pretty nice now and since we pay for water…why not
    3. a new vanity (currently a boring builder’s grade cabinet). on the lookout for an old hutch/table/cabinet to repurpose with an undermount sink

    can’t wait to see how it all turns out

  10. Susie says

    I’m like you guys…just bought a 1957 bungalow and the bathroom looks pretty okay if you don’t have your glasses on, but has it’s share of stained floor and cracked tile up close. Luckily (or not), the previous owners did some updating in the 70s (my guess), so it’s not too terrible. I paid to have the tub refinished when I moved in so that gave a little life to the room, otherwise, I think it’s only a matter of time :)

  11. Ellen says

    My husband and I are actually in the process of completely renovating 1 of the 2 bathrooms in our 30 year old house. We’re replacing our tub surround with a tub/tile combo, tiling the floors (the previous owner left us with only painted sub floor), installing a pedestal sink, scraping the “popcorn” ceiling, putting up crown molding… so our bathroom is literally down to the studs. Our goal was to complete it by Christmas, but we’re shooting for New Years as of now. Luckily, we aren’t having anyone over to our home for Christmas this year! As soon as it’s done, I’ll try and send before-and-after pics. Good luck with your bathroom renovation!

  12. Jason says

    ps – I should add carefully measure you window and if you have a bath like this to replace a window in. You need room for trim in between the window and the surrounding tile(had to get a smaller window to get even trim around it) New drywall there and around the top of the shower/tub was nice because…
    DO NOT PAINT over WALLPAPER. Previous owner of this home have painted original wallpaper, which has caused a miriad of problems throught the house that my drywaller has to fix and a bathroom with moisture is worst it will not last!Stripped blue floral wallpaper – yes that’s right dark blue floral with yellow and black tiles and oak wood ugh! But, under that wallpaper was paint, but under that paint was other wall paper! It cracks, flakes off, pieces of wallpaper come off and you end up having to have new drywall or have the room skimcoated and sanded over and over with coats of primer before and in between and after.

    Never wall paper to begin with and never paint it – they even did the ceilings in some rooms:) No wonder it’s taking 5 months!

    Delaware – J

  13. Kinga says

    We are actually in the middle of major renovation, which includes putting a new bath in, switching existing kitchen from garden level to first floor, moving all the bedrooms downstairs and the living space upstairs, installation of a new hvac system and a new fireplace. We are in the middle of it and with the coldest days so far our existing heater just died and on top of it I am pregnant with a due date one day after Sherry!
    RIght now it is messy and cold and it doesn’t seem like the end is ever coming but I know it will be worth it at the end!
    Good luck and I am looking forward to seeing all the ideas!

  14. says

    I can’t WAIT to see what you guys do! I am wanting to spruce up a bathroom (on a budget) in our house and need some inspiration :)