Remodeling two bathrooms at once...

biciNovember 3, 2005

On a very limited budget, we are doing a conversion of a 3/4 bath in the basement into a powder room, and an upgrade of the main bath on the first floor. The house is 85 years old. The main bath has some rotted flooring under the toilet, and we don't know how extensive the damage is yet.

Today's dilemma is this:

We had not planned on removing or painting over the blue wall tiles in the main bath. The current medicine cabinet is a size no longer being manufactured. The recess in the wall is bordered by tile. Here is what it looked like yesterday:

Today, as planned, the contractor removed the old cabinet. We had purchased a medicine cabinet that was 30"x26". The idea was to remove the tile border, and add to the height of the opening to accommodate the new cabinet. The actual opening is 29"x23" - and we discovered that just inside the top edge of the recess is the waste stack (cast iron pipe) going down to the basement! This pipe, which does not go to the second floor, prevents the contractor from raising the opening.

Here is what it looks like today:

The contractor has convinced me that it is smarter to remove all the blue tile from that wall (but not anywhere else) and install the new cabinet in a lower position. This would mean removing the non-functional toothbrush holder and tissue box holder (on the wall facing the door under the wicker shelves). That's fine with me. But I don't know if I'm going to like having 3 walls with tile and one without.

Has anyone any other suggestions? I will be posting more pictures - especially of the progress on the powder room which is moving along nicely.

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Why does it all have to be removed?

    Bookmark   November 4, 2005 at 4:34PM
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The contractor is afraid to try expanding the opening by only a little bit, for fear of damaging the tiles - these aren't being made anymore either. He'd rather remove them entirely and we will wallpaper down to the countertop.

You see, he would not need to bring the opening down as far as the bottom edge of the toothbrush holder, but it has to be removed, leaving a big gaping hole in the middle of the tiles.

Here's what the toothbrush holder looks like, both open and closed:

It pivots in the frame, and must once have held a soap dish and tumbler as well.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 8:28PM
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Look into American Olean "Cornflower" tile to replace what you're taking down.. If it's not an exact match, it'll be extremely close.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2005 at 3:40PM
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I saw somewhere here a photo of tiles that had been painted white. I went to HD and asked about products to do this, and I think this is the way I want to go. We will keep the tiles.

In addition, we decided to get rid of the old vanity and replace it with a Mill's Pride white thermofoil base cabinet (60" - kitchen unit).

The contractor has opened up the recess for the cabinet by a small amount and now thinks he can do the installation without damaging any tiles. I think, overall, this is the best solution.

I don't know if this URL will work:

Or you can try this link:

Here is a link that might be useful: Main Bath Renovation (in progress)

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 8:42PM
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The main bathroom is now finished. We didn't paint the tiles after all, and the medicine cabinet turned out nicely. Our contractor learned a lot of new skills on this job! It only took 10 months to finish...aarrghh...but I love the final results.

I will post pictures of the powder room in a few days.

Here is a link that might be useful: Completed Main Bath Renovation

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 12:09AM
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Wow! And I thought three months was a long time for kitchen and two bathrooms. I don't know how you stood 10 months of one bathroom. My hat tip to you for a job well done and your contractor for being willing to go that extra mile to make it look so good.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2006 at 2:07PM
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