Our new upstairs bathroom!

donnar57October 3, 2013

After selling a house that had belonged to my MIL, we decided to sink some of the profits back into our own home. We are in the midst of an extensive project that started the day after Labor Day and may not be completed until the end of this month (if we are lucky). The guest room bathroom was one of the parts of the project.

My "before" photos weren't too good at all, so I'll just post "after" with comments. This had been a bathroom that was new in 1979, so it was 33 years old and very sad looking -- paint peeling, cabinets banged up, toilet that rocked (literally), an awful sheet vinyl flooring, and a bathtub/shower combo that was a one-piece fiberglass unit (badly aged). When the contractor pulled the bathroom out, he commented that it was amazing that the tub had not cracked, because there was very little support underneath it.

When we replaced the tub/shower unit, we put in a slightly wider tub with a curved front (American Standard), a 3-piece surround with LOTS of shelves, and a glass door.

A slip of the contractor's tool while demo'ing the old bathroom resulted in a broken window. He is replacing that at his cost. He went around to see what we already had, to match it.

For the toilet, we decided on a Kohler Santa Rosa one-piece. It's been in use for 4 days now and we like it. It is SO quiet and flushes well.

For the vanity, we chose a 24"x25" curved front sink unit and a 12" drawer bank, in "burgundy with black glaze". This came from Master Bath (Home Depot), Elite, built out of plywood. The vanity top is granite, Golden Beaches. My husband went to the rock yard and picked out the slab for us -- he is the one with a better eye for decorating, and I couldn't be more pleased with his choice! The sink is just an undermount bathroom sink, Home Depot. In retrospect I could have gone with an 18" drawer bank, but I was afraid of crowding the toilet.

The mirror and medicine cabinet were also from Master Bath. To get the size medicine cabinet and mirror that I needed, I couldn't go with the "Elite", but could still match the vanity. The light bar also came from Home Depot. (We did much of our kitchen with HD stuff, 6 years ago, and were happy with it.)

In small things -- faucet was Kohler, shower heads (fixed and handheld) were American Standard and Glacier Bay (I think), two towel bars and toilet paper holder were all Allen-Roth (Lowe's). Tub spout and handle are also American Standard (I think). All were "brushed nickel". We couldn't get the shower doors with brushed nickel, but that may be good in retrospect.

The flooring is tile, in a neutral shade -- you can see it in the toilet photo. It's from Home Depot.

Bathroom #2 is underway -- it was demo'd yesterday, and they started to install the shower today. Unfortunately, we hit a major snag: when we bought the shower unit for that room, we did not think about the height of the shower walls. The back shower wall was going to cover the window halfway! Our contractor did some looking, and realized that he couldn't really move the window higher or make it a skinny "mail slot" window. So, we are just covering the window over. We have a ceiling fan in that bathroom anyway, so we will meet Code.


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You are a glutton for punishment...second bathroom underway? :)

I like the roomy shower space you have with the curved shower door. How are you liking the function of the doors? I like all the functional shelving too. Beautiful counter and vanity. You must be so happy with this lovely bathroom. Great job! What color paint did you use, it goes very well with your vanity and counter.

Regarding covering a window, does that mean it will be framed in, insulated, sided, and finished like a standard wall? You could get a Solatube to provide natural light into the room. I wished I had budgeted for one, because they allow a lot of light in the room from what I have seen and read. I can retrofit one in next year:) I had no window in my current bath remodel and had a small window put in. I thought it would allow more light in than it actually does. If I couldn't have a window in there I would have definitely put a Solatube in. And as I said I may anyway (next year)

Here is a link that might be useful: Solatube web page

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 4:59AM
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To answer some of your questions --

One side of the glass shower doors is fixed, the other moves. So far, that's all right with me. They clean up easily too.

Color paint -- I'm trying to remember. It's Behr, from Home Depot, but the shade color name defies me.

Yes on the 2nd bathroom window. Framed in, insulted, sided, and finished. Contractor already started on the inside and explained how he will tackle the outside. We've used this contractor before on a kitchen remodel and family room addition, 6 years ago, and some smaller jobs before hiring him for this one.

Glutton for punishment? I haven't said the rest of the project. Already finished: three rooms upstairs have had popcorn ceiling removed, wallpaper removed (1 room), walls sanded and re-orange peeled, painted, and new baseboard installed. Two bedrooms downstairs have also had the same treatment, though I attacked the wallpaper in the smaller bedroom over the summer. They are working on the hallway now, and the living room will be attacked next week. When the inside is done, we're having new carpeting installed throughout. (The old stuff is probably original to the house.) Outside gets painted too, and 3 new light fixtures installed. I doubt that the project will be done until sometime in November, though I could be wrong.


    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Wow, you really are busy. I am impressed with all of your projects. I find it hard to get one item done on my to do list. It sounds like you will have a new house by Christmas:)

Tomorrow I will prime the bathroom, and maybe paint.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 12:21AM
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Paint -- I went in and checked the cans. It's Behr's "Linen white". It's not overly white, but just enough off not to knock you over with a feather. I'll be able to put almost anything on the walls without worrying whether the color of the walls will be wrong.

Solatube looks a little bit out of our budget right now. Hubby and I are happy with no window in there. Years ago, we replaced all the old aluminum windows in our house with vinyl windows, double pane, except for the bathrooms. Neighbors and the company that did the windows all said the same thing -- your window will shrink in size with the vinyl, so we didn't do the two bathrooms. Well, now we're glad we didn't. The contractor has to replace one of them, and it's on order. We'll get vinyl. The other will not be a window any more.

Here's the 2nd bathroom (master bath, downstairs) when it was gutted -- you can see the window.

Contractor has installed the back of the shower stall -- oops, too tall! See the window sticking out from above.

The view from outside shows just how far that shower stall wall extended above the window.

BTW, the shower stall is a faux Carrera Marble with a center drain 32" pan.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 11:27AM
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I can't wait to see your second bathroom. I really like the curved shower door and your vanity is really pretty.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 12:20PM
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Thanks Donna. I have a Linen color on my ceiling in my living room by Ace Hardware. Its a soft white with a warmish tone. I really like the color. Now I am off to buy some paint for my main bath.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Good job! I have never seen curved glass doors on a bath! How neat!

So, the 'medicine cabinet' is the smaller mirror to the left? I like the richness of the wood, and the detail, not too plain, but not fussy!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 7:23PM
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Yes, the medicine cabinet door is the mirror to the left. I had wanted it elsewhere, but there really wasn't anyplace else to put it.

Over the weekend, we purchased the accessories for the upstairs bathroom: chocolate brown memory foam mats for in front of the sink and toilet, and brushed nickel waste can, cup, and toothbrush holder.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 7:42PM
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Hi Donna, I also like the look of the curved door to go with the curved tub. All those shelves are a very good thing. I see that you went with two mirrors. I have a med cab now on the side wall like yours and I find it very usable. It could be that is because I can get right up close to it to put in eye drops and eye gel with my terrible eyesight, though!

I am interested in what shower stall system you are using on the second bath. I am planning my main bath redo for a year or two in the future. Swanstone Ice is the one I am considering, but yours looks more like the veining in carrera than Ice does, from my memory of one visit to see it. Wait - do I see grout lines in your back wall? Is it a solid surface made to look like tiles? Interesting! I can't wait to see it all done!

It must be very exciting at your house these days, all the rooms are getting new ceilings, most are getting new paint or wallpaper. Are you putting in any wallpaper? All new colors on the walls! How did you make all the choices? Or did you stick to some basic color scheme for the majority of the rooms?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 8:03PM
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For the lower bathroom: The faux Carrera marble shower stall is from Lowe's. It's called Style Selections - in three pieces but no tile or grout at all. It's all simulated! The shower pan is a typical center drain unit, purchased separately from the shower walls. The doors are Allen & Roth frameless system, but they have yet to be installed.

As far as the rest of the house is concerned: we prefer to have an off-white paint throughout, so we selected Behr's Linen White blend. Walls and ceilings are done in flat, other things are done either in semi-gloss or high-gloss. NO MORE WALLPAPER. I am so, so, DONE with wallpaper! We asked the contractor to use orange peel for the texture under the paint, on the walls.

We have beams in the vaulted living room that used to be chocolate brown. Those got their first coat of paint yesterday, and it's amazing how much more "open" our living room feels. The stairs had the same chocolate brown beams, and those are also being painted. They have to have a coat of flat and two coats of gloss to cover the brown.


Here is a link that might be useful: Style Selections Faux Carrera Marble shower stall

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 3:50PM
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Donna, Yeah, I think I have used wallpaper once. Why do I end up with houses where I have to take it down? Does not seem fair. I am with you on the no more wallpaper front.

Your shower surround looks so nice. I like that it appears as a slab, with the veins in the "marble" traveling like they would in natural stone. That makes me wonder why they put the faux-tile cuts in it. Making it look like tile negates the slab appearance. In your picture it looks great, despite this. Does this product have a marble-like texture to it? The Swanstone looks something like a honed stone finish. It is about $400 more, with one nook added to straight walls. Swanstone also has to be applied to a cement board or green board, too, which adds to the cost. It looks like your contractor is attaching the sides to a metal connector that attaches to the stud. Is there any visible caulk once he had all the walls up?

I really do appreciate the chance to ask questions about this product. Thanks, Donna for the great pictures, too. Don't forget to go back to the Lowes site and put in your review once you have used it for a while. No one has reviewed the shower enclosure yet. Your pictures are better than theirs, too, so it would be great if you can upload a few.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 12:38AM
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Here are some photos closer up. Here's just the shower wall.

Here's where the shelves will eventually slide right in. They look large enough to hold a bottle of shampoo or body wash, a shaving razor, or similar. The contractor will wait until everything else is ready, before sliding those shelves in.

This will give you an idea about the thickness, which is 1":

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 2:42PM
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Very nice looking, I like the look.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 8:03PM
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At last, we are done with the second bathroom, and this finishes up all of the home remodeling we did this time around.

The finished shower is a Style Selections (link above) from Lowe's. It is faux carrera marble, a standard center hole drain pan, and frameless sliding glass doors.

We used a duplicate of the toilet that was installed upstairs, the Kohler Santa Rosa one-piece. However, we had a weird thing cause us a little problem. The upstairs bath had a 12" clearance between the toilet's drain pipe and the wall; the downstairs bath had a 10" clearance! The choice was to move the drain pipe 2", or get a different toilet. We opted for the 2" move. Unfortunately, this took place AFTER they had already put the tiles on the floor (sigh).

The floor tiles, btw, are ceramic tiles in a carrera marble pattern. Where the shower walls are gray with white veining, the floor is white with grey veining.

The biggest hold up in the completion of bathroom had to do with the bathroom medicine cabinet. We had our contractor, who is also a carpenter, make us two corner medicine cabinets with a mirror in between. Hubby wanted beveled mirrors, which call for a different hardware that our local places did not carry. They finally found them, and finished it off today. Our contractor used extra facing and wood that we'd purchased when we ordered the bathroom vanity, so that they would match.

And finally, here is the bathroom vanity.

We also covered a pocket door. While having one wasn't bad in the bathroom, the door left us with almost no wallspace in the adjoining master bedroom. One wall was completely closet, another wall had a window in the center, the third wall had the pocket door almost directly in the center, and that left ONE wall that was uninterrupted. Covering the pocket door gave us another wall. The only con was that the bathroom seems a little smaller, a little narrower.

Fixtures: Delta faucet in satin nickel, which was improperly marked so it gave our installer a run for his money. An intricate shower water system was made of three different brands, all in satin nickel, working together. The towel bars and grab bars were all Delta.

Hubby claims this bathroom as "his" to decorate, so he chose haze grey floor mat and toilet mat (both in memory foam). These go really well with the carrera marble. I tease him a little, that he chose grey because of his time in the Navy, which of course he denies.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 9:47PM
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I love your two bathrooms and especially the ease of cleaning them . I just have a question , how did you attach the handheld shower bar to the fiberglass wall ? Did you have to buy special screws ?
I have an existing shower tub combo with fiberglass walls and I wanted to add a handheld shower with a sliding bar to it . The plumber told me that the screws that come with the bar cannot be fastened to fiberglass . If somebody holds to the bar that will cause the fiberglass to crack . Did you use the screws that came with the bar , or special ones ? Is the bar solidly attached to the wall ?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 2:55AM
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Lillo, I can't really answer the question about the screws. Our job was completely contractor-done. I don't think he had any troubles attaching anything to the fiberglass walls of the tub surround, or to the shower stall either for that matter. Our contractor is a general one, but at one time he specialized in kitchens and bathrooms so NOTHING fazes him!


    Bookmark   November 29, 2013 at 11:21PM
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Lillo, I would advise you to go to the site for your shower walls and look at the information available there. For instance, at the Lowe's site, there is a question about putting handrails on the walls for the shower walls that Donna used - the Carrara Marble-looking ones. Click on the question and you can see the answer. If you know the name of your walls, look them up at several sites and see if anyone asked and answered the question about handrails. Or ask it yourself. I would guess that any wall manufacturer would tell you that you have to have the proper blocking in place between the studs to do it.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2013 at 1:29PM
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