And Now, For Our Other New John

I crack me up. But while I was away, we also renovated our bathroom, and made another major life decision.  But let me start at the beginning:

We had grand plans, last year, to move into the back bedroom, which would eventually become a master suite with the addition of a bathroom and his and her closets.  But then we found out that our current bathroom needed to be gutted.

It seems when Hubster bought the house several years ago, the people who sold it to him did their own renovations. Now, I’m no snob, and if you know what you’re doing, DIY is fine. But therein lies the rub: These people apparently did not, because the toilet and bathtub were installed wrong, and had been leaking through the subfloor and onto the wooden beam below. And that wooden beam? It hadn’t been properly shored up and reinforced to handle what it was holding up: A wall between the bathroom and kitchen that had a giant refrigerator, heavy granite countertops and a cast-iron bathtub that sometimes held gallons of water. 

In other words, without some immediate work, this house was in danger of caving in places.

So first, we had the support beam reinforced, and extra piers added. Another support beam was added, as well. Then we called our trusty contractor, Carl Garrison, who came in and worked with my original design to take it from paper to reality. We did a complete bathroom renovation for about $5,600, which is a bargain. How?

First, I took stock of what was in the bathroom already. For some reason, the DIY-Don’ters installed brushed-nickle fixtures on the sink, the toilet paper holder, and towel bar, as well as the vanity lighting, but left the same old builder-grade chrome in the bathtub/shower. Rather than spend thousands on replacing everything, we opted to keep the fixtures and just replace the bath fixtures, getting a nice rainflow shower head and faucet in brushed nickle.

The vanity and granite counter top were in good shape. I actually like them. So we kept those, too. The toilet was fine, so we kept it.

So that left a new bathtub (I was determined to get one that was lighter, to lighten the structural load on the support beams), new floor tile, and new tile for the bathtub and shower surround.

We also had a very old linen closet in the bathroom that did nothing really but eat up space. It wasn’t big enough to be good storage, and it made the small bathroom look even smaller. So in the new bathroom plan, it was removed.

I picked a floor tile in a matte finish, and paint in a light shade of ecru. White bead board wainscoting went up, also making the room look bigger. To make up some for the storage we took away with the linen closet removal, we put up two white shelves across from the toilet, and installed white metal hooks beneath the shelves to hang up towels.

But the biggest transformation was in the bathtub area. White square tile that was falling down was demo’d out, revealing that the previous owner had also neglected to put up any insulation on that exterior wall, explaining part of the reason it was so freaking cold in that bathroom. So we insulated. We also removed a window, and instead put in a built in-shelf. White subway tile makes up most of the surround, but I opted to go for high-end look by using touches of a glass and tumbled stone mosaic tile. A white shower curtain and white towels completed the accessories.

When we discovered that the bathroom needed gutting, we also had a serious talk about our housing needs. With a little one on the way, we realized that we really would like a house with two bathrooms, and a two -car garage. We’d like more room – perhaps a larger family room, even. So instead of adding that second bathroom here, we’ve decided that we would work on making certain cosmetic repairs to the house over the next two years (as well as a few big ticket items, like a new fence, gutters, and some window replacement), and then put the house on the market.

The area we live in will likely be pretty desirable in a couple of years, as new businesses come in and people begin looking for housing near DART’s Green Line. We’re close enough to the Green Line and Love Field to be convenient, but not so close that either are a nuisance. We’re excited about the things we plan on doing to the house to make it stand out in our neighborhood of little 1950s bungalows, things that will not price us out of our market, either.

We really do have the perfect home for someone starting out, or for a couple looking for their first home, or even empty-nesters looking for something smaller. This was the perfect house for two people to become a family in, and to bring a baby to. But in a couple of years, it will not be the perfect home for a family with a toddler – it will be someone else’s perfect home, and our new perfect home? Well, let’s just say we’ve been scouting out possible neighborhoods, and are really excited.

One Comment

  1. The bath looks FABULOUS! Of course, I’ll miss the moldy window, but in every life, some gorgeous tile must float! Great selections on the materials, and it’s good to see that you re-used some of the existing materials. I can’t wait to see it!


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