Hall Bathroom

I LOVE our hall bathroom!  We finished it about 2 years ago.  At the time I was 9 months pregnant and so excited to stop using the 24″x24″ master shower.  I even took a bath in the new tub (something that’s happened maybe once more since Nadine was born).

Here’s our experience in renovating a TINY  bathroom (mostly) ourselves on a moderate budget while living in the house with one other bathroom (the master bath) AND having guests periodically.  We wanted it to be nice and go with the modern style of our house, last a long time but not break the bank since it’s ultimate purpose will be as a kid’s bathroom.

This is what the bathroom looked like before we moved in (it’s from the house’s MLS posting).  The shower was handicap accessible and made bathing Honey really easy (that’s about all the good things I can say about it… that and that we could have played checkers on the shower floor):


We started by demo-ing the old bathroom.  The wall tiles came off very easily and we gave them away for free to someone on craigslist.  We also sold the vanity/sink/faucet combo on craigslist.


After demo, Kevin moved the plumbing so we could achieve our ideal bathroom configuration (without enlarging it):


At the same time, Andy worked on re-framing around the tub to accommodate the pocket door  and a cut-out shelf above the tub.  Then Kevin installed the tub and shower plumbing.


We immediately re-installed the old toilet (and apparently decorated with some flowers) so that the bathroom was semi-functional for any guests who were staying with us (mostly Andy’s parents and his younger brother Tim… whose standards are pretty low… though at one point we taped cardboard to the framed but not finished walls to give Tim’s girlfriend some “privacy” while she was in there).


Then we put up new drywall and cement board around the tub, and Andy tiled around the tub.


This was his first time tiling a wall (he had done a few floors in his condo), and I think it looks really excellent.  He got some help (mostly in the form of advice) from my Uncle Joe who had done some tiling professionally a few decades ago, and our contractor, Kevin Sullivan also gave him some tips on water-proofing (he used tar paper and some sort of tar like tape).  We chose to use Schluter edging (the metal strips at the edge of the tile) to finish the tile.  We saw this in a neighbor’s house and preferred it to a bull-nose or quarter-round tile, we think it looks a bit more modern.  Also, due to the door being adjacent to the tub, we weren’t able to run the tile past the edge of the tub as is proper  (we technically could have on the opposite size, but we wanted to keep it symmetric. We also did a little bit of glass mosaic tile as an accent in the cubby (which was tricky to tile) and as a boarder at the top of the wall.

We removed the old toilet to prime and stain the floors, we installed baseboards and caulked the seam between the bottom of the baseboard and the floor (using painter’s tape on the floor to get a clean line) as well as the seam between the top of the baseboard and the wall.  Next step was painting.  First, I painted the baseboards and crown and then the wall. We chose a light turquoise wall color that went well with the accent tile around the tub.

Then we assembled and installed the vanity, sink, mirror, medicine cabinet and light fixture.  Those were all pretty simple jobs.  I actually sort of like assembling Ikea furniture- it’s as close as I can get to meditating.  It took a while because I was 8 months pregnant and Honey wasn’t really helping.  Although this vanity can be installed entirely floating, we knew this would eventually be a kid’s email, so Andy assumed there would be one or more child climbing on it, so he wanted the extra support.


We weren’t able to install the medicine cabinet in the wall in front of the sink because of the plumbing in the wall (the vent pipe) so we installed it on the side.  I think I prefer it this way.  When I put on makeup and my contacts in the morning, I open the medicine cabinet and use the inside mirror since it’s a little closer to me.  We even installed an electrical receptacle inside the medicine cabinet for charging our toothbrushes:


The final touches were the shower curtain, bath mats and a soap/shampoo dispenser.


I love the shower fixtures.  The shower head is plenty tall (we based it on Andy’s brother Jeff’s height plus a few inches… he’s the tallest person we ever thought would use our shower).  The only thing I wish we had was a volume control for the tub.  Now that Nadine bathes in there daily, she sometimes demands we turn the water on… and the only options are to have it off, a trickle of super cold water, or full blast water at any temperature.  Due to the drought, we are currently opting for the trickle of super cold water.


It’s hard to see in the photo above, but the electrical receptacle above the sink has a built-in night light that automatically turns on when it’s dark.  I love it.  You can also see our Melody portable indoor/outdoor bluetooth speaker which we also love (we play music during Nadine’s bath… she has a pretty luxurious life).

Full disclosure, this is what it looks like now (2 years later… with an almost 2 year old):


Because the floors are a bit slippery, I had to find bath mats with a non-slip backing… I found these at TJ Maxx and they work really well.


What we would have done differently:

Overall, we’re really happy with this bathroom, however there are a few things we may have done differently:

  • We’re still on the fence (2 years later) as to whether switching the locations of the toilet and sink was a good idea.  We like how it turned out, but it was pretty expensive to do.
  • The only thing we dislike is the sink/faucet combo.  We’re not sure if it’s the shallow sink or the faucet we paired with it, but this particular combo makes it VERY easy to splash water everywhere if you’re not SUPER careful.  Actually, I think it’s IMPOSSIBLE to wash your face in the sink without getting water all over the surrounding counter and splashing it onto the wall.  I’ve resorted to leaving a wash cloth on the towel rod, just for cleaning up water on the sink.
  • For this reason, we probably should have located the vanity directly adjacent to the right-most wall instead of leaving a 3″ gap.  The intent of leaving a bit of a gap was to break up the space a little, which it does accomplish.  However, a lot of water gets splashed on that wall and the small gap means it can drip down the wall next to the vanity and it’s pretty difficult to clean.  I think we may replace the sink down the line (and since it’s an Ikea sink and Ikea vanity, that probably means replacing the vanity too since there are probably not too many other sink/counter combos that fit that vanity).
  • Pretty minor, but our shampoo/conditioner/soap dispenser came off the wall after about 2 years of use.  We bought some super-strength mounting tape and glue and it seems fine now.  We probably should have done this initially instead of just using the mounting tape/glue that came with it.
  • We don’t really use the electrical receptacle inside the medicine cabinet.  It seemed like a great idea when I saw it on Pinterest, but in reality, it’s too crowded in there to let our toothbrush chargers live there full time- so we keep them elsewhere and plug them into the above sink outlet when we need to charge our toothbrushes.
  • We bought a towel shelf that we never installed.  I thought it would be too crowded and we don’t really need it (we have a linen closet down the hall).  I’m still trying to figure out how to use it somewhere else in our house.



Q&A With The Famous Krones

Now that we’re famous, everyone’s like: “tell us more about your fascinating life and beautiful home!”… so here you go!

Q: It looks like you’re making a sudden come-back, tell us more!

A (Mary): Well, we were really getting famous back in 2013.  I mean, we had something like 7 comments (2 from our contractor, 2 from strangers, 3 from Andy) in 2 years!  Then we decided to have a baby (actually, we decided that well before 2013).  Did you know babies and toddlers are a lot of work?  Ours is named Nadine and she’s sort of demanding.  We had to choose between caring for her, doing projects, writing about projects, and sleeping… so the writing and sleeping stopped.  Actually, I had been thinking about posting to the blog again for a long time, but then I would realize I’d rather sleep.

A (Andy): Well, the Eichler Network got us motivitated to “rejuvenate” the  old blog.  We actually have done a few projects (renovate the hall bath, hallway, nursery, guest room, repair some more beams, build a deck, renovate the master bath…) but we’ve just been too lazy to update the blog.  Our daughter is not one for home improvements, she likes to help but we just don’t think she should be handling the nail gun quite yet.  We have to move in baby steps, you know, hammer and chop saw first, followed by the table saw and nail gun.  Our goal is to have a 4 year old that can repair radiant floor leaks.

Q: What’s it like to suddenly be famous?

A (Andy): It’s pretty amazing… The limousine to the studio, the constant oohhs and awwhs and people pushing each other just to get closer to the front door so they can get a glimpse of our famous house.  Sometimes I think I’m dreaming but, uh, oh wait, yeah, that was a dream. I will consider myself famous when I have someone taking out the trash on Thursday nights.

A (Mary): I’m much more visible in the public eye now (like at music in the park)- so I have to be more fashion-conscious.  To that end, I started wearing skinny jeans.  See, I’m really fashionable now!

IMG_3743 (1)

(outfit: skinny jeans and shoes ordered online from Gap because we have a toddler and I can’t really go into a real store now, top from Costco because we have a toddler who tolerates Costco as long as she has enough samples to eat).

Q: All of your photos on the blog are so beautiful!  Tell us about the camera you use?

A (Mary): In 2011 we started using our state of the art point-and-shoot Canon digital camera.  Then we went to Oktoberfest in Germany and it got a little beer on it and it was never the same.  Fast forward, 4 years and it turns out our phones have surpassed the quality of our beer-soaked digital camera.  So, long story short, we use our iPhone6’s for most of the photos.  I know!  Amazing that you can get such beautiful quality photos from a phone!

Q: I know Andy’s “real” job is to be a computer guy (technically, a CIO), what about you, Mary?  Are you an interior designer? A writer?

A (Mary): I’m a data scientist.

Q: Wow, cool! Data science is so hot right now.  How do you find the time to do so much?

A (Mary):  Well, I don’t sleep much.  I also don’t relax much.  I should probably do more of both and less of everything else. I’m going to book a day trip to a spa in Sonoma right now.

A (Andy): Sleep is not all that much fun so we just sacrifice eating and sleeping to get projects done.

Q: Nadine, what do you think of the beautiful home that your parents are re-building for you?

A (Nadine): BID-E-OOOOS! (Videos… she wants to watch videos of herself on your iPhone).



Q: Nadine, where’s the moon?

A (Nadine): THERE!





Re-Plumbing the Hall Bathroom

In January 2013, we found out I was pregnant and immediately began converting our guest room into a nursery (more on that later) for the baby who is now a feisty toddler named Nadine.  We started by removing the old drywall and paneling, which lead us to discover that the shower in the hall bathroom immediately adjacent to the nursery was leaking into the shared wall and had created a LOT of black mold on the drywall.  At this point we realized we would need to remove the shower in the hall bath.  Since we were removing the shower, we decided to renovate the whole thing (funny how things snowball).  The irony was that this was the “nice” bathroom (relative to the master bath), because the previous owners had renovated it shortly before we bought our house.

When we moved in we thought that although it’s not our style, it was functional and we had bigger fish to fry (like the leaking roof).  Actually, maybe it was good that there was a leak in the shower because otherwise we would have lived with a functional yet unattractive bathroom for a lot longer.  It also gave us an opportunity to install a bath tub.  While not a necessity for the first year or so, I can’t imagine Nadine living without a bath tub now- she HATES showers (which we discovered while staying with family who didn’t have a bath tub).

So began the hall bath renovation.  Since had decided to start from scratch, we came up with the idea to switch the locations of the toilet and sink.  Originally, the sink was next to the shower (which we were converting to a tub).


This layout felt very un-natural to us.  If you spend a few hours browsing bathroom pictures on Pinterest, you’ll find that this combination is really uncommon.  I think it is because the water from the shower/tub can spray onto the vanity, like this (no, we didn’t expand the size of the bathroom… It’s still TINY… I must have just zoomed in on the 2nd try):


In fact, even though the existing vanity was only a couple years old, it was already suffering some water damage (I’m sure it would be less if we had a proper tub instead of a walk in shower).  In addition, we thought it would be more convenient to perch ourselves on the toilet while Nadine was taking a bath (in reality, we sit on the edge of the tub or the bathroom floor).  The disadvantage of the new configuration is that the toilet ends up right in front of the door.  I personally don’t mind it, but it is a consideration for some people.

Unfortunately our house is on a concrete slab foundation.  For houses on a raised foundation with a crawl space or basement, this probably wouldn’t be a big deal.  Also, we had in-floor radiant heat to work around.  Speaking of which, once we demo-ed the existing tile, we noticed a wet patch on the bathroom floor.  Thinking maybe it would dry, we decided to trace it and see if it got bigger or smaller over a few days.  Sadly, it got bigger and we had to get that repaired first.


Once we were ready for the actual switching of the plumbing, the first job was to demo and empty out the bathroom, down to the studs, which Andy did. Then, we had to decide where we wanted the new locations of the plumbing for the toilet and vanity.  Toilets are pretty standard, but vanities are not.  So we had to first/purchase find the new vanity and sink (so we knew its size)  and determine its location.  This was lot harder than it sounds.  The room is quite small, and by code, the toilet needs a total of 30″ of space from the tub, leaving only about 27″ for a vanity, so we had to find a vanity that was 27″ wide or less.  I’m not saying there aren’t a lot of options for vanities out there (24-25″ is actually a common size), it was just hard to find one that also looked modern and would be easy to keep clean (my top requirement), had a lot of storage (Andy’s top requirement), would last a long time, and was relatively affordable (both of our requirements since this was a hall bath that will eventually be a kid’s bath).  Once we decided on a vanity, we also had to decide on its location.  How high did we want the top? Did we want it to butt up to the wall, or leave some space between the edge of the vanity and the wall (we chose the latter)?

Once those decisions were made, the actual plumbing work was done by Kevin Sullivan, our go-to plumber/contractor (and also a neighbor).  He owns an Eichler himself and is very familiar with them, including how the plumbing and radiant heat are typically laid out.


The above picture was taken when the tub, toilet and sink “rough in” plumbing was complete, and before the tub was installed.

I’m really not familiar with the details of how this was done, except that there was a giant hole in the bathroom floor for a few weeks and plumbing tools and pipes and parts all around the house, then, one day he was gone and everything worked.  I am however familiar with how expensive this is to do.  Inevitably, when you start a project, something unexpected comes up.  I think Kevin had to move some radiant heating lines and also deal with the plumbing in the master bath which shares a wall with the hall bath.  We had originally considered re-configuring both bathrooms at the same time (the master bath also has the sink next to the shower), but that would have left us without a working bathroom, and we weren’t sure if we wanted to go through the added expense to do the same switch-a-roo in the master bath.  This was, by-far, the most expensive part of the bathroom renovation, and it’s something that probably goes un-noticed by most people… except other Eichler owners.  Our neighbors (owners of the same model as ours) were visiting the other day and they asked if the bathroom configuration had always been that way or if we switched it.  I think that ultimately it was probably a good decision.

Solid-Stained Concrete Floors

Remember how our house originally had 9 types of flooring?


I’m happy to say, we’re down to 8!  We’ve eliminated the “Sewing Room” and “Bathrooms” flooring as well as some of the “Guest Room / Beer Room” and “Hallway/Dining Room / Kitchen”, and “Andy’s Office / Atrium” flooring.  However, we’re in the process of adding some new tile in the atrium and have gone with solid “stained” concrete in the “Guest Room” (now Nadine’s room), “Sewing Room” (now guest room), Hallway, and Bathrooms.  Eventually, we plan to do all the floors in the whole house in solid stained concrete (the atrium is different because it’s uncovered and not technically in the house).

The system we are using is mostly Behr products purchased at Home Depot.  It’s called Solid Color Concrete Stain but it goes on and looks more like paint- and the process is more like a painting process.  Since we wanted the same flooring throughout the house, we spent a lot of time considering our options.  I am against carpeting (although Andy is not) because it stains easily, is never really clean, and it is said to be inefficient with the radiant floor heating system.  Wood and pergo were also out due to the incompatibility with the radiant heating system.  Cork was out mostly due to our dog’s claws (which we knew would scratch hardwood thus assumed would scratch cork even more). That left 2 viable options: tile and the concrete.  We chose solid stained concrete for the following reasons:

1. Andy doesn’t like grout lines in tile- he hypothesizes (because he doesn’t actually do the floor cleaning) that they trap dirt and make it harder to clean.

2. If we go with the concrete (we’re on a slab foundation, so we’re really just using what’s already there), we have the option to switch to tile later with minimal effort (or so we think… I’ve read some anecdotes about trouble putting tile on top of finished concrete…).

3. Cost.  Considering we’re doing the labor ourselves, the cost of materials is much less than buying tile at about $5/square foot.  This may consideration may not be valid if we were paying for the labor.

Once we chose on the general “concrete” route, we still had several options.  We could have gone natural by either grinding & polishing the existing slab or adding a skim coat.  After a lot of research, I found some horror stories with both methods- one from a neighbor 2-doors down (so I assumed we would have the same issue) plus it would add a lot to our materials/rentals cost and be much messier and more difficult to do one room at a time-  so we decided to go for a solid paint-like stain on our existing slab, without grinding it.  I saw some really cool pictures of a solid stained concrete floor in an Eichler (here), and after many test samples and debates with Andy, we decided to go for something similar.

Here’s the process we used and some comments on how it’s held up after 2 years:

1. Remove all existing flooring and tile mastic, down to the slab:


Andy did this step.  Depending on the room, some were relatively easy (generally speaking, the smaller rooms with older tile, like the bathrooms) and some were a real pain.  I ended up buying him this jack hammer (with the scraping blade attachment) for Christmas, which has helped quite a bit, but it’s still a manual labor job that’s noisy and messy.  The pros we hired to re-tile the atrium even used it plus our neighbors and family have used it, so it’s been a worthwhile investment for us. But make no mistakes, there is a lot of very difficult labor involved in this step.

2. Remove as much of the old black stuff as is possible reasonable.  Originally, our house, like most Eichlers, had 8″x8″ (asbestos-containing) vinyl tile that was adhered with an (asbestos-containing) black glue/mastic.  Even though the previous owners had removed almost all of the tiles (there were a hand full of tiles still left in closets), there was a lot of the black stuff left under the new mastic/tile they had installed.  Needless to say, you SHOULD wear a mask/whole body protection/not attempt this step yourselves due to the asbestos containing nature of the black stuff.  Having read a lot about it from the Redneck Modern blog, we initially tried using Bean-e-doo to remove it.  We did this in Nadine’s room, which was the first room where we did the stained concrete.  It was a real pain (for Andy… I was pregnant at the time and nowhere to be seen)… it was pretty expensive and difficult to clean up and didn’t do an amazing job (there was enough of the black stuff left that we knew we couldn’t go the bare concrete route without grinding the slab, which we didn’t want to do).  Following many coats of Bean-e-doo, Andy used a de-greaser and washed and rinsed and repeated many times.  Maybe it was because I was pregnant, but I was super afraid of the black stuff (I’m sure it causes cancer!)  and wanted no sign of it ever around anywhere that my baby would ever be, much less sleep every night (ha!  she doesn’t actually sleep at night!)… so I really forced encouraged Andy to be meticulous with this step and remove as much of the black stuff as humanly possible.  This is what the the floor in Nadine’s room looked like after this step:


You can see how it leaves a bit of an oily residue which is more pronounced near the center of the room and the door.

Given the labor involved in the Bean-e-doo step (and the stuff stinks, despite being pretty natural) we had smartly decided to do some tests in her closet- we did one patch without any Bean-e-doo, where Andy had just done some scraping with a metal blade. In retrospect (in my non-pregnant state), as long as the stuff is well covered (i.e. with several coats of stain and top coat), toxicity shouldn’t be a problem- with asbestos the real issue is in disturbing it.

3. Etch the concrete.  This step is so that the paint-like stain has something to really “grab” onto and help with adherence.  Also, if you skip the Bean-e-doo step (which we eventually did… keep reading), it removes some more of the black stuff.  After having done 4 rooms, we still haven’t been super consistent with the brand of concrete etch that we use. It’s one of those things that we tend to pick up on the way home from work as needed (you go through a lot of it).  The Behr brand seems pretty decent- they carry it at Home Depot, so it has been our default (though I think we found brands that work better). The goal here is for the super smooth concrete to become a little more porous.

4. Patch the concrete.  Again, we weren’t super consistent about this step and tended to be more thorough in areas where we knew it mattered most (i.e. not in the guest room).  If there were any cracks wider than 2mm or so, Andy would chisel them out to about 1″ wide and 1″ deep.  Same with holes and divots (most often those left from carpet tack strips around the perimeter of rooms that once had carpet).  We also tried different types of concrete patch and they all worked pretty well.  I was told (by a woman working in the local hardware store’s paint department) that the patch should cure for 30 days before proceeding to apply any primer or stain/paint.  There are special types of fast-curing patch that you can buy, but we didn’t find that it really mattered.


Once the patch was dry, we scraped and sanded to get it to blend in with the rest of the concrete as much as possible.

I will say that for HUGE HOLES (like 2′ by 2′ where we moved plumbing in the slab) we did let the concrete cure for at least 30 days.  This actually wasn’t as big of a pain as you may think… we always had other things to do in the meantime.

One thing that we discovered is that this stuff should be done AFTER etching- because the etch eats through new stuff MUCH faster than old stuff… so if you patch first (which we did in Nadine’s room) the etch will make the patches more apparent.  Also, we found that not etching the patch doesn’t seem to affect the ability of the primer/paint/top-coat to adhere.    At this point, 99% of the work is done.

5. Clean and dry the concrete.  If you’re like us, there has been drywall, tile mastic, etc. falling on your neglected concrete floor for the last several weeks/months while you tackled other projects (like re-building walls and gestating).  I used some scrapers to remove any chunks, scrub brushes where needed, then a final 2-3 passes with my Shark Steam Mop.  Then, let it dry for at least a day.  This is a relatively easy step and pretty rewarding.

6. Prime the concrete.  We used the Behr Concrete Primer made especially for this.  I’m not sure how necessary this step is- we did a test in Nadine’s closet without primer and it didn’t seem to make a difference… but since that was a no-traffic closet (thus not the best test) and the stuff is cheap (a little goes a LONG way, we are still at the top of the first can even after several hundred square feet of priming) and very easy to apply, we’ve been consistently applying it before the stain. We just mixed it up with a paint stir stick, poured a little directly onto the floor, then spread with a paint roller attached to an extension stick.  On the first few rooms, we went around the perimeter of the room with a paint brush, but eventually realized I could do a good-enough job with the roller.  Also, we did the floors before the walls got painted and baseboards were installed, so it didn’t matter if I got a little on the wall.  But going on it looks a bit scary and we questioned whether we just ruined all of Andy’s hard work:


But after it dries, it’s just a bit shiny.


7. Stain.  This is the super fun and easy step.  It’s like when you’re a kid and someone puts out all the ingredients to “make pizza” for you and you just come along and throw some toppings on a piece of dough and claim it as your own.   We used Behr Solid Color Concrete Stain in “Pebbled Path” (we did lots of test patches of different colors and found that this one hid dirt pretty well).  The consistency is between that of a stain and a paint, but it is definitely opaque like a paint.  We eventually learned to do this mostly with a paint roller on a stick (I used a brush a little bit around corners and existing molding etc.).  As you’re applying the paint, it can get some tiny bubbles in it, but those seem to fade as it dries.  We did 2-3 coats in each room. You should apply the coats thinly, so after the first coat, you may still see some patches of the black stuff peaking through, but here it is after the 2nd coat (sorry, we only took pictures of this in the bathroom apparently):


It goes on glossy but it dries very matte, like below:


8. Apply top coat.  We used this Behr product in low luster.  Again, I don’t think this step is absolutely necessary, and I’m on the fence as to whether it was the right choice or not.  For one, you need to let the stain cure for 30 days!   They don’t say this anywhere on any package (neither the primer, paint nor sealer) so I had to call Behr to figure this out.  We haven’t experimented with doing it in less than 30 days, so I’m not sure if this is a hard requirement- but this was a real pain given that we had stained Nadine’s floor about 35 days before she was born (meaning we had to wait until about 3 days before she was born to seal it).  I was also worried that it would make it more difficult to fix scratches that do occur- but this hasn’t been a problem- I’ve confirmed that you can apply a whole fresh coat of stain on top of the top coat (and then another top coat) without any problems (we did this in the bathroom about 6 months ago).  The biggest down side is that it makes it more slippery.  In a glass house with cement floors and a toddler who likes to play “how can I hurt myself today”, it can be dangerous (even though all of Nadine’s socks have little no-slip things on the bottom).  The advantages are that I really like the look- it looks much more finished with the top coat, and I think it helps protect the paint from scratches.  They sell some sand-like stuff that you could add to help with traction, but I think that would a.) not feel very good on your feet and b.) lead to more scratches in the paint/top coat, so we didn’t use it.

This was our moment of truth.  In Nadine’s room, where we had done the Bean-e-doo, we noticed that after applying 2 coats of stain and letting it cure for 30 days, it would still scratch VERY EASILY if anything mildly sharp hit it (like a ladder leg or a shoe).  I was hoping that the top coat would fix this (I had spot-patched all of the little scratches prior to applying the top coat).  It did not.  And on top of that it turned yellow almost immediately. It was sort of an epic failure… 3 days before Nadine was born.  This is what it looks like today… it’s only gotten worse… it’s a bit tacky so it attracts dirs and scratches super easily.  This is sort of the worst case scenario:


Luckily, the test patch we did in her closet (without Bean-e-doo) had no problems at all!  So… our conclusion is the the Bean-e-doo was a waste of a TON of time and a lot of money and we weren’t sure how to fix it.  Our only solution was to get a very large area rug and deal with it later.  Now, 2 years later, it’s still bad and I choose not to look at it.  I’m thinking that we may be able to strip it and try again- but there really is no good time to empty out her room to do that- maybe when she goes to medical school.  Anyhow, we learned our lesson early and the rest of the house is holding up really well.

This is how the bathroom looks after 2 years:


This is 2 days after a regular weekly cleaning- so you can see how there is dirt, but it blends in pretty well.  Also, there is a tiny bit of an “orange peel” texture to the paint- but it’s not noticeable- from a normal person’s perspective, I think it looks similar in texture to a large polished tile, but without grout lines, which is sort of what we were going for.


When painting a room’s entrance, be careful about the threshold with the next room/hallway.  When Andy painted our hallway (after already having done Nadine’s room and the bathroom) he was not careful and left a visible and messy “seam.”  Nadine’s room is a lost cause, so we just left it as-is, but this really annoyed me in the otherwise beautiful hall bath, so we re-painted the whole room (see below).  In the future, I will do all thresholds with a paint brush (and maybe some painter’s tape)- so at least the seam will be well thought out.

Which leads to the next tip… it’s proven perfectly fine and relatively easy to re-paint an entire room.  We did this in the hall bath.  We just cleaned the floor really well with all purpose cleaner, let it dry, applied 2 more coats of stain, waited 30 days, and applied 2 coats of top coat.  So far (6 months later) it has held up really well.  I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to put anything on top of the top coat, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.  This is a HUGE advantage for us, as we are always having to dig into our slab for some reason or another (e.g. repairing leaks in the radiant heat system).

It is slippery (and even without the top coat it is still pretty slippery).  We’ve managed to avoid any tragedies by using small rugs in the bathroom (with a no-slip bottom) and installing a runner in the hallway (the most likely area for Nadine to be running).  Nonetheless, we still have to be VERY careful, especially when it is wet and it does make me nervous (but what mom isn’t nervous?).


The end result isn’t going to be perfect nor look like a new or newly polished concrete.  You can see where we patched cracks and holes, but only if you are looking closely.  I don’t mind this at all.  The rough patches also seem to collect dirt a bit more easily, but we went with a color that is pretty close to that of dirt, so it’s not super noticible.  Here is what the hallway looks like where we patched a large crack (I probably should have cleaned up the dog hair before taking this picture…):


The hardest part for us about doing the stain and top coat was to keep it clean long enough for it to dry, in particular, to keep the dog hair off of it.  I found that cleaning with a damp rag RIGHT before applying either was necessary.  Apparently we have a LOT of errant dog hairs that fly around our house.  The 2nd hardest part was to get Andy not to step in it… there are 2 of his foot prints in the hallway, but thankfully they are now hidden under our rug.

How it’s holding up:

Other than in Nadine’s room which I described extensively above, it’s holding up very well after 2 years.  So far, we only have one scratch that occurred when we were installing baseboards in the hallway. Some day I may get around to touching it up, but it’s not noticeable enough for me to exert that kind of effort.  We’re still planning on installing it in the rest of the house, room by room.

Cost Break Down:

Please note that we did not pay for ANY labor in this project- if we were to do that, it woudl substantially impact the cost.  Instead, we paid with many many many hours of our own time.  Given the amount of experimenting that we have had to do, I think it was the right decision for us to do this ourselves (if it were tile, which is much more straight forward, it would probably be a different story).  Also, once the demo is done, it’s a pretty easy job.  With that said, we may hire out the demo in the future, since that is the hardest part, and also pretty difficult to mess up.  So all together, the costs for us have been as follows:

Etch: $20/gallon.  We didn’t measure exactly, but I’d say that a typical room (10’x12′) used about 1.5 gallons, so a gallon covers about 80 square feet.

Patch: $10/container.  It makes sense to match the size of the container with the size of the room… because once you open it, you can’t really re-use it again.

Primer:$20/gallon.  A gallon seems to cover maybe 500 square feet?

Stain:$30/gallon.  A gallon seems to cover maybe 250 square feet?

Top Coat:$20/gallon.  A gallon seems to cover maybe 250 square feet?

So overall, the materials cost about $0.57/square foot (but you’ll need to spend a minimum of about $100) which is pretty darn cheap (our atrium tile is about $6/sq ft).  Also, it’s interesting to see that the largest portion of this cost (about half) is the concrete etch which is really what cleans the existing slab- so if the slab has a lot more to clean, you’ll need to spend more… also if you do want to use something else to remove the black mastic (we do NOT recommend Bean-e-doo, but maybe something like a paint remover would help- I can’t say for sure since I haven’t tried it and don’t know how the stain will react with it) it will also add substantially to the (low) cost.


2 Years of Silence….

Oops… I see it has been over 2 years since our last post… mostly because our fee time has been absorbed by this little lady:

Nadine Newbo

(Photo from Just a Hobby Photography)

Who is actually now this little lady:


The good news is that we were officially finished with her nursery before she was born.  I’ll try to write about it before it becomes a “big girl room.”

More to come…