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.



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  1. Pingback: Nadine’s Nursery | Eichler-Blog

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