Main Bathroom: The tiny room that took FOREVER!

With four kids amidst the chaos of moving and remodeling, pictures are pretty much the last thing on my mind. The bathroom did not look quite as bad as our before pictures below, but we’ll call it a miracle that I remembered to get pictures before the demo was complete. The bathroom had peeling linoleum stick tiles, old plumbing, old cast iron tub, no closet and peeling lead paint. For such a tiny room it required a LOT of work. The demo was actually a slow process as we attempted to make minor improvements before we were ready to commit to a full rip. This was likely the only time a homeowner is thankful previous builders used cheaper material. The gorgeous pink tiles were only plastic with some adhesive. Plaster is a huge mess so not adding real tile to the mix was a great thing. As you can see, the window was removed. This facilitate throwing the material straight into the dump making clean up much easier. We were thankful to once again have help from our friends as that cast iron tub was quite a beast.

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Our original plan was to complete the second bathroom we were planning to add on the third floor prior to ripping out the one and only bathroom in this house. While that would have been convenient for day to day living, it simply was not practical from a construction stand point. We needed to run new plumbing and add lines for the third floor. We simply needed to do this bathroom before even considering adding the third floor bath. We finished the demo on December 6th but we did not get a shower installed until December 15th! Thankfully it was the final week we had to travel for showers. Prior to demoing we had some plumbing issues and often showered elsewhere. It was a little odd to shower while seeing the studs. We opted for a rainfall style shower head and if we closed our eyes we could pretend we had an actual nice bathing space despite the studs…

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Remodeling can be harder than simply building as you already have space restrictions and previous plumbing/electric lines dictating parts of your design. We already planned to move the third floor stairs so we added about a foot of space to the bathroom and opted for a larger rectangular shower stall vs the smaller square one. We considered a shower/bath combo but decided we wanted to make better use of the space. We will have a bathtub upstairs so we were okay with just adding a shower and leaving more room for storage and breathing (yea, it is a REALLY small full bath). While we had the walls open we also ran new plumbing as necessary, added the lines for our third floor bathroom and we ran the lines for eventually moving the basement laundry to the second floor (waiting very impatiently for that!) We needed to add a few electric outlets, recessed lighting and ventilation fan before we could drywall. We also moved the radiator pipes to take up less room and boxed in one of the overhead drains. Though our bathroom still needed a ton of work, having drywall made the shower much more relaxing!

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Boxing in an overhead pipe, framing a shower stall and moving the wall about a foot meant there were LOTS of corners requiring spackling. This tiny space proved to be quite the tedious task for Ed spackling all of the corners. Once the spackling was finally complete he was able to begin tiling. Our plumber, and friend, was a HUGE help. Not only had he already ran new plumbing, aided in framing the shower and installed the shower, he offered to help Ed with the tiling. We were going to do just basic tile but with a small bathroom material costs are not very high so we opted to use a nicer tile with accent pieces. Quick set adhesive was used so we could reinstall the toilet after just a couple hours.

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After spackling, we were finally able to paint and add a vanity. It was definitely beginning to resemble a real bathroom!


We wanted to add a closet but opted for a large cabinet to keep the small space feeling open. We added a medicine cabinet for a little more storage. Crown molding was also added.

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Due to the layout and window lighting it was nearly impossible to get a good shot of most of the bathroom. The pictures can hardly show just how much work went into this tiny space, but it was definitely worth it!