January 14, 2010

Bathroom Brainstorming

Along with any renovation comes the “how much is this going to cost us” conversation. Pete and I picked a number that we thought was a reasonable estimate for getting the job done, felt comfortable spending as a reinvestment and could afford. After the budget conversation is when we start thinking about how to cram our micro brew taste into the miller lite budget.

While talking about what we wanted to accomplish with the room, we decided that the reno had to have improve upon three major things- better functionality, nicer design and all the products put in had to be very durable. Because the unit serves as a high volume rental for three months a year we really have to make sure that everything put into the unit can handle all the extra use without showing wear. However we wanted to put in materials that weren’t just blah basics and the cheapest option out there. I think our vacation renters will appreciate having a nicer bathroom!

We knew that this renovation would likely be our one and only for the condo bathroom so a lot of time was spent gathering design inspiration. That meant hours of walking around various home stores, visiting tile warehouses, all while figuring out what exactly it was that we wanted. I have pages of scribbles, item numbers and descriptions in my little purse notebook for all different types of items.

Eventually we settled on an idea to build around and which materials to use.
Building from the ground up we decided right away to get rid of the two layers of linoleum that were currently on the floor and put down a strong ceramic tile that has some texture on top. The ceramic will be really durable and the texture will provide the floor with some non slip protection. I’m trying to think ahead of all the wet bathing suits that will get slopped down on the floor in there!

Since the bathroom is so small and basic, we decided to add interest in the form of wainscoting and square trim. Both of those will help take the bathroom out of 1984 blah-humbug stage it is in right now. Plus the wainscoting will help protect the drywall and the plumbing that is behind it.

An early on big budget buster surprise was the bathroom sink area. During the measurement portion of the renovation we took a closer look at the sink. It was then that we realized that our sink vanity was not actually a vanity. It was a bit of plywood with doors and 2x4's holding the sink up. We had planned on just replacing the sink, faucet, top and painting the doors for the upgrade. Now the vanity that really wasn't would require a full replacement once we tore out the sink, so that got added to the list of materials.

The toilet was new, replaced earlier in the year because our old one crapped out on us. Even though we’re not in love with the toilet (but can you ever be really in love with a toilet?) it was staying. The shower and bath surround was also going to stay. The bath is a very functional all-in-one fiberglass piece that is in surprisingly good condition. To replace that would be a lot more money and time than we could spend or would even be smart to spend. However the crusty old shower head and faucet would be getting replaced, with something sleeker and much more user friendly. I even had a hard time figuring out the knobs in the shower, I can’t tell you how many times I froze myself when trying to turn the water off.

Going up the walls we realized the need for nicer storage and better lighting. There was medicine cabinet and the always lovely coated wire rack on the wall. But we wanted something that was going to look nice and be functional. The lighting was a huge issue because there are no windows in the room and the only light was tucked away in a corner with the medicine cabinet blocking part of it, so the bathroom never felt bright and cheerful. It just would look rather dim in there all the time.

And of course there is the obvious change, paint. The yellow was dated, faded and had to go.

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