Faith & Mike's Master Bathroom: The Bathroom Comes Together

Renovation Diary

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Name: Faith and Mike
Type of Project: Master Bathroom Creation
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Type of building: 1920s, multi-level, single family home

The Renovation Diaries are a new collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

Our tile, floor heating materials, and vanity were delivered at least a month before the actual finishing of the bathroom began. Our contractor was hard at work on other parts of the house: building our kitchen addition; overseeing new drywall, plumbing, and electric; and straightening our staircase, which leaned outrageously. But finally, as the end of our home renovation drew near, it was time to finish off the bathroom. I had been looking forward to this for a long time. 

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IKEA boxes piled high! Our bathroom cabinets are somewhere in the heap. 

The Vanity

We constructed our vanity from IKEA kitchen cabinets. There were many reasons that this worked well for us. We bought them at the same time as our kitchen cabinets, during IKEA's big kitchen sale, which meant that the cabinets, already inexpensive, were 20% off. This allowed us to splurge a little bit on IKEA's higher-end, glossy white fronts. 

Also, kitchen cabinets are higher and deeper than standard bathroom cabinets, and we wanted more generous countertop and storage space. The bathroom cabinets were our only storage in the bathroom, and our bedroom storage was also rather limited, so we wanted to maximize drawer space. 

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In the last sleepless push to finish our renovation before the holidays, we spent many hours assembling and installing IKEA cabinets. (We assembled them all ourselves, and installed the kitchen as well, with some guidance from our contractor. You can read more about that at The Kitchn.) This included the bathroom cabinets: three 24-inch standard units, two with drawers, and one with doors, for the sink. 

We also bought a wood countertop from IKEA. Our contractor routed out a hole for the sink (which we also bought from IKEA's kitchen line) and then we had it sealed by a professional painter. 

Fortunately our contractor just popped the cabinets into the bathroom — we didn't have to install them ourselves! 

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The Tile

As I showed you earlier, we chose penny-round tile for the floors, and larger subway tile for the shower, both from The Tile Shop. I hoped that the larger tile, with fewer grout lines, would make the bathroom feel a little bigger and cleaner. 

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Our contractor installed the floor tile first, leaving an untiled area where the vanity would be installed. Then he installed the vanity, and put brown paper down over the ungrouted floor tile while they tiled the shower. All the tiling and vanity installation took two or three days, plus another two days the following week for the grout.

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One last-minute decision we had to make was how to finish the window in the shower, as well as how we would stash our shampoo in the shower. I wanted a super clean look in the shower, and initially asked for recessed tiled cubbies for bottles and soap. But this didn't work out, because one wall contained a pocket door, another the plumbing, and the final wall was an exterior wall. Our contractor felt that it wasn't a good idea to have recesses in that wall (i.e. places without insulation). 

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So instead we went with small shelves in the corner, which were installed with the tile. The shelves were made out of the same material as our window frame — a pure white Corian-like material that went well with the rest of the bathroom. These look pretty good, although I wish I would have asked for them to not be curved in front. 

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In this photo you can see the simple central drain we went with (it was cheaper than a trench or infinity drain). 

This was the point in the renovation where we were so utterly exhausted, pushed to our limit, working incredible hours to finish the kitchen and all the last minute details (not to mention packing and getting ready to move). There were many small decisions made here at the end that I wish I would have paid more attention to, but there was literally no bandwidth to do so. 

Anyway, after the shower was tiled, the contractor grouted it and the floor, and we were almost ready to move in! There were just a few more details left...

Our contractor: Tom Eastwood of Cornerstone Construction
Our architect: Tim Lai 

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for #11 of Faith and Mike's Diary.

(Images: Faith Durand)

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