Karin & Jeff's Bathroom Renovation: What We Learned

Karin & Jeff's Bathroom Renovation: What We Learned

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Tess Wilson
Sep 16, 2015

Name: Karin and Jeff
Type of Project: Main Bathroom Remodel
Type of Home: Single-family home built in 1967
Square Footage: 1,800
Years Lived In: 2.5

The Renovation Diaries are a 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.

This bathroom renovation was a fantastic, on-budget, and on-schedule success, and now I know why: Karin is the kind of person who says "I've picked up hanging and finishing drywall and tiling since we bought the house — don't be afraid to give those things a try," My new hero! Let's see what she learned...

Now that your bathroom is complete, what are the most valuable lessons you learned from the project?

Don't be afraid to DIY, but know your limits! I'm not comfortable doing in-wall plumbing by myself, but thankfully my dad was able to lend a skilled-hand. The same goes with installing the new closet door - since I knew it was a structural wall, I didn't want to mess with framing it out. Thanks to reading a few tutorials and Youtube videos, I've picked up hanging and finishing drywall and tiling since we bought the house - don't be afraid to give those things a try, especially if you have an experienced person nearby.

Speaking of tiling, I go into perfectionist mode and agonize over every little imperfection as I'm working that are probably imperceptible to people who aren't me. I've picked up the habit of examining the tile work whenever I'm out in public places - it usually makes me feel much better about the quality of my work! If you are tackling any DIY tiling project, I would spend a long time planning out tile placement and do the best job you can installing, but once it's over, don't sweat the small stuff!

Also, this probably goes without saying, but projects almost always take more time and money than anticipated. Plan for it! We miraculously came in under-budget by having some leftover materials from previous projects and making a few decisions to go with less expensive materials than we had originally budgeted... that doesn't usually happen.

If you were to do it all again (let's hope that's never necessary!), what would you do differently?

Something I didn't account for was the difference in the toilet drain from the wall on the old toilet vs. the new one. I didn't even think of it! The new toilet is a little further from the wall than I would have liked, but it's too late now (and to be honest, Jeff didn't even notice until I mentioned it).

I'd also been debating ordering a glass shower screen to replace the curtain because I really like how they look, but I'm not entirely sold - I think it may lead to too much water splashing outside the tub and cold showers (especially during Minnesota winters). So for now, we're sticking with the old shower curtain.

Did your schedule go as planned? What were the surprises, if any?

Overall, yes (and that's a first!). I had a rough guide for week-to-week goals that I didn't really follow. Tiling always takes way longer than I anticipate. The rough-in work also took longer than I expected since we had to remove and replace the floor, which held up the process.

The shelving in the closet went up quickly, since I mounted the uprights directly to studs. That's probably the only step that took less time!

What project is next on the docket?

We have a basement laundry room that is very rough. We want to frame the walls, finish it, tile the floor, reorient the washer/dryer, add lots of nice storage, and maybe even a dog washing station. Right now, it's a giant pile of tools, leftover materials, and dust.

Thank you so much for sharing your bathroom renovation with us- and for all the puppy photos!

Thank you, Apartment Therapy and readers, for following along and holding me accountable to finish the entire project in a timely manner! :)

(Images and text: Karin and Jeff)

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