I need you guys to make me feel better about my procrastination on the project. Please tell me I’m not the only one! When I moved into this house I thought the bathrooms would be the first thing to get a makeover. I mean…. the guest bath had dingy ewwww-worthy linoleum and the master bath was carpeted. CARPETED! Fast forward a year and a half and I STILL hadn’t touched them. I have plenty of excuses, but the truth is I (a) have never tiled before and (b) got distracted by a bazillion other ideas. Please tell me you’ve lived with cringe-worthy rooms longer than you ever should have. Please….. tell me now.
My mom stopped by after Thanksgiving and spent an awesome week with me. The idea was we’d spend the week tiling and DIY’ing. The reality was we spent the first few days shopping, and then scrambled to get the bathroom tiled before she left. Isn’t that how it always goes though? Mom was here for a full week and we really did crank out this tiling Friday -Sunday.
Here’s a shot of the bathroom from when I first toured the house in March 2010:
Teeeeeeeeny tiny! The toilet is back in the nook (photo on left, back corner) and that tight space is LESS THAN 2′ wide! Goodness gracious. My first thought was to tear out the vanity and replace it with a pedestal sink. I was set on that idea for over a year, but then I started to worry about the loss of storage in such a small space. Plus, it’s nice to have at least a small amount of counter space for setting things on! Once I committed to keeping the cabinet, I decided the wood finish was dated and had to go. IMMEDIATELY. Hellooooo Annie Sloan chalk paint! I gave it two quick coats of Old White and waxed it. I’m not sure how it will hold up in a bathroom, but really…. what did I have to lose? Um, nada.You can see a hint of the newly white cabinet in the photo below:
O.M.G. I can’t believe I just showed you that. How DISGUSTING is that linoleum?! No amount of scrubbing would have made that liveable. Yuck. No seriously… yuck. With the baseboards and vent cover removed, we had to tackle the toilet.
…this is where our progress hit a wall.
…as in we almost quit.
…we couldn’t remove the toilet!
Ugh. So frustrating. First we had trouble getting the shut-off valve to turn on the wall. Terrified of snapping it off, Mom spritzed it with some WD-40 and we made a trip to Wal-Mart for other supplies while we let it soak in. Not sure if that helps? But we were out of other things to try. Finally it turned and we were ready to disconnect and remove the toilet. Wellllll we hit another wall.
…kicking the wall.
The bolts on the toilet base that you’re supposed to just remove and then lift off the toilet… yeah, those didn’t exactly cooperate. They were spinnnnning. No way to hold the bolts tight so we could remove the nut. Did I mention that nook is only 24″ wide? Mom somehow managed to wedge herself back in there and crane her neck to see the bolts. Sorry… no photos of that. We were both ready to LOSE IT. It wasn’t a pretty DIY moment.
I did a quick google search and read about a guy that used his Dremel to cut off the bolts. Brilliant! Just so happened Mom had bought a Dremel on Black Friday and had it in her car. Hallelujah! FINALLY some light at the end of the tunnel! Basically we used the Dremel to grind off the bolt, just below the nut. It wasn’t easy… I tried… and failed. But leave it to my DIY-Goddess Momma and she’ll get ‘er dun. Yup. I just said that.
I heave-ho’d that toilet single-handedly and waddle-walked it to the shower. It might have only been two normal steps, but in waddle-walking, that’s a whoooole lot of shuffling! We figured the shower would be better place for the toilet to hang out than the middle of the bedroom she was sleeping in. That pic above shows what was left of the grinder disc on the dremel after we finish knocking the bolts off. Oh… and I should point out…. it was HOT. As in no-touchy-touchy. Mom learned that the hard way.
By this point it was dark out and our confidence was busted. We were both ready to throw in the towel, and probably would have, if it weren’t for the fact that it was already Friday night and Mom was leaving Sunday. Time to push on…
Next up: Backer Board
Mom asked for some newspaper to make a pattern of the floor. I one-upped her and gave her a roll of wrapping paper with a grid on the backside. Perfect! It made it super simple to get straight lines and mark everything out.
I’d like to point out that’s my MOM’S handwriting on template. Let me repeat… for the record – I didn’t write that. But I did laugh out loud when I saw it! At this point we’d been to heck and back with that toilet… we needed a little comic relief!
…and let me tell you – the templates my Mom made were PERFECT. They saved the night and totally got us amp’d up again.
We traced the pattern on the backer board outside and then used this heaven-sent scoring tool to cut the board. You think I’m kidding? I’m not! When God created the Earth, I’m pretty sure he made this tool too. It’s that good. She bought hers at Lowes, but here’s a link to one on Amazon: Click here to change your tiling life.
You see that?! A PERRRRFECT fit. At this point we did a little jig. Again… not kidding. There was definitely a happy dance involved. A couple of high-fives. Some YESSSSSSSS’s were exclaimed. Feeling the rush of our DIY-high, we cut and dropped in the second board and proceeded to nail them down every few inches.
Lesson learned…. project prep will almost always take longer than the actual tiling. Live and learn, Dana!
Time to TILE!
Saturday started with a McDonalds breakfast… coffee for me, sweet tea for Mom. We all have our weaknesses, right? Then we got to work. On the agenda for Saturday – Mortar and Tile!
Mom somehow managed to squeeze into that nook to lay tile. Gotta love her! In the photo below (on the right), you can see a bit of the chalk line we made to keep our first few tiles straight. Looking back… I’m so glad I took photos of this process so I don’t forget all these steps!
We took turns making cuts and laying tile. I was looking cuh-razy that day though so you won’t catch me in front of the camera. Whew! Instead I ran around like paparazzi snapping pictures of Mom when I could. I love that the grey hoodie she is wearing was once mine… I think I was in high school when I bought it? It’s older than I care to admit.
Nice Schnazzy purple rubber gloves Mom!
Somehow Mom stayed far drier than I. When I was on a roll making cuts, I looked down to see I was SOAKED with reddish water in a straight vertical line… big thanks to the tile saw for spraying me. BIG thanks.
It didn’t take us long to tile such a small space. We had to make quite a few cuts, but thankfully we were pretty accurate. Only a couple tiles had to be redone. Hip Hip Hooray for an experienced-tiler-Mom!
Day 3 – Grout
Mom brought a full buffet selection of grout colors for me. She’s tiled so many things over the years and has amassed quite the collection. I decided to go with a sandy neutral shade. I was afraid something really light wouldn’t work well with potentially dirty dog paws.
Speaking of dog paws…. Quinn and Emma were following our progress the whole way. They are so
Mom opted to extend her stay until Monday. Thank goodness! Then we had time to just leisurely grout on Sunday and she also made me a strap cover for my new camera. What a doll. Love that woman!
Still to do in the bathroom:
- Paint, paint, paint
- Replace baseboards
- Install some sort of threshold thing (is that the right word) for the tile to carpet transition
- Demo and rebuild shelves in nook above toilet (more on that soon)
- Replace light fixture
- Replace towel racks (plastic just isn’t going to cut it)
- New faucet
- Add fun focal wall above sink (eeek! I’m excited for this part)
I have a lot of ideas for this bathroom! It’s officially in full swing and I can’t wait to show you guys the progress along the way. I’ll do posts about my progress, but for more timely updates, be sure to check in on Facebook!
Be sure to stop by some of my favorite Link Parties for some SERIOUS motivation and inspiration. I’m continuously FLOORED by the amazing projects I see out there in Blogville. Uh-mazing.
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