Main Floor Bathroom Progress


January 17, 2014 by Sarah

There has been quite a bit of focus on the kitchen lately and quite frankly I would like a little bit of a mental break from it for just a minute.

We have been working on the main floor bath little bits at a time since we moved in but I just haven’t had a chance to give you all a whole lot of updates on it. We are hoping to achieve a more authentic 1920s craftsman style bathroom remodel that matches the house.  This was the bathroom before we started:

main bathroom before

Buzz, your girlfriend…

Here is what it looks like right now:


If you remember the time we had my brother and sister-in-law came over to help with demo on the kitchen–well they also helped take out the old mirrored shower door. The tub surround had peeled away from the wall during the door removal, so I bought some tub surround adhesive and taped the edges down until it was dry overnight.  I also recaulked the tub just like it did at our last house.


Shortly after that happened we took out the vanity.



In retrospect, this was a terrible idea–we had no sinks in working order on the first floor for a good 2 weeks.  If I wasn’t such a spaz we should have left the vanity in until we were done with the kitchen sink (oh well, live and learn).

I have had my eye on a pedestal sink from HD for some time now.  I know I wanted a pedestal sink and this one had a nice large surface on the top for soap and what have you.  A lot of the ones I looked at were too narrow on the top.  The bigger basin came with a bigger price tag too unfortunately; however, I think we made the right choice.


It is from the Archer series by Kohler.

It was a terrible ordeal to install the sink mostly because it has to be attached to the wall and also to the floor.  I did not know this originally.  I am dumb.  We had to open up the wall and do a bit of framing to make sure the basin had something to attach too.


Hello large drain pipe.

Not a terrible project in a new home with drywall–but it was a big mess with the plaster and lath. Patching the plaster takes a bit longer as well.



If you recall, the original faux “tile” was still intact behind all the terrible wallpaper.  I love the look of it and I think it is cool so we kept it.  I don’t know how they did it beyond that they must have used some sort of tool to make the indentations while the last coat of plaster was still wet.  It is amazingly perfectly straight and consistent.

It tried the best I could be repair the areas behind the sink with a putty knife that I needed to patch and it came out fair, and obviously not as good as the real deal.  Ah well, at least I tried. I am really not sure why i spent so much time on it given that the sink will cover up 80% of the work I did.

After a lot of patching, sanding, etc we were finally able to install the sink which was an ordeal in and of itself.  Took about 5 tries of fitting and refitting the drain to make sure it didn’t have any leaks.


We also tore out the old medicine cabinet which had the light fixture built into it.


Again, in retrospect this was a bad idea.  We had no light in this room to work on the sink so we had to bring in some lamps to see what the hell we were doing.  We should have left it on until we got the sink installed.  When we did removed it we found this:

med cabinet wires

…a whole big bunch of jumbled up wires.  I do not know much about electrical, but I do know that something was not right here.  There is no way there should be that many wires coming out of one box at a time.

Also we had good access to the wiring from the basement since this bath is on the main floor which makes things loads easier. Adrian ended up rewiring the light fixture and outlet so I could use a blow dryer without tripping a circuit.

For the light fixture, we actually went with the exact same fixture we had at the last house from Menards for $49.  Our options were very limited since I wanted a period appropriate chrome finish, and I just could pass it up at under $50.


We replaced the old med cabinet with a new craftsman style one from Menards for $109.


Its called Early American made by Zenith.

It is not the most heavy-duty and it’s not solid wood, but for just over $100 it’s not a bad option.  It had everything I wanted in terms of aesthetics–white, traditional style, beveled mirror, chrome latch hardware.  The one down side it the tiny crack near the base. I could have brought it back but it doesn’t bother me that much.   After reading the product reviews it sounds like that is a common problem and people were having a hard time searching through boxes didn’t have some sort of minor cracking or damage–again for $109 I can live with a small hairline crack.


It’s so classy looking don’t you think?

The faucet is from HD, and I don’t remember the name of it other than it is a Delta faucet.


Sadly, the floor does have some damaged areas, probably sustained when a prior owner remodeled, but overall it is in good shape. A few of the tiles came loose during the vanity removal, but I have save every piece and we will be putting everything back together.


Even more sad is the portion of the original baseboard tile that was removed when they decided to add a terrible particleboard vanity (*slaps hand to forehead*)…


Makes my heart hurt.  Fortunately, we were able to salvage some original floor tile and some baseboard tile by opening up the back of the linen closet.

We were able to get enough floor tile to patch everything, but we weren’t able to get enough baseboard tile out.  This is what we got out:


It needs to be cleaned up but I am very thrilled we were able to get out what we did.  There is not enough to fill in all the missing, but I am thinking about pulling out the radiator next summer and using the tile from behind there.  I can find something similar but not quite the same on the internet to put back behind the radiator.  I figure no one will see it or know about it so I can get away with it.  It will be a ton of work, but I think in the end I will be happier with the overall appearance of the bathroom.

For the only window in the bathroom, I took off the inappropriate mitered corner trim and I will be replacing it with something a little more fitting.  I started cutting it the other day, but I havent gotten around to putting it up.


The window has an obscuring film on it right now.  It looks like someone tried to remove it at one point.  The ends are all messed up so I will probably end up replacing it with another obscuring film.


The walls got a coat of primer, and one coat of “Silver Drop” by Behr.


I am not completely satisfied with the color.  I was trying to go with a light gray but in different lighting it reads as white or beige.  During the day in full sun it does look grey but in the late afternoon and at night it looks off.  I would love to bring the paint back to the store and see if they can retint it a little bit darker but I am lazy and don’t really want to do it right now.

For the shower curtain We went with a 84in white sort of waffley curtain from Bed Bath and Beyond.


I really wanted a 96″ waffle curtain that would extend all the way up to the wall to make the room feel taller, but they are nowhere to be found.  I am extremely picky and I couldn’t find anything that was cotton or a cotton/poly blend. I don’t like plasticky outer curtains.  The only thing that kept coming up was faux waffle curtain that had terrible reviews everywhere or anything that was decent was out of stock  🙁


I also ordered some nifty water blocking thingys that the shower curtain snaps into:


I havent put them up yet, but im anxious to give them a whirl.  We had a problem with water getting out of the shower with the old doors so I am opting for a little extra protection. The company that did our inspection had good things to say about it. You can read about it here.

I would love to tear out the tub and the surround and do a nice subway tile (real subway tile not faux tile) surround in the future. It really isn’t a big priority, and I don’t have a real desire to do it right away.

We went with chrome towel bars, toilet paper holder, curtain rod, and faucet to matching the door handle.


I did get a matching hook for the door, but I want to strip the paint off the door and refinish it before I put the hook on.  I think a stained wood door would look absolutely lovely against the white trim and light-colored walls. Right now it looks like this:


Blah.   The door casing also needs to be repainted.

Another thing I would really love to have an exhaust fan, but again, it isn’t in the funds right now.  We haven’t been using this shower too much and I am not sure how much use it will get other than when we have guests over, so it isn’t a major concern.

There is still quite a bit left to do, but at least we have a functioning bathroom.

  • Install, prime and paint window trim
  • Prime and paint door casing
  • Patch floor tile
  • Patch tile baseboard
  • Maybe paint another coat if I get the paint tinted darker?
  • Strip door
  • Hang door hook
  • Install shower curtain holder thingy
  • Replace window obscuring film

Sometime way down the line:

  • install a white subway tile surround
  • new bath tub
  • install exhaust fan

So I bet you thought I was only working on the kitchen.  I look to overwhelm myself as much as possible–obviously.   What do you think of the bathroom so far?  Do you think I am nutso for trying to patch the original tile?  Part of me thinks it would be a lot easier to start from scratch–but the tile is so cool I don’t think I could part with it.  Anyone out there know where to find a 96in white waffle shower curtain?

main bathroom beforemainbathprogress1

5 thoughts on “Main Floor Bathroom Progress

  1. GG says:

    kudos to you for the tile repair, if you love it that much it’s absolutely worth it. Oh and, for the 96-inch shower curtain.

  2. Reuben says:

    You guys are champions. Saint Paul is lucky to have you and I am proud to be your fellow Twin Citizen. The pedestal sink looks great.

Comment or I'll hate you forever.

Sarah&Adrian @ StPaulHaus

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