Category Archives: Bathroom Remodel

Fun cb2 Surprise!

You can probably imagine my surprise and excitement when I finally sat down with the latest cb2 catalog last night and opened it up to this:

IMG_5413image source: cb2 catalog

It’s my tile (!), and the mirror from, and even the gray shower sort of mimics the exposed cinder block in our bathroom.

Bright and Peaceful Bathroom Remodel


Fun, huh!  I really like how they continued the tile up the wall, but I think something like that would be too much for our little bathroom.

Anyway, wanted to share! Let me know what you think in the comments below!  Happy Tuesday!

Renovation Diary, Part 4: The Bathroom Reveal

Fifty-two days after the fateful peeling up of ‘just one’ vinyl tile on our bathroom floor, the bathroom renovation is complete.  Instead of feeling dated, grungy and pieced together, our bathroom now feels happy, spacious and clean.  Natural daylight floods the space and the bright colors are refreshing and uplifting.

Bright and Peaceful Bathroom Remodel, Black and White, Merona Tile, Ikea vanity, cb2 mirror

Details, details!  Who knew it would take over a month and a half to get a window in the bathroom and to finish caulking everything?  The most important parts of the bathroom–aka the toilet, sink and bathtub, were useable by the first week or two of September, but the missing window prevented the use of the shower for several more weeks.

Installing glass block in a shower

 Thankfully, the warm fall weather in Pocatello held out and my crazy plan to combine a regular window with glass blocks worked fantastically.  

Glass blocks and an awning window

Exposed cinder block, round mirror, Ikea vanity

Many aspects of our Do-It-Yourself bathroom renovation have been incredible learning experiences.  One of the more stressful lessons is that when you order tile shipped to your house, half of it may arrive smashed to pieces.  Luckily, I could take it right down to Home Depot for a refund and I quickly reordered the amount I needed.  It’s a good thing it was a pretty painless process, because next the glass block window I ordered arrived with about 12 chips in it.  I ended up just ordering loose glass blocks on the second go-round and Jer and I put them together ourselves.  We are much happier with the finished appearance and we were able to fill the window space perfectly with an awning window above the glass blocks.  I was pretty stubborn about wanting glass blocks in the bathroom, but with a large window on top that would open and vent.  Our awning window ended up being 32in x 16in, and the glass blocks were 32in x 24in below it.  I am really glad I stayed true to my vision, even when it seemed like such a hassle.


Another eye-opener for us is that tub and shower fixtures are not all made the same.  Of course, we didn’t find this out until the end, when all of the tile was completely done.  We ended up coming in from the back side and cutting a large hole in our kitchen/dining room wall to replace the pressure balance valve.  What would have taken less than an hour while everything was out in the open ended up taking all day.  And now there is that little issue of the hole in the kitchen wall…

One of our favorite things about the bathroom is the statement tile on the floor.

Merola Tile Twenties Diamond

It completely fits our family’s style, but it will also work very well with other styles.  Simply changing the art and the color of the towels gives the bathroom a different vibe.

Bathroom Remodel: Black and White with a bit of color

 We also love the modern look of the vertically stacked white subway tile with the charcoal grout.  The tile fits well with the style and era of our home, but also has a fresh twist.  At the last minute, I decided to add black tile around the window, and I am so glad I did.

Target clock, DIY shelf

We no longer have to fear that the tub or toilet may fall through the floor unexpectedly.  Gone is the plexiglass nailed to the old shower window to prevent leaks into the wall.

Back of door hooks

 We know the amount of hard work and attention to detail that was put into every inch of the room.  There are a few details remaining, such as knobs for hanging towels and maybe a small cabinet for storage, but that’s all part of the fun.  

Wash cloths in a basket

Towel basket by tub

Can I just tell you how awesome it was to take that first shower in the new bathroom?!?

Renovation Diary, Part 3: Getting to Work

One day you are making a plan and tearing out your bathroom floor, and the next day you realize you have to put it all back together again.  Let me give you a heads up–it is a lot quicker and easier to tear old junk out of a bathroom than it is to put the new stuff in.


Our first weekend started off very productively with demolition and putting in a new subfloor.  


At the beginning of the week, I proactively added a waterproofing goop to the floor under the tub and we moved the tub back in from the yard.  On Tuesday evening, Jer was putting up cement board in the shower while I put the kids to bed.  All of the sudden, there was an extremely loud crash and a yell from the bathroom.  In the middle of a balancing act involving a drill, screws and heavy backerboard, the drill fell into the tub and chipped the finish.  Argh!


After a night spend researching the pros and mostly cons of fixing a chip on the bottom of a bathtub, we decided to replace it while we still could.  Thankfully, there was one in stock and Jer picked it up on his lunch break.  He fortunately realized while still in the parking lot that the drain hole was on the wrong side!  After another painstaking tub wrangling, we had the chipped tub out and the new one in that evening.  Time gets sort of blurry after that.


Even knowing how much prep work was involved, it still took way longer than I wanted it to.  Perhaps it was because I mostly worked on it after the kids were in bed or when my wonderful mom had a day off to help watch them.  When I got things to the point where I needed Jer’s help again, I worked on the detail things.  I painted the ceiling black.


I got pretty good at mixing up small batches of thinset, but the cleanup was less than enjoyable.  After the shower walls were mostly tiled, I  had a day or two where I contemplated not tiling the lower walls in the rest of the bathroom.  I took a break and painted the ceiling again.  This time I used two coats of primer on it before painting it a light mint color.  I really think the black ceiling would have worked if the ceilings were taller, but it just didn’t feel right in this space.  Also, my mom got claustrophobic every time I even talked about it, so there was that. 😉


After the shower and walls were tiled, I moved on to the floors.  Tiling the floors was incredibly rewarding and much easier than the walls.  Something to say for gravity working for you instead of against you.  


After that came the grouting.  I wanted a very dark grout, but I worried because I knew my tile setting job wasn’t perfect and dark grout would accentuate the flaws. I was also overwhelmed at the thought of having to mix up yet another powder and water.  Thankfully, my dad talked me into exchanging the powder for a premixed grout that never has to be sealed.  It was considerably more expensive, but it likely saved my sanity.  Since it came in a little container with a lid, I could grab a half hour here and there to work when I had the time.  We are happy with the final result, and the contrast between the white tiles and the dark grout makes the whole space look more modern.


Several weeks More than a month and a half after the fateful start, we are nearing the finish line.  True to form, even those little details at the end take way more time than you think they should.  You will notice that we are still missing a window in these photos.  It’s a very good thing it was summertime!

Next up…Renovation Diary, Part 4: Bathroom Reveal!!


Renovation Diary, Part 2: Inspiration and Research

When you are thinking about remodeling a bathroom or any other room in your home, one of the first things you should do is start gathering ideas.  My favorite way to gather ideas is to look in magazines or online for images that I love.  I tear magazine pages out and keep them in a binder, sometimes writing or circling what interested me about the image.  For online images, I use Pinterest to organize by topic or by room.  As an interior designer, I am constantly looking at and saving images, so when it was time to redo our bathroom I had a ton of ideas all ready to go.

After you gather a fair amount of images, it is important to look at them all together and see if any common theme becomes apparent.  With my images, it was obvious that high-contrast black and white was what I was drawn to.  One thing about bathrooms is that you can have a great neutral base and add a lot of personality with colorful accent pieces, towels and shower curtains.  My husband and I both enjoy a modern aesthetic with some color, texture and natural wood added to warm up the room.  Another bit of information we learned from the inspiration images was that I was going to have to learn how to tile!  I have always loved the look of subway tiles in a shower, and we decided to use them part way up the rest of the walls as well.

Once you have decided on your design direction, it is a good idea to put together an idea board (or have a designer help you with this step).  This is where you gather all of the different elements in the room and arrange them together to make sure they will compliment each other and support your vision.  I use Photoshop for this purpose, but there are several other programs that will allow you to arrange and resize images.  A large bulletin board or piece of posterboard will allow you to easily arrange magazine images. To help visualize what the finished outcome will be, consider hiring a designer to draw up the space with your selected furnishings, finishes and materials.

Bathroom Inspiration

1. Shower curtain,  This one is no longer made, so I will likely be making my own.  I also want it to be extra long, so that limits the options of remade shower curtains.

2. Vanity light, home

3. Lockable cabinet,  We will likely get one for each family member, leaving the kid’s unlocked.  We have a little girl who loves to get into things.

4. Round mirror,  We are mixing in some warm wood tones to warm up all the black and white a bit.

5. Colorful towels.  I am contemplating different colors for each family member.   Does anyone else get bothered by sharing towels?  I really don’t like reaching for my towel to find it all wet already!

6. White subway tile with charcoal grout.  I am also placing the tiles vertically in a stacked pattern.  I figure since it is my first tiling job, I might as well make it as difficult as possible. ha.

7. Vanity,  We are actually using the Godmorgon vanity with the Rattviken sink.  We are using the Dalskar faucet.

8. Floor tile, home  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this tile.  Home Depot has really got it going on in the tile department.  This particular tile has 3 or 4 different patterns you can make.

9. Hand painted knobs,  I will be painting my own.  We are choosing these rather than towel bars.  Our bathroom is pretty small and hooks just make more sense for us.  I might sew a loop on each of our towels to make them easier to put on hooks.

10. Asparagus fern.  They like damp environments with a fair amount of light.  I already have one, and think it might like living in the bathroom next.

11. Wood and metal shelf,  I will DIY a version of this also. I want a mix  of wood and black metal to tie in the vanity light and mirror.

When you are satisfied with your material choices, it is time to get them ordered.  Keep in mind that some things may not be in stock in the stores, and you will have to special order them.  This process can take awhile, especially if they happen to be broken when they arrive, like my floor tiles and glass block window were.  To speed up the whole process considerably just choose items that are already in stock.  Of course I didn’t do that, so we have spent a bit of time playing the waiting game.  Since my husband and I have been doing all of the work ourselves and aren’t trying to schedule contractors, it has all worked out (except for that crazy window!).

Here are some things we have learned in the ‘Inspiration and Research’ process:

1. Researching tools and materials can help you save a lot of money.  Instead of expensive artisan cement tiles, I was able to find a beautiful ceramic replica for a fraction of the price.

2. YouTube videos and tutorials can help a lot.  They can either show you how to do something, or help you decide when to hire a professional.

3. Think about using basic materials in new ways.  Even simple and timeless subway tiles can take on a unique look with a different arrangement or contrasting grout.

Next Up, Renovation Diary: Putting it All Back Together.


Renovation Diary, Part 1: Bathroom Demolition

Some projects start out so innocently.  Just a short while ago, our main bathroom started presenting an occasional smell of mildew.  


Thinking some water from the kid’s baths might have leaked under the stick-on vinyl tiles, I decided to peel one or two up and take a peek.  My husband told me to go right ahead, hoping that peeling up vinyl would keep me occupied for awhile and I wouldn’t have time to get any more crazy projects going.  That’s exactly how it all began.


The vinyl tiles broke and tore as they peeled up, which didn’t break my heart any.  Directly underneath were some tiles that had been laid on top of a second layer of vinyl.


Unfortunately, vinyl is not a solid base for tile, and at least 15 of the tiles were broken.


Most of the broken pieces were around the toilet and beside the tub, which soon became the obvious location for the mildew smell.




 Six layers of flooring later, we finally reached the subfloor, which consisted of diagonal planks across the joists.  Jer jumped in to help at the third or fourth layer of flooring, resigning himself to the fact that this was going to be a joint effort.

Six layers of flooring on top of the subfloor.

Six layers of flooring on top of the subfloor.

After digging through layers of vinyl, tile, vinyl, plywood, linoleum and plywood, we finally reached the subfloor. Most of the damage was actually removed, but we decided to put a good solid base of ¾ inch plywood over the entire floor to give us a fresh start.  The tub had to be removed at this point and we decided to do a complete bathroom renovation.


Aspen was excited to get out her eye protection and hammer to help with the demolition.

Aspen was excited to get out her eye protection and hammer to help with the demolition.


As you might have gathered from the flooring situation, there have been several DIY attempts throughout the years toward updating this bathroom.  The last rendition before we moved in involved the vinyl floor tiles, lots of paint, faux beadboard paneling, and about 8 tubes of caulk.  



The vanity drawers were not usable, and the faucet had an annoying squeak that I never could get rid of.  It was high-time for a renovation anyway.  Thank goodness for an over-sensitive nose and an understanding husband.

Demolition involved the removal of the tub, vanity, glued on shower walls, and original aluminum window.  The toilet was moved to the garage, and we also intended to reuse the tub.  We decided to tile the shower/tub area, so we also removed the drywall in that area to make room for cement board.  The lower part of the drywall was removed along the toilet and vanity wall because of some mold issues, and we opted to expose the cinder block chimney to gain 4 inches of space for a new vanity.


Here are some things we learned in the demolition process:

  1. Demolition is messy. We rented a large dumpster from the City of Pocatello for one day and quickly cleared out the majority of the mess.  What I didn’t count on was the thick layer of dust that look up residence on every flat surface (and some vertical surfaces, too!) in the house.
  2. Gloves, face masks and eye protection are a must.  Bathroom, mold, rusty nails, enough said.
  3. You might get more than you bargained for.  Renovations are never what you expect, especially on an older home.

Next up, Renovation Diary: Inspiration and Research.


Guest Bathroom Refresh

Have you ever looked at a room in your home and just been completely uninspired by it?  I believe spaces in your home should make you happy by being functional, relaxing and beautiful.  Last week, I was getting our basement bathroom ready for my sister’s upcoming visit when I realized that although the bathroom was functional, it was neither relaxing or beautiful.  I decided to do a quick overhaul to make the tiny space a bit more fun.

 Below is the bathroom Before.  Yes, we have had some leaking up by the shower entrance.  No longer leaking, but the repairs are in process.  I have had this shower curtain for over 10 years, so as much as I still like it, I feel like it is time for an update.  I believe I got it on a good clearance at Target, also.

1. Change the shower curtain.  The first item of business was to replace the shower curtain.  I found a shower curtain on clearance at Target for $5.98.  It adds some softness and bright colors to the little room, and hides the ugly tile that I can’t yet replace.  If you aren’t a fan of adding colors or patterns, I recommend a thick white waffle-weave curtain to give your bathroom a luxury hotel vibe. 

2. Tweak the vanity.  The sink and vanity in this bathroom are on my hit list, but until a new one is in the budget, I need to work with the one we have.  I have an embarrassing stockpile of pretty pots of sample paint.  I searched through my stash and found a dark teal blue that coordinated with my shower curtain.  In less than 15 minutes, I had the first coat of paint on, and the second coat was finished after my kids went to bed for the night.  It was a super quick and budget friendly fix, and the crooked little vanity looks so much happier.


3. Add new towels.  Instead of rounding up some mismatched towels, I took advantage of a spectacular sale at Shopko last week.  I bought two bath towels and two hand towels for less than $14.  It is pretty refreshing to step out of the shower and have a soft fluffy towel waiting for you.  I store the towels on an open metal wall rack right next to the shower.

4. Keep toilet paper and washcloths visible.  No one wants to go searching for toilet tissue in someone else’s bathroom.  I like to keep an extra roll or two in a basket on the back of the toilet, along with several washcloths.


5. Switch up the art.  I have a set of prints hanging in the bathroom that I have had hanging in one room or another for over 10 years.  I still really like them because they remind me of travels with my sister, but they are a little neutral and boring for the space.  Instead of finding something different, I added some color to the prints with a watercolor wash.  Shop your own home for unexpected art that can add a fun twist.


6. Think cozy underfoot.  Thankfully the bathroom doesn’t have carpet, but that does mean toes can get chilly on the concrete and linoleum floor.  A soft rug or two keeps feet happy and warm while also adding a potential spot for color.

There you have it!  Time and budget friendly updates that make a big impact on the look and feel of an often neglected room.

Bathroom Remodel: From Blah to Blissful

My clients were living with a basement guest bathroom in need of serious help.  Besides some repairs to the leaking shower basin, it had remained relatively untouched since the home was built in the early 1990s.  Like many of us, they hesitated to put too much money into renovations in case they decided to move.  But, armed with the knowledge that bathroom remodels only increase the value of a home, they decided to take the leap, since they could enjoy the space either way.

To save money, my clients opted to use the existing footprint of the bathroom and let fixtures remain in their current locations.  Instead, we worked with the space to make it more efficient and fit their lifestyle and needs.  The small corner shower was turned into a large tiled walk-in shower that runs the full width of the bathroom.

 A tiled bench was added, and is a nice amenity if space allows.  To avoid the tedious task of scrubbing glass shower doors, the client chose a heavy waffle-weave white shower curtain. Fabric also adds a sense of warmth in the windowless space.

A longer vanity with furniture-type legs was added to the bathroom, taking advantage of about 12 inches of previously wasted space between the vanity and shower.  Since it is mainly used as a guest bath, the medicine cabinet was replaced with an oval mirror that complimented the dark wood of the vanity.  Sconces were added on each side of the mirror, making the lighting much more flattering than harsh overhead fixtures.

To camouflage the existing plumbing ‘shelf’ behind the toilet, we added floating shelves and created an accent wall.  The extra shelves also make a perfect place to display extra towels and fun accessories.  A bright aqua accent wall adds a touch of the client’s personality to the room, but is also easily changed when tastes dictate.

The old linoleum flooring was also replaced with the same gray vinyl that extends throughout the rest of the basement.  The walls were given a fresh coat of light gray paint, and oil rubbed bronze hardware and switch plates completed the transformation.

My clients love the changes and tell me that now it actually feels like a special place for their guests to use.  Rumor has it that they even prefer using it over the master bath!

Bunker Basement Bathroom

Bathroom Remodel Idea Board

I can’t believe it has been about 8 months since this bathroom remodel was complete!  I will show you the ‘Before’ images and my idea board, and then post the finished photos after my Bathroom Remodel article comes out in the Idaho State Journal on Saturday.

We started with a basement bathroom in desperate need of some TLC.  Basically, nothing had been done to it since the home was built in the early 90s.  There had been a leak in the shower basin at one point, which necessitated a large hole to be cut in the drywall between the vanity and the shower.  My client had decorated nicely with the existing blue vinyl flooring, but was more than ready to be done with the gold shower and cracked vanity countertop.  Here are some Before shots:

The corner shower.

The vanity

 The toilet area, complete with basement bathroom miscellaneous. My client would like you to know that this was after all the decorations had been removed and that the spider and ant traps have found more discreet homes.

The clients wanted my complete input on the space, so here are some ideas I came up with:

Here are the sources, if you are interested:

1. Shades of Light Clear Cloche Glass Sconce  $59.00 each Oil Rubbed Bronze

2. allen + roth 29.875-in x 29.875-in Oil Rubbed Bronze Round Framed Mirror, $49.98

3. Allen + Roth 30 in Palencia Espresso Vanity, $329.00

4. Style Selections 31-in W x 22-in D White Cultured Marble Single Sink Vanity Top, $78.00

5. Delta Celice Brushed Nickel 2-Handle 4-in Centerset WaterSense Bathroom, $99.00

6. KOHLER Highline Classic White 1.28 GPF High Efficiency WaterSense toilet, $209

7. Moen Caldwell Spot resist brushed Nickel 5-spray Convertible Shower

Moen nickel tub/shower handle,  $94.18

8. 12-in x 24-in Calacatta White Glazed Porcelain Floor Tile, $2.19 sf

9. 12-in x 14-in White Gray Tones Wall Tile border, $12.08 sf

10. Swanstone 32-in L x 60-in W Veritek White Fiberglass Shower Floor (Drain left),  $280.03

11. Hardware:

DELTA Celice Venetian Bronze Surface Mount Toilet Paper Holder, $25.98

DELTA Celice Venetian Bronze Wall-Mount Towel Ring, $21.98

DELTA 24″ Celice Venetian Bronze Towel Bar, $29.98


12. 15 minute hourglass timer-green, $9.95

 13. Seam bath Accessories, white, $1.95-7.95

 14. Bamboo Rayon Channel Bath towels, White

15. Bath Rug, Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler, jcpenny $35

16. Example of vinyl flooring, slate.  I couldn’t find it online, so I put this in as an example.

17. Color swatch. Build espresso stained shelves in space over toilet.  Paint wall behind shelves with gradation of colors.

We ended up making a few changes as we went along, but we stuck with these ideas for the majority.  Check back on Saturday to see how it all turned out!