Hello! We are the Milnes, and we like long walks down the tool section of Home Depot, the smell of sawdust, and knocking down walls. We are remodeling this bathroom, which is kind of an understatement as you can see. Come along with us, this will be fun.
So you’ve decided to remodel your bathroom. Or, perhaps due to unfortunate events likely involving water going where it shouldn’t go, you have to remodel your bathroom. So you find a contractor, walk through what you want, and await the bid. And when that bid comes back you realize that you are either going to have to a.) win the lottery, b.) rob a bank, or c.) hope some hitherto unknown but fabulously wealthy relation passes away suddenly, unaccountably leaving you the sole beneficiary even though you didn’t know one another.
But eventually, when your blood pressure settles back down you might find yourself contemplating your diy prowess. I mean, you can YouTube just about anything these days, right?!
If this sounds even sort of familiar, you have come to the right place, my friend. For the next five weeks, as part of the One Room Challenge, I am going to walk you through a bathroom remodel from the ground up. Literally. Because the unfortunate leak that led to ours also resulted in a 5×5 hole right down through our subfloor to the nether regions of our home.
As part of the Challenge we are going to show you how we rebuilt this bathroom, turning it from a galley style (is that a thing?!?!) bathroom unattached to any bedroom to an on suite retreat featuring a walk in shower, custom vanity, and a whole lotta waterproofing love that gets as close as we can get to guaranteeing we never have to do this again.
What’s the One Room Challenge? It’s a thing where crazy bloggers makeover a room in 6 weeks. And some of us – some of us with possible mental health concerns – decide to actually build a room in six weeks. I mean, to be fair, we have it framed and the plumbing, electrical, and sheet rocking are done, so built is a bit of an exaggeration.
Here’s what we are going to cover from week to week:
Week 1: Planning, budget, and Design (you are here)
Week 2: Building a shower and waterproofing the bathroom
Week 3: Tile (shower, floor, and walls, oh my!)
Week 4: Choosing Bathroom Details
Week 5: Building a high end vanity
Week 6: THE REVEAL
If that’s all a lot to take in, here’s a video overview:
WEEK 1: Planning, Budget, Design
Here’s a look at the bathroom before this party started. The door was in the hallway outside the master bedroom, and we have talked for some time about making it an on suite. It wasn’t bad per se. But it needed help. An update. A facelift. But, as we have learned, you should be careful what you wish for…(Cue ominous music)
I’m going to promise you full and complete disclosure of all of our expenses for this bathroom remodel. Every source, every expense – it’s all on the table. Yes, I had a few things provided by companies because I work my tail end off for them as part of my work – but I’ll fully disclose those, too. I’ll tell you where we chose to spend a little more, and where we chose to spend less. I’ll even provide plans to build a custom vanity that will knock your socks off.
(Sneak peek, shhhhhhh!)
Our remodel was the result of a leak that happened behind the walls for a long enough duration to do some real damage. Mold happened. Fortunately, our insurance policy covers water and mold damage. THIS IS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE SO YOU MAY WANT TO CHECK THAT OUT.
I wanted to emphasize that. Believe me, when you need it, you need it. We found a good company to work with, and they tore it all out. In the process of digging down through layers of framing (our house is like an onion) they found asbestos tile. And once that happened they had to get approval to remove it all…right through the affected wall and into our master bedroom. Which left that space looking like this:
The wall with half sheet rock is the wall between the bedroom and bathroom. With demo started already, we decided to remove the rest of it and rebuild it about 14″ farther into the bedroom. This is where the new bathroom entry would be.
The remediation cost for both spaces was about $7,000. Insurance covered it. Woot!
We brought in a contractor to tell us what it would cost to build the bathroom we wanted. Understand that his bid did not account for a good number of things. Because I am a blogger and a woodworker it was decided to leave tile, the vanity, the paint, the countertop and sinks, and all fixtures, both electrical and plumbing, off of the bid.
The bid was $14,980.
What none of us knew at the time was that we were going to end up going right through the floor, where we would find several floor joists heavily damaged and nearly cut through, resulting in our running new support beams and rerunning plumbing through them. We also ended up tearing down and rebuilding one wall. The electrical work encompassed all new lines though our master bedroom as well.
The bid would easily have climbed to $25,000+ if we included all of that. (Source: we flip houses, yo.)
The bathroom is 8 ½ x 8 ½ feet. Not large by any means.
So we decided to DIY it. Alllll of it. Our budget: About $7K.
There are two things you need to decide when you are going to remodel your bathroom. How do you want it to look, and how much are those choices going to cost you?
If you need to save some money, don’t move the plumbing. Work with what you have.
We moved the plumbing. Every. Last. Bit. Of. It.
Decide what you want to spend more money on, and where you are going to call in some savings. Example: After one major water leak, we weren’t screwing around on the waterproofing. We went with a Schluter shower kit and Ditra flooring. Nope, not sponsored. (I mean, I wish.) More on that next week.
I liked a $2,000 vanity. Couldn’t afford it. That was before the vanity top, btw. So I am building one. Or, I will be as soon as I actually start.
We ordered in all of the supplies about a month ago. Six weeks is kind of a joke. I mean, you can’t do that AND get all of the supplies. It takes nearly that long to get all of the orders in. Even if you are not trying to remodel your bathroom in six weeks you can pretty well guarantee delays due to supplies.
If you are still with me here’s what we have already done:
- -We finished the tear out of the wall between the bedroom and bathroom (the remediation took it to about 4’ up).
- We built a new wall about 14” into the bedroom, which allowed the new bathroom layout to accommodate a walk in shower. It’s still not a large space, but that bit of wiggle room made it work.
- The new wall necessitated rebuilding the entry to our bedroom. We expanded that into double doors with a transom window. Or, at least a hole where I will build a window. But that’s not the bathroom, so move on.
- The new bathroom entry is now located in the bedroom, converting the bath to an on suite. We went with a pocket door to keep everything clean.
- The electrical for the bathroom comes through the bedroom. So we redid it all, making big changes to both rooms. Okay, okay, we didn’t redo it. My husband did. He’s learned a ton about electrical work over the years, and he did it all. Big kudos to him. (Thank heavens because for the life of me I can’t develop an interest in learning it.)
- We found that over the years people have cut nearly all the way through the floor joints under our bathroom. So we brought 2x10s and sistered them to the joists, reinforcing the entire floor. Of course the plumbing needed to be run through those beams, so that was fun. So fun.
- We moved all of the plumbing lines. Okay, okay, okay, okay. Husband took this one on too. I mean, thank heavens he takes on the work I don’t want to do, right? “You just figure out why that three-way switch isn’t working, hon. I’ll be out in the shop building awesome things.”
- We drywalled the newly laid out bathroom.
And here’s where we are. Not really the beginning for us, but this is where we meet. So grab some work gloves and your favorite caffeinated beverage, because we have work to do.