Bathroom dreamin’

I’m getting that little tickle in the back of my mind again… the kind of tickle that generally results in pages and pages of spreadsheets and the sudden loss of unhealthy amounts of money. In short: I’m thinking about home improvement projects again, and this time my eyes have turned to our tiny, yellow, early 80’s bathroom.

Josh and I are still talking about the money it would take – I’ve put together several plans, the cheapest of which is merely skin-deep and is still $1,400, and the most expensive of which is $2,600. One factor is that while it is certainly possible to divide the improvements (and hence the cost) up into four stages, it would create a lot of extra hassle in terms of the workload. I have to put in the new vanity, for instance, before I put in the floor, because otherwise I might not cut the tiles right along its edge… So if we do everything at the same time it’s not a problem, but if I do the vanity installation first and the floor tiles three months later, first we have to live with a gaping hole in the current floor surface and then I have to un-install the new vanity, put in tiles, reinstall the vanity, and spend three hours cussing because now my plumbing doesn’t line up. -grin-

I took this photo standing in the tub, so it looks more spacious than it is; you can’t stand at the sink and have the door open at the same time. There’s nothing I can do about that; I was going to move each of the walls out just a bit, but since peeking into the attic I have discovered that the supports for the roof’s rafters rest on the bathroom’s wall studs, so I can’t. Maybe a contractor could, but not me.

These are all the fixtures that came with the house: so, the cheapest of the cheap. Since we don’t use the cabinet under the sink much, I’d like to get a smaller vanity in the hopes that it’d make the bathroom look more spacious. A pedestal sink is the cheapest way to go, but not by much, and that gives absolutely no storage.

So to the right is the set that best combines practicality, elegance, resale value, and economy. It’s reassuring that the photo happens to show the finished installation exactly as I’d put it together myself: with the blue walls, white wainscotting, and square mirror flanked with two sconces (I’d get different sconces, brushed nickel to match our new hardware). It’s exactly the combination that I’d been picturing for our bathroom, though I’ll admit that I hadn’t pictured the furniture in black.

The tub is almost worn through on the bottom, and the grout is falling out between the wall tiles. The faucet is just plain old nasty.

I think it would be really cool to tile it with some kind of natural stone and embed a series of handmade tiles in there (originally I was going to make the vessel for the vessel sink, matching tiles for the chair rail above the wainscotting, and more matching tiles for the inside of the shower… too much work, says I). Anyway, tiling is more expensive than those seamless panels you can get installed, so I might not go that route. We definitely would like some glass shower doors, though, and that would help with the low light situation in the room. I was hoping to install some recessed ceiling lights in the shower; it doesn’t sound so realistic, though, if I’m not planning on ripping out walls to retile them at the same time (carving out chunks of drywall in order to blindly run electrical cable through studs – and then having to patch up the holes! – just isn’t all that appealing).

When I was still thinking really, really big, I had thought about reducing the tub to a corner shower, so that then we could tuck the toilet next to it, which would give us room for a double lav… but that would up the bucks tremendously, and we really need to think conservatively for this house. After all, we’re not planning on being here more than a few more years, and we don’t want to invest any more money in it than our future buyers are willing to pay for when they take it off our hands. Besides, there’s no way I’m gonna re-route a toilet waste drain! :(

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