When I was looking through photos to put this page
together, I honestly considered skipping the before shots.
This bathroom was so ugly! (how ugly was it?) I mean it
was bad. I don't think I have any pictures from when we first
bought it but what you see here is a dramatic improvement and this
is still really bad.
There was this big closet that cut into
the room making it look really small. The tub was installed wrong
so water leaked from everywhere. It had plywood shelves and was
raw sheetrock. The floor was linoleum tiles that were missing in
places and didn't quite make it to the wall...
The vanity was a lovely cream swirl to
with faux wood doors and drawers. When this was new, it was a true
crowd pleaser. There was a vent pipe that was sticking out of the
wall and there was a hole in the floor covered with plywood.
Bye Bye Bathroom...
As with most bathroom renovations, it's
down to the studs. Take no prisoners!
Nothing should surprise me at this
point, as I have pretty much seen it all, but the sub floor looked like
this. They never bothered to level the sub floor before sheathing
it. It's a wonder the floor never buckled. Maybe it did and
we didn't notice. (we tried to not look at the floor or the rest
of the old bathroom, as much as possible.) It was abundantly clear
that this bathroom had be hacked apart many times over the years.
The pipes were all but scotch taped together. Everything had to
go. Everything! : (
After all new pipes were installed the sub floor
was leveled out and then sheathed with a fresh layer of 3/4"
plywood. Nice and smooth. I built a frame to support the new
tub and shower enclosure.
This wall is where the action takes
place. I'm not going to pretend I did the plumbing here. I
brought in a friend who is a pro. I watched carefully as this was
put together. It was very interesting how the venting needed to be
properly placed so the sinks wouldn't gurgle when draining. This
wall took a lot of planning as everything needed to be in exactly the
right place so that when the vanity, toilet, lights, etc were installed
it would all fit together correctly. Definitely a measure twice,
cut once kind of wall.
Not too much I can say about sheetrock. We used
water resistant green board and closed everything up again.
Insulation, was not needed as this bathroom has no exterior walls.
Next comes the tile. My buddy John did this
work. I wanted to learn, but I wanted my bathroom back in a
hurry. John drew everything out on the walls ahead of
Okay, let me explain the window.
The window actually opens up to a 2 1/2 foot deep box with a pair of
windows on the other side. The Servant's staircase passes under
this window. So they built this window box to give sunlight to the
bathroom. It's actually very cool as the bathroom is not on an
outside wall of the house. There is no need for a radiator to heat
the bathroom as it is always the temperature of the rest of the
house. Now, with all that being said, the original window had a
set of doors with glass panels that closed off the window box.
Those are long gone. I just inherited the box. So, what to
Keep in mind that I have been looking
at this window box for years. (this is just one of those cases
where you buy something for future use and all but forget about it until
the need actually arises again. A few years ago, I had been
searching the internet for a piece of stained glass that was close to
the size of this window. I found one, on eBay of all places.
I bought it and it sat in a box in my attic. When I began the
bathroom project I remembered I had it and broke it out...
The lead caming was corroded pretty
bad. It wasn't like a nice patina that you would want to keep, it
was gray and powdery. It really took away from the definition of
the glass pieces. So, I laid it down on the Dining Room table and
very carefully painted all the lead black again. It took several
sessions of tedious work, but the result was well worth the pain.
The last step was to build a frame for
the glass. Then I build a matching sill and casement to the rest
of the house. It really dressed things up significantly.
The Finished Product...
Added some wainscoting primed and
painted it 3 times. The key here is to make it look like it has
been here for a while. If the lines are too sharp, it just doesn't
look right. It took forever, but the result was great.
We went with a marble top double
vanity. The steps are for my kids.
Back lit photography is not my strong
suit. The point is that in the morning this stained glass window
lights up the whole room with color.
As a little side project, I made an old
fashioned "Remedies" cabinet. Adds a little charm and
This is the corner where the closet
used to be. Much more bright and open looking.
The high tank toilet helps carry the
theme of the house.
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