Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tub and Shower

Our main bathroom was in dire need of some updating when we moved in. The first things we did to it were to paint the pepto pink walls a nice shade of blue and replace the light fixture. Then I painted the vanity dark brown (instead of an orange-y oak color). The next project we decided to tackle in the bathroom was the tub area. Again, I don't have a ton of before pictures of this area. Basically, it consisted of a dark almond colored tub with stained once-white tiles. Most of the fixtures in the tub were gold except for the drain and overflow cover thing that were silver. The grout was coming out from between the tiles and the tub had some water stains that I couldn't get out. Basically, It did not look good.

Here's what the old fixtures looked like. You can also see how stained the once-white grout had become.

We started the tub demolition by removing all of the old tile. We just used chisels and hammers to get it all off. Honestly, this part of the process was very easy since most of the tiles were loose anyways.

Once we'd removed the tiles and the cement board, it was time to adjust the plumbing. Matt is 6'3". The old shower head was at under 6' on the wall (Maybe 5'9"). Poor Matt had to crouch down to wash his hair. Since we were adjusting some of the plumbing anyways, we used this opportunity to raise the showerhead to a Matt-sized 7'. Here is the updated plumbing.

After removing the old cement board around the tub, we were ready to glaze. I LOVE how it turned out. Here's Matt about to start the second coat of glaze:

The whole process was so easy and made a HUGE difference. We used Rustoleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit. It can be found here. At just over twenty bucks, this was a great option for us that turned out so much better than expected. Here is the tub after three coats of glaze.

After the tub was glazed, we put up the new cement board. In hindsight, I might have put this up prior to glazing the tub (we wanted to make sure that the lips of the tub, what the cement board covers, was also glazed). I might have even waited to glaze until we were finished tiling (but before we grouted). We dropped a few tiles or trowels while we were tiling and had a few little areas of glaze to touch up later on.

Matt then put in our new (Satin Nickle) drain and overflow cap thing. I'm so excited to get rid of my two-toned bathroom and have all of my fixtures match! Ignore the dust from putting in the new cement board, please...

OK, I know it's not technically a part of the tub and shower as this post is called, but during our shower renovation, we took a little break to put in our new dual flush toilet and I just couldn't wait to show it off. I am seriously in love with it! We went with the Glacier Bay Elongated Dual Flush High Efficiency found here. We got it at Home Depot on sale for an affordable $118. The price has since gone up to $158, but that's still cheaper than most dual flushes on the market. We love it and had no problems installing it. I plan to do a whole post on it eventually, but I couldn't resist a sneak peek.

Alright, onto the tub surround. We actually bought a wet saw (for crazy cheap off of Craigslist) for this project, knowing we would be using it in the future for all our tiling needs. At first, I was a little afraid of using this one. It's very loud, and very wet and unlike any tool I've used before. But, once I'd practiced on several tiles, I felt like a pro. I love how it works and it has been super easy to use.

As neither Matt or I had tiled before, I decided to take a free class on tiling offered at Home Depot. Information on the course can be found here. I highly recommend this class for a beginner. The tile experts at Home Depot taught me how to apply quickset, lay tile, and grout. They answered all of my crazy questions and were great with letting me get some hands on experience before doing it on my walls. We chose 6" Travertine tiles with a 1/8" grout line for our bathroom. While browsing at Tile Outlet, I saw these tiles and just fell in love. They fit perfectly into this bathroom and I couldn't be happier with our choice. Once we started tiling we were so impressed with how it started looking. Here are the first three rows applied. As we are using such small tile, we stop every two rows to level the top of the tiles and move them around as we need to.

We finished the back wall of the tub in one day and moved onto the side walls. Here is the back wall all finished (well, minus the grout). I just love this tile.

Once we got into a rhythm, the tiling really started going quickly. Here is the back wall completely finished and the start of the shorter side wall.

After tiling was completed, we moved onto grout. Sadly, I was too busy working to take any pictures (don't worry, I'll take plenty during our next tile project). After grout was in and dry, Matt applied Silicone to any corners where two walls met or where the walls met the tub (the below picture was taken before the silicone was completely cleaned up). The new fixtures were installed, the shower curtain was hung, and we were shower ready:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


All of the electrical in the house was a mess when we got in there. Luckily, my grandpa (Papa) is an electrician (as well as 3 of my uncles). He has been instrumental in getting our electricity running like it should. My dad was an electrician too, and, dare I say, I'm not too shabby with basic electrical projects (changing outlets, etc).

The light fixtures in the house were dated when we moved in. A lot of very 1970s style. We're working on replacing all of the fixtures in the house. So far, we have replaced the light fixtures in the kitchen, the two main bathrooms in the house, the hallway, the front porch and next to the side door. We also completely removed the ceiling light fixture from the front room. Sadly, I didn't get really great before pictures of all of the fixtures before they were removed. But almost all of them had pink and brown flowers painted on off-white or frosted glass. I am in no way joking. Most of our new light fixtures were purchased off of eBay for half the price of Home Depot or Lowe's. Our outdoor fixtures are from Menards. I did a lot of shopping around for our fixtures and I am so glad I did. We were literally able to save hundreds by looking around for the best deals on what we loved.

This was the light fixture in the front room. No brown flowers on this fixture, but there are the gold swirls on the fan blades. Another few things to note about this fixture: The base is too wide for the beam and hangs off about two inches on each side; the electrical cord actually runs up the beam, to the wall, to the floor, down the floor to another wall, and up that wall to an outlet that is controlled by a switch on the other side of the room.

This was the kitchen light fixture. You can see some of the flower/paint work on this one. This was a fan (with brown blades with gold swirl paint on them). We had removed the fan blades to get to the popcorn ceilings a little easier.
New kitchen light fixture. I love this fan. Beautiful light, reversible fan blades. Gorgeous! It's so much more my style.

This was the light fixture in the pink bathroom (now a beautiful shade of blue!). You can't tell from this picture, but there are brown and pink flowers painted on the off-white glass of the fixtures. The fixtures hung from a rusted gold chain (which matched the silver faucets beautifully), and gold ceiling hooks.

Matt hard at work putting up the new fixture in the now blue-ish bathroom:

Papa putting up the new fixture in the little bathroom. I don't have a before picture of this fixture, but it was a gold and off-white glass two-armed wall sconce. Only one of the arms worked. The other would blow the bulb out as soon as you screwed it in and turned it on. We went through probably 5 bulbs before we just changed it out.

The picture is a little crooked, but you get the idea. This fixture fits the bathroom a lot more in both size and style. Thanks, Papa!

My sewing room makeover has been a wonderful experience. Again, I plan to do a whole post on just this room, but the light fixture was such a huge improvement that I decided to put it in this post too. This is the before picture. Lots of gold swirls on the fan and lots of flowers on the light.

And here's the updated fixture (ignore the patching on the white wall, we were mid-painting when the fixture got here):

Our hallway had one of the plain white globe lights that were all over our house when we moved in. I found this light fixture at Lowe's and knew it was for us. The light the it gives off is perfect for our little hallway. Here is the old light fixture (after we scraped the popcorn ceiling but before the dry wall went up. It looks like a different house!).

And the new and improved one:

Our old outdoor light fixture on the side of the house. UGLY. And it didn't give off much light.

Matt putting up the new light fixture. The electrical behind the old fixture needed a lot of help. Our beautiful new fixture automatically turns on at dusk and turns off at dawn. It also dims when no one is around and is motion activated to get brighter when someone or something walks by it or a car pulls into the driveway. We loved it so much, we bought a second one for the front of the house.