The Return of Bathroom Renovations


Here’s a feature we haven’t seen in a while – kitchen/bathroom renovations. If you have a renovation of any room in your house/condo please send some photos and details to princeofpetworth (at) gmail (dot) com. If the slideshow is blocked for you at the bottom you can see the flickr set here.

“Dear PoP,

I bought the house expecting to tear out the bathroom. Everything about it was a nightmare. Other than being terribly ugly, it wasn’t functional and had a lot of dead space. Most of the towel racks were loose or fell off of the wall soon after I moved in. The toilet paper holder was u-shaped with the open side to the user, so every time you went for a square or two, the roll would come flying out at you. The stairs to the jacuzzi served no purpose other than as a toe-stubber. The “tile” was mock marble and if you took the time to look, you’d see the pixels on it. The shower was the size of a middle school locker and I would always end up with elbow bruises from washing my hair. The shower door and frame eventually loosened from the stall and became very dangerous because they would fall out… heavy, sharp glass and metal. The outlet above the sink didn’t work (I had to charge the electric toothbrush in the bedroom). No lock on the door. Wallpapered tile on the side of the shower. Not to mention the huge uselss jacuzzi-tub-for-three.


The renovation took two and a half months. This was difficult because it was the only bathroom I have (other than a stray toilet in the basement, thank goodness). But once the contractor tore the old room out, there were a lot of unexpected issues underneath: bad workmanship and general old-house quirks. That added a lot to the time. The total cost in the end was 11K.

I’m very proud and happy with the new bathroom. Every single fixture, electrical and plumbing, was moved. It’s got hooks and electrical outlets in all the right places. I even set it up so that when the shower door swings open, it’s cushioned by the toilet paper roll instead of hitting the wall. The medicine cabinets are huge and beautiful with three mirrors each (!). The shower is big, so big you can comfortably dry off in it, but not so big that it feels like wasted space. And the vanity has tons of storage. I’ve been having a hard time decorating it because I’m afraid to ruin it!”

20 Comment

  • Brilliant job? May I ask who your contractor was?

  • I love it. Who is the contractor?

  • Nice renovation!

  • I LOVE it, especially the marble top. Very elegant. I have a similar color scheme in my renovated bathroom, with white and dark wood.

  • What kinds of unexpected expenses did you have? We’re about to tear out and re-do our kitchen, and I’m a little nervous of what we might find when do the “tearing out.”

  • Incredible bathroom!! Amazingly clever repositioning of the fixtures from the scary original bathroom. The gorgeous shower, antique tub and toilet are in a great positions for use and privacy while keeping flow and use of the bathroom vanity central. Congratulations on a well designed rowhouse bathroom!!

  • $11K ? Even assuming the materials are not included in that price, it sounds unbelievably low.

  • Hah, yes, Leo Silva is the contractor. His workmanship is really amazing. He never blinked an eye to any of my zany ideas, he really was up for anything. He’s also a good problem solver, as I mentioned in the description above, there were a lot of “older home” surprises.

    ShermanAveGuy, as to unexpected expenses… there were a few. My original budget was 8K, which in hindsight I realize was very naive. Leo maintained his original quote throughout the process, no matter how much unexpected work he ended up doing (tho he might have learned his lesson from this project), which obviously was a huge help budget-wise.

    Unexpected to me was the cost of materials. I honestly thought all of the copper pipe, durock, caulk, dry wall, shims, nails, etc. would come out to maybe $500. It ended up being more like $2000. Hah.

    After demo, Leo found that the subfloor needed replacement. Also, the joists in the floor weren’t level with each other (which explained the rocking, leaking toilet). We were going to have to move and rebuild the door frame. This added a lot to my material costs.

    Also, I went through a series of dimmer switches that just exploded… So that’s an unexpected cost, trying things that don’t work. Also unexpected was having to buy placeholder door TODAY while waiting at least 8 weeks for the actual door.

    Lastly, the paint also ended up costing me a lot more than I expected. We first tried Glidden which Leo found peeling off the wall if you even touched it. So he sent me to color match at Benjamin Moore (expensive but worth it!). In the end, with the primer, and the two versions of paint, I spent about $450 on paint. I’d guessed I’d spend $150…

    I think I knew the 8k budget was unrealistic, but I tried to kid myself. It’s no big deal in the end and entirely worth all the money.

  • Liiissssssssss-

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! This really goes to show how much is possible with a little patience and persistence. I remember the ol’ bathroom, and this looks NOTHING like it (in the good way!) Really, you should be so proud of yourself. Your house is going to turn out beautifully! 🙂

    PS, I love the last two pics that feature Mona chillin, and then Mona gettin’ kicked out.

  • RE: paint: I’ve learned over the years that you absolutely have to use quality paint, if you want it to look good and last more than a few years. That’s one thing that really is worth paying extra for, no matter what the job.

  • Where did you get the bathtub from and how much was it? Its really nice!

  • BC, I bought the tub from Brass Knob’s Backdoors Warehouse. I think it was $995 (I can’t find the reciept right now, but I know they did a last minute calculation to keep it below the $1000 mark). The money was well worth the convenience. You go in, point to the tub and before you know it it’s delivered directly to your bathroom. I didn’t have to worry about transportation to the glazier (?) and from the glazier (?) up into the second floor of my house… this thing is HEAVY.

    Geezer, I think Leo accidentally low-balled me. The bathroom is a lot bigger than typical rowhouse bathrooms, and with the quirks, it was a lot more work than he expected. As for the fixtures, I got everything from ebay or craigslist except for the vanity and medicine cabinets which I got on super sale from Restoration Hardware (I got them all for less than the original price of the vanity). The tub was a big chunk of change. But Leo worked to help me find nice looking but cheap tile (which I love). I did really well price-wise… I’m not entirely convinced I could do it that cheap again.

  • who’s this girl Alicia? reminds me of a latina chic I know from Michigan who has a friend named Julia….probably not the same girl though.

  • Thanks for all the info! We’re taking lots of before pictures of our kitchen/living room project. We’ll take pics during the process too. Once it’s done, I’ll post and send to PoP. Would love to share my experience with you all too!

  • It looks amazing Alicia! I want to get into that bathtub right now!!!! Congrats!

  • Alicia – we made the same mistake with glidden paint! When we first purchased our house, my husband came home with glidden paint for the dining room. What a disaster!

  • I really love this bathroom, and am amazed that you manage to fit a separate tub and shower…this is going to make me zone out and dream every time I shuffle into our crap-o-la bathroom. It’s sooo tiny. But fantastic to see a view of what it could be!

    Thanks for sharing your contractor info and all your photos. I’m really happy to hear see what you got for the price – I think it was a great deal!

    p.s. the look reminds me a bit of the style a show called Design, Inc – on HGTV I think, from Canada. I love it and this renovation is really similar to the style they do on the show – down to the marble counters!

  • Awesome bathroom! So jealous of that shower!

  • It looks great! I’m always amazed when I watch decorating shows on HGTV that redo the bathrooms for $30,000. Yours looks just as good (or better) than all of them.

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