the all new loo!

Three weeks ago I started renovating the bathroom in my condo.  It was supposed to only be a week, but as most construction projects go, it didn't quite play out that way.  Thankfully, this weekend I was finally able to shower with a door (not a makeshift curtain) and repopulate the room with my "stuff."  It finally feels like it's supposed to, though we have one more day of caulking, polishing and sealing the tile. Here's the before and during... 

It probably doesn't look that bad in the "before" photo, but I didn't capture photos of the tile that was growing black mold or the door that would not close properly because it's no longer square in the frame, or the chips in the 4x4 floor tile from who knows what.  I had a choice to make - repair all of these things and live with the cheaper model or go in for the upgrade.  I went for the latter - surely I will get my money's worth out of it when (if) I sell, right!?!

And now for the beautiful after...

I am really, really pleased how it all came out.  There is still work to be done - I have not changed out the mirror, sink and countertop - but wanted to see how all the other finishes came out before picking a stone for the countertop.  Now that it's all together, I'm still not sure what stone I should go with ...

I am a designer.  And as such, I am sometimes paralyzed by the amount of possibilities.  I like so many different styles.  For example, I thought I would have an all white bathroom going into this whole project.  And as you can see, when it came right down to it, I didn't go that route.

Decisions.  Decisions.

Choosing the tile was the easy part - well the wall and floor.  But then there was the baseboard (tile or wood) and how to cover the edges of the ceramic tile (I chose a marble pencil tile) and the threshold where the shower door sits - how wide, solid marble slab vs tile and what color grout and so on.

The biggest of decisions was the ceiling inside the shower.  Most people just have drywall up there, but the owners prior to me had some kind of hard surface (Corian or similar) and I rather liked that approach.  Plus, it's a very compressed space - so not much height for the steam to escape.  So after much thought (and pricing) I decided on a custom piece of backpainted glass.  It was the most expensive option by far, but is for sure the best solution.

I changed all the plugs and switches - love the clean snap on plate to conceal the hardware.  I purchased these at Lowes and my electrician tells me that Home Depot has better electrical fixtures.  Well heck, how am I supposed to know that?

Then there was the fan - every bathroom needs a fan and mine old one was on the fritz.  There are lots to choose from, but most electricians will tell you to purchase from a supply store and not HD, Lowes or Menards.  I chose a Panasonic whisper quite model and am happy with it so far.  It is a little more expensive than those you see in the big box retail stores, but not much.

So...  shower heads.  Holy smokes are there a lot to choose from!  And you have to visit a showroom that has them set up with running water to even be able to see what the water pressure will be like.  I chose to go with the Speakman Anystream, though I was intrigued by the Kohler Moxie (speaker in the shower head - awesome!) but the water pressure out of that thing was pitiful. The Speakman is 2.5 GPM, and most of the others don't even come close to that! (1.8-2.0)

And then shower drain strainers ... bet you've never given a minute of thought to these guys.  Well, let me tell you, they are hard to find.  Most of the drains come standard with a strainer - mostly brushed nickel over brass with really open weave.  I found some really cool ones, but all required some kind of retrofit of my current drain (which I did not want to do), so I did manage to find a nice polished one (in the photo above) on Amazon - you will NOT find these at your local hardware store.

Who knew there were so many tiny decisions to be made for a tiny little project?