I don't know about you, but the list of things we'd like to do in our house "someday" is very long and not much actually happens. The bathroom was high up on that list but nowhere on the horizon in reality until a few months ago when our contractor friend messaged us that his next job was cancelled and he had availability if we wanted to go for it.
You may recognize the unique doors from Instagram. We are so lucky that when the previous owners had to remove a non-functional balcony door from a bedroom they chose to bring the beautiful original door inside and make it the door to the bathroom. They told us that the actual process was a nightmare and during installation they wished they had never started, but now that all it said and done I'm so grateful to them for going the extra mile and keeping such an amazing architectural detail from the house's history.
- New bathtub (how badly did I want a clawfoot tub? So badly. But we were short about 3 inches of space and I wasn't willing to move walls so I had to sigh and put that idea back in my Pinterest fantasy land).
- New wall tile and floor tile
- Repurpose existing pedestal sink and toilet
- Install in-floor heating
- Shiplap baby!
With our contractor suddenly free, we launched into this project pretty quickly and because we had help, all the work was done in about 3 weeks. Yes, that meant 3 weeks without a shower in the house and about a week and a half of no toilet upstairs (super fun when six months pregnant and getting up to pee at night constantly) but we made it work.
Our usual projects are smaller DIYs we can chip away at over time, so this was totally different! We learned a lot from this one. Here are the 3 top lessons we are walking away with:
3 things we learned from our bathroom reno
1) Know when to hire a skilled contractor
We're used to diving into projects by ourselves with confidence, Google and about half the knowledge we need. Most things are figuroutable right? This time, dealing with plumbing and heavy duty renovation jobs, we enlisted the help of Velocci Builds and we are so happy we did. We would have been in way over our heads and something important like a bathroom is something you want done properly. Plus, it was done fast unlike DIY projects that can drag on forever (the way we do it anyway).
2) If your house was build in 1895, prepare for some drama
Old houses are worth the headaches in my opinion, but they're not perfect! Our contractor is a huge perfectionist when it comes to details like tile alignment, so imagine his joy in a house where zero walls, floors or surfaces are perfectly straight. We even discovered the window in the shower is crooked by a few degrees! There will be imperfections in any project, especially if your home is old and wonky. Your contractor might hate your house a little by the end.
3) When renovating in a pandemic, be flexible
This one is a joke because I am not great at being flexible! When I get an idea in my head of something I want, it's very hard to change my mind. However, supply shortages are crazy right now and shipping estimates seems to be meaningless, so with our project commencing at the last minute I had to make some compromises to deal with what stores actually have in stock (which is not much these days).
The best advice our contractor gave us? He wouldn't start any demolition until we had every single piece, part and fixture in hand. It seemed dramatic but then I realized how hard it would be to track everything down and it saved us many extra days of having a ripped-out bathroom with no actual progress happening!
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Now that it's done, I am so happy every single time I open those doors and step inside. It's wild seeing that project you've been dreaming about forever actually take shape in front of your eyes. I can tell you that we've also been keeping it meticulously clean and organized since we finished. That's a definite bonus!
Happy renovating friends, whether in your imagination or for real,