One Room Challenge Week 4: Many projects, none of them quite finished

This week seems to have snuck up on me. It seems like I have a few balls up in the air with this project, but none of them have quite landed yet.

If you’ve jumped in here missed the last few weeks – head here to check out the first week of the One Room Challenge.

My biggest accomplishment this week is that the shower is fully grouted! The shower is not done, but this is a big milestone. What is still left until we have a working shower?

  • caulk – I’ll be using Mapei silicone caulk in a color matched shade to the grout
  • install the bar to hold the hand-shower
  • finish configuring fixtures and turn on the water from the manifold in the crawlspace
  • install the glass walls and door – I have to be honest, I’m very nervous about this.

I keep telling myself that I am almost finished, but it sometimes it really seems like the to-do list will never end.

I thought I was just about ready to paint… but then I realized that the vanity light boxes were not in the correct place – so, that will have to be fixed which ultimately is not a huge deal, but is added time and a bit of a pain. The light boxes need to move up and out (the right one to the right and the left box to the left). I also need to move an outlet box so that it won’t be covered by the mirror.

What mirrors do we have? Well, I’m so glad you asked! We found not one, but two CB2 gift cards from our wedding 5 years ago that we never used. So we used them last week to buy two of these mirrors:

CB2 Infinity Black Rectangle Mirror 24” x 36”

Of course, this week, all mirrors at CB2 went on sale, because, of course.

Another exciting development is that we have finally decided on a toilet and ordered it. The toilet will be shipped to our local home depot and hopefully ready for us to pick up next week. We chose this one for a few reasons: it is standard height, has a round slow close seat and is skirted. Skirted means that the drain is concealed and I’m hoping this means it will be easier to clean. Standard height because comfort height is a travesty (this very well might be an unpopular opinion due to the lack of toilet options in standard height…) I also think that the low profile of this particular model will keep it kind of hidden behind the vanity and make sure that our exposed brick chimney stays visible.

Woodbridge Conserver 1-Piece 1.0/1.6 GPF High Efficiency Dual Flush All-in-One Toilet with Soft Closed Seat Included in White

This upcoming week I hope to be able to paint, but with the electrical changes and drywall work that entails, I’m not sure if I will actually get to it. I was planning on painting before we install the toilet so that I don’t have to paint in a tight space around it, but we’ll see.

I ordered a shower mat and tried it out in combination with the other rug I’m planning to use. I think it works, but I’m not 100% sold just yet.

Just for fun, I put our toiletries on the niche just to get a glimpse into my future life and, it looks pretty darn good! Someday, very soon, I will get to enjoy this shower. And, until then, I will just keep repeating that statement to myself until it is true! Well, that and working my way through the never ending to-do list…

Keep following along in real time on Instagram @lifeinafixer:

Make sure to keep up with the rest of the One Room Challenge Guest participants via their blogs and on Instagram. Find them here .

One Room Challenge Week 3: Emotions are running high

I have a complicated relationship with tile.

On the one hand, I love learning new things, I think tile is beautiful, I am really excited about the tile choices I have made in this design.

On the other hand, tiling is difficult, I’m not very good at it yet, and the tile choices I have made result in an extra difficult task and lots of small errors and imperfections.

Tile going up represents the beginning of the end of this project. I am no longer just working on something structural that no one will see – we have entered the realm of design and I’m having feelings.

This week I have gone from being very zen about the imperfections in my tile job in the shower to having a complete meltdown and contemplating ripping the whole wall down and starting over (I know… it wasn’t my finest moment).

One of the hardest things about being a DIY renovator is the moment when the project you have been working on for months starts to come into contact with reality.

This bathroom and how it will look has lived solely inside my head for the last two years. I have not had to come to terms with how any of my design choices actually look in reality until now. And reality – isn’t perfect.

I found myself thinking, “Why did I ever think I could take this on in the first place?” The answer is “because we needed to renovate the bathroom.” I sometimes need to remind myself that this room has come so far. Here is a fun before/after shot of the same angle from one year ago this week vs. today:

Same view, one year apart: Slide the bar to go back in time! It’s like having your very own TARDIS

Perfect is the enemy of done

Some of my very wise friends on Instagram this week reminded me that “perfect is the enemy of done.” I need this bathroom to move toward being done. My family needs this bathroom to be done. My toddler is quickly outgrowing being bathed in the sink (to be honest, this ship has probably sailed long ago but we’re still making it work…). As I was agonizing over the imperfections in my penny tile job when I realized that since that wall of the shower now has grout – I can put up the shower fixtures. Which is definitely a step toward finishing this bathroom. I painstakingly sourced these fixtures at a massive discount from eBay over a several month period last year and they have been living in boxes in the barn ever since.

I did not put up the bar that will hold the hand shower either because I couldn’t find my masonry drill bits or I couldn’t find my nerve to drill into the tile – I’ll let you choose. I will still need to do some tweaking of them once we’re ready to turn the water on but I just needed to see it. And, let me tell you, it’s good.

So there it is. The shower is coming together. My anxieties are somewhat calmed. I’m feeling proud of my work again and its on to the next item on my list. Here’s what I have to do to get the shower all the way finished:

  1. Cut new tiles and lay them around the niche
  2. Grout the other wall of the shower
  3. Fix a few spots of grout on the back wall
  4. Install the bar to hold the hand shower
  5. Check the installation of the fixtures for leaks and calibrate the diverters and temperature controls
  6. Caulk
  7. Acquire and install the shower wall/doors

Be sure to check out all the other participants of the One Room Challenge here and on Instagram by following #oneroomchallenge. Give them some extra support during this difficult time of birthing a design into the real world.

Keep up with my progress and emotional meltdowns in real-time @lifeinafixer

Make sure to keep up with the rest of the One Room Challenge Guest participants via their blogs and on instagram. Find them here .

22 simple steps to gut renovate your bathroom

Step 1: Contact contractors to see how much they would charge you to renovate two bathrooms. Find out that they all want at least $50,000 and for you to move your family and your pets out for at least 16 weeks.

Step 2: Cry about how $50,000 is approximately $50,000 more than you’d budgeted for. Since without a renovation you will not have a working bathtub, begin mentally preparing for your one-year-old to be the smelly kid at daycare.

Step 3: Convince yourself that you could renovate one bathroom yourself in 4-6 months, then the other bathroom in another 4-6 months. Even if each bathroom runs long, it couldn’t take more than a year total, could it? (Narrator: “It could.”)

Step 4: Blithely cross the point of no return by demo-ing the bathroom on a whim.

Step 5: Find out that the floor joists were not even attached to the outside wall of your house.

Step 6: Throw your time-line out the window

Step 7: Live without a sub-floor for a very long time and get weirdly accustomed to it.

Step 8: Spend two days wondering why there’s an ever-growing swarm of flies in your kitchen. Discover the opossum carcass in your exposed crawlspace. Remove the opossum with a shovel. Make a blood oath with your partner to never speak of it again.

Step 9: Learn how to do a lot of new things: plumbing, electrical, framing

Step 10: Forgive yourself for making mistakes, try again.

Step 11: Do nothing related to the renovation for weeks on end because life has other plans

Trip to see family in South Carolina and a pit stop at our alma mater

Step 12: Find that it was surprisingly easy to get used to having your only sink and only toilet in separate rooms.

Step 13: Forget what it’s like to have people over to your house because its always a disaster – who has time to put the laundry away AND run the water lines? (and also your toilet is just behind a curtain and you can’t figure out how to have guests over if they have to use it)

Step 14: Crowdsource your emotional support for this project from strangers on Instagram.

Step 15: Continue to bathe your now two-year-old in the kitchen sink.

Step 16: Remind yourself that everything is fine. You’ll finish eventually!

Step 17: Freak out because what if you don’t finish eventually?

Step 18: Join the Spring ORC thinking it will help you finish. Make lots of progress, but do not ultimately come close to finishing.

Step 19: Make and eat a lot of pizza.

Step 20: Attempt to tile the floor. Make mistakes, fix them painstakingly over a period of 7 weeks.

Step 21: Listen to Hamilton approximately 2700 times.

Step 22: Join the Fall ORC thinking it will help you finish.

See? It’s so simple. Just follow these 22 steps and you too can gut renovate your own bathroom 18 short months!

In all seriousness, I am truly looking forward to the structure that the ORC gives me. I accomplished more in the last 8 weeks of that challenge than I had in the few months prior. The community that it helps to build is also a HUGE perk. Some of my best internet buds are participating and I can’t wait to follow along with them and meet some new friends too.

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