How to survive a bathroom remodel [laugh at my pain]

Surviving a bathroom remodel takes patience, money, and skill. First, lower your expectations about a timeline. Then visit the ATM. And finally laugh at my pain, as explained below.

Oh this? It’s just an old sink. On my lawn. Nothing to see here, folks.

Overall message: Keep it simple with anything that’s hard to change: tile, vanity, trim. Keep it groovy with things that are easy to change: towels, a rug, paint.

Past Problematic Projects

Condo in Philly

I’ve survived three bathroom remodels. The first was in my condo in Philly. The kicker: the condo only had one bathroom. So, we spent some time using a neighbor’s shower. Awkward.

Master bathroom in San Diego

My second bathroom remodel was to revamp the en suite in my current house. It had original semen-yellow tile in the shower and linoleum flooring. Fugly. The kicker: when the shower tile was removed, we discovered that the drain pipe was so old it had disintegrated. Showering meant flooding underneath the house. Basically turning on the faucet and lettin’ her rip.

We ended up replacing ALL THE PIPES in the entire house. The plumber cut his hand and had to rush to the hospital, leaving us without any working toilets. There I was nine months pregnant, peeing in a Home Depot bucket.

Faucets ~ I debated a very modern faucet. Luckily, they had the faucet at our hotel in Tahoe, so I got to try it. And hated it. The projection is not far enough, so the back splash was constantly wet. I went with the same faucet from my other bathroom because I already know how it works.

The boys’ bathroom

The current bathroom remodel was to our main bathroom, AKA “the boys’ bathroom” because my sons use it. The bathroom had been redone recently, but not well. It was literally falling apart in my hands.

Freshly completing the Relax Shack, we felt like we could handle a “quick” remodel. Moral of every house project story: nothing is ever quick. And there’s always a kicker. This time, it was that the outside wall—which we’d had redone with cedar shingles ($$$) about 3 years ago by a horrible contractor—was leaking and had to be redone AGAIN, delaying the project about a month.

Down to the studs. This may take a while…

Patience, money, and skill

The point is: double the time [PATIENCE] and budget [MONEY] for any major house project. Also, hire a crew that’s recommended by someone you trust. I’m not saying that you have to become so close with your crew that you go fishing with them often—*looking at my husband*—but be sure they’re good [SKILL]. Rework is a bummer, man.

Doors ~ In one bathroom, we reversed the door so it wouldn’t swing into the bathroom and take up space. In my newest bathroom, we added a pocket door. The bathroom seems twice as big.

5,000 dead snails = THE END

I won’t bore you with what went right with the project because that’s not my style (even though the bathroom eventually came out GREAT). I will tell you about the 5,000 dead snails we discovered under my old bathtub. I have a slimy-thing phobia, so this had me ready to sell the house and never look back.

I will survive!

To survive a bathroom remodel I’d advise you to not cancel your therapy session. It’s stressful to have people coming in and out of your house all day for many days. And shit goes wrong. All. the. time. But home projects are awesome…when they’re done.

Lighting ~ I like LED that’s bright but dimmable. Recessed lighting is also good. Check that any fixtures can withstand a damp environment. And get a good fan.

Still not totally done (white piece under the window to be patched & painted), but we’ve come a long way! Never doing another home project…until Monday. [Sliding glass door going in dining room–stay tuned!]

One response to “How to survive a bathroom remodel [laugh at my pain]”

  1. […] various projects and improvements to my nearly 70-year-old house—new deck (AKA the Relax Shack), bathroom remodels, lighting installation & redecorating—but I haven’t admitted all I’ve done to keep this […]


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