A total gut job evolved from a simple bathroom makeover.
Photo by: Paul Waterloo
About two years ago, my fiancée, Kimberly Keslin, and I bought a 1915 bungalow in Forest Park, Ill. The first-floor bathroom had not had a makeover for many years. Immediately after we took possession, the floor-tile grout that was “fixed” just before we moved in started to fall apart. Other problems included a glass-block window vent that wouldn’t seal during winter months, a light switch placed 5 ft. inside the room, and the seven coats of paint on everything, which did not allow either door to latch properly.
We also wanted proper lighting and a place to take a shower that wasn’t in a 1928-vintage tub on a floor that was 1 ½ in. out of level. Bathing was like standing on a listing ship.
At first, I thought I would just do a quick makeover: replace the old tile, vanity, medicine cabinet, and toilet, and spruce things up with a new coat of paint. If I did all the work, keeping material costs down to $1,000 would be difficult but possible.
Forty-five minutes into the project, with about half of the floor tile removed, it was obvious that this was not going to be just a makeover. Along with the aforementioned problems, the subfloor cementboard was pulling up, and the deeper I dug, the more layers of decrepit flooring I uncovered.
We quickly decided to gut the bathroom and turn the space into our dream bathroom. Kimberly and I knew we weren’t going to move anytime soon, so it seemed like the perfect chance to design and build what we really wanted.