New year, new bathroom

I bet you thought we forgot about you, didn’t you, readers? Well, if this is what you thought, you would be wrong. We could never forget about you. Don’t forget – we love you.

We haven’t posted in a while, yes, that’s true. But it was for good reason. We’ve been thinking long and hard about our next project, the main bathroom upstairs, and as this is our biggest project to date, it deserved a good chunk of cash set aside. We scrimped and saved for the last 6 months, including starting no new projects even though we have a few in mind, and also having an imagination Christmas. That last one is a lie, we totally lose our minds at Christmas, except this year we did it within a budget. Because responsibility.

Which brings us to a new year and the start of a brand new project. One that will eliminate the second toilet in our house and the only shower. Quite a commitment.

Earlier this week, we went shopping, dear readers. The BIG shop, for the BIG things that will make our bathroom look and function like a bathroom. I had made a list of items and styles of faucets, countertops, etc that I liked ages ago, and on the day we decided to go out and get it all, I hauled it out and updated it to be sure it was still what I liked. You might notice I say “I” a lot here, and that is because I asked Dan point-blank if he cares at all about the fixtures and he said no. There you have it.

We started our big shopping day at Lowe’s because from my pre-research, they had the most items we liked, and most importantly, their website was heads and tails above the other two in terms of search-ability and just being intuitive. The Lowe’s site lets you search by colour/finish, key features of the product, price, material, etc. Rona and Home Depot have pisspoor websites when it comes to narrowing your search. They let you sort by price and maybe, sometimes, by brand. That’s it. For this reason, I spent more time on the Lowe’s site and had an easier time finding what I was looking for. Take the hint, Rona and Home Depot.

Here’s a quick refresher on what we are planning for the bathroom reno:

Pictured: horrendous blue tile with coordinating grout.

-replace toilet (which we’re quite sure is as old as the house)
-replace vanity countertop (it’s yellowy off-white, has cracks and stains, and looks very 80’s)
-replace sink faucet (look at that thing, it’s one of those “crystal” roundie faucets that everyone had in their house as a kid)
-remove half-wall tile (obvious reasons)
-replace peel-and-stick vinyl flooring with tile
-remove and replace jet tub
-replace shower head and tub faucet
-remove cracked plastic tub surround and replace with tile to the ceiling

We’re keeping the bathroom vanity, because after I re-stained it 2014, it looks pretty damn good. Evidence:


So Dan and I headed out this week to check off a bunch of things on that list. At Lowe’s, we purchased the following items:

Toilet – $114
AquaSource, high effieciency, round bowl
Same toilet we chose for the basement bathroom, a low-flow round bowl model that is the cheapest one Lowe’s offers, but we already know it is a fine toilet since we’ve been using it in the other bathroom for 6 months.

Shower/Tub Faucet – $189
Moen Caldwell, spot resistant brushed nickel
We chose a brushed nickel finish for the faucets to match the existing towel bars we have and plan on using in the bathroom.

Sink Faucet – $144
Kohler Cavata, brushed nickel
Same idea as the shower and tub faucet, and we chose a style to coordinate with it too.

Shower Wall Tile – $0.35 each, $175
We chose the simplest glossy white 3″x 6″ tile to create a subway tile pattern on the wall surrounding the tub. We purchased enough to cover 56 sq ft, which takes the tile right up to the ceiling. We’re going for something like this:

We made a quick jaunt over to Rona to pick up the countertop:

Vanity Countertop – $311.88
Luxo Marble Synthetic, 49″x 22″
Our vanity cabinet is a standard size (sigh of relief), but it’s at the larger end of the scale. Rona carried the right size, and offered a few different styles. There is no such thing as a picture of the full-size counter we have, so this will have to do:

"Modern" Synthetic Marble Vanity Top - 49'' x 22''
And finally, because I wasn’t happy with the floor tile options at all three of the home improvement big box stores, we went to Sarmazian Brothers flooring in Cambridge, because they featured the exact tile I was looking for on their website.

Floor Tile – $5.43/sq ft, $171.81
I loved Sarmazian. We had no idea what to expect when walking in because they don’t list any of their prices on their website. The sales rep approached us right away and I told him exactly what I was looking for and he had a few examples for us within minutes. We chose a smaller 1″ white hexagon tile with black dot, and we needed enough to cover 25 sq ft.

The bathtub will be coming this week, as we will need Simon’s truck to get it home. We’re looking at this beauty from Rona:

Bathtub – $431
Rona Eco Plenitude

"Plenitude" Bathtub
Simon starts work on Monday morning, as this is a slower time of year for his regular job and he can hopefully work for us full-time until the job is done. I’m really not keen to live without my proper bathroom for longer than a couple weeks.

Before he starts, we got cracking at demolition (get it? har dee har har!) so we don’t have to pay someone for many hours of labour for something we can do. Yesterday, the tile came down:


Don’t freak out about that hole in the wall, that’s just the space where our medicine cabinet usually sits. Here’s Dan, about to chip off the very first tile of many.


Those tiles are stuck on good, readers. I had the most success by chipping away at the blue grout with a screwdriver and a hammer, chisel-style, and then tapped a putty knife behind the tile until it loosened enough to come off. Dan went for the powerhouse option, which involved prying tiles off with the grout still intact. There’s not a chance we can save the drywall underneath, so both options are perfectly acceptable.


We got the section above the vanity and behind the bathroom door done yesterday, which took 3-4 hours. This corner is next on our list, once our hands have recovered:


While I was prying off tiles behind the door, some of the blue vinyl flooring came off and revealed what is underneath the top layer of floor. After I went to bed last night, Dan picked at it some more and determined that it shouldn’t be that hard to scrape it up. Check it out:


Oh lordy. That’s some truly awful flooring. This bathroom must have been quite a sight in its heyday.

I would like to have the tile mostly gone by the time Simon starts on Monday, and getting the flooring up too would be nice. I have no idea what comes first in a bathroom reno so we might have more time than I think to get rid of the old stuff. In the meantime, he is all my bathroom stuff, laid out in the dining room:


My next priority will be setting up a temporary getting-ready-for-the-day area in the basement. And if you’re wondering (because I know I would be…), I have a shower available at work and Dan and I are also welcome to use the shower at a nearby friend’s house once the tub gets ripped out. Think of us this week when you’re enjoying a nice hot bathing ritual.


About joeyandjanice

Two crazy kids trying to make sense of the jumble surrounding making the jump from renting to owning our first home. Join us here as we stumble towards the biggest purchase of our lives.
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4 Responses to New year, new bathroom

  1. Elle says:

    Great post & Happy New Year! Am looking at this bathtub also. Can you tell me how many inches the overflow is (center point) to the tub’s floor. For a deep soaker, I’ve learned that it’s all about the overflow’s height/position. Cheers!

  2. Sandon says:

    How are you liking the tub? How’s the quality? We are thinking of getting this one too, but hard to find reviews of it

    • No complaints, it still looks as fresh and new as the day we put it in. Full disclosure: we don’t shower every day, so I can’t comment on how it would be fairing with heavier use.

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