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my bathroom. I'll post from start to finish

June 5, 2008


I really enjoy the forum and starting my own bathroom so I thought I would post my progress through the whole process.

Some background. The house dates from 1969 and only had one previous owner. I have done some cosmetic work so far-ripping out all the old flower wallpaper, painting the walls and changing the wall sconces. Even took down and refinished the medicine cabinet. So its actually a nice size (11 x 8) and something my boys and I can live with. Its a small house and I am saving to add a second floor so I am trying to do any changes that I can not only do myself but won't be affected by the later edition. (right now I share a bedroom with my youngest son and that will only go so far).

Right now this is the master bath (and the only full bath). When the upstairs is completed this will be a full bath for the one bedroom still on the first floor.

I am planning on doing most of the work myself. My girlfriend and I have been shopping for bargains. We bought all the tile at Home Depot. A 13 x 13 porcelin tile for the floor and 4/4 tumbled marble for the shower. Bought some nice accent pieces for a strip and bought a niche online for the tile guy to use (I'll take shots of these and post later).

After a long debate with myself I decided to have a tile person do all that work. If it was just the floor, I think I could tackle it but I was nervous about the shower area and especially the pan (don't want any leaks). The price was good I think, just over $2,000 to do it all. That takes a bite out of the budget but in the long run I think it will be better.

In the pictures you can see the room is surrounded by tile. I'll be gutting the room (in 2 weeks!). I'll replace the bottom half of the walls with PVC beadboard and a chair rail. I am trying to keep the upper walls as is with little to no damage (I hope). The tub will stay. I bought a new toilet, a TOTO brand that has had great reviews. The room has a bidet and although I did try it (once) I will remove it.

I do woodworking as a hobby and never really build furniture (mostly sheds and outbuildings) I am building the vanity and linen tower (with great frustration but still fun). I have an image of the vanity (if you notice the drawers look a bit crooked it must be the photo ;).

We found this great expresso brown paint at Home Depot and I am happy with the color (the floor and shower tiles are a nice beige). The tiles on the vanity I found from a tile maker whose work I always loved (http://www.ruchikamadan.com/). I was thinking of using her tile in the kitchen someday as accent tiles on the backsplash and may still but I thought they would look good on the vanity.

I was just going to keep the medicine cabinet but I prefered a build in unit with doors rather than the old sliding mirrors. I was going to attempt building it myself but I found a guy on Ebay who will build them to your size at a fair price so I had him make one. I'll post a picture of that soon. His "expresso" didn't match what I was using so I am refinishing the brand new piece with the same color of the vanity (kind of anal but it would always bother me).

We found a great granite remnant place that had small and some large pieces and we found a great piece for the vanity top. I hate to keep saying "beige" but I'll post a picture of it (the tiles and counter top are all earthly colors). It will have a white pedestal sink I found online on top with wall mounted faucets. We went to a faucet showroom to pick the fixtures out but thought the prices were high (all Grohe and they are never cheap but well made). So we went home and found them all online for $400 less (even with shipping)! Well we called the showroom we had gone to and they matched the price! So it pays to look around.

I do have a friend who will do the plumbing but I am not really moving any fixtures so I hope its not too expensive.

I start in 2 weeks since my kids will be on vacation with their mother and I didn't want to inconvienence all of us. But I know it will be several weeks/a month to get it back together. Luckily we have a 1/2 bath also in the house. I have been in touch with both plumber and tile guy to work out the schedules (plumber in as soon as we gut the room, then tile guy, then plumber again). We'll see if it works out.

So this is just the start. I'll post images after June 22 when the room is gutted (as gutted as needed I should say). But I'll post more images tomorrow of tile, medicine cabinet, etc.

I'll keep you all up to date as it moves on with all the ups and downs!

Comments (84)

  • house_vixen

    Braytonak, I was going to say that I'm jealous of Folkman since we started before him AND tore everything out, ha!

    Sorry to hear about the small snag, F -- looking forward to the next installment even if I am over here turning greener and greener. Good call on the lighting.

  • mahatmacat1

    folkman, just fwiw I'm really glad we got extra light in the shower. I have a general light nearby, but it's not the same as actual light that isn't coming at an angle. It's a good choice to have, IMO, even if you end up deciding you don't need it all the time.

  • folkman

    I stopped home at lunch time and saw the new lights in the shower and tub area. I agree with you both. It really adds a lot and I am glad I did it.

    Ran into a small problem with the exhaust fan. The new one I bought has a smaller footprint into the ceiling so I have to patch around the new one. Again, more drywall.

    Tile guy does the floor tomorrow. I'll take pictures of that!

  • folkman

    June 30,
    Some interesting news. Not all good.
    First here is the pictire of the side wall on the bathroom. Since they had to raise the exhaust vent they needed to cut up more drywall, so I'll be closing this off today or tomorrow. Most goes under the 1/2" beadboard but the top 8 inches or so are above that so I have to try and get some nice seams in.:

    Now for the first problem. My plumber said it was okay for me to close the wall up but then I noticed that the OLD location for the exhaust into the pipe in the wall was still open? So I called his cell and asked if that had to be closed before the wall was sealed and he said "Oh Yes". His assistant who finished the rough in forgot to do it. Good thing I have even a rough understanding of this otherwise I would have left it open. The image shows the opening before the PVC cap was put in:

    So that wasn't good. Then met with the tile guys and they noticed that there was no backing behind the new shower pipe (in the wall for the shower head). He said without backing (screwed to a wood brace) that would knock and ping all the time. I guess this was another plumber issue when they installed it (it was placed about a foot higher than the old one.

    Anyway the tile guy said they would just install the piece as they have to do it all the time. I was fine with that. At the end of the day I come in and they have their Durock on the floor and walls and all looks great. They left a hole for the new shower head to be threaded so just be curious I pushed in on the part in the hole and (you know what's coming). It bounced back and forth. THEY DIDN"T PUT THE BLOCKING IN! So, I got out the screw gun and unscrewed the piece and sure enough, it was just the way they found it. Sorry no image for this one. I nailed in the brace, screwed in the clamps to hold the pipe in and put the durock back on. The last thing I did was leave them a note telling them I did it. I think, again, it was a case of the "main" guy telling me what they would do and the "assistants" not following through.

    Anyway, they are due to tile the floor today so I am anxious to see that and will post pictures tomorrow!

    Thanks for following along.

  • mercurygirl

    Good work there Folkman.

    Can I ask you how you like your ebay med cabinet? I'm thinking of ordering from (I think) the same guy. Is it well made?


  • folkman

    Mercury Girl,
    I really like the cabinet. I think it is well made and I think the seller was "Art Juler" It was still about $185 for the size I wanted but still much cheaper than a comparable one I see from Pottery Barn or other places. The custom made the size for me and I had it in less than a month

  • folkman

    July 1st:
    Got home and the tile guys were hard at work. I'll post a picture below. Maybe I am too anal but I would have had the same width tiles on the immediate left and right framing the edge of the nitch (the area on the right has the blue tape on it). You can see its about twice as wide on one side. My girlfriend didn't notice it till I pointed it out but I think a little more planning on their part would have gotten it even. Hopefully they will have a lot more done by the end of today:

    ALSO, I was looking at the rough in for the tub handles and I realized that the plumber should have had it come out further since I have the 1/2 beadboard going over it. Here is a picture of the handle if placed as is. Its flush with the dry wall. So that means more drywall ripping and patching. I did tell the plumber about this but I don't think that got to his assistant. Ugg!:

  • hmsweethm

    Folkman --

    Great job, and yes, people are reading this. We're all fascinated and learning a lot from you and your girlfriend. Love your sink bowl and your vanity and storage cabinet. Very impressive, and I agree with your girlfriend that the more storage in a bath, the better. I think I used that same granite in my newly remodeled kitchen. It's called Kashmir Gold. It might also go under the name of Golden Oak. It has some nice "dijon'' tones to it and a kind of sediment-flowing-down-the-river movement to it; love it. I also used those HD tiles in a big niche in our master bath. They need to be sealed, but not a big deal, if they are the tumbled marble ones we used. They come in a variety of shades that you might be using, like noche and chiaro. Very organic look you have there. Nice. Keep up the great work and we'll be cheering you on.

  • folkman

    July 3.
    Okay some progress! The tile work moves on and we have the shower area mostly done. See the image. I love the square slate border tiles we picked out and the tile setter suggested the diamond turned tiles for the top half. Looks nice:

    Then they finished the floor tile. I really like this as well.

    So today they want to finish up most of the tile work and do the grout. This gives me the long weekend to close up the walls with drywall and start getting that beadboard on. So it will be a busy weekend. I hope to have a big change to show you all by Monday!

    Oh some people have asked. The square tile for the shower has different names on it but all say "00412" Sometimes called Antique gold, sometimes something else but the "00412" number is constant so we knew it was the same tiles (there is a lighter version of this same tile also at HD but they all carried a different number).

    also next week we will get to the shower door place to pick out the door and have them come measure. I want a frameless, clear glass one but we'll see what the prices are!

    Happy 4th!

  • teddas

    Just caught up with this and I love to see the emerging transformation. It looks so nice. Good luck!

  • thankurnmo

    fantastic! Glad it is coming along so well. It might seem long to you, but I swear this one seems like it is getting done in record time. And, done well. That is an accomplishment!

  • folkman

    July 7,
    Hope you all had a good 4th.

    So my girlfriend and I were basically locked in the bathroom all weekend but we got a lot done!

    First off here is a show of the shower. We have the nitch in and the accent tile in the center (matches the style we mounted on the vanity). Today they do the shower floor and grout. They will come back in a few days to color enhance!

    First thing on Friday was to close off the walls with drywall. This was tricky. The original drywall was 3/4 thick and I can only buy 1/2 now so I first put in a 1/4 drywall panels then the 1/2 on top. By the way I hate drywalling!:

    Then started the beadboard. That went pretty smoothly. I cut to length, my girlfriend applied the "liquid nails" and I put in place. I used some finish nails to hold it all in place

    I ran out of beadboard at the very end which was very tough but I moved to doing the cap moulding and baseboard. This went pretty easily and I liked the finished look.

    This image shows the cut out I did for the "concealed cabinet" I am building behind a picture frame. I'll work on that next:

    So all in all a good week. I called the electricians to come back and finish their work. Plumber will be in Thursday and tile guys later this week too.

    Have to find tile to look at shower doors this week.

    Its coming together!

  • writersblock

    It looks great! I really like the shower accent tiles.

  • thankurnmo

    So incredibly fantastic. You must be beyond thrilled. It looks so great, and you did so much.(cyber-patting you on the back)

  • mahatmacat1

    Ooh, a secret compartment! So James Bond--I love it :)

    And the colors and combinations in the shower are really beautiful. I bet you'll enjoy looking at that every day.

  • folkman

    just a quick update!

    Been painting the last few days. Tile guys did the grouting in the tub. Still waiting for Electrician to finish up but tonight we start moving furniture in and the plumber comes in Friday so hopefully by Monday I'll have almost completed pictures to show (shower door will be a good 4-5 weeks so we'll use a curtain till then)

  • folkman

    July 14,
    Hi, just a quick update right now. The bathroom is about 90% done! Not bad for about three weeks. Some problems. The hole in the marble vanity is not wide enough to mount the vessel sink on top so I have to figure that out. Not fun. The toilet is in but not quite done yet (hence the blue tape so my kids don't try to use it). We have used the shower and its great. Just have a shower curtain up till the glass door will be ready in a month or so (they come to measure the space tomorrow!

  • thetews

    Your bathroom is really beautiful! I just love how your tile color, wall color, and vanity top color work together so well. Really great job! Good luck on the sink, vanity top issue.

  • house_vixen

    Ditto! Great example of having varied colors and textures without being too busy -- all the choices you/your GF made really harmonize well.

    Good luck finishing up and fixing the small problems. And if I haven't mentioned how jealous I am of your speed in the last five seconds...JEALOUS!

  • busybme

    It was great 'discovering' this thread for the first time and seeing all that you accomplished in 3 weeks!

    Makes me think there is hope for my old bathroom! You are doing a super job!

  • na_praha

    WOW is this looking good! I love the beadboard tub surround, sconces and vanity - wonderful mix of textures and forms. Cheers!

  • folkman

    July 24th Update:
    Sorry I have been a bit behind. Finally got the new hole for the sink drilled and will be getting plumber back soon to finish and that will be it!

    Just wanted to post these photos. My girlfriend felt we needed more storage so I copied an idea I found in the forum-a "concealed cabinet" It looks like a painting in a frame but opens to a small medicine chest. I built mine myself. Its simple and fun. Oh my 12 year old did the painting!

    Not sure if I'll be posting anymore so I just wanted to thank everyone for following. It will be a few weeks till the shower door comes in but its nice to have a working bathroom back!


  • ggoose

    Nicely done. I was looking at one of the pictures that shows the tile-to-bead board transition and it looks like the bead board is simply butted up adainst the shower tile...is that correct?

  • Dora Vann Snider

    Your bathroom is just stunning! The hidden medicine cabinet is so neat! Hope you don't mind that I saved it in my file for our next bathroom!

    Like the way you installed the tile in the shower, too.

    Know you are enjoying it. Good work!


  • weedyacres

    I'm very impressed, especially with your carpentry skills. Your cabinets are beautiful!

  • folkman

    Yes the beadboard just butts tight to the tile. Since its PVC beadboard I wasn't worried about water or anything. Maybe there is a better transition but that worked for me.

    Thanks again for all the great comments!

  • mahatmacat1

    folkman, could you please share the details of how you made the cabinet? Did you purchase any part of it (probably the hinges) -- and may I ask what kind of hinges you bought, so as to make sure the frame would open up the right way? I *think* I could do this, just need to know what kind of hinges to buy.


  • denalidreams

    Flyleft--thanks for reviving this thread!

    Folkman, this is a gorgeous bathroom! I'm very impressed, especially with the obvious designer tastes you and your girlfriend share, and your craftsman talents.

    I'd also like details on how you made the concealed cabinet. I would like to make something similar for my new bathroom. Also, where did you find the accent tile? It's great.

    Thanks in advance for your help--

  • jessicam79

    You don't need to make a Concealed Cabinet yourself. Go to www.ConcealedCabinet.com and buy one. I did and I LOOOOOVE it. Great quality and great customer service.


  • mahatmacat1

    May not need to, but *want* to...it seems like something I should be able to make.

    Oh Folkman...sure wish you'd come back...maybe DH and I will have to reverse-engineer it from the pics...

  • folkman

    Hi everyone,
    I am sorry but didn't realize some people had left later comments-somehow I didn't get an e-mail from the forum.

    The concealed cabinet was very easy. I actually did just look at the concealed cabinet that jessicam79 mentions and built it by eye. The hinges are standard european cabinet hinges. It took a bit of testing to get the hinges in the right place but wasn't bad. You also have to be sure you buy a picture frame with a flat back so there is room to bore the hinges. Not one on an angle. I got mine online at dickblick.com. Also be sure you know that frames are sold by the size of the opening, not the size of the outer dimensions. I learned that the hard way.

    Its been about 6 months and my girlfriend and I are now eyeing the laundry room/1/2 bath area to do next!

  • folkman

    You asked about the accent tile.I saw some very nice ones at HD but bought these at a local chain called TILE SHOWCASE. They were a bit expensive and they were sold by the sheet (about 1 foot long). I needed 10 sheets and it cost me about $100. I thought it was worth it but HD had some nice ones that were a lot cheaper.

  • karen_in_canada

    Hi Folkman,
    I was searching for ideas for bathroom storage and came across your post here with your concealed cabinet. Its a really great cabinet you made! Ive NEVER seen anything like it.
    I did go to dickblick.com and found the frame you used. I believe it is called a " 5" Simplon Frame ". The size you chose looks really good. Can you tell me what size frame you ordered from them? They have the frames listed at 1/2 price right now which is a real bonus.
    Thanks so much for your posts. Very informative and fun to read.

  • folkman

    I think it was an 9 x 12 (#18846-7423). I got it in SageBrush but the color didn't matter to me-I sprayed mine espresso to match the vanity. Again looked at the link in an above listing for the concealed cabinet. They make the ones I used as a guide to make my own. I am handy so could build my own but check out their site (I don't want to scare people off from buying theirs since they can probably use the money).

    Thanks for the kind words. I'll be starting the next bathroom soon and will post again. Good luck with yours!

  • pepperidge_farm

    Folkman-- on the note regarding the color-

    I will be doing some color staining to match an "espresso" colored vanity- did you color them both the same, or can you tell me what stain/paint you used to get that color?


    BTW, I have looked and reread this post a bunch of times- you did some really nice work!

  • folkman

    Pepperidge Farm,
    Thanks for the kind words. It was fun to do! I had done an earlier piece for my girlfriend and she wanted the pottery-barn dark espresso color. I used latex paint on that and just felt it was tough to get it nice and smooth. When I build the vanity for the bathroom I bought some espresso spray paint I found on line at Aubuchon Hardware (I'll paste the link below). I sprayed the vanity slowly and it worked out well-just invest in some dust masks!

    I used the same color to spray all the frames in the room as well as the medicine cabinet. I like the paint.

    Good luck with your project!

  • pepperidge_farm

    Oh, that is great- there is no Aubuchon around me here, but we will be back in Lake Placid in 2 weeks and there are 2 up there that we use all the time!!

    That is actually what I am trying to match- the espresso vanity from PB... I am hopeful. Otherwise, I am ready to learn all about aniline dyes, and all sorts of staining techniques to try to match, so a simple spray sounds dreamy.

    I wish I could say I will be posting pics soon, but other commitments are slowing progress... sigh.

    Thanks again :-)

  • repairbuildspend

    I just followed the chronology of your bathroom- it looks great! Thanks for the advice about the pvc beadboard- that's the ticket!

  • mrshowell

    I just love the hidden cabinet that you made with a frame and a picture. Can you give some more details as to how you did that? Where did you get the internal frame from? I can generally do things myself if I have directions but I'm not nearly as handy if I try to do it completely out of my head.


  • folkman

    Sorry I just saw your post. Read up a few notes and you'll find the info on the frame-I got it from DickBlick.com-9 x 12 (#18846-7423). Also go to concealedcabinet.com. They are the ones who originated the cabinet. I looked at the pictures on their site and made my own. Not too hard. Their prices are not too high if you just want to get one from them as well. Fun stuff!

  • poohla19


    Love the final look of the bathroom!! You did a great job on everything. I would love to know the exact paint color name you used. You mentioned it was an expresso brown from HD, but what is the actual color name or number. Also, what is the floor tile name. Your choices are so close to what I want to use in my bathroom remodel and knowing the names would help me finalize my choices. I really like how the paint color draws out the color in the shower wall tile. That tumbled marble is beautiful. Now that you have been in it for 6+ months, how is the tumbled marble holding up? Do you have to re-seal it often? I'm sorry for so many questions, but your bathroom is such an inspiration. Everything about it is so spectacular. Thanks for all your help.


  • folkman

    Thanks for the comments. I'll try to answer your questions.

    The expresso color is not paint. Its the dark brown on the vanity, tower, frames and medicine cabinet. Its sprayed on. I bought it online. I'll attach the URL at the bottom.

    The walls were painted in Benjamin Moore Wilmington Tan. I'll check the floor tile name tonight. I do know it was of the most inexpensive ones at HD. I'll get back to you on that. The tumbled marble was from HD as well (I think I mention the color somewhere above-I forget offhand)

    The tumbled marble has held up great! It was sealed the one time and still is terrific. Thanks for the comments!

  • poohla19

    Thanks for your response. You answered the wall paint color question I had. I did find where you mentioned the tumbled marble had 00412 on the boxes and you also mentioned Antique Gold. Someone else mentioned color names noche and chiaro. I will check at HD using those names. The only other name I will wait for is the floor tile name and color. I have looked at several of the HD porcelain tiles and like them all. Some even look like marble. I just love the entire look of your bath. Did you ever take some final pictures that show your shower door and your sink faucet? Would love to see the final look. Thanks for posting your work. It is a great thread to show from beginning to end. Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my questions. This is the best forum for this kind of idea help!

  • folkman

    I still have a half box of floor tiles left over so I could check the name. Its Prima Piazza by Marazzi. The color is "Romance Almond" Its a glazed porcelin tile. It was relatively inexpensive at HD and they had cases of the brand in other colors (at least in the HD near me).

    I'll take some pictures to show the final look. Yes, I got the glass shower doors and it worked out just great! I'll post those tomorrow.

    Good luck. Let me know what you end up with!

  • thankurnmo


  • jayjay_teacher


    I just ran across this thread and I have a couple of questions. What are the dimensions of your shower, and did you tile the ceiling in your shower area? Our house currently has a molded fiberglass shower and I would like to take it out and tile. Yours looks fantastic!


  • jimnyo

    what are the light sconces and where did you buy them? beautiful!

  • andydad123

    folkman -

    Your recessed cabinet is beautiful. With the 9x12 frame you used, how big a cabinet could you make? From what I understand, 9x12 is the size of the opening in the frame, right?

  • yayagal

    It goes without saying that you're very talented and diligent. What I want to add is to say, as a trained artist, that your son did a remarkable painting and should continue doing art throughout his life. You must be so proud of him and all your children. I can tell you're an excellent father.

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