The life of two scientists, creating a small home, in big mountains

Category: Renovation Page 1 of 31

The New Guest Bath is Here!

After a 6-month-long renovation, finally, the main floor bath is complete!

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Without looking at the before, the after would have easily been taken for granted:

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Above picture was the old bathroom when we moved in. With bigger fish to fry we continued using this bathroom for 3.5 years. Finally, after renovating the nearby office/guest bedroom, we decided that it was time to refresh the guest bath.

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The biggest change we made in this bathroom was to remove the bulky bathtub and install a walk-in shower.

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We opted for a clear glass shower door similar to what we installed in the master bath,. It is a lot more expensive than using a shower curtain, but it really brought an elevated look to this small guest bath. it made the bathroom look more spacious, and it allowed the textured window to be the focal point of the room. We picked a winter-themed, frost-like pattern for the window way before we picked out the shower door, and now the patterned window looks very intentional through the shower glass!

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The old window sill was slopped in the wrong direction, which led to rot and mold in the old shower. To keep the water at bay, we installed full-length marble sills around the fixed window panel. We also chose to install a shower pan instead of tiling the floor in the shower, so no water will ever get behind the walls.

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Just like in the master bath, we chose to extend the tiles beyond the shower area for a grand look. We picked light-colored marble-like tiles for the walls, which bounce off the light around the room.

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Instead of small subway tiles, which have dominated bathroom walls for decades, we chose rather large tiles for the walls. I think fewer grout lines make the room feel less enclosed, and the marble veins prevent the room from looking like a surgical unit.

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To echo the grey vein we installed a light grey colored vanity, which serves as a soft transition from the near-white walls to the dark floor.

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I always liked bathrooms with big color contrast (see bath inspiration here). In our master bathroom we used white subway tile in the shower and one wall, with big dark tiles on the floor and the other wall. In this bathroom, we used large tiles on the wall with small black tiles on the floor. The floor tile was laid in a geometric pattern, which draws attention to the floor and grounds the room.

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Unlike the master bath where we utilized mostly masculine colors and shapes, the fixtures in this hall bath is more decorative and feminine. We did keep the brushed nickel finish throughout – brushed nickel is a really versatile finish in my opinion. When it was paired with dark cabinet and tiles, as in our master bath, it looks modern and stylish. When used against white tiles in the hall bath, I think it looks more classic and sophisticated.

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The toilet also offers an elegant architectural look.

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Both of the tiling and plumbing contractors did a good job and paid lots of attention to details. I feel really good about the quality of the finish in this bathroom.

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You may notice that we do not have a mirror here yet. Honestly, the biggest struggle in the whole bathroom design process was the mirror. I originally wanted a round mirror, but it ended up looking too trendy for this bathroom. On the other hand, frameless mirrors with integrated LED lighting looked too modern, and rectangular mirror looked too plain…Slav suggested DIYing a mirror and we will give it a try at some point.

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Since the demo last December, Slav has worked many weekends in this small space. Professionals were brought in for window installation, plumbing, tiling, and shower door instllation. Slav took care of everything else, including replacing the rotten framing and subfloor, upgrading electricaladding new ceiling lights, finishing the drywall, and installing the pocket door and door trims. It has been a lots of DIY projects. But it is so worth it!

1. Demolition – removing all the fixtures and wall/floor materials;
2. Assessing the water damage, replacing rotten framing, and mold control;
3. Installing new bath window and insulate the exterior wall;
4. Removing the ceiling drywall from the attic, wiring for new recessed lights from the attic;
5. Upgrading wall electrical, including adding outlets and wiring new switches;
6. Installing a new exhaust fan and recessed lights;
7. Drywall the bathroom ceiling and soundproofing the interior walls;
8. Purchasing a new toilet, a new bidet, a sink/vanity, and sink and shower fixtures;
9. New plumbing and waterlines for bathroom fixtures;
10. Upgrade master bath (basement) exhaust fan from above;
11. Replacing all the subflooring with added support;
12. Pocket door framing and installation;
13. Drywalling around the pocket door;
14. Installing and Waterproofing bathroom walls and floor;
15. Tiling the bathroom and installing a new window stool;
16. Finishing/priming/painting entry wall drywall and ceiling;
17. Installing/painting pocket door trims;
18. Installing vanity light fixture, ceiling can lights, and outlet wall plates/covers;
19. Installing new glass shower door;
20. Installing all plumbing fixtures including toilet/bidet, vanity/sink, and shower trims.

Finally, we can erase the planning board clean, and move onto the next chapter for the ranch house!

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Main Floor Bath: Pocket Door Trims

Hi guys, long time no see! I hope y’all are having a great summer. We are consumed by work once again and our hope for a slow summer did not work out. Instead, someone else is enjoying the summer days for us, roaming around our garden:

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They are actually two different cottontail rabbits. One of them lives under our raspberry bushes, and we are pretty sure that the other one lives behind the shed in the firewood pile. We often see one eating grass on the backyard lawn. But occasionally, we catch them side by side chilling, eating, or even playing together.

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Despite us being very busy, we did manage to finish the main floor bathroom. After installing the tiles, we painted the ceiling and walls,  and Slav installed the lights and outlet in the bathroom. Then, the shower door was installed, and the plumber came and installed all the fixtures. The very last task to wrap up the bathroom renovation was trimming the pocket door.

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Door jamb installation

Prior to installing the pocket door, the door jambs and trims were completely taken down, leaving exposed drywall on the hallway side.

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Since this was our first attempt trimming a pocket door, we purchased a pocket door jamb kit to make the job easier:

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The kit includes a door jamb, a pair of split jamb, and a pair of top trim.

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As per instructions, the door jamb to which the pocket door would be closed against was installed first.

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Then, the split jambs were cut to length and nailed to either side of the pocket door.

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Lastly, the the top trim pieces were cut to length and nailed on to fill the gap between the two door jambs.

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This was the look from the bathroom. We had painted the walls around the doorway prior to the installation.

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Trimming the doorway

After the door jambs were installed, the trim pieces were cut and nailed around the doorway. For the bathroom side of the doorway, we picked a rather simple style of trim.

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Then a piece of baseboard was cut to fill the gap between the tiled wall and the door trim. This baseboard is identical to the ones we installed throughout the basement.

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For the hallway side, we used the same trim installed around the office opening, which is wider and more decorative.

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Patching, Sanding, and painting

Having finished installing the jamb and trim, the pocket door was adjusted to ensure that it was centered between the split door jambs, traveled smoothly, and closed tightly to the door jamb.

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Then, it was time to patch the nail holes with wood filler, caulk the gaps, and paint!

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By the end of a long weekend, we finished trimming the pocket door, which completed the bathroom renovation – what a moment!

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Upgrading the front door trim

However, the trim work did not stop there. Since we had the chop saw and nail gun out, we decided to replace the front door trim too.

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The old door trim around the front door was there when we bought the house. The same trim was installed around all the doors. Since then, we have replaced most of the door trims in the house, and the old trim was now only around the front door, and two small closets.

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Technically, the old door trim had nothing wrong with them, but it was fairly narrow considering the size of the door. Importantly, the front door is right next to the office doorway. The mismatching trims looked a bit odd.

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The old trim was cut away from the wall. It turned out to be the biggest part of this trim work because it was held down by layers of paint and caulking.

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Some caulking remained even after the old trim was peeled off the wall. It had to be scraped off with a razor.

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Since this is an exterior door, all the gaps were filled with the Great stuff.

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After the Great stuff was completely cured, we cut away the excess and touch-painted the wall around the doorway.

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And now, our old front door was ready for its new trim!

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And the new trim there came!

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Next, the gaps were caulked and the nail holes were filled with the wood filler. two coats of Behr Ultra Pure White in semi-gloss, the same paint we used on all of trims and baseboards finished the front door trim work.

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Finally, no more mismatching trims!

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And this is the view from the house now:

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Compared to the old trim (pictured below), the scale of the new trim is more appropriate for the size of the front door.

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Now the main floor bathroom is complete, I cannot wait to show you the pictures. We are so proud of all the finishes we picked for the bathroom, and I think it was stunning! Stay tuned!

Main Floor Bath: It Is All About Tiles

A couple weeks ago we prepared the main floor bath for tile.

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And today, the bathroom looks like this!

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I will let the pictures do the talking:

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The shower/sink area before:

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The shower niche/window area:

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The shower niche wall before:

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Remember the moldy old window?

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Now marble window stools are in its place, surrounding the new fixed panel privacy window:

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By extending the wall tiles beyond the shower area to cover the long walls, we made the bathroom look more cohesive and minimal:

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Can you believe that this is the same room just a few months ago?

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Remember the old sink vanity?

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The area for future toilet and vanity now looks like this:

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I cannot help but moving the new vanity in for a dry fit. Here is what we picked for the room:

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This beautiful shower pan has replaced the old moldy tub:

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What a transformation, isn’t it?

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With the tiling work out of the way, we are just a couple steps before putting the bathroom back together! We will be installing a seamless shower door similar to the one in our master bathroom here in just a couple weeks. Then, we will bring in the toilet, connect the sink vanity, and install the shower fixtures. While waiting for the shower door to arrive, we will finish the ceiling and doorway ourselves. It is nice to see the bath to-do list become much shorter now!

1. Demolition – removing all the fixtures and wall/floor materials;
2. Assessing the water damage and mold control;
3. Installing new bath window and insulating the exterior wall;
4. Removing the ceiling drywall from the attic, wiring for new recessed lights from the attic;
5. Upgrading wall electrical, including adding outlets and wiring new switches;
6. Installing a new exhaust fan;
7. Installing recessed lights and drywall the bathroom ceiling;
8. Upgrading the sewage pipe for toilet and shower;
9. Purchasing a new toilet, a new bidet, a sink/vanity, and sink and shower fixtures; Upgrading/installing water lines to all the fixture;
10. Upgrade master bath (basement) exhaust fan from above;
11. Installing new subflooring;
12. Pocket door framing and installation;
13. Drywalling around the pocket door to close off the entry wall;
14. Installing water-resistant wall on rest of the room and waterproofing;
15. Tiling and installing a new window stool;
16. Finishing/priming/painting entry wall drywall and ceiling;
17. Installing/painting pocket door trims;
18. Installing vanity light fixture, ceiling can lights, and outlet wall plates/covers;
19. Installing new glass shower door (by glass contractor on 6/1);
20. Installing all plumbing fixtures including toilet/bidet, vanity/sink, and shower trims (by our plumber in the week of 6/7).

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