Powder Room Remodel: (Almost Completely) Finished!

Remember the bathroom remodel we started Thanksgiving weekend? Well, it took plenty of blood (Robby’s), sweat (ours), and tears (mine), but it’s finally all but finished! Every single aspect of this project was more difficult than we expected, but I’m proud that we persevered and finished the work ourselves.

Our first challenge was the sink wall. We had to add blocking for the pedestal sink, one of the supply lines had a leak, and the pipes were off-center. Robby managed to get the blocking done with some creative geometry, and we got a plumber to replace the supply line valves, but the off-center pipes had us stumped.

The plumber said he could re-route things, but that it would be pretty expensive. Robby finally found the solution: an angled drain pipe that would allow us to center the sink on the wall without moving the pipes! Of course, the angled pipe had to be special-ordered, as did the parts we needed to connect our cast-iron plumbing (ugh) to our chrome p-trap. The plumbing took a couple of weeks (and about 8 trips to Home Depot, and some cuts on Robby’s hands), but we finally got everything figured out and installed.

The next challenge was installing the grasscloth wallpaper. I had carefully researched and ordered exactly enough to finish the bathroom, but the rolls that were delivered were several feet shorter than Amazon.com had described. That meant I didn’t have enough to cover all of the walls. :( So I called Amazon customer service, and ordered replacement rolls that were supposed to be longer…only to have Amazon send me the EXACT same (short) rolls. Argh. At that point, I gave up and just ordered an extra roll so I’d have enough to finish.

When we finally got started on the wallpaper-hanging, we quickly found that grasscloth is incredibly difficult to work with. Even though we used tons of paste, the paper kept peeling away from the walls. We eventually discovered that we could use heavy-duty staples to hold the paper on the wall while the glue dried, but Robby and I still ended up with cuts and scrapes on our hands from trying to smooth the rough paper down. We also found that it was nearly impossible to line up the edges correctly, probably because our walls are so crooked.

We encountered another problem when we had to put wallpaper behind the toilet. I had the idea to take the tank off to give us more room, but one of the bolts was completely rusted in place. Unfortunately, trying to get the rusted nut off caused a small leak. :( Robby was able to fix the leak eventually, but it definitely added time and stress.

Slowly-leaking toilet.

The wallpapering took much longer than we expected, and ended up consuming several of our evenings after work. The results aren’t perfect (we have a few spots where the old blue paint shows through; I plan to cover those with tan paint to make them less noticeable), but I love the way the new wallpaper looks:

Grasscloth wallpaper!

After we finished the wallpaper, it was time to install the sink. We had to use a hammer drill to put an anchor bolt into the concrete subfloor, but that actually turned out to be the easiest part of the whole project! Robby did a GREAT job getting the sink centered and the pipes and faucets attached:

We have a sink! And the water works!

At that point, all of the major fixtures were in place, and we were finally able to install the mirror, towel ring, and toilet paper holder. The mounting hardware for all 3 turned out to be very difficult to install (of course! why was I expecting anything different?!), but we finally got them all secured to the walls. And with a bit of accessorizing, the bathroom was finally presentable again!

Mirror, towel ring, and art over the new sink.

Other side of the sink. Sorry for the weird angles--I wanted to get a shot that didn't have me in the mirror, but the bathroom is too narrow! And I still need to paint the door white.

Old toilet and new paper roll holder.

We still have a few small things to finish (I need to touch up the spots where the blue paint shows through, and I want to paint the door white and add a couple of shelves above the toilet for storage), but for now we’re counting this project as completed. Special thanks to Robby for working so hard to make my vision a reality, and for persevering through all of the challenges…I love my handy husband!

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