• Bre Bardenwerper

Every Project Has it’s Challenges One Room Challenge- Week 3

Every renovation is different. Some are big and some small, some require lots of tedious steps, and others only require a fresh coat of paint. But one thing remains constant in the world of renovation- they all have their own challenges.

Its week three of the One Room Challenge, and this week we are getting real honest about our bathroom renovation thus far. From the little things that seem simple to fix, to the bigger problems like budget, spacing, and so much more.

If you missed the previous weeks of the One Room Challenge, you can find them here to catch up on our journey.

Week One- Little Bathroom for a Little Boy

Week Two- Southern Traditional with a Twist

The majority of our renovation problems have ultimately been caused by one larger problem… the size of the bathroom- or lack thereof. Landon’s bathroom is tiny.

Just as a reminder, or for anyone new around here, Landon and my daughter share a Jack and Jill bathroom. They each have a room with a toilet and vanity, and they share a middle room with a shower/tub combo. But I’m not exaggerating when I say that the bathrooms are teeny tiny. I’m talking 4’x 6.5’. The small and unique size of this bathroom caused quite a few smaller problems too.

Starting with the before pictures. We quickly realized that photographing this room is nearly impossible because of the size and layout. The vanity takes up an entire wall, and the toilet is directly opposite it. The other two walls have parallel doors that either enters his bedroom or shower room. It’s tricky to get a picture that shows a decent angle, and so far it has been impossible to get one overall image of the space. This problem will definitely take some creativity when it is time to capture the reveal.

The size also caused some problems when planning the design for the space. With such a lack of space to work with my main concern became one thing. How do I make a design statement with such a small canvas? I wanted to combine traditional elements with an updated twist. I wanted a statement. I wanted a wow factor. But I also wanted simplicity. How do you get all of that in a 4ft. nothing space? It took some real planning.

Which leads me to another challenge we had. I loved the idea of making a big statement in a small space by using ceiling to floor navy beadboard. I thought that it would give a moody feel to the space and work well as a contrast to his white bedroom. However, after testing some paint colors, I was nervous that the room would be way to dark because it has no window and therefore, no natural light. We decided to only put the navy beadboard half way up the walls except on the vanity wall. The remaining sheetrock is painted white. Honestly, it was the best move for the design. It looks great, brightens the space, and give the simplicity factor and lets larger design elements catch your eye.

And speaking of painted sheetrock, consider it problem number 5. When we moved into this house, Landon’s bathroom was covered in girly wallpaper. One day while babysitting my kids, my mother-in-law decided to be the big-hearted woman she is and remove it all. This saved us hours of work, and to say we were thrilled is an understatement! However, the problem that presented itself was the condition of the walls once the wallpaper was removed. The walls were pretty badly damaged. Chunks of sheetrock had been pulled off with the wallpaper, and in some areas, the tool we had used to score the last stubborn bits of wallpaper had dug into the wall.

When we planned to cover the entire bathroom with beadboard we knew it would all get covered, but once we make the choice to paint the top half, I knew we needed some serious work on the sheetrock.

It’s a good thing I love those tedious tasks like using sheetrock putty to basically create a whole new surface. (I know, I’m weird… I just really love a drastic change and seeing what hard work can accomplish.)

And while we are talking about paint, all the trim and vanity paint was all oil based. Is this a huge problem? No, but trust me its annoying. I hate painting with oil based paints because they are thick and take so much longer to ensure you don’t get paint drips. But there are two solutions to this problem. 1: Prime every surface, and then use a latex paint (your standard wall paint.) or 2: suck it up and use oil-based paint, and have one less coat to do.

I did both. On the vanity, I primed it and then painted it with the same navy wall paint that we used on the beadboard. This is simply because I wanted it to be an exact match. On the trim work and doors I used oil-based paint to save myself the extra step.

A little side note for anyone who may be considering using oil-based paint in a tiny room with no ventilation… don’t. Just don’t.

Okay, problem number…I don’t even know because I’ve lost count- the vanity. It takes up half the space. It’s a custom size, so no pre-fabricated top would fit, and we even looked into buying a whole new one, but nothing would fit the space right. Yet another problem all to do with the size of the bathroom, but we figured it out. We kept the original vanity, obviously, and painted it, and had a custom counter top cut for it. We also got a new sink and plan to add new hardware.

The counter top proved to be a challenge on its own because of size, budget, and design ideas. As discussed in a previous post, I wanted the side splash of the counter to have a curved or “scalloped” edge. When we had the counter top company come and measure I knew that we would need to fill a gap in the door trim where the original side splash was. However, when we got the countertop in, it didn’t fill the gap, so I will have to figure out what to do about this.

Other than that the countertop is stunning, and I really love it!

The other problem we had was the budget. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Landon is four. Even though I want him to have a great bathroom, I don’t want to spend a fortune on it. Especially since there are changes that we will make later on- like flooring. So my question and problem was, where do I spend the bulk of our budget on a 4 year olds bathroom? What would make the biggest statement? For me, it was the countertop. When I realized that we weren’t going to get a new vanity, I wanted to make the original one look more high-end. That can be done with a gorgeous slab. About half the budget went into that one piece. Which meant that we needed to save somewhere else. We ended up saving on the floor because we already had the peel and stick vinyl tiles that we agreed would work nicely with the design and be a good “filler” until a later date when we really upgraded the flooring. I don’t love the idea of a peel and stick tile, but it looks great when its down, and with Landon being so young, its nice to know that he can spill anything on it and it will be fine!

The floor is also proving itself to be a challenge because it requires some pretty intricate cuts to lay around the trim. We don’t want to take it off since its just a peel and stick floor, but also we want it to look good… so we will see how it turns out.

A little peek into what we have done.

Needless to say, we have had our fair share of challenges with this project.

It just goes to show that professionals and designers have problems in renovation, but it isn’t a reason to avoid revamping a space. Its in incredible way to challenge yourself, learn a new skill, or build your creative problem solving ability; and when you finish your project, you are able to appreciate the work that went into it. Problems and mistakes will happen, but it makes the end result that much sweeter.

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