Main Bathroom Repair / Remodel
The photograph below left shows
the entire vanity area soon after installation.
The shelves to the left of the sink did not have a
door nor did the original medicine cabinet on the
wall below the light fixture
While the contractors were working, I refurbished
the medicine cabinet and painted it white.
I also made a door for the medicine cabinet.
After the shelves were installed, I also made a door for
them. The cabinet makers did not make the door
because the original shelves did not have one.
Remember this was an insurance claim.
I had a light fixture that matched the light
fixtures I have recently installed throughout the
house. I had to buy a glass shade because the
original glass shade had broken. I bought a mirror that matches the mirror I
bought for the vanity in the downstairs laundry room.
I also went online and purchased side splashes for
the sink. The vanity was not square and there was a
gap between the top of the counter and the wall
on the right which was a huge area where water could get into.
Before wallpaper on cabinet doors
After wallpaper and moulding on cabinet
Not only did I add the side
splashes, I put some moulding along the top and it
was caulked and painted to match the walls. No
water was going to get in any cracks on my watch by
Then I looked at the room. The one thing that
struck me was that it was just TOO white. I
then came up with the idea to do something to the
two cabinet doors I had made. I was thinking
about some of those cool removable vinyl stick-ons
they have now. So I looked at a few website for
something that would add a little color but not be
too tacky looking. I then came up with the idea
of using one of the textured wallpapers I had seen
I did not want to use the beadboard I had used on my
laundry room cabinets. Frankly, I
was tired of working with the beadboard paper.
I decided on a pattern called
Fossil Leaf Textured Wallpaper which I
picked up at Lowe's. The picture of the wallpaper
online looks brown. I took a photograph
(below) of the wallpaper on the cabinet to show what
it actually looks like. It is mostly white
with leaf textures (hey, like a fossil!) With a
little green, yellow, and gray for color.
For the brown moulding I added on the cabinet doors,
I bought some thin decorative moulding and spray
painted it the color, metallic hammered brown. I
then glued the moulding on top of the glued
wallpaper with wood glue. I also added the
brown decorative moulding along the counter top
moulding. I am still debating on whether to
add the wallpaper and moulding to the vanity doors.
A word on cutting this thin moulding. I ended
up cutting the wood with a small pruning shear. The
table saw or my hack saw kept splitting the wood. My
heavy duty scissors were not strong enough and were
hard on the hands.
fossil leaf textured wallpaper
Wallpapered door frame
I carried the wallpaper/moulding
idea to the inner door frame. We decided to
remove the door here because it just did not make
any sense. The area is so small that you had
to step inside by the toilet or inside the bathtub
to close it. When the door was open, you could not
have a towel rack right where you needed it, outside
of the shower. A pocket door might have been a good
idea, but there was electrical and the medicine
cabinet in the wall. So off with the door. I
took out the door stop moulding, scraped the frame
smooth, and then applied the wallpaper and brown
The light fixture was also changed in this inner
section of the bathroom. There used to be a
round glass fixture. The ceiling in here is
only 7' high. My husband is over 6'. The old light
fixture was only a couple inches above his head.
If you are drying yourself in this area it was very
possible to whack the old light fixture with your
hand. This new light has a lower profile and
has a cover made of plastic for safety.
After the vanity had been installed, I was done with
the contractors for this part of the insurance
claim. However, there was another area of this
bathroom that still needed repair. The bathtub
wall tile. This was not part of the original
insurance claim because this damage was done years
There used to be a soap dish attached to
the shower wall. My husband slipped one day in
the shower and he grabbed this soap dish handle on
the way down.
You guessed it, the whole soap dish came out of the
with a big chunk of tile wall around it. The
soap dish was not attached to any studs.
Sigh.... He tried to patch it up. Tried.
There was also some caulking he had attempted to do
between the wall and tub that
needed to be removed and re-caulked.
Damaged tile shown on left and attempted caulk job
The photograph below shows the
bathtub wall below the bathroom window after I did
the demolition on it. I pulled off and saved all of
the good tiles and pulled out all of the old
insulation. I used the same contractor I had
been using, to
repair this wall.
The problem I had at this
point was that I could not find any replacement
tiles. Too old. The original tile was
Daltile, who is still in business and
even manufactures some of their tiles here in town.
They also have a showroom here in El Paso. I went
to visit the store to confirm that the tile I had
was no longer being made and to see if there was an
alternative. I did need to purchase some tiles
and decided to create a design on the wall with a
different color to make up for the
tiles I was missing. The Daltile store here
normally does not do retail sales. They work
primarily with contractors. However, when I
explained my predicament the manager of the store
allowed me to special order a case of tiles. I
selected a brown color (Elemental Tan) to match the decor in the
Completed demolition on the tile wall in bathtub
|The other problem in this
bathroom was the single glass aluminum
window. The caulking around the window
We have already been replacing
windows in other areas of the house so I
decided that this would be a good time as
any to replace this one, now that the whole
bathroom had been repaired.
Window World and ordered a double
glass vinyl window.
Repaired tile wall and replacement window
photo on the left shows the repaired tile
wall and the vinyl window.
The rotted piece of wood along the tub rim
was removed, new insulation was installed,
and cement board was attached to the studs
before the tile was placed on.
I peeled off all of the old silicone caulk
in the corners and along the edge of the tub
and re-caulked it.
I opted for clear glass in this bathroom
because the window is high and no one can
see in it. If they could, they would
only see a head. I also enjoy looking
at the Franklin Mountains that are visible
from this side of the house when I shower.
I later added some
removable window film in an etched glass
floral pattern. It helps diffuse the sun in
the western sky.
I removed the iron bars outside of the
window when the window was installed.
If a burglar chooses this window to break
into the house, good luck trying to scale
the outside wall first!
The only problem I had with the window
installation was the amount of silicone they
used. They really piled it on and not
too neatly. A week later, the
silicone was still wet in areas. It
took me a couple of hours to remove the
silicone on the inside and reapply it
Because of the safety issues with this
slippery tub, two grab bars were added.
The obvious one on the main wall
and one above the area where you step into the tub.
All of the grab bars are securely fastened to the
studs. I also had the big grab bar angle down
towards the tub. The tub is not easy to get
out of without something to hold on to. Now you can
pull yourself up with two hands if needed.
The shower door was tossed. The only advantage
it had, was when we gave the dogs a bath. The
shower door kept them confined until they were dried
off. I opted for a shower curtain which keeps
the water in just fine. All areas around the bathtub
are sealed with silicone caulk. But what about the doggy
baths? We use the master bath now.
The last thing this
bathroom needed was something above the
toilet. I spent hours looking at over-the-toilet storage shelves. The ones
with the legs would not work because many of
their cross supports hit right where my
plumbing was behind the toilet. From past experience
with these shelves, they tend to get wobbly
after a while. There is also the
hassle of cleaning around the legs.
Again I decided to custom make a cabinet. It
measures 25" x 30" and is 12" deep. The
height includes the built in towel bar.
I store toilet paper and bath items in it.
So if I am using either the toilet or bath and run out of
something, I only have to reach up or out of
the bathtub to reach it. It also keeps
the top of the toilet uncluttered.
There is one removable shelf inside,
like the laundry room cabinets.
The shelf is hung on a French cleat and can
be removed if needed.
I added the wallpaper and brown trim to the
doors to tie the cabinet into the front
section of the bathroom.
This area of the wall had a towel
bar before. I decided to add this feature to
the cabinet. The bar is a wooden dowel, spray
painted with the same brown paint as the decorative
trim moulding. The dowel can be lifted out if
installed towel bars against the long wall
and added a couple of metal art prints by
Jean Plout off of the
Fine Art America website.
This website is great. Artists upload
digital images of their artwork. A
customer can then select the size and medium
they want the print displayed on.
I decided upon the metal prints instead of
print or canvas because I wanted something
waterproof in this room.
If you have not guessed by now, I decided to
decorate the bathroom with a dragonfly
theme. I looked for a variety of metal
dragonflies to decorate the walls.
I found some smaller life-sized garden
dragonflies and attached them to a couple of
light fixtures. A faux fern was added
to a planter on top of the shelf cabinet.
I added a couple of non-skid rugs
and I was done....for now.
The only thing left to do was to replace the bathtub
faucet, showerhead, and bath spout. I am going
to have a plumber do these, if they last that long,
when I have the plumbing done during the kitchen
While I still had the contractor
on my speed dial, another water leak issue came up
regarding the master bathroom.
See the master