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A bathroom Renovation or a Giant Headache?

So I have a little confession to make. There is a teeny tiny piece of me that thought this day would never come. You see, 3 long years ago we bought our poorly cared for home and have been renovating ever since, and our main bathroom was at the bottom of the list. Why? Because bathroom renovations are scary, especially when you know your home has had too many hack job fixes from previous owners; we just couldn’t bear another disaster.  But alas, we decided there was no way we could ever sell our home with all of its beautiful finishes and updated mechanicals, but leave our bathroom looking like this:

Bathroom Before

It was kind of an intimidating thing, this bathroom, even though, ironically, it is the second smallest room in our house. Our entire home has been a learning opportunity and so by the time we hit this room, we had a foundation of knowledge and multiple hours of research behind us! Off we went…taking the bathroom right down to the studs:

Bathroom Studs

I admit, there were several times where I told Duncan, “Let’s just hire someone to finish it!” But Duncan was persistent. And when this man does something, he definitely does it up right! We went from an 80’s inspired hack job and broken tiles to this…

Bathroom After 1Bathroom After 2

Bathroom After 3

Not too shabby, right? Would you think I was weird if I told you that I often find myself standing in the doorway to this masterpiece for no other reason than to stare at the bathroom? I do. It’s just so light, bright and clean looking that I think I might just live in there if it weren’t so little.

Now it is time to get a bit more real…

This bathroom was exactly what we had expected it to be; scary, full of previous owners hack jobs and at times, a bit of a nightmare. To be honest, there were many times we wanted to give up and call in the recruits but we persevered and only needed a tiny bit of help from our drywaller.

I remember being downstairs while Duncan was attempting to remove the tub from its tiny little area (clearly, I wasn’t being much help), and heard an odd sound. I turned around to find that our newly finished California ceiling in our kitchen was falling, bit by bit to the ground!! We later realized that because the previous owners had not secured the bathtub drain properly, that the pressure from the tub removal was pushing the drain through our ceiling which left our kitchen looking like this:

Ceiling Hole 2

I was immediately on the phone to our amazing drywaller who was at our house the very next morning to repair. Unfortunately, while we were in the kitchen and 6 feet away from original hole there was a leak surrounding one of our pot lights! I won’t lie… I freaked out just a little bit. I mean, wouldn’t you?

What we didn’t realize was that there was a shotty elbow joint below the subfloor. When we removed the old vanity, the small amount of water left in the pipes traveled a short distance and leaked through this joint causing ceiling damage in our kitchen. I wish we had a crystal ball to predict that was going to happen, but alas, we were $300 poorer due to a ceiling repair 🙁

Once the bathroom was gutted and the leaking subsided, we decided to take up the subfloor, piece by piece in order to replace the plumping. We wanted to ensure it was done properly and that we would not run into future issues. So glad we did! It was a mess! We found all sorts of things under the subfloor, including a piece of deck board, wedged in to keep the flange from moving! OOMMGG!!!


Despite the disasters faced with this renovation, we are so happy we went for it! I even find Duncan taking quite a few more baths than I’d ever known him to…but I don’t blame him, it’s just so pretty and peaceful!


When it came to the finishes, we knew we wanted to keep everything very neutral and light. As such we went with white and grey. Our newly renovated washroom certainly boasts a very modern and trendy look with the straight vs. staggered tile (thanks to my colleague, Amanda Lord for her suggestion). We considered adding a pop of colour in the shower curtain but being the woman I am, I, of course, changed my mind and went for an all white shower curtain with some texture to the material. I just LOVE it! Behind the shower curtain, you can catch Duncan’s amazing tiling job. He spent hours upon hours measuring, cutting and placing each piece so that it was exactly right. Is he good or what?


I am so thrilled to be able to say that this space is finished, but I’m even more excited that it turned out better than I ever could have imagined. Let’s be honest, Duncan is the real hero in this story. He has put so much blood, sweat, and tears into this space, and I am so proud of him and what he accomplished.