October 1, 2012

better, much better

When we moved into the house, the only room that I just, ugh, hated, was the upstairs bathroom. It doesn't look that terrible in the photos, just outdated, but trust me, up close it was bad. It hadn't been updated at all since the house was built and then on top of that had been used by short term renters for years, so it was pretty gross. The tiles around the toilet were different than the rest of the room, the caulk had failed around the tub and was missing completely around the toilet. The cabinets were cheap fake wood, the wall paint was faded and stained and had a horrible stencil around the top. It was just, yuck.

At some point we plan to totally redo this room. We've got visions of herringbone tile and a claw foot tub, a more efficient toilet, a new sink and cabinet and a laundry center with a stacking washer and dryer to better use the space. Something like this.

But all of that is down the road. WAY down the road. So in the meantime something really had to be done about the bathroom. Something inexpensive enough and quick enough that it could be done now, amidst floor ripping up, winter prepping and various other projects we have a-going, but good enough to last us at least a few years. Renovating is often like that, balancing what you need to do now against what you really want to do in the future.

Over the course of a few nights last week we painted the walls and trim with the same white we used downstairs. I like this white. It's really a very very pale grey and just looks right to my eyes, plus we had a gallon of each of the wall and trim paint left over from the living room. Will gouged out most of the bad caulk and redid everything except for the floor to tile edge and we painted the faux wood cabinet and mirror with some paint that we are trying out for another project in the house. Just the paint made a huge difference. The room was lighter without the yellow-tinted white and the green trim, and the tub looked clean and usable. But the floor was still pretty bad.

So this weekend, along with ripping out the rest of the carpet which FINALLY is finished, we tiled the floor with new stick-down tiles.

We'd never tried this type of tile before, in the past we've used regular stick down tiles for bathroom projects, they are great for small spaces where you don't want to break out the real tile and grout.But these are both vinyl tile AND tile that you grout. So you get a more "real tile" look, I guess.

Will scraped the remaining caulk from around the base of the tub and we set the tiles, starting at the bathtub end. I know you're supposed to start in the center of a room with tile but I hate having cut edges at both walls, so we started along one wall and it worked out well. Just like with "real" tile, we used spacers between the tiles, but since once they are down they are pretty stuck, it would have been pretty easy to just eye the spacing by lining up all the corners. The tile cut easily with both a knife (for straight lines) and scissors (for rounded holes) making it MUCH easier than ceramic tile. This morning I put in the grout which was, well, grout, so nothing fancy there.

I'm pretty happy with the look. In fact, if I didn't have it in my head to renovate the room one day, I'd be perfectly happy with the bathroom as is (but oh, I so want a claw foot tub again!). I still have to seal the grout and Will needs to caulk around the tub and toilet, but for a few boxes of vinyl tile and some leftover paint, I think the impact is pretty darn good. Let's just hope these newfangled grouted vinyl tiles hold up. Anyone else used them?

PS, sorry for the dim after photos. It's dark and stormy here today and I couldn't seem to get good lighting in there, but you get the picture, right?