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  • cgallardo80


Updated: Dec 2, 2021

So in these chaotic times, while most of us are in quarantine, I think it's safe to say that many of us have been trying to find a way to use this time of "reflection" in a way that's most productive. Some people have caught up on their reading, some people have taken up or revisited hobbies, some have reignited long lost friendships and others (like my husband and my myself) decide to take on home improvement projects. Before we were quarantined, we had employed an old school contractor (the best kind of contractor in my opinion) who would end up renovating our children's bathroom into a modern slick show piece of a room. We were thrilled in fact that we decided, to hire them to renovate our master bathroom and what better time to conquer this project than RIGHT NOW.

Now it has to be said that the design approach to this project was very different in that we did reconfiguration to this space, in a way that we did not do with the children's bathroom. In their bathroom, we were talking about a much smaller room with limited options therefore we did not consider any reconfiguring of the space because it just wasn't option. Our master bathroom however, had much more real estate available, therefore, in this case, that possibility was on the table.

But before we even got to that point, we had started stockpiling the material and finishes that we were finding on sale, based on take off amounts that we derived from our measurements. We went back to our friends at good old Costco and picked up a TREMENDOUS amount of white subway tile that was on sale, with the idea being that most of the master bath would be shrouded in white subway tile with a darker charcoal grout for a more industrial, modern look. After acquiring all that material, in going through Costco's website we were able to come across on a deal for a distressed wood, double vanity with a quartz countertop (including sink hardware). The current master bath layout had one sink/vanity area for me directly across the entry to the bathroom with a triangular bathtub in the corner and then my husband's sink on the wall perpendicular to my sink/vanity wall. The arrangement was okay...but not anything we were married to. So when we also noticed a deal on a beautiful, modern freestanding bathtub also via, we decided to reconfigure the sink orientation and instead of having two separate vanities, have ONE long double vanity to allow space for the freestanding bathtub. Once ordered, we had it in our garage in probably approximately two weeks, max. And once we committed to the reconfiguration of the space, we determined that it was a good opportunity to update the basic bland beige flooring to a darker wood plank porcelain tile (similar to what we had already used in the past).

After that, the demolition and construction started to unfold. As construction went along, design decisions ended up being made very organically, based on our review of the progress on a day to day basis. And these included a multitude of decisions: The orientation of the flooring was decided based on the direction of the flooring from our master bedroom; The dowdy old medicine cabinet was removed but the niche was KEPT and cladded with subway tile; The shower enclosure doors were KEPT but the shower floor was redone and replaced with a new penny accent tile, to allow for the flooring to be pitched PROPERLY (the pitch was never done right when the house was built); A NEW niche was added within the shower enclosure that wasn't there before; A new modern rain shower head with side jet, as well as new toilet was purchased from; Two new mirrors were purchased from to sit centered above each sink; New towel hardware (including a hook for the back of the door for my fuzzy robes) was purchased from again,; Subway tile was decided to wrap around the WHOLE bathroom (including the toilet room) but the tile stopped at a certain height; From that point up, we decided to paint the walls a cool, blue-grey that worked with all the white and distressed wood in the space.

There were probably many other decisions made but those are the ones coming to mind right now.

So after approximately three weeks of dedicated, meticulous work, our master bathroom oasis was complete. There were some last minute cosmetic touches in the purchasing of plush white towels, a bamboo bathtub tray and plush bath mats (more cosmetic than anything else). In regards to the build out, in my experience in the field of architecture and construction, three weeks is NOTHING for the amount of work that went into this project. It's important to note that while subway tile can be a fairly inexpensive tile, the WORK involved to INSTALL all that tile work in a way that ensures that it is aligned in the proper fashion is not easy and not a fast process. I give all the credit in the world to all those skilled craftsman that are honed in their field and are able to do this kind of installation (and do it well at that). So grateful were we to our contractor and his assistant, that we made a big feast on Saturday night (the day the work was all done) and had them stay behind for a celebratory, "Thank You" dinner. I think they appreciated the meal (including my husband).

Now I know many would question if it was a safe idea to renovate our bathroom during this time of quarantine, since it is inviting someone into your home. To that I will say that we took as many precautions as possible in terms of limiting WHO was entering our household (only our trusted contractor and his assistant) and even then they would enter the house via the garage and then exit...via the bathroom window. I'm not kidding. Sometimes I would think they were still there and it would turn out that they had already exited out the window.

Talk about "She came in through the Bathroom Window" (old Beatles song reference, sorry).

But beyond that point, it's also satisfying to know that you're still putting money into the pocket of small businesses that are very much hurting right now during this pandemic. While larger corporate companies can more likely than not weather this storm, many small businesses will not survive this. That being said, if there's a way that any of us can help contribute to these smaller, reliable businesses, while minimizing the risk to ourselves, why not do it?

In any case, that's what we decided to do and every time I glance toward my master bathroom from my bedroom, I'm filled with satisfaction in knowing that we made a decision that not only added immense value to our home, but transformed the room to a space we can now enjoy. Now granted, I have not utilized that sculptural bathtub as of yet, but considering my bathtub tray is scheduled to arrive from Amazon today, I may be soaking in that bathtub sooner than I thought.

FYI, If you want to check out the full range of before, post demolition, construction AND after photos, feel free to go into my Pinterest Page and see the entire process (warts and all).

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1 Comment

Edward Rodriguez
Edward Rodriguez
Dec 07, 2021

This is great work Carol. Enjoyed working with you on this project. You have a great eye for details and design and all the work was done on time!

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