Going to the Bathroom Down Under : BEFORE

Australians don’t get too excited.  This post isn’t about you.

It’s about our bathroom in the basement.  We have one.  And last summer we fixed it up.  I forgot to tell you all about it.  Lately I’ve had bathrooms on the brain (more on that soon).  And then I thought – whoa there smelly nelly I gotta do one loo at a time.  So before we get all plan-y with a different bathroom…let’s talk about the one that was essential to my sister’s wedding.  (for those of you just joining us, my baby sis got married at our house last September and a bathroom always helps when you have over a hundred people chugging water to beat the Georgia heat.)

As you can see on the floorplan, the basement bathroom is near the back doors that lead into the backyard.  Since we were having a short part of the reception INSIDE the house we absolutely needed a bathroom.  In fact, it probably would have been helpful to have two but everyone was drunk chill enough to wait in line.  It’s the door on the right if you wanted to know :)

Plus, we were also going to have my brother Timmy and my brother Brad & his wife Tara stay with us in the basement (that’s not counting my sister, my father in law & his wife, my two nephews and a neice who were all upstairs with us) so we absolutely needed an additional shower.  But the basement bathroom was sorely lacking…well, everything….everything but tile that is.  It had plenty of that.

Yup – the entire bathroom was tiled.  Even the ceiling.  And thankfully it was also plumbed.  So the time&money-suck of plumbing didn’t have to happen.  It just needed fixtures and a flushable toilet.

I mean.  We are rednecks but we are a dash more classy than saying to all our guests – “Hey you, gotta pee?  Well, let me show you our hole…”.  Just a dash :)

We are fans of Kohler toilets.  Big fat flush-happy fans.  And so we rolled into Lowe’s and pulled out a pretty new toilet to take home.  We also picked out a nice new vanity that looked beautiful and thought – yup, we are awesome.  and practically done with this bathroom.

And we brought it home…punch drunk happy with our new purchases and discovered that our faux-DIY-confidence was shortlived.

The toilet didn’t fit.  The vanity top clashed with the tile undertones.

And we realized that very important step of ‘measuring’ would have come in handy.

Apparently all toilets have what is called a ‘rough in’ measurement.  It’s the measurement from the back of the toilet to the center of the hole where the you-know-what goes down.  Most of the toilets you see on the shelves of your local home improvement stores have a 12 inch rough in.

Now if your home was built with one wall put on the outside of a ‘line’ instead of the inside of that ‘line’ – you might end up with a 9.5 inch rough.  Inconvenient.  And a pretty costly wall.  So instead of using a standard toilet, we had to special order a toilet that had a 10 inch rough in…and PRAY that it would be just small enough to squeeze into our space while still getting a good seal.  Nobody wants the bathroom flooding during a wedding afterall.

So that’s our before story.  We were up to our eyeballs in painting, gardening the outside and throwing bridal showers and then the very empty bathroom threw us a curveball.

Ever forget to measure something only to find out that it was crucial to the project?  Or maybe you bought a vanity that clashed with your tile?  Or perhaps you are just still laughing about the photoshopped box in the Lowe’s cart :)



  1. Ann L says

    So speaking of the wedding, when are we gonna see a post/pics about that anyway? ;)

    You know, we just bought a toilet (okay okay it was around a month ago and it’s sitting on our enclosed front porch still) and I didn’t think to measure…hmmmm…I hope it fits, we are supposed to install it before we leave for vacation in 2 weeks! Ack!

    • says

      I will probably share the few photos that I took this coming week…but be warned – it doesn’t cover any of the ceremony or after…apparently the matron of honor’s outfit shouldn’t include a seven pound Canon camera :)
      xo – kb

  2. says

    I am the queen of not measuring things! Or sometimes when I actually do measure, I’ll leave the slip of paper at home which is not helpful. Can’t wait to see the bathroom afters!

  3. says

    Your toilet mishap makes me nervous about redoing one of our guest bathrooms. There is nothing I hate more than returning items. And the thought of retuning a toilet makes me want to drown my sorrows in cheese fondue. I am looking forward to the final product!

  4. Kate says

    My dad was trying to fix our basement toilet too- and for some reason ours didn’t fit as well! Now, he has mcguyvered the old toilet to work again, but it sure was a pain in the but not having one for a while :)

  5. Liz says

    Totally learned the toilet lesson the hard way too……can’t wait to see the “after” photos and maybe even some photos of the wedding (cuz what I’ve seen so far looks beyond fabulous :) )

  6. says

    Well that sucks. Doesn’t the not measuring step feel like such a rookie mistake? We didn’t measure our old cabinets before building our new ones. So we assumed all cabinets were 36 inches plus the counters. Not so! Typically cabinet plus counters equals 36 inches. For us that meant we had an inch gap between above our dishwasher: http://ourhumbleabowed.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/a-washer-of-dishes/ fortunately a little trim fixed that. It’s too bad you had to order a custom toilet. But the photoshopped box is awesome and doesn’t look at all fake. Nice work!

  7. says

    Ha! Ours was 10.5 in. I guess that’s what is to be expected when having a 50 year old house. Quirks – that’s for sure!

    Bathroom…..hmm…are you morning sick….seeing lots of trip to the loo? We’ve been trying, but haven’t had any luck yet.

    • says

      Nope. And I ask people to stop asking…mostly because I get even more down in the dumps that we aren’t preggo yet. I guess one year of trying is nothing to a lot of people though :)
      xo – kb

      • says

        I’m with you on hoping people stop asking… every major holiday or non-major visit to my grandma’s she pats my pudge and asks if i’m preggers, most of the time she asks just as i’m super bloated for pms too… we’re about to hit 2 years of trying so the constant asking got old quickly!

        oh, and of all the weirdness in your house, i’m surprised people are shocked at the tiled ceiling, our basement bathroom has hvac ducts and a hard-wired light fixture running through the built-in shower…

      • erika m says

        If you are having trouble but don’t want to do anything too medically dramatic…you might check out the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”. It is very empowering and might point out some things you didn’t think about….it was an eyeopener for me anyways. Basically alot of anatomy, testimonies, and teaching you how to chart should you go that way…there is also the fertiltyfriend.com website. Wishing you good things!

      • Nicole says

        Wow, so sorry, I had no clue!

        I guess everyone makes the mistake of asking a person “Are you pregnant?” once in their life before they learn not to ask…

  8. says

    Am I reading things or does that toilet box read “Bower”. That’s amazing.

    I NEVER in a bajillion years would have thought to measure that! Ever.

      • Angela says

        You are such a photoshop pro! I thought that box was cute, that it’s the one you needed & it has ‘Bower Power’ on it….never stopped to think Why? it would have “Bowe”r as part of the marketing. I’m so silly! Luckily I have a tradie husband who knows about rough-ins & things. Measuring & installation just kinda “happens” around here without much input from me. Although we (HE) do get measurements wrong. :-) And yes, as a proud Australian you did grab my immediate attention with that title.

  9. says

    We just bought a new refrigerator {totally unplanned} without measuring. We are getting it tomorrow and I am praying that it actually fits. I would never think to measure the hole for the toilet. Good thing to know though since we are starting a basement renovation that includes a bathroom.

  10. Christine says

    Because of this post title, I’m listening to Down Under by Men at Work.

    Best. Song. Ever.

    Can’t wait to see the “after”. I also can’t believe you’ve been holding on to this bathroom makeover all this time!

  11. says

    Kate bower you know me to a T lol. I WAS still laughing at the photo shoped box. so much so that I had to get the giggles out before I could go back and re-read the post because by the time I pulled it together I forgot what was going on . -.- thanks for the post.

  12. says

    You know you could always come ‘Down Under’ for a visist. I’m sure you have enough Aussie readers that accomodation wont be an issue. I live in Brisbane about an hour from Australia Zoo(The Crocodile Hunters Zoo) and we have two extra rooms. Imagine how much fun Will would have there!

  13. says

    A) you are a photoshop freaking master! 2) that all tile bathroom is very European. When I was studying abroad in Italy, our bathroom was like that and there was nothing separating the shower from the rest of the room so when you showered everything got wet including the toilet and sink…kinda silly to us, but I guess it was normal over there! I’m surprised there’s not a spot for a bidet!

  14. says

    I do not want to find out what size toilet I need to replace my current one. I’m using the original toilet installed in my house back in 1941 and it’s time is coming. I’m worries I’ll need to custom make a toilet out of paper mache to fit but that won’t be very functional because of that whole water issue.

  15. Jen says

    Your photoshopped box got me thinking about Bower. Does your husband have German heritage? Spelt differently but pronounced the same, Bauer translates to builder and it would be so fitting for your family.

    On a tile note. I don’t think it is that odd that a basement batheroom would have a tiled celing if there is a shower. Assuming the ventilation is not so good, the tile will be much easier to keep clean than paint and the moistrue won’t cause it to chip or mold like paint. My parents tiled the celing over their shower years ago and it makes a huge difference in upkeep.

  16. says

    Ohhh yepp!

    Went to ikea to buy a sofa which I believed would fit into our landrover discovery (very long car)…. But no. It . Didn’t . Fit . I had to sit with my face practically pushed up to the windscreen for the hours journey home.

    Oh and when I ordered us a new bed… And it was too big to fit in our bedroom! Oops!

  17. Carol says

    Thanks for the toilet tip!! We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen, half bath/laundry room & had decided to do all the demo to save money…unfortunately the money saved will be going to new subfloor, luan(for kitchen, hall, bathroom, dining room & part of the familyroom). When tearing out the kitchen sink/dishwasher, we discovered mold on the drywall & subfloor. So we tore out the drywall, luan & all the subfloor…we even need to replace part of the plywood in that area – really hoping the floor joists are ok. In the bathroom, we tore out the vanity only to discover the wall next to it was covered in black mold. After gently removing that section of drywall (& discovering rotted out/dry 2×4 that the wall was built on) I discovered that the pvc drain pipe that drains all the water from the 2nd story has a nail or screw hole in it!!! Oh the joy of remodeling a 1975 house. But anyway, the reason I’m writing is to find out the color of the paint that you used on the walls in the basement (also is it a satin?) and the color you used for the trim? Loving the colors you used. Thanks for you help!! Wish me luck in picking out paint colors for all these rooms we’re redoing!!

  18. says

    Ha I was reading that whole thing like “wait… she’s not going to point out that awesome photoshop?!” Nice, Katie. :) And yes – I’m always just buying things and then having to re-buy them in the proper size. Shoot I still buy the wrong size glue sticks for my glue gun and get all the way to the point of trying to jam a big one into a small hole before realizing my mistake. And plumbing is just a nightmare – why can’t they just make everything uniform? Ya know… one size fits all? I mean not only did we have to worry about toilet height (my parents replace theirs with the super tall ones that always make me feel like a toddler when I’m visiting), but now we have to figure out the rough in measurements. Sigh…

  19. says

    Yea yea yea! I’ve been waiting patiently to hear all about this bathroom! Our foreclosure house needs 3 full bathroom renos. The first we were luckly enough to have the DIY Network show Bath Crashers do for us, (http://oneprojectatatime.blogspot.com/2011/06/bath-crashers-ambush.html) and we literally just got started on our second yesterday. I can’t wait to see what you did with yours!

    Also- I’d really love to see more pictures of the tent from the wedding, tablesettings, etc… if you’re willing to share! Thanks!

  20. says

    When we renovated our two bathrooms, our plumber roughed everything in properly. Thank goodness! My husband wouldn’t have measured either. Lots of swearing would have been involved in this project.

    I sincerely hope there’s an “after” pretty soon – I don’t like to be kept waiting! LOL :)

  21. Gina says

    The SAME THING happened to us with the toilet when we were re-doing our basement bathroom!! We had no idea the toilet rough-in wasn’t “standard”. We didn’t even know it was possible that a rough-in could be a different distance from the wall. We ended up having to special order a toilet at Home Depot, but we made the guy meticulously look through the special order catalog until we found one we could afford that wouldn’t need to be plunged every time it was flushed. I still laugh a little about our rookie mistake of not measuring that rough-in! We measure everything several different ways now just in case.

  22. says

    I thought the box was real, too. The only thing that clued me in was that you didn’t mention it in your post. Because I know that if I ran across a toilet that said “Krieger Power” I would have gone up and down the aisle at Lowe’s saying, “Look! this toilet has MY LAST NAME ON IT!!!” and then MADE the toilet fit!

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