Going to the Bathroom Down Under : DURING

I know you just want to see the befores and afters of this bathroom renovation but since I’m in charge here (and apparently my head is swollen with power!  oh wait…giant is my normal headsize…right.)  I wanted to explain some of the inbetween details that get lost in the mix if you just give the milk without selling the cow…or whatever.

We are in the bathroom together again today.  Not as perverted as it sounds.

Our basement bathroom started out as a tiled box.  Floor, walls, ceiling – all with a neutral tile that was in good shape – and let’s be honest, we can’t afford to replace all that and probably wouldn’t choose to even if we could because this bathroom was low on the priority list.   In fact, it was only on the renovation docket because my sister’s wedding (which you all know happened here last September) and her 100+ guests needed a loo.

I told you guys yesterday about our toilet/vanity missteps…only to return everything to the store and go back to the drawing board when it came to budget and plan of attack.  We did have one thing that we knew was pretty set in stone - this vanity bar light from Lowes.   It was under $30…and it reminded me of this much more fancy Pottery Barn light that was close to $160…but still needed glass shades.

We installed it and used some cheap $5 bubble glass shades….not completely sold on the glass shades even now…so they might get exchanged for something a little more frosty :)

On the other side of the bathroom there is a full shower.  Nice, right?  But no shower head and no shower curtain.  Time to get crackin…So the first thing we did was turn off our water supply and drain any excess in the pipes….

The shower head arm screws into the shower pipe inside the wall…and was polished nickel – but we were going for an oil-rubbed bronze finish in here (to compliment the tans in all that tile)…so out it had to come…

All you do is unscrew it from the wall…easy peasy wrenchy squeezy…

We chose this Delta shower fixture for three reasons…one – it was ORB…B – it was on sale (under $100)…and quatro – it was Delta.  Little fun fact for ya, if your previous shower fixture was Delta – a new Delta fixture is easier to install than switching to another brand.

First we prepped the new arm – a little Teflon tape got wrapped around the ends…(we accidentally did it around the wrong end at first so it needs it only on the end that goes into the shower wall)…

And after a couple twists of the wrench and slipping the cover plate back on, it looks brand new…

And then per the instructions (always a good thing to read those) the shower head screws on and is ready for use.


Now time for the shower faucet…

The existing one was polished nickel again – so it had to go.  BUT it was Delta – good news for us, since when replacing a Delta with a Delta – you can just switch out the plates and the handle without having to mess with any inner mechanisms.

So we simply unscrewed the silver and popped on the bronze (per the instructions – man, gotta love that these aren’t Ikea instructions) and wah-la!

What’s your name pretty lady? :)

We also popped on the shower curtain rod and the shower curtain from our old house.  It is really low with this ceiling but since we were trying to save some hardearned dough, using what you have is a great solution.

Now time for the vanity.

The first time around, we bought this vanity from Lowe’s.  It was on sale at the time (about $300) and I loved the extra storage, the clean lines and the dark vanity with light countertop combo.  I thought it would set off a dark faucet like side-cinching on a Kardashian.

As you know, the countertops undertones clashed with the tile undertones.  FAIL.

So then we saw this similar vanity at Home Depot for close to the same price with a mirror.   Of course, we continued stalking the vanity until it went on sale (down to $269) but there was still something missing.  My Kardashian side-cinching if you will.  The vanity top would be dark.  And I wanted light.  So as I sat there in the Home Depot (letting Will wonder the aisles alone…sike!…he had to sit there with me screaming.)  I saw a different vanity (there’s no online link for it) – and it had everything I wanted and was still on sale.

Light countertop…check.

Darker base…check.  (although not ebony or dark walnut like the previous choices – more like a Cognac color)

36″ wide…check.

Clean lines…check.

On sale with the mirror included….check!

I picked it up, brought it home, Jer installed right away and we went to work adhering the top to the cabinet.

A little Liquid Nails, a little heavy lifting….

A little careful placement and some weight on top…a little heavy breathing at the hotness of my boyfriend…

And one faucet installation later – we had a sparkling new vanity ready for guests. (oh and I picked up the white hand towels at Bed Bath & Beyond on clearance for in here…with a coupon, they turned out to be only 80 cents a piece!).

Now came time for the mirror installation.  Actually it was my neighbor’s genius idea on how to install this bad boy…

You simply take a couple scraps of wood and glue them to the tile above the bullnosed accent tile.

It helps to use duct tape to secure them while they dry…

The key here is to create a place to rest the back of the mirror so that the angle of the mirror is down toward whatever you want to see on your face…don’t tell me what that is.  That is between you and the bathroom mirror.

After they dry, you can remove the duct tape and use the blocks like they are anchors for your mirror.

Note the wedge shape – that helps the mirror stay flush and not wobble…

We attached the mirror to the blocks with your standard mirror hanging brackets and hooks.

Last but certainly not least was our toilet.  We had the rough-in issue to begin with…then we couldn’t get a Kohler without a special order ($$$) through our local home improvement store…plus, the timing would have taken forever.  So we got just a tank from Lowe’s and ordered the base part of the toilet from Amazon.  Amazing what you can find on there, isn’t it?

Jer cleaned up the old mess and used a new wax ring for the toilet installation.

Then he pressed that bad boy into place and fastened the screws on the side to bolt it down.  (here’s an old post on how to install a toilet if you want more details).

Then he fastened the new tank to the toilet base…

We also had to buy a toilet seat separately but in the end, it all cost less than buying the whole thing as a special order item.

WHEW!  A lot of info, huh?

Well, it will be worth it because later today I wanna show you the afters to our bathroom work.  Eww…that sounds gross if you don’t know the context :) Stay tuned!

p.s.  Miss the before photos?  Here’s the post on where we started!    Want more bathroom renovation goodness?  Check out some renovations we did in the past – here, here, and here.



  1. Sally says

    I LOVE the vanity! I am actually looking for two similar to this to replace my heinous builder double vanity. Do all of the drawers function, or are some of them dummies? I will have to check out my HD asap! Thanks for posting!


  2. Katie says

    I have that same exact shower curtain and I looove it (Thanks BB&B)! I rent and have moved around quite a bit and it has gone with every god awful color the bathrooms have been at the different rentals! I found it on sale and I’m glad someone like you, with such excellent taste (given that you love bacon and all..) also has the same one! :)

  3. Katie N. says

    Looks awesome! I love the vanity!

    But, the real question is, when are we going to see some pictures from the wedding? :)

    • says

      I’m hoping Friday will be the day I can get them all done by to share…there isn’t many – but you’ll see her low-key tablesetting :)
      xo – kb

  4. Raylan says

    I had the same undecided feeling forever when it came to clear glass shades, so I used spray on glass frosting (found in the spray paint section). I used painter’s tape to mark off vertical stripes. I supposed you could go totally crazy with stenciling/taping/spraying. Sometimes it’s just the little things that make the biggest difference, right?

  5. jenn says

    i’m really surprised you didn’t use a ball and cock joke during a toilet post. it’s pretty much my favourite part of a toilet and i say it as often as is appropriate. :D

  6. says

    I’m assuming that you have a lot of experience with Liquid Nails and/or tiling. How heavy is the mirror? Do you have any worry of it pulling free either from the point of the tile or the blocks?

    I’ve never used Liquid Nails, but most of my (many) mishaps involve something pulling free. I’ll give anything a shot.

    • says

      Well we gave it at least 24 hours to dry – so that might be a trick for letting the glue cure…but it is definitely sturdy. I would say the mirror is light enough for me to lift – so maybe 30 lbs?
      xo – kb

  7. Karin K says

    I can’t get over the mirror mounting trick! Does the liquid nails really hold the mirror up? I mean, I know the boyfriend mounted the mirror to the wood blocks, but those are only attached to the wall by the liquid nails, right? Amazing! The room looks so good!

    • says

      Yup! The mirror is attached to the studs in the traditional way (wire and picture framing kit) but the wood blocks are only attached via liquid nails. It’s remarkably sturdy too.
      xo – kb

  8. Eileen says

    I’m always in awe how you put all the pieces together. It looks great! :)

    I am wondering about the toilet install link….. did I miss it? I do that sometimes. I tried to search for it myself, but failed miserably. Do you remember approx. what date it was?

  9. Tad says

    “No Shoes, No Shirt, and I still get service.”
    “I’m sexy and I know it.”

    Sorry, I couldn’t help myself:)

  10. Jennifer says

    Hey Katie–
    The bathroom looks lovely. I also have a thing for a light countertop with a dark vanity.

    I also had a brainstorm when I reached “easy peasy wrenchy squeezy”– have you discovered the “Monkey with a Tool Belt” books by Chris Monroe? http://www.amazon.com/Monkey-Tool-Belt-Chris-Monroe/dp/0822576317/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1327594185&sr=1-1

    I *think* your whole family would LOVE them given your penchant for tools and fun-with-rhyming.

  11. LCole says

    More vanity action, please! I’ve been searching and yours is perfect! Do you happen to have any additional info like the model name and maker? I’ll look a lot less crazy asking a Home Depot associate for help with that info versus, “You know. The one on Bower Power.” Thanks!

  12. Heather says

    Unsolicited advice warning: I recently bought the same globes for a chandelier put them up and my 8 year old right away said the white sockets didn’t match lol I grabbed a small paint sample that looked like ORB and with a small paint brush slapped some paint around dem socket and it looks soooo much better. Honestly, I don’t think I would noticed it if my son didn’t mention it, it only bothered me after that fact but the paint did make it look so much better. Here is a link to what I did. http://operationdecrapification.blogspot.com/2011/07/pottery-barn-copy-cat-chandelier.html

  13. says

    I think the only thing that might have made this post better was if it had been hot Uncle Torrey doing that heavy lifting while shirtless. Thanks for loaning Boyfriend out to the rest of us as a little bit of man-eye-candy!

    The bathroom looks fab, by the way! :-)

  14. says

    I absolutely love this vanity! I haven’t seen it at my local Home Depot. Do you have the name, brand or model #? I found one that looks similar to this on Amazon (sold by Wayfair) but its $750 for the same thing. Did the marble top come with it for that price too?? I am amazed. Great find!

  15. Joanna says

    When people compare you and Sherry, this must be noted: John may be the funny one, but BOY IS JEREMY HOT! Well done, Kate!

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