One Room Challenge: Week Three – Installing Marble Basketweave Tile

It’s lovely to have a concrete plan for a space before you dive into a project. That’s why people hire interior designers! When you’re working on your own space it’s a lot easier to make decisions as you go… but doesn’t always create the best results. That’s why this One Room Challenge is so nice! I’ve got my plan and am slowly making progress. It also encourages me to actually finish the project, rather than getting it to 90% and leaving it there. Ha!

After last weeks bathroom demo, electrical, insulation, and drywall, I was ready to tackle the bathroom floors! I was excited to start tiling again. The first time I’d tiled, I’d run into a few bumps so I felt a lot more prepared this round. I picked up another sheet of concrete board from Home Depot for $10 as well as this nifty little concrete board cutting tool which was also $10. Oh my god, you guys, this tool is amazing! It made cutting the concrete board SO MUCH EASIER. Last time I tiled, I’d used a simple box cutter and it took way longer and didn’t work nearly as well as this tool. 100% worth the $10!

I laid out the hardibacker in my bedroom and marked where I needed to make my cuts for the doorway and toilet. Then I started chugging away at my cuts. I then ended up cutting the entire thing in half, because I wasn’t actually able to get it into the bathroom in one piece.

Then I simply took my trowel and scraped out a bunch of mortar left over from tiling the Main Bathroom. I like to make lots of long grooves, but I don’t stress about making them perfect.

It took three sections of Hardibacker to cover the room. The larger sections were from what I had bought for this room and the little scrap on the right was left over from the Main Bathroom.

It was strangely wonderful to finally have this laid down. The room instantly felt so much cleaner! I just wanted to walk all over it barefoot. Ha! You can see I continued to leave the sink up. Excellent tool storage spot, you see.

After the Hardibacker was laid, I waited 24 hours and then went ahead and used the last little bit of mortar I had to tape all the seams and smooth any bumps. This was the final step before I could begin tiling the next day! Woohoo!

Tiling is kind of soothing, so I couldn’t wait to start. I dry laid the whole things to start to see how things would need to sit. Then I made all my cuts and got out the rest of my mortar, so I was ready.

I was very tight on tile for this project, so at the back of the room I put in three inch by 12″ pieces of marble. They’d be mostly hidden behind the toilet and a basket of toilet paper, but I kind of liked how it mirrored the transition at the entrance to the room. On each side of the room I barely had enough tile. I measured out where the baseboard and shoe base would be and laid just enough tile to tuck beneath that.

It was very tight on both sides. But I crossed my fingers and double checked my measurements and was pretty sure it would work out.

On the right side of the room, I was even tighter, but the longer white marble part of the basketweave would nicely support the baseboards.

At the front of the room, my tile transition strip was looking pretty good. I knew I would finish it with another fir transition strip at the edge so no one ever stubs their toes.

Then it was just time to lay it down with mortar. It looked soooo good! I really like the impact mosaics like this one and the one in the main bathroom make. It’s super easy to lay, since it’s attached to a sheet, though I did need to cut the marble mosaic tiles with a tile saw I borrowed from my next door neighbor, Erik. The hex tile in the main bathroom, I was able to cut by hand with a simple tile nipper. I was excited to get the grout in and finish it off the next day.

The next day, I opened the container of black grout I had left over from the main bathroom and got to work! I love a high contrast grout for making the colors pop out! I had about 5/8ths of a large container of grout left from the Main Bathroom so I expected to have plenty for this room. One thing I hadn’t considered though, was the depth of the tile! Even though this room was about half as large as the Main Bathroom, the tile was probably more than twice as deep. It ate up the grout and I ended up back at the store to get another quart of grout for $20. I like the Fusion Pro grout since it doesn’t need to be sealed or anything. It makes the process even easier.

Once I’d gotten that grout in, wiped up all the excess, the space looked SO GOOD. I adored the floors! They have an excellent presence and really feel like they speak to the character of the house. It makes the bathroom feel older and more authentic. And, let’s be real, it’s 100% better than the original un-stuck peel and stick tiles that came with the house!

I love that the black grout adds so much contrast and drama to the floors. It makes it feel so much more dynamic. You can see here below how my little trim pieces at the top of the bathroom turned out. I don’t think it looks that bad!

I’m just so ecstatic to have real floors in this space for the first time ever. It’s like Christmas morning walking in here now! I will say, that marble tile is COLD underfoot in the mornings though. As a dedicated slipper wearer, that’s fine for me. If it was a bigger space, I’d have considered using one of those electric heated floors underlayments. It would definitely be worth it in a bigger room. This tiny little one though works just fine as is.

I can’t wait to show you how the space looks with all the beadboard and trimwork next week! It’s such a huge transformation for this little room and so, so much nicer to get ready in!

Have you done any fun tiling projects recently? How did they turn out? Are you happy with the end results? Do you like contrasting grout or more subtle grouts better?

Be sure to check out the rest of the participants in the One Room Challenge! There are so many cool spaces shaping up, I’m ecstatic to see the final results of all these spaces in three weeks!

Advertisements

One Room Challenge: Week Two – Electrical & Drywall

I’m chugging right along with my tiny Master Bathroom renovation. You can check out my plan for the space on the Week One post for my One Room Challenge. One of the first things I needed to do in this space was to actually finish demolishing the homasote that covered the right wall.

Demo is something that is just so satisfying! A few quick hours and you can completely transform the space, every swing of your hammer is progress. So quickly a space can go from this lovely little 70s space…

…to this hot mess. And then you have to clean it all up. Whomp, whomp, whomp. And this stuff gets heavy too! Make sure to use contractors bags rather than normal trash bags since they’re so much stronger and don’t get ruined by the rogue nail! I probably should have removed the plumbing in the bathroom before doing this, but I was hoping to maintain the basic function of this room as long as possible.

It resulted in a whole lot of crazy, but demo’ing this wall allowed me to get a good look at the electrical situation that was going behind it. This house (like most older homes) has a whole lot of secrets hidden in it’s walls. When I opened this space up, I was able to see the new electrical my electricians had installed in the house back in October 2017 and where they’d tied in some older electrical to the new lines. It also exposed some of the willy nilly “structural” supports that were added when some previous owner decided to bump the wall out to fit in the old bathtub in the main bathroom. You can also see the new framing I added to support the original wall location and the backside of my new shower surround.

Once I got my eyes on the electrical I was able to figure out what was going on and replace the existing older wires with new in the locations I wanted. I’d gotten two free light fixtures from my Aunt Stephanie who’s neighbor was replacing some newly installed fixtures after buying their house. Since the original light in this room was above the door, once I’d removed the homasote walls, I could just pull that wire over to the location I wanted my new fixtures. I planned for two sconce fixtures in the space to wash the room with light. Then I could install my medicine cabinet beneath one and a framed picture beneath the other. I also moved an outlet to be next to the light switch for convenience. For the most part, this wiring was already in the walls, I just shifted the locations and switched out any really old wires for new.

Once I’d measured where my new sconces should be I nailed up a horizontal board to hang the far sconce off of and wired up the second sconce to the first.

Simple! Since I needed light to work by in the evenings, I ended up wiring the last sconce in and then hanging it from the grounding wire. Which is probably not the safest idea, but it was very effective and approved by my contractor neighbor. I also had him double check that the electrical all made sense and I wasn’t going to kill myself or burn my house down. He said it looked good, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I’m super nervous about fires now, so it’s nice to have a second pair of eyes. Thanks, Erik!

Then it was time to stuff the wall full of insulation to create more of a sound barrier between the two bathrooms and to keep the bathroom off the kitchen warmer. I just filled in the space and stuffed it all behind the wiring, I tried to make sure it was less compressed than in this picture before I closed up the wall with drywall! Mostly I wanted to keep that main bathroom nice and toasty.

You may have noticed this old fuse box in the picture above. It was the reason the old wall was bumped out only in the lower portion! See how the right wall recesses at the very top in this picture from when I first got the house? The shadow kind of gives it away. I guess the old owners didn’t want to mess with it. I wonder if they put plants or anything on that ledge? That would almost make sense… except the bathroom has a north facing window about 20′ from my neighbors house so it gets no light…. Hmmm… so many questions!!

And even after I had my electricians rewire the main bathroom and tweak this box, it still looked like a mess! The fuses are misleading though, my electricians had switched the wiring to hook into my new circuit breaker, but left these fuses in place… connected to nothing. They used this box as a place to tie all of their wiring together. Which mean it would need to be accessible still. Since one of my sconces was right next to it, I knew that a simple double outlet cover plate would be pretty hidden and allow enough access to this spot. Doesn’t the old wiring look super weird though… I was told it’s not knob and tube, just old.

I knew having an outlet would next to the light switch would be a lot easier to access and prevent me from having to make even more cuts into my beadboard, so I moved it up and placed it right where I wanted it in a new electrical box. Now when I blew dry my hair (which is never) or straightened my hair (once every two years) I’d be prepared! Seriously though… what else do people use bathroom outlets for? Electric toothbrushes?

And finally, it was time for drywall! I bought one sheet of drywall for $15 from Home Depot for this project. I knew it would take care of this wall and I could use scraps from the bathroom and the kitchen to cover up the wall with the door. You can also see here where the old wall was when I bought the house, with the top of the wall niched back. Such an odd arrangement. I filled in a little bit of plaster to help even out the back wall here. Since I was covering everything up with beadboard, I knew exacts didn’t much matter.

And thank god for beadboard, because trying to smooth out all these drywall pieces patched together would have been no fun at all!

Meanwhile, that wasn’t the only thing that needed to be patched either! The former space in the bumped out wall had holes in the floor as well as in the old wall where the plumbing for the original bathtub from the other bathroom had been. I patched these in the same way I patched in the floor in the main bathroom using scrap wood and some clamps. You can also see where I’d slapped a coat of primer on the subfloor after removing most of the peel and stick tiles at one point. It was so much “nicer” this way. Hahaha! Since the peel and stick tiles were coming off and sliding around anyways, there was all sorts of gunk beneath them. Covering it all up with concrete board and tile was going to be amazing!

Now, I can’t say this space was looking a whole lot better yet. But progress is progress, and the middle makes no sense! At least I had the lighting in and the space was suddenly bright and ready for the big transformative touches! I still needed to remove the sink and address the left wall, but everything else was ready for beadboard!

So Week Two is now wrapped up and it’s now on to tiling for Week Three! It’s my second tiling project after the main bathroom, so fingers crossed all goes well. I have just baaaaarely enough tile left over from my parents’ bathroom renovation to complete the floors in here! Soon this little room is going to be looking completely different from when I bought the house. Hopefully, more authentic feeling with more storage and function and much, much prettier to boot!

Boy will I be excited when this is finally done! It’s a pain storing all my bathroom stuff in my bedroom and to encapsulate all the old gross with clean and new is going to feel so amazing.

Definitely check out some of the other participants in the One Room Challenge. There’s a ton of amazing talent out there, it’s so fun to join in for the first time!