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!

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One Room Challenge: Week One – Master Powder Before Pictures and Inspiration

First off, hello to all of you new to this blog! I’m so excited to be guest posting as part of the One Room Challenge this Spring 2019. I’m Laurel and I’ve been working on my house — which I named Berrybrier after the brambles of blackberries and raspberries in the backyard — since I bought it in Summer 2017. It’s been a huge project full of ups and downs and I’ve been living here throughout it! I painted the house a happy, salmonberry, coral pink color and finished a DIY gut reno on the Main Bathroom all by myself. I am currently working on the Kitchen as well as the other main spaces! Click around and check out the progress while you’re here!

But while other renovations were taking place, the little Powder Bathroom off my Master Bedroom was neglected! So this room has become my One Room Challenge guest project! It’s difficult to force myself to finish and style a space before moving on to the next one, so this is a great incentive!

This space was a delightful shade of yellow when I bought the house. A 24″ wide door (very narrow!) allowed you to squeeze into the room from the Master Bedroom. 1970’s or ’80’s faux wood wainscot paneling did not help the overall space. The room was absolutely tiny at 54″ deep and only 30″ wide! You could barely scootch yourself around the sink to get to the toilet, let alone use this space to get ready for work! It felt immediately dated and old in here and it didn’t belong with the house. The layer of dirt, grime, and gross that coated the space did not help at all!

The sink in the Powder Bathroom was falling off the wall since the bolts holding it to the wall had missed the backing. It was so large for the space you could quite literally wash your hands while sitting on the toilet. During the demo of the Main Bathroom at Berrybrier I ended up removing some of the paneling in the room in order to get at the bath tub pipes which had to be cut from this side in order to remove the tub. When I took off the paneling I discovered that there already was a nice, small, square hole underneath to access those pipes, so that’s probably why that paneling was added!

I made the hole a LOOOOT bigger to cut the pipes and then I left it like this for four months. And yes, I did still use this bathroom every single day to brush my teeth and get ready for my 9-5 job. Go me!

After I completed the Main Bathroom, this space still got ignored until the rest of the house improved. But no longer! I am finally ready to attack this poor room and make it something that functional for getting ready in the mornings, packed full of storage, and beautiful to boot!

Since I love a challenge, things are a bit tight at the moment, and because I don’t plan this to be a long term bathroom, my renovation budget is going to be $650. That’s right, a full gut renovation of my bathroom for less than $650! In order to meet that goal I’m going to use as much as I can get for free and make some other smart decisions.

So let’s check out some inspiration so you know where I am headed!

I will need to significantly reduce the size of the sink so this room is easier to navigate around in! The one now is a pretty average size, but this room is just not an average size. As much as I’ve tried to make the existing sink work to save money, it’s just not working. So I’m taking a page out of Young House Love’s book and splurging on a tiny sink! I know they didn’t think their sink was right for their large Master Bathroom and eventually replaced it, but it’s the perfect size for my tiny Master Powder! I found something similar on Wayfair and bought it.

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The plumbing will all be staying in the same locations, but I’ll be adding lots of storage around it. I’ve decided to add wall to wall shelving above the toilet and use simple wooden brackets to keep costs down. I love this picture of a kitchen which shows how classic and aged this look can be. It doesn’t feel cheap at all, even though it is super affordable at only a few bucks a bracket!

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I watched Sharp Objects around the time I first started brainstorming for this room and fell in love with the pink beadboard in the bathroom featured heavily on the show. Since the walls were a mess in here and I decided to use as many of the scraps of drywall I already had, trying to tape and mud would have taken a thousand years. I decided the best use of my budget would be to cover the drywall with beadboard panels from floor to ceiling. The Sharp Objects bathroom served as an inspiration for the beadboard and the color though.

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This color was going to be tricky! I want this space to be blush against a formerly white cheek; hint of pink in a white climbing rose; a calm pink, mature, pale, and barely there. It was a tricky color to land on! This color was the closest inspiration I could find. It’s just a drop of pink in white without too many overt undertones.

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For the floor, I didn’t need much tile at all since it was such a tiny space! My parents had some left over tile from their bathroom renovation and offered it up. A marble mosaic for free? Yes, please! It’s a pretty two tone basket weave like this here. They also gave me a few leftover 12×12 marble tiles from the same renovation which I am planning to try to use as transition strip into the bedroom. The tile is very similar to what’s in this shot below, but I’m planning on using a black grout instead which will give it more contrast. Now if only my bathroom could expand to be this big too!

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I want the new bathroom to be packed with the storage I need, while still feeling light and open. It’s important that the space feel like it belongs to the rest of the house and isn’t a dated addition. Overall, I want the room to be light-filled and bright, with just the palest of calamine lotion pink on the walls and ceiling. After much debate, I landed on Benjamin Moore’s Pink Beach as the perfect barely pink and not beige color. The soft pink tone with be juxtaposed with a more dynamic black and white floor, a black faucet, and black accessories. The chrome accessories and lighting should thus fade nicely into the background. And of course, I’ll fill the shelves with houseplants!

Bath Accessories | Sink | Tile | Beadboard | Lighting (Similar) | Paint | Bracket | Faucet

Check out all the other One Room Challenge Guest Participants here!

What do you think of my plan? Would you get ready in the master bathroom as it currently is or would you hold out for the renovated space? Have you ever tried to put together a renovation project with only the cheapest and free materials you could find? Let me know in the comments!