One Room Challenge: Week 5 – Installing Plumbing Fixtures and Accessories

Once my tiny little master bathroom was painted and tiled I could not be any more excited to start getting my plumbing and accessory fixtures installed into the room! The space was really starting to look like I’d envisioned when I first laid out my mood board.

I was planning on reusing the original plumbing fixtures that were in the bathroom since there was nothing really wrong with them and I wanted to keep this whole project as low budget as possible. They looked pretty bad in the original space, but I knew a new environment would shed a completely different light on them. See the place where the purchase sticker was never removed from the toilet?! It had probably been installed for 5+ years when I bought the house!

I knew that the toilet had a tiny hairline fracture on the base, but it was not affecting how it was holding water and I figured if anything did go wrong, I could spring for a new toilet — probably my favorite Kohler one — down the line. The sink was falling off the wall in the original bathroom, so I worried that would be an issue, but during demo, I realized the bracket holding up the sink had missed the backing in the wall and was hanging loose in the old lathe and plaster. Doh!

So with that in mind, I brought all the fixtures back inside once the painting was done and reinstalled them. I did pretty much the same thing to install the toilet as I when I installed one in the other bathroom, but since the toilet was all one piece already it was even easier here. Yes the sticker was still on though!

The sink installs onto a bracket on the wall and then is screwed into the wall through the porcelain. Definitely use a wrench and arm strength to tighten these screws, because I didn’t and the force of my impact driver broke the sink a little bit in the corner! Dang it! But… I didn’t know it yet, but the sink was destined for something else.

On the other side of the room, I had space for a medicine cabinet beneath one of the sconces. The original main bathroom had a cute mid-century mirror that I’d saved after we demo’ed that space. I loved the patina of the mirror, the antique spotting on the glass, and wanted to repurpose it in another room in my house. I’d gotten the lovely original mirror from my childhood bathroom and installed that in the main bathroom instead, so this one was still floating around. I sprayed it with a matte black spray paint and it came to life as an entirely new piece. I few screws into a stud in the wall cavity and this piece was as good as new.

There was one problem though… if I stood in front of the mirror, I could barely open it! With my back pressed up against the sink I could only open the mirror about half-way before it hit my face.

If I wanted to open it all the way, I ended up leaning alllllll the way back to peer inside. Whomp, whomp, whomp.

It really wasn’t the mirror’s fault though either. The sink suddenly felt too large. I’d adjusted the location of the sink so the bracket could be installed into the wood backing (thus preventing the sink from falling off the wall again!) and now it was even closer to the toilet. Whereas before I’d scooted around the sink to pop a squat, now I felt like I was sitting directly beneath the sink. And it was not good. My cute little bathroom felt super awkward!

So after a week or two of that too large sink, I hopped onto Wayfair and started looking for a tiny sink to replace it with. I landed on this one which is just about 12″ x 12″! Although I’d recently watched Young House Love replace their tiny bathroom sink with a larger vanity, I knew that in my space this was the way to go. When the sink arrived the difference in sizing was instantly obvious and almost laughable! This change was going to increase the space in the tiny bathroom by so much!

I uninstalled the original sink and snapped a quick pic of it to post on Facebook Marketplace. Then I placed it on the curb with a free sign and within a day, it was gone!

It had, however, left it’s mark on the new bathroom. My pretty new beadboard was full of holes that the new sink wasn’t going to cover up. Oh well… I grabbed some sand paper and sanded the holes and then used wood filler to clog up the holes. Then, more sanding and a bit of touch up paint. It doesn’t look perfect, but in the end, the patched holes actually make the new beadboard feel older, like it had a purpose and has been there over a longer period of time. I’d not above a little wear and tear on the newer things in my home, if it makes it feel like there’s a history to it!

Once the new sink was installed and the faucet hooked up, I was in love. It was tiny, but adorably so and functioned just perfectly for washing hands and getting ready in the mornings. Plus, the new smaller sink wasn’t all up in my grill when I tried to use the toilet. It was perfect! Plus, it allowed for enough room for me to install the toilet paper holder and the towel ring from the affordable set I’d bought at Home Depot too. This bathroom was starting to look legit and, more importantly, functional!

And yes, I did finally pull the sticker off the toilet tank! Now this room just needs final touches and some styling and it will be a completed space that feels in the spirit of this 1909 house without costing a fortune! All good things. Mostly, I’d just glad I’m not walking into this space any more!

It feels like the perfect place to get ready in the mornings and the eastern light shines through the window ever so nicely. I can’t wait to show you the whole reveal next week, but in the meantime, enjoy this sneak peek!

And be sure to check out all the other people working on the One Room Challenge! So much amazing inspiration is out there for your own projects!

What do you think of my new tiny sink? Would you go for a sink that small or do you need a larger sink to get ready? Have I been able to hit the right note in this space to make it feel like it works with an old 1909 home?

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Installing My New Toilet and Changing the Toilet Lever

There’s a new throne to bend the knee to in the Land of Laurel and it ain’t made of iron. That’s right! I’ve got a gorgeous porcelain throne for ya’ll to fawn over today. It’s downright spectacular. And oh so necessary. You see, back in early January 2018 I was just over 2 months in to my bathroom renovation and it was time to kick it into high gear. I had a deadline, one not set by me, one I couldn’t just ignore as it passed by, a big, important deadline. My little sister was moving into Berrybrier to live with me! Hi, Bronwyn! And well… she needed a place to relieve herself that wasn’t the tiny hell bathroom off my own bedroom. As much as that delightful little space worked for me, she was going to need a space a bit more… accommodating and far less… disgusting.

Luckily, I had a space that was pretty darn close! See the capped toilet flange below? That was my first step for getting the bathroom into more of a… useful… space. The plumber had installed it when he was doing rough in and after I’d tiled around it, and drywalled, and painted, the flange was finally ready for a toilet. The center part was just a cap that prevented the sewer gases and smells from coming into the bathroom. For which I was grateful. I popped it off with a screw driver and exposed the hole beneath.

Then I grabbed a reinforced wax ring toilet install kit from Home Depot and stuck it in the hole. The reinforced plastic part keeps it pretty centered.

Then I took the bolts that came with the kit and stuck them into the toilet flange. They slide nicely into place upside down, which is better than ones that screw into the flange from above since it’s easier to aim your toilet. I had bought the Kohler Memoirs Two Piece Toilet which is easier to install since it literally comes in two pieces. I lifted up the bottom part with the help of my friend Nikki and aimed it at my bolts and wax ring while her dog chased Malary around my house. With a little finagling we landed it just so for a perfect fit! Then I slipped the plastic covers that came with the toilet over the bolts to protect the porcelain and screwed on a nut to hold the toilet in place. I tightened the nut enough to keep everything snug and then simply sawed off the excess bolt with my hacksaw. Easy, peasy.

I snapped the bolt cap covers on and then it was time for the tank. This guy I was able to place on myself after Nikki left. It came with bolts already placed in the bottom of the tank and again I just aimed those bolts at the holes in the bottom part of the toilet. Then they got nuts which I tightened with a wrench being careful not to tighten too tightly which could break the porcelain. As I did that I stuck my level on top to make sure I was keeping things plumb.

One more check that it was level and I was ready for the fun stuff! The toilet lever that came with my toilet was already installed when I unboxed it. That’s convenient right? Wrong.

Lovely polished chrome in finish, there was nothing wrong with it, except I was using Delta’s Champagne Bronze (a brass /gold look) finish on all the other plumbing fixtures. So I popped one of Delta’s Cassidy Collection Toilet Levers into my cart and got ready to switch it out.

I also went ahead and screwed in the toilet water supply line into the tank and into my favorite water shut off valve that looks so cute coming out of the baseboard. I kept the water off still, but I wanted it to be ready to go once the lever was switched out.

Switching out the lever was also super easy. I took a short handled screw driver and just unscrewed the single machine screw that was holding it in place and popped off the lever.

The Memoirs toilet looked kinda cute all handleless and naked too! But.. that wasn’t going to stick around for long! I’d carefully noted the placement of the original nuts, washers, and other bits that came off the original toilet lever and meshed those in together with the new Delta parts.

I kept the delta parts that held the lever to the toilet themselves and screwed the original Kohler handle arm and chain into the new lever. That way the interior of the tank was mostly the same.

The Delta lever had some with a plastic handle that was supposed to replace the handle and chain, but that seemed like opening a larger can of worms than I was ready for so I just ignored that bit.

I checked several times to make sure the combination of parts together were still raising the flapper and thus “flushing” the toilet before I even considered turning on the water to this new throne!

But after it passed that test several times, I decided it was ready, got my bucket and dry towels ready and turned the water shut off valve to on. The tank and bowl began filling with water until it magically stopped at it’s capacity point. The moment of truth: would it now flush?!

Yes! It worked! And with no issues or re-dos or mishaps along the way! Turns out installing a toilet is really not as hard as what you’d think. And when everything in the bathroom is brand new and never before used, it’s not even the little bit gross!

So now I had a toilet! A whole toilet to myself! Well, for myself and my sister who moved in the very next day! Sure… we had to wash our hands in the kitchen sink until I got around to installing the bathroom sink and faucet a few days later, but eh, no big deal! Plus a functioning toilet and shower felt a thousand times better than the gross original bathroom!

In all the plumbing fixtures were one of the most expensive parts of this bathroom renovation. BY FAR. Which is to be expected since they are the fancy finished bits! Here’s the breakdown of the toilet bits and pieces:

  • Reinforced Wax Ring $8
  • Toilet Water Supply Line $6
  • Sink water Supply Lines about $20 for two lines
  • Toilet $380
  • Toilet Lever $25
  • Toilet Install Total: $439
  • Now, you could totally spend a whole lot less if you went to Home Depot and bought some cheaper fixtures, but since I was trying to restore some of the original character of Berrybrier back into this house and I wanted a specific look, I splurged a bit for pieces I liked and would like for years to come.

    If I was a better blogger I would have snapped a picture of the final toilet all installed with it’s lid on but I am not a very good blogger so I will go ahead and just give you this sneak peek. The toilet installed, complete with a few plants on top of the tank and a preview of the installed sink!

    Ohhhh progress! It feels sooo good right? Boy is it nice to have a place to shower and relieve yourself after months of a messy construction zone! I mean, the rest of Berrybrier still looked absolutely insane considering the kitchen floor disaster, but even that was looking up! My sister Bronwyn had moved in with me which meant a whole bunch of free labor. Yay! Double time progress!