BFD Reveal: A Dated Bathroom In A Toronto Semi is Reborn!

When we first moved into our ubiquitous semi in Toronto’s east end (you know the one: group of 2, porch on front, single or two small windows on second floor) there were a few issues we were forced to contend with immediately in our century old home. #1 was all the closed off space, which was easily (temporarily) remedied by taking all the doors off on the main floor. A close second was the bathroom. It was not charming.

A For Effort, But this bathroom STILL has gotta go! We can see you, avocado toilet!

An A For Effort, but this bathroom STILL has gotta go! We can see you, aging toilet!

The glass was taken down on the first day, but we needed a plan, and fast, of how we were going to wipe this yellow slate clean.

Slightly better without the glass microbe collector... But not by much

Slightly better without the glass microbe collector… But not by much

The linoleum barely fit the floor it was hastily cut for, and the wallpaper? We suspect it was a late addition to the decor mix once whoever was trying to sell the house saw the lovely shade of royal blue that lay beneath (and still peeked out of unpasted corners) and wisely determined that the French Provincial intent of the design (yellow + blue = French Provincial, right??) was not being pulled off. Not even close.

The smashing sounds make the colour combo slightly better...

The smashing sounds make the colour combo slightly better…

Fast forward to our first month in the house.Home Depot Installation services were called, and we were quoted a new bathroom based on a gut job and being rebuilt from the studs. The total came in over our $10,000 budget by about $2,500.  Easy solution: call in all those accumulated (moving, cleaning, driving, whatever) favours from friends and do the demo ourselves. Effective budgeting level 1 achieved!

Don't let the door hit you on your way out!

Don’t let the door hit you on your way out!

Needless to say, the dust was ridiculous. Something to be prepared for when demoing a house made pretty much anytime before the 70’s.. it’s got plaster walls. And plaster walls suck for demo and dust. They also, depending on the age of the plaster MAY have horse hair in it. No, I am not joking (our house was built around 1920… so not everyone was filling their walls with car parts for consistency just yet).

Later, Tub!

Later, Tub!

Tub in situ, still works!

Tub in situ, still works!

Blechy dust blech

Blechy dust blech

And one sweaty long weekend of demo later...

And one sweaty long weekend of demo later…

Nothing but a bucket to piss in!

Nothing but a bucket to piss in!

Just kidding. We used the window. (And we had a bathroom in the basement)

With the demo complete, so began the construction of what didn’t really have a lot to compete against in terms of being a superior bathroom to the one we had. Because we were using a contractor from Home Depot Installation Services, we did choose some of our fixtures from Home Depot. The bathtub, toilet, floor and shower tile and shower fixtures were all ordered from Homey Dee’s. The sink console and fixtures, however, were ordered from Ikea. (Everything doesn’t have to come from Home Depot when using their contractors, FYI; A happy discovery for us as we wanted to have more choice than what one store offered, and we loved the below so much more than anything we were able to find in store)

We also cannot recommend the double sink enough. If you have an ‘economically’ sized main bathroom where two people are likely to be getting up and ready and brushing teeth, hair etc at the same time, don’t think that the extra counter space is going to do it for you in terms of ‘sharing space effectively’. Because it’s not. You are much better off with two sinks and storage underneath, or a shelf on the wall beside the console instead. Save yourself the fights over the faucet and in front of the mirror space. It’ll also be much more appealing for resale, because you actually have a double console sink and not just a counter for bath salts or Q Tips or whatever… Which nobody ever highlights in their home feature listings on MLS.

Hello fresh new bathtub and waterproofed drywall!

Hello fresh new bathtub and waterproofed drywall!

It’s moments like these that you truly realize what kind of seriously adult stuff just came out of your mouth. Because you’re excited about your new BATH TUB.

Hello vertical subway tile!

Hello vertical subway tile!

And your new tile! *jazz hands* The tile was relatively inexpensive at less than $1.50/ sq ft. We went with the vertical instead of the traditional horizontal because a) horizontal is more traditional and b) to give the shower area the appearance of height. It’s little aesthetic tricks like this that go a long way to making your bathroom more fabulous and spacious (looking) than the lowest common denominator. Sticking with white was a choice we made because a white bathroom is always fresh and clean (providing you clean it) to look at, and is much less likely to become dated over time than one with bold motif/colour choices that are not easily changed—case and point, our previous bathroom.

No touching!!!

Now with marble floor tile. No touching!!!

Whenever possible, try to save money on tile, tubs and toilets, because if you have a standard layout bathroom like this (which is common to a significant % of Toronto houses) people will be looking for the details/value in higher end fixture, fittings and lighting. There’s no need to go crazy with tile (and it’s hard, trust) if you’re trying to be budget conscious and white porcelain will do. The bathtub, unless you are having a standalone spa unit (and therefore are probably not looking to keep your bathroom reno under $10,000) does not need to be top of the line fancy, because there is very little difference aside from the front panel image (sometimes it’s a way thing… sometimes flat, sometimes a little picture frame like) with your basic bathtubs. Again, for resale, nobody is going to be able to tell that you threw down and extra $1,000 for cast iron, and they probably aren’t going to want to pay any more for it even if you did.

We now have toilet, sink AND light!!!

We now have toilet, sink AND light!!! (apologies for picture quality, we were prob excited and jumping at the time)

When choosing the toilet, we went eco with the low flow option (always helps to do your bit for the environment wherever possible!) and we also chose one that didn’t have the faux plumbing porcelain tubing that a lot of toilets have, because it’s an unnecessary detail that’s a pain in the ass to keep clean. And it literally does nothing!

AMERICAN STANDARD Cadet 3 Two piece Dual Flush 1.59 Gal. Elongated Toilet $239

See that back curly bit? It doesn’t do anything but collect dust and germs. A small point for some, but not for those on hands and knees cleaning family bathrooms.

AMERICAN STANDARD Cadet 3 Concealed Trapway Two Piece 1.27 Gal. Elongated Toilet $249

See the difference with this one? Much more clean in look and stature, save germs for other areas like toothbrushes instead.

Just add mirror ($50 from Ikea, same width as sink!) and TA DA!

Just add mirror ($50 from Ikea, same width as sink!) and TA DA!

We decided to paint the bathroom door a bright yellow (was originally supposed to have a little more green in it) because we saw a pin on Pinterest and thought it would be cool, and because we’re lazy. Think about it. “Where’s your bathroom? Upstairs, turn right, it’s the first door on your left, or is it right.. Wait, and you have to be facing east.”  Or…. Bathroom? Why yes! We DO have one of those! Upstairs. Yellow door. Much easier.

Original Feature Wall (across from sink and toilet)

Original Feature Wall (across from sink and toilet)

We decided to add one wall of colour with a cool vinyl wallpaper we found online figuring vinyl, bathroom, waterproof, makes sense. Except that it didn’t because eventually those drippy details you see for artistic effect became real drippies when water got on them, and then the paper didn’t look so cool anymore. What we neglected to do was read the fine print when we bought it that EXPLICITLY states that this type of vinyl has the design printed ON TOP and should not be in areas prone to moisture. So yeah. -1 for BFD.

The best thing about the wallpaper from Spoonflower is that it comes pre glued and all you have to do is soak it in water in your bathtub to adhere it to the wall. So that whole water/moisture issue we had with the previous paper was totally moot. +1 BFD. And it is pre cut so it fits your wall’s dimensions exactly and you don’t need to worry about matching patterns or running out. +2 BFD. There are also, literally, thousands of wallpaper designs on this site, so when you’re sick of what you’ve got, it is very easy to take down the old and put up something new for only $5/ft!

Leelu much prefers the warm colours of this paper anyway

Leelu much prefers the warm colours of this paper anyway

The Final BFD Product Bathroom Reno Accomplished

The Final BFD Product: Bathroom Reno Accomplished


BFD: Want us to design for you? We’d LOVE to!


Hope everyone is enjoying their #holidayMonday




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