Monday, March 18, 2013

Basement Bathroom Before (Or, the Ugliest Bath Ever) and Sneak Peek at Our Progress

 In case the photos I shared over the weekend (here) of the house weren't horrifying enough, I thought I'd introduce you to one of the ugliest "before" areas of the house -- our second/guest bathroom in the basement. Come on in...
 Our new house has two bathrooms -- one on the main floor (which is where the master bedroom is also located) and one in the basement. We have gutted and are working away on both of them, as both had significant cosmetic issues as well as safety/health concerns. 

The basement bathroom is teeny tiny, with a weird slopey sink nook that is built in under the stairs. We didn't have the budget to expand the space or to even change the footprint, so working with the bizarre little room has had its challenges. Let me show you...
The sink was hidden behind the door in the photo above, which opened into the space. The first time we saw the house we actually didn't think it had a sink, ha. 
Almost every inch of the room was covered in cedar planks. It was like the world's tiniest sauna. More specifically, a tiny rotting sauna -- this was a DIY job gone wrong. Our home inspector showed us how the wood had never been properly waterproofed/sealed and was spongey and rotting in numerous spots. Particularly the window smack dab in the middle of the shower (which is not to code in our area). 
The dark stuff you see here is mould. It is easier to see in these pics of the window, but there was evidence of mould throughout the little space. And the light? Totally because I was using a very bright flash. The space was darker in person. The window looks out underneath the deck. No natural light at all. 
Oh, and speaking of being against code - - check out the placement of the electrical outlet. 
Practically IN the tub/shower. Everyone made lots of puns about how "shocking" it could be to bathe here. 
The water shut off valve for outside was also located inside the shower. I didn't get a photo of it. Our contractors kept saying how incredibly weird this was so I thought it worth mentioning. 
Anyway.... We had thought about saving the sink, since the nook is so tiny and it would be hard to find something well-priced to fit (and, duh, because it would make the sink free which helps the tight budget we are working with). It is white and I thought a new faucet would dress it up. This drippy one didn't do it for me:
But as it turned out, the sink had a giant crack in it and as such leaked onto the floor. Bye bye, sink. 
A few other details and shots for you:
I like the idea of storage on this wall above the toilet, but this odd cabinet (with open shelves maybe 2 inches deep) seemed utterly useless to me and got the heave ho. Also, the moisture/mould issues in here (did I mention there was no fan and that the window didn't open?) made me worried about reusing it elsewhere, in case you were thinking it could get a cool second life somewhere else in the house. 
Hard to capture in pictures (a small room like this is so hard to photograph!) but there were numerous ceiling heights, which made the whole thing feel even smaller. The ceiling was also a piece of poorly painted plywood in the middle, rather than drywall or cement board. My contractor said this was extremely odd. 
And nothing felt finished, even though they had DIY'd this reno about 6 years ago. The little things -- like not painting behind the toilet -- left a lot to be desired.

But the toilet was white, and in great shape! Keeper!
(You can see above that some of the tiles were not grouted. Weird, right? They were also glued directly to the concrete subfloor, we later learned. Also weird). 

This light (the only light source in the bathroom -- again, that window looked out underneath the deck, so no natural light) was actually decent in real life. Keeper!
Everything else -- from the mouldy panels to the cracked sink to the burgundy floor tiles -- was dumpster bound from the moment I laid eyes on it. 

I can't wait to show you how far we've come down here. Maybe guests will actually want to shower here! 

Here's a quick pic of one of my fave new things -- the white and grey marble floor. Check back soon for all of our plans and choices for the space and a full run-down of our progress (with proper photos, none of these iPhone snapshots -- I promise!). 
Already so much better.

Hope you had a great St. Patrick's Day, and have a happy Monday!
Jenny xo

UPDATE: Want to see more of where this is going? See the bathroom design plan, mood board and read about the things we've chosen for this awkward little space right here.

Since we are working with what we have -- a teeny, awkward space, odd angles.. basically limitations galore -- and can't change the footprint or size, I'm joining Emily's great link-up. You should too!

Also joining: BNOTP, Coastal Charm, Love Grows Wild, Sugar Bee Crafts
Gingersnap Crafts, DIY by Design, Southern Lovely, Shabby Creek Cottage, Romantic Home
French Country Cottage, Simply Sweet Home, Thrifty Decor Chick


  1. SO much better! Kuddos to you for not running when you saw that paneled mess. Loving your visionary skills.

  2. Looking good! Boy oh boy, can I relate. I have a bathroom that has been in renovation for 17 months and is still not finished. Had to fire the first contractor who's workers didn't have a clue about code. I decided to act as a subcontractor and use a licensed plumber, electrician and tile guy and coordinate the job. the experience has been so painful I haven't even blogged about it. Wishing you a speedy finish:)

    1. Yikes, that sounds tricky! We are lucky with our contractors for sure. I'm excited for when you are able to blog about it one day though!

  3. WOW, quite the improvement. I once had an ugly jammed bathroom under the stairs, too! It stayed ugly. Could you not keep any of those boards for some signs or shelves?

    1. Thanks Julie! We thought about it, but have so much scrap wood. They are really nasty and mouldy so it would be a long time until I used the boards (pregnancy and mould don't mix) and with no plans for them and no garage to store them in, we opted not to keep them. I feel bad about wasting things but we just don't have a use for all of the stuff we are removing from this house!

  4. I will look forward to seeing what you do with this bathroom. Love the new marble floor! Following you now, so I will be back for more!


  5. Okay, I thought I had the worst basement bathroom but you take the cake! That is one seriously creepy bathroom. So glad you posted an After sneak peek... I feel cleaner already ;)

  6. Hi Jennifer, What a challenge but it looks like you created a lovely bathroom.

  7. I think the original bathroom could win an award for most wood finish in a bathroom. Truly an achievement. The sneak peak you shared of the reno you've done looks very sleek. Can't wait to see more.

  8. What a crazy transformation!! Looks fantastic! Can't wait to see all of the details.

  9. Seriously, what a project! It's going to look amazing - I can already tell! I look forward to seeing what you do with that sink in that awkward little space.

  10. You have guts for taking this bathroom on for SURE. That is a bathroom to hopefully FORGET soon --which might happen if you plug something into the socket next to the TUB!

    Looking forward to the fab redo!

    Thank you for sharing with the rest of us! Always great to see creative minds at work. :)

    Visiting from Show And Tell @ My Romantic Home linky party
    Suz @MaytagNMom
    NW Illinois
    Link To My Party Project This Week

  11. Well, hey, at least the toilet was good! :) That sink area is one of the most "interesting" spaces I've seen in a while. Good luck with your renovation!! Thanks for linking up.


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