...because home doesn't happen overnight.

bath prep 1

This past weekend we prepped the unfinished bathroom for tile. Steve mudded, taped and sanded the seams in the cement board. Then he shop-vac’d the entire room and cleaned everything with a damp cloth. (Where I come from, shop-vac is a verb.)

Per the suggestion of a friend who also happens to be a self-employed contractor, we decided to try a new waterproofing product (it’s that hot pink stuff you see above) on the shower walls. It’s called RedGard and can be rolled onto surfaces before tiling to create a waterproofing barrier and prevent cracks.

tile prep 2

Some say this extra step isn’t necessary. (We didn’t use this product in the master bathroom because we hadn’t heard of it yet and things are just fine in there.) For us, it’s peace of mind. Plus, we like trying out new products along the way and sharing our experience with others.

The cement board in this bathroom was installed at the same time as the drywall in the rest of the house – which we hired out for. And while the rest of the walls turned out great, the cement board installation in this bathroom was a little wonky. I’m guessing it was the last room to be finished at the end of a long day and was completed in haste. The seams were less than perfect but not enough for us to rip everything out and start over. Steve asked our contractor friend what to do. He suggested mudding, taping and sanding the seams then applying the RedGard. So that’s what we did.

Steve rolled two coats of RedGard over the cement board. The stuff is really thick and stinky. For better control, he used a small roller. This method worked well but the RedGard can also be troweled on if desired. Steve wore a respirator during application while the kids and I spent most of the *mild* day outside. We turned on the bathroom ventilation fans and opened the windows to help dissipate the smelly fumes. Still, it was pretty stinky the day of application.

bath prep

The RedGard turns from pink to red when dry. It dries fairly quickly. See how it’s more red in the image above and pinker in the very first image of this post? That was the time between starting the first coat and cutting in around the window to finish up the first coat. The color is just as garish in real life as it is in these pictures. If not more so. Steve’s vision was screwed up for the the rest of the day after staring at the red-pink walls. The boys were relieved to learn this was NOT going to be the final color of their bathroom!

With the bathroom prepped for tile, we started thinking ahead. The original plan for the room was to use the same skinny subway tile we have in the kitchen for the shower walls and a continuous 36″ high tiled wainscoting around the rest of the room. For the floor, we planned to use carrara marble hexagon tile.

But right at “go time” we were second-guessing these choices. We hemmed and hawed over whether or not to do the tile wainscoting throughout the room…mostly because we knew it would be a lot of work but I also worried it might look too busy. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of having mostly tiled walls to wipe down from the kids’ splashes and messes. We decided putting in the extra time now for the wainscoting installation would pay off in the form of easy cleaning down the road. Not to mention, the wainscoting will serve as another “layer” in the room and you know how I feel about layers. So tile wainscoting it is!

Then we got to thinking about the floor tile. I love, love, LOVE the marble we chose. But my kids love, love, LOVE to not pee in the toilet. We have two boys and our toddler just started showing interest in potty-training. Need I say more? I knew the white marble wouldn’t last one day in this house without becoming stained. (We have light-colored penny tile in the master bathroom but it’s ceramic and isn’t easily stained like marble.) And I don’t really feel like being a slave to a bathroom floor, no matter how pretty it is.

I wasn’t on the computer two minutes before I found this noir hexagon tile. It’s tumbled travertine and it’s slightly less expensive than the marble we originally chose. We have a travertine floor in our mudroom and it has held up really well to all the mud, dirt, rocks and food my family throws at it so I know the same material will work great in the kids’ bathroom. And can we talk about the color of this tile for a hot second? From a distance it reads black but upon closer inspection there are variations of charcoal, blue-black and jet-black. The color gradient gives it a natural, organic feel. It’s soooooo goooooood. So good we changed our minds. Noir hex it is!

We’re (im)patiently awaiting the arrival of our noir hex order to swap out the carrara we have on hand. Since the floor tile needs to go down before we can begin the wall tile, our progress in the bathroom has come to a screeching halt. So goes DIY home improvement!

In the meantime, I went ahead and created an updated mood board for the bathroom.

 

Kid/Guest Bathroom

 

1 – barn wall sconce We have the same light over the sink in our master bathroom. We like it so much we’re using it in the kid / guest bath, too. Even though the two bathrooms will feature different finishes, keeping the lighting the same offers some consistency.

2 – imperial bianco 2″ x 12″ subway tile We used this tile for a minimal backsplash in the kitchen. Again, incorporating the same tile here provides cohesion throughout the house which is nice because this bathroom will serve as our main bathroom once finished (eek!) and it’s located near the kitchen.

3 – stainless steel first aid cabinet I bought this metal cabinet eons ago. We’re planning on cutting through the drywall and mounting the cabinet between the studs (recessed so that it’s flush with the wall) for hidden storage in the bathroom. I haven’t decided if it will hang above the toilet or on a sliver of wall next to the sink. Probably next to the sink?

4 – noir hex! Most everything else in the bathroom will be white or wood-toned so I’m banking on this tile for some high contrast.

5 – tork brass dripping mirror I like adding circles to boxy rooms so I’m thinking a round mirror will go above the vanity. I like the thin brass frame of this one but I’ll probably wait until most of the fixtures are in place before I finalize the mirror selection. As much as I like softening sharp lines with rounded edges, I wouldn’t be opposed to a rectangular one if it “fits.”

6 – cognac vanity with marble top We bought this vanity over two years ago on sale at Home Depot. I can’t find it available anywhere now. We bought it for the inexpensive price, open frame and clean lines. I’ve read it’s a pain to assemble and install so we’ll see how it goes.

7 – claw foot tub with wood base Do you remember the claw foot tub we found on craigslist? It had four feet when we bought it, three feet when we got it home and now it’s down to two. (!) The plan is to DIY a simple wood base and forego the claw feet all together. I have a feeling we’ll be flying by the seat of our pants during this project as I haven’t come across any detailed DIY’s for wood tub bases. It might not work out but it sounds fun so we’re giving it a go. We’re trailblazing!

We’re itching to whip this bathroom into shape. Whenever we’re in the middle (or even beginning stages) of a project, it feels like a major waste of time (and, honestly, a complete drop in confidence) to take a step back and reassess our plans. But sometimes it leads to changes that make more sense in the long run. That’s how I feel about our decision to switch up the floor tile in the kids’ bathroom. It’s a good change.

Do you find yourself second-guessing every step of a project? Does it help or hinder you? We’ve seen it go both ways for us. Sometimes taking a second look at plans reaffirms our original decisions which gives us a boost of confidence to forge ahead. Other times, we doubt certain aspects and end up completely paralyzed which usually results in the project getting pushed further out.

Oh, home improvement, why are you so addicting?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

55 Comments

13.March.2014

um. so obsessed with that hex floor tile. love the change and it will definitely hold up better to your boys! although, it would have been funny to make them think that red was going to be the final color of their bathroom. ;)

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13.March.2014

That noir hex tile looks amazing! I think it’ll be a choice you’ll love, and I can’t wait to see how it looks in the room. Meanwhile, I’ll be over here, drooling over the pics of it on the Tile Shop’s website.

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13.March.2014

We put a clawfoot tub (that I found on Craigslist for $100) in our bathroom remodel. It was out for refinishing when work started, which meant that floor tile was installed without the tub present, and that turned out to be less than ideal. It all worked out fine but I learned that the plumber needs the tub to be in place (at least temporarily) so that a plumb line can be dropped from the overflow opening to determine placement for the pipe, and the holes in the floor are drilled more easily before the tile is installed. (I might be explaining that incorrectly but the take-away message is to look up installation before putting down floor tile.)

Now that I think about it, this is all irrelevant for you anyway because you’re on a slab. Never mind.

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13.March.2014

I like your plan. I’m redoing my bathroom soon. If you give up on the plan to build the base for your tub, you should look at Columbus Architectural Salvage. They sell individual claw feet. You’d probably find a match to the missing feet. Just a suggestion. I was there a couple weeks ago. I think they are around $25/each.

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replied on March 14th, 2014

Oh great! Thanks for the idea. Yeah, I’m a little nervous about that base. We’ll see how it goes…

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replied on March 14th, 2014

Our problem isn’t the tub feet, but rather where they mount on the tub. There are 2 tabs for each foot that are cast into the bottom of the tub. We’ve got one tab that broke off. Hopefully I’m able to make the wooden base work.

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13.March.2014

Aw, and here I thought you were painting the bathroom and awesome red ;) I love the wooden base for the bath! That will look amazing!

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Looove the hex noir tile. It’s gorgeous, and as a mom of a 6 year old boy who has major aiming issues I totally understand. Im excited to see the tub base DIY. I think its such a cool idea and it will be a wonderful blend of vintage and modern….so Dana.

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14.March.2014

I love the simple industrial vibe, and the warm wood bases add the perfect balance. Can’t wait to see the finished bathroom!

Wise choice taking the extra waterproofing step. Unfortunately, you actually would not even know at this point if things were not “just fine” in the master bath. It takes time for that type of damage to show.

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14.March.2014

It is FREAKY how similar our two bathrooms are. I have nearly the exact same picture of my hubby putting up the RedGard around our shower window. We painted our bathroom a super dark navy (Martha Stewart Wrought Iron) and it made me realize that hot pink is the perfect accent! Lol.

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14.March.2014

That tub!

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14.March.2014

Are you putting down underfloor heating in the bathroom?

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replied on March 14th, 2014

Nope. Both bathrooms have heating / cooling ductwork that runs through the concrete slab. In our master bathroom, when the furnace is on it feels like a heated floor. #poormansradiantfloorheat It isn’t frigid like the tile floor in our mudroom. So we’re doing without underfloor heating in this bathroom too since the setup is pretty much the same.

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14.March.2014

Will you share the link to the extra long shower curtain you are using in your master bath? Extra long white curtains are sorta hard to find!

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14.March.2014

LOVE all of your choices! can’t wait to see it finished! :) happy friday!!!! :)

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14.March.2014

I love the tile. It will be beautiful. I do have to ask if you’ve ever lived with a clawfoot tub before? Are you going to set up a shower kit on the ceiling, or will the kids just be taking baths? Do you have a separate shower stall next to the tub? The reason I ask is that we live in an old house with a clawfoot tub and the ceiling shower unit, and we have 2 small children. Showering in this is not pleasant, and in fact when we save up to renovate the bathroom, the clawfoot tub will be the first thing to go. I’ve seen photos on Houzz of clawfoot tubs in “shower rooms” or completely tiled bathrooms where a shower curtain isn’t necessary. Maybe this is the route you’re going. Anyway, I urge you to make sure you have a good shower solution in place. Clawfoot tubs are romantic, but living with them on a daily basis for anything other than a long soak is truly aggravating.

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replied on March 14th, 2014

Thanks for the warning! Here’s our plan…the tub will have a curtain that encloses it along with floor-to-ceiling tile on the walls surrounding it and a tiled wainscoting around the rest of the room. We will have a gooseneck faucet / shower head / enclosure rod combo to use it as a tub or shower. If it’s too difficult for the kids to shower with, they can always take a bath or use the shower in the master bath until they’re old enough to manage on their own. I had a claw foot tub growing up and I don’t remember it being that awful but I was the kid – not the parent. Haha! We’ll see…

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Becky
replied on March 16th, 2014

I can’t wait to renovate our bathroom and rip out the clawfoot tub. It is awful–you end up with shower curtain touching you (and I’m not a huge person). They look lovely but they really suck to use to shower.

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14.March.2014

One of the best things my hubby taught our three boys- you always, always sit on the toilet in a home. We started it from the beginning and have had no issues with the floor at home.

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replied on March 14th, 2014

My mother-in-law taught all three of her boys the same thing. It makes cleaning the bathroom so much nicer. We only had girls so I only ever had to worry about makeup and hair products all over the bathroom.

I’m always a bit put off when we have company and I find the seat left up – make me want to wipe down the toilet in case of unknown aiming incidents!

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replied on March 14th, 2014

How do you do that?! I’ve tried making my boys sit but the mess is even WORSE that way.

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replied on March 14th, 2014

Did the toilet have a round bowl or an elongated bowl? That might be the difference.

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replied on March 14th, 2014

Round!

I can’t wait to see how it turns out! We did the white carrera tile floor in our 2 guest bathrooms with subway tile on the walls, and we love it. I think the dark floor will add a whole new element to your bathroom! Love it!

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14.March.2014

I LOVE the new tile choice! I was just wondering – are you still planning to paint the bottom of the tub a dark color now that the floor will be dark too or are you going to go for all white like on your mood board? I’ve been following along since you first bought the underdog and the rest of your home looks SO great now sometimes I forget this lone room has yet to be touched!

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replied on March 14th, 2014

Good memory! The new tile will be the contrasting element now so I think the tub will remain white.

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replied on March 14th, 2014

You could always bring that red back in as a pop of color on the underside of the tub…

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14.March.2014

Your choices (as expected) are gorgeous! I love the hex tile. From experience, I love a dark grey floor in the bathroom – it always looks nice even when it’s badly in need of a cleaning. Are you doing a light colored grout? And if so, does that make you nervous in terms of keeping it clean? If not, what’s your secret?

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replied on March 14th, 2014

I think we’ll do a gray grout – not really light but not super dark. In the master bath, we have a sandy grout and it looks great after two years of abuse. I keep cleaning wipes in the bathroom to clean up toilet misses pretty quickly. (I’ve tried getting the boys to clean up after themselves. They try but always miss a spot.) And the grout is sealed, too, so that helps. No stains yet!

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14.March.2014

This is so appealing–the mix of natural materials and neutrals. Will you go with a dark grout for that elegant dark floor tile? Are you ready to think about shower curtains? Linen with a fabric liner could be lovely. Or is that where you might add color, or stripes, for the kids and company? You are so gonna love having another working toilet in your house for a family of 5!

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replied on March 14th, 2014

I think we’ll do a gray grout on the floor, white on the walls. I don’t want to lose the hexagons in dark grout but I don’t want really light grout on the floor either. We have a sandy toned grout in our master bath and it has held up great with the kids over the last two years. I haven’t thought about shower curtains yet but I tend to go for white ones. I cannot wait for another toilet in the house!!

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14.March.2014

Waterproofing with RedGard is a brilliant idea and so worth the extra time and effort. I wish we had used that product when we did our showers in 2009. I understand you can waterproof a cardboard box with RedGard. Your new bathroom for the kids is going to be awesome!

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14.March.2014

LOVE that floor tile – I think you guys definitely made a great choice!!! Cannot wait to see the finished bathroom.: ) Hopefully it will inspire me to get started on ours…
Leah: )

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14.March.2014

I am anxiously awaiting seeing the tub wood base and how you do it. We are planning on building a home in the next 1-2 years and want a clawfoot tub without claw feet. I have loved, loved, loved the wood base idea since I first saw it on your blog. I so hope it works!!!!

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14.March.2014

Everything about the bathroom plan makes me so happy. Regarding showering the kiddos in that amazing tub, I think that if you have a detachable shower head on a hose, all will be easy and your life will be complete. We have one and it makes a lot of difference.

jbhat

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14.March.2014

Toilet training boys! Always fun. Here’s a link to a product I thought was inventive. (Psychologically damaging? Abusive to animals?) I think it’s hilarious. But if I was desperate……..

http://tinkletimetargets.com/

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14.March.2014

I’m wondering about the grout as well and how you plan to keep it from getting stained yellow if you go light…

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replied on March 14th, 2014

This! My brother has three little boys (and a little girl), and they have essentially the same wall and floor tiles you picked out in their kids bathroom. It was awesome when they first put it in, but now the light grout on the floor is stained, so it always looks uneven and splotchy, even when the floor was just washed.

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replied on March 14th, 2014

We’re going with a gray grout so hopefully it won’t show dirt too much over time.

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replied on March 14th, 2014

We have a sandy colored grout in the master bathroom and it isn’t stained from missed aims. (or if it is, it isn’t noticeable) We’re planning to use a gray grout on the floor in the kid / guest bath and hope it holds up just as well.

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14.March.2014

I LOVE the inspiration images/mood board you’re working off of. I’m sure the end result will be stunning!

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That floor tile is AMAZING! It’s going to be so beautiful in that bathroom. Can’t wait to see it!

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14.March.2014

We are in the throes of an entire home renovation, much like what you did with the underdog except it was supposed to be done before we had to move in and of course, wasn’t. The good thing is now things are going at our pace instead of rushed but it does mean a lot more second guessing. We just manually lightened the paint we chose for the entire house after realizing it was way too dark and I’m so glad we did! So in that case, second guessing helped. We’re actually thinking of just doing a stamped concrete look in one bathroom but now that I see that hexagon tile, I’m second guessing again :D

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14.March.2014

We did Red-Gard in our bathrooms as well – I like having the piece of mind, especially since we’ve had water issues in the past (not from the showers or the tubs, but even so, the extra “insurance” is worth it!). One thing we did with the second bathroom we used it on was to end it slightly before the tile edge for the shower – when you get it on at the right thickness, it will create an actual “bump” if you try to paint over it (which is what we did for the first bathroom we used it in), and it’s not the most noticeable thing in the world, but it bothers me when I see it in ours :-). Good luck with the rest of your bathroom renovations!

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14.March.2014

I’m so excited to see your finished product! But mostly because my husband and I are doing a bathroom reno as well and we’re also using black hex tile with wainscoting tile! The only difference is that our wall tile is square (we’ll be laying it in a but in a brick layer pattern) instead of subway. I wanted subway but we got the square tile for free….so that was an easy choice! Have fun tiling!

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14.March.2014

Love the noir tile, and really looking forward to following this process!

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14.March.2014

good call on the marble. I loved it, it was gorgeous, i dutifully sealed it… boys and carerra marble? not a combo. It always looks dirty even when it’s spotlessly clean.

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14.March.2014

I love that hex tile!! I can’t wait to see finished pictures although I’m sure you are more excited to have two functional bathrooms :)

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Oh I’m excited for this one! Love the tile choice too. No sense in being worried over something like that. And I had completely forgotten about that tub. It’s just so freakin gorgeous.

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Love the hex tile and wood base for the tub. I really hope that works! It’s a nice unexpected twist for a bath.

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That tub base idea is great! I live the look and the utility of cast iron tubs but not the feet in a modern setting! What a great workaround!

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15.March.2014

The new hex tile will look great. Have you ever tried tiling? It’s actually fairly easy and you can do a little at a time- might get it done sooner. When my plumber came to install our vanity and toilet recently, he shook my hand for a job well done.

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I love the look of the hex title. We are starting to plan our bathroom reno. I am bookmarking this for later.

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17.March.2014

IM OBSESSED WITH THE WOODEN BASE TUB!! Love the mood board!

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24.March.2014

[…] picked up the noir hex tile for the bathroom floor last week and the plan was to lay it this past Saturday. An early morning phone call on […]




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