...because home doesn't happen overnight.

unfinished bath 1

Someday this is going to be a really awesome bathroom. For the past two years, it’s been this unfinished eyesore that I shield my eyes from every time I pass by in the hallway. I pretend it’s not there. When we have guests over and they want a tour, I’m all “…and here’s where we hold our Amazon deliveries for inspection…” When I’m embarrassed, I try to be funny but I think it comes across as awkward instead and then everyone ends up feeling uncomfortable. And even though we don’t mind guests traipsing through our bedroom to use the only functioning bathroom in the house, I’m guessing they feel a little weird doing it. So for the sake of our houseguests comfort, we really want to tackle this bathroom. Getting the mound of bathroom finishes (tile, tub, toilet, vanity, wall sconce, plumbing fixtures, etc.) out of the garage would be nice, too.

Maybe 2014 will be the year we park a car in our garage?!

unfinished bath 2

Two weeks ago our plumber adjusted the water lines for the tub. We tried leveling the concrete floor in here over a year ago (life has totally gotten in the way of this project) but the water lines needed to be sunk a little deeper into the slab for us to tile over properly.

During renovation we had the plumber update the water lines for the tub. At the time, he was afraid they were too high and he told us to give him a call if we needed him to adjust them. So two years later that’s just what we did. He didn’t charge us for this most recent work since it was his error. I love our plumber. He’s a man of his word, returns our calls and shows up when he says he’s going to. (He’s Pete the Plumber in Lebanon, Ohio for any locals needing a good plumber.)

Some jackhammering was involved in sinking the lines so Steve patched the floor this weekend. We have to let it cure for a while before we can start any tile prep but the good news is the floor is level! Dirty, but level!

We also decided to create access to the water shutoff in the bathroom. (We’re overly paranoid about water leaking, pouring, seeping, dripping and flooding into our home.) Our hope is we’ll never have to use it but if we need it, it’s there.

access to water shut off

The bathroom shares a wall with my workspace in the kitchen. The water shutoff is located behind this base cabinet. We thought creating access to the shutoff within the cabinet would be discreet but effective. To prep for an access panel, Steve removed the cabinet doors (Ikea cabinets make that super easy, btw.) and emptied the cabinet.

access to water shutoff

Steve picked up an inexpensive access panel from Home Depot for about $12. He traced its dimensions onto the back of the kitchen drywall from the bathroom. (We had already cut out a panel of cement board for access to the water shutoff during renovation. It goes back in place with a few screws.) He drilled a small hole in one corner (seen above) to get started then used a small hacksaw to cut out a square. He did this from the bathroom side and was careful not to cut through any pipes.

access to water shutoff 2

He cut right through the drywall and the back of the cabinet.

access to water shutoff 3

As you can see, he had some helpers. Everett was so excited. He thought we were making a secret passageway. Sorry, buddy, just trying to give you somewhere else to pee.

access to water shutoff 5

Then Steve slipped the access panel into place.

access to water shutoff 4

The cabinet frame and new access panel are both white so the result is pretty inconspicuous.

access to water shutoff 6

Then we loaded everything back into the cabinet.

hidden access panel

It’s like it never even happened. Having access to the water shutoff gives us peace of mind. Man, I hope we never have to use it. Now we’re just waiting for the concrete to cure and then it’s on to tiling! We don’t have a set deadline for finishing the bathroom. We’re working on it when we can – in between the kids’ activities, Steve’s work and business trips, episodes of New Girl, birthday parties. But it’s something we’d really like to see to completion before nicer weather hits and all we’ll want to do is GO OUTSIDE.

The plumber asked to see the floor tile and tub fixture for measurements when he was here adjusting the water lines. I sorted through the beast that is our garage to find them and then I got excited all over again about this bathroom. After sharing one bathroom with four other people for the past two years, having two working bathrooms is going to be such a luxury!

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking


Bathrooms/Plumbing are just such a royal pain in the tuckus! So much more complicated than meets the eye. Also – this post made me all sorts of happy since I love seeing your amazing kitchen rug pop up in photo after photo. Seriously, that thing is gorgeous! :)


You are not alone! This weekend we finally got our vanity out of the garage and into our bathroom after probably a year! I had to snap it up since it was a great deal, but then we had a hard time finding flooring so it sat and sat while life got in the way. Of course, we only got one of the sinks working, but baby steps for us as well. Can’t wait to see how yours turns out.


Progress! Truly exciting for you and your entire family. I’ve been watching for this post since the one long ago about leveling the concrete floor. Very interested to see how Steve handles the missing tub legs–what sort of cradle/support structure he comes up with. You two are an ingenious DIY team. (Ditto Mary’s comment about your gorgeous kitchen rug.)

I love the tile you picked! It’s very similar to what we chose for our black and white vintage bathroom. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!


Can’t wait to see how it turns out! When we bought our house there was a “90%” completed bathroom in the basement. To me, 90% complete would have a toilet… But we’re getting the plumbing checked out and then are on to tiling as well- I know you will keep me motivated!


So excited to see that this project is on the blog! Not that I don’t love all your other projects, but I can’t stand the thought of you living with one bathroom for much longer.


I’m so glad I’m not alone! We have been living with the exact same unfinished bathroom for 3 years now! Although we have our toilet sink and bath plumbed, there is no heat and no floor or tiles. My husband uses the bath but I literally never go in there coz it depresses me! I’m pinning lots of ideas at the moment and really look forward to finally finishing it but it will be another while before we get on that. Looking forward to seeing what you do with yours!


I am so impressed you have all shared a bathroom for that long. My fiance and I live together and definitely use both of our bathrooms quite often. I can’t wait to see it all come together!


A totally smart move about the water shutoff. I’m equally paranoid about these things.


Dana, “just trying to give you another place to pee” had me laughing out loud. You are very funny. And wow, what a great solution, creating that access panel. Would you just reach in and turn those levers? (Sorry to be duh.)



That’s the plan. There isn’t a ton of wiggle room but it should be fine for water emergencies.


Genius, I tell you.


Oh, so good to see progress on your hall bathroom! I’m just wondering at that first picture; is there a step up into the bathroom?
You’ll get a laugh out of this: when my 4 sisters and I wer all in jr high/ high school, my parents bought a house with one bathroom! I really don’t remember it being a huge problem, but that might be explained by how long ago it happened!


Story. Of. My. Life! We are so prone to projects taking AGES! We moved into our house 3 years ago, and ripped out our kitchen. We had everything ordered and sitting around just waiting for us to get our butts in gear. We STILL don’t have our gorgeous apron front sink, or goose neck faucet installed. Huzzah for living with old ugly sink and tap and plywood countertops.
Can’t wait to see how the bathroom shapes up!

I have yet to find a pete the plumber. Maybe that’s why I’ve put off getting our new sink installed. THe last guy smelled of cigarettes and just seemed rude. The one before charged when it was really stupid simple trick when I was a new homeowner. Why are there so few Petes?!


No step up to the bathroom. I believe you’re referring to a strip of cardboard we placed at the bathroom threshold to keep the self-leveling concrete from getting to the hardwood in the hall. Yep, it’s been there for over a year! #lazy

Ooh! I bet you’re so excited to get started! I got your IG post a while back and for excited for you. I’ve been dying to see that claw foot tub you found finally in place. Not sure if you’re wanting to give anything away here but are you planning on painting the outside black or charcoal grey? That would look so amazing with the rest of your aesthetic throughout the house.


Eeeeek! So excited to see the bathroom come together – in need of inspiration over here as we have two bathrooms to get going on! A huge part of the procrastination problem for me is that I have to totally psych myself up for contractors traipsing in and out of my house when it’s not a DIY…ugh…#neatfreak #controlfreak
It really is awesome, though, when you do find a “Pete the Plumber”!!!
Have fun: )


Sorry to be a little off topic –

Would you sharing the name of the Etsy shop where you purchased the kitchen rugs? I’ve been looking for vintage but haven’t found anything quite in the style of yours (much more on the intricate, deep red side). Also, any updates on how your shaggy living room rug is holding up to family and winter? I’ve been coveting one like it but am terrified that it will be instantly filthy!


Hi there Dana,

On another unrelated topic, have you rec’d your Muku Shuttr yet?

Do you like it? Happy with the purchase? :)

Thx! Love your blog!

The kids look so into it!

I love the rug and would love to see it in my new kitchen! Would you mind sharing where you got it? Thanks so much!!




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