We ambitiously decided to renovate the bathroom in over holiday break, 2009. Two years later we were done. This is what we started with: a homemade vanity that featured sliding doors and sparkly white Formica. And that lovely 1970s Mediterranean-patterned vinyl!

With the vanity out, the bathroom’s true colors began to show. Imagine it in powder pink, or baby blue, or sunny yellow. I counted nine layers of color in places. Eric did the heavy work of tearing up the floor.

Demolition is hard work!

Rosencrantz, our Maine coon, supervised.

We found this linoleum underneath it all. I really like this pattern–it reminds me of what we had in our kitchen when I was a kid. I wish we could find something like it for our current kitchen.

It was a little distressing to see the room so undressed and exposed. At the same time, I was fascinated to think that the framing hadn’t seen the light of day for nearly 100 years. Did it prefer living in the dark? Behind the plywood panel is a bedroom closet that originally housed a small corner sink, served by the capped water pipes. Notice how cleverly the horizontal vent pipe is notched into the studs. What the heck is holding up the roof? I don’t like to think about it … but this house has been standing for 100 years, so I trust it will likely last for a few more.

Insulation’s in. I felt better when we turned the corner from ripping things out to putting things back in.

Tile board is in … it was starting to look less scary. See that little island of vinyl flooring around the toilet? This is our only bathroom, so we delayed taking out the toilet for as long as we could. Eventually, of course, it had to come out. That was on Christmas day. We quickly discovered no place in town was open to provide relief, so Eric put the toilet back on … and off … and on again whenever we needed it. For months after the remodel was done, I sat gingerly on the throne, still expecting it to be rocky. We spent only one night in a motel during the entire remodel process.

Then it was my turn to do the tiling. We used white subway tiles with a black trim stripe and white grout on the walls, and 1-inch white hex tiles with charcoal grout on the floor, with a black bug every twelve inches.

Et voila! The finished product. The walls above the tile are a pale avocado green (Valspar Signature ‘Panacea’). The ceiling, which doesn’t show here, is pale robin’s egg blue (Valspar Signature ‘Dancing Mist’), and the trim is Valspar Signature ‘Chef White’. We kept the “stone mosaic” obscuring film on the windows because the house next door is very close, with a back door right outside our bathroom. I like the way the sun filters through the film and complements the colors in the room. We’re very happy with the results. The only thing I would change is buying the 30 in. Kohler Bancroft sink (which I didn’t know was available at the time) instead of the 24 in. It would give us more splash room and a spread faucet, which I’d prefer. We’ll upgrade one of these days.

After a whole year’s break, we had the old corner tub refinished by Miracle Method, and we retiled the tub surround. Finally, really, done!

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