I can’t believe that I first posted about this project all the way back in January! Oh, how bright and shiny my plans were for the beginning of 2020.
It’s taken nearly 8 months to fully complete this project both in terms of the construction as well as the decor. Our contractor has been a champ through it all, and the hardest part was waiting out the stay-at-home orders earlier this spring that put everything on hold for at least a month.
Despite the unprecedented delays, we are absolutely thrilled with this transformation! When we first moved into this house over two years ago, we never bothered to use this bathroom because it was scary, full of dead crickets, and the toilet would run until the water pressure in the entire house would tank. We hosted a housewarming party here when we first moved in, and lost all water pressure because a guest unknowingly flushed that godforsaken toilet! Not the way to get a party going! It was beyond time for that bathroom to go, and it became the first chunk of this 1970s basement renovation.
If you haven’t been following along, the bathroom used to be a toilet and sink only, covered in yellow parquet flooring and sheets of old beadboard paneling. Topped off with a fluorescent light and it was the perfect storm of ugly.
I had a vision for how to make the space more efficient, but it took some fanangling to get it right. After discussion and interviews with several contractors, it was a mixed bag for what they thought we could accomplish. The most important thing I wanted to do was move the toilet out of the alcove and make that entire area, which is under the stairwell, a luxurious shower with a bench.
The tricky part is that, because this is all in the basement, moving plumbing can be laborious and expensive. My thought was that we could use the hole from the old toilet as the start of the shower drain and then use a rear outlet toilet to run to the sewage ejector pump. We found that some contractors were completely unwilling to do that for us and preferred to excavate the concrete floor to run a drain for the new toilet. Or they didn’t want to put the shower where we wanted it and wanted to build the shower where I wanted to move the toilet. In my opinion, if you can’t find a contractor who is willing to at least figure out a way to make your vision happen, then it’s probably time to find a new one.
Thankfully, the contractor we eventually hired has been simply wonderful to work with as well as skilled! Truly, we couldn’t ask for more! He saw my vision and was ready to make it happen and do it right. He was even able to incorporate the rear outlet toilet that we wanted to avoid the cost and effort of jack-hammering the floor! Our basement is unique in that there is a 2-foot space between the walls that you see and the foundation blocks around the entire perimeter of the basement. This allowed us to run the plumbing for the toilet behind the wall so it could angle down into the ejector pump. Success! We’ve used it, and trust me, it works!
Making a design board before we got started was incredibly helpful in making design decisions along the way! We deviated from it a little bit, but overall I think the feel of it is very close to the original design.
Because this bathroom is in our basement, I also wanted to keep it light and neutral so it felt comfortable and airy for guests. I love the white and gray tones, marble textures, and pops of black in here. With plenty of space and light, I think guests will enjoy coming to stay, especially because this is pretty isolated from the rest of the house. Honestly, it’s so much nicer than our master bathroom, I kind of want to go stay down there for a while myself!
Can you tell things have changed a little bit since we started this project?? Both the bathroom and me!
One of my favorite parts of this whole room is actually the rug. It adds just enough color and coziness. The wall baskets over the toilet were a last minute yard sale find for $2 each, and I threw some dry beans in the bottoms to weigh them down and random faux greenery I had on hand. I really struggled with what kind of art to hang, but ultimately decided to shop my house and move some items from my living room. These vintage Audubon prints were my grandmother’s, and it’s so special to have them in my house!
This is by far my favorite renovation project we’ve ever done, and I can’t wait to share more of what we do in the basement this year! There have been so many changes, and there are a lot more to come before we have this baby in October!
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