The Bathroom : A Budget Remodel

Facing a leakage problem inside your home is never a fun prospect.
Dampness, the smell of mold and the constant crumbling of wet-and-dried plaster leads to all kinds of discomfort. When old piping suddenly begins to cause cracks in the tile, and water starts to seep through a wall in the neighbouring room, you know that the repair can’t be delayed any longer.  So what do you do when you need to fix the problem, and not break the bank? You plan a mini-makeover.
(Before you undertake a project like this, it would be a good idea to refer to our DIY checklist to help you plan your remodel better.)

Cracking tiles and a lotta leaky

We started out with a list of the overdue fixes that were pending in this room, and anything else that could possibly help treat the leakage problem.
Consulting with the mason and tiling contractor, it became clear that the rotting wooden frame holding the window was allowing water to leak inside – and this was possibly seeping in through the wall behind the tiles. This meant that the tiles below the window would have to be ripped out and redone!
There was also a crack running down a few tiles between the shower-head and the mixer. So we thought we could spot replace a few tiles and it would be as if nothing had been changed.
However, it soon became clear that the exact same tile colour would be hard to locate, in spite of it being standard off-white. As tiles may become duller and change colour over time – and sometimes also change tone once exposed to water – it was hard to spot the exact same tile colour without it looking like a few pieces had been ripped out and replaced.
So, it was decided that, rather than change only sections of tiles on both adjacent walls- that the tiles would be completely changed on both walls. This instantly increased the expense budget because we were now tiling two whole walls, as opposed to half a wall below the window and few tiles on the shower wall.
Breaking the process down into two goals, it was decided to repair the ceiling and replace the window completely, with the addition of the missing exhaust fan and redo the tiling.

As seen in the before photo, the ceiling leakage had been fixed from the outside (in a previous repair,) so what remained was a dried out, crumbling plaster. The solution for this was to spray the ceiling with leakage treatment, plaster and paint job on the inside.

#Visual goals

Considering that we had now decided to replace tiles on two walls completely – there was scope for a visual change by adding a contrast section for the shower, and the possibility to play with texture to help modernize the space.
The original off-white tiles had been glossy and, considering that no other major changes were being made to the bathroom, the new tiles would have to work within the existing colour scheme . One option was to go with the wall tile being exactly the same colour as the floor. The other was to use an in-between shade to add depth. And possibly work with a contrasting texture as well : a stoney-matt finish.  So we found this amazing digital print tile that seemed to work with our existing palette and decided to go with it.
The problem however was that when the package arrived – the tiles needed to be arranged in an appealing way, so that we didnt have a basic tiled look. we needed to create a mosaic effect and centered the window on this design frame – to help contain the pattern.
Photo Caption: the mosaic of tiles was made and the window was centered based on this pattern.
We also wanted to visually open up the space, so it was also decided to do away with the curtain rod and installed a partition glass divider instead so as to contain the shower water within the cubicle space.
We also built a small niche to hold bottles and other bathroom things, in order to minimize clutter in the shower area. The original idea was to have a niche in a different area, but we had a pipe running behind it and so decided to go with a different spot – which looks like it worked out well in the end result.

And then there was more

Having remodeled and renewed the look of the shower area, , it became obvious that the new theme would need to be balanced on the other end of the room as well.
So we stuck-on the same tiles around the vanity area  to complete the pattern and bring out the theme of the bathroom.
Also, because the bathroom had only one tubelight in its old setting near the vanity area, a new set of lights was added to the ceiling to brighten it up. This bathroom was also going to be doubling up as the guest bathroom/powder room so it made a great visual change to the space.

Lighting is everything. We had some new wiring done in the ceiling to install panel lights to give a softer, but grander effect to the room.

Post remodel tips

In case you decide to undertake a project such as this, below are a few handy suggestions that could help make your process easier:
  • Make sure any grouting spills or errors are corrected all cleaned up soon after because clearing grout haze can be quite a pain.
  • It does make sense to install new fixtures to get that feeling of a new bathroom (but it’s alright if you don’t – we didn’t!)
  • Using coloured accents in your design approach can help brighten up the space and makes your bathroom feel like an Oasis if done well.
  • Make stow-aways to hide clutter away under the sink and try not to have too many shelf-like fixtures on the walls that encourage hoarding of multiple clothes and towels in the bathroom

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