Let the Demo Begin! Our Cabin Bathroom Renovation Plan

Eek you guys! The cabin bathroom renovation is officially under way. This is actually happening!!

When we bought the cabin we initially thought that we could live with the bathroom as-is for a couple of years. It’s not that bad, right? But literally after the first time we used the bathroom we said NO WAY! This bathroom has got to go NOW.

For one, the floor utterly grosses me out. Sure it looks cute from afar, but in between every single “pebble” is dirt, like the kind of dirt that you can never get clean, that the vacuum doesn’t pick up and the mop doesn’t clean, and no amount of scrubbing is going to clear up. It’s as though those pebbles are actually outside. And if there’s one floor you want to be clean, it’s the one you step on with bare feet! Gross.

For two, the shower is small. The whole bathroom is small. I don’t have the exact dimensions handy, but it’s a long and narrow space, so narrow you can touch both side walls at once, with a door at the far end that leads out to the deck. The shower, though, is about 2 feet square. It’s actually a little nook that’s tucked under the stairs, and it’s kinda cute with its original 1970s little blue tiles. It also has something I’ve never seen before, which is a second faucet at the bottom and high sides so it can be filled like a little tiny bathtub — how genius is that in a small bathroom? But it’s so very, very cramped and closed in and uncomfortable. Problem is: in a room so small, what are the alternatives?

We had A LOT of trouble coming up with a new layout that improved on what’s there and didn’t cost a gazillion dollars. We’ve actually been through three completely different versions of the plan. A bathtub for the kids was our original goal, and when that got way too complicated (ie expensive and maybe not possible) our contractors came up with a plan to move the shower to the side wall, move the toilet to where the shower is, which was a plan we liked… until we discovered their measurements had been off and suddenly that was not actually going to work.

The bathroom renovation was originally supposed to be started last September and we had purchased nearly everything already, but after delays for this and that and arguing over contracts and realizing the whole layout was a mistake…. well, plot twist, we’re actually working with a different contractor now. Oh there’s been some DRAMA* you guys! (*Not really. Our original contractor was a big-deal local builder, very high profile, and they decided they were too busy to get to our little bathroom anytime soon/ever AND they were probably already spending too much time on a project that’s small potatoes for them. So they passed the job off to their subcontractor who was going to be doing the work anyway, which in the long run is making things a lot easier for us because he was able to get started right away, and since he had been secretly involved since the beginning he was already familiar with the project and there was no starting over from scratch with him. AND we’re not paying the extra fee of a middle man between us and the guy actually doing the work. Win-win. It did feel like we got broken up with, though, when Andy got a very, very awkward call saying they were leaving us. Super weird.)

So after all of that over the course of the last several months, here’s what the bathroom is going to look like:

This isn’t to any sort of scale, so don’t be purists on us, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what’s going on! On the left is approximately the current layout. On the right, the red lines show areas that are changing.

As you can see, the biggest change is that the bathroom is getting a tiny bit bigger! On the other side of that wall is a huge closet in the downstairs bedroom, the room you may remember that’s navy blue with the amazing striped wall (if I do say so myself). The closet is huge, so we’re taking out half of it and giving that much-needed space to the bathroom. That will add two feet of width to the bathroom, by about four feet, and there will still be a decent-sized closet left in the bedroom. I’m hoping the new space will allow us to have a little bit of storage in the bathroom itself, maybe some open shelves, but we’ll just have to see what it all looks like once it’s done.

Then we’re expanding the shower by adding a glass shower “wall” out from where the original shower was. This allowed us to save a lot of money by keeping plumbing where it is, while giving us a bigger shower space. It will be an open shower, with no door and no curb between the shower and the rest of the room, though we’re doing something fun with the floor tile that I’m so excited to see IRL. The shower will go from a closed-in 2’x2′ to approx. 2’x4′ — still not huge but I think it will feel way less cramped. The showerhead will still be within the nook, angled out, and it should be so much nicer not to have the closed-off feeling of a shower curtain right next to you.

The whole shower concept was inspired by this Atomic Haus instagram post, which I immediately showed to Andy as soon as I saw it, and then immediately sent to our contractor and said, “can we do this?!” And now we’re doing it!

This plan also allows us to keep the exterior door, which we didn’t care about necessarily but it’s another way to save a lot of money. (I’d LOVE to replace the door itself but the quote we got was ridiculous — something like $10,000 areyoukiddingme???, so we’ll just save that project for another day and I know for a fact it doesn’t have to cost that much.) Our contractor is going to paint the door with marine-grade paint to allow it to be inside the shower. Is it weird to have an exterior door in a shower? Um, yep! But let’s be honest, this whole cabin is weird so just embrace the quirks!!

The current vanity is also way too big for the space — talk about quirks, but I’m not embracing this one. Eek, so shabby chic. The entry door practically scrapes it since it’s way too wide, and it’s not at all the right style for the house. Oh I wish we’d taken a picture of the sink with the fish on it. Sigh.

Here’s a few photos from our contractor showing what it all looks like now:

Demo and framing were done over the weekend, and of course there already are a couple of “surprises” — is it even a surprise when you know to expect a surprise?! Demo is always the part where issues come to light, and you have to just roll with the punches. So far the punches are 1) an issue that was brought up during inspection that we’d meant to fix and forgot, which will probably be expensive but it’s not exactly a surprise and definitely not optional; and 2) the showerhead we bought isn’t going to work. So, not the end of the world. So far.

We’ll keep you updated!! Let us know what you think about our plans!

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