Bathroom Renovation (i think this is part three!)

When I first moved into the cottage, upstairs was a jumble of 6 bedrooms, one of them being mostly the back stairs, so lets say 5 bedrooms.  This was fun for the first few months, house parties and lots of room for guests who didn’t mind sharing the one bathroom.  Pretty soon my bladder was the deciding factor in putting in an upstairs bathroom. All those midnight walks downstairs pushed me over the edge and into a renovation.  As usual I let the house lead the way, and the natural place was directly above the down stairs bathroom.  I had already added anther sink to the layout down there as an interim solution for many guests, but this meant that the original sink in that bathroom could be removed to build a plumbing chase that allowed the pipes to be hidden, so it all seemed pretty simple. See this first renovation on the old blog then see the next post here and about the next bathroom update on this post. Talk about making as much mess as possible, its sort of my version of measure once cut 100 times, but I tend to bite off weekend projects or week projects, a sense of accomplishment is key to staying motivated.  This whole renovation of the original 1830’s upstairs house is the first 6 months major project I have managed and done myself (I’m considerably grayer since starting it).  Anyway I’ve basically been installing two bathroom since 2015, but its finally worth it.  I can talk forever about budget and time, but really what it all boils down to is what your comfort level is, I like to do things in smaller increments so it doesn’t overwhelm me, financially and physically, and thats really the guidance I hope to give other home buyers and renovators one day soon. If there’s anything I’m good at its project management.  So back to 2018 and lets skip the whole destruction of what was a functioning 2 bedroom and bathroom area.  So this was bathroom renovation light but it really was a finessing and creating a space that is really quite special now. To shower under the beams with the heightened shower head felt almost magical after so long.  Its amazing what spending a ton of money, having a ton of sleepless nights and working your ass off can do for the head height of a room and your appreciation of beams!


The first stage back in 2015, breaking through. I look crazy but it was late. Little did I know that a few years later all these walls would be gone. That amazing door is now the closet door in what is the dark room.

Glamour shot of the basement. Really its a lovely photo of the old cast iron soil pipe going out to the septic tank.  Yes it needs repointing and could do with whitewashing but the basement if for sure the last on the list. 

Another utility shot, this is the hole for soil pipe, this goes down into the plumbing chase in the below bathroom. Its captured in all its tedious glory in another post.

This is when you really know who your friends are. Removing a section of the old cast iron soil pipe. Turns out non, thats right NON of my friends wanted to help with this one. I managed with some amazing balancing and one sawzall thats seen better days.

This is looking up to where the new plumbing will run down the wall. Also this is where I was hoping to find a bar of gold when I removed the old bathroom cabinet. Alas nothing but mouse poop

Just like that, subway tiling magic. I do love to do a good bit of tiling

You can read more about this on the old blog

The plumbing chase happening ! Oh and you can witness me cutting many holes in the wall to the right to run the new electric upstairs (also my trusty slipper, my constant bad renovation footwear choice).

The basement wall are a testament to time, being constructed back in 1830

Its me, just sawing things, casually most likely in my slippers. I really need to work on my safety

This is a good progress shot.. Crazily enough now that i have ripped that ceiling down, turns out that there is a beam exactly where i built the shower back wall. I would love to tell you that i planned it all along to work out like that so the shower is perfectly framed by the house structure. But alas its was pure luck, and as the romantic in me likes to think, its the house leading the way.

Here is the sink going in. So the idea behind the design of this room was to make it feel study like. So this is an old sloping desk, with the top (sloping bit) ripped off and put on the bottom (as to make it flat) and then i set in the brass sink and added legs from an old spindle bed frame.

God i love these taps (faucets). I know unusual in America but common place in England.  Ideally you switch back and forth quickly as the water is running, systematically scalding and freezing your hands. Or just put the plug in. What ever, its form over function and I love it. They were an ebay find and had to replace the washers but then they were good to go.

Me again. Always use cement board in wet applications. Thats all

Constructing said sink. You can see the slope in this picture. I felt bad doing it but it was such a beautiful piece that i think its better to be re-purposed and used rather than forgotten. Also those legs! If you can believe i found them on ebay as well, but just being sold at parts. Its not like i destroyed a bed frame for them. Im like a rescue home for old furniture.

Those clamps. When your working alone these are essential equipment.

This is a really boring shot of my plumbing. Plumbing is one of the more fun projects. Its kinda like big lego (duplex if anyone remembers that).

Ah this is what you’ve all been waiting, the after shot. Here is the toilet my bladder has been dreaming off. No more late night treck’s downstairs. Also witness my ship lap that in the next rendition is gone. Call it the Joanna Gains effect. It was wrong, one wall of ship lap, what was i thinking?

Side by side, where we are today and where we were. You can see the beams exposed, and shower all installed. I have to say I’m really chuffed with the way it turned out. The closest I’ve come to feeling I’mm in a spa shower. Certainly a long was from the family farm house that when a cow drinks the shower goes off and then is freezing. Oh America and your working shower pressure.


This is after the first renovation, getting the sink in 

Again, renovation phase one

Just an epic wall of subway tile.

As it is today with the new head height and all the beams exposed.

Beautiful antique cabinet that is an old clock case, now built into the new walls.

Crazy to think all the space was hidden.  The ceiling was about 1″ below the beams.

The beams in all there glory.  So wonderful to show them off

I will continue to add bits and pieces here and there, but this is where we stand today.