When we bought our house in 2016 we faced a dilemma. Buy a new construction home in a more “remote” area or buy something 10+ years old, be near established shopping and entertainment, and deal with the pains of a 10 year old home. For many, not a huge deal. For us, we are sorta picky when it comes to homes so we knew that meant a full remodel. We had already done the brand new house before so to try something new, we went with the older home in a great area.
Rest of the House
Starting right after the purchase of the home we did so many things. Maybe I will write about those projects eventually but a few of those projects were all new appliances, kitchen remodel, downstairs flooring, laundry room remodel, new fireplace system, new fireplace stone, new mantle, patio concrete slab, new counter tops, new downstairs bathroom.
White & Gold
The master bath in our home was filled with gold features and while tile. Yes the late 90’s new construction special. The grout had been painted by the previous home owners and was starting to come off. The inadequate ventilation resulted in steam build up over the shower and the paint had started to peel. We also knew some water was getting in behind the tile and making its way behind the cement board. So we knew a partial remodel was not on the menu. It was go big, or go home.
Since we had purchased the home, this was the one project that was overwhelming. Some due to the size of the project, and mostly because we knew not having our bathroom for 3-4 weeks was going to be painful. But even though we didnt want to start it, we knew we wanted it. We talked about it in detail. Our bathroom is the one place in the house my wife and I decided needed to be the most relaxing, nicest, and most well done area. This is the space where we end our day, relax, and “decompress”.
After getting 2 or 3 quotes that were over $30K, we decided we needed to act as our own contractor and I needed to go out and find labor directly. I turned to the Next Door app to find recommendations. During our first floor remodel a year before I had already established relationships with some tradesmen. An electrician, a plumber, a drywall guy. What I lacked was a tile guy. While on the NextDoor App I found myself a general contractor that everyone said was reliable and inexpensive. I decided to give him one shot before I ruled out using one. He came out and gave us a quote for a full remodel. I asked him to quote out each component so I can pick and choose what I want him to do vs me or my tradesman. I gave him the order to handle the demolition, shower pan and shower. I would take care of everything else.
A few days later he began demolition and within a day our bathroom was demolished down to the studs in the most clean and neat way I have ever seen anyone work. That weekend my wife made our way to Floor and Decor to start picking out our new bathroom. Exciting and terrifying. The project we had waited for so long for was here. So there we were with 3 kids roaming isle after isle and not having a clue what we were going to do. At least I didn’t. My wife loves design and seems to have a gift when it comes to picking out patterns, colors, etc. With each project we have done she gets approached by neighbors or friends to come do their home, their bathroom, their porch. So I relied heavily on her and her vision for a bathroom. Long story short, 3 tile stores and 2 days later we had our tile.
A Smart Bathroom
Before the tile we picked could start getting laid, we needed to decide what we needed to do while the walls were open. The rest of our home was a “smart home”. I knew I wanted a “smart bathroom”. My wife and I had seen the Moen Digital Shower and knew we wanted that. So I begun the research on what it takes to get that installed. It definately was not easy, but we decided to move forward with it. The thought of having Alexa turn on my shower was enough to keep us going!
The hardest part of the installation was that it required a shower valve to be installed somewhere that can be easily accessed in the future. Weirdly enough the instructions showed it going behind the shower wall. Assuming you could install an access panel on the opposite side. However in our home, the opposite side is my daughters room. I didn’t think it would be visually appealing to have an access panel in the middle of her wall. As I stood in the master bath I realized we have a linen closet next to our shower. My idea was to run the copper pipes into that closet so that we could install the shower valve there. My plumber was less than thrilled when I told him we had to run pipes from where they are now, into the closet and then back to the shower head and hand wand outlet. He had never installed this system before.