Bathroom renovations

18 July 2016
I thought it would take a couple of weeks and in the end it was five long, cold weeks of using our main toilet and bathroom instead of the ensuite. What a nightmare. All the way through I just hoped it would all be worth it. And guess what - it was!  We both love the new bathroom. It's very simple, easy to clean, we have our toiletries organised in the drawers and behind the mirrors and it's a real delight bathing in there. It feels contemporary without losing a warm and comforting feeling.

Not his and hers sinks, because we don't need them, but we each have our own side of the mirror cupboards and the drawers.  Hanno has his shaving and tooth gear on his side, I have deodorant, spare soap and shampoo, tooth brush and paste on my side.
And you can see here that the wonderful Mr Fox has moved in with us. We also have a bamboo chair for hanging clothes while we're in the shower and a seat on which to sit if needed. The little step is for me to dry my feet. I got into the habit of using the step on the side of the spa so this replaces that.
An overhead shower as well as a hand shower. I only use the overhead when I wash my hair but it feels like standing under a waterfall. There's no shower stall, just a shower screen on one side with a walk in shower. We thought this would grow old with us and will be suitable if one of us has to sit down in the shower or use a wheel chair.
I love this toilet because it has a really quiet flush. Great for old bladders when we have our middle of the night trips. ;- ) The drawers are for odds and ends on Hanno's side and makeup and a hair dryer on my side. Below in the deep drawers we have towels on my side and toilet rolls and cleaning gear on Hanno's.

When we moved into this house in 1997 we extended the house to include another large bedroom and ensuite. That is the bathroom we just renovated. Bathrooms are always costly, both when new and when they're renovated. This was no different. We had a budget of $6,000 and although that's much less than the average cost of a bathroom renovation, I was pleased that it came in on cost.

Some of the things that helped us keep the costs down were:
  • We used the existing plumbing outlets, so the toilet, vanity and shower are all in the same place. 
  • We removed an 18 year old spa bath and didn't replace the bath.
  • We sourced all our own building materials, fixtures and fittings. We bought the tiles from a place called cheap tiles online and if you're in Brisbane, or close to it, it's worth a visit to the website to see their stock. Many of their tiles are current stock in places like Harvey Norman and are half their price.
  • Look for non-slip tiles.
  • The vanity, vanity taps, mirror, bamboo chair and step are from Ikea, the shower, shower screen and toilet are from Bunnings. Mr Fox towels from Bed, Bath and Beyond; they have a July sale on now.  All the towel rails, the shower mixer, toilet roll holder and venetian blind were recycled from the old bathroom. 
  • We are passed the stage when we can do the work ourselves so we got a quote from the man who has been doing our general home maintenance and repairs. He did the work with his son. If you can do some of the work yourself, it will save a lot of money. At the very least you can carefully remove the old bathroom.
  • Ask for quotes from all the people who will do work - the builder, plumber, electrician, waterproofer, and ask for an itemised list of what work they'll carry out. The cheapest quote may not be the best value for money.
  • After work is done for the day, clean up and make sure the workers always come in to a clean space. Having to clean up before they start or when they finish, adds to the cost.
  • Make sure you know how long you have to wait before stepping on the tiles, grouting, waterproofing etc. If you stand on anything before it's set, it might have to be done again.
  • Be absolutely sure of your design and colours before starting. Making changes during the work will increase the cost of the project and the time it takes to complete it.
This bathroom renovation is the last major project we'll do here. We've been working our way through our upgrades for the past few years as energy and funds allow and we're very happy to have all the major work done.  That will help us live well in our own home in the years ahead and when we die, our home will be in reasonable shape for the kids to sell.

I love how our homes can evolve slowly with us as we age. It takes forethought and a realistic plan but it does help with the ageing process if you make slight and not so slight adjustments when or before they're needed. Do you have a plan for your home to reflect the changes you go through as you grow older?