There I was, minding my own business, like I always do, when I noticed a bit of mildewy looking shoe molding by the bathtub in my kid’s bathroom. When a spray of Tilex didn’t clear it right up, I made the fateful decision to just “see” how damaged the molding really was. Crowbar in hand (this is where the red flags should have been flying high) I “gently” pulled it away from the wall and surprise! Mold and Mildew. Regrettably, it was also under the tiles. Coincidentally I had just seen an HGTV special on black mold so the first task at hand was to bring in an expert to ensure I hadn’t just set a million spores into the atmosphere with one teensy-weensie little crowbar destruction. Long story short (too late, you may be thinking), it was NOT black mold, but it was still time to get DIY hard core and fix the problem ourselves.
At this point, our only intention was to replace the piece of wall that was cut away because of the mildew and “quickly” re-tile. The prospect of sharing a bathroom with our 14 and 10 year-old was less than appealing. First things first, time to remove the tile. This is where things got loud and ugly, FAST.
The fastest way to do this is by smashing a sledge hammer on the floor and chiseling the pieces as they shatter away. Very cathartic at first, a horrible chaos of noise and dust about 2 hours later. (Protective eye wear is a MUST). When the dust settled (it took a while), we realized the subfloor had to go too.
In order to completely remove the tile, we had to remove the toilet…which of course then inevitably led my mind to wondering about how much better the bathroom would look without the vanity sink. I’ve always hated it, have been meaning to paint it, and here was the perfect opportunity to do away with it in the hopes of a cheap Plan B (HA!)
We decided to do a pedestal sink since it turned out we didn’t really store anything significant in the cabinet. Naturally, I couldn’t POSSIBLY leave the builder mirror in place. (This is where the red flags should have waved AGAIN) So, a quick trip to Sunbelt Rentals and $20 later, I had in my possession the coolest suction cups ever.
My son and I taped the mirror with duct tape in case it inadvertently broke, then each manned a suction cup on either side, gave a firm pull and the mirror popped right off. Regrettably, so did a couple of pieces of the drywall. OOPS!
Confession time: At this point, we have no sink and no toilet, no real floor and semi-destroyed walls. As life goes, work and other obligations have sucked away all the time we thought we’d have to devote to the project. Weeks and weeks went by with no progress and the frustration mounted. After picking up the 50th pair of boy gym shorts and size 11 sneakers from my bathroom floor we decided to cry “Uncle!” and hire a professional.
Fast forward a week and what would have taken us months to finish was done in 3 days. A few painful trips to Home Depot and I walked away with everything the gentleman who took on our project would need to fix the mess we’d made. I chose tile I’d admired for its retro vibe (and cheapness..did I mention that CHEAP was a major factor here?), beadboard was going to cover the “distressed” wall, and a new pedestal sink that would serve its purpose and add to the whole retro vibe.
It was almost like Christmas morning when he was finished with the hard stuff. It was my job to paint our “new” bathroom. Pinterest to the rescue with more inspiration than I could have imagined.
I was am very proud of the fact that almost every single one of the accessories I used was either a Yard Sale or a Thrift Store find. It helped mitigate the cost of everything else. So, in the end, it was worth it. But remember me next time you approach your bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, hallway with a crowbar..and watch for those red flags.
Come take a peek at these creative souls…always great inspiration: