The Bathroom : One Room Challenge – Week 2

White Vanity with Chrome Hardware

Here we are in Week 2 of the One Room Challenge and I’m feeling really excited to see the bathroom come together! In case you missed the before image and design plan, you can find it in the Week 1 post. However, before it gets better- it always gets worse. Way worse, in this case. You guessed it, this post is all about demo and prep. Click through to see the mess we ran into, and learn about how we had to improvise our entire plan. Warning- it’s pretty gross. 

If you found me through the ORC site, hi there! I’m Sarah, a designer located in Salt Lake City, UT. You can see my current home renovation here, as well as my previous Ohio home here. Thanks for reading!

Alright, let’s get to the point- demo. In theory it sounds like a lot of fun… swinging a sledge hammer around recklessly, but in reality- it’s pretty nasty work. Emmett started with the easiest task first: removal of the ancient medicine cabinet.

Medicine Cabinet DemoThat went pretty well, but we noticed a giant pipe located in the center and noted that we would need to remove it… one more thing added to our to-do list. Next, he tackled the linoleum floor demo.

Floor DemoAt first glance the subfloor looked ok, but Emmett being the perfectionist he is, noticed it wasn’t level. Little did we know the entire structure was rotten (more on that later).

Drywall demoDrywall and tile demo came next. That all went pretty much as expected. We had planned to replace everything anyway, so we didn’t uncover anything unexpected.

Drywall RemovalThen it was time to remove the toilet and bathtub. This meant we no longer had a toilet or shower to use. Remember? This is our one and ONLY bathroom. Luckily we have great neighbors, a Starbucks close by, and friends who let us shower at their house. You can imagine how inconvenient that was though. I’ll admit to peeing in the yard, a lot… camping style (no shame here). Ha! I also made frequent coffee runs to use their facilities (insert embarrassed face here). Showering felt a lot like college. Emmett and I packed up our towels and shower caddies, then drove to our friend’s home to shower. Fun times. Meanwhile, our bathroom looked like this:

Bathroom DemoRemember how I mentioned the rotten subfloor? Yuck. See what I mean? It was soft, mushy, and moldy, so Emmett decided to take it all the way down to the studs. He even had to replace some studs. It was a complete mess and added 10+ hours to the project, but these things happen. Nothing has been easy with this house.

Rotten Sub FloorHere’s what it looked like after he started to rebuild the floor…

Removing the SubfloorThat’s the bottom of our house / crawlspace. While the floor was removed, he updated alllllll of the plumbing. We actually had to use a car jack down there to get the heaviest metal pipe out. It weighed over 450 lbs and took both of us to drag it out of the house (not to mention it was filled with sewer). I’m tellin’ ya… renovating isn’t for the faint of heart- or the squeamish. Emmett likes building things from the ground up though, and that meant brand new, modern plumbing and piping. Keep in mind all of this took a little over a week. Once it was done, he closed it back up…

Finished SubfloorAfter the floor was fixed, it was time to start prep work and make the bathroom look like a room again. We added insulation to the exterior wall around our new black window. This house has zero insulation and it’s been our goal to insulate each room as we go to make it more efficient.

InsulationAfter insulation, we moved the bathtub back into it’s position. Emmett hung new drywall and cement board (layered on top of plastic for added water / mold protection).

Plastic and Concrete Board

Custom Shower NichesI knew I wanted custom sized shower niches, so I also had him frame those out. We each have our own shelf for shampoo / bath products.

Tile PrepNext, he roughed in a spot for a medicine cabinet since we’re seriously short on storage.

Medicine Cabinet Rough InLastly, the most exciting part… the brand new vanity arrived! I can tell you, I’m swapping out the chrome hardware.

White VanityNext week, you’ll have to come back to see the finished tile, which has me SO excited. We’re cruising right along in the ORC and I’m almost ready to pick out accessories- to make sure they arrive in time. I’m thinking soap dispensers, towels, artwork, hardware, hooks, towel bars, baskets, etc.

What do you think so far? Questions? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Do you think we’re crazy or do you guys do this sort of intense demo / reno as well?  You can see all of the participants in the fall 2017 ORC by clicking the logo below.


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  1. Wow, all of that in a week, when did you guys sleep? I know you both work full time on top of this, so it’s not like you had spare time during the day to get it done.

    1. Sleep? Never heard of it. I usually find that I can knock out one big project really fast, and then I have to take a few weeks off from doing any work on the house. I also get more work done on Saturday and Sunday working 14-18 hour days than I do the entire rest of the work week. Thanks for following along!

  2. Tim@DesignMaze says:

    wow so much progress already and the space is looking lots better already! Love the fresh drywall and the possibility of beautiful spaces! Looking forward to Week 3!

    1. It’s amazing what new drywall will do to a space :)

  3. Emily Vanderputten | chez V says:

    Girl, I FEEL you. Our first project as husband and wife in our little ranch was redoing our bathroom – the ONLY one too. I peed in a Home Depot bucket in the back yard more times than I care to admit. Every time we open the walls or the floor in our house, we discover all kinds of janky goodness that requires new joists or plumbing or electrical. Sheesh. You guys have amazing progress in a such a short time. Can’t wait to see the final result. Kudos to Emmett!

    1. Thanks, Emily! Yessss- same exact story here. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  4. Ashley - The Gold Hive says:

    I remember these days! I peed in the backyard, too, when we were without a toilet!

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only crazy one! haha!

  5. Wow! You guys have been busy! I notice that I work a lot faster when it comes to something like a missing toilet too. ;) Your new vanity is gorgeous!

    1. That’s definitely good motivation to speed things along. Hah!! Nothing like peeing in the backyard to make you appreciate the necessities in life. lol!

  6. This looks all too familiar… *shudders*… we still have one more bath to go. and a kitchen!

    1. Ha! I feel you… we’re about to dive into our kitchen later this year as well.

  7. That vanity is divine! Y’all accomplished so much this week! kuddos!

  8. Nicki Parrish says:

    I love that vanity, and I’m a little sad to see you change out the hardware, because I think it’s kinda cool! You certainly have your work cut out for you in this space. I am so excited to see the rest!

    1. Thanks, Nicki! Not to worry… the hardware looks identical to the chrome- it’ll just be a different color.

  9. This room is going to be amazing! I am loving watching this transformation (and I’m taking notes for when I get to my bathroom remodel!). And that vanity is gorgeous.

    1. Thanks so much, Jeanie! xo

  10. Dannyelle says:

    Wow, what a huge job and you guys are making amazing progress. The vanity look so pretty, can’t wait to see it all together!

  11. We only had one bath in our last home! It was such a “fun” time, the memories are making me wince. Its all worth it in the end, since you only have one bathroom it will make a world of difference in your day to day once the remodel is complete!

  12. Wow you guys accomplished a lot!!! It’s going to be so worth it!

    1. Thanks!! I’m ready to wrap this bathroom up and style it. Ha! xo

  13. Hi! Would you mind sharing where you bought the new hardware for the vanity that you are switching out? Thanks!

    1. Not at all… you can find the hardware here.

  14. Can’t wait to see the tile installed! Curious what kind of waterproofing system you used before you installed the tile? Thanks!

  15. Your floor tile is gorgeous! I love black marble and the brass inlay really elevates the whole design! Good luck on your renovation! I’m glad I found your blog through ORC.

    1. Thanks so much, Joan!! I’m glad you made your way over here too. Thanks for following. xo