Our Bathroom and Laundry Renovations
I’ve already shared our kitchen renovations with you, and since we had a bunch of other stuff renovated here and there, I wanted to split it up into a couple posts. This one covers everything else we had done to the interior — our bathroom and laundry renovations — and later next month I’ll give you guys a look at our remodeled shed that actually functions as a gym now.
Before I get into it, I wanted to give a shout out again to CoCreations Construction and Design, who really helped all of this come together seamlessly. We loved working with them and definitely recommend if you’re in the Durham/Chapel Hill area. They actually just expanded to New Jersey too, so check them our if you’re in the area. (None of this is sponsored, just wanted to pass on the recommendation!).
I can’t seem to find any pictures of the original laundry area, which is a total fail on my part. Before the renovations, the fridge was on the left (where the new washer is now) and the washer and dryer were stacked on top of each other on the right. That was the whole area and it felt a little weird to not technically have the fridge in the kitchen as well as right next to the laundry.
As you saw in our kitchen renovations, we moved the fridge into the kitchen in a whole new custom-built area. This left room for the washer and dryer to now be side-by-side. We took advantage of the renovations to upgrade those because I was having a hard time getting loads of laundry to dry without running the dryer twice. We changed our dryer to a gas dryer because it should save us more money over time.
New additions to this space are the large shelf that now spans the length of the area above the washer and dryer. There are two smaller shelves on the wall and a new cabinet where I can store all the laundry products and whatever overflow we may have from the kitchen. The long shelf is actually a little high for me to fold laundry on, but that’s fine because I’ve always preferred folding the laundry on the bed which is near the closet. Then I don’t have to fold clothes, put them neatly in a basket, carry basket to bedroom, and put away.
Neil affectionately calls this area above the washer/dryer “the abyss” and relocates things I may have left out on the kitchen counters or table to it. I haven’t decided what exactly to put on the two wall shelves, so any suggestions are welcome!
We didn’t do much to this bathroom, but what we did really seemed to help. This bathroom is between the kitchen and the bedroom and honestly, I thought it was going to be a closet when I first opened the door. It’s very small, and before we changed anything it was painted a dark brown color that made the inside seem even smaller. The vanity took up a lot of space and there was a large mirror above it that was about 85% frame, 15% mirror. Something needed to change.
We bought a smaller, slimmer vanity and I really lucked out with finding a small mirror at Home Goods that had matching trim. We had the walls painted white, which helped with making the room feel bigger, and then added a couple decor things that helped tie it together.
Upstairs is where the kids have their rooms and there’s one large bathroom between the two. We left the original wall color, which is a pale blue, and replaced the vanity and mirrors. We also replaced the bathtub because it was old, outdated, and the faucet was really hard to use. We added new light fixtures to both rooms (the toilet/shower are in a separate room from the sinks/linen closet), so things are much brighter now as well.
Here is the before:
It’s just whiter, brighter, and more modern. The bathtub was a preformed one from the hardware store and I love all the built in shelves to put things. Also, the faucet handle finally works which is amazing. 🙂
Based on your reactions on Instagram to our bathroom and laundry renovations, I’m sure this is the part that you’re looking forward to. If you remember when I shared our original house tour, I mentioned that having a nice bathroom wasn’t really a big deal to me. Well, after seeing the finished product here, I can definitely say that I was wrong. I LOVE this bathroom and I’m so glad we decided to redo the entire thing.
The way the bathroom was before left a lot to be desired in terms of storage, lighting, and any kind of design. There was only one sink and one cabinet, so I wasn’t quite sure where we would store a lot of our bathroom stuff. The shower was dark because it was enclosed by three thick walls and when the shower curtain was closed, that limited the amount of light that could get in. The tile was outdated and I didn’t like the blue color of the walls. The toilet was also located behind the bathroom door, so you’d have to open the door to get in the bathroom, then close it (which I guess is what you do in a bathroom anyway), and use the toilet that was in a weird, dark nook with nothing else around it.
I spent a lot of time on Pinterest trying to find bathrooms that spoke to me. I’m pretty much always drawn to things that are light and bright, so I knew I wanted to keep the colors that way. I found a lot of white bathrooms with black fixtures, and I really liked the way they looked. We chose the stone for the counter, which I wanted to be light like the vanity and walls, but could have some minor bits of gray in it to accent with the floors. We got double sinks and much more storage than we originally had underneath them. We opted for one large mirror, which I think also helped make the room feel bigger. Lastly, we got updated lighting that brightened everything up.
Our designer helped us narrow down exactly what we were going to do with the inside of the shower. We met with her at a local tile store and picked everything out — the walls, floors, and accent tiles — in an afternoon. We had several cutouts placed in the wall so that bottles, etc. wouldn’t be kept on the shower floor. Also, because there was no bench or anything, I wanted to make sure that I had a place to put my foot up when shaving my legs (you feel me, ladies), so they installed a footrest towards the bottom of the shower for me to do just that.
We were originally only going to have one wall of the shower be glass, but when I found out they would be able to remove the thick wall between the shower and the toilet, I opted for two. I knew it would brighten up the room more and also make it feel bigger because there wouldn’t be such a thick wall separating the two areas.
We also replaced the original door we had with a sliding barn door that was stained darker to match the floors of the rest of the house. I think that was actually Neil’s suggestion, and a good one at that!
I wanted to add this part in because I got a couple questions about it when I shared on Instagram. For one, it helped that things are a little cheaper here than they are in Chicago. Secondly, this is a house that we want to stay in for a long time, so we were willing to invest the money in making it exactly what we wanted.
We determined how much we were willing and able to spend and then let the company know. This was also based on talking with them beforehand to figure out what each part of the project would potentially cost. We worked within those parameters to be able to figure out how many projects we wanted to tackle and what we wanted to save for a later time.
We made sure to figure out the things that we knew were important to us, like quality countertops, so that we knew how to allocate the money. It made sense on us to spend more on countertops, but not necessarily a lot on certain fixtures since you wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference aesthetically. We also didn’t do anything custom upstairs because it’s a bathroom for the kids that obviously won’t be used a ton until they’re older, so we changed a minimal amount there and I actually went and grabbed mirrors from the At Home store to save money that way.
A lot of it was also gut feeling. Do we really need x, y, and z? Or are x, y, and z worth the quote we got? The company was really great in working with us to stay under budget and some of the things we got, such as our tile selections, were actually less expensive than in the store because the company got a discount for purchasing (rather than us as individuals). As I mentioned earlier, there are some things we eventually want to tweak, but it wasn’t imperative for us to do them RIGHT NOW. Prioritizing projects was a good way to save time and money.
Ultimately, I would advise keeping an open dialogue with whatever company you choose. I feel like we have been conditioned to expect that renovations will exceed any budget because that’s what HGTV seems to reflect, but we didn’t encounter any surprises or additional expenses like that with our projects. Be open about what you are willing to spend and ask them the best ways to manage that as you go along.
Anything else you’re interested in knowing about our bathroom and laundry renovations? Let me know in the comments!