Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Top 10 Favorite Reno's - #10 The Bathroom at Mulberry Forest

I wanted to create a blog about renovations on my first home... in 2010. Five years and three houses later I'm going to recap my top 10 favorite projects, starting with #10 - the bathroom on Mulberry. 

My very first home was on the far West end of Mulberry Street in Ft. Collins. A super small ~740 square foot 2 bedroom 1 bathroom home with a great yard. The house had been a marijuana grow house prior to me moving in so the to-do list was a plenty. Because of the loan type I had (I believe it was FHA) the home had to meet certain standards, most of which it did not. Basic things like smoke detectors, no mold, working toilets, etc. 

So while under contract, I negotiated with the seller for a credit to repair the major issues so the home could pass the FHA inspections. Risky. Business. The repair list was huge and the salvageable items list was itty bitty. The house had great windows, 9' ceilings, mature trees, fabulous hardwood floors and running water. What else could a girl want? A decent bathroom... (I also had the electrical system completely replaced and had the seller install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors)

The seller had started to re-do the bathroom floors and gave up halfway through, leaving two tiles down and sub floor in the open. They set the toilet sans the seal directly onto the sub floor creating a whole list of issues. Being a 1960's home, fans were not required at the time it was built so even though it had a fabulous shower window, mold was everywhere. The punch list included:
     1. New flooring including new sub floors
     2. New tub and tile surround
     3. New toilet
     4. Shelving to add storage (the sink was a pedestal with no storage)
     5. Install a fan
     6. Kilz the mold and paint

Easy enough - right?

Barely into the project the lone salvageable item, the sink, broke. This bathroom could win an award for smallest - ever, making it nearly impossible to find a new sink with storage small enough. While the contractor started demoing, mama and I set out to solve the problem. We found a nightstand at Pier One and a vessel sink and faucet at Lowe's - voila, a brand new sink with storage. 
Building a vanity 101
As demolition continued we found mold behind the drywall, forcing us to not only install new drywall but replace the studs as well. While we were at it I added a new light fixture since the old one was covered in grime as well as new tub and shower faucets and mirror. I'm all for up-cycling but there is something to be said for having brand new bathroom fixtures that is just hard to argue with.

New studs, moisture barrier and tub
Subway tile!!
Tile surround and tub in along with tile flooring. 
New light fixture and the medicine cabinet that would never be...
At literally the last moment, the bathroom was complete and in working order minutes before the inspector returned, allowing me to close. 

Lessons learned...

1. Don't spend money remodeling a house that isn't yours - the deal could fall through and you're out the money you invested. Luckily for me my deal came together in the nick of time but I took a HUGE risk that I would not do again.
2. When remodeling kitchens and bathrooms take your budget, double it and expect to pay more. Regardless of how many times you've done it. 
3. Give yourself time to shop around and create, because of the short window on this project I didn't have the opportunity to shop online or at used stores. As such, I later found a vanity that fit perfectly and ended up replacing the original cabinet the vessel sink sat on. 
4. Measure twice, then right before you think you're ready - measure again. To this day there is perfectly built in hole for a medicine cabinet that no medicine cabinet mirror can fit in behind a decorative mirror.
5. Get your bids in writing, stay on top of your contractors and ask questions as often as you want. I went with a local guy who is a 'contractor' on the side and while his work seems to have been ok, his estimating skills left much to be desired. He ended up charging three times more than he quoted, and like a true virgin re-modeler... I paid it. Never. Again. 

Finished bathroom with the second vanity
Note: At the time of this remodel I had my beloved Blackberry Pearl so the pictures are not of great quality. 

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