Saturday, September 10, 2011

Renovation Ramblings - Chapter I: Back-Story and Tile Torture

I was gonna title this Renovation Rant, but I think it’s too early for that. And, with any luck, I *won’t* have any ranting to do (Yeah, hope springs eternal!!!).

Okay… This is gonna be a long post! So if you’re not interested in bathroom renovation projects “Move along… Nothing to see here!”

If you ARE interested in bathroom renovations… Well… Grab a cup of coffee (or a stiff drink!) and get comfy! This is gonna take awhile!

First, a little background… This is why we are renovating the bathroom:

Water Damage

Water is seeping up from under the tub at both ends of the tub.

By the way, this is the ONLY bathroom in the house. :::sigh:::

We’ve had it repaired a couple of times. First time, we used a “Handyman Service” (that now calls itself a “Renovation” Company – Hah!). DH more-or-less handled that project and they were approaching it in a “hunt-and-peck” sort of fashion. “Welllll…. Let’s try this…” (which didn’t work), then “Let’s try THAT…” (which also didn’t work). I think it was originally an attempt to save money but – in the long run – it ended up costing MORE than a full-blown renovation would have cost. We *did* end up with a brand-new tub.

But everything else in the bathroom screams 1980’s:

Totally stylin' diamond-pattern tub...

Matching vanity (with cracked and chipped tiles)

And, Ohhh Baybeee!
The TOTALLY GLAM 1980's Brass "Hollywood" Light Bar!

Pretty much, we paid as much as a full-on Bathroom Reno would have cost; Dealt with the pain and agony of having OUR ONLY BATHROOM out of commission for a couple of weeks; Ended up with a bathroom that looked just as crappy and “dated” as when we started; And – added bonus – the bathtub leaks returned just over a year later! We’ve had the floor replaced a couple of times since then, but – now that I have inherited some money – I think it’s time to do it all over again. Only THIS TIME, we’re doing it “Right!”

This time, it’s MY project. And this time, we’re ripping everything out – back to the studs – in order to identify and fix the source of the leak. Since it’s all gonna be ripped out, might as well Update while we’re at it, right?

And, this renovation is gonna cost less than the half-@$$ed job that was done previously………

So anyway, we signed the contract a couple-three weeks ago. And the project is set to begin on Sept 19 (Holy Crap – 9 days away!!!). Friend, Di, and I took a trip to the Kitchen/Bath Showroom (where they don’t have a huge selection of things to look at, unfortunately). They did give us samples of porcelain colors, however (which was good – I would have totally selected the wrong color for the toilet and sink if I hadn’t brought the samples home!). Then we headed off to the tile warehouse.

Bullnose Tile, Inc in San Jose (I’ll give ‘em a shout-out) is an excellent place. Doesn’t look very big from the outside, but they’ve got TONS of stuff to choose from – and their staff is extremely helpful. Di and I wandered around aimlessly for awhile – looking for inspiration. Pausing periodically. Many “Hmmmmms” were uttered. Then one of their helpful sales-peeps appeared and I showed him my sheet of glass mosaics, explained what we were looking for and he TOTALLY took it from there. He found a couple-three PERFECT tiles – and when I asked about purchasing the sample tiles, he waved me off and said I could borrow ‘em for free. Yay!

For the first go-round, we chose an Antique White tile that was absolutely dead-on, color-wise, for matching the tub. That’s the tile on the left, in the photo. And I fell in love with Metropolis Sabbia (the tile on the floor). And, of course, I am already “married to” the glass mosaic that’s propped up on the top.

Clockwise from top: Vineyard Glass Mosaic, Laguna Bay,
Metropolis Sabbia, and Antique White

The Vineyard Glass Mosaic Tile is what I started with. I bought it at Home Depot – back in January. It was funny because, when I first saw it, my initial reaction was “Ehh!” But when I brought a sheet of it home, I totally fell in love with it!

The picture really doesn’t do it justice. It is GORGEOUS!
Pale yellows, greens, aquas, cobalt blues and deep purples, with streaks of metallic copper

So yeah, I made my Very First Decision back in January! This will be the “accent stripe” in the tub (4 tiles wide – stretching around the perimeter of the tub at eye-level), and full 12x12 sheets will be the back-splash on the vanity.

Then, like I said, the guy at Bullnose Tile had suggested the Antique White tiles for the tub surround. It was absolutely perfect, color-wise, and it did have a little bit of “stoniness” to it (not a totally “flat” color, but also not too speckled-y/textury so it won’t compete with the accent tile). Trouble was: It was $4.90/sq ft. I have a $400 tile allowance for the tub-tile, and a $100 allowance for the floor-tile. Pretty much, I was blowing the budget – right out the chute – if I went with the Antique White tile…

Bummmmer! So, off to Home Depot I went. I wanted to find something similar, but cheaper. I ended up finding Laguna Bay @ $0.99/sq ft.

Laguna Bay Tile
(Home Depot lighting is waaaay different than home lighting!)

Side-by-side, in the bathroom
(Plus this is a Droid pic so doesn’t really capture the colors accurately!)

So the Laguna Bay tile was “close” – but definitely more on the “beige” end of the spectrum (almost pinkish, even). The Antique White was definitely “warmer” (more toward yellow) and, like I said, Dead-on for matching the tub. And, what’s more, we had found some quartz countertops that were *also* a dead-on match.

But, unfortunately, The Budget won-out!

Actually, that was partially-driven by the fact that the Sabbia Floor-Tile was a Budget-Buster, too. And my “justification” was that – by saving on the tub-tile, I could shift that allowance over to the floor tile, right?! :::shrug:::

Anyway, I had to hit two different Home Depots to find both the tiles and the bullnose (from the same “die-lot” or whatever), but I got ALL the tub-surround tile that I need (and then some!) for appx $170.00. It’s all stacked up in the living room!

The Bad News, though, was that my original quartz countertop selections were now null and void. Those are waaaaay too yellowish. So I went back to the Kitchen/Bath Showroom again – only to discover that they didn’t have ANY close-matches. Boo! Hiss!!! I did find some “complementary colors” but nothing dead-on.

Okay… This *is* taking a lot longer than expected, so I think I’m gonna stop for now.

Next up: Quartz Quandary!

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