So I had this dream… a dream that my bathroom wouldn’t look like a 1960’s love child.  This dream also included me learning how to budget my time as a REALTOR in exchange for swinging a hammer.  Who was I kidding?  This is the story my DIY Pinterest bathroom adventure.

When my boyfriend decided to buy his 1965 Minto special, we both knew the basement bathroom HAD TO GO.  After putting up with powder blue subway tiles for over a year, I decided it was time to start swinging a hammer and getting this place in tip-top shape.  Now, as a REALTOR my days are…. kinda flexible (that’s an understatement).  If I had it my way, I’d show houses in my PJ’s and always have bed-head.  But that admittedly, wouldn’t get me any business!!  So I decided that I would continue my day-job as a REALTOR and putter around in the bathrooms at night once my young son had gone to bed.   Horrible idea.


Just to give you a sense of what we had lived with for a year, here is the bathroom pre-reno:

Cheapest light fixture you could buy in 1980, blue laminate flooring, cracked powder-blue subway tile, matching powder-blue toilet paper holder, chipped oval sink, teak medicine cabinet, rusty towel bar and a new toilet (we put in the new toilet the week we moved in). We wanted to ensure the basement plumbing was up-to-snuff before we started using it, so we replaced it right way.


We decided that we wanted to keep our costs low and this meant, not moving walls or plumbing, but just resurfacing some of the existing furniture.  We also discovered that as a member of the Ottawa Real Estate Board RONA gives contractors like myself, a 5% discount and when we combine that with our air miles credit card, it’s win, win, win!  So needless to say, we started frequenting RONA on a daily even hourly basis. It came to a point where we started having date-nights where we would divide and conquer the “to buy” list.  Thinking that this strategy would get us out of there faster, it usually ended up taking longer because we had to find each other. Thank goodness for cell phones!  You can only imagine how our text messages read  “what aisle are you in?”, “I’m in aisle 36”, “what colour of caulking should I get?”,  “Do we need more finishing nails”?……


iphone-dump-Oct-24th-2013-246-300x225It was sad date nights had come to this, but we had a deadline quickly approaching. Mumma Hum had just informed us that she had moved up her travel date by a week.  The pressure was on, we needed all hands on deck.

This routine continued nightly, but things were still moving at a snail’s pace.  My boyfriend decided that since I was working for the weekend (open houses) that he would surprise me and put down the new floor and install the light fixture.  What a surprise!  He who had avoided this entire reno (aside from the wallet portion) was right in there, installing snap tiles like it was nobody’s business.  Again, I thank the beer fridge that was relatively close for this accomplishment.  It was also at the aid of our trusty neighbour Luke, who had battled it out with a toilet bolt. Thanks guys!Luke our trusty mr-fix-it neighbour was willing to work for beer, so we stocked the fridge and kept them cold.  He also had a small quantity of home-reno tools, since he too refinished a Minto 1965 bathroom right across the street a few years earlier, he was definitely a valued team member.



IMG_0419-300x225Our newest recruit was my 4 year old. He was eager to show us ol’ folks how it was done and got right in there sanding, vacuuming and measuring.  Looking back I realize now a few of the trim measurements were a bit off…. measure twice, cut once young grasshopper!

Once that was done, we gave in to the urge and called a handyman.  Thankfully, George wrench in hand, was on standby to install the countertop & sink.  It wasn’t because I couldn’t do it, it was because  I quickly realized that it would be a costly mistake if I did it wrong.  Plus the whole plumbing thing wasn’t my cup of tea. L  With a bottle of Jamieson and our Lockbox code, he got right to work crimping pipes and measuring templates – we couldn’t have done it without him!

Once the floor was down, and the counter top & sink installed, it was finally time to paint.  Painting has always been my favourite part. You get to cover up the blemishes and make the whole thing new again.  Painting really made the transition complete.  Looking back now it wasn’t as hard as I thought, but I did learn that it actually costs much more than just the material.  Reno’s take it’s time, effort, energy, a good group of friends and a well stocked beer fridge!


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